Archive for August 2013

21.86 Miles Gel Break in Oxford   Leave a comment

First stop here

Posted 2013-08-11 by Mr. Guilt in Uncategorized

Luna and the Bag Handle   1 comment

We came home tonight with a paper grocery bag with loop handles. We set it on the floor as we put everything away, and turned around to discover Luna jumped into it. This is anything but uncommon in our house. We commented how cute she is, and went about our business.

She jumped out, wandered around a bit, then back in. I noticed she pushed in one of the sides of the bag. I walked over to check: she managed to get her head through one of the loops. This scares me a bit, so I reached in to try to free her. Luna, however, decided it was time to run away.

She jumped up and tore off…with the bag still flopping around her. She kept running, but couldn’t get away from the paper bag. My wife tried to catch her from the other direction. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but I next saw Luna running through the kitchen. However, she still had the loop handle and a chunk of the bag around her neck.

I tried to catch her, but she evaded me. She went down the cat-hole to the basement. As I mentioned, our basement is a stone basement. There is a gap in one wall under one room. It’s sealed from the outside, and some of the ductwork goes through it–it’s sort of a Jefferies tube that only a cat (Luna in particular) can access with any ease. Naturally, she jumped up there. Luna was only coming out on her terms.
Luna in the Jefferies Tube

We got out the treats and shook them. Beso and Eddy appeared at our feet. She approached, but there was no way I could grab her, hang on, and pull her out. I feared she was becoming scared of me. I puttered around the basement filling the tires on my bicycles, trying again here and there. I finally got the bag remnant off of her, so at least it would no longer be a choking hazard. I went upstairs and sat on the couch. She appeared five minutes later.

Life with cats is always an adventure!

Posted 2013-08-11 by Mr. Guilt in cats, Family, felis silvestris catus, Luna

Saber Saves the Day at the Columbus Zoo   1 comment

Zoo animals are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild.
–Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

While we were in Columbus for the Dublin Irish Festival, we also went to the Columbus Zoo. Ohio has some great zoos, and while I am biased towards the Cincinnati Zoo and it’s large collection of cats and research efforts in conservation, the Columbus Zoo is perhaps a bit better known.

A few months ago, some Amur tiger cubs were born, and we wanted to see them while they were still little. Amur Tigers are one of six remaining tiger subspecies, and are the largest felines. The exhibit at the Columbus Zoo drives home the point about extinction quite dramatically as you approach their enclosure. One display, which I regret not having taken a photo of, had a pedestal to hold a tiger statue, done in a stylized Asian style. there was one pedestal for each of the nine subspecies. Three of the statues were broken (only part remaining) to represent the Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers. These subspecies are now extinct.

The most magnificent creature in the entire world, the tiger is.
–Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

When we got to the tigers, two were having breakfast, provided by mom.
Nursing Cubs 2

The other two were dozing under a tree. One thing I’ve learned about photographing animals at zoos, especially babies, is to be willing to go early and go back. So, when we returned…
Tiger Cub Cuddle Puddle

All four were under the tree. Not what I was hoping for. Still, they were cute.
Watching Cub

Mom was at least getting a break. She is a gorgeous cat!
Mom Gets a Great

OK. We’ll come back to them. Near the tigers was a red panda, a non-cat I’m becoming quite the fan of.
Red Panda Tail


Several flying foxes were hanging around.
Flying Fox

Including a baby, in it’s own mini-cage. The adults were about the size of a cat; the baby would readily fit in my hand.
Baby Flying Fox

A new-to-me animal was the markhor. This member of the goat family was about the size of an adult deer. It lives primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their horns were great.

A young elephant was tossing dust on it’s back.
Elephant Dusting

Those tiger cubs up yet?

