24 December 2009

lacking

Geesh!
2 weeks ago DJ's PS3 broke. No big deal? Well it's also our Blu-ray player, which means we can't watch all the newest dvd's. Eventually we'll get it sent to Sony for fixing.

Last Friday a virus ate my laptop. Literally just blocked internet access, installed itself on my control panel and blocked my access to antivirus software as well. Its currently and permanently turned off. Once I get the checks in for the next session of classes I will take a small chunk and get a new one.

And of course twice in the last week blackberry service has gone down for several hours, which always leaves me wondering whether its service or my device....

Last Saturday we got about 12" of snow. Its slowly melting but I can't do agility in the yard or take long hikes yet. And tomorrow or Saturday its going to rain and make it all a cold mudhole.

So basically we've been just running in the backyard every day and doing agility on Wednesdays. Excited to have two 3day weekends in a row. We hardly have any holidays at Fedex so 2 long weekends is just great. I'm getting a cold or something so this weekend I'll take it easy.

I am actually prepared for xmas this year gift-wise. I am happy with my purchases and happy to get whatever I'm given.

I also found out that even though IFCS members haven't been formally invited yet, the office pretty much considers it done and plans to send out formal stuff in January. Also the competition will be the indoor arena at the site in Britain, on a sand surface. So I'm glad I have the indoor which is probably similar enough.

12 December 2009

Wow 3 posts today. I guess it shows I'm home alone!



I just custom cropped and ordered these two prints from Doghouse Arts. Love how happy Seri always looks. Interesting contrast to Drifter, who is always looking very serious and business-like. Seri is just joyful in everything she does! Plus. . . they sent me a $10 coupon, AND you get 2-for-1 prints - 2 copies of everything you order! So I got 2 5x7's of each, with shipping only $30. Not bad. I don't have a lot of good shots of Seri, and I can use the extras as well. And yes, these are just tiny copies from the checkout page, they won't enlarge. Just wanted to show "Insanity" in action, looking pretty cool! I actually really liked how the vertical crop worked on that jumping shot.

Yes it's true, I'm a horrible liberal who thinks everyone should have the same rights


And I think THIS is really funny! Thanks Fail Blog!

Yet another weekend off

It's odd for me to have 6 weeks+ off between trials. I'm glad I entered the New Years trial though, 2 full months is a long time. I did a much better job this past year of not entering too many trials - I stick to 1 or 2 a month, and if I end up with more I usually take longer off afterwards. I only went to about 8 or 10 AKC trials all year, and my dogs did fabulous at the lower jump heights. I don't know about other areas of the country, but around here the spacing in AKC courses just doesn't lend itself well to the larger dogs. Some judges are fine, but I have to say the majority of courses are not geared towards large dogs who need TIME to judge their takeoff point for big jumps. Sure, some BC's, hopefully Seri included, will do fine with even spacing on tight turns with funky traps, but Drifter needs to judge where he's going. And even though AKC is supposed to be a minimum of 18' between jumps, most courses around here appear to be tighter than that. I'd say they must be wheeling wide corners on curves where dogs aren't actually going wide or something similar. Even straight lines must be pushing it distance-wise, those are often the toughest part for Drifter as the spacing is tough for him. He knocks many less bars at USDAA where the spacing is much more variable but somehow just works out better for him. And contrary to some people's beliefs, I think both venues have plenty of challenge to their courses, it's just different challenges. USDAA is challenging due to its speed changes, technical sections mixed in with fast sections - AKC is a more evenly paced, without the whacky speed changes, but the spacing makes the jumps harder, in my opinion.

Some people have dogs who just keep bars up no matter what. I am not one of those people. And I think some of those people don't even realize how lucky they are. (Some do!)

Anyway, I am home again this weekend. I haven't been able to get myself back into the rhythm of long hikes (it's been really cold! and I'm just feeling lazy!) but I have been taking the dogs to the local reservoir park for a 30 minute run on a nice hilly session. This is actually pretty darn good exercise as they get to go up and down hills at a moderate run. (I don't allow crazy greyhound sprinting because I want them to not get hurt, and I want them within sight in case we encounter a hiker). Wednesday between classes at the indoor I trained Drifter and Kiba on courses for the first time since we got back from Arizona. They both did great although Kiba was pushing her dogwalk contact a bit much. Seri is looking fabulous as well. I am hopeful that she will get a Team Q out of the way on New Years. And I'm also hopeful that 2010 will be a good year for getting her Q's for AKC, which will require more consistency from her.

USDAA is still frustrating as far as organizations go. Last year I and many others raised a bit of a stink about getting the national event moved east of AZ (look at a map, AZ is pretty damn far west in the country). It's been there since 2004, which means 6 years in a row we've been driving or flying across the country. Well USDAA waffled a bit last fall and then gave up and went back to AZ for this year. This year they announced that it would be moving, but they didn't have a site finalized yet. Now. . . it's still not finalized. They have possible dates and possible sites, but those of us who have spent thousands of dollars for six years running are starting to worry. This is awfully close, isn't it? AKC seems to have everything organized over a year ahead of time, and they move every year. Perhaps USDAA needs more office staff? Or a way to generate more profit so they can afford such? I don't know what the answer is, but we shouldn't be left hanging months and months into the qualifying period, and since we are hanging, a bit of transparency wouldn't hurt. Just a note, now and then, to let us know they're truly working on it. Because while I will have a really difficult time staying home from the event, if it returns to Arizona, I will do it. Even though I have THREE dogs who are more than capable of making the Finals in all 3 events, and 2 of them are fast enough to win individually as well... but for me, who works a 40-hour a week full-time regular job that doesn't pay all that much, to pay thousands of dollars every year to attend is just ridiculous. People in the west have had a easy time of attending for a long time now. A whole generation of eastern seaboard dogs have either had to travel far or not been able to attend.

