Archive for the ‘Beastiesbeastiesbeasties’ Category

East Africa, Part 5: Masai Mara.

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

After my awesome morning drive I went back to the lodge, ate some lunch, took a nap and got ready for my second game drive of the day. I noticed on the path there was some interesting poop. You should always be paying attention to the poop, it can tell you who passed by and when. I saw giraffe (hoofprint included for scale):

And some teeny-tiny pooplets from the dik-dik, the smallest of the African antelopes. We’ll see some later so prepare yourself for the smallness.

As The Moomins and I were walking to the vehicle we walked past reception and I saw something dart out of the corner of my eye. Turns out banded mongoose live under the floorboards and they come out and forage.

I noticed that the doors on our vehicle, you could open them from the inside but not from the outside. That’s the exact opposite of child locks. I couldn’t decide if that was prevent robberies or to keep baboons from getting in. Honestly I would be more afraid of the baboons.

As we were driving out we saw the local eland and her baby. She tends to hang out near the front of the lodge so she’s kind of their resident eland. It’s easy to know it’s her because her horns are misaligned.

We passed some Maasai with their herd of sheep and goats. It still astounds me that these people share the space with wild animals, and not regular wild animals. Advanced-level wild animals, if you will.

Saw some Thompson’s Gazelle and a Random Other Antelope, the one laying down. I’m going to guess it’s an impala.

Ever-present Topi.

Okay, grab a drink and get comfy ‘cuz here we go.

We saw two lionesses sleeping. They were so close to the vehicle, it was a great sighting.

Now remember, this is a conservancy which means the guide can drive anywhere they want. We didn’t have to remain on the roads.

While we were watching the lions take a snooze there was an ostrich who turned to look at me, was like “whatevs” and continued on his way.

There was a warthog. You don’t realize how oddly put-together they look until they turn sideways. Their proportions are all off.

Baboon.

The ever-present cast of characters.

The lionesses rolled over so our attention went back to them.

We were now able to see those pronounced nip-nops on that one lioness. *foreshadowing*

Jacob told us that females tend to stay together for their entire life, so chances are the big one with the teats is the mother and the other one is either her sister or her eldest daughter.

Look. Look at the proximity. Acknowledge it.

This shot is bangin’. The iPhone 12 Plus Max Pro Ultra was doing a damn fine job.

Sister woke up, took a couple big sniffs:

And then had a big yawn.

Which apparently was inadequate because it was followed by another equally big yawn.

Now it was time for drinkies so the two ladies headed off to the watering hole and we booked it in the car to get there before them and get a good viewing spot.

The two ladies sauntered up to a pre-existing lioness to say hello.

The pre-existing lioness said “No thank you.”

Then there was drinking.

Followed by some rolling.

The two original lionesses crossed in front of us making a “hrrhhgg” noise like they were calling for someone. *foreshadowing intensifies*

And out of the shrubbery tumbled a pile of lion cubs, squeaking and being absurdly cute. The cubs went over to the mother lioness, she resignedly laid down and the babies started nursing from her and/or walking all over her face with complete and total disregard for her comfort or personal space.

Are you seeing this???

Are

You

Seeing

This???

This is unheard of. I am surprised I didn’t bust a blood vessel in my eye, I did so much very quiet screaming.

My two favorite shots. I call them “Parenthood.”

Eventually the lion family until wandered off in search of food and I got one last shot as the sun was setting.

So good. Such a good day. I couldn’t wait to tell my new BFF, Gecko That Lives Behind The Mask.

 

East Africa, Part 4: Masai Mara.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

This was going to be Day 2 out of 3 in the Maasai Mara. I was blown away by the previous day, I didn’t feel like I needed to see anything spectacular so I went out there with no expectations which made what I saw even better.

I woke up at some unacceptable hour, like 4:30am, so I could go on a hot air balloon. I looooove hot air balloons. If you know me personally you might find that odd since I haaaaate flying. The major difference is there’s no vibration and no lurching in a balloon. You feel safe and secure. It’s peaceful from beginning to end. The only problem is if you want to watch the sunrise over that Masai Mara you gotta wake up before sunrise. That’s pretty much the only downside.

