If a Picture is 1000 words, this post is over 21,000 words long.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

For a change of pace, and because i recently was notified (by my phone) that i have an excessive amount of photos on my phone (just above 2,500).  I figured i should share some of them.  and give some of them captions.  maybe funny ones. we'll see what happens.  Some of these first one's won't even be of my dog.  Here we go:

Halloween kitten. 
Turns out this kitten was not super excited with her new pit-bull roommate.

she lets her hair down
 my beautiful mmf.  Stunning.

bird on a hot aluminum side mirror 
 I'm not sure what you guys consider notable in your days, but 2 birds on a car side-view really revs my engine (car pun!)

i'm almost positive this is art
 This is a picture, and i'm not making this up, of eggplant roadkill.  Fresh eggplant roadkill.   I feel like this picture is the punchline to a joke that begins, "you might live in the country if."

however, I think someone was sending a message.  I think some small time farmer got mixed up with the wrong people . . . spaced out a few of his loan repayments . . . and his bookie is just making sure he doesn't pay late again.  it's sad that an innocent eggplant had to die because of it.  (i actually hate eggplant myself, so my heart is cold to such appeals.

pure motherf*cking heaven. 
 Yes, that is chicken and waffles and bacon. i'll pause to let you wipe your mouth.

thats not a chupah . . . THIS is a chupah!!!

also love
This wack-a-doo is our marriage officiant.  I think we made the right choice.  I mean, he's a stickler for time . . . so thats a positive.  And who couldn't use a quick lube job from time to time.

*new topic.  it is both dangerous and hilarious to have a board with rearrangeable letters on it near a bunch of drunken wedding guests.  As Ryan & Laura, who got married on the 3rd floor of the Woman's club found out.

end of wedding
I do recommend the latin congo company.  they tore the roof off that biatch.

And now its time for pictures with dogs in them:

My friend Liza has this thing with my dog where they take amazing and powerful photos together seemingly by accident.  The first one in this next series may be on my top 5 all time pics i've taken:

This past weekend Grover had a play day-te (and date that lasts all day?) with our friend's lovely old english bulldog Sadie.  Sadie was a little stand-offish at first (hard to get anyone?), but the two 2-year-olds ended up having a blast together--as the video at the end proves.  Enjoy!

new friends!!!
look how awesome we are together.  syncro-sitting

don't. ever. leave me.

is he still looking at me?

He's crawling over here, isn't he?

crawling right into your heart!!


tired friends

"Let's do this again soon!"

*the sugar on top*

What a Difference a Half a Decade Makes

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | 3 Comment(s)

I remember back to my first year in graduate school.  It's the one year of grad school that i can kind of say i enjoyed.  I have this vivid memory of walking down our 6th floor hallway, whistling.  Literally whistling.  I can't remember what song, and let's face it, once you get to a "whistling" level of contentment, the tune matters very little.  My eyes were cooked egg white back then -- no red.  And  this memory of a care-free me, forging forward on my career path is striking in its juxtaposition to the now.

My right eye is red now.  The lid above is puffy and it recedes when the stress level recedes, which is rarely -- usually during vacations.  yesterday i woke up, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat down to do some morning work at home.  I then threw up in the toilet.  I am ashamed to say that my first thought, post-hurl, was not, "crap, I'm sick!" but rather "crap, now i'm going to have to buy coffee on the way to work."  yes, thats sick.

At work i felt worse and got permission to skip the class i TA in order to reserve energy for the night meeting for the same class, and then running a 2-hour TA session for said class until 8pm.  After the review session i limped home, got to watch some new tv with the mmf and then it was bedtime.

The overall impression this day left was a big ol skid-mark.  the underpants kind. A skid because mostly the day was a blur of nausea and information exchange; and a mark because the whole thing stunk like shit.

And that was a pretty normal day for me.  I have no real complaints about the day.  i was not treated unfairly in any way.  it was a day.

But i didn't whistle.  Not even close.  I can safely say that the idea of whistling didn't even cross my mind.  i have, at a minimum, been changed by this graduate school experience.  And that change, unfortunately, has taken the whistle out of my work.

These are the Creepers in your Neighborhood

Sunday, September 25, 2011 | 2 Comment(s)

If you were to go looking for me, at any given time when the sun is out--there are a few places you would look right away.  My house, the psychology building, and the coffee shop.  This post happened at the coffee shop.  My coffee shop.  Amherst Coffee.  (hi kylie).  Now i don't own Amherst Coffee.  It's not even a position i aspire to.  But, i do know every person that works there (or has worked there in the past 4 years) and a good 80% of the people who frequent this amazing coffee mecca.  It is my home base.  My social strike zone.  My tangible metaphor for community.

