Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pickin' on Chicken

For not the first time, Chick-fil-A has been a topic of some rather fierce internet debate lately. Predictably, the discussion centers around the positions of the company's leaders regarding marriage equality (they ain't for it) and their publicly stated pro-Christian stances. I care deeply about equal rights for all, and I am a strong proponent of marriage equality. Also relevantly, I love chicken more than most people I know. That last sentence is true either way it could be interpreted. So I'm going to talk a little bit about my own personal decisions regarding Chick-fil-A below. Stay tuned if you're curious.

I have made the decision to no longer visit Chick-fil-A restaurants. I made this decision prior to the most recent round of controversy. In some ways, this is very easy for me. The restaurant chain is not particularly saturated in New England, with only a few locations. I have to go out of my way to find one, so avoiding it is a simple task. In other ways, it's less easy. As stated above, I love chicken WAY more than is average. I also have only recently developed even the most rudimentary care for my diet as it pertains to my health; more simply put, I eat a lot of unhealthy food, although a bit less than I used to. Chick-fil-A is delicious. I LOVE to eat Chick-fil-A. I used to quite willingly drive 30-45 minutes out of my way to eat there. Not only is the food unreasonably tasty, I've also consistently found the level of customer service at Chick-fil-A to be quite good by any standard, and superb by fast food standards. I do not hate Chick-fil-A. I really like Chick-fil-A.

So why did I decide to stop going there? Surely there's many, many businesses that have high ranking leaders with whom I disagree politically that I still frequent. I won't pretend that I'm a good enough person to have done my due diligence on literally every transaction with every business I have taken part in. Maybe some people are up to that task, and good on them. I'm not. But the views espoused by Chick-fil-A not only have become highly visible public information, they also amount to something more than just individual views.

As I understand it, Chick-fil-A makes corporate donations (that is, as the business entity itself, not only on the individual level) to a number of causes. Some of these causes are entirely laudable. For example, ending childhood hunger. Great, keep it up! But they also donate to pro-traditional-family (aka anti-gay) causes. It's well documented, and the President of the chain, Dan Cathy has stated "guilty as charged" when asked about his and his company's support for the biblical notion of marriage meaning one man, one woman.

Now you might be saying, "but it's THEIR business how they spend their money, not yours!" Fair enough. I have a moral disagreement with them. They can believe as they believe as long as they don't act in a discriminatory way. And once my money passes from my hands to theirs, it is their money. No matter how much I disagree with how they want to use my money, if I give it to them, it's theirs. And there's the crux. I don't have to give them my money. And because I know where that money's going, I don't want to give it to them. No matter how delicious their chicken is. No matter how friendly and responsive their staff is. No matter how good some of their other causes are.

I don't even particularly care to encourage others to follow in my footsteps on this. This was my decision, based on my values, on how to spend my money. I will not presume to dictate to you what your values should be, how your money should be spent, or what decision you should make. I would encourage you, however, to try to learn about where your money goes and try to make sure that however you spend it IS in line with your own values. If this means you double down on Chick-fil-A, that's your choice. I've made mine.

I don't hate Chick-fil-A. I miss going there. It is my sincere hope that in the future they (and Christianity in general) will change their minds on the sexuality stuff. I don't believe they are motivated by hate, I just don't think they realize the harm being done to people. I hope they find a path to work to undo some of the harm they've funded. Because let me tell you, if they change their ways and stop spending money towards building a society that excludes, on average, 10% of its members, I will be the first to get in line for some sandwiches and nuggets (yes both, gotta stock up and bring enough home for a 2nd meal, duh!).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Onion Wannabe: President Obama Announces his Support for Funeral Equality

President Obama Announces his Support for Funeral Equality - Critics Blast "Liberals' War on Death"

WASHINGTON—Hot on the heels of his recent public support for same-sex marriage, President Obama addressed the nation again this morning to declare his backing for same-sex funerals. "In my life, I've been privileged to work with and spend time with many fine people, people worthy of the highest respect. Many of those people are now dead. Some of those people were gay," the President explained in a surprise press conference. "We can no longer pretend that a system that keeps many wonderful dead people from the joys and privileges of funerals is in any way just."

 President Obama addresses the nation at today's press conference.

The news comes as a surprise to many, due to Obama's historically tepid support for funeral equality. Frequently evasive on the topic, Obama had previously implied he would back "civil burials" with many of the same legal protections as funerals, but would leave funerals to the states and churches to decide, a viewpoint shared by several members of his party. However, recent polls indicate that Americans are growing more and more in favor of funerals for all, leading some to question political motivations for this morning's sudden proclamation.

