Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Well, maybe not for the turkeys

Just wanted to tell all my wonderful readers that I hope it will be a Happy Thanksgiving for you!

Stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. And dinner should be great - my Mom is making... reservations!

Of course, that means I'll have to dress up. Sigh.

And it's snowing. Right before my 200-mile drive. Double sigh.

I was thinking of driving home tonight, to beat the weather, rather than tomorrow early afternoon after the weather. But it's apparently already snowing. So it looks like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.

This just isn't my week.

Still, I have a lot to be thankful for. Not the least of which is the parental types. So the least I can do is survive the drive home to see them. I hope they'll still be thankful for me when I leave.

So enjoy the stuffing, and really - take a minute or two to think of everything you have to be thankful for. I know things aren't always easy in this game of Life, and anything wrong can really feel like it's important, now matter how trivial you "know" it really is. (Believe me, after this week...)

But I'm thankful for lots of things.

• My life, even if it's not perfect. It's good enough to get me by, and then some.
• My family, without whom I'd have nothing and be nothing.
• My friends, without whom I'd be either more or less crazy, depending. I'm not going to name names, because I'll leave somebody out.
• My little almost-kinda-nephew, Ben, and his sisters, Charlotte and Ellie. For either making me want children more, or less, depending. And just for being them.
• My job, which challenges me even as it wears me down. And pays well. And lets me hang around with some pretty fine people.
• My house, which is slowly but surely becoming a home.
• The men and women who worked on the Babylift and served in Vietnam. I'm here, aren't I? I didn't swim.
• The recycling people, who let me put out my cardboard without cutting it up, just this once. (It's not just the big things, people!)
• My dreams, which keep me going. My imagination, which starts me on the journey. My intelligence, which lets me overthink the journey the entire way. Well, maybe not that last one. But in any event, my gifts from God.
• The everyday heroes, who keep me safe and inspire me. Policemen, soldiers, firefighters, doctors, nurses and, Friday, the department-store clerks.
• The new Atlanta aquarium. And aquariums everywhere. Except the sucky ones.
• The Internet, for helping me meet awesome people, and get dates with girls.
• The Oakland Raiders. 'Nuff said.
• Joe Ripple and Don Dohler, the men behind Timewarp Films, for giving me the experience of a lifetime working with them on "Dead Hunt."
• Morgan Jay Dog. This man's best friend, in many ways. Most of them involving licking my face. I miss my puppy.
• Movies and DVDs, which rock. And books, which rock even harder.
• The NHL, which is back and better than ever. Plus my Strat-o-matic hockey game (both versions).
• My car. Even if it's still costing me money. She's my girl, and temperamental and bitchy like all the other ones I've loved.
• Music... and iTunes, since I still haven't figured out how to afford my iPod. But I *am* thankful I can pay my bills! And almost on time. Sometimes.
• The little things. Because they're what make my day. Especially if they're free, or toys. Like the cartoon book I found at work the other day. It made me smile.
• Munkees. And bunnies. And bunnymunkees.
• And of course, paid vacation days. I'm off 'til Tuesday! (Who might sum this post up best: "Coming up close, everything sounds like 'Welcome home.'")

There's probably lots and lots more, but I've got a long drive ahead of me. You get the idea, I hope. Now, smile and pass the turkey legs!

So, in conclusion (the two lamest transitions ever, for the price of one!)...

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful you're reading this. Be safe, and happy, and healthy, y'all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Random referral

In the interests of time, and to spare you from continued bitching (today, car repairs!) and lamenting about putting out my Massive Mountain o' Recycling instead of watching my Big Box o' Buffy tonight, I'll just post a random link to a random blog I found on Freak's links list.

Boobs, injuries and Dr Pepper

Why this one? Well, I clicked on it because it sounded funny, boobs being something I like, injuries being something I'm too familiar with and Dr Pepper either being a sickly-sweet soda or a sickly-sweet mixed (?!) drink that I've drank either way.

(recipe for Dr Pepper, the drink, near as I could tell back in '00: drive to Canada with underage-in-U.S. girl. get hotel room across street from bar. go to bar. order a beer, then drink half. take remaining half-glass of beer, drop a shotglass full of amaretto in. chug. watch out for the shotglass hitting your teeth. repeat often. then try to walk home across much-busier-than-though street. sleep. drive home.)

