Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stray Dog Saga Part III


I'm still in the park with the Dog.

He's eaten all of the lemon-pepper chicken (except the bones which I picked out because I read somewhere chicken bones are bad for dogs), and shown no signs of willingly clambering into the Jeep anytime this decade.

Who's the suckah now, huh?

Good news is he seems to be developing a much more trusting attitude towards me. No tail-wagging yet and he's still pretty twitchy. He demonstrates this when I go to chuck the ice cream cup/ water dish in the garbage. As I threw it basketball-style into the trash can, he crouched down, ears flat, and scampered off with his tail tucked. It took me ten minutes to coax him back over.

Where is the freaking Dog Whisperer when you need him?

I will say this for Dog, he is excruciatingly polite. Even though he's obviously starving (noted previously), he waits patiently for me to debone the chicken, gently taking each morsel from my fingers without accidentally biting off any of my digits with his giant fangs.

By now it's been a couple of hours. The sun is lowering in the west and the temperature has dropped to a cool 102degrees. I have resorted to prayer. If there is no divine intervention, both of us are going to die from dehydration. That's if we don't succumb to heat stroke first.

If there is a god/goddess/patron saint of dogs out there, give us a hand would you?

A truck with a mom and three boisterous young children pulls up.


Thanks for nothing, Patron Saint of Sucks Ass. This is exactly the opposite of what I need right now.

Not wanting to risk someone shooting first and asking questions later, I approach the young mother and explain the situation. She is so sympathetic I want to cry. While the kids wait in the air-conditioned truck, she grabs a length of rope from the back. I loop it loosely around the dog's neck, and with me tugging the rope from my position in the the driver's seat and her giving him a gentle boost from the rear, we get him into the vehicle.

Where he promptly devourers all the chicken bones I'd picked out AND the napkin they were wrapped in. Oh well. Chicken bones are the least of our problems.

I'm going to need to offer serious reparation to some divinities later for that sucks ass comment.

Pretty sure there's a lesson in there someplace.

I thank our rescuer profusely (and thank the Patron Saint of Canines silently), and then slowly and carefully drive away. The last thing I need is a big, freaked-out dog in my lap as I'm driving down the highway. The ride to Holly House is interesting, but suffice it to say we both arrive whole and profoundly relieved to get out of the car once we reach our destination.

Now Dog is stuck like glue. Where I go, he goes. I am not to be let out of his sight for any reason.

Such is the bond created by lemon-pepper chicken.

I feed him some kibble topped with a little of the meat and gravy product. That finally gets a meager tail wag. He drinks and drinks and drinks from a bowl of cold water while I envision puddles of pee-pee all over the place in the morning. I don't even know if dog is housebroken, but I can't leave him outside because #1.) I don't have a fenced yard (it is on my July to do list ), and #2.) my next door neighbor is not an animal lover and has been seen weeding his garden with a .45 strapped to his hip.

Just in case he encounters a rogue turnip.

I make Dog a bed in the laundry room using the door mat and a couple of old towels. Meanwhile the Cat, shut in the house on the other side of the laundry room door, is making his "Hello? Hello? Is someone in there?" meow. Dog shows an unwholesome interest in the cat sounds. I wonder about some of the scratches around his nose... perhaps made by a cat that wasn't willing snackage? I make a note to keep them separated for now.

He catches on to the whole dogbed concept quickly. Even though he still won't lay down, with a little encouragement he does finally sit. His legs are trembling. It's either a result of exhaustion or he's coming down off the adrenaline rush caused from the ride in the Jeep. Probably a little bit of both. I know I'm experiencing both.

I turn off the laundry room lights and back out the door closing it firmly. Watching me retreat, Dog make nary a peep. I sit on the couch and watch a few minutes of the 10 o'clock news and wake up a few hours later. Tip-toeing to the laundry room door, I crack it open. Dog is stretched out on his makeshift bed fast asleep.

