Sep 30, 2006

Cascabel - Day One

Thus far, we've managed a completely painless 5 hour trip from here to Fort Worth yesterday after work, then another painless trip back early this afternoon, with Cascabel in tow.

At five months of age her head already is level with the kitchen table, but we only just found this out, along with the fact that our new possible-show-dog is narcoleptic.



On the trip home, she was awake for all of twenty minutes. Rita, our mentor, slipped her what I thought was a Mickey Finn, but turned out to be an anti-flea pill. I thought for sure it was morphine. She slept almost the entire ride home, sprawled out across the back seat. We got home, Belle and I walked 'our territory,' did some socializing inside with the cats, and worn out, Belle had to take a power nap.



I finally had to take a cattle prod to her to make her get up and around, she took on about five gallons of water, three and a half pounds of dry food, we did a brief tour of the front yard, made water and soil, and returned inside for...



Yeah, you got it.

Damn shame the AKC doesn't host Championship Field Sleeping Trials. We've got a shoe-in here.

Sep 28, 2006

This Post Is A Gift From The Gideons

Maybe it's just me, but I never thought of The Gideons as people.

Think about it--who do you know has ever actually SEEN a Gideon? I've never passed The First Full Gospel Gideon Missionary Church On The Rock on the drive to work. I've never seen flocks of Gideons on bicycles descending on Suburbia, all drab in their black and white clothes, backpacks full of The Watchtower. And I've most certainly never been overawed at the sight of a towering Gothic Gideon cathedral.

I didn't realise there even WERE Gideons. People, I mean. I always just assumed, like so many other people, that "Gideon" was just a giant supercooled computer somewhere, in sole charge of a warehouse-sized printing press, a Master Control Computer over a whole fleet of unmarked delivery trucks which unerringly find their ways to brand new hotels and motels, there to deliver, like a hardbound faux-leather-covered bottle of milk, a single Bible to each and every chest of drawers.

So imagine my surprise when, a few days ago, a very nice Chrysler drove up and two old ladies step out. No, that wasn't the surprise, though honestly anyone spotted alive out this far in the Middle of Nowhere is a bit of a shock. I mean, we get salespeople out here, usually for medical supply houses or such, and people lost in the desert dying for water, but those people (the sales reps, not the dying people) are always younger than 20, and either blonde and bouncy or tanned and lantern-jawed. This was two monkey-wrinkled little ladies in flower-print dresses and no-nonsense shoes, with nametags on, and they certainly weren't starving.

What usually happens is the rep brings us some form of goodies; candy or fruit trays or note pads and pens, I tell them "No soliciting, just like the sign says," they hand over the goods and a card and I show them the door. Only problem is that you can't just shoo out very old ladies, especially when each was carrying what looked to me like a half-kilo brick of cocaine in their withered little hands. It bore further examination.

So, I let these _____ in.

See? I don't even know what to call groups of Gideons. I mean, are they priestesses? Deacons? Drones? Are they Right Reverends or Worker Gideons? Delta Minuses? What does one call a pack of Gideons? A group of whales is a pod, a flock of crows is a murder, and a gathering of Catholic priests is called a molestation, but what do you call a couple of Gideons? A complimentary?

So anyway, I let them in, and all I can see is their hands full of these little gold and white packages. For one brief, near-orgasmic moment I think they're carrying pounds and pounds of homemade White Divinity Fudge and are going door to door doling out huge blocks of it, but then my sugar-starved brain made the connection--it was a different kind of Divinity. These were God People.

I had let proselytizers into the building! On my watch!

Before I could get out the tazer and give 'em a nice jolt of old time religion they told me they were from the Gideons, and asked if they could leave a free Bible here. Realising that I might just get off easy, with none of my office-mates the wiser, I say "Sure." Then, foolishly, I let their little-old-ladyness get through my layered anti-sales defenses, because when one asked how many employees we had I thoughlessly blurted "Oh, eighteen or so."

You should have seen their little beady eyes light up. You'd have thought one of them had bingo'd on Big Screen Giveaway Nite.

They started stacking white and gold paperback bibles on my desk, and just kept piling them on. Nothing I could say would stop them. It quickly became a sort of horrific octaganarian magic show as they kept reaching into thin air to pluck bibles from behind my hutch, under my phone, and behind my stapler. All they needed was a covey of white doves and a pair of double-breasted suits to be an Old Testament Penn and Teller.

When I was awash in bibles, wishing I could pull a Moses and part the white flood, they stopped as suddenly as they had begun, spun on their Stride Rites and headed out the door without a word. I couldn't help but notice that, under their perfect beehive hairdos each bore a short, black rubber whip antenna that was mounted on the side of their skulls. That was what sewed it up for me.

I hadn't been beaten by ordinary people, I had been bested by the best of all clever mechanical constructs, automata sent by Gideon Himself to test His World Domination By Bible Plan, whereby mind-controlling literature is left in public places worldwide, thereby enslaving the already slack-jawed public.

Fiendish! And I'm stuck with eighteen copies.

Sep 26, 2006

Sep 25, 2006

Moustache Monday!

Later than my long-deceased Late Uncle Frank "I Ought To Get Hit By A Beer Truck" Irrelephant, but more lively by far, it's back! And it's still kinda on time! And topical as...well, it's a topic.

This is actually me as Samuel L. Jackson's white brother, Irrelephant.

"My moustache? My moustache is the one that says 'bad motherfucker' on it. You have to look real close."

The more astute amongst you will note that I have gone one step further, in that I have shaved off the supporting side structures of my goatee and gone with the more classical (and more diabolical (think Lenin)) shovel-shape. Every morning now I wake up, look in the mirror, stare at my beard and say "You're a spade."

I'm a firm believer in calling a spade a spade, you see.

*rimshot*



And Stucco? That's about as close to a smile as I get, unless a gringo is pointing a gun at me and telling me to smile when I say that. *grin*

Moustache Monday -- Please Stand By

Due to a slight miscalculation as to the physical location of my moustache wax, this weekend up to and including this morning, officially Moustache Monday, has been wax-free.

It's been strange, and it's been a mouthful. I now know how Mythbusters/M5 Industries' Jamie Heineman feels, and I don't see how he stands it. Everything I drank this weekend, and most of what I ate ended up strained through the lip-sweeper, and that gets OLD, let me just clear that up for those of you who might be wodering.

BUT, upon arriving at work this morning I relocated my displaced, misplaced, otherwise placed wax and comb, and am back in full, curled repair.

Picture to follow. *S*

Sep 24, 2006

To Pigment, Perchance To Impasto--

Aye, there's the paintbrush, now where's that dang dropcloth I had?

