Dog Owning Weirdos Weirding Me Out (And Why Do All The Strangest People Have Strange Business Cards?)

This is what I get for exchanging pleasantries with strangers. I should just follow my natural inclination, which is to keep my ear buds plugged into my phone and into my ears at all times. I usually do that on planes, buses or any other public place where I feel I might get suckered into having a conversation with a stranger.

I have a socially awkward brother who bases every decision in his life around how to avoid interacting with people he doesn’t know. I’ve always thought that had to be exhausting for him, constantly evaluating every move he makes to avoid being social, but now I’m starting to see his point.

This is one of the downfalls of having a dog that you enjoy taking out in public.

When I go hiking or to the park and my dog starts playing with other dogs, it seems necessary to at least acknowledge the other owners. I always thought it would be so weird to ignore those people as our dogs take turns violating each other. But now I’m thinking it might be the way to go…because the alternative is to be in a one-sided conversation with a weirdo who wants nothing more than a captive audience to push their bullshit theories on.

I thought the dude I used to see at the dog park who was trying to be a comedian was as bad as it would get. He always wanted to try out jokes on all the other dog owners. It was one of those “I have to laugh because I’m his only audience right now and it’ll be so painful to not laugh” situations (side note: This guy would also walk around the park with a spray bottle and spray other people’s dogs when he thought they were misbehaving. Totally acceptable behavior).

But now I long for the days of Wannabe Comedian in my life.

Last week I was hiking with Molly and she started playing with these two dogs. The owner was a guy in his 40s who seemed normal enough when we exchanged pleasantries. Our dogs kept walking and playing, so we kept walking together. One thing led to another and all of the sudden he’s telling me that A). he moved to LA because his girlfriend died in a plane crash a few years ago and he had to get out of New York to stay sane, and B). there are many advantages to being a vegan and I should seriously consider it.

I couldn’t think of the right follow up question to ask about the plane crash situation, and I didn’t care to discuss his vegan lifestyle because I’d rather die than not be able to consume animals ever again.

Undeterred he continued to talk for the next 45 minutes—about how he broke up with a girl last week because she wouldn’t give up hamburgers for him, about how I should really give my dog the rattlesnake vaccine, about the quality of women in LA versus New York—and I just basically nodded along while secretly hoping my dog would attack one of his so we’d have no choice but to split up.

My favorite part of the interaction was him telling me he was unemployed and focuses on volunteer work. But then he proceeded to hand me his business card…

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Identifying info has been covered up

Now because of his 45-minute rant, I already knew he was vegan and into animal rescue activities, but ladies clothing manufacturer? Such a random business card, such a random dude, but not nearly as insufferable as this next guy.

 

 

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Another business card from another unemployed guy. With the first guy, I really had no choice but to socialize with him. We were walking in the same direction, our dogs were playing with each other and there was no one else on the path. But the guy who handed me this confusing business card totally swindled me into a conversation.

I was at the dog park where there were a bunch of people so it’s not like I was stuck somewhere with just one guy. But this gentleman came right up to me and feigned interest in my Red Sox hat (I asked him, “Oh are you from Boston?” “Nope.” “But you’re a Red Sox fan?” “Nope, I just like that hat.”).

Then he asked me if he could try out my “Chuckit” dog launcher because he had the larger version and didn’t like it that much. And finally, he pretended to be interested in my dog. Before I could answer his questions about Molly, he cut me off and said, “Do you mind if I run something by you?”

The next 20 minutes was a full sales pitch from him on why I should go to his website to learn about Buddhism. He talked about how he found spiritual enlightenment, and that it was because he chanted those words at the top of the business card that he was getting everything he wanted in life (except for a job, apparently).

You can imagine how quickly I scurried away from this individual after he was done, but sure enough he found me sitting on a bench a little while later and said, “Surely there’s enough room for both of us on that bench.” And then I had to withstand 20 more minutes of his thoughts on religion, how he works in the public safety business but it’s all politics now and it drives him crazy, and how he started a dog-sitting business recently, with some help from chanting “NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO.” Chanting out to his gods apparently gave him guidance on how much to charge for dog-sitting.

I swear none of this is an exaggeration.

I left the park telling him I’d check out the website and give him feedback next time I see him. I will make it a point to either never see him again or train my dog to destroy his dog so that we can’t be near each other.

I can’t figure out what it is with unemployed people and business cards, but I feel like they all have them. As an unemployed veteran, I think the self-promoting business card is a waste of money. But like my parents always taught me….when in Rome…

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The moral of the story is I hate talking to people who just want to talk about themselves and push their beliefs on me. I might start asking a stranger before I talk to them whether it’s going to be an actual conversation about normal shit, or if it’s going to be a one-sided sales pitch on why their lifestyle is better than mine.

But one thing’s for sure…everyone at the dog park is getting a Ross Gariepy business card.

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My Dog Made It Through Her First Year Without Me Killing Her, In Words and Pictures

Despite my best efforts, my dog Molly has made it through one year of life relatively unharmed. When I started writing this blog on her actual birthday, May 20th, I was going to say that the first six months were extremely eventful and chaotic, and the most recent six months were relatively unexciting. But as you’ll see below, excitement and chaos often pops up unexpectedly when it comes to dealing with a puppy.

Per my usual dog-blogging format, here’s one year of Molly’s life by the numbers:

1: Years old in regular time

7: Years old she’s supposed to be in dog years

67: Years old she acts most of the time…You try to walk her for longer than 10 minutes on a day where the temperature is above 65 degrees and she will fall to the ground and turn into dead weight, absolutely refusing to go any further. You then have two choices: carry a 96lb dog a half-mile back to the apartment, or pull on her leash so hard that the pain from more walking is far less severe than the pain from strangulation. Also, even though she is about six feet tall and extremely muscular, she gets on and off our couch as if she is the oldest, brittlest  dog on the planet.

96: Pounds. Yes, as far back as six weeks ago we started telling people that Molly was done growing. She really hadn’t gained any weight at that point after hitting the 90lb mark. After weighing her earlier this week, it appears we aren’t that lucky. The race to 100lbs is officially back on!

There was a time when Julie could easily hold Molly like this:

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And now you can see the back-breaking effort (literally) it takes to pick her up:

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9: Months we owned Molly before Julie finally came over to my side in the “should our human-sized dog be allowed to sleep in the bed with us” argument. Once upon a time before we got the dog, Julie and I agreed that it wouldn’t be sleeping in our bed ever, and then Julie immediately changed her tune after we got her. When I call her out on this, Julie’s response is always, “Yeah, but I didn’t know back then that I was gonna love her so much.” Pathetic. But finally a couple weeks ago Molly’s constant moving around and seizuring during her puppy dreams kept Julie up for just enough of the night that she decided it was time to recapture our bed from the dog version of Andre the Giant.

1: Number of times we rushed the dog to the Emergency Room in an absolute panic because she might have eaten some grapes. Listen, you can laugh all you want at taking our dog to the ER for grapes, but ever since we got her (the first dog either of us has ever owned, by the way), we’ve been repeatedly told by the Vet, other dog owners and people who can’t mind their own business that there are two human foods besides chocolate that are absolutely deadly to dogs: onions and grapes. So on that fateful Sunday night when we saw Molly standing over a pile of grapes that was magically sitting on the floor, how were we supposed to know whether she had actually eaten any or not? And even if she had just one, we were told by the ER staff to bring her in. Two very long hours later, we at least had an answer as to how valuable our dog’s life was to us…

350: The value, in dollars, that we put on Molly’s life during the Great Grape Debacle of 2013. The doctor told us there were two options: they could give her some medication that would try to block any toxins that were entering her bloodstream from the grapes, which would cost $350 and we’d be taking her home that night, or we could keep her at the ER for 72 hours while they constantly pumped her with IVs to combat those same toxins, which would cost a minimum of $2,500 but would provide a near certainty of her not getting kidney failure. We felt good about spending the $350 for the take-home medicine…because we knew she was a strong dog that wouldn’t get taken down by a measly little grape. Not at all because that additional $2,000 was needed for our vacation fund.

