A guide to late-era Gizmos releases at thegizmos.bandcamp.com

A friend asked about getting hold of some late-era Gizmos material; I took the opportunity to introduce him to the Gizmos material on bandcamp.


The entire Gizmos bandcamp site.

This release includes songs from all incarnations of the The Gizmos, featuring, um, love songs.

This release includes all the early Gulcher 7″   EPs. Only “Never Mind the Sex Pistols” includes Dale and Billy, iirc (Dale might correct me here). The last six songs on this release are the tracks that are on the “Never Mind” EP.


This release combines the “Never Mind” EP and the Gizmos side of Gulcher’s 12 LP “Hoosier Hysteria”, which was a split LP with The Gizmos and Dow Jones and the Industrials.


This release includes most of the songs that were on my main Gizmos tape that I would hand out in the 1980s, which I dubbed from a tape that Seth White had labeled “The Gizmos Story,” and which seems to have been assembled by Dale on his return to Indiana following the band’s breakup in New York. It includes the sterling pop demos recorded in NYC as well as a wide range of live tracks.


This includes the band’s live set at a gig in West Lafayette which also featured DOW JONES and the INDUSTRIALS. I have had members of both bands cite this gig as their favorite gig. It’s really good.


Another release with the New York Zeami sessions that produced “The Midwest Can Be All Right”. A bunch of previously released live tracks as well including at two tracks I don’t think I previously had, “Pignose” and “Nervous Man in a $4 Room”.


Just the Zeami tracks. IIRC that was the first of the retroactively archival releases for the late-period Gizmos on Gulcher. These tracks are also on “New York 1980-81” and “Rock and Roll Don’t Come from New York.”


Billy’s just pre-Gizmos garage band. Very recent release; I think the “Love Songs” release followed this by a few days.

An AMAZING collection of Gizmos covers by bands from all over the US and the world. Absolutely fantastic, you must pick this up.

Finally, that is a total of nine releases, most priced at about $8. For $91, you can pick up all these releases PLUS all the other material associated with The Gizmos on band camp, including exhaustively archival releases covering every aspect of the pre-Dale Gizmos, releases by members of that version of the band, the Gulcher Jetsons EP, and releases by Gizmos guitarist Tim Carroll. Tim has lots of other released material and his stuff is worthwhile.

The link to purchase the discography is not one I could copy and paste. You will find it on each individual release’s detail page, at the bottom of the list of purchase options.

Tim’s bandcamp:

The Whale

Still processing The Whale. Somehow I missed the memo that this was an Aronofsky film, so I got ready for bad times, and yes, it’s that. But my god! The structure of the thing! It was like hearing a symphony with your eyes! And the intensely detailed interior light!

At Charlie’s house, there is a set of four American Windsor chairs. You probably have a Windsor in your house, but made recently.

Charlie is obsessed with an essay about Moby Dick and is an intensely literate person. The chairs around that table are four early 20th century reproductions by a New England antique-replica furniture company, Wallace Nutting.

How do I know this? I have two.

Nutting’s furniture output is notable because the factory and other things he did (photography, for example) helped to popularize the idea of historic preservation as an aspect of national identity.

After all, who wouldn’t want an authentically-manufactured replica of a chair originally built in the 1750’s?

In a way, Nutting was akin to Seattle’s own beloved Ebbets Field Flannels. These factory-made replicas were generaly copied after genuine antique chairs.

So it’s very interesting to me that Charlie has this matched set of very old antique replicas – the company shut down before World War Two. Given the order observed in Alan’s bedroom, I must conclude that Alan found and purchased them.

Yet, the connection of nineteenth-century New England furniture to Moby-Dick is plain as a Quaker hymn. Charlie is both Ahab and whale, marooned on his quarterdeck in the Pequod of his mind.

Goddamn, I loved this movie. Also, fuck you, Aronofsky, like, on general principles.

