Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010: The Year In Preview

New Year's Eve is invariably the most disappointing celebration of all: less chocolatey than Easter, more expensive than Anzac Day, less fragrant than Diwali, and far less satisfying than Pancake Tuesday.  With that in mind, the Fella and I have already celebrated it: we just returned from a lovely picnic in the Botanic Gardens with an old friend, and with this new friend, who was taking a very unhealthy interest in my roast chicken.



The picnic was very nice, but ended prematurely when I knocked a glass of champagne into the Fella's lap while I was doing an impersonation of a cat shaving a leg of ham.  It's as hilarious as it sounds.

So with the frivolity behind us, there's nothing to do tonight but sit around wallowing in regrets, trepidation and cold chicken.  I, for one, will have sucked the last of the bones clean long before midnight and tucked myself into bed.

That said, I'm not a complete misery, and do enjoy the glimmer of hope that comes with throwing the lit match over my shoulder at the close of one year, and striding out in the freshly-laundered jocks of the new year.  And this particular new year holds a lot of promise.  So, I thought, rather than indulging in what livebird claims is the lazy journalistic technique of reviewing the past year, I thought I would review for you all the things that are going to happen in 2010.

SPOILER ALERT - don't read on if you want it all to be a surprise.

JANUARY:  I will start the year on a half-diet.  It can only be a half-diet, because it is my birthday month, and also there are lots of rumballs left over from Christmas.  For my birthday I will get a benchgrinder, the Sebastian Faulks novel I wanted, an electrical circuit etching kit (for arty purposes) and some cheeses.

FEBRUARY:  I start my diet in earnest and finish it on February 3 when somebody leaves me near some unattended chilli salt squid.  The Oscars happen and Avatar wins best special effects, disappointing all the Wild Things fans.  Penelope Cruz wears something red and breasty (as in a dress, not a robin).

SMARCH:  There is a ferry disaster in the Philippines, but nobody takes much notice as there are no Australians on board.

APRIL:  Red Tulip will try and win over a new generation of Easter egg consumers with their Bindi Irwin egg.  The resemblance is too off-putting and the campaign is a massive failure.  The smashed up Bindis are donated to piggeries, and the Elegant Rabbit re-takes the crown as Best Easter Egg Ever.

MAY:  Peter Costello comes back and takes the Liberal leadership.  Julie Bishop remains deputy.

JUNE:  The shortest day of the year is found to be three minutes longer than the day before it.  Climate scientists are very, very concerned.  Tim Flannery and Ian Plimer fight it out in a cage.  Avocadoes are expensive and very poor quality this month.

JULY:  Fairy Penguins surprise everyone by leaving Phillip Island.  It is thought they have gone to the south coast of NSW.

AUGUST:  Fairy Penguins move back to Phillip Island, and people wonder if they perhaps had never left in the first place and maybe they hadn't looked hard enough for them.

SEPTEMBER:  Crocs (the shoes, not the crocodilians) are made illegal everywhere except the ACT.  This results in a mass migration of bogans, and the climate scientists are all like, see, I told you so, and then someone explains it to them.  Ian Plimer and Tim Flannery are still cage fighting.

OCTOBER:  Tony Abbott is caught in a strip club and his popularity plummets.  He claims this is not fair.  The Booker Prize is announced this month.  All the shortlisted books are from the hilarious "Classics meets folkloric pop-culture monsters" genre.  The winner is "The Unbearable Lightness of Lesbian Vampire Killers," which just nudges out "The Merchant of Venice and Bigfoot."

NOVEMBER: The Arias happen.  An Idol runner-up wins most categories, and the surprise overseas presenter will be Kevin Federline.

DECEMBER:  Pluto is re-admitted into the solar system and astronomers acknowledge there was a terrible, terrible mistake.  Also Christmas.  For Christmas I get another kitten.

Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Psychometrics, qu'est-ce que c'est?

Recently, someone I know had to undergo psychometric testing.

It was not, as I had thought, a measure of the extent of her psychoses, but a three-hour ordeal where the depths of her brain were plumbed for evidence that she knew how to multiply fractions, spot the difference between between various polygons, and give black or white answers to decidedly grey moral conundrums (conundra?), many of which were culturally inappropriate as well as just plain dumb.

I'm not sure what these tests reveal, but they are apparently designed by Very Clever People who can glean Very Important Facts from the results.

Anyway, I thought, how hard can it be?  So here I present

Lissy's Psychometric Test For Finding Out The General Smarts And Personalities Of Her Readers.

You have 72 minutes to complete the test.  Do not try to second-guess what answers I am looking for.



1:  What is the difference between a Pink Lady apple and a lychee?


a/ There's a difference? All fruits look the same to me and are equally valued within my world view
b/ What the @#$% is a lychee?
c/ A Pink Lady is delicious and a lychee is like an eyeball
d/ None of the above


2:  When you look at this image, do you see a vase, or do you see two people facing each other?



3:  Scenario: Your family is very hungry and there is no bread in the house.  They are not poor - they simply forgot to buy it when they were at the Farmers' Market.  Is it OK to steal bread to feed them?

a/ Yes, but only if it's white bread
b/ No.  You should steal meat.  Your family should be protected against carbohydrates
c/ No.  Why should it always fall on you to get them out of a tight spot?
d/ None of the above

4:  What is the next number in this sequence: 1, 2, 6, 76, 14, 2, 2, 64, 0.46.....

a/ 2
b/ 8
c/ pi
d/ I don't know

5:  Which of these lines is longer?



5:  What would you say is the worst thing about you?

a/ I am a murderer
b/ Sometimes I deliberately leave only two sheets of toilet paper on the roll
c/ I am Julie Bishop
d/ I am too conscientious and I feel sometimes this places too much pressure on my colleagues to live up to my standards
e/ I steal teaspoons from aeroplanes
f/ I misuse apostrophes
g/ All of the above

6:  Scenario:  You are in a malfunctioning lift with Kevin McCloud, Penny Wong and Plucka Duck.  Before the four of your plummet to your deaths do you...

a/ Jump on top of Plucka in a vain attempt to have a soft, feathery landing
b/ Touch Kevin McCloud's bottom
c/ Touch Kevin McCloud's arm
d/ Scoff down the rest of your kebab so you won't have wasted $7.95 on it
e/ Compliment Penny Wong on her fine suits and nice hair

Send me your answers and I will analyse the results in six to eight weeks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Battle Of Half-Wits

Everybody knows that in a land battle, crocodile will beat shark every time.

