Ace, Clutch, or Flop? #22

And now it’s back to the ever so comforting map known as Inferno. Ok, maybe not yet but this is video is on it, it’s just from a while ago. Anyways, 1v2 with bomb planted, but I was broke and only had a Mac-10 while the other two had an AK and a M4.

Comicbook Recommendation: Locke & Key

L&K

I’ve got a bit of a confession, I really didn’t read many comicbooks when I was younger. While I had a few here and there and did visit a local comic shop (though mostly for the toys), I didn’t pick up reading them regularly until my late 20s. I used to read two or three a night before bed, but recently have slowed down a bit (I’ve been focusing on reading some actual books lately). In those few years, I’ve read roughly 2,000+ floppies but I’m fairly certain Locke & Key stands out as my all-time favourite. I must admit picking second best is very difficult among the others though.

As a side note, you’ll most likely notice all my comicbook recommendations or commentary will not revolve around the superhero theme. When it comes to almost all literature and media I like, I find myself gravitating towards the scifi/horror/fantasy genres more than anything, so it should be no surprise that I enjoy those comicbooksmore than others. That’s just my personal taste though, I know there are some great stories out there that live in the superhero universes and I’ve read a few of them as well from time to time and thoroughly enjoyed some. But it’s just not my usual cup of tea.

Joe Hill’s Locke & Key falls into the horror and tragedy categoriesas it follows the tale of the three Locke kids and their mom who move to an old manor called Keyhouse following the brutal murder of their father. Shortly thereafter, one of the kids discovers a special key in the house with ability to open a door that can essentially make someone a ghost when they pass through it. But this key is only one of many that were forged long ago, all of which have a unique power when used. The keys hidden around Keyhouse are only one of the strange happenings around the manor though, one of the kids also discovers a woman living in a well in the backyard who seeks a specific key from the kids and resorts to haunting them when they are weary about her intentions.

There are many great aspects of this series I’d like to mention I almost don’t know where to start. For starters I’d like to give Gabriel Rodriguez a tip of the hat for the artwork. The best of it I would argue is the facial expression of all the characters, they capture emotions of joy and pain wonderfully which is essential for feeling the connections with the main and side characters. While I’m pointing that out, the emotional rollercoaster you go throughout it all is truly gripping. As I read through it I felt often at the edge of my seat that the villain was one step ahead of the Locke family. With the main characters, and colourful side characters ranging from fairly young to rather old, any reader can connect to at least a few of them and be somewhat moved during the story as well. Something I feel is fairly important when a writer engages any audience.

With a concept like keys that open doors (and other things) the possibilities seem boundless. Hill does a great job of exploring these boundaries by not limiting himself to only have keys open locks, which leads to all sorts of possibilities and ties them in nicely to the main storyline. Additionally, Locke & Key is not limited to the Locke generation the reader sees. A long, dark past of the key origins and how the Locke family became tied to them is explored in great detail both in the main series and in the additional one shot readings enriching the main storyline beautifully. Manly themes are also touched upon such as growing up, love, tragedy, and loss coupled with coping mechanisms.

This is a wonderfully captivating series and my notes above only scrape the surface of a great adventure that will tug at your heartstrings while still utilizing creative horror to keep you entertained. I can say more about it, but I always try to keep my recommendations spoiler free. Also, it’s been a couple of years since I read it so some things may have slipped. However, while I know how the story ends, this is one I will go back and read again in a few years to relive the ride. I’m not just recommending this for comicbook readers, I’m recommending this for anyone who loves a good story.

Fun facts: Joe Hill is the pen name of Joseph King who happens to be Stephen King’s son and Locke & Key is currently being worked on as a TV adaption for Hulu. Also, a pilot was shot a few years back for Fox, though it was never picked up and I don’t believe was ever aired on TV.

DIY backyard shed

Last year during the summer, I focused heavily on playing less video games and spending less time indoors to compliment may commitment to losing weight (it worked too, lost about 25-30lbs during the year!). While I did also diet and increased the frequency of my usual outdoor summertime activities such as golfing, riding my mountain bike, and taking my dog for more walks, I also wanted to attempt something new as well, something constructive. I ended up deciding on building my folks a new tool shed for their backyard. I felt this is was a perfect project for me to get some exercise outside, do something constructive, and learn some handy skills in the process. I’m an project accounting guy by day and a gamer by night, so picking up power tools is definitely not something I’m used to. Fortunately my dad is a handy person and was there to help me when I needed advice, guidance, or an extra set of hands.

