Archives for August 2009

Canine Entertainment

I’m happy to inform you that things have mostly settled down at work. In particular, this issue has been resolved. It’s a long story, as I’ve mentioned, but suffice it to say it’s been decided that it’s really a non-issue. I have various thoughts and opinions about all of it, however, instead of going on about all that I’m going to babble a bit on how my dog is crazy and fun entertainment.

I’ve mentioned before that Yara is a Houdini, or Dog-dini, and has managed to remove her harness several times. Well, “several” reached a grand total of 18 yesterday. As I tweeted, she got out of her harness and then after I put it back on her, she took it off walking back to her bed. But there is a small possibility that she has grown bored with these antics, as this morning she stuck her foot on the back of my shoe and ripped my sneaker right off my foot! Really, I don’t make this kind of crazy up.

Recently she’s also had some humorous moments wherein she’s fallen over while shaking herself off and chasing her tail. I nearly hyperventilated from laughing so hard at both of these.

Also, one of her new playful pastimes has been what I first took to be her jumping and running around her toys, rather than run around with the toy. I noticed later that what she is actually doing is strategically attacking the toy by pouncing around it and then lunging at any exposed part. I’m thankful she hasn’t decided that this would be oh so much fun to do to her mom because I’m of a mind that it wouldn’t be all that enjoyable on the receiving end. It is, however, astonishingly amusing to watch. I think she’s realized that we just don’t have the floor space for a good long run in our apartment.

The silly doesn’t merely occur out of harness, by the way. She’s always had this strange desire to make herself work harder. When we first started working at VESID she once delighted herself by showing me every car on the street when we would take our lunchtime walk. Another day she brought me to every door we passed. And still another day she decided that I should know where every manhole in the street was located. Lately, her new thing is to insist we should be going to certain places like the convenience store across the street from my apartment. At the mall this past weekend, she brought me to Friendly’s, The Apple Store and Foot Locker, even though I didn’t want to go to any of those places.

I’m sometimes very curious what goes on inside that furry head of hers.

Guide Dog User Etiquette

I have this thing going on at work. It’s incredibly complex and way too sensitive to really detail, but in part a great deal of the controversy revolves around Yara. As such it’s very personal to me and frankly the whole thing gets me quite emotional.

When I started work at VESID I was aware of two things: (1.) that there were several other guide dog users in the office and (2.) not all of them had the best reputations. When I made the decision to get a GSD from Fidelco I knew that I would battle the “bad rep” that shepherds have, including other guide dogs. But initially this didn’t seem to be of any concern at VESID. In fact, one of the more common questions that colleagues asked was why I “wasn’t working my dog.” Meaning, they wanted to know why she wasn’t actively guiding me through our floor. I’ve been asked similar things over the years because I do have residual vision. For a long time it used to get my back up because it always seemed synonomous with asking whether I needed a guide dog. Anyway, the basic reasoning I gave them was that inside, for the most part, I can see relatively well enough to get around. And I also want to feel comfortable navigating the floor as part of my job requires interacting with nearly everyone. I’ve since realized that this was indeed a comparison of me to the other guide dog users.

Of course, there was a lot of talk, both behind my back and right in my face, about Yara’s ribs when we were still in the midst of diagnosing her EPI. It was frustrating, but not so much because of the constant badgering. I know that, though misguided, people were concerned for her well being. But it was difficult to handle because I never got a reprieve since I was basically being attacked everywhere by all manner of acquaintances and strangers alike.

Sometime during this, Yara had an instance of misbehavior. She saw Sharon walking passed my desk and, probably thinking it was time for a walk, followed her. As luck would have it, the path Sharon took led Yara in front of the desk of a coworker who is fearful of dogs and had before expressed her displeasure at my dog. The coworker formally complained about my dog, and I’m quite sure embellished the story. I was verbally warned and told to keep Yara under control. And I’ve made sure she’s never wandered from my desk since and when she is away from the desk with me, she’s securely on her leash.

But it would seem I can do no right with my guide dog. While people throughout the office building and surrounding state agencies and buisnesses commend me about how well behaved she is, how happy and eager she seems about working with me; my coworkers seem to think our bond is offensive and unprofessional. As compared to other guide dog users on our specific floor, my blatant loving relationship with my dog has allegedly caused people in my office discomfort. Such discomfort they don’t feel able to tell me, but most report this to my superiors.

As I said the issues are far more complex than all this — and much of my drama has little to do with this precise issue — but you can imagine my dismay. Especially when you recall that I work for the state’s VR services for the disabled. Rather appalling, no?

