Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pretty pictures and such

Some beautiful pictures of Russia from one hundred years ago. The one dog looks like my dog, although my dog is from Japan... http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/russia_in_color_a_century_ago.html

Maine Coon cats in Oregon need new homes as owners lose their own homes. A sad story. Kitties are free to good home. http://www.coonpanion.com/

Hilarious article about rambling email from Obama. I found the formatting issues the funniest, probably because I've gotten emails with all of these problem, although none from our president. http://www.theonion.com/articles/frustrated-obama-sends-nation-rambling-75000word-e,18516/



Monday, November 29, 2010

Did she think this through?

A woman in Spain has claimed the sun. She says she wants to charge everyone who uses it and use some of the money to wipe out world hunger. I guess she doesn't realize that there will be more world hunger after everyone has to pay the new sun tariff.

I don't think she thought about all the law suits for skin cancer, sunburns and other problems caused by the sun. Cullen points out sunspots mess up all kinds of things so she'll be responsible for those damages also...



Friday, November 26, 2010

More random stuff

Only a little bit about bears. I'm almost done with bears for now. Next up researching fundraising and how to start a nonprofit.

I think if you go to this parade you get sacrificed and/or eaten. http://plixi.com/p/59376974

I can't remember if I posted these. Waterspouts in Siberia. I have some Siberia stories but they have to wait until after I finish NaNoWriMo (which should be today as I have less than a thousand words to go.) http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2008/09/07/tornado-in-siberia/

This one especially looks like something out of War of the Worlds.

Tornado in Russia 9

I got to wondering about Native American dogs. I've always heard about dogs and Native Americans working together but wasn't sure if the dogs came over on the land bridge or were domesticated seperately. On the land bridge made the most sense to me as that's how Japanese dogs got to Japan; came when the humans did. My dog is descended from an ancient breed that has been with man for a very long time. He's a "primitive breed." He's also super awesome but I digress. I found this nice round up of the Native dogs. http://www.native-languages.org/dogs.htm

I was most intrigued by this little dog that hunts bears.

The Tahl Tan Bear Dog

This little bear dog was from 12 to 18 inches tall and weighed from 10- to 18lbs. Amazingly, It survived into the late 1960's or early 70's. This dog of the Tlingits, Tahltans, Kaska, and Sekani was used for hunting bears in British Columbia, Canada. The hunters carried the dog inside a pouch until bear tracks were discovered, where upon the dogs tracked the bear. These small dogs could run on top of crusty snow and bark and worry the bear until hunters arrived. These little dogs were black with white markings, or white with black markings, not much bigger that today's Schipperke. On examining a photograph from Atlin, B.C., of a bear dog, I noticed its resemblance to the New Guinea Singing Dog, an extremely rare dingo type dog from Papua New Guinea. In another photograph, the dog resembled a Papillon.

I'm intrigued that a dog so tiny could hunt bears but then if they were hunting black bears, which will run from a cat, I guess it's not so surprising. Their eradication is depressing.

From a site on how to live with black hears:

By comparison, a person is about 180 times more likely to be killed by a bee than by a black bear and 160,000 times more likely to die in a traffic accident. Each year there are many thousands of encounters between black bears and people, often unknown to the people because the bears slip away so quietly. Menstrual odors have been shown to be attractive to bears, but there is no record of a black bear attacking a menstruating woman.

Dozens of minor injuries, some requiring stitches, have occurred across North America when people petted or crowded black bears they were feeding or photographing. Under those circumstances, black bears may react to people as they do to bears with bad manners, by nipping or cuffing with little or no warning. Also, people who tease bears with food have been accidentally injured when the bear quickly tried to take it. Fortunately, black bears usually use at least as much restraint with people as they do with each other. Unlike domestic dogs, which often are territorial and aggressive toward strangers, black bears typically behave as the subordinate toward people when escape is possible.

I just wonder where these people are growing up that they didn't learn "Don't feed or tease the bears." Isn't that a given? Don't we learn that right after don't get in the car or take candy from strangers? Baffling.

So poor Cullen cooked Thanksgiving dinner and did a nice job on the turkey, which looked beautiful. Unfortunately I couldn't eat it. I take this medicine for intracranial pressure and it makes food and carbonated beverages taste "peculiar", as it says on the insert. By peculiar they mean poisonous and not like food at all. I took a bite of the turkey and it tasted like bitter oil, if there is such a thing, and had to spit it out. That's the last reaction someone wants when they just cooked their very first turkey...

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black bear bluff charge

You know all those people who say they were "attacked" by bears?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More bears


Monday, November 22, 2010

Living in the future

I went to see my family doctor today. I've been wheezing and my sinuses are bugging me so off I went. I also needed a PT/INR and planned to get it at the lab next to my doctor's office. There is a woman who works there who has been drawing my blood for twenty years and is amazing. She always gets my blood and she doesn't leave me with five or seven punctures, most of which have crippled my hands.

