Cute Animals Life, Y'Know?


Tornado, relaxing on some cool tile after an appointment with her vet.

We found Tornado at an adoption event at the local mall. I saw her and her sister sitting in a crate… Her sister, an overly-eager ball of energy, was clawing at the front of the cage, and Tornado was sitting in the back, quietly. The minute Tornado was handed to me, we were inseparable. She was quiet, absolutely adorable, and when I commented to my parents that she was certainly didn’t act like a “tornado”, she raised her head to look directly at me. Granted, any one of a number of things could have caused her to look up at that moment, but I always attributed it to her responding to the name – I decided to name whatever dog we got Tornado after Zorro’s horse – which meant that there was no way at all I was going to allow us to leave the mall without her.

From the very beginning, she regularly blew my mind with how smart she was. Because she was a puppy, when we were out of the house, she would have to go into her crate to prevent her from chewing on whatever she could find, whining in protest all the while. One day, as I was taking a high school math final, a rush of panic came over me for no reason that I could explain, and I flew through the rest of the test – which I barely passed, might I add – and raced home. When I walked into the house, I looked to Tornado’s crate, and she wasn’t in there. Flustered, I called out for her, and heard the jangle of the tags on her collar, a light “thump”, and saw her, tail wagging and looking happy to see me, trotting along the kitchen floor.

In order to get her used to the crate as a place for her, we would tie open the gate so that it would remain open when we were home and put her cookies in there, trying to make it a place where she would feel comfortable to bum around in. She had figured out that if she got her claw around the string at the top of the crate, she could unlock it, and then have free reign of the house, including the couch that she would sneak onto whenever we weren’t looking. She excelled at escaping other things, too, like any collar that wasn’t chain-based or a leash that we would have in the back yard so that she could walk to the front door and be let in. It wasn’t just that she could escape; her ability to seemingly reason her way out of her crate, her collar, or her leash always amazed me. Fortunately, unlike other dogs I’ve been told about, she wasn’t one for running freely through the town when she got loose… She would always come to find us.

She was incredibly attached to my parents and me, which was due in part to the shelter we got her from letting her be adopted way too early. When we got her, we were told she was around four to six months old – in reality, she was closer to four to six weeks old, when she still should have been with her mother. Because of this, she had some very weird quirks, like her refusal to eat her meals out of a bowl. Instead, we had to put wet food into a Kong, which is essentially a rubber chew toy that you put treats into so that the dog has something to do, so that she could eat in the kitchen with us. Her dry food was kept in a toy called a “Giggle Ball”, which a dog could bat around and kibbles would come out, which she played with regularly to determine the easiest way to get the maximum amount of kibbles with little effort. In fact, there would be times she would just play with it to figure out the perfect effort to reward ratio, as evidenced by the piles of food she’d leave on the floor.

I suspect her early adoption was also the reason she hated her crate so much; when a dog is raised by another dog, I suppose the desire to have a “den” of their own to retreat to would be natural. Being raised essentially from birth by us, however, meant that our “den” – the whole house – was also hers. We didn’t have a problem with that, of course, because her attachment to us was undeniably reciprocated.

For the past two years, a variety of vets had told us that she suffered from a series of problems: inflamed liver, low white blood cell count, kidney issues, thyroid issues, all of which we were told was an indicator that the time I would have my dog was coming to a close. Each time, she never stopped being the playful, curious, and ridiculously adorable Tornado that we all knew. Granted, she started having to take certain pills to keep things in check, but all-in-all, the quality of life she was living hadn’t changed an iota.

Well, except that maybe she got a bit more cheese thanks to my parents and I being giant suckers. We’re not above giving her something special as a reward for just being generally awesome, you know?

