Been & Going

[California Seething] This Post Has Nothing Whatsoever to Do with Dogs

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Right, OK, where was I?

Oh yeah- that’s right- I was gonna write about the Simpsons before I went all Debbie Dead Dog on you people. So…yeah…the Cal-Seething--100714--punkySimpsons. Funny stuff, right? There’s Homer and Marge and, of course, Bart and Lisa and Punky. Hi Punky! Punky punky punky punky!!!! Can I rub your belly?? Can I rub your belly?? Rubbing. Rubbing. Who’s a good girl? Who’s a good girl?? Punky doodles! Kisses Punky. Can you give kisses? Punky give kisses? Punky give kisses?? Oh thank you Punky for the kisses! Thank you for the kisses Punky Wunky. That Punky that funky Punky. Who’s a good girl? Who’s a good girl?? It’s Punky!!!

Ahem. Excuse me. It appears I’ve adopted a small white dog named Punky and also turned into an idiot.

OK- let’s just get this guilt part out of the way. Yeah, we got a new dog a couple of weeks after we lost Lenny. No, we didn’t do it to replace him. Losing him sucked. It still sucks and it’s still weird that he’s not a part of our lives. Hell, I still have him as my desktop wallpaper on my laptop- and that’s only partially because I’m much much too lazy to change it. But much like I’ve said before that the only thing worse than doing theatre is not doing theatre, the only thing worse than losing a dog is not having a dog- so- we brought Punky into our lives. RESCUED her, in fact, from the POUND, where she would have DIED. Or worse yet- been Cal-Seething--100714-curledADOPTED by someone even more RETARDED than ME- like…uhm….and early 2000’s CELEBUTANTE or a JAMES BOND VILLAIN allergic to CATS. So…yeah. How you like them apples, fucko? Now who’s feeling guilty? Punky’s not feeling guilty. Does Punky like apples? Does Punky want to go outside? Does Punky wunky want to go outside for pee pee weepie? Punky go pee pee? Punky go pee pee???  Let’s go! Let’s go Punky! Let’s go pee pee!!! Let’s go pee pee with Punky!!! Pee pee Punky pee pee!


Oh God. I hate myself. Seriously I never want to stop punching myself in the face. The teddy bears won’t even talk to me anymore- but can Cal-Seething--100714-bearyou blame me for acting this way? Just look at her. And she’s so damn affectionate. She licks my face! She snuggles up to me! She pees with excitement when I come home from work- no one has EVER been that happy to see me. Hell, I’m lucky to get a “sup” or “hey man” or “internet’s down”- but urinating on the carpet with wild abandon??? I never dreamed I could be so lucky (sniff). Sure, they used to urinate with glee when I’d show up at the Powerhouse- but only because I came to fix the toilet. But I don’t need a plunger to unclog Punky’s heart- she’s just pleased as punch that I walked through the door.  I mean, Lenny of blessed memory had many wonderful qualities- but enthusiastic greetings wasn’t one of them. Living with Lenny was like living with an unemployed, stoner roommate- like Zach Galifianakis with more acting chops and less hair. I’d come home after a hard day at work, he’d be lying in bed undressed and we’d sort of grunt hello at each other and he’d go back to scratching himself. Then I would go into the kitchen and he would amble in, bleary eyed all like “dude- are you making dog food? Cause I’ll totally have some.” I swear- if he had thumbs, we’d have gotten him a bong and an X-Box and a SUNY Albany diploma. He was a drink the milk from the carton and put it back in the fridge with a super-tiny amount kind of dog.

With Punky, though, there’s much of a sense of occasion to my  homecoming. Hell every time I come home from work, I’m like a soldier coming home from Afghanistan for a surprise reunion with his family at halftime of a Dallas Cowboys game in a particularly manipulative Budweiser ad- assuming, of course, I come from a family of midgets  who lick each other compulsively and have incredibly poor bladder control. And we all Cal Seething-100714-duggarknow there’s no such family cause if there were they’d have a show on TLC right between I Turned My Wife Into a Cum Guzzling Fetus Factory for Jesus and Here Comes Diabetes! BTW- I realize that it’s a big misogynistic for me to assume that Jim Bob “turned” Michelle into a Cum Guzzling Fetus Factory. For more misogynistic opinions about the Duggars- check out my hip new misogyny blog  “the Gyst”- recently called “a refreshing alternative to Jezebel” by and Stephen A. Smith. Be sure to read Roger Godell’s latest post “I made everything pink- what more do you gals want?” and our Unwanted Advice Column for women- “Ask A Straight White Guy” – this week’s tip “just giggle and take it as a compliment”.

