From the monthly archives:

February 2008

Appetizer: Who was the last person you hugged?
My father when he arrived yesterday. Shepherd was nipping excitedly at his feet the whole time and my father pointed at him and said “What’s that cat’s name?” I replied, “His name is Shepherd Pye, he’s a dog and he’s also your Grandson”. “Oh!” he replied and laughed. Dad thinks the puppies are hilarious, and Mom is genuinely crazy about them. I knew in my bones that having the whelps here would be good for both of them, and if yesterday was any indication – I was right.

Soup: Share a beauty or grooming trick or tip with us.
Don’t wait until someone remarks upon them to trim your nose hairs. We’re all getting older, boys.

Salad: What does the color yellow make you think of?
The first new Volkswagen I ever rode in. Incidentally, it was the very first one ever in England. Omar, one of the slightly dodgy “car dealers” who used to hang out at the Hinds Head, took me for a spin. Much to the chagrin of everyone else in the pub who wanted a ride as well. Or, more likely, for me to serve them another pint. Those guys were great when they weren’t hitting on my girlfriend.

Main Course: If you were to make your living as a photographer, what subject would your pictures revolve around?
I saw a book once of 19th century crime scene photos which I really dug. I leafed through the whole thing right in the store. Short of building a time machine that wouldn’t work, but my answer would have to be something as equally fascinating for me. So, in a word, porn.

Dessert: What was the longest book you ever read?
The third to last book I read, Brother Fish, took me months to finish. At 800 pages it’s on the long side, but it’s hardly the Winds of War. I just wasn’t into reading that much over the summer. I’m on a Canadian history kick at the moment, and am currently reading National Dreams – the thesis of which is that many Canadian Myths are just that. The valor of the RCMP, the CPR as a nation building catalyst, the ideology of the canoe, etc. I’m enjoying the heck out of it but it’s very lefty and almost facetious in the way it strives to break down absolutely everything this country holds dear and I’m keeping that well in mind. I went to high school in the States so I have a lot to learn in terms of the Great White North’s past.

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Sixteen Candles to Make the House Smell Better

by Dave on February 28, 2008

in

My Mother just called me and they are already in Syracuse. They will be here at the house in Canada in about three hours – which is a lot earlier than I had anticipated. I have a hell of a lot of laundry and general cleaning up to do in that short period of time. A hell of a lot. I feel like I’m in high school again, scrambling to put the house back together after consecutive Friday and Saturday night benders while my folks were on vacation. Wish me luck, and I’ll see you tomorrow for a dandy of a quizzlet.

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JV On Dogs

by Dave on February 26, 2008

in Animalistic

There are very few things JV isn’t an expert on. Just ask him if you don’t believe me. He left a great comment regarding my puppy training article that a lot of you won’t see unless you backtrack and sniff around, so I am going to repost it here as a main article. His advice is funny, blunt and accurate…

“Caesar (Dog Whisperer) is the man. Pretty simple message every show. A little common sense, a lot of exercise & dominance cures all. As a dude who goes to the city’s biggest yuppie dog park and watches many a disobedient dog/stupid handler I suggest 2 commands must be taught in order for you to not be an idiot yuppie dog owner:

1-COME, If your dog doesn’t come 100% of the time when you call it you’re an idiot. Shep should also respond to a whistle command to come or at least get a bearing on you. fastest way to train this command? Find a dog treat they luv and never give it to them – ever – unless they are properly executing the command. Dogs should only be rewarded with things they want (treats, effection) when they are doing what they’re supposed to. Only idiots give there young dogs rewards for being cute or soiling your home… at least during their prime training months.

2-NO, If you can’t get your dog to immediately stop whatever its doing, freeze in its tracks and look back at you waiting for the green light you’re an idiot.

I say “you’re an idiot” because the dog obviously only knows what you teach it and without these 2 commands hard wired there’s a good chance it will do something stupid i.e. somehow put itself in harms way… which is your fault. The next commands for non-idiot dog handlers are sit, down, stay, heel and lick the peanut butter off my…

If you can get your dog to walk beside or behind you and mirror your movements off-leash you will be a dog master. Nothing is more gratifying than having your dog listen to you because as you eventually marry and have kids the dog will eventually be the only one listening to you.”

