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You may remember this, which detailed that move.

Anyway, nine years later, in July 2003, I moved out of Columbus.

Before last month, I had only been back to Columbus twice since 2003: once to give a lecture about Tastes Like Chicken at my alma mater (CCAD), and another time when I was passing through on my way to Pennsylvania.

Oddly enough, that last time was in October 2008, and I was going to Pennsylvania to celebrate the recent marriage of my good friend Jamie and her new husband Dave.

Last month, I returned to Columbus a third time (in 11 years… holy crap) because Jamie and Dave (who are now expecting their first child) threw what would prove to be a memorable (and epic) reunion party.

Old friends, some of whom I’ve known for over two decades, came from all over the country to celebrate food, friendship, and a little bit of fire.

We kicked shit off right at Thurman Cafe. Oh, sweet baby Jesus… I’ve missed you.

A burger from Thurman Cafe. This would be my death row meal.

After a day of prep (to be read: a shitload of drinking to cope with our Thurman-induced food comas), we kicked off October 11th with a stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy, the farm we spent our first pumpkin picking at in October 1994.

There are three people in this photo who were also there on that first outing 21 years ago: John Marshall (first guy on the far left), Bryan Loar (fourth guy from the right), and yours truly (idiot wearing the bright-as-fuck orange pants all the way on the right).

The first stop: Young's Jersey Dairy!

Three-quarters of the original 206 Crew reunited (We miss you, Special K!)…

The 206 Crew: Part I

…who pretty much look like slightly older (and in my case, balder) versions of these three kids from December 1994.

Three-quarters of the 206 Crew.

Later, we were joined by a second-semester 206 Crew member: the Goon!

The 206 Crew: Part II

So many folks showed up! I love each and every one of them dearly.

The whole gang was there. And I love each and every one of them.

We quickly fell into our old hijinks… which, for some reason, usually involve farts.

Old shenanigans.

Before I left, a few of us ventured over to 886 N. Dennison Avenue, which (from 1999 to 2003) was famously known as “The Coop.” The two windows on the left of the second floor look into my old bedroom. This is also the building where Tastes Like Chicken was born.

The Coop: Original

I experienced so many amazing moments in this building…

886: 1999 - 2003

…and I experienced all of them with these two guys: Milan and Brett, my fellow original members of the Coop Crew.

The Coop Crew: Now

The last time we were together was at Brett and Marci’s wedding in September 2005. Before then, one of the last times we were together was in this photo, which was shot on the front steps of the Coop near the end of June 2003, just before we moved to Milwaukee, and Brett moved up to Cleveland.

The Coop Crew: Then

When we were living at the Coop, our good friend Michelle lived right next door at 888 N. Dennison.

Michelle and I returned to reenact our neighborly feud (which never really existed). Thankfully, no one was home at the time; that, or they just wondered why some old strangers were snooping around and taking photos on their back porch. Either way, this photo made it all worth it.

886 vs. 888

Back in the day, Milan had a habit of “tagging” Michelle’s apartment. He would write “WALL” on her walls, or “FISH TANK” on her, you guessed it, fish tank. One day, he wrote “MICHELLE” on the ledge outside her window.

It’s still there.

Michelle's name (thanks to Milan) is still written on the side of the building. In crayon.

We stopped next door and visited (and smoked a filterless Lucky Strike with) our old friend Eddie (who famously gave us this shotgun as a going-away present when we moved out of Columbus)…


…and his sweet wife Rose.


Before it all ended, a group of us met for lunch at Katalina’s for Nutella-filled pancake balls and thick-cut bacon.

The Last Supper (or, more accurately, Lunch).

As Jamie drove Michelle and me to the airport, we made our way through downtown one last time. The city looks completely different than it did when I left 11 years ago, but somehow it still feels exactly the same.


It was such a great weekend. Seriously, it was one of the top-three events of my life, right up there with our wedding on October 30th, 2011, and my surprise birthday party on September 3rd, 2006.

Sure, the food and booze helped, but it was the friends (who are family), the laughter, and the love that made the weekend so amazing.

The bathroom walls in Katalina’s are covered in chalkboard paint; sitting in a tray beside the sink are sticks of chalk, which everyone is encouraged to use.

I did.


And I do.

Let’s do it again… soon,


After a recent white elephant gift exchange, I (unfortunately) ended up with a box of Anne Geddes stationary.

Now, if you know me, you know that I love Anne Geddes about as much as I love the Dread Pirate Dale Chihuly. (That’s an art nerd joke.)

But rather than turn the stationary into scrap paper, I decided to have some fun. I took ten horrible quotes from ten terrible people in history, and then jotted one down onto each piece of paper. I then mailed it off to an old college friend (hence the “CCAD” at the bottom of each one) with no explanation inside. The only direction I included was: “Find a way to post this.”

Yesterday, I received my fourth note from my good friend Jason Latta.

So enjoy this fourth installment of what will (hopefully) be a ten-part series:



Six to go,


It’s not what you think it is.

I came home from a weekend trip late last night to three different emails from three different friends. All three emails pretty much said the same thing: “Boner is missing.”

For those of you who don’t know, “Boner” is actor Andrew Koenig. He played Richard “Boner” Stabone on “Growing Pains.” Last week, he went missing while in Vancouver. You can read more about this story here.

All of this Boner talk reminded me of a story. This isn’t exactly my story, but I was there when it happened. This is all 100% true.

Back in December 2001, my good friend Jason Latta and I took a train cross-country from Columbus, Ohio to Los Angeles for MuppetFest. MuppetFest was a two-day convention held at the Santa Monica Convention Center.

Yes, I’m a nerd! Shut it!

My sister Bethany and her boyfriend at the time, a guy named Ryan, drove down from San Francisco to attend the convention with us.

At one point during the convention, Ryan headed out to the lobby area to use the bathroom. A few minutes later, he returned to his seat laughing his ass off.

Ryan: “Guess who I just saw out in the lobby?”

Bethany: “Who?”

Ryan: “Boner!”

This led to a good laugh from all four of us because, well… let’s be honest here: The word “boner” is already funny; throw in a sighting of a cast member from “Growing Pains” and you’ve got yourself a laugh-riot. Especially if everyone in the group has the maturity level of an eight-year-old boy.

Ryan continued.

Ryan: “But that’s not even the best part. I was standing in line behind him when I recognized him, so I tapped him on the shoulder and said…”

(This is when the flashback begins.)

Ryan: “Hey, you’ve been on TV, right?”

Boner: “Yeah.”

Ryan: “Cool. I thought I recognized you.”

Ryan said a few seconds of awkwardness passed before he uttered out two tiny words that would forever become famous in the world of Justin Shady.

Ryan: “Booger, right?”

Boner: “No. Boner.”

Ryan said he looked defeated, crushed. But, goddamn, it made for a great story!

I hope you’re safe wherever you are, Boner!

Bone home,


Old Poop!