Menu Update

In hand:
much cheeses
charcuterie including an experimental meat known as bresaola
wegetable cwuditay
tinned seafood if desired
large fruit salad

4.25lb boneless prime rib, fully cooked. Reheat shall be an experiment

(this is an improvement over the smallest turkeys I could find, 6-8lbs)

green bean casserole
mashed sweet potatoes
scalloped potatoes
some sort of stewed cinnamon apple thing

prior five dishes are all prepackaged from Safeway. The prime rib packaging instructions advise the home cook to “boil in bag”, eg, sous vide, which is tempting. I hate using plastic under heat though so experiment ho!

a homemade ratatouille that bears no resemblance to Rémi’s but dang it smells FANTASTIC

Knorr brownt gravy

1 (One) punkin pie
1 (One) half gallon Tillamook marionberry Icet Creme

oh and forgive me I overlooked

Caesar salad from a kit served in the olive wood bowl my father made for his parents
Cranberry sos, the good kind AND the bad kind
12 pak, well, 11 now, King’s Hawaiian (oh god I want to eat more, now)

Work plan

Leap from bed
preheat oven to 425
make garlic/olive oil/salt/black pepper crust for meat slab, slather
burn crust for like 10-15 mintues

redudece oven to like 210, put foil on meat slam

clean instant read meat thermometor

start slald ice bath soak, shave hard cheese if remembery

rense veg tray veggies, splay out, add dippery

likewise absurd dried meats and cheeses

cups. wine. liquor. ice.

Expected table participants: four
Expected media diet: streaming channel looped fireplace videos.

Maybe we’ll do a board game. I sort of expect we’ll just share how fucked up the last three years have been.

The Spider Fox

Somehow all the dogs got loose in the garage and then the door opened for a car and suddenly there were even more dogs, puppies, big dogs, the dogs I was originally trying to corral, and what at first I thought was the smallest puppy I had ever seen but eventually I saw was a teeny little fox kit, smaller than they really can be, the size of a mouse. I went for it to keep it out of the barking mayhem, people being upended and dogs joyfully bouncing off each other. It crawled hesitantly into my hand and cuddled up, softly yipping.

Confounded I tried to determine what to do and decided I should put it in a kennel and ask a vet. I started to head back into the house to do so but the kit didn’t want me to and started nipping my hand and wriggling. That was when I noticed that the kit had eight unusually heavy whiskers, four to each side of its’ nose, and that they appeared to be furred and articulated, pushing against my hand and moving independently.

As I processed this, realising that this was no fox kit, the animal exploded into a shower of hundreds of heavily furred stoplight red spiders, each about half a centimeter across. The baby spiders were extremely fast and spread out through the garage and over the cars and people and dogs and into the house provoking shouts and tarantellas of dismay.

I awakened myself frantically brushing them away.

(We watched an episode of GDT’s Cabinet of Curiosities last night and this is certainly about that.)

Whale hunting

A few weeks ago I noticed my aged cheesegrater Mac was experiencing issues at boot. It wasn’t urgent – I am not using it on a day to day basis but still would like it to remain operable.

This entry is a troubleshooting log to help me keep track of symptoms observed and solutions attempted.

HARDWARE SPEC: The Mac Pro is a 2009 4,1 flashed to a 5,1 and maxed out for hardware upgrades.

This is from a current System Report. The unit had been configured to boot at midnight and back up to an onboard HD so there is still bootable access to the system and files and I have booted to that volume in order to run various diagnostics on the boot-compromised SSD.

  •   Model Name: Mac Pro
  •   Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
  •   Processor Name: 6-Core Intel Xeon
  •   Processor Speed: 3.46 GHz
  •   Number of Processors: 2
  •   Total Number of Cores: 12
  •   L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
  •   L3 Cache (per Processor): 12 MB
  •   Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
  •   Memory: 32 GB
  •   Boot ROM Version:
  •   SMC Version (system): 1.39f5
  •   SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f5

The unit’s drive bays are full, it’s maxed out for RAM, and there is a multi-modal expansion card provisioning additional USB and I believe Lightning, and the video card is a Radeon RX 580 supporting three displays at the moment. One of the quirks of the 5,1 flash is instability in onboard wifi and sound so there may be upgrades to those as well, I do not recall offhand. The system is running on 10.16.x Mojave in order to retain access to a large suite of 32bit production tools on the unit.

