fuzzy, black dogs

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

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Is Weird?

Due to some of the comments I recieved from my previous post, "May the Force be With You," I realized that many of the people who read this bastion of fine literature may not understand me quite as well as my family. Personally, I prefer to use the term 'eccentric' to describe myself. Unfortunately, my own adage negates that fact and brings me down to just plain weird. My adage? It is as follows:

"The only thing that seperates the eccentric from the weird is about a million dollars."

Regardless, it's time for me to coin a new term for someone who is delightfully different from what is considered to be the societal norm.

Be that as it may, my original plan of attack on the Star Wars novels was to read them all, starting with the first one on the SW timeline. When I started, that would be the "Darth Bane" series which occurred more than a millennia bby (before the Battle of Yavin). I think I got to around 800 aby (you got it -- after the Battle of Yavin) when I got frustrated and began skipping around the timeline. When I read about a one-armed Wampa trying to get even with Luke Skywalker on the ice planet Hoth, I knew I was reaching the end of my metaphorical SW rope.

I will be continuing my research of what is considered weird and what is considered downright bizarre. For example, is it so weird to always eat M&M candies in order of color, always ending with the green ones? Is it so weird to have your unread books lined up in order of how you plan to read them? Is it so weird to arrange the dishes and the glasses in the cabinet so they are either symmetrical or in order from the largest to the smallest?

While these are merely examples I came up with, I will delve further into this matter for the sake of my readers. Once completed, I plan to publish the results of my research here to enlighten and possibly entertain my loyal readers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

May the Force be With You

I like to challenge myself with my reading sometimes. Right now, I'm reading -- albeit, very slowly -- a three series (books), post-modern novel that my Father-in-law gave me for a special occasion. While I won't tell you when I started the story, I will tell you that I am currently 50 pages into the first book. Wow! Only approximately 2.8 more books to go until I finish. I plan to have it read by Christmas. Next Christmas, that is.

Every now and again, though, it's good to just lay back and enjoy a no-brainer and just get lost in the story. I went through a brief period where I did just that. I read nothing but Star Wars novels. I'm pretty certain that phase lasted approximately eight months. According to my wife and teenage son, however, that phase lasted for two very long years.

My original plan was to read ALL the Star Wars novels available, which numbered around 140 books at the time. Unfortunately, more books are being added all the time and that number changed. Also, they seemed to be having a strange effect on me.

According to two family members (since the other three don't speak English), I began to make all sorts of Star Wars metaphors and analogies for random life situations. They said I also began speaking gibberish, or, as my son not-so-quaintly put it, speaking a stupid Star Wars language no one but me understood.

Shortly thereafter, the intervention took place. Drugs, my son and wife told me, are not the answer. Then they explained that drugs can take many forms, such as the form of a Star Wars novel. My current drug, they pointed out, was not only poisoning my mind, but ruining their lives as well.

I won't bore you with the rest of that event except to say that they are sometimes prone to exaggeration. I have since moved on, though, and have finished nearly every Preston & Childs book available, except two. I plan to get those very soon.

Until I do, may the force be with you all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Brief Moment with Bob

[loosely translated from the newest fuzzy, black dog:]
Hello. My name is Bob. I'm a really cool, black spaniel. I have three people who live with me. And two other dogs. I don't know what they are, but they sure do bark a lot. Life here... Hey! A squirrel!

What was I saying? Anyway, we each have our job to do. Mine seems to be to clean the house. I take it seriously and have eaten lots of things. Some of them might not have been food. But they tasted good. I used to lick the tallest human -- Phillip, I think -- to wake him up. He got a real bad attitude and I stopped that. I still lick him to tell him to feed me. Sometimes he... That squirrel again! Woof!

Ummm. These people are crazy. The other dogs don't do anything. Me? I protect the house. I sleep by the door. That way, nobody can open it and come in. Also, if things get too crazy, I can make a quick getaway. I also sleep there because it hasn't been taken. Ace gets Phillip's lap. Lilly takes the high spots. I think she's half cat. Grrrr. That leaves me the doorways. The mailman!

Sorry! False alarm. It was one of the big, brown trucks. Lilly and Ace barked really hard and I thought it was the mailman. Phillip says I have ADD. He says life distracts me. I say there's simply too much neat stuff out there. Like that squirrel. And that black and white cat. And that pizza box right there. And that... Smell? Do I smell bacon? And that pizza box. I don't think that was there before. I'm hungry. Do I smell pizza in it? And the mailman. And... I'll just take a little look in that box...

Dog poo to your writer's block. You yelled at me. I won't help you any more. I'll be laying by the door when you want to scratch my belly and apologize. And I WON'T forget... The mailman!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spaniels... Little Monsters in Training

It seems I have made a mistake. If you've read any of the previous posts on my blog, you would think I "saved" an innocent, cute, stray spaniel -- aka, fuzzy, black dog number three -- running loose in the wild. Not so. To the contrary, it seems I have acquired a four-legged monster. Bob is not really a dog. Instead, he is a fuzzy, black chipper and shredder that eats anything and everything he can get into his mouth. Perhaps he's part goat.

