Ode to Spot: Can a DOG be an Angel?

I’ve always been a dog person so much so that I sometimes dream of being a wolf running through the woods. I seem to have a connection with them better than any people. I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for my big German Shepard Husky mix named Jake who protected my family from a crackhead back in the 90s, but I owe my soul to the handsome Spot here who was also half Husky.

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I was sitting downstairs eating a pizza when he ran up to me when I saw him for the first time and he asked for a piece. At first, I thought he was blind in one eye, but it was just a case of heterochromia with his right eye looking like his Husky dad and his left like his mom.

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Maybe some people truly don’t know their left from their right like Private Pile in Full Metal Jacket (1987), but I read it as a sign of fake empathy or selfishness whenever people get it confused when describing others. Let’s say Spot really was blind in his left brown eye and someone said that his right eye was blind. Yes, it’s his right eye from YOUR point of view or in the picture, but it’s HIS left eye. They do not imagine being him, just describing an appearance from their point of view, but they don’t actually care to imagine themselves as the person or creature they’re describing. They’re just another fake ass virtue signaler. Maybe you’ve never noticed this about people before, but I promise you that you’ll catch someone doing it soon.

There are thousands of reasons why I don’t like most people, but pooping or peeing in my house are the only things that will make me dislike a dog. It’s super easy to teach both cats and dogs to do their business outside in the woods away from your property and it amazes me that some people actually have to clean up after their animals. You have to ask yourself at that point, who is training who?

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The only reason I had Spot wait outside our favorite chicken KFC-wannabe restaurant here is because some little kids were scared of him even though he was the gentlest dog I’ve ever met. I gave him a big piece of chicken so he was cool after that, but I could tell he thought it was a true injustice that I got to eat chicken in the cool air conditioning eating chicken while he had to wait outside.

Maybe some people think I’m crazy or the devil, but I never wore a mask one time during all of 2020, 2021, to now. I never had symptoms, don’t like people, and stay away from everyone, and I never got sick so why the hell did I need to where that face diaper bullshit? I would say passive-aggressive shit like, “I don’t care if I die, so do you think I care if you do?” or “I was an American soldier. How many American soldiers have died of Covid? Zero, only fat Navy dudes, now get the fuck out of my face.” Or I would pull the best trick and pretend not to speak English and ignore anyone asking me to put a mask on which didn’t happen often. Most of the time they were just so shocked that I’d let my dog go shopping with me that they’d not even say anything. I love being a white guy who speaks the local language fluently because no one thinks you know what they say about you and most people think I’m crazy because I talk to my dogs so fuck them anyways.

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What’s up with dogs loving to get all dirty? They know it just means they’re going to have to take another bath when they get home.

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The only cruel thing I ever did to Spot was throwing him in the Namkhan River here in Luang Prabang. Some dogs have zero fear of the water and will jump right in themselves, but most are like Spot and dislike it. They can all swim though. I’ve heard babies can all swim too, but it seems a bit dangerous to test out. Besides, teaching your kids to swim is a fun memory of you giving them confidence that they will surely pass down to their kids. I used a puppy to convince my son and his friends not to fear the deep end once when I threw it in the pool. Once they saw the tiny little guy could swim and didn’t die they knew that they could too. I don’t know about cats. What happens if you through a kitten in the water? I bet they would be OK too, but I don’t know much about cats.

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Spot was so pissed off that I threw him in that he wouldn’t even look at me all day.

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It was also the moment when he stopped following me everywhere and became the leader. He kept a good distance from me out of fear and anger, but after this, he led the way on all of our walks.

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No one ever said that I couldn’t bring Spot with me to their restaurant. I would have never returned if they did. I think Spot’s friendliness, good looks, and always being clean helped though. Why is dog shampoo more expensive than human shampoo? It even smells better. If I ever run out of it I’ll use the dog’s. If people would ever use my bathroom they’d always notice I had dog shampoo but not the people stuff and would be surprised I used the dog’s. I still fail to see how it’s weird. We’re both mammals with hair right? What could go wrong?

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I never taught Spot how to knock on the door, but he knew it was always cool with the air conditioner on full blast all day so he’d go out all night and sleep in my room all day knocking whenever he wanted in. Being half Husky and full of fur he hated going outside in the sun. In this picture, it’s as if he’s asking me why we have to go outside now. It’s too hot for this.

