Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When I am being Confused...

Have you ever been in a situation where you have no idea of what the hell you are doing? I have. I have been...recently..very very confusing and it confuses the hell out of me.

I am too embarrass to admit what, but all I can say that my sense of judgement is all messed up, my self control is out of place, what I know is wrong--I go ahead and do it anyway because it feels great at the moment.

Should we all do what we think feel great even though it is not exactly right? Or should we hold back, sit down, and try to have a little self disciplin?

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Yesterday, one of my friends complained about not being able to do what he wants to do due to obligations in life. He feels that he is a 30-something-year-old with no stability in life, comparing with those in the same age. He has no money, no job he loves and no one to settle with. Basically, the guy is damn depressed. He said he envies me that I seem to get it all together.

Oh c'mon, I don't get it all together. I still feel that I don't even know what I'm doing. If I look back several years ago, I don't think at this point, I've achieved what I have planned to do anyway. But I told him, I am still ok with where I am though. If I start comparing my life with someone else , I'd never be happy. To me, each and every person has their own way of running their life--some may wanna be rich, some may wanna travel and on and on. Mine is to sit and see what tomorrow has to offer, and that I'm ok with it. I think everyone entitles to choose what they wanna do, but from my observation, people complain too much of unfulfilling life, but choose not to take actions. Some people care too much about tomorrow, but don't really live their life for today. Frankly, you just don't know when you are gonna die and that, it can be tomorrow. Jeez, I'd regret my ass off if I only lived for the day after and happened to die on that day. So since I've turned 25 years ago, I start living strictly for 'today' and see where life takes me.

QUOTE: "You can't make a diamond. You have to go and find them."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Quote of the Day

"Don't leave the one you love for the one you like because the one you like will eventually leave you for the one they love."

I know I know. It sounds pretty cheesy and that I hate cheesy stuff, but hey this works well with not only for relationships, friendships, but also work or anything else. Big difference between "love" and 'like." Same goes to difference between "need" and want."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Life after Hearing, Literally!

It's been a little over a month since my ear surgery, everything is better than ever. Looking back, I had no idea my hearing was so severe until a few days I walked out of the surgery. My sister had begged me to turn the TV volume down, my boyfriend had told me he had already spoken loud enough, people had told me they were almost yelling at me on the phone, still, I didn't realize how bad my hearing was. I was in denial until today. Everything sounds crisp and clear with only one good ear. I feel that I can hear everything. I still cannot imagine what I was missing in the past and how frustrated I was. I think the biggest problem with hearing loss is inner frustration due to lower self esteem and confidence.

What I have got from the surgery: 1) hot doctor 2) better well..much better hearing 3) a piece of titanium in my ear, which may go off while passing the security station at the airport (see picture on the left. Yah...that's it, but the real one is much smaller. Imagine that lands inside my ear.)

Some of you might find this funny, but really, if you haven't lost your hearing yet. Then don't. Now, I will wait for another year. I will do my left ear as well. I bet by the end of next year. My hearing will be all surrounded sound.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is the Business-Minded Required?

Okay...I'm really into restaurant business at this point. Someone once said to me that this kind of industry is basically a 'high risk, high return' kind of thing and that requires long hours, especially during the first year. Am I gonna be able to put up with it? The first restaurant I worked for was actually the better one in term of food and their authenticity. But co-workers and their system suck so bad. I am always the kind of person that working environment is very very important to me and that if I'm not happy (even if the place is the hippiest one in town) I have gotta say goodbye. That's why I left. The second restaurant offers a kind of Thai food that has been infused to suit American customers. I'm not saying it's bad, but for Thais, this place might not remind them of home. The restaurant also has an extensive collection of liquors and people are so friendly, funny and easy to get along with. I am happy, so I stay.

Since there is a bar section, I've always loved to hang out in there when getting a chance. I am staying for the sake of happiness and get to know how the place is operated. One thing I have learned so far: you really need to have at least one employee you can trust. Everything is business and costs money.

PS: Watching Laguna Beach while writing this, what a stupid show!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Sunday

Football Notes: Indianapolis Colts beats Washington Redskins 36-22 at RCA Dome.
Steelers lost 41-38 to the Falcons in Atlanta.