Amazing recuperative powers, dogs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stray Dog Saga Part II


I'm in a deserted park with a large, fangy, starving, jacked-up stray dog of questionable character trying to decide my next move. I can't leave him. That's not an option. I've tried to coax him into jumping into the Jeep, and he's having none of that. I have no food to give him, though I did have a 27oz. Klean Kanteen full of clean water, which he's already slurped up out of an empty ice-cream cup.

He's panting at a rate where I begin to wonder if dogs can hyperventilate, but then again so am I. It's a blistering 105 degrees. The weather is fit for neither man nor beast.

And here the two of us are.


He won't sit or lie down, but paces back and forth continuously. He does pause occasionally to let me rub my hand over his scab-covered scalp. Dog is obviously stressed. Even a cat-person such as myself can see that much.

"Listen. You're going to have to get in the car so I can take you to the shelter," I say to him. "There will be food and water and toys and all sorts of wonderful dogs to play with. It's a doggy dream come true." As long as you don't take into account the whole euthanasia thing. 

If he'd have had eyebrows one of them would have been raised skeptically.

"OK, OK. You're not into that. I get it. But if you want to come to my house you have to get in the vehicle. It's too far to walk. In this weather we'll be reduced to skeletal remains picked over by buzzards in a matter of an hour."

He continues to pace.

Pace, pace, pause. Pace, pace, pause.

"There's a chicken in it for you. What do you say?"

A young couple dressed in shorts and running shoes come strolling up the path toward the park. The dog visibly tenses. Uh-oh.

I get up from the picnic table and walk towards them. The Dog stays behind, controlling his flight or fight instinct. "Do you guys live around here? I found a stray dog and thought it might belong to someone nearby."

They've walked over from an apartment complex down the street and neither recognize the Dog. Not that I expect them to. He's been dumped. I'm sure of it. After they get a look at him, they're sure of it, too.

We come to a consensus that people suck.

The girl leans down to pet him, which he allows with minimal flinching. Her male companion, noting the Dog's starved and scarred state, says, "Wow. He's seen better days, hasn't he?"

We chat for a while about what I should do. Girlfriend, a soft-hearted sort, tries to convince Boyfriend to take the Dog. I dare to hope for a moment, but he thinks it a bad idea. He lives in an apartment. He's also more of a cat person.

I call the shelter. They're closed.

We debate the wisdom of trying to man-handle the Dog into my vehicle. We get him to the open door, but when Boyfriend begins to act like he's going to lift him, the mood turns ominous. There is no growling, nothing overtly threatening, but a few dark clouds roll in front of the sun, so to speak. Boyfriend decides not to follow through with Plan A.

I don't blame him. I would want to keep my face intact, too.

Plan B: Somehow I convince the kind souls to stay with the Dog while I go to the grocery to find some a treat tempting enough to coerce an unwilling dog into a waiting vehicle. Might as well get something to eat myself since I'm going to be spending the night in the park, at this rate.

"I swear that I'll be back," I tell them. "I promise I won't drive off yelling SUCKAHS!!"

They laugh. However, I can sense their doubt. Why is everyone so mistrusting of me all of a sudden?

At the store I race down the pet aisle grabbing a small bag of kibble, a can of gravy-smothered meat product, and a bag of wavy bakey treats. Just to make sure I have all my bases covered, I pick up a half of a lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken.

I don't know how dogs feel about lemon-pepper, but it was either that or chipolte.

The couple is relieved to see me. At least Boyfriend is. It seems in the short time I was gone, Girlfriend has both leveled both barrels of her feminine wiles on Boyfriend and nearly has him convinced that he's taking the Dog home. He shoots me the desperate look of a drowning man.

Dog is impassive. Until he smells lemon-pepper chicken. Then he becomes a little more excited about my reappearance on the scene.

I take pity on Boyfriend. I tell the couple to go ahead and finish their walk. It's not a big deal. Really. I'm sure to get the Dog in the vehicle with the promise of food. No dog on earth can resist rotisserie chicken. Everything will be fine. I assure them repeatedly that I won't leave the Dog. I swear to it on several holy books. I thank them both.

