Tagged stupidity

Living in a Doggie World

Lake Tahoe is very much a place akin to dog heaven.  Dog owners seem to outnumber the non-dog owners, and whether in pickup trucks or old subarus, dogs tend to accompany their humans everywhere – to work, to play, traveling, etc.  They have their run of anywhere non-paved, including local trails (snow-covered and not), the enormous swimming pool known as Lake Tahoe, and because of this, I think they tend to be mellower and better behaved than their urban cousins who live their lives leashed, tethered and not allowed to run free from time to time.

I was reminded of Tahoe’s unique pro-dog attitude twice today.  First when I stopped off at Alpen Sierra to grab a quick coffee, and happened to park next to a space occupied by a gorgeous, if graying, St. Bernard, who had pretty much taken up a parking space for himself (his human had tied him to a nearby newspaper kiosk).  Said St. Bernard was unflappable and completely at ease in his state of semi-consciousness as folks like me passed by and smiled.  Because who wouldn’t smile seeing such a gorgeous animal?  He was unperturbed by us admirers, and certainly wasn’t giving up his primo parking spot for anyone, including the driver of the large SUV that started pulling in – then changed her mind.

Then this evening I opened up the local free monthly newspaper (which has no editorial merits of its own, but features interesting ads from various businesses who won’t advertise in our formerly daily paper).   In it was a 1/3 page ad dedicated to a man’s dog who died in 1984 – 25 years ago.  While it was poorly written (not unusual here), it was obviously heartfelt, and I was strangely touched.  This guy hadn’t had a dog since this one died, and apparently the cat just wasn’t the same.

While I consider myself a dog lover, and very much understand the attitudes of most dog owners here (except for the stupid & irresponsible, but I’ve vented about that already), this was something I’m pretty sure I’ll never do.  For as much as I love Soleil the wonder ‘tard, I’m not sure I’d commemorate the silver anniversary of her eventual passing to the world.

But remind me of that when I entertain blogging about it, okay?


Blithely Self Assured…or Incompetent?

While this article’s headline about incompetent people really having no clue seems like it’s straight out of The Onion, it’s actually from the SF Chronicle.  And it explains so much about human behavior.  I guess I’ll have to amend my mantra of ‘stupidity should be painful’ to ‘stupidity AND incompetence should be painful’.

Amusingly (or frighteningly) enough, I’ve found the characteristics described in the article present in many people that I’ve encountered.

Joyful Stupidity

Today’s short hike in Desolation Wilderness was primarily for the dog’s benefit, as she’s not seen much in the way of long walks for some time.  As evidenced by the video, she had a lot of pent-up energy.

[flickr video=3053797037 show_info=true secret=f2b8afec69 w=400 h=300]

First Snowfall of the Season

Friday night Tahoe got hit with a winterish (for October) storm, one that left trails in awesome condition and the mountains a light shade of white (a few inches, not the 16 I’d heard predicted above 9,000 ft).  While I was too ill to enjoy playing outside Saturday (damn stomach bug), I was able to let myself get excited for winter and skiing as I worked at home and felt generally feeble.

And since we’ve accumulated 2+ cords of wood from the trees we had removed from our property this summer, there’s no need to hold back on keeping the wood stove cranking.  Which is what we did yesterday and again this afternoon, much to the dog’s delight.  It didn’t take long before she was splayed out in a puddle of dog by the fireplace, pink nose and all.  Lucky for her, N, the resident fire builder/manager, doesn’t have much in the way of business travel this winter.

My Surprisingly Well Trained Dog

Yesterday I took the dog out for a run, since her energy levels had rebounded exponentially since our 19 mile hike on Saturday.  It was hot, which meant I did the ‘jogging shuffle’ instead of my slightly faster paced ‘fast jog’.  I don’t force Soleil to heel when I’m this slow – it would drive both of us insane.  Instead she meanders about, sniffing and marking, coming back to me to make sure I’m still moving, but rarely does she stand still.

So it was with a bit of puzzlement that I saw her standing off the trail looking back at me during one particularly steep and painful hill climb.  I wasn’t sure why, but the answer became clear when I saw a mountain biker whizzing towards me at a good clip.  Soleil, usually known more for her stupidity than her intellect, must have internalized some of my ‘heel’ commands at actually figured something out.  Who knew?

It’s amazing what a huge payoff dog training has in the long run.  (Isn’t that right bro?)

Soleil, Shakespearean Actor

The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is one of those great cultural festivals that blends the words of the Bard with the beauty of Lake Tahoe.  It’s something we try to attend once a year, if only to picnic on the shore of the Lake.   This year’s comedy production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in an effort to add realism to the performance, the production announced it was seeking a dog to play the role of Starveling the Tailor’s dog.  On a whim I sent off a few choice pics of Soleil. Earlier this week I learned that the photos made an impression, and our not-too-bright (and certainly not literate) dog had been selected to audition next week.

While the notion of Soleil on stage getting her 15 minutes of fame (and love) is amusing, I’m not sure I’m going to go ahead with the audition.  It’s a lot of schlepping – 3 performances a week for 5 weeks – and I’d be required to drive her to Sand Harbor (about 60 miles round trip) and stay until 10 pm each night.  I know that parents drive that distance and more for their blood children, but this is a dog of questionable pedigree we’re talking about here.

However, the great story that this would make almost negates the gas and time.   And since no other grandchild in my family has made it that far as an actor, I’m really tempted to go ahead with the audition.  It’s a week away, so I have ample time to reflect on this until then.

Tahoe Mud Season

While the official spring season’s only been around a few weeks, it’s felt like that here at Lake Tahoe since early March, thanks to a persistent high-pressure system sitting over Northern California.  For some it’s wonderful, but for those of us that love skiing and/or work in the ski industry, all this sunshine is not good for consumer perception. Especially when the likes of Colorado, Utah and the Pacific Northwest are getting clobbered with back to back snow storms.  The irony is that the Colorado resorts are closing this weekend, and the Lake Tahoe resorts are open through the end of April/early May.  Yet folks here are thinking more about golf, gardening and all the things you do when the snow melts. Go figure.

Temps are expected to be near record breaking this weekend – mid-sixties or something silly.  And since I’m playing catch up with work I figured a run in the meadow would be just the thing for both me and the too-neglected (?) mutt.

Funny thing is, there’s still quite a bit of snow around, despite the warmth.  So our trail run was more of a snow/mud run with a bit of trail thrown in for good measure.   It made for a slower pace, but the dog didn’t seem to mind.  She swam, sniffed and ran through all the muddiest parts – deliberately.

Now she’s lying right in the middle of the once-cream berber carpet upstairs, ensuring that there will be a wet, dirty patch there later today.  This despite the 3 beds she has to choose from.