Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I've Seen This Personally

This Is What I See When I Look At Children


It's A 'Tiger Salamander'

Tiger salamanders' markings are variable throughout their extensive range, but the most common marking resembles the vertically striped pattern of their mammalian namesake.

They are usually brown in color with brilliant yellow stripes or blotches over the length of their bodies. Their base color, however, can also be greenish or gray and their markings can be yellow dots or brown splotches. Some have no markings at all.

Thick-bodied amphibians with short snouts, sturdy legs, and long tails, tigers are the largest land-dwelling salamander on Earth. They can grow to 14 inches (35 centimeters) in length, but the average size is more like 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 centimeters).

They are also the most wide-ranging salamander species in North America, living throughout most of the United States, southern Canada, and eastern Mexico. They live in deep burrows, up to two feet (60 centimeters) below the surface, near ponds, lakes, or slow-moving streams and are one of few salamanders able to survive in the arid climate of the North America interior.

Highly voracious predators, they emerge from their burrows at night to feed on worms, insects, frogs, and even other salamanders.

Their population is healthy throughout their range, but deforestation, pollution, and rising acidity levels in their breeding pools is affecting their distribution. Many are even killed by cars as they cross roads in the spring en route to or from their breeding sites.

Tiger salamanders are long-lived, averaging 10 to 16 years in the wild.

Day Four

Deb and I got the chance to hang out with some Spider Monkeys in Mexico. We first had to empty our pockets and take off our glasses, since they would immediately become play things never to be seen again.

Since all of the monkeys we interacted with were girls (the boys don't play nice) Deb had the harder time getting attention.

Deb using a bribe of nuts and raisins to garner some affection.

I already know what Rotgut is going to type.

"I'm always watching you... always watching."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Super Slow Motion

Size Is Relevant!

I Like Marcy!

Michael Phelps Diet

Pool - 2 / Lizard - 1 / Mice - 0 / Snake - 0

I arrived home with the goal of getting caught up on swimming pool maintenance. We were on vacation last week and the week before that I was out of town for work. So with almost 3 weeks of guilt and neglect, I set to work. I run my tests, add some chemicals, and then begin scrubbing the whole thing down with a long handled brush. Wearing my swim suit I head into the pool to work on the stairs and the tile lip. It was at this time that Deb arrives home.

I ask Deb if she could pull out the skimmer basket and dump out what ever junk is in there.

Deb says that she hates reaching down into the dark hole to find the basket handle because "You never know what might be in there." I, worn out by scrubbing am less than sympathetic to her fears, and I badger her into doing it anyway.

The lid comes off, her hand reaches slowly into the hole, and then the screaming begins.

"Lizard!" "There's a yellow lizard in there and it's big!"

I pull myself over the edge, look into the basket... and it is empty. I look into the skimmer... and it is empty. There is NO lizard.

Deb continues to tell the lizard story and I finally agree to go to the secondary basket filter back in the mechanical area and see if the mythical lizard is there. As I make the journey, I am sure there will be no lizard.

I was wrong.

So this poor thing sees Deb, flips out of the skimmer basket and is sucked into the filter system. It arrives in the secondary filter basket and is tumbled around for at least 2 minutes while I try to convince Deb she is crazy. Since this appears to be a Salamander, it breathes air, and I assure you there was no air until I shut down the system and pounded off the lid to the basket. Mr. Salamander spent quite a bit of time hanging out on my hand catching its' breath.

Spending some time thinking about how simple life seemed until Deb came along and messed everything up!

Day Three

Deb and I head out to sea, to swim with Whale Sharks.

After 3 plus hours searching, we find one! The black thing sticking out of the water is the dorsal fin.

The boat races into the path of the fast moving Whale Shark and drops you in the water. You look down, find it, and swim like hell to keep up with is as long as you can. The spotted blob on the photo above is the nose of the shark.

Afterward we did some snorkeling.

Colors like this never get old.

