my dog ate my dignity

One thing I have always believed to be true: one cannot have both dogs and dignity. It’s impossible. You have to decide between one or the other. Dogs have no self-consciousness, but going beyond that, they do not even know what it is. So they assume you don’t have any, either.

My dogs ate my dignity years ago. Decades. In my childhood, when they ate my three foot long realistic plastic alligator (and I am still sore about that.) I didn’t have much dignity to begin with, so it’s okay, and the fun of dogs makes up for it.

Now that the Florida heat is starting to set in, early evening is the best time to take Logan for walks. He has the back yard for excretion and digging holes; the walks are exercise for both of us. They’re leash training, too. Unfortunately, everyone else knows this is the Nice Outside Time as well, and as a result, I run into a fair number of people.

About two houses away from home, Logan spotted a small stick on the sidewalk. He picked it up, shook it, played a bit with it. I laughed at this, as I do, because Logan is hilarious. He took this for encouragement and trotted along, happy as can be, with the stick in his mouth.

We passed many people. There was a woman bringing in a sprinkler from her front yard. She didn’t give us much of a glance, but she did scold her dog (I couldn’t see it) for barking as we passed by.

Further on there were two guys, nineteen or twenty, Too Cool For Life, fiddling with a lawn mower at the end of their driveway in the most James Dean Careless Testosterone-ful way possible. Logan and I detoured around a car that was parked on the sidewalk, putting us closer to The Two Dudes. Logan trotted along, happy as a dog can be, because I’M ON A WALK and I HAVE A STICK! I followed along, every aspect of my bearing saying my derpy dog is fucking awesome, comprende? The Two Dudes stared, not entirely sure of what they were seeing.

… I get that a lot.

Past the halfway point I decided that Logan would keep this stick for the whole walk, no matter what. If he dropped it to look at something else, I’d kick it along the ground, or pick it up and have him jump for it. If I made it a desirable object, by having it when he didn’t, he would want it very badly and do anything to get it from me.

We passed the House With The Sighthound — Whippet or Greyhound, I don’t know, just that it is brindle, has a pink collar, and barks maniacally whenever anyone turns that corner. Logan kept his stick firmly, though his hackles went up a little. He’s still uneasy about being barked at.

We tromped through the backlots and field, occasionally playing Who’s Got The Stick, happy as could be because we were a girl and her dog (or a dog and his girl) out on a walk, with a stick, on a nice day, and nobody bothering us.

We turned a corner and spotted another man walking a dog. I hadn’t seen him before. Logan, stick clamped firmly in his mouth, stopped and looked at this new dog.

“Which way you headed?” the guy asked, holding back. The dog, about Logan’s size but stockier, Lab and something, looked bored.

I pointed. “Thatway.” Logan decided that he and his stick wanted to visit, and moved towards the man and dog.

“I don’t know about this one,” the guy said. “She’s not my dog. We met another lady the other day and…”

“Oh, he’s friendly,” I said, which is what I generally say well in advance when I encounter someone while I have my dog. “He likes other dogs.” I looked at Logan, who held his stick firmly and eyed this other dog as if to say, I have a stick, don’t you want it? “He, uh. He likes…. sticks.”

“This is my friend’s dog,” the guy repeated. “I’m walking her for him.” Thus proving that he was not only too cool for dogwalks, but also too cool for me and my goofy dog and my goofy dog’s stick.

I nodded and off we went, Logan and I, past a house where a whole family were arguing with each other in and around a car with all its doors open. A teenaged girl, also Too Cool For Life, stared critically at us before returning her attention to the discussion.

Sometimes ya just can’t win for trying. But who cares, when you have a dog and your dog has a stick, and it’s a nice evening for a walk?




a future without doorknobs

In the latest news of Everything Must Always Be Connected, Adobe’s decided to nuke the Creative Suite line and replace it with something that is almost identical except that you have to subscribe and it validates itself monthly by checking in with an online server. It’s got the oh so trendy “cloud” bit in its title. And the icons are hideous.

Naturally, the Design World is all “what the shit is this?”

There’s a staple of sci-fi shows that I always wonder about: doors without handles. You know what I mean. Character approaches door. Character waves at it, or presses a button in the wall, or says the password, and door opens. Character walks through. Door closes. Door may or may not express happiness at performing its one function of opening and closing for a person.

I always wonder the same thing: “What do they do when the power goes out?” Do they sit around twiddling their thumbs in hallways and bathrooms until the power is back on? Are these doors hermetically sealed? Can you die of asphyxiation stuck in a broom closet of the future? I can’t remember that I’ve ever seen that addressed — and I watch far too much scifi for my own good — that the whole ship/satellite/complex has a power failure and everyone is stuck in inconvenient places while She Who Saves The Day spends a ridiculous amount of time in service tunnels, with a flashlight clenched between her teeth. The power never goes out, ever. It’s unthinkable.

For a Floridian, that right there is the most improbable part of something involving space-time continuums, metaphysical forces, alien parasites, and all manner of creatures that look like people with rubber bits stuck to their faces.

(One thing I noticed about Firefly right off: the doors had handles. I loved that. BSG too.)

Living in the lightning-strike capital of the US as I do (not the world; that’s Rwanda I believe), I have had to deal with the power going out. A lot. It’s not as bad as it used to be, with the power companies and telcos bettering their infrastructure, but it still happens. When I hear thunder, I make sure all my gizmos are on the charger, just in case. It’s as much a reflex as the stingray shuffle; I doubt I can unlearn it, at this point. It’s an inconvenient fact of life: electricity is not one hundred percent reliable.

Back to Adobe. This new stupid bit of DRM assumes that everyone has one hundred percent reliable power and internet access, at all times. That strikes me as naive, if not outright stupid, because I’m accustomed to a place where you don’t, and I know too well that law which states the software will try to revalidate itself at the most inconvenient possible moment, and then shut down completely, requiring three days’ worth of telephone calls (because you can never get anything done like that with email and webforms) and meanwhile your project, whatever it is, has gone right down the shitter.

It’s like they live in the sci-fi world without doorknobs, and I’m over here in reality where things not only don’t work that way, but can’t.

Ask me about that time I fried three network cards in one summer. I’d go to the parts store and they’d give me this look, again? But that was back when we had copper wire, not fiber-optic, which I am assured works just fine underwater, and which I know for a fact will still transmit even if it’s absorbed by the root mass of a cabbage palm. The future marches on, but it still has handles on automatic doors. Just in case.