"It's not that I'm not grateful for the affirmation," said Donna Jenkens of Ann Arbor, MI, "but I do wonder about the timing, it being an election year and all. I first realized I was gay in 1958, when I was 14 years old. And I've been dead for 6 years now... where was the support then? Do I really need a ceremony to make my death any more real than a straight person's? It just, it's still a sore subject for me, clearly."

Notable gay rights activist George Takei was more favorable on his highly trafficked Twitter and Facebook accounts. "When we die, Brad and I will be sure to invite Mr. Obama to the funeral. If only we weren't each other's dates already!" mused the celebrated media personality. Speaking in his personal blog, That blog is so Takei, Mr. Takei spoke in more depth: "This has certainly been a long time coming, and there is much struggle ahead of course. But today, President Obama made a brave step for dead LGBT persons everywhere and I have learned in my life that we must celebrate each step, no matter how small or overdue. Mr. President, I thank you."

Not all reactions have been so positive, with many Republicans and pundits decrying the announcement as part of a "liberal war on death." Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted, "It's typical. It really is. The liberals, as usual, want to take every part of our culture and first pervert it, and then destroy it. Death, as any true American knows, is the cornerstone of good Christian civilization. And now the liberals, the gays, they want to take it from us and twist it into something filthy. Can you imagine what these gay funerals will be like? Are funeral homes going to have to start offering sequined urns and rainbow caskets?"

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC fired back, "Rush Limbaugh thinks same-sex funerals are going to somehow cheapen, quote, 'traditional' funerals. That they'll somehow ruin the sanctity of death for everyone. It's funny, Rush, I didn't see you protesting the Weekend at Bernie's movies."

Presidential challenger Mitt Romney is expected to issue a statement of his own this afternoon. Insider sources suggest that Mr. Romney will, in line with his party, come out against same-sex funerals. How either Mr. Romney's or Mr. Obama's public statements on the topic will resonate with the voters remains to be seen.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

An Open Letter to Aaron McGruder: G$Money & Ghost Clown

Dear Aaron McGruder,

I want to talk about an idea with you, an idea for an animated series. I've actually had this idea for years and at first, I had no idea who could make it with me. I can't make it alone, and not just because I don't have money, an animation production company, any scriptwriting experience or professional cartooning training. Part of the problem is that, put bluntly, I'm white. I do not have the cultural knowledge or experience to make this show. Aaron, I need you. As a fan of "The Boondocks", I know you would get what I want to make. Your humor, art, and views are perfect for this idea. The idea is called "G$Money & Ghost Clown."

It started with a throwaway drawing in college I did to entertain friends. A hip hop radio DJ and a clown ghost. But the idea of the characters stuck with me. It quickly evolved into an idea for an animated series, a love letter to the action-adventure/comedy cartoons I grew up with like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "The Real Ghostbusters," complete with gimmicky plots and continuity errors. It would be so easy to do it and have it suck, but you and I, Aaron, you and I could make it work.

The premise is simple. G$Money, upon putting on his father's old G necklace realizes he can see ghosts, and one in fact is "living" in his new apartment: Ghost Clown. While they initially don't get along, the two soon become friends. It is not long before another ghost shows up, an ancient Sensei of the Dragon Clan who informs them they are the fated pair and begins instructing them in tandem supernatural combat so they can fulfill their unnamed destiny. Unbeknownst to them, Sensei's old rival from the Tiger Clan has been training G$Money's childhood bully, Big T (who has a T necklace with identical supernatural powers to the G necklace... how mysterious...) and yet another ghost, PoGhost, a springy pogo-stick-like spirit. They frequently clash as rivals, naturally.

Caroline, a grad student of parapsychology and mythology takes an interest in the heroes and the crew is complete. They investigate (usually against G$Money's will) various ghostly apparitions and do battle and whatnot. Supporting characters show up like G$Momma, G$Money's mom and Ghost Dad, Ghost Clown's dad (yes, that Ghost Dad). Eventually the real villain, Cardinal Arqueis shows up, the disgraced head of a secret Vatican office in charge of controlling and suppressing the supernatural. When he steals the G necklace to power a device that removes all supernatural phenomena from the earth, G$Money and Big T have to put their differences aside to track it down using the T necklace together. The machine destroyed, a scramble begins to obtain other artifacts that complete the set with the G and T necklaces (which allow the wearers to see and interact with ghosts): the S sword and H hammer that can strike the supernatural and the O ring, which allows the wearer to control a spirit. (It spells GHOST because why not). Eventually the barrier between our world and the spirit world is broken completely and the heroes must overcome their rivalry yet again to work together and defeat Cardinal Arqueis and his fallen angel spirit.

