Another weekend done

So there was a pretty awesome musical show here in Minneapolis on Saturday. But most people missed it because they went to U2 instead... :-)
One of my favorite bands, Sunspot, was playing at Lee's Liquor Lounge Saturday night and although their set wasn't too long, it was really good. They played a bunch of new stuff that I hadn't heard yet. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Cannibal." Mike said that as soon as they had a demo of it recorded he'd send it to me!

The band had come to town Friday night because they were here for a wedding, so I suggested doing lunch or dinner somewhere on Saturday. We didn't want to go anywhere too far from the Lee's so I recommended Eli's. The food was delicious, as always, and the company was even better. It was nice. When you're friends with a band that lives in a different state you tend to usually only get to spend time with them at loud clubs either before or after their sets. A quiet restaurant pre-show was definitely a nice change! And the conversations? Everything from Doctor Who, Nerdist, Neil Gaiman, and other geeky goodness to brain surgeons to the space shuttle to how to have gay sex in the men's room without getting caught.

Today genevra called to see if we wanted to go down to her mother-in-law's house to go swimming with the monkeys in her pool. Rick declined because he had to mow the lawn and stuff. I, however, was not foolish enough to turn down the offer of an afternoon in a pool. Since Sandi & Linn have two dogs of their own they were ok with Rex coming along. He was a very good boy. He took one sip of the pool water and wisely did not do it again. He also didn't try to jump in the pool. I was worried that he might because of how easily he jumped in the lake. I guess the taste & smell of it made it seem like a bad idea. He got to run around, but he couldn't convince S & L's dogs to chase him. By the time I got him home he was a very tired puppy.

I have a shiny new Nook! Mine had some spots on the e-ink screen so I took it into Best Buy. Since it has a 1 year warranty they just exchanged it out for a new one! I did make the mistake of playing with one of the new touch screen e-ink Nooks. Want!!!!

Weekends are too short

It was another lovely weekend.

We started out Friday evening with the final show in this season's MPR Wits Series. The guests were Neil Gaiman and Josh Ritter. Here is a link to the livestream they filmed.
Because Mr. Gaiman is awesome, this show was sold out, and because it was general admission, people were lining up early to get in. Since they do a Tweetup in the lobby before the show this kind of sucked. It was super crowded, and when the inner doors for the theater opened, people didn't respect the fact that there were lines. Still, we got seats in about the 5th row or so.
I got to see my two favorite white dogs that aren't Rex! Since Neil was in the middle of a book tour and wouldn't actually be going to his house while in town his assistant, the Fabulous Lorraine, brought his daughter and his two white German Shepherds when she picked him up at the airport, and the dogs were subsequently invited to the theater for the night.

Here is Moose posing for photos. In the first one, Moose is on the lovely Lola, and Cabal is looking on from the right side. Sharon (Birdchick) Stiteler is photo-bombing Moose.
Still Life with White Dogs

In the second picture, Moose decided to spend a little quality time with Cabal, just hanging out.
Still Life with Moose & White Dog

It was a fun night. Too bad the season's over. :-(
I still think I should be allowed to bring Rex to the Wits events. He is actually a Minnesota Public Radio member, after all!

Saturday was the annual pool party for akdar's birthday. Alas, there was much rain and not much sunshine. All the kids swam anyway, but I did not. There was some Killer Bunnies played and much food eaten and we had fun even with the icky weather.

Today Rick & I started out by heading down to the Mandarin Kitchen to check out their Dim Sum since learning that Jun-Bo has closed. We were very happy with the food, and it seemed to be comparable to Jun-Bo in price. Then Sunday afternoon we headed on out to Stillwater to Rick's sister's house where his dad, stepmom & stepsister were also going to be. We had a lovely afternoon with the family. I just wish they were closer than Stillwater because we don't make the long drive out there as often as we would all like.

And, as is standard for me, it's way too late and I should really be sleeping!


Social, media, etc

Well, I done connected my Twitter back up to my Facebook. Now anything I tweet that's not an @reply will also go to my Facebook.
I started with good intentions of cross-posting to both with the Facebook posts translated from Twitter to English. But, my iPhone is only a 3G so it kind of sucks. I got tired of switching between the apps. So everything went to either one location or the other, not both. I feel that you, my adoring public, suffered the most from this because if you don't follow me in both places you were missing out on most of my awesomeness because it would only be in one place at a time. So really, linking them back together was for you all. You're welcome. :-)
If you can't find me on Facebook, just ask and i will tell you my real name (or at least as real as it gets on Facebook. The whole legal name isn't on there!) and if you can't find me on Twitter, well you really just haven't looked, have you?
Highlander and HellZiggy: There can be only one!!!!!!!!!!!

