Saturday, December 26, 2009

Quality Time

I really hope one of the other Pandacam watchers caught the recent antics on video, because just a few minutes ago, His Chubbiness was climbing around on that log and plank arrangement you can see in the background--and then he faw down go boom, while Mama snoozed away in the foreground. If I can get it, I will of course post it.

As a side note... the particular yard Mama and Baby are playing in is called the "classroom" and is not visible to the public. Baby hasn't gone out on public exhibit yet. Apparently Mama herself will decide when it's time, and haul him out there herself.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Just Can't Get Good Help Anymore.

Today's earth-shattering news headline:

Snowflakes on Christmas Cards Drawn Wrong.

In pop culture depictions, snowflakes are usually drawn inaccurately, an expert now says. Snowflakes are six-cornered, rather than the four-, five- and eight-cornered crystals typically depicted in children's books, Christmas cards and even in an ad for a science magazine.

Thomas Koop of Bielefeld University in Germany noticed the frosty mistake on a subscription advertisement for the scientific journal Nature that contained octagonal snow crystals in the background.

"Ironically it was entitled '...for anyone who loves science,'" Koop said. Bringing the irony full circle, Koop's commentary on the subject is published in the Dec. 24 issue of Nature.

Snowflakes are made of water molecules that link up via hydrogen bonds. The best and most efficient way to arrange themselves is a hexagonal crystal lattice, Koop explained. So rather than eight sides, snowflakes are bound by physical laws to take on a six-sided shape.

And if that weren't enough, raindrops are also inaccurately depicted.

"The shape of falling rain drops is depicted incorrectly in almost any (children's) book that I know of," Koop said. "Most often, they are drawn in a teardrop-like shape, a kind of pinnacle at the top and round at the bottom."

He added, "However, in reality cloud droplets are spherical because of water's surface tension and falling rain drops are somewhat flattened at the bottom (depending on their fall speed), because of the resistance they feel as they fall through the air (similar to the drag that you feel in your face when you bike)."

Is there nothing sacred anymore?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Was There Ever Such Cute-itude?

Ever? Anywhere in the world?

Mama Bai Yun plays helicopter with baby Yun Zi.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Not To Be Outdone

In the cuteness department that is.

This is Zhen-Zhen, "Yunior's" big sister.

Testing His Teeth

The keepers assure us that he isn't actually eating that bamboo just yet....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just Whose Brilliant Idea Was This, Anyway?

Timing. Bureaucratic timing.

They're tearing up the streets. Right by the mall. Right before Christmas.

I tried to run an errand today. Have a look at the map. You can see the most direct route from point A to point B--but a crucial street near point A is completely blocked for construction right now. The route I was forced to take is shown (sort of) in green. As you can see, it goes clear off the map in a couple of places.

Why didn't I take some of those in-between streets? Because they don't go through, that's why. Amazing as it may seem, the route I took was indeed the most direct route to my destination.

Adding insult to injury, when I got to point B--they were closed! So after all that, my trip was a complete waste of time.

Good thing I know the streets very, very well.

Can you tell I'm seriously annoyed right about now?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A 17-Pound Bruiser

Trying to escape the keeper's custody during his veterinary exam yesterday .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Expiration Date On This Kind Of Cute.

And if you look closely, you can even see the little black spot at the tip of his tail.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Quoted at Wizbang, posted at Brutally Honest, by guest blogger Locutisprime, quoting an e-mail from a friend. (Did you follow all that? S'okay; neither did I.)

To the editor:

I don't understand why the White House is so upset about the two party crashers at Barack Obama's steak dinner the other night.

Is it really appropriate and politically correct to call them party crashers just because they trespassed on Mr. Obama? Does that make them criminals? Isn't that discrimination? Shouldn't they be rewarded for such bold and brave behavior? Maybe they were just trying to feed their family?

I would suggest that it's more appropriate to call them "undocumented guests."

Just because they weren't officially invited doesn't mean they should be treated like criminals. Maybe they should get free health care, free housing, free legal services and free White House green cards so next time they can enter legally. And they should be able to bring all of their relatives and family members, too.

How can Mr. Obama be mad at them just because they crossed over some arbitrary man-made border? They were there only to do the things that regularly invited guests didn't want to do. (Like hang out with Joe Biden.)

How can the White House punish these poor oppressed undocumented visitors?

Abso-freaking-lutely brilliant. Now why, oh why, didn't I think of that??

Monday, November 30, 2009

He's Walking.

And surely, no one needs to ask "who?"

