Archive for January, 2011

B Movie Review: Otis

January 31, 2011 - 4:33 pm Comments Off

One of the fun things about horror B movies is that they tend to put their trailers on each others’ DVDs, so that a significantly large chunk of the movies we now watch are foreign, independent, or direct-to-DVD B grade whose titles we jotted down from the opening trailers of some hit-or-miss disc or another. As I suppose snobby film fans have known for years, the ratio of quality to drek is surprisingly similar to the Hollywood promoted movies; only the budget is smaller.

This is how we came across Otis, which we likely never would have any other way, and which I’ve never really seen anything quite like. If I had to condense it, I’d say it’s what torture porn would look like as conceived and executed by John Waters.

The basic plot is this: Anytown’s suburbia is being afflicted by a serial killer of the pyschopathic man-child model, the titular Otis. Otis is abducting pretty blonde teenage girls, imprisoning them in his basement dungeon, and forcing them and their parents to act out his fantasy of dating a popular cheerleader, taking her to the prom, and then having his way with her afterward. He names his victims Kim, and when the fantasy inevitably encounters some point of failure, he kills them and hacks them to bits. Once we’ve met Otis, we meet the Lawson family, a two-working parent family with a dyspeptic father, an overworked-but-caring mother, a nihilistic and semi-delinquent teenage son, and a blonde, beautiful teenage daughter. Otis selects the Lawson girl as the new Kim after the previous Kim meets her end, abducts her, and the rest of the movie flows from there. The FBI comes, drama ensues. Things don’t go entirely to Otis’s, or the audience’s, script.

I honestly can’t tell whether the movie couldn’t decide whether it was supposed to be a satire or a straight up horror movie, or if it simply tried to have it both ways at once. It oddly enough DOES work both ways, which is definitely not on the strength of the writing, but rather on the strength of the acting; the writing is mediocre, but the ensemble cast is very strong. Daniel Stern provides an extra dose of weirdness for anyone who watched movies in the late eighties and early nineties, as he’s playing basically the same character he did in them and is definitely more than a little stressed out to be way, way out of genre. If you can imagine a late-middle-age version of the tall burglar from Home Alone coping with his child’s abduction and then coping with finding himself involved in a scene from Hostel on his wife’s insistence, that’s about it.

The scenes with Otis himself and his brother are played straight to genre; Bostin Cristopher manages to make Otis genuinely menacing and genuinely pathetic at the same time, making him come off as an utter loser but still dangerous for all that. His scenes forcing his victims and their parents to “play along”- including his childish glee in saying things like “fuck” out loud- are more than a little stomach-turning. Ileana Douglas manages to pull off a similar trick as mother Lawson, who never quite loses her matronly, mom-next-door vibe even when she’s quite seriously proposing to feed someone a smoothie composed of their own fingers and toes. Ashley Johnson as the abducted daughter does a good job pulling off a mix of terror, contempt, and quick-witted moxie- all the more surprising as she also did an excellent job pulling off vapid and shallow on our first introduction. Jere Burns as an FBI profiler assigned to the “Kim” case manages to pace some of Hollywood’s finest scenery chewers, causing a maddening amount of “Who IS that guy and where is he from?” for us, which we concluded was mostly a case of him doing a good imitation of Dennis Leary and Willem Dafoe, depending on the scene.

If I’m being incredibly unclear, it’s because a large amount of what made this movie work despite its schizophrenic nature was constantly doing things that were just a few degrees off the expected for whatever genre it was currently inhabiting. That the family eventually fights back in their own over-the-top spree of violent revenge is not a particularly devastating spoiler, but a lot of the details of the execution wouldn’t work quite as well seen coming. All in all it was definitely a nice antidote to horror ensemble casts that are designed purely to be killed off one at a time for the audience’s gratification at seeing them finally shut up.

I don’t think it would hold up on repeated viewing, and I don’t intend to test the theory, but it was very definitely worth the first watch. Give it a shot if this sort of thing is your cup of tea.

