Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

I've returned from my just-over-two-week hiatus here, dear reader(s). An abrupt one, I know, but I didn't find myself particularly inspired to write here, without any particularly good - or more honestly, appropriately stupid - topics coming to mind. I know that good bloggers are supposed to write daily - and something worth reading, no less - but with such a free form blog, I find it rather daunting to attempt that. My goal is ultimately to get up to a good 2-3 entries a week here, but considering the extremely high standards I hold myself to, I'd rather bring my "A game," so to speak, to each and every one of these entries. And to write something genuinely worthwhile, meaningful, and ideally entertaining on a daily basis is a hell of a lot of pressure. So here I am once more, not that many were reading this before anyway, bearing tales of my latest exploits in life, and the excuse that I've been focusing on finishing Project 27 Days within the month, hence my silence here as of late. Bake me into a pie and feed me to the town's orphans, blogging community, I've committed a cardinal sin in disappearing for so long, and I don't feel particularly guilty for it.

Today's subject? After making you wait for so long, this time, I'm addressing one of the most important subjects for musing conceivable - our buddies of the canine persuasion. Particularly, a bit over a week ago, my younger brother came home from college to visit for a few weeks before the next semester, and brought his dog with him, a hyper little Jack Russell Terrier. She's a sweetheart to be sure, but one of the most exhausting dogs I've ever been around. She'll jump up on you whenever possible, using you to stretch - and ultimately scratching you with her nails. She's a playful biter, still only being two years old and very puppyish, despite having had puppies before herself. The dog has no sense of boundaries, though, and seems to function in a state of near-perpetual motion, simply crashing when she finally settles down and naps. My brother not having been around a great deal, naturally off catching up with local friends, on many occasions, it's fallen on my shoulders to look after the little pup. On one hand, she's not bad company. On the other, I feel utterly dead when she goes to bed for the night in her little kennel. In looking after her, I'm only reminded further that whenever I inevitably get a dog of my own at some point in the future, I'm going to want a more balanced pooch. And it's just further driven home that I'd still take dying of cancer or virtually any other disease before I'd sire children myself. A hopeless case, no doubt, when I can't even deal with a hyper little dog without my patience being tried. But then again, I'm not someone who should be reproducing anyway, and frankly, I can't stand kids.

On the subject of more balanced dogs, though, I naturally have to address our longtime family dog, an 11-year-old Scottish Terrier we've had for a bit over a decade now. (To go ahead and clear that up now, yes, I am a part of the increasing trend these days of young people still living with their parents after finishing college. Considering the state of things here in the US these days, taking longer to leave the nest, so to speak, is hardly unjustified.) Granted, he has the advantage of age and experience going for him in being a much more balanced dog, ruling the household from atop his pale throne of rawhide bone, stroking his beard with his paws and thinking devious thoughts, scheming devious schemes - which usually involve either getting some human food or tricking us into taking him outside more often so he can patrol the yard, the diligent constable he is. (And these schemes are frequently successful. I don't know for certain if it's a common trait amongst Scotties, but this one, he's easily one of the craftiest and most intelligent dogs I've ever known, which just goes to show that we should never underestimate our four-legged friends.) Of course, in being the territorial fellow he is - like most dogs - we were concerned with how he would react when a new, unfamiliar dog invaded his territory. (Especially considering that like most smaller dogs, he has a Napoleon complex, so he flips out at other, larger dogs when he encounters them on walks, despite being quite the friendly and congenial fellow otherwise.)

Thusly, on the Thursday before last, my younger brother returned home, and a clash of the pint-sized titans began. The constable's certainly had mixed feelings about the hyperactive intruder in his domain, but for now, at least, he's learned to bear with her. His behavior patterns around her tend to shuffle from slightly interested, simply not having spent much time around female dogs before, to general disinterest (And sulking, still not pleased with there being another dog around, so we spend a great deal of time heaping extra attention and love on him to help him get through this trying experience.), and then to irritation. It wasn't until the hyper one showed up that he'd ever really shown anger and aggression towards anyone in the house (Even his usual barking and growling is more playful and bossy than anything else, but hardly threatening, the communicative pooch he is.), but with this particular Jack Russell, it doesn't take much to set him off. Of course, this goes right back to her not having any concept of boundaries. Just as she tries to jump on and bite us, she'll jump up on him and put her paws on his back, or try to chew on his ears. Like any good constable, though, he has quite the bark, and knows how to be threatening when it comes down to that, so he gets her to back off with relatively little trouble. But the little one - who's even smaller than the constable, hence her not being regarded as a real threat - is rather lacking in both attention span and long term memory. And so a playful bite turning into angry, loud barking - and waking up half the house, I'd imagine, in the early morning - has become fairly routine. (As have our frustrations with the little one's being anything but housebroken.) But ultimately, being the family favorite, our sympathies still lie with the constable. Being around the two of them is like watching a hyperactive toddler provoke a lumbering old grizzly bear, as he patrols the house. In short, for those of you wondering of dogs could find each other annoying, the answer is a resolute yes.

With roughly another week and a half to two weeks remaining before my brother returns, we all have to continue to look after the little communist dog (She is named Sovyette, after all.), while reassuring old Bastian that he's still the number one hombre 'round these parts. Little Sovy's a good dog though, quite sweet and affectionate, and I have to give my younger brother my personal thumbs-up (Montgomery Burns style, of course.) for adopting her, since she'd apparently been abused in the past, and she needed the love. But I can't say I'll feel terribly when they return, simply because she exhausts me so much. I know it's a selfish thought, but it would seem that like most people, some dogs are plenty capable of completely draining me, simply being in one another's company. I tend to require a lot of time alone - especially after being around people - to essentially recharge my batteries and clear my head. As such, most people - and obviously some dogs, too - are the sort you might enjoy having as guests for a little while, but you can't help but breathe a sigh of relief when they're gone, since you can finally relax again.

That story shared, I hope all is well with your summers in these rather unbearably hot, muggy days. Aside from work on Project 27 Days, I've been filling my days with further work in my hobbies, recently having watched the second season of Weeds, finished J.D. Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction, and soon to be completing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on my relatively newly acquired Wii console. I'll be moving on to all sorts of other things soon, as I continue to finish the first draft of the novel. With any luck, I'll find someone willing to represent me without an insane amount of trouble and expense, and get a shot at getting it on shelves between late this year and sometime next year - luck being the key word here. I'll post more details as they arise.

And thus, I leave you with this-, as sometimes, Bruce McCulloch says it best. (Here's hoping it doesn't go down too soon, when Youtube finally faces that forthcoming lawsuit to ax all of its copyrighted content, and in effect, finally ruin Youtube, reducing it to advertisements and vlogs. Because everyone knows how exciting it is to watch some asinine person stare into a camera and ramble about their lives and various other boring shit like I am here. And now you know why I will never go near the "vlogosphere." Of course, once Youtube is ruined, everyone will just move on to one of its clones that hasn't been hit with such a lawsuit, and the cycle will repeat. When will corporate America learn?)

I hope none of you missed me so much that you ended your lives in sheer desperation during my interminable absence.

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