A van picked me up, swung by a few other lodges to collect other ballooners and I didn’t have to wait long to see a beastie friend. As we arrived at the gate there was a jackal resting.

One of the women in the car could not wrap her head around how small the full-grown jackal was. “It’s a baby, right?” she kept saying.

In the background was a hyena loping around doing its best impression of a cryptid. This is how local myths get started. I mean, look at that thing. It could be a chupacabra, it could be jackelope with Marfan syndrome, you don’t know.

When we got to the balloon site they were already blowing it up. According to the balloon pilot this is the biggest size balloon in the world.

I don’t think he was lying. The basket seats 16 – 20 people. In order to get in I had to climb into that top layer of the basket. This guy is demonstrating.

I lightened it so you can see what he’s doing.

We climbed in, lay on our backs and assumed the sitting position on a bench in there so when the balloon was full and they tipped up forward we were already seated. Clever.

Then there were hot flamey-flamies and we were off.

One of the things I love about ballooning is if you’re 20 feet in the air or 200 feet in the air, it feels the same to you. So sometimes we drifted over the ground and sometimes we went way up to see all the way to the horizon. And if you’re not paying attention you’re pleasantly surprised. “Oh, we’ve gone high now.” We started here (where I saw another secretary bird!):

Then we were here:

And then we were here:

It all felt the same (which is lovely and peaceful).

We didn’t see very many animals but I was really there to experience the balloon ride so I wasn’t bothered by that. There was the aforementioned secretary bird and decent-sized herd of gnu. One gnu was feeling the need to run around and kick his legs for reasons only known to him.

I learned a lot about gnu on this trip. Our guide Jacob had strong feelings about the gnu, specifically that they were the stupidest animals known to man. After this trip I am inclined to agree. They predominantly roam around, panic and then cause stampedes for no reason whatsoever. I have a story later in the trip that will solidify their stupidity for you, we’ll get there. In the meantime, take my word for it.

In addition to sharing one brain cell amongst 100,000 they also make a noise I can only describe as a sad, slightly out-of-tune cello. Thousands of wonky violas expressing their monotone emotions. I found a decent example on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nwBvgi3MA8

Jacob said you will almost never find elephants near gnu because elephants cannot stand listening to the moaning. It probably doesn’t help that elephants are so intelligent and gnu are very much not. I could see an elephant saying “I’m going to need these sentient corn cobs to shut all the way up” and walking off in frustration.

We came across two mating lions taking a breather! And the male lion was blonde! That was cool sighting. Lions mate nonstop for two days to make sure it sticks and they take breaks in between because of course they do.

The balloon ride only lasts about an hour at most (sadness). When we landed our van driver asked us if we wanted to see stuff or go straight back to our lodges. Luckily, everyone in the van wanted to see stuff so we went on an impromptu game drive. I thoroughly embarrassed myself in front of these strangers. Look, you like what you like and you can’t control what you like. And I like marabou storks, also known as undertaker birds. They are kinda gross-looking but for some reason I find them charming, with their naked heads and their pretty feathers and their feces-covered legs (they poop on their legs to keep themselves cool, don’t judge.) We saw some and I got excited and weirded out the others.

We found some zebra. I love how their tails look braided.

There were a mommy eland with her young calf. In South Africa I’ve seen elands and they are huge. They are the largest of the antelopes and the bulls can weigh 2,000 lb. These elands were prettier and smaller and a bit more orange.

“I’m going to spin my head all the way around like that chick in The Exorcist instead of turning around to face you.”

There was a topi. They are extremely common but I always liked seeing them.

Saw some rocks in a dry river bed. Thought they looked cool. Took pictures of them.

Green mamba! It’s a really scary snake because it moves so fast your eye can’t follow it and it makes you feel unsafe. These are the only pictures I could take of it before it disappeared into the grass.

The driver parked in front of a tree. I could not see anything special about this tree so I didn’t know why we had stopped. The driver told us to get out and look at the tree which is usually a big no-no but if a guide tells you it’s okay you can do it. But you should NEVER get out of the vehicle without their permission.

