Alanna the Piranha Chapter 18

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti poodle here to present the eighteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. Last week my novelist and I visited grandma and grandpa. It was a wonderful outing. All participants were fully vaccinated and boosted, and we all stayed in one location. We thoroughly enjoyed rewatching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and the film my novelist deems her favorite feel-good movie, Falling Down. We were finally able to celebrate Christmas as we were too snowed in to make the journey in December.

I had a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

Ugh! The Maltese.

I liked the pretty paper and the pretty bags and the pretty boxes and…

Yes, yes. No one cares about what you like.

And the dinner. I loved, loved, loved the dinner. It was nummy, nummy, nummy!

Yes, I liked it too now…

And the sparkly tree. I liked the sparkly tree.

Fantastic.

What did you like?

I liked…

Next month is Valentines! I like the fancy cards and the heart shaped boxes and…

Here is chapter eighteen of Alanna the Piranha. Genießen!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Eighteenth

I spent most of the night perusing my mother’s 20,000 Names for Baby book trying to come up with a moniker for the piranha. Everything from Allissa to Zoe. The piranha slumbered in her sleeping bag. I watched the neon from the fish tank reflect on her, hoping for inspiration. But alas, I could not decide on a name.

At some point I nodded off and when I woke up, she was still sleeping. So, I went upstairs to procure some breakfast and make myself an espresso. When I returned, the piranha was sitting on my bed reading a fashion magazine Stacy must have left down here somewhere.

“Well,” she demanded. “What’s my name?”

“I don’t know yet,” I tell her.

“You’ve got to know soon. I can’t go on not having a word to call myself.”

“I know, I know. It’s hard but we’ll figure it out soon.”

“Not “we”. You. You promised me a name.”

“Here,” I say handing her my breakfast. Eat something and I’ll keep looking through the book.”

Alanna looks at the plate and pouts. “You didn’t bring me strawberries.”

“You need strawberries?”

“Of course, I need strawberries. And a croissant. I’ve been craving croissants.”

“I don’t have any strawberries or croissants. I’ll pick some up for you later today.”

“You mean the croissants will be day old?”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“I want fresh croissants!”

“I’m not going out at seven in the morning to pick you up fresh croissants. I’ll get you some today and you can have them tomorrow.”

“You’re cruel!”

“I’m not cruel. I’m pragmatic. The croissants I buy today will be just as good tomorrow.”

“No, they won’t.”

“Would you please let me find a name for you already!”

“Fine,” she huffs.

I return to flipping through the name book and let her sulk. Man, she’s a lot of work! Maybe I should call her something that means pain in the neck.

The doorbell rings upstairs. I hear my mom’s footsteps move across the ceiling. Then she calls downstairs to alert me I have a package.

“Alanna,” I say. “I need you to stay quiet while I go upstairs and take care of something.”

“Can’t I come with you?”

“No, I need you to stay here.”

“Why can’t I come with you?”

“Because you are…precious.”

“You think I’m precious?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe that should be my name. Precious.”

“Precious the piranha. That sounds odd. Let me see if I can find a name that means precious instead.”

“Okay,” she says with a lilt in her voice.

I have figured out what to name the piranha. It was easy naming Josie. It was hard naming the piranha.

“Well?” she says sitting patiently on my bed as I pace in front of her. The bunny is curled up in her lap. It’s amazing how quickly the Newfoundland Dwarf has become her pet instead of mine. I find it sad a bunny would choose a piranha girl over a human guy.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” I tell her. “A lot of thought and I think I’ve chosen a name that fits you well.”

“What is it?”

“Jezebel.”

The piranha shoots me a shocked look. “Jezebel?!”

“Yes. I’ve always liked the way Jezebel sounds.”

“That’s a cruel name!”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean the name is savage! Jezebel was one of the vilest women who ever lived! Why would you call me that?!”

“Piranhas are naturally vicious creatures. And it’s a sexy name.”

“It’s not sexy at all! Where’s that book of names you’ve been rifling through? If you can’t pick a name for me, I’ll pick one myself!”

“Fine!” I say shoving the book at her. “And don’t ruin it. It belongs to my mother.”

The piranha snatches the book from me, sets it on my desk and begins flipping through it with her fin hand. “Julie.”

“Julie?”

“Julie means “youthful” which I am.”

“It doesn’t suit you.”

“Fine. What about Pearl? That’s aquatic.”

“It’s better but it’s still not you.”

The piranha flips the pages back. “Coral.”

“Here, give me the book. I’ll look again. I take the book from her and start at the beginning scanning down the page trying to find something appropriate. She walks behind me and peers over my shoulder.

“What about that one?” she asks pointing.

“It means noble and harmony.”

“Pronounce it.”

“Alanna.”

“Alanna,” she says repeating it. “That rhymes with piranha.”

Suddenly, the Newfoundland Dwarf looks up and twitches her nose at me.

“Alanna, Piranha,” I say. “Hmm…that has a nice ring to it.”

“That’s it!” the piranha says. “My name is Alanna. Alanna the Piranha.”   

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BEING THE RICARDOS (2021)-Amazon Prime

This week’s movie is a smart little biopic that examines the relationship between superstar television performers Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz. The film jumps around in time a bit but is never confusing. Mainly it focuses on taping a 1953 episode where Fred and Ethel Mertz refuse to talk to each other and Lucy plans a dinner to help them reconcile. During the show’s preparation, a couple of paramount incidents occur. Firstly, the Arnaz’s tell the executives Lucy is pregnant and they want to weave it into the storyline over the course of the season. They argue this would be better than hiding her behind scenery and props which was common resolution at that time. Secondly, a story has surfaced that Lucille Ball is a communist. All the while, Lucille struggles with trying to find out if Desi is cheating on her.

Nichole Kidman is superb in the lead roll and earned a well-deserved Golden Globe for her performance. Javier Bardem is also outstanding as both star and would-be philandering husband. And Aaron Sorkin’s writing is sharp and well- crafted as he deftly moves between past, present and future.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 17

Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the seventeenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. This past weekend was a bittersweet one for my novelist and I and possibly even for the Maltese. It is tradition for us to sit down and enjoy the Golden Globes together but alas, that experience was not to be had this year. However, we were most pleased with many of the wins. Highlights for us included HBO’s Succession winning for Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Jeremy Strong, and Best Supporting Actress for Sarah Snook. We were also pleased to see Jean Smart take the win for Best Actress Comedy in HBO’s Hacks as well as Kate Winslet take the win for her outstanding work in the brilliant Mare of Easttown.On the movie front we were happy to see The Power of the Dog take the award for Best Picture Dramaand the amazing Jane Campion take a much-deserved win for Best Director. Also, Nicole Kidman was honored for her turn as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. Our favorite winner overall was Michael Keaton for Dopesick who is amazing as a doctor in a mining town who becomes part of the downward spiral of the opioid addiction crisis. Whew! All that said, here is Day the Seventeenth in my story Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Seventeenth

Today I awoke to realize I had not dreamed it. I had indeed manufactured a half-piranha/half-girl. She was sitting beside my computer with the bunny nestled in her lap. The sleeping bag I had unrolled for her to slumber in was rolled up and sitting nice and tidy over in the corner.

“What are you going to name me?” the piranha asks. “You haven’t given me a name yet.”

“I know,” I say sighing.

“Have you even thought about what you’ll name me?”

“I think it should be something very special.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. I want to know if you are going to sit down and take the time to give me a name.”

Honestly, I haven’t thought at all about what to call her. I had not planned on bringing a piranha-girl into the world. But she was right. I needed to name her.

“And the bunny,” she insisted. “You need to name the bunny too.”

“How about this,” I say. “I will pick out a name for you and you can pick out a name for the bunny.”

“How?”

“How?”

“How do I go about figuring out a name for the bunny?”

“Well…I think there are baby name sites on the internet.”

“How do I find them?”

