December 31, 2010

My foot's fine

Just wanted to update all my loyal followers on my health condition. As some of you may have read (thanks to that dumb cat), I had to go to the vet's last month to get my foot looked at. They removed the bad part and had it tested, and it turned out I have cancer. Evidently there are two kinds of cancer you can get on your foot: the not-so-bad kind and the terrible kind. Well, we waited a few more weeks for another test, and the news came in yesterday: it is the not-so-bad kind. Which we kind of already knew, because my foot healed up really quickly and I was ready to run and play again that night.

So I got good news for the new year! Although I had to wear that stupid cone of shame, I turned out to be ok in the end. Plus, it was kind of fun, wrecking the Christmas tree with that big ol' cone every day...

December 24, 2010

This time I meant it

The last time I wrote a blog about songs that get stuck in my head, I didn't mean to.  It's one of the most visited posts on this blog.  This time I actually mean it, and on Christmas Eve, what better genre of music to pick on than Christmas music?

1.  Feliz Navidad
This one pretty much speaks for itself, but my wife did have a neighbor when we first met whose young child would sing this song at the top of his lungs while shaking his money-maker in the front picture window.

2.  Santa Baby
Man, I hate this song.  Aside from the blatant materialism involved, it just gets under my skin.

3.  I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas
This song is actually kind of cute, which is a great deal of improvement for me from the way I used to feel about it.  Still, the little kid's vocals stuck in your head all day long tend to drift away from cute.

4.  Any of the modernized versions of 'Jingle Bells'
Think 'Rusty Chevrolet', or either of the two current TV commercials for  I honestly need to hear the original 'Jingle Bells' once a year to counter the 'other' lyrics to this song...

5.  Anything by Mannheim Steamroller
Honestly, what is a Mannheim Steamroller?  Has it got something to do with Anaheim, California?  Let's check Wikipedia... ok, it turns out it actually has nothing to do with steamrollers in the sense that anyone alive today would think of.  Kind of disappointing.  Anyway, this band (along with Aaron Neville and Kenny G) got played pretty much nonstop at my family's place at Christmas.

December 17, 2010

The why game

I'm off this weekend to graduate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, to finalize the process of getting my PhD.  It's been a little over four years now.  It sure doesn't seem that way sometimes - those years seemed to zip by.  I went from 4 cats to 5 in that time, and got both the dogs in the last year and a half.  Heather and I moved a total of 4 times, and she got her associate's degree in cardiac ultrasound.  Lots of ups and downs.

I keep getting asked by everyone when they should start calling me Dr. Vic.  I didn't get into this to get the added bonus of having a tag before my name (although if it gets me better seats at restaurants I might try), it was more because I wanted to pursue my curiosity.  I'm always asking questions and annoying the people who are in charge of teaching me.  I remember as a kid hearing a story about Abraham Lincoln (I grew up in Springfield, IL).  As a child he was sent off to school in Kentucky or Indiana or wherever he was growing up (I didn't exactly pay as much attention to the details of Lincoln's young life, despite my curiosity).  He came home one day upset because his teachers told him he was addled, he asked too many questions.  His mom wrote the teacher a letter saying he wouldn't be coming back, that any teacher who felt that asking questions was a problem shouldn't be teaching her kid.  I liked that.  Probably to the chagrin of some of my teachers.

My niece and nephews like to play the 'why' game.  It's fun as a kid.  The rules are simple: you are only allowed to respond to any answer from a parent/teacher with another question.  You can probably guess what the allowed word is: why? You win the game when you get the parent to throw up their arms in defeat and say 'Quit asking me questions!'  Extra points are scored for the level of annoyance you cause.  This is most effectively achieved by asking the question 'why' with a slight whining tone.

I do not intend to cast any aspersions on anyone else in my family, but I seem to be the only one who can play the 'why' game effectively.  Maybe I know a lot of useless info, but I can play scores of rounds of the 'why' game until either the kids give up or I do.  The kids give up when I give them an explanation they can't wiggle their way around, or when I run out of ideas and answer with the easiest filibuster of the game.


December 11, 2010

Sweet, sweet victory.

I was just thinking the other day how dogs 1 and 2 need to be knocked down a few notches, when fate delivers me the sweetest of surprises: a cone of shame. A few of us cats have had to wear one in the past - they tried with me when my foot was operated on (THREE TIMES, WHAT IS THE VETERINARY PROFESSION COMING TO THESE DAYS!!!???), but that didn't fly. I haven't seen dogs 1 or 2 wearing one yet - and then my nemesis, dog2, was taken to the vet. Monday, this was. I hoped she wouldn't come back, but she did. However, the next day, she was gone at the vet's all day, and when she came home she was wearing the cone of shame.

