Unleashing the Tiger and Winning Your Dog

So When Did This Become a Dog Blog Anyway? 

I’ve been in this house more than six years at this point.  There are immediate neighbors here on my little street.  I know them fairly well.  Some are more open than others, and some are more reserved. 

Down the block, there’s this one lady who I know by face.  Actually I know her more by dog than by face.  Very sweet woman, in fact that’s probably the rub, she’s so sweet that I don’t know her name.

Not knowing names with me is more the rule than the exception.  I am Horrendous when it comes to remembering names.  If I have offended you, I apologies here in print, but I just don’t have the hardware installed in that mush I call my brain to remember a name first time out. 

In the case of the sweet lady down the way, it is more due to her dog than my insultingly bad memory.

You see, her dog is an alpha dog, and probably highly fearful.   This dog is now quite old, grey around the muzzle.  While many people believe the axiom that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, in reality I think that should be applied to the owner and not the dog.

When my neighbor would walk the dog and see another dog on the block, the entertainment would begin.  This dog would begin to growl and prance, basically freak out.  Taking the path of least resistance, my neighbor would do things like hide behind cars, and behind bushes.  Trying to block the view of her dog, she turned into a prowler of sorts, hiding behind a trash can one time.

Getting more and more frustrated, she asked me how I got my dog to behave so well.  First things first, you have to have a conversation with your dog.  You have to be able to tell the dog that certain Dog Behaviors are NOT acceptable.  Charging your neighbor’s dogs is not only rude, but it can get you killed if that other dog decides that it doesn’t like it and is trained “worse” than you are. 

Secondly, you have to take charge of the relationship and set boundaries.  It’s said that a dog, even an intelligent one, has the brain power of a child, but it’s wired differently.  You have to let that “Dogness” out at times to sniff the grass, but if you let it out too long, you’ll never get around the block and you’ll be late for work because you were hiding behind a trash bin and letting little fluffy snuffle that tree too long.

What I told her is simple:  You have to unleash that tiger inside and be the Pack Leader.  I said “you’re one of the sweetest people I know on the Island but you have to gain control and respect of your dog or else you’ll be hiding out for the rest of your dog’s life”. 

“Unleash that Tiger I know you have inside of you!  Grrrrr!”.

Ok, so it sounds cartoonish and silly but guess what?  That silly saying clicked.  I empowered her to do the right thing for the dog. 

I explained that Cesar Millan has this thing called The Touch that he does to break the behavior.  I said that does NOT mean to slap the dog, but merely touch it enough to get her attention.  She didn’t quite grasp that but I pointed at the hair on my arm and said “All I have to do with my Lettie is merely flick a few hairs and she’ll snap to”.  In illustration, I flicked a few arm hairs not even touching the arm and explained how I did it.

I also explained that at the start you may have to rest your hand on the dog’s haunches or neck but at no time am I saying to hit the dog.  Literally all it takes with my dog is a flick not making contact with the body.  On the other hand I have a very good and deep relationship with my dog.  Best to start out light and see how that works.

I could visibly see her gather her strength and get energized.

Closing the conversation I told her that it’s time for her to come out of the bushes and gain a lasting relationship with this dog.   She added that she was getting another dog in the house plus a Parrot, so she had to act fast.

Two days later, I saw her and we were able to get within about 10 feet of her dog without the dog freaking out.  She took the instruction to heart, it’s not perfect, but it’s getting better.  

Clearly.  Her dog would bark at us from down the block at times.  It was a bit odd, to say the least.

Some dogs are more hard headed than others.  In the case of this older Corgi and Akita mix, the dog realized that if the owner wasn’t going to lead, she’d have to and this was the result.   All it wanted was a little guidance and now that it got it, she was a happy dog. 

I know my neighbor is a happier person as a result.   In fact, today we were able to actually have a conversation about current events while both her dog and mine sniffed the grass – at a healthy distance from each other.  Some day I may even learn her name!

All it takes is a gentle guidance and a tiny touch.  Tiger Not Included.

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Happy Birthday Kevin – Picture

Happy Birthday, Kevin.  Enjoy your cake and here’s some for tonight!

Sure, it’s a quarter of a cake now.  The icing is “Commercial” and day glow orange.  It’s still fresh and the good news is that there are two other layers in the freezer that can be Iced when you want more.