This video was captured about 4 days ago on the live Pandacam:

Saturday, November 28, 2009


For the two or three of you on the entire planet who haven't seen this one yet:

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Am Speechless.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

His Chubbiness Has A Name Now.

At 104 days old, The Chubster today received his official name, chosen from thousands of suggestions submitted from all over the world.

He is Yun Zi, which means "son of cloud." Quite appropriate, since his mother's name, Bai Yun, means "white cloud."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steve Wozniak On A Segway.

No, that's not the newest curse.

I just saw it. On the sidewalk in front of Walgreen's. No, really. Honest.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

That Was Fun.

I hadn't been to a bonfire on Carmel Beach in YEARS.

Which, of course, means I had forgotten a few things. Such as, to bring a flashlight, because it's DARK down there. Fortunately, Naomi had one, and she lit my way back to the stairs, and up to the street. I took it from there.

Another reminder to self, for next time. Shish-kebab skewers do not make very good marshmallow or hot dog roasters. They're too short.

And vegetarian hot dogs (nice thought anyway, Rebecca) do not roast well. They just kind of turn black on the outside while still staying cool on the inside. They also have a disconcerting tendency to tear, and thus fall right off the skewers into the fire. Next time, it's the real thing, and some bent-out wire coat hangers. Or even a toasting fork.

But the smores were GREAT. I had two of them and decided if I ate any more, it'd be a sugar coma for sure. Right there on the beach.

And a big thank-you to Liz, who couldn't come, but provided the firewood anyway. And the guys at the next bonfire over, who enthusiastically shared their lighter fluid. (I think pyromania is a natural by-product of the Y chromosome.)

And it must be a function of people older than me, to NOT like their toasted marshmallows well-burnt. That's the best part--catching them on fire.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Hard Work Being Cute

This must be why His Chubbiness sleeps so much....

(He gets his real official name next Tuesday.)

Look, Ma, Got Teeth!

You really need to go watch the video to get the full effect.

During his weekly veterinary exam, he actually barked at the staff, and then tried to crawl right off the table.

Now, honestly, is there anything at all cuter on the face of this earth?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No Traction.

The poor lil' guy is trying desperately to locomote, but his little back feet just keep slipping out from under.

I reckon if I were trying to crawl on shredded bamboo, I might keep going splat too.

He's trying so hard he's practically standing on his head.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Writers, Start Your Engines.

Yes, it's National Novel Writing Month again already.

Fire up those laptops, and get thee to a local write-in!

Now This Is Just Toooo Funny.

Kind of like FAIL blog for engineering geeks. It's called There, I fixed it, and features photos of epic kludges and jury rigs.

To whet your appetite... here's just one sample:

Hat tip: Lois McMaster Bujold, one of my all-time favorite authors, who did not pay me to link to her site.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Gift That Just Keeps On Giving.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched it, and it still cracks me up every time.

Somebody has even put it into slow and slower motion. It's even funnier this way. And in the slowest version, that baby has turned into a bass-baritone. Enjoy! Again and again!

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

She just can't stay away from us.

A few months back, my supervisor made a lateral move in the company and we had a new supervisor. She only lasted about a month, and then resigned altogether, to spend more time with her family at home. So the original supervisor was back.

About a month ago, she turned us over to somebody else, so she could concentrate on some other projects.

As of yesterday, we're back with her again.

I'm getting a headache.

But I am glad to be back with my original supervisor, and based on all the cheering on yesterday's team conference call, so is everybody else.

Just another day in the life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Look What I Just Found. Again.

A blogger known only as JPolson kept a rather short-lived blog called True Confessions of an Ex-Human. He hasn't posted anything in nearly 5 years, but the blog is still there.

I am going to quote this post in its entirety, just in case it ever vanishes. It's even more timely today than it was when first posted.

Fantasy Healthcare - Dungeons and Surgeons

The following story isn't really a political statement or anything like that. It's just something I came up with after a bizarre dream that I thought would be entertaining. Enjoy.

Ariella continued tracing arcane symbols over the gaping wound in Jake's thigh where the orc arrow had struck him. Frustrated, she stopped, muttering curses. A cool night breeze moaned softly in the mouth of the cave where they were resting. "Nothing I try is working, Jake. I just don't know why my healing spells won't work," she said.

The lithe warrior grunted softly, the poison from the arrow-tip already draining his strength. "It's okay, Ariella, I know you tried. I don't understand it either."

Ariella softly clutched his hand in hers as her brow furrowed in thought. She had to figure this out. Devlin would return soon from scouting and the orcs might have regrouped and be in pursuit. Then, a thought struck her. "Jake, do you have healthcare insurance?" she asked.