Yes, it happened again. I got painting accomplished today. I honestly sat down, got the good light over my left shoulder, and started painting. I managed to complete one canvas I had been working on for, oh, the past decade, and allllmost finished a second one that has been here the better part of eight months. The thing being, the second canvas involved people.

For those of you who don't know me and oil painting, or photography, or all-female babyoil wrestling, or any art that I indulge in for that matter, I rarely if EVER represent people. Long story short, I simply don't like people in paintings all that much, or in photos, or in good old fashioned wading pools full of scented baby oil. It's just not my thing. Oh, I've painted a person or two in my time, and dragged out the wading pool a time or two, but I've always preferred to either leave them out, leave them mysterious, or make them very bit players.

People in paintings, not the baby oil thing.

Only this time, I wanted to do something specially for my 'patrons,' who shall go unnamed here because I don't know if they want their names in public on a blog as conspicuously tacky as this one, or involved in oil wrestling. *shrug* Hey, doing my part for helping keep the apparently innocent seem innocent.

So anyway, the thing being, they had come up north when Katrina came through last year, since they dwell (still) in New Orleans, and while they had time to visit and chat with me, I had a brainfart. Er, wave. Uhm...storm. You see, these two lovely people, this married couple, have for a very long time now been big fans of mine, and have, like my syster and others, helped feed my addiction by buying me supplies, paints, canvases, or simply egging me on and what have you. And I felt I wanted to do something with them as the main characters, something uniquely me that involved them directly, not symbolized by, oh, say an ovoid sphere cut in half widthwise, resting on the inner curve of a wide "c"-shaped crescent.

Just f'instance.

So, I snapped about a dozen digital pics of them, found my fav, and transferred it onto a canvas and let fly. The thing being, I was so doped up on turpentine and linseed oil fumes by the time I got to their canvas (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) that I ended up making X sort of pin-headed, and somehow got the proportions of his shoulder to his chest wrong, making him appear subtly deformed. Okay, he looked like a curly-headed Father Of Quasimodo. Somehow, though, I got Y, his wife, almost perfect, which is to say, non-deformed, and the way I wanted her to appear. Which she isn't, in real life. Hunchbacked, that is. Or otherwise deformed. Neither of them are, you see. That I know of. I mean, one or the other could be hidng something like a third nipple or an extra eye, but not so's that you'd notice.

*shiver* That's creepy.

So anyway, I have to stick that one back on the easel and make some repairs before I surprise them with it, which I think will work since I don't know that either of them still read my blog. I hope.

If you see what I mean.

So anyway, pictures of the first completed painting will follow in a week or so, after it's had time to dry and lose that fresh oil-paint shine, and then with luck I'll have Postmodern Lovers complete and ready to photo for your enjoyment and consternation.

Until then, how about an oldie but a goodie? That, yes, I'll admit, has that new-paint shine, but I had to complete it and get it to a friend before she shipped back out to the god-forsaken hinterland that is Baton Rouge.



Djinnifer, or The Mechanical Oesophagus
16" x 24", oil on canvas, completed circa 2004

Sep 22, 2006

Zoom-A-Zoom-Zoom And A Car Note

Well, the Irrelephant Fambily has gone and done it. We've taken an SUV into our lives.

Okay, it's not REALLY an SUV, it's actually considered a "Cross-Over Vehicle," but since COV doesn't have that sort of sibilant sound that SUV does, it's 'the car.' But I still can't help but feel that I've just stomped my inner hippy into the dust. Which is not necessarily that bad a feeling. I've certainly stopped all that vegetarian-type thinking I was doing, and went out and ran down and killed an elk with my bare hands and teeth and devoured it's liver and most of it's shank. Well, okay, so maybe it was a small elk, and it was sickly, but I did run it down. And eat it.

Onwards.

I call it 'the car' that because it reminds me a lot of a car. No, it reminds me of a station wagon on steroids. It makes me think of the old Pontiac Kingswood station wagon we used to own, the brown behemouth with it's 350 V-8 engine, in which I learned to drive on the road. Difference being, this one is cool. It's a Mazda CX-7, in a kind of funky neat-o Royal Metallic Flake Candy Extra Sparkle Blue sorta colour, with tan cloth insides because leather is too swank for my pocketbook, as is the Grande Touring Edition that had everything but a bidet (which I think will be a factory option on next year's CX-9.)

It's a fun little thing, it's got a super-charged four-cylinder, so it gets fair mpgs while being very fast, which is nice, and it's got room for Borzoi doggies, which is even nicer, and it's also got a dashboard about a mile deep and three miles long, all of which is covered in a sort of naugahyde/pebbled/matte black vinyl sort of dealie, and it has chrome-trimmed, bright red illuminated aircraft-type instruments, which at night makes it look like you're staring at a Satanic Christmas tree (and isn't THAT an image you want to forget!)

But that's cool. It's got nice trick aluminum rims straight from the factory, and window-tint on all the windows, darker as you get back into the cavernous cargo hold. And speaking of which, this thing, with the back row of seats down? It's got enough room back there that I wish it came standard with a forlift. It's so big inside I can stand upright in the back and bounce the full-sized spare. In the middle of the roof there's a big illuminated plexi sign that has a map and a little X with an arrow that says "You Are Here." I promise you, it's bigger on the inside that it is on the outside, which makes me think a certain Doctor might love one for Hisself. The colour is certainly right.

I will say this with a relatively straight face--it certainly gets a lot of looks. I can't tell if it's the colour (it's the only one in town right now, and only one more coloured like it on the lot) or if it's the Lexus SUV/Porsche Cayenne/Nissan Sombrero or whatever it's called styling, but it certainly has a lot of people staring at it. Well, maybe it was that or maybe it was the sight of me in my ice-blue shaved velour disco-lounge suit trying to hang a glitter-ball from the roof in back.

It's even got that 'slap shifter' thing that never quite made it on the old Buick 442. It's an automatic, naturally, I mean, standard is for racecars, but it's got a "manual shift" option, in which you can slap or bonk or whatever the shifter up or down, and the automatic tranny shifts whenever you bonk it, and you don't have to deal with a clutch or anything, and if you turn off the Traction Control System computer you can spin the wheels and make it fish-tail and everything. Just like a real car.

Yeah, I can't stand it either. Give me a three-on-the-tree any old day. But, this isn't my car, and I'll likely put no more than about 12 miles on it during it's next decade with us, so it's all good.

At least it fits in the garage.

Sep 20, 2006

Nature Never Did Betray The Heart That Loved Her

I have that on a little clay plaque on my desk here, right beside my monitor.

I also think that Nature has the power to soothe me when things all around me are tinged with black.

