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Bill Murray! Bill Murray!

…because, you know, that’s where you hang your Bill Murrays.

Finally hung the McFlys,

-Shady

…who you may remember as the artist behind this beasts portrait.

We bought ourselves a beautiful The Nightmare Before Christmas print…

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" print from Jason "McFly" Kincaid.

…commissioned this original Carl Spackler (Bill Murray in Caddyshack) drawing…

Carl Spackler by Jason "McFly" Kincaid.

…and he even threw in this Star Wars: The Force Awakens print.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" from Jason "McFly" Kincaid.

Now all we need is a place to hang all this sweet art!

Go ahead and buy prints and/or commission art from Jason here.

To the Spackler that never made it,

-Shady

…including these two prints by Berlin artist Dirk Verschure

Dirk Verschure!

the painting of our three beasts by our good friend Jason “McFly” Kincaid

Three beasts by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

…our good friend Marla Campbell’s original portraits of Mr. Fabulous…

Mr. Fabulous by Marla Campbell!

…Meatshake…

Meatshake by Marla Campbell!

…and Heisenberg…

Heisenberg by Marla Campbell!

…this “Being Bill Murray” print by Spain-based illustrator Loren

"Being Bill Murray" by Loren!

…this Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog print by Austin-based artist(s) We Call Ourselves An Institute

Jim and Kermit by We Call Ourselves An Institute!

…this print from Hungarian artist Aman

Aman!

…and finally, this original pen and ink illustration that also created by our good friend Marla Campbell.

Marla Campbell!

Needless to say, our walls are quickly filling up.

Fifty (give or take) more pieces to go,

-Shady

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)…

Eddie!

…and his sweet wife Rose.

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.

Cbus.

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.

Truth.

And I do.

Let’s do it again… soon,

-Shady

…what with my birthday at the end of September, KB’s birthday in mid-October, and our wedding anniversary at the end of the month.

This year, rather than spend money on gifts neither one of us want/need, I asked KB for a change in plans. Rather than getting each other individual birthday and anniversary gifts, I wanted to buy one gift for the both of us to enjoy.

Luckily, even though she had no idea what I had up my sleeve, KB agreed.

And so I reached out to my good friend and old college pal Jason “McFly” Kincaid. I wanted to commission him to create an original piece of artwork for us, but the subject matter needed some very clear explanation.

“I’d like Mr. Fabulous sitting in a chair wearing a robe and slippers as if she were Hugh Hefner,” I explained. “And then I want Meatshake and Heisenberg standing behind her wearing suits and looking badass, as if they were her muscle.”

Once McFly stopped laughing at how ridiculous it all was, he asked me to send over some photo reference. A little less than a month ago, I did just that. Yesterday, we came back from Florida to this:

"The Beast Trio" by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

Mr. Fabulous was looking dapper…

Mr. Fabulous by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

…Meatshake was looking as if she weren’t to be fucked with…

Meatshake by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

…and Heisenberg was looking oblivious.

Heisenberg by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

That is to say: Spot. Fucking. On.

These crappy photos don’t do the piece (which measures around 15″ x 20″) justice, so if you’re lucky you just might get to see it in person someday.

Jason is an amazing illustrator; I feel lucky to be his friend, and now own one of his originals. Check out more of his work here, and then hire him to create your own original badass artwork. Your walls are looking pretty bare, aren’t they?

So glad KB agreed,

-Shady

Old Poop!