So, as you can tell, the danger I fall into is that I'm too much of a geek and I love coming up with the nerdy aspects of this way too easily. I need someone like you, Aaron, to keep the humor strong. I need your help writing characters that aren't just stereotypes. It would be a genre shift for you, I know, but if you ever want to splash out and do something new and different, hit me up. This could be a beautiful friendship.

Remus Thirty

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today is a Good Day

"Today is a Good Day. I woke up this morning on the bed with my two people, Her that's been with me for a long time, Him that's been with me for a while but not as long as her. They are both good to me and I love them both. It's warm today, and I am mostly comfortable. I am not breathing that well though, it's like there is something pressing inside me and making it hard. Not breathing well makes me tired, but I am with my people and it is warm and I am happy.

I feel a different pressure inside me and I know I have to go outside. I can't get down by myself though, and really, I am not even that sure I can walk too well if I did. Luckily, She picks me up and carries me outside and puts me down to do what I have to. It is really warm out today and the air smells good. I am a little too tired to walk around and pick a good spot, since breathing is not good today, so I just go where I am and look at her and hope She picks me back up to go inside. She does. She takes good care of me and I love Her. Today is a good day.

When we go back inside, She gives me food to eat and I am hungry and it is good. And there is water and I am thirsty and I drink it and it is good. All this activity is making me tired though, because breathing is not good today. She picks me up and puts me on the couch. She seems sad. He seems sad too. But they love me and they smile at me, even though they look sad. The door is open to the balcony and most days when it is warm like this I would want to go out there and sit in the sun and smell the air. Today I am tired and I will stay on the couch. The air smells good though. I sit and rest and smell the air and they sit with me and get up and walk around and talk to each other and talk to the little things they carry. They look sad, but I don't know why, because today is a good day. Even though I can't breathe very well today, I am still happy.

I'm not sure when exactly because I lose track of time, but She goes out the door and down the stairs at some point. When She comes back, He is with her. The old Him, the First Him from when I first started living with Her. He looks sad too, but He also looks very happy to see me. I try to stand up to greet Him, but I am tired and breathing is not very good today. He comes and sits with me and pets me and rubs my belly and strokes my temples and it is like it used to be when He lived with me. I still love Him and I am happy to see Him. What a good day!

She brings Him my bag of my favorite treats and He breaks them into pieces and feeds them to me. Even though I am tired and breathing is not very good today, I am still very excited for my favorite food. He lets me eat everything that's left in the bag! I eat so many treats and I am full and I am happy and He is here and She is here and He is here too. I love them all very much and the air smells good and it is warm. Today is a good day.

Then they are here too, the other people that She and I lived with, in between First Him and New Him. Other Her and Tall Him. Why are all the people sad today? They smile at me and pet me and I can tell they are happy to see me like I am happy to see them but they are sad too. If breathing was better today I would run around and let them see how happy I am for them to be here, but I am too tired. I stay on the couch and let them come to me and that way I don't have to breathe as hard. I am very lucky because all of my favorite people are here today and I love them all and they are never all here together and today is special. It is a good day today.

They talk to each other while they look at me and pet me and then First He says a word I know, he says "Car" and I know what that means and I am happy and I am excited and I try to get up and I do stand up but I am still tired. They all laugh at how excited I am but they also look like they will cry. Some of them are. I don't know why they are sad when it is such a good day but I am happy they are here and I am happy to go in the car. Breathing is not good today or I would run to the door. First He picks me up instead and we all go outside and First He is carrying me and then he hands me to Her in the car and New He is in the car too and the three of us go for a ride in the car! The window is open and I can smell the air and it is warm and it smells good and I am riding in the car and I am happy.

Then we are at the house with lots of other animals. She hands me to First Him and She talks to other people there. First He holds me and New He and Tall He and Other She are all petting me and telling me I am a good girl and they seem even sadder but I know they love me and they say so and I love them too and I am very happy they are all here with me today. If breathing was better today I would run around with them because today is a good day for that, I can tell.

