Monday, May 12, 2008


This started out to be a post the sole purpose of which was to show my latest Hayley video. Some more of the old footage I recently re-discovered and am editing together into some short clips. I also wanted to test out the video sharing site called Vimeo as an alternative to YouCrap. The video is here, its down at the bottom of this page; for rabid Miss Hayley fans you can scoot on down and take a gander and avoid the meanderings that follow. I'm curious to know what people think of the quality of this clip, I tend to like the compression that Vimeo offers; if you want to leave a comment on that it would be much appreciated. You can, you know, comment on this form and even keep it anonymous if you so desire.

The title of the video is Hayley and Friends and features Miss Thang playing with a couple of her old doggie buddies, Kier Bob and Max. Yes, her buddies, her friends. Miss Hayley has accumulated a lot of doggie friends over the years. At least, that is how we typify it. Her friends. Er, wait a second, is that possible?

If you've been reading along you know that Hayley recently turned ten. On that day in a park I met John, a fellow border collie owner (his border is also called Hayley so we often debate who is the "good" Hayley and who is the "bad" Hayley, so far I think Miss Thang is is ahead on points but it may come down to a split decision). John is a dog trainer for whom I have a great deal of respect. I told John "Its Hayley's birthday" and he gave her a cookie and he said "You know, they really don't have birthdays" I said, they don't age and he said, of course they do but "birthday" in an entirely human concept.

This is not an original idea of course. We are constantly applying human parameters to our pets. People call their dogs their kids; I don't call her my child but Hayley's name for us are Mom and Dad; she didn't come with that on her own, we taught it to her. I think if Hayley could choose names for us it would be Keeper of the Cookies or Holder of the Blanket or perhaps Open the Damn Door I Have To Pee.

People go to extremes humanizing their dogs. Giving them hair cuts, knitting them mini skirts, making them eggs Benedict, custom engineering them paw controls so they can drive their new Porches ... ok, so I made that last one up but you get my point.

All of us give our dogs names; this in itself could be said to be humanizing but hey, you have to call them something and it has to be something unique. You can't be in the middle of a dog park and shout "Dog" or "Mutt" or "Pork Rind Breath" and expect your dog to be the only one to respond ... what, isn't Pork Rind Breath a common euphemism for a dog? Ok, maybe its just me. So naming your dog is a practicality, there is a pragmatic reason behind it. But often the mere fact of giving them a name, and in our case a very human name, imparts a sense of personality, a sense of humanity.

We often view dog behaviour through human eyes. People think their dogs get sad, get mad, get depressed, get overly focused on career goals and putting the need to be the in the corner office ahead of together time .. ok, so I made the last one up, you see the pattern here. Well, dogs certainly have emotions, or at least they do feel things beyond the simple demands of food, thirst, shelter, horniness. Dogs feel fear, that is survival instinct. Dogs are social animals, pack animals and they feel separation anxiety ... that's why, when you leave them alone without exercise they eat your floppy disks, your eye glasses and your new Italian leather pumps (back in college I knew a woman who had an English bulldog who did all of those things) Do they feel sadness? Well, again they feel something, and maybe we interpret the anxiety of being separated from the pack as being sadness. I'm pretty sure Miss Hayley often feels a desperate sense of disappointment that she is not graced with parents as intelligent as she ... "Hey doofus, why are you asking me if I want to go outside, I'm standing in front of the frigging door, what the hell else would I want?" rolling eyes and flipping ears.

So lets get to the point of this missive (yes, yes sometimes I actually do aspire to make a point, stop sniggering) Does a dog have friends? I have a feeling that my dog trainer buddy John would not say that a dog has "friends" as we think of it. Dogs are social, they want to be around each other but there is a lot of work going on here, a lot of establishing and reinforcing of roles, of sniffing out who the strong is, who the weak is, who the sexually receptive is ... well shit that sounds like Saturday night in a lot of bars I used to frequent. Dogs recognize each other, they remember individual dogs, probably based on smell and the wagging of tails .. yeh, this really is like that long ago bar ...

