I woke up this morning to a veritable hurricane – whipping wind, driving rain, and bone-chilling temperatures guaranteed to set your teeth a-chatter. I’d have to have been an idiot to venture outdoors in weather like that. Well, either an idiot or a guy trying to coax his dogs out for their morning constitutional by braving the elements himself. “Hey, it’s not so bad!”I lied, motioning for them to join me in the morass that was the backyard, my scarlet ears giving me away. They stared back at me from the relative comfort of the open doorway and then, one by one, seemed to lose interest and head back inside. Lulu was the last one to go, throwing me what I took to be a look of pity before deciding “F that!” and ambling after the pugs. Defeated, I hurried back up the stairs, only to have a gust of wind slam the door shut in my face. By the time I succeeded in unjamming the door and getting back inside, the dogs had cleared out – in more ways than one. No sign of them but for the little gift one had left.

I should have heeded the warning signs, cut my losses and headed back to bed, but I had things to do. Instead, I foolishly went on with my day – dropping Fondy off at the airport before swinging by the doggy daycare and realizing – oh, yeah, holiday – it was closed. And so, rather than take the half hour drive back home to drop off the dogs, I elected to take the two minute drive to the production offices where I let the little devils loose. For a while anyway and, when they got too distracting so I locked them in my office only find their mass howling even more distracting so I let them back out again after Lawren helpfully erected a makeshift barricade made up of recycling bins and garbage containers – which my hardheaded French bulldog managed to power through enroute to just one of her many daring escape attempts.

A lunchtime misunderstanding had me end up with a Swiss Chalet Santa Fe Chicken Salad which, I’m sure those who have tried it will agree, is just one step above actually eating out of the Swiss Chalet dumpster. I managed to salvage some meat, trimming off the bitter blackened grill marks, and fed them to the dogs before packing them back up into the car and, finally, taking them home.

By the time I returned to the office, the post-lunch conversation was already winding down. We eventually got around to accomplishing something and a third, and then it was back into the car and home –

Where I enjoyed some delicious Stagg Chili (“Dyamite Hot”) and polished off the remnants of a Soy Delicious Chocolate Brownie Almond that tasted surprisingly close to not-like-ice cream. Fondy has been gone less than a day and I’m already eating canned food and soy desserts. Please understand. These are long shelf-life foods I purchased for the sole purpose of surviving the lean years of a nuclear Armageddon. To consume them now is inexcusable and, admittedly, kind of sad.

Well, I’m determined to make an effort for tomorrow’s dinner! I’m going to get up off my lazy ass and drive the eight blocks down to Fuel where Chef Belcham will, I’m sure, be serving up something far more memorable.

This blog is dedicated to whoever I missed dedicating this blog to yesterday and, of course, Carl Binder who is on the front lines fighting the good fight – and enjoying much nicer weather.

Today’s video: Click on the date to watch Marty G. take part in the annual Running of the Dogs – and the barricade get breached.

Today’s mailbag:

Ray Finkle writes: “Firstly, why didn’t it get legal clearance and secondly, why on earth would you need clearance in the first place? Are you really unable to just use the name of a town in an episode?”

Answer: We could have used the town no problem, but we couldn’t state that our Jennifer Keller hailed from the Town X because, according to our legal department, there is already one Jennifer Keller living in Town X and we wouldn’t want to confuse the two. Imagine if you are “the” Jennifer Keller living in Town X when you are set upon by wraith who believe you to be the Jennifer Keller from Town X now residing in the Pegasus Galaxy. How awkward.

Royal Nonesuch writes: “ Joe M.–so your a Beatles fan? Who is your favorite of the Fab Four?”

Answer: Actually, quite the opposite. This from my December 10, 2006 entry –

“And if you’re going to continue to invest time in this blog, I think it’s high time I came clean about a few things, some things that could color, possibly even change, your opinion of me. Nevertheless I think it’s important you know that –
1. I have never sat through an entire episode of Friends from start to finish.
2. I have never seen E.T. nor do I ever intend to.
3. I don’t like The Beatles.
4. I prefer my hot dogs the way they enjoy them in Japanese baseball stadiums – with ketchup, occasionally with mayo, relish, and onions, but never, ever with mustard.
5. Given the magical opportunity to pursue and excel at another career, my choice of new professions would be: super villain, chef, and hard-hitting free safety for the Los Angeles Raiders – in that order.”

Sulien writes: “I have been checking out the breed characteristics of pugs online and I have a question for you regarding your dogs, if you wouldn’t mind answering? Unfortunately, every site I’ve checked out states that pugs tend to have a lot of health issues and I was wondering if your pugs have had many health problems.”

Answer: Pugs are prone to eye trouble, breathing problems, and extreme laziness. By the way, just to clarify, while Jelly, Maximus and Bubba are pugs, Lulu is a French Bulldog. She comes with her own issues which include eye problems and extreme stubborness.

Anonymous #1 writes: “ I am however concerned about what possible rationalisation you and your writers could have for including a character like Keller in the role she is in. The experiences of the SGC over the past 11 years would have made it perfectly clear that a job like hers was not for the faint hearted nor for someone so easily discomforted by out of the ordinary occurrences.”

Answer: They’re in another galaxy facing life-sucking aliens and savage off-world cannibals. How many possible candidates could they have chosen from that would have been comfortable dealing with such “out of the ordinary occurrences”? Keller’s response to the dangers she faced was very much the type of reaction one would expect from any normal human being (read: you and pretty much everyone else who has criticized her reaction) in an extreme life or death situation.

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