fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NC Father Mourns the Loss of his Dudeness

"The Dudeness." Just what is the dudeness? Where does it come from? How do you define it? How do you determine one's dudeness level and, more importantly, determine if you still have it or not?

It's this writer's understanding that, being born male, I acquired it at birth. My source, otherwise known as my 13 year old son, says all guys are born with it. Then he likened the dudeness to a receding hairline. Some lose it quickly and some lose it in little bits. I glowed proudly, certain that I was brimming with the dudeness from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

"But you, Dad," he said with grave solemness, "just laid down and gave it up. Kinda sad, Dad. But it's okay. You're still a good dad."

I immediately set out to right what I perceived was a wrong. I've tried to be cool to my son and his friends. I've taken on some hip new words the younger kids use. And I've caught up with my source on his comic book reading to the point where I can discuss the difference between Black, White and Green Lanterns, as well as when the resurrected Black Lanterns all turned White. I beamed with pride as I discussed this with my son, making a plan to buy the next DC Comics Brightest Day issue, just knowing that I had regained some of my dudeness.

"Dad, you can never regain the dudeness," he told me. "And the comics? That simply makes you a nerd. But I'm proud of you for embracing your inner nerd. You've done well."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weight Loss Continues to Prove Challenging

After my new diet clashed with my new hobby, cooking, I knew I'd have to find a new avenue to lose weight and get into shape. Honestly, starvation simply sucks. So the obvious next solution is to exercise. I've been reviewing my options, but none have proven to be the right solution for me.

Originally, I considered hiring a personal trainer. Before I can do that, I have to clean up my house. You know what that means. The hardwoods have to be dusted and mopped, the surface tops dusted, all Lego's collected and binned and the kitchen... Well, let's not go there. By the time I've eradicated the fuzzy, black dog fur from the steps and folded half the clothes, I've gotten all the exercise I need. So the personal trainer is out.

The workout video route worked well for me once upon a time. Some years ago, as we prepared for the arrival our our son, my wife purchased a workout video for pregnant women. While it may have been geared towards women with baby bumps, I found it quite challenging. The video itself began to grate on my wife's pregnant nerves and it simply disappeared one day.

My wife keeps suggesting simple exercises such as sit ups, push ups and walking Ace and Lilly--the fuzzy, black dogs. But I have much grander ideas. I like exciting exercises. I like exercises such as biking, hiking, jump ropes and roller blading. The back surgeon told me biking was out, so I tried hiking. I donned my backpack with a little added weight, went for one walk and promptly threw my back out. My wife nixed the jump rope for fear I'll throw my back out again. My son put an end to the roller blading by telling his mother how I nearly killed myself, along with three of his friends, at an ice skating party.

Now I'm considering plugging my iPod into my ears and dancing my way to better shape. The only problem with dancing is that I'll have to notify my neighbors. That will be to prevent any 911 calls about "some guy" appearing to be having seizures within his home. Which, of course, leads me back to simple exercises like sit ups, push ups and walking the fuzzy, black dogs. I better get myself some good walking shoes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nothing Good Comes From the Side of the Road

My wife has mandated a new driving rule: there is to be absolutely no talk of any road side spectacles. Period. This seems to be a direct response to my habit of noticing animals, either dead or alive, on the sides of the road. A peculiar byproduct of that habit is my seeming inability to not mention what I've seen in exquisite detail to everyone who may have missed it. Either my wife is jealous that she didn't get to see it or she simply wishes to not see or know about it.

And I have seen it all, too. I've seen live coyote, deer, rabbits, hawks, opossum, skunks, raccoon, snakes, squirrel and various dogs and cats. And, sadly enough, I've seen all the above and more squished flat upon the many highways and byways of North Carolina. Even worse are the pieces and parts that remain behind in various states of decomposition. Frightening are those insane people who look hard enough to try to identify the animal from remains at the side of the road.

"Wow, honey! Judging from that back leg and tail, I would guess that that was a raccoon and it was hit by a cement truck driving south, just on top of the yellow line, at nearly 55 miles per hour! Notice how the intesti--OOWW!!"
"Nothing good comes from the side of the road," my wife would respond after a serious left jab to my right shoulder. "If you'd watch the road instead, your family wouldn't be so afraid to ride with you in the car."

Long car rides are really rough on my right shoulder. Regardless, a moratorium has been placed on any audio commentary from the vehicle operator concerning any spectacles from the side of the road. The only exception being signs pointing out food, restrooms or shopping areas. I've been informed that there will be consequences if this rule is broken. I fully intend to break that rule just to test those consequences, but I haven't yet worked up the nerve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Victimization? Or Simply a Case of Bad Timing?