Interestingly under ‘Storage’ an unexpected volume is reported which does not display in the finder when booted into the backup: GoogleSoftwareUpdate-, which I would guess may be a clue, if, for example, this was an automated update to Drive that was somehow interrupted.

SYMPTOMS: On boot, the initial grey screen and progress bar seems normal. The unit then flips over to display the desktop and the various startup processes instantiate. The top menu bar is displayed, various notification popups come show up upper right, and as the startup processes happen they show in the menubar. However when it is time for the desktop to populate with icons and for the Dock to instantiate, the finder appears to crash. During these crashes at first it is possible to access various functions via the Apple Menu, such as the System Report via About this Mac. However after an indeterminate number of crashes the menubar is no longer redrawn and these functions are inaccessible.

Accessing Force Quit during this accessible period is possible and appears to allow the user the opportunity to force quit the finder, however the restarting Finder replicates its’ uninterventioned behavior.

Holding the shift key down in this cycle has no effect.

Apple suggests restarting into safe mode by holding the space bar down from just after the starting chime until the startup screen is visible. For whatever reason, I have found this to be hit or miss. When it does successfully invoke safe mode, the startup progress bar takes much, much longer than usual – up to 30 minutes. Then, when the startup process shifts to drawing the desktop, rather than populating the screens with the desktop image, a white spinning windmill circle displays, the cursor is drawn in the upper left corner of the outboard display, and the process appears to crash, and then enters a loop that must be ended by force-shutdown.

Cursory web research has not located similar symptomologies. Startup issues and boot loops appear to generally take effect during the initial startup screen phase rather than at the desktop instantiation phase. One highly anecdotal report suggested that a change to the way that Google has implemented Drive meant that users who neglected to update an older version of Drive could experience a similar set of symptoms. I have yet to investigate that; however it seems unlikely to me as the cloned copy of the system boots fine.

Running Disk Repair on the affected volume neither resolves the issue nor reports any problems.

In short, my flashed cMP 5,1 under Mojave
a) won’t boot in safe mode
b) boots into what looks like a Finder crash loop on instantiating the desktop
c) has a CCC-maintained bootable backup that works fine
d) will boot into Recovery Mode and Disk Utility reports no underlaying HW issues with the boot volume ond no issues with the data structure on the disk.

I think it must be an issue with a Startup Item, but without Safe Mode, I can’t get there.

If I were solving this in a production environment I would just overwrite the boot drive with that CCC backup but I would like to know why this is happening so I will be spending an hour a day on it for a bit.

I have crossposted to MacRumors here:


The Garden of Strings

After awakening but before getting up this morning, I fell into two brief naps that immediately became dreaming REM sleep. In the first, I crossed some gravel parking lots toward the back porch of an unfamiliar rental house in Bloomington. As I did so, a 1960s pastel aquamarine flake stretch limo with both rumble seats and additional strap-in seats on the rear bumper pulled up, and my sister Suzy, dead since 1988, popped out, running into the house excitedly and shouting a hello, and responding to my what the hell is going on by gesturing at the limo and shouting “that’s my Lyft!”

As I approached the house I noticed all of my guitars, basses, banjos, violins, and mandolins were set up on stands in the yard. I grabbed my favorite florentine and started pickin’ as I walked up the steps to the porch. For some reason the pick I had to hand was a flexi old-style Fender resin tortie and it immediately overheated and raised a burr which kept catching and fucking up my sustains. I was sufficiently distracted by this that I walked into the house without looking around to see who was there.

John Terrill greeted me effusively, guiding me through a packed session including maybe fifteen players, basically none from a folk tradition but including Mark McWhirter, who was very happy to see me, and I think Jim Manion and other people I know or have known.

John told me he wanted me to play the saudade, which in this dream was a thumb piano, not a style of Portuguese song and poetry, and handed me a gourd with a rack of two ranks of three metal vibrating tone producers, plugged it into a damaged Silvertone amp, and told me I had to hit it just right, man, just right.