In Humans, We'd Call This A "Warning Sign"

January 28, 2011 - 5:09 pm Comments Off

As I’ve often gone on about in the past, to a large degree research and science reporting is something like a game of “telephone”, in which the researchers get one result, attach a tentative conclusion after identifying several more questions that beg for answers, and the reporter reads the conclusion and reports it as a newly defined aspect of reality. It also goes to a deeper level in the structure of scientific publishing itself- while the peer review system has been widely and often justly criticized from within, one point that is relatively rarely brought up is that “peer review” is just that; genetics papers are reviewed by other geneticists, developmental papers are reviewed by other developmental biologists, papers done by social psychologists are reviewed by other social psychologists.

The New York Times brings us another classic example of the science-as-Telephone phemonenom, while the paper itself brings us what is perhaps another good example of the peer review system’s limitations.

The paper is about a gene in mice- also found in other mammals, including humans- that is affected by parental imprinting, an epigenetic phenomenon mainly involved in embryonic development in which the expression of alleles is specifically dependent on whether they were inherited from the embryo’s mother or its father. Imprinting is always the extreme minority special case for alleles, but mammals in particular are so dependent on developmental regulation through this process that it’s likely to be the reason why fish and reptiles can naturally evolve parthenogenetic lines, but mammals never do.

One of the major differences between the journal article and the New York Times article is that the journal article’s reason for excitement is that it (so the paper argues) is the first demonstrated example of an imprinted gene that produces a change in social behavior as well as a change in fetal development; possibly this angle is omitted in the NYT article because journalists love to make science articles more “relevant” to readers by concretely connecting genes to behavior even when researchers refuse to. (Or possibly I’m being genuinely unfair, and the NYT article didn’t make the connection because the reporter lacked the background to see that that’s why the article was exciting, rather than simply seeing the behavioral change as exciting.)

I’m going to add a major caveat here in that I have not read the entirety of the Nature article yet (though I intend to when I lay my hands on a full copy), and for that reason I’m going to skip most of the technical explanation of the gene, what it does normally, and what the researchers made it do in the laboratory in order to mimic the condition of the parental imprinting going the opposite of the way it normally does. Suffice to say the gene directly affects fetal development, but also continues expressing through adulthood and produces a notable change in behavior- the mice behave differently both in a group and when meeting a strange mouse under the conditions the researcher created. I’m going pretty much entirely off the direct claims and explanation in the abstract, and the quotes from one of the researchers in the NYT article.

From a purely genetic perspective, this is a very good study and a very good article: the relationship between the gene and both development and later behavior are clearly demonstrated, and this really is a unique example of an imprinted gene, which really does behave in completely different ways in different tissues. What’s there to quibble with is not the genetics, but the behavior.

Specifically, what the researchers are claiming changes when the direction of imprinting changes about the behavior of the affected mice is social dominance. What did they see that told them the affected mice were more socially dominant than other mice? The mice with the altered gene engaged in more allogrooming- taking the initiative to groom mice within their social groups more often- and also more of what those who are conversant with mouse behavior call barbering, which is not just grooming but actually nipping off some of the fur and whiskers of other mice. Also, when placed inside a tube with a strange mouse, the affected mice were less likely to back away or retreat.

The interpretation of barbering as an expression of social dominance seems to be not terribly uncommon- from people who keep caged mice or otherwise study mice in laboratories, not behaviorists or ethologists who have studied mice, because the behavior doesn’t appear in the wild. To those who study such things, the consensus seems to be that barbering is abnormal behavior*, not dominance behavior; it makes absolutely no sense in the context of social grooming behavior across multiple species in the wild. Grooming behavior serves a group-bonding, stress-lowering** function, and to the extent that social dominance plays a role, it’s that dominant animals tend to get groomed more, not groom others more. Like getting smiles and waves more often, the bosses and the beautiful people tend to benefit more from initiation of interaction by others. Holding someone else down and pulling out some of their hair for no particular reason or provocation neither benefits the initiator nor sends any message to the recipient. (In the case of mice and whiskers, this could be interpreted as actively harming them- a lab or captive mouse doesn’t need its whiskers for much, but a wild mouse certainly does.)

