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May 6, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Fezzik the Hero of Chickens!

Last night, all I wanted to do was sleep in today. There were many things that we could do, today, though, and when I woke up this morning I realized that one of them was something that I'd never done before. It was going to the Kinetic Sculpture race here in Boulder. Bunches of people build sculptures that can use people power to get the mile across the Boulder Reservoir and go another mile across the mud flats (emphasis here is on 'flat' not on 'mud') back towards the starting line. So the construction has to work on both water and land in order to do well in the racing section; however, there are five categories that the sculpture can win in, including simple aesthetics. The fun part, however, was in seeing how well the things worked.

I had never done that before, so I wanted to do it, even though I was fairly beat. It was going to be another scorcher, so we slathered up on sun block, I pulled out my Australian cowboy hat to shade everything including the back of my neck, and pulled out my shade shirt, which is specifically made to be the equivalent of a SPF 30. Then we went through Lafayette to get ourselves lattes and scones and then picked up Bob at his hotel. From there we went to the Crossroads mall, parked in the parking lots there, bought our five dollar tickets and took the bus to the water. Turns out that parking at the reservoir meant that everyone in the car had to pay $25 per person to get into the race; but if you bussed, biked, or walked in, you only paid five dollars. That was pretty cool.

I even enjoyed the ride in the big tour bus, which had huge windows, air conditioning and very nice back support in the seats.

They dropped us off at the far side of the reservoir, and there was this ant-line of people walking on the east wall of the reservoir. It really looked like an ant line of people walking back and forth along the narrow strip. Right across from us, we could see the start line and the huge mass of colorful people already there. The speakers were so loud we could hear the music and announcement across the water and we hurried our way across the narrow strip of raised land until we got to the far shore. We didn't go all the way to the start and, instead, sat out on a point to watch the start.

It turned out to be a very good thing indeed. As the structures left the start line they came straight for us, along the shore! Turns out that they follow the contour of the reservoir for quite a ways and so are fairly close to the shore. Everyone could take pictures as they went by, then, and there was even a pier that stuck out enough that we were able to see all the working details of a number of entries! There was a nun, a unicorn, a jester, a bunch of military guys in a Zodiac without a motor, a Viking ship, and a mock up of the Land of Oz with all eight of the crew dressed as various character. There was a boar with winking eyes, moving jaw, and squeal. There was a space ship from Buck Rogers with all the crew member in shining armor and the whole thing had a gold finish and beautiful, spidery paddle wheels that worked beautifully on the water and on land. Each was constructed according to the teams' themes and monetary outlay and attitude. The military crew just picked the Zodiac up and group marched it on land. Brute force. Whereas the Buck Rogers crew road their spinning, shining, gorgeous contraption and pedaled it like crazy on water and on land. The Viking folks had their ship on a few skinny wheels while the crew trotted it along, using the same poles they had paddled with. The narrow aspect of the ship insured them going first through the water section and then it was a game of catch up for everyone else.

We watched the water part where we ended up and walked back to the other end, up on a hill, to watch the transition to land. We weren't so much interested in the outcome as just seeing how all the things worked. That was really fun and interesting, but I got dehydrated and really too hot out in the wide open space of the reservoir.

We lunched, dropped Bob off at his hotel, and told him we were just going to wash Fezzik before getting home to start on a duck dinner. We wanted to share a duck with him and spend some time with him while he was here and stuck in Boulder for the weekend. His house had been about to close on Friday, but lender delays landed him here through to Tuesday. So we were trying to entertain him while he was here, and it also provided a good excuse for me to buy a new toy and make the duck.

On the way home, we dropped by What's Cooking. They were throwing a cooking class and it was pretty chaotic, bright and fun in there. All week I'd checked out the online deals for the 11 cup food processor by Cuisinart, and nothing on-line had a price that beat their $199 price. So I went in there and bought it happily. The sales folks there are still new enough at it that the large purchase flustered them a little and we got a bit more attention than we might normally have gotten. That was really nice. I hope they remember us for future things, too.

Home again, home again. I tackled Fezzik, clipped his toenails and then proceeded to brush another dog out of him. His undercoat, in the heat, had shed, but was stuck, as usual, in among his hair. So I brushed and brushed and brushed and came up with a huge pile of soft, fluffy undercoat. It wasn't wiry with hair, so I don't think he's losing his hair at all from the chemo. That was a good thing to know first hand. Once he was brushed out really well, we took him off to Mutt Puddles and doused him thoroughly. He seemed to enjoy cooling off afterwards, with all the water on him, in Borax, he finally seemed alert and alive again. After his bath, I let him pick himself a treat, and for most of the ride, he was holding his pigs ear in his jaws, cradling it the whole way home. That was pretty cool. He settled on the lawn to chew it as Bob pulled up.

The duck went on the rotisserie. Bob and John went downstairs to watch some racing on the big screen. I sat around happily alone for a bit. Eventually, they came up again, and we sat around talking while I boiled water for the mu shu pancakes. I got the dough made up quickly with the big processor, and as I was rolling them out we heard a bunch of racket from the chickens next door. Fezzik started barking at the door, so Bob looked out and then asked, "Do your neighbors have a dog?" John and I looked at each other and then Bob finished, "Who looks like a coyote?" Oops...

As Bob was finishing his question, Fezzik banged the screen door, got it open enough that he stuck his nose in and then his whole body followed and he leaped outside, barking his head off. He scrambled down the stairs, and Bob saw the coyote suddenly running away as Fezzik, yelling his head off, went right for the fence and then chased the coyote to the back of our front fenced portion. More barking ensued. John and Bob went after Fezzik, and John said that he opened the back gate and Fezzik charged out towards the coyote, who wasn't moving off all that quickly. Well, until a 110 pound dog went after him. Then he started moving more quickly, pausing a moment to look back at the top of the train tracks, but on seeing Fezzik still coming, he ghosted away from that as well.

There was a point where Fezzik started back towards John and Bob, did his business in the back acre; and then suddenly took off towards the back again. John yelled at him to come back and Bob said that they could see Fezzik looking back at them to size up the situation. On seeing that they were clearly out of range for grabbing him and making him come back, he then bolted out towards the traintracks. He easily slipped through the horse wired fence in the back acre, and zoomed out into the fields. John and Bob chase him and after I was completely done making the pancakes, they finally came back. We all made a huge fuss over Fezzik; and he spent the rest of the evening lying by the screen door, intently watching for more signs of the coyote.

Quite the adventure. What was better yet, however, was that a little while later in the evening, we went over to talk with the neighbors about the adventure and we saw that there was about a ten foot circle of feathers in the driveway where Bob had seen the coyote! Turns out their rooster had a cut on its gobbler, so the coyote probably had a hold of the rooster when Fezzik went charging out. So Fezzik really did save the chicken! Lots of treats for him!

Dinner was delicious and it was fun to relax and cook for Bob, who always really enjoys it and appreciates the work and the fun of it all. Mu shu chicken and roast duck, and the pancakes actually turned out really, really tender, not like when I did it with the little processor. So I was really happy with that. We even went out and rented Three Kings to watch as after dinner entertainment and the ending of the movie was really unexpected given the start and the trailers. I enjoyed it a lot and liked the surprise of the ending. I can see, more and more, that surprise endings that actually make sense given the situations really are more fun.

If I had the time and brain I might actually work more on the novel, but we have to be up really early in the morning for Fezzik's walk and I'm still massively burnt out, brain-wise.

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