Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh Yeah? How Are They Gonna Know??

From the label on the back of a bottle of drain opener:



Isn't enough the federal gubbermint is taking over our healthcare? Now they have to take over our bathrooms too?

Look out... the bathroom police are coming for YOU!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Expect To Be Arrested.

For smart-aleckry on the census form.

Yeah, they can make me fill it out, but they can't make me play their stupid little ethnicity games.

On the "race" question I went all the way to the bottom, checked "other" and wrote in "human."

Expecting the jack-booted knuckle-dragging thugs to show up on my doorstep any old time....

But I'm pretty sure they really don't give a rat's rear end that I'm white beige because the only yes/no question had to do with whether I was some form of Hispanic.

And if there'd been room for an essay answer, I would have spewed about how it's unfair and misleading to lump all people of European ancestry under the "white" label because if you're going to go down that road, let's point out that those of us whose ancestors several hundred years back hail from northern Scotland (mine) have little in common with those who were born in Italy and emigrated to this country as young adults (my landlord and his wife), for instance. And yet, the gubbermint considers us all "white."

Can you tell I get really, really annoyed about this crazy Balkanization that I'm paying for via my tax dollars?

I am a human-American of light beige skin tones. So there.


Monday, March 29, 2010

The Hat

Old pal Patrick mentioned the "khaki" hat.

Actually... if you look very, very closely, it is a WHITE baseball cap, complete with plush panda ears sticking out of the top.

I had at least half a dozen people at the zoo demand to know where I got it. Well... new friend Laura made it. That one and most of the other ones you can see being worn in the picture. She took plain white hats and sewed fuzzy ears onto them, complete with something to stiffen them and make them stand up.

Because inquiring minds want to know.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Somebody Finally Scanned It.



Can you spot me?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Almost Done

Spent the night in Lost Hills, because although it's only 3 hours from home, I was very, very tired, and I did NOT want to drive into the setting sun!

So I'm off to make that last leg this morning. And there was another method to my madness... on the trip down, I spotted hillsides absolutely COVERED in wildflowers, not too far east of Paso Robles, but I didn't stop to take pictures. Today, I will.

Yesterday's adventures began around 8 a.m. at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. I had the place completely to myself, and took about a 40-minute walk. The flowers were rather a bust--but the silence was magnificent.

After a quick breakfast back in Rosamond, I made my way to the cat place. It's small enough that you can get in and out in a hour--and that's if you go around twice and spend some time rummaging through the T-shirts in the gift shop.

And then... a meander down San Francisquito Canyon Road, with a hike to the site of the St. Francis Dam, which fell down and killed hundreds of people back in 1928. There's not much left of it, but it isn't hard to spot, because whenever you see a piece of grayish-beige aggregate with smaller rocks in it... that's a piece of the dam. Don't tell anybody... but I picked up a chunk and brought it with me. (There's still enough there to satisfy souvenir-hunters from now until Doomsday.)

After that, I just pointed the car northwest and drove and drove. I wasn't sure how I did it... but I ended up in Buttonwillow, of all places, and thus to Lost Hills where I decided it was time to call it a day.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Precious Moments



Taken during the 10 seconds or so that "Yunior" was awake Monday morning.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, our little extravaganza even got press coverage. Several of the reporter's photos can be found here.

Liana is already planning next year's convention....


Monday, March 22, 2010

Stud Muffin And The Acrobat

Two of the pictures I described below.... First picture is Gao Gao, second picture is Zhen Zhen.




We Saw All Five Pandas Today!

We got very, VERY lucky....

Saturday morning, as part of our special tour, they took us into the "classroom" area (which is normally off-exhibit) where Zhen-Zhen is currently living, so we got to see her. Of course we saw a lot of Su Lin, Bai Yun, and Yun Zhi as well, because they are the bears currently on exhibit to the public. We had hoped to catch a glimpse of Gao-Gao, the patriarch (father of Su, Zhen, and "Yunior") who is also currently off-exhibit, but he was never in line with the tiny cracks in the fence.

Until this morning. We had gotten a heads-up that one could see into his enclosure (and Zhen's) from a high walkway across the canyon, so this morning on our last trip to the zoo, we purposely came down that walkway--and there he was. Mister Stud-Muffin himself, prowling around his enclosure. Yes, he was at a great distance, but we saw him.