Then we go into the room where I have been before. All of us go in and we sit and they pet me and they look sad but they are all here with me since today is a good day and special. Sometimes the people who live in this house are nice to me in this room, but sometimes they poke me and it hurts. I have been here two times recently, and both times they took away some of my hair and they poked me and it hurt and I didn't like it, but breathing got better after that. Usually they are nice to me except for the poking. None of them are as nice to me as the people who are in the room now, these are my favorite people and they are all here today! Today is a good day!

The people who live in this house come in and I am sitting on a towel on a table and they pet me too and they talk to Her and everyone is listening and everyone is sad but they are all petting me and they whisper to me that I am good and they all love me. There are so many people here that I am excited but breathing is not very good and being excited is making me tired. Then She holds on to me and I can feel First Him behind me, he is still petting me, and the people who live in this house poke me and it hurts but not very much and then everyone is sad but they are all petting me and saying nice things to me. She and First He pet me the most, and everyone else does it sometimes too.

Maybe it is because I'm not breathing very well today, but I am feeling more tired. But I do not want to take a nap because I am with my favorite people and I love them and I am so happy to be with them all. Today is a special day and a good day with all of them. They say a word I know, they say "sit" and I don't really want to but they gently push me into sitting and it is more comfortable. Then they say another word I know, they say "lie down" and they say "night night" and I am feeling very tired and I want to go night night but I also don't want to go night night because they are all here and I want to be with them. They are all looking so sad but they are still saying that I am good and they love me and they are petting me. She is petting me the most and First He is petting me the most too and they are all petting me though.

I am getting so tired now I can barely keep my eyes open but before I close them I see Her and then I close them and I hear the people who live in this house come back in. I am sleeping and I can feel Her and First Him still petting me. I love them. I love all of them here today. I don't even really notice another poke. When I wake up, I hope they are still all here because them being here makes today special and a very good day. Today is a good day. Today is a good day. Today is a good-"

Goodbye Penelope. I will always love you and remember you. I hope your last day really was a very special day and a very good day. Rest easy, little dog, and if there's anything after this, I'll see you again someday.

Love always,
First Him

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Case of the Shakes

While home for the holidays back in December, I had a conversation with my uncle, David "Blaze" Lebowski that stuck with me. We discussed the many ways in which a handshake can go awry. It seems like it should be a simple procedure, but even without the many variants that now exist, it can be harrowing. I was originally going to draw pictures of all of the various styles and mishaps but, while I consider myself a good artist, I cannot draw hands well (doubly worse in MS Paint). So deal with it, yo.

First off, the basics. The Standard Handshake. Take the right hand, and reach, thumb up, fingers down, towards the matching right hand of your Shake-Friend. When the bases of the thumbs touch, grip firmly. Shake the conjoined hands if desired. Should be easy! But it goes wrong.

One frustrating possibility is the Iron Grip. This is the person who thinks "grip firmly" means "take lessons from a vise." He (could be a she, sure, but it's almost always a he) wants to pull you into a mini contest of strength. So either you ramp up your own intensity while staring back (this guy always eye locks) and then you're two grown men gazing into each others' eyes while holding the other's body part as if it was the edge of a cliff you're tumbling off OR you allow the smug bastard the satisfaction of winning the handshake. As if it were a contest. But he made it a contest! And now you can't let him win! And it's really homoerotic! You might as well be playing a tiny game of shirtless beach volleyball while "Playing With The Boys" blares in the background (yes, Top Gun is really the only homoeroticism reference I make because what the fuck other one do you need?[PS - I love Top Gun.]).

Not that the opposite problem is any better: the Wet Noodle. This is the person who gives literally no grip back. The hand is placed in the proper position and then, well, nothing. They let you hold their hand. They have wasted your time and theirs. If I wanted this, I would hang out with corpses and/or mannequins. I want to interact with a human being, give me some sign that you're alive! And there is an even more troubling variant on the Wet Noodle that I will discuss later.

Sometimes the intensity of the grip is not the issue. My personal pet peeve is the Early Squeeze. You all know this one. You go in for the Standard Handshake and the other person doesn't wait for the bases of the thumbs to touch. They grip firmly, appropriately, but way too early. They clench your fingers as if taking up a handful of markers. You're left with no leverage and a grip strength of zero. You think "I must explain! I must demand a re-shake!" but you know you'll sound like an idiot ("Can you grab my hand again?") or a jerk ("You handshake wrongly, asshat!"). And the worst part is, you know they knew they fucked up. The handshake is just as awkward for them. This isn't a power play, like the Iron Grip. This is the premature ejaculation of handshakes. It's embarrassing for you both, especially if this is your first shake ("I swear, baby, this isn't like me!"). It happens to everyone once in a while, and it's always awkward.

