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Happy Birthday, Willy Wonka!

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Monday, April 30, 2007

OMG, kill me now. I beg you, please kill me now.

Okay, what is going on, people? So, KFC isn't going to use transfat margarine in their cooking anymore? Are you serious? Soybean oil? Why don't they just feed us tofurky?

Last night, Mr. Nonny Nu had KFC for dinner and it just wasn't the same. I can't believe what I'm reading here. Some of you might know that I have been quietly campaigning for KFC to be added to the list of restaurants from which my firm orders dinner for underlings who stay late to work at night. No longer will I do that. I am appalled at this. Fried chicken made with soybean oil. I'm Chinese and a soyaholic and even I am disgusted by this decision.

I just don't understand why the health nuts can't keep their health consciousness to themselves. If they want something healthy, DON'T GO TO A FAST FOOD PLACE. But, no, they want to revamp the fast food places to fit their needs/views. I'm pissed beyond belief right now. Nobody messes with my fried foods, man.

It's not an easy fix like adding green onions to Taco Smell. I can't bring the chicken home and then refry it with regular oil, you know? What do you all think we should do about this??

...there's more to this story--click me!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Did you ever think you were about to fall off a cliff?

I spent about two hours at Castle Rock thinking that today.

It all started off fine. There were the usual trees. (BTW, mini me joined Stillman and me on this hike--the three of us will hereinafter in this entry be referred to as "Charlie's Angels.") But, there was also some new stuff!

Castle Rock has a lot of what are called "tafoni" rocks. At first, Charlie's Angels thought that these pockmarked rocks were created by water dripping onto a smooth rock surface, and we figured that the rocks that had pockmarks on a vertical surface were created when a rock rolled onto its side after being pockmarked. (Capice?) But, no. Charlie's Angels were wrong, and that wouldn't be the only time we were wrong that day (see infra). Tafoni rocks are created in a completely different way.

Then, we came across a pair of trees trees that appeared to be grafted together! Here, take a closer look at the connecting limb between the two trees. We also saw a tree that appeared to be signaling a left turn. But, we Angels couldn't let our guard down, especially not when were were warned about the ferocious animals roaming the forest (maybe even right next to us but silently!). Luckily, we only saw a snake crossing the road and a lizard getting its tan on.

After getting out of the foresty area, we got a glimpse of the ocean. (No, MonkeyPig, the ocean isn't really clear there, but you get the idea.) Along this area were many manzanitas (which are my current favorite) and madrones. The trees at Castle Rock were remarkable because a lot of them actually had to grow out of rocks or out of the side of a hill.

Somewhere along the way, we took a wrong turn and added about a mile onto our hike. It wasn't Stillman's fault AT ALL.

When we got back on the right track, that's when things turned scary. Now, I usually take about 125 to 150 photos each time I go on a hike (I choose the best photos to post on the blog), but I only took 45 photos at Castle Rock, and only a quarter of them were taken during the second half of the hike. Why? Well, because I was afraid that I was going to fall off the side of a cliff. Don't be fooled by the plants along the right side of the photo. They are growing out of a cliff. And, don't be fooled by what looks to be a smooth path. There was much scrambling up and down of ROCKS dusted with SLIPPERY DUST! I'm totally serious, folks. I was S-C-A-R-E-D. It was great for half-man, half-goat Angels like Stillman and mini me. But, for those of us who fall down whole flights of stairs in front of crowds? It was a real problem. So, that's why there aren't a lot of photos of the treacherous second half of the hike. I was scared out of my head that I would go tumbling off a cliff the whole time. There were a lot of beautiful flowers because that part was really sunny, but I only took one photo of a cream colored wild iris. There were SWATHS of them. I'm talking SWATHS, but I don't have the photos of the swaths. I would've taken more photos of the flowers, but I was too busy trying not to plunge to my death.

Anyhow, toward the end, we finally made it to Castle Rock (the actual rock). It looks kinda like this, but bigger. No, it actually looks like this but there were trees in the way. There was a nice observation deck where we watched rock climbers scale up the rock face. This guy was Stillman's favorite. There was also a waterfall but, by that point, Charlie's Angels were all exhausted and ready to go home. It was really fun, though, and I'm going back soon to master the rocks!

...there's more to this story--click me!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My First Solo Hike

Check out the new trail shoes, folks. These are what went inside them.

I wanted to take these out on a test run (and also to test myself), so I went back to the Phleger Estate and did the same combination of trails that I did last week with Stillman. I prepared for everything that I could think of. I packed supplies (pepper spray, eye drops, lip balm, cell phone), nourishment (water, chocolate, candy that I stole from Willy Wonka from two doors down), and mountain lion kit (in case I am chased up a tree by a mountain lion and have to stay the night).

Here is the trailhead. Now, as we all saw from guest blogger MonkeyPig this week, the timer on cameras are very handy when travelling alone. So, even though I didn't have a fancy schmancy tripod, I still managed to get some shots of myself. But, the first one was a failure. I set the camera on the trailhead sign and turned on the timer. Halfway to my position, I realized that the shot would have been more convincing if I had my backpack on. So, here I am running back to get the backpack. Okay, second time's the charm, though.