1: Additional times Molly has visited the ER since I initially wrote the above two paragraphs a week ago. I guess her health was going too smoothly (two months without a vet visit!)…in the mystery of mysteries, Molly developed a bunch of red bumps all over her back one day while she was home alone. When one of them started bleeding, it was time for another ER trip. But at least this time we got a deal, only $270 for the visit and a bunch of meds! But seriously, absolute mystery to the doctors…could have been bitten by something, could have had an allergic reaction to something, could have been just because she was missing me while I was away so much that she figured the only thing to get me home was to put herself in the emergency room. Well it didn’t get me to end my trip any sooner, and now she has a temporary deformity from her fur being shaved:

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100: Percent of the time that Molly consumes mass quantities of ocean water when we take her to the beach.

100: Percent of the time that Molly has the equivalent of a fire hose spraying brown water out of her ass after she consumes said ocean water.

1: Number of household items Molly has partially destroyed since I last wrote a blog about her New Year’s Eve destruction. Unfortunately it was the only piece of furniture we’ve purchased since moving to LA. Poor papasan chair:

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3: Days each week that Molly refuses to eat her breakfast. This one still confuses me, but I refuse to spend any more time or mental energy trying to understand her quirks. I read a comment on some random website that said dogs aren’t genetically programmed to eat on a schedule multiple times a day like humans are. They’re programmed to be able to go long periods of times without food because their ancestors in the wild would only eat when they found available prey. Right or wrong, this explanation is good enough for me.

2: Hard metal objects that she’s walked into face-first in the past 10 days. She’s definitely become a better walker over time, but she still has to look at every interesting thing during a walk around the neighborhood. And when that interesting thing is another dog, she will watch it for as long as she can, even as we make her continue walking. So it wasn’t totally surprising that she walked head first into a metal street light pole the other day when I was with her. And it turns out just a couple days later, Julie was crossing the street with Molly and she decided to pay attention to another dog rather than where she was walking…which ended up with her smacking her face against the side of a car that was waiting at the stop light. I know this dog isn’t actually my child so we don’t share any DNA, but I did once run face-first into a parked car outside of church while playing tag with my friends. So I guess it runs in the family?

Areas where we’ve seen significant improvement since we adopted her last summer:

Acceptance of being in water: Every time we’ve taken her to the beach over the past year, she’s gotten more and more daring with the ocean. When we took her a few days ago, she finally started chasing other dogs all the way into the water until she couldn’t stand anymore. She’s becoming obsessed with it, which I discovered can be a bad thing when I took her for a walk next to a sewage run-off a few months ago and she decided to jump in. Also, her second favorite thing to do at the beach besides go in the water at this point is to freak out on the sand as if she’s never felt such an amazing substance before. Check out this short video to see what I’m talking about:

Freaking out when she sees another dog: She’ll still let us know with firm pulls on the leash that she wants to go play with the dog she sees across the street, but at least she doesn’t go into full freak-out tantrum mode any more.

Acknowledging that her owners exist while at the dog park: This is an important one. I won’t say she’s the perfectly obedient dog when she’s playing with her friends, but at least now if we call her, there’s a 50/50 chance she’ll listen and come to us. This is especially important when a dog fight breaks out and Julie or I are sitting 50 yards away from it (as for the amount of dog fights I’ve seen, I’d guess it’s about 10 in eight months of going to the dog park. Probably four or five have ended in bloodshed for a dog or a human, but never Molly or us).

Treating her crate like a bed instead of a prison: Finally, finally! She voluntarily lays down in her crate when she’s tired. No longer does she treat it like a prison. No longer do we have to literally shove her into it when it’s time to lock her up. It just goes to show you that if you make the rest of your apartment scary and uninviting enough to a dog, they will in fact seek shelter in their crate.

Areas of no improvement or where she’s gotten worse:

About that water thing: The one exception is taking a bath. We try to bathe her once a month before we apply her flea treatment, and she’s as terrified of it today as she was at three months old. As soon as we get her in the bathroom, she turns into dead weight, forcing us to lift her into the tub and hold her there while she slowly tries to lean her way out of it. Not sure what it is about the tub, but it’s another one of those things that we’ve given up on trying to figure out.

Car entry and car rides: I’m not sure which one I would classify as worse, the fact that she won’t jump into the car on her own (never, not once in 10 months of having her), or that when she’s finally in the car, she will stay sitting up and rapidly panting the entire time she’s in there (even if it’s a six-hour ride to San Francisco). She hates everything about the car, which is weird because most of the time we put her in the car, we’re taking her somewhere fun. We’ve tried roughly 300 different arrangements to make her feel comfortable (putting a bed in the backseat for her, putting her favorite toys or stuffed animals in there, putting her in a harness that attaches to the seatbelt, and most recently, buying a dog hammock for her to lay in). None of it works. Tough to be a dog in LA and not enjoy car rides.

Separation anxiety: When we first got her, Molly hated being away from us, even if we were just in another room of the apartment. Then she seemingly matured and didn’t mind when we left her in the living room alone. And now she’s back to screaming bloody murder any time we force her to be more than five feet away from us. I’d like to think this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m always home with her so she hasn’t had to deal with being alone in the apartment all day, but let’s be honest, that setup probably hasn’t taught her to be independent.

So there you have it. Molly is good at some stuff, terrible at other stuff, but always entertaining. We’re thinking about getting four or five more puppies next month just to spice things up around the house (and to provide me with more dog-blogging material). Stay tuned.

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New Plan to Get Some Monthly Income That I Totally Deserve: Dog Walking

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This is bound to piss some people off, but this thought randomly jumped into my head today when I was trying to ignore my dog while she whimpered by the door: Would it be wrong of me to start charging my girlfriend half the cost of a dog walker every day?

Hear me out on this…If you think about it, me being at home saves us from having to get a dog walker that would cost $25 a day. We’d be splitting that cost, $12.50 each. By going to work and leaving me to tend to the house, Julie is not only saving herself the cost of a movie ticket each day, but also never has to take time away from her work to deal with the dog. On the flip side, I have to interrupt my day for a 40-minute walk and I don’t make a dime doing it. Is this fair?

I feel like I should be compensated for this, and because I’m dealing with someone I know, I’ll give her a deal. $10 per day to continue walking our dog and keeping the apartment piss-free. This would give me an extra $200 a month in income, which would increase my monthly income by about 400%.

I know what you’re saying…she’s the working person in the relationship and I’m the househusband. The exchange is her bringing in the money and me doing the chores/house management. I’d be fine with that, except I gotta tell you guys, she doesn’t give me any of that friggen money. If anything, she holds it over me that she has income and I don’t.

And don’t even get me started about what I should be charging for doing the dishes each morning, getting the mail and having a hot meal on the table every time she gets home.

Am I stumbling on a deeper conversation about proper compensation for housewives? Have I finally made the transition to overworked, oppressed stay-at-home Dad? Is there a snowball’s chance in Hell that Julie agrees to pay me to continue taking care of our dog?

These are just some of the questions I ask myself while providing free dog-walking services every day.

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I Don’t Know If My Guest Blogger Can Handle Being In Charge While I’m In Vegas

Don’t worry about the blog slowing down while I’m researching more stories in Las Vegas. The dog’s in charge for the rest of the week.

Even last night she was already hard at work writing the Vegas blog post while I dictated to her out loud:

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Problem is she can’t keep up with my 3,000-word entries. She tires quickly…

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Man Vs Dog: A Game of Psychological Warfare

This fucking dog…

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Every time I think I’ve got her figured out, she throws a ridiculous curveball just to show me she’s always going to be one step ahead.

