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In which I wax all sentimental about First. Again. - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 7th, 2013

10:25 am - In which I wax all sentimental about First. Again.

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Like most people these days, I get TreatMe and Groupon emails sent to me - I even occasionally indulge. It's how I got my hearing tested, and what started me doing proper things with my oral hygiene. And sometimes they have awesome restaurant or theatre thingies (Dr Wheel and I are trying to be Occasionally Cultured and cheap restaurant vouchers help with that yup). But this morning I opened it up and went "OMG what is this stuff?" Bee venom? For your lips? Uhh..

So I can kind of see how it might work, but I'm not sure inducing a histamine reaction on sensitive body parts by rubbing venom on them is all that good for you, and seriously, wtf? I mean, I've heard that botox is actually injecting yourself with botulism, so I guess this isn't any worse than that - but.. why do people do this to themselves? I mean really, why? YOU TOO CAN HAVE DUCK LIPS! *shudder*

Also, I'm about as un-allergic to bee stings as it gets, so chances are that stuff wouldn't 'plump' my lips at all. Whereas if the YoT used it, his lips would end up eating his head. Plump would not be the right word for it...

Sorry, I'm still stuck on what people will do to themselves for the sake of meeting arbitrary standards of beauty.


Last night I got booked to partially shear two sheep on the weekend. I don't know what's up with the shedding sheep this year, but this is the third lot of sheep that are supposed to shed their fleece, that I've had to shear because they haven't shed properly. I've been doing this since the 2005 shearing season, and it's the first time I've ever had to 'finish' Wiltshires. I'd never even touched on before a month ago. Weird.

Anyway, this client came from the lifestyleblock.co.nz forums, and thus reminded me of their existence. I went to have a squiz at what they've been up to lately, and found a request for heading dog pedigrees.

OMG HEADING DOG PEDIGREES! I R EXCITE!

*cough* Shut up.

Yes, I have one of those. And not only did First have a pedigree, she was bred by the keeper of the stud book. The NZ Sheepdog Trial Association keeps a book of all heading dogs and huntaways, and the deal with these is that if a dog wins at an open event, they must be registered before they can compete again. This means that the stud book is a comprehensive list of well-bred dogs, and First was no exception. Here's her pedigree:


Click here for phuge image


What's missing from there is her parents, D Bartlett's Last (sire) and J Bartlett's Vamp (dam). Riveting stuff, huh? Well actually it is. Anderson's Clyde and Ben are very well known in trial dog circles, and as you can see she's got Clyde on both sides of her pedigree. If you look closely at it, you'll see little underlinings - the solid ones are National Championship winners, the broken ones are National Championship finalists. To save you time I did a count-up:

Winners: Anderson's Ben, Hill's Dick* , Anderson's Clyde II, Boynton's Guy, Boynton's Boss, Burke's Lady.
Finalists:Anderson's Clyde, Anderson's Queen, Anderson's Snow, Henricksen's Ned, Berkahn's Laddie, Whiteman's Keen.

* Don't laugh, that's what he was called. Sometimes they even use the first name of the owner, so it's conceivable that "Bruce Hill's Dick" was called out over the loudspeaker quite regularly. I wonder if he regretted naming his dog that ...

So that's 6 National Finalists and 6 National Champions in First's pedigree. She was a very well bred dog.

For those of you who are going "Who the hell is First?" She was my dog, obviously. The only one I kept from a team of 6 when I gave up shepherding and moved to the city. She lived out her life as a Lady of Leisure, occasionally working the lifestyle sheep but mostly observing the cat, very very closely. She died in 2011 - I had her euthanised because she had cancer, which is a common ailment of heading dogs. Here's the story for those who are interested:

Blowing snot all over the vet.
Attempted diagnosis.
Symptoms.
Process of elimination and some decisions.
Final diagnosis.
Eulogy for First.

I ended up reading through those last night and it made me cry. I still miss her, even though I know that not having a dog has been advantageous to my life.

Anyway, for those who are going "WTF is a sheepdog trial?", it's where shepherds compete to see who's got the best dog. Heading dogs do this:



This is from a TV show that was incredibly popular in New Zealand in the 1980s, that showcased dog trialling. The pairs event isn't all that common in normal trials, but if you google 'short head and yard' you'll see the sort of thing that First was bred for. Perhaps surprisingly, it's compelling viewing. Will the sheep go in? Will the dog be able to mesmerise them into behaving? Don't believe me? Watch the video. And just out of interest, that white dog in the video, Meg? First's great-great granddam. And she works just like First did, almost too softly but with a calming effect on the sheep. See how he uses her for the shedding because she can get so close to the sheep without panicking them? *swoon*

*cough* anyway...

