Nerd Cover Blown

MOC is WAR

For much of my online life, I’ve kept various interests separate, (drawing, running, cartoons, cycling, action figures, MST3K, Rodin sculpture, Apple computer, genealogy, comics, Elvis, baklava, smartass comment message boards.. all were kept in a separate (but equal) online community. Usually with a separate identity as well. One of those was my incongruous need to photograph action figures in dramatic or humorous contexts as either stand-alone shots or part of a fumetti type of comic strip. This started around the turn of the century and grew to be an ancillary part of my compulsive and similarly-growing need to collect more and more figures. Most of the humor is too “inside” for non comic (and in a lot of cases, non-comics-action-figure-collector) fans to even appreciate or hold interest in.

From “The Real World” Legion of Doom parody.

That being said, I want to briefly out my alter-ego on one of the action figure communities called “The Fwoosh” as being a name chosen quickly when I was still a former collector from the 70s and only had childhood “Mego” figures in what could be called a former “collection” and thus chose a lame pun name based on that. As “MiAmego” I have posted many, many photos on their boards and only a few times have I double-shared them on my “Brent Brown, Famous Artist” themed outlets on Facebook, Twitter, et al.

The member spotlight article recently published about me there should be an illuminating glimpse into the psyche of what would cause a seemingly, or not, sane person to pursue such socially-unacceptable pursuits. It should be, but it probably is not. Regardless, I’m sharing it here, so now …. worlds collide!

Happy Egg Bunny Day

Why not keep my blog updated as much as my other social media crap, I say to myself? Good idea, I say back to myself, with no quotation marks to hinder the conversation. Why not do it today with that twisted Easter Bunny illustration you drew on your iPad in Procreate yesterday? Hey! Say I, that would be the perfect thing to put there for all me to enjoy, since I’m talking to myself, why not update a blog that only I read for myself as well??

Something Wicked This Way COMES PETER COTTONTAIL

Rails to (Snow) Trails

Less than a mile from my house are the now-unused Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks that run for a while alongside the French Broad river as it makes its way through tiny Horse Shoe, NC. There has been some discussion in Henderson County about turning the abandoned and rusting away tracks into a useful all-purpose trail for runners, walkers, hikers, cyclists, etc to promote exercise and non-vehicle based travel to ease traffic congestion as the Rails To Trails program has done elsewhere. Of course, being this county is heavily populated by elderly retirees, sedentary obese people and proudly conservative residents who roll their eyes at any promotion of “fitness” or “environmental” as some kind of hippie, leftist, tree-hugger nonsense that people with common sense have no need for, the idea was not met with a groundswell of public support. The communist-like land sharing aspects of landowners next the current right of way of the tracks having to put up with endless parades of strangers engaging in this frivolity next to their property rubbed a lot the wrong way as well.┬áTherefore, instead of waiting for the implementation of such a pipe dream as a county-wide greenway that would actually take people places they wanted or needed to go (or, horrors, an actual bike path) to spring up in such a setting, I set out to use the tracks myself for such purposes in the here and now.

For at least last year, I’ve been making a weekly run to the “downtown” Horse Shoe business district, under the premise of getting a new Mountain Xpress paper (that comes out each Wednesday) but really it’s just a way to ensure I make at least one attempt at exercise a week. Having a set appointment to do it really seems to work, and unfortunately, in many months it is the only exercise I get until the next Wednesday.

This works great when the weather is nice, but when it rains, I’m not so keen on doing it. When it is freezing cold and there is still 8 inches of snow on the ground, I am even less so. Still, I’ve kept it up, even if I had to layer myself like a wedding lasagna cake and brave through the even-less-shoulder-than usual-(which is none) road conditions to get to the tracks, which are not plowed either and therefore a whole new challenge. This time I took my camera with me and captured most of the trip there on the tracks and the trip back on the road. It would be nice to have an actual path, but it probably would not be passable in the winter either.

Crossing the French Broad River

Bottom lands by river.

I get on the tracks here, where they cross Banner Farm Road.

This and another dog, struggle against their chains to try and kill me each time I run past.

closer view

Cool, old crumbling structure next to tracks.

Me, next to it.

Past the dogs, coming up on the crossing with highway 64 west

Usually, I have to wait for traffic, but not long.

Across the road, two trestles, one over a creek, the shorter one later, crosses just a rut.

The smaller trestle on train tracks

crossing the snowy trestle (usually, I run, but I didn't want a blurry photo)

rear of Horse Shoe strip mall

Where the tracks cross an entrance road.

I leave the tracks at Hunter's Glen housing development entrance, near the post office.

Horse Shoe Post Office

Mailed letter I brought with me.

No new Mountain Xpress delivery today, guess I ran all the way up here for nuthin'!

Parking lot of Horse Shoe "grocery" (actually a convenience store/gas station/Subway)

Back towards home on 64 through the downtown traffic rush.

Old Horse Shoe Hardware store, turned into restaurant/furniture store/Tea Party meeting hall.

Going past new Horse Shoe Hardware store and Brigg's Garden Center.

Past the Horse Shoe Guns and Ammo store and Cummings Methodist Church (across the street, not the same place.)