So with this blog, when I see posts with titles like "Hockey and A New Way To Tell Someone That They're Retarded" I was hooked.

Lady's blog almost makes me wish I had kids - it would probably make this blog more entertaining, although this blog is probably a prime argument for why I SHOULDN'T have kids.

And any woman who'll discuss how and why she shaves in her blog deserves some kind of praise.

Meanwhile, time to prepare the severance package for my Cardboard Sherpas.

A guide to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the TV version
Dr Pepper, the soda

If I don't post by Thanksgiving, I probably won't until next week. Consider yourselves warned. I'm going home for the holiday, and to bury my dog.

I cried last night thinking about how if I went home early and slept in the guest bed it would be the first time I ever slept in that bed without him jumping on, licking my face, stepping on my head and eventually curling up next to me to sleep.

This is doing wonders for my depression. Not.

Monday, November 21, 2005

In case I haven't been cranky enough lately...

Allow me to spend a moment bitching about the lovely piece of shit, er, I mean, piece of hardware I like to think of as my iBook.

Earlier this week, I was trying to fix my fonts. I bought some new ones and was trying to remove some old ones. Yummy.

Instead of installing fonts, I wound up reinstalling my entire operating system. And downloading all the updates. That I'd already downloaded and installed.

Whatever I did, the computer wouldn't freakin' start. Literally it wouldn't run the finder. God bless Mac OS X for coming with a system restore disc. So all I really lost was time.

Eight freakin' hours. Midnight to 8 a.m. Then off to work on three hours' sleep. I almost fell asleep driving to work. I almost fell asleep at work. I almost fell asleep driving home.

If you were in the car next to me, I apologize for the dreadful, loud singing. Beats swerving into your lane, snoring.

Anyway, just when that crisis passes - and I get the fonts I want up and running (yay!) - tonight, my Entourage e-mail program bombs.

Totally. Not loading.

So I've been fucked by Apple AND Microsoft this week. I haven't gotten this much action in years.

This time, there were casualties.

I wound up reinstalling my entire Microsoft Office suite. Which wouldn't really matter much, in fact, would amount to only redoing my Word toolbars, which I customize like crazy, except...

I lost all of my saved e-mail.

Fortunately, I'm not one to keep every e-mail ever written to me. In fact, I delete about 90% of what I get after I read and/or reply, and that's not including the spam.

But I did lose my archive. And that's sad.

Not because most of my mail-order receipts were in there. I can get my order status online from places like Amazon.

Not because I lost a few shareware password codes from actually paying and registering. I'm sure I can track those down, too, if push comes to shove.

Not because I lost my goofy quotes for my sig files and had to type them back in.

But because I lost the notes and jokes from people I'd carefully saved, sometimes for years.

There were notes of congratulations, nice notes from my parents, some of my father's reminiscences. A lot of nice remarks from the cast and crew of "Dead Hunt," to me and in general. Those hurt.

But I have the memories - it's not like I didn't read them or cherish them. And it's not like I've never lost anything before.

Just one more frustration in a frustrating week. Another bad end to a good weekend.

Since Morgan died, I've been kind of sad to begin with, so maybe I'm taking this a little harder than I should.

And of course I know this is a teeny-tiny problem compared to so many other people's. But you know how it is - when something bad happens to YOU, no matter how small, you get frustrated or aggravated. And it's been an aggravating week.

I mean, this week's Thanksgiving, and I do have a lot to be thankful for.

It's just right now, I could use a hug. And a nap. And some ice cream.

Sigh. I guess it was just my turn to be Charlie Brown this week.

Links:; I sure got the worm in the Apple this week, didn't I?
Typography and design, which might explain my font addiction
Wayne Fontes, just because
Damn you, Entourage, you betrayer!
Timewarp Films - "Dead Hunt" is coming soon!
Lastly, Charlie Brown and his football

Why the good weekend, you ask? Well, Ed and I got a jump-start on our yearly tradition of spending an entire weekend learning and playing the latest "Smackdown" video game, this year dubbed "Smackdown vs. Raw 2006." We both happened to be free this weekend - our big weekend is scheduled for next month, so we got a lot done (the create-a-wrestler is tough), plus we watched a bunch of movies and ate some bad-for-us food.

