Sunday, December 28, 2008


We here at the Tomokee household are not exactly video gamers. However, after playing with the Wii Fit at the home of some friends, we just HAD to get one. So far, we've only purchased the basic Wii unit because the stores are out of stock of the Wii Fit. For some reason, Tomokee is fascinated by the Wii setup process, especially with creating the Mii avatars. We don't know if it's the avatar faces, or the oddly vibrating Wii cursor, or the bloop-bloop-blooping sounds during setup, but Tomokee just stares and stares and stares....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mr. Loud goes to the dog park

We took Tomokee to the dog park on Black Friday, figuring it would be a quiet day, but nooo...., everybody and their dogs were there, all thinking the same thing. Included in the population were five huskies, a couple of whom ran with Tomokee. T-dog was particularly annoying -- just bark, bark, barking at every dog to get them to play, play, play with him.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Birthday, Tomokee! We're thankful (most of the time!) that you've made it to your third year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Beach photo

The weather is getting drearier. It's time for a beach photo. This one is from our most recent trip in October to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Tomokee was thoroughly enjoying himself.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sign sign everywhere a sign

This sign was spotted on the front door of a shop in Truckee, CA.

This one was in the lounge of the Cypress Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So, this dog walks into a bar ...

These photos were taken in the lounge of the Cypress Inn hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The lounge is called Terry's Lounge, and the bartender wears a vest, as it should be. This was near closing time, so Drago, the bartender on duty, let us perch Tomokee at the bar. And no, Tomokee did not get to enjoy any of the alcoholic beverages.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are you starin' at ME?

Tomokee hates being stared at. This includes being stared at by inanimate objects which look like they are staring at him. In this case, the object is a stuffed bison that we encountered in downtown Jackson, WY. If we walk by quickly, he's okay, but if we pause, and he gets a chance to look at it, he goes berserk.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Tall Tale of Giraffe Boy

So, our stay at Salt Lake City's very pet-friendly Hotel Monoco (part of the Kimpton group of hotels) provided us with this very nice suite-sized room. When we first got there, we both noticed that the bathroom vanity was substantially higher than normal, but chalked it up as a fashion statement (and it kept Mr. Soap-Snaffler away from the hand soap).

We also discovered these two XXL-sized robes, in giraffe print, in the closet. Now I'm a little lost in mine (see the giraffe-boy photo below), but Betty looked like a 5-year-old in parents' clothing, trailing a giraffy train after her like Morticia Addams.

Betty asked Tage (a friendly bell-person who took a liking to T-dog and vice-versa) why they would only have stocked two such huge robes (and they had a teddy and a couple of pairs of subtrou for sale hung in the closet) and, by the giraffe-print description, he said we had been given one of a select number of "tall rooms" the hotel has for very tall people. Normal rooms get normally sized robes in leopard skin print.

That explained the very high door frames and why my feet didn't stick over the end of the bed.

If you get a chance, give this place a visit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


On the last day of the great 2008 road trip, we did a little hiking on the Castle Peak trail near Truckee. We got as far as Castle Pass, where Tomokee is enjoying the view.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A walk in the park

Liberty Park in Salt Lake City is a lovely and large multi-use city park. Tomokee enjoyed a walk through the park when we passed through SLC on the great 2008 road trip. Here he is posing by the lake.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I left my lunch in Salt Lake City...

I don't think Tony Bennet's going to be recording that classic any time soon.

T-dog got a bit peckish, and snaffled the soap from the shower in Jackson. The soap and the excitement of the big city that's Salt Lake got the better of him as he wandered towards Main Street on his way to Temple Square (sadly, non service dogs aren't welcome in the compound).

The picture below captures the end result.

Note the red circle -- that's the soap that got him into this mess in the beginning. Note also that, despite a set of teeth that would make a great white jealous, he has inhaled, rather than chewed, various treats. As our friend Lisa would say (forming the VP-YMCA Y with her hands), "Yeesh!"

Pet-friendly accomodations

We're on the homeward bound leg of the great 2008 road trip and we're spending one night in Salt Lake City in the ever-so-chi-chi Hotel Monaco. This is a dog-friendly hotel located in downtown SLC. They have a welcome board welcoming the pets that are checking in for the night. Tomokee's name is written on the chalkboard.