The geneticist, to whom mice are mostly a living Lego kit, looks at a behavior and tries to put into a context: it must mean something, so social dominance is as good a theory as any, since going up to someone and chewing off their hair seems like behavior unlikely to be tolerated without a compelling reason. Since parental imprinting has evolutionary implications and is often studied in the case of intersex conflict and mother-fetus conflict, it seems sensible to try and put the interpreted behavior in an evolutionary context, as one of the researchers does in the NYT article:

We’ve shown the extreme,” he said. “But you might have a more subtle variation in how much this behavior is expressed.”

Males may be passing on versions of the gene that vary in strength to different offspring as a means of guaranteeing their legacy.

“It’s a risky strategy to set yourself up as a leader of the pack,” he said. “It’s a good idea to disperse these characteristics through your offspring where some could be regular members and others could be leaders of the group.

A behaviorist familiar with the behavior of the species would look at the same mouse, note the behavior in question doesn’t occur in the wild but does occur in captivity among a population that varies from somewhat to extraordinarily inbred and that has no choices regarding the identity and number of its cagemates, and and come to the conclusion that the behavior is not necessarily a valid case for considering the evolution of wild mice- particularly in the case of testing mice by sticking them in a tube with a strange mouse. Behaviorists know now that captive animals behave very differently than wild animals; one of the more infamous examples involves the social behavior of wolves and the “alpha-beta-omega” rigid pack order David Mech originally helped lay out during the study of captive wolves- which Dr. Mech is now trying hard to undo following extensive research on wild packs, which are mostly family groups with a social order that only barely resembles that of captive wolves.

Wild rodents living in tunnels communicate extensively by urine markers and smell; two strange mice would easily be able to avoid one another, and would prefer to do so. The “two mice in a tube” represents a potential wild encounter about as well as dumping two humans that were strangers to one another into a featureless and inescapable cube*** would represent normal human interaction. Mice aren’t Legos; they’re social, complex animals whose behavior normally has a context that is mating, foraging, and living socially in the wild rather than cages with food pellets and water bottles. Knowing what we do about normal human behavior because we ARE humans, how would you interpret a human in the case of a hypothetical cube experiment that immediately stood in the middle of the cube and refused to give ground rather than retreating to a corner and then potentially making careful approaches after evaluating their cube-mate- a dominant, confident individual… or one that had a screw loose? Confident people used to social dominance will probably be the first to make an approach- but that doesn’t mean they casually stand within the bad-breath zone of total strangers. That’s generally the behavior of weird people, and is often defined as creepy beyond that.

Mice that chew their cagemates’ hair off and don’t have the instinctive response to give space to a completely unknown stranger in a tight space aren’t necessarily socially dominant, they’re socially wrong. And while that is most certainly worth studying, it’s worth studying within the context of mouse behavior AND neurobiology rather than neurobiology and guesswork, let alone guesswork about the evolutionary implications.

*Thanks to Bernard Crespi, whose comment on the article in question led me to that very good source. He seems to have written an interesting post for the Evolution and Medicine Review blog that is no doubt better than mine, but my virus software is warning me the link holds a Trojan, so I’m not going to link it for now- hopefully later it will be cleaned and I can link it then.

**Do you have a cat, dog, or horse? Do you pet them? Do they sometimes lick or rub or nibble you while you pet them? Congratulations on your mutually rewarding allogrooming. It tends to be a little compulsive for social species.

***Insert your own Dilbert- like joke about corporate life here.

Get The Protractor

January 27, 2011 - 4:03 pm Comments Off

Today, Peter links to an attempt to get drugs into a prison via carrier pigeon. (Hint to would-be narcomillionaires: pigeons are good at carrying *short* messages, in very small print. Packages, forget it.)