Ooooooh! Does Punky want belly rubs? Does. Punky Want. Belly. Rubby Rub Rubs???? Belly rubs for Punkyyyyyy. Belly rubs for PunkyRubPunkydoodles.

Oh God. Somebody shoot me.

So- at this point, you might be asking- wasn’t this supposed to be about the Simpsons? Yes. Yes it was. But let me tell you how we got Punky instead. PUNKY!!!!

It was a couple of weeks ago on a Friday and we had pretty much decided that we had found a dog who met all our criteria: medium sized, male dog, mix of poodle & cocker spaniel (the poodle is the baby laxative of dog breeds- you can use it to cut a pure breed and still sell it for the same price. Supposedly it’s because poodles really smart and don’t shed, but we all know it’s cause every word’s funnier with the addition to “poo” – go on – try it “weiniepoo”, “cockapoo” “pit poo”- you can’t go wrong! )- not a terrier, so he wouldn’t be too spastic. His name was Willie and he was temporarily residing at the East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys. We weren’t totally sure we wanted another dog yet- but we figured- hey- we’d go check him out. We had tickets to see La Cal Seething- 100714-traviataTraviata that night at LA Opera, an anniversary gift from me to my wife- but we figured- we’d leave work around 1 PM, head out to Van Nuys, check out Willie, grab lunch and have plenty of time to go home, change and have a nice, romantic, anniversary dinner and arrive at the opera in a leisurely fashion. If we did decide to adopt him, he would still have to be neutered- so we wouldn’t be able to pick him up until Saturday and therefore we wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with him while we’re at the opera. Perfect! Kismet! Everything was falling into place.

So we got in the car and headed for Van Nuys with a sense of adventure and excitement (no one in history has ever said that before) but, as the Old Testament says “Fortune rarely smiles on a Jets fan.” When I called the East Valley Shelter to check if Willie was still available, I was told he’d been adopted just moments before. All of the air went out of the car. We were aimlessly and doglessly drifting towards Beverly Hills. When the dog we weren’t sure we wanted became the dog we that we couldn’t have, we knew for certain that we couldn’t go back home to an empty house. After a bit of searching on the iPad- and perhaps a slight loosening of our criteria (maybe doesn’t have to be medium sized? maybe doesn’t have to be male? maybe just has to be available?) we found that there were a bunch of possible dogs in the South LA Shelter. By then it was around 2:30 – so we figured- ok, great- we skip lunch, drive down, get there by 3:30, check out some dogs and still have plenty of time for a nice, romantic dinner before the opera.

We made it down to the South LA Shelter, conveniently located at the corner of “I’m not a Racist” and “Yikes! Close the Windows” around 4 PM and began walking among the cages, trying not to think about the fact that we were window shopping on Death Row. We found a few dogs that struck our fancy- one in particular was part dalmatian part poodle (dalmapoo- see-always funny!) I went looking for a staff member who might be able to help us meet the dogs we were interested in. Turns out all of the staff were ensconced behind a door marked “Authorized Personnel Only- Do Not Enter” as a safety precaution against helping the public. It was Cal Seething- 100714-selmathere that I met Mona- who had all the grace, charm and governmental customer service acumen of a Latina Selma Bouvier (and sort of the hair, too). Mona pulled out the dalmapoo who was even less enthusiastic about meeting us than she was.  There was another dog  we were interested in who wasn’t available yet, and so we came to a cage with a grey-white little fluffball with matted, tangled fur and a Chihuahua so absurdly eager to please, he should have been wearing a little bow tie and saying “Yo quero ha-cha-cha!!! Eh?? Eh??? Is this thing on?” We wanted to see the fluffball, but the Chihuahua came too. At this point, Mona, realized she had a couple of pigeons in her shelter, and so she switched gears from inconvenienced bureaucrat to used dog salesman – (from Selma to Gil.)

And it was there, in the small square of patchy grass which was balding like Dylan McKay before he first left the show and then mysteriously came back with more hair that we first encountered Punky (not yet called Punky). She was pretty but she was a mess- a Pasadena Rose Princess turning tricks on Hollywood Blvd (are there still hookers on Hollywood Blvd- and if so- where do they park??) but when I got down on all fours and looked into her eyes and she gave me that curious flat smile of hers- well- I knew for sure that she was coming home with us. And she knew for sure that I was a crazy person who had just gotten down on his hands and knees on grass so utterly covered in piss it would make Port Authority blush just to get to know her better. And Mona- well, Mona knew for sure that there would be one less dog stuck at the shelter that night and it wouldn’t be the Chihuahua (“that’s ok folks- I’ll be here all week! Unless somebody adopts me….anybody…..take this dog- please????”). PunkyEric

