Max’s TV Debut

Max has been asked to be in a commercial.  Of course, this sounds more glamorous than it actually is, since I work in TV and it just amounted to a coworker saying, “Hey!  Can your dog do this?”  But yeah… Max is gonna be famous.

That is, if he can do the trick.

What my coworker needs is a dog who will grab a particular doll, and run away carrying or dragging it.  When my friend asked, I responded that I was pretty sure Max could handle it, since he loves to grab toys (and sometimes socks) and run around with them in his mouth. When I tell him to “go get opossum!” he’ll find his favorite toy and then run around tossing it in the air and shaking it.

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He kills opossum about 17 times a day.

Yesterday I came home excited to begin training.  I grabbed some treats in one hand and asked Max to go get opossum.  He just looked at me.

“Max, go get opossum!  Where is he?”  Max tilted his head like he does when I’m chatting on about something, and sniffed at my hand holding the treats.

He made no moves toward opossum.

Uhhh…

So maybe the treats were too distracting, since the reward is usually just playing with opossum, so I put the treats away and he did play with it as requested.   Then I watched some training videos and decided to try a little clicker training with the command “take it”.   I didn’t have the actual doll yet so I wanted to just reinforce the command for now.

Here’s his first lesson.

Right now I’m treating him for just mouthing the item, and next he’ll have to hold it for a second. After that, I hope to get him to bring it to me. That way on shoot day, he can pick up the doll, and I can call him from a spot behind the camera and he can bring it to me.

I got the actual doll this afternoon and showed him at lunch. He did show interest and mouthed it on the “take it” command so I’m hopeful.

He has until Tuesday. I know what we’ll be doing this weekend.

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Girls Just Wanna Have… a Workout

My new Crossfit gym hosted a workout challenge for girls only on Sunday.  They announced that it would be a partner WOD, but that if you didn’t have a partner they would match you up.  I am never a big fan of partner WODs, because I feel pressure not to let my partner down, especially if that person is a stranger, but I thought I would be brave and show up.

We knocked out some running and stretching, and then they asked who didn’t have a partner and there were a few others… I was matched with a girl named Kat and we said our hellos. Say what you want about Crossfit – I know there are a ton of people who aren’t fans of it — but Crossfit people are by and large very nice and friendly.  That community vibe is part of what got me addicted to it.

Here’s what we did for a workout.  We kicked things off with ten rounds of:

5 Pullups

10 Push ups

15 Squats

It was ten rounds total, so I did a round of that and then Kat did, and we just went back and forth until we completed ten rounds.   After that we hit the door for tire flips.

I wish I had pictures of everything, but I don’t so use your imagination.  We had to do 12 flips, so we split them up six and six.

Now, at this point we were supposed to go back into the gym and do 8 rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.  But Kat and I were so pumped we ran on over and did the sled push task too.  First I sat on the sled and Kat pushed me 50m and then we switched.  At that point the coach told us we goofed… so we had to do 14 rounds of pull ups, push ups and squats.  Ouch.

The next task was the heavy rope jump.  It’s a really thick rope, like the one we climbed, and we had to do 12 jumps each.  This was probably the toughest challenge for me because the rope was so heavy and cumbersome, and I’d never done it before.

Back into the gym — this time for 4 rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.

Back outside for partner carry.  Kat grabbed my arm and flipped me onto her back “fireman style” no problem.

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She sprinted for 50m.  Then we switched and I carried her piggy back style.  I wanted to stop and rest but I toughed it out for 50m.

Back into the gym — this time for only two rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.

Last task – the rope climb.  This is one of the few Crossfit activities that came fairly easily to me, so I’ve been able to do it for a while.  Still, after all those pull ups and push ups my arms were pretty shaky.

I gave myself a minute to rest and shake them out, then I got on the rope!

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Made it!  Time to ease myself back down…

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It was tough to say how Kat and I “placed” because it wasn’t set up exactly like a race.  Some of the tasks were crowded so we had to wait our turn to do them.  (Which was nice, because it gave us time to breathe.)  I would guess there were about 50 girls there, because all gyms in the area were invited, and maybe half of them modified the movements, like using bands on pull ups and such, so it wasn’t an apples to apples comparison.

Still, I would say Kat and I did pretty well.   I was on a high for the rest of the day, and I can’t wait for the next one!

