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)!