Take two.

I set off into the trail at about 11:30am. By 11:35, Mother Nature drew first mud. Now, unlike the other two times I went hiking, I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. So, a few minutes into the hike, I figured I should dig into the first chocolate ration. (Keep my strength up, right?) Boy, did it taste good. Then, I passed a lost horse muff. These are put on horses' hooves to keep them warm. This thing was right where it was when Stillman and I saw it last week. I guess nobody is missing it. So, I just continue walking. As I'm walking along, I spot something on the floor. Lo and behold, it's a walking stick! It was smooth, too, and had a natural curve that was perfect for my height. I wonder if the kung fu master left this as a sign of encouragement for me? Mother Nature, [Cuban accent]say hello to my little friend[/Cuban accent].

The weather was pretty warm, so a lot of the flowers were in bloom. Here are some purple ones, pink ones, white and yellow ones, and white, yellow, and purple ones. Of course, there were many wild irises in bloom--many more than last week.

At about 12:30pm, I reach the fork in the road where the three trails (Miramonte, Raymundo, and Mt. Redondo) meet. Last week, Stillman and I took the Raymundo trail to the Mt. Redondo trail and back to the Miramonte trail. So, this week, I decided to do the loop backward and take the Mt. Redondo trail first. In taking the loop backwards, I saw everything from a different angle and it felt like a different hike. Of course, there were super tall trees, as well as craggy moss-covered ones. I was going uphill for a full 30 minutes at a pretty steep grade, and started to get hungry again. You know what that meant: second chocolate ration and a lollipop.

I took another little break when I got to Raymundo trail. Here, I met two runners who graciously posed for a photo. On the Raymundo Trail, trees grew out diagonally from the hillside. Some were practically horizontal. Trees were also clumped together in spots.

I finally got back to the Miramonte Trail at about 1:45pm. It was time for my third chocolate ration. I also took a water break. (I took water breaks all along the way because it was so warm and I was really striving to go at a decent pace.) You can tell how strong the sun was in the chapparal area. On the way back to the trailhead, I passed by a one-room bungalow with skylight located across from a beautiful stream. It was being offered for sale by owner at $1.7 million (pretty reasonable in these parts).

Anyhow, even though it was a warm day with a lot of sun, most of the trail was shady and comfortable. Don't believe me? Ask them. They'll tell you the same thing. When I got to the area where I had initially found my walking stick, I put it back where I had found it for the next hiker.

Now, it was 2:30 and I was nearing the trailhead. Guess who comes strolling into the trail? I'll give you a hint. Last week, I put this outside his office to mark him.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oleta
by MonkeyPig (RECURRING guest blogger)

I had pretty good time during the Oleta River State Park trip.

The Kayak was a really good bargain. 25$ for 3 hr and 6.50$ / hr each hr after that.

The trip started off in dead water as one can see stuff floating on the water. The boat launching site is at the cul de sac. So, the gang (me,Mr. Orange and Mr. Banana (the boat) started our trek. After about 20 minutes, I got out to fresh water found a nice nook for lunch. Nonny Nu saids to not post our own faces on the net for privacy. So, I'm going to be a real monkey.

I paddled out to the islands and the port area. Ok, English vocabruary is not my strongest subject at school. The water was great. I saw bunch of diving birds. They would go down for a minute or two, then come up with a small fish. OK, I was going to upload some video of the birds catching the fish. But, that means I have to subscribe to this special feature on SnapFish. So, you guys can watch a better version of it on the AnimalPlanet or something like that. port or open sea, more drawbridge , more beautiful coastline .
I took a break on a beach area at one of islands .

Its was about 3 hours and I've decided to go back. I went back to the pier area. Noticed that I was 10 minutes over 3 hours. Heck, I'm not going to a entire hour when I'm only 10 minutes into the hours. So, I decided to do some more exploring. Don't laugh, I have an accurate account of my time. One of my patients gave me a Ironman watch. So, I am down to the seconds with my rentals.

I decided to go to Devil's pass. That's the only place I have not been. Needless to say, it was Christmas Tree Lane all over again - minus Ca Loc's blazing eyes. As I went into the pass, it became narrower and there were more trees and branches draped all over. Though not physically there, I can feel the heat of Ca Loc's eyes. Finally at the deadend , I decided that I have enough of Ca Loc's remote rolling eyes.

But, all ends well. I made it back in 4 hours and only paid 6.50$ extra.

It was a fun trip. I can not say enough about using manpower - one's own legs and arms to enjoy trips. You can see things up close and personal, with minimal risks of course. But, its worth the small risks.

Over all, I had a really good trip - with the exception of Key Largo.