So it was not at all unusual to find me at the seats outside the front window, sipping an Americano, eating a muffin, and sitting with friends and puppies (grover's friend sadie and my friend becky were in for a visit--more on this later), chatting in the sun.  Mmf was inside talking with some friends, and i was outside with becky and two friends from our local bar.

There are, of course, downsides to community as well.  There are weirdos in your neighborhood, and ours is no exception.  Today weirdo is "the Creeper"

the creeper looks like a skinnier (but not skinny) strung out version of Ben Franklin.  glasses and all.  his long white hair is wisp, straight, and gray -- but it mostly is reminiscent (to me) of the hair that grows from burn victims heads.  Spotty.  He covers it with a floppy round brimmed fisherman's hat which really adds that pedophile feel which he probably isn't purposely going for.  What's amazing, is that none of this is why we call him the creeper.

This guys particular feature of creepiness includes: slowly sidestepping his way into other peoples private conversations and then, once physically close enough, using the close proximity as an excuse to just begin inserting himself into the conversation.

It's rude, uncomfortable, and, because the shit that comes out of his mouth is not benign (foreshadowing), its super duper annoying.  His creeping means that if you are having a conversation with friends, and you see this guy, you have to essentially move or shun him actively.  Good stuff.

So here we are, the four of us, sitting outside the coffee shop, with Grover (my pup) and Sadie (becky's adorable old english bulldog), when the creeper shuffles up.

Creeper (to me): "What was your dog's name again?"  

(we both live here and therefore he's seen my pup before)

Me (friendly): "oh, this is grover."

Creeper: "he's ugly."

*all of us are in a somewhat stunned silence*

Me: "excuse me?"

Creeper: "he's ugly . . . ugly . . . disgusting actually . . . .  he looks like you."

and he walks away.

This actually happened.  Verbatim.  My friends who were sitting with me looked over at me and all said, "if you told me the story of this happening, i wouldn't believe you. Or at least i wouldn't believe you that it happened JUST like it happened.  I would think you were exaggerating."

i am not exaggerating folks.  Stranger comes up, insults the cutest puppy in the world, then me (more understandable), then walks off.

And crazier still, this guy looks like the after photo of the super-villian who gained his evil powers after a horrible chemical plant accident.   The guy looks like he's got some kind of venereal disease all over his skin.  (i get mean when people f with my puppy)

But with every hilariously inappropriate insult from a stranger, there is a silver (hopefully padded) lining.  The creeper will creep near me no more.  I was so shocked by his out-of-nowhere insult, that i didn't have time to retort (he also went away).  I can assure you i will have no problem telling this guy to "go away because no one is talking to you" in the future, when he stalks up alongside us.

I did mention to him, on my way to my car, that the day that puppies seem ugly, might be a good day to take a long look in the mirror.

While i doubt he took my advice on the matter, if he did, i hope he found himself one strong-ass mirror.

I Ordered a Double Burrrrgerrrrrrr

Sunday, September 18, 2011 | 1 Comment(s)

Another Chicago tale.

Same friend that i was staying with.  And this story took place at his house, so i must give you some particulars about his place.

For those of you who live in chicago, he lives in Lincoln Square.  Because I'm an idiot, i constantly told people that i was staying in "lincoln park" (because of the band).  But, i was constantly immediately corrected by nearby friends, as i learned that lincoln park is ALSO a place in chicago which is very much NOT lincoln square.

And his place is super nice.  2 bedrooms and a huge sitting room.  My favorite part is that it has a long hallway that runs through the middle of the place.  And, since my friend is a bit of a "Monica" aka. likes it neat -- the place is both well decorated and immaculately clean.  Which makes the place feel nicer still.  Additionally, they have a small back yard and garage, but now I'm just bragging.

But.  There is a but.  In true chicago, living in the city, style -- my friends primo place is directly next door to a Burger King  . . . . with drive thru.  And while this, as kids, would probably have been fertile ground for all sorts of shenanigans and pranks -- as a man in his 30's, being able to spit and hit the BK has less appeal.  Important to the story, the drive thru ordering microphone and menu sign is directly outside my friend's kitchen window.  The scene is set.

Here i am, sitting in the kitchen.  Eating a sandwich.  When i hear shouting coming from across the parking lot, in the direction of the BK order box.  Now, mind you, when i got to this conversation, there was already shouting, so i missed the lead up.  But, given what i heard, i think i can Sherlock it all together for you.

When i opened the window i saw a man idling in a CRV SUV, with a kid in the back.  He is screaming at the woman on the other end of the microphone ordering mechanism.  From her reaction to his tone, I'm guessing the speaker on that baby doesn't have a volume nob.  (put that one in the suggestion box).

