Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Going through the "Fat Al Gore" stage of life

Memorial Day has passed. I didn't go anywhere, primarily because I had to stay at my sister's house and babysit their dogs while they are in New Mexico. I caught a great show at O'Leevers on Sunday. I caught X-Men 3 (woah, tons of gay subtext there! - an antidote that can prevent people from being mutants, even though many believe that being a mutant is not abnormal and shouldn't be treated as a virus, yet some are willing to take the antidote so they can finally fit in and have the life that is so coveted for hundreds of millions of people: a life with a spouse, house, two kids, two dogs, enough cash in the family for one person to stay at home and care for the kids and dogs - no alarms and no surprises).

I didn't do anything health-wise. I haven't really since I surrendered Friedman. I ran the dogs, took the dogs to the dog park (they shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of my apathy). But in general, I've been on auto-pilot. In my defense, it's been hellishly humid in Omaha and my allergies are raging. Running while sneezing your brains out is right up there with having an allergy attack with no kleenex in an awkward situation (such as doing a presentation in front of your peers).

This weekend, beer has replaced wine. I've ate fast food more this weekend than I do in a month (think I hit McDonald's, Arby's and Wendy's once in the past five days) - and even Village Inn for a Sunday breakfast. One-and-a-half hours on the X-Box replaced my one-and-a-half hour workout. Triscuits and organic peanut butter has replaced spinich and cauliflower. In essence, I've been a slug.

I went on a bit of a buying spree, buying bedsheets for a wedding gift for a good friend of mine, then I bought the Dixie Chicks' new one partly out of curiosity, partly out of obligation (any group that can piss off the right and elicit protests from mainstream country radio has my initial respect). I also bought Jack White's latest side project. I knew this was just me compensating - trying to fill a void. And, of course, this type of therapy always ends up with you feeling all the more emptier (especially when it comes to your wallet).

I went to a bookstore this weekend and browsed Dave Remnick's book Reporting. It's a collection of some of his best stories for the New Yorker. One of the interviews was with Al Gore - the post 2000 election loss Al Gore. In the interview, Remnick described how Al Gore sort of let himself go after the election. He traveled to Greece and a few other spots, but when he came back, he grew his famous 'grizzly' beard, put on weight and generally looked like a guy who was going through a divorce. But Gore has cleaned himself up and this year, he's practically a rock star with his film An Inconvient Truth (which I'm expecting the inevitable backlash. Remember all the raves about Fahrenheit 9/11? By the time the Academy Awards announced their nominations, that film went from being considered for 'Best Picture' to being dismissed as leftist propoganda).

In short, Gore has come back. I think everyone goes through their "fat Al Gore" stages of life - especially those who try to write/act/perform for a living. I'm currently going through mine right now. But I'm doing my best to make this stage last a few days, not a few months.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The first night...

Coming home today was hard. I knew Friedman was gone and in a loving family's home. But walking down the steps to my apartment, smelling the wooden scents of my apartment and expecting a mellow dog to stare at me when I unlocked the door, but the towels that draped his crate would have been chewed up from his two-hour tamper tantrum after I locked the door and went to work. I watched the season finale of '24' alone and there was no headstrong presence to ram their body into my side and make room for himself on the couch.

I have decided how essential it is for me to get my ass back into journalism. But right now, it's all about healing. I plan on volunteering for Weimaraner Rescue, but right now, it's all I can do to make sure the carpet is clean of the towels he ripped to shreads, the bits of dog food in the kitchen are swept up and the 30-foot-long leash outside is boxed up and ready to go when I move out of this apartment.

So, like a dog, I'm sitting now with all of this frustrated energy. Two vodka tonics dulled the pain, but now what am I going to do for the next seven months? Take on another technical writing job to pay for the bills that I racked up when I bought this great dog? Hone my journalism skills by immersing myself in books like Gay Talese's new one or David Remnick's book, 'Reporting'? Splurge for a gym membership? Try to run another triathalon? Volunteer at the Weimaraner rescue?

Right now - all I want to do is sit and listen to Whiskeytown and Beck and hope the cliche of 'Time heals all wounds' eventually reaches me.