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Just in time for the Oscars I am very proud to release my latest puppy masterpiece, No Country for Croaky Frog. You’ll watch with glee as Jim Morrison, Will Ferrell and the Coen Brothers are all whimsically exploited for my own personal amusement. Or not.

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Oscar Predictions – There Will be Coens

by Dave on February 24, 2008

in Movies

The Oscars have been thoroughly uninteresting to me for many years and I haven’t watched the ceremony in as long as I can remember. Tonight is a different story as it has been a monumental year for the movies and for once, I’m very much looking forward to watching. Here are my personal predictions…

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men – I preferred There Will Be Blood, but the handwriting is on the wall for this one. The Academy is going to vote for the Coens. Right

Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis – Absolutely incredible performance, and having to choose between Daniel and Viggo just isn’t fair. Bad timing, Mr. Mortgensen – but excellent job. If anyone either than these two go home with the little gold man it will be a huge miscarriage. Right

Best Actress: Julie Christie is going to win and deserves to, but Cate Blanchett was superb as well. I think it’s amazing that Ellen Page, a Canadian underdog who started her career as Mr. Lahey’s daughter on the Trailer Park Boys, has had the year she’s had – but alzheimer’s is going to trump teen sarcasm. She’s got lots of time. Wrong

Supporting Actor: This is the category I am least certain of, but my money is on Javier Bardem. I was very impressed by Casey Affleck but I think he’s going to have trouble getting past the Coen juggernaut this year. Right

Supporting Actress: I haven’t seen the Bob Dylan movie, but I predict Blanchett will take the Oscar she didn’t get for Best Actress here. The Academy is comprised of human beings ticking boxes, and sentimentality is how people win the award sometimes. Wrong

Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson – There is a damn good reason Mr. Anderson has been nominated 5 times previously, and I think this is going to be his year. His work on TWBB still gives me shivers after 3 viewings and the universe he’s created is the best we saw last year. Wrong – Travesty

They’ll definitely throw Juno a bone for original screenplay (Right), and the Bourne Ultimatum will clean up in the sound and visual editing categories (Right). Visual effects will go to Transformers (Wrong), and makeup will be Norbit (Wrong). I love the fact that Norbit is going to win an Oscar tonight. And as far as documentaries go, I don’t think Michael Moore is going to win (Right) as much as I hope forms a Nevada LLC and is then decapitated in a car accident on the way there. Happy viewing! Go Daniel!

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Puppy Updates and Pictures

by Dave on February 21, 2008

in Animalistic

Are you sick of hearing me talk about my wee pups yet? If so, I can hardly blame you. I swear I will stop as soon as I get about $500 in PetSmart gift cards in the mail. As that isn’t going to happen, you’ll have to humor me. I’ll keep it short.

There’s a couple of new galleries live if you’d like to look in on Winter in Portland or my most recent puppy pics. They are growing like weeds, picking up a good portion of what I’m trying to teach them, as I pick up good portions of doodie, and I cannot wait until it gets warmer so I can take them outside more frequently. Boston Terriers have such thin coats that I can only take them out once or twice a day for very short periods of time. That’s it for me this evening. Stay tuned for a quizzlet tomorrow and a healthy dose of home pup videos over the weekend.

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“Has the backlash started yet?” – YouTube Commenter

I may ultimately regret writing about Vampire Weekend for two reasons: 1) They are being championed by MTV and that just reeks of impending doom, disaster and uncoolness. 2) Their video for A-Punk is very, very OK Go-ish. That having been said, I am currently spinning the heck out of their debut album for three reasons:

  1. They fully understand and appreciate the genius of Ray Davies.
  2. They have a keyboardist. Love the keyboards.
  3. They are proof that bloggers can occasionally help break a decent new band as opposed to just constantly deifying the mundane.

I’ll leave it there as I’m still a little skeptical. Cool song and I give them full credit for daring unimaginative people to tell them their name is appropriate because they ‘suck’. Beggar’s Banquest must have a lot of faith for ‘staking’ them. I blame the puppy-related sleep deprivation.

