Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Madison WI

Taken from The Puppy Up Foundation Blog by Erich Trapp

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On Sunday, May 7th over 1,300 people and 900 dogs attended the 4th Annual PuppyUp Madison Walk at McKee Farms in Fitchburg, WI. This is the largest PuppyUp Walk the Foundation holds each year, and each year the PuppyUp Madison Team surpasses their goals.
Their beginning goal in 2014 was $10,000 and 50 participants and they passed that goal by raising approximately $87,000 with over 750 participants. This year the goal was $135,000 and 1,000 participants; they again blew their goals out of the water by raising over $156,000, having 106 Teams and 52 Sponsors and vendors.
Success at this level is not gained over night. Many steps are planned with precision for months, progress is monitored daily and often by the minute. The dedication and passion of the Madison Committee (Beth Viney, Dr. Kai-Biu Shiu, Ann Lippincott, Lana Hesch, Mel Stodola Taylor, Mary Ann Francis, Katie Martz, Danielle Kay, Courtney Tyson, Jennifer Schleicher, Vicki Nussbaum, Lori Gibson and Dr. Linda Sullivan) inspires all who meet them. The hours they spend away from their dogs, family and friends in order to fight cancer in pets and people is much appreciated not just by me, Luke and our Board of Directors, but by all the people they encounter along the way. They have created a community in which others feel free to seek help, advice and even a shoulder to cry on. Many now feel that there is hope that one day we will have better cancer treatments for our two and four legged companions. And some day through the research that we are funding …. a cure, so that others do not lose loved ones to this horrible disease.
A special thanks to Beth Viney (co-founder of PuppyUp Madison) who works tirelessly in memory of Czar and is an inspiration to all who meet her; Ann Lippincott (2017 Chair) who dedicates her fight against cancer to Velma, (or Miss V as she is sometimes called); and Dr. Kai Shiu (co-founder of PuppyUp Madison, Veterinary Oncologist and Chair of the Puppy Up Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee) who fights cancer on all fronts in his office, and for the Foundation.
Through their efforts, they have raised $500,000 in the past 4 years allowing the Foundation to add funding to much needed research, awareness and education.
When asked to comment about the 2017 PuppyUp Madison Walk, Luke Robinson, the Founder of the Puppy Up Foundation stated “Trail Magic has taken The Puppy Up Foundation from just 2 dogs and a homeless dude to funding cutting edge, peer reviewed cancer research in exciting areas like immunotherapy at world class institutions, and it led us to Madison, WI. And where Kai and Beth and all of Team Madison have taken it from there is nothing short of awesomeness! My proudest achievement aside from getting the Fuzzybutts safely across 4,000 miles for this cause is how Puppy Up Nation has inspired the best and greatest in all of us.”
We’re looking forward to 2018 PuppyUp Madison.
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YBD's Notes - the photo above is of the Puppy Power Team led by Michael, a 9 year old lad I had the honor of meeting who became one of Madison's top fundraisers and at last count that was $5,800.  Congrats and cheers to a job well done!
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Of course, Hudson, the famous Fuzzybutt, had his own take on Madison.  As some of you know, he's become some what of a degenerate in his old age, humping indiscriminately.  Boy dog, girl dog it doesn't seem to matter one bit earning him the nickname Humpson we just chalk it up to the French in him. The Old Perv wrote a Haiku about his recent time up in Madison WI, home of the Badgers, and what's become the town where the Fuzzybutts ring in summertime.  
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Hudson Haiku

Madison blossoms.  
Where is dat lil badger at?
I hump it too!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quote fer the Day

"Whether God exists or don't, don't matter.  You still owe him."

Yer Big Dog

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Lost Brother

While at dinner with my family in San Antonio last week Jon said grace and in his prayer he thanked God that 'Our lost brother has come home'.  

Today I leave Memphis to return to New England to tell this story.  As you know I've tried in the past and either the timing or platform or partners didn't pan out.  Events that have transpired in recent months have convinced me the time is now.  

Admittedly the problem has primarily been me or more specifically the standards I set for it.  Just as with the two walks I wanted to do something no one else has before and relegating the story to the Christian book market or a PBS special was unacceptable.  Even a film festival documentary didn't seem sufficient.  