I wish that I could believe that there is some controlling force in life, some higher power. That way I could say that this Entity or Force or Spirit put certain things in motion to make my day better a few days ago, but I know better. I have a hard time believing in a being that would go out of their way that far to make one guy smile. Just a little too much to swallow, as the hooker said to the sailor.

See, I was having one of those black-tinged days, and it seemed that Nature Herself was out to get my mind off it. It started at work when I glanced up at the front glass doors to see a very sizeable preying mantis clinging steadfastly to the glass. No mean feat in itself, but for me to see that specific shape triggered such a happiness.

You see, I love preying mantids. I love their alien look, their long legs, and their inquisitive, mobile heads. So I did what any red-blooded nature-lover would do: I went out there and gently plucked this beauty off the glass and let it crawl around on my hand for a while. And took pictures, natch.



I so like that colour pattern, which is hard to see when you use a camera phone for pictures. Green legs, yellow-orange forelegs, and a gorgeous bark-pattern brown on it's thorax and wing-covers. Striking.

So, I played for a few minutes, let my new friend go out in the grass, and came back in. Headed home for lunch, and that's when the fun really began.

See, the hummingbirds have been hungry. Deeply so. When I come home for lunch, first stop is to refill the Hummingbird Refueling Station. Which I proceeded to do. Under the watchful, beady black eyes of a gorgeous little female Ruby-Throat, who hovered all of a foot from my right eye, staring me down, daring me to hang the feeder back up anything shy of FULL.

When I stepped back onto the patio, I stood there for a few minutes by the glass door to watch the gang return and start feeding, and to listen to their spiky, high-pitched squeaks and peeps, and the constant thrum of their wings. This is nothing new for me, but that momentary pause gave me my THIRD surprise.

There's a tiny little windchime that my MIL bought for the house years ago, that hangs about a foot from the feeder. It's been a constant perch for the little hummers, because it's small and innocuous enough that they feel comfortable there. Well, seems it is also small and innocuous for spiders to lay their eggs.

What I thought at first was pollen floating below the chimes was in fact hundreds of almost microscopic baby spiders, freshly hatched, each descending from the chimes by invisible threads, all of them blowing gently back and forth in the breezes from the hummingbird's wings. I stood there enraptured, trying desperately to focus my eyes enough to see their legs, which I simply could not do--they were so tiny they appeared as nothing more than little golden dust motes, swaying together in a sort of Brownian motion, back and forth, to and fro, and each one slowly spinning out more of their invisible twine, lowering themselves tiny distances, until one by one they spun out tiny parachute lines and launched themselves into the wide open, to land somewhere and start their lives.

I thought I'd had my just due, but Nature had one more tiny surprise in store for me. I had driven Rita, my truck, to work that day, and arriving back at the office I stepped out and closed the door as always, but this time I was greeted by a tiny green head poking out from around the seam between door edge and cab.



Seems this little green knuckle-sized tree frog had decided that it was in his best interests to ride along with me from home to work, and my little stowaway had managed his scheme. So, all things being fair in love and transport, I caught him up and moved him over to the grass, where he'd have more fun than he would in the gravel parking lot.

The best part of that? Seeing those tiny golden eyes, with their black rims and specks of black pupils, and that compact, athletic green body twisting around on his perch on my finger so he could keep a close watch on me, just in case I suddenly decided I was peckish and in the mood for a nice bit of Crunchy Frog.



Sometimes I really wish I believed. And most times I'm just glad I know how to slow down just long enough to see the little things that are spread before me, before all of us.

And I'm always glad it wasn't a Ram's Bladder Cup, with or without lark's vomit.

Sep 18, 2006

MM Adenum

I almost forgot!

I had more compliments this Saturday than I have ever garned, and one was from a complete stranger.

The stranger occurred in Michael's, the local hobby chain. I was standing in the paint aisle desperate for some Prussian Blue when a lady asked me, point blank, if I were an artist. I wondered over that for a few seconds, since I wasn't DRESSED like an artist--I had left my snappy black beret. my smock and my pack of Djarum clove cigarettes at home. She gestured on her own face to my moustache, and I had to smile outwardly, and scream inwardly. I knew when I started this that I would automatically garner a lot of comparison to Salvador Dali and his marvelous moustachios, especially because I am a Surrealist painter also, but I assured her and all of you that this is not the case. I love Dali, but I could never follow him that blindly.

Stopping in PetSmart for animal supplies, the wife went and visited in the grooming salon. Two of her friends who were there saw me, as I was lurking outside the counter with the buggy of livestock feed. One simply told me that he liked the new style, but Kira, the honest-to-god Russian mail-order bride looked at me, smiled, and in her gruff, heavily accented voice said "You look just like Lenin."

You know, I could keep worse company than Lenin and Dali.

And Stucco? I tried, I really did, but it was just too much work to smile this morning, and I would have felt like I was lying to you guys. Next week I'll try again, I promise.

Moustache Monday - In Need Of Repairs

Some days it's just damned hard to get up and get going. Some mornings you just feel like microwaved death, and sometimes you just really don't want to do what needs to be done.

And some mornings your moustache, which looked fabulous yesterday, doesn't want to cooperate at all with you, and looks rather raggledy. *sigh*

Week 3, for those of you who are, like me, following along without a scorecard.

Sep 17, 2006

Crew

What an interesting word. It's used often enough that it's meaning has become worn and clouded, but sometimes, if you hold your mouth just right, you get the chance to really experience it.

I've been volunteering as ground/chase crew for a hot air balloon pilot here in town for a few weekends now, and it's quite the experience, being part of a crew.

What's interesting for me most right now, and humbling, is that the pilot, his wife, and their Ground Crewchief have all been flying together for 16 years now. And then along comes me, the neophyte. It's made for a very interestingly sharp learning curve.

You see, it's all new to me. All of it. Oh, I'm familiar with the principles of lighter-than-air craft, and how the basics work, but being welcomed into a group this tight is an interesting thing indeed. They work together as one person, and when one of them is tied up elsewhere and I'm along for the help it tends to slow a bit. Granted, I'm having a wonderful time anyway, and the pilot and his Chief are terribly supportive, which is what I need at this point in my ballooning career. *lol*

I've only had one real experience other than my own flight in SkyBird, but it was a blast. The initial assembly of gondola to envelope, burner to hardware, etc. was slowed only a little bit by Jim telling me what to put where, and which zippers to point in which direction. And my Protestant work ethic (compliments of my Dad) got in the way only a bit when I was trying to put the fan back in the trailer rather than helping to keep the newly-inflated balloon on the ground.

Live and learn.

The chase. That was almost as much fun as flying, surprisingly enough. It felt like Jim and I were trying to play a very slow game of catch, aided by a road map, knowledge of the back roads, a couple of radios and a fair idea of the wind direction. We kept turning and driving and spinning around, trying to stay not only in front of the balloon but also trying to find a good place to land.