So I did, and it was great, and I woke up experiencing seizure-like spasms in my arms and legs and was extremely dizzy.

I got some water and went back to bed, amused. I nearly immediately fell asleep again, and was in the back of a large van jouncing over crappy roads as I at first repeatedly attempted to organize a stack of vintage flyers in chronological order and then to perform something similar with a stack of mixed-source trading cards, becoming grouchier and grouchier as the vehicle’s juddering repeatedly made my task impossible. I exited the van for lunch or something and ran into an old coworker whom I was happy to see but less happy to spend time with, said coworker having a difficult personality. I hugged him, said good bye, and awakened again to flailing limbs and dizziness.

Apple Photos, iCloud Photos, and me

Sometime recently I started getting nag notices from my various devices telling me that I had maxed out my iCloud storage, which seemed odd to me, since I hadn’t ever activated iCloud Photos and strictly limited my use of iCloud services for pictures and so forth to My Photo Stream and to some shared albums which appeared to total less than 1gb of posted data.

I diligently went in and thinned out the shared albums anyway, grumbling about the intentional one-way door that Apple has designed into their obtuse and inflexible shared album system. One cannot simply turn sharing on and off for local albums; one must create a separate shared album instead and one cannot convert a shared album to a local album, one can only delete it. Which sucks.

After working on this for several days and still receiving these nag memos, I wondered if perhaps the deleted shared albums were stashed in an iCloud trash directory someplace. It’s an annoyance I have run into on the iPhone from time to time. When your storage on the device is nearly full, the fastest way to gain space back is to delete local copies of images. However, in Apple’s truly terrible iOS Photos product, the deleted images go to a hidden area of Photos for 30 days before being deleted on a timed basis. If you want to force delete a raft of pix, you have to find this hidden trash and then manually select each picture one at a time or by sweeping across as many as you can, which can be a real pain in the ass if you are trying to delete thousands of images.

This strategy is part of Apple’s use of dark patterns, the intentional deployment of user-interface elements that increase annoyance on the part of the user. By filling up your phone and not making it easy to delete, Apple is clearly encouraging you to move on from your puny old iPhone to the new shiny larger-capacity model. Likewise, in iCloud, making it hard to remove items from cloud storage forces the user into an upgrade cycle. The fuckers, I hate them so very very much.

So when I went to look at my Photos storage via the iCloud website I was really taken aback to a) not see My Photo Stream b) not see *any* of my Shared Albums, and c) most flabbergastingly, EVERYTHING from my master Photos library going back to 2001, but without ANY of the album-based organization that is present in the master.

I don’t know how, but sometime in the last six months of new phones and restored iPads and what all I seem to have missed the OFF switch on one device’s iCloud Photos settings and that appears to have overridden the settings for ALL the devices; so the next time I left the machine with the master Photos library turned on and connected to the internet for a couple of days, my entire Photos library was uploaded to iCloud without my realizing it. I’m still not sure which machine it was that I fumbled the setting on. It would be most logical that it was on the same machine that the library sits on but it would be equally logical that this is another dark pattern from Apple.

Anyway, at least I had found the source of the nagging. No problem, I thought. I’ll just delete all that shit from iCloud, I know the images are not on any other devices and I have a backup of the library and the settings on this computer already have been verified to be that strict subset of cloud services for Photos.

So in looking up how Apple permits people to delete photos from iCloud, I learned, unsurprisingly, that they make it very hard. I ended up performing the deletions via the iCloud Photos website. There were approximately 11,000 images and movies to nuke.

First, the iCloud Photos site restricts user-initiated deletion requests to a maximum of 1,000 items per deletion request. Second, ‘deletion’ actually, you guessed it, moves the images to a Trash album called “recently deleted”, where the files remain for thirty days unless one manually deletes them *again*. Third, rather than accepting and queuing the file management requests for final execution, the browser will not let you initiate a new deletion request until the server side file management actions have been completed. A 1,000 image deletion request can take several minutes to complete. Fourth, in order to select your mandated 1,000 images, one must manually select an image, page down as many screens as the user thinks will maximize the chance of extending the selection to 1,000 images or so, and shift-select at random until the magic number is achieved. At least they display the selection count.

