Holy Baby Alpaca, Batman!

The weekend's on-call assignments included a few snaps at a nearby alpaca farm. I know, jealously is surging deep within your gullet, even this very instant! But if you can get your envious rage in check, perhaps you'll entertain a few pics of Fiona, a two-week old alpaca with her owner (the alpaca is the one on the right).

Some fun facts about alpaca wool:

-No lanolin residue like sheep's wool
-Hollow wool fibers wick away moisture
-Clothing designers prefer it second only to cashmere
-It costs about as much as a lung/kidney combo

Lo, Fiona, the alpaca. (the one on the right, remember. well, not the black one in the background, that's her mom. the one just to the right of the humanoid)

I guess they're in the camel familia, hence the HUGENORMOUS necks. And yes, they can also spit like grammy with a pack of thin-cut Red Man.

I have to say though, their wool is quite remarkable. Quite pleasant chaps to pet, too. Except the grumpy-pants spitting ones. But they're probably just mad that their wool is part of a multi-million world-wide industry and they're not getting a cut of their wooly labors. Just a guess.


only time will tell...

(in other news, i finally found a place to live, some two months after crash landing here. while it will be sad to leave my Wyoming host parents' basement, having my own batch pad will be kinda nice. no more toilet seat up v. down worries. more info/pics forthcoming)

Baby Owl

POSTED IN | 12:49 AM

To continue the animal theme. We found this lil' owl outside a co-worker's house where it had dropped from a tree. We did what any upstanding trio of twenty-something males would do, and took it under our wing(s). Thus, we fed it vienna sausage bits and water. It seemed like it was making a great comeback. Live, Hedwig! Live! But sadly it passed the next day. We blame the vienna sausages. It wasn't my idea. Services were held at the First United Backyard Cottonwood, with Rev. Spade presiding. The family of the deceased would like to encourage all to make a donation to an Anti-Processed Meat organization of their choice.


POSTED IN | 12:50 AM

A look of pure uncertainty following the exit of Fido's owner from the running vehicle. I can almost see a tear dotting the helpless brown eyes. Insecurity indeed.

Words to Live By

POSTED IN | 12:23 AM

As seen on the back of a junker Chevy pickup that lives around the corner.

Scenes from the Road


Being really bored in Kansas the day I moved out here and made the 16 hour solo venture. The Sunflower state almost killed me though. My brain very nearly exploded around Colby, Kansas. No joke. So I had to lighten things up...

Rain on I-70 west (near Colby, Kansas, incidentally).

Sunbeams on the front range near Ft. Collins (as seen from I-25 north)

First welcoming sundown in Wyoming.

Dark Riders


A home where the ANTELOPE roam


(In-town grazing. These dudes are everywhere. That's I-25 in the background)

If you were to visit here even briefly, you'd notice the abundance of antlered animal kingdom specimens trotting around within city limits. So it's no surprise to locals to see these fools grazing idly across the street when walking out of the supermarket. Or while out for an evening neighborhood stroll to find a mammoth buck grazing placidly in the neighbor's lawn. *yawn* Yep, there's ol' Bambi Senior...

And the antelope are especially numerous it seems. I've heard they taste like poo, and yet every Tom, Dick and Harry has got one mounted in his house. Many of which were shot in the front yard. Davy Crockett style. Nice.

But then I also do the police report every week for the paper. You know: "Joe Blow was arrested for DUI and being a loser." That kind of B.S...

However, there are always several reports of police officers responding to injured animals too. And who's at the top of the injured animal list? The antelope. And what do police most often report when finding these injured antelope in city limits? Arrows sticking out of their bodies. Yes, that's correct. Arrows.

So, if you should happen to visit Wyoming with your pet antelope, I'd keep a close eye on Fluffy. Even in town. This ain't no petting zoo, people. Keep a short leash. And watch for the arrows.


POSTED IN | 11:30 PM
I've always been one for animals. Not sure why. They are just uniquely enjoyable. As I've been here, I've found myself in contact with a host of new varieties, or at least getting more intimately acquainted with long-known types. So, this brings me to today's emphasis: goats.

So I'll simply say that I want some. I mean, not really of course, but in the teenage-girl-who-wants-a-pony-sense (no offense, teenage gals). But still, a few little billies hoofing around the back yard, munching on Grammy's azaleas while bleating contentedly would be quite enchanting, I think. Yibble.

They will eat...


The right spot.

Happy Birthday, Sis!

POSTED IN | 11:30 PM

Chubby Dinah turned 30 on Sept. 9, so I wanted to give a shout out, despite being tardy on the draw. Happy late birthday, D! Love you! Your AARP subscription should be coming in the mail any time. OHH! Diss. (note: 3 year old nephews are prone to unhappiness immediately following nap time).

Tangled Poopises

POSTED IN | 11:30 PM

On my walk home for lunch.
"Well what's your stance on the second amendment," the question was dropped on the politician during a blustery, chilling Labor Day afternoon in Douglas, Wyoming.

