Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Wow.  This has been all over the news here:


If you live in the Vancouver area, check out the video and maybe help identify this sorry excuse for a human being.

Capsule reviews of all the books I read last month…


Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem

A southern gothic tale that alternates between the 1930′s and the present day.  It tells the parallel stories of a women and her grandson and their respective battles against supernatural forces in the southern Appalachians, all related to a mysterious crate buried deep in the kudzu-infested grounds of their family property.  Moody and effectively atmospheric but, at times, slow-moving and disjointed.  It starts strong, lags in the middle, and then culminates in an explosion of frenzied horror.

1In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

A young man who specializes in guiding foreigners on red light tours of Tokyo begins to suspect that there may be more to his latest client than meets the eye. Is this strange American merely eccentric, or could he be the serial killer responsible for some recent gruesome murders?  As the mystery builds and our protagonist is drawn inexorably deeper, things begin to take a turn for the bizarre. Incredibly engaging and unnerving – until the sudden and inexplicable supernatural twist late in the hitherto grounded book.  That’s when the wheels come off.

1The Barrow by Mark Smythe

A rousing fantasy actioner in the spirit of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series. Violence, humor, and colourful characters abound in this tale of a group of unlikely heroes on a quest for a fabled sword.  It’s a gritty, lively adventure and a hell of a fun read, but my enjoyment was seriously hampered by some explicit sex scenes that, quite frankly, read like submissions to Letters to Penthouse.

1Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

As is often the case with collections, this one is a mixed bag – but there’s no denying the inventiveness of the strange stories contained herein.  Like the tale of the reformed vampires who have retired to the Italian countryside where the juice of fresh lemons slakes their thirst for blood.  Or the one about about the exploited mutant female workers of a Japanese silk factory.  Or the one about the young boys who discover a scarecrow that eerily resembles someone they used to bully…  Recommended for those who appreciate inspired, slice-of-life narratives (and, FYI, “slice-of-life” is writer code for “doesn’t have an ending”).

1The Walking Dead (volume 20) by Robert Kirkman

“All Out War”, Part 1.  Well, “Preamble to All Out War” would probably be more accurate.  Rick and co. and their newfound allies take the fight to Negan’s doorstep.  And things get ugly – with the promise of still uglier things to come. Darker, deeper, and, frankly, better than the television series.

1Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Two years after the mysterious disappearance of his six year old daughter, a man returns to his family home on a remote island – and discovers the community hides a dark secret.  Chilling, at times unnerving, the novel is somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King’s grounded small-town horror.  Unique in certain respects but, overall, not quite enough to set it apart in a very crowded field.  Still, an above-average horror read.

1The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The book opens with our narrator, Jeannette, on her way to a New York City function, when her cab stops beside a homeless women rooting through the trash. Upon closer scrutiny, Jeannette realizes that homeless woman is, in fact, her mother.  And so begins one of the most amazing books I’ve read in recent memory. The blurb on the back of the jacket does it an enormous disservice, painting it as a bleak autobiographical account of woman growing up in an abusive family.  It’s actually quite touching, uplifting – and incredibly funny, reminiscent of David Sedaris at his very darkest.  One of my Top 10 books of all time.  Go read it!

1Peter Panzerfaust (volume 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe

It’s Peter Pan in WWII as Peter leads a group of young orphans from Calais to Paris.  Complicating matters for them = nazis!  No magic but certain aspects of the story stretch credulity.

1The Circle by David Eggers

Our young heroine lands a job working for The Circle, a cutting edge internet company that is Google, Facebook, and Yahoo rolled into one.  Before she knows it, she is at the forefront of a wave of technological advancements that will revolutionize social interaction.  But at what price?  A smart, scary book that explores the potentially insidious consequences of our increasingly “connected” lives.  It takes a while to get going and the big “surprise reveal” at book’s end isn’t all that surprising at all, but it nevertheless delivers a powerful message on our increasing willingness to relinquish privacy and freedom in exchange for convenience.