So of course I opened ten browser windows and shift selected continuous chunks of 1,000 images, one batch per browser window, and initiated the deletion request. 30 minutes later I was still fighting browser freeze-ups and similar issues but I did finally get my target number of files into the recently deleted album.

Opening that album I noticed a helpful-looking button (well, really a link, but whatever) which said “Delete All”. OK!


Nothing, no progress bar, no warning that Photos limits deletions to 1,000 images at a time, nada. Cursing the names of Steve and Jony, I re-initiated the manual-selection-in-batches-of-about-1k process and eventually got it done.

Long story short, it took about 3 hours to finally diagnose the basis of the iCloud storage nag and to manually delete the wayward fileset. I still need to step though each device to ascertain that the iCloud settings are what I wish them to be. I suppose I should also examine the master Photos library to be sure the cold, bony hand of Steve hasn’t swept my last 20 years of pixels away completely.


I am working on a small project that involves scanning old zines. The zines are unbound and scanned on both sides to a set of image files, which produces scans of the print-oriented layout of the physical pages themselves. It’s not human readable and there is no quick and dirty tool to disassemble the imposed boards into human readable order for creation of a PDF.

I found a bash script that mostly accomplishes the task of splitting an image set into two halves but the script simply numbers the image output sequentially and occasionally also produces garbage output, images of one pixel wide and so forth.

I posted a request to Facebook asking for help and several people kindly replied. Josh Larios, with whom I have had occasional interaction since early blogging days, picked up the starter script and added the missing features.

Josh and Chris Pheifer, a pal from Bloomington, also each found some tools that are intended to do similar things with PDFs.

Here is Josh’s updated script:

# Script to split images in half using ImageMagick
# By Euan McKay
# Modified for reverse imposition (deimposition? exposition?) by RJL20
# Usage:
# ./deimpose.sh outbase 'inglob*'

# You can adjust these settings to suit your needs

FOLDER='pages' # set output folder name
mkdir -p $FOLDER   # create the folder to store split images

OUTPUT='jpg'    # set extension of image type to save

# You shouldn't need to adjust anything below here



echo "First: $FIRST; Last: $LAST"

for ITEM in $"${FILES[@]}"        # get items from globbed files
do                          # start loop
    data=`identify "$ITEM" | awk '{print $3}'`                # get image data
    W=`echo $data | sed 's/[^0-9]/ /g' | awk '{print $1}'`  # extract width
    NEWW=$((W/2))                                           # set new width

    if ((TOGGLE)); then
        LEFT=${FOLDER}'/'${OUTBASE}'-'`printf '%03i' $LAST`.${OUTPUT}
        RIGHT=${FOLDER}'/'${OUTBASE}'-'`printf '%03i' $FIRST`.${OUTPUT}
        RIGHT=${FOLDER}'/'${OUTBASE}'-'`printf '%03i' $LAST`.${OUTPUT}
        LEFT=${FOLDER}'/'${OUTBASE}'-'`printf '%03i' $FIRST`.${OUTPUT}

    convert -verbose -gravity East -chop ${NEWW}x0 "$ITEM" "$LEFT"         # make left half
    convert -verbose -gravity West -chop ${NEWW}x0 "$ITEM" "$RIGHT"        # make right half

done                        # end loop

Thanks everyone. Posted here to make it searchable outside of FB.


Today I wanted to write at length about our big old black lab mix Logan.

In September of 2013 we euthanized our longtime mixed herding dog Rocket after he had contracted bone cancer and undergone a hind-leg amputation. He had about a year after the amputation and continued in good spirits to the end. Putting him down was emotionally very difficult for me as he had been my primary social companion for about six years, and he was an extremely intelligent animal with a large and continually expanding vocabulary.

We put him down just before I met my birth mother in person for the first time when she came out to meet me and visit later that month.