Right, so now it’s 4:50. The shelter’s closing in 10 minutes and we’ve got a dog we like- great! Except- crap! La Fucking Traviata! (Verdi’s original name for it) Fuck! If we leave her at the shelter, she might not still be available in the morning but we can’t adopt her and then leave her home alone all night- I mean, sure we could leave her home alone all night if we wanted to come home to find our place entirely covered with urine and feces but we weren’t feeling that nostalgic for Port Authority so we were at an impasse until our salvation arrived in the form of an announcement over the loudspeaker “Chameleon is Down! The Computer System is Down!” Surely this means we won’t be able to adopt Punky (not yet called Punky) tonight and they’ll have to let us come back tomorrow to get her. Hurray for incompetent IT departments!!! (are there really any other kind?) The opera is saved! Fortune is finally smiling upon us! Could the firing of Rex Ryan be far behind? And then a very stressed out looking woman in a lab coat (like Doctor Without Borders level stressed out), Doctor Whateverhernameis, came out confirmed that, in fact, we wouldn’t be able to adopt Punky (not yet called Punky) with the computer system down and that she would be willing to make an exception to the standard shelter policy and hold Punky (again, not yet called Punky) over night so we could pick her up the next day- and would that be ok with us?  “FUCK YEAH!” we thought “Sure, I suppose, if we must” we said. We struggled mightily to hide our inner glee behind a mask of inconvenienced disappointment and headed for our car as fast as our little legs would carry us. And, then, just when we thought we were out:

“Chameleon is online! The computer system is up!” CRAP!! This is just like that Patriots – Chiefs game- too good to be true! Mona, whom at this point had made it her life’s mission to make sure that we weren’t getting out of there without that motherfucking dog grabbed us by the elbows and yanked us into the office. A medical history was produced, forms were printed, the shelter workers were moving with an urgency never seen by bureaucrats in a situation where neither cake nor collective bargaining are involved. Wait wait wait- here’s another announcement: “CHAMELEON IS DOWN!” Woo-Hoo!! “CHAMELEON IS BACK!” Doh! And before we knew it, and before their totally useless computer system could collapse again (why would you name a computer system after a creature that never looks the same way twice?), Mona was shoving Punky (not yet called Punky) into my arms wrapped in a flee ridden pink sheet (“just in case she pukes in the car”- oh boy! something to look forward to!) and we were on our way out of the shelter, headed north with a filthy, small white dog wrapped in a filthy pink sheet at 4:57 with absolutely no idea what we were going to do with her for the night.

It was at this point that I texted our dog sitter with what is hands down the bougiest electronic message of all time since Richie Cal Seething- 100714-richieRich Tweeted “Consuela got the caviar but forgot toast points. Who’s got two thumbs and is eating Beluga like a bitch with a spork? #thisguy #thuglife” My message was: “So….we just adopted a small white dog. Have opera tickets tonight. Could we please leave her with you for a couple of hours?” And, Donna, being awesome and also thrilled to have her best clients back texted back “Sure :) Can’t wait to meet her” Great! The First Worldiest of all First world problems- solved! So…it’s 5:15 PM- plenty of time to get up to Donna’s, drop of Punky (still not named Punky), pick up a few essentials for her, stop for a quick dinner and make it to the opera on time!

Yeah, that wasn’t gonna happen. We got to Donna’s around 6:30. Dropped off Punky (whom at this point we were thinking maybe we’d call Dolly?), hit the pet store and then, at 7:10 PM- we headed towards Downtown for the opera, cramming a leisurely, romantic pre-opera dinner from Jack in the Box into our grease holes in the car as we crawled through traffic heading downtown on Washington Blvd like a soldier bleeding to death crawling to the First Aid station through the desert who is stuck in a huge line of other soldiers who are bleeding to death trying to get to the First Aid station because one asshole soldier who’s bleeding to death in a Prius is trying to turn left. Finally, we made it to the opera at 7:57, took out a quick second mortgage to pay for valet parking, ran inside not even stopping to pee and collapsed into our seats just in time to wait around for the opera to start ten minutes late. After a beautiful and extremely restful performance of La Traviata (SPOILER ALERT: Everybody’s sad and the nice hooker dies) we rushed back to Donna’s, picked up Punky (Roxie? Moxie? Tallulah? Sam?) took her home and passed out around midnight only to wake up the next day with a filthy, adorable, tiny little fluff ball licking our faces so that, Cal Seething- 100714- bartmuch like Bart when he wakes up to find he joined the Junior Campers, we were wondering just what the fuck we had done the night before. We were pretty sure, though, that we were gonna call her Punky.

