January 21st, 2008


The Great Unexplained Mass Penguin Migration of '02-'03

Five years ago, in December 2002, the penguins at the San Francisco Zoo went nuts:
They've all been swimming since Christmas Eve, whirling around the pool like tuxedos in a washing machine. No one knows why they started or when they'll stop. All they know is that the zoo's Penguin Island has turned into a very chaotic place.

"Round and round they go," [penguin caretaker Jane] Tollini said. "They almost make me dizzy."

...What she can't tell you is why her birds won't get out of the water -- especially the "geezers" and "old ladies" she suspects are getting pretty tired by now.

One is a humpback, some have bone spurs, and nine of the original penguins, back in the early '80s, made a real migration along the coast of South America -- putting in six months and 2,000 miles.

"Now they're thinking, 'Didn't we just see that palm tree?' " Tollini said. "Some of them haven't swum this much in five years."
What stopped all this swmming? Swiving:
The 52 penguins at the San Francisco Zoo have finally decided they have better things to do than hang around the pool all day, swimming in circles. Now, it's time to hang around the house.

They're burrowing in, getting ready to breed. And their mysterious mock migration is over, for the least mysterious of reasons.

"The urge to merge won out over everything," said penguin keeper Jane Tollini.
This whole saga? It just tickled me.
  • Current Music
    Leonard Cohen, "I'm Your Man"

Can we be better? (a post to mark the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

popfiend offers perspective on the holiday to commemmorate Martin Luther King, Jr. and his beliefs, beliefs Dr. King articulated with grace and power not that long ago, really.

King's underlying belief was that we can be better. He wanted to see that; he saw evidence of that, in a time where much was going wrong. We've done better in some ways since then; we've done worse in other ways. We can do better. I can do better.

I can't be more eloquent than that right now. But the thought is a needed thought.

(Embedded in popfiend's post is the 17-minute entirety of King's "I have a dream" speech.)
  • Current Music
    Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

Cold and Friends

Winter is making itself felt. The sky has been that almost surreal kind of infinite, clear blue; the moon is full and assertive in that sky. The recent snow near us and the current clear conditions make Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens beacon-white on the horizon. The air is very dry and rather cold, and stirred up enough to be more than a breeze but not quite forceful wind. The wind doesn't bite; it nibbles. It encourages moving quickly, so you can get to an inside place with a window and appreciate the day's beauty without that cold breeze.

That's partly why I had a surprisingly quick commute home tonight. I even jogged along some stretches of my path off the hill. And lucky timing with the bus at SW Naito and Hooker meant that I was home 20 minutes after leaving my office. Very quick.

It was a quiet day in my office. I think I needed that. In fact, I was the only person in my particular corner of the office, an area with 10 workstations. I did my work with my radio on (headphones unplugged). It was basic work, nothing surprising.

LiveJournal friends have been checking in after the long weekend; lots of people I know were at the Arisia sf/fantasy/lifestyle convention in Boston. Many tired people announcing they survived, in short posts so they can get offline and lie down and rest. Welcome home to your homes, everybody.

A good day.