Showing posts with label pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pets. Show all posts

Monday, November 30, 2009

The League Watches: Santa Buddies

There are a few types of movies which are produced with the Yuletide Season in mind. There are true, heartfelt holiday pictures which have become classics, such as "A Christmas Story" or those with a moral underpinning, such as "It's a Wonderful Life". There are broad comedies which use the annual festivities as a backdrop to explore the foibles of the average person, with varying degrees of success ("Jingle All the Way", "Christmas with the Cranks"). Some employ high-end CGI, namebrand actors and the Santa-related Christmas mythology to bring alive the "wonder" of Christmas ("Fred Claus", "Elf"). There are even the oddly sentimental and saccharine made-for-TV Holiday movies in which 30 and 40-somethings find romance, which hit CBS each December as regularly as fruitcake arrives by mail.

And then there are the endless stream of cheerless, mirthless, low-fi, relying-on-the-tropes-of-the-holiday, pushed through the Hollywood sausage mill, "magic of Christmas" films, almost all of which feature a long-out-of-work former-star as Santa.

"Santa Buddies" is Disney's ninth installment in the lucrative "Air Bud" franchise, which was once a simple tale of a dog who could shoot free-throws (and the boy who loved him). In this day and age, an adorable thoroughbred dog with an amazing talent is as useful to your Nintendo-DS-addled hottentots as a Smith-Corona ribbon. Lest the Hollywood studios lose a dime from haggard mothers looking for fifteen minutes of peace while their rugrats glue themselves to the screen in the back of the Caravan, Disney has gleefully kept the franchise up to date. Having jettisoned the sports-playing Bud of the first five movies, "Santa Buddies" represents the fourth installment to feature several deeply CGI-ed puppies who comment and wise-crack their way through the film and have Disney-approved stereotypes assigned to each of them, with the requisite attitude-imbued slang appropriate for each "character".

In this movie (in which, clearly, nobody is even @#$%ing trying), there's "Buddha", the openly hostile take on non-Judeo-Christian concepts of spirituality. "MudBud" is... dirty. And possibly a redneck. "Budderball" is the one who is into sports, so he's also kind of slow and really into food. "RoseBud" is the only female, and thus complexly coded as being interested in fashion and who likely believes math is hard. And, the nails-on-a-chalkboard "B-Dawg", whom you can expect your kids to parrot until Easter. Voiced by peppy child-actor Skyler Gisondo, "B-Dawg" is the hip-hop-slang toting, diamond-encrusted-medallion-wearing, embodiment of America's issues with race, culture and identity. But you shall truly feel your heart soar when B-Dawg's nose glows red and he proclaims "my nose is shining! Like my bling!".

Oh, B-Dawg!

Let it be noted: the Buddies are mostly a backdrop to a the goings-on at The North Pole where the massive frozen phallus by which Santa Claus* and Santa Paws take the measure of the level of Christmas Spirit is twinkling/ melting away. Viewers may be shocked to learn that for the purposes of our story, and reasons Santa and Santa don't get into, the world's Christmas Spirit just isn't what it used to be.

Santa Paws is, of course, Dog Santa, who delivers presents to good puppies**, and rides shotgun in Santa's sleigh. Somehow, the heir of Santa Paws, Puppy Paws (yes. Puppy Paws. It's a sort of six-degrees-of-separation thing you're better off not pondering too hard) just wants to be a "normal" puppy, and can give a toss for elves, magic, and the awkward glee that is veteran Little Person actor Danny Woodburn (of Seinfeld fame) looking like he cannot believe he's been roped into the part of Eli, the Only Competent Elf.

Anyone in this image could have had a potty accident

From a technical stand-point, the North Pole, the eight reindeer, and the Fortress of Solitude-like cave hosting the ice-phallus are all the finest CGI that could be rendered on a MacBook Pro in late 2001. Its likely writer/ director/ producer Robert Vince told himself that the unforgiveably awful graphics created a "storybook" look-and-feel, in order that he could sleep at night and still call himself a "filmmaker". Consumers buying this DVD should feel comforted that its just as likely that the intended audience of kids who think you disappear when you play "peek-a-boo" and hide behind your hands, will not notice the poor CGI. But one might (vainly) hope that a company built on animation such as Disney would have maybe tried a bit harder.

If writer/ director/ producer Vince*** does deserve a tip of the hat, its that the Buddies and Puppy Paws, all real-deal and seemingly not-dead-and-taxidermized puppies, actually sit still long enough for the necessary coverage to complete scenes. Forget all else about this movie, but watch in earnest amazement as Vince's leads do not just randomly tumble past the camera and give in to chasing their own tail.

