Tuesday, January 31, 2006
"thank goodness for tenure" moment of the week
Inappropriate phrase spoken by me in defense of Bruce Springteen's "The River," which received innumerable titers when played in my classroom:

"Kids, not all music can be about smackin' your bitches."

Monday, January 30, 2006
i heart music
Here's three albums that I've been listening to rather incessantly:

1. Andrew Bird: "The Mysterious Production of Eggs"

I've told most everyone that I know about this album, so it's nothing new that it's one of my favorites right now. It's not a new release exactly, but it didn't receive much fanfare when it was released and I think it deserves more attention. At times beautiful, at times moody and at times bordering on silly, it's a good listen for almost any mood you're in. Although the entire album is really, really strong, stand-out tracks are "Fake Palindromes" and "Skin Is, My." I hear that Bird was the violinist for Squirrel Nut Zippers, but that shouldn't really influence your opinion of the album either way since it's a complete departure from his work with that band (although there are a few violin runs in the album here and there).
Read what the Critics Say
Buy it Now

2. Hard-Fi: "Stars of CCTV"

Lots of folks are talking about The Artic Monkeys right now, but I haven't heard anything from them yet, so my current British import of choice is Hard-Fi. Sounding a bit like a pop-ier version of The Clash, the songs on the album aren't exactly deep, but they are very, very catchy. Stand out tracks are "Unnecessary Trouble" and "Better do Better." This band apparently came to Detroit recently and played The Magic Stick to a crowd of less than 100 fan, sold their own t-shirts and gave numerous props to Detroit, even covering a White Stripes song to prove their love. I knew there was a reason I loved these guys.
Read what the Critics Say
Buy it Now

3. Cat Power: "The Greatest"

"The Greatest" is a perfect album for soaking in the tub on a rainy Sunday afternoon. A little bit country, a little sultry lounge, and a little bit folk, the vocals and beautiful, albeit a bit melancholy. Although the album isn't exactly diverse, with most of the songs sounding pretty similar, it's a song that I like. There aren't any real stand-out tracks, but I particularly enjoy "Living Proof," "Love and Communication," and "Hate."

Read what the Critics Say
Buy it Now

And finally, here's one album that I can't wait to arrive in the mail:

Finian McKean: "Shades are Drawn"

After downloading a few tracks, I went on-line and immediately purchased this album, which is getting modest attention from the blogging community, but is being pretty much ignored from most everyone else. If the entire album is a fraction as good as the stand out track "Black Hole," I'll be happy.

Download "Black Hole"
Read what the Critics Say
Buy it Now

Sunday, January 29, 2006
haiku of the week

We accept the lies
that artists tell, but lie to
the queen and perish.

Saturday, January 28, 2006
hey dave, where's my golden ticket?
Guess what? Dave Chapelle took a break from being crazy and made himself a movie. So what's interesting about that, you may ask? He filmed it in Clinton Hill on the block where my brother lives. Here's the trailer if you don't believe me. Hey Dave, wrong with the L for your block party? The suburban D isn't enough for you? There's a guy who lives down the street from me who's spray painted his red Camero black and posted a West Coast Choppers decal on the back window who'd beg to differ.

Speaking (sort of) of Detroit, I went downtown last night and it - looks - fabulous. Bring it, Super Bowl fans; we're dressed up and ready to impress.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
so what if matt met drew barrymore? i have charlie.
Since he's relocated to NYC, my brother has become quite the little name dropper. Apparently he found a way to finagle his way into an SNL after, after party last Saturday night. So, while I was sleeping, he was making an "ass" out of himself in front of Horatio Sanz, making the chick from SNL with no chin feel "uncomfortable" and getting sneered at by Drew Barrymore. What a sceanster. I'm so jealous.

And since I have no cool after parties to go to, here's some of my favorite things about tonight's Lost...

Favorite quotes:
1. Ana Lucia to Jack on the subject of Kate: "Are you hittin' that?"