The breeze whipped and the cutting rain made enemies as I looked about the informal forum of Douglas' Washington Park. The crowd, a contingent of Union Pacific's finest, bolstered the park benches and gazebo protection. The cook even finding his turtle shell under roof, running out to gingerly flip angus and brat amid sizzling raindrop-grill conflicts.

The man, politician, full of hope for his state, full of yearning for a US House hook to hang his hat, offered his party tack. I sat, among looser-acquaintances, regarding the invite I received off-hand from the open window of a running car, as I walked about my block earlier.

So the politician spoke of his ideas. He spoke of women's rights regarding babies and made a stop down Healthcare Lane before making a final rhetoric approach to Tax Regional. An eloquent orator. The goose-bump rain beaded his bald pate. Though his white shirt-in-rain combination proved perhaps an unfortunate wardrobe choice that afternoon.

He finished his commenting and opened himself for questions from his rail-line backers. And so the question was asked.

"Well what's your stance on the second amendment?"

He paused and wiped away the wetness in his brows, fully exposed out from under the park-side turtle shell. And he offered his simple affirmation.

"Oh, I'm pro-gun ownership for sure," he reassured.

The serum settled into the crowd, and I believe I saw the tension release in more than one pair of shoulders.

Pro-choice, pro-national health care, pro-sustainable energy — these notions are locked and loaded by many Wyomingites, be it a smaller contingent than the othering majority.

But barring the full-bore liberties of the Second Amendment? Get real. Not in this state. Not in 2008. You'll be prying weapons from fingers long frigid and deceased before you'll take them from a body warm with life.

So I was mildly amused at the love for firearms within this game-laden state, and wondered if perhaps even that gun-toting ideal would ever be overturned in company barbecues to come.

But regardless, I don't care what you say about Wyoming democrats, they grill a damn good bratwurst.

Old Time Fiddlers


Glenrock, Wyoming's most charming ensemble. The little girl in front is five. Asian string-player virtuoso stereotypes aside, both of the girls were really good.

Fun Facts from the Wyo

POSTED IN | 12:37 AM

Perhaps you are aware, or perhaps not. In either case, I'll enliven you with some refreshing tid bits from The Equality State, that is to say, Wyoming.

Total population: 522,830 (2007 est.) ranked 50th for least number o' peeps
Total land area: 97,818 sq. mi - ranked 9th largest
Population density: 5.4 people per square mile - ranked 49th for most lonely

by comparison:

Total population: 683,478 - ranked 47th for least number of whacked out loners
Total land area: 656,424 sq mi - ranked 50th for behemothness, obviously
Population density: 1.2 people per square mile - 50th for most lonely

New Jersey
Total population: 8.6 million - ranked 11th highest
Total land area: 8,729 sq mi - ranked 47th smallest
Population density: 1,134 people per square mile - ranked No. 1 for least elbow room

Total population: 4.59 million (about like Oklahoma)
Total land area: 270 sq mi (about like Norman, OK and Noble, OK combined)
Population density: 16, 392 people per square mile (though it didn't seem that crowded)

So, as we can see from figure No. 1, there aren't many peeps up in the Wyo house. I can confirm this sentiment in my town of 6,000 that is the state's 14th LARGEST "city". I guess in some ways you could say Wyoming is the antithesis of somewhere like Texas (i.e. "size always matters"). We do things small here. Though there are still a lot of F-350 Turbo Diesels...

Thus, I'll leave you with a parting fun fact paragraph about women's rights in Wyoming (from Wiki P):

In 1869, Wyoming territory gave women the right to vote. And in addition to being the first U.S. state to extend suffrage to women, Wyoming was also the home of many other firsts for U.S. women in politics. For the first time, women served on a jury in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870). Wyoming had the first female court bailiff (Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870) and the first female justice of the peace in the country (Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City , in 1870). Wyoming became the first state in the Union to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who was elected in 1924 and took office in January 1925. Because of rights given to women, Wyoming earned the nickname of "The Equality State."

Thursday Night Lights

POSTED IN | 12:22 PM

Douglas Middle School Bearcats (8th grade) v. Glenrock Middle School Herders (Glenrock = town of 2,500 just west of Douglas). Go BEARCATS! Sadly we bowed to the Herders 12-8 (you always Go for Two around these parts). Fortunately, no one was at the game (as you can tell) to see the loss.

Last Friday the Douglas varsity team went down swinging to the Glenrock high school squad 27-14. If you're interested, the Herders whole game plan is to hand-off to one of three RBs and try to punch a hole. Somewhere. Anywhere. And march down field. The Herders had about 30 passing yds (of about 250+) against Douglas last week. And they won handily. You do whatcha can to win in smalltown America it seems, one-dimensional offense or no.

Wyoming Rodeo

POSTED IN | 10:31 PM
Seven snaps from a Douglas, Wyoming rodeo.

Awkward calf-tying.

Hat above the rest.

Wyoming style peanut gallery.

I want a horse.

Target lock.

"Hide riding." I would so do this. I wonder if I would have to wear jeans though...

Fifty bucks if you can explain what's going on here.