But does a dog have friends. Hayley certainly has other dogs that she prefers to play with; you could probably call these dogs "sheep" cause usually they are the ones that don't seem to mind being herded as they chase their ball. But Hayley also has other dogs that are not sheep, that do not run or wrestle or fetch and I know she affords them a special status. I know she does this because she has this special cry, a high pitched, ululating, more typically border collie kind of cry that she uses only for certain dogs and certain humans as well. We call this her "pack" cry, reserved for those creatures four legged or two legged who she thinks belongs to her pack. Are these her friends? She seems excited to see them; the special cry, tail going in circles, butt all wiggling ... yeh, you know I miss that bar .. um, sorry, digressing ...

We miss our friends. I don't think Hayley does. I don't entirely believe that dogs live only in the moment, I believe that they have memories or at least associations (Hayley dislikes going to the vet, she dislikes it cause upon her very first visit the vet pinched her with the needle, she would not dislike it if she had no memory of that) but I don't think dogs "pine" for creatures absent .. with the exception of the pack leaders. But I think Hayley has friends. I think she is excited to see these dogs not only because they allow her to terrorize them ... sorry Hayley, I mean train them .. but because she has some special connection them. She knows lots of dogs and she meets lots of dogs on a regular basis but there are a select few who she seems to have made a part of her pack. These dogs don't live with us but they are in Hayley's pack. For a dog, I suppose, that is friendship.

So, here we go, Hayley playing with a couple of old friends. She has not seen KierBob or Max in many years but I have no doubt that when she does, there will be much crying and salivating and bum wiggling involved ... that's it for now, I have to go to the bar.

Hayley & Friends from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.


Elizabeth McClung said...

I like the video - if you should visit this way, you could come to the Beacon seafront walk on Sunday which is a leash free zone and the giant dog get together (forget jogging) - otherwise known as the giant butt sniff. If you want to see a tiny dog taking on a giant Alasian, this is where you come, and see greyhounds racing with huskies.

I am however in awe of your editing - how come you don't get degration like I do on youtube - well yes you ARE a filmmaker so probably have fancy programs and go someplace that doesn't degrade even the required high def MP4. I always have a problem with my videos because a) lesbian and b) 90 love songs - which makes fade outs a little odd (since I often just cut right before the love declaration). Still, very much in awe of your inserts, your retaining of high quality (considering my youtube stuff STARTS at about 2800X2000 resolution with 180-300 saturation. ARG! Sorry, I went off on tech talk, enjoyed watching Miss Hayley and your video.

Victor Kellar said...

Elizabeth, thanks for reading and for commenting. I use Final Cut Pro and some pro color correcting apps for my editing; really, when it comes to video, color correcting is one of the secret ingredients to getting a good image. The other thing, when compressing for the web is deinterlacing; this happens automatically when creating your MPEG4 but I do it beforehand with my editing software which helps. I export using the Quicktime H.264 codec which gives you more control on the output and just simply gives you a better result but it is very RAM intensive, compressing a 3 min video with my fastest puter in this way takes about an hour.

I am not a fan of YouTube. In order for my to get a decent output I have to jump thru a lot of hoops, some of which described above. I've started using Vimeo, a free video sharing site and I really like the quality of their Flash compression, a lot of videomakers are using it to showcase their 24p or HD work. The only drawback with Vimeo is that you are limited to 500 mb of content per week; thats pretty good, depending on your compression rates. The Hayley & Friends video is 2m 42s and I exported it at a very high rate, making it a big file and it came our around 336 mb.

I don't know if you'd be interested but I am pretty much up to my chin in editing software. Most of my stuff is for Mac but I have some older PC stuff, both consumer oriented and pro that would run on XP (probably not Vista). It would be no problem for me to make copies and send them to you if you like, if so post here or drop me an email.

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