Dog-gone smart!

So everyone tells me how smart Great Danes are.  After we brought Rebel home, I started to understand it, when he would “lead” us to the door or his food bowl or a sink for water, or just plop his head on my shoulder for some ear skritchies.  However, I never *truly* understood just how smart this dang dog is until this morning.

 

Some background:  dogs, being dogs and therefore the world’s foremost experts on the Laws of Conservation of Energy, don’t particularly like to get up from a nap when they’re told.  So I’ll often lightly kick the edge of the sofa cushion or doggy bed they’re laying on in order to jostle them a bit.  Of course, I always get that really annoyed look in return, but as long as they get up and head outside, I’m fine with that.  Secondly, my personal morning habit has always been to wake up in stages, and the “snooze” button just doesn’t last long enough.  So I set my alarm, and when it goes off, I reset it for 15 minutes later.  This habit has become so ingrained that, on occasion, I will stumble out of bed at the 15-minute mark without remembering ever resetting the alarm (those are the days that scream COFFEEEEEEEE!!!).  The dogs have gotten used to this, and barely stir at the first alarm unless someone’s *really* got to go outside (Annie is still learning).

 

So.  This morning.  6am rolls around, and my alarm rather rudely starts to honk at me.  I fumble around, get it re-set, and am about to roll over again when a dark form looms over me.  Its Rebel.  He’s recently been kinda antsy about Annie (who still thinks that when the alarm goes off, its time to start whining), so after caving in my chest with his head and getting some ear-skritchies, he’ll lay back down.  So I did that, scratched his ears and then suggested he go back to bed.  He stood up, looked down at me, whuffed, and then started smacking the edge of the mattress with his nose.  To get me up.  :blink, blink:  I’ll be danged if it didn’t work, too.

 

Now THAT is one frikkin smart dog!

 

-RabidAlien

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

73 years ago, on this date, the Nation of Japan finally woke up the United States and propelled us into World War 2.  Their sneak-attack brought the Isolationists around to the fact that, despite being surrounded by oceans and allies (or neutrals, in Mexico’s case), we were not, in fact, immune to the conflicts raging in Europe and Asia.   We will never forget the sacrifices of the 2500+ who died that day, nor the heroic efforts made by all who put on the uniforms of this country to help defend freedom world-wide.

 

patriotic poster (color)

 

Pearl Harbor 7

Pearl Harbor 8

Pearl Harbor 9, drydock

Pearl Harbor 10

Pearl Harbor 11, floating drydock maybe

Pearl Harbor 12, Battleship Row

Pearl Harbor aftermath

Pearl Harbor Airplane Attack, USS Narwhal SS167 on left

Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941

Pearl Harbor, Dec 1941

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor1

Pearl Harbor2

Pearl Harbor3, submarine pier

Pearl Harbor4

Pearl Harbor5

Pearl Harbor6

FordIs_HI_41Dec7_burning

FordIs_HI_41Dec7_hgr

FordIs_HI_41Dec7_sw

PBYKaneoheNAS Dec7,1941

PBYKaneoheNAS_03, Dec7,1941

 

 

 

Pearl Harbor Memorial

 

::salute::

-RabidAlien

Visitor

After spending the afternoon at our nephew’s birthday party, we came home, ran a couple of errands, then went out and hit Panera for dinner.  It was dark by this time, so our porch light/Christmas lights were turned on when we left.  As we pulled in to the driveway, Serenity noticed something extra in our little display.

 

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

 

Yup, its our little buddy, the Eastern Screech Owl.  Sorry for the grainy image, all we had was a cellphone camera.  He sat there while Serenity made her way closer, she got all the way up to the sidewalk before K-Bug, being not-quite-6-years-old, ran up and scared him off.  Nice to see he’s still in the neighborhood, though!

