31 March 2007

The Birds and the Kitties

Ah, my young pup's getting all grown up. While still limping around the house, his condition is steadily improving and today we noticed for the first time that Rex is really starting to show some... ahem... interest.

Shortly after his arrival at the Martha house, Rex accrued a cat-shaped friend for Valentine's Day. His new friend speaks with a French accent and has a collection of slightly scandalous phrases. When the cat wags its tail, Rex (especially before his injury) enjoys wrestling and attacking, getting worked up and growling to assert his authority over the automaton.

Recently, however, Rex' "attacks" on kitty have changed. No longer confident in his direct assault, Rex has altered his tactics and incorporated "flanking maneuvers". The development is expected and natural, but it doesn't make it any more acceptable. Rex' overall plan (which is to say, our overall plan for Rex) includes being 'altered' sometime during puppy-dom, but with this week's surgery, we're not sure when the 'quick fix' option might be available to us, so more awkward moments are likely to come in our living room.

30 March 2007

Turn my pants into shorts

It's March in Omaha, which means the sun is shining (onto the sun porch), it's occasionally uncomfortably hot both here and outside, and despite the idyllic weather, none of the bars in town have their outdoor seating set up yet.

Early on in our tenure here in Omaha, brooke heard a statistic on the radio (almost certainly false, but nonetheless exceptionally compelling) that Omaha had as many sunny days per year as Fort Lauderdale (or Fort Knox, or perhaps Miami Beach... i can't remember any more). On first moving to Omaha this seemed like an apollionic blessing. Omaha seems to have a lot less of the heavy, bleak, gray season that i remember growing up in southern Wisconsin, and later in Iowa and Minneapolis. Almost every memory i have of Clinton is gray-colored...

29 March 2007

Rex Grossman is HOME!!! and seems to be doing smashingly. He’s still hobbled, to be sure, but everything we heard from the doctor was good news, he seems in a lot less pain, and isn’t on as many pain meds and has lost his glassy-eyed sadness he’s had the last several times we’ve saw him. He also came home from the vet with one of those E-Collars, because he's tempted by his bandages & stitches...

His limp is pronounced (but he’s moving around!), and he won’t be able to do stairs or jump off the couch for several weeks, but he’s back home with us, sleeping soundly at the moment. Every puppy expert we’ve talked to since getting Rex has told us that the most important thing is to introduce him to as many stimuli as possible as early as possible. So we take him in the car running errands, we've taken him to puppy class, introduced him to big dogs, little dogs, un-dogs (cats), and though his injury was hard to take and scary, he’ll likely be stronger for it in the long run. The wild, drug-addled experiences of youth are growing experiences for many of us and his time away from home, hard as it was on us, will likely make him even more comfortable with strangers than he already is. This event may not have cured Rex of his obsession with pant legs, but by the time he's fully recovered he will still be in the throes of his prime puppy years and more than ready to bounce off the walls again...

In the meantime, holding him in check, trying to yank back his desire to run and jump, his kitty wrestling have been hard to hold back.

26 March 2007

By Example

Living up to the tradition of his namesake, our own Rex Grossman took a hard hit Saturday night. His front leg was fractured when he got caught up between my legs. I don't think i stepped on him, but whatever happened, he's down, early in his second season (spring).

Rex' vocal development has been impressive over the last 6 weeks or so and since Saturday he's been very expressive. In the great beagle tradition (half of Rex' ancestry) Rex has a wide array of barks, whines, and whimpers at his disposal.

Right after the accident happened we knew something more serious was wrong than his previous minor scrapes. His yelp was piercing and consistent, downright scary. After taking him to a 24-hour emergency vet, i've spent the last 36 hours fretting about permanant physical and psychological damage i've done to my puppy. Although he does seem to be feeling a bit better, he had to spend last night away from home and when i saw him this morning he looked sad (and stoned).

Though the final verdict is still out and Rex may ultimately require surgery, the doctor i spoke to this morning was optimistic and he could recover in as little as 2-3 weeks... an astoundingly short period of time, in my mind...


And, now, mid-post i've gotten a call from the doc & he does, indeed require puppy surgery (Rex, not the doctor). His prognosis is good, though, and he should look a lot better very soon indeed. Rex should be ready to win us a Super Bowl by next season...

22 March 2007

Middling Iowa

We found ourselves in Iowa City, Iowa for St. Patrick's Day Weekend, due to a mixture of tightened budgets, familial uncertainty, and serendipity. My brother Tim had the notion to bring his family to meet up with my parents, Brooke, Rex Grossman, and me in the Amana Colonies' Wasserbahn resort. The colonies are pretty much exactly half way between Clinton, Wisconsin and Omaha and the Wasserbahn sign always looks very impressive.