2. Locke to Charlie on the subject of Claire: "You've given up the right to
be believed, Charlie." (I can't wait to use this on a student, by the way).

3. Claire and Ecko in the jungle:
Claire: "What are you doing?"
Ecko: " I'm marking trees."
Claire: "Why?"
Ecko: "Because these are the ones that I like."

Favorite scenes:
1. Charlie's Renaissance-esque dream, culminating in Hurley dressed like Moses. Biblical Hurley - funny!

2. Drive Shaft filming a commercial wearing diapers and sucking on pacifiers. Washed-up rock stars - super funny!

3. Locke punching Charlie in the face and leaving him shivering in the ocean while everyone turns to walk away - not funny in the least (I do have a heart, I'll have you know).

Allusion/theme I appreciated:
1. John Locke to John the Baptist. As John the Baptist cleansed man of his sins, let Locke cleanse Charlie of his temptations. (But why didn't you destroy the heroin, Locke?)

2. Purity masking evil. Virgin Mary statues hiding heroin and Claire's baby needing a baptism. Is Aaron evil? I can only hope...

Finally, one scene I could have done without:
Charlie getting his face stiched-up. Ewww.

P.S. Does anyone else sense that the whole Kate- Sawyer-Jack love triangle must be leading up to one of them dying? I hope it's Jack, although I fear it will probably be Sawyer.

Monday, January 23, 2006
are you there, former selves? it's me, margaret.
I’m shamelessly ripping this off from Steve. I don’t know who he shamelessly ripped off. Perhaps no one. Perhaps he's just that original. So here we go…

3 Do's for my 10 year-old-self:
1. Do tone it down a bit. Kid, you’re kind of loud and high-strung and,
frankly, a bit much most of the time. (Please, stop crying!)

2. Do change the channel when that summer camp, slasher film begins
on HBO. I know you think you’re tough, but that scene when the guy is
hiding under the bed with the axe will provide you with nightmare
material for the rest of your life. Seriously, never again will you be able
to dangle your arm or leg over the side of your bed without fear, so turn
the tv off and go to bed already; you're ten.

3. Do reevaluate your hair. I know that all your friends are using a whole
bunch of hairspray to create a look with their bangs inspired by
Jersey girls who hang out at the mall, but not all trends need to be
followed. Especially this one.

3 Don’ts for my 16-year-old self:
1. Don’t give that letter to Matt Shear. It will bring you nothing but
embarrassment, and despite his flirtatious grin, he's not that into you;
he’s interested in that incredibly tall blonde chick with the perfect skin.
And since we’re on the subject, stop letting him cheat off you on tests.
Trust me, he’s a really huge geek and probably only writes poems on the
cover of his binders to win over and manipulate girls like you.

2. Don’t give yourself another haircut. Really, it’s not all that expensive to
leave it to the professionals. Granted, it’s pretty amazing that you can
somehow manage to cut the back of your own head of hair relatively
straightly, but it’s a bit weird. Stop it.

3. Don’t be so afraid to try some new things. Take creative writing, art
class, broadcasting, try out for the volleyball team, a school play – you
know you want to, and who cares if you aren’t any good. You don’t
always have to be the best at everything and you won’t have
opportunities like this again.

2 Do's and 2 Don’ts for my 20-year-old self:
1. Do get off your butt and change your eating habits. You’re going to gain
some lbs soon due to all that dorm food, and it’s going to be a pain in your
flabby booty to loose them.

2. Do more than consider studying abroad. Nathan and the rest of your
friends will still be there when you get back, and when will you have an
opportunity like this again?

3. Don’t let those crazy university counselors convince you to choose earth
science as a minor. You hate science, remember? And who really cares
what the difference is between an igneous and a sedimentary rock?
Besides, you won’t have any problems getting a job when you graduate,
so minor in something you actually care about - preferably something
that won’t require grading essays when you get a teaching job.

4. Don’t agree to live with people who you don’t really know. Most of them
will turn out to be mean, thieves, suicidal or bi-polar, and who needs that?

