Packages in brown paper…

… or at least brown packages from Amazon have a habit of appearing at my door, now and again.

And I love it, every time! Getting packages in the mail, even merely books I ordered for myself, still brings a ton of joy. And today was no exception.

I got home late-ish, because I had been in the East Bay seeing Moshe Kasher perform a kick-ass set for his one-hour Comedy Central special. It had been awesome and hilarious and vulgar and awesome, so I was already a little jumpy. And that I hadn’t eaten much since the afternoon, and perhaps it was crossing into loopy. Still, I don’t think Carolyn was expecting the bouncy energy that erupted when I saw the Amazon package. I let out a little yip of joy and ripped into it! (And, for once, the package was actually easy to open – perhaps the gods, or truly the Endless, were smiling at my enthusiasm).

Inside was (the surprisingly large) Annotated Sandman, vol.1!

Now, I’ve fangirled before about my love for Neil Gaiman on this blog, and this certainly won’t be the last time. But I, like most, first came to love him through his early 90s masterwork – Sandman. This graphic novel series tells the story of Dream and his siblings the Endless, as they deal with the present, the past and the future and more than us mere mortals can understand.

And sometimes it is frightening, and sometimes it is beautiful and always it is fascinating. I recommend reading it as soon as possible. Truly a great piece of literature.

But – when I read it – I knew I was never quite getting the whole story. Gaiman has millions of references, and while I got a few, I knew there was always more.

As Gaiman notes in the volume’s preface:

Sandman was filled with oddments. That was just the kind of thing that it was – stories that you could always, I hoped, enjoy, but that you might enjoy more if you know something about, say, the traditions of Shakespearian theatre, or the French Revolution, or horror comics. And things that were common currency at the time – an offhand reference to a comic that came out a month or so before – were becoming the obscurer sort of arcana as time passed. It was a snapshot of the inside of my head, and all sorts of peculiar things live in my head.

I can’t wait to reread this book that I adore, now with all sorts of new information. The book was annotated by Les Klinger and laid out lovingly, with the panels in the center of the book and annotations on the side. (In the original volumes, the panels were in color, but they have been reproduced in black and white so that the book does not have a staggering cost).

I can visit favorite scenes:

Ones that delighted me:

And ones that were terrifying:

Learning all sorts of new information.
(all photos above were taken with my phone, so I apologize for poor quality)

Sandman 6 – Page 21

The lyrics are from “Spread a Little Happiness,” written by Vivian Ellis …. It was recorded again by Sting in 1982 for the soundtrack of Brimstone & Treacle, a strange allegorical film about the effects of a heavenly (or devilish) visitor on a seemingly normal family. similarly, Dee’s visit to the All-Nite Diner has severe consequences for the seemingly normal patrons of the diner.

I can’t wait to get cracking, and journey again with Morpheus and Gaiman through the worlds of Dreaming. If you haven’t read the story yet, you should check it out, and if you have, I recommend checking out this new volume!

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27 hours in California

My “Favorite Things from Four Years in NYC” series will continue, but for now, a quick reflection on the first 27 hours back in California:

– My luggage was impressive, I should have taken a picture.

– ROOM by Emma Donohue is amazing, and was excellent plane reading.
(X-Men First Class was an ok plane movie)

– My family rocks, as per usual.

-“Sleeping in” ended up meaning 7AM, BUT I got to drive Morgan to school, so it was worth it.

– I love having TV and DVR! I know from the majority of the last 7 years, I absolutely don’t need it, but dear god I love it! (Top Model and Free Agents were my companions today)

– California is so beautiful!

– I still love lettuce wraps from PF Chang (available on both coasts) but they are better while chatting with my Mom in person.  And, Mom and I still have the best convos while driving in the car.

– I bought tickets for Lys, Joe & I to see “An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer” at the beginning of November and am way excited.

– Sigmund Stern is a brilliant dog park with lovely people.

– I don’t miss New York yet, but I think it still feels like vacation and not a permanent change.

– Sometimes walking around a mall with two of your favorite people in the world can be the best way to spend an evening.

– I really love listening to KNBR for Giants radio. Those guys are great. (And the Panda got a cycle, woo!)

– I still like cities more than the suburbs, but I think the next 4-6 months here will be restful and restorative.

– New job tomorrow… excited and terrified, but mostly excited.