Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Well, the kids are back in school, the dog days of summer have buried the last of their bones, and Labor Day weekend is upon us. I’ve been more than a bit negligent with this blog over the last couple of months, and today feels like a good enough day as any for a blog post. Supposedly, Friday is a bad day to update your blog. And a Friday before a holiday weekend is even worse. But if my track record is any indication, cultivating hits to this site is not something I’m very good at.

Maybe that’s because I’m not really sure what this blog is, any longer. It’s morphed more than a couple of times. At first it was a webcomic, and when that chapter came to its inevitable conclusion, it morphed into a travel blog of sorts, and for the last couple of months it’s just lain dormant.

Mostly because I’ve been slowly hacking away at a new screenplay. One that I’m both excited about and also dread working on. I guess a minor case of writers’ block, and a new found aversion to social media (Political memes are the herpes on my Facebook feed), are both partially to blame for my absence from this blog. Not that anyone cares too much about blogs, let alone the lack of them.

All that said, this blog still remains a convenient writing exercise, for this hack.

Especially this afternoon. Seriously, I wish this stupid screenplay would just write itself. Writing most of the time is a tedious endeavor, especially if you’re doing it for free. Some might say if you’re doing it for free then it’s a hobby, or they might spout some take on “for the love of the game”. But on days like today, it’s just a glowing screen and silence.

Static and a girl crawling through a television would be preferable.

And, now I’m veering off course. So back to it. What’s new with me, you ask? This is my blog after all, so “me, me, me,” it is. Thank you for asking.

Well, first off, I’ve still been traveling for work. And while the road has lost some of its luster, I have found ways to pass the time. Some are tried and true, like the godsend known as Audible. Though my book picks have been hit or miss lately, I did stumble upon “The Hike” by Drew Magary.

It was a fine way to spend ten hours in a car. Along with my co-pilots, coffee and cigarettes. The latter of which I can’t quit. So please don’t kill me, Cancer.

Then there’s the occasional hit from a Californian vape pen (you know the ones), and after that, shit usually gets weird. The other day, I worked out for two hours straight in the hotel gym. The last time I worked out was two weeks earlier. I could barely walk the next day. And that same night, I ate half-dozen white castles in my hotel bed… at midnight. Like I said, shit got weird.

Let’s see, what else. Last month, there was a family vacation in South Haven. That was nice. The kids played with their cousins and friends, while the parents drank a bit too much and soaked up the sun. I grilled a lot, which is therapeutic for me in some strange way. I think it’s because I’m Serbian, although it’s more likely just a middle-aged guy thing.

I brought our dog with us, and in the mornings we would stroll through town together. Looking back on it, I think South Haven was a pretty good vacation spot. But sometimes, after more than a couple of days on vacation, I feel like my wheels are spinning. It’s kind of like my shifter is stuck in the neutral position, but I keep giving it gas, waiting for some sort of forward propulsion that never comes.

After days of observing other out-of-towners, I suspect this might be a common occurrence amongst a good deal of folks.

At one point, midway through our vacation week, I was driving home from the grocery store (we had run out of hot dogs and beer), and I saw a man trying to ride a bicycle to the beach, but he couldn’t get the hang of it. This guy must have been mid-fifties, yet it appeared that he didn’t know how to ride a bike.

His wife, possibly girlfriend, maybe sister, or perhaps caretaker, was half a block ahead of him. While the man, losing ground to her every second, veered left to right, catching himself just before crashing, on multiple occasions.

It was like gravity worked differently on him, playing some strange cosmic prank on this poor unsuspecting bastard. And when I slowly passed (he was all over the street) he glared at me and actually shooed me away with his left hand, which not being on his handle bars, forced him to veer off into someone’s yard.

Let’s see, what else? I was in Nashville the other day.

Full disclosure: I’m in Nashville a lot. Also, I despise pop country music. I don’t think these two things are mutually exclusive, but I could be wrong. Pop country music is pop music for people who want their pop music to be more manufactured and less nuanced. Lucinda Williams rips farts with more soul than any pop country song I’ve heard on the radio.