Well, There's A Fine How-Do-You-Do.

A certain (alleged) professional bulletin board that I have frequented has banned me.

Why? Because I tried to help a fellow poster with a technical issue by referring them to (gasp) another board. One that deals strictly with technical issues. The board I was banned from has very little technical content.

So let me get this straight. The person who told me to kiss my lizard stayed put, while I was banned. All because of some silly rule about not mentioning other boards. Not even non-competing boards with completely different content.

I e-mailed the moderator with a well-reasoned suggestion that in this case, she make an exception to the non-mention rule, and why. I was told in reply that I know the rules, and if I choose to break them, I therefore choose not to post, have a nice day.

Oh, excuse me. My bad. I thought I was dealing with somebody who has at least a modicum of common sense. I won't make that mistake again.

I won't mention the name of the board here, but it rhymes with "empty scars."

And for those of you who are reading this who might also be frustrated with the arbitrariness over at "that place," have a look at the "Medical Transcription Links" blogroll in the sidebar. Then c'mon over and join us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

YouTube Only Has About A Gazillion Copies Of This.

Many of them come looped with overdubbed, um, extra sound effects. I chose not to post one of those.

(No, that is not the current baby panda in San Diego. This one might be in Japan, but I'm not sure about that.)

Monday Morning. Yep.

The home computer decided today would be a good day to die. So it's going to be admitted to the 'pooter hospital as soon as they open, in about 15 minutes.

A couple of weeks ago the work computer took its turn, and for no apparent reason completely expunged me, my login and my password, from its innards. That time, I was up half the night trying to un-expunge myself, and was moderately successful. The only thing I can't do that I could do before is get into the network server where the sample reports are stored. Oh well. Most of them were pretty useless anyway. We don't need no stinkin' samples... right?

Off and running for today's ration of Fun, Fun, Fun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How Cats Pray

Warning! Swallow all beverage mouthfuls before watching, unless you enjoy cleaning spewed liquids from your monitor and keyboard.

Hat tip: Good friend V (remember her?) via Facebook.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Geekery Sublime.

The Sci-Fi Squad (sounds like my kind of people, what hey?) counts down The Top Five Hunk of Junk Spaceships.

Serenity, that most shiny hunk of junk (the one with the high pilot turnover rate, as they say) comes in at number three.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Look, Ma, No Teeth.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Zerberts On His Tummy?

Sure looks like it to me!

He's Playing Peek-a-Boo Again.

And doing ab crunches too. Now that's multasking!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Taste Sensation: The Rubber Glove!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just Watching The World Go By.

Somebody Captured The Moment.

The moment where Big Mama rolled Big Baby over onto his back happens at about 1:53. So very, very cute.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aisle 16 At Orchard Supply Hardware.

That's where you can find the oil lamps. For those who might be interested because of the gully-washer that is supposed to eat California today, and the anticipated power outages.

We had an outage here a couple of weeks ago unrelated to a storm; report was, a transformer blew up over by the mall, and thousands of homes were without power for several hours.

Candles are not easy to read by. So ever since then, I've been looking on and off for an oil lamp.

The one I found looks a lot like this:

So if you're in the market for an oil lamp, try the hardware store.

Monday, October 12, 2009

He Crawled, I Swear.

No pictures this time, but just a couple of minutes ago, Mama Panda left the den--and the little chubster actually managed what looked like a few hesitant crawling steps. He did move a few inches, and he didn't do it by rolling, and his paws were going, both front and back.

Next thing I knew, Mama's snout crossed the den's threshold, followed by her paw--with which she rolled Chubby onto his back and then she left!

Maybe he isn't allowed to crawl without her permission?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Visit To The Vet


His little yap is going a mile a minute and I expect he's yelling for mama.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And In The News...

... stupid pirate tricks!

Dallas Concert Photos

A professional photographer hired by the Dallas Symphony to roam the concert hall during last month's concert with the Moody Blues has posted a slideshow of some of his images.

He captured our little front-row banner extravaganza during "I know you're out there somewhere." The banner read "Somehow you'll return again to TEXAS" and was created by Janet.

The banner holders, left to right, are Bonnie, Janet, Vanessa, Me, and Val.

Now you know how close we were to the stage. Just in case you didn't believe me before.

UPDATE: At Janet's insistence I am also posting the second banner photo, where Justin is stepping towards us. Woot!

Yes, Pandas Have Attacked People.

Just Google the topic; it's not hard to find out. The best-known attacks have been when drunk or stupid people have actually climbed into their enclosures, thus invading their territory.

Somebody invades my territory, I too have been known to bite.