We were surprised to see clouded leopards–they weren’t on the web page. The zoo just got them-much of their enclosure’s signage still alluded to the sun bears that were there before. Clouded leopards are among my favorite cats, so it was a treat for us.
Cloudie Pals 1

These were relatively young ones–I’ll say “adolescent.”
Cloudie on the Platform

They are such pretty cats–just amazing!
Cloudie Pals 2

While we were standing their, someone mentioned that the cub was out. My wife and I looked at each other: “cub?!?” A clouded leopard cub, in fact. It was in an area by the entrance How did we miss it? Perhaps focus on the tiger cubs. We set out to see this cub, as it sounded like he might not be out long. By the way–where the tiger cubs up?
Low Cub

OK. They are cats, and cats sleep two-thirds of their life. And they are babies. Babies sleep a lot. These are definitely cute cubs, and it is great to see them. However, we really were hoping to see them romp around and play. I wouldn’t say the trip was a bust, but certainly not as exciting as we were hoping.

We went to the front, and saw a sign “Clouded Leopard Cub.” That’s the spot!
Saber Sits

His name is Saber, a four-month-old cub. He is being raised to be an ambassador animal, to go with Jack Hanna to educate people about these cats. Saber, however, was just being a kid, rolling around, and showing us his magnificent belly.
Saber's Belly 1

He prowled around his cage some.
Creeping Leopard

He was also very interested in seeing the people who gathered to see him. This will likely make him a great ambassador animal.
How Much is that Cloudie in the Window

The volunteer was there answering questions about these magnificent cats. At some point, she was stumped by a question. My daughter outed me as being a cat geek (it was either that, or my Snow Leopard Trust t-shirt). I filled in a few gaps, including explaining how snow leopards and clouded leopards were different. Saber relaxed and listened.
Clean Toes are Happy Toes

Of course, in spite of the name, neither snow leopards nor clouded leopards are more closely related to regular leopards than a tiger or house cat. Leopards are true, roaring big cats.
Leopard Back

We are fond of otters. The Asian small clawed otters romped around their enclosure.
Climbing Otters

Swimming Otters

They were quite chatty.
Chatty Otter

Should we go back to see if the tiger cubs have gotten up?
Disapproving Otter
Disapproving otter frowns on your tiger obsession.

A koala was sleeping in the trees of his enclosure.
Koala, Doing What Koalas Do Best

The kangaroo enclosure was a path with a mantrap on either end. You were basically in the exhibit. One keeper was standing by one kangaroo in particular. Caroline was her name. She was described as a troublemaker.
Caroline the Kangaroo

I find okapis very interesting. at a glance, they look like a horse/zebra hybrid. However, they are actually relatives of the giraffe. For the first time, I noticed their horns.
Okapi Profile

There were actually two okapi enclosures. One had an okapi…and a bunny friend.
Okapi and Friend
Look in the lower left-hand corner.

We wanted to see the moose, another situation where we went back twice. The second time, one was laying out front in the open.
Moose in the Grass

Earlier, however, they were in a cuddle puddle.
Moose Cuddle Puddle

Speaking of cuddle puddles, I’ve never seen manatees in one before.
Manatee Cuddle Puddle

We saw lounging lady lions.
Lounging Lady Lions

And mountain lions.
Cougar Bath

Next door ware bobcats, taking a nap.
Bobcat Nap

Bobcat, Resting His Eyes
Maybe just resting his eyes.

We didn’t get to see a beaver during our trip to Canada, but one did come and say “hi” to us–he even waved!
Waving Beaver

They moved quite like the otters.
Beaver Pushes Off

The Mexican wolves were gorgeous.
Mexican Wolf

Whether walking around.
Approaching Wolf

Or doing Pilates.
Downward Facing Wolf

It was a great day at a great Ohio zoo. The tigers were not as exciting as we hoped, however they are wild animals doing what comes naturally, not performers. When you go to a zoo, you need to enjoy that behavior, and still appreciate what magnificent creatures they are. Still, as a treat, we got to see Saber. In a sense, he was there to save the day!