Among the group with whom this reviewer watched the film there were, of course, theories floated, including the exclusive use of extremely tired pups, drugged pups, pups glued to some sort of mat, etc... But as this is Vince's 13th or 14th film featuring animals, one has to assume the man knows exactly what he can get out of any animal in Hollywood. And that Lassie must be sending him boudoir photos trying to get work with the man.

To get our plot shaking, for reasons that make no real sense, Puppy Paws identifies "Budderball" from Santa Paws' "Naughty List" as what a "normal" pup must be like (despite his omnipresent sports jersey and eye-black). Thus, he stows away to bum a ride in a surprisingly racist magical mail truck to the Buddies' fictional hometown of Fernfield, Washington, where he plans to join forces with "Budderball" and become "normal" as well.

The plot is fairly boiler-plate kiddie-faire, and should keep your wee-ones entertained, provided their standard for an hour's worth of amusement begins and ends with bright colors and shiny objects.

There's a non-menacing Christopher Lloyd, phoning in his performance as the curmudgeonly dog catcher just trying to make a profit. There's a semi-frightening/ cute puppy who delivers the film's chance to hit fast-forward with an original Christmas tune, and a kid who just wants a puppy, but Dad can't afford Christopher Lloyd's sky-high prices (which makes one wonder what happens when the dog needs to go to the vet, but lets not pick nits).

The movie delivers no shortage of lessons for our younger viewers, such as: run away from the new kid if he doesn't immediately fit in, people in far off lands all celebrate Christmas and live in easily stereo-typed ethnic homes, and that it isn't worth it to try to make friends with someone unless they have magical powers.

This reviewer found it somewhat striking that he became genuinely lost during a crucial point in the film in which Puppy Paws has supposedly learned a lesson about what Christmas really means. Perhaps because the lesson was delivered in a shrilly delivered song, I missed something, but it seemed unclear how "Santa Buddies" decided to define the meaning of Christmas, as no character dared to utter the lesson aloud again.

Part of the interesting mix of "Santa Buddies" is that, like most Christmas movies, the film was based almost entirely in a secular and magical world of elves, talking dogs, flying sleighs, etc... But the film also makes awkward attempts to appeal to the large audience "keeping Christ in Christmas", including scenes of characters praying, etc... This would seemingly raise the stakes for defining "the spirit of Christmas" as more than a warm fuzzy and colored lights, and there is some hint regarding charity, but its somewhat fuzzy and seemingly tied to how much you like being licked by puppies.

These puppies are stupid and I hate them

Its perhaps expecting too much for a movie about Santa's canine parallel's prodigal-son to say much about the human/ canine condition, or to ask that any message about the meaning of the Holiday be put into concrete terms, but there seemed no real transition from Puppy Paws' abandonment of his destiny and giving up and going home (ie: finding the spirit of Christmas). However, if Hollywood is intent on making Christmas film after Christmas film which insists that "people have lost the true meaning of Christmas", it would be nice to have a movie which didn't resolve the problem with fictional intangibles like "if Puppy Paws can just come back, we can deliver the presents/ save Christmas!", and perhaps do a bit more in the vein of "A Christmas Carol" or "It's a Wonderful Life" to recognize charity and giving.

This is by no means the worst Christmas movie you may see this year. That's what ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel are here to provide. Nor is it the worst Christmas movie ever made. That distinction is currently held by the 1996 feature, "Santa with Muscles". Kids may enjoy the puppies and their non-stop stream of mistaking saying-things-that-other-people-say for humor or something anybody actually wants to hear.

Its tough to imagine a world in which an adult might watch this movie and derive non-ironic joy from the viewing, but people are into all sorts of things, I suppose. Let us just say that I have lived a life the way a man is supposed to, and never believed it possible to hate an adorable puppy.

But God help me, I hate B-Dawg.

Fo' shizzle.

This reviewer would suggest that, perhaps, when seeking out holiday entertainment you may wish to look elsewhere for a video which may not be the filmic equivalent of feeding your kids nothing but creme-filled doughnuts for a week.

Luckily, Robert Vince is no man to rest on his laurels. IMDB promises that a second installment in the now ever-expanding world of Air Bud/ the Buddies/ Puppy Paws will be arriving next year under the name "The Search for Santa Paws".

