Column: When comics were the point of Comic-Con

I used to be a regular at San Diego Comic-Con, but I quit when the event started getting overwhelming and the attention shifted from comics. This wasn’t a topic I had ever thought of addressing until being in San Diego last month, seeing the 50th anniversary banners on lampposts and thinking, Huh, maybe the milestone would be a good excuse to look back. And thus I bring you: Wednesday’s column.

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A nice group of Friends

I spoke Saturday afternoon to the Friends of the Claremont Library, reading a few columns, sharing my love of libraries and selling and signing books. Chris Frausto took a couple of photos and emailed ’em to me.

Above, everyone’s writing: Two women are writing me checks and I’m jotting down their purchases for my own records.

Incidentally, I’m wearing a shirt from the 2010 Big Read in Pomona that saw Ray Bradbury make one of his final public appearances. Since he was a big library supporter, it seemed like a good shirt to wear given my audience.

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Column: In St. Louis, Ted Drewes draws crowds for frozen custard (but what is it?)

I write about the highlights of my St. Louis vacation, including my annual stop at the legendary Ted Drewes for frozen custard. Have you had frozen custard, or Ted Drewes’ version? Also: an update about Alejandro Aranda, cultural notes (including a reminder about my Saturday talk) and a belated item about Doris Day. All the above is in Friday’s column, my first since vacation.

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Back from vacation

I returned Sunday evening after a week in St. Louis, had Monday off for Memorial Day, took Tuesday off so I wouldn’t be immediately confronted by a column deadline and came back to work Wednesday. There wasn’t time to put together a Restaurant of the Week, as I had to start thinking about getting columns done for Friday and Sunday, but that feature will return next week. In the meantime, above is a photo of toasted ravioli, a St. Louis-created appetizer. They can be found here and there in Southern California, I think, but they’re rare — and also delicious.

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On vacation

I’m taking a week off to visit my family near St. Louis. This is my first trip since arriving home last Labor Day from Germany and Poland, and obviously a lot less ambitious. But no less fun or rewarding, I’m sure. More trips ahead this summer, likely all on the West Coast. I’ll be back at my desk May 29, with my first expected column May 31. Other than a Memorial Day post that’s all ready to go, don’t expect any posts here.

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A relaxing week off

I had a low-key week away from work, which is pretty much what I had in mind. While improving after my pneumonia, a break for rest, one in which I would not have to think about column topics, was very appealing.

With occasional forays for food or errands, mostly I took it easy around the house. For one thing, I took care of a few long-delayed or -postponed items, the sorts of things that may not take a lot of time but which you can better persuade yourself to do when you have time on your hands as opposed to giving up precious weekend moments for.

Such as? One morning I took all the books off one bookcase, blew the dust off the top of each book, rearranged them and cleared away some clutter at the front of the shelves. The appearance is much improved and the whole thing took under an hour.

By later in the week, I felt more energetic. I took the train to L.A. for my birthday, an outing that will be the subject of Wednesday’s column. I also (gasp) drove to L.A. a couple of days later for lunch with friends.

As with any week off, I went to bed Sunday wishing I had one or two days more to tick a few more items off my pending list. But it was fun returning to work Monday too. While I still have an occasional cough and shortness of breath, I would rate my energy level at about 95 percent of normal.

That week off came at the right time.

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A week off

As mentioned in Sunday’s column, I’m off all week, returning to work March 18.

I had been wanting to travel, at least in Southern California, but decided I wasn’t quite up to that yet, post-pneumonia.

(I’ve mostly recovered but still have an intermittent cough, and I’ve continued to turn in early to ensure I get a full night’s rest. Hiking or hoofing it around a distant city struck me as too ambitious.)

So it’s a staycation, with some travel to LA amid time at home. The break will be nice, I think.

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