Chipmonkey Porn

Let me tell you, the Chipmonkey gets an awful lot of action, and all across the globe, too! You may remember the monkey-on-monkey love in Kenya, for example:


Chipmonkey’s adventures continued when I finally got Chip-the-human down to my home away from home, the Florida Keys. We stayed here:


Or, more specifically, here:


I won’t do the day by day recap, because it’s been a while and it’s kind of a blur, but we managed to go ocean fishing …


… although we didn’t catch much. I had a big one on the line, but the reel popped off (!) as I was trying to bring it in. Operator error, I’m sure. Chipmonkey fished a little too:


He caught nothing … apparently his inter-species proclivities do not extend to marine life. He did make out with a blue and gold macaw at the docks, though!


We ate too much too often …



The most important moment of the trip, however, occurred when we finally spotted the elusive key deer that I’ve heard to much about but never seen (I know they’re elusive because the Internet says so). Naturally, Chipmonkey had to get in on the action.

Here, little deer. C’mere …


That’s it … a little closer …


Don’t eat the Chipmonkey! Looooove the Chipmonkey …


Good deer.

As always, Jeff and Misty were gracious and welcoming hosts, and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble convincing Chip to go back. I’m pretty sure the monkey won’t mind, either.

[Insert Clever Post Title Here]

Wow, I haven’t posted anything in forever. I’ve had some really busy quarters at school, and my vacations have been short and heavily booked.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to visit Misty, Jeff, and Janus on the Sailing Vessel Thin Line again. Or rather, the Sailing Vessel that is now knows as the Thin Line, formerly the Exposure. Jeff and Misty spent the last eight months restoring and refinishing the boat, a CSY for those who care about boats. As usual, my visit was sublime.


We decided to forgo things like dolphin encounters and sightseeing adventures in favor of relaxing aboard the boat and eating ourselves silly. I only had four days to spend there, and thanks to Spring Break I had some absurd travel arrangements; I didn’t arrive until two in the morning on Tuesday and I had to leave for the airport at two in the morning on Saturday. However, it was totally worth it. I even managed to avoid sunburn until day two!





After stopping back home briefly, I flew out to Vegas to meet Chip and his friend Stacia, who were cataloging the adventures of Stacia’s dog Taco for her blog. This trip was also too short … I arrived in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon around three, and we boarded a plane to come home early Thursday morning. It was totally worth it, though … we had an absolute blast.

We started off with a stop at In and Out Burgers, because I planned poorly and didn’t eat all day.


From there, we hit up the famous Las Vegas sign, wandered around the strip, had dinner at Emeril’s (which was fabulous, I don’t care what Anthony Bourdain says about Emeril), and saw Cirque de Soleil’s Ka.


Ka was AMAZING … we were all exhausted and I was jet lagged, but the show was incredible enough to keep us oohing and ahhing throughout. I highly recommend it. We decided to walk back to our hotel, stopping to see the fountains at the Bellagio and wander through some of the better-known hotel/casinos on the way.


Chip needed a nap somewhere in there … he took it standing up.


Frankly, it’s a miracle I remained upright as long as I did, and I was grateful to collapse into the bed at Circus Circus when we arrived.

Wednesday was my only full day in the city, so we started off with a little gambling, a little breakfast, and a lot of walking. We wandered through casinos, did some shopping, and visited the Coca-Cola shop to taste Coke products from fourteen places around the world. Whatever they call the stuff they drink in Italy was foul, which I was not expecting. Ick.


After a day of people watching, shopping, and walking with a little gambling thrown in, we returned to dress for the wedding … Tony and Tina’s wedding, that is. This comedy dinner show puts the guests in the middle of the action … we were attendees at an Italian wedding (think Jersey Shore meets Sopranos) complete with dinner buffet and cake. It was hilarious. Chip’s friend Paul plays the part of the photographer, and he said it was the best audience he’d seen in three years of doing the show, so we were in good company.



Later, we headed to Freemont Street, where we gambled a little more and watched tourists zip line over our heads. The light show was pretty cool, but I think I prefer “New Vegas” to old.


We collapsed in a heap some time late at night, or perhaps early in the morning, and boarded a plane early in the morning to return to Dayton.

We’ve been back for a couple of weeks, and I think I’m still catching up on sleep.

Ubuntu Update, and Yoku-En

So, I can’t make Ubuntu work. I Googled my little heart out, and still haven’t been able to resolve the issue, even thought I ordered a disk from Ubuntu and tried repeatedly to install again. In the mean time, Chip gifted me a machine that may or may not be superior to the one I’m using, so once I determine what it has to offer I will likely cannibalize the two into something, hopefully, better than what I have running now.

I took a break from playing Tech Support to visit Yuko-En on the Elkhorn, a Japanese friendship garden in Georgetown, Kentucky. While I find it a strange location for a Japanese friendship garden, it’s really pretty, and I am in love with these doors:


I need to return in the Spring to see everything in bloom.


School starts tomorrow, so if I don’t post for a while, it’s not because I’m dead. Hopefully.

Facebook Killed My Blog

Here’s how blogs happen:

People have stuff they want to share.