1We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Inspired by an experiment in the 1930′s in which a husband and wife research team raised a baby chimp in their home as a member of their family, this novel offers a fictional account of a similar experiment run some sixty years later – and its heartbreaking effects on those involved.  Our narrator is Rosemary, a woman who reflects back on her childhood, growing up with a human brother and chimpanzee sister – until the dark day her sister, Fern, was taken away.  The loss of their beloved family members has far-reaching consequences for all of them. Some fifteen years later, Rosemary reflects back on her time with Fern and tries to learn the truth about her sister’s fate.  It’s rare I read a truly great book, even rarer for me to read two back to back, but that’s exactly what happened.  Right after reading Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, I picked up this book – and was equally bowled over.  Humorous and poignant.  A wonderful book.

1Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

A monkey of another kind is the titular hero of this alt history romp that features a royal conspiracy, nuclear-powered airships, VR ninja nazis, and poachable portable souls.  It’s silly fast-paced fun, but the sloppy villains and a maudlin love story really throw a wrench into the works.

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Remnants!

1I approached the re-watch of this episode with some trepidation, not because I was worried that Akemi wouldn’t like it but because I feared that I wouldn’t.  After all, I’d been reviewing my episodes in particular with very critical eyes and, to be honest, I’m a lot less happy with the results now than I was years ago.  Back in the day, this one had been a personal favorites, so I was curious as to how it would survive the test of time.  As it turned out – quite well.  Of all of the episodes I wrote for the last two Stargate incarnations (SGA and SGU), this one ranks as one of my faves.  It still holds up.  And it was especially satisfying watching this with Akemi who, despite English being her second language, greatly enjoyed it.  In fact, she declared it: “My favorite of your episodes. ”  High praise indeed.  She loved the humor, the quick pacing, and was delighted by the unexpected twists – especially the final one in which it is revealed that McKay had been fooled all along as well…

Ever-appreciative of the trademark Stargate humor – and a certain Robert Picardo: “I find many funny scenes.  Especially with Bob.”

On the admittedly talky reveal: “That scene was difficult but cool.  I like it.”

On when her suspicions were first raised that maybe something was up – and Kolya’s punching prowess: “I was wondering.  Bad guy punching him thirty times and he’s still alive.  Just scratches.  Not losing teeth.  Guy is not good at punching people.”

On another red flag: “I thought too expensive for Sheppard without hand for rest of series.  Not like old man on Walking Dead.  Major character.  DingDingding!  Price go so high.”

Overall: “I like it.  Funny.   Not too scary.”


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What an incredibly productive day.  I had to wake up at 7:00 a.m. this morning to bring Jelly out but, rather than go back to bed, I elected to stay up and get some work done on one of my new pilots.  The plan was to complete a single flashback sequence but one scene led to another (as they’re supposed to do), I got on a bit of roll and, before I knew it, I’d finished a little over 15 pages and reached the top of the third act.  I would honestly feel better about it if I knew the crucial details of Acts IV and V, but I’m not going to be greedy.  I do like what I have so far.  It’s crazy.  In a great way.  Hopefully, a network out there will love it as well.  But, if not, I think I might actually upload this one to the blog.  It’s too much fun not to share.

In addition to writing, I also made time to bring Lulu to the local bulldog meetup. Some of the highlights…


Lulu  seeks attention #1.

Lulu seeking attention #1.

Lulu seeking attention #2

Lulu seeking attention #2

Lulu seeking attention #3

Lulu seeking attention #3


Lulu seeking attention #4

Lulu seeking attention #4


Lulu needs braces

Lulu needs braces

11And the inevitable pawsticuffs…

And this interesting move…

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I checked the mailbox today where I discovered a note from Canada Post informing me that they tried to deliver a package yesterday morning but no one was home.  If I wanted to pick up the parcel, I could do so at the nearby post office.  “Package for me?”asked Akemi as I walked back into the house.

“No,”I said.  “It’s for me.”  And showed her the note.  It read: “Akemi’s Joseph Mallozzi.”

“But the package is for me,”she insisted.  “It’s from my father in Japan.”

“Maybe,”I said, “but it says Akemi’s Joseph Mallozzi.  And since I am YOUR Joseph Mallozzi, that means it’s for me.”

“Do you think I’ll have to show my I.D. to pick it up?  Or should you bring your I.D.?”

“I think we should both bring our I.D.  You have to prove you’re Akemi and then I have to prove I’m Joseph Mallozzi.  After all, I could be anyone’s Joseph Mallozzi.”