The epidemic of cancer in our companions demands and deserves the widest audience possible and I've always pushed and pushed to that end.  But one lesson I've learned repeatedly is you cannot depend on anyone else to realize your vision and like life on the road it's you and you alone.  

I now know how to tell this story and the manner in which to tell it so once again I set off into uncharted waters. 

Brother, I am lost no longer.  

YBD 2.27.17

Friday, February 24, 2017

Millennials and Their Music


Today at the gym I got into one of those really useful insightful discussions with a bearded, man-bun BilaBong millennial - yeah those guys - about the best workout music so to get out of my 'Why so serious?' posts tonight I write about 80s dance music.

Warning - be prepared to relive your youth or learn how to really be hip


Exhibit A for the prosecution.  New York, New York by Micro Chip League (MCL).  A staple at Curfew Austin and when it played the whole club lit up with glow ropes.  Listening to it now it's some strange synthetic segue from 50s swing to the rave scene incorporating the Atari man voice.  How cool is that?  

Exhibit B.  Why the newfound unhealthy obsession with Russia eludes me but hey kids this song came out before the wall came down when we were at the brink with communism.  Look if you're going to spazz out about the return of the good ole USSR - at least do so to dance and what better than CCCP American Soviets 

Exhibit C.  And while you're getting a history lesson I know this may burst your little snowflake bubbles but you didn't invent protesting racism, sexism, fascism.  Gen 80s didn't either but unlike the great lyricists before us viz., Lennon & Dylan, we made it all freaky cool.  Lose the anger on the FLOOR!  Consolidated.  

Definitely on the playlist tonight:  A Split Second Rigor Mortis, Front 242 Headhunter, Nitzer Ebb Join in the Chant 

There's more - oh so many more - but at this point I fear the millennials are running for their safe zones.  
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YBD's Notes 1:  Actually, I have a fondness for Millennials - they're rather cute.  In all seriousness, fool is the one who doesn't learn from the youth.  However....

YBD's Notes 2:  The sooner millennials learn this French phrase the better prepared for life you'll be:  'Plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose.'  You're really not that special my friends.  And your music kinda sucks although some of it is retro 80s now and getting interesting. 

YBD's Notes 3:  Back in the day, us old timers didn't have no Internet and we couldn't understand a single thing most of these songs were saying.  But that wasn't really the point to it.  So if'n one of you whippersnappers look up the lyrics, don't waste yer time posting if you're offended.  I don't care and I'm too busy dancing.   

In Bestia


The boys and I are back from a brief jaunt down to Texas to support the Puppy Up walk in the Woodlands and for a short visit with my family.  Quite happy to be back as I have missed my friend.  Crap, I still haven't named him.  Um let's go with...

I know some of you are saying, he's talking about himself again - why does he do that?  And where's the cancer blog? Like any capable contestant, I'll take the second part first.  Trying to reduce, distill and refine all that I have learned over a decade of  travels in a few mere blogs is not only dreadfully difficult, it's daunting, too, and on this I want to get it right.  Or mostly right which is more kin to my nature.  

In the past, there have been blogs I've powered through in just a few minutes with a fire and forget mentality.  Others haven taken days and even weeks for a paragraph or less.  And that's not to mention that for every blog I publish, there are at least ten I don't.  

But if it's a sneak peak you want then I'll give you a little taste of part 1:  Cancer is You.  You are Cancer.  From just the title alone perhaps you can estimate the enormity of the undertaking now.

Next, I used to get irritated by people - and there have been many - who want me to remove myself entirely from this story and stick to topic whatever that means.  Not only is that an odd request since it was me - ex animo - who created all of this - but I rather think I matter.  And I'm far from being done.  But as The Dude would say, that's, like, only my opinion, man (Heads up for the F Bomb).  

Besides as I hinted at in the previous two blogs, all of these 'distracting little posts' about me are going somewhere and I suggest now would be the time to start paying attention if'n you want to begin this stretch of the journey alongside me.    

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Renwick 

That's what I'll call my friend!  Sounds a little pretentious and overly caricatured, too, but I'll stick with it. Anyway back to the beginning - it's good to see him again and we have continued our work together and this is what I wanted to share with you.  It's important to note that I'm merely a student at this point but it's pretty powerful stuff.  Especially altered states which I intend on speaking separately about.  