Nope, not biased at all!

Nope, I'm not biased at all. My Dogasaurus Rex is a darn handsome boy.


I mean really, look at this face:

The little bugger is smiling for the camera!

We both had a fabulous time at the 2nd Annual Pedal Pub Race in Northeast Mpls this last weekend.

edited to add:
And these beautiful pictures of him were taken by Jenn & John of Moments Shared Photography
History of Everything book

Books books books

Still completely infatuated with my Nook, and also with the Hennepin County Library. As of today, HCL has 12863 different ebook titles in the system. And many of those books have more than one copy.
When I got my nook on Black Friday last year I was expecting to have to purchase the majority of my books because while the nook supports the Overdrive Library system, HCL only had about 800 different titles available. I was considering buying a $15 membership to the Free Library of Philadelphia, but figured I'd wait until I ran out of things to read. FLP had around 4000 or 5000 titles at that time. Apparently they aren't buying new ones at the same rate as HCL, because they're only at about 5800 now.
I ♥ my local library!!!
Between the diverse selection from the library and the authors that I'm still buying, I have yet to run out of stuff to read.
I'm currently at over 60 books read just this year alone, and I'm totally loving the fact that I've fallen in love with reading again. It's not that I ever fell out of love, it just wasn't convenient. I'd run out of things to read because I wasn't going to the library regularly enough.
Now, we just need to get publishers to start giving you a free ebook version when you buy the hardcover like movies started doing w/the free digital download when you buy the DVD.
There's some stuff I will still buy the actually dead tree version of, but I'm not paying twice to get it in ebook also!
History of Everything book

Time to pimp!

OK everyone. Are you looking for a couple books to read? Both of these books are by lovely funny women that I've gotten to know online. I suck at writing reviews so I'm just going to say GO BUY THESE BOOKS AND READ THEM!

First up we've got a bisexual biracial plus-sized rockabilly ex-superheroine novel by apocalypsos.
Heroine Addiction

Vera Noble belongs to a long line of famous superheroes, but she's done quite enough lifesaving in her time. Now, she's perfectly happy to serve pie and coffee in her small-town cafe, far away from the bright explosions and enormous radiation-spawned monsters of the big city. However, no life ever stays safe and quiet forever, and one simple request from her family's former mortal enemy upends Vera's semi-average existence.

This one is currently only available as an ebook.
Kindle Version
PDF from Lulu

Next is Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge.

For Jane Jones, being a vampire is nothing like you read about in books. In fact, it kind of sucks. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, and she doesn't "sparkle." She's just an average, slightly nerdy girl from an ordinary suburban family (who happens to be vampires.) Jane's from the wrong side of the tracks (not to mention stuck in the world's longest awkward phase), so she doesn't fit in with the cool vampire kids at school or with the humans kids. To top it all off, she's battling an overprotective mom, a clique of high school mean girls (the kind who really do have fangs), and the most embarrassing allergy in the history of the undead, she's blood intolerant. So no one's more surprised than Jane when for the first time in her life, things start to heat up (as much as they can for a walking corpse, anyway) with not one, but two boys. Eli's a geeky, but cute real-live boy in her history class, and Timothy is a beautiful, brooding bloodsucker, who might just hold the key to a possible "cure" for vampirism. Facing an eternity of high school pressure, fumbling first dates, or a mere lifetime together with Timothy, what's a 90-something year-old teen vampire to do?

You can get this one in ebook, or dead tree.
Barnes & Noble
Also, if you're a Nook person and your library does eBooks, they might have it. Hennepin County Library does.

Sad day at the zoo

I finally get my butt back here to LJ, and plan to start posting semi-regular like again and this happens...
I was planning to do a post pimping the books that my friends have just done, but instead my mind is on wolves.

One of the Mexican Grey Wolves at the Minnesota Zoo escaped from its holding enclosure today and the zoo staff had to make the difficult decision to use lethal force.

I first heard about it and read the Star Tribune story at around noon. At that point the only news was that a wolf had gotten out, a zoo visiter had seen it and been the one to call zoo staff on one of the zoo's emergency phones, and the wolf was shot shortly thereafter. Immediately the comments on the article were full of indignant people demanding to know why the wolf was shot instead of tranquilized, and also saying that they will never support or go to the zoo again because they obviously don't know how to take care of or treat their animals.

Someday I will learn never to read the comments to news articles because they always just piss me off!

My heart breaks and goes out to the MN Zoo staff member that had to take the shot. People work at zoos because they love animals and want to protect them. Having to kill the animal you're supposed to protect is an awful thing.

