Wednesday, February 21

Midnight madness*

I just took the first of the last three sips of this glass of Italian skunkwine (can someone translate my mixed terminology, please?) and I caught a glimpse of an avalanche of sediment tumbling from the little reservoir atop the glass's stem. Ew.

Today I spent the day looking at pictures of dead dogs. Believe it or not, it's a project I'm working on at work. And it's pretty sad. Pit bulls bred for meanness in the inner-city, where quarters are tight, and the havoc those dogs can wreak on a community. Apparently there's a whole subculture of pit-bull worship/exploitation I've not been privy to. Rap videos apparently feature pit bulls fighting, and tattoo parlors around Memphis stain patrons' skin with likenesses of pit bulls at an alarming rate: Dozens of times more than German shepherds or poodles or any other breed.

The local animal authorities are pretty much in the business of euthanizing pit bulls; the city has a no-keep policy at the shelters. Three days and no owner to claim you? A dose of potassium chloride (I imagine; maybe not) and a trip to the incinerator later, and we're on to catching the other six pups in your litter who are probably roaming around town, snapping at people.

Brutal stuff. My eyes got a little prickly while reading the story.

I hope my design can do the whole package justice (dumb and fruity as that sounds).

If all goes according to plan (meaning my first round of ideas don't suck so thoroughly that I am ordered back to the drawing board), this thing should print and ship with the March 4 edition.

But, of course, I'm afraid that what I've offered up to my art director falls short of what she was looking for. I spent an entire day immersed in this story and its imagery, and still I feel like I have managed to completely miss the mark with my approach at presenting the story.

But maybe I haven't missed entirely. Maybe I'm right on the mark, or close.

You just never know. That's the excitement/anxiety that comes with a "creative" job. The success of everything you do depends on the opinions of other people. Nothing is objective. I can put things on a page that make me happy and reference, even slightly, things in my life that make me smile, but other people might never get those visual references and jokes. So you just hope that you at least construct a solid foundation of elements that harmonize and, at some gut level, make sense. I'm not sure I can explain it any better because that's the extent to which I understand design. As much as I like to believe I can plan for a design, there is always that impulsive part of it that comes from a particular day's very specific breath.

*The only reason I'm posting this is because I'm teaching myself (finally!) how to use iMovie, and it's taking longer than I figured to transfer files. And I can't just sit and wait; I have to be MOVING AT ALL TIMES. And that means BLOGGING WHILE BORED, the worst kind of blogging there is, period.

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Anonymous Kathy T. said...

Italian skunkwine. Sounds like ummm........ what's that beer in the green bottle that tastes like you'd imagine a skunk smell would taste like? Heinekin?

Thu Feb 22, 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger mike said...

Something to remember: if a shelter adopts out a dog from a violent background (or with already demonstrated violent tendencies) and that animal injures the adopter, or her family or neighbors, they expose themselves to lawsuits. Plus, do you really want them to take any of the responsibility of putting that dog into homes where clueless children might be put at risk? I can fully understand their trepidation.

Dangerous or aggressive dogs aren't born, they are made. Or rather, owners who don't socialise and train their dogs are to blame. Even the biggest, scariest breeds can be loving and gentle. I once knew a 120 pound dog (whatever breed Scooby-Do is) that was as sweet as sweet could be. Not a dangerous bone anywhere in her. Of all things, she used to love adopting and mothering kittens.

I had a neighbor about seven years ago who bought a pit bull trained to fight (she had scars all over her head) from a guy across the street. He did it just to get her away from the owner.

It took a LOT of work and loving, but he broke her old training and socialised her to be a wonderful companion. The dog, Jada, came to see me as one of her pack and whenever she saw me on the street, she'd barrel up at full speed and launch herself at me. Almost knocked me down, she was so compact and strong! Watching my neighbor try to walk her, with her dragging him along on the leash, was hilarious. Jada was the scariest overgrown puppy you'd ever wanna meet.

Anyway, the problem isn't the dogs or the breed. It's always the people who have let them down and mistreated them. They are the problem we need to address.

Thu Feb 22, 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Oh! I meant to say, when my neighbor passed away unexpectedly, police had to go in. Jada was still (after a few days had passed) standing over his body, protecting him. They had to call animal control to get her removed so they could get to his body!

A sheriff on the scene was so impressed, he adopted Jada and took her to a huge home out in the county.

Thu Feb 22, 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Kathy, I dunno. Every beer I've ever smelled has smelled like some kind of pee to me. Which makes me sad, as beer drinkers seem to have all the fun.

Mike, I am in total agreement about the nature vs. nurture aspect of the pit bull debate. I guess the question of what to do as far as city policy goes just gets more and more complicated when you have to weigh the interests of the community vs. the presumed responsibilities of individuals. The poor dogs don't know any better, most of the time. It's very sad.

And thanks for sharing that story. She sounds like an amazing dog. :)

Thu Feb 22, 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like skunky things. Heinekin, Brie. Remember our older band uniforms? My dad and Crystal's mom saw each other in front of the dry cleaner's while I was dropping mine off and Crystal's mom said, "These uniforms smell like that skunk weed we used to smoke back in the day." My dad replied, "They sure do!"

As for the pit bull who've fought - do you remember Angie? The dog Jeff and I had in New York? She had been made to fight. We adopted her from Noah's Ark in Nashville. Jeff had her a little bit before I met her. But she lived in 1313 with us. She was so skittish that the first time I bent down to pet her, she cowered and trembled. She was petrified of thunder and lightning, and would hide under tables and shake like a leaf. But she was the sweetest, most obedient, loving, loyal animal I've ever met. All she wanted was love, and to please us. By the time we took her to New York, she was very much socialized. Masses of musicians and friends would come over and she'd plop right down in their laps. She never chewed things, turned over garbages, nothing. She even traveled well. We took her to see my grandparents on the Davis Farm when we drove down from Buffalo once, and left her in the house when we went to go see something at the barn (chickens? I can't recall why we didn't take her). Suddenly, after a bit, I saw Granny rushing toward the house. I followed her. When I caught up she was sitting in the recliner, Angie in the other recliner, petting her. I said, "What happened?" She replied, "I remembered that we left that dog in the house, and I just knew she'd been turning over the garbage and making a mess! But when I got here she was sitting in this recliner just like I left her!"

Oh, and she loves the snow. She's probably hopping like a bunny through three feet of it right now.

Sat Feb 24, 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Our uniforms DID smell like skunkweed! That's funny that Crystal's mom said that. Wow. And ha!

I don't know why I never realized Angie was a pit bull. I think I'm still kind of unclear on what a pit bull actually is. But reading this story has sort of helped me get up to speed.

I hope she's hopping through snow right now. That would be awesome.

Sun Feb 25, 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Angie was a pit bull, but the sweetest doggie ever. I miss her a lot. If I ever have a dog again, it will be a pit bull.

Sun Feb 25, 04:11:00 PM  

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