Now, not all hand-interactions are meant to be the Standard Handshake. Sometimes it turns into the Icing On The Cake (left hand covering clasped rights), the Booster Shot (punch or clasp of gripping arm with left hand), or the Pathway to Intimacy (shake into hug). These all begin as the Standard Handshake. Other variants are different from start to finish. The Soul Grab or Reverse Grip is nice, that's the fingers up one that feels very 70's (see Predator for a great example early on). There's the Fist Bump, which is frequently congratulatory, and the High Five, more celebratory. Don't bother with the Warrior's Bond (hands grasp forearms) unless you are an actual warrior or you will look like an ass. With all this variety, there's bound to be misunderstandings. And there are indeed misunderstandings.

Sometimes you and your Shake-Friend have different ideas. For example, you wanted a Soul Grab, (s)he wanted a Fist Bump. Your attempts at Grabbing and Fisting fail. Awkward beat, then you try to correct to what (s)he had proferred... as they do to your initial offering. Reverse failure! Oh no! More than 5 corrections should end in tears. More than 8 in a public apology. More than 10, seppuku.

I mentioned earlier a nightmare variant of the Wet Noodle. I call it the Stefan, after Stefan Kinkajou, a fraternity brother of mine. Now, maybe he thought that because he was gay, this was OK (I have no such prejudice, equal handshakes for all!) but his handshake style was to offer his hand, completely limp, palm/fingers down. As if I should lightly hold his fingers, and perhaps curtsy. The Stefan is acceptable in two situations: 1) You are an elderly woman from Victorian England. 2) You have suffered a stroke and have partial paralysis in your hand, leaving this your only option. That's it. No other exceptions. But Stefan insisted on offering the Stefan to all. Any attempts to correct it into a Standard Handshake resulted in a judgmental glare.

It was Andrew Kazakhstan who followed the Stefan to its logical conclusion. He wondered aloud one day what would happen if Stefan was to meet a second Stefan. They would both offer the Stefan (handshake). This is the worst possible handshake of all: Stefarmageddon. It is two people, hands limp, bumping the backs of their hands together while their fingers dangle uselessly. Don't let it happen. Do your part to keep Stefarmageddon only a theory. We'll all be better for it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love and Death in Skyrim

Back in early December, Tracy Allvis gave me a six-month anniversary (semianniversary?) present - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for XBox360. Now, I had never played an Elder Scrolls game before. I had heard through various geeky channels that Skyrim was a massive, gorgeous fantasy RPG with insane customization and a nearly infinite world of places to go and things to do. I'd also heard it was thoroughly addictive. Tracy was told as much when she purchased the game for me, warned she would become a "Skyrim widow", one of many significant others of nerds who found more and more of their time spent in Skyrim (the name of the continent on which the game is set, as well as the subtitle of the game itself).

The rumors were right. This game is ENORMOUS, and it is extraordinarily addictive. While I am able to limit my play time enough to not shirk work or boyfriendly duties, I have nonetheless logged many, many hours of my free time into Skyrim in the past couple of months, and have really only done 1/4 to 1/3 of the things to do in this game. This is partially because of the sheer amount of stuff to do, but also because of the way the game gives you minimal prodding to do anything in particular. If I want to spend 20 minutes trying to glitch-hop my way up a mountain for no reason, the game lets me. If I want to run around stealing food items and cooking them into different food items, I can. What's that? Dragons are attacking and there's a civil war and the world is in jeopardy? Sorry, no time for that, I'm trying to catch this firefly now.

As part of the immense openness of the game, there are numerous NPC's with whom you can form various relationships. Including romantic relationships. In Skyrim, I am a married man. This is hilarious. Not because marriage is inherently hilarious (it's not), nor even because video game marriage is inherently hilarious (it is), but because this game's conception of romance is ludicrous. Here is my tale of hearts intertwining (photos are not screencaps of my actual game and characters, but rather shots pulled from the web that were close enough).