Sweet, sweet victory.

December 9, 2010

The case of the missing sister

My sister disappeared the other day. I was very upset. She got to go for a car ride without me, and I'm pretty sure she got to go for a walk too. I got put in my crate, and she, mom, and dad left the house. I threw a fit but it didn't help. Mom and dad came back with her after awhile and she smelled funny, like the vet's office. Maybe I dodged a bullet?

Then the next day dad took her away early in the morning. I didn't see her all day until the evening, and when she came home she was really tired and her foot was all wrapped up. She really smelled like the vet then, and like something else sort of familiar. It's been awhile since I was at the vet but I do remember being left there overnight once and waking up after a long sleep. Parts of me hurt and I had to take medicine. I also didn't get to play for a little while. It's been so long ago I can't really remember for sure, but I know it wasn't fun. So I guess I can't be too jealous. Before the vet her foot had a big spot on it that smelled strange and needed to be licked (we got yelled at for that, even at night, our parents can be real pains!). So I guess maybe that's why they took her to the vet? All I know is I can't wrestle with her anymore without getting yelled at. Sometimes she wears this silly cone thing, and dad even put our collars on the other night so I know it's serious. They don't let her run or anything, and she keeps getting the medicine treats.

Vets ruin the lives of basset hounds, I don't care what owners say. Every time a pet comes home from the vet there are more rules and less fun.

December 4, 2010

A little late for Thanksgiving, but...

I'm really thankful for our families.  I won't go on about how tough times are, and how unfair life is sometimes.  I'm just grateful I have people who love and support me, and I look forward to the day when I can return the favor of supporting them.  I can't make it without our families.

November 29, 2010

I take umbrage

So Elvis Presley was the king of rock and roll. He sang a lot of songs, but he is well-known for his song 'Hound Dog'. As bassets, Rosco and I take umbrage with the choice of lyrics in this song. They are listed below.

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,
cryin' all the time.
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,
cryin' all the time.
You ain't never caught a rabbit
and you ain't no friend of mine.
You said you was high-class,
but that was just a lie.
You know you said you was high-class,
but that was just a lie.
You ain't never caught a rabbit
and you ain't no friend of mine.

Our complaints are myriad. First, hound dogs do not 'cry' all the time. If we do anything vocally all the time, it's howl. But even then we do have to sleep from time to time, so we can't make noise all the time. Plus, that bit about never catching rabbits? It's only because we can't run under fences like rabbits can. I could have caught rabbits if there weren't fences or leashes in the way. You don't get much more high-class than basset hounds. Finally, if I ain't no friend of yours, it's probably your fault somehow.

I think Elvis never owned a hound dog.

November 21, 2010

The Good Bone Phenomenon

As I write this, Rosco and Layla are currently helping my wife keep the couch from flying away.  Earlier this morning I witnessed what I refer to as the "Good Bone Phenomenon".  If you own dogs you know exactly what I am talking about.

We buy our dogs a few different kinds of chew bones.  Rawhides are nice because they last a long time and are cheap, but you do run the risk that they will eat part of it and have digestive tract blockage.  The dogs aren't always crazy about them, though - a good rawhide needs a few days of half-hearted chewing before it is fully seasoned to basset tastes.  Bully sticks - basically dried cow tendons - are the most highly prized, but they don't last long and stink horribly while being eaten.  Layla also tends to have some intestinal gas troubles when she gets those and we worry about bloat, so we don't get them very often.  They're also about 5 bucks for a 12 inch piece.  Busy bones are pressed chew treats that last approximately 30 seconds and make a terrific mess.  However, any new chew bones are met with a lot of enthusiasm by the dogs, at first.

Until the new bone phenomenon sets in.

We try and buy bones that are similarly sized, because our dogs will give us indignant looks if they feel that they are getting the short end of the stick.  But it doesn't matter.  Any bones that lasts longer than twenty minutes will eventually prompt the 'Good Bone Phenomenon'.  This occurs when one dog decides the other somehow got a better deal then them.  No matter how juicy, stinky, or delicious their bone may appear, they are certain that the other dog is enjoying themselves that much more.  And so they lay on the floor, their partially-eaten bone discarded next to them, coated in a sheen of basset saliva, and they watch the other dog eat what they believe to be the 'Good Bone'.  No amount of pouting can sway the other dog's attention though - our dogs have become masters at the art of bone-eating, to the point of deception and trickery to get the prize.  We could buy fifty bones that were machined to exact specifications, so that there was no significant difference in size, mass, or taste qualities, and there would be one bone among them all that was the epitome of what a chew bone should be.  Wars have been fought over less.