I didn't actually intend for this post to be a rant about that, but the situation really gets my feelings up. This is just not a fair situation that has gone on for so long, and up until this last year we didn't really get any impression that USDAA was even trying to move the event. SIX years? That's no accident. They just weren't taking into account how difficult it is financially for some of us to get out there. I have no sponsor, I don't make millions, and it's hard to fly multiple dogs.

The other thing that is already making me a little nervous is that sure, I am on the list of top IFCS point winners, but they still have not extended formal invitations! I paid several hundred dollars for passport, titers, etc, I'm trying to make travel plans already, and yet they haven't *actually* told me I'm on the team! How crazy is that? We leave in FIVE months!!!!

This post is very scattered! Stream of consciousness, sorry. Deal. So I'm very happy to be on the team, it will be very cool to travel in the UK. Hopefully USDAA will soon step up and tell us what's what.

Here's a picture.
Doesn't that lush grass just look *wonderful*? Sure it doesn't rain. That's why the footing makes all of our dog's backs hurt every year: there's no padding! This is from 2008 but it was pretty much the same this year.

06 December 2009

Pics from AZ

These are just links to my pics from AZ. Some are kinda cool.

I bought this one as a big black and white print, cropped to vertical 8 x 10, matted.
This was a watercolor but I didn't buy it, didn't like the footwork that much.
I bought this as a 5 x 7 black and white, matted. Later I realized that this was right before his eyeballs shifted off the other way and he flew off course!
Seri weaves.
Above pics were all from Team Jumpers.
Below are from Team Standard.
Drifter demonstrates exactly how close he can get to the apex of the frame.
Some nice jumping shots. I like this one a lot. And the last jump on course.
Seri demonstrates HER version of skimming the apex. Which includes screaming and spittle.
And Seri looking actually pretty together here and here.
None of Kiba from that class.
Here's Kiba's watercolor version of the weave pic above. Cool but not $65 cool.

ETA: some of the links are lame but just hit "next" on some of them to see if there's any others if you're interested.

Trials

Well USDAA has the list of people who are at the top of the point standings for IFCS, and there's me:)

Still a little weird to think that after all this time, I'm actually going to BE a "World Team Member". I will admit it maybe isn't the world team I would have chosen. And secretly I am hoping that the "other" world team is thinking perhaps they should have taken me. . . I still think it's odd they'd choose a dog who is more likely to go off course over a dog who is more likely to hit one bar now and then. But whatever. This is Drifter's last hurrah at 26". We are entering 2010 Tournaments at 22", and AKC Nationals in March at 20". It will be fun to really let him go for all he's worth. 20" is very easy for him, I will really be able to push him. I can't do that at 26".

I decided to enter the New Years Trial up in NH run by BARK. Should be a lot of fun. It's in an indoor soccer arena, and I actually get Friday off for New Years anyway, so it's a rare chance for me to run a 3-day trial without taking a day off work. I'm also hoping Seri won't come in heat till afterward so that's a shot for a Team Q with her. So I've got that and then the Team event Jan 16th weekend down in NC. Then half a day of USDAA in Feb at Keystone, just running Gamblers and GP and going home - I can't stand the 3-hour wait between classes. Then a local AKC trial or two at 20" followed by AKC Nationals. I'll be trying to get the older 2 dogs their 2011 QQ's, plus Drifter's MACH is only 4 of them away. And Seri needs to get into Exc B so she can get her Tryouts Q's. After AKC Nationals I have the Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase, which unfortunately is THE weekend after AKC Nationals, but I will probably go as the $5,000 planned prize money is too tempting for me NOT to go. I will probably not enter every dog in every class. And I might force Drifter back up to 26" starting there, so he has a good 6 weeks of 26" before we leave for England. Then we'll do a couple trials where I will run him at 26", whether AKC or USDAA, and try to focus on pushing him and leaving bars up. Then we have IFCS in May. . . after that I suppose we'll have a few USDAA Regionals, some more 2011 AKC Qualifying, and possibly USDAA Nationals at the end of September. If it moves. If it doesn't move, I'm not going. Must hold firm.

Or if I do go back to AZ, I sure as hell am flying. After developing a disability. And only taking one dog.

01 December 2009

BARK-NH?

Thinking of attending the BARK trial in NH on New Years weekend. Teams anybody?

My hope is that Seri won't be in heat yet. The last couple times she came in between around the 7th, so its cutting it close, but I could always switch out Trig if Seri does come in. Thinking I should be OK though. This would do 2 things: give all my dogs another shot at Tournament Q's so I don't have to freak as it gets closer to Regionals, and so I'm not worried while working towards IFCS later in the system. Also it gives Seri a shot at her Q's. As of right now all 3 of them have only one Steeplechase Q, so any Tourn chances are welcome. I don't have a ton of USDAA planned so this would be great.

it also gives me *something to do*. I was not thrilled with the idea of taking not only a month off, but TWO. TWO is too many for me, mentally. I am already missing trialing. This is also a RARE three-day weekend for me, since the New Year is on a Friday. I *may* even get lucky and get Thursday off, or a half-day, if there is small enough demand for service on Thursday. We'll see.