Somewhat more ambitious traffickers up by the border made an attempt via catapult, which evidently failed, at least for that attempt. Several things come to mind.

1. Of all the methods used to get drugs across the border listed in the article- vehicles, horseback, tunnels, microlight aircraft- a catapult has to be the most conspicuous possible method you could ever come up with. Legitimate things move across the desert floor, tunnels are hidden, most flights are legitimate and even if they weren’t microlights are quiet- but absolutely nothing, let alone something weighing 45 pounds, moves in large parabolas through the air following a loud “TWANG-CHUNK” noise.

2. Dear border patrol agents: no medieval siege engine of any kind was metal-framed and powered by elastic. This is a very modern catapult.

3. Would YOU count on the elementary physics equations and precision engineering of traffickers to accurately place your drugs in a location easily findable on the other side of the fence? Or is that simply going to make for interesting habitat features for the local wildlife?

4. In ten years, are we going to see this technology refined and employed by coyotes for the “discount trip”, possibly with parachutes obtained by the same looting of military stores as most of the guns?

5. In the interim, we should probably keep a weather eye out for the disappearance of the Punkin Chunkin participants, who are probably the world’s current leading engineering experts for the fast, accurate, long-distance placement of objects of known weight via modern siege engine.

6. Am I the only one who can’t read this story without thinking about these animations? Guaranteed I won’t be after you click on those.

Dragon Leatherworks Talon Pancake Review

January 26, 2011 - 6:14 pm Comments Off

Dennis, of Dragon Leatherworks, makes holsters. Dennis, of Dragon Leatherworks, makes damn fine holsters.

For reasons that may have involved grain alcohol, Dennis decided that I would make a good reviewer for his latest offering, the Talon Pancake. The Talon is, as the name implies, a pancake holster, and this one specifically is tailored and intended for the 1911 platform, though as you can see at the linked page, he has a few other options that will work. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

Target Audience are 1911 owners, not the hard-core gunnie types, but folks who are on a somewhat tight budget, who wear 1.5″ wide regular belts, or 1.5″ wide gun belts (the double-layered, 1/4″ thick belts…)

Well, that about covers me to a T, right down to an exact description of my belt. Now before I jump into this, let me put up front that I am by no stretch a holster expert. Like Weerd, I got lucky and found a holster that worked for me and was comfortable very early on, and I stuck with it, so I’m not as familiar with the finer points of distinction between “This sausage-sack is made of suck and fail” and “This holster is crafted from purest unicorn skin and the spirit of John Moses Browning and win.” Also, I’ve been using a Versa-Max II from Milt Sparks to haul around my CZ-75b for over four years. There is some adjustment going on simply from the “that isn’t what I’m used to” department.

Out of the box, I had dueling first impressions: 1) Pretty! and 2) Thin! The Talon is very well put together. As part of test driving it, I wore it to help some friends move. I figured lots of movement, awkward motions, contortions to get furniture through doors, etc, would be an excellent shakedown of retention and comfort. More on that in a moment, but to back me up on the attractiveness of the holster, at one point I peeled off my cover shirt to better fit in a corner to assemble a table. The three other people in the room (all gunnies, one moving into that town specifically for gunsmithing school, so there’s some Informed Opinion going on with this crowd) noticed and commented literally within seconds. All were impressed. There is no getting around it, this is an attractive holster, one that would not be out of place on a three-piece suit, carrying a BBQ gun, or any other “I want to look good” situation.

The second part of that impression is because of this:

(Look, if you want the glamor shots, check out the product page I linked earlier. I’m no Oleg, and can just about manage a point-and-shoot.)