Friday, May 19, 2006

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

I'm at my desk and it feels like I've swallowed a rock. I've cried two times today.
I woke up, wondering how to handle my new dog. The whining when I have to crate him when I leave. The futility of making the crate appealing. The fear of neighbor complaints.

Heartland Weimaraner Rescue, based out near Kansas City, gave me some great hints. For instance, refer to www.caninelullabies.com if you want a CD that plays soothing lullabies under the backdrop of a mother's heartbeat. Try kenneling the pup throughout the day, but gradually increasing the time you spend away.

But she called and said she didn't want to pressure me, but a perfect family has inquired about adopting a puppy Weimaraner. The mom stays at home. The dad is a cop. There is another dog to play with. They have kids, a back yard and a loving family. It's more than I can give him. And so, with only two weeks under my belt, I give up Friedman, knowing he is going to a place that I cannot provide right now.

I do this with some comfort. Great comfort in that I know he's going to a great family. I do this knowing I didn't send the dog to the Humane Society (A great organization, but too often abused by people who use it as a dumping ground for pets beyond their control. I can't judge, but if you're in a position where you can no longer keep your pets, please, please inquire into nearby rescue operations before going to the Humane Society. It's costlier, but it will usually give you more piece of mind).

I thought I was numb to music. Lyrics haven't affected me recently, with the exception of Neko Case. Now, almost any song I hear scraps me. Sort of like hearing a general lyric like "I won't forget you..." - and then you get in a situation such as a death or a catastrophic breakup, and all of a sudden, those so-called pedestrian lyrics take on the weight of glass daggers.

I'm picturing my dog running in an open field right now to the tune of the Beatles' Blackbird...

Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life / You were only waiting for this moment to arive
Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life / You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Even boyish Emo-rock...something I'm supposed to be immune to, is moving me to tears, thinking of the Sunday where I give my first dog away...

Hold me in your freezin' arms / Before we have to go.
I wince a little, but it's not because I know the truth / The windshield of your little car is frosted through the glass
A clear heart of air appears as we shiver on the seats / It's the same(It's the same, the same) - Snow Patrol

Heartland Weimaraner Rescue

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

No one said it was going to be easy...

...but no one said it would be this hard.
- S. Crow

The dog has made two messes since he's come into my apartment. I know an apartment is a shitty place for a weimaraner, but I've enrolled him in obediance courses, taken him running in the morning and after work (extensively), gave him two other dogs to play with at my sister's and - like a new dad - am home every night now.

It's terrifying. It is like having a kid. You now are that being's life. I came home and was greeted by a letter from my previous residence saying we owed them a new carpet. Bulls**t - but I don't have the documentation to back it up. Folks - let this be a life lesson. Take pictures of everything and take them to a place where they can date them - because the bigger rental residences will totally f**k you over.

It's about $650. That greeted me as I was desperately trying to establish trust with this new bundle of massive energy known as a weimaraner. When stuff goes bad, you wait for the other shoe to drop. It's that unexpected $500 you owe in books for class that wipes out your account, then all of a sudden, you worry about that little hesitation your engine does at the stoplight.
"Oh sh**, anything but this right now. Just keep running for another few months..."

Me, I'm waiting for the neighbors to complain about the dog noise. The apartment allows dogs, so you should be allowed some liberties. And it's not like I'm at the bars at night - leaving the dog to flounder in the crate. But I'm waiting for the first complaint. Then the harsh "resolve this or face eviction" notice that would force me to give up this new dog, which will turn me into one of those people I have little respect for: those who abandon their pets because they didn't do their homework on them.

I look at this puppy and I know I have to assert some major domination quick before he takes over the house. At the same time, in the back of my head, I'm terrified of those bright, glassy eyes.
"Don't yowl when you're in the crate. You gotta stay in the crate if we can get this potty training thing down. I'm not giving up on you..."

I put food in his crate. I occasionally toss snacks in the crate and say "go to your kennel." I never use it for punishment. But at night when I lock him in, he starts crying. I ignore it, then it gets so loud I know the neighbors hear. So I get up and wait for him to stop crying (since if you open the crate immediately, it's totally rewarding their bad behavior). Dog 1, neighbors 0.

