So I have just finished my first major motion picture. I call it "Ducks on Ice." It was originally intended to be a contemporary updating of Eldridge Clever's famous book "Soul on Ice," but when production costs started soaring my backers strongly suggested that we change it from a nonfiction narrative to a fiction narrative, and that we set it in a country pond instead of the city, and that we make the main characters ducks. After extensive re-writes what I ended up with can best be described as "Soul on Ice" meets "The Golden Compass."
Clocking in at a hefty one minute and two seconds, "Ducks on Ice" tells the story of a plucky band of ducks who must cross the frozen tundra in search of the golden corn. I play the evil but well-intentioned polar bear that protects the corn from all who would steal it. It's a bittersweet tale that ends with the ducks safe but kvetching, obviously leaving the door open for a sequel.
I'm telling you, The Gerret has been working like a dog. I tried explaining to Stump and Tweet when I first got here that I was NOT a working breed kind of dog. I tried to let them know that as a result of many generations of selective breeding and a brief affair my great-great-grandmother had with some fox from the low country, I am much more genetically predisposed in the direction of a devil-may-care swashbuckler sort of breed -- fearless, romantic and adventurous with a predilection for fast car rides, roughhouse dog parks and rewards-based training using high-value treats.
Yes, The Gerret loves to swash and the The Gerret loves to buckle. But their comprehension is SOOO limited. They tell me "Don't pull on the leash, Gerret." And I'm like, Huh? What? Did I hear you right? "Don't pull on the leash?" Well "Don't pull on the leash" my butt. If you had half a brain you'd know that YOU'RE the ones who aren't supposed to be pulling on the leash. I mean if you're going to strap yourself to The Gerret, you're making an iron-clad commitment to getting some serious exercise. But they just stare at me blankly.
I read a story on the Internet about a dog who had a human with a vocabulary of over 100 words. I think it's apocryphal, or a parlor trick at best. As a species they just haven't been domesticated long enough. All day I'm trying to communicate "dangerous," "exotic" and "juicy red meat" and their response is "sit," "stay" and "have another bowl of this dry-ass kibble." Sigh.
So anyway, sooner or later I got to talk about work or I don't get fed. So here goes. I've been working on this new series called "For Dogs on a Budget." The premise is that even if a dog can't afford all the fancy toys and chews they sell on the Internet, he can still manage to have a decent life with a little creativity. Not as good a life as dogs who can afford all the fancy toys and chews they sell on the Internet, but hey, we can't all have blogs that generate thousands of paypals in advertising revenue.
My first how-to video in this series is called, "For Dogs on a Budget: How to Turn a Food Bowl Into a Dog Toy." Enjoy.
I kinda liked that food bowl. I think it's worth about two-and-a-half Gerrets. More if it starts out full of food.
Okay! Today The Gerret has managed to incorporate a bit of the ol' swash-n-buckle into my work regime. Part protective eye-wear, part daredevil thrill-seeking fashion statement, this rebel-with-claws is sporting a pair of Racing Flames Doggles.
I'm not sure what's left to say now that you've seen the picture. Tweet thinks the goggles makes me look all Steampunk, while Stump thinks it's more of a Cybergoth look. They're both wrong. Doggles are de rigueur for those of us who are down with the cybersteamed hot dawg look.
Yes, they protect my eyes from UV radiation and wind. But who cares about that? It's those damn bugs that get in your eyes when you've got your head out the window of the car that really get on my nerves. The Gerret will be doing it all cool and collected like, scoping the babes with the pink collars as they walk along side the road, barking most ferociously at anything else that moves. Then a bug gets in my eye just when I'm passing by Suzi the Wonder Dog. The Gerret'll be like all tearing up and my eye's bloodshot from poking at it with my claws and I'm whining like a little puppy and it's just an all-in-all bad situation when I'm trying to make a good impression. I'm telling ya.
And not only do Doggles eliminate the embarrassment of chronic bug-eye, but they generate a bit of the old je na sais quoi with the dames as well.
For instance, look at this photo of me and Maggie:
Now who looks cooler in this picture? Well, yes, the dog with the shorter fur, but that's not my point. Oh never mind.
I guess it's time for a break while you look at my demonstration video:
Finally, I'll leave you with some pics from my fashion shoot. Click on each image for more drama. Note the flames detail in picture three.
So even though there's only one Gerret, and the world's a poorer place for that, I'm telling you that a pair of these Doggles will go a long way to making any dog more Gerret-like. So I just can't help but give these Racing Flame Doggles four-and-a-half Gerrets. I'd give 'em five if the shipping wasn't so expensive.
You know sometimes, when I'm not out bucklin' my swash, maybe because it's raining or something, The Gerret engages in more literary pursuits such as playing charades with Stump and Tweet:
"First word, first syllable: [I move my paw in circles to indicate 'stir']
"First word, second syllable: [I gesture toward toward the area between my ribs and my hips to indicate 'loin']
"Second word: [I run outside, grab a stick and bring it back in the house. I pretend to pound it into the floor to indicate 'stake'].