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Sit down, shake, and speak are all nice tricks to teach your dog, but “GET ON THE SIDEWALK!” is the first and only command I take seriously. Dogs appreciate that you have their safety in mind and aren’t just bossing them around. I once had a cop here in Laos tell me that my pitbull needed to be on a leash. I told him that I’d never seen any other dogs on a leash here and there was nothing to worry about because she only bites cops. He didn’t know what to say to that. It’s strange that I live in a communist country but feel free to do whatever I want like talk shit to the pigs. I wouldn’t try it in Thailand or America, but I ironically have much more freedom here amongst the commies.

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I like going on midnight walks. Some people think it’s a dangerous thing to do, but not when you have a pack of dogs to protect you. When I lived in Bangkok I had over twenty dogs go on walks with me and no one dared to fuck with me. Here in Laos, it’s a much safer place than in Thailand. I’ve only felt like I was in trouble one time when this scary-looking old dude tried talking to me when two young guys snuck up behind me. When I called for these two dogs and the other five showed up they just smiled and walked away.

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Spot had all his shots, but he got really sick one day. He had a crazy amount of mucus coming out of his eyes and nose and had difficulting breathing. I took him to the vet every day, but she couldn’t do anything for him. I think he’s one of the unlucky dogs who got Covid from humans, but there’s no way to know. Waking up to him dead and having to bury him was one of the saddest days of my life. Maybe Covid was made by Dr. Fauci. Maybe it was made in a lab in Wuhan. Like JFK’s murder, I don’t think we’ll ever know, but one thing that can’t be labeled as a conspiracy theory is that the CCP knew they had Covid and failed to tell the rest of the world for six weeks. I hope they all burn in hell.

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Before Spot got sick he led me to this random supermarket called JC. Since it’s my initials I thought maybe it was a sign. I saw an old friend waiting for his wife to get off work so I drank soju with him out front when I met this wonderful girl who would turn out to be the love of my life. She’s smart, kind, half my age, and truly a good person. Why she loves me? I don’t know, but if it weren’t for Spot I would have never met her.

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Spot came to me during the darkest time in my life. My dickhead uncle and his cunt banker wife tricked my ex-wife and me out of the custody of our son back in 2018 and I’ve been depressed, angry, and drunk every day since. I truly believe if Spot had not come along I’d be dead now.

When Spot died my neighbor felt sorry for me and gave me Rapper here. He’s turned out to be a great dog too. Spot never got to make any babies, but Rapper here is a total pimp. He’s gotten so many bitches pregnant that I’ve lost count of how many granddogs I have now. I’m absolutely convinced that puppies inherit their parents’ memories or favorite scents because all 30 of Rapper’s puppies that I’ve seen always run to me whenever I first see them. Have you noticed this too?

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It’s been a year now since I lost Spot. I’ll always miss him, but can only now write about him without being overcome with emotion. Since I’m putting this down on the Hive blockchain it’s very likely that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to read this post and If they do I want them to know that whatever social or technological changes come their way that nothing beats having a good dog by your side.

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how would YOU break in a HOLLYWOOD virgin?

I truly love my girlfriend. We have the same sense of humor and get along wonderfully, but she’s never watched anything that wasn’t on Facebook or YouTube before. She’s never even used a DVD or knows what a VHS or cassette tapes are. It’s not her fault because she’s a millennial and country girl who was born in 1998.

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According to Google, Boomers were born after WWII, Generation X was before 1980, and Millennials grew up in the middle of the digital age and know nothing but digital entertainment. I was born in 1980, so I’m kinda a hybrid of a Gen Xer and a Millennial, but I would identify more as a Millennial. I do remember vinyl records and tape cassettes, but I loved my Gameboy and NES more. Since we had Apple IIs in every classroom when I was in kindergarten and elementary school I guess I fit the requirement of being a millennial.

I was in army basic training back in 1999 and the drill sergeant thought he would hurt my feelings by calling me a Nintendo generation. I corrected him and told him that I actually play Super NintendoSega Genesis, and even N64. Everyone but him thought it was funny. I may have made my fellow soldiers laugh, but my arms were not amused by all the pushups he had me do.

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I was a linguist in the military and one of the best ways I learned to get good at any language is through immersion. Back then I was learning Thai, so I bought a bunch of Thai CDs and cassettes from Thai Town in Hollywood and only watched Thai TV shows on VCDs. VCDs were like DVDs, but they were only 700 MBs so you had to have two discs to watch a movie and dozens of them to watch a full series.

After I got out of the military I became an English teacher and I had one student that was just too good. She spoke English with a perfect American accent and was lightyears beyond the other kids. When I told her that I thought she was wasting her time in our school and asked her if she was from the states, she told me that she’s never been. She said that her mom had only one serious rule in the house: All entertainment must be in English. Thinking this was a great idea I did the same with my 5-year-old stepdaughter who could only speak Thai. I bought her a cheap TV and a 64 GB Kingston USB stick with every Disney movie I could fit onto it. I had to put everything into one folder so it would play the next movie seamlessly, but it did the job.

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My ultimate goal was to get my girlfriend to be a Star Wars fan, but I knew I couldn’t start with that so I went with Titanic as the first film. It has held up really well over the years and of course, she loved it. She has no idea who Leonardo DiCaprio is, but whenever she sees him in more modern films she’ll ask why Jack looks so old.

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Do you know how many letters are in the English alphabet? If you answered twenty-six then you’d be wrong. There are now twenty-four letters in the English alphabet because E and T went home.

When I showed this movie to my daughter when she was eight, she fell asleep when E.T. was all pale and sick dying by the river. She had nightmares all night screaming for E.T. Was he alright? Did he die? Did he ever go home?

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My girlfriend is a farmer from the countryside of Laos. When she showed me her hometown there was this super scary bridge that reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. When I asked her if there were crocodiles below like in Indiana Jones she of course had no idea what I was talking about so we watched all three of the films. Yes, I know there is a fourth, but it sucks and I knew she wouldn’t have liked it.

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Which Star Wars film do you think is best to bring in a new fan? I tried with the prequels, but she wasn’t into it so I jumped to Rogue One which my girlfriend liked very much. It also flows well into the original.

I know a lot of fans dislike the sequels, but I saw them with my son when he was young in an IMAX theater and cried at the beginning of The Force Awakens because I never thought I’d ever get to see a new Star Wars in a theater ever again. My girlfriend didn’t want anything to do with them though. She said she wanted to see Luke and Han, not this girl named Rey.

It was quite a pleasure to see the shock on her face when Darth Vader told Luke the truth about his father. Now that we’ve seen all of the Star Wars movies and TV shows I asked her what her favorite moment was and she said it was when the Ewoks help defeat the rebels in Return of the Jedi. I’m torn between the time Luke Skywalker helped save the day in the Mandalorian and when Obi-Wan kicked Vaders ass again. What’s your favorite moment from the Star Wars universe?

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I figured I’d call it quits and end with Star Wars, but before I did, I asked Wan, my girlfriend, if I’d covered all of the movies that she remembered and she asked how I could’ve forgotten to mention Top Gun. I didn’t think she’d like it because she never liked any other military movies, but I just wanted her to see it before we saw the new one. I guess it took her breath away. What did you think of the new one? I’ve seen it five times now. It’s truly amazing.

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OK, I lied. There was one other military movie that she liked a lot and it was Predator. To me, it’s more of a horror film, but it’s one of Arnold’s best. I wonder why he’s never come back to save the franchise.

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I was just four years old when my stepdad took me to see the original Terminator, but I clearly remember him making me promise I wasn’t going to tell my mom that he took me to see it and it made me love it and remember it well, but it hasn’t aged as well as Judgment Day so I just showed her some key scenes from the original and explained what Skynet and T-800s were before we watched the legendary sequel. I’ve never bothered showing her any of the other films because they are all just disappointments.

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Wan didn’t even like Pulp Fiction so I was surprised that it’s the movie she quotes the most often. Can you guess which scene I’m talking about?

Thanks for reading. What did you think of my approach? Which films do you think I should show her next? How would or did you break in a Hollywood virgin?

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DRAWING: Getting Started with Contour Lines

Are you a new artist just getting started or want to try something new? If so, then I recommend doing a still-life sketch of something focusing on just the contour lines. This means that you ignore the shading and draw like we did when we were kids.

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For this sketch, all you really need is a pencil or pen, some paper, and a subject. I used some 3M painter’s tape to secure the A4 paper to my clipboard so I could focus on my drawing and not worry about the paper, but it isn’t necessary. I also enjoyed some strawberry-flavored Korean rice wine, Soju, and a bottle of Pepsi. Why does Pepsi taste so much better from a glass bottle?

Blind Contour Sketch

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For my first sketch, I focused on the plant 100% and only looked a the paper once to place the pencil. It is important you only look at the subject and feel the surface of the paper while you slowly draw the lines. It’s not going to look great. In fact, it will look like something you drew in grade school, but it’s good practice.

Semi Blind Contour Sketch

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For the next sketch try to focus on the subject 95% of the time only glancing at your drawing for a bit. The only times I briefly looked at my paper and pencil was when I was making sure the lines were right.

Look All You Want Sketch

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You still don’t want to spend too much time on this sketch, but you can look at your paper and pencil all you want. See how much better the third drawing is? I was able to focus on the pointy parts and details of the plastic this time.

The only thing I had to take these pictures was a crappy old iPhone 5, but I lit up my room as best I could. I then used the auto-enhance and auto-crop feature in Google Photos. Still not happy with the results, I adjusted the levels, brightness, and hue in Adobe Photoshop to tweak the pictures a bit more. I constantly make grammar mistakes and typos in my blog, so I always highlight the words and have the AI extension, Readme, read the words back to me. Listening to my post always shows mistakes I’ve made that proofreading doesn’t.

Spot’s first walk around Luang Prabang

I didn’t plan on falling in love with Spot, but he’s my best friend now. He follows me around everywhere. He’ll scratch at my door to let him in every night and gets really jealous if I give affection or food to his sister or any of the other dogs at my apartment.

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The first couple of days we went on a walk it was just Spot and I. Now it seems all of the dogs in the neighborhood follow us around. There’s an ATM across the street where I live. There was this old man with the scariest-looking eyes I’ve ever seen and two of his young punk-looking friends who seemed like they were about to jump me when I got some cash out at 1 am. When I did my best dog bark, all of the dogs in the neighborhood came running to me and surrounded me. At first, they looked at me like a dumb white boy they were about to rip off, but when all my dog friends showed up, they just smiled and went away.

Spot found this bug. At first, I thought it was a child’s toy. Then I thought it was like a royal cockroach or something. I think it’s some type of wood beetle. I don’t know, but it looks cool. Do you know what it is?

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Spot followed me around town for about 10 km. He was very good about staying on the sidewalk and not running into the street, but I did have to carry him across a few intersections.

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Spot likes temples. He’ll lead the way in, look around a bit, then leave. Maybe he was a Buddhist in his last life.

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I gave him plenty of water along the way, but at one point he just wouldn’t have it anymore. He laid down near a bank to cool down in the shade and close to the cool air-conditioned air blowing out the door.

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I remember when I was a kid it seemed like everybody had these old World War II Army jeeps. This one is US Army, USMC, and Laos. Is this even a US Army version? It looks a little off to me. I think it’s a Russian or Chinese version but painted like an American one. They still look cool today. Imagine how cool they looked back in World War II.

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This is Mano Temple about halfway to the center of downtown Luang Prabang.

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One of the things I’ve loved about living here is that for all of 2020 and until now, nothing was shut down. They didn’t bother with restrictions except for closing down the borders, but recently everyone’s gone paranoid. All the restaurants and dance clubs are shut down because an American and Korean have died of the virus.

I love the bamboo barricades they’ve all put up here to protect their neighborhoods. It reminds me of when I was a 10-year-old boy with a fort in the woods and a sign that said, “No girls allowed!”

I was a hotel manager before the virus came. Now I’m just a Hive blogger and the guy who hangs out with the dogs all day. It’s sad to see these nice hotels being neglected like this. A lot of my friends who worked at the hotel with me are now delivery drivers. I can’t wait for this stupid virus to end and the world to come back to normal.

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The first bath we took together Spot was acting like it was the greatest injustice in the universe. Whenever you give a dog a bath you have to be very careful never to get the shampoo or water in their eyes or nose or they’ll have a very bad experience and won’t ever want to take a bath again. Now he will stand up on the toilet and let me shampoo him without moving. I just have to say the same thing several times. “Don’t move!”