The deception is an interesting part of dog ownership that I never envisioned.  I have always assumed dogs were the most enviable of animals - cute, although lower on the intelligence scale than cats, with heightened perceptions, and a sense of loyalty that few humans can ever aspire to.  The deviousness and attitude were surprises.

For instance, if Rosco has the 'Good Bone', Layla may try to use his jealousy against him.  My wife may be laying on the couch watching a TV show, and Layla will pull herself up from her pouting session over getting the lesser of two bones.  She stretches, saunters slowly to the spot in front of my wife's position on the couch, and lets out a low whimper.  'Love me', this whimper says.  It's soft at first - she doesn't want to rush things - but after a few more tries, both the players in Layla's game are now fully engaged.  My wife, her affections for the dog now running at full capacity, will reposition herself on the couch to allow Layla some room for snuggling.  Rosco, meanwhile, his attention slightly diverted from the 'Good Bone' by Layla's theatrics, will pause for a moment.  Snuggling is a good thing.  Is Layla going to get some?  From Mama?  Without me being involved?  This bone is pretty good, but...  well, let's wait and see.  She isn't on the couch yet.  Back to the bone.

Layla, meanwhile, will milk my wife's affections to their fullest extent.  She might feebly attempt to jump on the couch - her stumpy front legs barely making it to the cushion, making half-hearted attempts to hoist the rest of her body up there.  Nevermind that during the daily basset chase sessions that occur it looks like the dogs are extras in House of Flying Daggers, and appear to be able to jump over the coffee table to get onto the couch - at this point, Layla might not be able to lift her legs high enough to step over a folded washcloth, and jumping the 16 inches to get onto the couch is an insurmountable challenge.  My wife (or I) will give in and help lift her up onto the couch.  After a few moments of rotation and couch-pawing, she settles into a comfortable position.  Layla emits a content sigh.  Never has a dog been so content.

At this point Rosco realizes he is missing out on something big indeed.  Jealousy overcomes how good that bone tastes.  He rushes over to the couch, jumps up on whatever available spot remains, and looks at my wife, his puppy feelings hurt beyond measure.  His wounded heart is about to get another shock, for at this point Layla covers the distance from her resting position on the couch to the 'Good Bone' - left unattended by Rosco - in approximately two seconds, all signs of basset laziness long gone.  Rosco's face at this point is priceless, unable to believe how he has been duped.

This sort of thing happens all the time.  Treats, belly rubs, chasing cats - all things that can grab a dog's attention for a moment, all are used to remove the current owner of the good bone's attention.

All's fair in love and chew bone competition.

November 19, 2010

Late poster

So I haven't really put anything up on this blog yet. I usually don't have much to say, I'm a pretty laid back sort of cat.

But every so often I like to contribute. Lately though, I have been a bit self-conscious of myself. No idea why.

You might not have noticed but in the picture above there is a suspicious-looking electrical device off-camera. Turns out it is called a "razor" and they use it to shave animals. Results below.
So don't expect too much from me until all my hair grows back.

November 7, 2010

Lots of new things

There have been a lot of new things since I wrote last time. I see my brother and those cats have made a few entries. None of them were quite as important as my last blog though.

First of all, the newest thing is that we are in a new house now. It's much better than the old one! There are a couple of great things about this new place. First, it's HUGE. It's at least twice as big as the old one. The kitchen is big, which means I can eat my food and really spread out now if I want to. Second, there is carpeting, which means I can nap wherever I want and not have to lay on a hard floor. Third, the basement is sometimes open to me, which is completely different from the last house. I even get to play down there once in awhile. The backyard still has a fence, and there is a little girl who came into the yard and played with me while they unloaded all our stuff! Her name is Sophia and she brings me and Rosco treats. Sometimes she sneaks them through the fence if her dog Biggin is there. Biggin seems like an ok dog - not a basset but we can't all be perfect like me. We really haven't got to play with Biggin yet. Finally, there's an outdoor cat at this house. His name is Joey and I really want to meet him and sniff him, but the opportunity hasn't presented itself yet.

