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Nostalgia, Ink: Going Out of Business

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

I remember first walking into Nostalgia, Ink. at 10 years old and feeling like I was discovering a whole new world.

Up to then, collecting comics was a catch-as-catch-can operation. I’d find a few titles at book stores, or at the pharmacy, and once in a while I’d see a classified ad of someone selling their collection.

But a whole store? Devoted to comics? Heaven.

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

From that time on, I’ve had an on-again, off-again comic habit. In the early days, I’d bike down West Washington Ave. in Jackson by myself once a month to get the latest issues. As an adult, I’d drive to the shop on Wednesdays to get the newest editions.

Then the editors of Amazing Spider-Man would piss me off with their latest bad idea, and I’d quit buying for a year or two. A habit’s a habit, however, and I’d always make my way back.

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

So a month ago I get my usual Superior Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men issues, and I notice a flyer on the counter: Leonard’s going out of business. He’s retiring.

I nearly cried.

I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. Through the comic bubble of the early ‘90s, through a Magic: The Gathering card collection, and now into adulthood.

Nostalgia, Ink: Going Out of Business

Not for long.

Until Labor Day, everything’s on sale at increasingly-discounted rates. Back issues, books, everything.

Leonard says it’s time to retire. He’s been looking for a buyer, for a way out after almost 30 years. No one (as of yet) has come forward to take the business over. But there are a few things in the works.

For now, he wants to unload everything. Clear out the inventory.

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

And what an inventory. Miles and miles of long boxes. Bagged and boarded. Organized, roughly.

Not just comics, either. If you were into D&D, or Magic, or – hell – old issues of Playboy, Nostalgia was your place. Toys, shirts, posters, cards. Everything.

Hunting for the thing you wanted was half the fun. If Leonard didn’t have it, he could order it.

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

Lots of good memories in this place. Maybe someone will swoop in and help spirit Leonard away to retirement properly. Until then, we’ll help him clear out that inventory.

Nostaligia, Ink: Going Out of Business

All the best, Leonard.

– – – –

View the full set on Flickr.

Read MLive’s coverage of the store’s closing.

(All color images edited with VSCO Film. Photos created with a rented Fuji X100. Many thanks to Leonard for allowing me all-access to the store.)


A series of Instagram shots posted over the last few days, called “Cloud Atlas.”

It’s amazing what can happen when (a) the weather rolls in just right and (b) luck and timing line up for photo opportunities like this.

I created each image using the fabulous new Mextures app, which I’m really excited about – especially with landscape stuff, and running them through VSCO Cam.

The world of mobile photography is exciting, especially lately.


Things I Like: Wooden Buddha

Things I Like: Buddha

My little wooden Buddha has the best spot in the house, in terms of keeping an eye on me. He rests right above my TV, facing the couch, in the living room.

And it’s a good thing, too, because I trust his insight.

Or my insight, as it were. Because my little wooden Buddha reminds me to develop that insight through an on-again, off-again meditation practice I’ve tried to keep up with since 2006.

When I am practicing, I find it helpful. I can relax, concentrate, and unspool the tangled wires in my mind. But finding the time, as with anything, is hard. And even when I think I’m starting the habit again, it doesn’t take long for me to fall out of practice.

I often share the National Geographic story that helped me tinker with meditation as a way of life. I figured, if a Buddhist monk was, on paper, the happiest person alive because of meditation, surely it’s worth a try.

There’s also something about a philosophy/religion that tackles attachment and confronts desires that appealed to me. It still does.

So my little wooden Buddha sits up there, eyes closed, palm in palm, waiting for me to sit my butt on a cushion and close my eyes for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. And breathe.

I picked him up in a little gift shop on State St. in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2005 – when the idea of some sort of meditation practiced first took hold. Now, all these years later, he’s still sitting there calmly, waiting for me to begin again.


Things I Like: iPhone 4S

Things I Like: iPhone 4S

What can be said about the iPhone that hasn’t already been said?

Personally: I (gladly) waited for the second one. I love having a camera with me at all times. I sync it every night.

