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Last month, Norma and Joe of Rancho Bernardo had a luau-themed party for their dog's first birthday. I'm not sure if that meant dog years. I'm not sure the dog realized that this event was for him. It never stopped yapping. That party was scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to midnight. When I got there at 4:00, there weren't many people, and Norma and Joe were setting up tents and tiki torches.

I grabbed a glass of wine and joined the few people who were there. A little girl was offered five bucks to eat a dog biscuit. She was willing to, but they couldn't find one. A guy said, "It has to be a big one, not one of those tiny biscuits." One guest brought liver treats for the dog, but I don't think those were part of the wager.

There was a woman called Black Widow who said she won a competition eating 20 grilled cheese sandwiches before a baseball game. (I think this is how competitive eaters must start. People offer them money to eat weird crap, or a lot of something, and they find they have a knack for it.)

Their back yard was above a canyon, and I saw a guy spraying something. I asked what it was. I think the guy said, "Hawaiian ginger." He told me if snakes smell it, they stay away.

I went inside the house and saw two parrots. Since this was a Filipino family, I asked if the birds spoke English or Tagalog. One guy smiled and said, "They say 'Go Vikings,' and whistle a few songs."

The birthday dog was a Yorkie. Someone else brought a miniature Doberman to the party. A Doberman bit me when I was in the sixth grade. And having a stepfather who was a letter carrier didn't help my fear of dogs. These canines were friendly, though.

I heard a couple of girls talking about Polynesian dance. I told them I can do the limbo, but the bar has to be high. I asked if they would be dancing and they told me they hadn't performed in years.

Our hosts Norma and Joe made sure everyone had enough food. They had a tent with a variety of things to eat -- roast beef, pig, beef broccoli, chow mein, fruits, salads.

One couple was talking about a kitten that came inside their house, and their dog killed it. They brought their dog to an animal psychiatrist to make sure it wouldn't kill a child. (I wonder what an animal psychiatrist does. Do they show the dog inkblots, or pictures of human legs, to see which ones they want to hump? Does the dog lie on a couch? These are questions I'm asking Matthew Alice.)

One lady joked, "We're having a party for dogs here. In the Philippines, we eat them." There were a few uncomfortable laughs, but I thought it was funny.

I saw a bunch of golf balls by the fence. I asked Joe if they were for the dogs. He said, "No. In Tiger Woods's book, he said he practiced in his back yard, so that's what I do." I laughed, imagining a hiker in the canyon getting hit by this guy driving golf balls from his back yard.

I didn't stay at this party long. I had another dog bash to crash. When I was leaving, I heard one kid ask, "Is the dog going to blow out the candles?" The thought of putting a dog in front of a cake seemed like a bad idea.

I drove to my next party in Hillcrest. It was for a French bulldog that had just been adopted.

Enrique's voice-mail invite said, "The crowd will mostly be gay. Don't worry; we won't attack you or anything. Just don't wear cologne."

The dog was named Boris. I had the Who song "Boris the Spider" stuck in my head for the next couple of days.

Enrique, in gold shoes, said to a friend, "Only one person brought a gift." His friend replied, "I would have, but you said not to." Enrique said, "No. The only thing I said was to get ice. I never said anything about gifts."

Enrique, who looked like a thin Jack Black, told me about his television career in Mexico. He was a TV star while going to college, but he got burned out and gave it up.

Every person who passed by the house walking a dog was invited to the party. A few people looked at him like he was crazy; others brought their dogs over. The conversations always started about dogs. I found out that bulldogs have problems with their hips and jaws, and there are certain breeds of dog that have bad breath.

One person told me that some owners have microchips put in their dogs to help track the animals if they get lost or stolen. He told me a story about a dog that was stolen from the East Coast and tracked down in California.

There was one woman at this party who I was trying to avoid. She grabbed me and said, "I'm a lesbian, but I do go both ways. Just tell me if you want to go into the other room." I said, "Ah, okay."

I talked to a lesbian couple who happened to walk by with their German shepherd. The dog started barking at the other dog guests but soon quieted down.

As I was talking to them, the obnoxious woman said, "Can you believe this guy?" They looked at me, as she continued, "I offered to give him a BJ in the other room, and he turned me down."

One guy at the party, laughing into his cell phone, let me listen to the message. He told me he ran an apartment complex six months earlier, and a crazy female tenant keeps calling him. Her message was about some bizarre plot the government has to kill someone, and using candles to start fires that look like accidents.

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