Archive for June 2008

June 27th, 2008

Recycled Content!

I’ve linked to this site before and I posted this story here a few months ago, but I wanted to share that the site Ruined Music has published (in the loosest sense of the word) one of my pieces today.

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June 26th, 2008

A Dog with Flees

“If you’re a single guy and you want to meet a girl, get a puppy.”

It’s well-worn, time-honored advice, but I wonder, has it ever actually worked? I guess I could see a woman being drawn to a man who has opened his life up to nurturing and caring for, oh say, this:

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.

So I bet it’s worked in the past. These days though, I think being a younger man walking a cute little puppy might make you look like kind of a creep. In that “Could you make it any more obvious that you’re trying to pick up chicks?” way. Ya know, that “What’s your plan if this doesn’t work out? Putting on a silky shirt with the top five buttons unbuttoned and a gold chain, heading into the first bar you find, ordering a Jager Bomb, inserting yourself into the eyeline of the nearest even-somewhat-attractive female, and dropping a ‘Come here often?’” kind of way.

I am basing this on some reactions I’ve gotten from women age 18–35, when I’ve been out walking our new puppy Lilly. And before I go any further, let’s clear something up right now: I do not make a habit out of approaching younger women on the sidewalk and coercing them into conversation. I am happily married! As long as Steph didn’t give up on me two sentences ago! (Which I know you haven’t, honey! Have you?) The only reason I’d now assume that a younger woman on a stroll would want to stop and talk to me is that, since I’ve been walking this dog, everyone wants to stop and talk to me. I know the life story of neighbors that we’ve said nothing more than “hey” to for two years now. Each passerby wants to stop and put in some time with our dog (Why you ask? Ahem:
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). She seems to enjoy meeting new people too, so I’ve gotten accustomed to slowing down a little and giving people an affable expression to let them know that they can have at it if they so desire.

The vast majority of the time, myself and the other party then acknowledge each other, crouch down, rub (the puppy), scratch (again, the puppy…mostly), discuss the puppy’s paw size in painstaking detail, talk to the puppy as if it has a working knowledge of the english language, and perform all the other idiotic pleasantries associated with puppy-sharing. Or rather, this is what we do when it’s any of the following:

  • A man of any age and me+Lilly
  • A woman old enough to be my mother and me+Lilly
  • Two or more people, at least one of whom is a man and me+Lilly
  • A man of any age and Steph+me+Lilly
  • A woman of any age and Steph+me+Lilly
  • Two or more people of any combination of ages and genders and Steph+me+Lilly

One could pretty safely assume this is also what happens when it’s:

  • A woman of any age and Steph+Lilly
  • A man of any age and Steph+Lilly
  • Two or more people of any combination of ages and genders and Steph+Lilly

When it’s women age 18–35 and me+Lilly however, the vast majority of the time it’s an uncomfortable, almost terse exchange with nary a second glance at the pooch. Three times now I’ve gotten smirks. (This could just be because, whenever our dog catches sight of new people, she starts violently struggling against her leash, like a tiny rodeo bull, trying to get to them, and they’re disgusted by dogs who sometimes behave like unwashed mongrels. But I don’t think so. I feel there’s something more accusatory in this look. Even I have to admit, if I wanted to use my dog to attract the fairer sex I might train her to do this. Then I’d polish an act of patiently yet haplessly wrangling her, all the while tossing out good-natured glances that say “yep, this one’s a handful!” and secretly pushing her closer to my target. In my delusional, single mind I’d probably imagine this being effective. But of course I’m not trying to attract the fairer sex. Still reading along, right Steph? Of course you are! Hello?) What really bothers me though, is that the apparent disapproval is always accompanied by expedited movement in an opposing direction.

This would be one thing if it were just me, sans dog. I’m no Zack Morris, or whoever it is they’re pining away for these days. But eyerolling and running away? At the sight of this:

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?

