Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn

With thanks, yet again, to the ubiquitously awesome and unparalleled BoingBoing, I came across this video blog link which pays tribute to the "Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn".

It is rather zen with a touch of philosophical psychedelia... you really should watch it.

Vacation Pics Et Nauseum

Well folks, it was a heck of a nice vacation and here are the pics as promised. As always, you can click each picture to see a larger, more detailed version.

The camp where we all stayed for the week

View of the back yard from the camp

View of Mt. Elmore from the camp waterfront

My "niece" and I

One of my young cousins feeding the ducks

"Family Tree"- My younger brother in black, my older sister on the ground looking up, and three of my cousins

Taking a break while stacking wood at my grandmother & sister's house

A certain sibling of mine does not like to be photographed.

My "niece" again

My mother and one of my young cousins

Adorable little pygmy goats at the horseback riding place (note how rotund they are, we figured they were most likely pregnant)

Scottish highlander cow

My sister and little brother up in the saddle

Cousins enjoying the trail ride

My father on his horse

A rather odd chicken (known as a "Silky" I think???)

More goats

The road leading to the foot of the trail on Mt. Elmore

Group photo taken close to the summit, at the site of a burnt-down ranger cabin

My little brother and cousin clowning around on top of what is left of the old field-stone chimney

The fire tower at the very top of Mt. Elmore

Me in the fire tower, Lake Elmore in the background

Lake Elmore, view from the fire tower

View of the North end of the lake

Slightly fuzzy aerial detail of the camp

View of the southern ridge of mountains extending away from Mt. Elmore and the southern tip of Morrisville

Monday, August 28, 2006


A friend called me at the end of my vacation and told me that Tom had died a couple of days previous. I will be attending the funeral tomorrow with some of my family and friends. It isn't fair that he was taken away from this world at such a young age, but we all know that, within the framework of our best ideals, life just isn't fair. I wish that he hadn't suffered at all, but I am glad he is no longer in pain. Despite my personal anguish associated with him and the harsh circumstances that drove us away from each other, I can honestly say that I am a better person for having known him. May his children and the rest of his family be blessed, find peace, and heal from this. I will post vacation pictures when I am not in such a dark state of mind.

Update: I just got back from the funeral a few hours ago, it was a very emotional, sad day for everyone who was there. It was nice to see that so many people went to pay their last respects. He had a lot of friends. Now, I only hope that his children, partner, and the rest of his family will be able to cope and move on.

Friday, August 18, 2006

SPROOIIING!!!....*leaving a cloud of dust*

Well, it has been long-awaited and well-deserved. It's been about three years since I took a real vacation. Tomorrow, I am leaving for the beautiful little town of Lake Elmore, VT. My perennial favorite get-away spot. I've been there at least once almost every year since infancy... even for just an evening or two of camping & hiking. This time around, I'll be spending an entire week. There will be many pictures to post when I get back :).

Oh, and another blessing... I brought my car in to the dealership for an oil change yesterday... and they told me that it needed five different repairs... and my warranty expired over two years ago. How is this a blessing? Well, all of the repairs are covered by factory recalls and they won't cost me a cent.

Well, I gotta go finish packing. You all have a good one :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

PICTURES!!! (and more pet store nerdiness)

So the new digital camera rocks just as much as the last one, here are some recent pics:

A waterfall display that I recently built up at the other store. Note that this is a new construction and it looks a tad awkward because the plants and moss were not yet grown out at the time that this photo was taken. More pics of this display to come after it has a bit more time to mature and naturalize.

Detail of the waterfall.

Corner display in the stairwell that leads down to the fish room... before redecoration.

... and after redecoration. An improvement, no?

Yes, it's real. Having overcome my fear of them, I am now OK with handling the less agressive species of tarantulas.

Do you have a case of the willies yet?

Young male deer, pic taken on the same hike where I had the napping incident (read 2 posts back). This pic is fuzzy from being taken at a distance.

Tea Partay & Pet Peeve #4


I just picked up this amusing little movie from The UVscene Blog!!! Thou must needs watch it right now!!! The producer is totally taking a jab at the stereotypical upper-crust New Englanders as well as one of my pet peeves: caucasian people from rich towns or hick-towns who think they are "gangstas" (despite never having been involved in any sort of gang; these are the ones who, if placed in a REAL gang-run urban environment, wouldn't last more than two minutes). These white hickstas (aka: wiggas) grow like weeds in my town, we had one working part-time at my place of employment last year. This guy styled himself (poorly) after Eminem, fancied himself to be a rapper, and is destined to go down as a legend in my annals of hilarity & ineptness.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Wildlife Encounter, and Two Unlikely Responses...