Meanwhile... Chubby Cubbie continues to grow.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chubby Cubbie.*

He's getting so big, it takes all 4 of mama's paws to manhandle him around.

* According to Chinese tradition, baby pandas are not to be given their names until they are 100 days old, so he's "Cubbie" for now.

His Eyes Are Open!

Whose eyes? You have to ask??

He yawned during part of his examination today, but let out quite a loud squawk when they gave him his first vaccination. Check out the video.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Had To Be Nuts.

With a smile (or is that a grimace of pain?) on my face somewhere around mile 8 of the 10.6 mile walk.

Got the postcard in the mail today exclaiming that it was my LAST CHANCE!! to order 2009 Big Sur Marathon photos. And since I am way too cheap to pay their prices, we have a watermark. So sue me.

Anyone recognize the T-shirt?

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Let Pandas Die out, Says Naturalist

Conservationists should "pull the plug" on giant pandas and let them die out, according to BBC presenter and naturalist Chris Packham.
The 48-year-old believes that money spent on conserving the panda would be better invested in other animals as the species is not strong enough to survive alone.

Well... he's entitled to his opinion, but needless to say, I do not share it.

Sure, a lot of money is being spent, and the bandwidth bill alone for the San Diego Zoo pandacam that I can't stop watching is probably more than my monthly rent... but dang it, there's something incredibly refreshing to the spirit to see these great big adorable fuzzballs in action. And that you cannot put a price tag on.

Dear Mister Packham: Can you look into those faces and wish them dead? Really? Honestly? Then you are a heartless b***ard, I say.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Growing Like A Weed.

Here is a shot taken just 1 month earlier, for comparison. I think the lil' rascal has at least doubled in size since then.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Me And Carbonite, Day 11

So I decided to succumb to the daily TV advertising and try Carbonite risk-free for 14 days.

I already back up all of my most important stuff to an external hard drive... but unless you carry that external hard drive off-site (which is kind of hard to do when it lives where you do), the same theoretical future disaster that turns your computer into melted slag will perform the same service for that external HD, at no extra charge.

One could, I suppose, park the external HD in a fireproof safe of some sort, but unhooking it from the computer and putting it there, and then getting it out again every time I needed to change a file (which happens daily) was just a little too much for my tolerance.

So, an online solution.

At $54.95 a YEAR, Carbonite sounded like a real bargain to me, so I tried it out.

It took 11 days for the first backup to complete, i.e. the full backup, because due to ISP bandwidth limitations it could only handle about 3 gigs a day. However... when I got up this morning, the backup was complete, with 3 whole days remaining on the free trial. From now on, it will only back up changed or new files--and it will all happen automatically, with no input needed from me.

And don't tell anybody... but I figured out (thanks to instructions published by some enterprising soul) how to "fool" it into thinking my main external hard drive is actually an internal drive, and thus eligible for backup. (Carbonite promises USB external hard drive support someday, but not right now.)

So now all of my important files are stored off-site, at a secure location--and available to be downloaded on any computer that has an internet connection. So next time I'm off gallivanting around in some undisclosed location and I simply MUST listen to "The Ballad of Serenity" or any other song that I don't have with me, I can simply go to my online backup files and retrieve it, from anywhere in the world.

Check Out This Little Bruiser.

All of 48 days old.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Okay, I'm getting tired of this game. Mom, would you come and get this leaf out of my face?


Friday, September 18, 2009

News From The World Of Science

I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV. The following was printed in our local newspaper yesterday. For some reason I cannot find the original article from the LA Times. I offer this for your perusal.

Physics beats scare tactics
Cell phones cannot give you cancer
Los Angeles Times

In the most recent instance of the triumph of wishful thinking over basic physics, a "collaboration of international EMF activists" this month released a report repeating the tired argument that "cell phones cause brain tumors." Their evidence: Studies discrediting the link between cell phone radiation and tumors were funded by telecommunications companies, which deliberately excluded data that might have shown a link.

Many people probably first heard about the "risk" of cell phones when David Raynard, whose wife died of brain cancer, appeared on "Larry King Live" in 1993 to support his lawsuit claiming that the tumor had been caused by her cell phone. His evidence: "She held it against her head and talked on it all the time."

More recently, King hosted three neurosurgeons who said they would never place a cell phone against their head because of the risk. They may be good neurosurgeons, but apparently they flunked physics.

Read the rest of the article

Thursday, September 17, 2009


... you're on candid Pandacam!

Now wave at the camera!

Is this a better angle? Do you like my little chinny-chin-chin?

Enough! No more pictures today, please!

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