Some other battles with equally predictable outcomes include:
  • Hand-grenade vs. Sweetcorn
  • Chuck Norris vs. Gamera
  • Julie Bishop vs. Chuck Norris
  • Lissy vs. A wheel of cheese
  • Ebola vs. Coeliac Disease, and
  • Glad Wrap vs Glad Wrap cutter
However, not all unfair matches result in the predictable outcome.  Take, for example, the battle of "Pretty much fully grown (if slightly emotionally underdeveloped) labrador with gleaming, gnashy teeth vs. Pathetic half-grown shih-tzu that trembles, has limited bladder control, and has been shaved to look like a git."

I am most ashamed to report that upon seeing this most feeble of dogs rushing at her like a bleached, incontinent and alopecic baby Ewok, Ellen immediately dropped to the ground and presented the Genitals of Subservience.

Oh Ellen.  I am a bit concerned about what she'd do in the face of a real threat.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Festive Underwear

I was listening to the radio the other day, and there was a discussion with some guy who wrote a book about excellent words in other languages that we just don't have in English.  For example, the Japanese apparently have a word used by the Samurai that means "To test out a new sword on a passer-by."

Maybe that's not a word that most of us will ever need, but how often have we struggled to come up with an apposite term for something that can only otherwise be described with a string of words?

Often.  Too often.

What if, instead of describing "the grimace evoked by little crumbs of burnt toast that one's life partner invariably leaves in the butter, " one could simply say you were "discrumbled"?

Or, the random possum/horse/cat/aardvark droppings that your dog eats while out on walkies?  They'd be "faesties."

Then there's the one that bothers us at all Christmas parties: how do you describe the fancy brassiere you wear when you're expecting to get very drunk, take your top off and dance on a table?  Well, as usual, the local primary school has come up with just the word:





It disturbs me a little that the WHOLE school would be wearing one, but they're pretty progressive around here.

In case you're wondering, I think this is what a "Celebra" looks like:




(image via here )


Alongside some "Celejocks."


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Tree Friends

Every Christmas my grandfather used to tell the story of how the angel ended up on top of the Christmas Tree.  Every Christmas.  And it was not a short story.  But here is the gist of the story, abridged to suit the attention span of the texting generation.  And with some details changed. And possibly with some bits confused with the very conversation I had with the Fella yesterday.

God was sitting down trying not to be really angry at Descartes for his sub-standard proof of God's existence, and an angel came and asked him if they could have a Xmas tree.

Angel: God?
God: Yes, Gary.
Angel: Me and the other guys were wondering if we could have a Christmas tree.
God: No. You can't have a @#$%! tree.
Angel: Pleeease can we have a tree?  You won't have to do anything. I promise.
God: How much are they?
Angel: The RSPCA is selling them for $45.
God: @#$% off!
Angel: Pleeeeeeease?
God: No.  Leave me alone, you imaginary mediaeval nuisance.
Angel: Pleeeeeeeeeease?
God:  NOOOO.  @#$% off Gary.  You know where you can shove your tree.

And the angel did, and that's how the tradition began.

This year, after a few years of grunchiness (which is being a grinch who is always thinking about lunch), I decided I would like a tree.  And the Fella eventually agreed, although he knew it would fall to him to clean up the fallen needles.

And here is is.  A fine tree, n'est-ce pas?



Having never had a Christmas tree as grown-ups, we were somewhat short of decorations.  Hence the Snoopy strangled with ribbon in place of an angel.

And the reason there are no decorations on the bottom half?



Stuart eats most of the needles he pulls off, but the Fella vacuumed up the rest of them today.

Bless.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cheese, Culture And Damned Pigeons

Paris.  The city of lights.  The crucible of cheese.  The pint-glass of pastries.  The grotto of macaroons.  The bastion of engorged liver.  It goes by many names, not all of them pleasant.

But it was a very nice place indeed to spend a mild European week.  I present, without further ado, select highlights.  As the French would say, "Sacre bleu! Ou est mon poisson?"



So, getting the cultural stuff out of the way first.  This is the bottom of the Venus de Milo.  She has a splendid behind, and it's perplexing that more attention is not paid to it.  Less mysterious is the apparently intriguing question of what position her arms originally held.  It's clear to me that they were something like this:



But people love their mysteries when it comes to great art.  The Mona Lisa, for example: is that smile reflecting happiness, a malaise of her soul, or hinting at a secret that the viewer will never share?  None of the above.   Having now seen it, it's clear she's very politely trying not to burp.  Gassy.

After our visit to the Louvre, I called home to see how the Fella's mum was getting along with the children.  All was fine, but she said she'd been woken up at 2am by a rustling noise.  She turned on the light to find Stuart running around with a Turkish Delight in his mouth.  Where does a cat get a Turkish Delight at 2am?  That, my friends, is a real mystery.




Before we leave the subject of bottoms, this is Rodin's Thinker.  He should be thinking about putting some trousers on.



This is a photo of me trying, without success, to feed some pain au chocolat (translation: "chocolate pain") to the sparrows.  Sometimes life gives you lemons and sometimes you just get covered in pigeons.  Well, pigeonade would be a most unrefreshing drink, but I did have my revenge by eating a pigeon pie (bstilla) for dinner that night.  It was a bit dry, but I gorged on sweet sweet revenge and satisfaction.



After many footsore days walking around museums it can be hard to maintain focus and remain interested in the abundance of treasure.  But there are ways of making it a bit more interesting.  Take, for example, this statue in the Cluny Museum.  It's a fine statue, but not all that engrossing if that's the 200th one you've seen that day.  However, if you position yourself on a slightly different angle, there can be hilarity aplenty, and this will sustain you through the next part of the museum:



ROFL!!!!!!  And if you come across a statue that is not so obliging with the position of its hands, you can fake it with the magic of photography:



There were other interesting things at Versailles besides this statue, but no time for them here.



Pre-dinner snacks.  I'm not saying Nobbys nuts and a schooner of Boags at the club aren't good, but this really was very nice.



This is from the best falafel shop in Paris, in the Jewish Quarter.