If you’re wearing store bought, pre-torn jeans, and your teeth are too white, and you have a craving for endless cornfields, and Budweiser, then you need to stay off of my radio. But you probably don’t care, and you’re undoubtedly wealthy, and quite satisfied with yourself. So I’ll just swallow my contempt for your craft, and shut up about it.

Back to the “me, me, me” of it. I ran into some friends who were celebrating their 40th birthday, in Nashville. It was a surprising, and refreshing coincidence, which resulted in me not spending another night bellied up to a bar, with a copy of the USA Today to keep me company. We drank, listened to live music, and had an easy going, fun night.

The following morning however, was reserved for my hangover and the long drive home.

Hmm, I feel like this blog post might be a tad too negative in spots.

So, I’ll brighten the overall mood a bit.

I’ll be travelling to Detroit soon. No, I’m not being sarcastic, this is indeed the mood brightener. There’s actually something really positive about going to Detroit, I swear.

Little known fact: Detroit’s hotels have the best bathtubs in the Midwest… Seriously.

I’ve been to multiple hotels in most of the major cities in the Midwest, and over-priced suites aside, the hotel bathtubs in Detroit are a glorious reprieve. A hidden gem of Midwest business travel.

My personal favorites include the Athenaeum in Greek Town, and the Motor City Casino and Hotel.

Long soaks in the tub are something that I’ve recently taken to. Mostly, on the suggestion of my doctor. You see, countless hours of traveling takes a toll on a very specific part of the anatomy.

Namely, my ass.

Full disclosure: Hemorrhoids are a very real problem for the middle-aged traveler. And according to my doctor (after a thorough and humiliating exam that I’d rather not get into) a good soak in the tub goes a long way for the ol’ butthole. There’s a reason you always see cowboys soaking in tubs and chomping on cigars in the old west. After hours on a horse, there were no amounts of powders or pastes that could relieve a case of the butt darts better than a nice soak and a good cigar.

So, there. A happy note.



-I’ve recently sat through both a Marvel and a DC superhero movie, and I can’t help thinking that Pepsi and Coca-Cola really need to get into the movie business.

-Also watched Anomalisa, while on a solitary road trip. And while it was quite well done, I would not recommend a viewing, especially if you’re feeling a bit lonely in a foreign land. Seriously, suicide prevention hotlines are more heartwarming.

-I was listening to a podcast while driving home the other day, and one of the guests dropped a profound piece of knowledge on me. She stated that Dirty Dancing is the female movie equivalent to Point Break.

…Let the truth of that sink in for a moment. I mean, holy shit. Right? That’s the most observant thing anyone’s ever said… Like ever.

-Last night I laid in my son’s bed, while he and his brother read to themselves. The window was open, and a cool breeze was blowing into the room. It was a fall breeze. And it was just right.


So long summer. Until next time, here’s a pic of my dog.

My dog under a blanket. Random but adorable.

My dog under a blanket. Random but adorable.


My oldest son, Aleks, had spent the last couple of weeks begging his mother and me for a dog. He swore that if we brought home a puppy, it would count for both his Christmas and birthday present. After realizing that getting a puppy meant I would have to be more responsible, I took it upon myself to navigate around those treacherous waters, at all costs.

I countered his terms, with talk of video games and laser tag battles. Unfortunately, his resolve was steadfast, and his terms were non-negotiable. Like countless revolutionaries before him, there was no quieting his message once it was heard, and soon his words became infectious.

My youngest son, Maks, not quite the dog lover (more on that later), joined the cause. And so, this burgeoning children’s crusade was now a united front. No amount of reasoning, persuasion, or even subtle attempts at bribery, could bend their will. We, the parents of these puppy-loving radicals, were losing ground fast, but as long as we matched their steely-eyed resolve with our own united front, we stood a chance.

And then Maria caved. The boys had changed their tactics without my knowledge (Though thinking back on it, I should have realized kids inevitably play their strongest hand). And our boys were holding a straight flush. They turned her to their cause with cuddles and innocent whispers. And she quickly became the Hanoi Jane to my Murica.

Our two, tiny Mongols wiped out my once pet-free kingdom. That beautiful land, free of hairs and smells. That once glorious castle, where bowel movements were flushed away with a magic that left Merlin envious. Gone now. And we are officially dog owners.

