Friday, March 21, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #344

Entry #344
March 21, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from the spring-ish precincts of Manhattan's Upper West Side where I have been busy celebrating my birthday week in the manner that best befits a Hound—namely making my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth crazy. Now I know the question that immediately springs to mind is “How can a supremely entitled and indulged Hound such as myself become any more so to celebrate his birthday?” It is difficult, I must admit, even for me, but where there is a Hound will there is ALWAYS a Hound way.  In fervent gratitude for the fact that I have condescended to live amongst them, this is the week that my humans try to relax whatever modest restrictions they usually feel compelled to apply on my activities. Needless to say, I feel compelled, as I usually do when sensing any lassitude on their parts, to take full advantage and push the envelope of indulgence. What can I say? I am a “can do” Hound.

All this is by way of saying that it was a pretty good week around here. It continues tomorrow when Maria and I are paying a Saturday evening visit to Elizabeth--Maria to sample the results of Elizabeth’s mai tai experiments and me to eat birthday pizza. We are also beginning to have some lovely, windy March weather of the kind that is near and dear to a Hound’s olfactory organ, which means that demanding to stay outside for hours is one of the primary ways in which I have been able to up the obnoxiousness quotient of my birthday week activities.  And although my humans strive to explain to my admirers why, contrary to appearances I am 1) not well behaved and 2) an obnoxious animal, they generally fail utterly. This is because I am 1) extremely cute and 2) the attitude and behavior that they find so objectionable is less related to one or two spectacular events (like eating the couch, for instance) and more related to the impact of my steady and relentless antics wearing away their sanity. So if my humans try to come up with an example of my supposed awfulness the reaction they get is “well that’s not so bad.” Well no, it isn’t but added to the other 100 things I did to them that day…

Here are a few examples from the past week:

1. I am not allowed on the Plaza at Lincoln Center.  This insures that I always wish to visit the Plaza at Lincoln Center. Last week two people were eating their sandwiches there, so I parked myself in front of them until they fed me.  But they did actually want to eat some of their sandwiches themselves which I found objectionable.
I had to be dragged away while the Lincoln Plaza security guard glared at us and the people apologized to me for wanting to retain some of their lunch.

2.  In honor of my birthday week I visited my favorite pet shop, Unleashed. As usual I parked myself in front of their cookie bar and demanded a snack from an employee. After Elizabeth pointed out which cookie I would not spit out (I am notoriously finicky in the matter of cookies), the clerk gave Elizabeth the cookie and went off to take care of somebody who was actually buying something. Elizabeth gave me the cookie. I spat out the cookie. Elizabeth had to find the clerk and get her to give me the cookie. (As I’ve pointed out many times, getting served is more important than what is being served). As an aside, the clerk made up a special bag of the cookies as a birthday present and I was perfectly happy to accept them from Elizabeth’s hand as soon as we exited the store).

3.  A lady on Broadway wanted to say hello to me. I refused and kept towing south. Elizabeth had to apologetically explain that I was heading to Baked By Melissa ten blocks away. I consumed 5 cupcakes. It’s my birthday week.

4.  One of my favorite things to do is exit Central Park across from the Museum of Natural History.  I visit the food trucks along this stretch and try to cadge food from the vendors and customers, also being sure to check along the park benches for any dropped items.  Then I tow across the street to the museum itself and try to enter the museum.  After being thwarted in this, I park myself on the stairs or in front of the museum and poke tourists with my nose. I like the way they smell. I like the way they squeal. And I especially like that they either pet me or feed me or both.  Last week I was surrounded by a tour group and lost count of all the hands petting me. The leader announced that his next dog is going to be a bloodhound. Elizabeth went white and suggested that he do research. A lot of research. The guy’s current dog is a German shepherd so I am sure that he feels like he can handle anything. He’ll learn.