So- yeah, that’s how we set out to adopt an an available male, medium sized, cockapoo and ended up with a female, tiny terrierpoo (huh. that one doesn’t work so much) who was met absolutely none of our criteria except “available”.  And in need of a good home. And adorable. And ours. And that’s why the Simpsons is the greatest show on television. Got it? Does Punky get it? Does Punky like the Simpsons? Punkydoodles like the Simpsons? Punky Wunky like the Simpsons? Yes she does. Yes she does. Who’s a good girl? Who’s a good wittle girl?? Who’s a goodie-woodie wittle girl?? Punky!

Please. I’m begging you. Shoot me now. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand myself like this. The next post, I promise, will be all about the Simpsons and nothing about Punky. Although- wait a second- did Showtime just announce they were doing a new EricPunkyJetsseason of Twin Peaks episodes??? Holy crap!! I’m excited as as Dale Cooper having that first cup of coffee in the morning. I’m as excited as Pete finding a fish in the percolator. I’M SO EXCITED I COULD…..uh oh….oopsie….gotta go. Now I know when Punky feels when I get home. Is Punky excited?? Is Punky excited????? IS PUNKY EXCITED???? Yes. Yes she is.Now we’re both wet. Oh well. Who needs dignity anyhow when I’ve got PUNKY??? Clearly not me. Just look at the Jets shirt. It’s totally not me. Dignity was always more of a Lenny thing.Cal-Seething--091514--lenny

See what I mean?



[California Seething] Lenny Holiday Letter 2013- Guest Intro Lauren Sims

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I’ve been thinking about what to write for 2013, for what was to be his last letter. I think when you read it you will see that we knewCal-Seething-092614-lennyco it was going to be his last letter. At the time we wrote it, we were 2 months in to his diagnosis of “big-ass tumor on his liver.” We were freaked out, expecting the worse could and would happen at any moment. Little did we know that Lenny had 9 more months to give us, he wasn’t done with us yet.

2013 was a blur, and reflecting back, it still is, I couldn’t tell you one thing that happened last year. I’ll be in meetings at work and people will refer to things from 2013 and I’ll be like “that was a year ago?” But anyway, this letter was our attempt at a not too maudlin tribute to Lenny and all the crazy stuff we did with him over the years. I think we succeeded. However, I did receive some comments like: “wow, you guys are sad.” So maybe not so much on the “not too maudlin” part.

Lenny was crazy. Completely bonkers off his chain from the moment we brought him home from the West Los Angeles Cal-Seething-092614-hatAnimal Shelter. It was rough at first, for all of us. Eric and I had just moved to LA, Lenny was a young dog with an unknown past that hated anything on wheels and distrusted men. But we all figured it out and became a little family of sorts. As long as we didn’t expect Lenny to act like a “dog” or do anything that we “asked him to do,” we were cool and it worked for us for 13 years.

I can count on my hand the number of people Lenny liked. And this isn’t an insult to those he didn’t, but the Chow in him just didn’t allow him to trust most folks. But if you got on that list, and boy if you were lucky enough for him to sit so you could hug him, it was the best hug you could ever ask for. He would lean against you and look up, snuggle his head in. And sure, maybe he was just trying to encourage me to scratch his chest while he was suffering through this exercise, but regardless, nobody gave a hug like Lenny. Nobody, no thing. And I’ll miss that most of all. So here’s to Lenny—he was a good fucking dog, thank you.

Here’s the 2013 Holiday LetterCal Seething-092614-lennysmile

And here are all the other letters:

2005 letter
2006 letter
2007 letter

2008/09 letters
2011 letter

2012 letter

[California Seething] Lenny’s 2008 (and 2009) Holiday Letters- Keep Mope Alive

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Ohmygodyouguys- do you remember “Hope”?? Ha! How crazy was that?? Remember how we thought that once Obama was elected everything would be all rainbows and unicorns and Oprah leaning on white dudes?? We were soooo Cal Seething-092014-oprahsilly! Just thinking about it now is like looking at pictures from sophomore year of high school where I’m rocking the mullet and the pornstache and a shitty tie dye I made myself at Camp Givah that looks less like a series of brilliantly mind-blowing psychedelic spirals and more like I found some dude on the street was shot five times in the chest and then puked on himself and I thought “hey- cool shirt” and took it off him. I mean- don’t get me wrong- Obama hasn’t been a bad president- he’s expanded access to health care, championed equality and he’s almost as good at picking the right middle eastern rebels to arm as he is at filling out his March Madness bracket. The problem was the we voted for a messiah, and just elected a president, and that never works. #ReadyForHillary #IGuessifIMust #Sigh.

Lauren and I got swept up in all the hope and change mishigos- new president, new jobs, new house. Lenny wasn’t having any of it though. You can read all about that is his 2008 Holiday Letterplus our first few terrible missteps on the long painful road of home renovation. #Sigh.