Vivian and I began to discuss the possibility of another dog sometime the next spring, probably around my March birthday. Sometime in May or June 2014 we went to an animal adoption event on the Eastside, possibly in Bellevue. We had thought about looking for a German Shepherd or similar dog but the adoption expenses for the puppies available at the event were higher than we desired and so we kept looking. We did not really intend to pick a dog that day. Our thought was more that by attending we could familiarize ourselves with the way these events work.

We noticed an older dog, a large black dog that appeared to be a lab/shepherd mix. He was evidently depressed, non-interactive and lying flat in his cage showing little interest in the proceedings and attracting no notice. I was interested in his apparent calm and so we took him for a short walk, and he demonstrated good knowledge of basic commands.

Unexpectedly we decided to take him home that day. Later we found that black dogs, especially larger older black dogs, have very low rates of placement from shelters, apparently because of concern about shedding in indoor environments.

The shelter told us that he had been found feral in the woods in Snohomish County and that they estimated he had been in the woods for a couple of months. He had a chip when he was found but the number recorded in association with the chip did not produce any response when called. The shelter would not disclose the name of his former family to us.

The adoption fee was about $150 which was supposed to cover exams and meds needed when he came out of the woods. I am skeptical that he received this care because as soon as we got him home, we observed worms in his stool and took him in for treatment.

He did not seem to know what furniture was for when indoors and he had clearly been subject to hose discipline, leaving him fearful of running water and bathing for the rest of his life. Over time he came to understand that couches were softer than the floor and would climb up on them. He was always resistant to certain expressions of physical affection and reluctant to maintain physical contact with us. However as soon as he walked in the door, our tiny longhaired tortie cat Lark nose-touched him and then headbutted him, expressing immediate affection and acceptance. He reciprocated kindly and patiently, and I never saw him express a dominant motion toward her. He was always extremely phobic of loud noises such as thunderstorms, firecrackers, and gunfire.

He would alert on pickup trucks and especially on trucks driven by women. Taken all together, we suspect that in his former life he had been an outside dog and probably one in a rural environment.

Sometime before late June Vivian and I sat on the porch trying to come up with a name for him. I wanted to name him “Kuma”, “Bear” in Japanese and the nickname of then-rookie Japanese Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. I suggested it for that reason and because the big black dog looked somewhat like a bear. Vivian then suggested “Wolverine”, thinking it was the same as a wolf and also due to the popularity of the Marvel comics superhero character Wolverine and portrayed by Hugh Jackman. I chuckled and pointed out that a wolverine really doesn’t look much like a dog. However, I noted, the character’s given name is “Logan”.

As soon as I said that word, the dog, who had been lying disinterestedly on the porch, thumped his tail and put his head up. He got up and came over to us and continued to respond very directly to the word “Logan”. He clearly understood it to be his name. We can’t ever know if that was the name he had previously, of course, or if it merely sounded similar enough to his original name, but in effect he named himself.

The first time we went through a thunderstorm with him he was completely inconsolable and it was a trying experience for all of us. Over time we learned to give him benadryl to settle him down during noise events and he did begin to ease up in his phobia about it after a few years.

He also had significant separation anxiety and would not accept caging, crating, or being consigned to a small room. He managed to claw his way out of both a portable cage kennel and an airline large-dog transport container, thankfully not while in cargo. Several doors in the house show significant clawing and chewing from early in his time with us.

The worst thunderstorm related event was on an afternoon when I had intended to go to an afternoon Mariners game that Kuma was starting. As I showered at about 11am during the storm, he whimpered and yipped and whined outside the closed bathroom door, eventually hurling himself against it and attacking the molding outside the door with such intensity that I had to refinish the molding to a height of about three feet. In the end with him experiencing such fear and anxiety I stayed home and watched the game from the couch with Logan by my side. That game, on August 12, 2015, would prove to be the best game that Hisashi Iwakuma ever threw, a no-hitter against Baltimore with no runs and three walks allowed, two in the fourth inning and one in the eighth.