The good place to land? Circumstances dictated it was going to be a freshly-harvested corn field, about two miles off the highway. The landing found Jim and I toting the balloon and it's pasengers about a hundred yards through the field, which in itself was almost surreal--David kept the balloon floating about five feet off the ground, and Jim and I simply grabbed the gondola handles and pulled. I wish I could have seen that from a distance--two men pulling a huge blue and orange and wicker contraption behind them. I could see the tilt of the gondola up to the top of the envelope and could see it tilted sharply, I could well imagine what it must have looked like standing off at a distance.

Patience and a good pair of boots got the gondola settled down on a tractor turning-row, in essence a grassy strip between fields of sharp corn-stalk bits, and a little fast footwork and some strained tugging and pushing got the envelope down without a scratch and more importantly, not resting on any of those punji-stake stalks.


That was when I finally really started feeling like Crew and less like a goof volunteering his Friday morning. The deflation of the envelope, the 'snaking,' the loading, all the little disassembly that I remembered from the first go-round and the assembly, it all soft of fell together a little more. I knew what I was doing, and instead of hindering I was working as part of the team, helping get the envelope back into it's big canvas bag, loading and securing the gondola, and all the little things to tidy up.

What a marvelous feeling.

This morning's flight was cancelled due to a low ceiling (ie tons of cloud) and a good chance of rain, but I'm anxiously awaiting next weekend. And the next.

And the next.

Sep 14, 2006

It's Official

And somehow, strangely, I missed the announcement. I can't escape the news that one of our finest space-going folk lost a bolt up there, but it's not like we've been losing bits and pieces of giant space-going lasers and things since the 50's, so what's one more bolt gonna do?

Its official. Pluto is now asteroid 134340. The strange thing is that even as disconnected as I am with all things bizarre and unnatural in this world I realised I have a connection to that big asteroid. The thing is, those numbers are the exact same as the combination that opened my grade-school locker in gymn class. R-L-R, 13-43-40. Seriously.

So this locker of mine wasn't really a locker per se, it was more of a little wire basket just big enough to hold my tennis shoes and two pairs of PE shorts and t-shirts, and a stick of smell-well. I remember I had a pair of Converse All-Stars, size 13. I was a big kid, and always wore big shoes.

My Mom and I had found those white canvas All-Stars in a little store off the beaten path, in the 4300 block of our local market area. The place was run by a little middle-aged Vietnamese couple who had left the old country in early 1940 to come to America to start a new life. We always chatted a few minutes with them, just visiting like southerners do, and I remember thinking that $43 was a huge sum for tennis shoes, but I loved them, and my parents always wanted the best for ms.

My folks. They did without so much so their boys could have nice things. I remember the old Pontiac Kingswood station wagon they had for so long. It was brown, and had a strange wood-grain sticker on the sides so it looked like an old 40's Woody, but it was all steel. I learned to drive in that car. Took my first real drive on the street when I was all of 13, and now here I am, almost 40.

I didn't learn to drive in that car, though. I learned on a 1943 model Allison Chalmers tractor. Clunky old thing, yellow-orange where it wasn't covered in years and years of dust, dirt, spilled gasoline and oil, machine grease, every sort and kind of detritus you could imagine. I learned to drive that in the field. It was a three-speed, so I think the wide-open top speed might have been all of 13 miles an hour, but it certainly taught me the rudiments of steering, braking, and watching my outside edges. I bushhogged that 40 acre field for years before I ever realised I was learning valuable lessons that I would use for the rest of my life.

My other driving lessons ocurred in an old International Harvester pickup truck, an old work truck that my father bought from his place of work when it got too worn out to be street-worthy. I creeped around that 40 acre field in this 43 year old truck, learning how to work a clutch, how to steer and brake at the same time, and how to manipulate a gear-shift that was almost as tall as I was.

Ah, the field. What a place. It was home to a pair of sharecroppers, father and son who worked that place until I was 13 or so, when the father finally retired from farming. I so miss playing every fall in the big cotton trailers, watching their antiquated old John Deere Model 40 cotton harvester creep around the field like a green hunchbacked giant, gathering up cotton to pile in it's huge mesh basket.

Oh I could ramble on forever, but I shan't bore you any further. I just thought it rather interesting that I shared a connection with Pluto.

Sep 13, 2006

The Humming Nostra

I'm being leaned on, and I don't mean by a stinky sleeping fat guy on the bus.

No, I'm talking about The Family. They're leaning on me to keep them fed. Regularly. This morning I was out in the backyard enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, and I realised that the hummingbird feeder was empty. I had filled it yesterday morning, but suddenly it was bone dry, and there were a lot of very muted fluttering and chittering noises coming from the trees surrounding the backyard.

I didn't think much of it, so I went back inside for a bowl of oatmeal. That's when I saw him. Vinnie. Also known as Vinne The Back Breaker, so named because of his habit of cracking grown men over his spindly little leg. He was sitting in my kitchen window, smoking a tiny cigarette, resplendant in his dark green velvet suit and his red silk cravat. Even his grey shirt was pressed to perfection. I had to admire him for just a moment, the sun glinting off his dark glasses before I came to my senses--I was admiring a killer! A beak for hire!

That was what made me realise they were serious, the hummingbirds. Deadly serious. I quickly set about heating a pan of water, 4 cups to be exact, and four more in the big pitcher. Brought it right to boiling, and mixed in just over 2 cups of sugar, since I always like to give The Fellas just that extra little bit, like the barrista giving you an extra half shot of espresso. Mixed it all together under the watchful eye of Vinnie and let it cool a while.

I knew it was going to be bad when I went out there to fill the feeder, but I didn't realise HOW bad.

Little did I know. Vinnie, you see, had put The Word out. "Rough him up a little bit," he had told them, "but not toos much, see?" I had just unhooked the feeder from it's hanger on the house eave and unscrewed the glass jar from it's cheerful red base when they came at me. There must have been six or thirty of them, all impeccably dressed in their red cravats and green suits. My entire life flashed before my eyes, and while I stood there, one hand holding the glass jar, the other arm bent, raising the big green pitcher to fill the feeder, I saw it.

One of the gang pulled a switchblade from out of it's hiding place in his feathers.

Jimmy The Shiv. He was here. He was coming for me. He was thirsty and he meant business.

I started filling as fast as I dared, unwilling to spill a single drop of that precious sugar water. I knew that if I did they'd be on me like a burring hurricane, only with sharper edges. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Jimmy flying straight at me, his wings a blur, his companions pulling out short lengths of chain, Saturday Night Specials and knuckle dusters, ready to work me over but good for shirking my duties to The Family. As fast as I dared I upended the pitcher, letting the still-warm juice flow into the bottle and before I knew it, it was almost full.