Get over yourselves, young ladies. Recognize:

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June 13th, 2008

A Little Heavy Petting

The arm’s been doing a lot better over the past few days. I’m pretty much done with the sling and, obviously, I’m able to operate a computer at the optimal level again (as opposed to just hunting and pecking with my left pointer finger). I’m still unable to extend or retract my arm quickly, and it doesn’t seem to have the same amount of strength it did pre-accident (i.e. “considerable”), but I’m sure it will recover fully in time.

Enough about my delicate health, though. The big news this week is that Steph and I…I can hardly believe I’m typing this…got a dog. Though we’ve always been a little wary of how much work having a dog would be (see: my old entry about my parent’s currents dogs and all their problems which is probably about to come back and bite me in the rear end…quite literally) the two of us have tossed around the idea of getting one that we’d take care of together for almost as long as we’ve been together. There have been exactly three dogs, in the history of our relationship, that we’ve come very close to co-adopting. However, now that we’re: a) married, b) living in the same place, and c) spending a lot of quiet evenings at home not because we’re broke or we’ve fallen out with friends but because we’re actually seeming to enjoy it, it’s started to feel like the right time.

No sooner had we been discussing this when, while walking to our car three weekends ago, an approximately 60-year-old man we’ve never seen in our neighborhood before rounded the corner of our apartment complex and stopped right by our car to let a tiny aura of energetic fur at the end of a leash let out some inoffensive yips at us. It got our attention and, upon closer inspection, the aura, it turned out, was a dog. A lab/boxer mix to be specific. Though these are not typically tiny, yippie breeds, this was a puppy, no more than three months old.

We approached them, let the pint-sized dog smell our hands, and talked to her new owner about her for a minute. He told us her name was “Lilly” and that he’d just adopted her from the Wake County SPCA and that it had been a great experience for him.

Maybe it was just the uncanny timing of this, or the combination of the dog being a girl (which my all-time favorite family dog “Misha” was), the breed mix (I’ve never met a boxer or a lab that I didn’t like), and the fact that this was going to be a larger, more active mutt (I’m not big on lap dogs), but I decided that I wanted this dog for my own. Steph was smitten, as well. Tragically, the geezer had gotten his bony hands on her first.

We began checking the SPCA site regularly to see if Lilly had any brothers or sisters up for adoption. Then, about a week later, Lilly’s “up for adoption” profile reappeared on the site! I called to make sure it wasn’t a mistake, and it turned out that the kindly older gentlemen had had to return her!

Steph and I went to visit her that day and she was as sweet and as energetic as we remembered. But we’d decided beforehand that we weren’t going to rush into anything and that we were going to progress in a measured and rational manner. We went home and spent some time talking about the major issues having a dog would entail — such as what color bandana we would tie around her neck when we took her for rides in our open-top jeep, which we would need to find the money to buy, as we would have a dog to ride in it — and compulsively checked the website for the next few days, after which it became clear that our lives could not continue without this mutt. When we went back to get her, she had been placed in a 10-day quarantine for biting another dog! The staff went out of their way to assure us that the only reason they had to put her away was because of a stupid old state law and that this happened to dogs all the time and that she wasn’t being overly aggressive but rather “puppy-playing” and just took it a little too far (on account of her being so energetic). Good to hear, but, honestly, they could have told us she was in quarantine for robbing a bank, and we still would have wanted her. We waited the 10 days out, then went in and filled out the paperwork to adopt her, and this evening — Friday the 13th of all days — we brought her home.

So that’s the story of how we ended up with a dog. A few people have asked if we’re going to change her name, as it wasn’t one that we gave her, but Steph and I have determined that this dog is “Lilly.” (That name even helped Steph get attached to her, as Steph’s always wanted to use the name “Lilly” for a pet/boat/child.)

I haven’t taken a single picture of her yet because I’ve spent the entire time since we picked her up this afternoon with a leash in my hand. (Did I mention this dog was energetic?) So I’ll leave you with the picture from her SPCA profile that caused Steph and I to instant message each other hysterically each day upon seeing that it was still up….

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Now if you’ll excuse me, all this unbridled cuteness is making me gag.

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