Saturday, January 21, 2006
mr. t pities my silly, pink blog
I peed myself a bit while reading ASWOBA's posting about "30 facts about Chuck Norris." I'm sure these lists have been around for a while but, whatever, they're all new to me. A similar list also exist for Vin Diesel and, but I particularly enjoyed reading fun facts about Mr. T. Of note:

Mr. T destroyed the periodic table, saying Mr. T. only recognizes the element of surprise.

Mr. T was born caesarian. Doctors had nothing to do with it.

Mr. T is very superstitious. Because of this, he tears off the head of any black cat that crosses his path. In fact, he tears off the head of just about any animal that crosses his path. Mr. T can never be too careful.

Mr. T uses e before i as he pleases.

Mr. T does not have dinner parties. The one and only dinner party he had he served mohawks of fury and double fists of pain.

On the 0th day, Mr. T created God. Then made God do the rest of the work while Mr. T pitied him.

Everyone is equal, but Mr. T is more equal than everyone else.

And my ultimate favorite:

After Jesus turned water into wine, Mr. T turned that wine into blood and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. When the smoke settled all that remained was a giant wooden "T" and Jesus knew he was in trouble.

(Please God, don't strike a former altar girl down....)

Friday, January 20, 2006
Mags gave me permission to post.
Mags granted me publishing powers to her blog a while ago but I've been hesitant to blab at y'all 'cause I'd hate to taint her site or diminish her "voice". I'll pop in every once in a while but don't expect any haikus... that's Mag's bag... I'm more of a limerick kinda guy.

I love adventuring vicariously through the urban spelunkers who explore the abandoned landmarks of Detroit. Of note this week the Donovan and Sanders Buildings otherwise known as the Motown Complex. It's amazing the stuff that was left in these historic buildings. It's also amazing how hastily they demolish the buildings when there are only two weeks left before the World arrives for a football game. I personally like the photos of the damage the demolition does to the new street light that was erected just two days prior, it reinforces the demo company's slogan that "demolition means progress".

I now return this blog to its rightful owner.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
It's a small (and incredibly scary) world
I admit that I've been following the story of Jill Carroll, the Ann Arbor journalist who is being held hostage in Iraq with only one ear, but I heard some very disturbing news today that got my full attention. I didn't realize it before, but Carroll is the daughter of one of my former high school teachers, Mary Beth Carroll. Mrs. Carroll taught Humanities at Plymouth Salem High School, and although I only sat in on a few of her lectures, she is an brilliant woman who was incredibly well respected and loved among her students. I feel absolutely terrible for her, and I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to be her tonight, hoping and praying that your daughter will still be alive by this time tomorrow. I'm embarrassed to admit that knowing Carroll's mother makes the story more meaningful and terrifying to me, but I suppose that's human nature. Regardless, I'll certainly be keeping the Carroll family in my thoughts, and I only hope that this issue can be resolved peacefully.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
lost - some questions
Why does Locke always save uncomfortable confrontations for when he's embarking on a long and potentially dangerous hike through the wilderness?

Why, despite all the drama, can I not bring myself to care about Jack's back story?

Why does the leader of The Others look so much like a red-neck, island version of Santa Clause?

And most importantly...

What the heck happened at the end when Jack was talking to Ana Lucia?
My stupid DVR stopped recording in the middle of their conversation! Damn
you technology!

i heart detroit
Perhaps I wasn't born here, but I consider Detroit to be my home and I love it, zits and all. So even though football bores me to tears, I am crazy excieted for the Super Bowl. The Motown Winterfest of '05 was a lot of fun and Winterfest '06 promises to be bigger and better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
absolutely ridiculous week
It's only Tuesday, and it's already shaping up to be a ridiculous week. Observe:

15-year-old boys on the subject of Brokeback Mountain:
"God! Why would anyone make a movie like that? Who cares?! I mean - God!"

