Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monkeys and Maras and Deer, Oh My!

You learn things when you travel. You may learn that the oldest rum distillery in the world doesn't necessarily make the best rum in the world. You learn that the rum you get in the islands has 3% more alcohol than the rum that's shipped to the States. You learn that dark rum is actually aged in used bourbon casks, which appeals to a bourbon-lover like myself. You learn a lot about rum. You sample the rum and then you don't really care any more.

You learn that Barbados, which produces tons of sugar, has contracts with European countries to export X tons of that sugar annually. If there's a bad year, crop-wise, they may end up exporting so much sugar in order to fulfill their contracts that they don't have enough for their own use, so one of the largest sugar-producing countries in the world ends up importing sugar from other countries.

Then you learn stuff that might actually be interesting. As mentioned over in this article, you learn that monkeys in Barbados are green.

They're not kelly green or avocado green or OD green or even Green Canary green, but they do certainly have a green cast to their fur.

If green monkeys don't convince you that you're in a fantasy land, check out this deer:

Is that weird or what? It's a real deer. Honest. I saw it. I took that photo.

But you start to feel like you're in The Neverending Story or The Princess Bride when you're busily snapping pics of green monkeys and weird deer; your wife pokes you and rather shakily says, "Um.... look behind you;" and your immediate reaction is "whatinthehellisTHAT?"

I took these pictures so you'd all know that it wasn't the rum talking. This is a mara. They're rodents, about 18 inches to 2 feet tall. I have to say that I've been watching nature shows all my life, I've worked with wild animals, and I'd never heard of a mara or seen anything quite like this. It's sort of a kangaroo-bunny-deer-mule looking animal. In true fantasy-movie fashion, they have weirdnesses like three toes on their back feet and four on the front. They can run 18 MPH and are related to guinea pigs.

We went to see the monkeys but admit it, you just gotta love this face:

Apparently they make pretty good pets if you get them when they're young, if you don't mind the idea of 2-foot, 25-pound rodent wandering around your house. Heck, some of you may have that situation right now and not even realize it.

You would not believe how long I sat here and tried to come up with some setup in which you would have a pair of maras as pets, since you got them young they'd be orphans, and this would allow you to sing, "Two maras, two maras, I love ya, two maras...". I even figured you could name one of them Annie.

But then I realized I'd just have to apologize for it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bare Naked Pole Dancer

I don't usually post things like this, but this one is so sensitively done and just so beautifully rendered. I'm really not a pole dance fan, but I've never seen anything quite like this one. I hope no one is offended.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Confessions of a Luddite

Despite the fact that I work in the computer bidness, I find that I'm often at best behind the times when it comes to technology. Sometimes I just don't understand the appeal at all.

I was actually called a Luddite by a friend a couple of years ago because I didn't have A) a computer and B) a DVD player.

Well, I don' t have a computer because my company gives me a laptop to work with. I do have a separate disk drive that I download all my personal stuff to, but I see no reason to purchase my own computer when I have unlimited access to a quality, state-of-the-art system for free. Plus, I'm a computer guy. Computers are my work. I don't relish the idea of coming home every evening and popping open work.

I have since remedied the DVD situation twice over.

There are various reasons that I don't keep up with technology. Sometimes there are terribly adverse side-effects, but most of the time I simply don't care. I don't see how going to the trouble of setting up or installing the latest thing-a-ma-jig (version 2.1) is going to enhance my life, at least not enough to make it worth the trouble.

Plus I'm cheap and these things often cost money. But I'm not interested in many of the things that are free, either.

I don't Twitter (or tweet).

I don't Facebook.

I don't MySpace.

I don't Tumblr.

It took years, but I do have a cell phone. I don't have a PDA. In fact, my phone doesn't even have a camera. I still write things down in my Day-Timer and refer to it.

But despite all my issues with new technology, despite my aversion to things high-tech, despite my avoidance of whatever the "latest" doodad is, there is one piece of technology which I dearly love and which I look forward to trying out every time I see one. If it weren't for the potential embarrassment factor, I could play with one of these things for hours. This is simply the niftiest piece of technology that has ever been invented:

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