That's when it happened.

One of them jostled my elbow.

I don't know who it was, never saw his face. I guess it was one of the junior members, angling for some clout, trying to be the Big Man in front of his fellas. I could hear their tiny, sharp laugher all around as the sugar water gushed out all over my hand, all over the sweet basil growing there against the house. Time seemed to slow to a crawl, and we cut to a slow-motion montage:

Clip: The little gangsters, hovering there, laughing.

Clip: The sugar water splashing all over my work pants and shoes.

Clip: The bright gleam of the morning sun on the glass container.

Clip: Me, as a child, reaching up into the sky to catch the tiny bright bird I saw there.

Clip: Vinnie, sitting there on the window ledge, smirking around his cigarette.

Clip: My fifth-grade Home Economics teacher telling me I had failed Cooking.

I knew it was over. I took my beating like a man, didn't even whimper. Much. And I won't forget this time, I promise. I won't ever let that feeder get empty, ever again.

I can't survive another hummingbird blanket party.

Sep 12, 2006

Talkies Tuesday - Better Than A Dyson Vacuum Cleaner

Or so I imagine.




this is an audio post - click to play




and this would be the second part.



this is an audio post - click to play




For you see I am getting long-winded in my old age, or at least so vacant in the head that it takes me a while to arrange a coherent sentence, get it from my brain and out my mouth, and so anyway I ran out of time on the first one.

Sep 11, 2006

Moustache Monday: Week Deux

And I still can't seem to take a good self-portrait. I was tempted to use the picture from ballooning yeterday, wherein the camera was quite very close to my mug, we three being stuffed in a small wicker basket and all, but I figured that'd be cheating myself of one good day of growth. *lol*

So. Without further ado, Week 2 of the Handlebars!



If you're really curious you can click the picture to see right up my nostril. Exciting!

Sep 10, 2006

The Balloonist's Prayer

The Winds have welcomed you with softness.
The Sun has blessed you with its warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well,
that God has joined you in your laughter,
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.


I got one of the finest birthday presents I have received in a long time, even grand enough to top the time back in grade school when little Florence Ransbottom let me put my hand up her blouse during recess behind the gym.

Okay, so that never really happened, so then it doesn't really top my Catholic schoolgirl sex story that never happened, so I guess this is tops.

I have to thank four people first, then three more. The first four, two men and two women, made me a very happy guy today. The two men are the Montolfier brothers, Joseph Michael and Jacques Etienne. They're the two Frenchmen who, on September 19th, 1783 launched three farm animals and then later two men aloft onboard the first man-made aircraft--the Aerostat Réveillon, a hot-air balloon.

The two ladies I have to thank are my mother-in-law and my wife, who made possible MY first flight aboard a lighter-than-air craft, the hot air balloon Sky Bird, this morning at the ungodly hour of 7am.

I could go on for three forevers about the wonders of that hour and a half flight, about the rigors of having to get up at 5 am to get ready to meet the flight crew at the local college for 6:30, about the eagerness and apprehension I felt the entire time we rode in the big crew-cab truck to our launch point. I could tell you what an honour it was to be able to help our three-person crew prepare the envelope and the gondola, to hold it's mouth open while air and heat were poured into it. I could share with you the wonder of watching this beautiful blue and orange balloon lift it's head into the dawn sky, decorated with white seagulls to commemorate the words of Richard Bach, author of Johnathan Livingston Seagull.

I could tell you how strange it felt to realise that we were going into the air in a 300 pound nylon bag and a one hundred pound wicker basket with just enough room for three people to stand in, and the leap my heart gave when I felt the gentle nudge as the envelope reached a point where it's eagerness to leave the earth was just greater than our weight and we drifted into the air with all the grace of a feather falling to earth. Only in the other direction.

I could go on for hours about what an amazing thing it was to look out over the fields and the trees and the houses, slumbering there early on a Sunday morning, the entire day still before them, a present unopened, while I floated by a thousand feet over their dozing heads, my laughter ringing out over the lowing of cows and the soft tread of a coyote we disturbed during his morning hunt.

I could tell you how alarmingly exciting it was to ride along as our pilot lowered us literally to tree-top level, low enough that I reached out and plucked leaves off a tree as its branches brushed the bottom of our gondola. I could even tell you how our pilot was intending to do a 'splash and dash,' which involves him lowering the gondola to the level of a placid body of water, low enough to splash the surface, then with deafening blasts from his propane burner lightly drift us back into the air, but the gentle zephyrs drifted us, thankfully, away from our watery course.

I might even tell you how our pilot flew us with no other instruments than his senses and a compass, and a bone-deep surety of how to work with the wind, not against it. Or perhaps I could go on about our three mile an hour approach to our landing pad. No carefully-marked and lit airport, no giant red "X" painted on the ground. It was, in fact, someone's carefully mown backyard. Our chase crew had dutifully waked this kind soul and asked his permission to land there, as it was flat and open and lovely, and he graciously consented, then watched in barely-awake wonderment as this dead-silent blue and orange ghost drifted across his rooftop and then settled on his lawn with all the silent grace of a woman sliding from bed, resting her bare foot upon the carpeted floor.

I could even tell you how I helped the crew transform our beautiful airship into a big wrinkled snake of nylon, then helped pack it into what for all intents and purposes was a big canvas sack, and how the wicker basket and it's blue velvet trim was slid into the little trailer like a hand into a glove.

The thing I will tell you about is the champagne, and the last three people I most want to thank. David and Joy Miller, and Jim Crossier.

These three people helped me fulfill my childhood dream this morning, too. After the sweating was done and everything carefully stored away, they treated us to champagne, which is a balloonist's perogative. You see, when the first Montgolfier balloon landed, unknowing farmers attacked and 'killed' it, thinking it was some sort of horrible firey dragon. Balloons being rather expensive things back then, the brothers decided to spread the word that if a balloon were to land in your field, or your back yard, you would be treated to champagne, thereby ensuring the welcome of balloonists for all time.

After our exertions, then, Joy unpacked a tiny table, spread out a tablecloth, and brought out a bottle of champagne, which was shared amongst the pilot, the ground crew, their two passengers, and the landowner whose yard we borrowed for our touchdown. Kind words were spoken, the Balloonist's Prayer was recited, and my wife and I were christened with champagne poured over our heads, welcoming us into the family Balloonist.

I have never spent a finer morning.

__________________________
David and Joy Miller can be contacted online at Bayou Balloon Adventures, and you can see the photographic record of our flight here.

I've Got 25 Peeps!