Most ridiculous celebrity sighting of the day:
My brother was walking with a co-worker down a street in Manhattan and literally ran into Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. While standing 2 feet away from the literary icon, all Matt's buddy could think to do was point and say, "It's Kurt Vonnegut!"

My most ridiculously inappropriate teacher comment/action of the week (year?)
A female student who was standing next to me was overly anxious to pass something out to the class. I reached out my arm to hold her back and, unfortunately, my palm landed squarely on her boob. Most likely no one would have noticed had I not shouted out in horror, "Oh God, Jen! I just grabbed your boob!" Now I can't be positive, but I'm pretty sure that the scarlet hue of her face and icy glare a full 20 minutes after the fact means that everything is cool between us now.

Most ridiculous case of literary confusion:
A group of students created a videotaped project where they reenacted scenes from William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily." Somehow, they completely overlooked the fact that Miss Emily KILLED A MAN AND KEPT HIS CORPSE IN HER BED FOR 15 YEARS, instead choosing to focus on one tiny phrase that may or may not indicate that one of the characters may or not not be gay. An actual ad-libbed line, "Homer, we're breaking up. And I want my beads back!"

Most ridiculous dance move: In a second videotaped scene, students decided to end the tape with a blooper reel. One scene consisted of a male student rubbing his butt in the camera lens and whispering "it's juicy" over and over. How, exactly, does one assess that?

Most ridiculous Corey Haim sighting of the week:

Happy birthday Hayden and Grandpa Ager, but who invited the ghost of Corey Haim's younger, slimmer and more promising self to the party?

Really? It's only Tuesday??

Sunday, January 15, 2006
haiku of the week
Okay, so I skipped last week. The muse hasn't been with me. I'm not a dial-a-poet, damn it! I'm still dry, so this isn't an original work. It's not even a haiku. Deal with it. Instead, I'll treat you with a piece written by one of my students to me. As a frame of reference, he has a giant black afro. Enjoy.

I like my dog.
He is big and black.
I like my basketball shoes.
They are big and black.
I like my hair.
It is big and black.

I like Mrs. W.
She is petite and white.

Wasn't that nice kids?
Oh, and Happy MLK Day! Be nice to people. Even stupid and annoying people.

Friday, January 13, 2006
why did i never get this assignment in middle school?
Apparently, a teacher in Cleveland thought it would be a good idea to have his 7th graders research Internet pornography for a group project, complete with visiting websites and reporting about their experiences with pornography. Silly teacher. Now, it's true that I've done some silly things myself:

1. picking up a 75 pound 9th grader and carrying him back to his seat
after three attempts to ask him to sit down failed,
2. kicking a different 75 pound 9th grader in the butt when he had similar

difficulties with sitting down,
3. defining sodomy as "butt sex" to 60 curious AP students who came

across the word in a historical document,
4. telling a girl that she had to "re-evaluate herself as a human being"

because, darn it, she just wasn't very nice,

but even I have enough sense to not have my kids do a research project on Internet pornography.

P.S. - I know I'm a bit late in commenting, but I heart Mr. Eko. Who knew a Nigerian drug lord could be so darned lovable? To the creators of Lost - thank you for adding a meaning and purpose to my Wednesdays.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
my apple-bottom's burning

Why didn't someone tell me this was hot before I signed up for advanced step class?

(Which, by the way, when they say "advanced" they mean it. We went from fine to ridiculous in warp-speed time and I was left standing agape in the middle of the room with a look of confusion on my beet-red, sweaty face.)

I have this. I thought I had to get rid of this. This chick apparently hired a personally trainer to get a behind that looks like she eats a dozen krispy kreme doughnuts a day. Detroit News, you suck for not publishing this article yesterday.

Well, I'm off to buy a pair of Invisible Fanny Panties. Apparently onion bottoms are all the rage, and considering I only have an apple bottom, I am in need of some padding.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
i have discovered a rift in the space-time continuum...
...and it's centered in Waterford, Michigan.