Speaking of Hope- I was really Hoping to get one of these written per day, but of course, I’ve failed at that – so here’s the 2009 Cal-Seething--092014-kirkHoliday Letter as well. In this one, Lenny was so inspired by Kirk Douglas’ one man show Before I Forget that he wrote his own show I Forgot Who You Were the Minute Your Left the Room- which I think any of the house guests who Lenny growled at every single time they came out of the bathroom like they were an army of invading huns he’d never seen before will relate to (ironically, when the Huns did invade, he was lovely.)

So yeah- we’ve got 2008 and 2009 covered and we didn’t do one in 2010 cause fuck that year, so the next one up will be 2011. Enjoy!

2008 Holiday Letter
2009 Holiday Letter
And, in case you missed them- here are the other ones so far:

2005 Letter
2006 Letter
2007 Letter





[California Seething] Lenny Holiday Letter 2007 Being and Nothingness in Orange County

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In 2007 The Sopranos ended. A whole lot of other important stuff happened, too, I mean, I think it did, it must have right? Surely SOMETHING else must have happened that year- but who gives a crap- THE SOPRANOS ENDED. And what a finale it was – filled to the brim with SHOCKING revelations. Tony likes Journey- SHOCKER!! Meadow can’t parallel park- SHOCKER!! Evidently there’s some place in New Jersey with really delicious onion rings that they’ve been going to all this time AND WE NEVER HAD ANY IDEA!!! Cal Seething- 091814- sopranosSHOCKER!!!!! And – the biggest revelation of all- DAVID CHASE IS A DOUCHEBAG WHO WANTS TO RUIN OUR LIVES!!!! Seriously, I’m still not over it. We just deleted the episode from our DVR like last year, and honestly, it’s only because we got a new DVR box from DirecTV and it was their new “seriously, that was six years ago you have to get over it” package. And, I’m not the only one- when David Chase randomly said in an interview a couple of weeks ago that Tony Soprano wasn’t killed it was major news. I mean, it was a slow news day because there were no new NFL players accused of domestic violence and Jameis Winston didn’t rape anybody or swear in public (Go on- guess which of those things he was actually punished for? Go on- guess- it’ll  be fun… and then incredibly depressing), so clearly there was nothing else to talk about, but clearly I’m not the only one who still isn’t over it. WHY, DAVID, WHY??? Why couldn’t you give us a satisfying ending? Why couldn’t you give us closure? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SUCH A DICK ALL THE TIME???? James Gandolfini had to die for your sins- I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY. (He is!)

On the personal front- we took a magical trip to Paris to celebrate Lauren’s mother’s 60th birthday (she also came) and Lenny took a magical trip to Orange County to mope on somebody else’s carpet. So one of us went on a profound journey of cultural and philosophical discovery and one of us lay around scratching himself and eating stuff. Go on- guess which one is which- it’ll be fun…and then slightly sad and pathetic. Hey- what was I supposed to do- I was itchy and the food was magnifique (French for “amazeballs”) and Lenny loves Sartre. Read all about his existential journey in the 2007 Holiday Letter.

And, in case you missed them- here are the 2005 Letter and 2006 Letter

Happy Holidays (they’re not really that happy).

[California Seething]- Special Edition- The Complete Holiday Letters of Lenny Sims- 2005 Edition

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As some of you may know, we recently said goodbye to the furriest member of the Sims family not counting my disturbingly large Cal-Seething--091514--teddycollection of teddy bears that will never be spoken of again. Well, second furriest, I suppose, if I’m in one of my Hassidic Portland Hipster waging Jihad on his way to the Duck Dynasty convention modes. (NOTE FOR GEN-X’ERS: Unibomber is NO LONGER  a relevant reference point. 9 out of 10 millenials don’t know who that is and the one who does thinks he’s one of the McDonaldland characters- like the Hamburgler with a manifesto. NOTE FOR GEN-X’ERS: Yeah- they don’t know who the McDonaldland characters are either. Nice try) It’s wonderful how groups of men from such different backgrounds and with such different ideologies can all rally together around the cause of justifying sheer laziness as some kind of deliberate fashion statement. It just proves that no matter where men come from or what they believe in- they would all rather behead journalists or play Sex Pistols covers on the banjo with their bucktoothed Wannabe Deschannel  girlfriend or even (shudder) study Talmud (G-d forbid) than groom themselves or trim their goddamn toenails or, I don’t know, CLEAN A MOTHERFUCKING BATHROOM FOR A CHANGE. Personally, I avoid responsibility with blogging – Allahu Akbar, dude-bros!

