Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I must start by apologizing for the two year drought of blog posts. I've been busy. Switching three different careers, getting engaged, buying a house in New Jersey,all while managing 42 different hobbies is exhausting. Writing was diluted to the occasional social media story. But, alas! I've acquired a travel sized laptop to help me dust off the old right side of the brain. Plus I spend around three hours per day on a train traveling to my current career. I now have plenty of time to think, which can be annoying. 

I bring back Mike's Field Notes as a Halloween Episode. There may be more blogs forming soon. I don't plan on changing careers, getting engaged to anyone else, buying another house in New Jersey, or poorly managing any of my hobbies any time soon. 

First, let me tell you about Halloween last year. Jen and I were celebrating our 2nd anniversary. We had recently moved into our house in Clifton. It's a nice neighborhood. There are several different sizes and ages of humans that live near us. Most seemed pleasant so far. It being our first Halloween in our first house, we decided to go full suburbia. We had costumes, candy, jack-o-lanterns, the works! I left work early (I was a teacher then, which was truly the scariest thing I've ever done). We were ready for the ghosts, goblins, spider-men, ninja-turtles, and ice princesses. Assuming all the costumed gremlins would demand that we smell their feet if we didn't meet their demand for candy, we stocked up with enough sugary goodness to send a blue whale into a diabetic coma. We were prepared. So we waited. 

Around dark a Minion rang our bell. I had anxiously been watching out the window for over an hour. During that time, I had consumed no less than twenty-six candy bars, and several beers. My energy was high. Jen and I excitedly answered the door with the energy of two Chihuahuas on meth being reunited with their mu-mu clad granny just after she pulled a meat loaf out of the oven. "Our first trick-or-treater!" we both screamed at the one-eyed twinkie. The exuberant exclamation almost toppled him.  Needless to say, the kid was happily stunned as we filled his bag with dentist bills. As he walked away, we stood on our front steps and watched him go to several other houses before waddling out of sight. 

Then we waited for the next trick-or-treater to show. I ran to the end of the street to check other streets to see what creepy crustations were crawling our way. It was a ghost town, just not the kind of ghosts we were expecting. We waited hours and no one showed up. At one point I spotted a gaggle of ghouls walking down a cross street, so I chased them while shouting, "I have candy! Come to my house!" But for some reason, they just ran faster.

Jen and I were saddened by the lack of spirits last year. Days later, we discovered that Clifton has a downtown trick-or-treating area specifically designated for the little boogers to collect candies. I complained that there was no adventure in that. I went full that's-not-how-we-did-it-when-I-was-a-kid for a few days. It was tough, but the extra candy helped.

This year is different. I now work nights in a place that is basically Halloween year round, Brooklyn, New York City. I will be getting off work tonight around ten pm in a place where men's onzies are worn upside down to protest men's onzies. I work were people get out of bed at noon and agonize over what they are going to wear on Bedford ave to buy a $73 virgin walnut and nitrogen-free charcoal smoothie. When they finally decide on what to wear out, it usually consists of a purple boot, a red flip-flop, a scarf made from a Peruvian shaman's hair and a band-aid. 

People watching has become my favorite sport, and now its Halloween! I'm going to judge all the people. Here's my point system:

1-5 points for originality. 
For example, 1 point would be somebody in a trump mask. 5 points for somebody in a barking fire-hydrant.

1-5 points for unwelcome sexiness. 
For example 1 point for a sexy comic book super hero. Boring. 5 points for a sexy barking fire-hydrant.

1-5 points for funny or happy
This is the solely based on my snottiness. If I like the costume makes me smile, 5 points. If it is dumb and stupid and should be set on fire, 1 point.

1-5 points for awkwardness. 
1 point for safe, sexy cat girl. 5 points for going way over the top with functional roboot arms just to have a $32 beer at the bar down the street.

I will report back with the scores and descriptions.

Until then, please post a picture of your costume for me to judge. The winner will get a prize, even if I have to mail the stupid thing... 

Also, please follow my blog. If you have any trouble, just tell me on Facebook and I will try to fix it. Thanks, and have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Komodo Dragon Destroys Memphis!
*If you like this, please follow and share and if you really really liked it, buy my book, Stupid Alabama*

I'm a zookeeper at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey. I have the great pleasure of being the butler to the greatest species of lizard the world has ever known, the Komodo dragon. My particular dragon is named Shu. He is 107 lbs of clumsy, curious wonderfulness. One large part of my job, being a zookeeper/dragon butler is to entertain the dragon. Shu needs constant mental stimulation. In the zookeeping world the process of keeping the animals mentally healthy is called enrichment. Sometimes I get a little carried away with Shu's enrichment. This is one of those times. 

