Sunday, May 31, 2009

Unknown Soldier

Life has a funny way of showing you things sometimes. It's not always at a key moment in your life either. Sometimes it's as if fate is telling you, "Remember this moment. You're going to need it later." Or maybe you won't. Who can really say. This mortal coil is nothing if not a mystery.

I should have known something bad was going to happen when Leslie called me on Thursday. She inform me she made vet appointments for two of our cats and the dog all at the same time. Perhaps I'm not making myself clear. She didn't call the vet and simultaneously make three pet appointments. She called the vet, and made one appointment. For three pets. Visions of ripped t-shirts and fur-covered car seats flooded my mind. I don't know why she got the idea to do such a thing, but the pets needed it so I agreed.

Herding all of the animals into the car wasn't as difficult as I feared. Friday was allowed to roam around as she liked. We only own one cat carrier, so we had to determine which cat was most troublesome and needed to be contained. We decided to let Prickers go free range, and stick Ninja in the box.

Everyone was loaded in the car and we were pulling out of the driveway when I noticed a small tan lump at the end of our front yard. I pointed it out to Leslie and she stopped the car and thought we should get a closer look. Before I had even opened the door I had a sneaking suspicion what it was. I wanted to get a closer look to prove to myself it wasn't what I feared. Unfortunately it was exactly what I was afraid of: a small tan-colored cat. As we approached I saw the telltale swarm of flies it and I knew what to expect.

It was a small house cat, about the size or Prickers. There were no signs of what caused its death. I felt my eyes begin to get that familiar tingle where I might start sobbing at any second. I asked Leslie if she was okay, waiting to see if she was going to cry and I'd take that as a cue I could stop holding back. She never cried, so I didn't either.

Should we bury it? Is there someone we could call? We knew we had to do something, but with a car full of animals and an appointment steadily approaching, it would have to wait.

While at the vet we told them what we found and asked what was the best thing to do. He told us we should call animal control and they would come and remove it. That seemed like the logical thing to do because if someone was looking for it they could call the the city and possibly identify their missing pet. I called on the way home and the woman informed me in a very cold and unloving manner that we would have to wrap the animal in two trash bags and leave it on the curb to be picked up on Monday. Leslie and I agreed that wasn't the right thing to do. They would pick it up and cart it off to some landfill where it would never be seen or heard from again. Its parent would have no chance of having it identified. The decision was made to take matters into our own hands.

We unloaded all of the animals out of the car and before I had given it much thought Leslie was in the backyard digging a hole. I went out and helped her get it to an appropriate depth. We then wrapped the cat as the animal control person had suggested and gently placed it in the hole and covered it up. I kept wondering if I should say something, but my atheist ideals reminded me there was no point.

We began to wonder what may have happen to the cat. It wasn't emaciated so it didn't starve. Since we live in front of a pretty busy road Leslie's guess was that it got hit and made it into our yard. It didn't have any tags, but then again neither do our cats. How do we know this wasn't a cat that was primarily indoors and somehow snuck out? The only thing I can take comfort in is knowing that if it was owned by someone, or even if it was a simply a stray that walked the streets, it was given a proper and respectful burial.

I wish I could say this is the first time I had found a dead cat outside a house we lived in. The other story is too sad to retell and did end with me crying. I can't help but wonder if one day I'll need the memory of what occurred on Friday. Maybe it was just a hackneyed 'all life is precious moment.' What I do know is that all life is important to someone somewhere, and I cherish the time spent with my pets. And maybe this will help me forgive them for the attrocities they commit in their litter box.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MC Chris owns!

On May 13th I had the distinct honor of seeing MC Chris do his thing at the Drunken Unicorn here in Atlanta. Needless to say, it was amazing.

I've been a fan of MC Chris for a few years now. I wish I could say I wasn't turned on to him by Fett's Vette like everyone else in the universe, but unfortunately that's the case. I'm proud to say I bought both Dungeon Masters of Ceremony and MC Chris is Dead at the record store shortly after their respective releases (I don't typically feel the need to be one of those, 'I wasn't the last person to show up to this party' type of people, but this is a guy who's target audience is nerds, and stuff like that matters to them).

