Wednesday, May 26, 2010


OK, I'm sure you're all on pins and needles waiting to hear how the Milo Trim went.

Well, wait no longer - it was great!

Well, the results were great. It took two hours, Milo got really restless (until I started using Pupperonis to keep him occupied), and I had to sweep up enough dog hair to make a good-sized wig.

Here we go. A boy and my dog.

And a second one, which I used "animal red-eye removal" on, but it made Milo look like some sort of wild jungle creature. Sorry about that.

In the end, The Nephew did a terrific job. I got the haircut I've been asking for at the groomer's forever and never got. His head and tail have never looked better. And though it took two hours, if we keep on top of it, it won't in subsequent trims.

And thanks, Duke, we took your suggestion of starting on the back legs and measuring everything after from that.

Whew. Glad it's over.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Door Policy

Boy, things sure do go wild at the Poderosa sometimes.

As you all know, I have a large cast of cartoon characters, monsters, a good luck baby, and llamas that live with me here at the Pod. It's enough, believe me.

But just because they live under my roof, that doesn't mean I can deny them their basic cartoon rights. Like the right to have visitors.

It's been a wild few days here. First of all, Friday night tag included no less a person himself than Yosemite Sam. Now, Yosemite has taken up residence with Mr M at Poderosa East, and they're a good match. They get along well together, they're both crusty, crabby bachelors, and I'm sure they stay out of each others' way and all.

Well, Sherman's been trying to get Yosemite Sam to come over for tag for some time, and this past Friday he finally accepted. I said it was OK, but only on one condition. No guns. I didn't want him to get all ginned up during tag and shoot the hell out of my house. He came, sans guns, played tag, and joined in with post-tag pizza.

He had such a great time he stayed overnight, then went back home with Mr M after Mr M visited on Saturday. He ate six of Huckleberry Hound's fried eggs for breakfast. Mr M brought him his guns when he came, but with no bullets. He showed the gang a few pistol tricks.

He's a little rough around the edges, but you know, I kind of like the guy. What can I say.

Then it was around 7 on Saturday, and I was putting the finishing touches on dinner, when I heard a ring at the doorbell. I headed to the door to see who could possibly be visiting, and there behind my screen door, I saw this.

Oh, my God! It was Bugs Bunny! The King of Cartoon Characters (and one of Sherman's heroes) was paying us a visit at the humble Pod!

Honestly, I thought I would faint, but I gathered myself, opened the door, and tried to think of a greeting to my home worthy of Mr B Bunny himself.


Then, this flew into my house.

It was Daffy Duck. Daffy Duck in a convenient Bugs Bunny disguise, complete with fuzzy tail. Seems he'd heard about our little commune here, and thought we'd "benefit" from a visit by him.

That was Saturday. He's still here.

Since he's been here, he's tried to pass himself off as Bugs to Baby Lily and charge her $5 for his autograph. He's also bilked Bunsen Honeydew of $20 playing Three Card Monte. He calls Milo a "cur," Mr Peanut a "has-been," and has made a pass or two at Inga, the kids' nanny.

I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I want him out. I asked Mr Peabody to have a word with him, but it hasn't happened yet. Mr Peabody is still writing a "You Need to Go" speech. They're such different personalities, Peabody doesn't want to just wing it.

But if it doesn't happen soon, I'm going to grab him by the beak and fling him out the door.

Or let Milo eat him.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Speaking of Milo, gave the boy a bath tonight. Not a cakewalk, to be sure, but he's not a bad boy in the bath. Then tomorrow night is Haircut Night! Woooo - lots of good thoughts for The Nephew and me, please.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Story Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. I don't have any pictures this weekend, so no Picture Sunday.


I do have a story about one of the pictures in last week's Picture Sunday, so lets proceed with a round of Story Sunday.

If you'll look below to last Sunday's blog, you'll see a few items I bought for my boy Milo. The gate, by the by, is coming along. I personally don't think it has the quality I was expecting when paying $90 for a gate, but he hasn't knocked it over yet. I'm easing him into gate life. Whichever portion of my workday is shorter, from beginning to lunch or lunch to the end, I'll put him in the kitchen with the gate up.

And he's done fine, no peeing or pooing in the kitchen, hasn't messed a single thing up, he's just so wild when I come home and open the gate door. It's like he's been shot out of a cannon. When he's been in his crate and I let him out, he just pops out casually looks at me, and waits for me to put the leash on so we can go out. I swear, I'm waiting for the day he looks up at me and points to his neck, like, "Leash, please."