Just over a week ago, we were told by her current vet that she was suffering from lymphoma, and that Tornado had somewhere between thirty and ninety days to live. While I hoped that this would be like the other times that we got doom-and-gloom news about her, the lymphoma would do what the other conditions could not. Despite acting entirely normally the night before, at 3AM Monday morning her breathing became extraordinarily labored. She also had trouble standing up because one of her legs was severely swollen, to the point that any time she needed to go anywhere, I had to carry her. The biggest indicator that the end of things was near was her refusal to take her pills; while she never took them entirely willingly, she wouldn’t clamp down her jaw the way she did that morning, as if to say, “If I’m going out, I’m sure as hell not going out with that taste in my mouth”. I sat with her for a few hours, giving her ice cubes to lap up to keep hydrated, hoping that my gut was just being irrational. When 9AM came around, I had gotten up to brush my teeth after giving her a quick scratch on the head, and by the time I came back she was gone.

She had been a key part of my life for the past twelve years: as nervous as girls I were dating may have been meeting my parents, it was the approval of Tornado they really had to worry about if they wanted the relationship to last; if we went on vacation, we had to find a place that would accept her as well, ‘cause she was part of the family and therefore was going to go with us; I dove headfirst back into debt several times without regret after painstakingly clawing my way out to pay the vets that would keep her health up to snuff. I always referred to her as the one girl who couldn’t disappoint me, and she never did.

Some people, after hearing of her passing, have suggested that despite the sadness I am feeling, the bright side was that we could get another dog. But another dog will not be like Tornado, and while there may be another dog in the house at some point, it won’t ever be my dog. I remember reading an article once in a magazine years ago where the author talked about having owned dogs in the past, but his recently departed pooch was the last dog he would ever have because, despite loving the other dogs, his last dog just clicked with him in a way no other dog had. For me, I got that dog on the first try, and it wouldn’t be fair to another dog to come in with that sort of standard to live up to, as far as I’m concerned.

So, s’long, Tor. To paraphrase Butters in the “South Park” episode titled “Raisins”: I’m sad because you’re gone, but I’m just as happy that you were here in the first place. You’ll be missed terribly.


I Regret Every Decision That Has Led Me To This Moment

Those were the first words to come out of my mouth after having sat through “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part Two: If Harry Potter Can Break The Last Book Into Two Movies, So Can We, Bitznatch”!

You may be asking yourself why someone like me — who is clearly not in the teenage-slash-inappropriately-emotionally-immature-twenty-something lady demographic this flick is catered toward, nor someone who has had any real interest in the series — would go and see this Sparkling Vampire Turd. The circumstances were these:

  1. My friend, Zubair, was being dragged by his girlfriend, Jenn, to see this cinematic nightmare. I didn’t want to leave the poor guy suffering through this alone, because I am the sort of friend who should have statues erected in his honor.1
  2. Jenn also invited me along, and I am a sucker.
  3. I had nothing better to do. Seriously. Not a goddamn thing.

As you intelligent2 people likely figured out by now, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the movie. That said, before you go ahead and tell me that I’m just being “obtuse”3, or that I don’t “get it”, or that I should “die in a fire”, I should point out that my displeasure was not based on the story or the characters. I should also point out that I do not judge the Twilight flicks based on the same criteria that I would judge other movies, because that would be like putting a tee-ball team up against a successful Major League Baseball team. As far as I’m concerned, Twilight gets a participation ribbon and juice box just for showing up, so I’ll forgive a lot in the way of “terrible characterization” and “poor narrative choices”.

That said, let’s get to what I didn’t like about this giant pile of overly-abtastic werewolf dung. Naturally, there’s spoilers ahead, should you care about such things.

The Special Effects: Sub-Par For Even A SyFy Original Movie

Let’s be absolutely clear why this movie exists: Summit Entertainment, the studio behind “The Twilight Saga”, wanted to make a crapton of cash. And who can blame them? Studio executives survive solely on hookers and cocaine, and those things don’t come cheap, gang.

That said, if you’re not going to spend any part of your budget on lessons for Kristen Stewart to show a greater range of emotions than a tree stump, perhaps you can make up for it with some quality effects, you know?

In the first fifteen minutes of the movie, a now-undead Bella4 goes on her first hunt, dashing through the woods in search of a deer to munch upon. Of course, because she’s a vampire now, Bella has super speed5, and that means we could have a mind-blowingly spectacular sequence ahead of us.

