8

Love is a Fresh Fish

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(Photos – and anything that resembles actual bear behavior – come from Wayne at Welcome to Tofino Photography.

Mama Bear had decided that after three years it was time for her two sons, Ben and Eddie, to move out on their own.

Ben: Mama, why are you kicking us out?

Mama: It’s time for both to find girls and settle down. I want grand-cubs before I’m too old to play with them.

(Ben walks away)

Eddie: What’s going on?

Ben: Mama want us to go and have cubs.

(Eddie blushes under his fur.)

Eddie: How are we going to do that?

Ben: With girls, stupid

Eddie: I know that. But how do I find a girl?

Ben: What do you mean? I’ve seen the way you look at Mary Sue. Just talk to her.

Eddie: I can’t do that.

Ben: Why not?

Eddie: I wouldn’t know what to say.

Ben: You could try “Hello”.

(Just then Mary Sue walked by with her mother. She looked at Eddie and smiled.)

Ben: See? She likes you.

Eddie: Isn’t she beautiful? That velvety nose, thick fur, white teeth.

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(He pauses.)

Ben: Just go talk to her.

(Eddie finally gets up the nerve to run after her when he sees Joe, Casanova of beardom, start talking to her.)

Eddie: I can’t. Joe’s talking to her and all the girls love Joe.

(All of a sudden, they hear a loud “whap”.)

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Ben (snickering): Well, Mary Sue sure doesn’t love him. Quit being stupid; You won’t know anything unless you talk to her.

(They’re walking along the riverbank and decide they might as well have lunch. After enjoying a nice fresh salmon, they continue on their way. They see two cubs fighting over a dead salmon.)

Ben: I know! You could give her a present.

Eddie: I’m not going to give her a dead fish.

Eddie: I don’t know. What if she doesn’t like it?

Ben: It’s food Eddie. She’s a bear. Bears love food.

Eddie: That’s true. Let me think about it.

(Ben shakes his head. Eddie thinks about how much he likes Mary Sue.)

Eddie: OK. I’ll do it.

(Eddie walks over close to Mary Sue. The water is falling over the rocks and it looks like a good place for fish. He gets into the water, slipping a little on the mossy rock. He easily catches a big fish and takes it out of the water, walking to Mary Sue. He drops it at her feet.)

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Mary Sue: Eddie, is that for me?

Eddie (embarrassed): I hope you like fish.

Mary Sue: I love it!

(She gobbles it down and smiles at him.)

Mary Sue: That was very sweet of you Eddie.

Eddie: Thank you.

(He hesitates a little.)

Eddie: Would you like to go to the picnic with me tomorrow?

Mary Sue: I’d love too.

(The next morning, Eddie meets Mary Sue on the beach. They walk together to the clearing in the woods where some other bears have already gathered. They snack on berries and talk. Eddie seems very nervous. Finally, he speaks.)

Eddie: Mary Sue, I’d like to ask you a question.

Mary Sue: You look so serious Eddie. What’s the question?

Eddie: Would you dance with me? (Rough human translation: Will you marry me?)

Mary Sue: Ohhh. I’d love to.

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(They get up and do their mating dance. When they are done, they walk off into the woods. Eddie is taking her to the den he has spent all night preparing in case she said yes. Back at the picnic Mama Bear is thrilled. She goes looking for Ben who has slipped away into the woods.)

Be sure to check out Tofino Photography. It has a lot more than bears. But we like the bears.

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9

Is My Phone Smart or Stubborn?

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It was absolutely beautiful at the retreat I went to in July, so I wanted to take some pictures. It was an unusual urge for me. Part of my non-love affair with technology is a healthy ambivalence about photography and videography.

I really didn’t/don’t mind looking at other people’s travel pictures when they were/are actually travel pictures or pictures of people I knew/know. I don’t need to look at more than a couple of pictures of someone I don’t know. Back in the Dark Ages, you had to ask someone to take your picture in front of a scene or object. It seriously limited the number of pictures of the traveler.

You can guess where I’m going with this. I really don’t want our civilization represented in future ages by 253 pictures of baby Doris’ first birthday party and 25 selfies of John getting wasted on his 21st birthday, repeated several million times all over the world.

Anyway, I woke up the phone and, sure enough there was an icon that looked like a camera lens. So I tapped it. Something came up in the viewfinder. Yeah!! Something intuitive. The screen says to center the box on what I want to take a picture of before I snap it. OK.

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There’s a “Next” arrow at the bottom of the screen. Of course I followed it. There were some technical directions about photography that I didn’t understand (I thought this was point and click).  Tap “Next” one more time. More advanced directions that I don’t need. It’s a bunch of trees and a lake.

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This appeared to be the last screen so I tapped on it. (I don’t know why. It seemed to work everywhere else.) Still had the words on the screen. Suddenly I was looking at myself. Remembered something about gently shaking the phone to get it to reverse the screen. Apparently in my frustration, I have shaken the phone sufficiently to reverse the screen. Something clicks. Great. I have a picture of me. Shaking “gently” does not reverse the lens.

I texted my daughter. She said to ignore the words, they would go away after I had taken a few pictures. (?) All I had to do was point and click. So I let it go to sleep and woke it up again. The camera was pointed in the correct direction. I pointed and clicked a couple of times. I found the gallery on my own. (I was impressed.) What do you know? My pictures. My fuzzy pictures (none of my face). Oh yeah. I was supposed to get the subject in the box and let it focus. Oops.