The ever-so-stylish rooms are equipped with dog beds and bowls.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Art of the Deal

With apologies to the Donald for a great title...


On advice of counsel (Betty), I must point out that to the best of our knowledge, the good folks at McDonald's (their registered trademark, not mine, not used with permission or intent to confuse anybody, anyhow, anywhere) I state for the record that to the best of my extant knowledge, they (McDonald's) use no illicit addictive substances (by way of example and not limitation: heroin, crack cocaine or nicotine) in their products.


The dog has to ride in the back quarters of the Tardis and, especially after a long day's drive, it's not always easy to convince 65 pounds of wiggly hound-mix he wants to climb into the hound-zone. To that end, we used to be able to proffer a dog biscuit to get him to step back there without any auxiliary pushing and shoving. This failed after the first day's travel. We then had success with a human-grade-but-sold-for-dogs buffalo jerky treat product. Three days in, this was no longer a good inducement (the Donald learns quickly, so does the dog). We briefly had success with the remnants of a 9$ (really good) burger from Jakers in Twin Falls. After a couple of unethusiastic boardings (consumption of the proffered bribe is never a slow process), this too lost efficacy.

I told Betty that, in my experience, McDonald's food has an addictive (see Disclaimer, supra) quality that might work for the hound. She seemed dubious at my representation that the double cheeseburger (with which I'm familiar) would prove long-term irresistible.

Our first attempt was a double bust. We went to the McDonald's in West Yellowstone, only to discover that:

A) The staff (like much of the service staff in the whole city of West Yellowstone) was distant yet unfriendly.

B) Betty reported there was no such thing as a "dollar menu" at this McDonald's location.

C) It was too early for any burger products (ca. 1000 hours local time).

D) The lowest priced available item was a disgustingly wilted sausage product on a cardboard (?) bun/biscuit thingie.

This tragically fetid, yet costly (3+$) product didn't work out of the box.

Undaunted, we moved on to Jackson, WY. While the dollar menu at the Jackson McDonald's has changed of recent (see, for example this article), there's still a cheeseburger (not the traditional 1$ double favoured by the hung-over set) for $1.09 with that scent that stimulates some bizarre serotonin-like brain chemistry in humans, at least.

With this new bait in hand, we proffer a small segment of burger to the recalcitrant hound only to be chuffed as he loaded himself handily in the Tardis for takeoff. Subsequent events have only reenforced the observed addictive qualities. Now, whenever the hound sees Betty near the cooler in the back, he pulls for the back of the Rav4 with impressive force. He now jumps in without even being told to do so.

We're happy, the good folks at McDonald's should be happy they're selling product and that dogs are evidencing the same cravings for their products they've engineered for humans. As the Donald might say, were such tiny amounts worthy of his attention, we gots us a win-win here.

The view

We enjoyed another morning of hiking in the Bridger-Teton National forest today, which has several trail heads located right in Jackson, WY. Here, Tomokee is enjoying the view overlooking the town from the sink-or-swim trail.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On the trail with a happy dog

Here are Betty and Tomokee headed down the Cache Creek Trail with stunning skies and mountains as a backdrop. At this point we're at about 7000' elevation.

The trail winds along a nice creek. Here, T-dog goes splashing around where he and a new-found buddy named Freddy had been frolicking before. His tail is in full scorpion mode.

Note that the hound is without leash. This is permitted in National Forests during the summer, but not in National Parks. He's pretty good about being off leash unless he finds another very active buddy (T-dog's 2.5 years old, new buddy Freddy's a 3-year old).

A good time had by all.

Travels with Tomokee

Here's Tomokee in the back of the Tardis, a/k/a the RAV4 (said vehicle being laden with not just the dog, but the dog's luggage (!!), Betty's steamer trunks and my bag, hike pack and computer case). Note that he has a jowl structure reminiscent of the late Senator Sam Ervin of Watergate hearing fame. Here he's getting ready for a day hike to the Cache Creek Trail (not related to the gambling facility of the same name in California) in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fishing Bridge photo-op

Tomokee is enjoying the view of the Yellowstone river from the Fishing Bridge.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

T-dog in Yellowstone

So, when in Yellowstone, what's the standard thing you hafta-hafta do? See Old Faithful, of course!

