You already know about this, right?

Okay – so if you don’t, here’s the deal: Joss Whedon (pause for that angelic choir going "waaaaa!" in the background*) apparently decided he couldn’t stand to not be creative during the writer’s strike.  So he did what any normal person in that situation would do.  He wrote a three-episode, 45-minute miniseries specifically for the web.  It’s an anti-super-hero story comedy about a nebbishy guy who wants to be a super-villain.  And it’s a musical.

You know – run-of-the-mill** stuff.

It’s free on the web until July 20, and it’s available for download, own-it-forever purchase on iTunes.  The first two episodes are available on the website, the last will be available on Saturday.  It’s funny and sweet and seriously silly. Go.  Watch.  Tell ’em I sent you.

*Okay, so it’s probably "aaah!" but it always sounds like "waa" to me…

**Have I ever written a post with this many hyphens?

Point of View

I mentioned in my last post that I had been watching a lot of Dog Whisperer.  I always hate it when I jump on a bandwagon – I tend to object on principle to buying wholesale into someone else’s world-view.  I also get a little irritated with the people who breathlessly gasp about Cesar Millan’s “miraculous” transformation of their dog’s behavior.  Even though he doesn’t seem to buy into their assessment, it’s hard to separate the man’s competence from the aura other people ascribe to him of being some sort of demigod.

However, facts are facts: the man’s really good with dogs.  It is amazing to watch him analyze the behavior of some hard case pit bull or neurotic mutt and come out on the other end with a dog that is more comfortable in his or her own furry skin.  And every single time, it boils down to one thing: the dog is, in fact, a dog.  No matter what happens, the dog is going to look at the world through doggy eyes and assess it with a doggy brain.  I don’t care how smart your pooch is, he’s never going to evaluate the world with a human’s perspective.

For someone who prides herself on nuance, this seems overly simplistic – and immediately, I’m down the rabbit hole again: this isn’t international diplomacy or literary criticism.  It’s a dog’s brain.  A dog’s brain is not, in fact, terribly complicated.  But it is different.  And while a dog’s brain isn’t capable of human-style analysis, a human can change their point of view to see what their dog is seeing.

Having taken a lot of Millan’s methodology on board in dealing with Tosh, I had a dramatic example of how well this stuff works the other day.  Tosh and I were at the end of a run.  He had been leashed in to heel for almost the entire time, with a few approved sniff-breaks.  He was behaving beautifully: attentive, calm, submissive. 

Out of another trail came two guys with three big labrador mixes: big, shaggy beasts, each at least half again as big as Tosh.  They were ranging around off leash, and they may be part of a big pack that lives just off of the trail – the kind of house you avoid if you see big furry shapes in the yard, because this is a pack that whips itself into a frenzy at a moment’s notice, and if they get over the fence, there could be trouble. 

Two of them split off of from the group, and deaf to the yelling of their owner, came bounding at Tosh.  Without thinking, I pulled Tosh behind me and drew myself up, throwing out my free arm and spitting a loud, “TCSHHHHHHT!”  These big dogs, who had previously been focusing entirely on Tosh, looked at me, startled, then started to look back down at Tosh.  I repeated the sound and the movement.  They gave me their full attention, ignoring Tosh, and focused on the Instant Pack-Leader.  I stomped toward them, telling them, “Git,” and they bolted back to their owner (who was standing about 20 yards away and yelling like a complete fool instead of actually coming over and trying to take charge of his dogs). 

This dog behavior stuff?  It just works.  You just have to think like a dog.

Memery by way of Think-Link

Cici was kind enough to want to know what randomness I could come up with in eight easy bites.  Despite promising myself no memes, I realized I had several not-quite blog posts rambling around in my head, as well as some responses to stuff I had read, so I figured I’d come up with eight of them.

1. Weather: It was cold enough this morning that I ran in my new quilted vest purchased from my favorite purveyor of inexpensive workout-wear: Target (it’s also bright pink enough that John burst out with, “Run Barbie, run!”).  I watched my breath puffing in the cold air and thought about how swiftly we have come to this chill, austere point in the year.  I was also grateful for the end of Daylight Savings, since I have a few weeks’ reprieve from running in the dark.  My mom, an afternoon walker, had a simultaneous notion in the opposite direction.  You can’t please everyone.

2. Semantics: How telling is it that the original last sentence of the paragraph above was, “You can’t please anyone?”

3. Knitting: I am simultaneously working on a cozy cashmere vest and a rough-ish wool sweater.  Both items are for me (Mine!  All mine, I tell you!).  Both have their charms, and though they are very different textures, it appears I have entered my Tweed period.

4. Holidays part 1: I am horribly behind in my Christmas shopping.  Normally I am one of those really annoying people who starts Christmas shopping in January.  Aside from a few purchases squirreled away from our vacation this year, I have no idea what I’m doing.  This is a recipe for disaster: panic, overspending, and disappointment (mine, at least) are sure to ensue.

5. Holidays part 2: Having knit for everyone (and I mean everyone) on my gift list last year, almost nobody is getting a handknit gift this year.

6. Television: We are watching the old BBC series, “All Creatures Great and Small” from Netflix.  I remember it being a high treat when I was a kid.  It may be even better now.

7. Family: I am eagerly awaiting my best friend’s baby, who if she doesn’t arrive soon of her own accord is going to garner herself an eviction notice.  I keep getting e-mails from Maria titled, “Still Pregnant.”  This is good news at 4 months.  It is tedious news at 9+ months (and yes, I am aware that pregnancy is measured in weeks and perhaps days and possibly hours at this point – all I know is the kid was due on the 5th.  She’s late, and Auntie Jill is a punctual sort.  Get out here so I can meet you and commence spoiling you, kiddo).

8. Blogging: I am selfishly delighted that Lianne is blogging regularly.  She’s a delight and a wonder to behold, the way she approaches the world with humor, insight, patience, and intelligence.  I only wish that she were coming to visit me on her travels.

You’re supposed to tag eight people at this point, but I shall do the cop-out thing and say tag yourself if you wish to participate.

Joss Whedon: Please Spend More Time in the Bathroom

Because apparently, that’s the key to his return to television.