Between Atlanta and Orlando I have missed a handful of MC Chris shows, so when I heard he was coming to town again I vowed to make sure I saw him. Leslie was out of town so I coerced my friend Amelia into going. She only knew a few of his songs, but she's a good kid so she agreed to go.

After seemed like hours in the smoky dive MC Chris took the stage. He played a ton of favorites and even a few songs I hadn't heard yet. I had a feeling he would be a good performer, what I didn't expect was for him to be so funny. He was engaging and told genuinely funny stories. He even did a Q&A. Unfortunately he didn't call on me so didn't get to ask my nerdy comic question. Even Amelia thought he was great, which was a relief because I was worried she wouldn't have a good time.

At the end of the show he told the crowd he would be at the merch table signing stuff and taking photos with fans. I began to jump around like a retarded kid at snack time. I asked Amelia if we could stay, but she pointed to her watch and I saw it was almost one o'clock. We both had to work the next day so there was no way I was going to try to convince her to stay longer. She suggested maybe I could drop her off and come back, but it was just too late.

I was passing the venue after dropping Amelia off at her place, and being that I was still wired from the show I thought, "What the hell?" and I went back. I walked right in and sure enough, there was MC Chris at the merch booth. I thought he would be swarmed with fans, but I was able to walk right up and talk to him. I got to ask him my nerdy comic question and I got a CD signed. During the show he mentioned my record/comic shop Criminal Records. I asked what he thought of their new location and he told me he might be doing an in-store performance there in November.

All in all it was an amazing night. The cherry on top was getting to meet MC Chris. And the news of a possible future performance is awesome. Oh, and I forgot to mention I got a fan at the merch booth to take a photo of MC Chris and I:

Yeah, I found the only person in Atlanta under 60 that can't operate a digital camera.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waking up is hard to do

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I am so tired and so confused I have to run through a step by step process to keep my head from exploding. It typically goes like this:

Okay stand up.
There's an alarm going off.

Okay, someone stopped it.

Where am I?

Okay, there's a photo of me.
This must be my room.
Who's that in the bed?
Oh, okay, that's my wife.
I know her, it's cool.

Do I have to work today?

Is that why the alarm went off?
Is it a weekend and my wife forgot to turn the alarm off before bed?
I'll worry about that later.

First I need to get to the backyard and figure out what planet this is.

This will usually continue until I either get in front of the computer or wander into the neighbor's yard and they call the police. I'd say it's similar to being drunk, but since I never have been I can't be sure. How bad it is typically depends on how late I went to bed and if I ate a meatball sub right before falling asleep.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Jeff Smith is no stranger to comics. His comic series Bone is one of the most critically acclaimed comics to date and has earned him a ton of awards and will soon be made into a movie. Bone was an epic series that ran 55 issues from 1991 to 2004. Time Magazine listed it as one of the Top 100 All-Time Graphic Novels and said it is, "The best all-ages novel yet published in this medium." Fans waited with bated breath to see what Jeff Smith would do next, and what they got was Rasl.

Rasl is about a guy who can travel in to parallel dimensions with the use of a mysterious machine he helped create. In most comics this might lead to some superheroy type themes, but Rasl travels to other dimensions to steal goods for the highest bidder. Things begin to get hairy when Rasl notices he's not the only one who can travel between dimensions and it begins to put people he cares about in danger.

Rasl comes with a healthy dose of mystery and plenty of nuance. This comic would fit in well on the bookshelf of Lost fans. Smith's art is just as unique as his Bone days and he is proving to still be a master of the medium.

In an interview with The Pulse, Jeff Smith was asked why he would chose to follow a critically acclaimed all-ages series like Bone with a dark and gritty science fiction book, he said, "...I wanted to do something different. Something that feels quick, simple and strong… like a cup of black coffee." And that's exactly what he's done.

The quarterly release schedule for the book could be a bit painful for a comic reader that are used to getting a monthly fix. The first trade has been released collecting the first three issues for those that have given up on floppies.

You can read more about Jeff Smith and his other comics at his site: