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A female friend of ours had recently gotten a new job, which she was tremendously excited about but refused to share any the details of. She had, instead, invited us all up a lab she was working at to see what she did for a living for ourselves. So a group of us took the trip up north to Canada to the little lab isolated deep in the snowy hills. Most of the building was a single room -- a large, gymnasium-type room, with a glass wall looking out onto the nearby forest, and an odd pool only a few feet from the doors in the glass wall. We had gathered on the opposite side of the pool, enjoying the view of the snowfall while we waited. About a dozen scientists in lab coats also waited near the pool, around the other three sides, making small talk or taking sips of hot cocoa.

Finally, our friend showed up. When asked what we were waiting for, she directed our attention to the ceiling above the pool. Despite the rest of the room being well lit thanks to the natural sunlight coming in through the glass wall, the ceiling was almost completely dark. A confusing mess of rafters and beams could just barely be seen through the shadows. And then, suddenly, there was a crack. And then another. And then something large fell from ceiling, directly into the center of the pool. It struggled for only a moment, then stopped. Dead. Its reptilian form floated to the surface. "What a waste," our friend said tragically.

But then there was another crack, and another form fell into the water. This one shuddered, then confidently start swimming upwards, the top of its head breaching, two large fins cutting through, plotting a curvy path towards the right edge. "Oh," one of the people in our group said, still stunned, "a Chupacabra." Someone else said, "You're a cryptozoologist." Our friend beamed.

The Chupacabra had emerged from the water now. When it fell into the water, it couldn't have been more than a foot long, but now it was easily two-and-a-half. It stood bipedally, hunched over, its arms nearly touching the ground. The rest of the scientists were now forming loose walls in an attempt to herd it towards the open doors of the glass wall. Ideally, our friend explained, the Chupacabra's natural aversion to humans would make it bolt into the wilderness instantly, but occasionally one is born bold enough to try to stay behind in the heated lab. "He'll acclimate to whatever temperature he's in within the hour -- the sooner we get him out there, the better he'll fare in the cold."

They need to hatch in a warm environment (and fall into a warm body of water) to start their heart, a result of their large size. Once born, however, they can adapt to any environment, requiring only regular access to moisture. This explained the lab's location -- moisture is scarce in Mexico, forcing the Chupacabras there to drink the blood of animals to survive. In a snowy environment like Canada, though, moisture is plentiful. Even better, once acclimated to the cold, Chupacabras will shun heated buildings and campfires, keeping them far away from civilization.

This one, though, seemed determined not to leave. It was more than just bold, though, more than just torn between its aversion to the bitter cold and the wall of humans. It possessed an air of mischief, darting from one side of the pool to the other, hiding behind any scientist who got separated from the wall, leaving through one door and then darting in another before anyone could close it. Questions started to arise -- how long before it would be unable to acclimate? What would they do then? Would anyone take it in, or would they be forced to keep it? Should they keep it anyway, to study its apparent intelligence and rapport with humans?

And then it all faded away.
I just fixed the shower at my new apartment all by myself! I'm throwing a shower party to celebrate, everyone's invited.

...oh yeah, and I moved into my own apartment last weekend. This will be my first time living by myself. This place has an interesting shape, lots of sunlight, two spacious rooms, small kitchens, surprisingly few outlets and, best of all, a shower you can now shower in. I also feel I've done a fine job preparing meals with nothing but an electric kettle and an apple corer.

Send me a comment or an email if you want my new address!

Tweenbots

http://www.tweenbots.com/

This is one of the best things I've seen in a long time.
Today, I met a possum. He was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, staring at me. He only walked away when I tried to get some food for him out of my backpack.
Yesterday, a one-tusked walrus with titanium caps waved his shovel at me.

The day before that, I spent two hours staring at a luggage carosel. ...they can't all be winners.

Apr. 2nd, 2009

Today, a crocodile watched me eat. The bill came out to exactly 666.

Apr. 2nd, 2009

Today, waist-deep in the ocean, I stepped on what I thought was a placemat, only to fish up an exquisite piece of coral that had come detached from a nearby rock. I took it back to the hotel room to show it off. That night, I brought it back to the ocean to return it. When I looked up, I saw the stars were dancing and twirling in the heavens.

...after a minute, I realized what I was seeing was the white necks of circling seabirds, but the illusion of shifting stars never faded.

Also, a manta ray ate out of my hand.
Today I drew a crowd by walking down a river in a giant, inflatable ball. Well, not "walking" so much as "falling continuously" for many seconds at a time. It's not easy! They said I sold a lot of tickets, though.

Mar. 30th, 2009

I just won a bottle of Bacardi by dancing to Billy Jean in a bar in Cancun.

Hey! Who wants a postcard from Mexico?

Nov. 4th, 2008

Is that it? I think that's it! That's it, right?

Grab a beverage and raise a toast to the next four years!

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ZOHAR!!
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Shep "Smiley"

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