“You just…”

“Wouldn’t a book be better? Isn’t there a book full of baby names?”

I mull this over. I seem to remember some sort of name book my mother had in the bookshelf in the office. “Let me check upstairs.”

“I’m hungry. Can you get me something to eat? Maybe one of those pretty round frosted cookies?”

I bought a box of round frosted cookies from the grocery store bakery and she saw me eating one today. “Sure,” I say and head upstairs. When I reach the kitchen, my mom is there but the box of cookies is missing.

“Mom?” I ask.

“Yes, dear,” she says.

“What happened to those frosted sugar cookies I picked up at the grocery store the other day?”

“I moved them to the pantry.”

“Thanks.”

I head over to the pantry and grab the box of cookies. I set one on a small plate and take it with me into my dad’s old office. The office is always well organized. My mother is fond of both alphabetizing and the Dewey Decimal System. I figure the book is categorized by the latter which means it’s going to take me some time to locate it. As I search for 20,000 Names for Baby my dad comes home from work. I hear him open the door, take off his jacket and, of course, head straight for the office.

“Flint,” he says surprised to see me in there. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for a book,” I say.

“Oh…well let me help you. Your mother’s got this whole thing arranged so well; I can never find anything in it.”

“That’s okay, dad. I think I can handle it. You’re busy.”

“I’m never too busy for my son.”

Great. This is going to go badly.

“So, what book are you looking for?”

“You know,” I say, “on second thought I can just look it up online.”

“Nonsense! Not everything you need to know has to be looked up on a computer.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“What’s the book, Flint?”

I am not a liar. I am a lot of things, but a liar isn’t one of them. I look my dad straight in the eye and with all the courage I can muster say, “I’m looking for mom’s book of baby names.”

My dad furrows his brow and gives me a look as if he heard me wrong. “What?”

“Mom’s book of baby names.”

“Why?”

“Someone bought a pet, and they don’t know what to name it.”

“Oh…let’s see…ah, here it is.”

He hands me the book with the bright yellow cover. “Thanks, dad,” I say. “This helps a lot.”

I snatch the plate with the frosted sugar cookie and head back downstairs.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BO BURNHAM: INSIDE (2021)-Netflix

While many folks may have binge watched shows and played video games during 2020, Bo Burnham went to work. And wow, did he ever! His take on quarantine during the first year of Covid19 is one of the most unexpectedly brilliant films of the year. This audacious spot on serio-comic musical which he wrote, directed, starred in, edited, shot, and ran the sound and lighting on is perhaps one of the best and most ambitious standup comedy pieces ever filmed. At times laugh out loud funny, at others poignantly moving, and always personal and brave, it works like a theatrical time capsule to be shown to future generations so they will know what it was like to experience a worldwide pandemic. For those of us who continued to work on our art during this time of being inside (I published all five books of Musicology from August 2020-June 2021) we can look at this example of what comes out of finding opportunity in challenging situations. An absolute must see.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 16

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce my sixteenth chapter in Alanna the Piranha. On a sad note, one of the great American film directors, Peter Bogdanovich has died at the age of 82. My novelist and I were fans of his and adore such films as Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, and the much-underrated Targets which was unfortunately an accurate look into the future now come to fruition. We are saddened by his passing and Hollywood is a little less dazzling because of it.

On a happier note, a new character is being introduced in today’s installment. I am always excited when I introduce new characters into stories. They bring flavor to the tale. Also, it is now January and the time for New Year’s resolutions. My resolution this year is to examine my portfolio and amass more money. I have extravagant tastes, yet I am extremely tight with my money which is why the Maltese now lives on cat food. I have forgone the desire to wear crystal collars and have settled for the plainer non-encrusted styles. A sacrifice I know, but one must do what one must do. And with that thought, here is chapter sixteen of Alanna the Piranha. Ућивај!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Sixteenth

Today something happened. Just now. I was sitting here at my science table preparing more CRISPR Cas9 when I heard a voice. There it is again. I turn and look at my Newfoundland Dwarf. She’s staring back at me. She’s twitching her nose and looking at me. “Did you say something?” I ask her.

“I most certainly did.”

It’s a female voice. Did I hear it in my head because the bunny isn’t moving its mouth? It’s just sitting there, twitching its nose at me. I look the little thing in the eye. “What did you say?”

“I said, hello.”

Apparently the CRISPR worked better than expected because the bunny can talk to me telepathically. I am totally elated because I have not only put the mind of a human female into the body of a bunny, but I have also allowed it to talk in a language manner far above any mere mortal!

“Why are you staring at the bunny when you clearly should be talking to me?”

So, the bunny is not the one I am having the conversation with. I’m turning my head…and now I’m screaming! Standing before me with long gorgeous human legs is the Piranha. She is about four feet tall. Her entire upper half is fish, and her entire underside is human legs. She reminds me of a child size version of the Ivar’s Clams that used to run around in those commercials. There are hands where her fins should be which would explain why I saw them separating and thought she was defective.

“Well,” the piranha girl says to me. “I think we need to talk.”

She does not tell me this telepathically. She opens her mouth which contains weird looking human-like teeth and a tongue and speaks with perfect diction. “What about?”

“You need to give me a name.”

I see her reasoning. “A name. Yes, I suppose you do deserve a name. I need some time to think about it.”

“And a pair of shoes. I don’t feel comfortable walking around in this filthy basement without shoes.”

“What size?” I ask still trying to take in the whole revelation.

“How would I know that?”

“Right. I guess we need to measure your feet. Normally we’d go to a shoe store and have a salesperson help us. But under the circumstances I think it would be best if I found a way to order a foot measurer and buy your shoes online.”

“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?”

“Are you uncomfortable not having your fins and gills moist with water?”

“I haven’t had an issue so far. Do you think I should?”

“Most piranhas do.”

“But I am not most piranhas. I’m also a human girl.”

“You figured that out on your own?”

“Well, I assumed it. May I sit down?”

“Yes, of course. Let me find a chair.” I look around for something to sit on.

“What about there?” She points to my bed.

“No!” I exclaim as all sorts of terrifying thoughts race through my head. I see an old wooden chair in the corner. I rush over and grab it. “Here.”

The piranha looks at the chair with disgust. “Aren’t you going to wipe all that dust off?”

Apparently, she’s picky. “Sure.” I retrieve a t-shirt from my hamper and start cleaning the chair.

“That seems rather repulsive,” she complains.

“I don’t have anything else.”

“You need a better system.”

“Well, excuse me. I wasn’t expecting company.”

“Don’t you have any shoes in the house I could try on?”

I look at her feet. It’s possible they could be my mother’s size…or my sister’s. “Maybe.”

“Let’s go look.”

“No,” I say. “I will go look. You stay here.”

I head upstairs. I look out the kitchen window and see my mom working in the garden. I scurry into my parent’s bedroom and into their walk-in closet. I grab a pair of my mom’s sneakers and hurry down the hall into Stacy’s room. I rush into her walk-in closet, scour her shelf, and snatch a pair of white leather tennis shoes. I rush past the kitchen window to make sure my mom is still outside before I head back downstairs. The piranha girl is now sitting on my bed.

“You’re supposed to be in the chair.”

“I like this better.”

“I’d rather you sat on the chair.”

“No…thank you.”

“Fine,” I say not liking the situation but not in the mood to argue. “Try these on.”

I hand her the shoes and she sets them on the bed beside her and sighs. “I do not think I can reach my feet.”

“Oh,” I say, suddenly realizing it might be difficult for a piranha girl to bend over. “Allow me.”

I get down on my knees. “Lift your foot,” I say pointing to her right one. She lifts her leg and I help her elevate it which reminds me of that opening scene from Lolita where the title character is having her toenails painted. I take a moment to admire how lovely her ankle is before I work my mom’s tennis shoe over her petite foot and tie the laces. “Stand up and see how you like them.”

She stands, looks down, and turns her foot left then right studying the white leather sneakers. “They are too big.”