Once I got underneath I saw why we were there. A leopard had pulled an impala over one of the branches and it was still there, decomposing. Shocker: I was delighted.

Have you ever seen an ostrich chilling and doing nothing and then decide to freak out and flounce away? I caught a pic of the beginning of the hysterical flounce.

Another secretary bird! I saw them five separate times on this trip and I’m going to mention all five so get used to it. I think I’ve done three so far. Two more to go.

We saw some hartebeest. They’re very pretty, long-faced antelope with teeny horns perched on the top of their heads. Their proportions are weird but I love them anyway. Don’t listen to the haters, hartebeest.

A few hours after leaving (at 4:30am, I cannot emphasize that enough) I got dropped off back at my lodge and got to take a nap before lunch and an afternoon game drive. That’s coming up next.

East Africa, Part 3: Masai Mara.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I learned what “Mara” means. It means “spots,” referring the sporadic bushes that speckle the area. Other fun facts I acquired:

  • The animals migrate to Kenya in a specific order. The zebra come first because they eat the top of the grass. Next, the wildebeest who eat the main part, then the impalas because they eat the bottom part.
  • Crocodiles swallow stones to control their buoyancy, and
  • Giraffes have healing saliva because of all the wounds they get for nibbling the delicious leaves on the thorn acacia. I saw some different breeds of thorn acacia along the trip, it is not a tree to be messed with. I walked head-first into one and was immediately awash with regret. You really gotta like those leaves to wrestle with those thorns.

The guide Jacob asked us what we were hoping to see. I imagine most people say “Lions, elephants, etc.” I was like “You know what? I’d like to see a dung beetle pushing a ball of dung. I always enjoy that. Or a secretary bird, those are the most dinosaur-y of the birds.” Jacob was like “Alright, unusual, but we’ll see what happens.:

After we left the camp we headed off into the Mara. Normally you don’t see game for a while. Remember, we’re in the middle of nowhere and only by the will of the animals do we encounter them doing their thing. So it was nice to be greeted by zebra.

And a topi and a warthog.

The topi suddenly remembered he left the oven on.

Two male impalas posing near a tree because fashion.

A hole where an animal with large claws, most like a lion, dug to try and extricate a meal.

Basic, easygoing, welcome-to-a-game-reserve-type stuff. And then we saw the two other vehicles parked near each other which usually means there’s something worth seeing over there.

It was a cheetah! A cheetah chillin’ out next to a tree! Because this was a different type of park called a Conservancy your guide doesn’t have to stay on the road. They can drive right up to whatever is happening. The downside is only five vehicles are allowed at a viewing at any time so if you show up late you have to wait for someone to drive away before you can see better. But we were one of the first five so we could get right up close to the cheetah.

Now, while the cheetah is wondering off, guess who shows up? A secretary bird, sauntering past us being all weird with the eyelashes and the fancy.

It even turned its head, like “You asked for me?”

As the secretary bird headed off to do secretary bird things the cheetah caught up with his brother (Jacob told us that bachelor brothers tend to pal around with each other). So now there are two cheetahs.

They’re hanging out in the grass relaxing so we turned and there were two jackals running down the road.

Apparently while we were looking at the jackals the cheetahs killed a baby topi! We didn’t see the kill but we did see the cheetahs afterwards. They didn’t have their meal and they were forlornly cleaning the blood off themselves. You can see it on that one cheetah’s chest.

Where’d the kill go? That nervous hyena over there might have something to do with it.

Near that hyena was another hyena and he was gnawing on something.

Holy crap, a dismembered topi head in its mouth!

This is Jacob. You can see how close we are to the hyena through his window.

You need to understand, you don’t ever see this kind of awesomeness on safari. You have one, two great experiences on your whole trip and that’s it. We’d already banged out an absurd level of sightings and we’d been driving around for three hours. What’s truly amazing was the whole rest of the trip was this level. We saw jaw-dropping things every single day. It was outrageous. I described it as “Nature knew it was The Moomins’ last trip to Africa so she brought out everybody. Nature said, ‘Sure, you want herbivores, you got ’em. Carnivores, no problem. You want me to resurrect a dinosaur? I could whip up a Heterodontosaurus if you just gimme a sec.'”