Whilst down at my folks house I came across an old photo album - actually I sought it out.  In part to retrace the tracks of my life and for another reason that will soon become evident.  And in it I discovered the above photo of a half naked me facing a bull cross fence at Big Momma's house (that's what we called my 80 lb grandmother cause man could she wield a skillet like a battle axe).  What struck me, other than how large my bollocks must've been but also how at peace I seem.  Maybe it was two beasts regarding each other and that's why I was unafraid and perhaps even comforted by his presence.

I never have taken a liking to the term 'beast' or what I sense is its social nuance.  Its implication is negative and connotations derogatory.  To me it means true to ones nature; it is base, fundamental and instinctive.  From my research the etymology of the word remains unclear however, the root of 'animal' is Latin meaning breath or spirit. I suppose the distinction between the two words 'beast' and 'animal' is essence versus being but I'll leave that one up to the scholarly sorts who have a ton of disposable time.  

To me and for now, they are synonymous.  I am reminded of a story I once read of a boy who, all alone and lost in the woods, becomes a beast to protect himself from the perils of the night and fight his way to safety.  But upon emerging from the forest unscathed the boy learns that he cannot unbecome.

So what's the point of all of this?  What's the purpose?  Somewhere along my journey I stopped asking the fundamental questions that preoccupied my youth.  Like tears in rain they became lost in life's torrent of distractions, inanities and wasteful activities.

Renwick has helped me find who I am again and to truly know it for the first time.  I am a beast of a man.

What's next - it's damn time I learn how to train it.

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YBD's Notes:  Interestingly in writing this blog I came across a Latin phrase of unknown origin -  cum vir se bestiam facitrelinquit dolorem humanitatis which means, 'When a man makes himself a beast, he leaves behind the pain of humanity'.  Perhaps true.  Perhaps humanity is the problem. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Yer Big Dog Turns 36

Wait a tic I'm on central time now.  On the Eastern seaboard I'm actually 46. 

And it's been more than a month since my birthday but  as I alluded to in my previous post, it's been kind of a breakthrough month for me.

Turning mid 40s your body starts to say, "HEY!!! REMEMBER ME???" and it was time for me to stop and take inventory.  Maybe it started talking to me earlier but sometimes I don't listen so good.  

Louis CK says it best in this video - it's absolutely hilarious but as per louis, it's a little ripe with the language.  

2018 will be the most important year of my life and that's the reason I'm focusing intensely on getting to peak performance.  No spoilers now and probably not for months but you'll understand soon enough.

Here's what I'm working on.  

Body

For most of my adult life I've suffered from a bad lower back caused by a work related injury that was exacerbated by being rear ended by a Dodge Ram when I was en route to a deep sea fishing excursion in Corpus Christie. I was at a dead stop and he was doing about 40 mph and that herniated a lower disc to say the least.  Backpacking 4,000 miles with an FSO of 100+ lbs didn't help and it's been a battle since, two steroid injections not withstanding.  

Then there's the knee but there's no sense in going into detail - we all have to learn how to walk with wounds.  

I've never been a gym junkie before but I can't go more than a day away from it now.  Plus, Planet Fitness has a hydromassage table and I could live for days on that machine.  I'm also back to walking a few miles daily typically after my workout.    

Mind

I have a hyper functioning brain which is cool at times especially when I need to summon my creativity but it also makes me highly susceptible to noise and distractions.  Just ask anyone who watches TV with me.  Advertisements - I really wouldn't even call them that since they're often the lowest common denominator - drive me nuts.  AND... hah - caught myself. 

Also I'm a political junkie since half my family comes from Louisiana where politics is a blood sport so I've had to filter that out, too.  Except for Mark Simone since he covers culinary trends in NYC and film.  Still it's hard at times since I've always prided myself with being current and well read but given the volume levels nowadays, it short circuits my CPU.  And ya gotta protect that. 

Instead, my earbuds have become myelinated sheaths which both insulate my thoughts and along with workouts and walking, propagate them at greater frequencies.  More on this and music choices later.... 

