Autumn, Indy, and Dolly

Well, summer seems like it thundered by even faster than usual, and now, somehow, it’s autumn.  We’ve been in the Sage House for two months.  Nearly four months have gone by since we were in Outer Banks.  I attribute this blink-and-you-missed it summer to — aside from, you know, physics — to taking care of majorly sick dogs and packing up and moving from one city to another.  It feels like I’ve been holding my breath the last few months, just trying to get through the next day, week, month — and only now feel like I can exhale.  

Here’s hoping the rest of the year slows down a little bit, and we all have more time to breathe.

I’ve been trying to make the most of the cooler weather: windows open, working on the front porch, walking to get coffee a couple times a week.  Today I walked over to the Short North to pick up a book from Prologue Books I’d ordered a few weeks ago.  The proximity of being within walking distance to cool places like a bookstore is one of the things that I love about being a Columboner.

The book is a new edition of SOURDOUGH, by Robin Sloan, author of the wonderful MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE.

This past week was pretty remarkable in that Jess and I did two, count ‘em, two fun things that involved actually leaving the house.

Last night we caught a showing of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK on the silver screen, which is always fun, but what made it really nifty is that the soundtrack was performed live by the Columbus Symphony, who fucking nailed John Williams’s score.

Even niftier: Jess and I were the only ones (at least on the orchestra level) who were dressed appropriately.

Then last Sunday we trekked back to Dayton for Beg Your Parton, a Banned Books Week event held to raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Only maybe a dozen people, including my group of six, showed up at Tender Mercy, the venue, but we more than made up for the low attendance with the vast quantity of drinks we bought.  And I got to spend more time with people I don’t see often enough.  It was a perfect evening.

Of course we dressed thematically appropriate. My hat is from LUXURY DIVAS.

Columbus, Week One

And like that, we finally have wi-fi at the new house.

Being without wi-fi for an extended period is weird (and yes, first world problems, etc. — I know).  You can still access the internet and your apps and whatnot using data, but you can’t easily do things like stream tv.  We watched THE BIG SLEEP the other night and had to actually use a Blu-ray disc in a Blu-ray player.  Like it was 2010 and Kesha ruled the airwaves.  Madness.

Also, when you work from home, like I do, and don’t have wi-fi, it’s really hard to do your job.  So since Wednesday, I’ve been working at a pretty cool place called Versa.  I give them $25 a day and in return I get a nice workspace, fast wi-fi, and so many delicious snacks.  Petty sure I ate at least $25 worth of food and drink every day.  A good deal all around.

We survived the move, obviously, and are beginning to get settled in.  I’ve been a resident of Columbus for a little over a week now, and so far… it’s pretty nice.  Our house (which I’ve dubbed the Sage House) is really cool and our little neighborhood is adorable.  I’ve missed having so many cool restaurants and things to do within walking distance.  Three or four neighbors have stopped by to introduce themselves.  (Since I am horrible at remembering names and people, we’re putting them in a Keep along with any other pertinent information we’ve extracted.)  Most of our neighbors have dogs and none seem like assholes, so I’d say we’re off to a roaring good start.

Here are a few photos from our first week as Columbians.  Columbussers?  Columboners?  Columboners.

Gabrielle Solange performing at Goodale Park.
He might be blind, but Kirby still enjoys practicing to be a garden gnome.


My home is in a state of unadulterated chaos at the moment.  Stuff is strewn everywhere as we attempt to wrassle the contents of two persons’ households into boxes in anticipation of a move to a new city in [checks notes] six days.  A contractor is stomping around the house, replacing a bunch of ungrounded outlets and making other repairs identified in a home inspection report.  “Oh Sherrie” was blaring from his cell phone, but, hail satan, he turned it off a little while ago.  Jess is upstairs on a call.  And I’m hanging out with a blind dog who is prowling around the dining room and barking, because there is just Too Much Going On.

One day life will be quiet again, and it will feel strange and I probably won’t know what to do with myself.  In the meantime, though… I will do my best to not lose my goddamn mind.

As I alluded earlier, Kirby is currently blind.  Poor guy lost his brother and his vision on the same day.  That evening Kirby was suddenly unsure of his surroundings, running into things, etc.  By the next day, he wasn’t even reacting to light.  Jess shared a little more background on social the other day:

Kirby’s (third round of) uveitis took a turn we’ve always hoped to avoid. His inflammation worsened to partial retinal detachment in both eyes and severely decreased vision. Over the last week, the pressure in both eyes started increasing as well and he’s now completely blind. Unfortunately, his eyes are too foggy to see his retinas without an ultrasound so we don’t know how things look at the moment, but we’re hopeful a concoction of eyedrops and oral steroids will reduce inflammation, keep him from developing secondary glaucoma, and help restore his vision (whether this is possible is yet to be seen and a test of our patience).