I usually avoid traveling from my place of employment to the administrative base for all public school districts in the OC at all costs. It should be easy, a trip consisting of two turns, two roads, and a 15 minute overall commute. Turn right on road A, left on road B and "ta-da" you're there. Easy. Simple. Idiot-proof.


However, I have discovered something that few people know - the intersection of roads A and B is actually a hidden warp-zone - shooting you willy-nilly to a random location once you make the required left turn.

I've only made this trip once before yesterday with near-disastrous results. I've been avoiding the trip ever since, but I had an unavoidable meeting yesterday after work, requiring me to make attempt #2, hoping that my first failed attempt was a fluke. I went about it with an open mind, a positive attitude and newly printed-off mapquest directions. When I came across the required left turn on road B I have to admit that I was feeling pretty good - like I has felled the beast, overcome my fears and would arrive 30 minutes ahead of time...

It was around the time when pavement turned to dirt road with pot-holes the size of my bathroom that I realized that I had fallen, once again, into the black hole of Waterford. I admit that I was in denial at first. The dirt road turned back into pavement and I was hopeful that things might turn out okay. But pavement turned back into dirt roads, and it wasn't until I saw men getting out of their pick-up trucks with large deer rifles that I was forced to admit that I was, once again, hopefully lost. Ducking down to avoid the stray bullets of hunter rifles, I turned on the next paved road, hoping to save myself from a flat tire and an unwanted Deliverance moment. Amazingly enough - the turn shot me right back to to my starting point. Near tears, almost out of gas and unable to explain how I could travel for 40 minutes north and end up south, I resigned myself to defeat and abandoned all attempts at making my meeting in the hopes of finding my way back home. Amazingly, five minutes after the decision to go home was made, where should I end up but at my destination. My 15 minute trip had taken me 60 minutes, I was 30 minutes late and my car was filthy, but I was there.

Frustratingly enough, I entered my meeting and immediately noticed that at least 15 people who were supposed to attend either blew it off or had also fallen into the Waterford black hole. I was one of four people who made it, but whatever - I was there. I sat there for two hours while two elementary teachers read original stories about their "fuzzy, wuzzy, mushy, squishy eyebrows" and a elephant who travels around in a hot air balloon rescuing mice in need. When it was my turn, I read a character sketch about two women at a bar that "bothered" everyone and made them feel "uncomfortable."

Fantastic. At least my trek wasn't a complete loss.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
yipee for diversions!
Paul tagged me, which is fine because it gives me a pleasant diversion from the papers that I really should be grading but really, really don't want to. So here's my go at this silly Game of Four thing:

Four Jobs You've Had in Your Life: retail clerk at The Express, meat counter help, YMCA day camp counselor, high school English teacher

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: The Big Lebowski, Zoolander, The Royal Tenenbaums, Dead Poet's Society

Four Places You've Lived: Columbus OH, Cambridge OH, Mt. Pleasant MI, Canton, MI

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch: Lost, The Office (American or British), Survivor, any version of Law and Order.

Four Places You've Been on Vacation: New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Spain.

Four Websites You Visit Daily: CNN.com, television without pity, pitchfork, my blog

Four of Your Favorite Foods: homemade macaroni and cheese, ice cream, clementines, sushi

Four Places You'd Rather Be: Italy, Hawaii, Panera, my bed

Four Albums You Can't Live Without: Radiohead, OK Computer; Elliott Smith, XO; R.E.M, Automatic for the People; Weezer, Pinkerton

Four People Tagged Next: If you have a blog and haven't done it yet - you!

Sunday, January 08, 2006
elvis vs. my dad

Today, January 8th, is the birthday of two very cool guys - Elvis Presley and Stephen Gross (aka - my dad) To commemorate the day, I did a little research on the life of Elvis and the similarities that I found between these two men were eerie. Here's a list of few things that I discovered:

Elvis: "A white southerner whose singing laced blues with country and country tinged with gospel, Presley brought together music from both sides of the color line."

My Dad: A white mid-westerner who enjoys blues and country music, as well as Van Morrison and Cat Stevens, and they sing about God so that's sort-a gospel- right?

