Good Luck to Tieson

Back in January I got a dog named Tieson. Even back then I knew he'd be a handful. But, over the last 5 months or so, I worked on his quirks. I took him to an obedience class at Dogs At Play (75 Howell St.) which helped a lot. I figured out how to keep him from peeing in the house: I just kept him confined — at first to his travel crate (which he didn't seem to like too much) and then to the foyer which gave him a little more room to move around (which he seemed fine with.)

But there was always his Jack Russell Terrier tendencies. His high energy level was not a problem for me, nor was his desire for play and attention. But he needed someone who was always dominant. And that was the problem.

Any chance he had to take his "rightful spot" as alpha dog, he took. For instance, if I was sitting on the couch to watch a movie and I invited him up, after a while he'd snarl a bit if I tried to pet him. If I persisted he'd eventually bite me. He was, however, a good and obedient dog, so I could just say, "get off" and he'd get off the couch (with a begrudging growl sometimes) and then I could call him over and (as long as he was on the ground and I was on the couch) I could pet him without any problem.

But I want a dog that is a companion, not a servant. And after he tried to attack a neighbor who came to trim the hedge row on my side, and after he attacked Ali and Lucy (the dog she and I have joint-custody of) I decided enough was enough.

I looked on the Internet and found Russell Rescue, Inc. who specialize in rescuing and adopting Jack Russell Terriers. There are only three contacts in the northeast and one happens to be in Irondequoit. I sent an e-mail and called but I got no response, so tonight I took Tieson to The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm (99 Victor Rd., Fairport).

Because of his history of biting, he's got an uphill battle. I think he'll get to a behavioral evaluation, but then it's up to him to not growl or bite. He's a pretty smart dog, but I hope he figures out that it's do-or-die.

Literally.

The house is now much more quiet with just me and my cat Pumpkin. But I am overall relieved. As I described to a friend, it was like living with a roommate you barely tolerate. Even though the good times were nice, there was a lot of tension and stress. And now I'll be able to sleep in when I want to because I'll actually be able to set the alarm clock rather than this:

6:30 a.m. wake-up call from my dog

The Tieson Alarm Clock

Good luck, buddy.

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Untraceable at the Cinema

Ali and I decided to check out the double-feature at The Cinema TheatreMySpace link (957 South Clinton Ave.) The two films were Le scaphandre et le papillon(The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and Untraceable but I'll talk about them in reverse order. Oh, and this time Ali's lap was graced by Princess, the Cinema's resident cat — forcing her to be paralyzed for 3 full hours.

So Untraceable is a film about how the Patriot Act is good and how brainy people in universities are the source of all truly evil enemies. See, the FBI, NSA, and law-enforcement in general are all infallible organizations: when they go after someone, that person is guilty; otherwise, they wouldn't go after them, would they?

This is proven in the introductory sequence of the film where FBI Agent Jennifer Marsh finds someone using stolen credit cards on the Interwebs. She uses credit-card fraud techniques learned from a television commercial and deduces that it isn't the little old lady in the house whose IP address is the source of the transactions, but rather the next-door neighbor using her wireless access point. After all, the guy has guns which means he's a criminal.

Then a tip comes in about a website where someone's letting a kitten die on live-fed video. But the site is [wait for it …] untraceable. The film uses mumbo-techno speak to explain how the site is being redirected from foreign countries and stuff so it can't be traced. Then the guy starts killing people and the mystery is on.

Well, not the real mystery, but the attempt to find who the guy is who's doing all these mean things and why. The real mystery is how this evil, university-educated genius can transport and set up elaborate killing techniques that would make James Bond scriptwriters blush. He has access to all sorts of equipment, drugs, and chemicals that — to the average person — would be all but impossible to get, requiring lots of signatures, picture ID's, and money. It must be that pesky university! But even if we write that off, he is also able to transport his computer rig to anywhere in the city without anyone so much as blinking. Whatever explains these magical powers is probably the same one that lets him move around victims with equal ease and invisibility.

In stark contrast, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was excellent. It's about a guy who was perfectly healthy until a stroke rendered him completely paralyzed except for being able to move and blink his left eye. He starts out feeling trapped, depressed, and annoyed. Once a speech therapist helps him to speak by reading letters to him and blinking when she gets the right one, his imagination and memories come to the forefront and he eventually decides to complete a book contract he had. It's an interesting movie exploring the will to live and the human need to find contentment and happiness in any situation.

I have heard reviews where people talk about it being "amazing" what this man went through, but in a way, it was more a demonstration of necessity than anything. Because of his condition, there was no way for him to kill himself — in fact, it was because of the quality of health care he received that kept him alive at all, so in a way, it wasn't that he was unable to kill himself, but that he was unable to prevent others from keeping him alive.

See, there appears to be a level of personal happiness that is unrelated to one's life condition. If happiness truly were tied to one's life condition, then extremely well-off people would be constantly overjoyed and poor people would beg for brevity in their miserable existences. Clearly, though, this is not true.

But remarkably, it seems to have no limits. It's challenging to imagine a worse fate than being completely paralyzed and kept alive irrelevant to your consent. Yet here was Jean-Dominique Bauby (the character was based on a real person) who lived that very nightmare. His personal disposition — once the trauma of the sudden, dramatic change in his life wore off — seemed to return to a level not dissimilar to himself in his past, fully ambulatory life.

Anyway, there's sort-of a game to see how the Cinema's double-features are related. This one is a tough one. Judging by how I personally felt, I think Untraceable was supposed to be as bad as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was good — that the latter was to cancel out the former, and you were supposed to leave the theater feeling exactly the same as when you went in. In 10 years, I invite you to recall this combination and see which still has relevance.

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