Monday, February 2, 2009

At the End of My Leash with "At the End of My Leash"

Up here in Canada we are very fortunate to get the show "At the End of My Leash" on the classy Slice channel. With the CRTC's Canadian Content regulations, it would be simply inconceivable to air only Cesar Millan's show; no - we need our own canine guru!

But who to pick? Hmmmm. Instead of choosing someone from the considerable list of qualified trainers registered with the APDT or other governing bodies, or someone with a university degree in animal behaviour, or even someone who's published a book on dog training... Slice decided on Brad Pattison, a man who operates his own dubious training school (for only $6000, you too can become a "Certified Educated Trainer"); who has a few interesting (read: completely outdated) theories on dog behaviour; and apparently even a lawsuit in British Columbia.

Good choice, Slice!

In this very helpful show, Brad Pattison explains the ins and outs of training dogs, with his inimitable knowledge of canine behaviour and considerable aplomb. The receding hairline is just icing on the cake!

This wonderful personage even offers in-person training classes to learn the ins and outs of his methods! Luckily, for those of us unable to attend in person, some helpful Youtuber uploaded a few videos of a "Street Safety" class in Toronto. You can witness for yourself Brad Pattison's marvelous manner with dogs! Have you ever seen such devotion? Such a bond between handler and dog? Such a deep understanding of animals? Well, prepare yourselves.

Here's a wonderful example of how to gain a dog's trust and respect! Notice the dog's happy demeanor.

Here's how to ensure that your dog pays attention to you! I especially like the speed at which Pattison hits the second tree; nothing teaches a dog respect like a good case of whiplash.

And how exactly do you deal with your dog's desire to chase moving objects, other dogs, or squirrels? Why, you teach a "leave it" command, of course! Here's just how to do it!

Wonderful, isn't it? Personally, I don't think people hit their dogs enough, and those martingale collars are just going to waste if you don't give 'em a good, hard yank every five seconds. If you want to see even more top training tips, check out! Mind you, those episodes are edited pretty heavily. More's the pity.

Monday, January 5, 2009

More snow pictures...

Now that the weather has turned officially icky - more snow, sleety rain, slush everywhere - I thought I'd upload some photos of the magical, fluffy, white snow that graced the city before Christams.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why I love the Interwebz

Tonight I was - wait for it- social, and actually went out with some friends on Main Street.* In the course of conversation I interrupted someone's salsa dancing story rather rudely and began blathering about - wait for it - Tahitian stick dancing. I believe the thrust of my argument was something along the lines of "Dances Lizzie Can't and Shouldn't Do", but I had a difficult time convincing my companions that Tahitian Stick Dancing really existed and is not just a figment of my overactive imagination.

Now, this really should go without saying ... but in my experience most things that go without saying usually go with saying, so I'll say it. In approximately 1992 I saw Tahitian Stick Dancing on the local cable channel. It was part of the coverage of some community dance extravaganza, I'm sure. The stick dancing was pretty mesmerizing. It left an impression on me... in 1992.

Now in 2009, I am trying (and failing) to describe this art form to a bunch of rather skeptical interlocutors. Within minutes of arriving home, firing up my computer, and typing some keywords into Youtube... what do I come across but several videos of Maori (not Tahitian) Stick Dancing. Which I promptly forwarded to my skeptical interlocutors. Amazing.

In case you're wondering, here's an example:

*"Going out with friends on Main Street" makes me sound like a hipster. But a hipster I am not.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lizzie Walker's Best Books of 2008

Since August of 2002 I have been keeping a list of every book I've read for pleasure. This is quite a committment and every time I fill in a new book I'm sort of amazed that I've managed to keep the list up for over six years. Just look at how little time it took me to start regularly neglecting my blog - you should be suitably impressed.

Since starting my Master's program last fall my "pleasure book" time has significantly decreased. I do not list books I have to read for courses or research, even though I've read lots of fantastic books that way. My list is purely books I've read from cover to cover for enjoyment.

It's New Year's Eve and because I don't have any particularly exciting plans I decided I'd list my top picks of books. These were not necessarily books published in 2008, just ones I'd gotten around to reading this year.

Here we go! Is there a theme? Probably. I gravitated big-time towards non-fiction and graphic novels, but there are some other gems here too.

10. Missing Sarah by Maggie DeVries:
Maggie taught one of my courses this year. This is a sad, quiet memoir about a family coming to grips with losing a daughter and sister first to a life of drugs and prostitution, and then to Robert Pickton.

9. The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell:
Predictable, maybe. But an amazingly readable, intelligent and entertaining insight into the human relationship with dogs.