Here's T-dog watching from a ranger-free distance just as O.F. starts the spritz-biz. Note the normally floppy, down-hanging ears now disposed closely on the top of the head for safety.

Here's T-dog and Betty looking at a rustic facility that reminds me of that creepy place from The Shining. Just around the corner was a herd of elk...

These two are representative of the about 12 beasts lounging. It explains all the mega-size deer-like pellets we had to keep the dog from snaffling.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hmm... what is this then?

Tomokee is studying one of the 25 fiberglass bison scattered throughout West Yellowstone, Montana. We can only let him look at the rear end of the bison. If he stares too hard at the other business end, he goes berserk and barks frantically.

Friday, September 5, 2008

And a very nice trail it is

Tomokee is standing in front of the plaque at the start of the canyon rim trail at the top of Shoshone Falls, near Twin Falls, Idaho. This very nice paved trail was built to commemorate the centennial of Twin Falls in 2004. We enjoyed a very nice hike on this trail, which goes along the rim of the snake river canyon.
Here's a view of the river from the trail.

Roadtrip fun

We made good time to Winnemucca yesterday, but nothing there was particularly photogenic.

Today had more good photo ops -- Betty and T-dog trying out the swings in Elko's Main City Park:
Later, we went to Shoshone Falls Park and hiked the Snake River ridge trail. Whilst trekking, T-dog found this sign:

Friend Rob called us wimps for reading & heeding this one. He's right.

On to Pocatello, a knitting shop in Idaho Falls. & West Jellystone tomorrow

Saturday, August 23, 2008

He's blessing you with his ass II, the sequel

So, it turns out Tomokee's backing-his-butt-into-you behaviour is not only for people, but for objects said people might be using. It has to be an animated, people-related item, he does not just go around applying a brown-eye chop to every lump in the house (praised is Zeus!).

What's interesting about this shot is, instead of having red devil-dog eyes from the flash, he's got some sort of chameleon effect going on -- his left eye matches the exercise ball. Here he's getting in the way of Betty using her exercise ball for a back-stretching exercise (a non-Betty example of which is shown below):

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Tomokee LOVES new tennis balls, or least those that are new to him. We recently threw a garden party, and one of our guests kindly brought Tomokee some used tennis balls. We let him choose one -- it took a bit of sniffing, but he actually was able to select just one.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A good dog park day

We took Tomokee to the dog park today. He did less of his usual bark-bark-bark-play-with-me-bark thing, which was good. He still does not come when called in the dog park, but he will respond to the sit command and stop whatever he's doing and slowly sit down so that we can leash him up. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.
He's also willing to jump into the back cargo area of the car so that we don't have to lift him into it one half of his body at a time, which is a site to behold. However, it does require one of us to sit in the back seat, dangle a tasty treat into the cargo area, and yell "ham!" It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Monday, July 28, 2008


We went hiking with Tomokee in Fremont Older open space preseve recently. Here he is enduring yet another photo op.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Play date

Tomokee had a play date in our yard this evening with Agave, one of the neighborhood dogs. Agave is looking a little grimy because she enjoyed our pond a little too much. (Can you say pond scum?) Tomokee is nice and dry because he's never taken an interest in the pond. All in all, a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So, Toxic-P is one of the multiple names we use for Tomokee. The picture, above, shows how he came by this particular name.

This was the topic of a discussion held as I was conferencing on a "making of" commentary for an audio drama I direct (assembling the actors' voices, effects and music) just prior to rolling into the "making of" recording. So, it was in these preliminary discussions that the name came up, in sort of a "making of making of" snippet. It's set to a good rapper-esque squeak'n'beat.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Adoptiversary, Tomokee!

Tomokee has been with us for two whole years! We didn't even kill him two days ago for eating a quarter of our pasta salad from a bowl on the counter. He's advanced from a hyperactive loony teenager to a not-so-hyperactive still-loony adult. Now, if we can just convince him to jump into the back of the car when needed, life would be perfect.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Albino Bumble Bee?

