My dog

In Memory : November 30, 2001
Stanze died after a long life of cuddling and begging. She was everything I could ever want in a dog.

I was allergic to dogs when I was younger, so I never had a puppy when I was a boy. Soon after I was married, Cheri was determined to have a dog, so we went to the pet store and met Stanze. We decided we wanted her because she was the one who barked the most when we left - a taste of things to come. Stanze howled so much when she was young that we had to put her on tranquilizers, and she still managed to get us evicted from our first apartment. But I didn't care - the boy in me finally had a dog, and my allergies were gone.
Stanze is short for Constanze (Mozart's wife), and she was born in August in Illinois somewhere. She just turned 14 this year, so she is one old (98 dog years) girl. When she was young she would chew anything in sight, and even chewed up an entire set of window blinds. To stop her from howling, Stanze learned to sleep in bed under the covers, and still does every night. She still likes to howl with people, as long as everyone in the room joins in. She is addicted to licking, and will slobber up anyone's legs who happens to be wearing shorts.
Stanze is the mother of 14 baby beagles in two litters of registered puppies. She was bred with some boy named HR Puppystuff, who did the job well. It took Stanze over eight hours to deliver each litter, and she was a great mother to the little tikes. When the puppies were old enough, we sold them for big bucks, but out of each litter we kept one long enough to get attached. In the first litter there was Catherine, who had perfect markings, and in the second litter we kept Wolfie, who was a rambunctious little guy. We eventually had to sell them when things got out of hand - Cheri and I had other pets to take care of, too.

Over a year ago, Stanze was diagnosed with cancer and given two weeks to live. But after trying out a new treatment (with "people" drugs) suggested by a veterinary oncologist, Stanze is still happily begging for all food in sight - a true miracle puppy.

AKC Name: Constanze's Spirit
Nicknames: Stanze Cutie Puppy Baby, Cute Puppy, Good Girl, Girlie Girl, Sweetie, Sweet Pie, Cute Pie, Sweet Pants, Stinky, Lover Dog, Monkey Dog
Dog Food: Purina Fit & Trim, Milk Bone Medium
Breeding: $50 stud fee (x2), 14 Beagle puppies, $1,500 profit from sales
Bladder Capacity: 8 hours, then it's on the floor


Nurse Betty : 3 of 5

A mainstream movie with an indie plot - it's amazing to me this was picked up a major studio. We start off with a funny plot that turns sad as we get to know Betty and see the scum of Hollywood play with her illness (I guess that sounds worse than it really is), but the really strange elements are the two killers tracking her to LA to do the job. Chris Rock's character is completely unlikeable, and Morgan Freeman ends up giving Betty a new way to live her life and kissing her on the cheek, after killing her husband at the start of the film! Weird plot aside, there are some funny moments, but not many laugh out loud ones - I was mostly impressed with the great LA houses.

Duets : 3 of 5

If you've read my Obsessions, then you knew I would see Duets on opening day (well, I couldn't make it since I was at Cabaret, but I went the next day!). Before I say anything about the movie, first let me state without question that I would stalk this woman to the ends of the earth - the scenes of her singing are just mind-blowing (she does that thing where she smiles so much that she has to make a B sound with her front teeth - Baby Spice does that, too), plus her character is young and goofy, so she gets to wear such wild-ass clothes that she looks like a cartoon character (and most of you know I love cartoon characters). Gwenyth aside, this is a pretty good movie that gives you an uplifting feeling - you can do anything if you can just sing. Seriously, being yourself is a nice way to live, and if you happen to be Gwenyth, so much the better.


Jedi Apprentice 8: The Day of Reckoning / Jude Watson : 3 of 5

This book ends a major thread in the Jedi Apprentice series - the final demise of Xanatos, Qui-Gon's first apprentice. I must say that this book doesn't have near the amount of introspection into the minds of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as the other books do (in fact, they are steadily moving away from the great character development into more sheer action), but it's still a great story. This one ready very quickly (mostly due to the fast pace), so I hope the next book returns to the more interesting aspects of the Jedi Master/Padawan relationship.


Dinner with Barron & Mariko

An exciting evening of food and adventure including bike riding and Nintendo!

View photos: Dinner with Barron & Mariko


Mono / Formica Blues : 5 of 5

After hearing the track Life in Mono on the Great Expectations soundtrack, and then checking out another cool song via Napster, I decided to try the whole CD. A great decision, since the CD reveals another side to Mono - besides the haunting synth and vocal tunes, there are a few "wall of sound" knockoffs (featuring horns and timpani) that are so retro-cool (and very Sarah Cracknell of Saint Etienne). Not very singable, but excellent driving music.



My final adventure with Helen had a shaky start, as I missed the plane! I finally made it to Quebec several hours late, but Helen and I still found our cool little hotel in Quebec City just fine. The city was amazing, surrounded by walls and looking so quaint and medieval. We ate some amazing food and enjoyed hearing all the French-speakers. Next we took a two day drive to Montreal, spending the night at a great resort in-between, and then lived it up in Montreal. Our bed & breakfast there was great, run by a small family with kids (I got to see them watching Teletubbies in French!). On this trip, Helen and I had pretty much officially declared friendship only, which lent a little sadness to the time (referenced in my poetry), but overall the trip was wonderful.