So we went to the post office and picked up the package which ended up containing items for both of us: lipstick for her, green tea for both of us, and…

1Joe and Hers chopsticks.  Check ‘em out.  They have my name on them.  “Why my name is not on the other chopsticks?”wondered Akemi.

Beats me.  “Maybe he forgot your name?”  She frowned but I cheered her up by promising to etch her name into her chopstick with my exacto knife later this week.

Also in the package, for me, were this set of hiragana/katakana/workbooks.

1I imagine that, at some point last month, the family was going through all the signatures in Akemi’s sister’s wedding book and came across what no doubt looked like a child’s scrawl, or the Japanese script of a plucky dimwit.  Upon closer scrutiny, however, they no doubt realized it was neither A nor B but C)  A spirited attempt to spell the name “Joe” by yours truly.  Clearly horrified, they decided to send me these in preparation for the next big family event.

1I’m thinking of starting an occasional Best of Vancouver column in which I highlight the city’s best.  The best place to go for chocolate.  The best place to go for chocolate desserts.  The best place to go for hot chocolate.  The best place to go for non-chocolate anything.  One of the places that may well make the list of Best Places to go for a cheap eats is the Congee House on East Broadway.  The other day, Akemi and I stopped by for a tasty lunch of…

1Crispy pork on rice.  How do they get the skin so light and crispy?  Every attempt we’ve made to replicate our pork skin has failed miserably – and, in some instances, painfully.

1Congee.  I like mine with those century eggs (that, it sadly turns out aren’t 1000 years old at all but just a few months old as that’s how long it takes for the egg to incorporate aspects of the clay and ash in which it’s been preserved).

And back on the home front…

1Akemi loves making this phyllo-layered pastry pizza.

1 While I tried my hand at gumbo.

1And, since Akemi was in the mood for something raw – tuna sashimi with avocado on rice.

In the spirit of Dogs Eating Ice Cream, I present Dogs Eating Phyllo Crisps…

1It never fails.  No matter what she eats, Jelly invariably ends up with food on her face.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regulars Das and birthday boy Woody Woodward!

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Big day today for my gal Jelly.  She’s in for surgery – and a possible teeth cleaning while she’s under.  Last month, I noticed a curious lump on her belly and made an appointment to have it checked out.  Of course, by the time I brought her in, the mysterious lump had mysteriously disappeared.  I dismissed it and didn’t think anything of it until a couple of weeks ago when it reappeared.  And so, I brought her in again last week and, this time, tests confirmed it was a tumour.  I instantly thought of my handsome pug Maximus who went through a similar ordeal.  But, unlike Maximus, Jelly is in great spirits.  Her appetite is unaffected and I take this as a good sign.  The doctor won’t know the seriousness of the cancer (apparently, there are three stages) until they’ve removed the entire tumour and had it tested.  But, first things first.

Jelly is an impressive 15.  Despite her bad hips, she’s able to manage a half block walk every day.  And then, when Bubba and Lulu go for a walk, she sits it out – but still comes along for the ride.

1Yep, that’s the routine.

Anyway, as I await word, I leave you with a couple of doggy videos.  You’re going to want to turn up the sound for this one…

And the gang eating peanut butter…

Will report back with an update once I hear word!


1Jelly is finally home, minus the tumour – and three teeth.  She just enjoyed a late dinner and is now ready for bed.

Jelly thanks you for your support.

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This morning, it fell on me to dispatch the lobster.  Mom was all for simply dropping them in the pot and boiling them alive but I suggested the more humane method: a quick knife thrust through the head.  She said okay – and then left me to do deal with it.  And when my sister arrived, she was no help either, retreating to the living room while I “handled it”.  So I did.  And, twenty minutes later, we had lobster and garlic butter for lunch.