So, we're chucking the tennis ball around for T-dog and Betty has me run and get the camera. We've seen lots of honey bees and plenty of your standard mil-spec black and yellow bumble bees, but this was a new one on us. Betty, who likes to name things, animate and inanimate has dubbed this fine beast, "Oscar."

If my Googling chops are suffering good karma, this might be a Bombus fervidus (Fabricius) (assuming that the name submitted for blessing by the ESA went through back in '07).

[NOTE: updated 9-Jun-08 --
My Google-fu has failed me on this one. Here's a photo of the

and, while it certainly has less black, it's not what we saw.

So, being desirous of a more formal name than, "Oscar," I'll propose Bombus festivus (a bug for the rest of us!)]

[Second update (9-jun-08): The Google-fu chi returns!

I found our friend, a form of carpenter bee known as
Xylocopa varipuncta here, with this nice photo:

OK -- the search appears done, but feel free to drop us a comment... we're pretty amazed with the printed-circuit look to the face (and the fact the picture came out halfway decently).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Another (partially) off-leash hike

Tomokee got another off-leash-for-some-of-the-time hike this last Thursday. Here he's shown with our friend, Bob. Bob is sitting, appropriately, on "Bob's Bench" near the peak of Windy Hill.

T-dog got to see two bunnies (didn't chase 'em, just sniffed the greenery into which they vanished) and a deer (he was on leash for this, fortunately -- I think he wanted to go romp with the deer).

The dog's got a big yawn going because Bob & I were trying to figure out how the Democrats could screw things up any worse, then seeing the "38 page legal opinion" saying something to the effect that Michigan and Florida broke the rules, but leaving 'em out altogether disenfranchises people (which is what the rules were supposed to do, no?) so we'll seat the delegates and let each have a half a vote or seat half the delegates.

No wonder the democrats have so much trouble in presidential elections... their process is opaque yet horribly vague. Yeesh. Politics bores the dog... he'd rather see more critters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hiking off-leash at last!

We took a trip to Carmel this last weekend, and went on our usual morning hike with Tomokee to Garland Ranch. This time we let Tomokee hike without being on a leash, and it was wonderful. He could sniff as he pleased, and he didn't even want to eat the horse poop, as he did the first time we hiked there.
We're still a little hesitant to let him off leash on a beach because he can get a little crazy on a beach. We did do so on the next day at the Carmel beach, but we we kept him on a leash here at the Garapada beach. Most of the other dogs on this beach were on leashes also.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nail Time!

Tomokee has these rear double dewclaws with nails that can grow too long. They don't get contact with the ground when he does all his wind sprinting ball chasing exercises. Not too long ago, he needed sedation in order to get them trimmed at the vet because one of them was curling onto his foot bad. To avoid this problem in the future, I now give him frequent pedicures and file the nails down. He responds to "nail time!" and just lays down for his pedicure. He gets a treat afterwards, which is probably the only reason he is so agreeable.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The lawn is still alive!

We've been re-doing some landscaping recently. We've got a new back patio and walkways -- can you say Connecticut bluestone full-range flamed sawn ashlar? We also now have a grown-up lawn. It's only a small lawn, but we still have to take care of it. This is sometimes difficult with Tomokee around. He doesn't dig or anything, but he does generate a lot of output, and this can be detrimental to a lawn. It's been a week and the lawn is still green. We're proud of ourselves.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Matchy-matchy, revisited

This photo was taken some time ago, when it was still winter and cold enough for Tomokee to wear his McCloud jacket. I normally don't like to dress like the dog, but this was an exception.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fur Ball 2008

We attended the Humane Society Silicon Valley Fur Ball 2008 this weekend. A good time was had by all, including Tomokee, shown here in his ever-so-sharp tux. The pocket on the side contains some business cards that we ordered for him. (yes, you heard right - business cards). We figured it might promote blog readership.

Here are some of the other canine guests. I love the hat on the great dane. I believe the dog in pearls is named Mona.

They created a nice little make-shift lawn area so that the dogs could visit mother nature:

The "king and queen" of the Fur Ball were Steve Wozniak and Kathy "D-List" Griffen.They are rumored to be engaged. I find that just very odd.

More photos of the event can be found here.