Holy Jeebus! You love me, you really love me!

But not enough, it seems. Or people love tig ole bitties more than they love a dude in a black cicada t-shirt and matching Kangol hat. Yes, the Meat And Greet that is 25Peeps.com finally dropped me off, in favor of a headless pink porn-writer in a teddy, a baby goth, a couple of insipid-looking blondes lounging on couches and that 14 year old Korean boy's arse that's been up there for gawd-knows how long.

But hey, it was a good 15 minutes of fame, and I thank you one and all for working as hard as you did. If you did. If you didn't, well then, you need to be ashamed of yourself. After all I've done for you!

And "Welcome!" to the two additional readers I picked up. Ya'll get a comfy spot there on the couch and have some hot tea, and I'll try not to bore you to tears.

Sep 9, 2006

Oh I Must Say!

Well, there's a few things I must say, which is why I have an online journal or "weblog." See Stucco, there ARE more tasteful and decent terms than "blog," although most people will look at you funny when you use said terms. *shrug* It's all up to you.

Now then, now then, now then, wot's all this? Another moustache post? You betcher 'tash it's another moustache post. If I'm gonna have go to through my midlife crisis by growing handlebars well then by gum you're gonna have to come with me, each and every one of you.

I really wanted to address this comment out in the public field because I think very highly of Hannibal and because she summed up a few thoughts in my head quite nicely when she commented thusly: "I guess you're the only person I know who could carry that off. What does the wife think of it?"

Two marvelous questions, and I shall answer both in semaphore. No, wait, I'd have to sign up for YouTube for that, and I refuse to make a German Spectacle of myself. MySpace is as far as any decent, right-thinking gentleman should go.

I've always wondered when people compliment me(?) on my habit of always wearing a hat (and no, not a baseball or a meshback, a fedora or at very least one of several Kangols) in public, or for that matter, whenever I'm outside. Seems that these days to wear a fedora or a handlebar moustache (or both) in public takes a certain kind of personality, and I have to wonder about that.

I've always been absurd, you see. Have been since I was a wee tadger, as a defense mechanism. If I was going to be abused by my peers and generally thought of as weird, then by my stars and garters, (my reasoning went) I was going to shoot the Moon. Wearing a fedora does not take any certain kind of face, as I've been told, or any kind of attitude. It simply takes you going out and buying a fedora and wearing it, and not caring what people think of you. Same goes with the moustache, or owning and smoking a pipe when you're only 20 years old (almost two decades ago,) or to have multiple genital piercings. No wait, scratch that. I'm holding that option for my 50th birthday celebration.

Granted I'm always flattered when I'm told that it takes someone like me to do something, but honestly, it's nothing special, it's just a refusal to take Life too seriously. Heck, mine is half over, it's too late to start getting all somber and gothik now, isn't it?

As for the second question, no, the wife isn't wild about it. She keeps giving these rather violent, involuntary jumps when she first sees me in the mornings, especially after I've groomed it into shape with a palm-full of pomade, but I'm hoping this wears off soon, as I have great plans for this upper-lip broom. I will say this--she gave me some well-defined grooming tips this morning concerning how I conduct my beard trimming technique, in a fairly well-meaning tone of voice. The first step to success!

I also wanted to let Autumn over at Perfection On A Curve know that I feel for her in her time of Laundromat suffering, and am mailing her a largish bag of quarters, for feeding The Beast. I may gripe about laundry but I am blessed with a cramped, overheated, nonventilated utility room containing a washer and dryer, for which I'm both thankful and seemingly always in debt to Lowe's to the tune of a couple of hundred bucks.

Vulgar Wizard, I have to let you know that I have no distinct plans for using the excess wax for any other handlebars, but the idea did occur to me one morning while shaving my never you mind.

As for the rest of you, thank you again and always for your loving and sometimes critical support of me and my doings and goings on, and for my continued rapscallionisms. Without you, well, I'd be a pretty darn lonely rapscallion. And O, I put that little tidbit in there just for you--anyone who owns a bookstore of ANY type deserves all the good PR they can muster. Books are irreplacable, and I think I shall return to my new John Varley book post haste and ad hoc and in corpus mentos (Latin for a cadaver with fresh breath.)

Yeah, Another Laundry Post

You know, laundry didn't used to be the task it is now.

Back in The Day, I did about three loads--darks, lights, and a pile of leftovers that usually got shoved to one side until it was load-sized, and was usually comprised of oily rags, car-washing rags, the rag I used to clean up the cat's puke the week before, and stray underwear.

Now, things have changed.

With only three of us here I now do about seventeen loads of laundry a week. I feel like I'm doing not only our family's laundry but that of my neighbors and my brother's and some stuff that Goodwill sneaks by occasionally, to save on their own laundering costs.

I now have to divide laundry into about twelve distinct piles:

Blue jeans. This is understandable. Blue jeans are the ultimate utility clothing item, and since the wife wears one pair to work every day, plus my at least one pair for Casual Friday at work, that makes one load, give or take what happens over the weekend. This is understandable.

White towels. The wife bathes often. Sometimes up to five times a day. And since we only have five wash cloths, three hand towels and six bath towels, I wash a lot of white towels. And since they need to be washed with like colours, it makes perfect sense to wash them with the other white towels. There is ALWAYS a load of white towels ready to do, usually by Monday afternon.

Dark Blue towels. These are mine. Same quantity as whites, only dark blue. I use one bath towel a bath, and one washcloth. And toward the end of the week I have been known to hang a damp towel up to let it dry, then use it again. My conservation techniques go for naught, however, when, by Wednesday night the wife has used all her white towels, most of Weerelephant's light blue ones and is starting into my stack.

Light Blue towels. The Weerelephant's bathroom is done in sherbert and pumpkin orange, with slate and light blue accents such as towels and a bathmat. Since she's never here, Grandma does most of her bath stuff and her uniforms. I guess Grandma misses the days of laundry piled to the rafters and is attempting to recapture the Glory Days.

Other White Clothes. This includes socks, T-shirts with logos or coloured stuff, ringers, and the like. It also usually captures cat toys and dishwashing rags.

Off White stuff. This captures all the in-between colours that don't really fit one pile or the other, including khaki pants and socks, medium green things, and most of the underwear, since I can't afford silk and don't care for black boxers, as they make the day very long and sweaty.

Grey. Grey is the new black, so I own enough grey t-shirts and shorts to dress a batallion for outdoor fitness exercises, as long as they all don't mind XXL T-shirts and roomy shorts, so naturally there is a sizeable grey pile.

Bed Sheets. I like clean sheets, and so I wash ours weekly. Figure in the master bedroom's sheets, then the daughter's room, and once a month the ones in the guest room, which are usually more covered in cat hair than dirt, but hey, a guest is the jewel on the pillow of hospitality, right? And even with a super-monster duty washer two sets of bedsheets is a load, no matter how you pile it up.

