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That’s right, Ida and I are back at the food blog + navel-gaze grind, after a long, long hiatus. Since our last gastronomic adventure at the @sonicshotclub​, we have endured a mild but turgid winter full of meandering toil, a grey and dreary spring that seemed unceasing, and have leapt headlong into the first, relenting gasps of a bright and searing summer.

It’s that time of year again, when the days are long and the sun hangs high in the sky, when sweat drips from the underboobs of everyone with more than twelve percent subcutaneous body fat and construction mars the once pristine, ice-shellacked surfaces of every street and sidewalk.

It’s also that time of year when I have to sleep in an overly frigid, A/C blasted room two feet away from my easily heat-stroked chinchilla, Dump Truck, who feels an instinctual need to dash on his 16 inch metal INDUSTRIAL-SIZED CAKEPAN OF A RUNNING WHEEL, ALL NIGHT LONG, even when doing so brings his body to a temperature that is mortally dangerous.

Did I mention that when his massively overpowered back legs slam into the wheel’s dented surface, it creates a preposterously noisy intermittent banging sound? And that also, the exterior of my and Nick’s apartment building is being SLICED OFF with a massive industrial BRICK SAW so that the rental company can carve two-foot-wide HOLES INTO OUR WALLS for air conditioner cages for hypothetical future tenants? And that this process of wall slicing and drilling starts at 8 in the morning after a long night of noisy chinchilla wheel-running? And that technically we’re supposed to have taken our A/C unit out of the window so that we don’t inhale infinitesimal particles of exterior wall dust when it’s sucked into our apartment from the outside, via our A/C’s air vent?

No? Well now I have. Life is terrible. Only bad things happen, and only to me, and just maintaining fundamental decency is so burdensome that by the end of the day I only have enough energy to scroll through Tumblr and eat icing out of a refrigerated container and grumble like Soviet Winnie the Pooh.

It’s not easy, retaining my faith in humanity’s future when I’m given constant paper notices from our landlord, telling us that we should switch from a window A/C unit to a portable air conditioner so that we won’t inhale bits of exterior wall dust and develop popcorn lung and die, despite the fact that a portable A/C unit still requires external ventilation so theoretically it should make literally no difference.

I’m gonna get popcorn lung. I deserve it. I’ve inhaled probably half a gallon of disgusting-ass vape fluid over the course of the past few years, and have battled a persistent, stinging throat pain for the last nine months. I fucking wrote about the initial symptoms of this menace on the Sonic Shot Club blog. And I still have it. My throat still is scorched by the searing acid of a thousand pukes every morning, and the pain flares up every time I attempt to fill a classroom with my nasally squirrel mutterings. Which is like every day because that’s my job.

I should see an ENT (ears, nose, throat) specialist but I don’t have health insurance and I’m a hillbilly who doesn’t believe in spending money on doctors or self-care. I barely went to the doctor even when I did have health insurance. Two years ago I had a nigh-daily fever with body-shaking chills and life-altering levels of fatigue that lasted months before I decided to drop $100 on a doctor’s appointment. It took a battery of tests and four more appointments to realize I had chronic anemia. And as soon as I found out that eating four to six children’s multivitamins a day reduced the anemia and alleviated the symptoms, I stopped seeing my hematologist. I still don’t know what the cause of the anemia was. Because I’m cheap.

Also the interior of my left tit really hurts. The only time it doesn’t hurt is when I squeeze it so hard it bruises up. Or if I punch it. It’s probably nothing. It could easily be hormones. Or all of these problems, including my bad attitude, might be caused by some latent pernicious force that is still buried deep inside me, draining the mana from my body.

So anyway, it’s obvious that I’m rotting from the inside and this blast of debrided wall particles that’s filtering in through the open window is just gonna be that final catalyst that sends me over the edge, into death by internal calcification. I might as well enjoy what time I have left by eating some salty cancerous meat dicks.

— — –

So clearly, over the last nine months I have kept a lot of swirling neurosis bottled up inside me without a sufficient writerly outlet. I’ve worked and taught and analyzed data and walked and pet my chinchilla and cursed God and Mother Gaia and Xenu and watched exactly 1 Kathy Bates movie and bidden my time. But now, at last, the time for overpriced, salty snacks and languid wallowing is upon us. Summer has returned in full force. It’s time to embrace a new project, a new distraction, and a new font for self-indulgent writing. Hot dogs.