 

-RabidAlien

Hikin’ wit’ da boyz

Well, it was a beautiful, perfect Texas hiking day:  65 degrees, slight breeze, and some overcast moving in.  So, we packed up the truck and toodled our way on over to our favorite hiking spot, the Fort Worth Nature Center.   This was a bitter-sweet weekend, having to say goodbye to Molly Saturday morning, then meeting with a dear friend from Canada (but we’ll forgive her for that) Saturday evening.  We all just needed a chance to get out and breathe some fresh air.  Max and Rebel had never been hiking before, so this was just a short outing to see how they did.  I was pretty sure Max wouldn’t be a problem, and Rebel handled the Southlake Oktoberfest just fine, so I didn’t anticipate any bad behavior, and was correct.  They both did really well, aside from discovering Max’s superpower ability to find (and subsequently step on) every sticker-burr in Nature.  We saw some deer, Rebel and I found (and nearly stepped on) a brilliantly emerald-green grass snake nearly a foot and a half long (understandably, it decided to turn around post-haste and beat a retreat into the grass, so Kbug, Max, and Serenity didn’t get to meet him).  I took my obligatory photos of the alligator, but he was in an awkward spot this time so I only got one half-way decent shot (lighting, aquarium, and hand-held camera meant the shot had to be edited to B&W to be of any use, but turns out brilliantly as a monochrome, if I do say so myself).  Then, to top it all off, on our way out we met a (wait for it) LIVE armadillo!  In Texas, no less!  Yes, a mobile Texas SpeedBump.  He was snuffling his way along the edge of the road, and since the park was closed and there weren’t really any more cars around, we stopped, put on the flashers, got out, and got some closeups of him.  He obliged by standing up on his hind legs (IIRC, they’ve got pretty crappy eyesight, but excellent noses) before turning tail and beating it for the underbrush.  Gotta admit, they’re pretty agile and quick for a critter with such stumpy legs.  I may be just a bit jealous.

 

Anyhoo….photos!

 

'Sup.

‘Sup.

Hey, get my good side!

Hey, get my good side!

Wait....what's going on here?

Wait….what’s going on here?

Caution:  Do Not Feed The Wild Animals (the beagle, however, will eat anything you drop)

Caution: Do Not Feed The Wild Animals (the beagle, however, will eat anything you drop)

Well, its October, so why not?

Well, its October, so why not?

Read the ingredients closely to discover why its called "howling"....the ginger-beer portion has a bit of a snap, but when you hit the third line from the bottom, wow!

Read the ingredients closely to discover why its called “howling”….the ginger-beer portion has a bit of a snap, but when you hit the third line from the bottom, wow!

 

-RabidAlien

(ETA:  Picked up the Werewolf Ginger Beer at Central Market today, just cuz the bottle looked cool.  Its got a werewolf.  What could possibly be bad about that?!)

Last-minute outing

Due to some willful disobedience/defiance and general misbehavior earlier in the day, we almost didn’t go out hiking this afternoon.  However, 79-degree days with high-overcast are rare in Texas in September, so out we went to the Fort Worth Nature Center.  What can we say, its a great place to hike with lots of wildlife, a lake (well, a branch of Eagle Lake), well-marked trails, and a small nature center with some of the coolest critters around.   The bobcat and skunk were in seclusion, and the opossum was asleep (of course), but the great horned owl sat in his pen and stared at us, pretty much daring me to whip out a Tootsie Pop.  We saw some deer, prairie dogs, and a turtle out in the wild, no buffalo or armadillo this time.  I still think, however, that the alligator in the Nature Center has got to be one of my favorite photography stops in the entire place so far.

 

Anyhoo.  Pics (with snarky captions):

 

Wait.....EXACTLY WHY DID THEY FEEL THE NEED TO PUT THAT ON THE SIGN?!?!!!?

Wait…..EXACTLY WHY DID THEY FEEL THE NEED TO PUT THAT ON THE SIGN?!?!!!?

Beware, for just below the water's surface, a mighty beast lurks...

Beware, for just below the water’s surface, a mighty beast lurks…

DSC_2737

DSC_2738

DSC_2742

DSC_2744

Gotta love this little guy!

Gotta love this little guy!

Heh....I has a turtleneck!

Heh….I has a turtleneck!

Prickly pear cactus fruit.  Both the ears (once the spines are trimmed off) and the purple fruit are edible.  I've tasted the ears before, the taste and consistency remind me a lot of a cucumber, just denser.  Never had the fruit.