"Okay, now put it all together... 'stir'... 'loin'... 'stake'...
"Come on come on come on. This is important. You can get it. I know you can...
"Noooo. The answer is not 'Old Roy's soy-based dry dog food.'
So when charades goes bad, I just settle in with a book. Yesterday I got a good one in the mail called Dog Park Diary: The Social Round of Goody Beagle as told to Kim Pearson. Now before you start thinking this is another one of The Gerret's light summer reading books, let me point out that this book has pictures AND words. And it's 58 pages long! That's more than 400 in dog pages, so you'll know when I tell you that this is some serious dog literature.
The book is an autobiographical telling of Goody Beagle's daily adventures at the dog park. Accompanied by her own photographer, Goody records the sometimes poignant, sometimes harrowing events she witnesses. The prose runs from warm-hearted praise to trenchant critique of the park's denizons as they run, fight, sniff and poop. Here's an excerpt:
"Crockett Mutt came to the Dog Park for the first time ever. Crockett had been abandoned by his old humans and had to live on the streets. Other dogs were mean to him and he didn't have enough to eat. This had a bad effect on his personality. He thinks everyone is out to get him."
Did I enjoy the book? Well yes. However, the more I read the more skeptical I became. I go to the dog park. Maybe not every day, but sometimes. And I've never seen Goody Beagle there, or any of the other dogs she mentions. I was starting to think that this was another one of those fake autobiographies where the author just makes everything up. How disappointing.
Then it hit me like a ton a bricks. What if there's ANOTHER dog park in the universe? Maybe Goody's dog park is in a parallel universe that's real but I just can't see it? Whoa. And what if there's more than two dog parks? What if there's thousands of parallel universes and every one of them has a dog park? And... and... and... I gotta quit now. My mind is exploding.
So obviously I have to give Dog Park Diary five Gerrets. In fact I might have to go out and start a cult based on this book. More than one dog park. I get chills just thinking about it.
Hi! I'm Maggie!! You might have like heard of me from Gerret's earlier posts. I'm going to be guest-blogging on Gerret Swirled! Why? Only because I have The Gerret totally wrapped around my little dewclaw! He sooo wants me to be his girlfriend!!!
First things first! My BFs ask, "What's Gerret really like? He's so super cute!"
What a question! Well, he is a bit of a swash bungler...
...but he's also partially awesome in a totally awesome kind of way!!! Think Milo in The Mask when he had the mask on!!!
What about me? My birthday's around Valentine's Day, my favorite color is paisley, my favorite food is the stuff in Chigger's bowl, and when I grow up I want to be a miniature poodle!! I like to take pictures! I started puppy kindergarten school last week!! Barf!! (No, I don't mean school is bad barf, I mean I totally barf every time I go there in the car!) I think I'll major in literary criticism!! Just the parts that talk about dogs!!
This week I'm studying Canterbury Tails by Chaucer:
Ran Colle, oure dogge, and Talbot, and Gerland,
And Malkyn with a dystaf in hir hand,
Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray hogges,
So were they fered for berkying of the dogges
"berkying of the dogges!!?!" Awesome, except what's with the spell-checker, Dude?
But since The Gerret can only like seem to write about himself, you know, what I'm going to do is grab a bit of blogtopia for the rest of us around this place!!! For instance, here's a very very very young guy we met yesterday when we were out walking!
He was only maybe like 10-15 hours old and that's in dog hours!! Sooo cool!!!
I named him Scooby Sinatra! It just seemed to fit!! Anyway, Scooby's mom was hanging around so after a short chat we left them to go do their deer thing! Maybe I'll IM him later!! But I gotta go!!!! Yours truly!!
Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! I threw The Gerret an awesome surprise birthday par-tay today!!! Now he's sooooo old!!! Har!!
So I made like this totally awesome birthday cake!!! It was an organic sausage layer cake frosted with JIF peanut butter! It was sooooo cool!!
Here's Chigger being a butt and scarfing up some of Gerret's cake! She's like such a bee-atch! Oooh! Don't you dare tell her I said that! Nah, she's cool, she just thinks she knows more cuz she's older!
So here's the Gerret after partying all day!! Har!!! LMAO!!!
But I guess we must have made too much noise, cuz now the neighbors are all setting off big explosions!! It's sooo lame!! And like scary! Chigger says it happens every ford of jewel eye around here and it happens like every day in a rock!! Exposions in a rock? I'm so sure!! But I gotta go!!!! Yours truly!!
My apologies for the recent posts. Maggie's young and, well, young.
As for The Gerret? I've been thinking about all of you out there who've been asking, "Hey, Gerret, when are you going to make another major motion picture?"
Of course you're all remembering "Ducks on Ice" which garnered me the prestigious Golden Cat Turd award for best first movie by a dog of indeterminate breed at this spring's [Dog Food] Cans Film Festival.