Boyfriend drags reluctant Girlfriend away.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stray Dog Saga Part I

Yesterday, as I was driving into town using the shortcut that takes me past the park where I occassionally catch a rare glimpse of Swinging Girl, I noticed a dog.

Normally I don't notice dogs.

I'm more of a cat person.

The first reason I notice this dog is because he was all alone. There were no people in the park and there were no cars in the lot.

The second reason was that it is 105degrees (not exaggerating) and he is sitting out in the sun next to a water spigot that had collected enough runoff to manage a decent-sized puddle. It is probably the only standing water in a tri-state area, given the temperature around here recently.

Fill in your favorite curse word here! I think to myself. Someone has tied their dog up in a public park while they go for a run. God, people SUCK.

I make up my mind that if the dog is still there after I run my errand, I'm dognapping him and taking him to the local shelter. Sorry people, but you can't leave you pets like that and not expect me to take action.

I fervently hope that he isn't going to be there when I come back by.

He is.

I pull over and open my door to get a better look. He stands up slowly, half-covered in dried mud, and gives me a suspicious once-over. He's not tied up like I initially thought. He doesn't have a collar either. He's a good-sized dog, with a big wedge head and a thick chest narrowing to thin hips and a whip tail. There's none of the standard waggy-waggy happy doggy behavior from this bloke.

We eyeball each other from a distance.

Not hostile, but not exactly friendly either.

I decide not to get out of the vehicle.

"Hi there nice doggy-dog. Are you all alone in the park today?" I say in a sing-song tone.

That sounds creepy even to me, like weirdo flasher guy with candy for the kiddies. But the dog doesn't seem to find it strange. He takes a couple of steps in my direction and stops. I drop the sing-song voice. No need to be insulting.

"Where's your owner? Do your people live around here somewhere?"

A few more steps toward me. Stops.

"So, uh, what have you been up to today? Looks like you've had a roll in the mud. Good times, yeah?"

Couple more steps. Oo. *Nervous chuckle* He's actually bigger than I thought.

"Man, I hope you aren't mean. You look like you could take an arm off. You don't have rabies or anything do you? "

Now he's actually a few feet away from the open door of my vehicle, and I'm replaying Cujo in my head.

"I sincerely hope we can be friends and reach a mutual understanding that there is no need to tear anyone's throat out. What do you think? You down with that?"

He stretches his giant, fang-filled head towards me and cautiously sniffs the tip of my tennis shoe. I must have passed his test or something because when I sloooooooowly reach down to pet him he doesn't eat me. A few minutes later, we're sitting in the shade at one of the picnic tables. He's drinking clean water out of an empty ice-cream cup as I give him an inspection.

Face and head show signs of being bitten and deeply scratched. A  few of the wounds have started to scab over and others are still open. It was probably a fight where you should see the other guy, because only the winners manage to keep all of their ears. His ears are still intact, though mite-infested. Check.

Ribs standing out and visible through his short coat? Check.

Hip bones sharp and protruding? Check.

All his boy bits still in place? Check

Ticks? Check.

Fleas? Check.

Ear mites? Check.

Worms? Probably.

Eyes? Clear, intelligent, but wary. Check.

Teeth? Uuuuuhhh... Yup. Very big, very sharp, very gleaming white. Probably the healthiest thing about him. Checkity-check-check.


Well, now what?

Friday, June 24, 2011

What is Going On?

I got up late. The alarm either didn't go off, or I was so dead to the world that I slept through it. Twice.

The clothes I'd thrown in the clothes dryer last night planning to wear today were still wet. I never turned the dryer on.

As I started to pour Beckett's kibble, I noticed several remaining cat food fragments at the bottom of his bowl were moving. Upon closer inspection I realized each piece was covered with millions of teeny tiny ants. I followed the dark line of tiny troops across the tile and to the spot where they were streaming in under the trim in the back room.