Here’s the old shed that came with the house they bought back in the 90s so we can only assume the shed is fairly old too. While structurally it was sound, it’s visual appeal wasn’t the best. My folks have slapped on a fresh coat of paint and new shingles from time to time so it wasn’t exactly terrible it just wasn’t the best. So after some browsing around at local stores and on Google, we decided on a general design and to build it from raw materials rather than buy a package. You’ll see this at the end, but we also decided on making it match the house and garage. Both of those have a light yellow vinyl siding, brown shingles and trim, and white doors and window frames. So to give it the ol’ razzle dazzle we decided on the same colour scheme.

Right off the hop, I’m going to apologize for the pictures, my photography skills are sub par and I was only using my phone. As mentioned, we decided on starting from scratch. So after we decided on the design and picked up the starting materials, here we began working on the base and the wall frames. Lira is looking on with excitement, maybe thinking we’re building her a mansion of a doghouse.

After the base and wall frames, we decided to move it outside for assembly so that it would be easier to move into place once ready. The walls and rear half wall were fairly straight forward to put together.

The frame for the roof was a bit trickier due to the angles required rather than a just a right angle. I started getting pretty comfortable using a miter saw by this point so it wasn’t too bad.

With the frame for the roof done, we wrapped up the back wall and a few support beams for the back.

Next came from the front panels and support beams, and as you can somewhat see we began putting on the plywood for the roof. For those front panels with the angle I learned how to use a hand held circular saw.

The roof is now complete (the plywood part anyways).

Front panel above the door was then cut and installed. Took a little bit of measuring and whatnot given the angle but nothing too bad.

So this is something like an insulation wrap that would go in additional to regular insulation on a house or garage as an added layer to retain heat and resist water. Now, for a tool shed this is not necessary, however we had a bunch of it sitting in the garage for years and decided to use to up by putting it on. Also, Lira was giving a disapproving look as I think I believe at this point she realize it’s not for her.

As this shed is going into a corner section of the yard, and on one side where it should be exposed is the doghouse, we had to finish off the sides and back before we could move it into place. The vinyl siding we used matches the house and the garage so it’s a nice touch.

Continuing the vinyl siding, we had to cut and properly install all the vinyl edges to match the angles of the roof as well. It wasn’t too bad but it was a bit tricky at times. Also, you can now see we’ve installed a door frame as well. By this time I felt I’ve basically mastered the miter saw.

More progress on the siding, decided we were on a roll and applied the front siding too even though the could’ve been done after the shed was moved into place. Also, at this point we painted the base a grey and the sides on the roof’s edges a brown as it matches the eaves troughs of the house and garage.

Before we continued the rest of it, we moved it into place. This was because the shingles were fairly heavy and they could be installed after the fact. But before we could do this, we had to dismantle the old shed which was all on me (because it was fun using the crowbar and sledge hammer!). We lifted the whole shed using a long steel bar as a lever, then put about six steel 3″ pipe under it. With that we were able to roll it into the place of the old one.

Once in place, the next step was to begin roofing. Again, brown matching shingles were chosen that match the house and garage. And speaking of matching, we painted the door frame white (and eventually the doors) so they too match the house and garage. Lastly, the old shed makes a guest appearance in this picture on the right side. It’s now all chopped up and will be great firewood for the fire pit this upcoming summer!

Now with the doors up. These were exceptionally a pain in the ass. Mainly it was due to getting a perfect fit in terms of height and depth after we built them. We did have to dismantle them once and start again after we did not calculate for the thickness of the hinges. Eventually we did get it all worked out and it was nice and flush in terms of depth, and as level as we could get it with some minor adjustments.

And ta da! Last touch was painting the doors and adding the lock. It’s not a perfectly constructed shed, nor is it professionally designed, but we’re rather happy with it. Working on this summer project was great, it gave me confidence in handling some basic woodworking tools, got me plenty of sun and exercise, and gave me a tangible constructive project. I think it also adds a little to the value of my parents place since it nicely matches the house and garage. But most importantly I spent lots of time with my dad during the summer and had a lot of fun building it.

Ace, Clutch, or Flop? #21

Back on Cache again, not overly familiar with it yet but that’s fine. Scores is as close as it gets at half time so pistol round as Ts is quite important. Make our way quickly to A site, get the quick plant at default and it’s a 3v3 we got this. Well that 3v3 becomes a 1v3 pretty damned quick and I’m running low on ammo.