“Figured out how to get me in my crate consistently? Fine, I’ll start chewing on all the furniture every chance I get. Oh, you sprayed that disgusting sour stuff on the furniture so I wouldn’t wanna chew on it anymore? No problem, I’ll just start tearing all my toys to shreds… Damnit, you took all my destructible toys away? Actually, that’s fine. But just know I’m going to start having some fierce diarrhea every time you take me outside to the point where you have to spend hundreds of dollars at the Vet’s just to figure out that nothing’s really wrong with me.” 

And on and on it goes…

Her newest “quirk” is that she decided in the last few days to no longer be interested in the dog food she’s been eating for the last month. This isn’t totally new because the same thing happened a couple months ago. When it happened the first time, we caved and got her cans of wet food to mix in with the dry food. She loves the wet food, but it’s not economically sustainable for us to buy her cases of wet food for the next 10+ years.

So this time I’m calling her bluff. If she doesn’t want to eat the food that we’ve decided she’s eating when we decide it’s time for her to eat, then she’s going to starve. And I’m going to let her. This is probably a little sick and twisted, but I gotta tell you that I’m enjoying teaching her a very important lesson. When I Gchatted Julie at work yesterday to ask for her approval on this plan of attack and she gave me the OK, I was so excited. Not because I want my dog to go hungry, but because I want her to learn once and for all that eating is a privilege. There are starving dogs in Africa for Christ’s sake!

Rather than cater to Molly by giving her the opportunity to eat multiple times throughout the morning, I’m putting the food in her bowl once, and she has exactly 10 minutes to show some sort of interest in it. If she doesn’t, then breakfast is over and she can try again around 6PM for dinner.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that after two or three days of her missing out on at least 50% of her daily food intake, she’ll never skip the opportunity to eat again.

Meanwhile, she’s being a gigantic pain in the ass because even though she doesn’t want to eat her food, she’s acting hungry. She basically wants to eat anything except for her food. She’s licking everything, trying to chew all the things she’s not supposed to chew, trying to eat pieces of the carpet, looking for any kind of nutrients she can get. If only she knew all the nutrition she needed was right in front of her just a few minutes ago.

And for all of you “dog experts” out there who wanna throw in your two cents on this matter, save it. I know what you’re going to say. “Molly must be sick, or maybe she’s allergic to the food. You should probably ask the Vet about this.”

No, this is simply a game of psychological warfare. And so far, I think we’ve got a stalemate. But just like in a real war, I’m pretty sure the side that controls the supplies (food, water, toys, belly rubs) is the side that comes out on top.

The Ultimate Molly Update: A Dog’s Life in Words and Pictures

I saw Django Unchained in the movie theater today, and the scene where three angry dogs kill a slave by ripping all his limbs off made me think it was time for a Molly update on the blog. The first thing you need to know is that Molly hasn’t yet ripped a person’s limbs off, and also, she’s not a racist dog. She’d just as likely rip a White, Asian or Mexican person limb-to-limb as she would a Black person.

Now the first thing people always want to know when it comes to any good Molly update is her size. I could tell you that we just weighed her yesterday and she came in at 76lbs. But that doesn’t really tell you how she compares to when we first got her or at any other milestone in her life. A smarter man than me could set up a professional-looking graph in Excel to show how her size has changed as she’s gotten older. A man of my average intellect opts for the handwritten graph:

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Or, if numbers isn’t your game, this might work better for you.

Here’s what “Molly being held by Julie” looked like as a two-and-a-half-month-old puppy:

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And here’s what “Molly being held by Julie” looks like as of January 9th (seven-and-a-half-month-old puppy):

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A couple more points on Molly’s size:

  • We’ve officially changed her name to “Clifford.” Please use her correct new name the next time you see her.
  • If that extremely accurate graph is to be trusted, it seems like her growth rate is finally slowing down.
  • This blog post is being dedicated to Julie’s formerly good back. Hopefully reading this post on her phone at the chiropractor’s tomorrow will cheer her up at least a little.

If you were only reading this to check in on Molly’s weight, you can stop now. For the rest of you, here are some more fun and/or alarming Molly tidbits for your reading pleasure:

-One thing we’ve been particularly pleased about in our five months with Molly is that she really hasn’t done any damage to any of our possessions. You always read these horror stories about the dog that eats all the contents of a trash can or an entire TV. But as happy as we’ve been about this, we’re also smart enough to realize she hasn’t destroyed anything because she’s really never had the chance. As a dog, when you spend every alone moment inside a crate and your Dad’s an unemployed writer who’s home 24/7, you really don’t get many chances to go to town on the prohibited household goods. So what happened on New Year’s Eve? Well, we went to a party until about 1am. When we came home, we put Molly on our bed to let her sleep with us for the night. She got restless at some point and decided to jump off the bed. Usually this wakes me up and I guide her into her crate for the rest of the night, but for some strange reason I was in a deeper state of sleep than usual that night. At 4am I woke up to find Molly innocently curled up on the living room couch, another favorite sleeping spot of hers. Of course all the innocence and “oh isn’t that the cutest!” feelings disappeared quickly when I looked on the ground and saw this crime scene:

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A few more thoughts on those pictures:

  • Julie says that was an expensive shoe. But when I asked her what we should do with the matching shoe that Molly didn’t eat, she said to throw it away. So expensive could those shoes really be?
  • I really do think Molly’s happy with her life, but can we really be sure she wasn’t purposely whittling that brush handle down to a sharp point to use as a weapon on me and Julie?
  • When we were at the Vet yesterday and they were trying to figure out what might be wrong with Molly’s stomach (more on that in a minute), they asked us several times if we were sure she couldn’t have gotten into something she shouldn’t have and swallowed something that could be blocking her digestive system. Somehow this entire New Year’s incident escaped our memory as we shook our heads and said there was no way she could have eaten anything off limits.

-Speaking of destroying things…Over the five months of having her, we’ve given Molly an array of toys (and a plethora…a plethora seems like a good word to describe the more than 30 toys Molly has at her disposal). In her first three-and-a-half months with us, Molly almost never destroyed any of her toys. Some of her older toys would inevitably get small holes in them from natural wear and tear, but she always seemed to play with them gently enough. But over these past seven weeks, Molly has turned into a homicidal maniac when it comes to her stuffed-animal toys. She’s out for blood and she’s taking no prisoners. Here are the toys she’s no longer allowed to play with because the risk of her demolishing them and eating all the stuffing is just too high:

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And the close-up:

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I’m pretty sure all the Toy Story characters would commit suicide if they saw Molly in action for 10 seconds.

-And here’s Molly’s new, smaller array of toys to choose from:

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Not nearly as exciting as the stuffed animals at times, but my dog budget doesn’t include “replace decimated stuffed animal daily” as a line item.

-So I mentioned something being wrong with Molly’s stomach. For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say Molly hasn’t really been “regular” for the past six weeks. The beginning of this situation coincided with a two-day period where Molly refused to eat the dog food that she’d been happily devouring for the better part of four months up to that point. I seriously thought she was just playing a game of psychological warfare with us and was holding out for better food (i.e. human food). But the Vet’s theory was that Molly’s puppy food might be suddenly too rich for her and it was time to switch to an adult food. But before we could do that, we had to get her back to normal again by putting her on a bland diet of wet food (basically setting the reset button on her stomach). Long story short, we’ve been playing around with so many different foods for the past month that we could literally run a black market pet store out of our apartment:

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And of course right before that first Vet visit where they told us to take her off the puppy food, we had just bought a new 30lb bag of the damn puppy food (pictured in the unmarked plastic container above). So if anyone wants to buy about 27.5lbs of puppy food, I’m willing to make a deal. I will not give it to you for free because I’m bitter. I’d rather throw it in the trash.