Spent pretty much the whole Sunday watching football. Never thought I finally have become a football freak!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Disco in Life

Man...last night was fun. It's been a while since I last hung out with some Thais, and yes, a few glasses of Morgan's and Coke helped. It started off around 5pm when arriving at a Thai restaurant on the west side of town to work (well to be exact, to weigh whether I should be in this industry after all.) We had live music played by a local band on the weekend nights, so that spiked up the whole place. It was a slow Friday night according to everybody, so after everything was cooling down, and the band left, we started our own little Thai-wanna-sing karaoke contest.

I told Sam that I love singing (without being afraid it would literally freak every single customer away and they would never return,) but the requirement is: if I am not wasted, that will never happen and that I don't plan to be wasted anytime soon. So we sent our Laotian Dare Devil Chef (P'Bua) up on the stage. Talking about P'Bua, he was pretty sure he wasn't gonna sing tonight while we were all still in the kitchen. He kept saying.."no no no...nothing can make me do that. You will never see me sing." Several cups of beer later, he volunteerly jumped on the stage, and never let the mic go. Last night, we have discovered a hidden star. This guy is damn good. I wonder what the hell he is doing being a chef. We were hanging out in there until pretty late, and everyone has to work today (except me, hahaha.) I wonder how in the world they are going to make it through today. I assume anyone visits the restaurant today will spot some half drunks running around in the kitchen.

Note: I just realize that since I haven't kept up with Thai music in the past...well..at least 4 years. I can't sing new Thai songs. I don't even know them anymore. Also to sing in English? That would be a shame of the family and peers. Pretty sad, huh?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Dead Rising

Okay...it is hard to admit--I am officially now a VDO game addict (the kind of human being I am scared to turn into,) but to look at the bright side. I am only addicted to this one game 'Dead Rising' by Xbox. Since Dan has bought this game, I have been since a wuss. No I never want to play, but watch. It is strange though because by watching someone else playing this game, it gets you hooked. Dead Rising is about this hot photojournalist Frank West (no no no not because it has anything to do with photojournalism makes me like the game)--a hard-edged dude hell bent on investigating the mystery at Willamette Mall in Colorado. Everyone, well almost, in the town have turned Zombie--some slow, some fast. Those zombies are scary as hell. Thank to technology nowadays, those dead beats look damn real!!! (okay! this gives you another reason why I don't wanna play, but only watch.) Besides that, I think what makes this game super cool to play is that everythings goes. You can kill Zombies by using anything--phones, pipe, baseball bats and pretty much everything you see. What make this game interesting is that Frank is not like any other kinds of main charactors in other games. He is not born a great fighter. There are skills he must learn, and once he kills more zombies, passes to next levels, reads more books and so on, killing skills will be built. This takes time. At first, this game looks just like any other killing game, but since everything goes, it gives you chances to do whatever the hell you wanna do. They give you timelines. Within those 72 hours, you have missions. You can do it, but not required to do it. But see, each solved mission is a key, leading to answer all the questions the town has. Man! I have gotta tell Dan to play again! Love it...Now...I sound just like one of them.

NOTE: For those who plan to buy a VDO game, Xbox 360 is worth the price. You will see the differences in graphics, shapeness and etc.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mixed Kids

Today, I went over to another restaurant by my place to go over of what I would be doing after work at this restaurant. I walked by the kitchen area and saw a cook (from the distance, he looked white to me.) with tattoos and numbers of piercings standing by the stove. I expect a Thai restautant's chef to be Thai--if not--Laos or Cambodian...something like that. But this guy, he is something far from Thai cuisine.