5.  This last one is my personal favorite. As many of you know I require a door snack before being taken out.  The snack has to be of sufficient value to make it worth my while to stop whatever it is I am doing and go to the door.  The door snack du jour for my after work walk at Elizabeth’s is freeze-dried duck hearts. But I will not eat the duck heart whole—it has to be cut into mouth watering slices for me. Since this slicing has to be done in the kitchen I get fed the duck heart in the kitchen.  But this makes it a kitchen snack and not a door snack so I demand an additional snack at the door. We Hounds are nothing if not well versed in semantic niceties.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a selection of how I’ve been spending my time (and my humans’):

This is me ostensibly standing around. But really I’ve been “visiting” (baying at, poking and annoying”) the 72nd street pedicabs guys. When they see me they all start baying.

Here I am perching my posterior on the Fountain at Columbus Circle. It was 25 degrees out and windy which meant that it was a perfect day to make Elizabeth take me on a long afternoon walk.  Sitting on the fountain was a delaying tactic as by this time she had had enough and was trying to get me to move in a northerly homeward direction whereas I was attempting to move in a southerly (non-homeward) direction.  When disagreements of this type occur, I generally park myself in a neutral location under the assumption that the pause will make my humans forget in which direction they wanted to go and we can then resume walking in the direction that I want to go.

Aren’t I a handsome devil?  Sadly for my humans, handsome isn’t how handsome does, as this is my “I’m not moving until you give me a cookie” face.

Here I am just after “visiting” with the 77th pedicabs guys. You can see them in the background. They’re probably trying to clean the drool off of their clothes (after every bay, I fling. Keeps people on their toes).

Here we have me on a bench. I get up on benches when my humans wish to exit the park and I don’t  (which is to say, all the time).  I also get up on benches when I wish to be fed turkey, hence “the look.”

Here I am by The Lake apparently engrossed in watching the raw ingredients for duck à l’orange but am actually engrossed in refusing to look at the camera.

As you may have surmised, climbing on fountains is one of my main tactics for delaying a walk that is going in a direction that I do not wish to go in.  In the summer I threaten to jump into the fountains which seems to get my humans pleasingly agitated.

Here I am at the end of my 20-foot leash studiously ignoring the fact that my humans are going in one direction and I am not.

This is me on St. Patrick’s Day. It was too cold to wear my green, sequined cravat but fortunately my coat has a green collar. If you look closely you will see that I am also wearing a green, sequined ribbon around my neck.  In New York everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Even me.

Here I am in front of the Apple Store which I am always trying to visit. The store does allow dogs but my humans assume that this means regular dogs, i.e. ones that can’t gum up thousands of dollars worth of merchandise with a shake of the head.

Finally, the actual day of my birthday! Here are a couple of pictures of me inspecting the merchandise at Furry Paws. Nothing really pleased me—the stuffed toys that were big enough made idiotic talking noises when squeezed (anything that talks, by definition, should not be listened to) instead of making pleasing squeals like the ones my humans make when I sit on their internal organs.

My birthday walk turned into a 2-hour extravaganza of shopping. After finding nothing at Furry Paws I towed south to visit a pet store that I have not heretofore been allowed to visit—Greenland Pet Store which is fortunately not actually in Greenland-- but which nevertheless have not forgotten about (I never forget the location of crusts of bread let alone pet shops). But since it was my birthday, in we went and I found a treasure trove of stuffed toys that were of a suitable size and shape (I require round full shapes that I can really get my mouth into) and emitted pleasing squeaks.  I bought a dinosaur that both squeaks and makes a crinkly noise and the manager gave me a package of snacks for my birthday. I will be back.

Since I was able to keep Elizabeth out for 2 hours on my birthday I decided that we should stay out for 3 hours on the day after my birthday. Here I am next to a tree refusing to leave the park

Here I am sitting on a hill refusing to leave the park.

And we already know what I’m doing on this bench.  Sadly there are no pictures of me trying to eat a picnic lunch (someone else’s) and join in a Frisbee game.  It was definitely one of those afternoons when the email exchange between my humans went like:  

Elizabeth: I hate him
Maria: Why?
                       Elizabeth: Pick something

I also dragged her into Little Creatures on the way to the park, although I think it should be renamed Big Creatures if I visit it.    So all in all, a pretty successful week. For me.  Modesty forbids me to discourse on the subject of the intense shedding that is underway and the fact that I started reeking in record time after last week’s bath.   

