You might want to delete this right now. In fact, I implore that you do. This month is a shambles.

Let’s see, there was the Annual Hocking Hills Sasquatch Festival, Lufthansa, the bad backstreets and sprawling dissatisfaction that is Cleveland, Ohio and trying to explain to my kids why people in the Rustbelt in the suburbs need massive trucks when they don’t do farm work. August has been a hot mess, drenched in the northeast Ohio humidity and ridden with relentless creatures, some mosquitos, some others, sucking the blood out of our lives. I meant to write, had covid, and did a ton of editing and renaming files and all that super productive stuff. I also just told you about a thing that didn’t happen which doesn’t really matter which I supposed qualifies me as a proper internet writer person that used to be called a blogger.

If you were wondering how to 10x your narrative strategy you’ve come to exactly the wrong place. I write and make things that may or may not actually include or be about a story. I plan on doing this more. Loads more. In fact, I have an active fantasy life where I have all this time for this. It’s a lush, calm world where my kids listen to me and totally help out at home. In this veritable wonderland I’ve also somehow figured out an amazing way to not have to do any administrative bullshit like call the bank, talk to people about things like mortgages or have a job, and then I go on to become a millionaire selling the book that tells you how to do the same. None of that has obviously happened this past August.

So what is going on now? I don’t know man. Everything. Nothing. Nothing that is besides apparently I missed Mastodon coming out with a new album at some point over the past couple months. Oh yeah, I also found out today that what is now the Netherlands was home to not one, but in fact four species of Mastodon sometime around the Pleistocene Era.

Here is August’s Top 10 as a consolation prize for enduring this so far.

This is Cleveland

In case you are not from northeast Ohio, you might not be aware of the glory, wonder and gregariousness that is my hometown. I was there for a month and a half for the first time in over two decades and realise that some who actually read this might not have ever likely been there, like for instance all these London people. So here goes what I’m now thinking could be another instalment of Place Imploder but reasons.

Cleveland and its people are the way they are largely for two reasons: the Lake and the highway.

The Lake brings Cleveland to its knees every winter, but with every passing glance makes it seem like it’s such a livable place. Lake Erie, despite being a freshwater lake and the smallest of the Great Lakes, seems like a sea. There’s another country on the other side of it called Canada. It goes forever when you’re sitting there on the sand in the blazing sun there drinking a beer lovingly enveloped in a coozie. It can change the weather in a minute and force the local celebrity meteorologists to also tell you what temperature it feels like not just is. In many parts of town, addresses start at zero and count up from it. It is there to make you wish you had a boat and think about how important a view really is to life. It is there to pound you with snow the week after wearing shorts. It makes life a guess you’re not sure you will ever answer correctly. It makes life a matter of shrugs and seething but polite anger interspersed with sunny day dreams.

The highway is everywhere. It has grown wider than it could ever be to sustain a sustainable place. It seeps along and through the flat and into the subtly rolling hills on its way east. Decades ago it cleaved neighborhoods in two and helped create ghettos. It then gave people a way to get in their cars and driver further and further out to bigger and bigger houses thinking they can escape the blight and people who don’t look like them. It’s served as the lifeblood but also the disease carrier of a place. Something it can’t live without given it’s geography and a people who yearn to leave and can’t wait to get back.

Three things

…I massively regret in my “professional” career

Not doing the robot insects on Mars thing for NASA

Believe it or not, this was a thing. As you can tell by the title, it was that cool. Freaking NASA! The problem was of course that I was just coming out of the Cleveland Institute of Art and somehow thought that my Alias (soon to be Maya) skills at the time which were mediocre enough clearly superseded my confidence. Regret isn’t even the word for it really.

Not learning how to tattoo

I have a bunch of ink in my skin that I regret. I think anyone who got tattoos in their 20’s does as well. I used to hang out with a bunch of tattoo artists and was on the verge of being an illustrator and asked if I wanted to learn. I didn’t because somehow I thought graphic design was more rock and roll.

Not working for Bungie

Went to Chicago and all that. Oh, and right before they reinvented video games in the mid 90’s with Halo and Oni, but I thought that since they had beds there that I would never have to sleep on since I wasn’t a developer even, that it was not a good idea. Idiot.

Super Serious Forwards

In case you were wondering how to write a werewolf best seller

Now you know the incontrovertible, data-backed, hard evidence as to why you should always buy the bigger pizza

If you’re wondering what indigenous life in the Arctic, specifically Greenland is like

Halfman Endorses

Not resorting to the cowardice that is air conditioning

The United States is a fairytale of convenience and comfort. It is a place where temperature itself (for now) has been conquered and managed out of existence. It has done so to such a degree that is beyond ironic. That’s right, while being hot and muggy outside, inside it’s so cold, so middle finger to nature cold, that you need to wear a jumper or something. Imagine a place like that and I’ll call it the United States. It’s a place that has invented the best things ever (skateboarding, snowboarding, rock and roll, jazz, the blues, the list goes on and on) and thinks, some would argue justly so, that it can just say it doesn’t believe in seasons and what is supposed to happen during them. Summer in the Midwest is supposed to be muggy. It’s supposed to be hot. This is how you know it’s not winter. Sweating is good for you.



Shoot Straight.

Speak the Truth.

Thanks for sticking around. Next month might be better.