Didn't get a chance to say anything yet. Sak, the restaurant's owner, introduced me to the tattooed guy, Jake, Sak's half brother. Jake is a half Thai-half white american. Sak and Jake share the same mother. Sak is a son from their mom's first marriage with his father--a pure Thai. Looking at Jake, I thought, "wow! your are so lucky having a white dad. See, I don't know what he looks like, but as a result, you and Sak don't even look alike---not at all." No, I just thought, I didn't say it. Here is some thoughts-----Sak is 40-something pure Thai guy with tan complexion, bald, chubby and stalky. Jake is a tall 30-something with really dark brown eyes, hair and a caucasian face. What an opposite. All those mixed kids are so lucky.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I watched this movie 'Click' on DVD today. It is one of those good movies deserved to be seen by everybody. From what I know, it isn't a big-hit-billboard movie or anything like that (especially look on the right, the movie poster/DVD cover suck!), but I love its content. Adam Sandler plays an architech, Newman, who tries to jungle between work and family. As busy as he can be, Newman struggles to get promoted. He works hard to climb to the top, but finds little time left for his family. One day, Newman found this universal remote control--it can be used to stop, rewind and fast forward his life. One thing leads to another. To make a long story short, this movie successfully sends me a message about life, and how you should live for the moment because today will turn tomorrow, and that you cannot go back in time to fix things. It delivers me a message that you should appreciate things you are having--millions little things in your life will mean something to you in the future. This movie is great!!! I didn't expect it to be this good when I first rented it. Go grab one for your own and watch when you get a chance.

So today, after watching Click, I have been feeling gracious all day. I have turned to be a humble gal for a day. Thinking about buying this movie to fill my collection at home to watch when I have a down day. Tip for the day: Don't let DVD cover fool you. Some covers.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Blank Day

I did a little bit of everything today.

Woke up at 10:15 am, showered, went to eat Chinese with Dan, came home by 1 pm, and started watching football games since then. (Note: Steelers beated Kansan City so badly this evening.)

Talked to the restaurant owner about not returning for good. Tried to explain as humanly as possible of why, but it doesn't seem to go through her head, which is understandable. Some people's mental intelligence is just not capable. (Note: She still owes me $100, but pretends she knows nothing about it. Should I try to get the money?)

Ate so much today: Chinese buffet (lots,) 5 pieces of giant cookies, 5 spring rolls, 2 bites of rice, 1 big bowl of mango ice cream, 1 big bowl of boiled soy beans, 1 box of raisin, 1 candy bar......I don't think my stomach can no longer hold my eating habit.

Quitter or no Quitter?--PART 1

On Friday, I've decided it was the last day to work part-time at the Thai restaurant on the south side of Indianapolis (and will start at another one.) As much as I hate the idea of being a quitter, I just cannot stand an attitude of those Thais I worked with. Now the reason I said 'Thais' is because there are some other nationalities in there as well, but they are not the 'problem.' See the thing is: I've made it clear on my first day that I've already have my full-time job going on and that the two reasons I wanted to do are because: 1) To help a friend out. 2) To get some experiences in the kitchen. Now, here are some problems: (which I take it as lessons to not make them happen when I own a restaurant, if ever.)
1) I am new. So if you decide that walking me around, introducing me to where is where, and fully training me are not important, then what do you expect? My first day: here I asked:

ME: "So do you wanna show me around so I know what I am supposed to do?"
OTHERS: "Oh! that won't be necessary. You will be learning by doing?"
ME: "But I don't wanna have to ask someone when you guys are busy?"
OTHERS: "Oh! that's okay to ask. You don't need to be trained. We can explain later."
ME: "Are you sure? What about the appertizers? Aren't you supposed to show me how to?"
OTHERS: "I will show you when there is an order."

Two days later, I was still learning by doing on my own, but only God knows, how many fish cake I am supposed to make per order. My job there was supposed to be an appertizer lady, but hell, nobody trained me so let me guess, 5?

OTHERS: "Hey! this is not enough? Who tell you 5?"
ME: "Er...nobody"
OTHERS: "Why didn't you ask?"
ME: "I did, but everybody is busy, so nobody said anything to me."
OTHERS: "Why din't you keep asking?"
ME: "I did, but they keep telling me to ask others, and everybody does the same?"
OTHERS: "Can't you even guess? Five are too little. It's supposed to be six. Gosh!"
ME: "I am not a creator of the menu, remember?"

Now you imgine, there are total of 15 appetizers on the menue and every time a customer orders one of those, here we go again. I was there for 5 hours that evening, and I'm telling you, I just can't wait to get back to the newspaper. The following day my boss (who knows about my secret operation after work) has asked me if I wanted to discuss a story idea about 'a day in life in a restaurant' with our columnist. I told him I wanted to think about it. Yes, I want to. BUT I can see myself being murdered a few days after the column is published.

