Date Archives February 2014

It’s alive! IT’S ALIIIIIIVE!

As a person who is constantly seeking validation and small forms of immortality, I couldn’t help but enter the Frankendie contest, which had people compete to have their likeness in their game, either as a mad scientist or as a monster. They already had a few solid mad scientist entries, so I felt like monsterdom was where I could shine. Not to mention, if you’ve ever had to deal with me early in the morning, I’m really more monster than human anyway. I could have assembled a new costume, but since they didn’t prohibit using an old one, I decided that my swamp witch costume with a new name would do nicely. And since it wasn’t based on merit, but was instead a giant popularity contest, I proceeded to bug the shit out of my friends and asked them to annoy their friends and so on and so forth. One day I’d take a commanding lead, the next I’d be behind, and it came down to the wire with me asking for votes something like every hour the final day of the contest. I’m surprised that I wasn’t unfriended in droves. The important thing is, I won.

What did I win? My costumed likeness is in the game, along with my copy (Can I put that on my resume?), two copies of the game, an illustration of myself, and an enormous t-shirt declaring me the property of the Mad Scientist’s Guild.





My only quibble is that I’m still about 30 years out from orthopedic shoes, but other than that I’m stoked!


Interacting with Giraffes

This past summer, I visited the Woodland Park Zoo for the first time. It’s a good zoo: the animals have plenty of room, look healthy, and even better, they offer animal interaction where you can feed elephants and giraffes.  I love getting close to animals and seeing the texture of their skin, feel the whooshes of their breath, watch their eyelashes flutter, their lips quiver toward a treat. I am in awe of their presence, their majesty. I love the noises they make, from the Jurassic Park screech of a Japanese crane to the rumble of a tiger. I love seeing the sun glint off their fur, watching their muscles rippling under their skin, and acclimating my eyes to the nocturnal areas to watch a bat spread its wings.

I know you’re not supposed to like zoos if you profess to love animals. Or circuses. Or basically any animal-based entertainment. And I do understand that. I don’t want animals to be tortured for my entertainment, and there are examples of all of these things that show that some humans are incredibly cruel, or stupid, or both. But I also believe that it’s possible for zoos to be run well, for the animals to be treated with exemplary care, and for the displays themselves to be educational and spark a desire in humans to love and protect the animals and habitats we otherwise so readily destroy. That the physical reality of the animal can forge a connection that a photograph in a book or on a screen cannot.

I was, and remain, deeply upset about the killing of Marius the giraffe in the Copenhagen Zoo. He was still a baby and was yet deemed ‘surplus’ and as such was slaughtered and fed to the lions. He wasn’t so extraneous when he was still small and could bring in tourist money, but now that he was older and no longer a draw, suddenly his dismemberment could be “an educational experience”. If the role of zoos is to protect these animals, it makes no sense to kill one and call it education. The zoo claims that they needed to kill him to combat inbreeding, but a simple castration could have solved that issue and he could have lived a long and healthy life. Other zoos offered to take him in. Private buyers offered to take him off of the Copenhagen Zoo’s hands. But instead of protecting his life, they made a glorified sideshow out of his death.

I realized that as I came across these photos, I couldn’t just post them now in light of Marius’ needless death without commenting on my participation in giraffe tourism. I’m trying to be more vigilant about which businesses get my dollars when animals are involved. Sometimes I make the right choices, and sometimes I make wrong ones; I hope I make the right choices more often than not.

IMG_1319 One of the first places we visited in the zoo was the insect area, a place which I find both fascinating and repellent. I’m often simultaneously filled with the urge to go “ooooh” and “ewww” at the same time, finding myself flailing when I feel something imaginary skitter over my neck and practically moaning in despair when I see that they keep one of their spiders out in the open, saying that she “has no reason to go anywhere”. Oh yeah? Someday she might find a reason. Someday when I’m near the exhibit. I don’t want to be involved in any sort of spider-related incident.

IMG_1276I don’t know how going into a little hole in the wall makes you a dung beetle, but I’ll go with it. It’s definitely better than “Here, be a dung beetle and roll around this giant turd!”

IMG_1277I’ve caught about 1,000 of these in Animal Crossing.

IMG_1280  This picture is poor even by my standards but I love that little fuzzy Japanese crane baby.

IMG_1288What does the fox say? “I’m pretty tired of your shit, guys.”

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IMG_1305I’m actually pretty certain that there’s a similar photo of me with a carrot or a hot dog out there somewhere.

Sometime after lunch, our group split up–most everyone wanted to see the educational display of a bear going after a picnic basket’s contents because they were pretty sure it was going to be total carnage (you know, in an educational fashion), but I felt strongly that if I didn’t feed an elephant a leafy branch when given the opportunity that I might die. We knew that the animal interactions were an extra fee, but we didn’t know that this extra fee was cash only, resulting in a scramble through the park, looking for an ATM.

It was totally worth it. Aaagh just looking at these pictures makes me want to give this elephant forehead kisses (I am not suited to survival in the wild, being cared for by a nanny society has worked out in my favor) but I had to settle for feeding it a shoot from a what was essentially a magic wand for elephant treats.

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IMG_1316Accio Treato!

IMG_1317 After we waited in line to meet the elephant, we waited in line to meet and feed some giraffes, because this zoo understands the importance of feeding a hungry giraffe, unlike the Racine Zoo. They allow you to feed the giraffes directly from your hand, but warn you that as much as you might like to pet them, they do not want to be petted. It took an extraordinary amount of willpower on my part to not attempt to touch a giraffe, but I managed to follow instructions, unlike one of the kids in our group. He had initially impressed the zookeeper with his knowledge and questions, but tried to feed the giraffe with one hand and pet it with the other on the side the zookeeper couldn’t see. I did find it immensely gratifying to watch the giraffe’s head snap back and have her give the kid a look like “You, sir, have violated our feeding agreement and I am extraordinarily disappointed in you,” mainly because that look was not directed at me.   IMG_1323 IMG_1324 IMG_1325 IMG_1327 IMG_1328 We also made certain to take some time to see the baby sloth bears, and we were rewarded with sloth bear roughhousing. Of course, I can’t see two adolescents fighting without immediately thinking of Arrested Development, so I give you BOYFIGHTS: Sloth Bears. boyfights

Nom or Vom: El Taco Terrible

safe_image.php We all know that Taco Bell isn’t Mexican food. I don’t think anyone who eats at Taco Bell wants it to be Mexican food, they want it to coat their stomachs in a hurl-resistant grease coating to keep your favorite bar’s well swill from revisiting your mouth on its way to the sewer system.  Or at least that’s the reason I would go to Taco Bell, which makes their addition of breakfast items suspect to me. Who’s going out and getting hammered first thing in the morning? It’s really more of a hazy buzz time of day, which is why mimosas and brunch exist. So anyway, now there’s going to be a waffle taco at Taco Bell: a waffle stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and a sausage patty (or bacon), served with syrup. Other than the shape, I don’t really see what makes this taco-like–you could assemble your own waffle taco at literally any breakfast place. So I guess the wild card here is that it’s from Taco Bell. Can you start your day off with Taco Bell? Should you start your day off with Taco Bell? Will you start your day off with Taco Bell? These are the important questions.

Pros: All the breakfast foods you love in convenient handheld form.

Cons: Rolling the dice on birthing a toilet-shattering abomination later in the day because you ate at Taco Bell. Somehow even less Mexican than regular Taco Bell food–put some chiles in the eggs or the cheese or make it a cumin-flavored waffle or something! If you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t like the food on their plate to touch, this one is going to be a problem for you.

Would you eat a Taco Bell Waffle Taco?

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