But I do miss my old house sometimes. This yard doesn't have a good squirrel tree, and there's no dirt to roll in. There are also more stairs - up stairs to get in and out of the house, up and down stairs to get into the basement - at the old house there were only 5 stairs to go up and down. I'm not fond of stairs, I always think I am going to fall down them. The basement stairs here have plastic on them and I have made a couple of unladylike slides! But it isn't my fault, we bassets aren't really made for stairs, especially the death-trap kind. I do miss my squirrels though. I also miss Joni, who came to visit us sometimes from You Go Pet Sitting. If you're ever in Springfield and need a pet sitter I really liked Joni, she was really nice. She also put my picture up on the internet as a good dog, so you know she has good taste in beautiful dogs.

November 5, 2010

I do not need another dog

We had to take Layla to the vet earlier today.  She has a small raised bump on the outside toe of her right rear foot.  She's had it since we got her in April - she just turned 2 in August - and it's always been pretty small.  However in the last 2 months it has gotten larger and uglier (a deeper purple color), and Heather and I finally decided to take her in and have it looked at.  She wasn't happy about the vet visit, even after a heaping portion of treats, and the vet had to take a small scraping of tissue to check it out.  Rosco was beside himself - he stayed in the car while Layla went inside.  Twenty minutes' worth of worrying later, the vet told us it was most likely an inflamed cyst from something like an infected gland or hair follicle that had ruptured, but that we could have it removed and tested to be certain.  As we are currently broke, and the spot doesn't bother Layla or slow her down in the slightest, we went with two week's worth of antibiotics as the cheapest/most prudent course.  If it looks any worse during that time we'll have to have her go in for surgery.  There was a lot of sniffing when Layla returned to the car.

I guess this was a timely reminder of how expensive owning a dog can be.  I've seen at least two bassets in our region lately that I would have loved to adopt - one was free and the other is cute enough to make me ignore the adoption fee - but two dogs are enough for the time being.  Still...  bassets have a way of working themselves into your heart.

The second dog I was ready to adopt (Ollie).

October 24, 2010

Not what I was going to write about

I was originally going to write about data used in claims by television advertising, but I couldn't find the right Easy, Breezy Covergirl commercial on YouTube, so that will have to wait.  So, instead of a light-hearted commentary on the pseudoscience that we have all come to accept in our daily lives, and its potential impact on the stupidifying of America, I am going to write about something far more important.

Songs that get stuck in my head.  There have been quite a few of them lately for my wife and I.  One of them was her fault.  I'm also going to be sharing these songs via YouTube videos below, because I feel pretty good about understanding the HTML code to make them show up in my blog (yay!), and because I don't want to be the only person suffering horribly after writing this blog.

Song #1.  Green Acres Theme Song

While working at the meat department the other day, my wife sends me a text message about how she has the Green Acres song stuck in her head.  This immediately infected me with the same problem, and I spent the rest of the day boning out pork butt shoulders while repeating the one or two lines to that dumb song that I could remember over and over again.  And now I've passed this gift on to you.  But at least you can benefit from the full version of the song and not only Eva Gabor's lines.

Song #2.  J.G. Wentworth commercial

God forbid I should ever have to use their services, but I think this commercial is actually a masterpiece of marketing.  Much better than some of their other commercials (think of the one with a bunch of people shouting about their money outside of their windows, and look on YouTube for a good spoof), they came out with this opera themed stuff at some point and struck a vibe (with me, at least).  Unfortunately, it sticks on your head like glue, but at least you can chuckle to yourself about it all day.  This couldn't have been cheap either - it's twice the length of a normal commercial - but I guess there are enough people who need their money now for old Mr. Wentworth to be able to afford this sort of advertising.

Song #3.  Stupid Ford Fiesta commercial

This one actually annoys the heck out of me, despite some really awesome choreography and original advertising.  But that background music!  Urgh!

Song #4.  Strangers in the Night

I might be alone on this one, but this song gets stuck in my head all the time.  I blame the movie Fletch, and the scene where Chevy Chase alters the lyrics to his own particular version.  It's funny, but then I worked with a guy in a butcher shop who liked to cut meat while listening to Frank Sinatra, and that pretty much encoded the lyrics into my DNA.  Now that I think about it, there is something kind of sinister about listening to Sinatra while dicing up meat...  Anyway, to go a little easier on you, I put up an apparently rare version of the song as done by the band Cake.