He is screaming, "NO NO NO NO NO.  there is a discrepancy!!! It says something here and then its different there.  THERE IS A DISCREPANCY!"

this goes on for, no exaggeration.  5 minutes.  Enough that i have now called my friend to the window and even have thought to wake his wife up from her nap to watch the ongoing coverage of BK parking lot crazy.  (we didn't, but we should of).   We are also (maybe just me) DYING to know what the discrepancy is that he is talking about.  it seems massive -- his tone makes me think the discrepancy might just be the difference between him making rent this week or not.

Then, he breaks this one off . . .

"Fuck it, ok fuck it! I don't care about the .50 cents anymore . . ."

Let's pause it right there.  50 cents!!!  That whole friggin canipshit was over more money than it took to keep your 17 mile-per gallon road monster idling all that time.  That's makes you an idiot sir.  and it also means that, while berating another human being is never truly an ok thing to do (but come on, when we are getting f'd over, we all make exceptions), in this case -- there really was no warranting it, as it was an obscenely small amount of money.  It also means that its the type of price misprinting discrepancy that the poor woman taking your order at the Burger King drive thru window in the middle of Chicago certainly has no control over.   Short version, it means this guys an ass.

Back to his rant . . . cause it gets awesome.

"Fuck it, ok fuck it! I don't care about the .50 cents anymore . . . just add a Double Whopper meal, an onion rings, and a kids cone."  (i LOVE that at the end of this order always comes "and a kids cone." reminding us that all this assery is happening in front of a child."

BK Woman:  "So you just want the Double Whopper meal, onion rings and a kids cone?"

This is where his brain pops. i swear.  it pops.  he is now shouting at his full volume WHILE striking the top of the front console of his car while getting brick red in the face (remember that we are watching all of this from my friends kitchen window--and sorry for the oncoming caps lock). "NO NO NO NO NO.  ARE YOU AN IDIOT!?!?!" NO NO NO NO NO"

He is interrupted in his rant by the BK woman asking him to "please not scream at her."  He replies, half screaming, that it is hard not to when she is being so difficult.  Totally lack of realization at the irony of his statement.

He continues at a slightly SLIGHTLY softer scream.  "I STILL want the 7 Double Whoppers, (insert a shit ton of food here), and THEN i want the the Double Whopper meal, onion rings and a kids cone?"  

this really puts that 50 cents into additionally crazy perspective considering the massive haul of "fast" (not anymore!) food he is ordering.  7 Double Whoppers?  To feed his army of goats?  (they'll eat anything!)  And then who was like "no no no i don't WANT a double whopper, i want a DOUBLE WHOPPER MEAL!"

All of these questions are racing through my mind as the woman finally tells him to drive up to the window, which is blocked by cars amazingly still waiting for their food.  Amazing considering we've been watching this atrocity for a solid 15 minutes, and i can't imagine how the other orders weren't finishing.  Less surprising is the loooooooong line of car behind the SUV from hell, who are no doubt debating whether or not they should just drive through to another drive thru.

As he pulls forward, he looks right and I'm pretty sure he saw the two of us gaping out the window (we were laughing and shouting at him pretty loudly by that point).  I swear he waved.  Maybe just with one finger, but I'm pretty sure he waved.  He still had to wait anther 10-15 minutes for his order.  We imagined one of two scenarios taking place inside his vehicle.

Scenario 1:  with the threat removed, and his kid in the backseat, he reverts back into his mild mannered self and feels shame and embarrassment.   But, i have to admit, this seems less likely considering the behavior we have just witnessed.

Scernario 2:  Stewing.  Sitting there, anger brimming like a smokey pot stirred by wart-covered witches.  In this scenario i wonder if he starts to ponder all the obscenely grotesque crap they are currently putting his food through.

"Front of the pants or back of the pants" the cook is asking the just screamed at order taker.  "Oh definitely back of the pants," she is replying.  And thats not even getting to the "special sauce and condiments."  You really shouldn't screw with people who both don't give a shit and are making your food.  It's a delicate balance . . . and your shouting just tipped it in the direction of 'boogers' over 'burgers'.  Sorry.  i meant Double Booger Meal.

Bon Appetite assface.   and a kid's cone.

Some Like It Wet

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | 1 Comment(s)

A few weekends ago i went to chicago for a wedding.  Before going to said wedding on the sunday, i spent thursday thru saturday with my friend (from the early summer chicago wedding) relaxing and eating various blocks of chicago style meat cubes.  No one does chunks of various meats like chicago.  One of my favorite such meat logs is a burrito from "Garcias" (?), where i can get a cheeseless, marinated-beef stuffed, guacamole-smothered, tasty-ass burrito--that should, practically speaking, be eaten for two meals.  Obviously, that was not the case here.  Mouthface destruction.

i also went to "Chubby Wieners."  A joint (pun) that specializes in chicago style meats.  The Chicago-style dog (which i respect and enjoy but is not my favorite preparation) is one popular selection.  Another is the "Italian beef." Italian beef not only specifies the meat--but also the bun and condiments and the sauce.  It's a thing.  And its a tasty friggin thing. 