While we were waiting to see her (Cullen came with me to help me remember everything I wanted to go as I also needed to get the name of the sleep study place I was use for a retest and I keep forgetting to get one of my meds refilled) I heard her nurse saying she couldn't get a PT/INR on a patient because they couldn’t get enough blood squeezed out.

I've been hearing about a finger prick clotting test for years but for some reason my hematologist doesn't have the machine. You can also get a prescription and do your own tests but he doesn't believe in patients doing their own. Frustrating but what are you gong to do?
So I asked about it and sure enough they have the machine and I was able to get my test and get the results immediately. My levels are too high, 3.5, so I'm extra glad to get the results so quickly. The nurse says I can come in there for all of my tests and that there's no point in getting an entire blood draw when they can do the finger stick.

Then to my even greater surprise I discovered they have a machine so you can do a sleep study in your own home. No more having to try to sleep in a strange environment. She said there are three simple steps then you bring the equipment back, they mail off the data and you get the results in about a week. Pretty awesome.

End result: I have a sinus infection, have to see the ENT because it's like the fourth one this year and hopefully my monthly blood tests will be no fuss no muss. Hooray!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

More random things

Some more stuff that caught my eye over the last few days. There may be a few posts that mention bears as there is a bear in my November project. Sadly they don't behave quite the way I thought they did so I have to reevaluate my plot but it's been interesting reading.

First story is totally not bear related. A plane crashed while trying to deliver a liver and intrepid rescuers were able to get the liver out of the wreckage and hand it off to the transplant team, which successfully installed it. Pretty amazing. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/20/liver-transplant-plane-crash-birmingham

Some quite nice photos of ladies engaging in sport around a hundred years ago. Some are boxing, some are bowling, some are playing baseball and others are doing other things, including flying a plane. http://www.worldinsport.com/2010/11/sportswomen-of-past-homage-with-vintage.html

An Italian police officer discovers stolen art in the window of a New York gallery while on vacation. The statues had been missing for more than twenty years. Well done officer. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/nov/19/policeman-holiday-art-treasure-gallery-window

You may have seen this one already as its quite popular. Grandma is depressed so photographer grandson takes pictures of her as a superhero and voila, she feels better. These photos are lush. http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/grandmas-superhero-therapy-18

This guy complains that there aren't enough conservative novelists. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/253529/where-are-conservative-novelists-mark-goldblatt He says he's written a novel about "the scalding effect of postmodern cynicism on the human heart." Doesn't that sound like a blast? I can't imagine why it didn't outsell Twilight and Harry Potter. Someone in the comments says they can't get published because they are conservative and says, "Fall ito your respective oceans, ye murders of the human spirit!" With such deathless prose I'm sure they're absolutely correct. The only reason they can't get published is because of their politics. It's got nothing to do with their writing or grammar fail.

From one of my favorite sites, damnyouautocorrect, dude, it's only a tattoo. Totally NOT contagious. http://damnyouautocorrect.com/1203/new-tattoo/

Finally some stuff about bears. This year my state, Maryland, had a five day bear hunting season for the first time. This thing is wildly popular with loads of dudes competing for the licenses. (Suggestion for a reality show - they go out in the woods and fight each other. Survivors get to hunt the bears. Bound to be number one.) What I found interesting about this article is how small the bears are that were killed. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/art_life/display_travelOutdoors.htm?StoryID=112057

More than 3,800 hunters applied for one of the 260 available bear hunting permits. The average estimated live weight of the bears taken this year was 163 pounds.
I don't know what normal people take from this but I keyed in on the weight of these bears. They're tiny. Only about twice as big as my Akita, who has a bear like build. I guess since I'm from California and my kids spend weeks in the summer in Alaska I'm used to brown bears, which are bigger. I'm imagining these 250 pound dudes out there hunting for bears that mass quite a bit less than they do...

The other part of the article that caught my eye was about cheaters.

However, the hunt did not go problem-free. The Maryland Natural Resources Police charged several men with hunting bears with the aid of bait or attractants to lure bears. The use of bait, scent attractants or electronic calls is prohibited for black bear hunting.

Really guys? I'm sure your forefathers are super, super proud of you.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

This is hilarious

When a black bear approaches a hiker and shows bluster, some people think the bear learned to do that to make the person drop his or her backpack. In fact, brochures along the Appalachian Hiking Trail advise people to do just that. In truth, bluster means a bear is too nervous to approach calmly. Blustery bears are particularly easy to chase away. Nevertheless, hikers who see blustery bears often drop their backpacks like the brochures say, making some people wonder if the bears wrote the brochures.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Here's the press release from our county police. Excellent work on a homicide but what really caught my attention was the indecent exposure item. Did this dude really think a young lady was going to accept a ride from a man with no pants on? She was smart and quick thinking under stress, typing his license plate number into her phone so she could report him and indeed he has been arrested and is in jail on thirty grand bail. Lots of people would have been too flustered to get the details as well as she did. Good for her.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A bunch of random stuff

Penn of Penn and Teller on what happened when TSA touched his groin without his permission.