LESSON LEARNED: Organization is a key. Bitchy (and retarded) Thai employeee (and owner) deserve to be deployed to a war zone. Okay...Part 2 will follow.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Great Photojournalism Magazine

Above is one of the best...actually the best photojournalism magazine of all time, published monthly by National Press Photographer Association (NPPA.) For those of you who are not aware of photojournalism, this magazine will give you an extensive overview of what photojournalism is all about. Photojournalism, overall, is all about photograph that pretty much convey and capture all emotions, feelings and the tone of what has happening. Photography consumers then are allowed a chance to experience the moment and visit the history and story without being there. These pictures are mainly published in printed media, but as well as broadcast.

The thing is that this magazine is not sold with other kinds of mags on the newstand, but you must be a member to get it delivered. To apply, you must be in photography business such as photography students, photographer and so on. However you can go to www.nppa.org to take a look at great photographs and details. I told some of my friends that you actually don't need to subscribe to this mag if you wanna get in touch with photojournalism, but simply find some newspapers. If a picture you see give you some feelings, emotions and tells you of what has happening without being blunt (dead people/ murder on Thai Rath newspaper = is not considered a great picture..okay?), must be a good one.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Working with Thais in a foreign land

Since I first came to the US, this is the first time ever working with Thais and so far, it's been pretty negatively interesting. Below is what I can think of--for now:

1) There is no point to argue with the older--like I've mentioned in the previous blog, you will lose if you are younger. So save some headache, ignore it or walk away.
2) The restaurant I work part-time with right now is a family owned and operated. The owner is married to an American, and has brought her sisters over to help out in the restaurant. This is a hell when the sisters just don't get along. Everything they argue is so personal. Since the restaurant is not like a warehouse size, you end up hearing every single thing. It tough teaches me something: if I ever get to own a restaurant or any other kind businesses and decide to bring in family members--we have to agree to keep everything business related. If this can't be done, then I will move on to the next best thing. Incident from this evening: there were tons of screaming-at-each-other scenes. It's like they were putting up a freak show for everybody.
3) Some Thais just can't hold a professional manner at work--something you just can't change.
4) For some reasons, people tend to believe that I ended up picking some hours working in a Thai restaurant because I need money based on three silly reasons: ONE: they think I am an illegal immigrant who tries to make ends meet while trying to survive a hard life in the US. TWO: they think I gotta work in the restaurant because I have no education and this is the only thing I can do. THREE: they think I cannot speak English.
5) According to the number 4, I don't think I need to explain myself to anybody even though none of those are the reason why I work there. Also, why do Thais think that you must be deperate, poor, illegal and uneducated to work in a restaurant? Any idea? This is so stupid and so one dimensional.

PS: Oh..just so you guys know. I am officially now a poor and deperate Thai who tries to make ends meet, according to these people in the restaurant, and yes, I'm enjoying that perception. It is pretty funny. :D

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just when I start to hate living here

Remember a few days ago, I took a picture of the tree right in front of my apartment to observe the season change this year (see: season changes 10/06/06 blog.) Take a look at the different angle of of the same tree again in this photo--about 70% of it leaves are pretty much fallin onto the ground. A little cooler win and dropping temp have done pretty much the demage. I totally feel now that winter is no longer far away and no, I'm not excited.

I've chosen this tree to capture the picture of seasons, and the reason for that is because of its convenient since it's in front of me. I struggle my way with a cheap digital cam and this is the best I can do to make the most of the space available. Would love to use a big and better quality SLR camera, but hell, this point n' shoot one is a no brainer. After all, I didn't wanna enter this picture for a contest. Tomorrow the weather forecast says we will face the temp around the 40s. (PS: Weather forecast in this country has earned the deepest respect from me as far as its accuracy.)

DIL Thai Restaurant # 2

Lesson learned today:
1) "Skinny chef can't never be trusted" just doesn't apply to Thai chef.
2) When you are Thai and you are young, don't even try to argue with the olders (who are supposed to be more experienced and, of course, Thai) even though you're right. They will NEVER EVER admit they are wrong.
3) The one who cares about portion conscious is the 'owner.' The rest, they just don't seem to care.
4) Experienced Thai chefs in the US deserve to get paid more for their skills and specialty. For whatever reasons, I feel that McDonald's workers even get paid more. This is ashame.