Diet

You'd think after as many miles I've logged, I would have this figured out.  But, traveling with the fuzzybutts required me to make tough decisions about pack weight almost always to my detriment.  Their food, comfort, and safety always came first and when backpacking every gram counts.  Which meant many days and night I feasted on whatever I could find at C-Stores or not at all.  Just ask Mommy G how many boxes of nuts and dried fruits went unsent because I just couldn't afford the pack weight and sometimes it was 30-40 miles between towns.  

No ma'am, my diet on the road consisted mostly of Pork Rinds and pickles for salt and Sour Patch Kids for sugar and that messes with you the older you get.  

Spiritual

See previous blog, Midnight with Murphy, but it won't be my only one about it. 


Garbage In, Garbage Out

This is a common phrase you encounter in the technology world.  Basically it means crappy coding begets shitty software and that's so, so true of your body, mind, and spirit with diet affecting them all.  I don't pretend or presume to be an expert in any of them but I'm learning.  Nor will I turn into some freaky fitness creep that you encounter on infomercials.  

In turning 46, I have to focus on all if I hope to reach optimal performance by this time next year.   Me and my shitty back.  And my shitty knee.  

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YBD's Notes:  FSO = From Skin Out calculated by everything you carry and wear minus your nekkid self.  Couldn't find a quick and easy link about it.    


Friday, February 3, 2017

Midnight with Murphy

I should've been fasting these past 10 days out in the hinterlands of Tennessee.  All alone in my trusty tent starving myself of sustenance in order to achieve some greater clarity, understanding and context that occasionally is lost to me.  Heck I was packed up and ready to head out and then something stopped me.  Can't say what for sure - but the cascade of events set in motion since have been nothing short of metamorphic.   

Recently, I met a man who showed me another way and for the past two weeks I've been doing some serious transcendental shit; acupuncture, chanting, Reiki and sensory deprivation (not like Altered States - I'm already a beast of a man but more internal, intrinsic).    If I didn't know better I'd think I'd been smoking some serious Humboldt county style Boo-Ya.  Yes, yes I got a PhD in weed on the west coast.  

Sure, I've acknowledged the possibility and potential of and even dabbled in these Eastern type practices but never personally, truly, and profoundly have I explored them.  And now I'm down in it.  

So where is it going to take me?  What's the endpoint of it all?  To this, I am as yet uncertain.  But here's what I have learned thus far on this new path.

The Fallacy of 'What Should Happen Should Happen'

I was never any good at Logic - not the concept or application of it - but in the scholastic sense and  as a subset of philosophy.  So in attempting to make sense of the sequence of events that led me here to this time and place - I made up this fallacy which is basically the basis of flawed logic. 

People often ask me why did you walk those thousands of miles.  Oh sure, I've got a pocket full of reasons.  The fun, flippant one - everything is bigger in Texas and when we lose a dog to cancer down there we don't walk around a park, we walk cross country.  Then I've got the media sound bite version - sharing Malcolm and Murphy's story from town to town to raise awareness of the epidemic of canine cancer. I've got many more but you get the point.  

Perhaps they are all truths or variations of the same one but for me it's because I believed walking from Austin to Boston would help heal my loss of Malcolm, to soothe my savage heart. And then within weeks of the final mile, Murphy was diagnosed and, well, most of you know the rest of that story.   

And so I walked another 1,700 miles doubling down on the belief that THAT would heal me.   

You see the fallacy in this logic?  That because I believed it should, it should've.  But it didn't.  

Luke 4:23

You know, it's commonly thought that the origin of my name is 'light giving' and the best known example of it is the apostle Paul's traveling companion and doctor.  This proverb - I had to look that up since, um, well I usually skipped Bible study in search of less pious pursuits shall we say - in Latin reads cura te ipsum  - 'Physician heal thyself' something that's been a bit of an impossibility for me it seems.  

I suppose my post-facto rationalization has always been - I never spare myself any emotion for Malcolm and Murphy no matter how painful.  I can endure it.  Just like so many nights on the road and asea, I can weather this storm.  But I have suffered so.  

Self-imposed or not.  

Disconnection

Back to this newfound friend of mine, whom I barely even know. He showed me that pain can be a way to separate yourself from others.  To disconnect from them.  Furthermore, he said that people like me unknowingly use tragedy to spare themselves from the need and necessity of love and letting others in.  