-Oh and the latest update is that the Vet no longer thinks the stomach issues are related to the type of food Molly’s eating. No, now they think it could be a bacteria/parasite/alien species living in her intestines. So on top of the food surplus, we could now start shipping most dog meds to you as part of our black market operation:

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We’re one more Vet visit away from having to get one of those pill organizers that says all the days of the week on it that old and/or pregnant people use to keep track of their med schedules. Our puppy is an 88-year-old woman.

-And finally, let’s end on a lighter note. If by some magical way Molly was able to talk to us for just 15 seconds, saying only one thing and never being able to talk again, I’d like to think she’d spend that time reassuring Julie that she’s never once been cold when Julie thinks she’s cold. She would say, “Look, I don’t need blankets, extra cuddling or a space heater pointed directly at me. It’s science, Mom. My body temperature is three degrees higher than yours. If you’re not cold, rest assured I’m not cold. I probably should have spent this time telling you guys what it means when I bark, pull on my leash or chew through my toys, but I just needed to clear this temperature thing up once and for all.”

So that’s the latest in Molly’s life. If you’ll excuse me, Julie just yelled from the bedroom to bring her all the blankets we have in the house.

Six Months of Molly (Finally Throwing a Bone to the Non-Football Readers)

[Editor’s Note: To my non-football fan readers, I realize there have been eight consecutive football-related blog posts over the past three weeks and not a single non-football post. I’m not going to say I’m sorry because I’m really not. I guess I’ll just say “I warned you.” Right now there are only four things I do with my life on a daily basis: watch/read about football, watch a ton of TV, do my school work and take care of my dog. I will probably never write about my school work because it’s just as boring as it sounds. That leaves three topics of expertise, and obviously one of them has been dominating the blog. But today for all the non-football fans out there, I’m giving you a dog post. And if you don’t like football or dogs, then you should probably never click on this blog again.]

So Molly probably turned six months old today! (probably because the insane woman we adopted her from probably pulled a birthdate out of her ass just because we were asking)

In dog years, that means Molly is about three-and-a-half years old. So if she was human, she’d be watching a lot of cartoons, starting to read Dr. Seuss books, probably playing with dolls (or more likely action figures of Boston athletes) and talking a lot (honestly, I have no idea what a three-year-old human does all day long…school? sleeping and eating just like an infant? no idea whatsoever). But she’s not a human. And no matter how many times I think it’s about to happen, she can’t talk to us. So we’re forced to guess what she actually likes and what she’s thinking at any given moment. Her daily routine goes something like this: wake up at 8AM, go out to the bathroom, mill around the apartment looking for a toy to play with for about 30 minutes, eat breakfast, sleep for at least two hours immediately after breakfast, go for a 30-minute walk, annoy me for two hours from about 12PM to 2PM, sleep in the crate because I want her out of my way, play time at the dog park from 3:30PM to 5PM, sleep from whenever we get home from the dog park until she hears us pouring her dinner into her bowl, outside again for the bathroom, 30 minute hyper mode where she almost runs through our sliding glass door, fall asleep by 10PM, sleep for 10 hours.

Sounds simple, easy and predictable right? But there’s so much more going on every day, so let’s take you through only the most interesting parts of Molly at the six month mark:

-Maybe the most interesting thing is her size. When I posted a status update on Molly after we had her for one month, she was 36lbs. That was just over two months ago. She now weighs an alarming 66lbs. At her current growth rate of 15lbs per month, she’ll be over 200lbs by next July. She’ll also be about seven feet tall.

-In the first blog post about us adopting Molly, I joked about the number of times we had wanted to take her to the vet for every little thing that seemed wrong (she didn’t eat all her food, her poop was weird, she looked at me funny). Except it really wasn’t a joke. Now the pendulum’s swung the other way, and it would probably take a bunch of things happening at once for us to be alarmed. She can throw up all she wants now, but I’m not springing into action unless she’s vomiting, breathing funny, walking with a significant limp and bleeding out of her eyes all at once.

-The thing I’m most confused about with Molly has to do with her ability to sleep through some noises but not others. For example, we took her camping for the first time last weekend, and we timed it just perfectly to have to sleep in a tent for two straight nights during torrential downpours. Now you’d think a puppy who’s never experienced camping, sleeping in a tent or even rain for that matter would probably wake up throughout the night and wonder what the hell was going on around her. There were moments when the wind was blowing so hard that our tent was actually starting to cave in on certain sides. And yet this puppy never once woke up during any of it. But then on the other side of the coin, let’s say she’s taking a nap on the couch, and I’m in the kitchen 30 feet away. If I so much as touch one of her bags of treats and it makes a crinkling sound, her head pops up, her ears get erect and she’s immediately locked in on my every movement. The ability to listen for something food-related while she sleeps is just remarkable to me.

-Like I said earlier, since she can’t communicate with words we can only guess her favorite and least favorite things in life. After this past weekend, I’m willing to bet her favorite discovery in life so far is mud:

-And though we don’t have a picture to show for it, I’m certain her least favorite thing in life is going outside to the bathroom at night after she’s already been asleep for a while. If she falls asleep at 9PM and we don’t go to bed until 11, we’ll take her out right before we go to bed. It’s not just that she’s reluctant to go downstairs at this time, it’s that she literally tries to hide in every “safe spot” of the apartment as soon as she sees one of us get the leash ready…behind the couch, on the couch, under the table, in our bedroom, on our bed and even in her crate. She will try out every one of those spots in rapid succession in the hopes that either we won’t find her or that we’ll understand just how badly she doesn’t wanna go anywhere at that particular moment.

-As an unemployed writer raising a dog, you can bet that I’ve been trying to think of different dog-related money-generating schemes since we got Molly. I briefly thought about turning her into a show dog or breeding her, but those options seemed like more work than I was willing to put in. With the amount of people, particularly women, who stop me on the streets to pet Molly and say how cute she is, I thought about starting a service where I rent Molly out by the hour to guys who wanted a conversation starter with random women. But I quickly realized I’d be single the moment Julie found out about it. But Julie’s actually the one who turned me on to my best money-generating idea yet: Black Market Poop Bags (or “BM Bags” for short). Our apartment complex provides free bags at all the exits for dog poop. Usually I grab about 15 at a time and stuff them into my pockets so we never run into a situation where we actually have to pay for these. The other day Julie called me out on being a Poop Bag Hoarder, and I couldn’t agree with her more. So why not capitalize on it? A quick google search shows me that a roll of 400 bags sells for about $40 (10 cents per bag). But I could come in and undercut even the best prices because the raw materials, labor and manufacturing cost me exactly $0.00. My only expenses would be the time it takes me to put all the bags into a larger packaging bag, the cost of the actual packaging bag (though I’m sure I could find a way to just steal a bunch of grocery bags or something), and shipping. What could possibly stop Ross’s BM Bags from being a hit? As far as the legality of it all, I dunno, but I’ll be spending time over Christmas with an accountant and a lawyer who know how to make these things work.

-On a serious note, you remember the “octagon” that we use when Molly’s really acting up? That playpen/gate device we put her in until she calms down? By some act of god, we don’t have to use it anymore. We haven’t used it in probably five or six weeks because suddenly Molly doesn’t go through those terrible behavior moments anymore. What’s our secret? We bring Molly to a dog park almost every day and let her get her ass kicked by a bunch of big, aggressive dogs. We realized if Molly spends one hour a day literally running and fighting for her life, she’s much more likely to chill out at home.