‘Cept that “super speed” is indicated by Kristen Stewart apparently lazily jogging in place while the forest speeds past her in the background. They didn’t even spring for a treadmill so she could appear to have some form of forward motion going on. It looked far worse than the effects on the 1990’s “Flash” television show, and they spent all their budget on the costume.

And, look, okay, I get that I’m a comic book nerd, so my expectations of super powers being shown on screen may be a bit high. Had that been the only issue, I’d have forgotten it. But then they threw Renesmee Cullen, the horribly named demonspawn of Bella and Edward, at us.

By now, I’m hoping you’ve seen pictures of this freakshow, but, if not, let me paint a picture for you: instead of using an actual baby, the filmmakers decided it would be better to have an animatronic doll play the part. Unfortunately, that It’s A Small World reject looked too unnatural to pass for a living baby, so they CGI’d what can only be described as a “dead-eyed zombie baby face” onto the thing to make it seem more “natural”. Yes, I know, the only major monster they were missing here was a zombie, so maybe they were going for that, but, still, creepy as hell, gang.

The point is this: When “Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus” has spent their effects budget more wisely than a major studio motion picture, something has gone completely off the rails.

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus!
Fact: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part II: The Return of Durant” is only 34% better than “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus” according to Rotten Tomatoes!

Poor Lee Pace

Did you watch “Pushing Daisies” when it was on ABC?6 It was phenomenal, and you should stop everything to go watch the two seasons of it on Netflix. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Wasn’t that rad? Man, that Piemaker, what a dude, right? Clearly that guy is great, and should be getting a whole bunch of work. And, admittedly, he is… The work just happens to be in movies like this and freakin’ “Marmaduke”. He deserves better than that.

Stupid Disingenuous Fight Scene Is Stupid and Disingenuous7

When I went to go see “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part One: That’s A Lot Of PG-13 Rated Screwing’!”, the girl I was seeing at the time commented that she had absolutely no idea how they were going to stretch what was left of “Breaking Dawn” — which apparently wasn’t much — into another two or more hour movie. You, dear reader, may be wondering that as well.

Turns out they did it in the most annoying way possible: an overdrawn fight scene. Fist bump! Here’s what went down:

  1. On one side, you have The Cullen Corps, who are a bunch of okay-I-guess-for-the-monster-version-of-serial-killers vampires, lead by Cullen patriarch and Albus Dumbledore analog Carlisle. On the other side is The Volturi, the vampire shadow government who want to take Renesmee away from Bella and Edward, presumably because anyone who names their kid “Renesmee” shouldn’t be allowed to have a child in the first place.
  2. The Volturi tell the assorted Culli that if they just give up the kid, everyone can go on their way. Naturally, that doesn’t go well, and a giant fight ensues. This fight, by the way, is actually fairly well choreographed and shocking in its quality.
  3. Through the fight, a number of scenes play out that elicit gasps of shock and horror from the tweens all around us, including the surprise death by beheading of Carlisle Cullen8 by Volturi leader and super-creepy dude Aro.9
  4. Then, the twist: The entire fight was a vision Aro had of what would happen if he engages the Cullens. And since that vision ends with his own head being removed from his neck by Bella, he basically tells everyone to pack up their toys and go home.

Now, if the majority of the reviews of this movie are to be believed, this twist was brilliant… a magnificent way to keep the Twi-hard faithful engaged in the movie and unsure of what was to happen next. If you ask me, though, this whole thing was nothing more than a cheap trick to make people forget that they were basically hosed out of $11 to watch a movie that was 60 minutes of story in a 115 minute movie.

Consider this: When you remove Aro’s vision, all you’re left with is two large groups of people coming together, having a quick chat, and deciding that everything was cool. Everyone hugs, maybe a chest bump here and there, and we’re off to Friendly’s for a celebratory Fribble. You could shoot that scene in a Chuck E. Cheese and it’d have the same level of dramatic impact and tension. In fact, it’s the 21st century — couldn’t they have just gotten on Google Chat and hashed this all out? Of course they could.