Two things that simply should never take place at the same time are as follows: start a new healthy diet plan and take up cooking to relieve yourself from the boredom of not having a job.

I've recently started back on my Sugar Busters diet plan, which is kind of a modified Atkins Diet. The plan is to cut out as much sugar from your diet as possible. That includes cutting out those things that break down as sugar in your system like starches and breads.

I've also recently started donning my denim Goddess apron, diving into the kitchen and creating some serious culinary delights. This, it seems, combats the lack of excitement in my day that would normally be created by having a full time job. Unfortunately, I seem to be lacking in that area.

Now it seems the two have collided into the cooking diva's disastrous diet plan. I'm definitely eating better, but I'm eating more of it. Honestly, a lot more! On top of that, I've discovered Southern Living's Comfort Foods Cookbook. Now my goal is to start at the beginning and make every single dish in the book.

My chicken tetrazzini came out splendiferous. The meatloaf gonzales and buttermilk mashed potatoes I made tonight set my taste buds atingle! For Christmas I made the hashbrown casserole and macaroni and cheese... Mmmm, heavenly! I always start with good intentions, but I never follow through correctly and embellish each of the recipes to suit myself and my family. So far, I have received no complaints.

And the diet? I lost five bad pounds and gained ten healthy pounds. I'm hoping the healthy pounds will outweigh (no pun intended) the bad pounds and mold me into an image of glowing health. I'm haven't gotten there yet, but I will post another picture of me when I do.

In the meantime, perhaps, I should put leashes on my two fuzzy black dogs. A little bit of walking might just do me some good.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GSC's Hypnotica Spins Mesmerizing Tapestry

If you plan to watch Greensboro's Natural Science Center's laser light show "Hypnotica," which you should, remember one important detail: bring eyedrops!

Presented by the Natural Science Center's own Mike Singletary, Hypnotica creates an amazing blend of lights which respond to an eclectic blend of techno-pop music. Or it could be that Hypnotica collected an amazing blend of techno-pop music which responds to the brilliant laser light show. Whichever is the case, it works. In fact, it works well enough to spin a mesmerizing tapestry of light and sound upon those willing to come out and see it.

During the show, Hypnotica pays homage to some of the earlier video games. Both Pac-man and the Asteroids blasting space ship make cameo appearances during the display, as well as others some of the older crowd may recognize. Despite these fun bits, the rest of the show is no less fun, integrating the simplistic with the complex and making them dance in time with the beat of the music.

The only drawback to Hypnotica, however, occurred only twice during the show. There were two moments during the show that the music seemed to overpower everything, becoming intensely loud. And, as I mentioned previously, don't forget the eye drops. This reviewer suffered dry eye from lack of blinking. I was afraid if I blinked, I might miss a part of the delicate artistry at work before me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fuzzy Black Dogs Versus Two Inches of Snow

I have discovered that the fuzzy, black dogs, otherwise known as Ace and Lilly, that I own don't exactly get along with the white precipitation known as snow currently upon the ground. Lilly, the smaller dog, particularly doesn't like the snow. In fact, she doesn't seem to care for anything cold, wet or slimy to touch her paws.

Normal protocol dictates that I let the dogs out the back door and they run down the steps, out into the yard and do numbers one and two. They come back, scratch upon the door and are let back inside. Snow only creates a new wrinkle, or an added difficulty, to the process of relieving bodily functions of four-legged family members.

Upon discovering something unpleasant underfoot for her first excursion to relieve herself, Lilly slowed. I felt like a psychiatrist observing his patient from an unseen location. She took three steps out the door and came to an abrupt halt. Lilly looked back at the door. No human. She looked out into the yard, which was the same color as the back deck -- white. What is an "all mighty princess," as my son calls her, to do? Why, squat and relieve herself three steps from the back door on the snowy deck, of course.

This has caused some consternation since now someone has to chaperone the dogs for their potty excursions. I won't allow my wife to do it since she and slippery surfaces are like mortal enemies. My son always seems to be missing something important, like shoes, when the fuzzy, black dogs are doing the potty dance. Which, of course, leaves me. I herd them to the yard through grunts, yells and wildly gesticulating arms, wearing only pajamas at the worst of times.

I feel certain that most of my neighbors see them and think, "those fuzzy, black dogs are so cute. Too bad their owners aren't a bit more normal..."