Anyway, that's not the story. Here's the story.

One of the items I bought last weekend was a little doggie clipping set so The Nephew and I get together, hoist a couple of beers, and give Milo a haircut. Taylor wants to give him a horse's mane, and though I can't say I don't like the idea, I believe the creativity will have to end before we get to that point.

Now, here's the deal. I've been looking on and off for clippers, and have almost bought a set on two other occasions. Both times I was looking at people hair clippers. And I didn't spring for them because I kept telling myself I'd wait till payday, or that Milo wasn't shaggy enough to start worrying about it yet, though he certainly is now.

Then I was at PetSmart, and I saw these clippers for pets.

There are a couple of pictures on the box, which is one of those fucking plastic boxes you have to open with a kitchen knife, of people holding and hugging their perfectly trimmed doggies. The back of the box insert says, and I quote, I have it right here, "It's never been easier to groom your pet and get great results! This clipper kit has the main tools you need to groom your pet at home. Snap-on guide combs help maintain an even length coat for worry-free grooming."

And that's just fine. Well, it was until I risked my fingers getting the damned box open with the kitchen knife.

I was keen to read the instruction booklet to see if it had some hints on where to begin in grooming a pet, if it specified to stay away from the face with the machine, and all that. Boy, what a disappointment.

The instruction booklet, which is of course in three languages, is a tri-fold with information on the front and back. All of the front are warnings. Don't use in the bathtub, don't drop any objects into any opening of the machine, read all of our instructions, do not use outdoors. What the hell is up with products saying you shouldn't operate them outdoors? If you think about it, and especially grooming a doggie, wouldn't outdoors be the best place? You wouldn't have to vacuum your floor after, plus, if the device decides to blow up, the inside of your home won't be damaged!

But let's travel onward. To the back of the tri-fold, where I was hoping for some drawings of doggies and how they should be cut.

I'll tell you right now there are no diagrams. Not a single picture of a dog. Instead, here's what I got.

There are a couple of drawings of the on-off switch and how it works, and one of the machine when a blade is on it. That's it. Well, that's it for drawings.

As for the text, well, here are some of the helpful hints I've been given.

* Raise blade for fine setting to cut hair very short for neck areas, etc.
* Lower blade for coarse setting to leave hair longer for side burns, etc.

In other words, this clipper set I bought is a people clipper with different packaging.

Which, I guess in the end doesn't mean anything, but for some reason I'm both bemused and a little pissed off.

I'm going to tell The Nephew, though, that we have some instructions for side burns. I think Milo would look keen with sideburns.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Why do I like gymnastics? I shouldn't like gymnastics, but I do.
* My shoulder hurts.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Picture Sunday

Hello, friends and blogees! And welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

I was having an "off the radar" weekend. I spent all my weekend last week doing parent duty, traveling, shopping, lifting, tugging, etc. This weekend I wanted to do "me" stuff.

Friday was great, had a nice Friday chill and recorded another Hucklebug podcast with my buddy Stennie. I so look forward to Friday nights because of the podcast.

Saturday, I had two things on the agenda. One was to pick up the DeepFatFriar at the airport in R'noke, and the other was to do some shopping at PetSmart.

Well, PetSmart was on the way. So I hit B'burg, dropped Milo off at Mr M's (he was on the road as well, love you, Mr M), and headed straight to PetSmart. I had one thing on the agenda.

And of course, as often happens, a person has one thing on the shopping agenda and ends up buying loads and loads of stuff. But hey, I was so happy with some of the things I found.

In addition to some Dentastix for my Milo (he has such lovely teeth, gotta keep them strong), a new Kong fuzzy toy, and a new bigger walking harness (he's outgrown his), I got of course the thing I went there for, a new "big boy" gate.

See, I still want to give Milo the entire kitchen when I'm off at work or on errands. Now, I know it's probably a dangerous thing to start trying to think for a dog, and Milo seems perfectly happy to go into the crate, but I'd like him to have more space to walk, play, etc. The problem is that the gates I have for him now, he always jumps or climbs (I think climbs) the gate into the den, then once he's in the den he makes all kinds of mischief. So I figured if I could find a taller gate he couldn't get over, he might be happier in the kitchen. Then again, you know what? He might be happier in his crate!

Anyway, the new gate I got, well, I have some problems with it right off the bat. First of all, it works on a "pressure" system in the door, and I personally don't think that pressure makes it fit tight enough, and if Milo decides to really lean on it, it will fall over, giving him access to the den where he can make all kinds of mischief. This might be me, though.