1) Why are Thai chefs paid like shit (think $1800 per month with 6 days work a week from 11 am to 9pm) even though they contribute so much to the restaurant? (I secretly believe that there are 3 reasons for this: ONE: restaurants cannot afford to pay them due to financial difficulty. TWO: Some chefs work without work permit. Some Thai res owners seem to enjoy taking advantage of their hardship. THREE: Because of the second reason, this makes no-work-permit chef struggle to find a job they wish they can do better or move on to the next best thing that may be available.) To make a great Thai dish requires skills (unlike making ham/cheese sandwich.) I believe if Thai chefs (who, of course, hold a green card, work permit, or whatever) improve their English just a little, their experience and skills will be able to attract other restaurant businesses with a higher pay.
2) So when people get paid very little, work 6 days per week all day long (say, 12 hours,) why can't you just cut them some slacks by giving those employee a little break (say 30 minutes at least.) The restaurant I work for (fun) gives no break. Now look at these over-60-year-0ld chefs around me, they don't get a break. Aren't you supposed to give them some times. 12 hours??? That's cruel.

Man...thank God I only work for fun to gain some experiences and work whenever I wish and as long as I wish. I've learned so much already!!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Day in Life in a Thai Restaurant # 1

So like I've said in the previous blog, I will find time to work in a Thai restaurant in Indy to gain some experiences and most importantly, to help me make decision if this industry will be right for me as far as owning one. Throughout my life, I am known for jumping from one thing to another. My interest changes like once every 2 weeks, and that I do not want that to be the case of owning a restaurant just to serve my temporary need. So here I am. I finally found just the right restaurant for me--good food, good ambience, and good location as far as business goes. I insisted with the owner that I didn't wish to wait tables (it's just not my thing dealing with customers in general...not right now.) I want kitchen. I love to cook.

Ended up today, I worked of a total 11 hours straight--here we are talking about 11 hours with no break (of course, they will pay me.) Very long hours are what experienced restaurant owners have told me in the past. When you work in a restaurant, not part-time, it will be long hours. Imagine you own one--unless you have pretty thick financial resources that you can just hire just about everybody to work in each position. After all, all Thai joints in Indy are family owned and operated. There are mom, dad, kids, sisters, brothers...something like that in the restaurant to cut the cost of employees if you ever want to hire one or ones.

1) I am able to make like 300 spring rolls in a few hours.
2) Health Dept visits the restaurant once every 2 or 3 months.
3) Wok and gas stove make food taste better.
4) Creativity is a must when it comes down to creating satisfying side dish.
5) It is a great idea to hire a head chef who knows how to make great Thai foods. Owner can cook themselve to save some money, but it will be damn busy with all other things to think about (if the owner can cook.)
6) Should hire hispanic (preferably mexicans) to help out in the kitchen. They are so great!
7) Employees should be strictly reminded to wash their hands regularly.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Restaurant Business--Is it as hard as it sound?

A lot of people want to open a restaurant, but like writing a book. Everyone wants to write a book, but it is not for everyone. Am I right? Opening a restaurant has been one of the debates I have with a friend for a long time ago--to be exact, opening a Thai restaurant in the US. The location and how the hell we are supposed to make it happens, only God knows.

One of my inspirations comes directly from a BSU friend, Ole, who 5-6 years ago would be the last person on earth I would have expected to own a restaurant. He never cooked and back when we were in college, he never expressed himself, not even once, he wanted to open a restaurant. Ole's roommate acted as his personal chef when they lived in an on-campus apartment. A little after graduating, Ole worked in a high-ended/ high paying job on the west coast. As far as I know, his career is a time-comsuming on and that left Ole with a lot of money, but a little time to spend. A few years later, Ole called me to let me know that he had bought a Thai restaurant in Florida, and that he would start right away. There have been a lot of phone conversation between him and I, but to make it short, two years, two Floridian houses, one house in Thailand later, Ole is ready to retire and go back to Thailand.

