Thursday, November 29, 2012

Typhoon Bopha Heading Our Way

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center says that Tropical Storm Bopha, soon to be Typhoon Bopha, is heading towards the Philippines.  For now it looks like it will hit south of Manila, but we are on alert.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Weeks in Manila

Edz and I are spending two weeks in the Philippines.  I'm here to attend meetings related to sharks and Edz is here to watch Filipino television, eat goat food (she calls it something else), and spend time with family.  The meetings will keep me busy about 12 hours every day, so she's going to head to Batangas tomorrow morning.

I was excited to see this poster as I was exiting customs and immigration.  Whale sharks will be one of the issues discussed at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and this poster shows how they are very important to the local tourism economy .  The whale sharks that create jobs here are the same ones that are sometimes killed in the high seas.  If you want to know more, my brilliant team of conservationists drafted this policy statement.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Last weekend Edz and I visited the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.  It was a crisp fall afternoon the day before our one year anniversary.  How do I know that?  The date is inscribed on my ring.  It was a chilly day and I felt really bad for some of the animals -- not to mention my tropical wife.  It doesn't get this cold in Manila or Saipan.  And although I've never been there, I don't think it gets this cold on the African savannah, either.  Sorry, Mr. Lion.

Uncle Beazley, the triceratops that used to be on the National Mall has been transferred to the zoo and given a fresh paint job.  It's funny what you remember from your own childhood because I distinctly remember climbing on him during my first visit to Washington, DC and playing a game with the other kids where we would line up and take turns clambering on his tail.  I also remember reading The Enormous Egg, the book Uncle Beazley made famous.  What I don't remember is if I read the book or met the dinosaur first.

I was informed that this is Jacob's girlfriend.  Yes, that Jacob.  Just like how everyone assumed by fluffy, sissy dog was a girl, I assume that all badass wolves are boys.  Or maybe I've seen Twilight.  Alright, delete the badass part.

I loved the beaver!  This is Willow, a female beaver.  I'm not sure how she got her name, but she can easily be identified because she's missing a chip out of her tail.  Beavers evoke The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for me and how our babysitter Kit Porter used to read the book to my brother, Alex.  The volunteer manning the beaver exhibit told us that Willow was going to disappear into her beaver dam for the remainder of the winter soon.  As soon as the water freezes, she and her two friends retreat into her den until the spring thaw (they go for the occasional swim, but they won't surface until the ice is gone).

These two stuffed animals are in one of the monkey cages to provide companionship to the lonely monkey that lives there.  And for anyone who has ever had a dog, you know what kind of companionship stuffed animals provide.

I've put on some serious weight since the middle of the summer.  I'm getting close to tipping the scales over 230 lbs., which according to scientists at the Smithsonian, makes me about the size of a small panda.  But from this bronze statue, I may already be a medium panda.  Dang it.  I wanted to be a kung fu panda.

Kung Fu Panda 2 was the best movie of 2011.  I have nothing more to say.

I felt bad for this cheetah, too.  While the fall leaves probably make great camouflage, there wasn't much room for this cheetah to run.

'Cause This Is Thriller, Thriller Night
And No One's Gonna Save You From The Beast About Strike
You Know It's Thriller, Thriller Night
You're Fighting For Your Life Inside A Killer, Thriller

I think otters, whether from the sea or the river, are just about the best animals ever.  If I die and am resurrected, I want to come back as an otter.  But only if I can swim faster than great white sharks.

Want to see a peacock?

And can you guess why Edz liked the flamingoes?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This year I have grown into a fat panda.  I am not thankful for that.
This year I'm thankful for having a job where I get to do exciting things, collaborate with brilliant people, and protect a few endangered animals along the way.  I was able to visit four foreign countries and two US territories this year.  The highlight was filming sharks off the shores of the US Army installation on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

I'm thankful for a first year of marriage that while rocky at times, didn't end in murder, suicide, or divorce.  We successfully navigated the process of getting Edz a US visa and a few months ago she hopped on a plane and moved to America.  Ikea, squirrels, fall leaves, shopping malls, and national parks are the wonders of America that she's most thankful for.  And she's looking forward to snow.

This year I saw my little brother graduate from college which was a very proud moment for the entire family.  Speaking of my little brother, I have been playing catch up to him.  He got married last year; then I got married last year.  They got pregnant; and now we got pregnant.

Yeah.  Edz is having a baby.  And there's a pretty good chance I'm the father.

So the next Thanksgiving and all those that follow will be very different.  And while the first 34 have been great, I'm thankful for what lies ahead.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Kilili Wins

As I predicted, Gregorio Camacho "Kilili" Sablan wiped the floor with his opposition and has been reelected by an unprecedented 58 point margin.  This is a very good development for the Northern Mariana Islands.  Congratulations to both candidates.  Now is the time to come together behind Kilili's commanding political mandate to move the Commonwealth forward.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hello Kitty for President

Hello Kitty for President Campaign Headquarters are next to my office. Here's a video and a couple of photos.

Campaign consultants Angelo Villagomez and Rick McPherson.

Giving fashion tips to our founding fathers.

Helping us gain independence.

Showing support in the neighborhoods.

Meeting the candidate