Plus, the Raiders won! So at least some things are well in the world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I couldn't make this up if I wanted to

So I saw this "Cute Animal Quiz" on Freakmagnet's blog (where she got it from somebody else) and I took the quiz.

I swear to you, I answered as honestly as my juvenile side would allow, and I had no idea of the possible results.

And this is what I got:

You Are A: Monkey!

monkeyMonkeys are intelligent and agile, well-adapted for jungle life as they swing happily from tree to tree. As a monkey, you are a social animal who eats a wide range of food, is quick to learn new things and loves to climb. A monkey's tiny primate features are irresistable, as is his gregarious personality!

You were almost a: Bear Cub or a Kitten
You are least like a: Chipmunk or a DucklingDiscover What Cute Animal You Are!

Yes, I'm still waiting for my stinking laundry to finish. Sigh. I'm going to bed. It'll just have to be wrinkled.

I should point out, based on statistics, "monkey" is the No. 1 most common result of the Cute Animal Quiz. One more reason munkees rule!

10 (dix) Questions

So I was watching a commercial for "Inside the Actors Studio," and it made me want to look up the 10 questions James Lipton, the host, asks at the end of each show.

It turns out, some Internet research uncovered, that these questions were originated by a French guy, Bernard Pivot, on his own show, "Bouillon de Culture."

(The classic "Three Kings" joke about Kuwaiti bullion: "No, not the little cubes you put in hot water to make soup.")

So here are the 10 questions, and my answers. Since I'll probably never find myself inside the Actors Studio, except maybe in the audience.

01. What is your favorite word?
Monkey. (Duh.)

02. What is your least favorite word?
The n-word. It can be so uncomfortable, and wrong.

03. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Creatively: Brilliance in art. Magnificence, uniqueness.
Spiritually: Love, I know it sounds odd, but that gives me faith.
Emotionally: Comfort, warmth, touch.

04. What turns you off?
Fat women in tight clothes. Haha. Really, ugliness, not just in the physical sense.

05. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck, and all its uses and variations. How do they answer this one on TV? I haven't watched the show that much.

06. What sound or noise do you love?
Applause. The cheer of the crowd. Or maybe that soft noise the girl you love makes when she snuggles up against you in the dark. Is that a moan? A purr? A grunt?

07. What sound or noise do you hate?
Anything loud and unexpected.

08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Actor. (That's probably one no one ever says on "Inside the Actors Studio.") Astronaut. Salvage diver. Locksmith. Hockey player. I've got a million of 'em. I'm not counting screenwriter. I think that counts as one I've done.

09. What profession would you not like to do?
Plumber. Nothing against them, but I'm not playing in other people's shit for a living.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Ideally, "Come on in, we've got ice cream!" But I'd take, "You did alright." I'm not sure I'm going to make it, though. I hope so.

Here's where I got the questions from
"Inside the Actors Studio"
James Lipton
Bernard Pivot

Feel free to list your own answers in the comments, or put 'em on your blog and let me know. We're stimulating thought today, while we wait for our laundry to dry. And yes, that's the royal "we."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans, I salute you

Those of you who know me know how I feel about the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who serve our country.

Today, on Veterans Day, let's remember the sacrifices and strength of those who risk their lives to keep us free.

Particularly, for me, the sacrifices of our Vietnam veterans are at the forefront of my mind on a day like this.

And, too, those who are overseas now, fighting in the Middle East. Whether or not we agree with the war, the just and right thing to do is support our troops. Let's get the job done and get them home!

So, veterans, I salute you. God bless you, and thanks.

Veterans Day
America supports its veterans

And while we're remembering people, let's pause for a moment to think of Moustapha Akkad, the producer of the eight "Halloween" movies, who was killed in the recent terrorist bombings in Jordan, along with his daughter, Rima Akkad Monla. Rest in Peace, and thanks for the memories, Mr. Akkad. Those of you who know me know my love for horror movies, and this truly is a loss to the horror world. My sympathies to the Akkad family, and the families of all those lost in this tragedy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Down with the Lounge-ness

Today I heard one of the funniest albums I've gotten in ages, "Tuxicity" by Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.

You may have heard some of his music if you've seen what they call the "f***ing huge" movie, "Dawn of the Dead" (the remake).

Lounge Against the Machine is a cover band - and they cover metal, rap and alterna-rock rearranged as lounge music.

No, I'm not kidding.