After this we saw a storm was coming as the sun was setting so we headed back to camp but I as we drove I saw a herd of buffalo and the sunset combined with the storm clouds made for some beautiful photographs.

And as the sun started to dip below the horizon an ostrich walked by. “This sunset pic is nice, but you know what would improve it? Me. Let me saunter on through, there you go.”

When we got to the lodge there was a poster of all the local wild animals on the wall. I’m not one of those people who checks off every animal they see and if they don’t “collect them all” they get angry, but I was shocked when I realized the I had seen 15 out of the 20. I was staring so hard at the poster I almost my new best friend hiding behind the mask to the left.

I stood there and watched him eat some bugs and went to bed to recover from my first day. Little did I know what was in store for me on Day 2.

East Africa, Part 2: Okay, we’re starting for real now. Masai Mara.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

The reason The Moomins wanted to go to east Africa at this specific time of year is because of The Great Migration. It’s impossible to capture in photos because it is hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and and tens of thousands of zebra walking from part of Tanzania to Kenya. It’s a giant cyclical journey. The animals give birth in the bottom part of the Serengeti because the grass is high in calcium, and then they trek to the Masai Mara because the grass there is high is potassium. By the time they’ve eaten all of the grass they can head back to the Serengeti. Here’s a map I found.

You can see smaller herds throughout the year but this when they clump together in these insanely large groups.

I want to bring something to your attention, which is that I did not bring a camera on this trip, only my brand new iPhone 12 Mega Ultra Plus Max, so my pictures look… adequate. If you’re expecting Nat Geo stuff, go ahead and lower your expectations.. I was lent a nice camera by some family friends but I decided once I got there if I had to plug ONE MORE OBJECT into an outlet I was going to punch something. I had this clunky adapter because their plugs are so different from ours and I was charging my phone and my laptop and occasionally my 2010 iPod that I like to travel with (don’t judge, that thing is the bomb), plus I was dealing with all the infernal paperwork that kept cropping up out of nowhere, I was not willing to feel responsible for another damn thing. So all these pictures are from my phone and some of them look like they were taken on a potato. I’m fine with that. There are so many people who go on these trips who bring crazy equipment and take breathtaking photos. I wanted to have a chill time so I sacrificed photographic quality for that. What I recommend you do is take a top-notch pair of binoculars because I ended up smooshing my camera against the eyepiece and taking some decent photos with that. And you don’t have to plug in and change binoculars. Plus you have binoculars.

We arrived in Nairobi and crashed for the night. The next day our Kenya guide Jacob arrived and we headed off to the Masai Mara, which is an incorrect spelling of the Maasai tribe who inhabit the area. The Maasai are predominantly very tall and very thin people who herd cattle. Cattle is everything to the Maasai. From the time they’re born to the time they die, it’s all cattle. There’s some sheep and goats in there, but the cattle is who they are, it’s their everything. We saw Maasai men everywhere, walking their herds from grazing areas to watering holes. Interestingly, they live in the game reserves with the animals and everyone seems to cohabitate nicely. I asked what about the lions and hyenas and Jacob said, “The Maasai aren’t bothered by them, they carry spears.” I was like, yeah, spears are great but, you know, lions and hyenas, I don’t know if one dude with a spear would cut it, but apparently it does. The only animals the Maasai are scared of are the buffalo and the elephants because if they want to walk through your house and break everything they sure can and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Leaving Nairobi I saw some jazzy mini-buses. It was as if the drivers were given an unlimited budget to buy all the vinyl decals and all the blinky lights their hearts desired. I ended up driving behind one that was particularly disco-tastic.

It had a light that zipped back and forth like Kit from Knight Rider. One thing I loved about these mini-buses (called matatu, btw) is that the design choices were clearly very personal and didn’t need to make a lick of sense to anyone else. I looked up “feelanga free” and it’s some kind of cell phone plan. Or a song. Depending on where you look.

On another matatu that drove in front of us it said “boy child” with the “h” backwards and “keep calm and love academics” as well as “Latema Sacco” which is one the major matatu owners (don’t think I knew that off the top of my head, I very much had to look that up).

