billymax
31 Chicago, United States
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billymax
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My self-summary
Dog trainer-in-training, AP style freak, White Sox fan, body modification enthusiast, drinker of bitter coffee and bitter beer, dogfather, proud Chicagoan.
What I’m doing with my life
My life has gone to the dogs in the best way possible. I got out of the journalism game for good about a year ago and decided to be a professional dog trainer. It was the best decision I ever made.

These days, I work as an animal care specialist at the only no-kill rabbit shelter in Illinois (we also have cats). It's not glamorous. It's not lucrative. But I get to spend my days helping animals that nobody else will help, which is pretty awesome. And it's the opposite of soul-crushing.

I'm also studying to be a professional dog trainer. I should be finished with that by the end of the year and I want to work with dogs with behavioral problems in order to make them more adoptable. I'm also certified in canine first aid and CPR; I think it's pretty cool.

My limited non-work/school time is spent just trying to enjoy the moment. Sometimes (ok, maybe more than sometimes) that just means a long walk or frisbee/fetch session with my dog. But it could also mean karaoke (live-band or regular), discovering new beers and/or breweries (bonus if they're dog-friendly), watching roller derby, blogging (I have a blog about dogs and beer; feel free to check it out at http://www.chicagonow.com/pints-pups), cooking, catching up on my DVR ... you get the idea.
I’m really good at
- Training dogs, apparently. I'm not a professional dog trainer ... yet. But I definitely seem to have a knack for it. There are few better feelings than that moment when you see a dog grasp a concept or behavior with which it had been struggling and knowing that you made that happen.

- Live-band karaoke. Seriously. I can rock a cover of "Back in the USSR" like you wouldn't believe.

- Officiating weddings. I'm an ordained rabbi and can thus officiate weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. Weddings are my specialty. Though my ceremonies are quick, they're always a perfect mix of gut-busting laughs and sentimentality. And yes, I can provide references to back up my claims. I have even used the wisdom of Dan Savage in a ceremony.

- Rabble-rousing.

- Editing/grammar. I dare you to try and sneak an Oxford comma past me. And I'll judge you if you misuse a semicolon.
The first things people usually notice about me
Maybe that I'm covered in some kind of animal hair? I mean, I work at an animal shelter and have a dog that likes to cuddle. I'm bound to spend my life covered in pet hair. And I'm ok with that.

My veins? I was once told I have nice veins. Nothing was said about my arteries. But phlebotomists love me.

My resting bitch face, or whatever it's called when a guy has it.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Music: The Beatles, the Old 97's, David Bowie, Green Day, the Tossers, Foo Fighters, Stephen Malkmus, Guided by Voices, Fugees, Metallica, Iron & Wine, Calexico, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Haiku D'Etat, Troubled Hubble, Everclear, Atmosphere, Murder By Death, Superdrag, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Rhymefest, OutKast, Kesha

Books: To Kill a Mockingbird, McElligott's Pool, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Operation SOLO: the FBI's Man in the Kremlin, AP Stylebook, the Torah, All the President's Men, The Jungle, Tao Te Ching, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita

Movies: To Kill a Mockingbird, Gladiator, Life Is Beautiful, The Rocketeer, The Simpsons Movie, Con Air, Being John Malkovich, The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space, The Muppets, Sharknado 1-4

TV shows: The Simpsons, The IT Crowd, Mr. Robot, Last Week Tonight, Baskets, BrainDead, Law and Order: SVU, NCIS, The Muppet Show, The Rachel Maddow Show, American Horror Story

Food: Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, carne asada, sushi, chicken parmesan, eggs, corned beef hash, popcorn, cereal, tiramisu, cannoli, anything my mom cooks

Bonus category - podcasts: Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me, Savage LoveCast, How To Do Everything, Welcome to Night Vale, Star Talk Radio, Sawbones, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Can I Pet Your Dog

Bonus category 2 - theater: Noises Off, The Producers, Spamalot, The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, To Kill a Mockingbird (detecting a theme yet?), Much Ado About Nothing, Antigone. Also, Andrew Lloyd Weber needs to die in a fire. He's a no-talent hack.
The six things I could never do without
1. My dog.
2. Google Calendar.
3. Coffee in the morning. And again in the evening. And at several points between the two.
4. Dogs that are not mine.
5. Nerdy podcasts.
6. My oft-present pack of various dog treats. Never know when you might need to do some on the fly dog training.
7. A pocket full of pens (at least four at all times).

Yes, that's seven. I'm not a fan of rules.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Writing a book about the Pope. I already have a title picked out: "What does the Pope eat for breakfast (and other questions you'd only dare ask after a few glasses of sacramental wine)?" I'm not even Catholic. But I'm fascinated by the papacy. The Pope is the leader of over a billion Catholics worldwide and yet we know so little about him and the institution of the papacy, which has been shrouded in secrecy for thousands of years. And I love the thought of throwing some light on it.

I also spend a lot of time thinking about how I really have no desire to actually write a book.
On a typical Friday night I am
Fridays tend to be low-key for me, as I work most Saturdays.

I might be found eating delicious food, drinking delicious beer/spirits, hanging with fantastic people, hanging by myself, hanging with my awesome dog, going to see live music or any combination thereof.

No matter where I spend my Friday, I will be found telling a saucy tale and/or making a little stir.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I drink beer in the shower and hot coffee when it's 100 degrees.

I want to buy an island off the coast of Alaska, build a house on it and live there. I'll have about 10 dogs and a personal assistant to hunt moose and other wild game for me (and the dogs) to eat.

I'll have a float plane for traveling. I'll spend my days training my dogs for Frisbee competitions and fishing for salmon, cod and other delicious Alaskan seafood.

I'll also probably grow vegetables and brew beer.
You should message me if
Must love dogs. And good beer.

Must be GGG.

If you (and your dog, if you have one) want to join me and my pup on a stroll.

In that same vein, if you believe force-free positive reinforcement is the most effective philosophy of dog training and/or you are familiar with the methods and philosophies of folks like Victoria Stillwell and Patricia McConnell.

If you're cool with beards on guys. I don't always have one, but I like the option.

If you love and use proper grammar. Please know the differences between your/you're, their/there/they're and too/to/two and understand that apostrophes are not to be used to indicate plurals. Also, messages that simply say "your cute" will be laughed at and deleted.

If you're pierced and/or tattooed. Definitely not a requirement, but I do enjoy them.

Please do not message me if you don't know what language is spoken in England. I never thought I would have to make that a caveat. If you want to know why I had to make that a caveat, just ask.

Also, please do not message me if you believe in the near-abusive form of dog training championed by Cesar Millan and his ilk.
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