Scratch Cakes only stay fresh for about 2 days.  After that and you end up with something that really isn’t that good.   So make up three layers, freeze two and serve one.  Three times the fun that way!

So everybody who reads this, say happy birthday to Kevin.  He’ll enjoy it.  Even if you don’t read this on his birthday, go ahead and wish him a happy birthday.  

Fixing Firefox When Curiosity Strikes

I’m one of those people who fixes things.  I guess that makes me a proper Geek.  I know enough how to diagnose the problems (Nerd) and how to fix them (Geek) when I set my mind to it.

Recently I was given a “dead” cordless electric drill.  The thing “Wouldn’t Hold A Charge” so I was told “You like to fix this stuff, here, have fun”.   I did.  I’m that wacky guy who replaced all the rechargeable batteries in a NiCd pack with old Laptop Lithium Ion Cells, a bit of solder and wire, some tub caulk to hold it all together and now I have a perfectly functional if a bit scratched up and ugly Ryobi drill.

If you have a rechargeable appliance around, they can be fixed, trust me.  Don’t toss the stuff, some hacker may be able to make something of it.

The problem happened when I decided that I wanted to see if I could recover my Windows 8 install on my “Daily Driver” laptop.  This is the “Mission Critical” machine, so there’s the first mistake – don’t mess with your “Daily Driver” if it is important.

Dutifully, I unscrewed the bottom on the laptop, swapped in the Windows 8 hard drive, and tried to fix the permissions that broke the install.  After some “Call A Friend” help, and about 3 hours, I shrugged, said it’s dead Jim, I hate Windows 8 anyway, and it gives me an excuse to wipe it and install Linux on a different laptop.

Putting the drive back in place, I screwed it all back together.  Of course I had to check the memory to make sure it was seated properly.  After all it was working but sitting there taunting me like it just NEEDED to be touched.

See where this is going?

Turn on the computer and I saw something I hadn’t seen before in the 3 or more years I have been using it – Windows 7 gave me a “Blue Screen of Death”.  Over the next two days, I was able to get things stabilized somewhat.  The crash was Windows telling me I have problems with the hard drive, and that’s plausible.  I’ll be doing a backup today.  Really.  I will.  Promise!

The problem there is that every time I tried to launch Firefox it would run for a bit then crash.  Regularly.  It crashed every time I loaded a number of tabs at the same time.   Clearly it was not a happy camper.

There is an easy solution.  With most software you have the the option of fixing it all by reinstalling it from the “current” medium.  In the case of Firefox, I surfed http://www.getfirefox.com and downloaded a new copy.  Once reinstalled, end of problem.  I could do this because it was only Firefox that was misbehaving because of my errant curiosity and the oncoming Hard Disc “problem”.

So the moral of the story?  Don’t be curious with your “Daily Driver” Computer.  Even so-called “Experts” can get in trouble.  

That and keep your old hardware.  You never know if you or someone else may get some use out of it.

Besides, I actually LIKE playing with Linux, soldering irons, old “broken” drills, and the like.

Wilton Manors Passes The Spaghetti Sauce Test

I have a test I apply to a neighborhood.

If you can’t prepare dinner without getting into your car, then it fails the test of livability.

Broadly stated, it’s the idea that you should be able to get the minimum services in where you live within a mile of the house.  If you take the “I’ll Walk A Mile” as being the limit that you’d want to walk in order to make dinner, then Wilton Manors almost completely meets that test.

There are some small areas in the West End of town that you would have to go further than a mile to obtain groceries, and there may be other pockets here and there, but easily it is more than 80 or 90 percent of the city that is within that mile limit.

What brought this to mind is that I watched Kevin make Spaghetti Sauce this weekend.  When we make it, it’s from scratch.  You need two kinds of tomatoes, oregano, basil, spices and a lot of time.  May as well make up a lot of the stuff since the recipe is excellent, so we can the resulting sauce.

All of the ingredients are within a walkable 1/2 mile from my house.  There is no reason to get in the car for that sort of thing other than the occasional weather front or laziness.  Since the crime rate here is Roughly Average for cities in the United States, I don’t have to worry about having tomatoes stolen by some rogue tomato thief.

