Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thundercloud's Ironman "Oscar"

As pet owners, we all realize that eventually we are going to lose our animals. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop us from spending years getting attached to them and when we do lose them, it is one of the greatest pains we can suffer.

For those of you who don't know, Marlo is a professional dog trainer. We have always had dogs. In fact, dogs are the reason we met and started dating. Our dogs play a pretty major role in our lives. They are our constant companions. Our confidants. They love us unconditionally, no matter our standing in life.

Almost twleve years ago, we went to look at a 7-week-old Boxer puppy. He was a cute little guy, brindle and white and shaped a little like a barrel with legs. I knew that he was going to be my best buddy the moment I saw him, and we took him home an hour later. That's when Thundercloud's Ironman, or "Oscar" as we called him, became part of our family. And I was right... He quickly became my best buddy.

For most of his life Oscar had issues with his health. He was allergic to almost everything. Food allergies and seasonal allergies plagued the poor guy and the allergies led to ear infections which in-turn led to a lot of head shaking and, eventually, three surgeries for ear hematomas. Oscar was also prone, as a lot of Boxers are, to tumors and lumps. He went under the knife multiple times to have things removed, and we often joked that it was a good thing we bought him and not some other family. I mean, who else would invest the time, money and love into such a veterinary cash-cow?

We did, and we never thought twice about it. In return we were rewarded with 12 years with a great dog. Maybe the best dog we'll ever have.

Early this morning, at about 1:30am, Oscar woke us up with his restless panting. Something was obviously wrong, so I carried (all 86lbs of him) to the car and rushed him to the 24-hour emergency vet. Apparently a tumor on his liver had ruptured and was causing some massive internal bleeding. We really only had one choice.

At 2:30am, we gave our old guy a peaceful, dignified and loving end to a life that has been filled, and that has filled us with love for almost twelve years.

Rest in peace, old-timer. We'll miss you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Time to get back to "real life"

And another week's worth of unplugged bliss has come to an end, and now it's time to get back to the real world. If not for my Blackberry, I would've been completely isolated from life as I know it for the duration of my annual fishing expedition. I took my laptop with me, but I never felt the urge to even take it out of the bag. Now that is a real vacation!

We caught a ton of Bluegill, Crappie, Bass (Largemouth and Spotted) and Northern Pike but we failed to boat any Smallmouth Bass or Walleye, two species that we were looking forward to catching.

The lake (Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Michigan) was excellent and my father-in-law couldn't get over how clear the water was. Seeing the bottom in water 15 feet deep is strange for someone used to fishing in the muddy, man-made lakes of central Ohio where you're lucky to see the bottom in 1 foot of water.

This year's "fish-of-the-week" goes to my father-in-law who boated (with the help of my expert net and hook removal skills) this spectacular 36" Northern Pike.

Friday, May 16, 2008

And so it begins

All of my clients seem to be chugging along without issue and I'm not getting much at all done today. I might as well get started on my vacation a little early then!

Time to go home, gas-up the truck and boat (That's gonna hurt!), mow my lawn and pack all my gear. Woo!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DOH! Go Crew!

I can't believe I posted to my blog and didn't mention my beloved Black-n-Gold! The hardest working team in Major League Soccer is, well, working hard! Seven weeks of the season have passed, and the Crew is currently (still) sitting on top of the leaderboard, both in the Eastern Conference and over-all. If this isn't the best start to a season that the Crew has ever had, it has GOT to be damned close!

Other than the best record in MLS (6-1-0), the Crew also has two players in the race for the Golden Boot (Robbie Rogers with 5 goals and Alejandro Moreno with 4 goals and 3 assists) and two players who have received MLS' "Player of the Week" status (Guillermo Barros Schelotto in Week 3 and Robbie Rogers in Week 7).

So the question remains... Who are these guys, and what the hell have they done with the Crew of old?!

So I'm a slacker...

I must admit that I've been slacking on the 'ol Blog here. No new posts in almost two weeks? WTF is up with that?!

I've got a bunch of stuff going on around here these days. I leave for my annual spring fishing trip/vacation on Saturday. With my own boat this year, it is sure to be more fun than previous years. Crowding into a rented boat that is always too small and poorly outfitted makes for a long week.

I've been trying to get ahead on some work projects in an effort to minimize the number of phone calls and/or emails that I'll get while on vacation this year. Last year I only made it until lunch time on the first day before receiving my first call. I'm hoping I can beat that record this time around.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Iron Man!

As a happy coincidence, this year my birthday happened to fall on opening night of the new "Iron Man" movie. I am a pretty big comic book/graphic novel movie geek so this is going to be a pretty big summer for me (Iron Man, Hulk, etc), but I was especially psyched about this particular movie.

After dinner with the family, my wife, daughter and I headed to the theater. We got to the theater at 7:40pm for the 8:15pm show, but it was sold-out... So we went to the (packed to the gills) 7:45pm show instead. I have to say, I never like to get to the movies that late, and we ended-up with some of the crappiest seats in the place.

But anyway, how was the movie?

It was excellent!

I was originally unsure about Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark but after seeing the movie, I don't think they could've picked anyone else to play the role. He captured the arrogance and angst of Tony Stark perfectly.

The special effects were very well done. The acting was well done. The story and plot lines were also well thought out... Plenty of "origin", a decent villan, just enough closure for the movie to stand on its own and, of course, they left it open for "Iron Man 2".

I've been really impressed with the "Spider-man" franchise, and I really think "Iron Man" could prove to be every bit as good. But I know what a lot of us are thinking right now...

Avengers anyone?