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Puppy Training Truths

by Dave on February 19, 2008

in Animalistic

Janet and I have never had a dog before. It’s not that we didn’t like them, it’s that my father vehemently hated canines so we became cat people by default. The first time I ever learned the word “shit” was probably due to the frequency with which Gord referred to my Grandmother’s dog, Buffy, as a “four-legged shit maker”. Our lack of a dog was never an issue for the younger Pyes. We had hamsters, gerbils, sea monkeys, hermit crabs, fish, guinea pigs and a whole herd of cats. A dog was not missed and I’ve discussed this at length before.

Our decision to get not one but two dogs was made rather quickly around a trailer park propane fire in the midst of a white wine fueled evening in Florida. I’ve never second-guessed the decision and I’m pretty sure my sister hasn’t either. We’ve both read multiple books in preparation and she will be taking over Rhuby-rearing duties from me when she moves up here, permanently, in two weeks. So if that cat wasn’t officially out of the bag in Boston – it is now. I love Rhuby as much as I love Shep. She’s clever, obedient and loveable. But I am looking forward to some one-on-one time with Shep because their training is definitely suffering for two reasons which are very clear to me.

It is extremely difficult to train two puppies at once. The moment you focus your attention on one animal over the other, the odd-dog-out immediately begins doing everything in its puppy power to get that attention back. This can include biting the haunches of the other dog as you’re attempting to work, crying loudly if separated and worrying the other dog so it becomes completely distracted, leaving a huge steaming poo pyramid that would make Imhotep jealous right next to where you’re crouched and attempting to focus, etc. And imagine trying to teach them their names if they are always together. It’s a literal shit show and I don’t want to fall behind.

It is extremely difficult to train puppies when it is 10 below. I had optimistically planned, since I work from home, to have Shep and Rhuby fully house trained by the second week. No such luck. They start shivering like methodone patients as soon as I open the door on the worst Canadian winter in 15 years. And as we live on a lake there is usually a huge gust blowing up the lawn that sounds like the Kraken approaching the house. I’ve gotten Shep to pee on the side deck, which I have cleared off and put puppy pads out on, a couple of times now but Rhuby wants none of it. I think if it were nice outside they’d be chomping at the bit to get out there as often as possible and the toilet training would be all but complete. I may invest in a couple of dog sweaters the next time I am in town.

It’s not all a nightmare – The pups are excelling in several areas. They have never woken me up at night. I think this is due to the fact that they are sleeping together in the same crate, although I have bought two and plan to switch them soon. They have never wet the crate during an overnight confinement. They are respectful of the cat and do not chase it around the way I feared they would. 90% of the pee and 75% of the poo released in the kitchen is done so on the approved puppy pads. They have learned “leave it” and can usually be corrected easily when biting something they shouldn’t be.

I have created a “No-No Can” which was a tip from both a book and my breeder. It’s a Chunky Soup can with the label boiled off, filled with my loose change collection and sealed up with duct tape. It’s noisy as an MF and upon shaking it the puppies immediately stop whatever naughtiness they are perpetuating. I don’t show them the can so they don’t associate the noise with me. “Me chew baby gate, me hear loud sound. Me no chew baby gate, sound go away”. It’s that simple and it works.

So that’s my life as a puppy care giver. I enjoy it but I’m definitely concerned about their training progress. Friday night I was in Best Buy and picked up season one of the Dog Whisperer. Amazing stuff. I certainly welcome all non-Cesar comments and advice too!

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Monday’s Quotelet: Dungeon Dalliances

by Dave on February 18, 2008

in

dungeonmaster

This week on “When Dungeon Masters Attack”: Things get violent when Paul tries to roll a level 7 Paladin armor defense spell out of turn.

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The only thing better than having a puppy is videotaping said creature and then editing music over the various snippets to create a truly mirthful combination of vignettes. I’ve had a lot of silly movie ideas over the past 10 days of puppy parenthood so I decided to edit the best bits together into one piece of celluloid history.

You’ll see that obviously Boss is none to pleased with his new housemates. Octopi feature quite heavily into the production, as do The Carpenters and Jojo. I fully love these little guys and am having a great, albeit smelly, time with them. I’ll probably put together a proper piece on what life is like here at the lake now that these little monsters have taken over my kitchen. Enjoy.

