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Pretending to be ghosts

photo: some graves at the edge of the cemetery

The other night, Briar and i took a trip to Bayview Cemetery. She was respectful and did not pee on any graves; i was respectful and didn’t climb on them, not even the really cool tall ones with good handholds.

photo: me and my pit bull briar posing under a streetlamp

I actually feel a little guilty for going in when it’s closed, but we all evaluate rules and decide which ones we’re willing to break.  I’ll break the rules because for me, the cemetery during the day isn’t a pleasant experience, but i still think i should get to visit it just like anyone else.

photo: moon behind clouds over top of building
It’s worth inconveniencing a rent-a-cop because while I’m walking on top of thousands of sleeping skeletons, i can feel my own skeleton inside my skin. I feel like my flesh is made of concepts, like everyone’s is, something insubstantial and alien in silent moonlight. I don’t feel that way at any other time, in any other place.

photo: moon behind clouds and streetlamps below
We were lucky enough to visit under a werewolf-movie sky–the clouds would cover the moon and it would be dark, and then suddenly, it would pour silver moonlight on everything for awhile before dimming with clouds again. My camera isn’t great, as i’m sure i’ve mentioned, but it took some interesting photos of our walk.

photo: Whatcom Creek in one of the less touristy stretches of the path

I always think i’m going to find a body in Whatcom Creek. I don’t know why–the expectation hovers even when i didn’t just spend over two hours walking amongst fields of the dead. It has the kind of overgrown look that strikes me as a more realistic hiding place for a half-decomposed corpse than the pebbled beaches they always use in crime shows.

(Thanks again Maeg, for driving us up there. I appreciate that you’re willing to put my four-legged flea festival in your Maegenmobile. )

Landsharks and needlekittens

photo: Leo the bearded lizard basking on the back of the couch

When i read submissions on warm days, he starts out on my shoulder, then mosies on up the back of the couch to snooze in the sun.

Briar usually stretches out in that exact place during the day, but she very politely chose the other couch while Leo was up there basking. For the whole week+ that he’s lived here, when Briar tried to sniff him, i held her back and said “gentle” in a warning tone. This worked with the guinea pigs; she’s now gentle enough with them that i can allow them to cuddle, or to let her herd them on the floor while i clean their cage.

The morning i took these photos, she finally appeared to understand that Leo is delicate, and while he was out, instead of trying to crowd him with her nose, she watched him from several feet away. As a reward, i let her sniff him while he was on my shoulder. She was SO CAREFUL, and kept looking at me like “Is this okay? Can i get closer?” It was supercute.

photo: Leo the bearded lizard, looking for collard greens to rain from above

I have learned that Leo will sometimes leave his food untouched in the dish, but if you pick up the same food and present it to him in the palm of your hand, he will chow it like a toddler with a birthday cake. He is a spoiled little sandking! We’ve also gotten into the habit of putting the crickets and meal worms in our hands, but that’s mostly because 1) it helps prevent their escape into the recesses of his habitat and 2) it feels so cool when his little sticky tongue scoops ‘em up! :D

Any game i play

Yesterday i got a haircut from a fabulous stylist named Miranda at The Hair Art Studio on Prospect.  When i went in, i looked like a punk sasquatch with an allergy to soap. While she was skillfully razoring away my pilositic embarrassment, i started telling her and her co-worker about Ingress. One of the things i proudly told them was how the players around here do fun, light teasing of the opposite team in the chat, but i never see anyone actually trash-talking or calling each other names.