Fella:  Hold your falafel down lower.
Me:    Grnnnnph.  Can't talk. Eating.
Fella:  I want to take a photo for your blog.
Me:    Oh.  OK then.  Make it quick.
Fella:  Grrr.  You've eaten all the nice bits already.
Me:    Whoops.

Use your imagination to work out how delicious it looked 20 seconds earlier.



Screen shot of the telly in our apartment, taken by the Fella.  You can take the Fella out of Canberra....
  


The Eiffel Tower.  So-named because it is a tower.  We arrived close to dusk so we could watch the lights come on.  Then we missed the moment the lights came on because we were both looking at some ducks.



And here is the tower in all its glory from a boat on the Seine.  Isn't it iconic?  A little too iconic, Alanis Morissette might think.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Scent Of A Sausage (Or How To Stop A Labrador Who Is In The Midst Of Executing A Cunning Plan)

Tonight the Fella and I were sitting on the couch eating dinner when there was a knock on the door.

It was our neighbour, dropping by to inform us Ellen had escaped.  Again.  And how had she done this?  Using her new favourite trick of pulling off fence palings and squeezing through the gap.

But she hadn't got very far.  Our neighbour was cooking sausages, and found Ellen on her front step, looking through the door.

Ellen is going to be dog-sat by the Fella's mum while we are in Paris.

Please let her be good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Monday

There are three things that are making me very happy tonight:
  1. For dinner we had stir-fry with peanutty sauce, which is my absolute favorite.  And it was made with coconut cream, not that insipid stuff that looks like the water a paintbrush has been rinsed in.
  2. We are in the midst of a lovely thunderstorm.  Huge flashes that light up the suburb very eerily, and low grumbles that get right inside my ribs.
  3. On Monday I am going to Paris with the Fella.
The first was planned.  The others are just two of those lovely surprises life sometimes deals out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Things That Go "Huh?" In The Night

Last night we had a lot of trouble sleeping.  Perhaps it was because the room was airless and pongy, sealed as it was against a marauding cat with sharp teeth and evil intent.  Or maybe it was the moon.  I'm not sure what percentage  of the human body is water, but I'd had a great big glass just before bed.  Maybe that was the real problem.

Anyway, as is customary at 4:00am, I lay there panicking about very small issues, and the Fella asked me if I wanted to play the Hat Game.  The Hat Game involves naming hats in turn until someone repeats a hat, can't think of another hat, or in the case of the Fella this morning, names something that is simply not a hat.*

With my victory secured, I was able to go back to thinking about some of the big issues.  This morning's quandaries, musings and great puzzles are as follows:
  1. People in country Australia have some mighty strange ways.  Especially in regard to food.  For example, as soon as you're out of an Ikea catchment area, pickled onions become "bum hummers", eggs are delightful "bum nuts", and good old chilli sauce becomes "rectum wrecker."  This last one seen in country SA, written in a hilarious intestinal font (sans serif).
  2. By any measure Canberrra is a gentle and civilised place.  Yet there is obviously someone aggressive and frightening behind our road safety campaigns.  Warning signs on the side of the road range from point blank threats: "Drivers DIE on ACT roads, " or "Drink, drive, DIE in a ditch," to the vaguely menacing: "Drive and text, UB NXT."  I guess he couldn't figure out how to include a large red reference to death in that one.
  3. Why do squirrels bury nuts?  Clearly, and contrary to popular belief, they must hate them.
Before any of these issues was satisfactorily explored it was breakfast time.



*"The Batter"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some Assemlly Required

The local primary school continues to impress.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Naked Adventures In Another Timezone

I have just returned from Adelaide where I was staying in a house with Children.  A two year old and a four year old, to be precise.

Almost immediately after I arrived, The Mother bundled the four year old into the car and said to me "Do you mind keeping an eye on Balthazar?*  I'll only be gone half an hour, and he should still be asleep when I get back." Shouldn't be too hard, I thought. "Sure. I'd be delighted."

The car had barely pulled out of the drive when a noise in the loungeroom distracted me from snooping in the kitchen cupboards.  I replaced a tin of old receipts, removed the hat I was trying on, and went to investigate.

Balthazar had awoken.  He was standing on the window sill in all his glory, greeting passers-by in the City of Churches with his nakedness, like a miniature Axle Whitehead.  No sign of clothing or nappy, and no sign of promised sleepiness.  He grinned a grin of innocent evil as only a two year old can.

Remembering I had seen some nappies in one of the bedrooms, I ran and got one.  Next challenge.  I figured the cartoon character went at the front, so I aligned it and sat the naked Child on it for installation.  He had to help me, but we got it on in the end.  It seemed a little tight, but it wasn't falling off, and modesty had been restored to the house.  I felt rather pleased with myself.

When The Mother came home, she said she was amazed I managed to get it on.  Hrumph, I thought, us Childless Persons aren't all useless.  No, she said, I meant this is a newborn nappy - it's two sizes too small for him.  Hmmm.  That would explain the bluish legs and the muffin top on what was a fairly slim toddler.

Still, nothing - absolutely nothing - was going to escape from that nappy, and that, after all, was the most important outcome.  Mission accomplished.  I smugly ate cheese while The Mother changed him into a larger nappy.

*not his real name.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year



People in our suburb really, really like the 12th of October.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inside A Dog

Some time ago I was walking Ellen, and she was engaging in her usual crocodile antics, rolling in deceased animal matter and being a general pain in the bum.  This was all witnessed by a Young Person, who observed, "It's the full moon.  Dogs are 70% water you know."

Well, I didn't know that, and I thanked him for his observation and wished him on his emo way.  What he didn't know is that Ellen is exactly the same during a new moon, a full moon, a waxing, waning, gibbous, blue or bad moon.

But his statistic makes sense - I've always imagined dogs to contain more water than dates (20%), but less than lychees (82%).  So this led me to do some research into what the remaining 30% might comprise.

And here are the results, in an easy-to-follow, but not necessarily to scale or spatially accurate, graphical format.  Which is how all science should be presented.   Click on it to embiggen the sciency goodness.



