Salivating at the thought of coffee
Approaching the coffee….
Sporting a coffee ‘stache (click for full size version, suitable for framing)
This began as a sweet reflection on how time flies, but apparently that’s a dangerous subject for me to write about, as it turns maudlin and entirely unfunny really quick. Better you just skip this one, readers.
This Saturday, I will have been married to the missus for six years; this Sunday at 8:06 AM our daughter will be exactly 9 months old. Next March I will have been at the same job for a decade, albeit with several different roles within the company (gadfly, saboteur, vice president, dictator in exile, receptionist). Ten years since I moved back to Los Angeles, 9 years since I met my future wife, two years since we bought our house together, nine months since the baby arrived.
Time seems to pass more quickly every year; I went on a hike in the Santa Anita mountains last weekend, a place I used to visit as a kid. I found an old tree that some friends & I had carved our initials into. The tree was still healthy & strong, taller than I remember, and our initials were clear. “Happy 21st birthday, Feb 1990”. Jesus, but I’m getting old.
It’s hardest, I feel, on the pugs, for their lifespans are so very brief. Oscar’s already 7 years old, and he’s starting to break down. His eyes have grown so large, like an old man’s earlobes, that he can’t quite close his eyelids when he sleeps. As a consequence, he needs artificial tears dropped onto his gianormous puggy eyeballs every morning & night or they dry up and then he won’t even be able to blink. I worry most for the Little Baby Cupcake’s relationship to the pugs. She’s going to be 5 or 6, completely in love with these little critters right as they’re shuffling off this mortal coil.
I have about eight months left while she’s still unaware enough that I could convincingly replace the current 7 year old pugs with new 1 year olds from a breeder, and as long as I called them Oscar & Lola, she’d probably not even realize. But that leaves the question of what to do with the real Oscar & Lola. As pugs, they don’t have a highly developed set of survival skills. If only they had some sort of talent, I’m sure they could fend for themselves on the 3rd St Promenade down in Santa Monica…
So, for a little while now I’ve been tantalizingly close to the first result on Google when you search for either the phrase “Jonathan Rouse” or just the words Jonathan and Rouse next to each other without quotes (which, I believe, is how most people search). But so far, I’m only the #2 result, behind a British Jonathan Rouse who apparently works for some fancy sewage think tank, specializing in composting, which is pretty damn lame. I have to take solace in the fact that I’m also the #7 result with my official press release “Jonathan Rouse Declared ‘Man of the People'” back from when I got officially declared a Man of the People and issued a Press Release about it. Seriously.
Incidentally, six years ago I actually sent emails to the first two pages worth of results for Jonathan Rouse on Google. Only a couple of them responded to my retarded “hey, your name is Jonathan Rouse? How about that, MY name is Jonathan Rouse too!” emails, and even then, only to say “wow… small world…” or something equally awkward. I’m not sure if Jonathan the Compost Man was among them, but if so, I bet he was one of the ones that spurned my e-advances. Bastard.
Overall, though, I suppose not being incredibly internet famous has its perks. The missus is already leery about the level of anonymity we currently lack, going so far as to request that I “don’t post any images of [the little baby cupcake] to the web when she’s older”. While I admire her faith in me that I won’t get bored of blogging and abandon it the way I’ve abandoned every other passing interest I’ve had, I am not entirely sure at what age my daughter will be before I need to stop posting pictures of her. So, it is in good faith that I ask you, the skulking pedophiles in my audience, to please let me know the instant one of my photos of the LBC gives you the urge to masturbate, and I’ll immediately cease & desist. If, on the other hand, one of the photos of the pugs gives you the urge to masturbate, please for the love of God keep it to yourself. Some things need to remain innocent.
I was reminded of this mathematical term a few months ago by a smart guy I work with; it refers to the point at which two trends heading in opposite directions finally pass each other. The moment, for example, the revenue from declining sales of last year’s car models is surpassed by the revenue from increasing sales of this year’s models.