Past the tracks I took earlier and abandoned landscaping business building by river.

Over the French Broad again.

If I see my shadow does that mean two more weeks of winter?

I discovered Henderson County’s Greenway!

Map of Greenway paths

Map of Greenway paths

So, I was not expecting to spend a long time waiting for an oil change when I drove my Hyundai Elantra GT into Hunter Chevrolet/Hyundai/Subaru on November 4, 2009, but apparently you now have to call for an appointment if you don’t want to wait (contrary to what I have been told in the past when I called for an appointment and they told me I don’t need one for just an oil change, hmmm..) After waiting in a long line just to get into the service check-in bay, I was told I would be in for a looong wait, but decided to go ahead and use my free oil change coupon I’ve been holding onto since May, even though I did not bring a bicycle to while away the time with, as I usually would.

Hunter Chevrolet/Hyundai on Asheville Hwy. in Hendersonville, NC

Hunter Chevrolet/Hyundai on Asheville Hwy. in Hendersonville, NC
The line to get in was at least 4 cars out the door, but gone when I got back.
The line to get in was at least 4 cars out the door, but gone when I got back.

I sat in the waiting room and read the only section of the paper I could find, the Local news. I read an article about the newest leg of Henderson County’s Greenway being Grand Opened/Dedicated on November 14th. Now it stretches from Jackson Park all the way to Patton Park. The article said future hopes would be to get it all the way down to Berkely Mills. That was not far from where I was sitting, dreading the time doing nothing and I decided to take a walk.

I headed up the huge embankment from Hunter, across a church parking lot and down another bank to the disused railroad tracks that I don’t think the Norfolk-Soutern train even runs on any more with all the plants closing. I crossed Berkley Road and followed the tracks that run parallel with it for a while until I saw Patton Park right next to the tracks.

Crossing road on RR tracks next to Berkely Mills/Kimberly-Clark.

Crossing Berkely Road on RR tracks next to Berkely Mills/Kimberly-Clark.

Running down the railroad tracks by Berkely Mills/Kimberly-Clark plant.

Running down the railroad tracks by Berkely Mills/Kimberly-Clark plant.

Junction where track splits off to go to Kimberly-Clark plant.

Junction where track splits off to go to Kimberly-Clark plant.

Creek running under tracks with buildings on yon hill.
Well-worn path from railroad tracks around end of chain link fence to Patton Park.

Well-worn path from railroad tracks around end of chain link fence to Patton Park.

I got off the RR tracks, and went around the chain link fence to follow the walking trails that oldsters and mommies pushing babies were making full use of. I found the offshoot of what I assumed to be the start of the connecting Greenway path from the walking path and headed down it. The new section starts right as you cross the railroad tracks and then cross North Main Street and you come to where the path deviates from it’s parallel course with the RR tracks and a wooden boardwalk begins beside the paved pathway.

I followed the paved path because the boardwalk said it was closed for construction and had a KEEP OUT sign on it. I went a ways and then turned a sharp corner and saw the end of the boardwalk with did NOT have a keep out sign on that end, hmmm. Then the path followed alongside the creek/river which I assumed was Mud Creek or the Oklawaha, hence the name of the Greenway as The Oklawaha Greenway.

Greenway path shoots off from walking path that circles Patton Park on Hwy. 25/Asheville Hwy.

Greenway path shoots off from walking path that circles Patton Park on Hwy. 25/Asheville Hwy.

Path crosses railroad tracks, then crosses road (N. Main Street)

Path crosses railroad tracks, then crosses road (N. Main Street)

Greenway path starts back here on other side of road. (N. Main Steet?)

Greenway path starts back here on other side of road. (N. Main Steet)

I took the boardwalk that runs sort of parallel to the paved greeway path, but cuts off the corner somewhat.

I took the boardwalk that runs sort of parallel to the paved greeway path, but cuts off the corner somewhat.

Boardwalk has offshoot pier that goes out to viewing point.

Boardwalk has offshoot pier that goes out to viewing point.

End of the boardwalk opens out onto paved path.

End of the boardwalk opens out onto paved path.

Divided lanes make biking easier. Saw one cyclist the whole time. Two other walkers. No joggers.

Divided lanes make biking easier. Saw one cyclist the whole time. Two other walkers. No joggers.

A few trees have signs marking their type along the greenway.

A few trees have signs marking their type along the greenway.

The Oklawaha river runs by the greenway (Also known as Mud Creek.)

The Oklawaha river runs by the greenway (Also known as Mud Creek.)

Lots of standing water from recent rains.

Lots of standing water from recent rains.

More Trees.

More Trees.

Nice bridge crossing when getting near 7th Avenue.

Nice bridge crossing when getting near 7th Avenue.

I noticed a few signs marking trees of different varieties and even one that pointed out the “Poison Ivy” vines growing on one tree. As I approached the public housing known as Green Meadows, I finally ran into some other people. A guy walking with an iPod going and then what appeared to be a group of haggard vagrants mingling around the Seventh Avenue entrance. I didn’t have to wonder how to avoid their gaze long though, as a city parks dept. truck pulled right into the path for some reason just as I got there. I crossed the Seventh Avenue bridge and road and started on the way to the Jackson Park path I already knew well from riding my bike on at other times.