Monday, October 5, 2009

A Short But Long Overdue Rant About Bothersome People Who Are Not My Age

Questions that have been making me very, very cross this week:
  1. Why do Young People dress according to the date, and not the weather?  Just because it's Spring, doesn't mean short shorts are appropriate clothing on an 11 degree day.  Why does this make me angry?  It just does.  It's not just because nobody makes short shorts in my size.
  2. Why don't Old People pick up their dogs' leavings?  I see lots of sweet old ladies out walking their wiry, ancient, cranky terriers, and yet I'm the only person who is ever parading around the suburb clutching a Bag O'Turds.  And those terriers can really poop.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

George Clooney, Molten Glass And A Dog

So the other night I had a dream about George Clooney.  It wasn't one of the good ones (you know - those dreams where he takes you shopping and then you stop to rest for coffee and cake and there's only one slice of lemon tart left, but he lets you have it because he's a great guy, and you eat the tart but you're still hungry, so he gives you some of his sticky date pudding and then you go home together to watch Northern Exposure and plan the evening meal.  Sigh.).  No, in this dream we were in an apartment on the 100th floor and we were setting off explosions outside.  I don't think we were trying to hurt anyone, we were just making really big explosions that shot flames right into the sky.  Obviously the police were interested in finding us, so we were being pretty careful not to get caught.  Anyways, the phone rang, and it was the police, and they asked George if Danny Ocean was there.  George said that he wasn't, and was very pleased with himself, but I pointed out that the police obviously knew we were there because they had linked Danny to the apartment, so we should move.  It took a lot of trips in the elevator to move the entire contents of the apartment out.

So what's the moral of this tale?  There's none really.  I'm just pissed off that I get a George Clooney dream and I spend it moving furniture.

Apart from sleeping, here are some of the things that I have done this week:

1: Enamelling




This is an enamelled box that I made in a workshop I've been attending for the past week.  Had a super-excellent time and have started campaigning for my own kiln.  Have promised Fella that if I get one, a) I will become rich selling enamelled treasures and shall have everlasting fame and many new friends who will be very beautiful but insincere in their affections, b) I can warm his slippers for him on frosty nights, and c) I will stop nagging him about needing a kiln.

2: Photoshopping



ROFL!!!!!

3: Chasing Ellen as she destroyed various things.



This is the receipt for Ellen's doggy school.  Oh the irony.

Like a black fly in your chardonnay.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fail

In recent history there have been many great failures:
  • Bert Newton's hair
  • Mark Latham's pancreas
  • Utegate
  • The ending of "The Birds"
  • The shape of the original Hubble telescope lens, and
  • The decision by Coles to stop importing my favorite satay sauce.
We can now add Ellen to this list.

The exam started last night with a simple exercise: walking on a loose lead from one traffic cone to another, then turning around and coming back.

Ellen picked up the cone in her mouth, then pulled like a really pully thing towards the puppies beyond the second cone.  I was told later that "her attention wasn't really on you."

The other exercises weren't much better, but she kicked arse at sitting.

She was the only dog to leave without a certificate, and she also got told she was overweight again.

We'll show them next term, Ellen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Imminent Fail

Ellen comes from a reasonably intelligent family.  Now, I'm not very good with numbers, and I have trouble filling out forms without getting so nervous about making mistakes that I'll stuff them up two lines from the end and have to ask for a new one, but overall, I don't think I'm a thicky.  And the Fella is very intelligent (he has grammatical super-powers, and has even mastered rudimentary maths, but is not so good at changing washers.  Especially the one in the laundry that has been dripping for weeks and driving everyone crazy).  So, I reckon between the two of us we should be able to raise a reasonably bright child.

I know Ellen is adopted, but I would have hoped that some of our values, and calmness, might have rubbed off on her.  She has certainly been given every educational advantage, and if Sam Neill is right, the amount of steak she has been eating should have made for a Very Big Brain.

Despite all this, we are going to fail our Beginners Obedience Exam tonight.

Last week, in our final class, our (new) instructor concluded by saying, "Now, from what I've seen you'll all do fine in the test next week." Pause, then in our direction, "I'll talk to you after the class." My heart sank.  Ellen continued rolling around on her back as part of her ongoing experiment on how wide she can open her jaws.

After class, the teacher told me that it was "very unlikely" that we would pass, and also my dog was overweight.  Way to make me feel better, lady.  What other gems would she come up with to crush my fragile heart?  "Not every vet will tell you your dog needs to lose weight.  They think you don't want to hear it.  When you go to the doctor, you don't want him pointing out you are overweight, do you?"  So I am also fat.  Sigh.

The two of us will waddle off to our exam tonight.  Ellen won't mind failing.  She'll get to meet a whole new bunch of beginners next term.

Weasel-face probably won't want to talk to her any more though.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crafty Like A Fox


Given I don't own any flouncy shirts, and we're almost out of rum, what better way to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day than with a trip to Spotlight, I thought.  This is no small excursion - it involves driving interstate (yes, yes, only to Queanbeyan, but I want to impress my Adelaide readers), finding a parking space in a small carpark that is shared with Supercheap Auto (second only to Bunnings for attracting blokes on a sunny weekend), and then waiting for twenty minutes in a queue of talkative older ladies who are buying fat quarters* and 10cm of this polarfleece and 50cm of that twill, and 4m of each of these poplins.......

Anyhow, before I got to the queue I found myself in the scrapbooking aisle.  I know I have been a little disparaging of scrapbooking at times, but I'm big enough to admit that they have some quite practical little tools, and I needed something to cut circles more neatly than I can do, and with less cussing.  As the Fella was not with me, I was enjoying touching all the tools and pressing buttons without being asked why I needed to touch everything, and also could we go home, surely we've been here for four hours, and where are the crochet hooks I'd rather dig my eyes out than look at any more Martha Stewart crap?

As I was poking things, a lost-looking woman with an armful of fat quarters approached me and said, "Hello, you look crafty."  I narrowed my eyes and engaged my wary face.  Did she mean I looked like someone who could make a wonderful planter using only a glove with the fingers cut off, two egg-cartons and some PVA?  Or did she mean I looked as though I might take her wallet if she dropped her guard?  In fairness, both are reasonable assessments of me, but I would never choose to do the former.  "I'm looking for ribbons," she continued.

"Arrrgh, there are ribbons, to be sure," I replied, in a confused blending of Talk Like A Pirate Day and Talk Like A Leprechaun Day.** "Ribbons aplenty, over yonder."

Actually, I didn't say all that, but I wish I had.  I just directed her to the ribbons.

And I found my circle-cutter, and my Big Interstate Adventure ended happily.