I should have knocked on wood, y’all, because I ran into my first nine-year-old-man on Ingress about twelve hours later. I take this article pretty seriously. Especially this:

“Some of you might think it’s sexist that I’m dumping this problem on us men. It isn’t; it’s just pragmatic. Women can not solve this problem. A boy who hates girls and women simply isn’t going to pay attention to a woman’s opinion. The only people who can ensure that boys are taught, or if necessary forced, to grow up into men are other men.”- Ernest W. Adams

It riles me thinking about either of those women downloading the app, and then the first thing they see is some puerile sack of sour grapes who’s projecting his real life inadequacies onto a female player’s in-game activity. I love this game way too much to let potential players get scared away by that crud. If you’re part of your game’s dominant demographic, it’s like taking care of a garden–sometimes, you gotta pull weeds. No one likes doing it, but it’s how you keep the garden functional.

I didn’t post about these two things together just because i was inviting those women to play. If i’m going to show you my hair anyway, then hey, let’s get my face right here, next to what i just said.

photo: my new hair cut
That guy you’re looking at believes women should feel just as comfortable in a gaming environment as he does. That’s my face, not just a screen name floating in an app. I don’t only believe in something when it can’t hurt me. I will defend my games and their players on chat, i will defend them online, and i will defend them in person even if it means that face doesn’t leave the conversation looking as pretty as it started.

Yes, a game is just a game, but the way you play it is real.

Luckiest burglar EVER.

photo: police cars on the street outside our house

So at about 3:00 a.m. this morning, the dogs start barking, and i look out my window to see this. Actually, there were more cars, but since they were pointing all their lights at some dude on our porch, and i had NO idea why he was there or whether he was armed, i didn’t want to stand where i could possibly get shot. So i had to go upstairs where the roof blocked several of the participating cruisers.

Apparently, or allegedly, or whatever, this dude broke into a house up the street, and the K9 unit tracked him directly to our porch. Apparently, or allegedly, or maybe better “obviously,” he was so wasted he couldn’t figure out how to open our dog gate to break into our house. He was sitting on the steps totally zoned out when they found him.

This is why drugs are bad, kids. Not because you eventually start committing crimes to pay for them (and poorly, at that), but because you don’t think about why people might have a dog gate:

photo: my lovely pit bulls Briar (L) and Hanzo (R)

Yes, the bed in Mr. Failed Burglar’s cell is hard and people can watch him wrestling with smack constipation, but i hope he’s counting his blessings. I’m counting mine! I didn’t have to clean up his terror pee or pluck his needle-scarred scrotum from my living room floor with a pair of salad tongs and Google how to properly dispose of human body parts.

Leo lives here now

photo: Leo the bearded dragon, disdaining our transport
Today, we drove through two raucous thunderstorms while a foot-and-a-half-long bearded dragon clung to my shirt. I lead an uneventful life.

Leo’s family have to move across the state, so they needed to find a home with understanding humans who would let him sneak out on occasion to fight crime. (He busted the top of his cage so he could escape in time to  stop a bank robbery, and blamed it on the family’s lab, Maggie. I don’t think Maggie has ever forgiven him.) The crime rate in Everett is about to go up, but look out Bellingham baddies, there’s a new caped crusader in town!

Here he is in his old digs in a new location, meeting our slobbery idiot Hanzo. I think he could tell Hanzo is a trouble-maker, so he stared him down, but after a bit he realized that even if Hanzo is mischievous and  might steal the occasional bit of my dinner, he’s not about to crack open a vault and zip off with a crapton of bonds.

photo: my pit bull Hanzo staring at our new adoptee, a bearded dragon Leo
Leo’s superpowers include a ridiculously amorphous sticky tongue, claws that are not made of adamantium or other made up crud, and the ability to create some kind of voodoo soup out of his water dish, his walnut shell sand, and his doodie. He has a temporary sidekick, a wise-talking elderly cricket that has eluded his hungry tongue for who knows how long.

Welcome to the family, Leo!

So, i jaywalked.

photo: spider on the crosswalk button

Moonlit hike

One night last week, we played Ingress for about two hours while we walked the dogs, then we went climbing for another hour at Vital, and when we finished at 1:30 a.m., i said, “Let’s drive down Chuckanut and hike to the beach.” Seamus never says no to me because he either has a similar sense of adventure or just a deathwish, so that’s what we did.