*It should be noted that "Cheers" alum George Wendt, who played Santa in last year's "A Colbert Christmas", in 2007's "Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular" and in a TV movie entitled "Santa Baby" in 2006, reprises his role as Santa Claus. He, however, looks a bit pale and ghastly throughout, and several times I wondered if Mr. Claus were not fighting off a flu or suffering low blood sugar. While comforting to know Mr. Wendt and his agent have locked up "Santa" as a role for the next few years and found a role Wendt can take well into retirement, it has created an odd alternate world of entertainment where the Buddies, Stephen Colbert, and Larry the Cable Guy all share the same Santa, who is Jenny McCarthy's dad.

**I assume all cats are either Jewish or Shintoist and do not participate in the Holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

***A long, slow clap, then, for the career of Mr. Robert Vince. For without his talents, its' not just that we would never have had the films "Most Valuable Primate", but also "Most Vertical Primate" and the unforgettable "Most Xtreme Primate".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scout's Amazing Misadventure

Around 2:45, Jamie called me at my desk.

"Scout got out. She found a hole in the fence and pushed her way out. She's running around the neighborhood."

A month ago or so I took Scout to the park and was astounded when she was off her leash. "If she ever runs, we are never going to catch her," I said. And, sure enough, given the opportunity, she ran.

Jamie did a great job trying to track her down, but no dice. A few people had seen her, but we have a creek which runs the length of our subdivision and the adjoining subdivision, and many people who back up to it do not have fences. Which means, really, Scout could be anywhere in about a mile radius in about twenty minutes.

I got home about 3:20 or so, and began looking at the park. I looked high and low, tromping around the weeds, to no avail.

Jamie was circling, and kept coming back to the house to see if any messages were left. Her folks also zipped up to Austin and helped look around the neighborhood.

Jamie came home to find some strangers who had found poor Scout. Unfortunately, she'd been clipped by a car out on Manchaca.

Don't worry, Scout is okay, we think.

I can't really thank enough the complete strangers who corralled her and brought her home. That people would pull over and help out like that? Anyway, it gives me a moment of pause and a little something to be grateful for this week. Thanks, South Austin people. You're the best.

I was still wandering around a creek when Jamie gave me a call, and I sent her on ahead to the vet. As I realized the one spot where I'd crossed the creek, I couldn't recross, and spent about ten minutes trying to figure out how to get back across.

The good folks at Century Animal Clinic gave Scout a thorough looking over, and we're feeling pretty good about how Scout is doing. She's resting, tired, and she had a big day. I'm keeping an eye on her to make sure we didn't miss anything. But at least she's home.

I can say: Scout did have a collar with a tag stating our address and home number. We're going to need to replace that with our cell number as it would have been a lot easier to reach us while we were searching for Scout. We also have Scout chipped, which I guess a lot of the Black Helicopter folks think is just one step away from chipping all us humans (too late for me, I got my flu shot). But as stressed as I was, I knew that between tags and chipping, we'd find Scout sooner or later. I just would have preferred to find her before she got hit by a car.

She's home and sleeping, and we're very happy to have her here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Poor Little Lu (I broke my dog)

Last night I was playing with Lucy (our beloved little black lab) and picked her up.

She let out a yelp, which Lucy has only ever done once before when I was playing with her roughly.

Well, we left for a little while and came back to find Lucy was not willing to climb up on the couch (which you would think I'd be happy about, but...), and was just not terribly mobile.

I was going to just keep an eye on her, because with dogs half the time this stuff just passes. But the last time she yelped, we wound up with a trip to the vet and learned she has hip dysplacia, a fairly common problem in large-breed thorough-breds (part of why we went for 100% American Mutt when we adopted Scout).

Anyhow, at 2:30 AM I was walking into the emergency vet.

Lucy received a narcotic of some sort and... high animals are a really weird thing to deal with. She's also got some pills for the issue. She's resting next to Jamie on the couch, but we had to get her up there.

Because I'd stayed up late to keep an eye on her, and then missed sleep from about 2:00 - 4:30 AM, I'm a little punchy today.

I am most sad that it was my fault. Very Jack Torrance of me.

Lucy used to bounce all over the place and "delicate" was not a word I would have associated with her physique. But I need to adjust when we're playing, and not do anything as simple as lift her anywhere except onto the bed or into the car. And not take it as a sign that her jumping all over creation is the same thing as her getting picked up.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Enemy Ace is a Poor Choice of Pet-Sitter

I have a not-great story about how occasionally I low-bid on items on eBay. I've been doing this for years without winning. It's fun. See a car online? Bid $100. See Action Comics #1 online? Bid $25, with the full knowledge that people are using sniping software to win their auctions and that you have no chance of winning before you've finished entering your bid.

