Monday, July 28, 2008

The Wheels on the Car ...

Our four-door Honda Civic hit 100,000 miles on the way back from to SLO from Fresno. Neither Sarah nor myself could recall ever having visited the lovely city before. This particular Fresnic journey was to see Sarah's brother Deven perform in a Steppenwolf play (he had a role that Gary Sinise originated) at Fresno State's Summer Arts program, and we also visited our friends the Ischs. Isches? Ischi? Jeremy and Leslie.

It's no San Luis Obispo, but Fresno wasn't as bad as everyone always makes it out to be. It was about 100 degrees outside, but it felt more like upper 90s. We'd go back.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Overheard in Atascadero

So the "Overheard in San Luis Obispo" posts that I'll be sharing with you occasionally actually apply to the whole county. This most recent dialog comes from our recent visit to the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero on their Ice Cream Zoofari night. Something about the taste of vanilla sundaes and sprinkles mixed with the scent of serval urine didn't quite work for me.

The setting for this quote is early evening. A Channel Island fox has just come out of his lair and is inquisitively looking at guests eating ice cream.

Woman: Why does that fox look all healthy and chubby?
(A family member begins, somehow, to answer this question by explaining that zoo animals are often well cared for.)
Woman: (Disdainfully) How much you want to bet that when they rescued it from somewhere it was skinny?

Editor's note: I know that the animal pictured with this post isn't a Channel Island fox. The photos of the fox didn't turn out well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Man vs. Nature

It's one of the basic conflicts in narrative literature, right up there with Man vs. Self and Man vs. Society.

This morning, when Sarah settled onto our futon to check her e-mail, she noticed an ant in the carpet. Then another one. Then another. And another. Soon, we had traced a trail--right across a pile of clean, folded laundry--to cracks in our fireplace and bookshelves. We're not sure to what they were making a trail: that damp rag? that It's-It wrapper we accidentally missed while cleaning up from dinner last night? that empty container of Gerber Graduates Finger Foods Peach Puffs that Hattie uses as a drum? There were ants here and there on all of those things, but they mostly looked like they were still deciding where they were going to concentrate their efforts. Nothing had been settled on.

We immediately began shaking out the clothes outside, when I noticed that our lawn was overrun with weeds: dandelions, black murdoch, and more I can't identify. Obviously, weeds like that don't spring up overnight--or maybe they do. While Sarah treated all of the ant entryways with clove oil and vacuumed the carpet, I hunkered down on the grass and tried to rip out as many unwanted plants as I could by the roots. Hattie chose to help me with chores by tearing off leaves from the tallest offenders.

After we'd been at our gardening endeavors for a while, a shadow fell across us. Then again. And again. I looked up to see a turkey vulture circling us. It was quite low in the sky--unlike the ants, it seemed to have made a decision about what it wanted to eat. I scooped up Hattie and went inside.

By early afternoon, as I type this, the ants have been evicted, the lawn is mostly grass again, and the turkey vulture is gone. Still, I feel that nature got the upper hand today. I hope that nothing goes wrong when we go to the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero this evening.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No, Really, Summer is for Blogging

A couple weeks back, I declared that I post too infrequently on this blog. Then I promptly continued to not post on this blog.
So, in the true spirit of pressing forward or stabbing westward or whatever, I'm diligently adding another chapter to the chronicle.
Actually, this post will serve as more of a window into other sites that occupy my time, and will thereby also serve as more of window into my soul.
Late last year, I began another blog, a secret blog, on which I keep track of typos I find in books I read. I've kept it mostly under wraps for a while, mainly because most of the books I read are fantasy novels aimed at young adults. If you ask me what I'm reading now, I'll probably tell you The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Oxford Professor of Economics Paul Collier, which is technically true, but for every two pages I progress in that book, I read approximately three other books in which the main character discovers he has magical abilities, befriends some sort of talking animal or inanimate object, or both.
Anyway, you can find my other blog at Book Typos. It's not perfect, so don't think you're clever pointing out mistakes on my blog pointing out other people's mistakes.
My other recent find is GoodReads, on which you can track what books I've read, am reading, and plan to read, as well as all of that information for various friends of mine. You should join up, too. It's like LibraryThing meets some social networking site that I won't name here.
And if you do checkout my reading proclivities, please don't make fun of me for plowing through the Twilight series.