These photos are crap, but when you consider that my camera is five(?!) years old, digital, and cost less than $300, they gain some sort of pitiful charm.

 photo: moon in the treets
We didn’t bring a flashlight, because Nature knows better than to trip us on a steep hill in the dark.

photo: the beach at night
The water was flat like glass. Times like this, i wish i had a kayak. You know, so i could carry it down a steep hill in the dark with no flashlight.

photo: Seamus and i on a log at the beach at night
This is where we pretend that we can stand each other. It’s the first step in our cunning plan to fake getting married so we can acquire gifts off of our registry, then never ever do the marriage part, but take the toaster and run.

photo: the moon looking like a creepy sun
The moon looks like a sun because of the way my camera deals with night photography. Next time, i’ll bring moonblock and make sure to cover all my skin, because when we left the beach i was two shades paler than when i got there.

Videogame saves seagull’s life (so there)

photo: distant shot of two seagulls

Yeah, more animal rescue. Does this happen to other people? Am i knocking seagulls out of the air with a baseball bat to get Internet attention? Look, i’m wondering the same thing as you. Maybe i’m playing birdsketball in my sleep or something.

This time, i was out playing Ingress with Briar, setting up this kick-ass geometric festival of AP (shut up), and i blah blah videogame crap needed to walk north on Elm. There we found two seagulls, one of whom was visibly lame, standing in the street.

Even though Briar is good at herding small furry tame things in my living room, she wasn’t really going to be useful in this situation, so I called Seamus and ran my plan past him, which was basically: “Drive over here so i can put Briar in the car and catch this seagull before she gets destroyed playing real-time Frogger. Oh, also bring Hanzo so when i make a satirical infographic it can have the word two several times.” (That last part was a joke. In case you thought i was seriously that douchey.)

drawing: seagull chick, juvenile with piercings + mohawk + cigarette, and adult

They were juvenile seagulls, so not babies, but still not confident adults. After i caught the first one,  the second one walked right out into oncoming traffic and waited to die. Three times. Two cars actually slammed on their brakes to avoid smushing it. Clearly, he dun’t know how to survive alone, so…

I handed Seamus the injured bird and caught the suicidal one, who was pretty sure we’d just killed and eaten his sister.

He pecked the shit out of my arm (which was the saddest, weakest attack ever–i’ve had worse sunburns) as i walked back toward Seamus. In case you didn’t know, Seamus is really smart. When i got close, he turned away and backed toward me like a freak. I was like “Why are you showing me your armpit?!” and he explained, “So they know each other aren’t dead.” It totally worked. The second the brother realized his sister wasn’t inside our intestines, he quieted down.

Then they decided to peck me together. Teamwork.

photo: juvenile seagulls snuggling in a box in my bathroom

We wrapped them into the same coat and brought them back to hang out in a cardboard box in our bathroom, because we hadn’t been to bed yet. When we woke up, we took them to the wildlife rescue.

photo: road to nowhere, labeled with jokes about the rural u.s.

You can see their new home in the back of the photo below, just to the right of my head. JUST KIDDING. They went to live with a flock of other seagulls and record hit eighties songs and have bad hair.

photo: me carrying a box of seagulls
Anyway, the moral of this story is, if i hadn’t needed a portal key from further up the road, i never would have seen the birds, and they both would probably be pavement putty by now. So Ingress saves animals! It’s a fact.

Ingress player cartoons

So i like to do this thing where i draw what i think people are like based on their screen names. (One of the many reasons i’m not interested in Facebook or Google’s fascist insistence that we all use our real names online. If you’re reading this, Facebook or Google, lick my butt.)

