Well, I collect Underground Comix, for one. Duh! I always figured that I was born about 5 years too late. I guess I'm just a hippy-wanna-be.
I used to make a living as a mild-mannered web-master, working for a major metropolitan food company. Prior to that, I was a micro-computer technician and problem-solver.
I'm also an amateur musician. I play piano (11 years private instruction, classical method), synthesizer, trumpet, baritone horn, sousaphone, recorder, harmonica, and practically anything else that I can make noise with.
I have a major interest in any of the sciences, particularly astronomy & physics. I'm an amateur astronomer.
My Love Affair with Underground Comix
This particular Saturday, however, was going to be a bit different. There was a new store a couple of doors down from the theater called "Inner World". My friends had told me (mostly hearsay and misinformation) that this was a 'hippy' hangout. I thought it looked really groovy and wandered inside.
WOW! I'd never see a black-light poster before, and the walls were just covered in them. The smell of jasmine incense permeated everything. Here was a collection of day-glo body paints, and some pictures of them in use. Now THAT was cool! Shelves on one side had strobe lights, lava lamps, black lights, and a reflective half-globe that had a red ball hanging in the center of it that looked real wild when you swung the ball around. Anyone know what that's called? There were also the large light bulbs that had a solid element in it in the shape of something clever, like a peace sign or a heart, that flickered.
I felt like the youngest, straightest looking person there, and just a little out of place. I wandered over towards the incense and selected a few sticks of something that appealed to me. Then I headed towards the counter next to the door. On the counter was a small stack of comix. Zap #0. Had it been Zap #1 I don't think I would have hesitated to leaf through it, but the cover of #0 was a little too wild and definitely looked like it was NOT for kids of my age. Still, it became forever etched in my mind.
I made my purchase of the incense and headed for home. It was there that my father let me know in no uncertain terms that incense was to hide the smell of DOPE. He spat that word out like a bad taste in his mouth. I was forbidden to go back into that store ever again. Why? It didn't look all that bad, and it had some pretty cool stuff in there. Of course, one didn't argue with my father. The law was laid down and it was not open to discussion. (sigh)
I fell in with a less than upright crowd. It was there I was introduced to the underworld of drugs. Of course, along with drugs comes the frequent trips to the local off-base head shop. This one was called Birdland. (shrug) Don't ask, I don't know why it was called that. They had a rack of underground comix there. At this point, I was under no restriction as to what I could look at. Over the months I was stationed there, I had purchased several of the undergrounds. They were read, enjoyed, and passed around the barracks until they were ripped, dirty, and eventually tossed out with the trash. Ah, had I only known.
The Summer of 1976 saw me with new orders sending me to island of Okinawa. I spent a long year there, pretty much drying out from drugs. There was a short reprieve in there with some Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds, but thats another story for another time.
That grew into a monthly expedition for me. The first Friday after payday, I'd go out into town. I'd hit an alternative-type bookstore, then head over to California Comics. This was a great place. They had regular comics, undergrounds, books, and a small head-shop in the back. After I had purchased anywhere from 15-30 comix and books, I'd head over to the Pizza-By-The-Slice restaurant. There I'd sit with pizza and beer, and lovingly read through my latest acquisitions. It was during this period of 1977-1980 that I built up the core of my collection.
So here is where I am at now. I don't have the largest collection around. But then, collecting is not a race for me. Simply a journey. And oh, the sights along the way.