the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Noodly appendage

The number one request I receive in my inbox, other than SHOW US UR BOOBZ!!!!, is for a video of us torturing Chuck with spaghetti noodles, a pastime that has been documented here and here. Months ago I made the decision that we’d get it on tape, but then I stopped making pasta because there were all these frozen pizzas on sale at the grocery store. I bought as many as would fit into our freezer, and then every night we’d stick one in the oven and have a delicious, well-balanced meal within 20 minutes without any work on my part except for the labor required in turning on the oven. That is my only complaint about frozen pizza, that it cannot be eaten right out of the box, although I have done that once and afterward didn’t puke nearly as many times as I thought I would.

This weekend I fixed spaghetti for the first time in several weeks primarily because we tend to cook more when the weather outside is colder. The change in season sets off the Mormon homemaker buried deep inside me, and I cook and clean more than I do at any other time of year, usually while wearing a bonnet and humming tunes whose lyrics warn of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Because anyone who has read the Bible knows that the last thing you want is for the triumphant return of the Lord to happen before you’ve had a chance to vacuum your living room. He will totally notice. And worse, so will your mom.

Normally I like to leave spaghetti noodles very long so that I can twirl them around my fork like people do in the movies. But lately I’ve been trying to make everything as appealing to Leta as possible, so this weekend I broke the entire box of noodles in half. That way she had at least a fighting chance of getting an entire noodle into her mouth without realizing just how slimy and oogly a cooked piece of pasta can be. It didn’t work, it never does, and instead of eating a single bite she spent the entire meal wiping pasta sauce off each noodle. With a wet wipe. Until every noodle in her bowl was clean. As if preparing her personal space for the triumphant return of the Lord.

As we cleaned up the kitchen and prepared Chuck for taping, I realized that the noodles would not be long enough to wrap around his snout. I almost cancelled the whole thing until I saw the look on Chuck’s face, one that said he had been waiting for those noodles for months, woman, do not yank the rug out from under him now. So what you will see here is not the traditional ritual of spaghetti torture, but instead a variation involving large clumps of sticky pasta and the flat, noble head of one very good puppy.

Launch video (11 MB Quicktime file)

  • thesuperbongo

    2006/10/23 at 5:37 pm

    I tried to balance a single chicken doggie jerky treat on my dog’s snout. All I got was frustration for both of us. He couldn’t figure out why I didn’t just give it to him – and I couldn’t get him to sit still long enough to even attempt to balance it.

    I can only imagine that he’d need therapy if I attempted the spaghetti noodle trick. And the bastard probably has my credit card number and would be calling psychic friends for the “therapy.”

    I am most envious.

  • Cassie

    2006/10/23 at 5:39 pm

    still very sad quicktime doesn’t play. I’ve tried everything…

    Very cute picture, though 🙂

  • azuki_bean

    2006/10/23 at 5:41 pm

    Man, you dog loves you soooooooo much… Mine would let a whole gang invade my house if they gave her spaghetti ;P

  • kittynip

    2006/10/23 at 5:43 pm

    coming here to read what you write is always the highlight of my day.
    *thank you*!

  • Lori

    2006/10/23 at 5:45 pm

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Who didn’t need a Chuck video on a Monday??? Superb. Film-making at its very best. As always, Thank You. L-

  • Evoke

    2006/10/23 at 5:52 pm

    Can’t see the movie 🙁 If I download it, QuickTime refuses to open it. And if I just click on the link and play in the browser, then only sound works. Pity, because it sounds like a fun clip 🙂 (I did update my Quicktime software).

  • fiddlehendrix

    2006/10/23 at 5:53 pm

    I think Chuck should balance a frozen pizza (still in the box, so you could eat it afterwards) on his head. Now that would be a great video.

    Ooo, or start training him to balance a SPINNING LAZY SUSAN on his head so he could look like one of those revolving displays at the mall.

  • Gooseberried

    2006/10/23 at 5:53 pm

    Aww, Chuck is so cute! I could just squeeze him!

