to everything, an unavoidable and frustrating challenge

a few months ago, jenn and i decided to get a second dog to keep our first dog, stella, company. we decided we wanted a dog of a similar age, size, and temperament so that they would be more likely to get along well and play together when they are at home in the yard. we searched a lot and found a dog named laika that seemed like a good fit. we brought stella to meet laika and they got along great. we had a second meeting that also went well, so we took laika home.

then everything went to shit.

laika had never been walked off-leash so we had some significant challenges training her on that. then we found she was not socialized enough with groups of dogs and became aggressive in those situations. then we found that stella is actually very possessive of her home and she wound up attacking laika many times. then laika attacked one of our chickens. then, only two weeks after we got her, laika ruptured her ACL.

so here we are, 6 weeks into her recovery from the knee injury. it seems to be going well so far. the other issues have mostly been sorted out too — laika is now better about off leash walks, meeting groups of dogs, and her and stella rarely get on each others nerves. so it’s been a real pain in the ass but it’s getting better and will eventually be fine.

however, i can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier things would have been if we picked one of the other dogs we had looked at. it’s so easy to think the grass looks greener on the other side. so i’m trying to remind myself when i do that, that stella would have been just as much of a bitch to any other dog, and if the other dog was not as easygoing as laika, we could have ended up with them actually hurting each other during their scraps instead of just posturing. that would have been really bad. or if we got a puppy, which maybe stella would have been less pushy and dominant with, we’d then be dealing with all the other bullshit that goes along with puppies: house training them, teaching them not to chew everything, starting all their basic obedience from scratch. that would be a huge and frustrating commitment too.

so i use this to remind myself that even though i’m annoyed with how things have gone with laika so far, it wouldn’t have necessarily been any better with any other dog. it may have been slightly better or worse, but it would most likely have been a comparably challenging experience. and i think that view applies to most things in life. everything presents its own unique challenges so it’s impossible to say — even with hindsight — that choosing one house, or partner, or career, or anything else, over any other options would have been any better. as long as i make careful decisions based on the best information i have available at the time, i can’t beat myself up over those decision when things don’t go perfectly. because that’s just life.

look at me, being so zen and buddha-like. how pretentious.



no more images. just words.


that’s really special.

i used to take tons of photos. not artsy ‘pebbles on a beach’ bullshit but pics of my pals and myself doing cool shit, like partying and puking. i have 30 or 40 photo albums full of that stuff. they’re pretty funny to look back at.

but i got sick of taking pics all the time. i realize how valuable great pics of memorable times are but i simply got bored of and annoyed with always carrying a camera around, paying more and more for the film and developing, throwing out half of the pics when they sucked, organizing the keepers and putting them in an album…it sucks to not have puke and party pics from the last 8 or 9 years but i’m not going to reason myself into submission and force myself to do it.

besides, i now have my emails to bill (which are basically diary entries), this blog for extended ranting and mind-numbing introspection i don’t want to bore poor billy with, and i have also gotten more into keeping hand-written travel diaries when jenn and i are on vacation (which are great for minute details that time usually robs one’s memory of). none of these things are quite the same as all the great pics of puke and tits and spread open anuses, but they are more satisfying in many of their own ways. and the overarching point of all of these mediums is for me to have tools to help me reminisce when i’m near death and need to appreciate what a good time i’ve had here, and ramblings like this are just as good at that as all those old pics. they achieve the same end, just through different means.

so although i’m sad that my collection of gross and funny pics has ceased expanding, i’m glad that i still have them, and that i now have other means of recording all the hot knives and smashed pussies.

i’m so embarrassed that i used to like nightwish

nightwish is a super shitty finnish ‘metal’ (i use the term very, very loosely here) band. about 15 years ago, i heard their version of the gary moore song, ‘over the hills and far away,’ and really liked it. then i checked out their album, oceanborn, and liked it too. i mean, they always had an embarrassing “i’m a passionate poet” aspect to them, but there was lots of great music to make up for it. here is oceanborn.

it has tons of power metal, classic metal, and progressive metal elements to it, so the operatic vocals didn’t sound terrible to me. they were just a new twist on other tried and true metal styles.

then i checked out everything else by them, and it’s all sucked.

the album before oceanborn sounds immature, unprofessional, like the band was still obviously growing. and virtually everything nightwish has released after oceanborn is 100% disney metal. no joke, it’s usually about the beauty and the beast, angels coming to life, magical worlds, that sort of thing. christ, it’s like they’re making heavy metal aimed at a 3-8 yr old demographic, except it’s not aimed at a 3-8 yr old demographic. it’s just what they like to do, and that level of sulky goth-ness makes me sick.