8. Nul Points by Tim Moore:
How much do I love Tim Moore. Le sigh. I don't think anyone's books have made me laugh so much - if you don't know Moore, look him up. He writes fantastically hilarious travel narratives, always with an provocative starting point. In Nul Points, he travels around Europe to catch up with those singers who have earned the dubious distinction of attaining a score of zero in the Eurovision song contest.

7. Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon:
Everyone likes a good mystery. Donna Leon's mysteries are good in many, many ways. Set in Venice, they center more around the frailties of human beings rather than psychological suspense or plot twists, but they still manage to be suspenseful and satisfying. They're always a treat, and this one is a fine example of her work.

6. Skim by Mariko Tamaki:
A pitch perfect graphic novel in its depiction of 1990s high school setting; its understanding of teenage girlhood; and its emotional truths.

5. Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer:
Want to read about wacky religious sects? About magical goggles and golden plates? Want to feel relatively normal? Let's face it: we all do. This is your book.

4. Porcupine by Meg Tilly:
A simple story about a young girl coping with loss and upheaval - but, like Skim, it resonates perfectly.

3. American Born Chinese by Gene Yang:
A rather complex graphic novel that brilliantly incorporates three distinct plot strands. Anyone who has felt like an outsider or awkward in their own skin will be drawn to this book. The ending is totally unexpected but deeply satisfying.

2. The Arrival by Shaun Tan:
Until about two days ago, this was going to be my Number 1 (see below). An astonishing, breathtaking book about the immigrant experience. I don't want to say more and ruin the surprise. Also, Shaun Tan is a Very Nice Man, and unlike many children's authors/illustrators, totally normal and not creepy or full of himself! (There, I said it. A lot of them are. Just saying.) I was lucky enough to chauffeur him to a speaking engagement in October which made me love this book even more.

So now that I have a personal investment in The Arrival, I feel just a little treacherous recommending something else as my top pick of 2008. But my heart cannot lie...

1. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel:
I only read this two days ago, so it barely squeaked in on my 2008 list. Go read it. Now. It is funny, heartbreaking, intellectual, heartwarming. I want to read it again and again. It is a gem. That is all I will say.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Deep and Crisp and Even

I have been a bad, bad blogger. I knew that would happen when I signed up. But I will try to make amends. Lots has happened since October 6th when I last posted... namely in the form of one Spratley G. Pinhead, a Mini Australian Shepherd that we adopted from a rescue on Halloween!

Also, it has snowed in Vancouver. And it has stayed on the ground. And the temperature is below zero. It's amazing! The city is in chaos. We got to witness and almost-spectacular SUV - taxi crash on Granville yesterday.
How much snow has accumulated? Well, using the patented Walker Fish Garden Ornament meter, it's easy to keep track!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Molesworth Time!

On a mizzly, drizzly day like today, who better to brighten the spirits, than my own beloved Nigel Molesworth?

It seems strange that all the tuough boys around with faces like wild baboons started life as babes in prams chiz chiz chiz. i mean you kno wot weeds babes are they lie about and gurgle and all the lades sa icky pritty and other uterly wet things.

Being a baby is alright but soon all the boys who hav been wearing peticoats chiz chiz chiz begin to get bigger. they start zooming about like jet fighters climb drane pipes squirt water pistols make aple pie beds set booby traps leave tools about the garden refuse to be polite to visiting aunts run on the flowerbeds make space rockets out of pop's golf bag and many other japes and pranks.

It is at this time that parents look thortfully at their dear chicks and sa



Geoffrey Willans Down With Skool!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time to BARF

And by BARF, I don't mean hurl. That just wouldn't be appropriate for a blog! Ewwww.

BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or Bones And Raw Food, and today I made Nutmeg's meals for the month. Last year I got a consultation from Sabine at Better Dog Care, who provided me with all the meats, fruits, veggies and supplements I need to prepare for Nutmeg. All the fresh ingredients cost a grand total of $48.47. Chicken necks will cost me about $12 for the month, so all told Nutmeg is eating a healthy diet for about $2.00 a day.

Here are all the ingredients - all from the supermarket.

Assembling the food is labour intensive, but I've got it down to a smooth, 45 minute routine. First I mix the ground beef and ground chicken with cottage cheese in a big bucket.

Then the part of BARF that might actually make me... well... barf. I blend some beef liver in the food processor. Admittedly, it's kind of fun. But a gross kind of fun.

Next I whizz up some sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, lettuce, apple and banana.

The veggies and liver, plus eggs and grapeseed oil, all get added to the meat/cottage cheese mixure. Then the whole shebang is divided into four weekly portions which go into the deep freezer, to be defrosted as needed.
Then the fun part starts. As you can imagine, dear reader, BARFing does create quite a mess. Nutmeg is alwasy a big help.

Hey Nutmeg, I think you've got something on your face...