Because the information was still coming in, the early stories just didn't have all the details. Yet, my position has not wavered one single bit between when I first heard what happened and now that I know more of the story.

If the Zoo staff made the decision that lethal force was needed, it was an informed decision made based on their knowledge, training, and desire for safety above all else. Period.

Commenters on the STrib site and even Facebook "fans" of the zoo seemed to think they knew better what should have been done. People who weren't there, who don't work daily with the animals, who don't go through training & drills at least twice a year for this very situation. Yes, those people all knew better.

Note: The Minnesota Zoo, in addition to the Mexican Grey Wolves on the Northern Trail also has some Grey Wolves on the Minnesota Trail. When I talk about the care & keeping of the wolves I am referring exclusively to the Mexican's & their Northern Trail exhibit.

Having been a student at the summer ZooSchool they used to have back in the late 80's, being a member and fan of the Zoo for the last 10 years or so, and having friends who have volunteered there and worked there, I have a bit broader knowledge of what goes on at the Zoo than your average person who may go once every few years. I've also attended many of the educational talks they've had for members. One of the favorites I attended was about the Mexican Grey Wolves. The very wolf that died today may well have been one of them that I saw on exhibit that night as Jackie, the zookeeper, was telling us about them. I think that is why all the ignorant comments criticizing the zoo before getting the facts have bothered me so much today.

The Mexican Grey Wolf exhibit at the zoo is different from their others in several ways. Almost all of the zoo animals have a holding enclosure behind the scenes where they are kept at night. Almost no animals are kept in their exhibit 24/7, just while the zoo is open. The wolves do not. They have a den in the exhibit and they are only removed from it for necessities such as medical checkups and care.

From a 2006 Pioneer Press article: Unlike many other animals at the zoo, the wolves on exhibit are not trained or socialized in any way.
"These wolves are completely terrified of us. They need to be," [Minnesota Zoo keeper Jackie] Fallon said. "If they have even a chance at survival in the wild they need to be afraid of humans."

The MN Zoo works with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to try to reintroduce the severely endangered Mexican Grey Wolf back into the wild. Unlike most animals born is zoos who will never live in the wild, these wolves are born with the hope that they can possibly be released.

Because of the way the wolves are raised and kept, they are one of the most unpredictable animals the zoo has. Every other animal there has regular interactions with humans. They all are used to being moved from one area to another. They associate the zookeepers with all the comforts of their life.

Tranquilizing the wolf was the zoo's first and preferred plan. Unfortunately when it jumped a second containment fence and started running in the public areas the unreliability and slowness of shooting him with a tranq was just no longer an option. When Hollywood decides to share their super accurate and instantaneous tranquilizer gun technology with the zoo, well, then we can start complaining that they chose the wrong option. But since the magic Hollywood dart doesn't really exist, it would have been foolish to try to tranq the wolf. Once he was in the public areas it was just too dangerous. You know what's more dangerous than a scared wolf? A scared wolf who's been stuck with a dart and just wants to get away.

Even with this tragic death, the Minnesota Zoo has done more to increase and help the total world population of Mexican Grey Wolves, both captive and wild, than it has done to harm them. I am damn proud of my local zoo for their quick and well trained response to today's events. Yes, I wish the wolf hadn't died. We all do. But I don't think they did the wrong thing when they shot him. They did what they had to, even though I know they didn't want to. Just think how sad it makes you to hear about the wolf dying. Now imagine if you had watched him grow up, and you had devoted your life to working with him and animals like him. I know that although shooting the wolf was the right thing to do, it was not the easy thing to do and my heart goes out to the person that had to do it.

edited to add disclaimer:
I'm not an employee of or volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo. I attended a summer school there 24 years ago, and I've been a loyal member and fan for the last 10 years or so. Any errors in this post about the zoo's procedures, their animals, or anything are mistakes on my part, not misinformation from the Zoo. And obviously, the opinions here are mine, I don't represent the MN Zoo.
Me & Oscar

Super 8

I'm totally stealing my darling hellbob's short Super 8 review:

Super 8 = (Explorers + Stand By Me + ET + Goonies)/(80% more Lens flare X a tsp of the Cloverfield monster) = 1 Really good time!

Look! Less than a month!

I saw Super 8 tonight. It was pretty darn good.

It's cooled down to a beautiful 80º outside. At one point this afternoon the official temp here in Minneapolis hit 103º. We've gotten temps that high before, but not often.
The last time it hit 103º here in the Twin Cities was July 31, 1988.
The hottest temp ever recorded in the Cities was 108º way back in 1936.
July 31, 2006 was the last time we hit triple digits here in the Twin Cities.
Temps of 103º have only been reached 18 times previously.

So yeah, it was kind of warm today...