.... OK, so the hiking bug was biting me something fierce while I was at work, so I had to satisfy this rigid compulsion immediately upon leaving my place of employment. I set off into the foothills yet again, picking berries and taking a few wildlife pics (which I will post when my computer stops being an evil bastard).. was wandering through an unmown field, came upon a large boulder jutting about a foot out of the earth in the middle. So I sat down on it for a little while, laid down to stare at the sky, and fell asleep. I woke up to a rustling noise, like footsteps crunching the grass near my head. I opened my eyes to a grey dusky sky with tinges of pink... and nearly leaped out of my skin as I beheld a huge male deer with what looked like an 8-point rack... grazing about five feet to the right of my head. This is not what one expects to see when they open their eyes, clearing the mental fogginess after a long nap. He jumped back and reared a little as I screamed like a lunatic and jumped to my feet, grabbing my walking stick... almost taking a swing at him, but my mind had returned at that point and I thought better of it. He stared at me in surprise for a few seconds, then let out a loud scuffled snort as he whipped around and jumped off through the open field into the underbrush, with his white tail waving wildly in the air, and almost with an heir of indignant irritation. I'm thinking I was far more surprised than he was. My hands may have finally stopped shaking, lol.

On a lighter note: Here's a warm shout-out to my parents and the people in their ex-gay "conversion" support group who think that they are secretly reading this blog in hopes of finding points of entry for "ministering" to me. In cordial response, I must say that it is hardly necessary... I am already being ministered to by the right sort of people for once. It is a bit ironic, almost bittersweet that I still pray for you the way that you likely pray for me: with the hope that your eyes will be opened some day. Please stop buying the lie before it's too late to repair any of this.

Hospital Visit

Some friends and I went to see Tom in the hospital yesterday. I thought that I would be able to just smile, offer encouragement, and as a friend be strong for him. One would think that I would be able to handle it better considering my background in the medical field, I've cared for and watched many people slowly lose themselves to cancer, alzheimer's, and a host of other tragic illnesses. After the first few I thought I had developed a pretty strong constitution for this sort of thing.

After a brief visit, I stormed out of the hospital in a fit of tears. It isn't easy to see a person who you shared almost three years of your life with... one who used to be well-kept, vibrant, happy, friendly, and full of life... wasting away in front of you. He can't sit up because it gives him seizures, most of his hair is gone because of the chemotherapy, his 4-day growth of beard is patchy, he is bloated from the medications, he has frequent, severe bouts of nausea, and he can't handle talking on the telephone or too much interaction with people because of the sensory overload that it causes.... due to the area of the brain that the tumor has invaded. They have stopped all treatments and he is in hospice. They are trying to make him comfortable, yet he is anything but. I am sad for him, his sons, his mother... and everyone else around him, witnessing his decline. I wish I could take away the pain that he and his family are going through. I wish he would be cured miraculously and have restored everything that has been taken away from him. I wish I were better at dealing with this sort of thing. May God be with them.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blackberry Bumper Crop

Hmmm... is it already that time of year again? Around this time last year, I was out hiking the foothills around town in search of a decent harvest of wild blackberries... Last year wasn't the best year for wild berries in my area due to the extended dryness and lack of sun throughout most of the flowering & fruiting season. Well, whatever last year lacked... was more than compensated for this year. I went out picking berries very early before work yesterday and in just under two hours of casual foraging, my efforts yielded almost as much as four long, punishing hikes last year. I now have over a gallon of blackberries in my freezer and will be adding another gallon to that on my next day off. Hmmm... maybe time to start shopping around for an extra freezer??? There is something deeply satisfying about going out and collecting my own food from the wild.

Last weekend started rough, but it eventually made up for itself by allowing 2 days of perfect weather for enjoying the outdoors. I went up to Long Pond in Lempster to enjoy the weekend with friends... the beach is off-limits to folks who aren't residents of the town, but the boat ramp is public access. One can simply enter the lake at the boat ramp and swim about 150 yards to the island in the middle of the pond (which is state property and open to the public). I ended up towing my buddy M and one of his children to the island with the aide of a floating pool lounger (he has a broken foot). We hung out on the island for a while and I got a bit of a mild sunburn as well as some much-needed down-time. I also got to finally try some funky "otter gloves"- webbed neoprene gloves which I spotted in a discount store last year and forgot about until I came across them in the basement a couple weeks ago. Let me tell ya, these gloves combined with swim fins are a real trip. Yeah, they look a bit silly when you're wearing them, but they enable you to swim unnaturally fast... much to my delight and the potential befuddlement of boaters and clueless people up on the beach. I promise to post pics of Long Pond as soon as I get my camera (hopefully today).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Awwwwww!!! :-D

Today's moment of adorably cutesy zen brought to you courtesy of Cute Overload. :)

Also, using the "predatory" bidding style (swooping in during the last 30 seconds of an auction and submitting a higher bid before someone else has time to counter-bid) on Ebay, I won THIS CAMERA with a 1GB memory card, carrying case, tripod, and other goodies.. for the paltry sum of $265.00 (including shipping), not bad considering that this item plus all it's accessories would normally retail for over $500. It's almost the same model as my last one, but this one has higher image resolution and I'm mega-psyched to have won it. I'll be keeping a much better eye on this one (though I do wish they had Lojack for cameras).