Friday, December 4, 2009

Growing Into The Collar

When Amy went to Disney World, she brought back a lovely bright red leather Mickey Mouse collar for Duffy to grow into. I decided it might be fun to take pictures of him as he grows into the collar.

So today, I draped it around his neck and he thought it was a great fun game. He jumped and twirled and would not stay still so I could get a good shot of him!

First this:

Then this and this and this:

Finally, Teddy decided he might be able to help out:

Hurry, I'm holding him down -- take the X!!)X##!! picture!!

Then, all of a sudden I remembered that Duffy has already learned some helpful commands. Like: SIT and STAY. So, I started over! Told him to sit and stay and put the collar around his neck. And this is the result!

What do you think of my handsome guy? Looks like he's going to do a little bit more growing. To be continued....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Duffy's Diary

It looks like this is my new home. I was whisked away from my three brothers and five sisters and my Mom, Nevaeh. I went for a long car ride (but I slept most of the way) and ended up here.

This is me on my first day at my new home. I'm 7 weeks old here:

Since I really like my new home, I do try to behave most of the time. For instance, I didn't cry at all the first night home. I'm pretty nice to my new siblings, but its sometimes hard to tell if they feel like playing or not.

I've been eating really well and in three weeks I doubled my weight! When I moved in I weighed 10 lbs and now I'm close to 20.

What I really love is my new yard. I can run around and play and dig and chase leaves. Its pretty great. I've learned that this is the place to pee and poo. I only have accidents inside once in awhile.

Amy taught me some tricks - I know how to sit and lie down. I'm learning to walk nicely on a leash, already I know that when the person on the leash stops walking, I should sit down and wait. I'm very good at doing that. Its hard not to pull on the leash because the other dog, Teddy, is allowed to. That doesn't seem really fair. I bite Teddy every chance I get.

I'm really trying to learn not to chew people's hands and clothes. The hardest thing is not to go after the socks. I love 'em. They smell great!

The other thing I'm working on is learning to ring the bells when I want to go outside. When they first hung up the bells and showed me, it was pretty scary - they're very loud. But I'm not afraid of them anymore and today I actually rang them once and got let out. It might have been accidentally, I won't say one way or another.

What fun I had this morning, tormenting William my cat brother. He thinks he is the boss, but just wait.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween, I LOVE it!

Forever, Halloween has been my favorite holiday. I'm not sure if it really even qualifies as a true holiday, but to me it beats out Easter and even Christmas. Easter is ok, but it has always been all about the dressing up which is just not my thing. And Christmas, well I'll admit when I was a kid it was right up there with Halloween, but Adult Christmas is totally different than Kid Christmas and you know what I mean by that.

Before I go into Halloween (and I have a lot to say), I'll go over the other holidays starting with my second favorite, which is 4th of July. Always fun because I love fireworks and summer and picnics and parades. Memorial Day and Labor Day, they're just kind of non-holidays and a good excuse for a barbecue. Thanksgiving, great food, but waaayyy too much in the preparation and clean up. New Years' Eve, well I just don't drink and not much of a partier so it doesn't fit me well. Valentine's Day is great if there's candy involved, but I just can't look forward to February which is one of the most dreary months in the year. St. Patrick's Day, I don't think I even need to comment on that one. I'm sure someone would just end up hating me. Mother's Day/Father's Day, depending on the level of adoration of your children, it can be good or it can be depressing. No further comment.

So that brings us back to HALLOWEEN! So many great things are involved in this holiday! I get excited just thinking about it.

First, the season - autumn. My favorite! I love the colors, I love the crisp weather. I love having an excuse to stay inside. I love hot chocolate and hot soup. I love crockpot stew. I love fall camping. The fact that Halloween happens in the fall is just such a bonus.

Then there's the spooky factor. I've been raised on ghosts, scary stuff, ghouls and all that. Like I've said before, its in the genes and nurtured by the nature. Or however that goes. I've been encouraged (and paid) to walk through cemeteries in the dark at a very young age. When I was growing up, Creature Features was the highlight of my week. Then there was "Dark Shadows", wooooo. As a kid, my friends and I played Ouija Board as often as we played Monopoly. We had a second story in our garage and would fix it up like a haunted house and then charge the rest of the neighborhood kids two cents to tour it. So, you understand scaring and being scared is just plain fun for me.