Today, I drove around West Palm beach and the Atlantic coast. One to sightsee, two to burn the 1/2 tank of gas that was left (as I forgot that I've bought the gas option when I got the car). I stopped by the seaside town of Hillsborough. Jogged about 9 miles. It was great to see all the pretty waterfront homes up close. I was hoping to run into and marry a retired old kook like Jessica Simpson (is that her name). But, alas, all the old-rich men are either taken or dead.

...there's more to this story--click me!

D3 -- Key Largo
by MonkeyPig (guest blogger)

For those of you who are planning a trip Key Largo -- its waaayyy too overly rated. Wasted half a tank of gas. Fortunately I opted for a tinny Chevy Aveo at the rental place.

When I got in last Saturday night, the rental car placed told me the econo car I reserved was not avaible. They were willing to offer me a free "upgrade" to what's available -- an SUV. At first the teenager in me says "cool!!! free upgrade to a cool car". But the cheapo in me took over and told the agent ... NO. With price of gas almost 3$ / gal, I'd have to harvest seaweed for meals for the rest of the trip. So, the Ching came out and demanded an econo car. They looked and looked and found one. It was a car with a few dents that were waiting to go to the body shop. So, we mapped all the dents and I got a car with good mileage. Its nice to not spend 50$ with every refill.

Made the right choice. It was about a 3 hour trip. Mostly stop and go traffic as there is only one road to the Keys. Its a pretty boring trip. Many times, I almost wanted to turn back to the hotel to take a nap. The town itself is also pretty boring. Full of T-shirt / souveneir shops and restaurants that costs an army-&-a-leg to even go in, not to mention partake of their gold plated fish. Needless to say, the instant noodles in my hotel was minus a pack that night.

The only thing I saw that day was stingray and many pelicans.

These pic were from the Biscayne island. An island with upscale living. Needless to say, I stayed long enough to use the bathroom and take a few pics. This is looking at the mainland from Biscayne. The water was very pretty. All shades of blue and green.

Ft Lauderdale and its surrounding cities are full of drawbridges. One goes through many of these driving to town.

So, you are probably falling asleep. So am I as this is one of the boringest trip of my life. Basically eating dust and smelling car exhaust.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Will Colonel Panic panic?
And, who is w00t hax0r?
Finally, what happened to our guest blogger, MonkeyPig?**

Question 1: Will Colonel Panic panic?
Besides ordering the wireless keyboard from Apple, I also ordered an iPod Shuffle.* (Check out the engraving.) And, I paid retail for it.

[Question 2 added for latest news.]
Question 2: Who is w00t hax0r?
I have no idea. I thought it was Mr. Nonny Nu at first, so I listed "w00t hax0r" in the "Mr. Nonny Nu's Fake Names" list. But, somebody had a cow about it and demanded that I immediately remove it from the list. Well, you know, if people want to buck the system and use a different fake name everytime they comment, I guess those individuals will just have to suck it up and realize that false attribution to them will sometimes be inevitable.

Question 3: What happened to our guest blogger, MonkeyPig?
GOOD QUESTION. I asked this exact question about 10 minutes ago. MonkeyPig's response was: "You know, sometimes people are tired." Yeah, like biking 26 miles in a day makes a person tired. LIAR! It's so hard to find good help these days. [EDIT: By the way, Colonel Panic has already poked his head into my office and stated, "I noticed that there wasn't an entry yesterday." So irresponsible toward the readership...]

*According to the shipping manifest, this thing came all the way from Suzhou, CHINA. (Sorry, I redacted my precise location from the manifest with red paint.)

**For those of you interested, most of this stuff was written last night when I was unceremoniously interrupted by someone and made to go to sleep. I've edited to present to you the latest news.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Christmas in April

This will only be a short update since we have a guest blogger this week (who is doing a wonderful job, btw--I'm ROFLOL!).

Christmas has arrived early this year. I am the proud recipient of the following gifts (which materialized on different days since Monday):

1) My very first internet stalker!
On Monday, someone stopped by my office to inform me that they had become my internet stalker. I'm not pointing any fingers. "Someone" may refer to anybody, including but not limited to Colonel Panic, who had gone on the Long Ridge hiking trail this past weekend. For identification purposes, I have placed this thermostat outside of my stalker's door.

2) My very first African violet!
Green Thumbs McGillicutty showed up in my office on Monday bearing the gift of an African violet that she could not fit on her windowsill. Here she is. I'm naming her "Viola." I know! Creativity is one of my strong suits.

3) My very first pair of trail shoes!
So, Mr. Nonny Nu did not buy us hiking boots after all. He got us TRAIL SHOES! They are really cool. I like mine. They are greenish/grayish New Balance shoes. For those of you who play Halo, it's like the shade of green of Master Chief's suit. PERFECT SIZE. He also got me these really cute Puma anklets to go with. I'll show you guys this weekend when I go hiking. Mr. Nonny Nu got himself a pair of *drum roll please* SKETCHERS trail shoes! They're pretty snazzy, but mine are way better.

But, wait! I'm not the only one who is experiencing Christmas early. Look what came in the mail today.

...there's more to this story--click me!