I believe it's called an infestation.

My mascara is MIA. I turn out my purse, gym bag, and car floor mats and I still can't find it. I resign myself to going to work with beady, unmascaraed, piggy eyes.

The last bagel, the only bread in the entire house, burnt to a cinder in the toaster setting off the smoke alarm while I was upstairs drying my hair. Not a problem. I threw the bagel out into the backyard for the birds, who happen to love burnt bakery items of any sort, and raised the windows to let out the smoke. As I picked up my cup of tea and my plate and turned to take them to the table, both of my eggs slid off the plate and into the floor.

OK. What the hell??!

I went to the cards. Here's what I got...

I need to increase my focus by being more present in the now. No looking off and contemplating the future with dreamy eyes. Center and ground. No daydreaming. Focus, focus, focus. I should probably meditate at lunch for a few minutes. It doesn't help that I haven't gotten any vitamin D this week. Time to get outside a bit today (even if it's hot as the hubs of hell), and take in some sunshine. Don't let this morning set the tone for the rest of your day. It'll be fine.

Whew. Good to know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dr. Horrible Is Magical

I can't believe I claimed to be a Joss Whedon fan yet had never seen Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

That is, until last night.

After reading a recent post where I listed The Guild among my favorite stuff at the moment, my friend and fellow blogger, Courtney, suggested I watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (henceforth to be referred to in this post as DHS-AB so I don't get carpal tunnel). I have no excuse as to why I hadn't watched it. It's been popping up on my Netflix recommendations for a while. It had a whole cast of my favorite actors and writers/directors. I had it in my queue... at number 258. I might have gotten to it. Eventually. Maybe

Courtney insisted I watch it and sent me home with her personal copy.

But until last night, the wonders of DHS-AB remained locked within its DVD case.

Premise: Mad scientist wannabe (less on the mad, more on the geek) Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) vlogs his attempts to gain enough notoriety to be asked to join the Evil League of Evil. Time and time again his nefarious plans have been thwarted by Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), local superhero and all-around megalomaniacal a-hole. Dr. Horrible finally reaches his breaking point when Captain Hammer puts the moves on his laundromat crush, the doe-eyed do-gooder, Penny (Felicia Day).

The metamorphosis of the superhero - or in this case, the supervillain - is fascinating subject matter. The movie Unbreakable (stop making the yuck face) isn't a popular favorite with the cinema-going public, but it ranks in my Top 10.

Oh, and be prepared. DHS-AB has singing. Lots of singing. Some people get scared when characters periodically break out into song. I, on the other hand, wish it happened more in real life.

I was confident in Whedon's ability to pull off a musical number. The musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More With Feeling", is still one of my all-time favorites episodes of the entire series. I knew Felicia Day could sing because of the music videos she'd done in The Guild. Neil Patrick Harris had starred in an episode of Glee and I'd seen bits and pieces of his other musical roles. The big surprise, for me, was Nathan Fillion. I wouldn't have thought him capable of carrying a tune in a bucket. I'm pleased to admit I was wrong.

Where that impression came from is anyone's guess. Maybe his square jaw and ruggedly handsome good looks threw me off.

As far as the quality of voices and the songs themselves, DHS-AB outshines BtVS. Sorry Buffy-Once-More-With-Feeling fans. I was one of you once.

My favorite number was "My Eyes".

As a whole, DHS-AB was brilliant. Mad-scientist brilliant. I laughed, I cried, and I ordered my own copy off Amazon. I am now more in love with Joss Whedon than before, if that's even possible.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spooky Little Girl - A Book Review

(***This review contains a minor spoiler)

Is it fair to review a book that I didn't even finish? I debated it for a nano-second before I decided it's my blog and I'll review if I want to (review if I want to, review if I want to).

I used to be one of those readers that if I began a book it was a point of pride for me to complete it cover-to-cover come hell, high water, or writing so bad it reduced your I.Q. with every chapter you completed.