And while we’re on the subject of eating, here are some of the culinary highlights of my whirlwind Montreal tour…

Pork ribs and popcorn shrimp - Kitchenette

Pork ribs and popcorn shrimp – Kitchenette

Cracker Jack sundae - Kitchenette

Cracker Jack sundae – Kitchenette

Various maki - Sushi Shop

Various maki – Sushi Shop

Prime rib - The Keg

Prime rib – The Keg

Lobster - mom's

Lobster – mom’s

And then, at trip’s end, there’s always the emotional goodbye.  Not so much with family – after all, they know I’ll be back – but with the dogs who, no doubt, are already missing me terrible…

Ralphie - always stylin'

Ralphie – always stylin’

Fernando - blind, but you wouldn't know it

Fernando – blind, but you wouldn’t know it

Felix - mom's favorite

Felix – mom’s favorite

Not pictured: Roxy and Caramel who were out in the back yard when I left.  Clearly, saying good-bye was just too painful.

Okay!  I’m off!  See you in Vancouver!  Don’t forget to watch Underground tonight as our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch continues!

Oh, and please vote for our April Book of the Month Club!

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So one of the ads that did air here during the Superbowl was a commercial for McDonalds Canada that seemed to invite questions about the ingredients in their McNuggets:

Pink goop in Chicken McNuggets? McDonald’s Canada answers (Super Bowl XLVIII)www.youtube.comhttp://mcdonalds.ca/yourquestions Armand R. from Edmonton, Alberta asked: “What are legitimately in mcnuggets is there pink goop?” Here’s our answer: There’s…

For some reason, they chose “pink goop” as an ingredient to publicly refute.  Which is fine except the question would really be more applicable to their “beef” products.  I didn’t see the answer to that one.

But the commercial did provoke some thought.  What DOES go into a chicken McNugget?  I wanted to know.  So I hopped online to find out:

So What Really Is In A McDonald’s Chicken McNugget? – Rense

“But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food…”

25 Ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets | Care2 Healthy …

“Dimethylpolysiloxane– used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is typically used in caulking and sealants and comes with a list of safety concerns.  It’s best reserved for industrial sealants than for food.”

Er, okay McDonalds Canada.  Thanks for prompting me to do my own research – and convincing me NOT to eat at McDonalds.

Hey, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce has invited Michael Vick as a guest speaker for some event called the “Evening of Champions”.  Kind of odd given that Michael Vick hasn’t won any championships over the course of his football career.  Most recently, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles who backed their way into a division title – on the strength of back-up quarterback Nick Foles’ performance.


Anyway, I can’t wait to see who they’ve lined up as their next speaker.  Might I suggest a reformed serial killer or that Kony guy.

So far, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Facebook page has racked up over 1050 comments.  And they aint exactly positive: RaleighChamber

Meanwhile, file this one under “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Dog surrendered to high kill animal control because owners are going on vacationexaminer.comUpdate via Pets Connect Us (Facebook): Oso was reclaimed by his owners. The reasons that pets are surrendered to animal control facilities are many…moving, ba  Would love to offer this owner a few words.

Last week, I posted a story about Pennie Jekot, the director of The Humane Alliance of Rutherford County, who, it’s been alleged, swiped some poor, elderly couple’s chihuahua.  Perhaps this all some innocent misunderstanding on the part of Ms. Jekot?  Well, if so, she’s in no hurry to return the dog.  Unfortunately for her, a lot of people are pissed off.  And getting organized.  If you’d like to help the Bring Buddy Back Home cause, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bringbuddybackhome/

Continuing our Stargate Atlantis rewatch with…Thirty-Eight Minutes!

1Ouch.  Many of the early episodes actually improve with a nostalgic reviewing.  This one…not so much.  Nevertheless, I kept my mouth shut during the screening so as not to unfairly sway Akemi.  As it turned out, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had.  She wasn’t a fan.  In fact, she was downright bewildered.

Surprisingly, she didn’t bump on the plastic bug latched to Sheppard’s neck for most of the episodes, but she did have a problem with those two filler scenes.  The first, the one in which Halling and the Athosians approach Weir regarding some Athosian pre-death ceremony; the second, Kavanaugh’s extended complaint scene with Weir: “Why?  What the purpose? It’s like they just want excuse to show she is good commander.” Hmmm.

She also took exception to Sheppard’s poor marksmanship: “He’s not good at shooting.  Jamil [SGU's Ronald Greer] is better.”