About a week ago, on a whim, I did this again, bidding on an Enemy Ace GI Joe collectible doll. And... won. And while I bid a fraction of what I'd seen the item available for on auctions with a "buy it now" price..., I didn't particularly intend to win.

However, I'm now the proud owner of an Enemy Ace GI Joe doll. GI Joe and/ or doll collecting is a whole side of collecting I'm aware of, but do not participate in.

At least I got a really good deal on this thing, I guess?

Lesson learned. No more bidding "just to see what happens". Well, maybe for this. And this.

By the way, the story depicted on the cover above doesn't end particularly well for anybody. You can read up on it here.

Curiously, "killing puppies" was my example of choice for how one could cynically manipulate an audience when we talked over such things in film school. Some things just provoke a reaction, and its either a cheat or its crutch. But its also something I'd never actually seen done until Schatzi (a name, which, had we adopted a boy dog, I was going to try to slip in there to see if I couldn't get Jamie to bite before revealing the origin).

And while I don't feel Kanigher's story and the point of "the tragedy of innocents of all stripes in war" aren't effectively conveyed... ferchrissake, they doom a puppy.

Or do they?

You can see Sleestak's appreciation of Schatzi here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Randy sends this.

You don't see many ads for dog-related items that promise celestial well-being and include shots of Dingoes.

But here you go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Barely a new look and Krypto

You may have noticed I changed the banner.

I was trying to relearn some Photoshop, but actually wound up using the, a free imaging software.

We're not taking a vote on whether to keep this look or not. It's just a banner. I don't know if I want to really monkey with the thing a whole lot more. So expect to see Krypto up there (our patron saint of dogs and comics here at League of Melbotis) for quite a while.

I considered having a Jimmy Olsen image up there, but, man... I wasn't sure Turtle Boy Jimmy or Elastic Lad was where we wanted to be every day for the next year if you visit the site.

The Alex Ross painted image is of Superman's dog, , from the cover of Superman issue 680.

Krypto was introduced way back in Adventure Comics #210 in 1955 as a pal for Superboy.

He's still kicking around DC Comics and Superman comics (and in the newly relaunched Adventure Comics). And if you want to know why Superman is my kind of superhero: He has a super dog, with no sense of irony. While, yeah, the idea of a super powered dog is silly and fun, there's a certain logic to Krypto (he's a Kryptonian test subject, like Laika). Sure, its kitschy and old school, but I like that DC is finding ways to keep Krypto around.

And for us people who love our dogs and our comics, I tip my hat to Ross for a painting of Krypto the way I tend to think of the character in the context of today's Superman comics, as sort of the world's coolest dog.

That said, I'm a fan of Amanda Conner's portrayal as lovable super-powered goof, too.

Anyway, when there isn't room for Krypto in comics because somebody decided that Krypto wasn't "cool" enough or whatever, I'm not sure I'm going to want to read my Super-comics anymore.

I've also long ago adopted Krypto as my IM and comment icon of choice, and I guess, being a bit brand conscious, I figured we might as well go-Krypto across the board. Heck, back in Arizona, I dropped $20 on a vanity plate that read "KRYPTO". No, its true. I'm not ashamed.

In the end, Krypto is up there because Melbotis and I could always agree upon the necessity of Krypto in the Superman comics, and so, as a tribute to my pal, and his taste in the finer things, we're shaking things up a tiny bit.

Mel always approved of dogs in capes

By the way, I've asked Scout, jeff and Lucy about who they would nominate.

Lucy: Apparently a fan of Proty II from Legion of Super-Heroes
Jeff: a fan of Starro the Conqueror

Scout: Ace the Bathound

Friday, September 18, 2009

Disney's "The Incredible Journey": A Study in Animal Abuse

I know I'm supposed to be on hiatus, but...

I'm watching the original version of Disney's "The Incredible Journey", a movie I last saw on what must have been a 16mm print in elementary school.

This is one seriously screwed up movie. I mean, its a cute kids' movie as far as stories go.

But I turned it on partway through, and have seen the following:

1) This movie seems to take place in multiple simultaneous time periods, from the 1880's to the 1960's. And maybe both in the UK and the US. That's a tough journey for any animal.
2) They threw a real live cat into a raging river to get shots of a cat paddling furiously in a raging river.
3) And then threw a retriever in right after the cat, but he got to smash up against rocks
4) Then they released a real, live Lynx after the poor cat. Neither the cat nor the Lynx were screwing around at all. I sort of wondered how many cats they went through to get that shot.
5) They may have also stuck real porcupine quills in the lab's face.