Anyway, I think I will leave it there for this week.  Am looking forward to peeing on the emerging flowerbeds and rolling in the spring mud.

Until next time,

Wimsey, It’s springtime for me! For my humans not so much

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #343

Entry #343
March 8, 2014

Hello Everyone, Wimsey here coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I am not pleased to announce that I have had a Very Boring Week. In fact, this has been one of THE most boring weeks that I can remember and as usual it is the fault of my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth, who have failed utterly to provide suitable entertainment for a Hound of my fun seeking proclivities. Waiting for spring does not constitute entertainment, although it seems that we are going to be waiting a while longer yet, in spite of some mild temperatures that are on their way over the next few days. All this is by way of saying that there will not be much of a post this week or many pictures. But let’s review the week anyway, shall we, since any time that I am absent I get emails inquiring as to whether I’ve come down with some horrible disease. No one has any imagination--there could be some livelier reasons for my absences:

I have been abducted by aliens.

I have been abducted by aliens and then returned (I wonder why?) so am being examined by NASA.

I have been abducted by aliens and injected with nanoprobes that removed my “personality” and made me so well behaved that I have nothing to write about.

I have been abducted by aliens and exiled to a planet with no Internet connection owing to having chewed up their stuff. Or maybe it was for stealing their food. Or digging up their plants. Or the smell. Or the drool. Or the hair. Or…

(I do confess, however, that although I have not come down with a dread disease, I do have an infected toe for which I am taking another round of expensive antibiotics and my humans did not want me out and about as much as usual). 

Anyway, first let me say that you know it’s been a boring week when the whole focus of it has not been anything concerning me. Instead it’s been all about mai tai’s. Yes, you heard correctly, mai tai's.  Elizabeth has decided that she has an urgent need to recreate the alcoholic part of her Hawaiian vacation and to share it with Maria (and of course, me—I am very big on sharing when it comes to other people’s things). Elizabeth has, after all, a successful track record with re-creating the caipirinha from her visits to Rio. The caipirinha is to Elizabeth what the madeleine was to Proust—one sip and she can no longer smell me, hear me or feel the pain of my 130lb tush on her lap but is instantly transported to that festive city by the sea where she can walk without having to disgorge dog snacks at frequent intervals. 

But I digress. Now both my humans are tough to please in the cocktail department because they like drinks that are not sweet and have plenty of EtOH.  As it turns out, mai tai’s, contrary to their image, fulfill these criteria. So Elizabeth emailed the hotel where she had her favorite mai tai and they graciously gave her the recipe which then kicked off a frenzy of mai tai related activities.

Now whereas listening to detailed discussions about mai tai’s on our walks is an improvement over listening to my humans’ usual conversations about such subjects as broccoli or quince (I am seriously not kidding about these conversations), I have a limited tolerance for debates about 1) how to pronounce  “orgeat” 2) what exactly is “orgeat” 3) where can one obtain “orgeat” 4) why “orgeat” only comes in giant bottles--- with nary a concern about what  “orgeat” smells like and whether I will like it.
Then there is the matter of procuring orange curacao, which is also apparently problematic since most stores only carry the blue kind. This led to extensive discussions about what exactly is the difference between Triple Sec, Cointreau and Orange Curacao and why orange curacao is the one that only comes in giant bottles.  Amazingly again, there was no discussion as to which one I would prefer. Then there was the whole Pineapple Dilemma—is Dole pineapple juice acceptable or does it have sugar added and is the bottled, organic pulped pineapple juice from Fairway a better option. Then they downloaded videos of how to make pineapple juice. All I can say is that the rapt attention with which they watched tutorials on “How to Juice A Pineapple” should only be reserved for matters related to my health and comfort. Next there was the frantic scramble for some kind of juicer to make sweet and sour mix from lemons and limes and a debate about whose responsibility this should be.  So far the only thing that they managed to purchase: “orgeat.” And this was the highlight of the week.