  • Janerie

    2006/10/23 at 6:01 pm

    The only thing missing is a pirate. 🙂

    (Loved the FSM reference, too!)

  • Territorial

    2006/10/23 at 6:07 pm

    Me love me some Chuck! Great video!!

  • pitt_chick

    2006/10/23 at 6:09 pm

    What a great pup! Perhaps he is the second coming of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Great, now you have two second comings to prepare your house for…

  • Amy

    2006/10/23 at 6:22 pm

    That is, without a doubt, the most tolerant dog in the entire world.

  • Mary Dawn

    2006/10/23 at 6:25 pm

    so funny! i request a series of chuck wallpapers!

    ….and, why can’t i hear the sound on my quicktime player thing?????

  • Irina

    2006/10/23 at 6:29 pm

    Holy shit! What kind of toxic forces are at work in your kitchen to keep this wonder dog so under control? Seriously, Chuck is the embodiment of patience…a concept I have been trying to slip into my 5 year old’s philosophy without success.

  • biscuitrat

    2006/10/23 at 6:32 pm

    That’s not even conceivable with my dog; if I were to even attempt that, and if she were able to wait, a rift would form in space-time and I would be upside-down with tentacles.

    So it’s safer for humanity if she only knows wait with movement, not THE EDIBLES. Such a good dog! Many hugs for Chuckles 🙂

  • noshowmo

    2006/10/23 at 6:36 pm

    Bravo! Encore, encore!

  • Adrienne

    2006/10/23 at 6:45 pm

    What a good dog! He is so cool.

  • Candice

    2006/10/23 at 6:49 pm

    Yes! I’m not going to be able to watch the video for a couple hours (my TiVo is calling me. It’s all like, “Yo, bitch, I’m getting full. Would you come watch Heroes already?”), but I am so looking forward to it. It’s going to make my evening, I’m pretty sure.

  • bobleap

    2006/10/23 at 6:53 pm

    I am patient, but only to a point. That little bit of fang I show you is a small reminder that I can take your entire hand any time I want to.

  • SnookNSmunch

    2006/10/23 at 6:58 pm

    This was hilarious. Two questions though:

    Did you go see Yo La Tengo a few weeks ago? It seems like you mentioned it, but I can’t be arsed to to back and look. If so, I’m jealous. Sick baby and no babysitter kind of nixed it for us. Boo.

    And secondly, what is Leta so enthralled in there? TiVo’d Sesame Street?

  • Manda

    2006/10/23 at 7:01 pm

    Heather!!! My boyfriend and I are very distraught over the fact that none of your videos work for us. I have QuickTime installed. Your videos use to work but ever since I tried to view Chuck eating the sprinkler we have had no success. It makes us very sad because we love Chuck and he brings us much happiness.

  • Emily

    2006/10/23 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks so much for that!

    It made me laugh really hard – out loud.

    Perma grin for the next (10 minutes at least!)


  • FinellySpinelly

    2006/10/23 at 7:06 pm

    Why Dooce, why can’t I watch your videos?
    Maybe, just maybe, it’s that I’m a little too impatient to sit and wait for it to start. Please make my Dooce video watching experience better.
    Please oh please!

  • Manda

    2006/10/23 at 7:12 pm

    Nevermind. Christ just came down from the heaven and touched my computer, thus making it possible for us to enjoy chuck’s cuteness. Such a pretty puppy!

  • gabbiana

    2006/10/23 at 7:19 pm

    For once, I am afraid, I can only comment in internet-speak: ROFL, blurbodoocery. ROFL.

  • Spamboy

    2006/10/23 at 7:19 pm

    It’s a good thing there’s not yet a People for the Ethical Treatment of Pasta…yet.

  • Kari Dahlen

    2006/10/23 at 7:27 pm

    My five year old autistic son laughed for a full five minutes. That’s entertainment all right! 🙂

  • CERipkenJr

    2006/10/23 at 7:32 pm

    So does this mean you’re NOT going to show us your boobz?

  • sarae

    2006/10/23 at 7:47 pm

    Awesome. That’s the most I’ve laughed all day.