Am beginning to appreciate PETA's role in Hollywood.


Digger claims Jamie for Spain

Godspeed, Mr. Kitty.

pic courtesy Doug

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good-Bye to Digger the Cat

We're sad to report that Digger, Doug's much loved cat, has passed.

When Jamie and I began dating, Doug was living in Austin working for one of the sky-rocketing tech companies in town. It was fairly routine that Jamie and I would visit Doug at his apartment, where, one day Doug literally found several kittens on his doorstep. Doug would adopt one of the cats and his friends the others.

As a dog person, Digger was the first cat I actually liked. He liked to play, wasn't prone to clawing one's leg for no reason, and seemed interested in people. He was a very friendly guy, and was, in no small part, part of why I considered getting a cat before we were in a house and could get a dog. Doug was also one of the first people who I saw who didn't treat his cat like a conversation piece, but genuinely played with and had a relationship with his cat.

Later, Digger would make the move with Doug to The Bay Area in the company of former roommate Russ and Digger's sibling, Disco. Digger was one of several cats at the now legendary Silicon Valley homestead The Sneaky Frog. Later, Digger would be joined by Dixie.

And when Kristen and Doug began dating, Digger gave Kristen the stamp of approval.

But almost as long as I've known Doug, Digger has been in the picture. He's been a good pal to Doug, and (if you ask me) a good ambassador for his species.

When we visited Berkeley this summer, I am happy to say that Digger was in good spirits and came out to play with us, making a playscape of some packing materials and generally not showing his age.

Of course, Doug was with Digger almost every day of his life, and Kristen has been the past few years as well.

Sadly, as these things go, Digger is an older cat, and he recently became ill. I am sorry to report that he passed today. Our thoughts are with Doug and Kristen.

We'll miss you, fella. A lot of people loved you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Story of Jeff the Cat, Part II

In the time before time… when all was fire, and flesh and claw, the cat would rise from a place in the north of the city.

There came a time when the queen would decree a travel westward, into the face of the burning sun and into the place of the barren wastes, where trees bearing fruit grew spiny and creatures scuttled on their bellies across the earth.

The queen traveled ahead to the wasteland, choosing the place they would call home. The matter done, she called forth the cat, the wise canine companion and their human manservant.

The cat, always quick to anger, was without guile, and so demanded his transport not by carriage on the roadways, but passage in the belly of the silver beasts that coursed the sky.

“Ha!” declared the manservant. “They stow you in a crate like precious cargo!”

But the cat did not respond. The knowledge of his error was plain. He would ride in the beasts' belly, feeble from the elixir given him by the manservant to ease his nerve. The queen would receive him and place him first among the clan to inhabit the new dwelling, before even she gave up her temporary residence to come to the new place.

Alone he hid beneath the porcelain throne, waiting, until one day (he knew not how long) the door was thrown open and the dog and the manservant arrived with the comforts of their home. But it was not the cat's home.

For three years did the cat dwell in the desert, his displeasure constant, his look one of an ever growing madness. Still did the cat strike out against the queen and the manservant and queen, and why they suffered him to live, none could say.

In the third year the foolish dog came to the cat’s house, and here she made a bed for herself.

She wore not the gruff solemnity of her canine kin whom the cat knew, but appeared with a wild madness, her mind adrift, her thoughts as thin as the wind.
The foolish dog, though the cat paid her no heed, would go undeterred in her interest and affection for the cat.

“We are friends!” she insisted.

The cat slinked away, needing no companion but his own stewing anger.

Until one evening, long after the queen had retired and the manservant watched over his companions, did the cat demonstrate to the foolish dog his disdain.

The manservant met the gaze of each of the companions. “I ask you three, what is best in life?”

The foolish dog, always quick to answer with no thought in her brains spoke first:

“To have fresh dog chow. To find oneself on a warm spring day with the sun on your tummy. To eat rocks and vomit them.”

“Wrong!” barked the manservant. “Cat! What is best in life?”

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

The manservant eyed the cat for a long time, before turning to He Who They Called The Melbotis.

“Dog. What is best in life?”

“Knowledge of the place within the pack. The trust and love of The Queen. Quiet nights by the side of the manservant.”

The manservant seemed pleased.

The cat sat silently. Behind his eyes, the flames of chaos flickered and began to ebb.

Coming soon: Part III

Friday, September 11, 2009

Las Amigas

Pic taken by Jamie today

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Story of Jeff the Cat: Act 1

You don't see what Jeff the Cat has seen and stay right in the head. That was the first I knew about him.