Jesus...if this is what pet ownership is like... can't imagine having a kid.

Friday, May 05, 2006

24 hours and counting

First off, I caught Steven Colbert's roast (more like skewering) of President Bush. I watched it for about ten minutes then had to turn it off. Not because it offended me, just that it was almost agonizing to watch. Hearing Colbert's remarks into a room full of press folks and in some instances, you could hear a pen (or recorder) drop.

Everyone is saying this was offensive, but I stand behind Colbert. After all, this was a president who filmed a video of him looking around in the White House for WMDs while civilians and troops that HE sent off to war were getting killed in Iraq while he was filming this joke for the press correspondence dinner.

It's Friday. I'm going to my ex-girlfriend's poetry slam tonight. She wants me to meet her fiance. I dated her when she was in the "drinking Jack and Coke, partying her ass off and blasting Tori Amos and Etta James at 1:30 in the morning" stage in her life. Now, she hosts tons of open mic nights and has published a few poetry books. She doesn't drink anymore and she works out. This is the stage that her fiance is getting. The "healthy, successful" stage.

I will not have a date tonight. And I want to meet her fiance because we've been practically best friends since we broke up almost nine years ago. I will watch a poetry slam for a great cause (Amnesty International), maybe grab a drink after and then go home and get my home ready for my new arrival on Saturday.

I'm feverishly trying to throw as many CDs and junk out to make room for Friedman (named after Thomas Friedman). I bought a radio for work, so I can bring my radio home so Friedman can listen to white noise during the day to curb his separation anxiety. I rented a car and bought a blanket so I can rub it on the mother so Friedman can have something that smells like his mom.

I've had roommates before. But I've never lived with someone that was totally reliant on my being there to care for them. It's a scary premise. Sleepless nights, failed toilet trainings, obedience training... I'm getting sort of freked.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Movies and a Will and Grace tangent

I moved this weekend. I also threw out about a dumpster worth of CDs (converted to a CD envelope), magazines I'll never read again (see the Spin magazine with the Vines on the cover) and a few pieces of furniture. The place is slowly becoming more weimaraner friendly.

After moving, I realized that this week is going to be hellishly busy. I'm also getting a dog, so my time will be even more limited. So, if there was any time I could watch United 93, it had to be Sunday afternoon. First off, see the movie. As much as it sickens me that FOX News and Rush Limbaugh are exploiting the movie and calling it "their own" (e.g. liberals don't need to watch the movie since they question the president's actions). I chose to see it alone, since I was close to a theater and it was a snap decision. While in line, I saw my ex-boyfriend with someone else in line. About ten people were ahead of me and my clothes were littered with cardboard dust and scum from moving. Fortunatley, he didn't see me.

I'm self-conscious. No one wants to run into their ex in a movie theater when that ex has a date (or even friends) and you're flying solo. I did a little assessment while I was waiting in line. The first petty thought was that they were probably going to see American Dreamz or Silent Hill. "I'm" seeing the important movie...

His boyfriend had an eyebrow piercing. A strike against him. I thought briefly that my ex would be missing a really intense conversation with me at a coffee shop after the United 93 movie about how the only way to make a movie like this was to remove sentimentality. While this guy will probably just take him to a mall, split an Oreo Blizzard and browse the shops for stuff they don't need.

Still - you need that every now and then.

I needed to see something that I was told by most critics on rottentomatoes.com was a great film. And it was. The theater was silent when the lights came up. It's a cathartic movie. Definitely check it out.

Will and Grace tangent...

Will and Grace is going off the air. The same fate as Queer as Folk. Both shows have been criticized from within the gay community. Personally, both of these shows are like gay bars. They are criticized incessantly (heyah, I've done my share of criticizing), but they are like that friend or family member that usually doesn't come to your aid, but you wind up going to their shows, their poetry readings or their basketball games to cheer them on. As much as we criticize shows that play up the gay stereotype too much, when they're gone - they will be missed.