"Down With the Sickness," the song that played over the montage-of-boredom scene in DOTD, was originally done by Disturbed, and if you listened to their version (over the closing credits) you'd know exactly what I mean.

It's so ridiculous, it made me laugh hysterically all the way to work (I was playing the CD in the car).

Richard Cheese has about four more albums, and I'm tempted to buy them all. The only problem is, if you haven't heard the originals, the lounge versions aren't half as funny. But if you have...!

The Cheese stuff reminds me of the worst CD I've ever heard: Pat Boone's "In a Metal Mood" cover album. Very similar music, the difference is, Cheese is trying to be funny. Boone wasn't.

When I reviewed that Boone CD, I remember writing that when I played it out loud, Michelle burst out laughing and Morgan (RIP, puppy!) started whimpering.

We passed that Boone CD around the office for weeks, until somebody either lost it or (yikes!) took it home for keeps. It was just disgracefully bad, these big-band/lounge covers of metal songs like "Paradise City" and "Smoke on the Water."

But Cheese just has this tone about him that tells you from the get-go that he's being a goof, and his cheerful swearing or random riffing (when covering Britney Spears' "Crazy," he basically winds up pointing out she's hot and he'd do her) just add to the surrealism. I mean, a lounge version of "Baby Got Back"?

Strange how it's all how you take yourself, isn't it? A fine line between parody and just straight-up humiliation. It's no wonder Zack Snyder (director of DOTD) fought to use it.

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine
"Dawn of the Dead," the 2004 version
Pat Boone's fall from grace into metal
An interview with Zack Snyder, which mentions the DOTD music

I can't think of any witty closer here. I miss my dog.

Election Day

Today was Election Day in New Jersey, home of one of the disgustingly-filthiest gubernatorial races I've ever seen.

I love Election Day. It was more of thrill when I was working newsside, at least professionally, but it's one of those days that I really enjoy as a citizen.

I know that sounds trite, but I feel like voting is one of the great responsibilities of a citizen of the United States - and having been naturalized, I've grown to appreciate that citizenship more than I think I would if it were a birthright.

And something I've noticed as I've gotten older and particularly now that I'm a homeowner is that I pay a lot more attention to the issues on a local level than I used to.

I'm a registered Democrat, and I often vote more-or-less party line. I'm a moderate liberal, what I think of as a blue-collar liberal, that is to say, very conservative on some issues, but generally liberal on most.

Thing is, I live in a blue state, but in a red county, as it were. For instance, Democrat Jon Corzine handily won the governorship tonight, despite recent polls that showed Republican Doug Forrester was closing the gap.

But my Assemblymen (state legislators) and Congressman are both Republicans who have won easily the past couple of times out.

And I find myself feeling very parochial at the ballot booth sometimes.

For instance, in two elections I've supported one of the GOP Assemblymen in a couple of elections now, because he's from Hillsborough, the township where I live, and I feel like he keeps the best interests of the township in mind.

On the other hand, there was a very divisive issue regarding the township governance this year, and I'm curious to see how it turned out - the Democrats championed the change, while the GOP was in favor of the status quo, or at least opposed to the change.

I also found I have very different feelings about politics and politicians from a national and local standpoint. For instance, I voted for Corzine when he ran for U.S. Senate a few years back; but I didn't vote for him for governor today.

I agree with many of his political positions, but I didn't feel like he was someone who could relate to the average state resident, such as myself.

(Disclaimer: This is just me talking, not my employer, etc., don't fire me!)

The point isn't really who I support, but my fascination with how I've evolved as a voter. It pleases me that I give the issues some thought and try to read up on the candidates, etc. (I voted for one candidate because he is gay, and I think diversity in office has its advantages; I'm sure he didn't win.)

On the other hand, it sort of amazes me that I'm far more conservative on some issues than I thought I was. My parents are quite liberal, generally speaking, and staunch Democrats, for the most part. So I became a Democrat when I started voting, and I actually do generally agree with their positions, if not always their character.

I always joke that in New Jersey politics, the problem is, the Democrats are corrupt and the Republicans are crazy.

But the thing is, on a local level, I don't think many national issues I care about are really important - it's not like the Hillsborough Township committee has any effect on abortion or the death penalty or gun control. So I tend to support the local guys who seem most interested in doing what's best for me, as a property owner in Hillsborough/Somerset County.