Went back out and tried again. I could see it focusing. This is not the camera for an action shot. I followed its rules. The words went away. The pictures turned out beautifully. I got rid of the icky ones. I’m still not sure why sometimes it would snap when I tapped it with my finger and other times I needed to use my nail.

Verdict: Stubborn

But it does fit into my back pocket better than the old one, and isn’t that what’s important?

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(See – I’m learning already. I much prefer the vertical pictures on the slideshow. But putting them on “paper”, the horizontal pictures look better)

3

Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior

Image result for sloths  Les Sloth, Guest Contributor

I really didn’t have to ruminate much to come to my conclusion:

Humans are crazy!

Cat assigned me to accompany B to Los Angeles for her modeling/talent convention. I joined her and her friend C while they finished packing for the trip. I don’t think C was going there to be beautiful; I think she was supposed to keep B from being crazy while she was being beautiful. I hope Cat’s paying her more than she’s paying me.

Apparently it takes a lot of stuff to be beautiful and talented. B had two overflowing suitcases before C arrived. C helped her repack so all that stuff fit. Unfortunately, B still had a lot of stuff. Fortunately, it doesn’t take as much stuff to prevent craziness so C could share some of her space.

Cat drove us to the airport in the dark. We had to get in a line where all the humans had to take off their shoes. Humans have ugly feet – no fur or claws. They made me lie down on a belt that went through a big box. B said they were looking for explosives. Why would I eat explosives? I’m a vegetarian.

The plane ride was awful. The airplane people said that animals ride under the seat. They also said that I really should be in a cage in cargo. I showed them my ticket. They finally said that I could have the seat but that if I made a mess on the seat I had to leave. Can you believe that?! People can be so rude.

We finally got to the LA airport. I was really sorry I’m not an insectivore. There were a lot of big black beetles on the floor. B carried me. She said it was too dirty for me to walk and that someone might step on me.

We had to wait for the luggage. That’s a really scary place. There were a lot of people pushing each other trying to get their stuff. I think I would have left some of that stuff there and bought something better looking. C was really good at making sure no one got our stuff. That probably helped B not be crazy.

We got to the hotel pretty quickly. I think everyone in LA must be late getting somewhere. All they do is run around.

After we got there, B had a message that she had to go to a meeting. Of course, I went with her. There were four people there besides B. A lady with black hair was really excited and told them everything that they needed to do. The lady seemed pretty stressed out and was making B and her friends annoyed. Luckily, the lady didn’t have a problem with me being there so B didn’t get really upset.

B had to go to some kind of singing practice. I don’t know how humans are supposed to sound when they sing, but they didn’t sound anything at all like the songbirds where I come from. I guess B did OK. No one threw anything at her or walked out.

The last thing she did was to put on a lot of makeup and have someone take pictures of her. I think that went pretty well. I don’t understand why all of the pretty girls there had to put stuff on their faces to have their pictures taken. Sloths look good the way we are. And none of them looked as good as a lady sloth when they were done.

That was the end of the stuff B had to do on the first day. She went to eat with her friends. I went back to the room to try and figure out whether the people were having a good time there or not. I fell asleep before I could decide.

More to come.

8

Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

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Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!

7

Write What?

I have noticed that several bloggers have written that the only way to get good at writing is to write everyday, regardless of other commitments. In fact, Ned over at Ned’s Blog went so far as to say that those of us who do not should be spanked (http://nedhickson.com/2013/11/01/regular-writing-can-shape-your-literary-thighs/). While I think this advice has more to do with Ned’s personal preferences than serious advice, the underlying advice is sound. Fortunately, a few others were a little more specific. For example, the Dysfunctional Literate talks about writing on a variety of topics (http://dysfunctionalliteracy.com/2013/10/13/5-rules-for-writing-every-day/).

What no one tells me, though, is what to write about if I really don’t have anything interesting going on in my life. Looking around, I see that some people do short stories/novellas. Since most of my (limited) spare time is spent with literature (yes,that stuff you hated reading in high school) and magazines such as National Geographic and Smithsonian, I am going to guess that my tastes in reading/writing are probably not the key to gaining more readers.

There seem to be a lot of advice columns out there. I could probably do that if I really knew anything about anything. My brain is more like Trivial Pursuit –  lots of cool facts without a lot to tie them together. I guess that hasn’t really hurt some of the people I have seen in the newspapers.

There are a lot of cooking blogs. Unfortunately, most of my cooking comes from looking around the kitchen and seeing what we have. I don’t know what it will taste like until I’m done. When I’m done, I have no way to recreate it because I didn’t measure anything and don’t really remember what I put in. I worry that there might be some kind of legal issue if I accidentally poison a stranger (no, it hasn’t happened at home).

I could write about my family. Only problem is that the humans would quit speaking to me and the cats can’t be counted on to be amusing. I could write poetry, but it really stinks. I could make fun of current events, but most of them succeed just fine doing it themselves. Same for politics. I could write about travel, except I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do photography. I draw a little, but how many plant drawings would people want to look at?

I TOLD you I was boring. Now that I think about it – maybe that has some potential.