-And finally, I’d like to share something about parenting that I never understood until now: The second and third children always turn out better than the first because of the guinea pig factor. I know the next time we get a dog, whether it’s one year or 12 years from now, we will be better prepared to raise a dog and teach it right from wrong. This is not unlike parents raising a human child…that first kid is always the guinea pig, always the child that causes parents to say, “Well, we fucked that up, but now we know for the next kid how to do it.” The first kid is an experiment, and if he happens to grow up and doesn’t become a serial killer, that’s just a bonus. Kids two, three and beyond are where your perfect parenting techniques really shine.

On that note, I need to run…gotta get Molly back to the shelter so we can get going with dog number two.

My Life Explained in Exactly 4 Web Browser Tabs

You can forget about the post from last week that explained my daily routine. This picture’s a great representation of my typical day (probably click on the picture to see it larger):

 

 

 

Welcome to the good life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly Pulls Off One of the Greatest Revenge Schemes in Canine History

You wanna know how a pissed-off puppy gets back at you for forcing her to get spayed and endure two weeks of cone-wearing embarrassment?

She doesn’t freak out or act badly when you bring her home from the vet. She doesn’t try to rip your throat out with her fangs. She doesn’t go on a hunger strike.

And even when she pops your air mattress one night and you think that’s her payback, it’s not.

No, what she does is wait until you think you’ve gotten her completely housebroken, then drops one of these surprises on you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fucking asshole takes a piss on the carpet that spans like three rooms. I honestly didn’t know we had a room this long. For those of you who don’t own dogs, traditionally speaking a dog will sit still while peeing, usually getting it all in one spot. Usually.

Revolutionizing the Puppy Reward and Punishment System

We’re trying a new reward and punishment system with Molly because the traditional way—chocolate ice cream when she’s good and slaps across the face when she’s bad—doesn’t seem to be working. From now on when she’s a good little bitch, she gets to wear the coolest shirt a dog’s ever worn:

And when she feels like being a piece of shit? The CONE OF DEATH!

And yes, that’s a piece of orange freeze pop in her mouth…someone had to undermine my punishment with an uncalled for reward.

Another reason to get away from rewarding her with food, other than the fact that it’s ineffective, is because I’m sick of giving Molly the heimlich maneuver every night.

Week 3 NFL Picks: The Road to 0-3 Goes Thru New Orleans! (And Molly’s Pick is Nearly Controversial!)

Through two weeks, I’m 16-14-2 against the spread. Just enough above average to be winning you a small amount of money if you’ve been smart enough to go with all of my picks. If you were betting $100 on each of my picks, you’d have a $60 profit so far. If I keep up this pace over the course of the 17-week season, you’d profit $510. Not too shabby. But of course you’re not betting $100 on each of my picks because for some reason you still don’t trust me. I get it. It’s gonna take a 13-3 week or better for you to finally give in and follow my advice in each game. I’m not sure it’ll be this week because the schedule’s pretty unforgiving from a betting standpoint (by the way, good luck feeling super comfortable with your suicide pick this week if you happen to be part of the 3% that avoided New England last week).

Let’s get on with it and see if I can finally convince you to follow my lead (home team underlined):

Carolina(-3) over NY Giants: I’m fully prepared for the Giants to fuck me over here, but I gotta take Carolina for a couple reasons. First, how many injuries can the Giants sustain on offense and still put up points? No Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, Ahmad Bradshaw or David Diehl. Second, the emotional toll last week’s comeback win over Tampa must have had on the Giants isn’t something to ignore. Coming off a game like that, the loss of several key players and a short week…I also think Carolina, which only won three home games last year, turns into one of those teams that’s very difficult to beat at home this season.

Dallas(-8) over Tampa Bay: Is the real Tampa Bay the team that only allowed 10 points to Carolina in week 1 or the team that allowed 41 points (and more than 500 passing yards!) to the Giants in week 2? That’s the key to whether Dallas can cover this spread. I’m saying they’re closer to what we saw in week 2. I also don’t believe Tampa can play catch-up very well if it falls behind by 14 or 17 points, which I see happening. Dallas starts out fast in this one and covers the 8 points.

Jacksonville (+3) over Indianapolis: If the NFL combined the best players from these teams into one team, would it even be competitive? You’d have Luck at QB, MoJo at RB, Reggie Wayne and Laurent Robinson at WR…ugh. If the RedZone Channel gave you the ability to choose certain games for them to never check in on, wouldn’t this be at the top of your list for week 3? Anyway, I think MoJo continues to round into form and runs all over Indy so I’m going with the Jags…it’s literally their only chance to avoid an 0-8 start.

Buffalo (-3) over Cleveland: One of two things is happening in this game: A barn-burner with the Bills getting to 40 points first and holding on for a win, or this pathetic Cleveland team is gonna finally make the Buffalo defense look legit, and the Bills win 34-10. Either way we inch closer to my prediction coming true on the first coach fired this season as Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur is officially placed on the hot seat.

Miami(+3) over NY Jets: Miami’s run defense is legit. So the only chance the Jets have of cracking that elusive 10-point ceiling on offense is if Mark Sanchez puts on a show. Do you really think we’re gonna have many weeks this year where “Mark Sanchez” and “puts on a passing clinic” are used in the same sentence? Me neither. I know the Dolphins are still planning on being a bad team, and they have a rookie QB and all, but I think they can take a very conservative approach offensively and see if their defense can win the game for them. Looking forward to hearing the “Tebow should start” chatter go from a whisper to a dull roar after this one.

New Orleans(-9) over Kansas City: “The road to 0-3 goes through New Orleans” is what I picture someone like Greg Gumbel saying during CBS’s pregame show Sunday morning. New Orleans has plenty of built-in excuses to be this bad, and it’s not like their interim interim coach has to be worried about being fired. But it’s much more of a must-win game for KC because they have no excuses…they have their real coach (who did have the interim tag last year, but not the little-used interim interim), and they have their health for the most part. This game pits the two teams tied for last in the NFL in points allowed (37.5). The big difference is on offense, where the Saints are 6th in scoring (29.5 points per game) while the Chiefs are 26th (20.5ppg). Is the pick really as simple as which offense is better? Yes, yes it is. Saints get their first win AND cover the big nine points.

Cincinnati (+3) over Washington: On Tuesday this line was -4 for the Redskins and I meant to bet big on Cincy with the points. Because if the Redskins are gonna be winning anymore games this year, it’ll be by a field goal or less. Obviously I forgot to bet it because I got distracted trying to find out how much I could sell all my DVDs for on zumu.co.   Washington’s already-terrible defense just got worse with the loss of a couple key guys, and we need to remember that their QB is a rookie. The Bengals feel like a very balanced team. Without looking at stats, I’d guess they are above average in all phases of the game. Both these teams will play a lot of close games, so I gotta take Cincinnati with the points, but I’d feel a lot better if it was still -4.

Molly is now 1-1 in her picks for the year. Of course I’m disappointed as I expect perfection from my offspring. This will be her last football pick as an unspayed dog. Next week’s video may feature her with one of those funny cone necklaces on. I’m giving Molly the St. Louis at Chicago (-7.5) pick this week, and as you’ll see, my girlfriend actually had to help me decipher who Molly was choosing because it was such a close call:

San Francisco (-7.5) over Minnesota: Easy logic for picking the 49ers. Minnesota barely beat Jacksonville (a horrible team) at home in week 1, and they lost to Indianapolis (a very bad team) on the road in week 2. San Francisco easily handled Green Bay (a very good team) on the road in week 1, and they beat Detroit (an above average team) at home in week 2. This logic was so easy and convincing that I picked the 9ers in my suicide pool this week.