I’m not convinced that it’s theoretically possible for my pugs to be getting stupider. Their brains were, at the peak of their mental prowess, wildly underpowered, haphazardly focused processing engines, the size of walnuts, with nearly the same capacity for retention & problem solving. Oscar would spontaneously choose items around the house that he found threatening, if they were new (or he hadn’t noticed them previously) and bark at them from a distance until something was done about the situation. Lola had a fear & suspicion of the Discovery channel that was so profound she would wake from the deepest REM slumber if a polar bear wandered onscreen so that she could fling herself across the room @ terminal velocity and fiercly defend the house from imminent bear invasion.
Yet somehow, stupid as they were, they seem to be slipping a bit. Lola has forgotten how to use the doggie door, and now just stares at it in trepidation (from both inside the house & out) until we open the door & let her in. Oscar has adopted the habit of trying to hump Lola, but doesn’t quite know how to do it, and so instead pounces on her directly from the side and vigorously sexually assaults her ribcage. Lola’s so confused by the whole process she just stands there, wondering what the hell is wrong with her retarded brother.
Meanwhile, every day the Little Baby Cupcake (“LBC”) gets smarter. She’s still behind them, in many ways. For example, the four of us were in the livingroom last week when the missus, out on a grocery shopping trip, called me on my cell. After the call, I said outloud “That was Mom”. The LBC had no idea what I was talking about, but the pugs immediately got up and ran to the front door, thinking I had announced their mother’s return from the store. For now, their grasp of English is better than hers, as is their mobility. But soon, it’s coming, the inflexion point. I wonder if I’ll notice the exact day it happened… “December 12th, 2006th, Emerson graduates from 5th to 3rd on House Intelligence Rankings*”…
*Yes, I have a house intelligence ranking. I store it in my massive brain.
Man, my love of ordering personalized printed crap online just may be the single dorkiest thing about me, and I can tell you why leaving the Scouring of the Shire chapter out of the Peter Jackson version of the Return of the King totally undermined Tolkien’s original message of the Ring trilogy, so believe me when I tell you that calling something “the dorkiest thing about me” is a bold statement.
So it was with mixed feelings that I found out that the good folks @ Heinz will allow me to custom order my own ketchup labels. On the one hand, I do love ordering custom printed crap. So much so, that there is at this moment in my garage a five year old crate of Jones Soda (root beer, to be precise) with a photo of my pug Oscar wearing my wife’s bridal veil on the label of each bottle. But on the other hand, for me the whole point of custom printed crap is the sharing of that crap with others.
I believe in my heart that when my co-workers see a post-it from me on their monitors that has, pre-printed on it, “Jonathan Rouse is probably smarter than you“, they are simultaneously annoyed by my sticky yellow hubris and ashamed that they have no post-it based comeback of their own to disprove the statement.
What’s the point of having something unique & special if no one’s gonna see it but people who live in this house? I mean, of those people, the baby & the pugs can’t read, and the missus is thoroughly unimpressed with my custom printed awesomeness, so it would really just be for my own benefit every time I grabbed the ketchup and saw my tiny bon mot, my tomato themed haiku. And I already know how clever I am. Of all the people in the world who need to know how clever I am, I’m about six billionth on that list, believe me.
A black bear wandered into a suburban New Jersey backyard last week & promptly got chased up a tree by the cat that resided therein. It makes for a kooky news story, but the AP photo is the best part:
The orange dot at the base of the tree is the 17lbs of declawed fury in question. One can only hope, for the sake of the bear, that the other bears don't read the Associated Press newswire, or there will be a fearful comeuppance.
Editor's Note: Originally, this post made reference to the bear needing to feel shame for being frightened of an animal that qualifies for the very short list of animals that even my pugs could dispatch, if necessary. But then upon reflection, I realized that if Oscar the pug had sharp enough claws, he'd probably be up in that tree as well. Any dog that loves flowers as much as he does can't be counted on to stand his ground against a declawed New Jersey housecat:
He's kind of a pussy, is all I'm saying.