Song #5.  Hound Dog

This all just comes with the territory when you own basset hounds.  I can't really say anything bad about the king, especially after I found a video of him singing this song to a basset on TV.

Song #6.  Love Will Keep us Together

I'm kind of ashamed I even know about this duo.  Nevermind how I even learned of this song; the story is embarrassing and involves a cat.  For awhile there this song played through my head, despite my otherwise normal appearance, all the time.  It even got played on an episode of Lost.  But there is, at least, some potential here for a cute pair of dog costumes...

Song #7.  I Love a Parade

My family has a rather unhealthy habit of watching/listening to the same media ad nauseum during the holidays.  I think I can probably recite National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation from start to finish, given enough participating friends.  But this song comes from the original Vacation movie, where Clark is wandering lost in the desert with his pants tied around his head, after catapulting the family truckster through the Arizona desert.  It was humorous when I was 15; now I wish I could forget it.  The worst part is he only sings the first two lines.  That's not even a song stuck in my head, it's two lines!

Song #8.  Destati

Unless you played Kingdom Hearts, you might not know this song.  I did and I do; it's actually kind of cool, and another neat piece that has been performed by orchestra groups around the world.  Certain parts of this song end up stuck in my head from time to time.

October 19, 2010

It's great to be a hound

Life is good. I've got to go on at least one car ride a day in the past week. Let me tell you a bit about car rides. They used to happen once a week when daddy and I lived in the other house for awhile, but after we moved in with mama they happened a lot less. I was a sad hound. The only nice thing about it was that car rides always ended up at the park. I love the park, it is probably the best place on earth. There are lots of other dogs there, and lots of people who want to stop and pet me. And the smells! Such smells! I wouldn't even want to go for a walk, I'd rather just wander around and smell, but you know how dad is.

Anyway, lately I have been going on car rides to the park every day. Daddy goes to work now, which is kind of strange, but when he comes home we go for a car ride. The weird part is the cats come with us. They all go into one of our crates, with our bed in it, and then they go into the car. Then we "load up" and go for a ride. The windows get put down, which I love, because it lets me show everyone just how fast I can run. I run so fast in the car my ears stay flying behind me the whole time! And people in the nearby cars all check me out - just yesterday a whole bus of kids drove by and pointed and smiled at me. It's great to be a hound on a car ride.

The recent car rides always end at the park. I thought there were squirrels in my yard, but there are TONS of squirrels at the park now. And they are so lazy! They sit there and taunt Layla and I, instead of running like they should. They're lucky dad holds us back or we would catch them and smell them and possibly eat part of them before dad caught us!

October 15, 2010

Something is afoot

I have noticed, with growing unease, that there are boxes in my house again. Boxes usually mean trouble. Sometimes, boxes are ok, because they indicate that a new human toy has been purchased (TV, desk, etc.), and the box will be put in the basement. Eventually boxes stack up and create towers, and towers are where I like to be. But these boxes are a different kind. They come in the house empty and leave filled up with stuff. This stuff is mostly human toys, and once all the human toys have been packed up in boxes and removed from the house, the human beds and sofas will go next. Then the paintings on the wall, the dishes, and all the other stuff humans need to make them happy.

Then they will chase me down. I run, I certainly make them work for it (they tore an entire room apart once to find me, they had the mattress up against the wall), but eventually they close doors systematically and trap me. Then they hold me - I scratch them for their efforts but the hairy one is stronger than me and doesn't mind that he bleeds in the end - and they stuff a pill down my throat. Like that will keep me from voicing my displeasure.

Then I go in my own little box, which goes in the car. We go for a ride. The longer the ride is, the better the chances are I will come out at grandma's house, where I get moist food every day and have a big house to run around in. But usually the boxes mean a ride that ends at a new house. My experience with this kind of box-car combination has not been very rewarding; I usually end up drugged and upset. But in the end, we are in a new place, with new places to explore. I just don't want to see all these boxes.

October 9, 2010

We're moving!

Good news everyone!  We'll be moving at the end of the month, because I was offered a position with the Missouri Department of Conservation!  That's right, after about 12 years of secondary education, I am now officially employable.  I'll be the wildlife biologist at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area near Columbia, Missouri.  It's an area that is primarily managed for waterfowl and waterbird habitat and hunting, but it also provides lots of wildlife viewing opportunities as well.  As the wildlife biologist, I'll oversee two people and manage the area, as well as have the chance to do a few side projects of my own.  I'm really looking forward to it!  If you want to know more about where I'll be working, check this website out.  Right now my first few project ideas include helping department staff be eligible for the Wildlife Society's certified Wildlife Biologist program, trying to establish a bird-banding station at Eagle Bluffs, and trying to start a long-term turtle monitoring program that focuses on the effects of water level manipulation on turtle populations.