He was so meek and mild when he first came into the house. We had to be extra careful around him since fast movements and loud noises seemed to make him skittish. They still do, but he seems to be learning to adjust to sudden outbursts of "where's my sandwich" and "who ate the remote control??!!" He often finds and greets me with his trademark cute smile and eyebrows that alternately rise and fall.

He's learned to scour the house for anything left behind by my son. To date, he's eaten four boxes of cereal that haven't been returned to the proper cereal holding spot. He started into a plate of spaghetti on the dining room table once. He managed to acquire a sandwich from my hand once. I caught Bob trying to steal a raw steak on the counter that was to be grilled. Luckily, I managed to head that one off at the pass.

First it was just food. Then he began to show his true colors one day when I discovered only two small pieces of the remote control. To this day, we still haven't found the rest of that device.

Since then, Bob has expanded into other non-edible items. Here is but a brief list of items that have either disappeared or shown up in pieces: a school bag handle, the side of that same school bag two weeks after being fixed, a box of Gas-Ex, two lunchboxes, numerous plastic pens and mechanical pencils and  markers, one of my good cooking spoons and a long black string or shoelace. Please, don't ask how I know about the string...

There was one attempt on a cell phone, but my son managed to save it before any damage occurred!

I've asked the local pet supply store if they carry titanium muzzles for dogs. He laughed at me. I explained that anything less would be chewed through faster than a Ferrari on the Autobahn.

In the meantime, I'm performing searches on the internet for honest-to-goodness monster tamers. If anyone knows of any, please pass their name and number along before my computer gets

Friday, October 7, 2011

Perfect Dad Status Attained?

I have a confession to make. And I figure, what better place to make such a profound, disturbing confession that may rock the beliefs and foundations of my friends and family that know me best than here on my very own medium, Fuzzy, Black Dogs. What is this mind-blowing confession, you might ask. It is simply this: I have not always been the picture perfect Dad everyone, my son included, thinks I am.

Before I got married and, especially, before I had a child, I used to be a heavy sleeper. Barking dogs? No problem. Snoring wife? No problem. Traffic coming up and down the street? No problem. Thirty pounds of explosives going off within 500 yards of my house? Get real... No problem.

When we first brought our son home from the hospital, again, no problem. He began crying that first night and I slept like a baby. Most of this is my wife's story because, the truth is, I simply don't remember most of it. But I've heard it so many times that I know it by heart.

"Phillip,wake up," she said. "The baby's crying."

"Mmm-hmm," I responded. "Thas great. Lurv you tooo... Zzzz."

"Honey, wake up," she said firmly. "The baby. It's crying."

According to her story, this is the point where I got up and began wandering around the bedroom like a moron taking a nice stroll on a sunny day.

"The," she said loudly. "Baby. Is. Crying."

That's when she said I moved into action. I started by opening the closet door. Then I opened each drawer in her bureau, after which I moved to mine, opening each drawer from top to bottom. I looked under the bed. I looked under her makeup table. Then I moved Allie, our collie, rolling her over and looking under her.

"BABY," she screamed. "NURSERY!"

I actually remember that. I believe I responded with an "of course," and off I went to the nursery to get the crying baby. I picked up our fussy little child and consoled him. I gave my wife a big grin to show her I was on top of things and the baby was in good hands. I was sent immediately to warm up a bottle.

Since then I have slowly evolved into what can only be described as the perfect Dad and Husband. At the slightest whisper of "Dad?" at three in the morning, my eyes pop open and my brain is instantly awake. No caffeine necessary.

On a side note, my wife and son won't agree with my perfect status. The only reason they don't, though, is because they just don't want me getting a big head over it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

World History, Rewritten

History was never my strongest subject in high school. When test time came around, I prayed for essay questions, instead of multiple choice or true or false questions. Somehow, I figured out that with my writing skills, I could reword the sentence and embellish it to the point that it seemed as if I had answered the question clearly and concisely.

While this method generally worked well for me, I do not condone it, nor do I suggest any of my young readers try it. My suggestion to you would be, simply put, to study. If you know the information, then you don't have to try and fake it. I'm pretty certain that is true, or my parents wouldn't have repeated it to me numerous times throughout my youth.

I have managed to gain a better understanding of history as I've aged. That fact is partly because I enjoy reading so much. It's also partly -- mostly -- because I have a smart son who educates me on history and corrects my occasional misinterpretation of what has been.

Regardless of my knowledge of history, I recently overheard an exchange between a ninth grader and a curious first grader. While I may not be certain of the small nuances and facts, I believe that the overall lesson may not be entirely accurate...

"What is nuclear energy," the first-grader asked.

"Well," said the ninth-grader. "Nuclear energy is what's inside of a nuclear bomb. And if you were to shake it, it would explode."

The littler one asked why. The older one proceeded to tell him about the history of the atomic bomb.

"During World War I," the ninth-grader said, "China bombed America and America got so mad that they created an atomic bomb. Three of them actually. The biggest landed in Nah-gah-yahtzee. And after World War I ended, we all agreed to never ever, ever use nuclear energy again."

The first-grader took the information in stride. Off he ran with his newfound knowledge. I turned to the ninth-grader and asked her what she was learning in school these days. She informed me that she had a stupid history teacher who let's her get away with anything. Oh, and the tests are too easy.

I've got my fingers crossed that she'll get some extra history lessons before the SAT's roll around.