Again, the episode highlights for her were humorous, both intentional (“I like the cranky guy.  Chotto funny.  McKay need sugar.”) and unintentional (“When the bug saw him with bug and left him.  Adios.”).  In fact, her most impassioned response came in the episode tag when the rest of the team visit Sheppard in the infirmary and Teyla walks in wearing a rainbow top.  “WTF is that?!”  And then, noticing Weir’s bizarre all-brown (leather? suede? mohair?) ensemble: “WTF IS THAT?!!”.

Overall: “I preferred last night’s episode.”  And leave it at that.

For my part, in reviewing the show, one thing stands out for me above all others: the Athosians.  Damn, they’re annoying.

Also, Kavanaugh has a point.  I mean, consider this: He and a bunch of scientists are in the midst of spinning various scenarios for rescue when he posits the possibility that McKay’s access of the puddle jumper’s systems could initiate an explosion, an explosion that could transfer through the gate.  He doesn’t say it’s a certainty, but a possibility.  Hell, the scientist he is arguing with doesn’t deny the possibility although he she considers it unlikely.  It’s still a possibility.  Weir’s response is to dress Kavanaugh down for having the audacity to bring up the potential danger, even going so far as to suggest he did so out of concern for his life over the lives of those trapped in the puddle jumper.  Uh, what?  If Kavanaugh’s worst case scenario does unfold, he’s going to be one of MANY Atlantis personnel injured or killed by the blast.  Also, he wasn’t suggesting they give up on rescue (as Weir intimates), only that they reconsider allowing McKay to poke around at random.

Needless to say, I await tonight’s screening of Suspicion (Paul and my first Atlantis episode – and a heavy Athosian one no less!) like a street fight bracing himself for a baseball bat blow to the head.


Line Noise writes: “The most memorable scene of Hide and Seek was when Sheppard pushed McKay off the balcony in front of Weir. Weir’s horror and the boyish gleam in Sheppard’s and McKay’s eyes is priceless.”

Answer: Agreed. That was my favorite moment in the episode.

Line Noise also writes: “I think Jinto just needs a mother. What happened to Jinto’s mum?”

Answer: Sadly, she ran off with a traveling hand-held fire-starter salesman.

Line Noise also writes: “What, for that matter, happened to Jinto’s dad’s leg that required him to hop around on crutches? Was that originally in the script or did Christopher Heyerdahl hurt himself and it had to be written into the story?”

Answer: Chris, the actor, suffered an injury prior to filming so Robert Cooper simply wrote it into the script – much like the Daniel appendicitis of SG-1 season 3′s Nemesis.

Deborah Rose writes: “this episode rose above the material. The energy monster was meh, though the way the heroes resolved it was sensible. Loved that Teyla saw what the others took a long time to grasp. Loved the comedy in the episode, especially Sheppard’s evil delight in having shot at McKay. Loved McKay’s growth, in stepping out to be the hero, even knowing the high probability of death. Handled less adroitly, this whole episode would have reeked. But cast and production managed to put together something that was worth watching, and even rewatching.”

Answer: Uh, you appear to be contradicting yourself here.  You start off by stating the episode rose above the material (the implication here is “the script) and compliment the cast and production, but everything you lauded (“Loved that Teyla saw what the others took a long time to grasp. Loved the comedy in the episode, especially Sheppard’s evil delight in having shot at McKay. Loved McKay’s growth, in stepping out to be the hero, even knowing the high probability of death.”) was actually scripted.

majorsal writes: “Answer: True. If she enjoys Atlantis and wants to check out SG-1, I’ll probably start with season 9.

you’ve got to be kidding. to me, that’s the *worst* season of the entire sg1 run! come on, joe, let her see the golden and BEST of this series!”

Answer: As I said, if I sat her down to watch SG-1′s first season, she’d probably excuse herself and then secretly hop on the first plane back to Japan.  That was a rocky first season with some very rough visual effects.

kabra writes: “We’re commenting on Hide and Seek, correct?? I am a little puzzled by the “force field” that McKay wears. He can pick up,physically wrap his hands around the the coffee mug, but he can not drink from it. How is that?”