Now, that’s exactly the sort of idiotic behavior that Lenny simply had no patience for. He was an irascible fellow- like Andy Rooney,Cal Seething-091514-andy if Andy Rooney barked at delivery people and compulsively licked the spot where his balls used to be- so- exactly like Andy Rooney (#dementia #knowthesigns)- only not as wrinkly, and lots more loveable, and generally not absolutely terrible in every way (may he rest in peace.) The point is, like Andy Rooney, he had a talent for pointing out the foibles of humanity- and, since he never did get that segment on 60 Minutes (I don’t even think they watched the tapes), he shared his uniquely ornery perspective in his annual Religiously Neutral Holiday Letter.

Since his passing, many of you have reached out to share your condolences and let us know how much you’ll miss his holiday letters. And so, in tribute to a friend with whom I shared a third of my life, half my breakfast, three quarters of the available floor space in my house and all of my heart- I’ll be sharing all of his holiday letters- starting with the first one from 2005. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these as much as we enjoyed having Lenny look at us with disappointment, rest his head on the floor and wonder just what exactly our damn problem was. God, I miss him. Oh great. Now I’m sad. WHERE’S THAT TEDDY BEAR???


Ahhhh. That’s the stuff. Anyhow- here’s the 2005 Holiday Letter- enjoy!

I’ll be adding all the letters here, as they are published:

2006 letter

2007 letter

 2008/09 letters

2011 letter

2012 letter

[Images from the Id] – What a Week or Just Keep Plugging Along.

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Images from the Id – What a Week or Just Keep Plugging Along.

Sometimes you hit the wall. Well not literally but you do hit a point where nothing seems to work. Actually, I am talking about is a special situation where your efforts are really working but they seem to be total failures. For me this can be very a frustrating combination of writer’s block and manic depression. I really don’t want anything to do with the world and just want to sleep this off like a bad hangover.

So recapping the week, Last week we setup a photo show for the Club. Looks good, lot of good photographer in the group. Crap, is mine over priced? Mine ended up in front of the Johns. Ha, everybody “goes” there. The other half of the story was I had to hang 20 photos for 3 people and had a dental appointment which expanded into two appointments. Could not get the hanging straight. Oh well, at least I didn’t have any pain.

Sunday, Rocky Mountain National Park, I have a rule never go to RMNP or any NP on a weekend. I have broken this too often. Never get to a shoot after 7 am. Broke this one too.  Big crowds and bad high sunlight. How do I save this one? I shoot a series of landscape images for a focus stacking workshop I am giving in September. Better for the attitude? Hemming and hawing around and never get any prints or competition Monday night. Lazy? No just funk. Writing a blog, crap- I’ll write this one as “Just wait till next week

The images were all taken at the county fair of dog competition jumping for distance and height. The keys are include humor, action and people in various amounts.

Dog-005 Dog-004 Dog-003 Dog-002 Dog-001


[Citizen Filter] A Brief Guide To Grieving With Dignity

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I’m going to tell you a joke:


My dog’s dying!




Well, I tried. No, but really my dog is dying, and not my second or third dog, but my first dog, my childhood dog, the dog that made my father ruin innumerable photo prints and led my mother to discover the joys of buying chicken necks from the butcher, my dog who is beautiful and perfect and once chewed up an amazing pair of leather sandals when I was thirteen and she was still a puppy.

My mom texted me last weekend (hey, that’s why this is a week late! I HAVE REASONS FOR THINGS) with an adorable photo of my 16-year-old dog and the message the she has 25% kidney function and about two weeks to live, because she had stopped eating. That was my Saturday. Doggy suicide via hunger strike. Can’t even tell you how great that was. Can’t. Even. (Sidenote: Let us all take a moment to appreciate that my mother now knows how to send a group picture text. A moment of silence for her lost innocence, and a moment of laughter because anyone who thinks previous generations were innocent clearly has never seen a statistical chart teen pregnancy over the last century, nor have they read Shakespeare.)

So here’s my handy guide to dealing with your dog’s imminent demise:

1. Cry at the wheel while you’re driving to get gas on the way to your boyfriend’s mom’s birthday party.

2. Call your mom while you’re getting gas and cry on the phone with her. Marvel at her calm attitude. Realized that your mascara is running but you’re also running late so screw it, you were going for a smoky eye look anyway and how the fuck are you going to get through a party with a bunch of people who ask how you are and with whom you usually tell the truth?

3. When your boyfriend tells you that he is definitely driving the rest of the way, concede gracefully and climb over the parking brake, exposing your underpants to the whole gas station and (this is very important) Don’t Give A Damn because you are Grieving and No One Understands.