This matatu drove past us and I snapped a shot real quick. Good luck figuring out what the theme is here.

But the one that totally blew my mind was an Oakland Raiders-themed matatu. Yep. A football team from outside San Francisco. I’ve been to one of their games, tailgated and everything.

https://design-newyork.com/blog/2016/01/04/christmas-the-super-american-all-inclusive-deprogramming-holiday-of-i-think-im-their-hostage-now/

This matatu was better designed and executed than anything  I saw from the super-fans in the parking lot that day. I didn’t get any pics because my jaw was hanging open but luckily there is a following on Facebook and I pulled some pics from there.

A few times I saw guys clinging to the back which, okay, I understand having to get somewhere but unless it’s a critical doctor’s appointment or the bank is gonna close or something I’m not risking my life, I will catch the next one. I found this as an example.

After driving for about six hours we got to the Masai Mara and the lodge we were staying at. We got out of the car and walked into reception where they said “Please have a seat so we can tell you about the amenities and rules here. You can watch the family of elephants in the meantime.” What??

“Yes, they’re at the watering hole, the one with the hippos.” WHAT?? We’re going to get awesome game views immediately on arrival?

Elephants were my father’s favorite animal so The Moomins had a moment. She started crying and said “It’s like he’s here to greet us!” I, being the extremely sensitive person I’ve always been, said “Is…is it going to be like this the whole trip, with you crying at every elephant? Because that’s going to get very old very quickly. Listen, I’ll let you have this one Hallmark card moment, ‘look at the stars and remember I’m always with you’ crap, but from now on you’re keeping it together. You can do some light weeping but this level of crying where you soak your mask with tears, that’s done.” Come on by for all your grieving needs.

Back to the elephants. Look at the little guy drinking!

I saw some high-end binoculars sitting on a chair so I held them up to my phone and I got some quite nice pics of the elephants and the hippos. You can see the details like the wrinkles in their skin.

Next post: More Day 1 in the Masai Mara. I’ll have to split several of the days up because we saw so much. It truly was the trip of a lifetime and I don’t want to rush through it.

Y’all met Pixel the Demon Cat? You should.

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

There’s this cat named Pixel. He’s a lovely Cornish Rex, a breed known for being slim and alien-looking with pretty curled fur like ramen noodles. Pixel will do this thing where he curls the corners of his mouth like he’s smiling. This caused concern for some lady and she felt compelled to comment.

I saw this and was like “Hey hey now, I’m sure he’s a fine little weird-looking cat,” but I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong and I am. This cat, on occasion, looks freaky as hell.

Let’s start with some easy ones. Pixel looks a bit intense but still super-cute. And you can appreciate the curly fur.

Sassy. That’s fine.

Now we take the turn.

Oh no.

JESUS CHRIST.

That last pic, it haunts my dreams. I love little Pixel though. He’s a wee monster. Here’s a picture of him with his owner.

And here’s a picture of him as a baby.

Despite the “grinning” I love him and I hope he only ever gets hugs and cuddles from everyone he meets.

 

Addendum: I saw pictures of Pixel from the side. I have such confusing feelings.

Beaver Skull. Here we go.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Remember Deer Skull? In a moment of weakness I bought a beaver skull. C’mon guys, it was on sale! I got it for cheaper because the front teeth, the most valuable part of the skull, were broken at the tips. I’m going to cover the whole skull with beads similar to the deer but in gold and jewel tones. I have a lot of beads left over from the acorn necklace.

And after my dad died I submitted a 6″ x 6″ tile to the Museum of Beadwork, I used more of those metallic beads there.

So for this skull instead of matching the color of the bone I’m going hard in the opposite direction. I painted the everything except the teeth blue and put blue and green felt on areas where I might want to shove in some decorative pins. I need a substrate to shove the pins into and bone is notoriously resistant.

I used Apoxie Sculpt to mold clean ends on the teeth. I can cover those bits with beads and you’ll never know they were janky and broken. Fun fact: The reason the fronts of the teeth are orange is because that’s rust. Their teeth are covered with iron.