That’s the Talon on the left, and my VMII on the right. The angle is a hair off to really stand it out on the body-side of the holster, but the top makes it fairly clear. The Talon is, roughly (what? I’m not breaking out the micrometer for this), half the thickness. Given what I’m used to, it was something of a surprise. Even though it’s only half as thick, the Talon does not suffer in the slightest on stiffness, and holds its shape perfectly well enough for one-handed re-holstering. It may be thin, but Dennis has worked some strong ju-ju on this stuff. This has the added advantage of being light. I may be biased after lugging around the CZ with 17 rounds for all this time, but even comparing the two holsters empty, the Talon is like wearing a paperclip next to the VMII’s desk drawer.

Ok, I mentioned I thought a good stress test would be helping friends move. It was a great stress test, and I took away two and a half things from it. First, this holster is extremely comfortable. With all the crap associated with moving furniture, it didn’t poke or prod me in any but the most convoluted of motions. The weight distribution was very nice, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t have told the difference between having worn that or having gone unarmed. Second, there were zero issues with positive retention, and the only thing that could go in the problem category was almost certainly user error rather than the holster- that’s the half thing. Specifically, there were a couple instances where I would check things, and find the safety on the 1911 I was carrying flipped off. I blame this entirely on the fact that I am not used to OWB carry, and was occasionally bumping things.

Having covered the good, I have a few nitpicks. The first is a problem specific to my setup. The test gun I’ve been using for this is LabRat’s wedding ring, a Les Baer Premier II 5″ in stainless steel. The front of the slide on this model is serrated at 30 lines per inch. Since the inside of the holster is left rough, the front of the gun is sanding itself a path on every insertion/removal, and I keep finding little leather shavings around. This is a self-correcting problem, however, and not one everybody will experience. Dennis agreed that’s in the “Yup, that’ll happen” category, and suggested a few drops of olive oil once the gun has worn its path to where it wants it. Not a deal breaker by any stretch, but if you’ve got fine front serrations, you might want the dust-buster handy for the break-in period.

Other than the leather-shaving, this is a rather tight holster, both in gun-grip and in belt loops. The grip on the pistol has loosened some by taking the holster into the bathroom with me when I shower a couple times, to let the leather soak up some steam and loosen a little bit, and that will continue to improve over time, but out of the box, attempting to draw gave me a lop-sided wedgie. Dennis said he modeled based off a Colt 1911 A1, which he says has one of the thinnest slides, and given the way leather boning works, even a few thousandths of an inch will make a difference. I fully expect this problem to ease up over time, and it has some already from the steam treatments, but be advised you may wind up ripping your pants off Chippendale-style if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in an oh-shit situation immediately after buying.

Also of great tightness are the belt loops. Like I said, I wear the exact type of belt Dennis described above. The first couple of days, it was basically impossible to slide the pistol forwards or back on my belt without unhooking everything and pushing the belt through a bit at a time to where I wanted it. After the first few days, it’s still very difficult to slide around, but not impossible. Again, Dennis assures me this will break in more over time, but the steam won’t help since the belt loops are sealed and water resistant. On the flip side of that coin, he also tells me he’s going to increase the amount of curve he puts in on initial molding, and cut the slots at a slight angle to loosen things up a bit going forward. That sounds like a solved problem to me, so don’t let my word be the final one on that point.

All that said, the final impression is that I am very pleased with this holster. My issues with it are all minor, and will self-correct given time, the aesthetics of the piece are wonderful, the construction sturdy, and the wear extremely comfortable. I’m still having a few “this isn’t what I’m used to” sensations with it, but those of you with a drawer full of different holsters will almost certainly adapt more quickly and not find things like the sensation that the ride-height is a hair higher troublesome.

Really, the biggest problem I have because of this thing is now I’m looking around for a 1911 without sentimental value to stuff in it. What a horrible, horrible problem to have. See how traumatized I am? This could take hours and hours of (range) therapy. I blame you for this, Dennis!

Dear GOP…

January 25, 2011 - 1:22 pm Comments Off

This kind of crap would be exactly what you were NOT elected to spend your time and energy on.