Of course, that means that I have a ton of stuff to do in the next few weeks.  Packing up everything we own and finding a place to live will be the first few challenges.  I also have to defend my dissertation on the 20th of this month, which means I need to get my defense talk put together and be prepared for questions that might come my way.  It sounds like I will have a pretty big audience at my defense.  Fortunately I just came back from the annual Wildlife Society conference, where I gave a very short version of my defense talk.  So it will just be a matter of expanding it to a longer talk (about 45 minutes).  Oh and I am also working part-time at a butcher shop until I move.  I'm going to be busy!

But moving should be fun.  We're just going to rent a big Uhaul truck and do it all on a weekend.  My parents offered to help (hopefully they will bring Casey along), and Zane and Melissa might help as well.  My grandparents will also meet us in Columbia to supervise the procedure.  Should be a nice, stress-free day.  Maybe.  Anyway, I know the dogs and the cats will be excited - a new place to sniff out, find the good hiding spots, and discover the best places to poop in the yard.  Bunsen will have a few more chances at some drugged victims for his affections during the trip out there.  I think I'll drive the Uhaul and let Heather deal with the amorous cats!

October 7, 2010

The waiting is the hardest part

I miss my dad. He's fun; he lets me walk on his shoulders, where I can look down on those dogs. He also fights with me, and we play Attack of the Shirt, which is where I jump at a shirt he throws over the back of a chair and kill it. I hope he comes home soon, he's on a mountain or something right now. Plus, my litter box needs cleaning. Also my food dish is getting less than 90% full.

He also sometimes lets me go outside. Outside is the best. That's where I met him and convinced him to bring me home. I even threw up on the seat of his truck on the way home to let him know he was mine. I know he appreciated it. But I'd like to go outside again.

I hope he comes home soon.

October 3, 2010

Hello from Snowbird

Just a quick little note from the annual Wildlife Society Meeting that is being held in Snowbird, Utah this year.  I'm at about 8,500 feet right now and am pretty tired.  There is definitely an adjustment to higher altitudes.  Even a simple flight of stairs wipes me out, but it is supposed to get better after a few days.  In the meantime, I am going to complain about it and everything else that has irritated me over the past few days.  Examples include:

- Wildlife Society meetings at really expensive places.  C'mon, $15 for a hamburger?  Grad students don't make enough money to afford to eat like that!

- Coach seats on airplanes.  Unless you're an amputee you're going to be uncomfortable.  I was starting to get a little claustrophobic towards the end of my 3 hour flight from Chicago to Salt Lake City.  I was hoping for something bigger than an express jet...

- Cheap ironing boards.  While my ironing abilities may be sub-par due to years of coddling by my parental units, I know I can do a decent job now.  However you can only do so much when the ironing board is like a bath towel balled up over a piece of warped lumber.

- Cheap hotels.  I asked where the microwave was and got a few moments of silence before someone answered.  I know, I know, this is a ski resort, and we're all supposed to be earth-friendly, but I want to eat my Dinty Moore's in peace!

- Teenagers.  I have seen some interesting ones here at 8,500 feet.  Must be a different species.  That or a new strain has shown up; it's been awhile since I last visited the mall, so that might be a possibility.

- Allergies.  At this point I am considering a sinus cavity-ectomy.

- Whiny blogs.  Who reads this crap, anyway?

September 30, 2010



Man there are squirrels EVERYWHERE lately! I first learned of squirrels at grandma's house in Michigan! My puppy-cousin Maggie taught me about them. According to Maggie, squirrels are like rats (?) that live in trees. I thought this was patently unfair, because we dogs do not climb trees like rats (?) or birds. Man, birds really tick me off. I think they wait until you get close enough to where you think you might catch them before flying away and laugh at you. Anyway, squirrels. They sometimes come down from the trees, which is fair, because we dogs do not climb trees. If you are fast enough like Maggie (she is like lightning), you can catch them and possibly eat part of them before your human catches you in the act. Well, she didn't say the eating part, but that's what I would do. My other puppy cousin Max is not as fast as Maggie but is faster than me, but he hasn't caught any yet either. So there is hope for a non-bullet demon hound like me.