However, when you throw in a fight scene where you watch some particularly gruesome deaths of characters you were sure would make it through the story unscathed? When suddenly everyone has to survive a great deal of adversity to get to the happy ending you assumed was coming? That’s emotionally taxing. Then to wipe it all away because it was just a vision? You’re tricked into feeling like the characters did survive the shenanigans. It’s the laziest hero’s journey ever, and a cheap justification of splitting the thing in two. I’d have preferred they just cut out the fight and stuck with the “Nah, it’s cool” ending we eventually got to… It would have been a more obvious shameless cash-grab, but at least it would have been more honest.

So, yeah, that’s what I got. Disagree? Think I’m a bozo? Feel free to tweet at me and tell me how wrong I am. Hashtag it #DoucheCanoe, because that’ll make it a lot funnier for me.

  1. Admittedly, Jenn also invited me along, and I’m a sucker who will say “yes” to just about anything a girl asks of me, short of kicking a puppy or genocide. 
  2. And insanely good-looking, I’m sure. 
  3. Honest to Batman, some anonymous internet troll once said I was “obtuse” for thinking that the first Twilight book was a repetitive bunch of nonsense that could have been a serviceable novel if cut in half, since a lot of the book is essentially Bella talking about how “hot” and “mysterious” Edward is. When the first Twilight movie came out, they basically did everything I said that would make it a better story. So who’s the obtuse one now, random internet troll?! 
  4. Not that you can tell the difference, honestly. 
  5. Among a host of other powers. Seriously, vampires in Twilight have a skill set that is as poorly defined as Superman’s powers were in the 50’s. 
  6. Of course not. If you did, it’d still be on the air, damn you. 
  7. You might wanna get a sandwich for this part, it’s going to take a bunch of explaining. 
  8. With that name, I’m surprised that the character wasn’t created by Stan Lee. 
  9. Which I’m pretty sure is vampire for “Dude who is not even 1/8th as interesting as the chair Voldemort sits in”, for the record. 
Linkin' Log

The Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

The Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

Item #02-496059 Bourbon Cranberry Relish

Williams-Sonoma says: “Sauteed cranberries, bourbon, shallots and herb with a hint of orange. 16oz.”

Price: $40

Notes from Drew: That’s 40 bucks for a bowl of cranberry sauce that everyone will pass up because we all prefer the shit that costs two bucks and comes plopping out of the can in the shape of the can. The second ingredient is LEAD. For 40 bucks, you should get the bourbon on its own.

via @aduronia

Linkin' Log

How Hurricane Sandy Ravaged My Town

Peter Hoare on the Superstorm’s effects on his town.

As myself and a small group of friends sat in my buddy Adam’s apartment, enjoying the loosest possible definition of the words “mandatory” and “evacuation,” things got serious — fast. The rain and winds picked up. As we had a view of the water — yes, I’m dumb enough to stay in an evacuation zone while enjoying a lovely beachfront view — we witnessed waves that looked like they were ripped out of a scene in The Perfect Storm. As lights began to flicker and streets began to flood, we quickly decided to retreat back to our own apartments.

I suppose, for transparency’s sake, that I should mention that Pete is my cousin, so (a) I am biased in linking this and (b) clearly allowed to agree on his description of himself as a “big, bearded dickhead” for staying behind.


How Tim Cook Can Not Suck In His 2nd Year As Apple’s CEO

There was an article on Ars Technica the other day titled “10 Things We’d Like To See Tim Cook Do In His Next Year At Apple”. Thinking to myself that this article came from Ars Technica, which is generally seen as the place for so-called “serious” technology news, I was tittlated1 to see what they would say, assuming there would be some great insight. Then, after clicking through the article in Google Reader, I was greeted by their first suggestion:

10. License OS X

The logic the contributor brought to that gem of a suggestion was that Apple was not taking full advantage of the “professional” market, so maybe granting an OEM license to someone else to develop a new powerful machine would be a good idea. Because, as we all know, the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over two years, and Apple has been outright struggling as a company without the backing of that tired old workhorse.

