A Study in Sleep

I had an in-person sleep study done last night, for the usual reasons. Even with a hundred sensors affixed to my head with “slime,” as the respiratory nurse affectionately called the adhesive substance, I still somehow managed to look amazing.

A sleep study is an interesting process to undergo, albeit one I’m not in a hurry to experience again. A hospital-like room in the basement of a hospital, a barebones bed, twenty minutes of getting shit stuck all over your body, someone watching you on black-and-white video all night long, and an absurdly early bedtime.

Despite all that, I’m pretty sure I didn’t move at all from when lights went out at 2100 til the nurse woke me up at 0500. I woke up feeling oddly refreshed and was waiting in the Starbucks parking lot when they opened at 0530.

Lake Plastic

The sky was clear this morning; the temperature cool but the wind mild. We walked into town to get breakfast so I could eat my weight in French toast. Afterwards, we “hiked” the two-and-a-half mile “trail” around Mirror Lake. The quotes are because the trail is really just a sidewalk that rings around ugly, rich people houses on the lake’s edge.

We’re staying at a house in Lake Placid — or, as my phone keeps helpfully suggesting, Lake Plastic — a ten minute walk away from downtown. Been here about five days now. We drove up late last week, stopping in Syracuse the first night. The next morning we took the boys out in their wagon and strolled around Syracuse University.

Yes, we have become people who cart our dogs around in a wagon. At 18-going-on-19, Fozzie gets worn out pretty quickly, and Kirby is partially blind, so long-distance walks can be a bit fraught. As such, a couple of weeks ago we bought a fold-up wagon. The boys have thus far enjoyed their new mode of transport — it lets them look at all the things and also be admired and petted by strangers. It’s a good arrangement for all involved parties.

two very good boys

We’ve spent several days hiking and generally bumming around in the Adirondacks. The leaves are changing colors, which has made for some pretty spectacular views. An interesting fact about the Adirondacks is that I am physically incapable of saying “Adirondacks” correctly. My brain keeps telling my mouth to pronounce it “A-dear-run-dax,” even though I know it’s wrong as soon as the mangled word escapes my lips.

We made one brief foray out of the area, on Sunday. Kirby was having some neck pain and, given his medical history, we were concerned it might be an issue with his spine. We called around and found an emergency vet in Burlington, Vermont, two hours away, who could see him. Turns out the pain in Kirby’s neck is muscle-related, which can be treated with pain meds and crating when we aren’t here, which Kirby just loooves. So now Kirby just remains the pain in my neck (har-har). While in Burlington, we also snagged some killer sandwiches from the Henry Street Deli.

As small villages go, I like Lake Placid a lot. Plenty of coffee shops and restaurants, a chill vibe, a cute indie movie theater, and proximity enough to the mountains to go do outdoor stuff. We’re here for a couple more days and will definitely be back in the future.

two ridiculously good-looking people

A Dinnertime Tale

Me: [sets down a bowl of food in front of Fozzie]


Fozzie: I’m not eating this


Me: [accidentally kicks over the bowl of food all over the goddamn floor]


Fozzie: ok now I’ll eat it [begins eating]

STAR TREK IV: THE ONE WITH THE WHALES

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME — aka, THE ONE WITH THE WHALES — on the big screen as part of a limited release for its 35th anniversary.

Although I am a TNG man through and through, I prefer the Original Series movies over the TNG movies. They have more of a timeless quality to them, even though they’re older than the TNG movies, and feel less dated. I used to rent them on VHS from the library, back when that was a thing. I’ve probably seen each at least five or six times. THE VOYAGE HOME was always the fun one, especially after the seriousness of WRATH OF KHAN and SEARCH FOR SPOCK.

It was also a chance to meet up with my old comrade Nate for the first time since last autumn. We grabbed dinner at Arby’s, where they were out of both Arby’s sauce and ice. It was fine. We were too busy catching up to really care.

I tried to take a picture of the title during the opening credits but was too slow on the draw. So instead, here’s a shot of the star field that immediately followed the title.

Happy Gotcha Day, Fozzie!

Yesterday was Fozzie’s Gotcha Day. Jess acquired him 14 years ago. To celebrate, we took him to water treadmill therapy! And I made a tiktok of it, like the yutes do. Fozzie was less than enthused.

@thejoshbales

Fozzie on the water treadmill again, and not happy about it

♬ original sound – josh bales

In other Fozzie news, he is doing much better, and is mostly back to his old happy, flouncing-around-the-yard self. The water treadmill should hopefully help him with his slight hobble. Pretty impressive for an elder dog of 17 to 19 years.

“In the Land of Broken Things” is now Live

My short story “In the Land of Broken Things” is now live over on Slate. To entice you, here’s the first paragraph:

Derelict cars began to appear with greater frequency as Mallory crossed over the river and into downtown Dayton. Rusted-out artifacts shoved to one side of the road decades ago, after the Ejection had fried their electronics. Over time they seemed to be gradually fusing with the cracked, washed-out blacktop.

You can read the whole thing here. Hope you enjoy.

Soon to be in Print

Last night, I turned in the final edits for “In the Land of Broken Things”, my short story that will be published on May 29 by SLATE, as part of their Future Tense Fiction series. Here’s the fun description they came up with for it:

In a world where electricity is scarce, so are the technologies that can keep people alive.

This marks my first professional fiction sale after 58 rejections accumulated over 16 years (I keep a tracking spreadsheet). It’s been six months since I found out it was happening, but I am still kind of in disbelief that anyone wants to actually pay me for something I wrote, let alone a publication like SLATE. I always figured I would eventually get published, some day, but one never knows. So it’s really nice to cross this one off my bucket list.

I will of course be sure to share the link when “Broken Things” goes live.

Contentment Is

A Friday night spent with your best girl — ok, fiancée — having dinner from a local Mexican joint — La Taqueria Mixteca, newly on 937 Delivers! — that is very spicy to my delicate whiteboy tastebuds, but extremely delicious, pleasantly drunk on “margarita wine” — thank you, Trader’s Joe’s — watching BABYLON BERLIN, a weird but wonderful 1920’s period German noir.

Sometimes it’s the quiet, low-key moments that are my favorite.

What if: COVID, But 20 Years Ago

I know everyone is tired of talking about the COVID life — god knows I am — but I thought this bit from Ian Leslie’s excellent newsletter, The Ruffian, offered a really interesting perspective. As bad as COVID has been, if it had struck twenty years ago, things would have been much, much worse.

Imagine if this virus had emerged two decades ago – perfectly plausible, and nothing in historical terms. Scientists would have not have had the wherewithal to crack the code of the virus or to share it globally and instantaneously. Office workers, in firms and in governments, would not have been able to meet over video, businesses would have not been able to reinvent themselves. Friends and family would have even less connection with the outside world than before. Food and other essential goods and indeed non-essential goods would have not have remained accessible to nearly so many people. Neighbours wouldn’t have been able to look after each other as easily. Governments, health services and businesses wouldn’t have been able to gather data or share information nearly so efficiently. A huge part of the reason we were able to adapt as we have is down to technologies that didn’t exist or were not in widespread use twenty or even ten years ago. It’s enough to make you believe in progress.