Detroit (-4) over Tennessee: The Titans have been a model of mediocrity for so long that I think we all just pencil them in for 8-8 every year without even really evaluating them. It’s like how for the last five years we could safely assume that the NFC West would be the worst division in football and we’d be right. But then all of the sudden, the NFC West creeps up on you and becomes a sneaky decent division. Well the same goes for the Titans but reversed. They’ve sneaky become an awful team, averaging 11.5 points per game so far and putting up a solid 2.2 yards per rushing attempt. The Lions may take a step back from last year, but they’re still more than capable of beating this Titans team by a touchdown.

Atlanta (+3) over San Diego: If you want to discount what the Falcons have done so far by saying they faced one putrid AFC West team (the Chiefs in week 1) and one mediocre AFC West team (the Broncos in week 2), that’s fine. But what caliber of AFC West team are they facing in week 3 at San Diego? The Chargers look fine so far, but let’s get serious and realize the best of the NFC is much better than the best of the AFC. Even if the Chargers end up with a 12-win season, they’re not in the same class as where I think the Falcons will end up. It feels wrong to be getting Atlanta as an underdog at this point. Enjoy it.

Philadelphia (-3.5) over Arizona: You know how every couple years there’s that one team that keeps winning early in the season, and you and your buddies keep laughing at that team because you know they’re not really good? Think about the 49ers last season or the Vikings in 2009 when they had Brett Favre. We kept betting against them every week because their luck had to run out at some point, didn’t it? Except that for both those teams, their “luck” took them all the way to the NFC Championship game (and if memory serves, both teams were one play away from going to the Super Bowl). Is it possible the Eagles are this year’s version of that team? Could they cover the spread in Arizona this weekend on some combination of Kevin Kolb’s poorly-timed turnovers and a fluky special teams bounce? Of course they could, and then we’d still be laughing at them because they’ll be 3-0, but an ugly 3-0. And then suddenly it’s 12 weeks later and this team is 12-3 somehow. Gross. I’m going with the Eagles to finally get their first non-one-point win of the year.

Oakland(+4.5) over Pittsburgh: Hmm…Pitt just dismantled a Jets team that looked unstoppable in week1 while Oakland got shellacked by what everyone considers to be a pretty terrible Dolphins team. The Raiders haven’t scored more than 14 points in a game yet this season. But no, I’m not biting on this line for Pittsburgh. The Steelers still have a ton of injuries to key guys (James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall), and it feels like they’re in the mode of “let’s just hold this thing together and remain competitive however we can right now. Once we get all of our reinforcements back from injury we’ll be a team no one wants to face.” This game feels like one of those ugly matchups traditionally saved for “St. Louis at Cleveland” where there may not be a single offensive touchdown and the final score is something like 15-12. I’m taking the home team and the points.

Houston (-3) over Denver: This line is a slap in the face to Houston. They have the top-ranked defense in the NFL, and they have a top-10 offense. They’re facing a Denver team whose only win was against a still-in-preseason-mode Pittsburgh squad in week 1. When I guessed the line for this game on Tuesday, I had Houston -8. Needless to say this is my lock of the week. Why isn’t my lock of the week also my suicide pick? Because a very small part of me fears that Peyton Manning, in his first non-nationally-televised game of the season, will quietly stun us this weekend. Can’t you picture yourself watching the RedZone Channel, enjoying the back-and-forth action in Arizona, when all of the sudden Andrew Siciliano appears on your TV and says, “While you were watching Michael Vick’s seventh turnover of the Eagles/Cardinals game, Peyton Manning just led the Broncos on three unanswered scoring drives against Houston to put his team up by 10 in the 4th quarter”? OK, it’s unlikely. But I’m giving Manning a couple more weeks before I write his football eulogy.

New England (+3) over Baltimore: These two teams have been engaging in quite the role reversal shenanigans so far this season, haven’t they? Over the past five years, we’d expect the Patriots to be the offensive juggernaut with the sketchy defense and the Ravens to be the defensive stalwart whose offensive continually let them down. It’s only two games into 2012, but we’re seeing a Patriots defense that ranks in the top 10 in all major defensive categories, and a Ravens offense that ranks 2nd in scoring.  These may be the two most-evenly matched teams in the NFL, but I’m putting my faith in the Patriots quickly remembering that Wes Welker is a 120-reception wide receiver, and starting to use him accordingly.

Green Bay (-3.5) over Seattle: Sure, this game has all the makings of a close one. A Green Bay offense that hasn’t fully hit its stride (don’t forget I was the first one to point out that their offense seemed off through two weeks) against a very good Seattle defense…in Seattle, where the ‘Hawks are coming off a huge win over Dallas. But I think in week 3 we see things go back to a more “normal” world in football. The Packers should win this one by at least a touchdown as we all remember the Packers are the Packers and the Seahawks are still the Seahawks.

My Dog’s Nearly-Tragic Timing and the Rest of the NFL Week 1 in Review

All of us football players prepare the entire summer for opening weekend. We go through all the required training drills, study extra film and stay late to work on our weaknesses. The preseason’s a decent warmup for what’s to come, but you can never prepare for everything. We just have to hope that we’ve done all of our work and be as ready as we can. But then of course, one of those things you can’t prepare for happens. For some football players it’s a tweaked hamstring. For me, it was a potential emergency vet visit during the first set of games this past Sunday. We woke up at 4am Sunday to the sound of our puppy trying to gnaw the skin and fur off her own body. When I opened up her crate door—something she usually greets with the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old unexpectedly losing his virginity—she stayed in the crate, continuing to lick, bite and chew on areas of her body that most women only wished they could reach with their mouths. Something is seriously wrong when our dog volunteers to stay in her jail cell. When we took a closer look, it seemed like a new flea bite was breaking out on her undercarriage every second. My first thought? “Fucking hell, Julie is definitely gonna want to take Molly to the vet when they open today.” And then, “Wait a sec, is there any chance no vet’s office is open on Sundays so we’ll have to wait until Monday to take her?” I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I just ignore the problem and make Julie take the dog by herself to the vet while I watched football like I planned, right? Oh, wait, you’re actually thinking I’m a terrible dog owner for my first thought not being “I need to make sure my puppy’s OK.” Well, to that I say…it’s football season. A lot of people are counting on me to ignore my responsibilities and deliver meaningless football content to the blog.

Luckily we didn’t have to take Molly to the vet. She calmed down, and the flea bites took a turn for the best. For those of you wondering how I’m gonna segue from this random story to week 1 of the NFL season, well, here goes nothing. When I was worrying that Molly would cause me to miss the first round of games of the first week (including the Patriots game), another thought crossed my mind: What Would Michael Vick Do? What would he do if a dog was being a total nuisance to him? What would he do if a dog was disrupting his perfect plans? Just joking PETA!

But I did actually think of Michael Vick, and I did think maybe my dog getting sick was an omen that the only man in the NFL who is so closely linked to dogs would have a bad day at the office. Did that stop me from making “Philly -10” my lock of the week? Of course not. Will I ever get sucked into Philly being a good team again? Of course I will.

So besides a very strange Molly-to-Michael Vick correlation, what else went on around the NFL in week 1? (This is the point where anyone who only tuned in for the promise of a dog story can feel free to tune out, though I can commit that the rest of this will continue to be entertaining)

-Maybe one of my readers can advise me on which pregame show to watch every Sunday morning. There’s no fewer than five of them, and I must have chosen the worst with the NFL Network because the first thing I saw on that channel was a 10-minute segment on Tim Tebow’s rise to fame, highlighted by interviews with Mary Lou Retton, Vanilla Ice, Sully Sullenberger and William Hung. There are more than 700 players who are considered starters in the NFL, either on offense or defense. And Tim Tebow isn’t one of them. But we’re running a lengthy special on his fame? Not even on his football talent? And why are we interviewing four D-list celebrities who have nothing to do with football? Because they can help us understand what it’s like to be famous while lacking any true reason to be that famous? I’m going back to my old routine of watching Patriots Championship DVDs during the hour leading up to Sunday’s first games.