The other problem I have is definitely me, but not my hinky brain. See, the opening door on this gate, well, it's made for the skinniest human imaginable. Which of course, I am not. I have to walk through it sideways. So I don't know how long it will last, but it was quite expensive, so I'm going to make myself try and like it, whether I want to or not.

Wanna see my boy in jail? This is the exact picture of what will be facing me tomorrow morning when I leave for work.

Aww, look at that face. "I don't want to be in jail, Mommy!"

Then, I decided to give a small look to fur clippers. See, I can't remember if I told you this, but I've tapped The Dear Nephew to be my new dog groomer. OK, so that sounds really bizarre, but here's my reasoning. I'm not taking him back to my regular groomer, she never listens to what I want. So I found out that The Nephew not only cuts his own hair, but cuts all of his buddies' hair at college, so I figured, "Hey, why not? He couldn't do worse. After all, Milo's a mutt. He doesn't have a 'prescribed' haircut." Right? Taylor has made me promise to give him one "free pass" to practice on Milo, and that's fair enough, so I said sure.

Anyway, I found these, quite reasonably priced.

Oooh! Ten pieces! Who knows, together, we might start a chic doggie haircut trend.

And finally, and let me tell you, I can't quite explain the glee this filled me with. I must have mentioned here before that I have found the perfect poo pick-up system for Milo. It's called Dispoz-A-Scoop, and is a little baggie on a wire that picks up the poo, a piece of cardboard closes the wire and the poo is contained in the bag. They're expensive, but for me, well worth it.

Well, I hadn't intended on buying Dispoz-A-Scoops this weekend, I was doing OK on them, but as I rounded a curve on my way to look at fur clippers, I saw - a gigantic box of Scoops. And when I say gigantic, I mean, 250 in a big ol' box. I checked the price, and it was $30. It was regularly a $70 price. Well, I almost peed myself right there in the PetSmart, which is OK, I guess, since dogs do it, but I scooped (sorry) that box up and put it right in my cart, which was getting pretty crowded.

All I can glean from this value is that maybe PetSmart is phasing out carrying my friend the Dispoz-A-Scoop, but at least now I have a nice large surplus while I look for them online.

A trip through the checkout and a large sum of money expended, and I loaded everything in the car and headed for R'noke. Got to the airport right on time, found a parking spot facing the main terminal, and all the DeepFatFrair had to do was walk right out of the building and he was at my car.

We had a nice drive home, and the Frair nicely offered to take me out to dinner, but Saturday was also Graduation Day at Virginia Tech. We figured there wouldn't be an empty dinner table for miles, so we rainchecked it, stopped at Mr M's to pick up Milo, and headed back to his house.

I'm still holding my raincheck, Friar. Sal's, the next time we meet.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Trash duty's already done. I love it when trash duty's already done.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Strange Times in Betland

Oh, my friends. A bit of a crisis here at the old Poderosa.

It all started yesterday. With our buddy Huckleberry Hound. You all know Huckie.

Well, of course, yesterday was Mother's Day. It was also the day of Mr M's clarinet "salon music" recital in B'burg at 7pm. I was going to be there, as was Sherman, and Huckleberry wanted to attend as well.

But Huckie was also missing his mom. Maw Hound.

He wanted so much to have a visit with Maw Hound on that most special of days, Mother's Day. And of course the Huckiemobile only has a top speed of 25mph, and there was no way he could get there, give her a big blue-dog kiss on the cheek, and get back for Mr M's recital.

And Mr Peabody generously stepped in with a suggestion.

Peabody showed Huckie how he could use the WABAC machine to travel through the miles without traveling back in time. He could push a series of buttons, pop down to Alabama, see Maw Hound, travel back, and end up back here in time for the ride to B'burg.

Huckleberry was grateful and took Peabody up on his offer. He strolled into the WABAC about 11am.

However, as happens when blue dogs get together and get to talking over old family times, he left it a bit late coming home. When he saw the time, Huckie started to worry about being late and missing his ride to B'burg. Since the Huckiemobile only has that top speed of 25mph, he had to be ready when I pulled out of the driveway.

And so he frantically started pushing some extra buttons on the WABAC to gain speed.

Bad idea.

When Huckie arrived at the Poderosa Sunday afternoon, he was, well, changed.

He apparently threw himself many years into the past. He's just a pup, a baby Huckleberry.