Apple Sales Growth Chart
Steve would have killed himself by now.
(via ReadWriteWeb)

Well, as long as everyone is racking their brains with ideas for Tim Cook, since clearly Apple is in danger of going out in a ball of flame, I thought I’d bring four of my own ideas to the mix to help out a bit, too.

Item: Release “iPad Mini” in early October with 7.85” screen. Release “iPad Air” in early November that doubles as a hoverboard.

There is little doubt that I wouldn’t buy my parents iPad Minis for Christmas. There is even less doubt that I wouldn’t buy an iOS-powered hoverboard for myself.

iPad Hover Board
Sick high-tops not included.

Item: Allow iMessage to send messages to someone at a scheduled time. Most importantly, allow me to send myself iMessages from the future.

Because sometimes you just need to give yourself some advice to prevent issues down the line.

A Desperate Warning
Seriously, though, how was I supposed to know that a gas station burrito could cause non-stop diarrhea?

Item: Release a suit of armor. You know, like Iron Man’s.

This would be great. Of course, instead of Jarvis, we’d have Siri, so it wouldn’t be as bad-ass, but, still: Iron Man, bitches.

Siri as Jarvis
Which is more unbelievable: Siri running the Iron Man armor, Siri understanding a word that was said, or that Sprint has 5 bars of service in Manhattan?

Item: License Android. Release an iPhone with Android to gain further marketshare.

Actually, never mind on that one. Samsung has that market pretty covered, I figure.2

If Apple can maybe get its act together and take these suggestions, I think things will be better for everyone.

  1. Snicker 
  2. ZING! 
Life, Y'Know?

A Clean Slate

While I’m very much a creature of habit, oddly enough, one of my habits is blowing things up and starting over. I love clean slates. I hate baggage. It’s easy to get complacent and fall into a routine. In my experience, that can be poison for both creativity and thoughtfulness.

MG Siegler

If you visited this site a few days ago, you would have seen an archive of my online musings going all the way back to 2005 – this was fueled by a bit of advice I received from a friend of mine about the wisdom of having a back catalog of crap for people to read through.1

However, there have been things that happened that I wanted to be all, “Hey, let’s make a snarky comment about that!”, but I felt oddly confined by the style and tone of the posts that I’ve written before. Of course my writing style had changed – that’s to be expected as time goes on – but I felt that if I couldn’t recapture the spark of my old blogging efforts, then it would be super-jarring to the reader2 , and blah-blah-blah. Of course, all this could have been a way for my brain to tell me to not even try my hand at this nonsense again, because deep-down I’m a shallow, vain creature, and when you even try to put yourself out there on these cold, harsh internets, someone is going to tell you how much you suck. And as I only have a massive ego to overcompensate for my complete lack of self-esteem, the love and adoration of complete strangers is something that I look for on a regular basis.3

So, as is my wont to do, I have removed the backlog of posts that I had on this site. And, quite frankly, it feels pretty damn good to be free of the weight from all the old4 content I had on here. I can now go on to make fun of whatever I feel like without fear that I’m not ‘good enough’.

And what, kind reader, can you expect to find here? Basically everything.5 If it falls under the auspices of pop culture, technology, theater, comedy, comic books, adventure, bacon, cheesesteaks, writing, or anything that isn’t ‘sports’,6 I’ll wax idiotic about it.

So welcome to eD! The Musical. Let’s party.

  1. Naturally, she’s probably 100% correct in that assumption, and I would be wise to listen to her. However, ‘wise’ was never one of the adjectives that would be used to describe me. 
  2. That’s right, I care about you. Group hug in 3, 2, 1… 
  3. You’d think this would make me focus more on my existing relationships, but no; I’m a big fan of having both a core group of strong friendships and a large collection of acquaintances that are really nothing more than intellectual one-night-stands. I’m just super-classy like that. 
  4. My brain tells me that I should be saying ‘better’, but it can go ahead and shut its dirty whore mouth, thank you very much! 
  5. I’m a big believer of finding a focus for your writing and sticking with it, as you can tell. 
  6. I make no promises to not talk about curling in the Winter Olympics, though, because that’s just ripe for the mocking.