  • Dee

    2006/10/23 at 7:56 pm

    That video was absolutely the best thing that has happened to me all day.

  • Universal-Mutha

    2006/10/23 at 8:12 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter – The BEST thing about this video is at several key times the leaning tower of pasta is wobbling close to falling over Chuck actually ADJUSTS the level of his head to assist as you pile.
    He’s one FIERCE mo’fo. Can’t wait for the calendar

  • Margot's Mom

    2006/10/23 at 8:18 pm

    That is hilarious!

  • Nils Ling

    2006/10/23 at 8:25 pm

    That is an utterly cruel and inhumane way to treat a proud and noble animal, and it was as awesome as the second coming of Christ, and how awesome will THAT be?

  • Annon

    2006/10/23 at 8:27 pm

    Good dog!

  • Carrie Johnston

    2006/10/23 at 8:27 pm

    It makes me smile.

  • Donny

    2006/10/23 at 9:20 pm

    Triumphant! Triumphant! Triumphant!

    I had to say that word 3 times because it’s just so… COOL. Makes me think of a creature that’s half elephant, half small vintage car.

  • bobbarama

    2006/10/23 at 9:33 pm

    I’m not sure which I love more … Chuck or your closing credits.

    OK … Chuck. (But the credits are hysterical)


  • MarkandJennifer

    2006/10/23 at 9:39 pm

    This isn’t about Chuck, but you so need to check out the lastest Strongbad email:

    You’ll love (or hate) the comment on the pronounciation of crayon.

  • Heather G.

    2006/10/23 at 9:53 pm

    Alas……my computer can’t handle the video…….or I don’t have the patience for it to download. But I FEEL like I’ve seen it from all your wonderful comments.

  • Tara

    2006/10/23 at 9:54 pm

    Holy Crap. That was funny. I would love to know how you discovered that little trick.

  • SurprisingWoman

    2006/10/23 at 9:57 pm

    He is a darling. I love tormenting my pets too.

    Why have pets and children if you can’t make their life hell?


  • Piglet

    2006/10/23 at 10:06 pm

    He’s totally ready for David Letterman. Seriously, get his people on the phone. Someone. Seriously.

  • karyn

    2006/10/23 at 10:09 pm

    I had never even entertained the possibility that Chuck IS the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It makes so much sense to me now.

  • dryad271

    2006/10/23 at 10:58 pm

    You are invited to my house to torture my dogs any time you like. Bring vodka. Wait, nevermind. I have vodka. I will share.

  • Gooooder

    2006/10/24 at 12:21 am

    I’m so glad isn’t blocked in China.

    How could I go on knowing I missed out on this?

  • minxlj

    2006/10/24 at 2:02 am

    I can’t wait for the 2007 calendar – gimme gimme!!!!!!!! His beautiful (and often pasta-covered) snout has entertained me all through 2006 🙂

    I’m slowly training my cats to do similar things. I’ve discovered that Lilo will tolerate most things (wearing a Metallica baseball cap, being wrapped up like a sausage, small things resting on his head) when there’s tuna to be found; however Stitch is not so daft, and glares at me with THAT look that says he’s sooooo disappointed in me. Just wait til he sees the Halloween costume I’m getting him!!!!!

  • Angellivia

    2006/10/24 at 2:05 am

    When everything else in my life is fallng to pieces I can count on Chuck to make me smile.

    Thank you.

  • American Wife

    2006/10/24 at 3:18 am

    That Chuck is so darn lovely, he inspires me to put one of my cats down so we can free up some pet space in our home for canine usage.

    My 2 year old likes the pasta shape ditalli (ususally used in soups) because she can poke her tiny finger into the pasta’s center and wear it as a ring briefly before eating straight from the finger tip. Very tidy method of toddler pasta consumption and it makes her giggle.

  • ripzip

    2006/10/24 at 3:29 am

    Mmmmm…them’s good eat’un.

  • S t a c i

    2006/10/24 at 4:05 am

    He is such a GOOD DOG! It’s clear that you’ve been playing this game with him for years.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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