My wife is a merchant. I like her because she has red hair and is not racist to the cat people. When we met, she was having trouble finding mammoth tusks. I found her some mammoth tusks. From that point on, every time I saw her in town, she would flirt with me and/or buy Sleeping Tree Sap from me. Later, I bought a necklace at a church in a different town. The next time I spoke to her, while wearing the necklace, she pretty much immediately asked me if I wanted to ask her to marry me. Just like that. I went back to the other town, set up the ceremony, slept at an inn until it was time, and headed to the church.

Ysolda, AKA the future Mrs. Remus the Breton

It was time for the wedding. About 10 real-world minutes after the engagement. Which occurred after a grand total of probably 15 interactions, most of them business. Here is what I wore to the wedding:

I spent hours crafting and enchanting this shit, like I'm gonna take it off for some WEDDING!
But I decided it all felt a little... forced. It was all happening too fast. I needed some tradition. I needed a Best Man. And who better to be my Best Man than my constant quest companion/servant/carrier of heavy stuff. Her name is Lydia. Lydia has cleaved more heads with axes to protect me (even when I don't want her to) than I can count. And sometimes I shoot her with my magic bow by accident when she runs in front of me and then she dies and I curse and reload my last save file. Because I am progressive and awesome, I am OK with a woman being my best man. This is what Lydia wears, and indeed, what she wore to the wedding:

Darth Vader + Boobs = My Best Man
But I couldn't find her. I don't know where she was. She usually is directly behind me, especially when I've entered a tiny room and want to back out of the door, wondering what me SPRINTING in place in her direction means in terms of whether she should move or not. But on my wedding day, the most important 3 minutes of my life in Skyrim so far, she was nowhere to be found. I knew she wasn't dead, just missing. Maybe she was jealous I was marrying another woman after she'd literally died for me repeatedly and hauled a metric fuckton of heavy dragon bones all over the continent for me. Fair enough. I'd need a different best man, though. Lucky for me, I am a conjurer:

OK, I had my 2nd string Best Man, it was time to get married. So I got married. There was like a 60-second scene of a priest guy talking, then we were married. There were some rings. My wife asked if she wanted me to move in with her or vice versa (she moved in with me, I had too much stuff to move out). And it turns out Lydia did come to my wedding, she must have been in the back, giving her tacit approval to my happiness without her (she is still my battle partner/servant/quest friend). Now my wife lives in my house and gives me money sometimes and cooks meals if I ask. I don't know if we've consummated our marriage, the game is fuzzy on that detail.

But not all in Skyrim is love(ish?) and roses (I have not seen a single rose in this game, to my knowledge). Sometimes life events are of a harsher nature. One time, I stole a horse. Well, stole is kind of a strong word I guess. I stole him for somebody else, along with some pedigree papers or something. I think he was stolen to begin with. I don't know, I just follow the arrows on the map. Anyway, when I went to bring Frost (that is the horse's name) back to the guy who wanted me to steal it, an option came up to persuade him to fuck off and let me keep the horse. That sounded good, so I tried that. And then Frost was my horse.

Death on four hooves
Frost was a great horse, and rather than run from danger, he would actively assault my foes. The best was when I was hiding and firing arrows into a fort, trying to snipe off enemy bandits, and then Frost took off. I thought he was running away. Quite the opposite. He ran into the fortress. I got worried. Then I saw him, on the battlements, kicking the shit out of an enemy. He ran INSIDE AND UP THE STAIRS to mess dudes up for me. That is a true horse friend.

Sometimes Frost died too, and I would reload and save him. But recently, the magical college in which I am enrolled went all wonky and the neighboring town was attacked by magic ghost comet things. I forgot I had left Frost in the town, and when I rushed back to fight these dudes, which were FAR harder to kill than they looked, I noticed like half of them weren't there in the town (I had to kill 10, 5 were unaccounted for). I followed my radar thing to the road out of town.

Frost was bravely, desperately fighting all 5 of them himself. It was a hopeless battle, and he fell. It had been way too long since my last save, so I finally opted to not reload to get him back. I was sad, and I mournfully avenged my loyal horse warrior by destroying the magic ghost comets with a vengeance. RIP Frost, you died as you lived: kicking the living shit out of bad guys.

Oh, but the messed up part? When I checked his corpse to make sure he was really gone, the game gave me the option of removing one horse hide from his inventory. "Where was he carrying a- oh, no. No way." I opted not to skin my horse friend. His body lies in state, frozen and ageless on the road out of Winterhold. I'll visit some time and try to set up a shrine of dropped belongings. This is what passes for respect for the dead in Skyrim.