I'm not sure if I believe all of his bullshit yet - but hey, I'm listening.    You see, it's one thing to turn tragedy into action - oh, I've done that and then some.  It's quite another thing to allow that experience to truly transform you.  And it's here I find myself at this intersection.   

Life Off Road

Not to put too fine a point on it but I've become a bit of an expert on backpacking the byways, highways, back roads and farm roads of this incredible land of ours.  But take me off and away from it and I tend to fall apart.  Perhaps it's because I'm always in pursuit of an idea, a belief, a cause - our cause - that remains elusive to me.  Or maybe it's as simple as finding sedentary existence unsettling and like Carthamus I'm damned to a life of wandering and wondering.   

And while I have been pretty good at chronicling and sharing my journeys on the road with you, I've been decidedly deficit in talking about it off, especially post west coast.  From now on, that will change.  I won't let fear, doubt, uncertainty, darkness or utter despair disconnect me from you again.  

In part because some of you have said to me you find the latter much more inspiring and relatable if not essential than the former.  And in part because my new friend tells me to.  

That and I need a simpler formula for existence.  I live.  I learn.  I write.  Something like that... just less cheesy and Julia Roberts sounding.  

Postscripts

Two blogs in draft right now (1) On Turning 36 - My travels and adventurin' have taken their toll on Yer Big Dog so I lick my wounds and tell tales about it; (2) The Theory of Cancer - lately my thinking has gotten so abstract and theoretical about the evolution of cancer. Where is it going and how can that affect our thinking about the future of therapeutics? On societal and civil re-engineering?  Reflections on my conversations with thought leaders and a whole host of other ideas - this will definitely be a multi-part project. 

There are more... lots more but I'm attempting to do a better job of prioritizing my crazy.

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YBD's Notes 1: The name of this blog has a special meaning to me.  Back when I was a businessman in Texas I would often take Malcolm up to my office in the evenings and that inspired a series of writings I entitled Midnight with Malcolm.  Dunno what the change denotes quite yet...

YBD's Notes 2: I stuff hyperlinks in my blogs if'n anyone wants to learn more about things that fascinate me but be forewarned - logic will make yer eyes water.  

YBD's Notes 3: Upon further reflection 'What Should Happen Should Happen' SHOULD be a fallacy. Oh boy.

YBD's Notes 4: Coincidentally, whilst recently consolidating all of my scant worldly possessions from around the country, I found this photo of me taken at the blessing of my childhood home.  I've seen too much of this world in this life to believe in coincidences.  Thanks to my sister-in-law Linda for preserving it.  Nice bowl cut, Mom

YBD's Notes 5:  I should choose a name for my new friend - he's not imaginary.  I Promise.  At least in my mind.  In this room.  That's white.  And padded.  

YBD's Notes 6: Perhaps it's still too early for me to write - no, I'm always doing that - to publish about these transcendental, metaphysical experiences and experiments.  But hey, at least I'm rounding again.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

damn dog

That'll be carved into my tombstone. 

I always found it to be a cosmic irony that I was the guy picked for this job if that's even the right word for describing my life's mission.  But trust me this was not the path that I chose for myself.  

Today is the anniversary of when I lost Malcolm - he was a gift from an ex from some distant land some distant time ago.  I didn't know a damn thing about dogs back then other than I didn't want one.  I worked 12 hours a day times 7. I was the chairman of this, the director of that... the creator and entrepreneur and my life didn't lend itself to distractions.

And that's what a dog was to me. A distraction.  

You see Malcolm & me was no easy thing.  He balked when I wanted him to obey and for six long months he and I were at war.  I didn't know back then but I believe now he was fighting for my soul. 

And isn't that the lesson?  No spirit should be secondary.  Not to anyone or because of anything.  

It's been a decade since lung mets sent him into congestive heart failure and Malcolm died in my arms.  It was an inglorious death to a giant and only those who understand, understand.  

damn dog. i miss you. damnit. 

YBD's Notes: What better way to celebrate Malcolm's life than by damning him. I'm quite certain he would've done the same about me.  He was a beautiful boy.