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Mellow… That’s my styyyyyle“.

A friend and I were taking a long drive on Monday with my iPod a’ crankin’. I have an 80 gig model, and putting it on shuffle is like staring into the abyss. You might get Pixies, but then again you might get Jerky Boys. Luckily, we got “Routine” by Urban Dance Squad and a full fledged retro appreciation phase quickly emerged. I knew I had to give Rudeboy Remington and UDS some love on the Wadio this week and I’ve been spinning them a lot in the 3 days since.

Deeper Shade of Soul broke onto the soon to be named alt-rock scene in 1990 and the Dutch band quickly became a hit on half pipes everywhere. The record label’s marketing department immediately jumped all over this demographic as this video will attest – but it’s still a good clip for a great song. UDS was pioneering the mid-90’s rap/rock tragedy from far across the sea when Fred Durst was still getting beaten up in a high school parking lot somewhere.

“Fast Lane” and “No Kid” were the follow up singles from Mental Floss for the Globe, and soon after they released Life ‘n’ Perspectives Of A Genuine Crossover which is my favorite. Solid full length albums are a rare thing, and this record is packed with gems like “Routine”, “For the Plasters”, “Careless” and others. This record didn’t do nearly as well, due in large to their choice of a first single “Bureaucrat Of Flaccostreet”. It’s a very cool tune with some (at the time) revolutionary inclusion of East Indian instruments a’ la George Harrison, but many of the others would have been much easier for the general public to digest. It was also released only a few months after Mental Floss, which was originally recorded in 1989, so that probably caused some confusion and flooding. If you like UDS, and have never heard this record, drop everything and get your hands on a copy.

The band performed at the 2006 editions of the Dutch Lowlands festival and Pukkelpop in Belgium, as well as at the Antwerp music club Petrol. According to what I’ve found it is unlikely that this will lead to a permanent reunion or a new studio album, as these performances were only to support their compilation album Urban Dance Squad: The Singles Collection in 2006. I’m encouraging you to dig in the crates a little bit today, kids. UDS was a great moment in time and a very rare example of, um, Holland having a huge influence on American popular culture. I am quite sure, at one point or another, you too did it all for the nookie.

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My Valentine’s Day Gift to Y’All.

by Dave on February 14, 2008

in Movies

You’re a teacher?” “Part time.”

Come on now. How fucking awesome does this look?

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According to AICN, the long awaited, highly anticipated, masturbated over, exhaustively discussed “teaser trailer” for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will debut Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America and make its way to Yahoo movies, the official site, and theaters shortly thereafter. The teaser is also rumored to be playing in front of this weekend’s big release, The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Teaser trailers are usually only made for big-budget and popularly themed movies. Their purpose is less to tell the audience about a movie’s content than simply to let them know that the movie is coming up in the near future, and to add to the hype of the upcoming release. Teaser trailers are often made while the film is still in production or being edited and as a result they may feature scenes or alternate versions of scenes that are not in the finished film. Teaser trailers today are increasingly focused on internet downloading and the convention circuit. For example, here is my teaser for an upcoming puppy movie currently in post-production entitled “Octopus Attack”.

I need to do a couple of re-shoots, particularly the scene where Shep lays cable when he’s supposed to be running in fear from the beast, but look for it to debut on Veekend Video. Also look for me to be locked up soon by Animal Cops Detroit.

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Monday’s Quotelet: The Scheider House Rules

by Dave on February 11, 2008

in

roy-scheider

Never again would Roy leave a bottle of A1 teetering precariously near the Sea Monkey tank.

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Operation Puppy has gone off so far without a hitch. Shep and Rhuby seem very much at home very fast. Poops and peeps are happening almost exclusively outside or on their mats and they have slept all the way through the night three times without messing their crate or trying to wake me up. This may be because every night before bed we play “Chuckwagon” where I run around the house and they chase me like little bats out of hell.

Feeding time happens 3 times a day and they each get 1/3 of a cup of kibble for a grand total of one cup daily. Obviously, this is always a very important event for a pup so we decided to film lunch time on Sunday. I inexplicably started singing a related song to the tune of P-Funk, and hence another VV was born.

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