I agree. They look a size too large. “Sit back down.”

The piranha sits and lifts her heel. I remove the shoe, set it aside and pick up one of Stacy’s sneakers. I put the sneaker on the piranha girl and tie the laces. She stands.

“These are comfortable,” she says. “And they fit.”

“Sit down and I’ll put the other one on you.” The piranha sits and I put the other shoe on her left foot. “Stand up again and try walking around.”

The piranha rises and walks about. “Wow! It feels like I’m walking on,” she points out the window, “clouds!”

“Good. You can wear those for now. They belong to my sister Stacy. I don’t think she’ll miss them for a few weeks until I can get you a pair of your own.”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: DON’T LOOK UP (2021)-Netflix

Adam McKay and David Sorata’s new dark comedy is not one to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it will make you laugh out loud and cringe painfully. The film is an attempt to create their version of Dr. Strangelove with a wink and a nudge to the Covid19 virus and all the media around it. And even though it is nowhere near as good as the Kubrick classic it is still very much worth the watch.

PHD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is working on her dissertation in Astronomy when while studying the night sky through the university’s telescope she notices a comet barreling towards earth. Excited by her find she alerts her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio). But when Dr. Mindy does the calculations, he finds the comet is big. Very big in fact. Big enough to destroy the planet. With the help of Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) from NASA, Dibiasky and Mindy get an audience with the President of the United States (Meryl Streep) and her obnoxious advisor and son (Jonah Hill) who find the gigantic comet hurdling towards earth to be an inconvenience to their schedule and plans.

But after Mindy and Dibiasky go on a national talk show hosted by the vain and shallow cohosts Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry) and Brie Evenee (Cate Blanchet) they manage to get enough publicity to make the president change her mind. But billionaire would-be genius Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) has other plans.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 15

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here and I am snowbound. All the world is a winter wonderland and I find myself staring out the window and barking at the occasional brave but foolish pedestrian or in some cases snowmobile that happens to zip past my window. Worst of all I have no escape from that dratted Maltese who parks himself on top of a heat vent and treats the whole experience as if he were attending a Swedish spa. It’s most disconcerting. What is truly dreadful is if one goes outside under the roof are these horrifically long and sharp icicles that could melt down enough to do some nasty damage if one were to walk under them at the wrong time. I would not even wish such an occurrence on the Maltese. That said I am keeping myself warm and forgoing my walks for the time being and engaging in such exercise as trotting about from room to room and cornering the Maltese and forcing him to engage in a bout of celebrity death match. Otherwise, I am diligently writing away and now present to you the fifteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. Njuta! And Happy New Year!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Day the Fifteenth

After the whole fiasco in the library yesterday, I ended up leaving the medical facility rather quickly. It was raining and I decided to catch a bus instead of walking back. I made the mistake of sitting in the middle where this woman across the aisle kept staring at me. I thought she was going to get up and do something crazy. I noticed there her purse had something moving in it. After a moment the furry head of a guinea pig peeked out. It yawned bearing its tiny front teeth. She noticed me looking at her rodent and put her finger to her lips and winked. Then she started laughing bizarrely. I got up and moved to the vacant seat behind the driver and stayed there till I got off at the library, hopped in my car and drove home.

When I returned to my room, I took the bunny out of the lunchbox, put her back on her dog bed, and checked on the piranha. The piranha was not visible in the tank despite the water’s crystal-clear clarity. I looked all over for her, but I could not spot her. I’m getting tired of her little hiding trick. It’s annoying. I figure I’ll check on her later.

Suddenly, it dawns on me I must be creepier looking than I first suspected. If those Chads noticed me watching the Stacys, albeit not with malicious intent, I must stand out. A heavy cloud of depression looms over me. I’m just that repulsive. If I was more of a Chad or even a quasi-Chad no one would even think my watching those girls was nefarious. If you’re attractive your actions are accepted. And if you’re not attractive your actions are discouraged. Hardly seems fair, doesn’t it? But the world sees things from the outside far more frequently than the inside.

I head upstairs and make myself a mocha. I even spray some whip cream on it and rip open a bag of mini chocolate chips my mom has up in the cupboard and sprinkle them on top. I head back downstairs to my room. After the first sip I realize how much I needed the caffeine. A temptation to go on completelyworthlessdude.com washes over me as I stare at my computer screen. But I resist and instead, I head back upstairs to Stacy’s room. My mom and dad went out to lunch and won’t be back for another hour. I probably shouldn’t be in my sister’s room, but I like sitting on her bed sometimes, closing my eyes and imagining it’s my pretend girlfriend’s apartment or something.

As I sip my coffee, I hear a sound. My eyes open and I listen. It sounds like it’s coming from Stacy’s walk-in closet. I set down the coffee on Stacy’s cherrywood dresser and investigate. When I reach the closet door I say, “Stacy?”

The sound stops. For some strange reason I can detect the faintest smell of fish. I turn the knob, open the door, and look inside not daring to enter. I peek around the corner. “Stacy?” I say again. No reply. I take a step inside. Yes, I’m sure of it. It smells like fish. “What the heck is she doing with fish in her closet?” I step in further taking in the meticulousness with which she stores her belongings. All the clothes are color coordinated like a perfect rainbow across the bar and all her handbags are lined up in the same colorful pattern on the shelf above. Shoes are done in the same array on the racks below.

Something brushes my leg. I turn and look at the full-length mirror on the back of the door. A flash of something and then a scampering across the hardwood floors. I whip around and attempt to follow…whatever it is. If there was a rat in Stacy’s closet, she’s going to freak out big time.

I hurry out into the hall and rush down the stairs. I hear small feet moving towards the kitchen. I swing around the dining room on route to the refrigerator. “I’m screwed,” I say as I continue to follow the odd sound as it scurries into the living room. I round the corner, heading left past the stove and out to the sofa and chairs. The scampering sound abruptly stops.

I search around the entertainment center desperate to find the little pest. I bravely lift the flaps under the recliner and tip back the couch seats and search underneath. Nothing but a See’s candy bar wrapper and a lost Kinder Egg toy are to be found. I wish my parents had listened to me and set up a surveillance system around the house so I can locate the little newb. I run back into the kitchen and crawl around on my hands and knees continuing my quest. I even search the drawers and inside the dishwasher. I knock over the garbage can and rummage through it. Nothing. Nill. Zilch.

Aggravated, I clean up the mess and tromp down the stairs to my room. The bunny is still snuggled up in its tiny dog bed. I look in the piranha tank. That scaley little kumquat is still hiding in its castle out of sight. I’m removing that thing from the tank tomorrow. In the meantime, I sprinkle more food across the water.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: ONE HOUR PHOTO (2002)-HBO Max

Many fans of Robin Williams consider him to be a comic genius. I think he is an even better dramatic actor. In one of his finest performances, he plays Sy aka Sy the Photo Guy or more aptly Seymore Parrish, a very cleverly chosen name by the talented writer director Mark Romanek. Romanek’s work here is wonderfully Kubrickian with its cool blues and whites and painfully warm tans. He has crafted a meticulous multi-layered film that requires repeat viewings.

Sy is likely a genius and highly intuitive. He can catch the slightest thing out of place whether its three tones of blue wrongly calibrated on the developing machine or a random face that seems strangely familiar. But Sy is trapped in a world that does not appreciate genius. It appreciates the mediocre and mundane and in fact punishes anyone who dares to pull back the curtain and reveal the ugly reality beneath. Sy has no friends or close relatives and has become over the years enamored of what he thinks is the perfect family. The mother, Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielson) has come in for several years with her insightful son Jacob (Dylan Smith) dropping off pictures at the photo center in the SavMart store. Sy’s whole world lights up every time they drop off pictures. He even goes against store policy printing them more expensive print packages and even giving Jacob a free camera for his birthday. But Sy’s boss Bill Owens (the fantastic Gary Cole who deserves a juicy lead role of his own) is on to him. Then one day a customer drops off some pictures that Sy finds sinister, and he sets out on a mission to set things right.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 14

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again to introduce the fourteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! Oh, what fun it is to ride in a rocket full of hay-a…!