Answer: Yes, a very unique force field that doesn’t allow foreign matter to enter the body (i.e. food and drink) with the exception of air.  I’ve always wondered about the reverse.

arctic goddess writes: “I also loved McKay’s general hypochondria with fears that he was dying from all sorts of innocuous issues. Who came up with these very interesting personality quirks? Do writers add that to the script, then it is approved or not approved by the producer?”

Answer: On Stargate, the writers WERE the producers, so the steps to approval were very short.  McKay’s personality quirks were scripted and developed by Robert Cooper and Brad Wright who based these quirks on certain individuals they worked with in the past.

Randomness writes: “Realistically do you think the Athosians could have settled on Atlantis over the long term? Naturally as the expedition was relatively new to the city, do you think there was some concern that they may press something/do something that may cause trouble(Even accidently), that could have made the team think that perhaps while they get to grips with the city and its functions that the Athosians would be better off elsewhere?”

Answer: Sure, I think that the Athosians could have proven themselves capable enough.  But I suspect they would have been no less annoying.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular 2cats.  Happy belated birthday!!!

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Those of you who follow my alternate ego, Baron Destructo, on Facebook, are aware that between the blog updates and the occasional sarcastic comments, my timeline is mostly made up of dog-related links.  I share lost dog alerts, dog news and, on occasion, warn against the mistreatment of animals.  The latter category covers a wide variety of possibilities, hardships poor dogs must endure.  Just today, for example, I came across THIS:

1Yes, it’s admittedly hard to look at, but we need to get the word out.   Submitting your dog to the humiliation of silly headgear will NOT be tolerated!  Say NO to dogs in funny hats!  I mean, consider this collage of doggy degradation.  What is going through poor Ralphie’s mind?  I’ll tell you what he’s thinking!  “Surely there’s an easier way to keep my ears warm!”.

While on the subject of dogs, I came across this news report about an elderly couple allegedly swindled out of their beloved pooch:


According to the senior couple, Penny (Pennie) Jekot, director of The Humane Alliance of Rutherford County, tricked them into signing over ownership of their dog, buddy.  When a reporter questioned the charity director about the allegations, Mr. Jekot became snippy, leading to this shocking exchange:

Reporter: Are you planning to sell it?  What are you planning to do with the dog?

Penny Jekot: That’s none of your business, woman.

Actually, given the suspect circumstances and the fact that Ms. Jekot runs a charitable organization, I think it’s everyone’s business.  I tried contacting Penny Jekot on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/penny.jekot?fref=ts),  but received no response to my polite query.  I’ll think I’ll try The Humane Alliance of Rutherford County tomorrow and get their side of the story – although, even if they claim it was all an honest mistake, I don’t see why they haven’t taken steps to rectify matters.  Anyway, if you’re as curious as I am and would like to ask the charity for clarification, here’s the information on The Humane Alliance of Rutherford County: Address: 975 Bridge Ave, Murfreesboro, TN 37127, Phone:(615) 907-7093

Sad.  Now it’s been suggested that Ms. Jekot has already sold the dog on craigslist: Have You Seen This? – Charity Accused Of Stealing Woman’s Furry …

Well, hopefully some answers tomorrow!

Oh, and if you can, please circulate this story.