4. Sniffle all the way to Hipster Neighborhood, where your boyfriend is practicing a song to sing for his mother.

5. When you get there, ask your boyfriend’s brother for bourbon. Drink a healthy amount. Touch up your mascara.

6. Realize that they took your suggestion of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, a suggestion you made pre-dog-dying text. Realize that it is the Wrong Song to listen to when you are saying goodbye to an old friend. Sob quietly in the kitchen, using up all the eco-friendly paper towels to blow your nose. Wobble unsteadily to the living room when they’re done, finish your bourbon, and touch up your lipstick.

7. Cry when the roommates come home with their adorable dog.

8. Cry in the car on the way to the party.

9. Touch up your mascara again. You are going to run out of mascara.

10. See your boyfriend’s sister’s new puppy, who looks a lot like your dying dog, fenced in the yard. Hold back tears and pretend the last two hours didn’t happen.

11. Spend the whole party with your boyfriend’s brother-in-law’s brothers, who don’t talk much and mostly to their mother, in Spanish, when they do. Finally be grateful you forgot most of your Spanish.

12. Drive home. Debate going out. Decide against going out, go to the 24-hour Mexican and breakfast food place and get a burrito. Get teary-eyed because they are out of pickled carrots and radishes, and you don’t even eat those.

13. Eat your burrito. Drink a beer. Sleep.

14. The next day, text all the friends you have left in your hometown and strongarm them into going to your parents’ house and petting your dog. Succeed in annoying your parents, your friends, and your dog, who just wants to sit in the yard and sample the olfactory delights on the breeze. Hope your dog hasn’t learned to text in her old age, although that would be an amazing miracle that might compel God to keep her around a little longer, but would also make you the worst person ever because you annoyed your dying dog so much that she learned to text.

This is my dog. She is the best. This is her sniffing the breeze for interesting smells, including but not limited to: Squirrel, Other Dog, Bird, Milkman, Mailman, Delivery Man, School Children, Sad Lost Deer in an Urban Setting

15. Put up a weepy Facebook status, including the fateful first picture of your dog.

16. Get a barrage of concerned texts from your older sisters, who are channeling their grief into worrying about you. Thank the Lord for the consistency of the world, in which there is a time for life, for death, for change, and for always getting so much goddamn attention when your family members are trying to forget their own feelings. It is your duty to accept their worry graciously. It is your right to bitch about it to your boyfriend. It it your fate to be simultaneously happy that you are surrounded by Loving Concern and grumpy because all that Loving Concern is Stifling.

17. Cry. Drink a beer. Cry.

18. Watch cute dog videos on YouTube. Cry.

19. Get a text from your mother the dog has started eating again. She’ll be fine for awhile. Cry.

20. Realize that your bathroom is leaking water from the ceiling, walls, doorjamb, and windows. Cry, then eat a Bay Cities sandwich.

See how you too can dealing with the crippling sadness of losing a beloved pet and de facto family member in 20 easy steps! Fill your larder with booze and Kleenex and you’ll be just fine.

But don’t forget about the crippling guilt for moving away from your hometown to find education, love, and happiness! There is nothing more reproachful than the eyes of a dog who is old and sick and sad that you’re leaving, and that was last January, when we thought she had at least another year.

Happily, I’ll back in ye olde homesteade in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping she holds out long enough for me to say goodbye. Because the only thing worse than your dog dying is when you miss saying your farewells by a day or two!

[Parrot News] Parrot Races Dog. Yeah, You Heard Me.