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Snatching Babies

The other day I was taking Max for a walk when he become very interested in some bushes.  He was sniffing away when out of the blue, a cat brushed by him, growled and dove deep into the bushes.

I thought that was odd, and I had a hunch why she would be so brave….

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Oh, hi there little kitten.

Sure enough, she had a bunch of babies in there.  I took Max home and returned for a better look.   I saw five kittens at least, three tabby and two like the one above.  One even got brave and took a few steps out of the bushes so I grabbed it by the scruff.

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That’s one cute little creature.

Momma was mad.  She was hissing at me in a way I could only interpret as, “Put my baby back now!”  So I did.

I think she forgave me when I gave her some leftover hashbrowns.

Still Have Both My Ears

I don’t have high confidence in my artistic abilities, but I saw a place near me has painting classes every so often, kinda like I did with the barn girls a while back.  That sounded like a fun Saturday night so I signed myself up.

The class was held in a cute artsy building… divided into two classrooms.  I’m not sure what the people up front were painting – maybe something super tricky — but I was ushered into the back with the rest of the rookies.

We were given a blank canvas, two brushes and a paper plate decorated with puddles of white, yellow, green, blue and black paint.

The instructor showed us what we were going to paint — a bright moon and the Eiffel Tower – with some water underneath.

I was a little concerned that we weren’t going to sketch anything out first… just jump right into painting… but she did give us step by step instructions so it wasn’t too hard, and I found myself really getting into it.

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This was my moon and reflection on the water… tower to be added next.  You can see how we mixed up the colors to get the right shades.  My hands were covered in paint, but they did provide aprons so my clothes were not.

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I smile when I’m painting.   Look at all the other people, taking their art so seriously.

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Ta-da!  Well, you can kinda see the tower.  Some of it got cut off.  It was a fun experience, and since they paint different things all the time (check out the walls in the background), I plan to go back and try something else.

Might be a fun thing to do when you come visit …hint…hint…

I’d like a burger – hold the drugs, please

I’m getting to know San Antonio little by little.

So far I like it.  I mean, it’s not Atlanta.  I still miss my city.  And I miss my people big time.  I guess that’s normal.  I don’t have people here yet.

My condo is slowly becoming home.  I have all but a few boxes unpacked.  (Coats?! Who needs ’em!)  The cable guy is coming this weekend, so I’ll finally have internet and more than two channels on TV.  I will miss the extra exercise I’m getting while getting up to adjust the rabbit ears every time I change a station.

My furniture fits – although it’s a little tight.  I would ideally like to sell my kitchen table and six chairs and get something more modern to fit the space.   Some cool bar stools might be nice since I have a long counter.   But the table I have will do for the moment.

I am really excited about finding some furniture for my outside patio.  I have seen some cheap tables and chairs, but I don’t see myself sitting in a hard chair for long.  I know myself.  I’ll want to recline in a comfy lounger with music or a book… so I’m hunting for something like that.  (If you have a hot tip on comfy outdoor furniture, please feel free to share.)  I did get some light strands that look like dragonflies…think Christmas lights, but more decorative… and I have them strung along the balcony.   The last few nights have been chilly and windy so I haven’t enjoyed them yet, but plan to tonight.

I’ve met the maintenance man for the property, the security guard, and a police officer who lives there with his family… so that’s all confidence-inspiring.  I do feel safe.  My little security system has been busy killing any critters who dare to creep into my unit.

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This one crept in from his toy box.

I am also getting out to explore the area.  Yesterday I took Max to a park after work and we enjoyed a few laps around the lake.  And last night I went out to dinner and saw a drug deal go down.

At least, I’m pretty sure I did.

I went down the road to a restaurant/bar for a burger.  I ordered, and while I was waiting for my food, I watched the gentleman next to me pull a $20 out of his pocket, fold it, and slip it under his plate.  He called the barback over to get his plate, and presumably the money.  It was sly; he certainly wasn’t paying for his food.

A few minutes later, he asked the same employee to meet him outside.  “I want you to take a look at my car.”    Hmmmm.  Yeah, pretty sure that wasn’t what went on in the parking lot.

I waited a good while after I got my food, and then made my way to the parking lot and got in my car quickly.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be a regular at The Highlander.

Maybe I’ll make the trip to the grocery store and have dinner on my dragonfly patio instead.