I was freaked out about the whole thing, but the other characters here at the Pod seem to have taken it in stride. Bunsen Honeydew rocked him to sleep last night. Good Luck Baby Lily has had a ball playing with him all day today. He's been fed by Quick Draw McGraw, put down for his naps by Sherman, and changed by - well, by me. No one else seems to want to deal with diaper duty, so that one fell to the Pod Owner.

Turns out those extra buttons Huckie pushed in his panic caused some sort of jam in the WABAC. Mr Peabody has been reading frantically and spending time in the machine with his tool kit. He finally found the problem, but the solution involves him making a new coil for the Age Combustion System. It could take another day for him to build one.

In the meantime, "Rock-a-bye Huckie, in the tree top....."

Oh, the fun we have at the Poderosa.

Anyone interested in an acro this week? If you are, tell me, I might work one up.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hello, friends. I'm stuck.

I was stuck last night too, and I was sure I'd be unstuck tonight, but I don't seem to be.

But hey, let me start my story, and we'll get to the sticking part down the page.

I haven't blogged in a bit because I've been very busy. Of course, the Community Band's spring concert was this weekend, and I was rushing around trying to get ready for it. And getting nervous, and having doubts, and all those "me" things you expect.

The story of the weekend starts on Thursday. On Thursday night, I was traversing the one stair in my entire house, and when I did, I landed funny on my knee. It was nothing more than an, "Oh! Ouch." moment, and I didn't give it another thought. Until Friday morning, when I got up and it was rather sore.

By Friday afternoon, about 2:00, it was so sore I couldn't walk on it without screaming. I didn't think I was going to make it out of the office. I got home, and my sister was waiting for me there to take me to the ER. Now, I have to admit, there were two things on my mind. One was that if I went there I'd probably have to wait about six hours to get seen, and I'd miss recording the Hucklebug. The other was the cost involved, which would be all mine to pay. I finally decided, and told my sister, love her heart, it was sweet of her to offer, that rather than wait six hours and pay $2000 to get some ice put on my knee, I could do that immediately for free at home. So I declined, and immediately went and put my leg up with some ice on it.

I walked around the house Friday night using a Swiffer as a cane (that was lovely when I took Milo outside, but my town knows I'm crazy anyway), recorded the Hucklebug, and went to bed a little early for a Friday night.

On Saturday I woke up, and things were a bit better. I got ready, packed all my stuff, and headed out to B'burg. My clarinet partner Mary and I had gotten entrance into Burruss Hall, where the concert was to be held, to look around and play a little while on the stage, our last practice before our big performance on Sunday.

By the way, Burruss Hall is my favorite building on the campus of Virginia Tech, and it's also the very first place I ever saw Elvis Costello and Squeeze. I would be playing on that same stage! So, a little love for Burruss, please.

Anyway, we got there, Mary did a great job of scoping out parking on campus for my folks and got us right up to the door of the building, we went inside and practiced a bit and goofed around. It was quite hot in the hall. "Surely they'll have the air conditioning on tomorrow," I said, and Mary said, "They will, and don't call me Shirley."

Actually, she didn't say that at all, that was my own joke, she said, "I sure hope so."

After the little practice it was back to Mr M's, where I was staying for the weekend, and a little diversion from the whole concert thing. Um. Excuse me. Did I say a "little" diversion? I lied. It was a huge diversion. Because Mr M and I traveled to the lovely town of Floyd, VA to see the Hackensaw Boys!

Yep, they were playing a benefit gig in the little town, and we went along to watch. Sadly, no dancing for me this time, I wasn't risking it, Mr M loaned me a lounge chair and I found a good spot to sit. The Boys were excellent. The sound was great, they seem to be honing some of their songs with new harmonies and instrumental parts, and I had a great time. And my, what lovely boys they are.

I went home happy.

When I woke up Sunday morning, something happened. I took one step, and my knee said, "No, I don't think so." I was back to where I was Friday afternoon, and I immediately became very hinky. I mean, I was already hinky because it was the day of the concert, and now I had to worry about standing up and playing a solo, remembering my fingerings and to breathe, and now remembering not to lean on my right leg so it wouldn't collapse and I'd fall off the stage.

And there were other fun things about Sunday, too. By noon, it was 89 degrees. A hot wind was blowing about 40 mph. And Mr M's air conditioning decided to go on the fritz. I was beginning to get the feeling I may have kicked Gandhi's dog in a previous life and was getting repayment.