Tucker, those are not the lyrics. It’s not a rocket full of hay. It’s a one-horse open sleigh.

I want to ride in a rocket full of hay. Branson, Bezos, Musk and Shatner all did.

There was no hay on those rockets and its one-horse open sleigh.

They did not fly in a one-horse open sleigh.

No one says they did! The lyrics to the song are a one-horse open sleigh.

Why did they take horses on the rocket?

They didn’t! They all rode in rockets and there were no horses on them! This has nothing to do with Jingle Bells!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a rock band in a pear tree!

No, that was a television show not a song! You’re unbelievable!

Here is Gigi’s fourteenth chapter of Alanna the Piranha.

I’m supposed to say that you rotten mongrel! And Joyeux Noël!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Fourteenth

I measured the piranha with my mother’s measuring tape again today. Yesterday she had increased in size by one and a half inches. Today she has increased in both length and width by three inches. I can’t deny the CRISPR Cas9 shots are affecting her. I am trying to decide if I should continue to administer her shots at this point. I might try every forty-eight hours instead of every twenty-four.

The bunny, however, has not changed or grown at all. She remains the same fluffy ball of fur as when I first took her home. Patience, I tell myself. It’s going to require patience.

A lot of guys on completelyworthlessdude.com have issues with agoraphobia. I have managed to avoid that affliction by making myself go out even after my darkest moments, like when I lost Josie. I am the self-appointed designated grocery shopper in my family. I am constantly going out to gather food, so I don’t stay in my room and stare at the walls.

Sometimes I even stop and buy a latte at a café and sit at the table way in the back so I can people watch. I don’t talk to anyone except the barista and the cashier but at least I’m amongst people even if I’m not interacting with them.

This evening I decided to head out to the library again and take the Newfoundland Dwarf with me. I am certain this is a bad idea. But I do it anyway. I slip her into a nylon lunch box and keep the corner unzipped so the bunny can breathe. I look innocuous going through the turnstiles so getting her inside is not a problem. I take a seat on the second floor at an unoccupied table and wait. A group of girls walk in. They take up a larger table near mine. After they’re settled down, I unzip the lunch box a little more and coax the bunny out and hold her in my arms.

After a few minutes the girls notice the Newfoundland Dwarf. They whisper and giggle as they steal glances my way.

“What the hell is that?”

I turn and see four Chads with Greek letters on their shirts looming over me. “It’s a Newfoundland Dwarf,” I tell them.

“Looks like one of those muffs you pick up at a sex store,” one scoffs, and the others grunt and snicker in unison.

“It’s a rabbit,” I say slowly and distinctly so they can understand me.

“Looks like you’re trying to use your sex toy to pick up those chicks over there. Do you know who those chicks are?”

“No.”

“Those chicks over there,” he says pointing to the table of girls near me, “are from our sister house.”

“I see.”

“Let me hold her,” a third guy says reaching for the bunny.

“I can’t,” I tell him holding the bunny close, my anxiety rising.

“Why not?” he demands.

“She’s still a baby and she’s skittish.”

“You better hand her over.”

“No.”

“Then I’ll just deck you and take her,” he says making a fist and leaning in close.

“You can’t do that.”

“Yeah, watch me.”

The guy lurches for the bunny, and I panic, terrified he’ll crush her. “You’ll kill her,” I say standing and backing up as he advances on me.

“What do I care?”

“Your sisters over there will see you do it.”

All four Chads turn and look at the table of girls. All the women have terror in their eyes. They look at each other and then at me.

“Maybe we should go outside and talk this over,” the first Chad says to me.

“I’m fine right here,” I reply.

“We’ve been watching you. You come in here and sit at a table near girls from our sister house and stalk them. We don’t appreciate you creeping them out.”

“With all due respect they don’t look creeped out to me.”

One of the other Chads shoves me and I shift to protect the Newfoundland Dwarf. “Don’t talk smack, freak,” he says. “Be a man and step outside.”

“I don’t think one guy and a bunny not stepping outside with you four constitutes as not being a man.”

“Get up!”

“Let me put the rabbit in its carrier so it doesn’t get hurt.”

“We couldn’t care less if your muff gets hurt,” the third Chad says.

“Your issue is with me not the bunny.”

“Hey, Katelyn!” the fourth Chad calls over to their sister house’s table. Everyone on the floor turns their head his way.

“Idiot!” the first Chad says to him. “This is a library. Go ask her quietly.”

“Ask her what?” I inquire.

The third Chad shoves me as the fourth strolls over to the girls’ table where the supposed Katelyn sits, leans in to one of the girls with long silky black hair. Katelyn, who is clearly a Stacy, looks my way and giggles. She rises and follows Chad number four over to my table. She looks at me with pathos then turns to the bunny and flips her hair.

“This is Katelyn, freak,” the fourth Chad says. “She’s going to watch your muff while we go outside.”

“Do you know anything about Newfoundland Dwarfs?” I ask Katelyn.

“What a cute little bunny!” she exclaims. “I totally love it!”

She pries the rabbit from my arms, an act which is not entirely unpleasant, and I am left to face the Chads. I had better think fast or I’ll get my ass kicked and I don’t want my ass kicked. “Just know,” I tell Katelyn, “I’ve just given that bunny her meds and she might do something strange.”

Katelyn shoots me a perplexed look. “Strange?”

“Like she might expand on you.”

“Expand?”

“Or change shape.”

“What kind of weird bunny is this?”

“The kind that could do those things.”

“I’d like to see it expand,” the second Chad says. “That would be cool.”

“Cut the chatter and let’s get this freak outside,” the first Chad says.

If I stand, they’ll drag me outside and clean my clock. I either need to stay inside or be able to run once I get outside. But if I run, Katelyn keeps the Newfoundland Dwarf and I do not want Katelyn to keep the Newfoundland Dwarf no matter how much of a Stacy she is.

I don’t know why I remembered this, but I had this friend once in grade school, I think his name was Oron. Anyway, Oron had this birthday party at this restaurant and Oron didn’t want to have his birthday at this restaurant. He wanted to have it at a pizza parlor instead. So, while his mother was taking his cake out of the bakery box, he suddenly threw himself on the floor and pretended to have a seizure.

This is obviously an act in poor taste. But after watching all the library dwellers react to the one Chad yelling “Katelyn”, I’m left with no choice. I lean over and fall onto the floor and start flopping around.

“Oh, my gosh!” Katelyn screams. “He’s having a seizure! He’s having a seizure!”

“He’s faking it,” the first Chad says and kicks my foot. “Get up!”

But I don’t get up. I continue convulsing and flopping as best as I can remember Oron do. I hear a stampede of Uggs run my way and one of the girls from the sister house yells, “Don’t kick him! You’re not supposed to kick someone who’s having a seizure!”

“He’s faking it,” the second Chad echoes the first Chad and shoves my shoulder with one of his New Balance tennis shoes.

“The poor guy,” I hear one of the sorority sisters say which may be the first time I’ve ever heard a girl say those words about me.

“I’m calling 911,” Katelyn insists, and I hear her dial. This scares me a little, but I figure exiting this place in an ambulance is better than getting beaten up outside. I continue to flop around as I wait for the paramedics.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (2017)-Hulu

It’s always fun to find a heartwarming and thoughtful tale to watch at Christmas time and this delightful little Irish/Canadian film is a great one for adults and children alike.

The story is based on the book of the same name, The Man Who Invented Christmas by Lee Standiford, and is about how Charles Dickens went about writing his very popular and timeless novella, A Christmas Carol. The movie depicts Dickens (jubilantly played by the fantastic Dan Stevens) experiencing a lot of success and celebrity with novels such as Oliver Twist, but after returning from his tour of America he experiences three literary failures. He has just purchased a lavish new home in London and has set up an estate and an allowance for his mother and father and debt is looming. He has embarrassedly gone to his publishers and asked for an advance without consulting his friend and agent John Forester (Justin Edwards).