Finally, here's an article on a recent dog trial, complete with a picture of John Bartlett. Because he's still at it. ;-)


I'm not sure what this post started out as, but it seems it's turned into yet another tribute to First and working dogs in general, and I'm really glad I spotted that pedigree request on that site last night because sheepdogs are fucking cool.

I miss my dog.

Comments:

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From:myrrhmade
Date:March 6th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
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*ponders bee venom for lips*
I'd be dead, but I'd have super glossy lips.
Or something.
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From:pombagira
Date:March 6th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
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*hugs*
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From:ms_hecubus
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm... I have some plumping lip gloss. I'm not sure what's in it though. It tingles and makes my lips swell a very little bit. I hardly ever use it though because I hate lip gloss.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Probably something toxic from an insect's arse, apparently. ;-)
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From:friggasmuse
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Hehe, I love du-wop lip plumper! It's probably carcinogenic, too...

I just found out how artificial strawberry and vanilla extract flavouring is made so new venom don't seem so bad ;)
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From:tatjna
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
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I am tempted to never put anything on my lips. O.o
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From:friggasmuse
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
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Coconut oil?

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From:kehleyr
Date:March 6th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
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"conceivable that "Bruce Hill's Dick" was called out over the loudspeaker quite regularly" lmao!!
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From:Will Marshall
Date:March 6th, 2013 11:03 pm (UTC)
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So, speaking of high-energy ways of meeting arbitrary standards of beauty....

There's lots of interesting discussion on the Interwebs at the moment about (supposedly) fourth-wave sex-positive feminism. Specifically, there's this: http://sexyfeminist.com/ and related things.

Which flies straight in the face of your more traditional feminist belief that high-maintenance grooming is part of your general structural inequality and ought to be symbolically rejected. Also it's a bit like "hey the 1950s but with girl power!".

In my social circles (particularly in SF), there are loads of women who have a specific, sex-positive lifestyle, which involves high-effort grooming (waxing, hair, makeup, piercings, tattoos, clothes), and seems to be done partly for personal reasons and partly for public display.


There's some cognitive dissonance here, and I'm struggling to find a way to reconcile something that IRL seems pretty feminist, with a bunch of theory that would argue it isn't.

OPINIONS PLEASE.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 6th, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
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Well, from what I understand about fourth-wave feminism (which isn't a great deal tbh), one of the main tenets is self-actualisation. And one of the beefs it has with more traditional forms of feminism is that those forms attempt to tell women what they should think and do just as much as the patriarchy does.

So I guess that in terms of high-effort grooming, the question would become, for whose benefit is the person making the effort? If it's because she likes it and it makes her feel good, that's ok. If it's to look pretty for the men, it's problematic.

The problem I see in this kind of thinking is that I find it very difficult to tell, even in my own behaviour, which is which. Do I wear eyeliner because I like how I look with it and it makes me feel good to look good (I do), or do I wear it because my training tells me I should try to look 'better' than I do naturally because women are supposed to be pretty (it does)?

My scar is an example of high-effort body modification that I did purely for my own reasons, that I think looks awesome but that squicks some people. And other people find it sexy and fascinating, and I love it when people touch it. I'm a fourth-wave feminist, yay! But when I put on that backless dress to show it off, who am I trying to please? Myself? I can't see the bloody thing. So, others? Particularly men? Maybe. I guess fourth wave feminism is saying it's ok to want to look pretty, it's even ok to want to look pretty for the men, if that makes you feel good/powerful/self-actualised.

And, how much does it matter? I think that asking these types of questions is ultimately more important than trying to decide what's right, because as soon as that happens, folks will start telling women they're doing it wrong again, and nobody wants that.

Edited at 2013-03-06 11:27 pm (UTC)
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From:tyellas
Date:March 7th, 2013 12:25 am (UTC)
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My first take on the backless dress showing scarification, if I saw it, would be that it's a frame for a work of art.

As a voice from one of the outer provinces of high-maintenance grooming, almost all of it is women amusing ourselves. There's a lot of subculture expression going on. The past 5 years have also brought an explosion of new things to play with in this field. We have the technology, so why not? The catch is that it always needs to be OK to say "nah, not gonna do that". When the high heels or eyelash extensions become mandatory, there's a problem.