-On Twitter Sunday morning, I wrote that Philly and Atlanta were my “big bets” for the week. What I should have wrote, unfortunately, was that Philly was my big bet and Atlanta was half the size of my big bet. I might be done betting on games that involve NFC East teams for the rest of my life.

-My eyes tell me that the Patriots are going to have a top-five run defense this season. Sadly the last time a good run defense was necessary for winning a Super Bowl was before my balls dropped. Don’t fool yourselves, Patriots fans. If they can’t consistently shut down an opponent’s passing game, they’ll be just as sketchy of a unit as last year’s team.

-Jeff Kent is on the new Survivor? I GUARANTEE he makes at least one blatantly racist comment as long as there’s a black person on the show. Who wants to take that bet against me?

-I counted at least four outrageous missed calls or wrong calls by the school teachers referees in the Titans/Patriots game. And I’m willing to admit two of them were of the noncall variety that should have been pass interferences on the Patriots in the end zone. More on the refs in a minute.

-Comedic timing is my favorite kind of timing, and  it was on full display in the 3rd quarter of the Dolpins/Texans game. A split second after the color commentator finished saying, “Only one of the three interceptions that Ryan Tannehill has thrown today was his fault so he’s gotta be feeling pretty good about himself,” three defensive linemen from Houston absolutely pancaked Tannehill for a five-yard sack. It was just a nice comedic moment.

-Speaking of comedic moments, Julie’s first (and best) comment of the day was, “Wow, this announcer’s all hard for Matt Hasselbeck, huh?” And she was right, Phil Simms was unnecessarily hard for him.

-We had only two mid-game QB changes this week. Sadly both were because of injuries—Hasselbeck replacing Jake Locker and Kevin Kolb for John Skelton. If you’re interested in making a bet on who will be the first QB replaced because of ineffectiveness, forget about it. Vegas pulled the lines down because Brandon Weeden and his 5.1 QB rating is the guarantee of the century. The guy just completed 12 of his 35 attempts in a home game, so if Browns coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t put him on a short leash, we should be suspicious of Shurmur possibly fixing games because of bets he made against his own team.

-Speaking of interceptions (we weren’t, but Weeden threw four of them on Sunday), there were 35 of them thrown in week 1 by NFL quarterbacks. Last year there were about 30 INTs per week so even though it seemed like there were a ridiculous amount of them yesterday, it was really just that atrocious Browns/Eagles game (8 interceptions combined) that skewed our perception. I promise there are still some decent QBs out there.

-Back to the refs. I didn’t see all of the Packers/9ers game, but based on the comments from the announcers and the body language of the two head coaches I saw every time the RedZone Channel checked in, I’d have to say it was the worst-officiated game of the weekend.

-Only minutes after making the above note about the refs, there was the whole “does Seattle have a timeout left or not” debacle in the Cardinals/Seahawks game with 30 seconds left. I feel confident that the real refs will be back by week three at the latest. This is a train wreck waiting to happen, or a train wreck already happening depending on your point of view.

-I know it’s too early to make judgments beyond week 1, but isn’t there a chance the Packers were that team in the offseason that thought to themselves, “Hey, we won 15 games last year, had one bad game in the playoffs, and everyone’s picking us to be the best team in the NFL again. We’re good here”? Or are the 49ers just that good?

-Detroit fans might be excited about their last-minute comeback against St. Louis—especially after their team had six second-half comebacks in 2011—but the truth is that you can’t be getting into comeback situations against the less-talented teams of the NFL and expect to contend for the Super Bowl.

-What are you laughing at, Eagles fans? As a football fan, if I had to choose whether my team does what Philly did in week 1—pull off a late comeback against a hopeless Browns team—or what Green Bay did in week 1—lose a relatively close game at home to a solid team—I’d choose the Packers’ result every time. It’s weird, but one team can look better in a loss than another looks in a win.

-Julie has always been a fine person to watch sports with. For the most part, she gets it. But I’m gonna have to train her that when the RedZone Channel goes to split screen late in the 4th quarter of a couple games, it’s the wrong time to ask my opinion about which color I think she should order for a new Papasan Chair.

-Admittedly I don’t watch a lot of pregame shows or the opening of a football broadcast. So I probably miss a lot of what announcers say. So I need to ask others to help me out with this question: Has John Gruden been calling Terrell Suggs “T-Sizzle” for a while? Or did this just start? I didn’t even realize that was one of Suggs’ nicknames.

-And before I could even make the above note in my diary, Gruden unleashed a “He’s the King of Sting” when talking about Ed Reed. Guy’s on a nickname roll on Monday Night Football.

-In the final Monday night game, Antonio Gates left the game with a rib injury early in the 3rd quarter. Believe it or not, Vegas had the over/under on Gates’ first injury at five minutes left in the 2nd quarter of his first game, so somehow the over wins this bet.

-I went 10-6 in my week 1 picks (see the post HERE). As a side note, I’m in two Pick ‘Em leagues where I went 11-5 in one of them and 12-4 in the other (I luckily changed the Jets/Bills pick in both leagues at the last minute). I won the week in both. And yet somehow, I lost a significant amount of money on my sketchy gambling website. It’s because I get sucked into ridiculous teasers and parlays. Next week I’m going to bet all 16 games individually and assume that I can win 11 or 12 of them. No more teasers or parlays for this guy.

-My dog is 1-0 in her picks for the season. How many games has your dog gotten right, huh?

1-Month Check-In on Molly: She’s a Temperamental Bitch

We’ve had our puppy Molly for about a month, and there’s been some great successes and even greater failures in our efforts to raise her properly. It seems like a good point to check in and see how she’s grown, both physically and mentally, under our negligent eyes.

Vitals: She’s alive, a tad surprising in my opinion.

Weight: One month ago she was 23lbs. She’s now 36lbs. At this rate, she’ll be cruising past 100lbs in less than five months.

**The reason why her current weight is a bit shocking to us is because we were initially told she was born on April 9th, which would make her five months old now. Turns out she was actually born on May 20th, making her not even four months old yet. I just can’t fathom how large of a dog the mother must have been to be carrying around five or six of these beasts in her belly.**

Sex: Still female. She really is my little bitch.

Number of Nipples: Eight

Most Surprising Nuance: Apparently a dog’s body temperature is typically a few degrees warmer than a human’s. You’d think this would make dogs handle cool weather better, and cause them to dislike the heat. Not Molly. She’s taken on the roll of a stereotypical Southern California girl from the beginning, hating any weather below 75 degrees. If it’s even as “low” as 72 degrees in our apartment, she’ll go out on the porch and find the one sliver of sunlight to lay in. Other than Julie, Molly’s the only living creature I know that would embrace a fleece blanket during the LA Summer:

Most Mind-Boggling Tendency: Do I have to narrow it down to just one? Is it when she chases her tail around in a circle so violently until she passes out from dizziness (even though her tail is long enough that she can catch it without having to even turn her head)? Is it when she has a full bowl of food but refuses to eat unless her food pellets are in one of those balls that dispenses the food as she turns it over and over? Is it her tendency to give herself multiple concussions whenever we take her for a walk because she refuses to walk in a straight line and ends up bashing her head against our knees over and over? No, it’s none of these. It’s this: Molly presumably likes sleeping in her crate. She sleeps there every night for at least seven hours. Sometimes when she naps during the day, she’ll go lay down in the crate without any coaxing from us. But if she falls asleep outside of the crate—even if she’s so exhausted because I made her run the equivalent of a half marathon to tire her out—and I try to wake her up and gently give her a push into the crate, she reacts like the crate is on fire. She’d rather risk an impatient Ross physically abusing her than be pressured into getting in the crate.