More Everglades
by MonkeyPig (guest blogger)

It appears that once you get a park pass (10$), you can use it for the entire week. So, I've decided to go back to the Glades.

The day started much earlier. I found a pretty nice Italian Bakery. Got a muffin and a personal size pizza. While there, I loaded up on the free samples of whatever pastry morsel on the counter. The lady was giving me the evil. But, that didn't bother me. I pretended to be polite. But, when she turned around, I popped in two more.

This time, I found a place where I can rent a bike for the entire day for 15$. This place is call the Everglad International Hostel. The people there are very nice, but extremely granola. I thought I had to come back after several days of not shaving. But, they took my money, anyway. I guess they thought I was a vegetarian with all the soysauce and rice smell in my clothes.

The bike was OK, except -- the tread on the tires were completely worn and the gears don't shift. Otherwise, it came free with, a basket for me to put my 4.84$+tax bag, food, repair kit, and a huge bicycle pump.

No, Little Nonny Nu, I was only semi-extravagant. The bottles were from yesterday. The water was a generous donation from the Hotel.

I rode about 7 miles to get to the trial head. There was a nice picnic area. I parked Pee-Wee's bike next to the picnic bench. Took the lunch out of the 4.84$+tax orange bag.

I was really excited by the pepperoni personal-size pizza. It was the cheapest of the various ready made pizza with toppings. To my disappointment, it was actually tomato. I guess the dollar sign over my eyes made the tomato looks like pepperoni. But, the pie tasted good.

The Long Pine Trail is great. It was completely different than that Shark Valley - dry. Long pines all over and palmettos on he ground.

I only saw a few gators. These were when I rode by the various ponds "lakes". These area were completely different than that of the Long Pine trail. Very wet and with lots of green vegetation. I only saw about 3 gators that day.

But, I saw a whole bunch of horny insects. The butterfly was in the middle of it. The dragfly just finished.

The lizard was not horny. At least, it wasn't when I saw it. It was by his little self.

The entire trip was about 25-26 miles of bike ride. I was starving at the end of the trip. I had to keep the tradition of Rachel Gee. So, I went to Christine Wan (some sort of fake Chinese Restaurant) and bought two dishes, asked for extra soysauce (this is where I got the soysauce), and extra rice. Not only did I stay under 30 $. I had the rest of the dishes for breakfast.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Day 2 -- I'm not paying for that
by MonkeyPig (guest blogger)

I went to the Everglades. By the times I got to Shark Valley, it was 2:30.

The bike rental place told me that it costs 6.50 / hr and if I return it after 4 pm, there will be a late charge. I was totally blanking out when he was yakking away about the late fees or the other option of tram 16$/adult....I politely declined and told him I'll run the trail instead. I'm not going to pay late fee and 6.50$/hr or pay 16$ when I have two legs. I figure, there's still 3 1/2 hr before the parking lot close, so I can do the 15 mile trail.

Off I went with my 4.84$+tax bag. There were water / a granola bar / some grapes / tomatoes / casava chips / camera and camera stand. Yes, it was a shoulder bag and some what difficult to manage when one is running. But, I'm not paying 20-30$ for a back pack.

It turned out to be a good decision. I got a good run and saw the most gators of all the visitor there that day. I got to see the flora and fawna (wow, English...sometimes the refugee briefly takes a back sit) up close. There were gators along sides - some 7-8 feet big, some teenage ones, and some baby gators. Many of the gators in the water on both sides of the trail. There two along the side of the trail. Man, do they move quick. I was glad that they were moving in the opposite direction and not not toward me.

Remember the Banana Slug, it took 3 hours to move 3 feet. The big slug that I saw at the Everglades moved fast. OK, I wasn't able to upload the movie. There was a 8-10 feet snake that moved from one side of the trail to the next.
There were lots of snapping turtle. Some of them were the size of a medium piza. I didn't know they can get that big. I saw a whole bunch of herons and some other birds. Made it out the park by 18:30...greeted by some gator poop. Actual size is about small burritto or big egg roll.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Vacation - Refugee style...Where's the Maggi -- Day 1
by MonkeyPig (guest blogger)


In my rush to go to the airport, I had forgot many toiletries. But, the most important thing is the Maggi. But, its ok, just one week. I've stored up on some sort of Panda soysauce packets. The waiter was a bit annoyed when I asked, for the 3rd time, for more soysauce. But, that's a refugee style vacation.

The first day at Ft Lauderdale. I had a good run along the beach while taking to my sisters. Boy, can Thai women talk. 3 hours and 3Fish still want to talk -- its true, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body.