OK, there's no beating around the bush, I love free stuff! Free samples, I'm there. I fed and diapered my first born for a month with the freebies I garnered at every baby fair I could possibly attend for nine months prior to her arrival.

Candy? Ask me if I prefer sweet or salty. What do you think? SWEET, baby.

Now put all these together: Fall + Spooky + Free + Candy = HALLOWEEN!

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

The dressing up I could do without, but let's face it, at my age its a necessity. At least the mask is anyway. Kind of hard to pass for a 12 year old without one. Yep, I'm talking about Trick or Treat and I've been doing it my whole life. Just once a year though.

When I was a kid, I'd get the bag filled up and dash home to dump it out and get back out there. One year, a family on my block was giving away World's Finest Chocolate Bars - yep, those big logs of heaven, studded with almonds. Hearing that loud thunk when it hit the bottom of my bag, digging in there to find out what it could possibly be, discovering the exquisite treasure - all this prompted me to run home, change my mask and run back repeatedly to get as many more as possible until my ruse was discovered and the WFC became a regular snack sized Hershey.

Another fun thing I did as a kid was to sort and catalog my stash. After T or T (trick or treating), I would dump out my booty in the middle of the living room floor and sort sort sort. Suckers, Mary Janes, popcorn balls, those orange or black wrapped peanut butter chewy things, these would all be donated to Mom's giveaway bowl and regifted to arriving T or T'ers. The rest of the goodies were piled into groups of type: Hershey's, Reese's, Nestles, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, World's Finest.....and then after counting and assessing popularity of various brands, it would all go back in my bag to be enjoyed, hoarded, traded and finally when it was down to a handful of 'not sure I really like these' candies, it would end up in the community bowl to be shared.

One year, we took our dog, Stubby, T or T with us. Not for the cuteness factor, but because we could hang a bag around his neck and get extra candy. I recall one of our neighbors thinking it was just adorable that Stubby was wearing a torn pillowcase around his neck and claiming to be SuperDog. She asked if it was ok to open a piece of candy and give it to him. Sure, why not? Well, it happened to be one of those awful orange and black wrapped peanut butter chewy things. Poor Stubby only made it down the porch stairs before he realized this thing was not leaving his teeth. He plopped down at the edge of the sidewalk and proceeded to try to scrape the glob off his teeth, using his paws. While we were extremely annoyed that the group of kids we were with were NOT waiting and we were missing out on precious T or T time. That was the end of Stubby's SuperDog career.

When I kind of grew up a little bit and had kids of my own, oh yeah! We'd take a wagon so the smaller ones could ride and also so that when their plastic pumpkins got too heavy with booty, we could dump them into larger containers that rode in the wagon. When we hit the Halloween Trail, there was no going back. It went on till dinner time and then out with the relatives after dinner. One year, it was so windy, cold and rainy, we were the only ones out there. I cut black plastic garbage bags for us to wear, and we got as much candy in 10 minutes as we would normally get in two hours - since we were the only ones, people wanted to get rid of their candy and bags were literally being dumped into our greedy little plastic pumpkins.

Nowadays with no more little kids, the scam is up. It's become obvious, I do it for me. We go out at night, en masse. All the relatives that are Halloween junkies, kids and adults, but usually the adults outnumber the kids. The best neighborhoods are those with split level homes, no porch stairs to climb up, no crowding at the top with the smaller ones falling off the sides. I am careful not to show my wedding band. I make my voice three octaves higher. And the loot drops in, thunk thunk thunk.

The days and weeks after Halloween become a torment. I can no longer stuff myself with all forms of chocolate without paying the price. So I need to carefully ration out the goods, two or three pieces a day.