After a few of these extreme reactions we began to wonder why he was experiencing such strong fears and anxieties. We easily related his separation anxiety to the loss of his prior family, but did not have a clear hypothesis for his extreme reaction to storms in particular. After thinking about it for a while we formed an untestable hypothesis that fits the information we were given by the shelter, as sketchy and questionable as it may be. It may have taken us some time to come up with it – I note it in a blog post from the following April, in 2015.

We adopted him in May or June. We were told that he had been in the woods in Snohomish County for an unknown length of time, possibly two months. His chip appeared to be associated with an active number but that number never produced a response.

On March 22, 2014, an enormous landslide took out a suburban neighborhood in unincorporated Snohomish County as well as other buildings within the mile-long slide. If we adopted Logan within a month or so of May 22, which seems likely – our first vet bill associated with Logan appears to be for deworming meds in late June, 2014 – then the timeline for his ferality, the lack of phone response, and as well a possible explanation for both his phobic response to storms and his frantic separation anxiety seems within reach. We will never really know, of course. But it’s certainly a possible explanation.

After he bonded with us some of that anxiety diminished over time. He appeared to be affected by the lower-spine and rear-leg issues that can affect shepherds and one of the types of dog he was always eager to interact with were shepherds. I formed the hypothesis that his mother may have been a shepherd or that he was raised in a dog population that included shepherds.

He was only ever interested in playing with balls, stuffed animals, rope tugs, and chew toys were not of much interest to him. He was very strongly treat motivated and once he’d begun to interact with us on a basis of verbality he quickly acquired a limited functional vocabulary of his own. A tail thump or vigorous wag meant “yes”, an eye roll or redirected gaze away meant “no.” A single quick lip smack meant either “yes I am hungry,” or “I want a treat”. He would sit just outside the kitchen and gaze meaningfully at the treats stored on top of the refrigerator until asked “Do you want a treat?” The query would produce a lipsmack and a more pointed look at the treat container, followed by a look back to his interlocutor to observe if the intended effect had been accomplished.

As he aged and his rear legs developed issues we stopped bringing balls for him to chase. About three times he developed a rear leg injury that produced a yip and persistent limping. Twice these were diagnosed by two separate vets as canine cruciate ligament tears requiring surgery and we were advised that left untreated the other leg’s CCL would fail and this eighty to ninety-pound dog would be left unable to climb or descend stairs. By the third time it happened we did not even seek a diagnosis, we just let him heal on his own as he had the other two times.

He was unfailingly cheerful and kind and developed many human friendships in the area, especially with our neighbors David and Dot. Dot adopted an energetic pup named Scout and I would occasionally walk her together with Logan. She adored him and he found her a bit rambunctious for his elderly self. He would take the time to try to calm her down when she was smaller. By the time she was larger she did not try to wrestle with him anymore but always became nearly uncontrollable with excitement when she would see him.

He did have a tendency to bark when on leash and seeing another dog. Sometimes this would lead to escalations in behavior in both dogs and I took to walking him in a harness so that I could haul him up and away. The only times I ever saw him act in aggression were when he interpreted another dog’s behavior as an attack, and he was impressively frightening in these moments. I assume that this likely represented adaptive behavior from his time in the woods, but it may well have been encouraged in his time as a rural outdoors animal as well.

I wanted to take the time to write as much of this down as I could today because yesterday at about 2 pm we euthanized him. He weighed a bit less than 84 pounds at the end; his preferred healthy weight was about 89 pounds. He fell ill just about a month ago with what we took for a flu or something along those lines and had taken to not eating and drinking. Vivian and I had ourselves fallen ill in mid-January, the week of the 19th, with several successive illnesses (flu, possible food poisoning, another flu) which actually may have delayed us getting him to the vet by a few days. It was a little weird that all three of us were coughing and sleeping all day in discomfort.

We were finally able to get him in for treatment on the 24th of January and he was held overnight for rehydration and to give him antibiotics to bring his fever down. On the 27th we took him in again for swelling in his forelegs and for some different medications. At this point everyone involved still thought we were looking at a conventional transmissive illness although we were uncertain how he might have been exposed to it as he typically did not have any social time with other dogs.