Amarillo By Morning

Well George, I would go to Amarillo in the morning, but I have to work so I’ll just stay here in San Antone.

In other words, I have moved.

Wow.  It’s been a very stressful couple of weeks.  I somehow didn’t think it would be, but I gave myself a lot to do and not much time to do it.   But it all worked out and I’m extremely thankful.  My house is sold.  I found a condo to rent here in Texas, which will give me a ten minute commute.

Hey Atlanta friends, read that again.

A ten minute commute.   It’s all kinds of awesome.

I just got the keys today so I took a few pictures by request.   One of my favorite features of the place is the balcony.  It’s huge.

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Hard to capture in a picture, but it covers the back side of the condo, has two entrances from the house, and overlooks the pool.

Oh, yeah, there’s a pool.

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The condo itself has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The kitchen has some updates, which is nice.  I’m actually going to try to use it.

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The whole place is tile…no carpet… so my swiffer will come in handy.   The living room is a little small for all my furniture, but I think I can make it work.  My kitchen table isn’t very big, so some of the living room stuff may have to spill over into the dining area.  I’ll work it out.

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The owners thoughtfully added this floor to ceiling mirror too.  They must have heard about my bikini competitions and knew I’d need a place to practice my walk.  How nice.

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And there’s a fireplace, which I might need two months out of the year.

My furniture is on its way from Georgia, so this morning I dropped off my suitcases and other stuff I had jammed in my Honda.  I expect the moving truck to arrive some time tomorrow with the rest of it.  I’m crossing my fingers it will fit.  If not, I might have to have a “moving in” sale ASAP.

Max has been at Camp Bow Wow for the weekend while I was closing on my house back in Atlanta, so I’ll pick him up tonight after work.  I think he’ll like the balcony too.

More updates to come… now that I’m not homeless I plan to blog more about my new adventure.

 

The Rules of TV News According to Me

I have been helping a co-worker with script-writing, and it occurred to me just how many pet peeves I have with writing in general, and TV news writing in particular.  I was actually getting fired up about it just relating them to him.

So in case anyone out there is trying to break into the TV news business… or maybe you’ve just always wondered why I so often yell at the TV… here ya go… the basic rules of TV writing, according to Robyn.

Write to your video.  After all, it’s not radio.  People are looking at pictures while you’re talking.   Talk about them.  It helps.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen an anchor talk about a water rescue, and I’m seeing static pictures of the hospital where they took the victim.  If that’s all you have, talk about where they took him first, and then come back on camera to talk about the other stuff.  Lots of things in life are confusing.  TV news shouldn’t be one of them.

Nothing was completely destroyed.   Please don’t write that.  Please.  It was either destroyed or it wasn’t.  You can’t be a little bit pregnant.

Don’t direct anyone’s attention to the nation’s midsection.  America isn’t a corpse or a mannequin.  Please just use the geographical terms we all do in everyday life. No one goes on vacation to the nation’s midsection.   I would, however, like to visit the nation’s belly button.  I assume that’s in Missouri.

We’re all lucky to be alive.   Can we just agree on that and not use it?  Thanks.

It could have been a lot worse.  Ditto.

Don’t open with yes or no questions.  Do you love the Falcons? Nope.  Now I’ve just turned the channel.  Even if you think it’s a question everyone will say yes to, just say no to writing it.  Remember, you’re writing news, not a quiz.

Sometimes cops get mixed up in drugs, money or violence but they never find themselves on the wrong side of the law.  If you write TV news copy, you’re going to write about a cop or deputy who got arrested at some point.  Resist the urge.  You’re better than that.  Find other words.

Hey!  Did you see that blaze on Channel 7?  Me either.  It’s a fire.  It’s okay to call it a fire twice in the same story.  That’s really the only word for it.  People will understand.

Do you have “more questions than answers” on a story?  That’s okay too.  Just tell us the answers part and save the questions for your editorial meetings.

Didn’t you love those rules? I hope I haven’t completely destroyed your dreams for being a TV writer.  Just remember, it could be a lot worse.  You could find yourself on the wrong side of the law.  Or stuck in a roaring blaze.  When you think about it, we’re all just lucky to be alive.  Some writers wouldn’t be if I were brandishing a firearm…. ooooo.. that’s another one….