I am not fast enough, not by a long shot, to catch a squirrel. Which is too bad, because I really want to try and eat one of them, or at least smell them up close. I can smell them where they were in the yard, and I can smell where they have been digging and doing their squirrel stuff, but it's just not the same. I even found a dead one at the park the other day, but dad wouldn't let me roll on it. He never lets me do anything fun.

But back to the squirrels. They're EVERYWHERE lately! There are squirrels in my yard all the time! Even in the front, where I hardly ever get to go. Probably why there are so many of them. There didn't used to be this many. I think it's because I don't get to smell them up close. Dad seems to think it's because it is getting to be late in the year, which is when they are burying nuts and seeds and stuff to eat over the winter, and it only seems like there are more of them. But what does he know, with his soon-to-be-gotted doctorate of philosophy in zoology? I'm the one with the nose here, and it's telling me that the squirrel population in my town is exploding thanks to helicopter dog parents that don't let their hounds catch them, or at least roll on the dead ones. Bunnies, for instance, have dropped dramatically since Layla and I almost caught that one last time.

Well, that's all for now. I'd decree that they let me get those squirrels, but it won't change anything. Think I'll take a nap; there is not doubt I can catch one of those.

September 25, 2010

Disgusted and sickened

My life was once perfect. I had the house to myself - the bed, couch, arm chair, floor, toilet lid, spare bed, desk, and anything else I could reach were mine. All I had to do was knock one of the other cats off the spot I wanted. I got moist cat food (Ocean White Fish and Tuna, you had better believe they figured that out when I turned my regal head away from any other garbage they tried to serve me) all the time, I got cat nip regularly, and I got to play with my toys wherever and whenever I wanted. I didn't have to run the gauntlet between a stupid baby gate and the basement - there were no "dog-free" zones because there were no "dogs".

I was a happy cat.

Then came dog 1. I call him dog 1 because I do not feel he is worth dignifying by the name Mama gave him, the one that she says with love and affection like she says my name. In fact, I'm not entirely comfortable calling dog 1 a "him". Gender implies some level of being, and being implies some inalienable right to existence without persecution. If I weren't so much smaller and stumpy-footed than dogs 1 and 2 I would persecute with extreme violence.

dog 1 (see? He doesn't even deserve uppercasing) got ALL the attention for awhile. Away went the moist food - dog 1 will eat ANYTHING (seriously. He eats kleenex if they aren't watching him. He even tries to eat my cat poop out of the litter box. How stupid can you be?). He eats my toy mousies. He even pooped a dead toy mousie once. Mama got mad but that doesn't stop him.

So dog 1 moves in and up go the baby gates, away goes the moist food, and my Mama time decreases dramatically. It was a hard transition, but I eventually got used to it. dog 1 and I came to a tense cease-fire. I felt I could come out in the not-dog-free zone without fearing for my life. He was too little to get me on the couch for awhile, but things changed again. Regardless, I put what was beneath me beneath me.

Then came dog 2. dog 2 is worse than dog 1. dog 2 chases me - CHASES me. She isn't afraid of my hisses and swats. She wants to kill me. The only reason she can't is because she is bigger and slower than dog 1. I hate her. I haven't had moist cat food in a long time. My mousies might as well not exist. My only Mama time is at bedtime now, but now that there are 2 dogs they have to sleep on the floor on Mama's side of the bed, and they pop up like sharks every so often and try to eat me. They are big enough to jump on the bed and couch now so nowhere is safe. I live in the basement, where my glamorous body gets basement dirt all over it and so *sob* bathtime comes more often now.

Then I find this online.


Excuse me I have a hairball or two I need to deposit.

September 22, 2010

Everybody shut up and listen! I'm FAMOUS!!!

Drop whatever stupid thing you're doing and pay attention! I'm FAMOUS! My costume at last weekend's 13th Annual Illinois Waddle (hosted by the fine people of Guardian Angel Basset Rescue) got me front-page billing in The Journal-Standard. This reputable newspaper is printed in Freeport, IL, and the image can be found here. I have copied and pasted the important parts below because honestly who cares about any other hound but me?

See? I knew my moment of fame would come around, especially after living in a shelter home. All that's left now is for my agent to get me on the Tonight Show. Everyone will know my name after this... wait... where's my name on the picture? They got my costume right but my name's not on there!!! What the heck was Joe Tomborello thinking? I gotta go, I need to talk to my agent about this!