Colorado Springs w/intense biking

POSTED IN | 11:07 PM
As previously blogged about, last weekend's adventures brought me to The Springs to visit some of my lovely cousins (of which I have many). Going in to the weekend I was expecting plenty of two-wheeling. But, I wasn't expecting to mountain bike the most difficult terrain of my life alongside my cousin's husband (an expert downhill mtn. biker).

Brendon, my cuz's hubby. He works here. His job is pretty enviable at times. A part of me just wants to scrap it all, work at a bike shop and help people with their cycling needs for the rest of my life...

So the mountain biking started on Sunday morning with a jaunt around Palmer Park. Here my lovely tour guide points out majestic Pikes Peak.


We demo'd some Trek 2009 models that a sales rep had out at the park. I rode Brendon's $3,500 full suspension ride. Soo different than what I'm used to on the rode bike.

The cuz, Amanda, on the left w/her hub on right. It's cool to spend time around a couple that is so adventurous and open and hospitable to new people and non-everything-in-our-house-and-life-has-to-be-just-perfect-or-the-world-will-end. They're easy going and yet talk about real things in their lives and that matter in the world. They really care about serving others, AND, they love to go camping and biking and skiing, etc... That is a thing of beauty. I hope to spend more time down in The Springs in the future. And I will be (my sis is getting married there next month! Woohoo!)

And they obviously really love each other and aren't afraid of some new-school PDA, which I think can be endearing in the right package. I merely said "hey i want a picture of you two."
Ah, somewhat newly-weds...

Here we are at the Trek demo tent. Prolly about $30k in bikes sitting behind us. I'll probably never justify spending several thousand on one, but still, how impressive is a 23lb. total carbon-fiber, full suspension knobby tire machine (w/6 in. of rear travel)? Perhaps the novelty is lost on others...

And then we went down the scariest trails of my life (and at a sprint). Brendon, the former Junior National Expert downhiller, FLEW down these sections (about 15-20 mph or faster, no lie). He'd wait for me to catch up and then we'd blaze for a while longer till more technical sections.

As a side note, I've never been more impressed by someone's biking abilities. Seeing him catch 10 feet of air and navigate rocks and boulders was a thing of sincerest beauty for me. Clearly he was made to ride a bike. On a personal level, I'm somewhat of a pansy and was pretty scared (and thrilled) many times. But I'll be back, mountains. Round II is coming. (note: 20 seconds after this photo was taken i went over the handlebars and laid out on the trail. seems i'm not used to the power of pneumatic disc brakes or boulderous switchbacks at high speeds).

From facebook: Brendon at an international race in Italy a few years ago. Obviously he is hauling-A like a bad mamba-jamba.

He also does things like this on skis. I think this one was a 740° at Copper somewhere.

He said he picked up a "bad" habit a few months ago. A good smelling one at that.

I realize I'm getting repetitive with these scenics, but I'm still just enthralled to be living in a place with views such as these. Please friends, indulge me.

The end, for now.

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

POSTED IN | 11:32 PM
On the coattails of Labor Day weekend's quality time with mis amigos, I was hard pressed for something fractionally as stimulating on the menu this past weekend. So, I made some calls and invited myself over to my cousins' for the weekend (a key new-place survival skill: have no shame about needing/forcing friends and social interactions. and don't worry, if it doesn't come naturally, you can get better at it. people pick up on your desperation rather quickly...)

So there I was on Friday afternoon, shoving a few changes of clean underpants in a bag, scooping up my riding shoes and loading my two-wheel friend into the car for the cruise south to Colorado Springs. Now, four hours in the car by yourself can be pretty brutal in some places of our American nation (cough* Kansas!! *cough), but cruising down the front range through Denver to the Springs is a little like a Southern Comfort nightcap (smooth, refreshing but with a little stank on it too). So, a few mix CDs and sunflower seeds later and I hit the city limits like a station-wagon load of Huns.

My cousins had to work all day Saturday, so I did what any two-wheel enthusiast would do and made the nearby Air Force Academy campus my playground for the afternoon (though unfortunately I forgot the sunscreen behind. Eeyouch...)

So, I did a perdy good, approx. 30 mile ride over a few hours out there in the fortitude-sucking 6,500 feet elevation paddock of Air Force folklore. And I'll say when you're on a ride by yourself, it can get a little boring/lonely. So, I decided self-portraits were just the remedy. The spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, M. Popps style.

Thus, I give you some self-portraits, courtesy the U.S. Air Force and my 10 second self-timer function (i want to chest-bump whoever invented this function).

Starting out. Somewhat hydrated. Not so sunburned yet.

Falcon stadium, though I can't cheer for them or my bro-in-law, TCU fanatic would think ill of my Mountain West honour.

Front range views.

Baldy Peak in the distance, I think.

very nice...but wishing i had more water...

Soccer field shot. Amazing grass. Go Chair Force!

Dorking about.

I didn't crash, just needed something else in the foreground.

Falcon, scratch his eyes out...


"Prey" (def my fav of the series. haha. if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?)

50,000 cool points if you can identify this plane.

Then I ate some of these gems. Been eating A LOT of these bad boys lately, actually. What's the deal with working in an office and immediately getting bad candy eating habits? I blame the man...

The end, for now. More shots of biking and the cousins on the way...