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Ever since the Saving Charlie Chaplin live read last June, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive some awesome, Chaplin-inspired gifts from my amazing friends. (Some of you may remember this gift from my good friend Salomon.)

My (other) good friends Erik and César also recently sent me a couple Chaplin goodies. Cés sent me Chaplin: Stage by Stage by A.J. Marriot, a book about Chaplin’s theater work…

"Chaplin: Stage by Stage" by A.J. Marriot.

…and Erik sent me this flip book box of Chaplin’s “dinner roll dance” scene from The Gold Rush.

Thanks so much, fellas! Though I’m not big on opening gifts, I do enjoy and appreciate them.

I have the best (good) friends,

-Shady

Cesar sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber...

...I mean, seriously. Look at that kid. Hasn't aged a day.

Still smoking (hot) twenty-three years later,

-Shady

Mmmm... yes.

…for this yummy bottle of Middle West Spirits’ Oyo Honey Vanilla Bean vodka!

Just like me, it made it back safely to L.A.

I thank you. My liver hates you. Just kidding, you guys are the best!

Cracking it open right… now,

-Shady

…I moved into the Melvin L. Schottenstein Residence Hall at CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design) in Columbus, Ohio.

At the age of 17, I moved nearly 500 miles away from home without having any clear idea of what in the hell I was actually doing. I hadn’t toured CCAD before moving in; in fact, I had never even set foot in Columbus (or Ohio, for that matter) before August 27th, 1994. To be honest, I chose CCAD because, of the three art schools I got accepted to, it was the only one offering a scholarship.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I met some amazing people that first week, including my roommate Jeremy “Jocco” Scott…

Jeremy "Jocco" Scott

…and my suite-mates Bryan “Cesar” Loar…

Bryan "Cesar" Loar

…and Sanathana Kalpa “Special K” Ariyawansa.

Sanathana Kalpa "Special K" Ariyawansa

I also met Alisha Flippert (who is now Alisha Loar, and seen here with her future husband/father of three amazing daughters)…

Alisha Flippert

…Michelle Ciappa…

Michelle Ciappa

…Jason “McFly” Kincaid…

Jason "McFly" Kincaid

…and John Marshall.

John Marshall

I’m happy and proud to say I still consider all of these people dear friends today.

Columbus and CCAD took some getting used to. In fact, I almost moved back home after the first semester. But as it turned out, I ended up spending nearly nine years in Columbus, and without question, it was one of the greatest periods of my life.

Three-quarters of the 206 Crew.

Here’s to the next twenty,

-Shady

PS: Obviously, I met many more wonderful, amazing people at CCAD in 1994, and I’m still friends with a lot of them. I just didn’t have photos of everyone from back in the day, so no offense to anyone who feels left out. Yes, I’m talking to you, Brandon Doherty!

…while moving into our new place last month.

Having gone to art school, I’ve hung on to a lot of doodles and drawings from friends over the years. These are just a few.

First up, a small bit of copy written by my good friend Dwellephant. This is from back in October of 2000 when we were collectively doing some freelance for a client named marchFIRST.

marchFIRST (which ended up going bankrupt in a little over a year) would host monthly mixers called Digital Cocktail. In the beginning, the events were pretty cool. But like most things, over time, they became bombarded with douche bags.

This is the copy that Dwellephant came up with for a mock invite.

Needless to say, he had come up with something else by deadline.

Next up, this drawing by my good friend (and college roommate) Cesar of a fat and drunken Kermit the Frog. I might be mistaken, but I think he gave me this drawing as a gift on my 18th birthday back on September 25th, 1994.

And one Cesar illustration wouldn’t be complete without another, so next up is this drawing he did of me sometime back in the fall of 1994.

Cesar and I were roommates in room 206, along with our good friends Jocco and Special K. Back then, I went by the name Guido. It was an old nickname I had carried over from working in a comic shop back in Milwaukee.

To this day, Cesar still calls me Guido.

And lastly, I came across this drawing by Cesar’s eldest daughter, Anya.

Anya drew this at the age of five back in April 2002. She recently turned 16.

Jesus.

We asked Anya to draw this so we could use it in “Tastes Like Chicken.” It accompanied the cover story “Can I Have A Cookie?” in May 2002. She also wrote the text for the story. Check it out here.

I have a million of these memories stored away in boxes (much to KB’s chagrin), so I’ll try and dig more of them out again some time soon.

You should see my photo albums,

-Shady

…a grilled cheeseburger.

Mmm….

Anyway, my friend Cesar found himself craving one, but because he’s a vegetarian, his mouth was watering for a non-meat version of this artery-clogging masterpiece.

So, Ces went home and created himself the most unhealthy healthy sandwich ever made. You can see a picture of it here.

Awesome job, Ces!

Now get busy making a veggie version of a turducken.

Good luck with that,

-Shady

…right here.

Also, I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, but I was busy visiting family back home and just didn’t have the time to update “The Blarg.” So look forward to having me make it up to you this week with a bunch of new posts, including an exclusive preview of my upcoming book, “The Lava is a Floor!”

Forever young,

-Shady

Old Poop!