Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Way To Go, Yahoo News.

Nothing quite like telling the terrorists the best places for them to target. Uh huh.

No, I am not linking the news story, just in case there's a terrorist watching this space.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Silly Bear

Captured live on the Pandacam just now... not-so-little-anymore Yun Zi at San Diego, taking a nap in a rather extraordinary position....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Show an appalling lack of consideration, thumping around in the bedroom closet at 11:30 in the morning. Makes it hard for a girl to sleep on the job.

I'm just saying.

Monday, September 12, 2011

And The Highlight Was...

... borrowing a flute off a street musician and playing "God Bless America" at Ground Zero.

(In case you haven't read the post immediately below this one, this picture was taken in July of 2003.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

Today seems like an appropriate day to review my two visits to New York, and compare and contrast.

Interestingly, both visits were made in the company of my best friend, sometimes known as Muppy.

The two visits, 14 years apart, had in common a ride on the carousel in Central Park, and a visit to Tavern on the Green, although on the first trip, we only had coffee, because we were very, very poor, and on the second visit, we splurged and had lunch.

On the first visit, in 1989, the city seemed proud of being designated the attitude capital of the world. The hotel desk clerks, taxi drivers and airline agents seemed to be the only exceptions, and I expect their job descriptions included not getting snarky with the customers. I have a vague memory of a public relations campaign going on with the taxi drivers, in which the phrase "May I help you?" figured prominently.  But other than that, people were generally rude and mouthy, and unrepentant.

And on the ride into the city from the Newark airport, the twin towers dominated the skyline.

Fast forward to 2003, and a similar ride from the same airport. On that July day, 9/11 became fully real to me when I saw with my own eyes the gap in the skyline.

We made an early start the next morning, and the first thing on our agenda was, of course, the pilgrimage down to Ground Zero. I think we had a printed Google map and not much else. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but we wound up going into a hotel, not our own, via the rear entrance, and we must have looked mystified, because the nice uniformed man at the podium (bellman? concierge?) immediately took us in hand, although we had not gotten to the point of asking for help. He gave us a map, pointed out the location of the nearest subway station, told us what stop to get off at, and then gave us his card, saying, "If you get lost, call me."

And we weren't even guests at his hotel; we came in off the street, and he saw us come in off the street.

After that, I can't even tell you how many times we had only to pop out of a subway station and look around, trying to get our bearings, before someone would approach us, within seconds, and ask if we needed help finding our way.

Even the street vendors accosting the tourists and hawking their swag in the blocks surrounding the big hole in the ground, although they were just as aggressive, somehow were much nicer about taking "no" for an answer.

What a difference 14 years makes.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Quickly We Forget.

And how quickly we remember, when prompted....

I usually operate with the home phone ringer turned off, mostly because I am not fond of interruptions.

Today, I am expecting a call from a co-worker, so I turned the ringer on.

So far, it's been the breast cancer donation people, and the recorded message from "card services" to alert me that I could get a lower interest rate.

And as soon as that co-worker calls, the ringer is once again going to be turned OFF.

Everyone that knows me knows to either e-mail me, or start yelling when they get the answering machine. If I'm here and I feel like talking to you, I will pick up. Otherwise... use the answering machine for its intended purpose and leave a message.

Hey, I'm paying for this phone, I'll decide when and how I want to use it. I will. Not the breast cancer donation people, no matter how worthy their cause, nor "card services," nor any of the other myriad of callers who (thank heaven) mostly do not leave messages if they reach voicemail. 

Yes, I am feeling especially curmudgeonly today.  Thank you for asking.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bears and Boxes

Just got back from this year's Black and White Overnight at the San Diego Zoo. One of our activities was creating treat boxes for the bears. We actually missed seeing this ourselves, but one of the narrators got the shot of nearly-2-year-old Yun Zi beheading the box we made.

And here is the pandacam shot of the overnighters. We are the ones with the panda ears and blue shirts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Are The Odds?

That I would run into both ex-pregnant women on the same day? Especially considering it's been a very long time since we all worked together?

I ran into Dr. Nancy in Whole Foods at around noon on Sunday. She gave birth to Zack back in August of 2006, and he's going to start school this fall. She assures me that my old boss, her dad, is doing just fine, and they're treating her well over at the new office, which isn't so new anymore.

And then I ran into Stacy, who gave birth to her twins in December of 2006, at the Mercy Me concert at my church Sunday night. I was taking tickets at the door, and found myself face to face with her and hubby Nick. I did see Stacy not all that long ago; she was in the area, and we met up for lunch.

But to run into both Nancy and Stacy on the same day? Who'd have thought?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Add Another To The List

Of things I can't run at the same time without blowing the breaker, that is.

Until now, the only one on the list was the microwave and toaster oven.

Now, it's the microwave and the hair dryer set on "high."