Kirby had a follow-up appointment yesterday.  The inflammation is significantly down, but they still can’t see his retinas.  The vet said there is still some hope the retinas will reattach once the inflammation is gone.  Until then, we are trying to help him navigate this sudden change, which means, ideally, keeping him in familiar surroundings.

So of course it’s the perfect time to move, right?

Which we are doing, next week.  In short, Jess was offered a really good job in Columbus, one that warrants a move.  I already work from home full-time, so where I live doesn’t impact my job.  We found a house to rent in a cute neighborhood that’s within walking distance of the Short North, so we won’t be lacking in places to eat and drink. And for the first time in pretty much forever, almost all of our human and dog medical providers will be in the same city.

I’m sad to be leaving the city I’ve lived in all my life, of course, but excited for new adventures.

More later.  Now it’s time to resume attacking the empty boxes upstairs that are just screaming to be filled with stuff.

RIP, Fozzie Bear

When Jess and I first started dating, the dogs were… maybe not suspicious, but at least a little wary of me. After all, I was a strange new human who’d suddenly entered their lives. A human who didn’t appreciate them hogging all of the bed, was taking up far too much of their mom’s time, and who didn’t really know to interact with dogs beyond the theoretical. Wariness was not only understandable, it was fully justified.

But Fozzie was never that way with me.

He was the first of our trio to really take a shine to me.  I like to joke that Fozzie and I are both more cat-like: we like our space and quiet, and don’t require a lot of attention.  This made us fast pals.  But when Fozzie did want affection and pets, he would come to me.  I can’t count the number of times that I would be doing something and would feel his intense gaze staring up at me from the floor.  Or see him stand up and slap his gigantic front paws on the footstool, as if to say, “hello friend I am ready for a belly rub.”

Fozzie passed away last weekend. Thanks to Lap of Love, he was able to do so quietly and peacefully in our backyard — one of his favorite places to explore — in his favorite bed, surrounded by the people who loved him. We spent the days leading up to Sunday smothering him in attention (even though he slept for much of it), and giving him all the food he wanted to eat (he was particularly enamored with bacon) and all the greenies he could stomach. We had Fozzie for seven months longer than we’d expected, thanks to the amazing care provided by Dr. Okonkowski at MedVet. We thought of these as bonus months. During this time Fozzie experienced some of the happiest times of his life. He got to go to the beach again. He was more affectionate and demanding of attention than ever before. We were only too happy to oblige.

If I have any regrets it’s that I only got to know Fozzie for the last four years of his very long life (19 years). I would have loved to see Fozzie as a tiny terror of a puppy, with paws as big as his face. So sure, more years would have been great, but the four years I did have with my beloved Elder Dog were beyond great — they were life-alteringly good. I am grateful to have had them and that I was able to know such a good, sweet boy. I’ll treasure those four years for the rest of my life.

Fozzie, we love you and miss you.  See you on the other side, buddy bear.

Meant Well

the road to hell
is paved with the bodies of
old white men,
black of heart and soul,
and millions of liberals who
meant well

Written 6/24/2022, the day SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade.

Outer Banks Photo Dump

Been back from the Outer Banks for two weeks, and I am somehow still sloughing off dead skin.  I don’t mind, though.  I forgot how much I enjoy having a tan.  I am happier.  I feel more alive.  Or maybe I’m feeling that way because I was able to live the temporary fantasy of being a writer by the seaside with no real responsibilities, and I was in desperate need of experiencing that fantasy, even just for a week, and the tan is just incidental.

Maybe it’s my lizard brain urging me to make that temporary fantasy a reality.

Something to reflect on, I suppose.

Below are a few photos from the trip.  Normal programming shall resume next week.

Kirby, traveling in style.
Fozzie ran for the first time in ages.
Footage of Kirby having the best time.
Key lime pie. Mmmm… pie.
If you sell this photo of my feet, please give me a cut.
This book written for children educated us on surfer lingo.
Found a pinball machine at the pier.
So happy!
Last couple of days were spent in Virginia Beach, in an adorable little suite off a very chatty lady’s house.

Outer Banks, 2022

Writing this on Tuesday night, in the Outer Banks.  Tomorrow, we depart our little 1950s bungalow by the beach to spend a couple of days at Virginia Beach.  A storm moved in last night and has been waterboarding the area most of today, but up until now the weather has been gorgeous — hot and sunny, exactly what one wants for a stay at the beach.