In the thermonuclear silicone-injected core of High Maintenance, it gets messier, because some women have entire careers based on providing, or being the result of, the high maintenance.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 6th, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
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PS Why do you shave your head?
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From:Will Marshall
Date:March 7th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
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That's the core of it.

"Looking good for the men" is part of the logic for many women (well, the heterosexual ones who want to get laid, anyway). Similarly, "looking good for the laydeez"* is much of the motivation behind my own grooming and attire choices.

(* this is the correct spelling)
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From:clashfan
Date:March 6th, 2013 11:44 pm (UTC)
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First was a great dog.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:March 7th, 2013 04:49 am (UTC)
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*hugs* i understand. i miss my girls every day.
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From:meathiel
Date:March 7th, 2013 06:30 am (UTC)
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Well - when you go on holiday in Ireland (or Scotland) sheepdog trials are pretty common "tourist things". So - yep ... I've been to a couple. Most interesting one was last year actually when we were standing right in the middle of the field and the sheep were running all around us ... (Usually the tourists are kept in bay behind a fence!)
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From:tatjna
Date:March 7th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
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When I was training, we used to have to change the sheep for new ones quite regularly, because sheep are smart and they learned very quickly that if they went in the pen, the dog stopped chasing them. So you'd go open the gate and the sheep would run in and the dog would'nt have to do anything. Then it was time for new ones...
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From:jaelle_n_gilla
Date:March 7th, 2013 08:55 am (UTC)
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I am always amazed at what people do to themselves for a vage concept like beauty. I've worked with botulinus toxin in the lab. We used it (carefully) to kill cells. It's the worst kind of food poisoning there is and it's absolutely deadly. And people inject that into their face? WTF. Yes, compared to that, bee poison sounds relatively harmless. Still. Yuck!

Have you ever watched "The Swan"? I caught an episode of it when I was in Sweden once and I swear I sat in that hotel room with my chin on my chest watching a train wreck happening. Wow.

I am always fascinated by sheep dogs and shepherds. I have trained my own dog and I was proud to teach her sit, stay, heel, and stuff like that. I can't begin to imagine how much work it must be to have them guide sheep from a distance, by all those different whistles. It's absolutely amazing.

PS: It seems to be impossible to post a comment once I've run the vid. Weird. Had to reload.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 7th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
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I think I caught an episode of The Swan once, and vaguely recall being somewhat squicked by the idea and then dismissing it as American craziness that I couldn't be bothered with.

Sheepdogs are bred to be easily trainable, and because they live for chasing sheep, being allowed to do it is its own reward. So they have a high drive to spend time training, and because they have a natural instinct to bring the sheep to you, once they are on the other side of a mob all you have to do is move to the side so it's unbalanced and the dog will want to move to 'catch' them before they get away. That gradually translates to 'signposting' with your arms, then eventually to just a whistle to mean 'go left' or 'go right'.

It's a bit more complex than that but as long as you train your dog to stop on command before you start with the sheep, and make sure it's at least 2/3 fun, training sheepdogs is pretty straightforward. Terriers are way harder. ;-)
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From:brynhilda
Date:March 7th, 2013 04:30 pm (UTC)
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I had flatmates and friends with sheep dogs, ok...border collies to be precise:).

Ah, wait...here's a vid to cheer you up...Maja's first encounter with a dog!! Bono was the god-dog (from a pet-shelter) of my friend [Unknown LJ tag]. He has found a great new home by now:).


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From:tatjna
Date:March 7th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
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D'awww! Laidback dog is laidback.

When First was a puppy we had a farm cat, who was little and delicate but very good at showing dogs their place. First learned early on that as long as she was polite, everything would be fine, and that cats got right of way. Even as an old dog, she'd never chase them, merely stare intently, and they'd be all "Y U NO CHASE I DON'T UNNERSTAND."
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From:brynhilda
Date:March 8th, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, he was super laidback:)...I wish I could have taken him in..sigh...
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 11th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Haha, that cracked me up all over again! What a pair!
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:March 7th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
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Sheep dog trials used to be televised here too, in a show called "One Man And His Dog". Not sure if it's still on or not, but I always watched it when I was a kid.
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 11th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Watches transfixed.

I think I might need to go acquire more trialing shows. Hard to watch in person here. There are demos sometimes but that is about it, and none locally.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 11th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, you kind of have to seek them out here too - although the NZSDTA does have a list of trials, even knowing to look there is specialist knowledge. And they don't have A Dog's Show on telly any more. Boo. ;-/
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