*for you non-crafting types, a fat quarter is like a regular quarter. But fat.
**which doesn't exist, but should.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Historical Conundrums


These are the questions that have been keeping me awake this week:

1: Did anyone hate technology before the heyday of Ned Ludd?  If so, what were these people called?

2: If you lived before before 500 AD and wanted to get medieval on someone's ass, how would you do it?

3: Were antiquated thoughts and actions called antediluvian before the Great Flood?  And why is "antediluvian" so pejorative?   After all, one of the greatest antediluvian ideas was Noah's* brainwave about building an ark.

4: I have a friend who has a Very Important Job, and her email footer warns that the contents of her emails are subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914.  Does the Crimes Act of 1914 really have provision to protect emails?  Were lawyers puzzled by the clause until the invention of the internet some decades later gave it some clarity?  And are our dinner arrangements really worth that level of protection?

*although he doesn't claim all the credit for the idea.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Calm


Sometimes people think I am exaggerating Ellen's behaviour.  No, they say, shaking their heads and smiling, she couldn't possibly be THAT naughty.

Our report card last night said that we needed to work on "Calming."

This rather grainy video was shot with my phone last night.  All the other dogs were sitting very nicely at the feet of their owners.  Some were watching the instructor talking, some just looking up at their people with adoration.  Others were lying down quietly, waiting for their next instruction.

This is what Ellen was doing.


We have one more class, and then the exam.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sign Of The Tmies


If the Fella and I end up staying in Canberra, and if we end up having a non-furry child, we will not be sending that child to the local primary school.



To add to the genius, the sign has been there for well over a week.

The Fella reckons someone has changed it, but the case has three padlocks on it.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hello Dolly


Having had a pretty good week that saw Ellen do all her tricks quickly and correctly at home (in exchange for liverwurst), I was keen to get to school on Thursday to show off how far we'd come.

Of course, kids don't tend to behave so nicely when they're around their friends.

Me: Sit!
Ellen: [LEAP! LEAP! BARKBARKBARK! LEAP! Stand with lolling tongue, wagging at Weasel-face]

Me: SIT!
Ellen: [LEAP! GRAB SLEEVE! LUNGE FOR POCKET CONTAINING STEAK PIECES! Roll around with ladybits immodestly in air and whites of eyes displayed, maniacally daring me to get close to big gnashing teeth.]

Me: SIT!! (with piece of steak held aloft.)
Ellen: [Sit. Very quietly.]

That is pretty much the pattern for all tricks: "sit," "stay," "drop," "drop that other dog," "leave that duck poo."  However, last week our teacher offered me the first words of encouragement I've had. 

"Don't worry," he said, "Every lab of this age is exactly the same.  Give her 18 months and she'll be a doll."

Hmmm, I thought.  She's already a doll.  It just happens to be this one:


Image via here

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Simple Pleasures


Spring is just delightful in what remains of our garden.  The daphne is a gorgeous afro of pink blooms, the first tiny green buds are springing from the gnarly bonsai trunks, and gang-gangs are sitting in the honeysuckle plucking at blossoms and croaking their creaky song.

Yesterday I watched Ellen in adorable puppy mode, gamboling after a butterfly in the late afternoon sun.  Then she caught the butterfly and ate it, which made me a little bit sad.

Oh, for non-Canberrans, this is a gang-gang.  They are the world's most hilarious birds.*



*with the possible exception of those ones with the pointy beaks that pick sheep's noses.

The Promise Of Fruit and Poo


Ellen tries very hard to destroy most things in our garden, but there are some things she can't reach.

These are our beautiful apricot blossoms.


I was enjoying the fragile beauty of these, but then the Fella pointed out that each of these will turn into an apricot, which the cockatoos will pluck off the tree and let fall to the ground, where Ellen will eat it, and it will have unfortunate results.  

Really. Unfortunate. Results.

Progress Report


Our new addition is finally earning her keep.  Last night I spilled some peas on the kitchen floor.  Ellen ate them all up.  We have had her two months, and that is the first useful thing she has done.

Unfortunately she is less helpful in the garden.  

On Sunday, the Fella and I decided to remove our temporary brick wall and repair the fence that Ellen had escaped through a number of weeks ago.  Of course Ellen wanted to help us, and was doing very useful things like picking up the hammer and taking it away, or just hanging around in order to poop where we wanted to stand.

Well, I thought.  Here's an excellent opportunity to practise some of those things we've been doing at school.  In particular, the "wait" command.  This is where we tie our dogs to a fence (actually, we only tie their leads. It would take a lot of string, and patience, to tie Ellen securely to a fence), and then we say "WAIT" as we go off and pretend to buy goat's cheese at the market.  The dog sits quietly, and we return and reward them with a kebab.  

In theory.

Ellen was duly tethered to a deck railing and told to wait.  She was nice and quiet, so we moved around the corner to continue fencing.

No noise for five minutes, so the Fella went around to check on her.  She was standing where we'd left her, but had done this to her lead:



Sigh.  She was very pleased to be back with us and sharing her building skills.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lost In Translation


As expected, Ellen's report card last night was not glowing.  This time it said "Needs to work on walking and control."  I am not surprised.  Ellen neither walks, nor has any control.

However, I do think we are both making progress.  There are some commands Ellen will respond to now (albeit with the promise of sausage), and I think I am learning to understand the teacher a bit better.  Like Confucius, his wisdom is sometimes cleverly veiled in seemingly simple phrases.  For example, Confucius said "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."  What he really meant by this was, "If  you love marine biology, pursue it, but you will never find a job.  Aim low, Grasshopper."

But I digress.  These are some of the things our teacher said last night, along with translations of what he actually meant:


 
   Words Spoken With Forked Tongue   
 
    The Real Message   

This course is all about you forming a better working relationship with your dog. It's not about who learns to drop the quickest, and whether you graduate to the next class.

You. With the labrador. You are going to fail.

In the short time you've been doing this I've seen you all make real progress..........

.....except you.  With the labrador.

Now see what those two [pointing to Weasel-face and Ellen] are doing?  That's "socialising."

You.  With the labrador.  Keep your @#$% dog away from the others while I'm talking.

He's a little nervous [pointing to The Hound of the Baskervilles].

Don't go near that dog if you value your face.
You'll notice a great improvement if you practise this at home.
You.  With the labrador.  I know that rather than spend the necessary time training, you sit around watching Hitchcock movies together and reinforcing each other's bad habits.  


Now this exercise is a little tricky.