After 9 miles, I had a ginormous appetite. Decided to go to Caps' crab. But, after I went on-line to see the $$$, decided to visit a "better" crab house. Rusty's Crab House. Unbeknowns (ok, I'm not a lawyer, so there will be much typos and spellos and grammos. I just know how to look "down there") to me, Rusty's Crab House cost an arm and a leg, also. After scanning through the menu and doing a cost/refugee analysis, I decided on the combo plate. I can save the mammalian meat & starch for the next meal and eat the seafood. That was a good plan. Though its was an expensive meal, I split the cost for two days. The refugee in me and I'm sure that my fellow refugees is proud of me. To offset the cost further, I had 4 refills on the ice-tea. Beat this Rachel Ray, 40$-a-day...for the Rachel Gees, its 30$-two-days. My bladder was almost rupture by the time I found a bathroom on my way home. But, it doesn't matter, I'm young and the insurance will cover this.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maggi Sauce: Is it safe?

In case you didn't know, Mr. Nonny Nu does not like veggies. He hasn't liked them since he was a cub. He wants absolutely nothing to do with veggies and will cross the street whenever he spots a vegetable stand. BUT, he will eat my asparagus. Take a peek at what we had for dinner. That's right. Marinated steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, asparagus, and biscuits. Here, come closer. Smells good, huh? Yeah, that's how my house will smell when I get home tomorrow, too, except that there will be meatloaf aroma mixed in. Yes, tomorrow is going to be meatloaf night and, yes, this is what I'll look like.

Okay, so not everything was from scratch, but about 50% was. I marinated the steaks overnight with LOTS of minced garlic, sugar, and Maggi Sauce. Maggi Sauce?? What the heck is Maggi Sauce?? That's what I bet my American readership is thinking right now. Maggi Sauce is sauce from my childhood. My mom (thus, my entire family) used Maggi. Growing up, we knew it as "Mah-zee." I like to put it on sunny side up eggs with pepper, and then sop up the egg yolks with toasted WHITE bread. Maggi is used all over the world:

Chinese Maggi
Spanish Maggi
Polish Maggi*
Dutch Maggi
Ghanan Maggi
French Maggi

My mom brought me some French Maggi from when she visited France and that was the stuff I used on the steaks. Don't worry, folks, I did some research and found out that Maggi is an old and respected Swiss company that merged with Nestle, a bona fide American company, in 1947, so it's safe to use and not some Asian "It's made of cat toe nails" delicacy. (By "folks," I meant Mr. Nonny Nu.)

So, while the steaks are frying, cut asparagus into 2 inch pieces and blanch them (about 5 minutes). Then, pour out the water (don't drain it until it's bone dry, you want the asparagus to stay wet). When the steaks are done, take them out of the frying pan and put the blanched asparagus in. The moisture from the asparagus will deglaze the pan. Just mix the asparagus in the pan until the garlic/Maggi/sugar material coats the asparagus. That's it! It's really that easy, folks.

*If you look to the left of the Polish Maggi Sauce you'll see some blue and white bowls. I have those same rice bowls at home, and I only have TWO of them, just like the photo! Maybe these are Asians in Poland using Poland Maggi Sauce...

...there's more to this story--click me!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Suns-1, Lakers-0 / Mavericks-0, Warriors-1


The NBA Playoffs have begun. As some of you may know, I am a Lakers fan by birth, but a Suns fan by choice. Today, the second seeded Suns played their first playoff game against the seventh seeded Lakers (Western Conference). Okay, I am not happy with the Suns AT ALL. They played a sucky game because of who knows what (Mr. Nonny Nu thinks it was nerves, but I think it's because they didn't visit the wisdom buffet prior to tip-off) and barely scraped by. They should have came out strong at home and trounced the Lakers. Instead, they eeked by until the very end. And, THAT happened only because Kobe got tired and couldn't play the whole game himself anymore. MVP of Game 1 goes to Leandro Barbossa. My favorite move was when he tripped and fell while trying to penetrate, but instead of just hogging the ball, he passed it to Stoudamire (while he was laying on the ground) for a lay up. The other Suns were just a mess, though, and I'm just going to pretend we got the W magically and forget I ever watched such a game. Honestly, I'm glad we played a sucky game and won, instead of playing a great game but losing.

On a much brighter note, I am so proud of the Warriors! This eighth seeded team beat out first seeded Mavericks. It was kinda funny watching this game because you could totally tell that the Mavs were scared from the tip-off. Somehow, #8 Warriors have #1 Mavericks' number. They played three games during the season and the trouncing just got progressively worse. Now, the Warriors are not only in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, they have won their first playoff game against the Mavericks. Watching Mark Cuban's reactions courtside was an added perk. Just take a look at this guy. Yep, that's the two-time (maybe three-time, by the end of this season) MVP Steve Nash (left in photo) of the Phoenix Suns who Cuban had on the Mavericks but DIDN'T resign. Who's laughing now, punk?

...there's more to this story--click me!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Phleger Estate


Today, Stillman took me to the Phleger Estate for a good long hike. Our hike actually consisted of a conglomeration of four trails: Crystal Springs Trail, Miramontes Trail, Raymundo Trail, and Mount Redondo Trail. Here's a map. The total hiking distance was about 7 miles. It was a pretty good work out because of the grade in the Raymundo and Mount Redondo portions of the hike. We parked in Huddart Park, which is not on the Phleger Estate, but that is where we entered Crystal Springs Trail.

