Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just Got Lucky

Just can't get this song out of my head... I laughed like crazy when they used it in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," but I've loved this song since it first came out.

Anyway, it makes a good soundtrack for all of the good news that we've had here of late.

Music News

Greg's Sax Quartet finally came out on the CD Quartet at the Crossroads by the New Hudson Sax Quartet. Here is the link to the MP3 version on Amazon, where Greg's tracks are numbers 6-9. Sadly, iTunes has misspelled the title to read "Corssroads," so no one will ever be able to find it using title search; you'll have to search on New Hudson Sax Quartet to get anywhere.

I've been blogging about this piece, and this recording, for so long that I don't know which piece to announce next. Halling has been re-orchestrated for solo cello, and will be released on CRS at some point.

Greg himself has been busy planning a few live improv concerts for the fall. There will be another performance on Meetinghouse Road, and possibly other venues as well.

Canterbury Tales

The lovely and talented Miss Dinah Moe is now... Am/Can CH Breaksea November Storm HIC CGC RL1 RN!

We almost didn't enter the rally trial where she earned the title. You see, we love doing APDT Rally so much that I focused onto entering the APDT trial the same day at All Dogs Gym. When I hesitated just a little too long and the entries filled, I decided to override my own dictum about not entering any more outdoor trials until we had trained and proofed outdoors some more. The Lakes Region Kennel Club was holding an AKC obedience/rally trial in NH with a slate of some of the nicest judges I've ever trialed under. I've stewarded for one and showed Seamus to two others. What the heck, right? Even if the Princess decided to make me Talk to the Paw, at least I'd be among friends.

Greg had always wanted to see the Canterbury Shaker Village, so he helped set up the EZ-Up and then dropped us off for the day. A few of our friends fro POC fund us and hung out under or near the EZ-Up, so we had our own little cheering section.

Since Dinah and I were entered in Novice B, we were able to watch our friend Barbara qualify with one Aussie boy in Advanced and the other in Novice B. Charlene, one of our classmates in Staci's rally class, ran in Novice A with her English Cocker and qualified. Finally, it was our turn.

We knew the judge from the BCCC Specialty in 2008, when I stewarded for him through a very long obedience/rally trial. Dinah even got to be the honor dog for that rally trial. He gave us a huge grin and said, "Let's see what that Beardie can do now." The course was a nice, clean, fairly simple design without any traps or surprises, and we managed to get through all of the stationary exercises without my being given The Paw. We were even tied for second place, but finished a few seconds after the other second-place finisher -- so we took third with a 94.

The temperature turned from Sunny and Quite Warm to Just Plain Stinkin' Hot for the afternoon as the sun moved across the sky and the shadows shrank to zero. I considered moving our base of operations to the tree line on the other side of the field, but there were too many cars parked in the little remaining shade. We huddled together under the EZ-Up and toughed it out, and Dinah snoozed on her waterbed.

Barb's Novice dog had finished his RN the day before, so both boys ran in Advanced. Charlene and Delta qualified again in Novice A, and then we took our turn in Novice B. The afternoon course, while not as simple as the morning course, contained a couple of turns in unexpected places. I worried about them while studying the map, but walking the course and talking to myself out loud usually helps engrave the movements into what little muscle memory I can acquire in ten minutes. This is where looking like a lunatic during the walk-through helps during the run -- we took third again with a score of 97 to finish Dinah's Rally Novice title.

Could it really have been that easy, after all the agony we went through for one stinkin' leg at Vacationland? Apparently it was, for Dinah. Unlike the trials at the cluster, Dinah was attentive and happy, paying attention, and moving nicely on lead. LRKC presented us with a lovely New Title medallion, which Dinah modeled all the way back to the EZ-Up. Greg picked us up eventually, and we sang Dinah's praises all the way home.

The next day, with the forecast threatening even more dire heat, we moved up to Advanced A. I was grateful to run a little bit earlier in the day, with my car right there for a getaway before the sun reached its zenith. Would Dinah tell me to Talk to the Paw in our off-lead debut? Would I end up singing opera again, as I did with Famous Seamus?

The girl managed to surprise me again! She did a good enough job -- a little sniffing here, some curious looks at the offset Figure 8 there -- but she managed to hold it together enough for us to qualify with an 83. The course was definitely an order of magnitude more challenging than the ones from the day before, and we ended up finishing in second place.

Now, we have one leg of Rally Advanced and fairly high hopes. The next trials we've entered (one APDT, one AKC) are both indoors. Maybe, with luck and a little more training, we could make a little more progress.

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