b Papa Dog's Blog: Strolling with Baby Dog

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Strolling with Baby Dog

Today, Mama Dog had a burning desire to see a fictionalised movie about some monumentally self-impressed cretins, spun off from a documentary about these selfsame cretins I was caused to endure a few years back. Ordinarily when there’s a movie to be seen I try to figure out a way that we could both go see it, but in this case I was happy to make an exception. Give up another 107 minutes of my life watching some actors pretending to be a bunch of hopeless dimwit teenagers from the 70s who are still 30 years later under the impression that they were the coolest thing ever because they slid around on boards in empty swimming pools? Bro, no thanks, dude. Mama Dog went with Mama Pirate, who for some reason also buys into this particular cult of anti-intellectualism (and she doesn’t even have the excuse of having grown up in SoCal in the period under examination), and I stayed home with Baby Dog.

Baby Dog and I took an afternoon stroll while Mama Dog was out. We went to Diesel, where I was seeking the Nick Hornby. Mama Dog used to joke that her demographic niche is summarised by the fact that she learns about all new pop culture items either on NPR or in The New Yorker. I shudder to think what this says about my own demographic shift*, but the only reason I knew Hornby had a new book out was because I saw a review in the Wall Street Journal.

I think I’ve mentioned before that a book store is probably the only place where it’s dangerous to turn me loose with a credit card. I impulse-grabbed two hardcovers while trying to find the Hornby book – the new Elmore Leonard and the new Chuck Palahniuk. Leonard’s an old friend – one of my favourite of what I call “shit-through-a-goose” writers. That probably sounds dismissive, but I think it’s a genuinely impressive talent. I’ve never read anything by Palahniuk, though I liked the movie of Fight Club well enough. This is kind of a shameful admission for me, but I really only picked the book up because of good jacket design. The allusion to The Scream was obvious to the point of heavy handedness, but it’s a creepy and arresting image. I didn’t even realise the book was by Palahniuk until I’d flipped through it a bit. Coincidentally, a similar dumb visual impulse is what turned me on to Nick Hornby in the first place. The cover of the TPB edition of High Fidelity caught my eye in Barnes Ignoble solely because its colour scheme reminded me of a box of Tide, the familiar and reassuring detergent of my childhood.

As it turned out, the Hornby book won’t even hit the stores until Tuesday, so I ended up dropping a wad of dough on impulse purchases incidental to a wild goose chase. In the plus column, this purchase added enough to my “Frequent Reader” points that I got a $20 gift certificate, which I can use to buy the Hornby book next weekend.

Baby Dog and I headed back by way of the BART station, stopping at the mailbox there to post Daddy’s important mail. As we strolled by a chain grocery store, a passing bicyclist called my name and spun around to join us. It was C of C&N, whom I’d heard – when N called to give their regrets for the will signing party – would be working in Berkeley today. He was on his way home from that. Now and then I pass C or N or C&N together in the commute – they live in SF and work in the East Bay, while I live in the East Bay and work in SF. We generally have about three minutes for conversation until their train comes – for some reason it’s always me getting off a train and them waiting for one. Last time I saw C, a week or so back, he mentioned that he was heading off to Africa soon, but had to get on the train before he could give me details. With no trains about to board on College Avenue, I had time to get the scoop. Apparently, he’s headed to Eritrea, where his old boss is running a non-profit involved with environmental issues. C is going to help set up a verification system for carbon credits. It sounded like an interesting and important venture and a very exciting opportunity for young C. I told him he should do a travel blog, but he laughed that off, saying he wasn't a writer. "Just post photos," I said. We'll see if that takes. For my part of the conversation, I explained Baby Dog’s latest achievements and tried unsuccessfully to coax her into saying “burp” for C.

When the conversation had run its course, I wished him a safe trip and we parted ways. Baby Dog and I wheeled over to Zachary’s. As we hung a left on Oak Grove, I heard a little noise coming from the stroller. I bent closer and for half a block could hear Baby Dog whispering “buhp, buhp, buhp,” as we headed for home.
*Truthfully, not much. There’s always a copy in the lunch room at work and I’ve drifted into the habit of scanning the Personal Journal section while I nuke my lunch.


Blogger Twizzle said...

Dude, I'm sorry that we disagree on the relevance & merits of the Z-Boyz, but this movie fuckin' rocked! Bro!

9:44 PM  

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