Then I decided life is too short and some things are too painful not to avoid if one has a choice in the matter.

Laurie Notaro is on my list of favorite authors for her semi-autobiographical Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club books, mainly because a few of the vignettes made me laugh until I cried. Humor - I love it. If you doubt me, take a look at the track record of funny, ugly guys that I've dated.

You had me at HarHar.

I awaited Notaro's first foray into fiction with excited anticipation. Spooky Little Girl's premise sounded like reading I would enjoy since I have a penchant for paranormal fiction and urban fantasy. When it arrived on my Kindle, I set aside a portion of a weekend to read it.

After a couple of chapters, I decided to clean house. And you know how much I hate to do that.

Later that evening, I picked it up again, finished another chapter, and went to bed early. Not a good sign. On a free weekend, if I am not up until the wee hours of the morning, clutching the book and chanting "one more page, one more page..." the odds are against the book getting finished.

The writing was clunky and there were chunks missing like roofied memories. I found myself re-reading paragraphs more than once because I lost track of who was speaking, or where they were, or the story wasn't advancing. It didn't help that I didn't like the main character. She was weak. I understand that weakness, foibles, and imperfections are part of being human and establishing a realistic and sympathetic protagonist, but she came across as someone with a victim mentality.

Whiners bug me. Yeah, bad things happen. There are events that occur that are not within your control. Your life goes to crap. Kick a can or two. Call your friends for moral support. Find a shoulder to cry on. But there comes a time when you stop your poor-poor-beleaguered-me moaning and get on with it.

(****SPOILER contained in the following paragraph**** Avert your eyes)

(Seriously?! If I get back from vacay and AssholeBoyfriend has thrown all my crap out on the lawn, changed the locks with no explanation, and is holding my dog hostage, I am going to go all Waiting To Exhale. Lock up my dog, will you?! Dude's going to come home to a kicked in front door and a car that "just spontaneously caught fire, officer.")

Those first few chapters were very muddled. For me, it all eventually bogged down and the whole flow of the story ground to a halt. Even though I read until I reached the major turning point in the plot, I still wasn't interested enough to want to continue.

Since that time, I've thought about the book often. Perhaps I didn't give Spooky Little Girl the shot it deserved. Maybe it gets better in later chapters. Maybe it will get funny. Maybe I'll stop being annoyed and rolling my eyes at the pathetic antics of the main character. Maybe, maybe, maybe... As my life ticks on and the title gets pushed onto the second and third page on my kindle books list I think about it less and less. I'm afraid Spooky Little Girl is destined to finally fade and blow away like a wisp of ghostly smoke.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stuff I Think is Cool - Peg People and The Guild

Now for another episode of "Random Sh*t I Think is Awesome"...

Just when you thought you were too old to play with action-figures and dolls, you stumble across a shop like Randomly Generated. Shop owner and Scotland resident, Jen, paints each peg person with a steady hand and a sharp eye for detail.

Despite the fact that they don't have any discernible facial features other than their button eyes (and maybe some facial hair, as in the case below), there is no doubt who the Peg People are.

One Ring to rule them all...

You have to be flying your geek flag high to appreciate the fact that she re-creates not only entire casts of popular films and television series, but also those only appreciated by true geekdom connoisseurs. 

Now I don't have to be sad that Firefly was cancelled. I have the entire crew of Serenity on my desk! From left to right: Mal, Inara, Wash, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, River and Shepherd

I saved the best for last...

It's the Who's Who of  Dr. Who. All the actors who have portrayed the many regenerations of Dr. Who are represented: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant (my personal fave) and Matt Smith.

I may send Jen a special request for Peg People versions of the members of the web series, The Guild. Which, thanks to that brilliant segue, brings me to the second item on my Random Sh*t I Think is Awesome List - each and every webisode of The Guild.