I know you haven't mastered the basics yet.  I'm doing this because I hate you.

Be careful with treating your dog.  If they think they'll get a treat every time they do something, they'll stop obeying you.

You. Labrador girl.  Don't think I haven't noticed your dog pretends she doesn't know you unless you have a sausage between your eyes.

Now, I want you to run to the fence, turn and run back.

This is not really necessary.  I'm doing this because I hate you.

Adolescence in labradors can last up until they're two years old.

Your dog is a lost cause.  Have you considered getting a standard poodle instead?


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Helpful Household Hint #1: How To Get Your Fella To Do The Dishes


Scene: Fella is sitting on couch watching cricket.  Dishes, including a pan from an egg-poaching experiment gone horribly wrong, are sitting on kitchen sink.  Cricket is scheduled to finish some time close to dawn.

Step One: Start singing Mr Mistoffeles, sotto voce.

Fella will smile politely at your child-like exuberance.

Step Two: Leave a pause long enough for your Fella to relax and start watching cricket again.  Start singing Don't cry for me Argentina.  Inject some passion.  Stand up for the chorus.

Fella will smile again, but this time with a hint of murderousness.

Step Three: Shift the tempo with Mein Herr from Cabaret.  You probably don't know all the words to this one, but it's OK to substitute all the missing words with "Mein Herr."

Fella stops smiling and turns up the volume.

Step Four: Treat him to The sun will come out tomorrow in your best Little Orphan Annie holler.  Make sure you emphasise "Tooo-morrrrahhhhhh" in a way that will get the cat's attention from the other end of the house.

Fella will turn off the TV and go into the kitchen.

Step Five: Turn the TV back on and watch something interesting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Focus And Control


Ellen's second class was on Thursday night.  I can no longer claim she is "not the worst" dog in the class.  She even made The Hound of the Baskervilles look like a a baby cocker spaniel.

At the start of each class we get to look at what the teacher has written on our report cards for the previous week.  Weasel-face got "A good start!" on hers, according to her proud mum.  

Ellen got "Needs to work on focus and control."  The handwriting was a little shaky, like he was very, very angry when he wrote it.

The first thing we did was more work on leash-control.  The teacher made us do an exercise where all the dogs stood in a circle, and each dog, in turn, weaved in and out of the circle to complete a circuit.

Like this:



Of course Ellen struggled a little with the concept of doing this quietly and without molesting every dog in the circle.  The teacher rolled his eyes, and said rather patronisingly, "Here.  Let me show you how." 

Heh heh heh.

This is the path Ellen led her teacher on:



I am looking forward to seeing next week's report card. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Characteristics, Instructions And Warnings That Apply Equally To Me And Various Products Or Tools In My Garage


  • Repels possums
  • Wipe clean with a damp cloth
  • May cause a rash
  • Keep out of reach of children
  • Kills crawling insects
  • Use in a well-ventilated area
  • Not a toy
  • Never place anything sharp in top opening
  • Will not sink, shrink, split or fade
  • If swallowed, do not induce vomiting
  • Contains peanuts

Saturday, August 15, 2009

School Of Dog

Ellen was very excited to be going to her first day of school on Thursday after her Very Big Adventure, and was even more excited when she saw the bag of sausages and cheese I'd packed for her play lunch.

The instructor was right last week.  Every dog was very, very excited, and there was lots of power-wagging, butt-sniffing and rolling over to present bellies to bigger, more frightening puppies.

We were placed in the "Beginners' A" class, which is for dogs that aren't puppies, but are keen to continue their education and better themselves.  Unfortunately this meant we weren't in the same class as the ferret dog, so I can't report on what it looked like, but this should give you some idea:

Despite the lack of ferret, Ellen has some interesting class-mates.  Her new best friend is the smallest dog in the class.  Not ferret-sized - perhaps adolescent marten, or even stunted pole-cat (marbled, that is, not the steppe pole-cat).  We shall call her Weasel-face.

The largest dog is a german shepherd that was described by his handlers as "nervous," but is, in fact, a psychopath and had to be kept ten metres away from the rest of the class.  Occasionally I saw him licking his drooly jowls and fixing Weasel-face with the same look I have been known to direct at a plate of pastizzi.  We shall call him The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The rest of the class is pretty much comprised of staffy-crosses, with the odd small bristly terrier thing.  We don't have names for any of those.

The first class was focussed on communication, and getting your dog's attention.  The way to do this is to hold a piece of sausage between your eyes.  

I can report that it does not work without the sausage.  I'm not sure how to fix this.  Sure, it's OK to get around the house with a frankfurter taped to my forehead, but I can't really maintain that if we go out.  Sometimes I accidentally have smallgoods stuck to my face, but the Fella usually makes me remove them if we're in company.  I may have to go with a discreet smear of lard.

Another thing we practised was walking on a loose lead.  Well, when I say we "practised" it, I mean that eleven dogs walked nicely across the grass, and I was dragged on my face, screaming and trying to wield a sausage of obedience.  The instructor said not to worry, it was just adolescence.  That was good news.  I will only have to wait until Ellen is two years old for her to grow out of it.

The last thing we practised was getting our dogs comfortable with us touching them all over.  Why, we asked?  Well, the instructor said, it's in case we ever need to remove a tick from their anus.  Of course!  I was hoping that was one of the things on the syllabus.  I'm thinking that if The Hound of the Baskervilles gets anything in his anus that his owners will be pretty happy to leave it there.

Am excited to learn what vital skills we'll pick up next week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Doggone

I have never been as pleased to clean up dog vomit before breakfast as I was this morning.

The chain of events leading to this started yesterday with a string of burglaries, a long and sad walk around the suburb, a ride in a police car, and finally, a big kiss for Ellen in spite of the grave bacterial danger.

When I arrived home with groceries just after lunch, I steeled myself for the usual jumping, slobbering, smiling attack of someone who knows there are bones for her in one of the bags.  It didn't come.  I dumped the bags on the kitchen floor, and went around the side of the house to where Ellen had masterminded her two previous escapes, and found that the side gate had been opened, and Ellen was gone.  A pile of bricks had been moved to open the gate, so I knew my girl hadn't done it herself.  

Hoping that she had simply escaped through the opened gate, and not been taken, I called the Fella, and he came home to walk around the suburb with me.  No luck, but lots of false alarms - it's amazing how many barks sound just like Ellen's.  The Fella had to go back to work, and I was left forlorn to type up a lost dog notice.