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Why do dogs love getting up on the bed? I don’t like him doing this because he is a tick magnet. Can you see the guilty look on his face? I feel sorry for Spot because it’s so hot outside, so I’ll let him stay in the room to enjoy the cool air while I’ll walk to the shop to get a beer. He knows it’s wrong, but he’ll always sneak up there when he can.

I’ve been a gamer since 1984, but getting GOLD everything in Mario Kart 8 was the pinnacle of my gaming journey.

My life was perfect as a young kid. Everyone felt sorry for me being a bastard so it was like having many dads. My grandfather, I called him Granddad, was the best though. He was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and after retiring from the Air Force he opened his own general aviation airport in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was my first best friend. He would take me everywhere with him. He taught me how to fly when I was just two years old. I have so many fond memories of him teaching me about avionics, flying the pipeline, and proper radio etiquette.atari.jpg

My stupid-ass mom and step-dad forced me to move to shithole Seattle with them in 1984. I remember kicking and screaming and being forced into the truck for the two-day journey west on I-90. I still hate her for it. (I joined the US Army when I was 17 just to get away from her.) My dog and Granddad died when we were there. I fucking hate Seattle. All it does is rain. I would slit my wrists before I ever went back there again. If it got wiped out by a nuclear bomb I’d be so happy.

I remember my step-dad asking me how old I was on the way. I told him, then asked him how old he was. Nineteen was his answer. I remember thinking that was a really big number compared to my four. I also remember going to his uncle’s house on the way and getting bullied for the first time by his kids. It wasn’t that bad. They just said that the sucker they were eating was my soon-to-be-born baby sister. I knew they were joking, but I kind of wished it was true. If it weren’t for her, we’d still be in South Dakota with Granddad and my dog. They didn’t let me play, but I remember they had an Atari 2600. It may look lame today, but it was like a magical box then. They must’ve gotten a newer console because we brought that one with us. I remember playing Pong and some crappy racing game. They were really fun, but when the Nintendo Entertainment System came out, everyone had or wanted one. It was so amazing. I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt for years. I didn’t clear Mario until 1989, but by then everyone was like, “Who cares?”

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I’ve had every Nintendo system over the years, even the Virtual BoyNintendo never had the most powerful system (except for the Nintendo 64), that thing was on another level, but they always seemed to make the best games. Mario Kart is by far the best game franchise to have ever been made in my opinion. I’ve been playing it since the Super Nintendo days.

When I was a teacher in Bangkok I had it made. I owned my condo free and clear, had zero transportation costs because I rode a BMX everywhere, and seemed to have money and pussy falling from the sky. I was a single dad but didn’t start work until 5 pm, so I would bring my son with me to work every day after he got out of school. My teenage students would take him shopping and to restaurants while I was teaching. I also had a Nintendo Wii U and a Playstation 4. I earned the nickname “GTA Teacher” from my students because we had so much fun killing cops as Michael, Trevor, or Franklin. I would invite fellow teachers over to my crib after work and we’d BBQ, smoke weed, and drink lots of beer. We’d play a bit of the new PS4 games, but everyone always wanted to play Mario Kart 8 together. My two buddies, Danie, Jim, and I played it online so much that we memorized every track and were probably in the top thousandth players in the world at the time. We had a technique that would help us defeat the A.I. too. We would play two players against the A.I. and had a rule, whoever won first place on the first track was king. The second player would serve as a bodyguard and this was enough to overwhelm the A.I. even though it loved to cheat with the “Blue Shell of Death” on almost every track. If the bodyguard had it, they would only fire it if the king fell back from first place.

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Living in Bangkok was wild. We would go to strip clubs and see hundreds of beautiful naked women on stage, go dancing all night long, or just enjoy the best food and vacations, but to this day we all still smile whenever anyone mentions Mario Kart 8. It took a few months of grinding through all the tracks to get perfect runs, but we eventually earned the golden wheels, then the golden hang glider, and eventually golden everything. It really was a superior vehicle. My son recently got the game on his Nintendo Switch and I had one question for him, “Have you earned the golden kart yet?”

Image Resources:

http://cognizantgamer.com/?p=143

http://www.soicowboy-bangkok.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600

https://www.usgamer.net/articles/18-12-2017-mario-kart-8-deluxe-how-to-unlock-gold-mario-and-stop-blue-shells