Prickly pear cactus fruit. Both the ears (once the spines are trimmed off) and the purple fruit are edible. I’ve tasted the ears before, the taste and consistency remind me a lot of a cucumber, just denser. Never had the fruit.

Local-ish wildlife.  Serenity (left) and Kaybutt (sometimes known as "Kaybug", when she's behaving.  Which she was not.)

Local-ish wildlife. Serenity (left) and Kaybutt (sometimes known as “Kaybug”, when she’s behaving. Which she was not.)

Chillin' like a villain.

Chillin’ like a villain.

An armadillo stopped here last night, rooting for dinner.

An armadillo stopped here last night, rooting for dinner.

Wolf spider.  For reference, the white rock to his left is about the size of a quarter.  This is NOT a brown recluse, otherwise I would have posted a picture of a greasy spot the size of my hiking boot.

Wolf spider. For reference, the white rock to his left is about the size of a quarter. This is NOT a brown recluse, otherwise I would have posted a picture of a greasy spot the size of my hiking boot.

These trunks were vertical before Serenity started pushing.

These trunks were vertical before Serenity started pushing.

Prairie Dogs.  With captions for those who aren't familiar with the breed.

Prairie Dogs. With captions for those who aren’t familiar with the breed.

 

-RabidAlien

Mad-science performed here!

So I follow a FB page called “Knowledge Weighs Nothing”, which has some handy tips for anything from surviving the zombie alpacalypse to raising bees to wiring up solar panels in your reclaimed-wood yurt or earthen dugout to blacksmithing and the best ways to filter water and set up a solar water heater.  Interesting stuff, and the couple that I’ve tried (fire-starters made by thoroughly smooshing Vaseline into a cotton ball WILL burn hot and steady for 5 minutes.  We tried this, timed it, and now have a small vitamin jar full of these goopy suckers each, plus one or two extra containers just in case) have worked fairly well, surprisingly enough.  So, when I saw a link to their “Survival Bread” (yes….this is not to their actual site….KWN usually posts links to other sites’ articles, giving full credit to those who did the work, and allowing folks to find some awesome sites with a very wide variety of resources), it sorta stuck in my head.  So what else am I going to do on a drizzly Saturday evening, but give this a try?

 

The recipe is available on the link above, I’m not going to re-post it here…yes, I’m evil….click the link, read it for yourself, and then browse the site.  I will, however, post my after-action report and the one pic I took prior to baking this beast.
1.  When they say the mixture turns into a thick, sticky mess, TRUST THEM.  3tsp honey and a pack of Jello mix, boiled down, and with only 3tsp water to help thin the mixture?  I’ve mixed mortar while laying ceramic tile that was runnier than this!  A metal spoon will probably bend if you tried to use one to stir.  I’m not sure our home mixer would have a strong enough motor.  This stuff is robust!!!

 

2.  They say to add a tsp of water as needed if the dry isn’t fully meshing with the wet.  I ended up adding 3, although I probably could have gotten away with 2, maybe 2.5.  The loaf held together when I managed to pry it out of the bowl, but seemed a tad soggy inside after baking for 20 minutes.  However, as it cooled, it also firmed up (hmmm…brick repair application here, maybe?).

 

3.  ProTip:  when trying to coax the glutenous mass out of the mixing bowl and onto the cookie sheet, either have someone (strong) hold the pan while someone (strong) scrapes, or just use your hand (you DO wash your hands while cooking, right?).  If you go the solo route, stop to rest if/when your arm gets tired.  Do not switch which hand is scraping and which is holding onto the pot handle.  This will result in nothing more than the handle now becoming stickier than a 3-year-old in a cotton-candy factory.

 

4.  A little bit goes a long way.  Based on the photos on the original site linked above, I cut the final product (use a stout knife.  Or machete.  Industrial-grade metal-cutting tools would not be amiss, either.) into a strip about 1″ in width.  That amount is more than enough to carry a person through a day of normal activity (provided you’re not John Rambo or anything).  This is, for all intents and purposes, a very dense Jello-flavored oatmeal cookie using ingredients with long shelf-lives (honey is immortal, after all), has about the same consistency/texture as an oatmeal cookie with an orange flavor (random choice, we picked the orange Jello), and sits like a lump in your gut about the same way a thick bowl of hot oatmeal does.  Try it yourself, experiment, see how much is enough for you.