September 21, 2010

First post

Welcome to Jowls of Fury!  This is the first post in what will be a long, periodocally updated online journal about my life with my dogs, cats, and wife.  Right now the plan is to post once a week, or approximately whenever the heck I can squeeze it into my busy schedule.

The first thing to do is introduce the recurring members of this blog.  They are, in no particular order:

What a party animal!
This is me, the usual author of this blog.  I'm a 30-something guy with lots of animals.  I'm finishing up school right now (studying zoology), I really like the outdoors and photography, and I probably should've been a humor columnist.  I am the guy in charge of all the domestic stuff around the house, including feeding hounds and cats and scooping poop from litter boxes or backyards.


Mama with her new friend

This is Mama, the matriarch of the pack.  The hounds and
cats constantly vie for her lap, usually peeling out on Daddy's lap in the process.  At the moment she earns all the bacon, something Daddy hopes to change in the near future.  Mama is very crafty and knows about all sorts of things that Daddy would otherwise screw up royally if left to his own devices.  She is also the resident butterfly ninja.

I'm out of food.
Oliver is the resident wild cat.  He came from a farm where Daddy was doing field work in 2004 and is the first rescue Mama and Daddy took in together.  His cat senses were tingling the moment Daddy set foot in front of his farmhouse, sensing a sucker in the vicinity.  Within a few weeks he had a cushy new home and two other cat siblings to play with.  Oliver is a lot of fun but has recently taken to yowling very loudly every few minutes, which has caused more than a few pillows to be thrown in his direction.  He also doesn't travel in cars very well... more on that later.
This new cat bed is great!
Beaker is our part-siamese cat.  Being the only female cat in the house, her personality is no doubt influenced by an overabundance of testosterone.  She often gets on people's nerves but is basically a sweet cat, if not a bit vocal.  Beaker and her brother Bunsen were two rescue cats that Mama had before she met, and foolishly married, Daddy.

Hey can I go outside?
Korbin, aka Korbinator, is our most recent rescue cat.  He is part/all Maine Coon, and he had a brother named Buddy who was also a long-haired cat, but had a tabby coloration.  Unfortunately we already had a ton of cats and one more would've been too much.  Korbin is a really sweet cat and he loves attention.  He's the only one left with front claws, but he hardly ever uses them (except during bath time!).

Shhh....  beauty rest.
Layla, aka Pretty Girl, is our first rescue dog.  She is all basset and all diva.  Supposedly she lived outside for most of her life before we adopted her, but if that is the case there is an innate genetic component in bassets that allows for maximization of couch sleeping potential, because she was in the house for about five minutes before she took her place on the long throne next to Mama.  She and Rosco love each other to bits, and the volume has only gone up since she got here.

This is a weird cat bed...
Bunsen, aka Mr. B, is the resident love master.  Almost every cat has been the target of his, um, affection, usually with the same end results.  Car rides seem to bring this out in him a bit more, possibly because his victims have been drugged.  Despite these predatory habits, Mr. B is a good cat who loves to meet and greet new people into the house.  He also has taken to pawing at the covers when Daddy is under them to be let in so he can sleep next to somebody warm.

I am not pleased with you.
Nibbler, aka Nibs or Mr. Nibs, is another rescue cat.  Hailing from Louisiana, he has a misshappen back left foot that he absolutely hates you to touch.  Nibs is otherwise very loving and affectionate, especially towards Mama.  Lately he has taken to cheating on her with anyone who happens to stay over in our spare bedroom, probably because the dogs sleep in his room.  Nibs hates the dogs with a passion, especially Layla.  He is also the only cat in our house who will fetch, with shakey mousies or rattley balls being his favorite toys.  Unfortunately, the presence of the dogs has greatly decreased his presence.
I love you man.
Rosco, aka Puppyman, is my first dog.  Although not a rescue, he is the best pup anyone could ask for.  Outgoing and personable, he is still very much a puppy and loves to run and play.  Rosco knows many tricks and loves to be cuddled and loved on.  He and Layla are the resident bunny and squirrel chasers.

So, those are the usual suspects.  There are some others who will make appearances later on in the blog (like puppy cousins and cat cousins), as well as some memorial blog posts for pets who have moved on (like Spanky, Whittie, and probably some others I've forgotten).  But since it's already been an hour I think I'm going to end it here.  Stay tuned for more!