I want there to be a gold line going from the forehead to the back. Lord, this has been a journey. I first beaded a beautiful strip. I couldn’t believe the richness of the gold color. Then I realized the richness is due to the beads being covered in 24K gold. I had forgotten I had bought them. I am very much not using those beads on a frikkin’ beaver skull so I took it apart.

Attempt #2. I decided I wanted it to be a pointed stripe fading into dark blue. The color blend was too chunky so that one was scrapped.

Attempt #3. Nope.

Attempt #4. YES.

I will clip those loose threads and I can fix the wobbliness when I glue it down by pushing it around until it sets.

That took a solid week to make one strip. This learning curve needs to pick up but I’ll get there. Eventually.

Growth and knowledge via the Internet.

Saturday, December 21st, 2019

I went to Mexico! To look at art! And Oakland California! Where I ended up looking at art! Now I’m back. While I go through my gross dirty laundry and my stack of photos please enjoy these informative treasures.

 

1. This is a long read but it’s totally worth it. I was blown away.

https://pricklylegs.tumblr.com/post/188456524966/synebluetoo-costumersupportdept

 

2. There’s a man who makes things and I delight in watching him work. His name is Bobby Duke and not only is he talented as hell, he is also charming and has a Southern accent. I do love me an accent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkbJemDY-00

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBcjGlXuQAI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSFPG1ACz5g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taF0nY9GqMg

 

3. I saw a video where a gorgeous male elk walked reeeeeeal close to some men who I think were fishing. The elk was so majestic. He turned his face toward the camera and made his call which sounded… piercing and otherworldly. I don’t know what I expected an elk call to sound like but it wasn’t this.

https://pricklylegs.tumblr.com/post/188374421161

I thought this elk might have been an anomaly but apparently not

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20PET6-Hr_c

I think it’s pretty amazing. People compare it to the sound the undead tormented nazguls make in Lord of the Rings but now that I know it comes out of such a cool creature I don’t find it frightful at all.

 

4. No one think of the cameraman.

https://blizzardofjj.tumblr.com/post/188492221581/nobody-thinks-of-the-cameraman

 

Update: Apparently EVERYONE knows the sound an elk makes except me. I am disappointed in myself for not knowing the calls of antlered mammals but I guess you can’t know everything. Hopefully this disappointment will ebb.

Update on the update: It has not ebbed.

Deer Skull 2.0.

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Remember Blinged Out Deer Skull? Cricket gave me a deer skull he found in his backyard and I decided to cover it with beadwork. The finished product looked like this:

I was content with Deer Skull for a while but the I found the box of supplies I used for it and I decided to fix some things that bothered me.

1. Those daggers on the bridge of the nose. They don’t match anything and since they’re so protuberant they tend to fall off, requiring me to glue them back on regularly.

2. The bead-woven sections. I was a bit precious with those, not allowing anything to cross over or overlap with them. That makes them look like they’re not integrated with the piece as a whole and I don’t want that.

3. Those sequins and pin on the forehead beaded panel. Not doing anything to improve the piece.

Here is the skull with the updates:

I’m much happier with it now. That’s how it goes with art: You make something and then after some time has passed and you’ve lived with it for a while the piece can evolve.

Treasures from the internet.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Seriously, how much garbage-y garbage do you see on an average day whilst surfing the web? I found a example of what most of my blinking ads look like:

It’s annoying. But there’s some great nuggets to be discovered under the detritus. Let’s delve together.

1. Ask a Mortician. Have you been watching this on YouTube? I mentioned the channel back in 2013 but only now have I truly sat down and watched many many oh so many episodes. Caitlin Doughty is incredibly informative and charming and I love her and would want to be her friend if she lived in NY (sadly, her home base is LA). I love the opening credits that feature her now-deceased Siamese cat The Meow fluttering like an angel.