If you are a geek, nerd, Trekker, Star Wars fan, Comic-con attendee, casual/hardcore/true/role-playing gamer, or just someone who can appreciate scimitar-sharp wit and cutting humor produced with a no-name cast and a so-small-as-to-be-non-existent budget, then you will love "The Guild".  The premise: The RPG members of an online guild, The Knights of Good, meet each other in person for the first time in the harsh light of day, sans their avatars. Hilarity ensues.

Watch them in order to see the gang evolve from shut-ins and loners into friends and frenemies. You can catch all the webisodes on The Guild website and YouTube. I prefer getting them on Netflix because the extras are just as entertaining as the webisodes. Not to mention there are a couple of brilliant music videos included, (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar and Game On. I found myself humming the tunes for days after.

Felicia Day is one of the unrecognized (but not for long) genius comediennes of our time. She is my hero. Game on, Codex!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NahNahNah I'm Not Listening - A Moleskine Doodle

Any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, is coincidental. That's my story, in case the lawyer asks.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Holly House Diaries - Stooges-esque Disaster Day

Stop helping.

Just stop.

No seriously. STOP. HELPING.

I know you are well-intentioned (Why, hello there shiny, gold-paved road to Hell!), but when you help chaos and destruction follow in your wake. You are like the Four Horsemen rolled up into a single individual. Minus the Famine. But give it time. It's probably just one of your superpowers that hasn't developed yet.

No, the universe is not responsible.

No, it is not just bad luck.

It is a matter of you not listening to anyone, no matter how loud they are screaming "LEFT!!! LEFT!! NO, YOUR OTHER LEFT!!! STOP!! OK, STOP!! APPLY THE BRAKE!! STOP THE F*CKING TRUCK!! OH FOR CHRISTSSAKE..."

CRASH! BOOM! Tinkle, tinkle, tickle, rattle...

This was a functioning water spigot until it was run over by a truck.
It also doesn't help that you always know best.

I get it. I do. It's nice to be right.

You do have a lot of experience, true.

Yes, you have probably forgotten more than I have ever known about anything at any point in time.

But that doesn't exclude everyone else from having an occasional correct statement that is contrary to your own. For instance, when I said, "I checked this out with a stud finder and there isn't anything but drywall behind here. Oh. Oh. You're going to drill anyway. Oh... um, OK. Well. Oh. You're going to try again in a different spot. Nothing? Um... Maybe I should get the studfinder and just... Oh, great. Random giant hole number four. Fantastic. You know that these have to be patched, right? So let's try again shall we? Huh. What a shock. Still nothing? REALLY??!! MAYBE IT WOULD HELP IF I JUST BANG MY FOREHEAD ALONG THE WALL UNTIL I FIND A STUD, SHALL I??!"

CRASH! BOOM! Tinkle, tinkle, tickle, rattle...

Just to satisfy my curiosity, where are these huge piles of dirt coming from? And why do you keep leaving them for me like gifts of dead birds left on the doorstep by my cat? I come home and there is another random pile of dirt. Please, no more dirt unless I can dig in it and find diamonds.

The neighbors think I'm shooting a remake of Close Encounters
Sadly, for most of the recent Holly House... let's just call them setbacks... I have not been home. Pulling up in the driveway after a brutal day at work to see the destruction at Ground Zero when everything was fine and functioning brilliantly when you left earlier that morning is decidedly worse than being present when it actually happens. 

As I got out of my vehicle in a state of shock and mutely waved a hand at what used to be my backyard, you sat on tractor/backhoe/Implement of Destruction, laughed, and said "Man, have I got a story to tell you..."

No jury in the world would have convicted me.

One of the many Implements of Destruction and another Random Pile of Dirt
It will go down in my memoirs as my proudest moment of self-restraint when I simply unlocked the back door, entered the house, went upstairs, laid down on the bed in my work clothes, and waited for you to leave. You cannot fight the Horsemen. You can only wait for them to pass over.

Or you can install an eight-foot, electrified, razor-wire topped fence around the property.

I'm considering it.