Pink. This occurs only when my daughter is home. She's not a girly-girl in the strictest sense, nor is she a tomboy, but for some reason every other article of her clothing is pink. From rose pink to hot-screaming-poke-your-eyes-out pink, she owns something in every shade, and two or three items in the more stringent pinks. For some peculiar reason these articles of clothing ALWAYS make it back here in time for Saturday Wash Day, even if Grandma finds herself skulking around the house looking for things to machine wash, like curtains and rugs, and the dog.

And then there's usually a pile of rags from bike maintenance, vehicle washing, tractor cleaning, sweat-rags from working outside, and other unmentionables that need to be washed occasionally in very hot, very soapy water. Usually last, because this load is known to leave rather dark, rather flammable rings on the inside of the washer tub and all along the neck of the agitator, rather like dirt necklaces you see on street ladies. Not very appetizing.

So there you have it--my Saturday in a nutshell. I need to go now, my spin cycle is off balance. As am I.

Sep 7, 2006

Moustache Monday!

One moustache, as ordered.

Well, there you are, as promised. Week 1, a few days late, but that's it thus far, right before a pretty strong trim of the goatee and some creative trimming to make the sides of the 'stache curl out and up, rather than hang down my chin.



So. Stucco! And any other moustache-wearers! Attend me! Bring me your wisdom, tell me your tricks. I've invested in some Clubman Moustache Wax, and have started a regime of careful brushing and training it outwards, but any wisdom, real or imaginary will be appreciated, carefully masticated, and used as mulch for my rosebeds.

Tune back in next Monday for the exciting results of Week 2, including but not limited to:

Wax!
Length!
Some Trimming!
And maybe even some grooming tips from seasoned veterans!

Can you stand the excitement? Me neither!


This Just In!

Well, Here We Are

Tomorrow is International Literacy Day, so tomorrow I think we should all go out, buy a nice paperback book from your local used bookstore, and give it to a homeless person. Maybe they can eat it.

It's been a tumultuous week here at the ranch. As a company we are ridding ourselves of a tiresome chunk of paperwork and exchanging same for beautiful IBM ThinkPads. These gems come standard with a nice swivel screen that, combined with a touch pen/mouse, turns each nurse's laptop into an electronic pad that stores all that paperwork, visit notes, doctor's orders, all that aggravating, troublesome loose stuff. It's an astoundingly nice system, all told, and I'm certain that as a company we are shelling out a pretty penny for this 'paperless' conversion.

To hear the nurses bark and cluck and run around here bitching you'd think we're firing them all, instead of trying to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

I would go from this point to say that it's the older ones, the nurses who remember the Good Old Days, when you took a patient's temperature with a couple of large rocks, but it's not. Well, it is, but we've only got one old nurse, and I'm hoping at this point that her and her anti-technology self go work at Wal-Mart as a door greeter. Or as a door, she's big enough for that too.

No, it's all of them, young and old, computer literate and illiterate. You've never heard such a noise. The computers duplicate almost EXACTLY the paper forms, but with the addition of so much funcionality that it's not even funny. No more bubbling in little dots with a pen, like an SAT test, all you have to do is touch the screen with your pen and you can scroll, change, jump around the form, whatever you want to do. And then it has the added benefit of checking BEHIND YOU, and letting you know where you've done wrong, or forgotten a checkpoint, or bringing your attention to something that might require it. My sweet stars and garters, this is a NICE SYSTEM, but it seems that most in here want to stick with the tried and true aggravating, time-wasting 43 page lump of tree-killing packets.

I don't understand people, but I swear, if I hear one more nurse griping about having been given control over a $2K notebook to make their job easier I'm going to crack someone's skull open with a stone blood pressure cuff.

Sep 6, 2006

You're Not The Boss Of Me

I love it when advertisers tell me to do something.

The bag of powdered donuts that the bossman brought in for us has a big cheerful sticker on the front that says "Enjoy donuts all day long!"

Just like that. Telling me to enjoy their mildly okay product, all day. What if I don't enjoy them? What if I only enjoy them in the morning but not after 10am? I'm being TOLD to enjoy them.

Uhm...NO!

I love it when cops tell me what to do. I like it when they tell me that I'm driving aggressively when I'm not, it's just that he wants to waggle his dick around in front of me, to prove to me and to himself that he's a real man. I love it because the moment they drive off I do exactly what he told me NOT to, because I'm just that kind of a guy. One who hates most cops, that is.

I also love it when a patient's family member calls me and starts to harangue me about their ills and woes, me who cannot do anything except answer the phone and occasionally offer condolences. I love it when they won't let me talk, to tell them that I need to give them to a nurse or to someone who can actually HELP them with their problem! I especially love it when a patient's family member says "And you know Daddy hates black people but we even let that black aide come into the house to bathe Momma because she likes her."

My fucking god I cannot stand people like that. You know what you and your daddy need? To be shot in the street, as an example of what should happen to all bigots. Those two black girls we have working for us? They work HARD, they enjoy helping people, and of the last six Home Health Aides we've had, four were white, two were black. The four white ladies? All of them were useless. None of them lasted longer than three months. Our two *gasp choke* black people have not only outlasted whitey but have outworked them, and have had more compliments and positive feedback reported about them than our entire agency.

So. You there, the close-minded bitch? Fuck you.

Yeah, I know I wandered off subject, but that happens when you have a rude piece of shite call in the middle of your blog and open her big mouth.

Sorry.

Talkies Tuesday - Moustachio'd




this is an audio post - click to play




A long one! Be sure and have a comfy place to sit when you fire this one up, it's gonna be a bit.

Sep 5, 2006

Clickin' Da Peep

I know, that sounds strange.

We need to keep Vulgar Wizard on 25 Peeps for, like, ever, so go there now, quick like a bunny, and click her picture, the very one that I took of her with her "Do Not Conveyor" sticker on her shoulder.

Go forth, and clicky!

Talkies Tuesday to follow!

Sep 3, 2006

Irrelephant Is Going To The Dogs

No, not the most creative post title I've ever had, but one that, I think, is pretty darn descriptive of my weekend. The AKC dog show at the Monroe Civic Center, you see, and the impending addition of a pup to the Irrelefamily.

For those of you late in catching up, I love animals of all sorts. Of the family canine I love big dogs, more specifically the long, sleek big dogs--Doberman Pinscers, Borzoi, Afghan Hounds, Saluki, Irish Wolfhounds, that sort of critter. Elegant animals. And here of late, Borzoi have caught and more importantly HELD my eye. I shan't get into the details, if you want that you can search the blog, or for that matter you can google Borzoi and/or Russian Wolfhound and find a wealth of information. First, though, is the event that happened BEFORE I had my moment of glory at the show Saturday.

