Thursday, September 30, 2010

R.I.P. Stephen Jahner

Last week I found out Steve Jahner died. I haven't heard the results of the autopsy but apparently he collapsed in his store one afternoon. At least I know if he was in his store he was probably happy - whistling or humming a tune while helping people.

I'm totally bummed out about Steve passing away because I hadn't talked to him in a few years. My wife and I recently moved back to the midwest and I was really looking forward to stopping by the store and catching up with him.

Steve gave me my first job working at his comic book store "Capital City Comics & Books". I was... 14 or 15? It was great. I was always working - Steve made sure of that. And I did all the grunt work from dusting EVERYTHING to alphabetizing EVERYTHING. After a couple years he'd let me open/close the store so he could sleep in or something. Basically he taught me about hard work and responsibility. If I messed up I'd have to make it up elsewhere. It happened from time to time. But Steve didn't hold anything against anyone for long.

I studied superheroes and layout while sorting comics, learned about new authors and the world outside sorting books and got some anatomy in while organizing adult magazines. (That was usually my punishment for being late.)

Steve also taught me how to play guitar. I didn't practice enough, (just like piano) but he kept pushing me. I learned about a whole slew of new music from him. Classics like Jethro Tull and Earth Wind & Fire.

All in all - I will sorely miss Steve. I will think of him most every day because he gave me the nickname "space JASE". I use it everywhere. My website is - I owe you a lot Steve.

Thanks Steve.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Death by window...

This guy surprised us one morning when he bashed into one of the front windows. Chippie was sitting there so maybe the bird was defending territory against our cat. Anyways - it was sad to see him die. It was quick, but not instantaneous. He was trapped in the bush outside the window and after a few ragged breaths he went limp. I thought he might just be stunned so I put him on the front steps. A couple hours later he was stiff. I meant to bury him but something took him away that night.

It probably seems morbid to blog about him - but I was contemplating the passing of animals out in nature. It happens all the time and if no animal takes note, certainly no human does. I mean, if he had a family, they probably wonder what happened to him. Why didn't he come back that afternoon? But if birds only have a few seconds short term memory, do they notice stuff like the passing of a family member? Surely they have some sort of longer memory or imprinting that allows them to know where their nest is - or who their mate or child is... right?

When our cats have died, the other cats came around and sniffed and pawed at them. And kind of sat there for a minute in turn. But that was it. Maybe death is just what happens and when it's done there isn't much to think about in an animal's mind. Why do we as humans make a big deal about death? Is it because we impact each others' lives more than other mammals? Do we remember people because we have longer memories and therefore feel more of a sense of loss?

I don't know the answers, but I thought it sad that this big beautiful birds suddenly met his demise with a stupid window.