The episodes I liked best so far:

Closing Mouths Postmortem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8RtdsKQYZg

What is the Oldest Mummy in the World? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF4vL7p-jI0

Vultures, Forensics and Border Policy – Why Migrant Bodies Disappear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNow5soA714

Adipocere aka Corpse Wax: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi0Gi0sqXwg&t=360s

Exhumation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0cvVyIEfHI

Iconic Corpse – Eva Peron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIwj0ybenmM

Caitlyn has some books and a blog and she runs a very nice mortuary, I like her. I know I mentioned that earlier but I feel the need to reiterate.

 

2. I have a HORRENDOUS sense of direction. Before map apps if something was happening below 14th Street I refused to go because it was off the grid and I would get lost immediately. I’ve gotten lost in my hometown, the place I lived in for the first eighteen years of my life, a town that is nine miles square. It is not a cute quality. But I would venture into all the wilds if penguins would guide me on my way.

https://www.geek.com/apps/japanese-aquarium-uses-penguins-to-make-the-best-ar-app-ever-1599745/

Hey, computer inventor folk! Penguin guides for everything! I will accept not-penguins but I still want animals to lead me places. Waddling animals preferred. Get crackin’.

 

3. Additional item that’s not really internet-related but I want to share it anyway: When I went to Mexico for my beading class I saw some truly stellar alebrijes. Click here for explanation and examples. The most drool-worthy artists are Jacobo y Maria Angeles, a community of artists who make the most phenomenal alebrijes. If you saw the movie Coco by Pixar you may remember the alebrijes, specifically the rabbit-frog who spoke to me on a deep level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8wpoIZj9iM

Pixar got much of their inspiration from the Angeles art community.

The whole point of this recap is that I saw a piece by them and I want it. I want it bad. Three words: Gold leaf eyelids.

And the pattern. And the tail that wraps around the body. It’s all the greatest. After I spend all my money on this I will live in a cardboard box with my beloved… lizard? and it will be glorious.

San Francisco Part 8 and done.

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Birds! So, so many birds. But first, something else.

I’ve spoken about how much I love Jeremy Fish’s style. I own one of his pieces in my apartment, a signed print of a skull with wings and a bunny head riding on two dachshunds while a hand holds a carrot to motivate them. (Jeremy Fish is very surreal – it’s best not to ask questions.) I know Jeremy Fish is based in San Francisco so imagine my delight when I saw this pasted to some wooden siding.

And here’s a another bit associated with the game park. On the side of the road there was a ankole cow, the kind with the gigantor horns. It makes the difference between antlers and horns very clear. Horns are temporary, they’re used for mating rituals and then they fall off. Horns are forever and in the ankole’s case (and many other beastie’s cases) it cools the blood before it goes to the brain. That’s why it looks like a sponge.

Okay, birds. The game park not only had herbivores and the occasional carnivore, it also had birds. A lotta birds. And few of my dream birds that I never thought I’d see so I got super-excited.

These are storks of some kind. Fancy storks. The males and the females are almost exactly the same and the only way to tell them apart is one sex has yellow eyes and one sex has red eyes.

Flamingos. I don’t feel like I have to do much explaining here. They’re a bird we all are familiar with.

In a very large net-covered area was a plethora of birds. A lot of ibises (I like to call them ibii, I assume that’s wrong but I don’t care). Some different storks. A lovely medley of ducks. Something called a hammerkop. It’s related to the pelican.

The tour guide said we could go inside the enclosure as long as we stayed with him and didn’t interfere with whatever the birds were doing. That’s how I got so close to these fancy fancies.

And then… I saw them. I’ve mentioned the vulturine guineafowl before. I’m well-acquainted with helmeted guineafowl, they’re common in South Africa. They was free-range there, wandering around being stupid (which is what they do).

But there’s the bestest guineafowl in the world and that’s the vulturine kind. And there they were, two feet from where I was standing. I tried to be cool about it. I was not cool about it. I was plotting on how to steal one.

So if anyone is going to the San Francisco area and feel like picking me up a present, this would be an excellent choice. Get me the skull-faced balding blue-faced chicken asap.

There were a couple other creatures in other areas.

Cheetahs!

Servals sunning themselves!

And one of the few monkeys I like (I find monkeys and apes a bit terrifying) the De. Brazza’s Monkey.

And that’s it for the trip to San Fran. I hope you found insightful and informative.