For My Best Friend

Holly in the Snow

It’s been posted about a few times already, but I wanted to say a few words about a good dog.

Last night, I lost my best friend, my partner-in-crime, my shadow. For 12 years, she was my constant companion, always beside me, always waiting for me. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have known this dog. Holly was the best, and I can’t be convinced otherwise. Yeah, she could be a pill sometimes, barked at EVERY NOISE SHE THOUGHT SHE HEARD, and once ate through her cone of shame and licked her outer suture open, but she was the sweetest, smartest, most fun dog I’ve ever known.

She shook hands, gave high fives, balanced treats on her nose, crawled, and spoke with a loud, ringing voice. She even taught herself how to play dead. Over the past couple of years, she began to lose a step or two, but her spirit never faltered. She was always my little bear, and never changed from that amazing girl. She never met a pool or a tennis ball she didn’t like. And squeaky toys were meant to be ripped apart to attack the damn squeaker within.

She was my roadtripper. From Lubbock to Fort Worth to Corpus Christi, she was awesome in the backseat and longed to feel the breeze in her face. She endured numerous moves, and while I knew this one would be her last, I didn’t expect our time to end so soon, but she had done her duty. She made sure I was safe and settled and that everything would be alright, that we would be alright without her. I made sure to tell her every day that I loved her and give her good head and rump scratches.

As pet owners, we prepare ourselves for this eventuality. We know it’s coming some day (and I knew this was coming for her as well), but it’s never easy, and it never gets any easier. Letting go of family is the hardest thing you’ll ever do in life. Today seems harder than yesterday, and who knows how tomorrow will be. All I know is it will feel lessened without her presence.

I will forever cherish coming home Wednesday evening after work to see her eager, happy face waiting for me at the back door, watching me get out of my car and come inside. That was what she did when she wasn’t with me; she waited for me and was always there for me. She was amazing, remarkable, and unforgettable. I will never forget all the good times we shared.

There will be no one more summer for us, no one last countdown into the pool, but she has eternity for that. Kristen said it best: She’ll be barking at everyone who comes close to the gates of heaven, not to ward them away but to let everyone know a new friend has come to play ball with her.

I’m grateful she never was seriously sick or had any major health issues. She lost some hearing but could still hear a squeaker a mile away and retained the vision of a hawk. I’m also grateful that age can no longer restrain her from the things she loved doing most in her time with me.

I know this is long (and I’m sure more memories will come back to me throughout the days to come), but I could sing her praises all day. Above all, she was a good girl, and I don’t think there’s any higher praise for a dog than that.

I’ll miss you, Holly Bear. Thank you for being my friend.

Holly “Bear” Moore
1.2.06 – 4.11.18

The Quiet Time

Okay, let me start off by saying this comic has done nothing for me financially (it’s a labor of love, dammit), so, when I use this meme, I use it only to explain why this site has been so quiet lately. Plain and simple: We’re moving to a new house.

Anyone who’s moved from one domicile to another knows how much of a time-consuming pain-in-the-ass it is. As a result of packing boxes of rooms every night, I haven’t been able to do much creatively these past few weeks or for the coming couple as well. I hate to take another hiatus so soon after Christmas, but I feel I must. I refuse to put out any strips that with which I do not feel fully satisfied. Y’all deserve my best, and I just can’t deliver that at this moment. Once we’re settled again, I will shower you in fun stuff.

And then I’ll take another break once this first chapter/book is completed in the not-too-distant future in order to prepare for the start of chapter/book 2.

So, that’s the long and the short of it. I’m sorry for not making this announcement sooner, but things have been much busier than I expected. Anyway, expect new comics beginning in April, right around the same time we start up on Line Webtoon and the online store opens! Yay!

As always, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for following along on this comic and reading these blog posts. And for those of you looking for more retail posts, we’ll be returning to Dell, Poe, and the Aviation Supply Company soon!

Until then, comrades, laurels and hearty handshakes for all of you.

-The Retail Explorer

Wednesday Weirdness

Ash and Pete Irish Coffee

I need a drink after all this.

So, today’s been weird. Since the weather has been so bad, we’re pretty much grounded here, and as a result, business is slooooooooooooooowwwwwwww. I’ve caught up on a lot of paperwork, though, so there’s your silver lining. But there are a couple of events that really highlight today for me.