That and his name. The name they'd given him at the orphanage should have clued us in from the beginning. Toughy. Tough little guy, with a mouth full of teeth and who wanted to box. We called him Jeffrey George Taylor. Jeff for the dozen or so Jeff's we knew at the time. George Taylor for Cheston's heroic turn in "Planet of the Apes".

He wasn't quiet like other cats, this Jeffrey George Talyor. He talked. A lot. But it was always as if he was covering for something with the chatter, as if he talked enough, loud enough, we'd all stay away and he'd get what he wanted. But who knew what the hell that was?

Things I did know: he was a tough kid. Not afraid to pop claws on you at what was taken as the slightest insult (Am I a clown to you? I could swear I heard him say...). Sometimes, just for a laugh, he'd wait until 4:00 AM and then wrap himself around your foot as it hung off the bed, all fangs and claws, then run like hell when you woke up swinging. You could hear the little bastard running the whole way down the hallway.

His mother was overprotective, and stood between that kid and death a million times over, to be sure. And its not clear that maybe she should have got out of the way and let that kid take his lumps, for all the heartbreak he would cause her. It didn't matter if he was playing with matches, destroying a 12-pack of Charmin or shredding the dustcovers on $40 hardcovers. Forget about the biting and clawing. She was always ready to forgive and forget, even after he gave her the cat-scratch fever. And not the fun, Nugent-related kind.

We knew better than to guess he'd stop with claws, and so we looked at one another... what do you do with a problem like Jeffrey? Now this kid is sending his own mother to the hospital.

So we took away the claws.

I know that in the Golden State, some peace-niks decided this was cruelty to animals. In our world, it was take 'em out or the kid gets the slammer. Maybe the needle. So we did what we could and he came off it none the worse for wear.

It was an odd day when a new kid moved to the neighborhood. Ten times Jeff's weight, teeth that could crush him... but it was a single, bassy "woof" that settled things the first day Mel arrived. We saw Jeff turn tail and run in a way we'd never seen before, and that was good for a laugh. Sure, within a year, Jeff would be curling up next to Mel for warmth on the dog bed in the living room, and eventually Jeff would begin hunting Mel and pouncing on him when the mood struck him, but by and large, Jeff knew... do not push the big, orange one.

(coming soon: Act II)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dog-Related Frustration

Scout has, thus far, been a pretty good dog as dogs go. But... she does act out, and she has caused us our fair share of destruction to personal property.

Like all dogs her age, she wants to chew and play with things. And she's got a toy box full of toys that she scatters all over the house. And because its part of the game, we pick them up and put them back in the box.

There are plush squeaky toys, rubber balls, nylon bones, skins of former toys of Mel's (that Lucy was never interested in), rope toys, etc... And she plays with them all.

We realized she was interested in shoes early on, something Lucy and Mel never gave two figs about, so we've learned quickly to keep shoes out of reach. But that doesn't mean I haven't forgotten from time to time and left shoes out when I've gone to bed. This has cost me laces off two pair of shoes and the life of two pairs of sandals. Both sandals went this week.

And then the other day, she discovered Jamie's magazines. This alarmed me, because for weeks, Scout has had free-reign of the first floor, day and night. I hadn't put the kennel up, but we haven't required she sleep in the kennel. And we've left her out when we've left for dinner, movies, work, etc... But magazines are paper. And I happen to keep a lot of folded and stapled paper products around the house, not entirely dissimilar to Jamie's magazines.

I spoke to her about the magazine incident, and hoped for the best.

This evening we went out to N. Austin to my folk's place for dinner. For some reason Scout escalated the interest in magazines, and several were on the floor in shreds. Along with three fairly premium-priced comics in shreds, several non-premium comics had been chewed on, and about another dozen or so were scattered around the house for good measure. And a couple of DVD's.

Sadly, it looks like Scout is going to have to start spending time in the kennel again when we leave.

I am aware that she could use more exercise, but she was run today, and played with repeatedly today. She's lacked not at all for attention or fun.

I just have no idea why, suddenly, she's decided to go after things that have been there all along. And while I do feel like as she's gotten more comfortable here, she's become a bit more bold with being pushy, I'm not sure what suddenly triggered her to change her attention to items she'd never seemingly noticed before. At least they're just books that can maybe eventually be replaced. I'm much more concerned about what she might decide to go after next.

As I mentioned, she's back in the kennel tonight, and she'll no longer have run of the house when we're not home or awake. Not for quite a while.

Even sadder, she doesn't understand she broke a trust. She just knows she's sleeping in that cage again. And I doubt she understands what the yelling and waving of books at her was all about.