People create blogs so they can share interesting information and photos with others

People read blogs.

That’s pretty much it, but since Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites have become so popular, the need for a blogger to share her or his thoughts has become superfluous. When the “Cliff’s Notes” version is conveyed via Tweet or status post, who needs the full volume? And photo uploads are much easier via Facebook than WordPress. However, since no one in my family will deign to join Facebook, I will continue to post the odd summary of my life here and there.

There were four drafts in my WordPress dashboard when I started this one; I haven’t been able to find the time or the attention to finish one. I’m going to combine them and hit the highlights of the last few months, so that the three people who read this blog will have something to look at other than Chip’s traffic cone imitation.

I swam with dolphins during my last visit to the keys. It was incredible.


We got an early morning visit from a wild dolphin too. I was amazed by the number of people who responded “in the wild?” when I said I’d gone swimming with dolphins. They don’t *generally* swim up to the boat and offer rides, folks.


You’d think I’d get tired of taking sunset sailing photos, but I don’t.


I highly recommend Bahia Honda if you’re ever in the keys; it’s beautiful.



I really wanted to find these kayakers so I could give them this picture … another postcard-quality shot from the keys.


For a full account of my adventures in the Keys, read Misty’s post, because there’s just really no point to typing that up again. Sooner or later I’ll post the photos the Dolphin Research Center folks took, although you can see some of those on Misty’s blog too.

I also visited my parents, and found an amazing pear tree collection just a few streets from their house.


Just turn your head to the side when you look at it. I’m busy, okay?

I have enjoyed a very brief reprieve from school work, but Summer Term starts Tuesday and I already have reading to do. While I’d like to promise I’ll be a better blogger in the future, we all know how that goes.

Glimpses of Paradise

If my friend Misty ever invites you to stay with her, say yes.  Don’t question it, don’t hesitate, just pack your bags and go.  It’s not just that she lives on a gorgeous sailboat in the heart of the Florida Keys, it’s that when it comes to playing hostess, my girl Misty is the bee’s knees.  Or some other, less goofy way of saying she’s the best.

First of all, Misty met me at the airport with a fruity drink to welcome me to Florida, effectively ending my lifelong embargo on grapefruit juice.  I thought Ruby Red was legitimate grapefruit juice; I was mistaken.

For a few days I got to see what’s it’s like to live on a sailboat, and I have to say I was surprised.  One of my first questions to Misty was “so, what do you do all day?”  She gets that a lot.  Trust me, there is plenty to do when you live on a floating vessel, even when you don’t have a vacationing guest to take care of.  Besides keeping the boat stocked with water, which involves hefting full tanks from the dinghy into the boat, meal planning and food storage is tricky business due to limited space.  However, “limited space” doesn’t necessarily translate to “cramped.”  I love all the nooks and crannies that are built in to boats, and even though there was an extra full-sized adult person on board in addition to Jeff, Misty, and Janus (my boyfriend for the weekend), we didn’t really step on each other’s toes very much.

This is Janus.


He’s a very attentive boyfriend.


In addition to running the boat like a streamlined little household (which is pretty much what it is) Misty is an indescribably good cook.   In fact, it was eating her cooking in the early years of our friendship that inspired me to start cooking more often, and I will confess to copying more than one of her recipes.  It was no surprise that she has managed to adapt to cooking in a tiny galley with minimal power … everything we ate was delicious, and I came home with a few new tricks to try.  Lobster, however, is not going to be one of them.  I will leave the lobster killing to other, more capable persons.



We toured the harbor, ate fabulous sushi, listened to great music, practiced yoga by the water, and scouted some local wildlife.  We stayed busy, but it certainly still felt like vacation.  Did I mention that I didn’t fix my hair or wear makeup for five days?





Misty DID make me walk down the most terrifying ramp I’ve ever seen on our walk to Pigeon Key.  I was increasingly convinced that the rotting wood planks were going to give way under me, four ton weight limit or not.  She calls it wusification; I call it a well developed sense of self-preservation.



While Jeff had to work for part of my visit, he was kind enough to indulge my desire to get out for a sail and photograph his little floating palace on a beautiful, if not terribly windy, Sunday afternoon.  I showed uncharacteristic restraint and only took 300 photos of the Sailing Vessel “Exposure.”  It was nearly impossible to narrow down which to use here, because they all look like something out of a dream.







This is Karen.


Karen is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, especially when she’s a little sleep deprived.  She was my pilot for the afternoon, since operating a camera and a dinghy at the same time is beyond my expertise.  I was only a little nervous when the dinghy ran out of gas and Karen said “what plastic thingy?” in response to Misty’s instruction to “use the plastic thingy” to pump the gas from the can to the tank.

This is the funny little dragon boat that belongs to one of the other locals.  He had a little too much fun that afternoon, so it’s probably best that we woke him and suggested he head back to the harbor.  I only took 150 photos of his homemade boat … obvious restraint, again.