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This summer, Ida and I will be gnawing our way through the specialty hot dog menu of a small business in Andersonville, Hot “G” Dog. We don’t know what the “G” stands for. We don’t know what the blood-curdling, wet phlegmatic coughing sound coming from the kitchen of the restaurant is. We don’t know which meats or toppins we’ll be eating, exactly, because the menu changes regularly.

What we do know is this: we will each eat and write about 9 “G” dogs over the course of this summer, and record or impressions right here. Or rather, Ida will probably write quite cogently and appropriately about the hot dogs and about friendship and whatever popular culture is weighing on her mind at the moment, and I will use any space available to talk about my weird emotional tumult for 1200 words.

Maybe I’ll do a vlog. Maybe I’ll just write about the weird-ass psychopharmaceutic supplements I’m on right now or the dog beach or internet voyeurism I’ve engaged in, directed at a former high school friend who is now a Gothic Lolita fashionista/blogger celebrity. Maybe I’ll talk about my 1 week of social media fame or that time I had a Reddit AMA about some research I did that I don’t believe in. Maybe I’ll just keep writing this very list of potential writing topics forever and never actually write anything and just die here in my office with my jaw hanging open and one of the spiders from the window sill weaving a silken net across my rotted teeth.

Okay actually that’s enough. Let’s talk about my Inaugural Hot Dog.

I ordered the Demi-Glace Venison dog. Here’s how the menu describes it:

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And here is the dog in its corporeal form:

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This was a good-ass -ish dog. I was happy to have actually been hungry when I ate it, because it was really hearty and satisfying. Or rather, the toppins were. There are several tart, yet sweet gobs of bountiful goat cheese on top, which coat the upper palate in a protective, pleasant lipid. The creaminess is indulgent but not overpowering, because as the bite continues, it is cut through with the tanginess and faintly honey-ish flavour of the mustard. The peppers on top provide a little variety and add color, and keep you from feeling like you’ve just eaten a 8oz of cheese by yourself, even if you technically did.

The bun has a slight crustiness on the outside, but is pillowy and yielding on the inside. It’s not chock full of flavor, but it doesn’t get in the way. That’s all you can ask of a good bun in this scenario. Where the dog goes slightly wrong, unfortunately, is the thready, sinewy meat of the venison itself. The dog is visually pleasing. It’s dark, brick red, with a bit of blackening on the edges and enough variation in color to suggest that the meat inside the casing did actually originate from an animal that walked the earth. It’s not homogenous McNugget pink slime, in other words.

However, this tough meat lacks one thing the McNugget has in abundance: moisture. This dog was dry. The meat was thready and stringly, and seemingly low in fat. And sure, it’s covered on top with like a whole goat’s worth of cheese, but there is no sense of balance. It doesn’t matter how many lipids you have on top of the dog if the dog itself is dry. The proprietors of “G” Dog seem to believe in some kind of trickle down fat economics whereby the fattiness of the toppins can cancel out the mealiness of the meat. But that’s a notion as fallacious as trickle down economics itself.

My initial appraisal of this dog was that it was “pretty good”, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I was just dazzled by the goat cheese. It was a really good-ass cheese, slightly sweet and sour and mouth-wateringly creamy. And I like the idea of eating deer meat, too. It makes me feel like a feral scavenger huddled over a fire, gnawing on the bones of some rabbit I’ve caught and cooked myself. In that scenario, I’d probably be starving enough to find my meal of wild game delicious and satisfying.

But this is the real world, and I am spoiled by modern indulgences, and a tube of encased venison simply does not satisfy. Like a slightly more mature and self-aware Riff Raff, I strive to be as comfortable as possible. And this hot dog does not make me comfortable. So all I can do is crawl back to the icy confines of my climate-controlled apartment, and lay about in my slick, comfortable sheets, and stare at my wild, perpetually angry pet, and wait until it’s time to try another hot dog. Maybe it will bring me joy. Maybe it will precipitate more viciously painful psychosomatic symptoms. Probably it will just give me another fertile opportunity to list of my grievances, and to write.

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