The Future of Terminator?

For a wide variety of reasons I recently watched the entirity of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Much to my own surprise I actually enjoyed it. Mostly. Which was a far cry from my initial feelings when I caught the first few episodes. (Though, you’d think by now I’d learn that I shouldn’t judge a show so harshly merely from the pilot because I almost always am unimpressed by them.)

Anyway, like everyone who has seen the season two finale, I was left with many questions. Questions which were going to be left unanswered since the show was cancelled. So, I’m incredibly intrigued by Lanie Grace’s announcement that the show will be continuing via a direct-to-DVD movie. Some of her “facts” seem a bit hard to believe, e.g., the actors being contractually obligated to return, but I’m cautiously optimistic that at least most of what she says is indeed true.

Also of note, and possibily just as “pie-in-the-sky” is this IGN interview with McG regarding the next two Terminator films. IGN and McG both have proven to be a bit unreliable at times with their proposed facts, but thought I’d share anyhow.

Lions World Services for the Blind

I’ve made little secret of the many strange and bizarre things that seem to happen to me. Or sometimes just near me! Two of these have been rather momentous events in my life. One being the fallout with GEB (which has a draft post I’ve been meaning to finish for about a year now) and the other being the entire experience with LWSB. Honestly, I haven’t thought much on either of these for quite some time. Until yesterday afternoon, that is.

While I was continuing my on-going battle with UPS, I got another call from an unfamiliar number. I tried to finish up with the UPS person to answer the call, but they got my voicemail instead. Adding to my curiosity, the message was blank, so I phoned back the number.

“Lions World Services for the Blind,” a pleasant voice answered, “how may I help you?”

“Well,” I said, “apparently someone there phoned me. And I’m at a complete loss as to why.” She asked if I’d been a student there and I replied that yes, in fact, I had several years ago. And then she transferred me to someone else, whom I repeated much the same conversation with. This second woman told me that probably her boss called me and she explained that they’ve been calling past students and “checking on things.” She asked how I’d been, and before I could think better of it I said, quite rudely, “Well, since you quite literally tossed me out of the school — and very nearly threw me out of the state of Arkansas — I’ve been great.” Then I hung up on her.

Afterwards I spent a good twenty minutes laughing about the whole thing, during which I tweeted and updated my Facebook status. Subsequently, a not small number of people have inquired exactly what happened. I must admit that there are several reasons I’ve yet to blog about the whole thing. At first it was just too fresh in my mind and writing about it was just too emotional for me. I was also dealing with the aftermath of the ordeal and as such this was hardly a good venue to discuss the events. But mostly it was because I had to verbally explain everything to so many people and I was just tired of reliving it again and again.

Now, that’s not to say that every aspect of my five months in Arkansas was suckage beyond the telling of. In fact, aside from the acne1 and frizzy hair2 I was constantly plagued with, quite the opposite is true. I actually had a rather lovely time and I made a great many very good friends. Also, of note, I found the master’s program that I’m currently pursuing with much enjoyment. However, that’s hardly the interesting part of the story, so following be the sordid details you all crave.

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  1. Caused, my best guess is, by the massive grease I consumed in all that southern cooking. Seriously, I’d never eaten so much fried food before in my life . . . or since!
  2. For as humid as it is in NYS, AR is probably 20 times worse. Such that, for the first time in my life I was religiously using gel in my hair and blow-drying it to tame the frizz. I’m happy that I’ve since gone back to my very occasional use of mousse and even less often use of a blow-dryer.

Behold the Suckitude

A brief update on the status of things here.

Work: *groans* Let’s just say I got my ass chewed for actually doing my job. Yes, really. It was annoying. Also, odd.

Social Life: Very clearly nonexistent. It’s pretty much upsetting.

Yara: Turned four on Sunday. Had her annual physical last Thursday. Aside from some bug bites she’s chewed into sores on the back of her legs, she’s the picture of health. I’ve spent the last week randomly inserting a firm “no” into every fourth sentence to quell her desire to chew the itchy away. She’s appropriately displeased with this. Also, she weighs 63 lbs!

Internet: Broken. Again. This time it’s my modem. TWC again can’t seem to get themselves in gear in a timely fashion so who knows when I’ll have access at home again.

And if all that weren’t bad enough?

School: Has screwed me again. Can’t attend UB this fall. Long story. Not emotionally stable enough to explain it all lest I start crying. Am halfheartedly looking at other degree programs.