For me, its not so much about the comics. I just really feel like we've been moving backward in the last week or so, and I need to figure out why, and what we can do to move forward again.

And poor Lucy. She is very bent out of shape about the yelling. And I almost have no doubt she watched Scout from the other room, as Scout dragged books all around the house, thinking "Oh, geez... are YOU going to catch it..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Keanu, Superboy, Superdogs

Randy Wants For You To See This.

Randy is wise.

Adventure Comics #1

Tomorrow sees the release of the relaunch of Adventure Comics. For decades, Adventure Comics was up there with Action, Superman, Detective and other National/ DC Comics. It carried a lot of stories, but became well known for the Super-Family and Legion stories. Somewhere along the line they ended Adventure Comics, and added the Super Family title and gave Legion its own title.

After several Legion relaunches in the past few years, I am hoping this stabilizes the futuristic "Legion of Super-Heroes", which is contained as a back-up feature.

The main feature will contain stories of the modern Superboy, Conner Kent. And Krypto, the Superdog. And for that, I am very glad.

Add to it, the writing of Geoff Johns and art of Francis Manapul, and this series has as much potential as any new series from DC in years.

Link here.

Also, it's been this sort of week:

Just, you know, with two dogs.

Here's some more Superman stuff, too.

Dog Days - Day 3

Scout is very smart.

We adore Lucy. She is a sweet and loving dog, and she tries very hard, but we've always known that maybe she wasn't going to be getting into dog-Harvard.

But Scout just decided this evening to know how to fetch. Just sort of watched Lucy and decided "well, I can do that". She is learning her name. She knows where we're trying to guide her. She's cluing into the hints of dwelling with the family.

And, knock on wood, she really seems potty-trained. She just stood at the door and waited for me a few minutes ago after sniffling at my hand for attention.

I know that in a week or two, she and Lucy will not be growling at each other. And we'll be able to introduce her to Cassidy soon enough (I need to do some reading on best practices there).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 2 with NuDawg

We are working out the dynamics of the pack.

Lucy and Scout are not really getting along as they jockey for dominance or something. Really, the issue is that Scout has certain ideas about personal space, etc... that Lucy completely does not have. Lucy is also a ball of relentless affection, and I sort of think she is confused by Scout's stand-offish, new-to-the-pack, let-me-get-comfortable stance on this whole thing.

For good or ill, this is how Lucy sleeps every night. Inverted.

-Lucy is tired. That's something.
-Scout likes people pretty well so far. Jason sat with her this evening, and she was very calm and comfortable with him.
-The two dogs get along totally fine in the backyard. So its a "are you cornering me?" growl that we're getting. Lucy is cornering her, but Lucy corners everyone all the time by climbing onto the couch with you, sitting on you, etc...
-There have been no actual fights.
-Scout has this stuffed bunny we brought from the pound, and she likes it enough that we can use it to get her to follow us when she's otherwise anxious.
-Scout was pretty excited to see me this evening, so I'm taking that as a good sign.
-I'm probably hoping for too much, but it seems like Scout came pre-house-broken. Granted, we have stained concrete on the first floor, and she's been gated off the stairs, so who knows what will happen once she steps foot on carpet.
-And she totally ignores Jeff so far.

Scout enjoys a poolside flair to her bedding. And that's her bunny. She really loves Bun.

Anyway, its tiring. I'm tired. Both dogs conked out around 9:00. Jamie was clearly wiped out when we spoke as I was leaving work. And it's 10:10 and I'm calling it a night.

So there.

Have a good one, Leaguers.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Newest Leaguer: Scout

Leaguers, I would like for you to welcome the newest member of The League of Melbotis.

This, Leaguers, is Scout.

this pic stolen from Jamie's post

Scout came home with us today from the ASPCA. We don't know very much about her, but she's about 1.5 years old, and we understand she's from Bastrop. Taking a look at her makes me believe that she's got some Shepard in her, and most likely some yellow lab. And she seems to have a good, mellow disposition.

We need to be patient. She is a kennel dog, and often kennel dogs have funny backgrounds that you need to work with. I don't believe Scout had any kind of particularly tough go of it before she joined us, and it's still the first 24 hours. We've got some work to do with her so that she understands how she fits in here, particularly with Lucy.

I am more than optimistic, but I am trying to be realistic about the work that a new dog will take.

Our trip to the kennel was not terribly spontaneous. We've been discussing when we'd bring a new dog into our family for a while. We also had a lot of discussion about what sort of dog, how old, breed, etc...