Foster assists him in going back to the publishers to ask for an advance to write a new book which Dickens tells them is a Christmas story. The publishers cannot see how something like a Christmas story can sell in the sociological climate they are in where Christmas is ironically considered a social gathering for the rich only and turn him down. Certain that his book will succeed, Dickens sets out to prove them wrong and publish the book himself with the assistance of a skilled illustrator. Although Dickens starts out strong, he finds himself in dire straits when a crippling case of writer’s block befalls him.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 13

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce the thirteenth installment of my story Alanna the Piranha. It has been brought to my attention that I might be a splendid choice of canis lupus familiaris to take up truffle hunting as a hobby. Although I am most flattered by this suggestion, I do hate the wet and cold. I prefer to be warm and dry and inside. The Maltese, however, was born to romp in the rain.

I was not. I do not like the rain. I do not like the mud.

Oh, come now. You love mushrooms. You always order them on pizza.

But I do not want to go outside and get wet and dirty and cold.

How do you think one comes by mushrooms?

UPS brings them.  

UPS?

We order them online and they appear at our door. Just like the replicator on Star Trek.

You are certifiable. Anyway, here is chapter thirteen of Alanna the Piranha. Godere!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Thirteenth

I am still licking my wounds after last night’s fiasco with Brooke. Honestly, chicks are way too sensitive. I wasn’t trying to move in with her. Or even make a move on her. I…well I was just trying to show some compassion. If I were a Chad, I would have had the good sense not to have shown compassion. I was so embarrassed about what I said, I wasn’t even able to concentrate on Stacy’s dance team’s routine which is usually the highlight of the night next to staring at the cheerleaders.

I went back to my standard schedule giving the bunny and the piranha their shots. The piranha is getting bigger. When I reached into the tank to jab her, she splashed around so much I couldn’t hold her. Then later when I went to check on her tank, she was nowhere to be found. I figured she must be hiding somewhere, maybe in this castle structure I bought the other day and submerged in the water. Its rather large so I guess she could be camouflaging herself. I put some food in the tank and waited for her to swim to the top, but she never showed.

Due to my pouting about Brooke, I was tempted to regress and log into completelyworthlessdude.com today, but somehow, I managed to curb my impulse. I’d read an article the other day about mass delusion. Not just individuals but entire societies becoming psychotic. This was one of the main reasons I gave up being a member on Incel sites. I realized staying there was dragging me deeper and deeper into fantasy. Dark and twisted fantasy. I have seen too many posts about guys on the site taking their own lives. A lot of smart guys who could have made something of themselves. Guys with brains who could change the world.

I fear my generation is stuck in a state of extended adolescence. And I think ever since the concept of teenagers made its way into society, each generation starting with the baby boomers has extended the length of adolescence a little bit more. Sometimes when I visit my Aunt Linda’s house, I take note of the possessions she has. She owns things that a grown up would own, not a kid. She put away childish things as it were. There are no action figures in Plexiglas, or a room dedicated to fashion dolls or teddy bears or boxes of bagged comic books. Instead, she has a few paintings hanging on her walls, a couple sculptures, photos in frames, and bookshelves filled with non-fiction, novels, and short stories. And if you haven’t noticed, she’s exceptionally frugal. I guess my first step in abandoning my path to perma-Incel after abandoning completelyworthlessdude.com was to put away childish things and focus more on my interest in science. Like selling most of my comic book collection to buy supplies. And that’s not easy to do in a world where everyone is encouraged to shop and live inside video games and social media. Sometimes I wonder if the more virtual the world becomes the less necessary it is to be an adult. Do we regress into the childish madness of Lord of the Flies and accept anarchy as normality, or do we search for a labyrinth that leads us to reality?

Since Brooke was so enamored with my Newfoundland Dwarf, I decided to find out what would happen if I took the little puff ball to the park. It was cold, but the sun was out and there wasn’t any wind. When I got there, I saw a lot of people out and about, but they were mostly senior citizens. No real Stacys around for me to dazzle with the rabbit. The only attention I got was a little girl with blonde hair in soft curls who came running up pulling her grandfather by the hand and squealing “Bunny! Bunny!” I let her pet the rabbit as her grandfather gave me the hairy eyeball like I was some sort of a pervert. Then I headed home.

On the way home I stopped at the grocery store to get lunch. As I was standing in the deli with the bunny in my arms trying to decide what to buy, a clerk told me I had to have my pet on a leash or leave. I left. So much for trying to pick up chicks with the Newfoundland Dwarf.

When I got back the piranha was parked at the front of the tank. It may have been my imagination, but she looked bigger to me. I set the bunny down on her mini dog bed and she fell asleep immediately. In the meantime, I studied the piranha’s size, and I am quite certain she has expanded at least one inch in all directions.

“Huh,” I thought and wondered how one went about accurately measuring the size of their pet piranha. Her fins looked strange too, like they were separated or something. I was starting to wonder if the reason Lyle gave me a sale price for the piranha was because she’s defective. It figures I’d end up a sucker who bought a malfunctioning piranha. I take note that the fish food I sprinkled in her tank is gone. I guess I’ll have to go raid my mother’s sewing kit and dig out a measuring tape.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: PIG (2021)-Hulu

The Golden Globe nominations came out this week and the most glaring snub of them all is not giving credit to what is easily one of the best films of the year. Not relying on explosions or gore or special effects, Pig is clearly a standout both as a movie and as one of Nicolas Cage’s finest and most Oscar worthy performances. Brandy who plays the pig is outstanding as well and yes, she is an actual pig, you know the kind that goes “oink, oink” and not a CGI creation. I never thought I’d have to point that out but apparently there are viewers and journalists out there who struggle to know the difference.   

Rob (Nicholas Cage) is a seemingly simple man who lives alone in the middle of the Oregon wilderness. His only companion is his extraordinarily sweet and well-trained foraging pig (Brandy). Rob and his porcus hunt for truffles that lay buried in the woods. Truffles, for those of you who think they are only a type of chocolate that you purchase at upscale candy stores, are dark roundish sometimes oblong subterranean mushrooms/fungi that are worth a lot of money. Rob gives the mushrooms he and the pig find to Amir (Alex Wolff), a young image obsessed Sysco-type salesman who sells them for premium prices to high end restaurants in Portland. In exchange, Amir brings Rob supplies which at first glance seems like he’s lowballing him. But Amir doesn’t really know Rob as well as he thinks. And when low-rent poachers break into Rob’s cabin one night and steal his cochon, Amir finds himself assisting a very tenacious Rob on an unexpected odyssey to rescue his precious pig.

I should mention that amongst many things the film does right one is point out that there is a difference between a cook/chef and a baker. I have come across jackasses out there who stubbornly insist there is no difference. They are wrong. Though they may work together in restaurants, cooks and bakers have different skill sets. Therefore, schools like the Oregon Culinary Institute separates the culinary program from the baking and pastry arts program.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 12

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to wish my novelist a very Happy Birthday this week.

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to…

Tucker, you hideous Maltese! Stop that racket immediately!

Happy Birthday dear novelist! Happy…

Wait! I’m the one who’s supposed to sing that! Go bake a cake or something.

I got her a pretty, pretty, present.

What? You did not!

I did so.

You did not!

Did so!

Stop this nonsense and let’s just sing together. A one and a two and a

Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear novelist

Happy Birthday to you

Poodles are always off-key.