Elvis: "Presley was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, incompetent and a bad influence."

My Dad - sometimes tells dirty jokes and was considered to be a hell-raiser as a kid. (If you visit my dad's childhood home, you can still see a hole in his bedroom door where he tried to punch his sister as a teenager.)

Elvis: "Presley was born January 8, 1935, in East Tupelo, Mississippi."

My Dad - was also born on January 8. He's from Columbus, Ohio, which isn't Mississippi exactly, but is practically the south.

Elvis: "In 1951, he receives his first driver's license, joins the ROTC unit at Humes High, tries out for the football team (he's cut by the coach when he won't trim his sideburns and ducktail), and in his spare time hangs around the black section of town, especially on Beale Street. "

My Dad - was born in 1951, he also has a driver's license, he also went to high school and he also played football. (The similarities are getting creepy, huh?) When my dad was younger he used to dress up in bright suits favored by the African American community and be one of the lone Caucasians rocking out at Temptations concerts.

Elvis: "In December of 1957 he received his draft notice, but was given a 30 day deferment to complete the filming of King Creole. On March 24, 1958 Presley entered the Army. In January 1960 he was promoted to sergeant and was discharged that March."

My Dad - was drafted for Vietnam and joined the National Guard, where he spent a lot of time playing cards. I think they wanted to promote him to sergeant, but he liked to goof-off a bit, so I don't believe that ever happened.

Elvis: "On May 1, 1967 Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas; on February 1, 1968 their only child Lisa Marie was born."

My Dad - married Sue DeVillers in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. Unlike Elvis, my parents had two children, but only one daughter, Margaret Anne (me), who, like Lisa Marie, isn't much of a Michael Jackson fan anymore and likes to rock out from time to time.

Elvis: Visited President Nixon in 1970 and gave him a gun as a gift.

My Dad - is a Republican who bought a gun once when he was working in a grocery store in a sketchy neighborhood.

Elvis: Presley is considered to be the "king of rock-and-roll" and is still worshiped and adored by thousands.

My Dad - is considered to be the king of 7710 Claymore Ct. East and is currently being worshiped and adored by a dog named Bruno.

Elvis: Despite a drug addiction, gaining weight and unfortunate leisure suites in his later years, Presley is more popular than ever and "is subject of one of the biggest personality cults in modern history."

My Dad - Enjoys a good scotch, isn't as thin as he used to be, and has been known to own an unfortunate leisure suit or two. Like Elvis, he is a very popular guy, and if you were to meet him, I'm sure you'd like him too.

Much like Elvis, my dad tends to drive the ladies crazy!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Saturday, January 07, 2006
of wal-mart and twins
Well, I went back to work for three days this week, and although I had a student teacher there to greet me, it was pretty depressing to go back after two weeks off. I can find solace in the fact that in a couple of weeks someone will be doing most of my job for me for free. (Yeah, I know I'm a big cry-baby, but still - jealous much?)

So, I don't know if you heard it on the news yesterday, but apparently we all have one more reason to hate Wal-Mart. They're claiming employee error, but some genius tech person programmed their website so that when you searched for the movies Planet of the Apes and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory the "we also recommend" led you to African America videos such as a bio of Jack Johnson and a video on Martin Luther King, Jr. They've since removed the link, but they've apparently known about this since October, so I guess it wasn't too concerning to them until it made the national news. I understand why they would claim employee incompetence to cover their collective asses, but if it is an accident (which I'm not sure I believe it is) it's a pretty damning one, especially since there are so many people like me who love to hate Wal-Mart.

On a happier note, my cousin Liz and her husband Rob have been trying to get pregnant for something like five years with no luck. It's been an emotional roller coaster, exacerbated by the fact that she's been on all sorts of fertility drugs that have messed with her emotional balance. She had tried pretty much everything that the medical world had to offer, and decided to just hand it over to fate or God or whatever. My mom heard about this website run by cloistered nuns called the Sisters of St. Clare (who knew cloistered nuns had the Internet??) who would pray for you if you sent in a request. Mom mom and several aunts sent in a request and - poof! - Liz is now pregnant. With twins. I don't know if it was the prayers of the nuns, the drugs, or just a change in luck, but we sure are happy for her and Rob.