Greenway stops at Seventh Avenue and goes on bridge across river and then crosses to other side of street.

Greenway stops at Seventh Avenue and goes on bridge across river and then crosses to other side of street.

Sign showing Greeway map on Seventh Avenue entrance/crossing.

Sign showing Greeway map on Seventh Avenue entrance/crossing.

Greenway path picks up here to go to Jackson Park.

Greenway path picks up here to go to Jackson Park.

Heading towards where path goes beneath the busy HWY. 64/Four Seasons BLVD/MLK Blvd overpass.

Heading towards where path goes beneath the busy HWY. 64/Four Seasons BLVD/MLK Blvd overpass.

Other side of Four Seasons BLVD. overpass, heading towards Jackson Park.

Other side of Four Seasons BLVD. overpass, heading towards Jackson Park.
This marshy area is next to a creek that sometimes overflows and covers the path.

This marshy area is next to a creek that sometimes overflows and covers the path.

I stepped off the path to take some photos but sunk deep into the water and muck hidden under the tall weeds. Great, I was planning on running back and now I will have to do so with a squishy left sock and shoe. Finally reaching Jackson Park’s entrance, I crossed the road into the park and went to where the dog walkers were parking next to the nature trail. Sitting on a bench, I wrung out my sock and sat it in the sun a bit. I visited the Parks and Rec offices to use their rest room and they looked at me like I may actually be one of those homeless guys I was looking at the same way earlier. That’s what I get for going out in public without my winter beard properly grown in yet. There’s something about grey stubble that just screams vagrant! for some reason.

Almost to where Greenway enters Jackson Park.

Almost to where Greenway enters Jackson Park.

Greenway path crosses the entrance road to Jackson Park here.

Greenway path crosses the entrance road to Jackson Park here.

Parking area at Jackson Park. Some still flooded from recent rains.

Parking area at Jackson Park. Some still flooded from recent rains.

Nature trail that veers off from Jackson Park path and loops back around to it.

Nature trail that veers off from Jackson Park path and loops back around to it.

Jackson Park part of path.

Jackson Park part of path.

This is where I came to a stop.

This is where I came to a stop.

Start of the Greenway path in Jackson Park.

Start of the Greenway path in Jackson Park.

View of Jackson Park from Parks and Rec office on hill.

View of Jackson Park from Parks and Rec office on hill.

Sitting down to wring water out of my sock after stepping off the path and getting it soaked.

Sitting down to wring water out of my sock after stepping off the path and getting it soaked.

Okay, time to go back now.

Okay, time to go back now.

Starting back on my jog back to Hunter, I was able to run the whole way since I already took all the photos on the walking trip down. I was fortunate to have my cell phone camera with me, as the scenes were really quite beautiful in many places, but unfortunate in that it is a really crappy camera and did not take very good photos. As I was about two-thirds of the way back (this time I took the boardwalk, since it made the trip shorter and I could truthfully say there was no KEEP OUT sign when I got on at the other end, in case anyone asks, which no one did), I got a call on the cell phone that my car was ready, but they can’t find me. So I hurried even more. I think I spent about two hours total. I would hated to have been sitting in that waiting room all that time. This is supposedly a 1.1 mile addition to the greenway at present, but I don’t know how much extra it is to Hunter Chevrolet. If they get it to go all the way to Berkley Mills, it might make waiting for your car service a more enjoyable experience.

ADDENDUM: A week later, the Greenway was officially opened. Here are the photos from the Times News.

Headed back to Hunter on Greenway.

Headed back to Hunter on Greenway.

Took the path, not the boardwalk. The board walk is faster though.

Took the path, not the boardwalk. The board walk is faster though.

Cartoons update

New cartoons since last entry:

November 4th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

November 4th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

October 21, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

October 21, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

October 7th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

October 7th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

09/23/09 cartoon Click to Enlarge

September 23rd, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

9/9/9 cartoon Click to Enlarge

September 9th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

8-26-09 cartoon Click to Enlarge

August 26th, 2009 cartoon Click to Enlarge

MX has been diligent about putting them online of late, so I have neglected posting them here, but here’s a big batch of them if you don’t want to look on my site for them.

New Caricature Photos

New photos of caricatures I did at a corporate event for Sub Station II at the Renaissance Hotel in Asheville, NC. July 2009.

Charlie and Jan

Charlie and Jan

Susan and Gary
Susan and Gary
Rivan and John

Rivan and John

Mallory

Mallory

Jessica and Steve

Jessica and Steve

Skylar and Chandler

Skylar and Chandler

Kayla and Laura

Kayla and Laura

Alex and Ryan

Alex and Ryan

Maggie and Hope

Maggie and Hope

Jim and Patty

Jim and Patty

Isabelle and Helena

Isabelle and Helena

Malley, Riley and Reegan
Malley, Riley and Reegan
Substation II corporate Franchisee event at Renaissance Hotel in Asheville. July 2009
Substation II corporate Franchisee event at Renaissance Hotel in Asheville. July 2009