The worst thing I have to worry about is traffic.  Walking along Wilton Drive is bad enough, it is currently a raceway and there’s a big discussion as to whether to narrow the Drive.  The vast number of residents are in favor of it, the businesses on Wilton Drive are largely in favor of it, and the benefits are fairly obvious.  Increased parking will pay for itself within about 2 years as well as lowered speeds on Wilton Drive mean that it’s a greatly more liveable city.  The hope is that it will happen soon and that the sidewalks that are there will be widened since it can be a minefield to walk around the outdoor cafe’s that are crammed in between palm trees and light poles.

What brought this to mind is that I am lucky to live in an exception in the Sunbelt.  Most areas are largely sprawl.  Unmanageable by foot since there are rarely enough sidewalks and the distances are too great to get what you need even if you have a personal shopping cart to wheel your purchases home.

When I chose to live in an area, this sort of urban or newurbanist lifestyle was one of the first things I looked for.  There are always some drawbacks, but living near shops have always given me a huge benefit as a result. 

After all these years of living like this, being able to simply walk out of the door and off to the shops when we forgot the basil or need dessert is something I don’t want to lose.

I am not alone in appreciating this sort of New Urbanist lifestyle.  The property values here last year appreciated where most of the county were either “flat” or declined in a down market.  The inventory of homes for sale in Wilton Manors is so tight that prices are starting to sound more “normal” after years of major losses.

Of course each little area has its own character, this one is one I fell into.  There are other areas that have the same amenities in them, and each of those areas are more popular than those that are lacking them.

I guess that is really what they mean by the old Real Estate Maxim of “Location, Location, Location”.  Luckily, we have our Location in the sun.

Painting by the Blond – Humor

Having done many hours of “Requirements Gathering” as they call it in Project Management, I can appreciate this one.   Ok, sure it’s a “Blonde Joke”, but I’ve had clients in a professional setting that were just like this.

The key is to make sure you really do understand what the person on the other side is saying.

A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do. “Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?”

The blonde said, “How about 50 dollars?” The man agreed and told her that the paint and ladders that she might need were in the garage.

The man’s wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, “Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?”

The man replied, “She should. She was standing on the porch.”

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

“You’re finished already?” he asked.
“Yes,” the blonde answered, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.“

Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50.

“And by the way,” the blonde added, “that’s not a Porch, it’s a Ferrari.”

Hillbilly Choking Remedy – Humor

Ok, if you’re looking for someone to blame or credit for this one, it’s Kevin.  Going through the few joke emails I had left, I read this and it put a smile on my face.

At least the title is mine, what you’d call it is my guess!

On the other hand I wonder if this would work…

Two hillbillies walk into a restaurant.
While having a bite to eat, they talk about their pick up trucks and moonshine operation.

Suddenly, a woman at a nearby table, who is eating a sandwich, begins to cough.
After a minute or so, it becomes apparent that she is in real distress.
One of the hillbillies looks at her and says, ‘Kin ya swallar?’
The woman shakes her head no.
Then he asks, ‘Kin ya breathe?’
The woman begins to turn blue and shakes her head no.

The hillbilly walks over to the woman, lifts up her dress, yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right butt cheek a lick with his tongue. The woman is so shocked that she has a violent spasm and the obstruction flies out of her mouth. As she begins to breathe again, the Hillbilly walks slowly back to his table.

His partner says, ‘Ya know, I’d heerd of that there ‘Hind Lick Maneuver’ but I ain’t niver seed nobody do it afore!’

Fairchild Gardens Walkway Display – Picture

When you are in a garden, stop to smell the Orchids.

I had not seen a Rose all day at Fairchild Gardens, that isn’t their thing.  Not exotic enough. 

While I do have a Rose in the backyard, and it needs trimming, I have more orchids back there than that. Besides, Roses will grow in every State of the Union, Orchids are much more fussy than that.

The name I gave this picture is fairly bland, I don’t know the sort of flowers that were growing against the trunk of that tree, but that is part of the charm of the place I guess.   There’s so much going on that the Orchids are merely commonplace. 

By the way, most Orchids don’t have a scent.  The ones in my yard don’t, although I have my eyes open for a Vanilla Orchid and they do have a fragrance.  Beautiful white flowers on a Vanilla Orchid.

Definitely not native species, but still quite nice to see.