Same electorate in 2008, same electorate in 2010. No one cares about the vague possibility that gay people might someday be able to get married in DC except about ten guys in Focus On The Family, and three of them are in the closet. Yes, this is still a point of cultural disagreement, but the list of issues more pressing than this one even to people who think gay marriage should be stopped is about twenty miles long.

We have a budget crisis, we have an economic recession, we have a debt crisis, we have wars in limbo. Dicking around with culture-wars issues was all well and good when none of these things were true, but it is not 1994 anymore.

Hands off your dicks, heads out your asses, GET WITH THE FUCKING TIMES.

Sinister? Only for shooting. Dexterous for the rest.

January 25, 2011 - 9:24 am Comments Off

No, folks, don’t worry. The last post did not cause the MA police to shut us down from several time zones away. There was a snafu with the billing at our web host where the invoice didn’t generate a notice/billing attempt until total expiration, and so it billed and suspended at the same time.

Dontcha just love modern technology?

In Which I Am A Joiner

January 24, 2011 - 5:24 pm Comments Off

For those who have not heard, TJIC is a Massachusetts blogger. TJIC is something of a wookie-suiter, and is not fond of the po-po, authority in general, or much in the way of government. When Rep. Giffords was shot in Tuscon, TJIC opined “1 down, 534 to go.” After posting this, The Arlington, MA police declared him unsuitable to have 2nd Amendment rights, and ordered him to no longer own guns. No charges have been filed, this is simply “because we said so.”

I am of several minds about this.

First, for such an egregious violation of individual liberty, and such a phenomenal lack of understanding of the enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights, I feel that TJIC is wrong. It is not 534 to go, it is 534 + the entirety of the Arlington, MA police force. Such blatant petty tyranny is intolerable in a society where the right to say distasteful things is first protected among The Things With Which Government Shall Not Fuck. I would, without hyperbole, not shed a single tear if the tin-pot jumped up bully who issued the order for TJIC to turn ‘em in was sodomized to death with a toaster, while the toaster was running, and set to “dark.” I’d in fact consider sending a Thank-You card to the person who performed the act.

Of the shooting of congress-beings in general, I agree, for the most part, with Roberta. It’s rude. Beyond that, I am unruffled. I feel sympathy for Ms. Gifford’s family, and certainly for the family and friends of the other victims. I’d feel sorry for Ms. Gifford’s friends, but she is a congresswoman; I doubt she had any. The House and Senate have, for many years now, done virtually nothing that does not serve to reduce liberty, increase the tax burden on citizens, and at the bare minimum meddle pointlessly in places where no meddling was needed, and all of this for no appreciable benefit, and so I am not upset in the slightest that one was shot. I am upset that the shooter’s aim was bad, and that he did it because he’s bugfuck crazy, rather than a well-reasoned expression of principles, and because, as Ms. X said, it is rude for one individual to determine “This is gonna go my way” in such a manner.

Rather as the petulant lickspittle that ordered TJIC to divest of firearms did.

Beyond this, however, is where I begin to feel conflicted. There is a large dose of “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” in this situation. As the saying goes, “don’t start nuthin’, won’t be nuthin’.” On the one hand, Travis knew he lived in the Volksrepublic. Saying anti-statist shit in statist-central is a stupid idea. On the other hand, if nobody speaks up, such idiocy goes unchecked, and that is certainly the worse option. On the one hand, if things are that bad (in MA, they certainly and obviously are), GTFO. On the other hand, one should not have to flee, anywhere, in the United States in order to find the liberty guaranteed to us by the Constitution. It is simply necessary that someone must stand up and fight these tin-pot bureaucrats with delusions of mental adequacy. That said, what a fuckin’ dumbass way to pick a fight.