First, we had a new strip up today (yay!), which is here if you haven’t read it yet. And when we publish a new strip, it goes up here on the website, on our Facebook page, on Twitter, tumblr, and Instagram, as well as Tapastic (and soon Line WebToon, also). So, we have a wide variety of followers. I wanted to give y’all the option to read and enjoy this comic on the platform you most enjoy.

Well, I got my first odd comment today. It wasn’t anything malicious or vitriolic. Quite the opposite. It will go down in my memory as the oddest comment I have ever received. It was posted to today’s comic on Instagram by some random IG user who has never liked any of my comic posts, nor is he follower of the account.

Now, I really don’t want to spend much time on this at all, since it’s really not worth any of my time anyway, but he told me that I had the driest sense of humor he’d ever seen and that on 95% of my comics he’s read (which I’m sure can’t be all that many) the punchline fails to land. He closes by rating it an 8.5 out of 10 and telling me to keep up the great work.

The fuck? Seriously, what the hell does that mean? Am I wrong to be confused by this? Look, I can tell when I’m dealing with a bot or a troll or someone who genuinely has constructive criticism, but I honestly don’t know what the hell this is. How can my work be “great” in his eyes if the writing never comes together for him? I don’t understand the point of this. Subjectivity is, generally speaking, not constructive; it’s just your opinion. Normally, when you give constructive criticism, you do it by sandwiching areas which need improvement with areas that are already strong. This is just nonsense. Obviously, the jokes don’t work to him, which means the writing fails, which means that, at best, I should receive a 6 out of 10, right? (I’m being generous.) That’s not “great”.

I’m just baffled by it. But that means I’ve lingered far too long on this point, and I need to make one very important one: I make comics for you, but they’re the comics that I want to make. Nothing subjective will change my approach. You see a technical issue? That’s good. I can work with that. You think my jokes aren’t funny? Well, there’s a very simple fix for that: Stop reading this comic, because it’s not going to work for you. Different strokes for different folks.

Second, I had to deal with two students from the old flight school today. One, who I have seen many times over the years, came in with his buddy. Aside from not knowing what area they’re in (go figure), they had no idea how sales returns worked. His friend bought three charts, two IFR and one VFR. Actually, he asked for the “low VFR” chart, which isn’t a thing. Anyone who’s taken flight instruction knows that’s not a thing. So, his friend buys items then leaves.

Ten minutes later, the guy returns with one of his friend’s charts because he got the chart for the wrong area, which is very difficult to do since the effective area is clearly marked on the front cover. He has no receipt. Fine. I know who he is. His friend was the only sale we’ve had today. No biggie. He needs the one for this area, which are out of stock and on order.

“I need the one for this area.”

“I’m sorry but we don’t have it. It’s on backorder.”

“You don’t have it?”

“No. It’s on backorder.”

“So, none?”

Sometimes I thank the maker for little reminders of why the hell I got away from that place. This wasn’t one of those times. Anyway, he now wants a refund. Fine. I’ll make this work.

“Do you have the card?” I ask.


“Yes. The card he used to buy it?”


“Then I can’t do the refund.”

“You can’t?”

I don’t have words to explain this. I figured this was pretty much universally known that in order to get a refund, if it’s not in cash or check, you have to have the card you used to buy that item. I guess I was wrong about that. My bad for assuming intelligence again. Yes, it is possible to reverse that transaction, but that creates more problems than it fixes, chiefly the increase in paperwork and the fact that I’d still have to re-run the card, which I don’t have, for the amount of the other items he still kept. So, yeah, unnecessary pain in the ass and equally as impossible as the previous solution.

So, he leaves and returns with his friend so his friend can get a refund. Key in the refund amount, pop the card in, boom, done. Easy. These students are excellent at one thing: Making easy things difficult. It’s not a language barrier. It’s not a cultural barrier. It’s an ignorance barrier. When you’re in this country for any length of time, and you don’t acclimate to certain aspects of daily life (in this case, buying things), that’s a failing on your part. Your willful ignorance leaves you unable to be a functional adult. That’s not only idiotic, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.

That and I refuse to hand-hold an adult, who wants to be an airline pilot, through the process of buying something from a store. Am I wrong?

-The Retail Explorer