It got me thinking about how I would feel if my first pregnancy was with twins. I'm pretty sure I'd flip out - double the money, stress, sleepless nights, etc. Apparently all Nathan could think about was laundry, prompting him to ask, "If you have twins, do you have to buy twice as many clothes or do you just do laundry twice as often?"

Hands off, girls. He's mine.

Thursday, January 05, 2006
why me?
Me: Realism is a movement in American literature when authors tried to use imagery to create a vivid picture of a scene. You need to remember that television wasn't invented yet, so many people liked all the time these authors spent on the little details to paint a picture of the scene.

Anonymous AP Student: So, I have a question. Since we have television now, why do people still write books? Can't they just make movies instead? It seems like writers are just wasting a lot of paper.

Me: (Pregnant pause) Well.....some people like to read. Apparently not you, however.

(Did I mention this was in an AP class???)

Monday, January 02, 2006
you could mess with my dog, but i wouldn't recommend it
Happy New Year's, everyone!

Nathan and I spent our New Year's Eve in Bowling Green, Ohio with our friends Paul and Carrie at a lovely party hosted by our new friends, Steve and Melissa. We had a great time, and I hope I didn't make too much of an ass out of myself, although knowing me, that's usually unavoidable.

While we were reveling, our dog was spending the weekend with my parents and their dog, Bruno. This happens relatively frequently, and although Bruno is in love with Chloe, who's largely indifferent to his passion, they usually get along reasonably well together. Bruno, though not the smartest, is perhaps the sweetest dog you'll ever meet, which is a good thing considering he is over 3ft tall and weighs about 80 pounds. He does have an unfortunate drooling habit, but if you carry a towel around with you the damage is usually minimal. In comparison, Chloe is incredibly smart as far as dogs go, and, at 40 pounds, is literally half his size. To see the two together it is obvious that Bruno could kill Chloe with one swipe of his enormous paw if he wanted to, but he's in love so he'd rather chase her around the house, begging her to play with him and drooling all over her. It's pretty clear that Chloe doesn't share Bruno's feelings, and she often fends off his advanced by biting his head and legs, which doesn't seem to bother Bruno. Apparently, Bruno pushed things a bit too hard this time, and when we picked Chloe up last night I was witness to what happens if you piss my dog off, and it wasn't pretty.

Bruno - the lover

It's obvious that Chloe is meant to be an only child, because she gets extremely jealous whenever anyone, animal or human, attempts to get too close to either me or Nathan. Jealously reared its ugly head when Nathan and I entered my parents' house to pick her up. Bruno rounded the corner to greet me and Chloe - just - snapped. I don't know if she was cranky from fending off Bruno's advances all weekend, afraid I would show preference to Bruno over her, or just hung over from her New Year's party, but without warning she raged all over Bruno's 80 pound body. He quivered like a Chihuahua as she unleashed, going in for the jugular while we watched is disbelief. I truly believe she would have done some serious damage had someone not been there to break it up. The sight of a 40 pound chick reducing a 80 pound dude to a shivering puddle of terror would have been funny if it weren't so sad. And the saddest thing of all was after the whole experience was over, Bruno's first response was to run over to Chloe and cry, as if begging for her forgiveness. She refused to even look at him, making the moment all the more pathetically sad.

Chloe - the vicious attack dog

I spoke with my mom today, and apparently Bruno crossed paths with a Labrador on their walk this morning. Although the other dog made no attempt to attack, Bruno cowered in fear and fled to the other side of the street. She fears last night's experience may have scarred him for life.

Chloe, on the other hand, spent most of today attacking pillows and barking at small children who dare to play in front of our house. She appears to be doing just fine.