This isn’t particularly Halloweeny and likely won’t even meet my self-imposed 1,000 word minimum, but it doesn’t matter because today is the most important day of the year – me and Mrs. Troublemaker’s wedding anniversary.
I’ve told this story before and I will almost certainly tell it again, so hang in there.
I first met Mrs. Troublemaker many, many years ago at the comic shop. Not where it is now, but where it used to be. I was the manager of the Video Game Exchange in the same strip mall. It was 1995 and I was nineteen years old. I had been on one of my comics hiatuses before I got transferred to that store, but since there was a comic shop a few doors down I started buying again.
I’d go in and talk to the manager, who was slightly overbearing but incredibly nice.
Every once in a while there would be this beautiful girl sitting behind the counter, reading comics. I never spoke to her because I had certain esteem issues that I have mostly resolved now, but I was absolutely enchanted. I only worked in that Video Game Exchange for a few months before they moved me to a bigger store. There was another comic shop near the new store, so I started going there.
But I never forgot that girl’s face.
Almost a decade later I was looking to rebuild a comic collection that had been whittled away by car repairs and various other things that had necessitated money in a hurry. I was managing a GameStop at the time and there was a comic shop down the road. I went in and couldn’t believe who was there – it was her. There was no mistaking it, because she was still sitting behind the counter reading comics.
I told her I was looking for fun superhero comics. I was sick of all the angst and “grittiness” that seemed to be dominating the Big Two’s books. She said her favorite book at the time was Fables. This was spectacularly unhelpful considering I wanted superhero books, but I didn’t care and bought the first two trades. Because that’s what dudes do. I finished those (they were very good) and returned the next week to buy more. Not really because I wanted to read more Fables. They didn’t have the third trade in stock, so I bought something else.
Side Note: I hate to put a Side Note in here, but I have to mention that the shop being out of that trade set the standard for years to come. To this day they never have specific volumes of things that I need. I have the first and third volume of Mark Waid’s Daredevil but not the second. This happens all the time.
I started a pull list there and made a point of going in every Thursday to get my books (because back then I had a great schedule and could do things like that). Not because that was the only day I could go, but because I knew the store would be dead and I could hang around and talk to her for a couple of hours.
That continued on for a while until I finally decided I wanted to spend some real time with her. Like, not in a comic shop. So I hopped in the car after work and went to the comic shop, running through ways to ask her out as I drove.
No matter how much self confidence I develop, no matter how many things I accomplish, no matter how many Phantomaniacs I ever meet, there is one thing that simply won’t ever change about me – I have zero game. I do not know how to talk to the ladies. Obviously it doesn’t matter now because I won, but it mattered (to me) back then. So I put an awful lot of thought into how I was going to ask her out. I think I even asked people for advice. But when I got to the doors of the comic shop I felt good. I knew what I was going to say. I was also ready for rejection. Whatever happens, as long as I could get my opener in I would be good to go.
When I walked in, she was up on the ladder putting some Silver Sage stuff back on the high-dollar racks. I appreciated this because she has a sweet can and this particular activity afforded me a spectacular view. She was on the phone, so I looked at the new release wall without really seeing anything because I was nervous and excited. I was totally going to do this.
As she finished up, I couldn’t help but over hear her conversation on the phone:
“I am so fucking sick of guys coming in here and asking to see the Silver Age stuff just so they can look at my ass… No – these assholes were just in here and of course didn’t buy anything. They weren’t even subtle about it…. Yeah, all day long these jerks just coming in here and hitting on me. I’m just sick of it.”
That I had not been prepared for.
I bought my stuff and left.
I think it took me a few weeks to build back up to finally asking her out.
Obviously things went well.
Around a year later we went to Walt Disney World together. When we got to the top of the Starship Earth ride – where you’re under the gigantic night sky that is so much clearer than any real night sky – I pulled a diamond ring out of my pocket and proposed.
We got married on October 15th, 2005 and it is still the very best day of my life, results-wise. Marrying her is the best thing I have ever done. Every day since then my life has been better. She gives me strength to be who I am now. She is the reason for every wonderful thing in my life, from our son to my work with ESO to MCW to everything that makes life not just worth living but awesome. I know that as long as she is by my side, there is nothing else in this whole universe that matters. It’s all small stuff compared to the fact that this amazing girl loves me.
Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween
I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 15 11:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie My Soul To Take
Oct 15 01:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Oct 15 03:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Oct 15 05:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Devil's Advocate, The
Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit, SyFy? Mix this fucking stuff up a little bit, why don’t you!?! Seriously - this is ridiculous.
Oct 15 08:00 PM Face Off Tweet-peat - Mortal Sins
But this I’m happy about because I once again get to comment on last week’s Face Off.
I was massively disappointed in everybody’s work on the Seven Deadly Sins. Except for Tate. His was great and him winning was as obvious as the sun coming up in the morning. Personally, I felt like everybody else totally blew it.
Roy had a great idea, but his execution was mind-bogglingly poor (for Roy). I just don’t understand how he blew it so badly. I did appreciate that he took his hat off while they were in the church, though.
Frank – who honestly hasn’t had much of a presence this season, though he has definitely been better behaved – also blew it. He made a diseased-looking fat guy. His work was solid, but he had no vision whatsoever. That was a common theme among all of the competitors this week though.
Miranda let me down the most, as she displayed no understanding of lust or creativity as to how to portray it. Lust does not wear a floor-length gown. And yeah – her execution was great, but the concept was just boring.
Oh, shit – I forgot about Laura and I don’t even know how that happened because hers was actually great. A woman so wrathful she has torn her own face off is awesome. And I loved the red tatters hanging off of her arms.
I cannot believe Eddie is still on this show. That thing he made looked like crap and did not display whatever his assigned sin was in any way whatsoever. I just don’t like this guy. He has had extraordinary luck to have not been eliminated yet.
Laney’s Greed was okay and I really liked the money dress, but it overall just didn’t have much presence.
I just felt like everybody underperformed last week. Even Tate’s was reaching a bit to portray Sloth. But it just looked so badass.
Oct 15 09:00 PM Face Off The Laughing Dead
I don’t know what to expect this one, but I’m afraid Eddie is going to skate by again because he seems like kind of a goofball and “The Laughing Dead” might be rgith up his alley.
Oct 15 10:00 PM Fangasm
Oct 15 11:00 PM Face Off The Laughing Dead
Oct 15 12:00 AM Fangasm
Oct 15 01:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Jack Brooks Monster Slayer
This is an excellent movie. 4 out of 5. Watch it. I’m still waiting for a sequel.
Oct 15 03:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Clive Barker's Book Of Blood
I love Clive Barker, but for some odd reason I have never actually seen this. I want to see it, but I can assure you that my first viewing will not be censored and commercially interrupted.
Oct 16 06:00 AM Paid Programming
Oct 16 08:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 The Princess And The Evp
Oct 16 09:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 9 Hollywood Horror Stories
Oct 16 10:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 9 Ghost Mission
I’ll be switching over to Animal Planet to watch Goat Hunters.