I was not off-key…oh, forget it! Here is chapter Twelve of Alanna the Piranha. Bon anniversaire!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twelfth

Today I gave the bunny and the piranha their third injection of CRISPR Cas9. I got to thinking about the $5000 my aunt gave me. I haven’t seen that much cash get deposited in my bank account since before I started college. I had a job back then. I worked at Dairy Queen every summer from my freshman year until my senior year. I took flack for it too. When I wrote about it on completelyworthlessdude.com my would-be friends called me a wage slave. They thought my parents robbed me of my paychecks. That wasn’t true at all. In fact, my parents helped me set up an account where I earned some kicking interest.

Some of the popular kids at school came in on the weekends and bought Blizzards and cones and sundaes. They’d snicker and whisper stuff to each other about me, but I just smiled and took their money. So, when it came time for me to graduate, I’d compounded about fifteen grand. Not a shocking amount of money but let me ask you this: how many kids do you know who made that much money on their own for college. Some, yes. But not many.

That’s why my aunt was willing to let me borrow that much cash. She remembers the old Flint who didn’t care what people thought about him. But after you’ve gone to college and gotten on the dean’s list and graduated with honors and still no chick wants you, you start to question why you should bother to work so hard. Anyway, now I have an extra $5000 in my bank account I didn’t have before. I’ll research some investments, but I don’t think I’ll make much interest on it.

I should mention I noticed something different about the piranha today. After I gave her the shot, she swam to the back of the tank and has been hiding there all day. I’m concerned she might not make it. The bunny however remains unchanged. No modifications I’ve noticed anyway. But I’ve only been doing this experiment for three days so its still early.

I’ve been thinking about my encounter with Brooke at the library. I wonder if she was trying to butter me up, so I’ll help tutor her in some of her classes. It wouldn’t be the first time a chick has pulled that one with me. In college there was this girl who lived one floor down from mine and she was always coming around quasi-flirting with me. I knew all she wanted was a good grade in chemistry, but I didn’t turn down her attention either. Sometimes it feels better to get bad attention than none.

That said, mom insisted I go with her and dad to see Stacy’s dance team perform at the basketball game tonight. We take our seats at the end of the court in section twelve in the furthest back seats. This section has backs on the seats. The next section up is the bleachers. It’s not center court but it’s not bad.

Brooke is there and somehow, she spots us. Maybe Stacy told her where my parents were sitting. Anyway, she comes up to us and says to my mother, “Mrs. Fisk, I can’t thank you enough for the care package you sent me.”

“What?” my mother says confused.

“The care package Flint dropped off.”

My mother furrows her brow and I’m certain I’m going to have a brain hemorrhage. My dad who had been listening in says, “You’re welcome.”

My mother shoots him a quizzical look. Surely her husband wasn’t having an affair with her daughter’s college roommate…then she looks at me with that “I know what you pulled, kid” warning she sometimes gives me and says to Brooke, “Oh, yes. The package Flint dropped off that wasn’t for Stacy.”

“How did you know I liked See’s Chocolate?”

“I took a wild guess,” she replies looking back at me. “Why don’t you sit with us, Brooke? The seat beside Flint is empty tonight.”

I don’t know whether to thank my mother or not. Either way Brook plops down beside me. She has the nerve to smell fantastic tonight, like tangerines. What am I going to talk about? I can’t just say “thank you for letting me steal the hair out of your brush. I was able to extract your DNA from it and inject it into a bunny and a piranha”.

Brooke takes a sip off the phallic straw protruding from her iced drink and says, “Hey, Flint,” with disinterest.

“Brooke,” I reply.

“Do you always hang out with your cousin’s parents,” she asks skeptically, “or do you have real friends?”

What do I say to that? I choose to chuckle.

Brooke sniffs the air and grimaces. “You smell like fish.”

“I recently acquired an aquarium.”

“Really? What kind of fish do you have?”

“I just have one so far.”

“A goldfish?”

“A piranha.”

“What?!”

“I also own a Newfoundland Dwarf.”

“Is that one of those garden gnome things?”

“No. It’s a breed of miniature rabbit.”

“Really?” she says suddenly interested. “That sounds adorable. You should bring the bunny by the dorm room sometime!”

I realize by her response I should walk around the park with the little furball. The bunny could be a chick magnet. Not to mention I could procure more of Brooke’s DNA if I were to stop by the dorm. “Okay,” I say.

“I always wanted a pet,” she laments. “But my parents wouldn’t let me have one. I really love Bichons. They’re cute and friendly and personable. But my parents didn’t want the hassle. They’d say, “What if we went on a trip and we had to leave it with a sitter? That’s expensive!” I’d tell them some people travel with their fur babies. “Do we look like the RV type to you?” they would respond.”

Brooke takes another sip off her seductive straw. “Maybe after you graduate college you should get one,” I say.

“I’m going to. I’m going to move home with them and make good use of the free rent until I can.”

“Well, if you need a roommate, I’ll go halves with you.” This I immediately realize is the stupidest thing I could have possibly said. Brooke pulls back a little and studies me like I’m a stalker on the FBI’s most wanted list. “I…I didn’t mean it like…that.”

“Mrs. Fisk,” she turns and tells my mother. “I really need to get back to my friends. But I just wanted to say thank you again for the care package.”

“Do you really have to go?”

“Yes. Yes, I do.”

Brooke gets up and leaves quickly almost slipping on her way down the steps.

“What did you say to her?” my dad asks.

“Nothing,” I grumble and turn my focus to the court where Stacy’s dance team has just taken the floor.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: BLADES OF GLORY (2007)-HBO Max

In continuing with comedic movies to watch during the holidays, it doesn’t get funnier than this. This bizarre spoof on Olympic figure skating is laugh out loud funny. Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is an elegant men’s figure skater. Adorned in peacock feathers he delights the judges and audiences alike with his sanguine personality and exquisite skating moves. Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) is Jimmy’s rival, a rock and roll figure skater come porn star come sex addict who fought his way out of the underground skating sewers to set the placid skating association on fire with his uber masculine moves. After the two men tie for the Gold Medal all pandemonium breaks out and they find their careers in serious jeopardy fighting their way to make it back to the next championship tryouts. Rounding out this hilarious cast are Amy Poler and Will Arnett as the brother and sister skating phenoms the Van Waldenberg’s, Jenna Fisher as Katie their bedraggled sister, and Craig T. Nelson as the skating coach.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 11

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti Poodle once again to introduce the eleventh installment in my story Alanna the Piranha. The holiday season is well underway, and the Maltese is busy at work trying to find me the perfect gift. I of course plan to bestow on him the gift that never stops giving: my unending cornucopia of wisdom. As for myself, I have my eye on a designer dog tag that I think will give my collar that extra bit of style I deserve. I have sent the Maltese many an email hinting at it…perhaps a little more than hinting. I really do think he should pay attention to…

I want a 93” plush bear from Costco.

What?

I want a 93” plush bear from Costco.

Tucker, you insipid little mongrel. What could you possibly need a 93” plush bear for?

I want a toy I can snuggle with.

That thing is bigger than the home you live in!

You are not kind to me, and I need a 93” bear from Costco to act as my security blanket.

Unbelievable. Anyway, here is the eleventh chapter of Alanna the Piranha. Disfrutar!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Chapter the Eleventh

Today I administered another dose of CRISPR Cas9 into both the bunny and the piranha. The bunny hated it, but the piranha didn’t struggle as much this time and stared straight into my eyes when I injected her.

This evening both my Aunt Linda and my sister Stacy are visiting for dinner. My mother is serving salmon with wild rice and baked asparagus. My Aunt Linda did not bring a dog this time, but she did mention I should think about getting a new one.

“Josie was good for you,” my aunt tells me. “She may have died unexpectedly but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a new pet.

“I suppose not,” I say.

“It helps you focus on being responsible, Flint and you need to be responsible.”

“Tell me about it,” Stacy said rolling her eyes.

“You know I adore you, Flint,” Aunt Linda continued. “And I want you to be successful in life. When your young it’s easy to believe you measure wealth in terms of what you own like what car you drive or what clothes you wear. That’s the big fat lie you see. Wealth isn’t what you own. It’s what you accumulate. Those who believe the lie are like an artist who only focuses on the painting’s subject and not the shadows around it.”