I used to think it was all about the candy, but have come to realize otherwise. I've asked myself, why not just hit Walgreen's the day after Halloween and buy myself all the candy I desire, all at half price? Surely, I can afford it! So obviously, its not just all about the candy. Its the fun, the ghosts, the dark, the deception!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Duggars (That's Spelled with a J)

I love watching the TLC shows about families - you know, the Jon & Kate disaster, that little short couple - Jen & the kind of mean husband that harps about how much Jen spends and she is a freaking DOCTOR - hellooooo WHO is the breadwinner of that couple? But I'm getting sidetracked.

I think my favorite is the stranger than fiction, Duggar family. The girls (including teenagers) all wear skirts all the time and never cut their hair. I'm kind of shocked that the girls wear make-up. The kids all get along and love and help one another. Oh, yeah, and there are 18 or 19 or 20 of them. I think, at present, there are 18 but by the time you read this there may very well be 20 or 21.

So, the other odd thing is that all the kids in the family have a name beginning with J. How clever and how smart of the mom and dad to come up with so many J names. You think? Not.

Because if there's a name that they really want and it doesn't actually begin with a J, they just respell it to suit their J fetish.

For instance, there's a girl named Jinger. Would you think this is pronounced like jingle? I would. But, no, the name is actually GINGER, but they needed to satisfy their J craving, so they spelled it JINGER and pronounce it GINGER. Lame.

The news is that their upcoming addition is actually going to be named Michael. But, spelled with a J, as in JICHAEL. But of course, it will be pronounced MICHAEL.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Did Cavemen Play Video Games?

My vacuum cleaner is suicidal. I have tried to work with it, encourage it, I have lightened its workload by having carpeted floors replaced with hardwood. All to no avail. It will seek out the one lethal particle on the rug that is most likely to cause a smoking, buzzing, clattering disaster.

And yesterday, the drug of choice was a very thin wire. The thin wire was attached to the sensor bar of the Nintendo Wii game. The bar's job is to sit near the tv screen and pick up signals from the handheld Wii-Mote unit. When you point the Wii-mote at your tv screen, a little hand or pointer will appear on your screen and this is how you control the games.

Well, when I ran over the nearly invisible wire on the rug that is patterned with palm fronds, an effective camouflage, all hell broke loose. The familiar clattering, the whine, all of those sound effects - plus the added visuals of something flying through the air (the sensor bar) and the crash of the Wii system falling over in a dead faint.

By the time I got the vacuum cleaner shut off and the cord unplugged, the fine wire had wrapped itself around the vacuum's brush several times and wisps of smoke were emitted for several minutes for dramatic effect.

My main concern was for the loss of the sensor bar. Who needs a vacuum cleaner, especially one with serious instability?

When in a crisis, I turn to the internet and it was not five minutes later that I learned how to make my own sensor bar with materials I have right at home! In fact, I will bet you $10 right now, that even if you are very nontechnical YOU, YES YOU, can make your own sensor bar! And one that even works!

Here is how:

1) Find two candles, I like the idea of matching ones for esthetics, and also little short ones are best. Like the votive sized candles.

2) Place them about 6-8 inches apart, somewhere in front of your tv screen. They don't have to be actually blocking the screen, just either on top of your set or if you have a cool thin tv like mine that doesn't have a big clunky top, you can put them right down in front.

3) Light them.

4) Turn on your wii system and point your Wii-mote at the screen.

I am NOT joking! This truly works. It is amazing. You now have a wireless Wii sensor that you made yourself. Impress all your friends!

You may still not believe me, here is a short video I found:

Enjoy your new sensor bar, so much more attractive than the old version.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not so scary, just kind of weird

Back in the rather dull 80's, I heard a rumor which claimed if you started playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album right at the 3rd roar of the MGM lion at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz movie, there were many incidents of weird appropriateness with the song and the movie.

If you want to define sychronicity as "meaningful coincidences" then, this would be the perfect definition.

Here's a list of some of the meaningful coincidences:

The lyric 'balanced on the biggest wave' coincides with Dorothy balancing on the fence at the farm. The words: "Fall into an early grave" as Dorothy falls off the fence.

Chimes and Bells start ringing as the Wicked Witch appears riding her bicycle.

During the 'Time' guitar solo, the fortune teller's sign is shown with the words "Past Present and Future"

The song, "Great Gig in the Sky" has many incidents:

The tornado is shown in the background when you hear the words 'I'm not frightened of dying'.