It’s my everything. My muse. My camera. My window to the world. My mobile fact checker. My jukebox. My communicator.

I’ve broken it. Dropped it. Had to replace it. Upgraded it. Traveled with it. Did my work on it. Everything.

I waited a long time between the 3G and the 4S models, and in a lot of ways that worked out well. Now I think I’ll stick to the “S” updates: the good made better. The beautiful, revised.

And when the new one comes out, I’ll get that one, too. Gladly. What else would I do?

// VSCO Kodak T-MAX 3200+ (switched to color mode)


Things I Like: Pentax K1000

Things I Like: Pentax K1000

At heart, I’ve always been a photographer. I was the one snapping pictures on family trips, at fraternity parties in college, and on cross-country vacations.

But besides some disposable Kodak film cameras (remember those?), it’s always been digital.

As I got more into photography, the more I toyed with the idea of playing with a film camera. There was a local camera shop in town that still processed film. Film is still relatively cheap. All I needed was a camera.

Then, last summer, we were cleaning out the attic at work when one of my co-workers stumbled on his old Pentax K1000 – the camera our communications department used before we switched to digital.

He was nice enough to offer it to me.

So I gained a whole new side hobby: film speeds, new lenses, not-quite-automatic exposure controls. Pretty cool.

I definitely use the Pentax differently. The shots are a bit more thoughtful, more composed, and (I’ll just say it) more artsy. With film, there’s only one shot to get it right. So maybe it’s a bit more my methodical speed.

It did take me three wasted rolls of film before I learned how to load the thing probably, though. So there’s that.

But the first developed roll turned out just fine. I stuck to fairly boring landscape shots, but I’m getting the hang of it.


Things I Like: The Radio

Things I Like: GE Radio

I’m reminded how much I like my AM/FM GE radio every time I have to replace the batteries in my shower radio.

It’s always the GE that comes to the rescue on mornings that I don’t feel like switching out the batteries. Plug it in and turn it on.

The GE comes in rescue, in general, all the time. Washing dishes, cleaning house, working on a project – switch that thing to the classic rock station or NPR and I’m good to go.

Everything I said about this little radio before remains true: sometimes the simple things are the best. An off/on switch, a tuning dial, and an AM/FM switch. That’s it.

And that’s what I love.


Things I Like: 50mm Lens

Things I Like: 50mm Lens

All of my “Things I Like” photos were taken with a Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 lens, pictured here – except this one, obviously, which was taken with an 85mm.

But the 50mm is my favorite. I, like a lot of beginning photographers, cut my teeth on the 50mm prime lens. Originally, I had the f/1.8 model that served me well for two years. In fact, I took a lot of my favorite photos – hell, maybe a majority of my photos – using that “Nifty Fifty.”

Over the holidays, I found Canon dropping the price on the f/1.4 model by $100 or more. I thought about it, and thought about it, and finally pulled the trigger in January. Canon has been updating – and raising the price on – their other primes, like the 28mm. I figured with the recent 50mm price drop, Canon would refresh it next. So I pulled the trigger and took advantage of the deal.

I use a 50mm f/1.4 almost exclusively at work, with a Canon 7D. It’s my go-to portrait and classroom lens. I love the quality, the color, and the contrast the lens produces. And I’m super glad to have one of my own now.

There are tradeoffs to having a 50mm lens on a cropped-factor camera like my T1i: you need space to work in, and you can’t capture a whole lot in the field of view. But I find it often takes intimate photos that can’t be beat.

The dream is to someday hook it up to a full-frame Canon. Some day.

For now, though, it’s still my go-to and favorite lens.


Things I Like: iPod Shuffle

Things I Like: iPod Shuffle

One time I got something stuck in the headphone jack of my iPhone 3G.

Being the DIYer that I am, I decided to fish it out with a Q-tip. Bad move.

From then on, no audio jack plug worked with my iPhone. The fibers from the Q-tip became stuck inside the audio jack, preventing a secure connection. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This meant I couldn’t listen to albums or podcasts on my morning commute. Thankfully, my trusty iPod Shuffle came to the rescue. I used it every single day as my on-the-go audio device until I purchased an iPhone 4S.