As I was sitting at the computer, a policeman walked past the window.  I ran outside, and he told me he was checking to see if we'd been burgled, as there had been a string of break-ins in the street.  I told him no, but that someone had come in, and our dog was missing.  He said he'd heard a dog was missing, and figured it must have been from our house, as he'd looked through the kitchen window, seen the dumped groceries and assumed I'd arrived home, left everything on the floor, and gone out looking for her.  I was impressed at his detectiving skills until the Fella pointed out that get to the kitchen window he would have walked past an enormous kennel, stepped over another dog bed, watched he didn't stumble over chewed sticks and rubber toys, and leaned over an enormous water bowl.  It might have occurred to a more experienced policeman a little earlier that this was a house of dog.  Also, if he knew us, he would know there are always groceries on the kitchen floor.

Anyway, he said to me "Was it a black labrador?"  I confirmed this, and then he said "We may have some bad news about a black labrador."  I can't describe how I felt as he told me that they had picked up some associates of the burglars, who told the police that the burglars had boasted that they'd killed a black lab.  "It's not confirmed though," he said.  "For the moment we'll treat it as a missing dog, rather than a murdered dog."  Not comforting.  

After checking out our neighbour's property, which had also been entered, he told me to wait, and they would go to the scene of the alleged crime, and let me know what they found.  

longest. wait. of. my. life.

Finally he returned and asked me if she was wearing a purple collar.  I said yes, and he said they had found her.  

He then told me "We would have brought her back in the car, but she was too manic."  

That's definitely my girl!!!  I started running around in circles and whooping, and then the policeman took me to where she was.  Turns out she'd chased the would-be burglars down the street, jumping all over them, and they had put her over someone's fence.  Who needs a fierce guard dog when you've got a really annoying one?

Ellen came home, gnawed on an enormous bone for the rest of the afternoon, and was a bit bemused by all the cuddles she was getting.

A lot of excitement for a girl on her first day of school.  But more of that later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Parents' Night

Last night was Parents' Night at Ellen's new school.  Along with lots of other proud mums, and a few young fathers, I attended a talk on what to expect from obedience training, and what rules we all need to follow.

The rules are basically the same ones that apply at any school: pick up your child's poo, don't approach someone else's child if you see it tied to a pole, and don't bring your child to school if she has distemper or is in heat.  Nothing about leaving your child at home if she is a nutcase, so I guess we're OK.

The introductory lecture was held in the clubhouse.  As you'd expect, there are lots of photos of dogs on the wall.  Most of them look a lot calmer than Ellen - some are even holding ribbons in their mouths and not tearing them up.  There are also hilarious stickers that say things like "Dog trainers don't die, they just drop on recall."  I don't know what dropping on recall is, and Ellen sure as hell doesn't, but I guess we'll both learn, and have a good laugh at the sticker when our year is up.

So.  Dog people.  Our instructor came into the clubhouse wearing a big woolly jumper, hiking boots and shorts.  One of the first things he said was that we should dress warmly, as outdoor classes on Canberra winter evenings can get a little nippy.  To demonstrate this, he put on a beret.  He then spent 45 minutes talking about pieces of cheese and other choice treats we need to bring along to next week's class.

Next, he spoke a little about the type of collar and lead we should have, and asked if there were any questions.  One girl put up her hand and said that her dog was so small she couldn't find a collar to fit, so it wore a ferret harness, and was that OK?  Beret man asked if she was embarrassed.  I don't think he was joking.

So, to finish, he said that we would find that next week our dogs will be the worst behaved that they've ever been as they'll be incredibly excited about everything.  

God help us.  Oh, and God....please don't let Ellen eat the ferret dog.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

10 Pieces of Advice For Stuart

In a few days it will be one year since I got Stuart.  In that time we have both put a lot of weight on, but only one of us has a belly that brushes against the ground.  Stuart has certainly settled in, but like Ellen, there are things he should be told.

1.  Last night you stole half a capsicum from me when I was making noodles.  This doesn't please me.

2.  Some cats do adorable things that result in funny photos that can be made into hilarious LOLcats.  You are not a LOLcat.  You are more like a WTFcat.

3.  If you need to use your bowels, you should just go.  You don't need to stand there with your legs crossed until I've cleaned your tray.

4.  Standing on my pillow at 5:00am and licking my hair will not result in an earlier breakfast.  It doesn't work for the Fella, and it won't work for you.

5.  You can't kill me with your stare.  Even if your eyes are really, really narrow.

6.  Spending an hour noisily licking your forearms does not constitute a comprehensive wash.

7.  If the dog breaks the window because you're sitting on the other side teasing her, you will be the one at fault.

8.  Beetroot leaves are neither delicious, nor essential for cat health.  You do not need to steal them.  When my bags are on the floor after I've returned from the farmers' market, and you're making honking noises as you're stripping the stems, I can hear you from the next room.

9.  Talking to a moth will not kill it.  No matter how much you chatter your teeth.

10.  If the only time you tell me you love me is in the half hour before meals, I may start to doubt your sincerity.

He is attacking my feet as I write this.  Sigh.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Properties Of Various Products In My Bathroom Cupboard That I Could Not Convincingly Or Honestly Apply To Myself

  • Rich
  • Pleasant smelling
  • Light, non-greasy
  • Does not contain alcohol
  • Hard working
  • Soft and gentle
  • Suitable for babies and children
  • Water and dirt repellent
  • Practically invisible
  • Economical
  • Will not stain clothing
  • Product of France

Thursday, July 30, 2009

10 Pieces of Advice For Ellen

Yesterday it was a month since we brought Ellen home.  It is lovely to have a dog around again, but I'd forgotten about some of the more interesting aspects.  For the Fella it is all new.  Terrifyingly new.

Anyhow, the Fella has grown very fond of her, and I think Ellen likes it here.  She's settling in nicely, but there are still some teensie things she needs to learn.  This is what I would like to tell her if she would listen to me:

1. Stuart may sit there docilely while you are licking his face, but rest assured he is biding his time before he launches a bloody revenge attack. Very bloody.

2. Plastic is delicious, but it's better to eat your very expensive bones and chew toys.  DVD cases are not chew toys.

3. I know it's you that farts during Spicks and Specks.  It's no good sharing a knowing look with the Fella and trying to blame me.