And while we’re only a week in, the transition is complete. The hair has been shed, and the mistakes (i.e. dog shit) have been made. I no longer can smell ‘dog’ which means I am now following the path of the dog.

And though the increase in responsibilities are not good for my endocrine system, there is something to be said for a cuddly puppy that wants to nap with you.

Now, I’m not going to get mushy about all of this. I’ll leave that to Hanoi Jane, but I will document our first week or so with the new addition.


We drove an hour west, to DeKalb IL, home of Tails Humane Society. The only animal shelter that had the type of puppy we were looking for (two months old, and cute as a button). Aleks was shaking with excitement, and Maks was relishing in the fact that he had broken us.

The four of us strode into the building, and Maria and Maks strode out of the building just as quickly. Maks is much like a six year-old version of the X-Men’s Wolverine. He can be a rough customer, he possesses a sweet hairstyle, and he also has a heightened sense of smell. One of those things doesn’t work well in a small building filled with animal farts.

He stormed out holding his face and refusing to go back in. Meanwhile, inside the shelter, Aleks was spinning in circles and on the verge of happy tears, stopping occasionally to pet the puppy and make kissy noises, before returning to his spin of win.

After a quick pit stop at the PetSmart down the street (we needed to purchase an animal carrier and all of the other bells and whistles that go along with puppy rearing), we were on our way home. Now, a family of five.

We needed to name our new addition. He came with the name Pirate, but it didn’t roll off the tongue with the je ne sais quois that we were looking for. So, our drive home was spent debating the merits of different dog names. Cooper, Murphy, Sparky, Hopper, and John, all vying for the title of puppy name. That is, until Maria, staring out of the window introspectively, muttered our kid’s first love in literature: Calvin & Hobbes. After a family vote, Hobbes had it. The puppy bumped his tail back and forth in his crate, seeming to agree from the confines of his temporary cell.

There was petting and playful banter, but mostly Hobbes napped. As Maria and I inspected his under-carriage for signs of bowel movements, while also googling different potty training scenarios.

After hearing google out on the matter, we decided on a form of potty training known as crate training. And though Maria bought some sort of dog pads, to leave around the house for Hobbes to use if he couldn’t get outside fast enough, I couldn’t allow it.

Sometimes baby steps are needed. Training wheels for instance, or the delicate art of teaching people of a certain age to send emails without the caps lock on. But in the case of a puppy emptying its bowels, there is no learning curve, only dog shit.

Speaking of dog shit, Hobbes left a steaming little gift under our dining room table earlier today. Aleks promptly stepped in it, and then raised his arms and screamed to the heavens. I guess it’s true that we are indeed our father’s sons.

Maks and Hobbes are on good terms for the most part. Although, Hobbes, like all other dogs before him, views Maks as a giant dog treat. Maks walks by, and suddenly Hobbes ears perk up. He stands and sniffs the air, and then the puppy is off, trying to nibble pieces of our son, much to the chagrin of Maks.

You see, Maks has spent his formative years running away from our friends’ and families’ pets. And our friends’ and families’ pets, like all other pets, only enjoy one thing more than treats… hunting human kids that also might taste like treats.

We’re trying to rectify this situation, but I suspect obedience school is in our future.

Maria insisted on certain rules. No puppies on the couch was her first rule. After snuggling with Hobbes on the floor for close to an hour that first night, she broke her own rule and brought him on the couch with her. Hmm, a pattern is starting to form.

In the days following his arrival, I attempted to get a good, or at least decent photo of Hobbes in all of his puppy yumminess (Shit, I’m using words like yumminess, now). After about seventy or eighty photos of him turning away from me, or trying to steal my phone, I managed to snap one or two gems.

Hobbes at attention.

I command you to love me.

I command you to love me.


Hobbes at rest.

Your home is my bed.

Your home is my bed.


Our walks have been relegated to the backyard for now. Hobbes is spooked by barking, cars, wind, and rain, but we still managed to get all the way out to the front yard. I live in a working class suburb of Chicago, so yeah, it wasn’t much of a feat, but nevertheless, he made the journey. And after standing in the front yard for a long moment, with ears perked, and a look of “what the fuck is all of this” on his face, we retired indoors for doggie treats and a beer. Not too shabby.

It could always be worse…

He could be a cat.