Previously I worked at the Memphis Zoo where I was also a dragon butler (among other things). I spent the largest part of my life in Memphis. I have many friends still working at the zoo. I love the city, itself. There is no better place on earth for music or BBQ. And so I thought I should pay some sort of homage to the town, people, and zoo that I love so much. What better way to do that than to DESTROY IT GODZILLA STYLE!!!! 

So with this video I am calling out the Memphis Zoo! I am drawing the line and daring you to cross! I officially challenge you to an enrichment-off! I hope this to be the world's first zoo rivalry. Lets see if you can do better. I doubt it, and so does Shu. 

So I built Memphis (or at least a few of the more notable landmarks) to perfect scale. Once you see the video, you may believe it is the actual city. The models are really that good. The ENTIRE reptile team at the Turtle Back Zoo spent several... minutes building it. If you are not familiar with the city, the following iconic places were set up for Shu to destroy: The Memphis Zoo (home of two delicious looking giant pandas among other things), Graceland (home of Elvis), Sun Studios (home of Rock-N-Roll), and the world-famous P & H Cafe (the best little beer joint in town). 

As a slight side note, I'd like to thank Jessica Reid for her filming/editing/and general bad-assedness. She filmed and edited the entire video (as well as Shu destroying Seattle which will also be linked for your amusement). At the bottom is one more link connecting to an article I wrote for Reptiles magazine on how to entertain your dragon. I'd also like to thank my bosses for rarely checking on me. 


This is the destruction of Seattle. It was during the NFL playoffs. Shu is a big Packers fan. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Adventures of General Grettabot McDoglington VS the Squirrel Armada

Day 8.4854F51 (I'm bad at mathing)

 (Author’s note- The Adventures of General Grettabot McDoglington is best read aloud using a super-hero voice, like Batman whispering.)


It has been many moons since I last checked in. But fear not! I have been deep under cover plotting the destruction of the vile squirrel armada. Literally, I’ve been under the covers. It’s freaking cold in this land called New Jersey. The revolting vermin have retreated due to my vigilant voyages of violent invasion upon their territories, and maybe the weather had something to do with it. Either way the rodent armies are scattered, which is nice. My natural camouflage of black and brown (much like that of battle-hardened ninja/deer), is not as effective upon the ice-covered battlefield. Plus, I prefer not to poop in the snow.  

These unforeseen hurdles have not only frustrated me but also The Master. Although, he’s actually more of a butler, I placate him with the formal title to keep his moral high. We have had to introduce new strategies in our repertoire to fight not only the arbor-rats but the cold as well. I spend most of my days at a new headquarters with Princess Sergeant Major Roodolf Von Scruff –N-Stuff, and another butler/master woman. My butler/master seems particularly fond of this woman. The servants constantly give each other food treats, shiny baubles, and paw massages. Gag me with a pooper-scooper, you’d think they were raccoons! So I am forced to placate her as well. I have even allowed her to bathe me on occasion. One can never have too many servants or allies, especially if they have cookies.
Roo and I have become much closer, learning to fight as a team. We constantly drill each other in an effort to hone our paw-to-paw combat skills. Sometimes, I pretend she’s a squirrel and nudge her to find weaknesses. The Sergeant Major fights back with the ferocity of a very loud all-be-it hairy blender. She keeps me on my toes. Literally, if I stand up she can’t reach my vital organs.

So far I have discovered only one weak link in her fuzzy armor. A good way to get her to move from a spot is by simply laying upon her, as if she were a bath mat. I discovered this by actually mistaking her for a bath mat.
As I napped, I wondered, “Why is this scrap of old carpet so loud and angry?” After several minutes of contemplation, listening to the growl-yips of the rug, and noticing the teeth attached to my face, I remembered two things. One was that natural floor coverings don’t generally have teeth, nor do they get so upset when you lounge upon them. The second is that Roo is a master of disguise. So I shifted to let my favorite little princess diva escape the clutches of my butt’s weight.  
“You’re welcome,” I told her after a particularly gratuitous fart that sent here fur all a-flutter.
She simply shook out her hair and lay back down upon an inferior bed. This has become the custom.

I will attempt to update you more often in the future. Until next time, comrades, remain vigilant! We shall be victorious (maybe after a nap)!