Sauce is especially native to chicago.  (i learned a lot about sauce this trip.)  While one would think that sauce is a fairly viscous, ketchup-like consistency--its actually mostly watery.  But its warm and pretty much meat-juice and spices.  Yum.

Well, i like to try things with the local flavor, so when the guy behind the counter asked us if we wanted our beef "wet" . . . (first i giggled internally) and my friend immediately said "yes"-- so i also said "yes."

Big mistake.

Here's what "wet" is.  Wet means they dip the entire bun in that sauce, til its soaked, then apply meat and veggies.  We took ours to go.  And while my friend lived right around the corner, by the time i went to eat my sandwich, it resembled meat encased in a meaty bread pudding.  But then it crumbled like a wet graham cracker (i dip!).  All in all, i think chicago gets a big fail on this one.  i do not like biting through a sand castle of soggy bun to get to my deliciousness.  I have consulted with friends from the area, and they say that if you house your sandwich right on the spot after getting it wet, its awesome.   Not sure i'm gonna give this one a second chance. 

Still ate the whole god damn thing, of course.  Let's not get crazy.

oh yah.  there was also chicken and waffles.  did i not mention the chicken and waffles?   they tasted as good as they looked.

So Doggone Smart

Thursday, September 8, 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

This is not a dog blog.  which means, of course, this post is about dogs.

Recently i was having a conversation with a labradoodle owner.  And, not surprisingly, she said what i've heard many other dog owners say to me about their dogs.  It is always something like, "oh, my ______ is just sooo smart.  We thing its the labrador in her, but poodles are smart dogs as well."  Now i love the labradoodles--they are just plain cute and as a kid of allergies, its extremely hard to hate on hypoallergenic dogs--even designer ones. But i just don't know why a 'smart dog' is a thing.

So i laugh.  Cause I think its the most ridiculous thing ever.  

It's not that i don't understand what they're telling me.  I do.  I get what a 'smart dog' is.  They do tricks.  Maybe they even fetch your slippers if you wear slippers and if its a really smart dog.  I still don't care.  Because unless you are wheelchair bound or blind or otherwise impeded from retrieving your own slippers/shoes, all that is is a nifty way to move less.  It is a remote control for your shoes.

(*sidenote: service dogs who do all of these seemingly mundane tasks for their owners are, indeed, very smart and unbelievably amazing.  you should assume from here on out that service dogs are outside the realm of even poking fun at. cause they obviously rule.  in fact, i want to be a service dog when i grow up.  all this said, as i continue, i think you'll see that service animals fit into my sense of what makes a dog good, anyways. end sidenote*)

So your very smart dog knows what it's bed is and which toy is "bunny."  So smart.  Is he going to college?  Is she putting that intelligence to work getting scholarships? Are your pooches on the job market?  No.  Of course not.  Because, other than staying away from the road and remembering to eat, pee, and poop, dogs have very little need for intelligence.  In fact, i have it on some authority that a number of, what in the human world we would call "mentally challenged" dogs, live happy healthy amazing dog-lives with their families.   They run into walls and their family laughs and loves and life goes on. 

Because, for us humans, a dog's real job is to love us unconditionally.  To be a companion.  To show us the loyalty that fellow humans often falter at.  So if you tell me that your labradoodle is unendingly loyal to you.  Well now, that's tell me something.

I think an example of what im getting at may help illuminate my point.  let's take grover.  Grover, in general, sleeps in our bedroom at night.  He has a bed comprised of two comforters (one is so fluffy we call it "the marshmellow") laid on top of each other. Behind the comforters are two big file cabinets (the metal cabinets actually form the back boundary for the bed.  In front of his bed, is our bed.

To understand this story, you need to know that on school nights, mmf goes to bed a few hours before me.  She wakes up much earlier, so this makes sense.  Therefore, grover and i cruise into the bedroom in the low light of the hall lamp, and settle in.  On this night, as i am "tucking" grover into bed, my elbow hits the metal file cabinet drawer which makes a fairly loud noise (especially loud considering the hour and otherwise silent room).  Grover was solidly terrified and shot like a bullet up on the bed (where mmf was sleeping) and turned.

This is important.  This is relevant.  Was he scared?  Hell's yah!  But, in his fear of danger (the sky is falling!!!), he didn't bolt downstairs, he didn't go hide in his crate, he jumped in front of mmf and faced the threat.  I'm not saying that House of Pain was going to do anything (watch Swingers for the reference).  I mean, grover is not a fighter.  But he is loyal.  Deeply.  And he's wired to be at our side when shit goes down.  And that, i would argue, is more important than smarts or being able to jump through a tire.

Is grover a 'smart dog'?  Well . . . you tell me.

and yes, he did just pin his back paw down with his front paw to stabilize it for his face.