But here just so you can see how bad it’s been around here (if the mai tai’s didn’t convince you):

Wimsey’s Boring Week in Review

Sunday: Sunday we all went to Central Park where I “found” LARPERS.  These are Live Action Role Play people who always have cool swords and costumes and whose activities I can disrupt and whose bags of stuff I always try to investigate.  I am searching for suitable medieval Chien de St. Hubert accessories--although I am not really a battle dog—I am much more of an “annoy the enemy to death” kind of dog. Anyway, our walk was supposed to be short because of my toe but owing to the visit with the LARPERS, some of the pedicab guys and going the opposite way that my humans wanted to, I managed to stretch the walk out to two hours.

Monday: Monday disaster struck. Elizabeth was summoned to a Tuesday day of meetings in midtown for which she needed attire that was conservative and undrooled upon—a tough ask for someone who spends a lot of time with a bloodhound.  She left me alone after our afternoon walk to shop for these garments where the helpful sales assistant urged her buy the skintight pencil skirt and “juge” the sleeves of a jacket so she didn’t look so dull. I myself would have had a few other suggestions to embellish the outfit but Elizabeth brought home an unjuged jacket and a pair of trousers that she could breathe in. I was horrified to find, however, that these were encased in a garment bag that she immediately hid in the closet. To add insult to injury there was a pristine white silk blouse in there—my favorite!   And what of my other human? It’s March which is something called “reporting season” which means that Maria is home late every night so I get to hang out with Elizabeth even more. Elizabeth loves reporting season.

Tuesday: Tuesday was even worse than Monday. Elizabeth went to a morning meeting, changed (and hid those clothes again—I think they would look better if I juged them!) and was late picking me up for my afternoon walk.   As soon as we got to her apartment she barricaded herself in the bathroom with the garment bag and ran out before I could even get in a decent sniff or a fling. Then both my humans were late for my evening walk and they refused to let me drag them into the ice-covered field that I like but instead kept pleading with me to stop annoying them for snacks and relieve myself. These things cannot be rushed.

Wednesday: Highlight of day—walking part of the way to Central Park with my two fawn Frenchie buddies, Harley and Griffith. Funny how I get mistaken for a mastiff all the time but never for a Frenchie.
Thursday: Maria actually showed up for my evening walk so I took both my humans on an evening visit to Unleashed where I usually take Elizabeth in the afternoons. Elizabeth showed Maria how I diligently inspect all the merchandise and then extort a cookie from a staff member.  In honor of both my humans being present, I actually ate the cookie--—usually I extort the cookie and then spit it out. The important thing is being served the cookie, not necessarily eating it.

And then we come to Friday where, inspired by my visit to Unleashed, I took Elizabeth on a visit to Furry Paws. She acquiesced to the visit to celebrate the fact that I had just pooped and continues to labor under the misapprehension (all evidence to the contrary) that if she rewards me for good behavior I will engage in more of it.  Then she took a break from researching the history of mai tai’s to help write a press release for my brewery, Baying Hound Aleworks. It turns out that after much hard work and drama the brewery received a license to sell pints of my fine ale, and will commence doing so in a couple of weeks.  So if you are in the Rockville, Maryland vicinity stop by and have a pint and a chat with Paul, one of my Honorary Humans, a fervid Hound man and the brewery’s founder.  And Brewdog Bernie (who is sadly only ¼ bloodhound) might be on hand to contribute some slobber.

So that was my week.  Hope yours was more interesting. Elizabeth did try to alleviate some of the toe tedium by cooking me a nice pot of chicken and buying me off with a bully stick, which I immediately took up on the futon and then kept throwing off so she could retrieve it for me. Like I said, it’s the being served that counts.  And there is talk of actually making mai tai’s this weekend, but after all the planning it’s bound to be pretty anticlimactic, especially as I am sure that they taste better when sitting on a beach in Hawaii instead of in an apartment in Manhattan. Especially when the glass in Manhattan is garnished with Hound drool instead of a paper umbrella.

I am now off to officially wait for spring and the chance to infuriate my humans by ignoring my new kuranda bed and napping on the gravel in the backyard.

Until next time,

Wimsey, a juge-mental Hound