Beso and Luna’s Second Adopt-a-Versary   2 comments

Two years ago today (August 9), we adopted Beso and Luna. It’s been a blast having them.
Beso, and Luna's Paw

Beso remains a very mellow cat. At first, we thought he was a bit of a scaredy cat. But that’s not exactly it. It’s more that he thinks things through deliberately. He remained calm at the vet, for example, where his sister was less comfortable.
Beso in Rebecca's Chair

Beso remains a kitten at heart. He loves to play with toys, and still has a great full-body butt wiggle when he goes to pounce.
Beso, in Rebecca's Chair, on his Side

Luna amuses us with her hacker-ninja ways. Tonight, she was setting up an ambush.
Luna's Paws

She loves to figure out new things, such as training me to hold her to the skylight. We love her insistent chirps when she needs something.
Flopped-Over Luna

It’s been great having them–we couldn’t imagine our house without the “kittens” in it. Happy Adopt-a-Versary, Beso and Luna.

Posted 2013-08-09 by Mr. Guilt in Beso, cats, Family, felis silvestris catus, Luna

Harder to Love Instagram   2 comments

Instagram ShareInstagram seems to be getting harder and harder to love.

Back in December, it looked like I was going to stop using Instagram. The issue was over a licence whose language could be interpreted as claiming rights to the photos I took. I had written a script to get the HTML code to embed pictures from instagram into my blog. Over the course of several hours, I rehosted them on Flickr (who supports the Creative Commons licence)), and pointed blog posts to those images. My plan was to stop using it all-together. However, Instagram backed off that langauge, and I kept using that particular tool.

Still, I kept the photos I used for this blog either on WordPress or Flickr, just in case. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Even though I have an account on the latter, I don’t fully trust it,and am prepared to jettison it at a moment’s notice. The primary place I used Instagram photos on the blog was in my monthly hodge podge. Most people who follow this blog may follow me on social media. However, putting photos in the hodge podge allowed for more context to be put around them. Also, my blog is as much about my remembering things as it is about sharing. What makes it here are things I don’t want to risk getting lost in more ephemeral places. Typically, I’d go back at the end of the day, click the “share” button on one of my pictures that was already posted, and add it to Flickr. Piece of cake.

With the latest update, however, this workflow seems to have been impacted. While I can share to Flickr at the initial posting of a photo, the button is not present when I go back to a photo already uploaded. A look at a few forums on the web confirms that I am not the only person to have encountered this behavior.

My first thought was to dust off the script. However, my first pass at trying to use it shows they changed the HTML code, so that it can’t be used. Instagram released an embed feature, but, unlike Flickr, it puts an ugly frame around the picture (and doesn’t really offer controls around the size of the image, etc.). The pictures are saved to the camera roll on my phone, so I can manually upload it to Flickr as a work-around, but it’s not as simple.

My hope is that this reflects a bug in the software rather than a change in policy, and it will be remediated in the next release of the app. However, as Instagram becomes more and more annoying, it makes me want to pick a different tool for my spontaneous photo sharing.

UPDATE: This very afternoon, an update was released, which resolved this issue. So, just a bug. Huzzah!

Dublin Irish Festival   2 comments

DIF Sand Castle

This weekend we traveled to Columbus for the Dublin Irish Festival. We had a great time. We got to see a lot of bagpipes.
Marching Pipers

Marching Drummer

The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band

My daughter got to try a harp.
Caitlin Tries a Harp

My wife and daughter enjoyed some Alien Corn–out of this world flavor!
Rebecca and Caitlin with Alien Corn


Alien corn?!? Eeek!
Eeeeeek! Alien Corn

One of the acts we wanted to see was Natalie MacMaster. It was crowded–our “seats” were off to the side and behind, but she was great to watch, anyway.
Natalie MacMaster

We had a great time!
Sandcastle 1

Posted 2013-08-05 by Mr. Guilt in Ohio

44.45 Miles Miami Whitewater Forest   Leave a comment

Finished! Fun ride.

Posted 2013-08-01 by Mr. Guilt in Uncategorized

21.94 miles Oxford   2 comments

Ate lunch. Time to roll.

Posted 2013-08-01 by Mr. Guilt in Uncategorized

12.77 miles Breaktime for Cows   Leave a comment

Posted 2013-08-01 by Mr. Guilt in Uncategorized

6.08 mikes Playing Hooky   Leave a comment

Is it really “playing hooky” when it’s scheduled PTO?

Posted 2013-08-01 by Mr. Guilt in Uncategorized

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