Upon discovering, however, that a nightly rate for the WB hotel was approximately $14,000 Tim rethought the trip. While there was talk of my parents coming all the way to Omaha or cancelling entirely we persevered and settled on the Travelodge - Iowa City (as a side-note...click on the travelodge link and look at the picture of the bathroom {thumbnails below}. Look for a moment. Now, where is the camera?).

Not sure as to whether we'd actually go or not, Brooke and i (& Rex) settled on a single night at the hotel, thinking Iowa City only had, at most 12 hours of entertainment possibility. Serendipitously, however, my good friend nateG informed me that he had been accepted to Iowa's Mass Media program and he and lissa were thinking of making a trip to the big IC that very weekend. Additionally, jackie was also planning on being at home in Center Junction, Iowa (home of the Lib'ry Inn) and possibly making the 1 hour trip in for the St. Patrick's festivities in Iowa City.

So, we piled in the car and Rex made his longest car ride to date without incident (by which i mean peeing on us or the seat). Although having Nate & Lissa and Jackie (not to mention Sandy and Angela who live there) around probably distracted from our familial obligations, we did discover that Iowa City is a pretty damn cool town. From campus and it's old Capitol building to Masala Indian Vegetarian Cuisine to an It's Brothers satellite (untouched by us this trip) the life in Iowa City seems good. Though not as scenic, it reminded me of Decorah with just the right mix of townie life, hippie life, and college life (perhaps a little heavier on the collegial).

St. Patrick's Day started off promisingly enough, with Nate partaking in an afternoon green beer & joel tucking into a Guinness. After dinner and birthday cake with the family we headed back out to wander from bar to bar looking for open seats. The Deadwood bar was definitely a highlight, though the memory is as hazy as the air inside was. To cap off the night brooke, jax and i hit a trashy bar that may have been called the Hilltop where they were passing out Jell-O shots just before closing... a sort of parting 'one-for-the-road' sort of gift...except you pay for it. All in all, the bar scene in Iowa City mirrored the rest of the town, with a good balance of trashy, classy, hipster and poser. If you find yourself inexplicably in Iowa City, fear not for it has much to offer.

15 March 2007

Lend me your eyes

I have been made the editor of German film reviews for the Culture Club. Not so much the Boy George variety, rather for George Washington & Georgetown University one. To whit, i call upon any German-Language movie buffs or any German-Language Buff Movie buffs (Pumping Iron, anyone) to write about them... get published, get a byline, don't get a check... That's right, although the writing is rewarding and the being read is rewarding, you won't actually be rewarded monetarily speaking.

The reviews on the website range from in-depth to extremely simplistic, so say as much as you like. Reviews can be in German or English and anywhere from 75 words to 500, or more. Anyway, so far its just been me writing the reviews (is 'it has' a situation for the "it's" or do i stick with my 'only use an apostrophe with "it is"' rule?), so i'd love some fresh blood. So, check out me on the editor's page and think about finally checking out Nosferatu...

P.S. If you happen to be listening to any German music & want to write about it you'd certainly help my brother out, as well, or any movies books music websites of any other language you might be partial to. Essentially, i want to up and vary the dialogue at the site, so, lend me your minds...

Pumping Iron (25th Anniversary Special Edition)

01 March 2007


THUNderSNOW! Whoaaaaaaaa....

Have any of you ever seen thundersnow? Last night on the news the weatherman was talking about it and i was sort of like, yeahsurewhatever, but this morning at 5:24 am Omaha was racked (wracked?) by thundersnow and it was truly a sight to be seen. Blizzard-like snow conditions alongside the booming and crackling of a thunderstorm.

Because Rex Grossman can only occasionally make it through the night these days without having to get up and pee i was up at 3:40 & 4:45 at which time there was literally no snow on the ground and minimal sleet. An hour later (after the thundersnow had started) there was at least a foot and a half of snow on my sidewalk and apocalyptic signs all around...

Seeing the thundersnow was like this world-altering sort of moment, where you sort of think you know how things work, but now rules are being broken and you just have to accept them. It was a big snow storm, but then occasionally, interruptively, the sky would boom & proclaim a thunderstorm... but the snow & wind would continue. It was a very strange thing. We're most of the way dug out, though tomorrow is another snow day for almost everybody... The sight was truly mesmerizing. Two natural phenomena that simply don't belong together working together to impress me... Man i'm a lucky guy...