It is not exactly about money that inspires me, but more of a CAN-DO attitude Ole has had along the way of running a restaurant and his ability to get along with pretty much anybody. Before the restaurant even opened, he had no food business experience and so on, but with the right mentality, he made it, and made it great. I called Ole last night, and sadly, he decided to sell his restaurant away due to his family emergency and that after training the new owner, he will fly back to Thailand--for good. The reason I mention Ole here has nothing to do really with restaurant business, but has so much to do with, again, his CAN-DO mentality and his dedication I admire. My personal reason of owning the restaurant some day is to feed my need in life. To be exact, I really do not want to pass it by then look back, and regret that I have never made it happen. I guess I'd rather fell, but have done it, so that regret will not be an issue in the future.

However, I wanna be smart about it. Running a restaurant is like taking a responsibility of everything you can imagine of. I might as well should try to work in a restaurant to see what's like before jumping the boat. Who knows.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

INDY--my Indy

I first moved to Indianapolis at the beginning of 2005 from Muncie (where there is absolutely nothing to do besides college parties.) I've setting on the northwest side of Indy where I find it very convenient to access the town through our giant highway 465. Indianapolis aka Indy is a very nice town to live, work and build a family (aside from the fact that winter is pretty brutal,) I quickly find the town very safe and clean. People attitude are decent besides the fact that some know nothing about the world outside them. I'm not surprise of ones choose Indy to settle down, and live happily ever after, but here is not my case.

As far as I'm concern, Indy is not a very diversified city with lower than 5% of minorities and lower than 1% of asians, even though the city feels that there are people of colors everywhere. According to me and my observation, I disagree. We have only 7 Thai restaurants in town, and probably one of them meets my standard. Yet, the best one is not even in town. I takes me about 45 minutes to get there. This is pretty sad. Aside from that, the weather here suits those who are spontaneos because it leaves us, who obviously do not have any control towards mother nature, with little to no clue on what kind of temperature will be like in the next 30 minutes. Summer is pretty short to me, but long enough for those who are fond with cooler one. Winter is extremely long for any Thai who lives here. It can start in October until, God knows, when it will end. Indianapolis is a home of Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis 500 and Pacers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Season Changes

I've marked my fall of 2006 today when walked outside my apartment, observing the tree changing its colors this mid morning. I use this cheap/ low key/ snap and shoot camera for a quick shot just right outside my apartment. I have have been holding this thought for a long time since attending Ball State that I will photograph one tree on the same location during season changes--from summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring and spring to summer once again. You will be amazed of how things are different and even with the same spot, same objects, colors--it has so much to do with its colors and emotion.

While attending CMU, a professor was saying some things about colors and humans mood--how they are related and effect on each other. People tend to feel happier in the morning, compared with evening when the sun is about to set. Statistics says people tend to commit suicide in the late evening instead of morning or mid day. Obviously, when you do get depressed, try to hold the thought, sleep it through, then let's deal with it in the morning. (Okay..need to stop now. I mean to write about season changes not phychological stuff.)

A lot of people love fall--beautiful landscape, mild temperature and lots of football games. Note exactly what I have in mind. Fall, to me, marks the beginning of winter. I hate it. When leafs turn yellow/orage/red/brown, it means all of this will be going away in a matter of weeks. Then they will all end up on the ground, making its mark to cold/bone shaking winter. I prefer spring, feeling like every single life has turned to live again--more of a refreshing thought.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Marley & Me

As a journalism graduate, I am ashame to admit that my last 'REAL' book (= any book with 100 pages and up!) read by me was six years ago. As far as 6 years ago, I was forced/ obligated to read In Cold Blood as a requirement for my literature journalism class. It happens to be one of the best written books so far, and I never felt so lucky.

I bought Marley & Me (http://www.marleyandme.com/) a few weeks back, hoping I would get to read it during my surgery recovery. I drove the Barnes and Noble a day before the surgery, glazed through all the best sellers, and here it was--a picture of a cute yellow lab. Yes, I bought this book because the cover is cute--that's all. I had never got around to it until yesterday, starting at 11 am 'til 3am. This book is awesome. I got lucky again. John Grogan, author/ journalist/ columnist, portray stories of his yellow lab like no others. This is seriously a great book to read--it is not only a dog book, but also family. Writting is vivid, funny and well portrayed. I now follow Grogan to his column about Philly (http://go.philly.com/grogan) even though it has nothing to do with me. Love his style of writing.