Scout was, of course, not named "Scout" at the pound. She'd been called "Babette", but it was fairly clear that "Babette" wasn't a name she knew in any way. Jamie and I knew a name would be an issue, and so went back and forth for quite a while prior to actually picking up the dog. I am happy to say, I think we did okay in the end. We won't have a name that I see hitting the top 10 in popular dog names (this is something I find irritating when we take Lucy to the dog park. Do you know how many Lucy's there are? Answer: At least two more, everywhere you go.), and I don't find it to be too dainty.

I confess to a certain concern that somehow things won't work out. Sometimes these things do not. Jamie and I briefly tried to have a dog at one point, and it completely did not work out with our work schedules, lifestyle, and apartment dwelling at the time. And, of course, before Lucy we attempted to adopt, and were never able to bring the dog home because she developed a sudden, grave illness. In short, I really want for this to work, and I think it will. But we can't expect Scout to be Lucy or Mel overnight.

So here's to us and what will most likely be a reduction in sleep for a few days while we all get sorted out.

Of course, yes, we still miss Melbotis. He's still discussed around here almost every day. But we like being a two dog household, and we hope that Scout and Lucy will work things out quickly. And I still think about Melbotis every time we head to the spillover, the dog park, and when a hundred other things remind you of the guy.

We're looking forward to life with our new crew, and I am so happy to have Scout here with us.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Deep Thoughts on Kitties

I was looking at the box of Arm & Hammer cat litter that we keep for Jeff, and it struck me how odd the pictures they put on cat products are when they choose to use photos. Cats just don't photo terribly well. Add in the fact that when cats ARE happy, they don't usually have a facial expression or body language to alert you to the fact that would be photographable. So on all cat products, they kind of depend on just getting photos of cats with piqued attention. Ie: they take pics of cats who are in hunting mode. Or, cats who are thinking of destroying/ killing/ maiming something.

And that's a little weird.

EDIT: here's some cat imagery that hopefully Jason will enjoy.

The only thing on their minds is murder.

Jeff the Cat as imagined by Frank Quitely (from We3)

Red Lantern Kitty (from: Rage of the Red Lanterns)

Li'l Leaguers: Kid wins contest to be in Superman book by Stone Arch

I mentioned a while back that Stone Arch Books is publishing kids reader books featuring Superman (which you should BUY so your kids will grow up as right-minded people). Well, I particularly dig this deal.

They had a contest to write about a hero at their school, and the winner was placed into a story with Superman. Pretty cool stuff. Read more here.

Tip of the hat to Superman Homepage.

Julia's B-Day

Went over to Vivo tonight (off Manor) to have dinner with League-Pal Julia. Julia and I worked together at Enspire, sharing offices upon occasion (it was sort of tradition for producers at Enspire to change offices every few months), and becoming lunch buddies and outside-of-work buddies.

Julia's pretty smart (she went to MIT), but not smart enough to not be my pal, so this evening, we raised a glass or two for JEP. I don't think she actually reads LoM, but if she did, I'd say "Happy Birthday, Julia Goolia".

Also, I always forget about Vivo, but its really pretty good. I'm partial to it.

Jonathan and Billie were there, too, for Leaguers who want to track their movements.

Who Wants to Websling Down the Great, White Way?

Nathan sent this along. It's an announcement about auditions for the upcoming Spider-Man Musical with music by Bono and The Edge. Click on the block about "Casting Calls".

Apparently, they're casting in Austin. Which only makes sense. The producers obviously were looking for me to shave my head and play Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Because I look @#$%ing GOOD in a purple ascot.

Countdown to the Land of the Ice and Snow

As a reminder, Sunday I board a plane for Minneapolis. For Leaguers looking to party down with a bunch of Library professionals, have I got a place for YOU.

I'm happy to go. Sadder that its conflicting with what was supposed to be my birthday present (enjoy that ticket to Springsteen, Reed-o). But if my birthday plans weren't completely screwed, it wouldn't be my birthday. Although, on reflection, last year went well. Its just been pretty much every other single birthday since I turned 17 that's been lackluster.

Ah, well. Once every decade and a half is pretty good, I guess.

I would much rather be in Minneapolis hangin' with my bosses than seeing Springsteen rocking "Thunder Road". Yeah. Awesome. Maybe we can go to Mall of America and visit a Sbarro or something.

Anyhow, blogging may be heavy if I'm just sitting in a hotel room. But if I keep getting shanghied by the dudes who sign my paycheck, I might not blog so much. Who can say?

All I know is that it'll probably snow at night. And I'm ready for springtime.