To say the iPod Shuffle is simple is to be coy. There’s no visual interface. Just a few buttons and a clip. But its simplicity is its beauty – and its usefulness. I use mine all the time.

The blue one was my first one. It was a refurbished model, all of $50, that lasted until I left it in a pants pocket and it took a trip through the wash cycle (I’m hard on my iPods). Try as I could to save it, it was done. Retired.

But I didn’t want one of those goofy 3rd generation Chicklet models. No, I wanted real buttons. So I bought a 2nd-gen model on Amazon – a low-key silver one that works like a dream.

These days I mainly use my Shuffle for gym workouts. The clip is everything: it helps the iPod stay out the way, stay secure, and stay with me. And it does one thing well: plays audio. Boom.

The one complaint I have is that, if you accidentally his the Reverse button, you erase all the progress on a podcast – meaning you have to fast forward through to the point you left off. It’s annoying, and it happens enough that I’m complaining about it.

But despite the abuse, despite it’s simple nature, and despite being a two-generations-ago model, I do appreciate the little bugger.


Things I Like: Books

Things I Like: Books

When I bought my first iPod, it opened me up to an idea: instead of carrying stacks of CDs in the car with me on road trips, with an iPod I could carry something the size of a pack of cards and have all of my music with me.

No more fishing for CDs, so more jewel cases slipping between the seats – everything about it was better.

The same thinking has not occurred to me with books, however. Maybe it’s that I don’t have a dedicated e-reader, so I don’t know what I’m missing. But I haven’t felt compelled to buy an e-reader, either.

So I still buy books. Good ol’ fashioned bound, paper, heavy books.

My favorites range all over the place: Carl Sagan takes the cake, of course, but also John Irving, a few political biographies, and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. I like the heft of books, being able to open one anywhere and continuing where I left off. The smell of an old bookstore, the feel of the paper, my notes scribbled in the margins.

Some of that you can replicate with e-books. But not everything.

It’s not just books. It’s everything involved with books: libraries, book stores, “free books” carts in the classroom hallways. There’s a lot of infrastructure around books, and I like all that, too.

I understand that a lot of it is not necessary. Libraries are already evolving into “media centers.” Book stores are having a helluva time. Just as we don’t read scrolls anymore, the days of the book may be limited.

Unlike when we upgrade our video media, however, you can always pick up a book. It always works. It’s never obsolete or incompatible.

Maybe someday I’ll grab an e-reader and switch full-bore. Maybe. In the meantime, though, I’ll keep reading Dr. Sagan as I always have.


Things I Like: Apple’s Newton eMate

Things I Like: Newton eMate 300

It had been so long since I booted up my Newton eMate that, before taking a photo of it, I had to recharge its meager battery.

But like clockwork (and like all of Apple’s Newton PDAs), it started up like no time had passed – it’s familiar grid of app icons hinting at future Apple products.

It used to be that I ran a decently popular blog, Newton Poetry, writing about the eMate and its MessagePad cousins. There used to be not a day that passed that I wouldn’t scribble on one of these green screens, hacking my Macs to get them to install new software, or discovering some long-abandoned app that still, after all these years, seemed useful.

But now my eMate sits on a shelf in my office, along with my Newton MessagePad 110, a few non-working iPods, and other miscellaneous Apple products. It’s joined the assorted classic Macintoshes that I just haven’t found room for in my life.

Not after buying a house, and not after taking up photography as a full-time hobby.

The truth, though, is that booting this little green guy up made me happy. It made me happy to still see it working. It made me happy to see all the apps I installed to monkey around with. And it made me happy thinking about all those fun blog projects, from 2007 to 2011, that I tackled.

I keep thinking I’ll kick-start the blog again, instead of leaving it languishing with a few random photo posts here and there. There’s a collection of articles just waiting for commentary. The project stuff, though – there just doesn’t seem much room for that stuff. Not any more.

Still, my eMate and I? We had a lot of fun together. And now that I brought it back to life, maybe we’ll have some more fun.