At the B.S. of Comics today, i scribbled some of the local Ingress players. I’ve actually met a few of them, but i used my mental impressions, not my eyeball impressions, so there’s zero resemblance. (Especially the animals. I refuse to believe anyone can blow up that many of my portals with paws or feathers.)

drawing of a local Ingress player drawing of a local Ingress player (Continued)

Super Birthday Snake

Last week, Briar and I went on a walk with our friends Teeth & Steve and their dog Motley. Our plan was to play Ingress as we went, taking portals with our phones while our dogs took them with urine assertions, but we reached Pickett Bridge and one of the most surreal things of my entire life happened.

I glanced off to my left and saw what looked like a giant snake sticking out of the bushes.

Now, the park west of Pickett Bridge contains a salmon hatchery, and people are allowed to catch the fish and drop them into something that functions sorta like an ichthyological pneumatic tube, which then dumps the fishies into the holding pond for hatchery staff to deal with. But sometimes the people fishing are dickbags and leave the dead fish out on the sidewalk or the benches. So when i saw this enormous scaley thing, I was like, That must be a salmon. Even though it’s too early for salmon season. Because it can’t be the other thing that it looks like.

So i casually asked, “Hey, what is that?”

photo: snake we found in the park, after i got him a tote to cuddle in

(Photo by Teeth)

Teeth and Steve confirmed that it was, indeed, a massive boa constrictor. This dude’s belly was about five inches in diameter. I suspect he weighed thirty-five or forty pounds at least. He probably could have taken Briar one-on-one, if it was warm out and he got the drop on her.

Teeth and i held the dogs while Steve, who is a huge herp-nerd, gently extracted the snake from the bushes. It’s been a looong time since i was a kid and my parents let me have the guest room to store all my reptiles (coolest parents EVER). I would have pulled him from the bushes too fast, made him angry, and he would have bit my face with his cell-phone-sized mouth. THANK YOU TEETH AND STEVE. <3 I love having other animal nerds for friends, especially when their knowledge surpasses mine.

Not only did Steve gently coax the snake out, but he let the twisty varmint take an enormous dump all down his leg and on his shoe, all the while letting it hiss at him half-heartedly while it desperately soaked up his body heat. The poor thing was so cold it could barely move, and it had some gnarly wounds on its side–some local wildlife had been foolish enough to try and eat a five foot boa constrictor. (Please imagine, for a moment, a very confused otter.)

photo: snake poop, size-compared to Prez Jackson

The massive snake turdpocalypse. And this is NINE DAYS and a RAINSTORM later!

We called the emergency vet (which is in my phone because i’m le smart. It should be in your phone too. Seriously, if it’s not, do it RIGHT NOW. You never ever know when you will need that number). Teeth fetched the car so Steve didn’t have to carry a pissed-off snake taller than he was back to my house, but we ran into a snag.

Emergency vet: “We don’t do snakes.”

So we called 911, who paged Animal Control.

Animal Control: “We don’t do snakes.”

Luckily, AC does call the Humane Society to take care of the things they don’t. The van was about 45 minutes out, though. In the mean time, cops started showing up to get a look at the giant-ass snake on Pickett Bridge. And why wouldn’t they, when it looked like this:

photo: snake we found in the park on my friend Steve

(Photo by Teeth)

They’d had a call earlier about a big snake swimming in the water nearby, which could only be our scaley little buddy. Steve patiently gave the BPD lessons about snakes, especially how very not dangerous this big boy was, because at least one of those officers was about to crap his uniform.  hahaha! They were really nice, though, and it was good of them to hang out and make sure the Humane Society showed up to help us. While they were getting a free herpetology lecture, i went home and got Seamus, who drove me back with a towel nestled in a plastic tote, so Steve could stand up again.

The snake is now in the hands of the Whatcom Humane Society. He may not make it, but he’s still fighting. He was cold for a long time, his wounds are numerous, but he’s in good hands. If he survives, i’m pretty sure Steve is going to apply to be his new best buddy for all of forever–watching him cuddle that thing was like seeing an old lady with her special fluffy purse dog. <3

Photoshopped screencap from Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Also, i think i convinced the WHS driver to play Ingress.