Ahh, life in the modern age.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yeah, Still Alive (More Or Less)

Went off on a mini-tour, seeing the Moody Blues in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Went with good friend Pam, who won the VIP upgrade for SB, and thus we got a special tour of the stage, and had our pictures taken onstage. Minus the band, alas, but that's as close as us fans actually can get, so we were pretty happy. Also saw some old friends, and met a few new ones.

But, despite actually getting to bed at a decent hour, neither one of us really slept, so we were pretty draggy the next day. The adrenalin rush came back in full force by concert time, and we had a blast. We did get some sleep that night, and headed home the next day.

Now I'm back at work, and I really, really need a nap... but, miles to go before I sleep, alas.

Pictures later, if you're lucky, but don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road

That was my first thought, until I realized it was a grave insult to all honest black-and-white stinky fuzzballs out there.

To paraphrase my good friend Denise AKA Butterflysneeze...

Hey, Pakistan! You got some 'splainin' to do!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Bamboo Boogaloo

Gao Gao spent a LOT of time this morning scent-marking all over the enclosure, not just on or near the gate.

Bai Yun came over a few times and sneered at him, then flipped her tail and walked away again. Talk about playing hard-to-get....

And then... SHE came to the gate looking for HIM, and he wasn't there!

Right about then, they switched the live cam over to Yun Zi's enclosure.......

Later, a new zoo blog entry was posted with the happy news that the happy couple finally had a successful rendezvous.

Which means we might, just might, hear the pitter-patter of new fuzzy feet this fall. ::fingers crossed::

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Too Big To Sit On It Anymore

Yun Zi is back in the "classroom" exhibit, where Bai Yun the Mommy Monster infamously pushed him off the drinker when he had the audacity to climb up there one day....

Goodness gracious, that was a whole year and 4 months ago!

Not Quite Yet.

Bai Yun is playing hard-to-get.

Shortly after that video was captured, Gao Gao tried his pole-dance maneuver, and now he's in the midst of the "I'll turn my back on you and sulk" maneuver.

Stay tuned, and thanks to Doxiemom for the video.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bungle In The Jungle Imminent

Or so it seems.

At the San Diego Zoo, Bai Yun is pacing, and Gao Gao keeps sniffing at the howdy gate. See, the big Stud Muffin (tm) knows there's a soon-to-be-ready female nearby, and he doesn't want to miss his opportunity. The two bears can see each other, but a grating still separates them.

This morning, the live cam showed a couple of apparent zoo employees with clipboards standing on the walkway, observing the action. After the zoo opened, apparent members of the public were seen also on the walkway, so evidently it's not time quite yet, because when it IS time, they will clear the public out of the exhibit, then open the grating, and if all goes well, there will be a new cub come August.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Too Good Not To Share

Some of you know I work as a medical transcriptionist. There is speech recognition technology involved in this job, or as we often call it, "speech wreck," with good reason.

The speech wreck engine just now gave me "California."

What the dictator actually said was "schizophrenia."

Discuss among yourselves. I have to get back to work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New, New Math . . . ?

From the e-mail:

In the words of that great mathematician (and public relations specialist) Jayne Cobb, "Ten percent of nothin' is, let me do the math here... nothin' and a nothin', carry the nothin'... "

Close To Home

Blatantly stolen --er, borrowed, from the Fail Blog. Anybody know which park this is in? I haven't seen it, although I don't get out much these days....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Well, That's A Second.

About 11 years ago I picked up the phone, and it was a national poll. The caller was a live person, and the questions were rigged in such a way that unless you were the muzziest-headed liberal in the universe, your answers made you out to be the bad guy. One question after another began with the premise that such-and-such an issue had been brought up by the Democrats but opposed or blocked by the Republicans, and just about every single one of those assertions was simply not true. For instance (and this was NOT actually one of the questions, but close) it might go like, "Democrats have proposed legislation, opposed by the Republicans, to ban the cooking and eating of babies for breakfast in the halls of Congress. Do you support the Democrats or the Republicans in this issue?" See? I was not going to reply that I supported the Democrats, but if I stated I supported the Republicans, it meant I was in favor of babies being eaten for breakfast. There was no third option of "don't know."

In several instances, the initiative purported to be proposed by the Democrats but blocked by the Republicans was, in fact, a Republican initiative that the Democrats opposed, but the American people supported. Time after time, when the caller would pose the question, I would say, "But that's not true!" Alas, that was not one of the acceptable answers. There was no way to win.

I asked the caller on whose behalf this poll was being conducted, and she either could not or would not tell me. She said that she worked for a company that was contracted to make the telephone calls, and when I said I could guess which political party had commissioned the poll, she owned up that she probably could guess that too. She was very nice... but egad, what a rigged poll that was!