And sometimes, that sort of bothers me. My parents raised me to think of others, but it seems like a selfish viewpoint. On the other hand, my quarterly property tax bill is the same as their yearly one, and it's not like any of these other people are paying my mortgage. Nothing wrong with trying to support the right people who will do what I want on the local issues, like build the Route 206 bypass and get the mercury out of the township.

I think I've written about this before, but it's what's on my mind tonight, on account of it being election night and all.

I guess time will tell what becomes of the governor-elect, and the daylight will show how the other things turned out. I know I'll be eager to see the paper tomorrow and find out.

Links:'s election results
The N.J. Division of Elections

"Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country." ~Ambrose Bierce (quote cheerfully swiped from

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The end of an era

My dog died today.

I cried.

He's been sick for a while (see previous post) and I really expected it. But it still hurts.

He was one of the last tangible aspects of another life that I had left.

He was her dog.

But then he was mine. And my parents'. Ours.

I didn't make Morgan the butt of jokes. Morgan made Morgan the butt of jokes. But I think he enjoyed it. He loved attention. He needed attention.

Morgan entered my life because I wasn't paying attention, and to indulge my fiancee, I let her wander around the pet store. I got distracted, and when I looked up, she was gone.

Well, she wasn't gone. She was in the little pet-tryout room, playing with a dachshund puppy.

The little room had a bench, and Michelle was sitting on the bench, and this little runt puppy-mill puppy was running in circles on the floor, building up momentum.

Then he'd leap for the bench.

And he'd hit, about halfway down his little body, and the front paws would scrabble and scramble for purchase. And then his eyes would go wide, and he'd fall backward, slow-motion movie style, still flailing at the air, and land on his head. And then start running around again, sure he'd make it this time.

I finally told her to sit on the floor before she broke him and I'd have to buy him.

So she sat on the floor, with her purse, and he immediately grabbed it by the strap in his teeth and started running in circles again.

Shortly thereafter, I was $1,000 lighter and one dachshund, plus equipment, heavier.

Morgan was never what you'd call bright. But he was enthusiastic, curious and shockingly clever. Not to mention loyal.

The crazy lady who lived downstairs from me and Michelle hated him. But she didn't always take her medicine.

And when she didn't take her medicine, she hated Michelle, too.

And while I don't think Morgan really cared that she'd threaten to poison him, when she'd yell at Michelle (loud enough we could hear her through the floor), he'd growl at the floor and bark and bark.

One day I actually had to pull him away from her, she was screeching that he'd bite her he was growling and barking so loud.

Mind you, this is a dog about a foot long and 10 pounds. Not very intimidating, except that he had a big bark for a little dog.

He had a big dick, too, relatively speaking. Something I noticed because after about a month, he'd greet me and Michelle when we came home, with a raging erection. You had to back off, stand there a bit, and THEN you could pick him up.

You can't get dogs fixed until they're 6 months old. He got fixed on his half-year birthday.

Oddly, he was never a humper - except other dogs - never legs, nothing. He was just happy to see us, I guess.

At least by that point, he was staying barricaded in the kitchen.

It took about three years to housebreak Morgan. In the beginning - after an ill-advised attempt to follow advice and lock him in his crate, where he allegedly wouldn't go... the theory being you don't shit where you sleep... proven wrong when we found him covered in poo, along with everything else in the crate - we barricaded him in the galley kitchen (only one way in/out) and newspapered the floor.

That was a hell of a run-on, eh? Well, I'm drinking.

So anyway, the first thing we did was block him in with his crate. That worked about twice, and sure enough, I got home from work, and he was standing at the top of the steps, wagging his tail and waiting for me, having pooped on the rug and eaten everything he could reach (including, in one incident, the earpiece of my glasses and an ENTIRE HAT BRIM).

Turned out he'd finally gotten big enough he could leap onto the top of the crate, and hop down on the outside.

We caught him when we put the laundry basket on the other side of the crate - thinking he was somehow moving the crate out of the way - and he was yipping before we even got out the door. Having, of course, hopped on to the crate, gone to hop off, and promptly fallen into the basket, where he couldn't get out.

So we bought a baby gate.

By the third time I found him at the top of the steps (wondering how in the hell he could jump 4' in the air when he was only about 8" high) I realized that I, a college honors graduate, was being outsmarted by a dog with a brain the size of a hacky-sack.

