New Site, New Blog, New Jokes, New Dog

…and it’s busy, busy, busy.

I’ve been writing 600-1000 words per day, but still don’t have a title for my latest work-in-progress.  I’m considering Empty Days, but that doesn’t really capture the mood of the book.  Since it’s at least somewhat influenced by Lafferty’s uproarious romp The Reefs of Earth, I’d like the title to be a little less bleak.  I may go with Excellent Deer in honor of Excellent Birds by Laurie Anderson and Phil Collins.  The song is silly, yet conveys a sense of doom – which is pretty much what I’m going for…and there’s a reason for the ‘Deer’, I promise.

At Your Door will be moving soon.  Of course, “soon” may mean “early next year”, so don’t go switching those bookmarks just yet.  Details will be posted when the site’s ready, thereby allowing me to keep my 2010 resolution to stop sending readers to half-finished pages.  The new site will be easier for me to update (although WordPress does make it pretty user-friendly; kudos) and will allow for more flexibility with the layout.

When it comes to half-finished pages that I don’t mind showing you: I’m also revamping my design website and am working on a brand new site for NV Salon & Spa in Kentucky.  Both sites will give me a chance to use some of the new CSS tricks I’ve picked up over the past few months, so I’m pretty excited.

Shameless plug: my design site also has an Amazon Store link – if you’re planning to shop at Amazon soon anyway, anything you buy through that site gets me a kickback.  This will definitely help me with my personal, physical move-in plans, as I promise to use all $0.32-$0.45 of your purchase toward the Craphouse.  The Craphouse also has its own blog, complete with some never-before-seen photos.

My plans for late September/early October were thrown out of whack for a number of reasons…partly because I’m a pushover for pound puppies.  Okay, more accurately: alley puppies.  We recently rescued a pit bull/basenji mix that someone dumped off in our neighborhood.  Again: our neighborhood, where each block contains at least a dozen children under five.

Jackasses.

Anyhow (shocking news, with this mix; nice one, Breeder Joe) training her to behave properly is turning out to be incredibly difficult.

I’ve known for a long time that basenjis don’t bark.  I thought this meant they were silent or mostly silent.

Now I know that they yodel, chirp and crow at ear-splitting volume.  Since she’s a mutt this pup can bark, but she rarely does so.  It’s much more common for her to squeech.  This is a word I made up to describe her favorite vocalization: squealing like a terrified pig and ending on a choking cough which sounds like she’s being garroted.  She does this for attention; food; water; in lieu of barking; and, mostly, just for the sheer pleasure of squeeching.

I’ve been having nightmares for weeks.

While she’s very affectionate and quite even-tempered, the combination of pit bull and basenji is just horrible in terms of trying to train her.  She isn’t aggressive at all, but if she doesn’t want to follow a command she’ll simply lie down.  Luckily, she’s small (and tractable!) enough that I can just pick her up and put her in her corner if she isn’t behaving.  She’s also tractable enough that when I put her in her corner she’ll stay there until I tell her it’s okay to get up…but I still want to slap the person who thought this would be a good mix.

According to terrificpets.com: “(Basenjis) are considered a primitive dog in that they are independent, instinctive and very self-assured, qualities that were and are prized by those that work with the breed. As a primitive dog the Basenji relies on its own instincts and experiences rather than follows the direct commands of the leader, which needs to be the humans in the family.” <– in dog-people speak this means that even if you’re the pack leader these dogs will do what they think is best, regardless of your opinion of the matter.

This pup doesn’t respond to positive reinforcement at all (that is, she won’t do a damn thing for treats unless she felt like doing it anyway), but she hates being isolated from us and I think eventually she’ll do just about anything to avoid being put in her corner.

…and before you start squeeching at me: I don’t leave her there for more than five minutes.  This is just long enough for her to be happy to see me again, instead of bitter that I put her there in the first place.

Although I haven’t gone on and on about it, I’m not disregarding the pit bull in her heritage; while she hasn’t shown any of the aggressive traits that most people associate with pits she’s definitely a ridiculous goofball, which is apparently more common with the breed than viciousness.  I gave her the standard temperament tests and – surprise – she’s mostly responsive but, in a few key areas, tested as independent.  Which means bunches of training.

Bunches and bunches…

When I tell a dog to, let’s say, put my shoe down, I don’t expect her to look at me, walk over to the couch with my shoe still in her mouth, drop the shoe and scoot it under the couch, lie down in front of the spot where she’s hidden the shoe while looking at the ceiling in a ‘what shoe?’ kind of way, and then have the nerve to be surprised when I pick her up and put her in the corner.

Just for example.

…and bunches.

SO: the new pitsenji (shut up, IMHO it’s as legitimate a word as Bichon-A-Ranian) means I won’t be traveling far from home for the next couple of weeks. I hope to get to Ohio in late October; meanwhile, if you’re in Detroit you can check out my Facebook page, my twitter feed or my other blog for upcoming shows.

Note: this blog was published in a slightly different form on my MySpace page.  For all (one) of you who wanted a brand-new blog: too bad.  It’s hard to get excited about managing multiple social media sites when you’re behind on all of your errands because your shoes are under a different piece of furniture every day.
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