I found myself waiting by Ring 7 for friends of ours to make it to the show, and while I waited I found myself by the Borzoi showing, and while I waited for the Borzoi to all show up and enter I was watching a really nice older lady showing a very young boy, maybe eight or so, how to show an Irish Wolfhound in the ring. I assumed, naturally, that he was her grandson.

Now. Irish Wolfhound. In a nushell, imagine a Shetland Pony. Thin it down a little in the chest, give it somewhat wiry greyish brown hair, a thick muzzle and a long tail and you've got an Irish Wolfhound. Biggest dog there is, a genuine monster. Built by the smallest, meanest people in the world to guard flocks of sheep in some of the nastiest country ever designed. Big dog. Tough dog. Feet like dinner plates. Anyway.

When I complimented the little boy on his skill, the older lady asked if I would do them a favor? I agreed, thinking she wanted me to fetch her a program or something. No, seems she needed someone to help her hold the spare Irish Wolfhound they had. One of FOUR they were showing. Her husband and her were both showing together, one each, the little boy was showing one more, and I was to hold one close by, with his lead up behind his ears, ready to swap out the moment she left the ring, both the dogs and her number badge. I had a fun ten or fifteen minutes watching the Borzoi show over the back of this grey beast, Fargo, and then it was our turn! Brenda and Iris did their turn around the ring, got judged, then she was bounding out of the ring, I was handing off one lead and taking another, and helping Brenda swap arm numbers and she was gone again, back to the ring while Iris and I made friends, she by leaning on me.

Kids, let me tell you right now--when an Irish Wolfhound leans on you, all you can possibly do is lean back. It's like having a building lean on you. Shock! Weight! Strength! The only thing that kept that dog from carrying me off like a rubber squeak toy was the fact that she THOUGHT I was stronger than her. HAH!

So, my duty dispatched honorably, I felt like a million bucks! After they had gathered their ribbons I complimented them on their grandson and asked how old he was. Brenda's husband had no idea. I got a strange look, whereupon I was host to another shock. The little boy was a stranger to them, too. He had asked them the day before if they needed help. They said yes, come back tomorrow. He arrived in his suit and tie, ready to go, they gave him a ten minute crash course in Showing An Irish Wolfhound To His Best In The Ring, and sent him out with their puppy, who was also in the ring for the first time.

I was so pleased to think that complete strangers had trusted me with their dog AND trusted that little eight year old boy to take their Wolfhound around the ring for them. I know that dog show people CAN be complete freaks, can be rude to strangers and are one of the biggest, most introverted cliques in the world, even counting Republicans, but I have met many people thus far at dog shows who are kind, trusting, and outgoing, a trait that I admire deeply in their canine companions almost as much as I admire it in their owners.

The other trusting soul? Rita Linck.

A little less than a year ago we met a lovely lady by the name of Rita who runs Aria Borzoi next door in Texas. Her dog was what drew me to her originally. He's a lovely creature, lithe and long and elegant as a Mercedes touring car, he came up to me at the local show like we were old friends, and we hit it off like bosom buddies. We talked to Rita at some length while she was at the show, and I palled around with my new friend Jesse James, and we left with her card and her website address.

Talk began to ensue about us owning one or more of these lovely creatures, but time passed, bills came and went, and while the discussion cooled a great deal it was never completely closed. I checked Rita's website fairly often, keeping up with my boy Jesse, and watched opportunities come and go.

About two months ago, friends of ours got themselves a fabulous deal on a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, with the intention of showing him as a sideline. This got Mrs. Irrelephant fired up to join Rachel in the ring, so we all ended up at the Monroe show this weekend to see what was happening. And since we were going to be there anyway, me with my Borzoi-fire stoked back up, I contacted Rita to let her know we'd be there, and that we might want to talk seriously about a pup she has available.

Well, to shorten a story that I could go on with for hours, we got there, Rita showed up with Adia her Greyhound and Jesse, and since she and Adia had a few hours to kill before she showed with the Greyhound group, and since Jesse wasn't going to show that day, she suggested I take him around the show, just sort of hang out with him.

It took two paramedics to get me back on my feet again.

Jesse has no short length of credentials. He's a champion in a lot of different areas, a very serious piece of work in the show ring AND in lure coursing and outdoor trials, and here this lady was ready to let me take his leash and him and go wandering in a crowded dog show, unattended.

I flipped utterly out.

Keep in mind that Rita and I had, to that point, spoken for about half an hour in person, and swapped two emails, and she was now ready to let me go wandering with her very expensive show dog. For real! For hours! I even got a couple of mediocre cellular phone camera pictures to prove that it happened.




Don't ask me, he just felt like rolling around on the floor a little bit. Maybe he likes my shoes.


Here's me and the old boy hisself.



He looks small there, but like Rita said, he's "thirty six inches tall, and three wide." That's a big dog, boys and girls. And I lead him around those rings, and in and out of people and dogs and all around. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. He is such a well-mannered, outgoing chap, stopping to visit with strangers, pausing to sniff the occasional butt, and in general being such a marvelous goodwill ambassador for the breed that I felt rather like an extra, but that's okay! He was perfectly mannered the entire time, and we even helped a pair of lovely little Italian Greyhound puppies get acclimated to having strange dogs around them. Several hours with the dog of my dreams, and I was walking on clouds, utterly.

Next weekend is the trip to Fort Worth, to visit Rita and Jesse and all the beautiful Borzoi of Aria Borzoi, and with luck and planning we'll put a downpayment on this little lovely girl, our future showring winner:


(Image and all rights thereunto copyright Rita Linck and Aria Borzoi.)

Sep 1, 2006

Sit. Stay. Win Best In Show.

This weekend is the monster-big AKC dog show in Monroe, and guess who's gonna be there?

You see, there's a nice lady from Texas who is going to be there. This nice lady runs a very nice kennel full of very nice show-quality dogs. This nice lady came to our attention at the local dog show almost a year ago when I wanted to pet her very tall, very thin dog, Jesse, who in turn, and rather uncharacteristically, wanted my attention and bonded with me. This very nice lady breeds Russian Wolfhounds, also known as Borzoi, and I've got a hankering for a tall, lean, sleek dog. Hand in glove. So with some luck, a little conniving and maybe just a shade of "(S)he really loves you!" I might be owning a dog soon.

And yes, I can hear you already--"But Irrelephant, you already have six cats and a Papillion, what are you going to do with another dog?"

And my answer is: "Learn to sleep on a very small edge of the bed, probably."