also, all of their songs since oceanborn sound EXACTLY THE SAME. for any aspiring disney metal artists out there, i’ve broken down the formula for you. here it is:

  • pretty keyboard intro
  • guitar and bass and AC/DC drum beat come in, everyone acts like it’s super heavy
  • guitar and keyboards drop out — just bass, vocals, and AC/DC drums during the first verse
  • guitar and keyboards come back in for chorus
  • repeat verse, this time with some subtle keyboards or guitar for added tension
  • chorus
  • some crappy bridge (anything will suffice, really)
  • move the chorus up a whole tone

that’s it, the secret to nightwish’s success! now every overgrown disney goth can have it!

the main dude behind the band, tuomas holopainen, is unapologetic about his garbage creations. he thinks he’s a great artist, calling his songs “a labor of love, the fruit of dedicated hard work and of the highest quality.” here’s a pic that i think really illustrates the kind of pretentious goth horseshit artist he is.


that makeup, the smirk, the down-turned face, the sparkly scarf, the poor man’s pirates of the caribbean hair and beard…good grief.


and now for the worst parts: i’ve seen nightwish live. and not once, but twice. i know, i’m sorry. the first time in seattle, i had the excuse that i wasn’t too familiar with their post-oceanborn material, and was expecting lots of power-prog metal. i actually don’t think they played ANYTHING from oceanborn at that show despite my screams for it, but they did put on a really good show. then they came to victoria so i went to see them again. this time though, i guess there was lots of turmoil brewing in disneyland and the band was not so enthusiastic. it was a lackluster performance, with none of the awesome songs i wanted, and get this: there was a part in one song where tuomas played by himself, and then at the end of his part, he broke down into tears on stage. as if this particular part of his song was so deeply personal, so intimately connected to his teen goth anguish, that he had to have a good cry, publicly, right there in front of everyone. i almost puked. then to make it worse, the rest of the band came over and hugged him as a show of support! i almost double puked.

and that was the end of me showing any support for nightwish. at this point, i want nothing more of them than tuomas to listen to some more judas priest or iron maiden and get back to making half decent power-prog metal, or else get kicked in the guts by his pet unicorn, rupture his liver, and die of internal hemorrhage. after 15 years of the same song, ceaseless drama with singers, and subsequent public airing of dirty laundry, it simply must end.

i want to close with a great recent quote from my good friend, riley:

“Every time i hear about Nightwish I just listen to South of Heaven again because life is too short.”

drunk dana and west end girls

first thing: my good buddy dana can hold his alcohol incredibly well. of the countless times i have seen him pissed as a newt, he has never appeared anything but sober. he doesn’t slur, he doesn’t get hornier than usual, he doesn’t stumble around, he doesn’t get aggressive or depressed, he doesn’t puke, etc. he just seems like same old dana. the only way i know when he’s fucked up is when he tells me so: “man, i’m super fucked up right now,” he’ll say perfectly clearly while walking a straight line and touching alternate hands to his nose. it’s nice. it makes him a unique and welcomed friend to hang out with at parties.

next thing: i fucking love the song ‘west end girls’ by the pet shop boys. i’m not a fan of theirs, i don’t think i even know any of their other songs, but since i heard gen and liz (or kristina? i don’t remember) perform it at a black swan karaoke night a year or two ago, i’ve been nuts for it. there is something so dark and lonely, even claustrophobic about the song. it sounds like some kind of film noir with shifty, dangerous people hiding in shadows, but with no hint of irony. i find the song genuinely menacing. that’s awesome.

how these things are related: near the end of festivus, probably around 4 am on december 24, i decided to do west end girls on karaoke. dana was there so i asked him to join me. he said he didn’t really know the song and was wasted but he gave it a go anyway. we weren’t great by any means but it was a lot of fun. afterward, i remarked to dana how i liked the song. he commented that he really liked it too, that it had a sinister, cold war era vibe which was haunting. i was amazed because the linking of the cold war to that song was perfect — ‘west end girls’ absolutely drips with cold war paranoia and fear, yet despite much thought, i had never made that connection. and dana noticed this while he was self-admittedly super fucked up! i think that’s incredible. it’s one of the most perceptive drunken observations i’ve ever heard in my life. he captured exactly what i’ve wanted to say about the song for the last few years. i’m still floored.

so this goes out to dana. also, i want to note that dana’s karaoke of bob dylan’s ‘must be santa’ was a runner-up for best karaoke of the night, with julia’s ‘private dancer’ as the reigning karaoke champ. every one of lindy’s performances gets an honourable mention too, they were fantastic.