 

5.  They say this will keep “indefinitely”.  While I somehow don’t think that it will keep *quite* that long, based on the ingredients (oats, powdered milk, water, honey, jello mix.  Period.), I would guess that it has a fairly lengthy shelf-life.  Hopefully I can get Serenity and Kaybug back into hiking/camping/kayaking/canoeing as the weather starts to cool off a bit, and I can see making a loaf each month and just bringing a couple of strips along as we hit the trails or lakes (kayaking is an insane upper-body workout, hitting not only your arms/shoulders/pecs, but your abs and back as well).  One little foil-wrapped bar, lots of carbs (or whatever the good energy-building stuff is), very little trash to pack out.  I may even get *really* scientificy and portion out a loaf, then write dates on each portion out to 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.  Y’all can thank me later (if I survive).

 

6.  In conclusion, after having performed rigorous testing whilst sitting on the sofa at home, I proclaim this recipe a keeper.  Its quick and insanely easy to do, tasty (there’s also a hardtack recipe to be found on KWN for the more adventurous souls….or those who have very little sense of taste to begin with), and I like the simplicity and longevity of the ingredients used, which leads me to believe that this may, indeed, have a fairly long shelf-life.  This one’s a keeper!Some photos:

Yup.  Thick.  I'm betting that King Arthur had an easier time getting his blade unstuck than I did with this one.

Yup. Thick. I’m betting that King Arthur had an easier time getting his blade unstuck than I did with this one.

Mmmm....tasty!!!

Mmmm….tasty!!!

After cooking.  its starting to cool off, and getting harder to cut (yet, not quite as sticky).  Not sure if the crumbs are due to the serrated bread-knife or not, but I may try cutting a few slices with just a regular straight blade.

After cooking. its starting to cool off, and getting harder to cut (yet, not quite as sticky). Not sure if the crumbs are due to the serrated bread-knife or not, but I may try cutting a few slices with just a regular straight blade.

Before cooking.  This is sitting on the counter, waiting for the oven to preheat, next to the still-warm burner used to heat up the wet ingredients.  I sorta expected a bit of wilting, like a stick of butter would do in the same situation, but nope, the dough was a trooper and held its shape. I was tempted to play a bit, and make a bunny out of it, but I refrained.  You know.  Cuz....science.

Before cooking. This is sitting on the counter, waiting for the oven to preheat, next to the still-warm burner used to heat up the wet ingredients. I sorta expected a bit of wilting, like a stick of butter would do in the same situation, but nope, the dough was a trooper and held its shape.
I was tempted to play a bit, and make a bunny out of it, but I refrained. You know. Cuz….science.

 

 

-RabidAlien

(ETA:  not sure why the photos posted in reverse order, but I’ve found that when that happens, its easier to just leave them as they are than it is to try to get the captions to format correctly when moving things around.  Sorry.)

Random musings

They call it “The Game of Life” (heck, there’s even an actual board-game called “Life”).  Nothing illustrated this better than the epiphany I had in the car this morning following church.  K-bug was chattering on in the back seat about airplanes, Dodge Chargers, and lightning, all in the same sentence and none even remotely related.  Serenity looked at me and made an “I’m lost…” sorta face.  That’s when I realized, the Game of Life is actually a pinball game!  Women’s conversations, in general, are the ball, bouncing and careening all over the place with no apparent laws governing the direction they are going to take.  Men, on the other hand, are the bumpers.  Occasionally we’ll see the ball come our way, and for a split second, if we’re fast enough, we can actually engage in said conversation.  But that moment is gone all too soon, and we’re left feeling dizzy, confused, disoriented, and with an incipient headache.  The best we men can do is pop in another quarter and pray to God that we don’t hit that multi-ball “bonus”.

 

********************************************************************************

 

 

Somebody PLEASE tell me….how, in the name of Odin’s Empty Eyesocket, are we supposed to get all of those frikkin mosquitoes to line up and stand still long enough to wipe this repellent on them?  Do they have ANY idea how many mosquitoes we’re talking about here?!?