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1I was downtown today.  I dropped off Akemi, who was meeting a friend for lunch, and was on my way back from purchasing my 2014 cologne (I change it every year – and location.  John Varvatos Vintage is Tokyo, Aramis’ Tuscany Montreal, and the sickening scent of Jean-Paul Hevin’s Le Beau Male will always remind me of that year in Toronto.  2014 is the year of Wood cologne by Dsquared2 that Akemi says smells like cucumber, but likes all the same because cucumber was her go-to snack growing up.  Wait.  I was talking about something else before this parenthetical tangent. What was it?  Oh, yeah!) when I happened upon a tiny french bulldog tied up outside a craft shop.  Even though its owner was nowhere in sight, the little gal seemed certain she was due to return any second, eyes fixed expectantly on the shop’s entrance, barely able to sit still she was so excited.  I watched as a couple stopped to say hello and snap her picture, then another couple, then a Japanese student carrying a faux pink purse who stopped to pet her, started to leave, thought better of it and returned, pet her some more, started to leave again, returned again, and pet her some more, scanning the area for the dog’s owner before finally moving on.  I approached and the dog was super friendly, up on her hind legs, batting me with her front paw, rubbing her forehead into my leg.  It had been fifteen minutes since I’d happened upon the poor pooch – and still, no sign of the owner.  Not cool.  I won’t even leave my dogs unattended in a locked car, or in my backyard despite the fact that it is fenced in, so the prospect of someone leaving their dog unattended on a downtown sidewalk annoyed me greatly.  I retreated up the sidewalk where I could keep my eye on things and patiently awaited the owner.  Fifteen minutes turned into twenty minutes.  Then twenty-five.  Then thirty!  And, all the while, the dog waited, perking up every time someone stepped out of the shop.  Finally, by noon, I had to retreat to a quieter area, across the street, so I could call in to a scheduled conference call – and keep an eye on the dog.  Ideally, I’d be sitting back in my nice, quiet car discussing the state of certain projects but, instead, I was out on the street, dog-sitting.  Eventually, partway through my call, and well over thirty minutes since I first noticed the dog, the owner finally walked out of the shop, claimed her, and left.  If I wasn’t still on the conference call, I would have dashed across the street and said something.  Given the number of dogs that go missing, even from the presumably safe confines of their front yards, you would think people would be a little more careful about leaving theirs unattended.  I think that, in the future, I’m going to carry around some pre-made messages I can affix to a dog’s collar for situations like the one I just described where I can’t stick around to reprimand.  It’ll say: “In the time you were away shopping, I could have stolen your dog.  Think about that the next time you choose to leave it unattended.”

On a brighter note, the polls have closed in the voting for the upcoming Book of the Month Club selection and the winner is…

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 6.35.09 PM

And it wasn’t even close.  My vote actually went to Snowblind that came in a distant third.  Anyway, our winner…


The book will be released January 28th but sources (you know who you are, eager readers) have already picked up digital versions for their kindle – and the early reviews have been strongly positive.

So, to give your slower readers time to prep, our Book of the Month Club discussion on Terms of Enlistment will convene Monday, March 3rd!

In that time, I will undertake to read all seven books in contention for our new and improved BotMC discussion and let you know if we, in my humble opinion, made the right choice.

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Bourbon truffles

Bourbon truffles

Today, Akemi combined my love of booze, chocolates, and not actually doing anything to come up with the above-pictured bourbon truffles.  And then, as if that wasn’t enough (and it really wasn’t), she came up with these:

Tennessee Honey Whisky truffles

Tennessee Honey Whisky truffles

Yep.  For those who prefer the lighter touch, check out these Tennessee Honey Whisky truffles.  Well, check out with your eyes – unless you happen to be in the neighborhood.  But trust me (and why wouldn’t you?), they were delicious.

In addition to eating chocolates today, I also got some work done on my various projects.  Yes, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as finishing a script.  No, wait.  I think there IS something more satisfying.  What was it?  What was it?  Oh, yeah!  Selling a script and having it green lit!

The worst thing about this business is all the waiting.  And it’s not just my impatient self complaining.  Even my dogs are getting fed up.  Don’t believe me?

Jelly = sustained disbelief

Jelly = sustained disbelief

Bubba = fed up and weary

Bubba = fed up and weary

Lulu = outraged!

Lulu = outraged!

I keep telling them: Don’t be so pessimistic.  Things will all work out.

But, just in case they don’t, I’m preparing to do a lot of reading this year…

Today's haul

Don’t forget to cast your vote for our next Book of the Month Club pick!  Polls close Sunday night!

Finally, we’ve got a big playoff football weekend ahead of us, have we not?  Who do you all like?  As much as I would love to see the Saints advance, their absolutely terrible performance the last time they played Seattle doesn’t give me much hope.  In the other NFC match-up, everybody is talking up the 49ers, but I’m going with the Carolina Panthers, a team that has gotten consistently better as the season has progressed.  Over in the AFC, as much as I’d like to see the Chargers pull off another upset in Denver, I can’t see it happening against a focused Denver team.  And, over in New England, Tom Brady has MacGyvered his team a #2 seed with a bunch of second rate receivers, guts, and elastic bands.  The Colts are more than capable of pulling off the upset, but I’m wary of betting against coach Belichick with the extra week to prepare.

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