Sailor Moon S : 4 of 5

Don't ask me why the Sailor Moon movies are called "R" and "S" (and I think there is a "Super S"), but it has nothing to do with movie ratings (although, if you freeze-frame the transformation of Sailor Jupiter you will get a surprise!). I thought "R" was most entertaining and intelligent, but when "S" began I thought I was in for some stupid stuff. Thankfully, I was wrong - Sailor Moon S is one of the most bizarre but beautiful little stories of unrequited love you could ever hope to see. Luna (Sailor Moon's talking cat/guardian) falls in love with a human scientist - there is even a scene where she kisses him as he sleeps. All Luna wants is to be human with him, and Sailor Moon makes her dreams come true for one glorious moment.


Sailor Moon Super S : 3 of 5

Just like the last Sailor Moon movie I watched, this one started by making me wonder why in the heck I was watching it. The beginning of the plot focuses on a kind of pied piper who makes children sleepwalk to a huge candy ship where they are abducted. Watching the Sailor Scouts fight giant bon-bons wasn't so cool. However, the focus on Chibi-Moon and her friendship with one of the abductors becomes so cute and heartwarming! There is the usual climactic scene where Sailor Moon just "can't go on" and draws on the energy of friendship to win, but the coolest things are the obvious lesbian relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus, and of course watching Sailor Venus attack with the "Venus Love Me Chain".


Shine : 5 of 5

An excellent movie that builds very nicely - just like the music that inspired it. When I watched Shine I didn't know that David was a real person, since the story is just so cinematic to be true. By the middle of the film when David finally performs the "Rach 5" (Rachmaninoff's Fifth Concerto), I was completely enthralled. The relationship between David and his father is sad, but never seems to twist the story for more sympathy (on either side) than is called for. The only negative is the final concert with its Mr. Holland's Opus moment - it's just too mushy to see all the folks that affected his life in one place. Shine certainly deserved the Best Picture award that it won, so I'm glad I rented it.


Sleepy Hollow : 3 of 5

I missed this one in the theater, but I would have rented the DVD anyway. I don;t even need to tell you anything about this movie, except it's 100% Tim Burton - the actors he likes, the music he likes (Danny Elfman, of course), the drab color scheme he likes (which is perfect for this film), the blood he likes (which is the only color to break the grayscale!), and all the usual creepiness. Great entertainment, tolerably gross, and the DVD has some cool extra "making of" features.


Sliding Doors : 4 of 5

Gwyneth is in every single scene - how could this not be better than Star Wars? Seriously, this is an extremely entertaining film, that even film snobs like Tom have to admit is good. You get two stories for the price of one, following the same character along two paths of life, branching from the missing/catching of a London tube. Gwyneth does a fine job at the English accent (you don't know what cute is until you hear Gwyneth say "bullocks" and "wanker"), and with two storylines, that means twice the tasteful outfits and hairdos. Very down to earth, as if you might actually meet someone like Gwyneth on the subway (yeah, and Nader might win).


Cabaret : 4 of 5

Many years ago in Tulsa, I saw a nice dinner theater production of Cabaret - I remember they did some interesting things with slide projections for set backgrounds, and I was stunned by the story (and I had to rent the movie that evening to see it again!). This production at the PAC Bass Concert Hall is the current touring Broadway revival show, and it is excellent. The raunchiness had definitely been updated (don't miss the silhouette sex during Two Ladies - unbelievable!), but the seriousness has been increased as well - the stark juxtaposition of the Nazi shadow over the cheery (if somewhat seedy) lifestyle of Berlin is striking. No punches are held for the ending - it takes a while for the audience to start applauding after realizing what just happened.

Slippery When Wet : 4 of 5

Still another Bruce Brown surfing film from Netflix - this time his first! The DVD includes an introduction with today's much older Bruce Brown (still possessing the dry humor), who talks about the low budget of the film and how he learned his craft while making it. There's also the amazing story of the music and narration - recorded in one long cut while watching the film, without a studio or any professional equipment! Actually, the budget was so small that Endless Summer looks like a big studio production in comparison. Slippery When Wet is the story of five crazy surfers (what else?) on an extended stay in Hawaii, surfing everyday, sleeping on the beach, and living a simple life. It's great to watch these guys drive around in their beat-up wagon, always barefoot, wearing a shirt about 5% of their lives, and enjoying the surfing life. Such a fairytale, but so entertaining.


There is nothing to say about NetFlix except if you have a DVD player and don't use NetFlix, you are so lame! For $20 bucks a month that you would be spending on buying DVDs or renting anyway, you get unlimited rentals from over 6,000 films. Way too cool. I just heard they are undergoing a site overhaul, too, so they can only get better.

Visit site: Netflix