A supreme leader that just doesn't get it.

Privilege Denying Dude - this is hilarious.

This is a horrible story about a war hero dog that was put to sleep for no reason in Arizona. Very sad and shameful.

Who designed this car and why?

That's it for now. I'm still super busy with NaNoWriMo


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Werewolves are better than jerks

Proof. (I keep forgetting to post this.)



Friday, November 12, 2010

How many times do I have to say it?

For Gods sake, why can't you understand me? http://damnyouautocorrect.com/417/cogs-cogs/

That post just made me laugh and laugh.

I have a type of aphasia after having meningitis and I often say the wrong word. I only recently realized that obviously the problem is that I have an iPhone autocorrect feature in my brain...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tired of Hunting and Gathering? How About Trapping?

I'm working on my weekly entertainment column, focusing on things to do in National Parks in the upcoming weeks, and I was surprised to discover you're allowed to trap in the Big Thicket Natural Preserve in Texas. This seems significantly creepier than hunting and I think that's because when you're trapping you're not in control over what's happening. You leave these things around and they can catch anything that comes along, even things you would never dream of shooting at when hunting, and they can be in any condition. They can be in pretty serious pain until you come along and finish them off, or set them free, or whatever you want to do. It's not what I would call responsible and I'm dismayed to find out we allow it in our parks.

When I was in seventh grade we lived next to these boys who put traps in our backyard and tortured the animals they caught. They also used to torture us and when I would let the animals out of the traps they would hurt me until one day they held me up with a rifle, cut up a little bird and smeared it all over my face. It's possible my view of trapping is tainted by these ex neighbors of ours...


Monday, November 08, 2010

Another Look at Friday

Kate Beaton tweeted that this would be a funny idea before she did it and she's right, it's hilarious. She did a bang up job.

Robinson Crusoe from the point of view of Friday, who is befuddled by the crazy, smelly dude who washed up on the beach.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sissy Bounce

Chris went to this sissy bounce show and saw Big Freedia. I'm jealous. I'd read about this subgenre of New Orleans Bounce but haven't been to see any myself. If you're unfamiliar with sissy bounce you can read more about it at the following links. Essentially its bounce music with gender removed; girls can be boys and boys can be girls. It's liberating and creates a safe space for both girls and boys. You can shake your booty and not have to worry about someone thinking it means more than you getting your dance on.

BTW this video is labeled Ass Everywhere and it isn't kidding. If you don't want to see ass, and lots of it, don't click the video.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Just Don't Listen

I'm kind of weirded out by the number of people who are writing snide or negative posts about NaNoWriMo this year. When I first started, in 2003, hardly anyone had even heard of it and if they had they were pretty encouraging. I guess like vampires and steampunk NaNo is suddenly popular enough that a certain type of person has to jump on the let's hate it because it's popular bandwagon.

That sort of thing is to be expected and is fairly easy to ignore, especially if you're trying to keep your head down and make your daily word count. What's more insidious are all the posts telling you what not to do. In the last two days I've seen several posts about how to avoid cliches, how to avoid tropes (which is super weird as tropes are not bad in and of themselves. Where would we be without the hero (of either sex) or the villain?), how to give your character a name that is important and not overused, etc.

None of this should be on the minds of those trying NaNoWriMo, especially those who are trying it for the first time. Reread the official website and remember; the idea is to get your initial draft down. Write that crappy draft. Shovel in as many cliches as cross your mind. Name your characters Dick, Spot and Jane if you must. All of this stuff can be fixed in a rewrite if you plan to submit your work somewhere or just want to practice revision. Changing character names is particularly easy as even the most basic text program has a search and replace function. And if all you want is to be able to say that yes, one year you put everything aside and wrote a book and now you're finished writing, then you really don't need to waste your time trying to write a pretty, clicheless manuscript. Hell, you don't even need to run spellcheck if all you want is the words and the feeling of satisfaction!

And yes, of course you should feel free to ignore my advice also if you feel it doesn't apply to you. Do what works for you. That's the important thing.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November means

It's November which means I'm busy with NaNoWriMo. I'm off to a good start with six thousand words on day three, which is more than the daily goal. My story is about a girl who doesn't plan to but ends up running away from home and impersonating an elderly woman's granddaughter. There's a bit of scamming going on involving a foreclosed house and some expensive dogs. So far so good but there's plenty of time for me to veer wildly off track.

The above link is for some cute listings from McSweeney's.