“I don’t quite follow you,” I say.

My aunt took a drink of her ice water. “When I was a young woman just out of college, I worked as a waitress for a nice restaurant. We had this dishwasher. His name was Rafferty. He always came in on time, worked hard and never said much to anybody. He washed the dishes, cleaned up when the night was over and headed home. He’d worked at the restaurant so long he could have any shift he wanted. He always chose to work the dinner shift and he always closed up no matter how late he stayed.

“After every shift the owner would give the staff two poker chips apiece. The chips could be used in the bar for free drinks. Rafferty never cashed in his chips. He always gave his away to the waitresses after gathering up his tips. Then he’d quietly go home.

“One evening I came into work and Rafferty wasn’t there. The owner told me Rafferty had decided to retire. Retire?! I exclaimed. The owner said it surprised him too. He told me Rafferty put in his notice two weeks ago, thanked him for letting him work there for twelve years and left. Rafferty had told him he was going into business for himself. I asked my boss what kind of business. He told me Rafferty just smiled and said something other than restaurants.

“Last year I was flipping through the newspaper, and I saw this obituary. It was Rafferty’s. I read it and I couldn’t believe what it said.”

“What did it say?” I asked her.

“Well, before Rafferty died, he’d done quite a few things. He’d married, had a son, started an accounting business with his wife and was worth over twelve million dollars.”

“Twelve million dollars?!”

“You see when Rafferty took a job at the restaurant he had just graduated from college and couldn’t get a job. No one would hire him. So, he started washing dishes. He took the night shift because it allowed him to get up in the mornings and study the stock market. He researched it all day long until it closed. Then he would take a nap then get up and go to work in the restaurant. He took the closing shift because it allowed him to get up in the mornings and study the stock market. He never owned a car while he worked there and always took the bus.

He lived in a studio apartment and paid a low rent. The restaurant always gave its workers a free meal at the end of their shift, so he didn’t have to pay for dinner. He saved and invested and saved and invested for over a decade until he had more than he needed to start his own accounting firm. His wife had been an accounting student who couldn’t get a job and had worked as a waitress trying to make ends meet. Together they joined forces.”

“What does any of this have to do with Flint?” Stacy asked. “Flint reminds me of Rafferty. Right now, Flint is sitting in this house sulking in his parent’s basement wasting all his potential. Then she turned to me and said, “Why not take advantage of the free rent, Flint? Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you can have a little more each day. In fact, I’m going to make it easy on you. I’m going to start you with five thousand dollars. Not one dime more, not one dime less. You take that money and find a way to make it grow.”

“Why are you giving Flint that kind of money?” Stacy complained. “What about me?”

“When you graduate from college will focus on you.”

“Linda,” my dad said. “Flint doesn’t need that money. He needs encouragement to get out there and make something of himself.”

“I absolutely agree with you. Flint needs encouragement. But he also needs a swift kick in the ass. You see I am not giving Flint my money. I am loaning it to him free of interest. He gets to keep it for one year. After that he gives the five thousand back to me and keeps everything he earns.”

“What if he loses money?”

“I won’t lose her money,” I say, not really believing the words myself.

“Why, Linda,” my mother says. “I think that’s a wonderful idea. Flint, is this something you’d like to try?”

I think about this for a moment. I could use the five thousand dollars if my experiments fail, and I need to get new supplies. “Sure,” I say. Why not?”

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: WE’RE THE MILLERS (2013)-HBO Max

I am a fan of comedy. Especially when it’s funny. I tend to prefer to write comedy. A lot of writers don’t. Maybe because some writers find it difficult or stupid or don’t think it’s intelligent enough or plain just don’t like it. But I would rather write comedic infused stories than just about anything else. And I think in addition to a lot of the holiday classics we tend to watch this time of year it’s a lot of fun to watch a good solid comedy. And one comedy I think deserves a lot more credit than it gets is We’re the Millers. This is a witty, sometimes dark, often hilarious movie with an all-around fantastic cast and outstanding writing from Bob Fisher and Steve Faber. David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a college educated slacker who really should be doing more with his life than working as a long-time drug dealer. David has a turbulent rapport with his neighbor Rose (Jennifer Anniston), a sardonic stripper with a absent boyfriend. Also in their building is a likable but clueless teenager named Kenny (Will Poulter) who happens to witness a homeless girl named Casey (Emma Roberts) being harassed outside their building. Kenny goes to protect Casey forcing David to run in to assist. Casey manages to get away but the thugs chase David and Kenny and eventually rob David of his $100,000 stash.

To pay back his gleefully evil boss Brad (Ed Helms), David is strong armed into making a run to Mexico to pick up a “smidge” of marijuana. David knows he will get caught crossing the boarder alone. But if he takes Rose, Kenny, and Casey with him as his makeshift family, he’ll have a chance of picking up his drugs and hauling them back across the border safely. Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, and Molly Quin round out the cast of this very funny film.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 10

Good afternoon and a most joyous Thanksgiving to you all. It is I Gigi the party poodle here to bring you the tenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha.

Happy Popcorn Day! Happy Popcorn Day!

Tucker, you intolerable cur! What are you talking about?

I want to wish you a Happy Popcorn Day!

It’s Thanksgiving! People eat turkey, stuffing, ham, Tofurky, potatoes, yams, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and other gastronomical delicacies for but they do not traditionally eat popcorn!

On the Thanksgiving television show they eat popcorn and toast and jellybeans.

But that is a cartoon. And the point of the cartoon is to show it does not matter how fancy your dinner it is the company you get to share your meal with and what you are thankful for.

Then it does not matter if you have popcorn, toast, or jellybeans or if you have turkey, potatoes and stuffing.

Correct.

Then it is okay for me to call it Happy Popcorn Day!

Yes…I mean no…don’t you need to go set the table?!

Happy Popcorn Day! Happy Popcorn Day!

Good grief! That said, have a Happy Thanksgiving and here is the tenth chapter of Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Tenth

The Piranha keeps staring at me. It doesn’t even swim around occasionally. She just parks herself behind the glass and stares. Like she’s expecting me to do something. I must have been out of my mind buying this thing. Not to mention it’s ugly. I mean there’s no such thing as a cute piranha.

I injected the bunny again today with CRISPR shots. I suppose at some point I may have to face the fact that this experiment may not work. I might need to go back and try it again. But I don’t know if I will be able to afford some of this stuff without a job. I have battled with the notion that I have to get out into the real world and that’s a real problem.

I should tell you I shot up the piranha with CRISPER too. The fish started to get on my nerves with that staring and all. I figured what the heck. Besides I want to see what happens. I had to put on these Venom Defender Animal Handling gloves, reach in, and grabbed the little fishy, give her a jab and let her go. She didn’t like it much. But I don’t get bitten if I wear the gloves and it doesn’t die so I guess it’s not really hurting anything. I have wondered if Brooke’s DNA may have not been the right fit for my experiment. Maybe I should have tried to snag some from one of Stacy’s dance team members instead. They might have better DNA than Brooke. Couldn’t be worse.

Tonight, I drove out to the college and I’m hanging out at the undergraduate library watching co-eds study. Yeah, I know I’m pathetic. But ever since leaving completelyworthlessdude.com I must entertain myself somehow besides making human CRISPR injections for animals. I’ve picked a table in the back in one of the corners which allows me to look out at an angle, so I get a pretty good view. I know where the sorority girls have their study sessions, and I’ve situated myself to have a good vantage point.

It doesn’t take long before a group of buffed up CHADS come sauntering up to one of the sorority girl’s tables. These guys talk up the chicks and get them giggling in no time. What do chicks see in these Neanderthals? They’re all body and no brains. Some aren’t even that good looking. They’re just excessively masculine. Heck, some of them would rather stare at their own muscles in a mirror than a woman. If I had a woman, I’d never get enough of staring at her. I’d treat her right too. I wouldn’t cheat on her or play mind games. I’d give her space when she needed it. I guess that’s why they’re CHADS and I’m an Incel.