Found at Cabelas(tm)

Found at Cabelas(tm)

 

 

-RabidAlien

Sunday, July 27th…

SeaLife Park in Grapevine Mills Mall, Grapevine, Tx.

 

Lessons learned:

*Monopods rock, I need to start carrying mine more often.

*Kids.  They will ALWAYS find a way to stick an arm or leg into someone else’s frame.

*Glass, especially fishtank glass, is insanely difficult to shoot through.

*Those really expensive lenses with very low f-stops and large apertures?  Priceless.

 

(insert Jetsons flying car sounds here)

(insert Jetsons flying car sounds here)

Why do I always think of the Phantom of the Opera sweeping his cape back whenever I watch a ray flap by?

Why do I always think of the Phantom of the Opera sweeping his cape back whenever I watch a ray flap by?

Jellies.  Color provided by LED's in the jellytank.  Wish they'd had purple....jellyfish ALWAYS look awesome in a blacklight purple.

Jellies. Color provided by LED’s in the jellytank. Wish they’d had purple….jellyfish ALWAYS look awesome in a blacklight purple.

Jellies, B&W

Jellies, B&W

Jellyfish, up close and personal.

Jellyfish, up close and personal.

Riiiiiiicola!

Riiiiiiicola!

*yawn*

*yawn*

Starfish.  And a sardine of some sort.

Starfish. And a sardine of some sort.

Excuse me, do you have a minute for me to showcase my lovely display of Avon products?

Excuse me, do you have a minute for me to showcase my lovely display of Avon products?

Darn you, tourists, git off my lawn!

Darn you, tourists, git off my lawn!

Go home, fish....you're drunk.

Go home, fish….you’re drunk.

Don't go into the light!!!

Don’t go into the light!!!

"The boys are back in town (boys are back in town)!  The boys are back in tow-w-wn!"

“The boys are back in town (boys are back in town)! The boys are back in tow-w-wn!”

Ray

Ray

Seahorses.

Seahorses.

They no longer have their Great Pacific Octopus, but they did have this little guy.  Kinda shy, but still cool.

They no longer have their Great Pacific Octopus, but they did have this little guy. Kinda shy, but still cool.

Blurry as heck...but....IS THAT A FRIKKIN TUNA WITH A FRIKKIN LASER ON ITS FRIKKIN HEAD?!

Blurry as heck…but….IS THAT A FRIKKIN TUNA WITH A FRIKKIN LASER ON ITS FRIKKIN HEAD?!

The most awesome fish EVAR!!!!  Lionfish.

The most awesome fish EVAR!!!! Lionfish.

The most awesome fish EVAR!!!!  Lionfish.  B&W

The most awesome fish EVAR!!!! Lionfish. B&W

Checking out the wildlife.

Checking out the wildlife.

Dude....

Dude….

My shark.  MY SHARK!!

My shark. MY SHARK!!

 

-RabidAlien

**crickets**

Yeah, I know…its been kinda quiet around here.  Well, between working 11+ hour days for pretty much the last month solid (including weekends), I’m sorta wiped out.  Serenity has been dealing with the K-bug most of that time, so postings have been kinda thin.  This past Sunday, however, we went to the SeaLife Aquarium in Grapevine, so once I get around to looking through the photos and tossing all the bad ones, I might have one or two that are post-worthy.

 

-RabidAlien

Borked

Borked:  (adj) When something is broken so bad that even the spelling is affected.  See also:  this blarg.

 

Jennifer, of InJennifersHead fame, somehow or other also administers this measly little barg.  Jennifer went hunting for gremlins amongst the plugins on her site earlier today, and apparently one either got away from her, or she was using a more powerful round than she needed, as our little corner of the Intarwebz got borked at the same time.  However, the first I knew of it was when she emailed to apologize and say that it was fixed and content (ie, text) was back up.  Photos were lost, however, which, considering my photography skillz, has left a grand sum of 0 (zero) artsy-types crying.  Oh, well.

 

So, y’all just read the cleverly sarcastic comments, imagine whatever the pic is talking about, and expect photos to resume from this point on, until Jennifer gets a higher caliber round (har…see what I done there?) and goes hunting again.

 

-RabidAlien