As we discussed on the blog earlier this week, rain was predicted for Saturday and Sunday. I was concerned that that would throw a wrench into my hiking plans, but Stillman suggested that we get an early start, since rain was predicted for Saturday afternoon. So, I donned my old kicks, and I followed Stillman into Crystal Springs Trail. (See? I TOLD you she looks just like Elisabeth Shue.)

One of the first things we saw was a moss covered rock that was *gasp* vandalized. I was appalled and my blood began to boil. Good thing I ran into a kung fu master who advised me to quiet my emotions and enjoy the rest of the hike. "One shouldn't let a pair of fish eyes spoil the whole fish soup," she said. I thanked her and continued my hike. Soon, I came upon a lizard who flagged me down and asked me, "Nonny Nu, may I mumble dog face in the banana patch?" I graciously allowed him to do so. Besides, since I only had a small breakfast, I was too busy eating my mid-morning snack to argue with him. Stillman was otherwise occupied. She was trying out a new aerodynamic style of hiking, which made the trees' heads spin.

Anywhoo, we soon came to the Miramontes Trail, and the forest became darker because of the thick canopy overhead. I noticed quite a bit of poo here, which was quickly explained when the poo factory passsed us along the trail. Seriously, though, I love horses. They are like well-mannered, non-snobby cats. This part of the hike was shady and mossy, with trees strewn all over, and a lot of massive clovers. There was also a beautiful brook, a bit wider than the one we saw at Long Ridge last week.

As we progressed, we entered an area known as "chapparal" that had more sun because the trees weren't as large and the leaves didn't form much of a canopy overhead. There were a lot of smallish wild flowers in bloom, but the prettiest flower there was the wild iris. Soon, we were headed back toward the larger redwood trees with the canopy overhead.

Now, we were ready for the loop, which begins at the Raymundo Trail and continues through the Mt. Redondo trail. The grade was pretty steep here. There were switchbacks galore, and spots on the trail where you had to really look to find the next part of the trail. That was one aspect that was totally awesome about the trail! Here, the trail was a bit muddy, but the trees were gorgeous. Moss covered trees and rocks alike.

But, the coolest thing we saw was a pair of deer. Sorry, I couldn't get a clearer picture, but there are two right in the middle of this picture. We saw the same two deer again a little bit later. Check out their eyes reflecting the flash from my camera. At first, I could only see an all black photo on my camera viewscreen. It wasn't until I got home and enlarged the photo did I see their eyes and the outline of their heads. (Good thing I didn't delete that photo, Stillman!) All I could do was stand there in awe. It was at this time that the kung fu master reappeared and told me, "Good fish soup, eh?"

Last but not least, we saw the Earth Day Banana Slugs Parade.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dudes, check out my new Sketchers!

What do you think? I usually wear size 7 sneakers, but these are size 6 1/2, so I have to wear thin socks with them. But, they turned out to be pretty comfy. The laces are kind of slippery so they kept coming undone. I had to double knot them, and they were fine after that.

The Sketchers were a perfect match for Coach Nelson's Lola! Lola is at times quiet, and at times peppy. She could barely wait to go for her afternoon walk. The whole office was oohing and aahing over her. Lola definitely knew how to work it.

Going on the afternoon walk with Lola and seeing the trees and grass reminded me of the repotting I had to do for my other cactus. In keeping with my non-pack rat mentality and also in consideration of how successful the first cactus turned out, I gave this cactus a major haircut. And, when I say "major haircut," I mean "major haircut." This is all there is left now. I'll keep you guys posted.

Now, there is something I must share with you all. It has to do with Mr. Nonny Nu. For those of you who aren't familiar with this individual, trust me, this is a very mischievous nonconformist. Remember the Ronco chicken from Wednesday night? Last we heard, it was shredded and stored in a bowl in the fridge, but what became of that chicken? Let's investigate. When I got home today, I opened the fridge and was welcomed by this sight.

I know what you're thinking. Nobody would just take the chicken and leave the empty bowl in the fridge! Yes, 'tis a mystery. Incredible, but true, folks. But don't take my word for it--see for yourself. Take a look at Mr. Nonny Nu's refusal to conform to the "one fake name per person" SOP on the blog. First, he's terrence olivier. Then, he's delta dawn. Today, he went by his pimp name, Reverend Doctor Terry Valentine. Since the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will not let that get in the way of Mohammed's blogging. Instead, Mohammed will implement a "tracking system." Pan left to the new list in the margin of the blog entitled "Mr. Nonny Nu's Fake Names." This will be the running list of all the fake names Mr. Nonny Nu uses in commenting on the blog.

I leave you with this thought: Cats, they're just like us.
1. Cat listening to Stevie Wonder.
2. Cat listening to house music.
3. Cat listening to metal.
4. Cat listening to hip hop.
5. Cat listening to gangsta rap.
6. Cat on ecstasy and listening to techno. (Keep watching after the cat goes offscreen.)
(Special thanks to ogunsgirl for the above submission.)

