Friday, September 05, 2008

What do you mean "they" cut the power? They're animals.

I worked late last night and turned on the radio on the way home. Big mistake. That old guy droning on about stuff with his nasally voice almost put me to sleep behind the wheel. That guy is the John Tesh of politicians.

So here's the final series of pics from Animal Blogging Week featuring photos we've taken of critters. Today it's animals we've either seen or eaten. Actually those aren't exclusive.

Deer that wandered into our campsite a couple of weeks ago.

Had a cool moment at about five in the morning. We camped close to town because I couldn't get out of work and one morning I'd just gotten back from the shower and dressed for work and was sitting by the campsite drinking coffee when this same deer walked right up to me and checked me out. I just kept thinking "I'm going to be in a shiny, high tech office in a couple of hours and right now I'm hanging with a deer."

Took this picture at the zoo obviously. I loved how Doctor Zaius, ahem, this Orangutan came right up to us to chat. I think he was thinking "someday you're going to be on the other side of this glass and I'm going to watch YOU throw your poop at your friends."

Shark from the Oregon Aquarium. We needed a bigger boat.

Giant Dungeoness crab. I've crabbed for fun for most of my life and most of the time we get crabs that are barely keepers according to regulations. Wouldn't you know the first time I take the kids out on a boat we catch this giant. It's pretty rare to see a crab this size in the bay as the commercial fishermen get them first. He was delicious.

D'oh. He was also delicious. (jk)

A seal watching us crab. No crabz 4 U.

Zoo again. I think it's fair to say this zebra rarely misses a meal. He's not exactly in sleek, jungle form.

For some reason I hate elephants after the last week.

Hungry like Duran Duran.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Just a cute little bundle... of trouble.

Animal Blogging (Mini) Week Day 2. Since there's nothing else of any importance going on this week here are some of the animals we've lived with. Mostly dogs for you friends of the canine.

This is my wife's dog Spike. I say it's my wife's dog because, even though I love dogs, I'm not a fan of little yappy dogs. Of course he's pretty attached to me. If you waterboarded me I just might admit I like the little monster.

This is the same dog as a puppy. Runt of the litter. Best way to go.

This is Willie. We adopted him but have to give him away to some dog-loving friends. Willie had an unfortunate habit of catching and violently killing small animals. We have a lot of wild rabbits on the property and you can just imagine the psychological damage that was doing to our kids. Now he lives at a spot where there aren't as many targets of opportunity.

This is Spike and Mathilda. Mathilda's Norwegian Elk Hound/ Australian Shepherd. We were lucky to get her as the list at the Humane Society had about twenty people who wanted to adopt her besides us. She's just about the best dog I've ever owned. Even tempered and sweet.

Little Joe the Supergoat. He's the Rasputin of goats. He's survived wasp attacks, dog attacks, deadly viruses and toddlers.

Awww. Of course the next moment he's humping her leg.

This is Sheba. We're watching her for a friend. Going on about three years now. Every evening I throw my variation of the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride at her when I tell her "so long, I'll most likely get rid of you in the morning." Even if I wanted to do that #1Animefan is quite attached to her so it ain't gonna happen.

This is why little dogs hate the world so much.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sorry, it looks like you're involved.

Since nothing was really going on this week in the news other than the hurricane which seems to have passed without too much damage I had planned on declaring this week Animal Blogging Week and posting nothing but pictures of critters that I've run across or own.

The week sort of got away from me but nevertheless I'm going to spend today and the next couple of days doing just that. We'll start with the weird varieties of creatures we saw this last weekend at the Kumoricon.

(In order to get the flavor of this thing you should start the video below. You don't have to watch it, just play the music. This song was played non-stop from boom boxes everywhere you went at this convention.)

We had a really long wait in line. REALLY long. I checked their attendance numbers afterwords and in the five years they've been doing this it's grown from roughly 1,000 people to around 3,500 attendees last year. There were over 10,000 people at this thing. The hotel freaked out.