Things that I have been up to this past week:

  • Taking the boys to roam the beach in the mornings
  • Spending more time on the beach, in general, than I ever have before
  • Chatting with a guy on the beach who claimed to have worked on the Soyuz missions in the 70s as a Russian translator for the UK government
  • Getting a sunburn on my belly button
  • Showering outdoors, because the indoor shower was the size of a postage stamp, but also because showering outdoors in the 80-degree heat is nice as fuck
  • Eating alllll the delicious seafood
  • Learning that “conch” is pronounced conk
  • Naps in hammocks
  • Reading, including a reread of one of my top five favorite books ever — THE KINGS OF ETERNITY, by Eric Brown
  • Visiting local bookstores, because you can tell a lot about a town by the quality of its bookstores
  • An excursion to the original Duck Donuts, which, when I looked up the location, my phone helpfully autocorrected it to “fuck donuts fuck nc”

But primarily, above all else: relaxing. Where the most taxing thoughts I have each day are “where are we getting dinner?” and “did I put sunscreen on my [random spot on my body]?”

It’s all been rather rejuvenating and is exactly what my brain and body has needed.

Pictures to follow upon my return, but for now, here are two:

Heads Above Water

This was a mostly shit week, the reasons for which are boring and I won’t detail here. I’m just glad it’s over. That said, the week at least ended better than it started. I saw the new DOCTOR STRANGE, spent a fun Saturday in Cincinnati with Jess, and saw my family a couple of times. These are the types of good things that sustain me, that make me feel like I’ll be able to keep my head (mostly) above water, and for which I’m grateful.

I took this photo while in the car wash the other day. It almost looks computer generated to me, but that’s just a neat effect of the combination of the foam and the neon lights this particular car wash employs. Other than some light cropping, the photo is unedited — no filters or any other tuning. I low-key love it.

All Over the Place

The last couple of weeks have been a bit chaotic, and my mind is all over the place, so this post is gonna be a brain dump.

National Pretzel Day was last week, a fact I was unaware of until Jess told me and asked if I wanted to go get a pretzel.  As I am a man who would rather perish than turn down a pretzel, I said, “of course!”  And thus we paid a visit to our local pretzel establishment, Smales Pretzel Bakery.  This was my first pretzel from Smales, and it was the perfect mixture of hot, soft but not soggy, and salt.

I promise you, despite my demented appearance, I really am enjoying the pretzel.

I am currently reading KING SOLOMON’S MINES by H. Rider Haggard. I love old adventure novels, like this one, THE LOST WORLD by Conan-Doyle, and — one of all time favorites — BEYOND THIRTY by Edgar Rice Burroughs, just to name a few. The kind with a rugged explorer protagonist, that are set in the jungle, and usually involve a search for a lost city or artifact. (What can I say: The Indiana Jones films and books imprinted on my soul as a kid.) KING SOLOMON’S MINES is quite fun, and Haggard clearly was a Michael Crichton of his time, but the biggest problem with a book like this, published in the late 19th century, is the racism. Good lord, is there a lot of off-handed, casual racism. I know the book is a product of its time, but that doesn’t a) make it right or excusable, and b) any more palatable to read.

Speaking of adventure books, I am apparently evolving into my early-middle-age, adventurer-explorer fashion era, as evidenced in this photo from last weekend.

Riding the rails of the Groove Line, just as Roger Miller imagined.

I’m not even trying to, really.  This is just a look my subconscious is gently nudging me towards.  Given enough time, I will no doubt check the mail one day and be perplexed to discover I had ordered a replica Indiana Jones shirt and jacket in my sleep…

Speaking of last weekend, Jess and I celebrated our 45th Month Anniversary by getting lunch at Fifty West Brewing on Saturday, and taking in a Nat Geo Live show and getting dinner at Salar on Sunday.  It was a very good weekend.

I had the best company.

A lot of photos of me this post, which I suppose is only fair given the name on this blog’s masthead, but as part of my penance, here is a photo of Fozzie, who got his first haircut in two years yesterday.  He’s so handsome.

A boy with some intense eyes.


I had started to write a whole thing about our sewer line backing up — again — over the weekend, and how I took today off work to clean raw sewage out of my basement, and how, yes, we do rent this house, and yes, one would think that it would be the landlord’s responsibility to deal with it…

But writing that thing was doing nothing but re-annoy me, and I want to be annoyed again.  Aside from this morning’s romp in my (formerly) feculent basement, it’s been a pretty good day.  I read a hundred pages of BLOOD MERIDIAN — a book I am savoring — got in my 104 words for the #100daychallenge, and napped with the boys.  My sister will be over in a bit and we’re grabbing Indian food and watching CAPTAIN RON tonight.

So — not a bad day, overall.  And hopefully I won’t be called on to become the Toxic Avenger again for a good long while.

As good and weird as the original TOXIC AVENGER movie is, the cartoon was so much weirder.