Over at another table are a couple of BECKYS. BECKYS are chicks that aren’t as attractive as STACYS. They’re dressed in these baggy clothes and let me tell you these chicks are way too thin. They think they look attractive wearing tight pants and no makeup and their hair styled like a librarian. They’re just average you know. Stacy’s roommate Brooke is somewhere in the middle. Not quite a STACY and better than a BECKY.

I whip around to see Brooke standing beside my table.

“Hey…Brooke. I was just…I came here to get some reading in.”

“What are you reading?”

“Well, I…just got here so…”

“Stacy said you majored in physics?”

“Biochemistry.”

“Wow. Are you going to become a professor or work in the private sector?”

“I’ve been considering going into business for myself.”

“What would your company do?”

Yeah, like I’m going to tell her I shoot up animals with her human DNA. “Well…my company would…”

“What are you doing here, freak?”

I should have known my sister wouldn’t be far behind.

“He’s getting some reading in,” Brooke says.

“Yeah, I’ll bet,” Stacy scoffs.

“Did you know your cousin is thinking of going into business for himself?”

“Really.”

“What was it you said your company was going to do?”

Stacy smirks at me waiting for my answer.  “I want to get in the business of improving animals with DNA.”

“Wow,” Brooke says.

“Improve them how?” Stacy scoffs.

“Different ways,” I say.

“Like what?”

“Depends on the animal.”

“You mean like help heal dogs who lose their sight or hearing?” Brooke asks.

“Yes,” I say.

“How would you do that?”

“I would use a technique which basically allows me to go into their DNA, cut a strand of it, paste an improved strand and hook it all back together.”

“That’s mind-blowing,” Brooke says.

“Or wrong,” Stacy says. “Maybe they are supposed to stay the way they are.”

“You wouldn’t want a sick person to stay sick.”

“I wouldn’t want a kitten with alligator teeth either.”

“Hey, sup.”

Some CHAD with tousled hair and ripped shoulders walks up to us.

“Hey, Chad,” my sister says flirtatiously.

“You girls here studying?”

No, I think. They’re here to watch circus acts. “I’m tutoring them,” I say.

Chad gives me a threatening look. “Yeah, what are you tutoring them in?”

“Biology.”

“Really? I’m taking Biology. Can you tutor me?”

“Seventy-five bucks an hour.”

“Seventy-five bucks an hour! That’s your going rate?!”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll have to ask my mom. That sounds kind of expensive.”

“I get results.”

“You girls are getting ripped off by this tool!”

“Flint…,” Stacy warns.

“I’m going to go sit with the bros,” Chad says. “When you girls are done getting screwed by this guy come find me.”

Chad saunters off dragging his knuckles along the carpet.

“Why did you tell him that?” Brooke asks.

“Because he’ll just use you.”

Brooke looks at me quizzically.

“Let’s get out of here,” Stacy snaps and grabs Brooke by the arm.

I watch them leave. I don’t feel like watching the coeds anymore this evening. I’m going home to give the bunny and the piranha another injection.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: DOPESICK (2021)-Hulu

If you are looking for something to stream this Thanksgiving weekend look no further than the outstanding Hulu miniseries Dopesick based on the book by journalist Beth Macy. The story takes a harrowing look at the ravenous Sackler family who ran Purdue Pharma and the devastation they unleashed in America with their highly addictive pain medication OxyContin. OxyContin is essentially heroin in a pill form with a coating which allows it to have a time release to manage pain. The coating was originally easy to remove and those who took it could bypass the time release and get an intense high crushing and snorting it or shooting it which was also of course highly deadly and if that didn’t do it for you, the company was more than happy to make higher and higher doses. They started at 10mg per pill then went to 15mg, 20mg, 40mg, 60mg and 80mg. The truly scary reality was that many people got addicted just taking it as prescribed by their doctors without removing the time release coating. Numerous patients eventually died using a drug that was supposed to help them. Which tells you something about the medical industry. Does the modern medical industry in some cases make people sicker by trying to make them better? And does it call their patients villains instead of victims because of the outcome?

Purdue and the Sackler family at the time was led by resident psychopath Doctor Richard Sackler also known as Hitler’s brother from another mother. The series is headed by an all-star stellar cast with Michael Stuhlbarg brilliantly playing the quietly evil and ruthless Richard “Satan” Sackler, Peter Sarsgaard and John Hooganakker as Rick Mountcastle and Randy Ramseyer, the United States attorneys who went after Purdue Pharma, Will Poultler as the smart but naïve drug salesman who questions the safety of the drug but continues to sell it to doctors, Rosario Dawson as Bridget Meyer the DEA agent who seeing the danger of the drug early makes it her mission in life to bring down Purdue Pharma, and Katelyn Dever as Betsy Mallum the young coal miner who becomes harrowingly addicted to the drug after an accident on the job. All the cast is outstanding and deserve Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

The big standout for me was Michael Keaton as Dr. Samuel Finnix the ivy league graduate doctor who followed his beloved wife to the Appalachians where she died, and he continued to practice. His horrific journey from a superb small-town doctor to a victim of the opioid epidemic is stunning and reminiscent of his outstanding work early in his career as Daryl Poynter in the film Clean and Sober.

Danny Strong of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame has done an outstanding job as creator, writer, and director of this must-see mini-series.

A Special Blog Post

Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here and my novelist Karen who would like to bring you a very special blog post.

Again, we would like to say that we do not like to be political on this blog. This blog is designed to be fun and entertaining. But sometimes situations arise, and we find we need to speak out. Especially when it is something that is in reference to stories we have written or occurrences that happen in our own back yard.

That said, we would like to give a huge round of applause and a standing ovation to the students at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington. We stand with you in solidarity against the unfair practices of Newport High School and the Bellevue School and District Leaders. We are from the northwest and have lived here most of our lives. We know firsthand how poorly the Washington State schools deal with bullying and assault because we ourselves have gone though what you have gone through. We have experienced how badly schools in the State of Washington deal with these matters and your high school is not the only one facing this.  

But you are the ones who spoke out and therefore you deserve high praise for your courage because you not only spoke for yourselves you spoke for others. You should not have been expelled nor should you be punished in any way shape or form for speaking against the wrongs committed against you. School employees do not listen unless you grab them by the face and shout in their ears. The truth is the Washington State schools are only supportive of their institutions. They are cowards and suckers and ignorant and poorly equipped to handle anything dealing with violent students.

Violent students are usually born dangerous, develop their villainy in early childhood, should be identified early on, and should never ever be allowed to attend the same school as other students. When they are not identified and removed, they bring the entire school system down much like a rock dropped in the middle of a serene lake their actions spread out in rings affecting everything and everyone in their path. Such a small unnecessary group should not be allowed to affect the whole.

Dangerous students regardless of who they are or who their parents are should be permanently removed from the student body and placed in an institution with other students like themselves where they can be educated and possibly treated with decompression therapy which has proven to be over ninety percent successful.

The unfortunate reality is most individuals who become school employees or administrators tend to be highly focused on logistics and diplomacy. It is in their genetics to gravitate this way. When faced with dangerous students who are almost always tactical and strategic, they are incapable of understanding how dangerous they are because they themselves lack these abilities and hold a false believe that everyone thinks like they do. Schools should actively seek out a larger population of non-violent, non-psychopathic tactical and strategic employees to better balance the approximately eighty-nine percent of school employees who lack these skills. These individuals would more readily recognize dangerous students because it is in their genetics to do so and more likely to believe victims when they come forwards. Especially since logistical and diplomatic school employees are by nature whether they want to believe it or not are more attracted to and more likely to support perpetrators than victims as well as being hardwired to avoid change.