I finally caught on... he'd chewed through the gate, just enough to wiggle through, and wiggled.

I duct-taped the gate. Both sides. The entire gate.

By the time Morgan went to live with my parents, the duct tape, top center, was being pulled from the wood frame in such a way that it was obvious he was so desperate to get out, he was literally hanging from the duct tape by his teeth.

About a year after we got Morgan, Michelle and I broke up. And I gave her the dog. He was her dog, after all.

She had him three days before he pooped on the rug and her new landlord told her that either the dog went, or she went. (By went, I mean, had to go, I don't mean the landlord thought she pooped on the rug.)

Morgan, by the way, is named after my favorite liquor, Capt. Morgan Spiced Rum. Michelle had a friend who named her dog Kahlua, and insisted we give the dog an alcohol name.

She called him Morgan Jay Foofpuppy Dog (he was Morgan Jay Dog, like her favorite cartoon, Michigan J. Frog). And I called him that up until the last time I saw him. Not all the time. Just when we'd talk about her. I really do think he missed her. He remembered things. He barked at everyone who ever came to my parents' door, for eight years. He never barked when I came home, even though I see them maybe once a month, if that.

He was a foofpuppy.

Anyway, Michelle had to get rid of the dog. She cried, too, when she gave him back to me.

Of course, by then, the crazy neighbor lady was speaking to me again. (Later, a few months after Michelle had left, she asked me, "whatever happened to your wife? I liked her." I damn near punched her in the mouth.)

I should point out that while the crazy neighbor lady hated him, and he her, the little girl up the townhouse row, whose mother had just died of cancer, loved him, and he her. She'd pull his ears and his tail, and he'd chase her around. I'd like to think it helped her a little. They moved away eventually, but he was always good with children.

Aside, Morgan was a black-and-tan shorthair. So there was this big rottweiler who lived in the complex, same coloring and marking. And Morgan used to follow him around, and I always thought Morgan must have been thinking he was going to be that big when he grew up. Later, he always seemed sort of disappointed when he saw bigger dogs, I guess because his puppyhood ambition went unfulfilled.

But there I was, just me and the dog, again.

He had one friend, my buddy Pat's cat, Mocca. They were about the same size, and he'd chase Mocca around, until he caught her, then he'd try to bite her on the head. Then she'd claw him, hiss, and start chasing him.

He was never really a traditional dog. I bought this bitter apple stuff that you're supposed to spray on wires so dogs won't chew them. So one day, when I was trying to train him not to bark at something, I sprayed him in the mouth with it, just a little squirt. I figured that'd teach him. Instead, a couple of barks and sprays later, he was licking the nozzle of the can. He liked it.

Frankly, he never met anything he didn't like to try and eat.

I'll never forget an angry vet, on call at 7 a.m. Christmas morning, the day Morgan rang in the only Christmas I ever spent with Michelle by waking us up at 6 a.m. to show us how much a small dog can vomit at once.

She gave him a carrot while making Christmas Eve dinner. Guess he didn't like it.

Then there was the time Michelle dropped a jalapeno popper. If there was one word Morgan accepted as a challenge (and Lord knows, it wasn't "sit" or "fetch") it was "No!"

Well, we both yelled "NO!" and he still scarfed it down. One bite.

I've never seen an animal's eyes bug out before. But it's a good thing he could run, because he was off to the water dish in a flash!

Anyway, so that whole fiasco with the neighbor lady is how he ended up living with my parents. I moved, and couldn't find another place that would take pets. So they kept him. With them being retired and all, no more being locked in the kitchen for eight-plus hours a day.

And they gave him a better life than I ever could. He had a small bladder, and they walked him every three hours whether he needed it or not. They're good parents. I've said that before.

I could tell stories all day.

Morgan used to fall off their couch. He'd roll around and around, and thud. And he'd get up, shake himself, and then jump back onto the couch.

He'd walk under the coffee table, and hit his head.

You could even make him do it. And he'd wander out the other side with this sheepish look on his face.

See, he always popped his head up when you said "Mor-gan!" Or pretty much anything in that sing-songy two-syllable tone. For about the first three months of his life, I think he thought his name was Biscuit, because that was the only way to get him to stop doing anything. Food.

So if you said his name right when he was under the dangly part of the coffee table, he'd poke his head up and THUD!