We saw a lot of Su, Bai, and Yun. Then, on the way back, we looked for Gao-Gao again, and he was not visible--but Zhennie was playing trapeze artist in a tree branch, swinging around, hanging upside down, doing all kinds of maneuvers. Again, she was quite far away, but we sure got a kick out of watching her. I took some pictures with my telephoto, but I haven't yet checked to see how they came out. Stay tuned....

I dropped Laura and Brad off at the airport and headed north. This time, it only took two and a half hours to get from San Diego to Burbank (remember, it took 4 hours on Friday). The time frame was 1 to 3:30 p.m., and included a gas stop, a burger-to-go stop, and a couple of fairly minor traffic tie-ups.

After a Starbucks stop, I headed on up into the high desert. I am now ensconced for the night in Rosamond (near Edwards Air Force Base), because tomorrow I am planning to go visit the cats. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time might remember a prior visit there--5 years ago already, it was, on another road trip (the Death Valley trip, for whatever that's worth). I also plan to do a little wildflower-chasing.

Point of minor trivial interest. This motel is the first I have been to in YEARS where the room key is--a key. Not a card, but an actual key that looks just like my front door key at home.

And now I'm going to finish my bowl of soup and get ready to watch the season opener of Dancing with the Stars. If y'all are lucky, I might get some more pictures posted before I give up for the night. But don't hold your breath. :)


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Because Patrick Wants To Know.

I didn't stay in Burbank. That was just the last time I had looked at the clock. That's how I know it took 4 hours to get from there to San Diego.

Today, we started out at the Wild Animal Park, and were fortunate enough to see the cheetahs doing something besides sleeping (the lions weren't nearly so visitor-friendly), and we saw the baby elephant.

Then, we went back to the zoo--and were very, very fortunate in that Prince Fluffy-Butt also did something, for once, besides sleep. I shot 500 frames in the panda section alone. (Rapid-fire shutter mode is a wonderful thing.)



The remaining convention survivors are headed off to dinner in about half an hour. My new friends Laura and Brad and I will be making one last trip to the zoo tomorrow morning, because their flight home to Texas doesn't leave until 3 p.m., and I'm driving, so I can do whatever I want. They had bought a zoo membership, which paid for itself this weekend alone--and they gave me all the free passes that came with it, so I haven't had to pay admission to any park I've been to this weekend.


This Is As Good As It Got.

All day long.



We went through the line 5 times, I think, and baby bear did what he does best--sleep.

Our little extravaganza got some press coverage.

This morning we're off to the Wild Animal Park, but some of us are going back to the zoo late this afternoon, hoping for another try at some good pictures.


Friday, March 19, 2010

This Place Is Unbelievable.

Long story a whole lot shorter... I'm in San Diego, going to visit (who else) the pandas tomorrow. A bunch of us who met on the internet are going together, and the zoo is providing us with a special behind-the-scenes tour. And tomorrow night, we have a major banquet/shindig here at the hotel. Should be a lot of fun.

But this hotel is amazing. When I made my reservation, I said, just put me in a place with a bed and a working bathroom, I don't need anything more. Well. Apparently, the entire hotel is suites. So I have a large room with 2 queen-size beds, a LARGE closet with mirrored sliding doors, a full bathroom--AND a full kitchen, complete with 4-burner gas stove, microwave, full-sized kitchen sink, and full-sized refrigerator. There's also a dining table with 4 chairs. The closet contains a full set of dresser drawers, and then there's another completely-empty storage closet without even a hanging rod in it. I'm not sure what that's for. (It would hold a kidnapped baby panda. Hmmm.)

I know people who live in apartments smaller than this.

Other than that, it was a LONG drive. It took me 4 hours to get from Burbank to San Diego--and I didn't stop once. (That was in addition to the 6 hours it took me to get to Burbank in the first place.) Who were all those people on I-5, and what were they doing in my way??

Oh, you want to know what hotel it is? Park Manor Suites. You can look it up.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

For No Reason At All

Anybody know what/where this is?


Photo source

See below the fold for more information,if you're curious.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Surprising? Not At All.

In today's Yahoo news:



Think about it. How many times have YOU had a job where you could have been happy if only it weren't for that constantly-whining co-worker? The person for whom the glass is not half full, it is not half empty, it has a very large crack in it? The one bad apple that spoils -- well, you get the drift.


I Laughed Out Loud.

A little creative Photoshopping, found at the always-interesting Are We Lumberjacks?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bear In A Tree.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Too True...

"Baby Blues," from today's comics page, offered without further comment from me. Interpret as you choose.


 
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