So I got to the hall very early, limped in, and spent a little "quiet time." I wanted to take some pictures of the inside of the hall, to show you all how beautiful it is, when I realized something. My camera is broken. I have a sneaking suspicion it was stepped on by a hippie in Floyd while I wasn't looking.

Instead, I decided to put my horn together, find an alcove somewhere, and play through some parts of my solo. I limped off and found one, played certain passages, and I was sounding pretty damn bad. Making mistakes I shouldn't have made, getting nervous, and so I said to myself, "Well, so much for that!" and found a seat in the hall and breathed deeply.

Oh, and by the way. The air conditioning, which was not running Saturday? Not running Sunday, either. It had to be 100 degrees on that stage.

In short order, the other band members started gathering in the hall, and it was funny watching all their faces. "My God, is it supposed to be this hot?" The band convened an hour before the concert began, played through some pieces to get the feel of the hall, and I have to say, we were sounding pretty damn good.

(By the way, the "feel of the hall" thing - we normally play our concerts in the auditorium of the local high school. However, the school has been closed all year due to structural problems, which is how we ended up at Burruss Hall at Tech. Shame it was so expensive to book, because it's an amazing place to play. I'm sure Elvis Costello himself would tell you.)

In the time between practicing and the concert beginning, we had time to roam around, and into the hall wandered my sister, her husband, and my mom and dad. I was so happy to see my mom and dad there. I just wasn't sure my mom could make the trip. Then in came Taylor and his friend (and my Hackensaw ally) Paul. And Mr M. Mary's family came in. (Mary and I had many a practice at her mom's house. She's such a sweet lady.) There were more people there than I was expecting, actually.

Mary's and my solo was second on the program, which was good, because there wasn't too much time to get nervous. Well, more nervous, we were already pretty nervous. Soon it was 4pm, and we tuned, Ed took the podium, and we played our first song. It went wonderfully.

And then.....

And then it was time for Mary and I to take our place on the stage for our clarinet solo. It was now or never. We were both nervous, I was sweating in the heat, but it was time to go.


And - it went really well. It went better than any time in practice, both between the two of us and with the entire band. It just flowed, and was so easy. In fact, my only hinky moment was in the second section of the piece, the section where I had no spots to breathe and would often run out of breath, and there was a point where I thought to myself, "I still have breath - I must be a measure ahead of everyone!" But I wasn't, it was just going well.

So we finished, and everyone clapped, our Fearless Leader Ed gave us a big hug, and it was over.

Well, almost over.

First of all, there was the little (I'm telling a secret) matter of Mary and I secretly toasting each other with a shot (or two) of Goldschlager I'd brought in a mug. (Mary and I are both members of the Sauerkraut Band - it was only fitting.) And the matter of playing "Mars" and "Jupiter" from "The Planets" by Holst. Both incredibly hard pieces, but we sailed through them.

The second set was full of easy and fun pieces, and we ended the concert on a high note.

You know, it was funny. Mary and I, our joke situation was that, no matter what happened, no matter how badly we messed up our piece, we were going to look at each other after it was over like, "My God! This is the best we've ever done! We're amazing!" Turns out we did that, but it was true! The joke was on us.

So that's the story of the concert. And here's where I'm stuck.

See, Mr M videoed our solo. My facebook friends have probably already seen it. Someone from the town of B'burg was there videoing it as well, and said it would be on youtube by Monday. Well, Monday came, and it wasn't posted. Today came, and it wasn't, either. That's B'burg for you.

There's something about me that doesn't want to post Mr M's video on youtube. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I'm in it. And I know that makes no sense, but I often make no sense. I could post the video via Blogger, but with the size of the video, it would take upwards of four days to upload.

I don't know, I wanted a visual link here on the old blog that you could just click and get access to our solo. Instead I guess I'm going to have to upload it to a website and give you a link. Sure, it's not as fun, but sometimes that's just the way things go.

So here's the not-as-fun link to the big clarinet piece on the spring concert. And it will take a while to load, and sorry for that as well.

There. That should get you there.

If the slackers in B'burg ever decide to upload the concert to youtube, I'll let you know. There were other highlights as well. I was particularly fond of "Mars."

Anyway, it was a great concert, it's over, I can breathe now, and this blog has been way too long already.

So, good night! (And my knee still hurts!)


Sunday, May 02, 2010


Oh, my friends. This weekend was a whirlwind. The concert came off, no one died, and it was so much fun. I have audio and video. If you can be patient with me for a day, I'll tell all!

Happy week!