He was a licker. If it was bare skin, he'd lick it. Ankles, arms, faces. His own nose. Constantly licking. When not chewing.

Then there was the time he found a dead squirrel outside. I had to reel him in on the leash. Dachshunds were bred to hunt small animals (the name is German for badger hound).

And in one of his last adventures, he was out for a walk with my Mom - he once took her all the way around the Bloom U campus, then collapsed within sight of home, all four legs out to the side, SPLAT. Mom had to carry him the rest of the way.

Hell, with those short little legs, he used to run laps of my parents' house - he probably got more exercise in a day than I get in a month.

But on that fateful walk, he suddenly started digging under an orange construction barrier on campus. From the other side of the barrier pops up a black-and-white striped tail.

Good thing Mom was walking him, because as I've established, Dad doesn't run. And Mom ran. SKUNK! He'd have ripped the thing to pieces, but probably would have smelled bad for the rest of his life.

One thing Morgan never got - heck, one of many things he never got - was what I called "leash dynamics." As a puppy, he'd run in circles around the legs of whoever was walking him, hog-tying them so they couldn't walk. Michelle actually fell on her butt once - she fell down a lot - and it was funny as hell, at least until she caught me laughing.

But he never understood that a leash was finite. He used to wheeze occasionally, almost like an asthma attack, and the vets finally figured out he'd dented his esophagus by running full speed until the leash YANKED! and he flipped up in the air and landed on his head.

Morgan, in one of his oddest characteristics, would look back over one shoulder while he pooped, all embarrassed, as if he didn't want anyone to see.

Morgan moving in with my parents made their cat's life hell. But Shadow, who also died this year, was much smarter than Morgan. And she'd lead him on a merry chase. She'd wait until he was dazed on the couch, sneak down from upstairs, then hit the tile floor running for the basement. He bolt up and start running, but he never caught her.

Except the time he snuck upstairs (past my parents' industrial-grade baby gate) and was wandering around their room when he happened upon a paper grocery bag, and wondering what it was doing there, stuck his face inside.

It was there because it was the favorite napping place of the cat.

Next thing you know, they're both racing down the hallway, so startled neither was actually chasing the other.

And Morgan could run. I always thought he would have made a great weiner dog racer. Stand at the end of a track with a biscuit, I'm thinking, and you'd see he could outrun some greyhounds.

So my parents were never really keen on walking Morgan, especially in the rain or in winter. He hated the rain and sometimes wouldn't even make it out of the front yard before heading for home.

And in the snow, he'd hop like a bunny, trying to keep his tummy dry and relatively warm.

Being a purebreed, he had a very noble profile, but face-on, he always looked like a puppy to me.

And whenever I went home, he'd curl up in bed with me. As a puppy, he loved the soft spots. He'd sit between my legs and rest his head on my stomach. But with Michelle, he'd sit on her stomach and rest his head on her chest. What can I say, 36C. I liked resting my head there, too.

But boy, if I was showing her affection and he wasn't involved, he'd bark up a storm. Good thing we were in the downward spiral - whenever we'd have sex, he'd bark like a fiend - and he couldn't even see us, being as how his crate was at the foot of the bed. Nothing kills an erection like an old woman screeching, "Will you shut that goddamn dog up?" through the floor while you're trying to get a little quality time.

In the end, it was Morgan who had the girlfriend. Some people up the street from my parents have a miniature dachshund girl, and they'd run and play together a lot. He'd always walk up to their house, and if she wasn't outside, he'd bark, experimentally, to see if she'd bark back. But when they were together, they'd chase each other in circles.

I think she'll miss him. He missed Shadow, my parents said. The first while, he'd go looking for her. I guess it's true what they say about how many spouses don't live very long when the other spouse dies.

It's funny how the people/animals with the big hearts always die of broken ones.

Morgan had a huge heart. And in the end, it failed. It only got broken once, like mine, and I think he got over his "mom" better than I ever did. But I know he thought of her until the end. If you even said Michelle, or Mommy, he'd perk up and look around. I guess people and their pets aren't that different after all.

My parents used to take him to visit the nursing home where my Mom's aunt lived (before she died), and he'd entertain the senior citizens. So he was good with everyone, young and old.