Deb showing her fine snorkeling form.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day Two

I decided to try a Discovery Scuba class while on vacation... and now I'm hooked. Here I am in my form fitting half suit. I have 18 pounds of weight strapped around my waist and I'm trying to stay calm.

Step One: head out into the shallow water and learn the rules and the safety procedures.

Having passed the first part with not a hint of panic I head out to open water for the real dive.

Now this part was a tad bit tricky for me. We slowly descend down this rope and every 2 feet all I have to do is get my ears to pop to equalize the pressure. The trouble is that all of the techniques I have been taught don't seem to be doing the job, and we are stuck about 10 feet down with my ears hurting. At some point I make the motion of yawning with my jaw and "Whoosh!" everything is equal! From that point on it is smooth sailing to the bottom.

Wow, I'm breathing underwater!

I am being asked how much pressure I still have in my tank. I seemed to do well, and by taking controlled, slow breaths I was able to stay down for 45 minutes on the first dive.

Amelia is a Dive Master and was my instructor.

Diving Photos

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Disney Lab Unveils Its Latest Line Of Genetically Engineered Child Stars

Day One

Deb and Rick hit the pool.

Since it was slow season, we had the place mostly to ourselves.

This is how it looked to us!

We did have some visitors.

I've seen this look before... feed me!

Lizards eat french fries? Right?

We Arrive

A shot out of the plane window as we landed in Cancun, Mexico.

We spent the week at the Mayan Palace, Riviera Maya. This resort is right on the ocean.

The water was amazingly warm.

I do miss this chair!

Back From Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Back from vacation in Mexico. I planned on posting during the vacation, but I just have trouble stomaching the ridiculous prices charged for internet access! So, for the next week I'll post with a one week time delay.

Arrived home last night to record rainfall in the Boise area. We received 1.1 inches of rain yesterday here at the house! I know, for you in Portland this is not a major feat, but here in Idaho this is big! Downtown Boise received 0.9 inches. This breaks the old record of 0.49 set back in 1984. The last time rain fell here at the house was 55 days ago.

Mishra has not left my side since I have returned... but I figure that she's gotta eat sometime.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome To North Korea

These videos are not for the faint of heart!

Roman-candle Wars?


Man says he's eaten 23,000 Big Macs since 1972

A 54-year-old man says his obsessive-compulsive disorder drove him to eat 23,000 Big Macs in 36 years. Fifty-four-year-old Don Gorske says he hit the milestone last month, continuing a pleasurable obsession that began May 17, 1972 when he got his first car.

Large Hadron Collider Tested

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

Votex Of Tumbleweeds!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ten things you don’t know about the Milky Way Galaxy

So you’ve lived here all your life — in fact, everyone has — but what do you really know about the Milky Way galaxy? Sure, you know it’s a spiral, and it’s 100,000 light years across. And of course, BABloggees are smarter, more well-read, and better looking than the average population, but be honest: do you know all ten of these things? Really?

Ten things you don’t know about the Earth

Look up, look down, look out, look around.

— Yes, "It Can Happen"

Good advice from the 70s progressive band. Look around you. Unless you’re one of the Apollo astronauts, you’ve lived your entire life within a few hundred kilometers of the surface of the Earth. There’s a whole planet beneath your feet, 6.6 sextillion tons of it, one trillion cubic kilometers of it. But how well do you know it.

Eight Best KeePass Plug-Ins to Master Your Passwords

A good password management application makes your life easier and your identity monumentally more secure, and free application KeePass—the most popular password manager among Lifehacker readers—is the perfect place to start. We've already walked you through getting started with KeePass, so let's take a closer look at how to get the most from your password management with a few of the best KeePass tricks and plug-ins.

Throw out the Kindle, Plastic Logic has something better?

Get ready to finally chuck all those newspapers and books that you’ve been carrying because Plastic Logic has introduced a full-page sized ebook reader that doesn’t suck. The touch screen reader has an 8.5-inch by 11-inch display and uses flexible (as opposed to rigid glass) plastic. Unlike other electronic ink devices (cough Kindle cough), this reader has enough screen real estate for a pop-up touch-sensitive keyboard.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.