Now, The Gerret is proud to announce, "Snake on a Plain." Part mocu-drama, part homage to low-budget horror movies, and part vanity production, SOAP stars The Gerret, along with Maggie, Chigger and Slim, who plays the snake. Some guy named Sam Jackson called and asked to be in the movie, but I took one look at "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" and told him "not for all the burnt hot dogs in all the 7-11's in all the universe." I mean he's got a pretty face and all, but could you imagine him playing a dog? The guy can't act!
SOAP is epic in length, with a running time of nearly three minutes. It has been my intention to "keep it real," and so, in taking a page from the Mel Gibson school of filmmaking, I've done the entire film in the original dog and snake dialects. I hope you're able to translate, because some of Maggie's lines are just hilarious. And Chigger's "Snake, what snake? I don't see no snake," scene will probably garner her a nomination. Granted, Slim maybe overacted a bit, but it suited his character.
I'm afraid this is pretty much an adult film. I eschewed the obvious happy ending for gritty realism and conclusion without resolution. You'll note how the movie leaves the audience in an existential quandary as we see a close-up of Maggie's horrified face when she notices a rope on the ground and wonders, "is that a rope, or is it actually another snake?" It's a question that strikes deep to the psyche of every dog and I cannot promise you'll sleep well having seen "Snake on a Plain."
Well, it's been a long busy week here at Lake Whoabethegerret.
Whinehouse stuck around for a few more days since the last post then split. She was looking a lot better after a few good meals and sneaking in through the dog door to crash on the sofa at night. But she wasn't going to be tied down, no way no how. I'm not sure running off was the best choice for her, but I wish her well. Maybe she'll find her puppies.
On the other hand, Slippers, the kitten, looks like she's planning on staying. Actually, it turns out that Slippers is a boy so The Gerret is taking some heavy-duty grief from the fellas down at the dog park who saw this picture in the last post. How was I to know? Really?
In her last post Maggie did briefly mention the six new chicks that had just arrived. Well that's been a bit of drama in itself. About the middle of the week one of the chicks disappeared, and soon after another one. There was much speculation and innuendo around the place that yours truly and Maggie had something to do with said population decrease. Accusations were flying and the atmosphere was becoming very, how you say, acrimonious. Stump and Tweet tried to make us 'fess up but The Gerret don't cop to nothin'. But I think they were using the ol' water torture on Maggie. She was pretty much ready to turn state's evidence. She hates water.
So just when it looks like Maggie and I are going to have to change our names to Connie and Blyde and go on the lam, Stump goes out to the chicken coop and discovers that now there's only THREE chicks plus one REALLY FAT SNAKE.
All along it was SLIM! That connivin' varmint! You might remember Slim from his starring role in "Snake on a Plain." Now he's just another celebrity gone bad, driven to self-destruction by a habit he couldn't control. Stump captured him and drove him way into the woods and released him. The Gerret went along to yell at him and tell him to not come back. Is he dead? No. But his career is finished in this town.
Three chicks hanging out, doing nothing.
This was also graduation week over at K9 Prep & Neuter. Maggie finished up puppy kindergarten and Tweet said she did real good. But her final grade was a 4.0, which if that's in dog grades, is really really low.
The Gerret was doing post-dogtoral work in the three "R"s, which is a class called "Really Reliable Recall." The whole point of RRR is to train your human to carry lots of very high quality treats at all times or else you won't come when they call. I was skeptical, but by the end of the seven-week class Stump seemed to have the fancy treat thing down cold. Now I just have to keep working with him here at home so he doesn't start backsliding. Sometimes he'll call The Gerret and think he can get by with a "good dog" or a pat on the head when I show up. Sheesh. You can't let bad habits like that get started.
But it's not all fun-and-games around here. The Gerret still gotta go to work. (Funny. I never see the cats having to go to work around here. What's that about?)
So anyway, this week I finished editing my evaluation video for the second installment of "For Dogs on a Budget." This was shot a while ago but because of all the film festivals and legal stuff I'm only now free to release it here. You can learn more about the series in this earlier post. And yes, that's Maggie acting as my assistant.
So granted it's not colorful as most store-bought dog toys, but there's just as much plastic, so I'm given the water bottle four gerrets!
Water bottle as toy:
And that's it from Lake Whoabethegerret, where all the people are lazy, the cats are annoying, and The Gerret is waaaaaay above average.
So just when you think The Gerret is never coming back, well here I am! Chillin' in my Christmas crib, celebrating the end of my 14th dog year in residence and marking the close of the second human year of this, my carelessly casual but occasionally compelling blog.
So for your collective Christmas creature comfort I've crafted a customized and comprehensively creative cinematic experience containing a congregation of local characters. I call it: "A Corny Copious Collection of Christmas Clips."
Oh, BTW, it snowed here yesterday. Not a common calamity.