Authoritarian dickwads, such as the needle-peckered Arlington, MA police, very rarely respond well to heated and vitriolic expression, whether correct in premise or not. Running around with a giant “Fuck the Gov’t and Fuck the Po-Po” banner as TJIC essentially often did, does not engender the sort of attitude in one’s philosophical opponent other than “Somebody squish this fuck, please,” which appears to be essentially what happened. I fully support people who want to pick a fight on behalf of liberty where it is clearly being infringed, and I support Travis’ fight to maintain his first and second amendment rights in a part of the US that would probably feel perfectly comfortable issuing him an order that he must provide housing for military staff. Given his history of opinion, however, I hold relatively little hope of success. Much lower hope than the case of Heller or McDonald, which did not begin with the plaintiff screaming “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” As it turns out, stating it calmly was more effective. You catch more flies with honey, etc.

So there we are. I am appalled at the horrible infraction of Travis’ rights. I am appalled at the horrible infraction of JayG’s, Weerd’s and every other gun owner in MA’s rights. And if anybody in the Massachusetts law enforcement community feels I should no longer be allowed to own weapons, they can lip-strangle my penis-neck.

I am TJIC.

But if you’re gonna throw rocks at a hornet’s nest, at least have the fucking common sense to wear a long-sleeve shirt.

VC 83

January 22, 2011 - 12:14 am Comments Off

We talked about stuff and there was food and then there was more stuff.

It’s Vicious Circle 83

And we’re headed out of town to help a friend move tomorrow, so GO AWAY. MORE LATER. FOR NOW GO AWAY.

Dog Bath

January 20, 2011 - 5:35 pm Comments Off

Starting materials: one large dog in the process of blowing coat. Shedding blade. Undercoat rake. One standard-sized shower. Pretentious dog shampoo with mysterious botanicals.

1. Take dog outside. Allow her to run around like a loon for a few minutes. Apply combination of blade and rake until your arm falls off, dog completely loses patience, or heat death of the universe. All of these things are more likely to occur before you have successfully removed all undercoat. Repeat cycle as often as can be refreshed. End when human completely loses patience.

2. Remove clothing, there’s no point in even attempting to just use old clothes for this as by the end all involved humans will need a change of clothes and a bath themselves.

3. Herd reluctant-but-obedient dog into shower. Begin manipulating showerhead to cover as many possible angles of dog as possible. Comfort dog, who is frantically licking the walls in hopes of dissolving them and escaping to freedom. Optional: invent a “window-licker” song.

4. Apply shampoo (now with “neem”) to back of dog. Massage shampoo fully into coat. Pause frequently to remove the thick scum of mingled shampoo and loose fur from your hands. Realize there is, in fact, no good place to put it.

5. Attempt to remove shampoo from the dog’s coat. This process will always take at least three times as long as you remember it taking the last time, especially because a substantial amount of coat is also being removed and is slowing down the whole process. Make a note to self to pitch dog hair as an erosion-control method to the laboratory’s environmental division.

6. Once the dog’s fur feels like normal, non-slimy wet fur again and no longer foams, remove as much fur from yourself as possible. Quickly give this up as a bad job as it becomes apparent this will not be possible until the dog has been removed.

7. Release dog from shower. Towel dog. Release dog into the area the first few shakes will do the least damage, as towel-drying has had roughly the same effect of attempting to stop a flood with a squeegee. Discard furred, soaking ruin of towel into empty laundry hamper. Leave dog to towel herself off on the carpet.

8. Attempt to remove as much fur from shower and self as possible. Take a real shower, with a shampoo that has no “neem”.

9. Once dog has air-dried, return to step one and brush dog.

End result: dog, still blowing coat like a dandelion gone to seed. House, completely covered in former coat. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks.

…Problem Solved!

January 19, 2011 - 4:57 pm Comments Off

The animals are driving me nuts today and not the slightest spark of inspiration seems to be forthcoming, so have a music video. It’s by the Arrogant Worms, and it’s what’s been merrily playing in my head every time I find myself scowling at some irritant.