On the 2nd of February we started a second round of 10-day antibiotics as his cough had not lessened over the prior treatment, and again on the 12th. On that day I specifically asked for an x-ray and the x-ray clearly showed a large mass in Logan’s right lung which seemed likely to be a cancerous tumor. We waited two more days, until Friday the 15th and brought him in again to attempt to get the mass lab analyzed for cancer and to get non-x-ray imaging (ultrasound). We ten took him home to observe his resting over the next couple days to see if his breathing worsened or not. That afternoon I had a conversation with the primary vet on Logan’s case and he advised me that while they would not have the labs back until after the weekend he strongly suspected the growth as cancer and that it would rapidly worsen and that it was time for us to begin considering euthanasia.

This aligned well with what my own non-professional research seemed to indicate, and I let Viv know about it as soon as she returned from an errand.

By this time Logan was refusing medication and nearly all food and had noticeably lost weight. He was disoriented and anxious when medicated and as we were expecting that the medication would not relieve his symptoms in any case we stopped trying to give them to him.

His frequency of coughing was a fit every hour to forty-five minutes, usually a set of three or four coughs. This appeared to produce fluid or phlegm that he would then swallow.

The next day, Saturday the 16th, Viv offered him cool boiled and shredded chicken in a light chicken broth and he greedily ate a few bites and lapped at the broth. A moment later he began to vomit, producing a mix of blood, broth and phlegm. We brought him in again and were advised that the blood might not be from his lung or his stomach but to watch for more blood.

That afternoon he began producing more bloody vomit as well as significant amounts of just blood when he coughed. I advised the vet via phone and he seemed to think that was effectively definitive. I wanted to wait until the lab results returned to be certain. The doctor advised me that even if the tumor was not cancerous the recovery process would be challenging for the dog and we should still consider euthanasia as the best option.

Logan’s breathing and coughing continued to worsen Saturday night the 16th and through Sunday the 17th into Sunday night. I called Monday the 18th seeking the lab results but they would not be available until Tuesday the 19th. Overnight Monday into Tuesday was difficult for all three of us and at around midnight Vivian shifted to the floor to sleep next to the dog. His coughing and breathing had continued to worsen, and he was coughing for about five minutes every half-hour and often producing blood.

Monday afternoon we took him for his last, very short walk, to our neighbor David’s place. David and Logan were good friends and Logan would often pull to visit David on our walks. Logan’s other neighbor friend was Dot and she was able to come by and visit him at our home on Monday evening at about 6.

Early Tuesday morning we were advised that the lab results were positive for cancer and so we made arrangements with the vet to have an in-home euthanasia, which we did. They came at about 2pm and we put him to sleep on the floor of our media room. I helped them put his body into a heavy plastic bag and together with them we put him into their vehicle.

We opted for the private cremation and a container return and hope to have him back home with us shortly.

Test update 10/2020

Solar wear

in 2013 I bought this 60-LED solar-recharge security light on Amazon. This winter it failed and I took it down to see if it was the battery or not. It did appear to be the battery but I was unable to locate the exact replacement, a welded pack of five 1.5 volt AAs with an aggregate output listed at 6v on the battery wrap itself.

I thought I had found the correct replacement at Home Depot for about $15, a special-order item, but the unit that arrived appeared to be wired backward, either a manufacturing flaw or simply a battery with reversed polarity. I was kinda grumpy about a $15 battery anyway and just returned it.

Once I had determined that the battery was dead I pulled the wiring harness off and experimentally attached it to a 9v battery, and the light illuminated very brightly. What I don’t know is how many illumination cycles the battery might support, and of course finding a rechargeable battery would be even more preferable – the solar array is still producing juice without difficulty.

UPDATE: Sunforceproducts.com sells the part for $10, fee shipping. Ordered.

EDIT: September 21, 2023. I finally took the unit down yesterday and found that the reason the replacement battery still failed was likely that the solar panel was not delivering power to the unit. Since the rechargeable has not had power for six yeas it is likely dead and I will try another one; if that still fails I think I might just switch the batteries out for a standard 9v and hand-replace as needed.