Honorable Mention for Most Mind-Boggling Tendency: When we take her for walks, she sometimes has to stop and sniff EVERYTHING. And depending on how terrible she feels like being, she might decide to pickup and chew on EVERYTHING. Somehow no matter how close I come to permanently paralyzing her by tugging on the leash every time she stops, she won’t have it any other way. Every leaf, piece of bark mulch, tiny ant or bug, and of course any trash…it’s just all so interesting!

Funniest Thing She Does That’s Totally Innocent: With a giant bowl available for her to eat food out of, she usually decides to take a mouthful out of the bowl, transport it to the carpet, drop it, and then eat the pieces one by one.

Funniest Thing She Does That’s NOT Totally Innocent: We’ve been trying to reinforce her good urination habits by giving her a treat whenever she goes outside in the right place. It took about a week for us to realize she didn’t actually have a urinary tract infection…no, she was purposely letting out little amounts of pee at a time so she could go more frequently and get more treats. I’m not at all surprised that a three-month-old puppy outsmarted me from the start.

Most Frustrating Thing She Does That Makes Me Question Whether She Has a Brain or Not: She has no fewer than 12 toys and almost always has access to a bone/knuckle/rawhide thing to chew on (things that would seem most appealing for a puppy to chew on), yet there’s a continuing need to chew on everything in the apartment that’s supposed to be off limits: her metal crate, our patio furniture, the couch, the gas line from the propane tank to the grill burners, and the corner of our sliding glass door.

Proud Parents Moment of the Month: When we took her to a river for the first time and she didn’t hesitate one second before getting in the water (wish I had a better picture, but I promise she did jump all the way in):

Reason Julie Would Consider Giving Molly Back to the Shelter: Molly refuses to “come up” on the couch and cuddle at the exact moments that Julie wants her to…which is basically every moment Julie’s awake.

Reason Ross Would Consider Giving Molly Back to the Shelter: Well, she doesn’t seem like a very good guard dog yet, kind of a wimp in my opinion. But more importantly, she doesn’t seem to be able to learn that when I’m watching football, she needs to be totally self-sufficient for three hours. I’m talking feed herself, fill up her own water bowl, take herself out for a walk. Hopefully at the two-month mark I can report good news on this front.

Introducing the “Molly Rules”: A Warning to Bay Area Residents Who Plan to Meet Our Dog

Dear SF Bay Area Residents Who Will Have the Pleasure of Meeting Our Dog Molly This Weekend:

While Julie and I are ecstatic to introduce our little girl to all of our friends and family, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what to expect both with the puppy’s behavior and some of our training/obedience methods.

This is an incomplete list so please check with Julie or myself before you interact with the dog. Even eye contact with Molly without our permission can lead to a disaster that ends with a trip to the emergency room.

Rule #1: If Molly greets you by trying to jump up and put her front paws on your thighs or waist, we’d appreciate it if you grab those front paws and hold her up in a “slow dance” position until she starts to squirm and get really uncomfortable. Then hold her up for an extra three seconds after she starts to squirm. We think she’ll eventually associate jumping on people with that uncomfortable “standing on two legs” feeling. And yes, when you finally let her down, she’s likely to lunge at your arms and try to bite them. Please see rule #2 for instructions on biting.

Rule #2: Molly is a puppy and will have her “puppy moments” when she tries to bite anything and everything. If you find yourself in a situation where Molly is lunging at your arms, hands or genitals with her mouth open, we’d like you to not pull those body parts away from her mouth suddenly. We think this will only entice her to attack your further. We’ve read that if you actually move towards her mouth with the body part she’s going after and dare her to bite it, she’s less likely to keep attacking. If she does latch onto that body part, just give her a stern “no” while pushing her away. It’s important to stay calm even if she has the tip of your penis between her teeth. Thank you and feel free to wear a cup if you’re planning on seeing us.

Rule #3: Now let’s say Molly gets into a “mood” and she starts trying to bite any human within a 10-foot radius of her. If Julie or I are paying attention (you can assume I won’t be on Saturday after about 4pm based on the amount of alcohol I’m planning to consume), you might hear one of us yell out “OCTAGON!” What that means is we need to quickly set up our 3-foot high metal playpen gate in an octagon shape surrounding the dog. Putting Molly in the octagon sometimes is the only way to ensure she can only hurt herself or the metal gate, nothing else. If you hear us yell out “OCTAGON,” look out for a temporarily psychotic dog.

Rule #4: Speaking of biting and chewing…If you happen to own a house or rent an apartment that we’ll be bringing Molly to this weekend, just know that anything that’s not nailed or screwed into the floor can and will be chewed and carried around your place. Plan accordingly. It is not Molly’s fault if she chews on your shoes, your flatscreen TV or even your baby’s dirty diaper. If it’s within her reach, she thinks it belongs to her.

Rule #5: There’s a good chance Molly has a minor case of separation anxiety, meaning whenever humans stop playing with her, she’s likely to start barking and crying. Our strategy with this is to immediately leave the room that she’s in when she starts to bark. The thinking is she’ll eventually learn that barking makes all the humans leave, but staying quiet makes us appear. So if she starts barking this weekend, even if there’s a group of 15 of us hanging out, we’d appreciate it if everyone follows us into a different room to prove a point to our dog. This is likely to disrupt conversations and possibly drinking games, but it’s a good way to avoid an octagon situation.

Rule #6: One of the many things we’ve learned from the Dog Whisperer is that you shouldn’t use your dog’s name when yelling at her, correcting her, or basically when she’s doing anything negative. So if she bites you, chews on something of yours, or pisses on your oriental rug, please don’t say, “Molly, no!” Here are some helpful nicknames that I use when correcting her: “Asshole,” “Little Bitch,” “Dickhead,” “Piece of Shit,” and “Fucker.” You’re welcome to use any of these names, or feel free to invent a new one.

Like I said earlier, this is not an exhaustive list, but these are the big ones. Keep them in mind when hanging out with Molly and you’ll probably be safe.

Why Babies are Easier Than Puppies: Supplement to the Puppy Adoption Blog

In my original post about Julie and I adopting a puppy, I completely forgot an entire section I wanted to write. It’s a list of reasons why raising a newborn baby must be easier than raising a puppy. I must have gotten distracted when my puppy started gnawing on my computer, my wine glass and five of my books all at the same time.

Here’s an incomplete list of those reasons:

1). A baby can’t gnaw on anything, let alone a computer, wine glass and stack of books.

2). Wherever you put a baby down, it fucking stays there.

3). When you feed a baby, I assume he doesn’t take his mother’s nipple by his teeth and start squirting milk all around the room (as our beloved Molly likes to do with her water dish and sometimes her food).

4). A baby poops and pees in a diaper, and only in a diaper (I’m thinking my brother and sister-in-law haven’t yet had to clean shit or piss off of their carpets or patio from my nephew’s BMs).

5). I doubt a baby ever transforms into “deranged wild animal mode” and tries to rip out the jugular of its parents.

6). If you’re cleaning a baby because they have a dirty diaper, I don’t think the baby is gonna grab the diaper in his mouth and start marching it around the house for everyone to see…while also trying to eat his own feces.

7). There’s no way a four-month-old baby could crash through a three-foot metal gate, jump up and over a couch and sprint into your bedroom during the seven seconds you turned your back to look through the fridge.

8). Question: Before taking a baby on a car ride, do you have to A) trick her into a crate with treats, peanut butter and a plethora of toys, or B) physically shove her into a crate and try to shut the door before she escapes? No? Didn’t think so.

9). Let’s say you were to leave your baby home alone for a couple hours (which most parenting books highly recommend), and that was thing that upset her most in her tiny little world. If she were to cry for the entire two hours, would your neighbors five houses down be able to hear it? No again?

And it’s puppy difficulties over baby difficulties in a landslide!!