All the people in line had a mini-scare after about three hours in line when organizers announced the hotel wouldn't let anyone else in. There was talk of a riot. You haven't lived until you've watched a woman in a pink Princess Peach gown throw down a string of obscenities that would make Dick Cheney blush. I think she was the one that ultimately got them to change their minds.

It's hard to see but Batman's Harley Quinn was watching us from that balcony. Creepy.

Not sure what Davey Jones has to do with Anime but this costume was impressive.

Swag. Lots of it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out artist Phil Foglio was there. Anybody that read the Dragon magazine when they were kids knows who he is. I thanked him for all the "chuckles" as a boy.

Found him!

I'd like to know how they eat out of those costumes.

Harley again.

Clone trooper robs Red Bull mini cooper. Mmmm Red Bull.

Yoshi and some other guy.

"Red Rover, Red Rover send Pikachu right over!"

Dancing the Carmelldansen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Look at Mr. Addams. He's always developing outside interests.

We have three kids. Our middle child (13) is just about the sweetest girl you could ever meet.

At the end of the school year last year we had one of the teachers at her middle school call us up and tell us she was worried about her. Our daughter seemed a little withdrawn, shy and didn't seem to have a lot of friends. This teacher was concerned that there may be a an issue that would cause our daughter to get "lost" as she advanced into high school.

We had always known our daughter was a little behind socially but she's also very smart (an encyclopedic knowledge of Pokemon and anime for instance) and a voracious reader, if a bit disorganized in her studies. Her grades haven't been stellar but her standardized testing has been pretty good. We took her as a bit of an egghead who was sometimes unfocused.

But this teacher's concern forced us to reflect on our daughter and any little clues that there might be something else going on . Long story short- after a series of tests and psychological profiles she was diagnosed with mild Asperger's.

(As an aside let me just say that my wife owe and enormous debt to this public school teacher. She didn't have our daughter in class at the time and met huge resistance from the powers that be and fellow teachers in pushing that our daughter be tested. Because our daughter would sit quietly in the classroom and not cause trouble she wasn't considered someone with a social disorder by a few of the her teachers.)

Reading through the paperwork compiled by the district doctor and the counselors in their diagnosis was both enlightening and heartbreaking. At one point during an interview our daughter asked the doctor "if they could teach her to make friends." That's a gut-punch for a parent.

Going into this school year our daughter is meeting with specialists and learning how to socially interact with her peers. The district has been great in accommodating for this after the initial diagnosis. We are all looking forward to this year

Which brings me to yesterday. For months our daughter has been planning on attending Kumoricon, the local Anime convention in Portland. My wife had to work so I got tapped to escort the little mynx to the festival.

I'm going to be perfectly honest here. I love my daughter but yesterday I really didn't want to go to this thing. I had a hellish week at work and personally am not a huge fan of that particular style of animation. But I sucked it up like a good dad and off we went.

I'll do a little report with some more pics sometime later but let me just say that the convention was absolutely wonderful. There were costumes galore from Star Wars to Disney to Sailor Moon. The whole thing had a circus atmosphere that was infectious. I have never been around a more joyous group of people in my life. Everywhere you went people were breaking into song or dance. The convention-goers took over the park across from the hotel and it turned into one big anime party. These guys are just happy to be alive.

But what really made the day worth it, what really touched my heart was how my daughter (Now "#1Animefan" by her convention badge) took the whole day in. She was walking on air from the minute we parked the car. She danced (danced!) the Carmelldansen, chatted with other friendly people that shared her interest in anime, played Red Rover with a group of Pikachus and pretty much went crazy with fun.

For the first time in a long time (maybe her life?) she wasn't the odd man out. She had met 10,000 other "#1Animefans." She was in her element. She was happy. She was with friends.

She's not alone and that means the world to her and to her parents. Everythings going to be fine.