4. If you find a smashed watermelon when you're on walkies, it's OK to eat some of it.  It's not OK to eat most of it.  This has unfortunate results. 

5. You are never, ever, going to catch a magpie.   Or a wattle bird.  Or a group of children.  Standing there with your tail nice and straight then hurtling at them like a demented thing is not effective.

6. We know you're not deaf.

7. We would prefer it if you didn't remove whole palings from the fence and chew them up on the deck.

8. It's very sweet when you sleep with your head on my lap, but when you wake up and chew my belly, it is unpleasant.

9. You have a fine voice, but it's best if you don't use it at 2:00am.

10. Dead birds can be admired from a reasonable distance.  You don't necessarily have to roll all over them.

She will eventually learn the first point, but I am not confident about the rest.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lessons From My Dog: #132

If you can fit it in your mouth and run with it, it's a stick, not a log.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

EXTERMINATE!!! PEW! PEW! PEW! ARRRRRGH.......

My first experience with a computer was a Commodore 64 in Grade 6.  When something went wrong with it, it was usually pretty easy to find the source of the problem: either someone had unplugged it so they could plug in the fish-tank pump, or someone had changed the text colour to the same colour as the background, or there were Cheezel crumbs in the tape player.

Things are a little more complicated in the noughties.  For example, I was just looking at some of my blog's stats, and it has a breakdown of crawl errors. Now, I don't even know what crawl errors are, but I've learned they can have simple causes like "time-out," or "not found."

My blog had none of those problems.  The five crawl errors listed all occurred because they had been "restricted by robots."  What?!?  As an eleven year old, sitting there eating Cheezels and waiting for the Pitfall Harry tape to load, this is just the sort of problem I imagined would happen in the future.  Then, as now, it made me uneasy and whimpery.  ROBOTS are determining who reads my blog and under what circumstances???

Until now, the Fella's greatest fear has been cookies*, but he is obviously unaware of the automaton menace.  When he gets home we shall board ourselves up immediately inside the house with lots of canned food, two pasties, and some Maltesers.

But we'll leave the dog outside.  She's still in my bad books. 


*the computery kind, not the chocolate-chip kind.  Nobody is frightened of those ones.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lab On The Run


Yesterday Ellen escaped.  Twice.

The first time, I was sitting in the study, and out of the window I saw a dog where no dog should be.  I rushed out, and found that two palings into the neighbour's yard were pushed out.  Using my super detectiving skills, I deduced this was done with the same rock-hard skull that had bruised my elbow the day before.

Dog was retrieved, and bricks cleverly piled up against escape route.

The second incident occurred when I was at the shops.  Received a call from the Fella to say a nice man called Neil was restraining Ellen on a leash in his front yard.  I rushed home, and saw how Ellen had climbed over my clever brick wall and pushed the palings back a little higher up the fence.  She may be the worst dog ever who is a nutcase with bizarre behaviours, but she is not dumb.

Collected Ellen's leash and walked down the street where a man called Neil in a muddied suit was holding what appeared to be four psychotic black howler monkeys that had got tangled up together and mysteriously grown extra teeth.  Neil was very nice and understanding, and I managed to get Ellen home.  Slowly and bitingly.

She was calm enough to be allowed inside after din-dins, but then this happened:



I know what you're thinking: "NOOOOOO, she was a lunatic, and there was no hope of teaching her manners, and I know you're sick of her eating your solar lights, but was there any need to massacre her in such a violent fashion??? And why would you choose to do it on the carpet???"

Actually, she's still alive.  She was just so pleased with the day's exploits that she swept my glass of wine off the coffee table with a big waggy tail.  Sigh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nemesis

Sometimes you come across people that you don't like.

There's no rational reason, but they make you squirm a little, and you think that if they touched you, you'd scream and flail your arms and sob a little bit, and maybe even hiss like an angry possum.  And you couldn't help yourself, even though important people might be watching who might one day want to offer you a job, a tasty treat, or even help you load your Billy bookcases into the back of your car in the Ikea carpark when you're so clearly struggling with the weight of the flatpack and the nausea of a belly full of Swedish meatballs.

There is such a man who works in one of my favorite supermarkets.  It's a supermarket I really like because it reduces cheeses quite significantly on a Tuesday when they're nice and ripe, and I can buy six cheeses for the price of two, and then I can go home with a flush of "reduced to clear" triumph, before the "oh no, how am I going to eat all these before tomorrow" dread sinks in.

My nemesis works on the checkout.  Always the checkout I end up at.  If I choose one that has a nice looking lady on it, he will arrive after I've unloaded my trolley and send the lady on a break.  

He has beady eyes in a head that is too big for his skinny pale frame, and he judges me with a piercing stare as each electronic beep registers another of my cheesy conquests.  I want to look at my feet, but daren't take my eyes off him, lest one of my prizes is scanned at full price.  When he's done, he flashes his very pointy teeth as he asks if I want any cash out.  I shake my head too quickly and stand there with James Mathison eyes until he hands me my receipt with his pale claw.

It's very fortunate that I have cheese when I get home, because nothing else can comfort and gruntle me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Whispering Jack

Ellen's dog whisperer just left.  Although he didn't whisper so much as growl, shout, wrestle and spray water.

He had lots to say, but my favorite things were:

"She's the worst dog I've seen, and I've seen over 300."
"She has some good qualities and some bizarre ones."
"She is out of control."
"Nutcase."

Usually, he said, younger dogs were easier to control, but Ellen was a little more "highly-strung" than most.  So to control her, we need to put her on the very expensive lead and choker chain he sold me, and growl at her like a mentally unbalanced person when she acts up.  This works to calm most dogs down in two weeks, but it can take six weeks if the dog is "dumb."  Luckily she's not dumb.  She's just a nutcase.

Oh, and the guy's name wasn't Jack, it was Brian.  I changed it to preserve his anonymity.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stuart and Ellen's Musical Journey



Scar/Missy Higgins


Psycho Killer, Qu'est-ce que c'est/Talking Heads


Bright Eyes/Art Garfunkel


O Clap Your Hands/Orlando Gibbons


How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?/Bob Merrill


Ca Plane Pour Moi (I Am The King Of The Divan)/Plastic Bertrand


Bootylicious/Destiny's Child


I'm An Asshole/Denis Leary


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