My parents almost gave him away once, when the dachshund of a woman Mom worked with died in an accident. They would care for Morgan, and their little daughter would climb into the crate with him. When their dog died, I suggested they could give him to them, since he was a burden on my folks, but my father, of all people, wouldn't give him up. He spent 15 years trying to get the cat to sit on his lap, and Morgan did it so much, he probably spent the better part of 8 years trying to get the dog OFF his lap.

Morgan used to like ice cubes. My Dad would give him one, and he take it and run off and hide it. They never realized he was hiding them (because sometimes he'd just crunch them right up) until the day they found him staring mournfully at the damp spot on the carpet where he'd left his snack for later.

And he used to sit on these blankets - my parents covered their light-colored couch in them - and curl up and sleep underneath them. So you call his name because you couldn't see him, and up would pop his tail, usually the only part not under the blanket, and it would start to wag. So if you said "Morgan" again, up would pop a part of the blanket - his head, like always, looking around. Then he'd struggle in circles 'til he found his way out.

If dogs could smile, he'd be smiling all the time.

I can't type anymore. I'm crying again, and drunk.

I miss my puppy. I always said when his tail stopped wagging, that would be the end.

It stopped wagging this morning, at the hospital. He fought to the end, wagged his tail to the end, then he went to sleep.

Then he was gone.

I miss him so much. I never got to go home to say goodbye. I thought I would at Thanksgiving. And just like when Grandma died a few weeks before I was going to see her.

I just wish I could pet him and talk to him and play with him and just sit there with him, in the dark of night, curled up on the bed, and miss her together.

I hope all dogs do go to Heaven. And I hope there's a big wide open field, and he's running and running, chasing bunnies and squirrels and barking and jumping and wagging his tail.

And I hope St. Peter doesn't mind when he licks his ankles. And I hope the little children love him.

He never understood the concept of the road. And I worried every day that he'd get hit by a car. Thank you, God, for keeping him from that. He died peacefully, and didn't suffer.

And other than that day he said goodbye to Michelle, I don't think he ever suffered. He was a good dog, and happy.

He was registered in her name. And he lived with my parents. But he was mine. And I loved him. And, just like her, I always will. But more, because he never let me down.

• Morgan Jay Foofpuppy Dog: 1996-2005.

Somewhere, in heaven, a long black tail pops up from a cloud, and starts to wag.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Munkee sites of the day!

Having survived the Vioxx verdict (ah, the joy of major breaking news) and in advance of the family reunion this weekend, I'm really too drained to write anything cool. Instead, let me refer you to a pair of entertaining munkee-type sites.

1. Monkey Bunny combines two of the better animals out there. Munkee! Bunny! Bunnymunkee!

2. Hi Monkey! is about the Internet adventures of a terrycloth munkee. Very fun. And British.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Repressed memories?

The past two nights, I've dreamed about my ex-fiancee. Not in a sexual way, or anything, more like a romantic way or relationship way - one night, I had to rescue her from something, I think, and the other one we were together.

I don't know why, suddenly, this happened.

If I say I don't think about her much, that's not entirely true. There's probably some part of me that thinks about her every day. But generally speaking, it's not something at the forefront of my mind. I think most memories I have of her come up in the context of something that reminds me of her, or maybe because of some sense of loneliness in my present life. She's become almost symbolic.

It's not like I haven't had girlfriends since; I've had two real ones, one a pretty intense relationship, and plenty of dates.

Just got me thinking about her. And not even by choice. I can't control my dreams.

But I was really thinking about her. I don't miss the girl who walked out of my life, and the girl she became, at least based on what friends told me. I miss the girl I fell in love with. I miss the girl I loved, in a way I worry I'll never love anyone else.

Like I said, she's become symbolic.

I know, some of you are thinking, "Get over her." That's the weird thing. I feel like I am. I feel like I got over her the next time I loved someone else. So why the dreams?

Maybe I really do miss her.

Maybe I just need to get laid.

Either way, I hope I don't have a third dream tonight. My heart still aches a little when I wake up and she's not there. I guess that means I meant it when I asked her to marry me, and I would have loved her for the rest of my life. Too bad. I keep hoping she won't haunt me until I die.

Yeah. Right. Like I can think of anything to put here.

On the other hand, a bonus link:, which features the addictive "Defend Your Castle" game. Yes, it's all about stick figures. Ever seen me draw? Then you know why I can relate.