...there's more to this story--click me!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Potluck: I'm Depressed; Cute Kitty!; Boy, I Hope It Doesn't Rain


It's not often that a Type B uber-optimist says this but, brother, am I depressed today. The time has come for friends to say "adieu." Well, more like "later sk8er." JurisMonkey, after working with me for 4 years, has finally had it. He has decided to head toward greener pastures that were planted long ago. Tomorrow will be his last day. So, today, we had "The Last Supper." Lucky for him, all he (and anyone else) need do whenever he feels lonely or down is to visit the wisdom buffet. You'll be missed! Farewell, buddy! (At least, until I see you at your housewarming party in three weeks!)

On a lighter note, Lucy's Mom has graciously provided some recent photos of Lucy. Lucy, like Stubbie, is a new associate to the firm. The two have vastly distinguishable working habits. Stubbie insists on having "I'm in prison--waaaaah!!" pity parties throughout the week instead of just on TGIF. Lucy, on the other hand, is a diligent worker, unless she is hung over after a wild night of partying. Sushi remains unemployed. All in all, though, Lucy is a very lucky kitty because she has a loving mom.

Finally, an update on the hiking venture. This weekend may or may not be a disaster. Stillman has been apprised of the request for a sighting and has promised that she will, on the morning of the hike, don her "dressiest cap" for the photoshoot. But, there may be trouble in paradise, since the weather reports are looking grim. Stay tuned.

JurisMonkey, I send you off with these wise words from Cat Stevens (you know, that old fogey song you heard in my car):

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

Chorus:
You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see ah ah ah
It's easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
cause theres a million things to do
You know that there are

Chorus

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are

...there's more to this story--click me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why We Had Taco Smell For Dinner Tonight


Sometimes, dinner just doesn't turn out the way you planned it. We are proud owners of a Ronco Set-It-and-Forget-It Rotisserie. It's basically an Easy Bake oven that uses an electrical element instead of a lightbulb. This technological marvel arrived with a large sticker that warned: "Set it, but don't really forget it!" Yeah, what you're thinking right now? That's what I was thinking, too.

Anyhow, this Ronco Rotisserie has seen us through thick and thin. The plan for the evening was to roast a chicken in the Ronco, shred it, and then put it in tacos. The leftovers would go toward sammiches for Mr. Nonny Nu. the next day. Problem is, the dang chicken failed to defrost fully even though it sat from 9am to 6pm on the kitchen counter. So, instead of getting the bird into the Ronco as planned, I had to tack on another 30 minutes, which put the finishing time way too late. We'd have had dinner around 10:30 if we went with the original plan (wait for chicken to cool, shread, into tacos).

Instead, we had Taco Smell. Thing is, Smell experienced a green onion e. coli scare a few months ago in their New England branches. Naturally, corporate pulled all green onions nationwide. But, Nachos Bell Grande and Mexican Pizza aren't the same without green onions. So, what we've been doing is chopping our own green onions, which are then added to the dishes from Smell once we get the order home. Smell fans should try it--it really works! Just like the good old days!

Now, there is a bowl of shredded chicken in the fridge awaiting consumption by Mr. Nonny Nu in sammiches. Sushi was the only one who sampled the golden roasted chicken this evening. I offered her a piece, and she loved it and begged for more.

P.S. The photo links have been fixed to redact all porn images. They should now be accessible to those employed by evil employers.

...there's more to this story--click me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Guess It Was Just A Matter Of Time


Everyone who knows me knows that I am a clutz. I am famous for tripping and falling in places where no one else has ever done so. So, three weeks into my running routine, something was just waiting to happen. Yesterday, I didn't run even though I had promised Coach Nelson that I would. So, today, I had to run. A mile and a half into the run, I tripped on a section of uneven sidewalk. It's a good thing I was battling 35 mile per hour winds today because I wore sweats instead of my usual shorts. Anyhow, I ate it and now I have yet another scar on my knee to get rid of. But, I went on and finished my full 4.5 miles.

Okay, so what I really want to talk about today is flowers. I happen to sit on the sunny side of a building at work, so flowers should be a breeze to grow in my office. But, no. This is what happened to my tulips, and this is what happened to my freesia. Note the lack of any blooms on the freesia and the complete lack of life in the tulip pot. I bought some yellow roses last week from Trader Joe's but they too have passed on. They are now replaced with these purple ones, but we'll see how long that lasts. Granted, the yellow roses did have gnat problems, but I've since acquired some "plant soap" and the gnats have not shown their faces since then. The one thing I have had some luck with is my cactus. Against everyone's advice, I gave it a major haircut one month ago. I re-potted it, and then lopped off all of its leaves, cut it down to size, and put it in the sun. But, guess what? It has made great strides since then with remarkable new growth.