Fast forward to 2011. This evening I received an automated call which immediately identified itself as conducting a poll for the Rasmussen Report, the results of which will be available at The poll questions were recorded, with prompts to press 1 or 2 for the answers. Most of the questions had to do with economics, and even to my jaundiced ear, were not in the least bit weighted one way or the other. For instance, did I believe the US economy was currently great, all right, not so good, or terrible. Another: Did I believe the economy was heading in the right direction, or the wrong direction. Another: Did I believe the US is currently in a recession. Since I answered yes, the next question asked whether I believed it would be over within the next 6 months, or would it go on longer.

So now I've been nationally-polled twice. Very, very different experiences.

She Always Looks So Sweet And Innocent.

But... last Sunday, apparently somebody did not close a gate properly, and somebody got an armful of bear teeth. Big mama bear Bai Yun's teeth, to be exact.

Having recently weaned her last cub, she may be going into heat pretty soon, and if she's anything like humans . . . well, I've been known to bite people too.

UPDATE: The latest reports (or rumors) are saying that the person was bit in the leg, not the arm, and rather badly injured. CAL/OSHA is investigating, but has no jurisdiction over how the zoo actually treats the animals.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dyslexia. It's A Beautiful Thing.

I have a very mild case of dyslexia that mostly manifests itself in signs and headlines, in which I read things that aren't there.

I remember some years ago I walked past a sign that said "Hotel Eccentric." When I looked again, it said "Hotel Entrance."

I liked it better the first way.

Today, I was shocked at the news headline that police had tackled a Wisconsin lawnmower.

Thinking that police surely have better things to do than wrestle with garden equipment, I looked again, and the tackle-ee was actually a lawmaker.

I leave it to the reader to decide which one is more worth tackling.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back To Business As Usual

Bear business, that is.

The little guy (Yun Zi at San Diego) isn't so little anymore; he's now 97 pounds, and in the past week, has crossed a very important milestone.

He is now completely weaned, completely separated from his mother, and on his own. He seems to be handling it pretty well.

I do believe this is his favorite new sleeping perch:

And when he's not snoozing, he's checking out his territory:

Less than 6 weeks until the next Panda Convention, when we all get to ooh and aah at the little grown-up bear.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hot Diggety Dang.

The world can officially come to an end now.

Why? Because I knew an obscure factoid that Jeff . . . didn't.

You see, Jeff's brain is one of the world's greatest repositories of obscure (and useless) factoids, most of which nobody else seems to know.

Today, at coffee, I happened to mention that the reason why the unrelated species of giant panda and red panda both have 'panda' in their name is because 'panda' means 'bamboo eater.'

I did not know that, said Jeff.

Also in the course of conversation, he mentioned that giant pandas are anomalous in that they have the digestive tract of a carnivore, but they are vegetarians.

I knew that. But neither of us knew why such an adaptation has taken place in the species. Perhaps no one knows.

And all of this and 50 cents will get you tomorrow's newspaper.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Didn't We Ever Think Of This?

From the working world version of the Fail Blog:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sleeping Bear

He looks so innocent, doesn't he? But he apparently redecorated his enclosure early the other morning, without permission....

Did I mention the 2nd annual Panda Convention is coming up at the end of March??

UPDATE: Wakey-wakey?

Hmm... guess not.

Friday, January 21, 2011

This Is Photoshopped.

From today's Yahoo news page.

A virtual chocolate chip cookie to the first person who can specify, in the comments, how we know it's been Photoshopped.

UPDATE: Foxfier and Jeff are both correct, actually... I was thinking with the sun setting, we would NOT see that much light on the east side of the bridge (the side facing the camera, believe me, I've tried photographing that thing in every lighting condition imaginable), nor on the car itself, but the main thing that grabbed me is that, as Jeff said, the vantage point from which the bridge photo was taken is a scary dirt road, with no stone wall; in fact, no guardrail of any kind, which is part of the reason why there is a sign at the road entrance that says "Impassable in wet weather." Also, more recently, there is a sign that says the route is not recommended for anything other than four-wheel drive.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gao Gao Chow Chow Down Down

Gao Gao, AKA the Stud Muffin,* AKA the bamboo-eating machine, looking like a big stuffy-toy.

*Stud Muffin, because he is the ONLY male panda in the United States to have fathered cubs the way nature intended, not once, but 4 times so far.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

They Snooze, I Win.

Okay, so I neglected to mention that as of a couple of weeks ago, I am no longer a trainer, and I am back in production. Long story, most of which will not be told in a probably-vain effort to protect the guilty. But I digress.

Today is not even my normal day to work... but for the last two and a half hours, the two people who are scheduled to be working on my primary account do not appear to be doing so. Or if they are, they are moving so glacially slow that the queue hasn't changed in over an hour....

So guess who is grabbing up all this delicious work and keeping it for herself. I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.

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