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If you read Parrot News regularly (which, I admit, would be much easier to do if I bothered to write it) you know I hate birds. And, while I don’t think I’ve ever expressed this opinion (which makes it one of only three that I haven’t expressed – the other two being my paradoxical love of Rice Krispie treats and dislike of marshmallows. I’m soooo deep! It’s totes cray. I promise to never, ever say that again.) I doubt it will come as a shock to hear that I don’t really like cutesy animal videos unless they were directed by Alfred Hitchcock. But even Tippi Hedren couldn’t hate the little yellow bird in this video unless of course it was dead and stuffed and thrown at her over and over again by sadistic PA’s for a solid week until she gave the perfect “terrified” response while Hitchcock looked on eating greasy fried chicken and said “just one more take, Tippi” in the most condescending way imaginable- in which case, sure, I could see that she might start to hate it- but, otherwise- there’s no way even she could resist the charms of this plucky yellow parrot and you won’t either. You just have to watch the video and see how it pulls itself up the stairs on woefully inadequate legs with great effort and determination like a T-Rex doing pushups or a border collie reading Great Expectations.
With its eyes focused on the summit like beadie little lasers, tail flipping ferociously from side to side like the useless rudder of little yellow boat the bird repeats over and over again one single mantra it its mind “This would be so much fucking easier if I could fucking fly. This would be so much fucking easier if I could fucking fly. THIS WOULD BE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUCKING EASIER IF I COULD FUCKING FLY”
Finally- with the summit in sight and success within the grasp of its tallons, the bird breathes deep the thin mountain air of the second floor and prepares for victory- when it’s cruel mistress, perhaps channeling a the vengeful spirit of Tippi Hedren who’s not actually dead but shut up, releases the DOG. Before you can say “parrots are icky” the little white fluff ball bounds up the steps effortlessly on four REALLY, REALLY GOOD LEGS and humiliates the parrot by reaching the top of the steps first and easily winning a race that, let’s keep it real, neither animal knew they were actually running.
And don’t feel guilty when watching this video. The owner isn’t some sadistic bitch who clipped the wings off a bird and then made it run up a flight of stairs for her sick amusement (although admittedly that is amusing. HA! Crippled bird’s gotta use it’s puny legs. HA HA! That’s like a pole vaulting midget.). Nope- she’s just a lonely woman with an absurd amount of time on her hands who trained a bird with two perfectly good wings to run up a flight of stairs on its scrawny little useless legs and then has it run a race it can’t possibly win against a dog. Which…I guess sort of makes her a sadistic bitch after all. And sad. Very very sad.. Hmmm. Oh well. Enjoy!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Dogs vs. Elevators

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dogelevator2Dog owners in New York City apartment high rises all have the same duty, or doodie, each day – and that’s taking the dog out for a walk and a bathroom break.  Forget this once, and they’ll be rewarded with a nasty accident on the carpet.  Unfortunately, the only way down to the street is via the elevator.  While they’re generally safe for humans, for some dogs – an elevator can quickly turn into a nightmare!


In this first security camera video – a woman talks to a neighbor while entering the elevator.  Only, the dog stays behind!  However, the only casualty will be about two dozen eggs!



In Russia, this man is nothing short of a hero when a little pug runs out while the doors are closing.  This was taken from a local newscast.



According to the description, this guy is a New York City dog walker – isn’t his job to keep the dog safe?



The first elevators can be traced back almost two thousand years and were first put into use by inventor Archimedes around 236 BC.  Elevators (or lifts as they are called in the United Kingdom) are designed to transport people or goods from one location to another by means of a lift.

otis elevator plans

Original patent drawing plans for Elisha Otis’s safety elevator from the US National Archives.

In 1852, Elisha Otis invented the first safety elevator design that is generally in use today.  His elevator featured rollers that lock onto guides along the elevator shaft and will prevent the cab from a sudden fall, should a cable break.


The first passenger elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City on March 23, 1857.  In 1870, the Equitable Life Building, also in New York, was the first commercial office building to feature an elevator.  Otis’ safety elevator made it possible for New York and other cities to build high into the sky.  His Otis Elevator Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of elevators, today.


Elevators also feature infra-red beams that are supposed to prevent the doors from closing when a person or object blocks it.  However, since dogs are small, they can sometimes not be detected by the beam, making it possible for the doors to close and the car to rise.


The National Elevator Industry Trade Association and the ASPCA offer a few tips for dog owners that help prevent a serious accident and proper etiquette when riding an elevator with man’s best friend:


• If the dog is small enough – hold it

• Sit your dog in a far back corner of the elevator car.

• Teach your dog not to jump on other passengers and children

• Train your dog or firmly grasp the leash, so they cannot to run for the doors as soon as they open, especially if the car stops on multiple floors

• Ask a fellow passenger’s permission before allowing your dog to sniff or lick them.  Not every person may love dogs as much as you do.

• Have a bag and/or towel in case the dog makes a bathroom accident


So, whether you are riding up to your apartment, traveling to a pet friendly hotel, or just checking this out for general amusement because you don’t live in a high rise; just take a few seconds to think before waltzing on into the elevator – and make sure your furry friend is safely along for the ride.


THE 411


What: Dogs vs. Elevators


Where: apartment high rises, hotels, and more


Warning: elevators can be dangerous to a dog




My first thought is to make sure the dog is inside and secure, before pressing the floor button, and then make keep a firm grasp on the collar.  I love dogs and my family has had one my whole life – but sometimes, dogs are animals, and they can have a mind of their own!


Hopefully, my blog this week will just as a simple safety warning to everyone.  I realize not everyone reading this has a dog, but after seeing some of the graphic videos of serious accidents that have been posted online (you have to Google that, yourself) we can all take a minute and make sure their secure before running for our floor.  We may not all have dogs – but at one point or another, you’ll most likely be taking an elevator ride with one.


Image credits – madabandon, pennstatenews, Neena.Ree Kroll