It has been a real struggle for me in my neck of the woods. But, lo and behold, right next door to my office is Green Thumbs McGillicutty. Sure, she complains about how cold her office is, but her AFRICAN violets are blooming like there's no tomorrow. Even the reflections in the window are gorgeous. There are pink ones, lavender ones, and even *gasp* VIOLET violets. (Doesn't that just make you want to kiss your parol officer?) Apparently, the secret to her success is using 3 parts unicorn blood to 2 parts griffin saliva fed through a long-nosed hummingbird-style watering contraption. Ha! Now you guys know what to get me for Christmas.

So, let's see, we've talked about vegetable (plants) and mineral (sidewalk), so that leaves animal. As you may or may not know, I now have an office mate named Stubbie. In the morning before he puts his contacts on, he looks like this. In the evening, Stubbie's Godmother fixes him dinner before she goes home for the night. Today, I was talking to Stubbie and he asked how the blog was going. I told him that Tubbie said hello. Stubbie says hello, too!

...there's more to this story--click me!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Well, well, well. We're open for business!

Ha! Success! Someone commented! And, like any other real business, I'm framing the first dollar that came in.



As an FYI, AgPig (pronounced "Silver Pig") is sister #5. Ob/Gyn doctor in the Army, stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. Baysee is her dog. This photo was taken on Baysee's first day home from the pound. AgPig called me that day expressing concern that she had perhaps adopted a dumb dog because Baysee didn't seem to get the hang of the doggie door. After several minutes of discussion, it turned out that Baysee had gotten neutered earlier in the day. AgPig, let's carve out your spleen and see if you can put yourself through a doggie door. Oh, wait, been there, done that.*

Anywhooo, AgPig shall now go down in history as the first ever commentor at The World of Nonny Nu. She will be the first member of Nonny's Hall of Fame. A round of applause, please! *claps while moving hands in a circle*

As to why (Frodo) Stillman isn't in the pictures from yesterday's hiking trip at Long Ridge, Frodo didn't want to be photographed. She's a photogenic gal who reminds me of Elisabeth Shue, but was shy that day. But now, we have a request for a sighting. So, Stillman, be prepared to be photographed next weekend. I bet you'll turn out just as nice as the banana slug did. I'll work my Photo 0.0101 magic, don't worry.

If anyone wants to post photos, please feel free to email them to me at nonnynu@gmail.com. If you include a brief description, I will weave that into the blog entry. Otherwise, I'll make something up for you.

Oh, and no, I am getting my coaching free from Coach Nelson, who will kill me tomorrow because I didn't run today even though I had planned to.

*AgPig had a splenectomy several years ago, but you'd think she had an eye-ectomy...
babbling brook
ocean

...there's more to this story--click me!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Caution: Banana Slugs Are NOT Made Of Bananas.

For those of you not in the know, I have been trying to get a bit more healthy. Veggies have been scarce in my diet and, for a rabbit, that's a problem. So, I've taken up running, thanks to Coach Nelson who trains with me Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, on the weekends, I have to do a bit of something so that I don't fall all the way back to square one come the following Tuesday. (Coach Nelson gets grumpy if that happens, and I am worried that I will find Stubbie with piano wire around his little neck as a "warning." You know those Germans...)

So, anyhow, I've been running on the weekends, but this past weekend, I went for a hike instead with my good friend Stillman. I googled for hikes in my area and found a very good website. I clicked and read and read and clicked. Finally, I found one that looked like it would give me a good work out but wouldn't kill me. I decided on Long Ridge in San Mateo. It's 4.7 miles at an "easy" rating.

Of course, getting there was adventurous in and of itself. Yahoo! directions instructed me to take Big Basin (CA-9) all the way up to Skyline. So, I drove through little downtown Saratoga on Big Basin. Once I got into the residential area, the street signs unexpectedly began to read "Congress Springs" instead of "Big Basin Way." I doubled back and asked an old couple if I had gone the wrong way, but they said I had gone the right way and had doubled back the 6 miles for no good reason. GAH!

Finally, I arrived at the trailhead (which turns out to mean "the starting line"). Stillman, of course, was already there with her Giants cap and map--WITH NOTES. *rolls eyes* So, we hopped out of our cars and started hiking. It was like a lite version of The Shire. Cyclists instead of ring wraiths threatened to run us over. Early on, we spotted a banana slug. (It looks like a banana, but isn't made of bananas.) The trail narrows about a quarter way through, so I just had to follow behind Frodo Stillman. At the highest point, there is a nice stone bench where you can sit and admire the ocean--I totally didn't expect to see all the way to the ocean! The trail has spots of shade and sun, so it's a very good mix. In the sunny spots, there were a lot of wild flowers and trees in bloom. We even saw the California state flower. In the shady areas, the trees were covered with moss. It had just rained the day before so there was a nice little babbling brook to complete the picture.

As we headed back toward the trailhead, we spotted the same banana slug we saw coming into the trail. The poor dear had only moved around 3 feet in almost 3 hours. I asked Stillman if we could do a moderate hike next time, and she responded, "At this speed, we can do anything." Ha! That Stillman...

...there's more to this story--click me!