The drums start right as the wind picks up and trees are uprooted.

The singer slows down when Dorothy is knocked out by the window.

'Great Gig in the Sky' is the song heard as the house is flying through the sky.

Side 1 of the vinyl album (vinyl) is exactly as long as the black & white portion of the film.

The jingle of the cash register sounds in Money is heard exactly at the moment that color is introduced in the movie.

'Us and Them':

The ballerinas enter on 'Us, us, us, us' and one ballerina appears to sing: 'ordinary men'; then three munchkins enter on 'Me, me, me'.

'Forward he cried' is sung as Dorothy turns and faces forward.
The Wicked Witch appears on 'Black, black' and then on 'Blue, blue, blue,' the camera switches to Dorothy (in her blue dress).

'And who knows which is which and who is who' is heard at the moment that the Wicked Witch of the West turns to look at the recently deceased Wicked Witch of the East. (Play on words: "Which is Which" as in "Witch is Witch".

The Witch is high upon a platform on 'Up, up' and then descends on 'Down, down, down'.

As 'And in the End' is heard, the Wicked Witch of the East disappears.

On 'Out, out, out,' the Glinda, the Good Witch of the North departs.

'Brain Damage' plays as the Scarecrow sings 'If I Only Had a Brain'

Heartbeat sounds at the end of the album is heard as Dorothy thumps and then listens to the Tin Man's chest.

If you are now intrigued, you can find an even more comprehensive list at the website called Turn Me On Dead Man. Sorry, I am having a brain fart and cannot get the link to work so you'll have to google it. I promise you won't be sorry, it's fascinating.

Of course, there are many who say that if you put any movie with any album or cd, or whatever they're called these days, it will match up in some ways. Well, I suppose that could be true, but that's not much fun is it?

Now, back in the good old 80's, we had about three or four copies of the Dark Side of the Moon album and we also owned a vhs of Wizard of Oz which happened to be my then two year old daughter's very favorite and treasured video. I always wanted to do the experiment, but it sounded so complicated to line up the playing of the RECORD (yes, the vinyl record) with the third roar of the lion. Especially since the lion's roars kind of run into each other so it would be difficult to discern where one actually lets off and the next one begins.

So recently, for some reason, I thought about this rumor again and I just KNEW it would be on You Tube. Thank goodness for the internet. We don't have to do anything for ourselves anymore!

For your viewing pleasure, here are the first six tracks of the album. When you're watching these, keep in mind that although they are broken into six different cuts, they are actually continuous; in other words, the cd of Dark Side of the Moon was begun right at the third roar of the MGM lion in the Wizard of Oz movie. The song tracks begin just as they are seen in each cut, they weren't edited to begin at each point in the movie that fits them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Scary Stuff......

Am I missing something here, or is the Cash For Clunkers program similar to the mortgage catastrophe that was responsible for igniting the current economic problems in the U.S.?

People were lured to the thrill of new homes, big homes, more home than they could afford when they were able to be approved for a larger mortgage than they could realistically handle. The thought was, well if I can get the money I must be able to afford it. Then the payment book arrived and soon after the bank knocked on the door and took their house away. We are all now paying the price.

I'm not saying that the Cash For Clunkers program is going to ignite a new recession. But on a smaller scale, it seems to be doing the same thing....maybe there is a reason a person is driving a clunker. Maybe this person can't really afford a bigger, better, newer car.

But along comes this temptation....the thought that they could actually get $4500 on a trade in for a brand new shiny auto! The clunker will never be worth that much again.

So off they go to the dealership, sign their name for a brand new.....6 year auto loan. Something they really probably can't afford, another bill to pay, another loan.

Wait! This is great for the economy! It's helping the car dealers, the automobile manufacturers! So, who cares if the little guy ends up losing his new car because he can't make the payments? And who cares if now he has lost his clunker, too?!

At least Cash For Clunkers will have its 15 minutes of fame.

If that's not enough, take a look at what happens to your computer if you log in and register at the official Cash For Clunkers website:

No thanks, Obama. I'll keep my clunker.