I seem to have caught what Misty calls “Keys Disease” during my stay.  No, that’s not a rash.  I simply fell in love with the ease of living and the abundance of sunshine, so it has become my new goal in life to own and live on my very own sailboat.  I’d have turned around and gone right back (after coming home to 17-degree temperatures) but Kory wouldn’t let me.  Fear not; the kid’s gotta leave for college some day, and then you can all come visit me on my very own floating palace.

One at a time, please.

Digital Insanity

Do you remember when you had to wait for hours, even days, before you could see the results of your photographic efforts?  As someone who used to work with film, and with photographers, I can tell you that, on average, a very good photographer can get two to seven good shots for every twenty-four frame roll of film.  Ish.  It’s not an exact science, but I can tell you that there is no such thing as getting a great shot every time the shutter closes, whether it’s an actual shutter or not.  Photographers have created entire businesses and livelihoods based solely on their ability to get more *good* shots per roll than the next guy.  The conversion from film to digital has created an excess.  Whether it’s an excess of photographs (does the term photograph even apply any more?) or an excess of photographers, I’m not sure.

My point is, I had a very uneventful trip to Louisville last weekend.  It was lovely, don’t get me wrong.  I spent some much needed and much appreciated time with my mother, my father, my sister, my niece, and my brother.  But we didn’t do anything special, other than hang out at my parents’ house.  And yet … I took sixty-three pictures.  Sixty-three!

I’m obviously not going to curb my photo-taking habit, but I feel as though it bears mentioning … sometimes it might be better to enjoy the moment, rather than take a picture of it.

That being said, my niece is as cute as ever, and I did come away from the weekend with a few lovely photos.  Thank goodness I wasn’t shooting film – I got roughly five good ones out of sixty-three.


Primates and Progeny

So, Kory turned fifteen, and I didn’t post anything about it because I’m still coping. I have no idea why fifteen is such a big deal to me, but I am just amazed at how quickly he is growing up and I’ve been downright despondent about this birthday.

To celebrate, we met the Koch family at the Cincinnati Zoo. It was hot out, but we had some cloud cover that made it bearable. The Cincy Zoo is really cool if you haven’t been, although it’s HUGE compared to Louisville’s. And the bird show was lots of fun.


It was not a good photo day for the niecii. They really just weren’t having it, even though they obviously had a great time.


I think the girls have been over-photographed. You bust out a camera and ask them to smile, and they just look at you as if to say “Again? Really? We’re tired of that.” And then they look away like this:


I had to have a monkey do a stand in.

Speaking of monkeys, I love this guy. He’s The Thinker of the animal kingdom.


I also love this guy. He’s a bad mo’fo monkey.


Now, I think my mother is beautiful. However, I can’t help but draw similarities between these two photos:


And it goes without saying that Kory is right at home in the zoo …


As is Vicki


As is Karen


As is Michael


Really, my family just consists of monkeys who fool you into thinking they’re people.

Dawn is less monkey-like, but she’s very well hydrated. Seriously, it’s hard to get a photo of her without a bottle in her face hiding that great smile.


Kory actually held Emily for once and I got that on film, rare occasion that it is:


Chip managed to get this lovely shot of Katie and the seal fountain, since she had no idea there was a camera in the vicinity:


All in all, we had a lovely time celebrating the fact that my only baby is one year closer to heading into the big bad world on his own. Can you imagine how I’m going to be when he hits sixteen?

Ode to the ‘Fro

I don’t think I spend enough time blogging about Kory’s hair.  Its color, its texture, its SHEER VOLUME.  And I did promise to post fabulous photos this summer.

This is how the ‘fro looks on an average day.  Kind of frizzy, a little out of control, and rarely symmetrical.  You would think that’d drive an OCD-affected person like Kory insane, but apparently his disorder only extends to alphabetizing the contents of my grocery cart and making sure the volume on the car stereo is always an odd number.


However, when you add water … strange things begin to happen.


It absorbs the water and repels it at the same time.  It’s fascinating.


While swimming, his hair never gets completely wet.  I’ve never seen anything like it.


This is Caesar’s Creek Lake, by the way.  It’s a lovely spot we discovered recently – I would spend much more time there if I could.


They have seagulls.  If I squint just right, it’s like being in Florida.



The lake is lovely, even if it reinforces my futile desire to own a boat.


Kory is turning fifteen next month (!) so I will, at the very least, have photos of that blessed event.  Until then, continue to be bemused and amazed by the ‘fro.



I’m hoping that by posting these photos, the cold weather will take its leave for the season.

It was actually quite funny – I was standing in front of Chip’s house trying to take artsy photos of the massive icicles that hung from the gutters.  It was ABSURDLY cold out, and no matter what I did, my camera wouldn’t take the shots I wanted.  At first I thought it was the time of day – too much light, not enough light, shooting into the sun – something.  I played with the manual focus, auto focus, white balance, f-stop, whatever.  No matter what I did, the shot wouldn’t snap until I was just about fed up with standing there pressing the button.

Figure it out yet?  Yeah.  The self-timer was on.  Therefore, if any of these shots are even remotely good, it is purely by accident.

(I recommend clicking on them to zoom in – the detail in the ice is kind of cool)