Woof! Baa! Wow!

A friend of the blog (aoeu) posted this elsewhere. I’m grateful. I saw this and was amazed. Yes, it’s a bit funny, but when you think about the sheer talent that went into making this video, it’s more than funny. It’s amazing. The coordination between the dogs and their handlers is incredible.

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Hiking up Sweeney Ridge

In 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola was looking for Monterey Bay. Having missed it, he anchored off of what is now Pacifica. Short on food and water, Portola and a group climbed to the top of what is now known as Sweeney Ridge. It is where the first documented sighting of San Francisco Bay occurred. Previously, everyone had missed the bay due the the fog.

Sweeny Ridge is located in Northern San Mateo county and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area or GGNRA. You can find out how to get there by going here. Do be sure to dress warmly. The wind is always blowing at the top and it can be quite chilly.

This is the start of the trail at the end of Sneath Lane.  The climb is gentle at the start, but the trail does get steep later on.

Sweeney Ridge

This is the road that leads to the San Andreas Lake. It is off limits to everyone.

Sweeney Ridge

This is the beginning of the fog line. That’s the line down the center of road. The road is only one lane wide, and it was almost impossible to navigate without the fog line. I neglected to mention that the road leads to an old military installation. The trail gets pretty steep after this point.

Sweeney Ridge

This is about halfway up and looking back at San Andreas lake.

Sweeney Ridge

At the top, the views are stunning. The East Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pacific Ocean, and North Bay are all visible from the top. This is looking to the West at the Pacific.

Sweeney Ridge

The trail will lead you to the monument that commemorates the Portola Expedition and their sighting of the bay.

Sweeney Ridge

This is a nice view of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the South.

Sweeney Ridge

Sweeney Ridge is a great place to hike. There are two other trails to the top. One starts in Pacifica and the other starts at Skyline College. Whichever trail you choose, it’s worth it. The views are stunning.

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Friday Night Cat Blogging

Friday evening is the time for the boys to shine. They inspire us, after all.

Tito is showing off his white gut. That gut is MUCH smaller now that Kitsy is giving him a run for his money every morning and evening.

Next, we have Kitsy looking like the shameless, nekkid golem that he is. He was daintily dancing pirouettes while escorting me to the kitchen earlier. They weren’t the trip-you-up kind either.

And last, but never least, we have the kitty who gave us the inspiration we needed to adopt the other two and start blogging. He inspired us and made us better people.  We lost him last year to lymphoma.  I suspect that he is watching over another kitty named Lil Goober.  I’m sure they’ll be waiting at the rainbow bridge for us.

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Trailblazers: Stories of the Explorers

When I was a very young girl, I read a biography of John Muir. I developed a tremendous respect for him and his accomplishments.   John Muir was an extraordinary explorer and naturalist.  Later, I read his writings.   Thanks to him, I have always loved reading about the explorers or their journals and books.

Excerpt from My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

After[Pg 118] withdrawing from such places, excited with the view I had got, I would say to myself, “Now don’t go out on the verge again.” But in the face of Yosemite scenery cautious remonstrance is vain; under its spell one’s body seems to go where it likes with a will over which we seem to have scarce any control.
After a mile or so of this memorable cliff work I approached Yosemite Creek, admiring its easy, graceful, confident gestures as it comes bravely forward in its narrow channel, singing the last of its mountain songs on its way to its fate—a few rods more over the shining granite, then down half a mile in showy foam to another world, to be lost in the Merced, where climate, vegetation, inhabitants, all are different. Emerging from its last gorge, it glides in wide lace-like rapids down a smooth incline into a pool where it seems to rest and compose its gray, agitated waters before taking the grand plunge, then slowly slipping over the lip of the pool basin, it descends another glossy slope with rapidly accelerated speed to the brink of the tremendous cliff, and with sublime, fateful confidence springs out free in the air.
I took off my shoes and stockings and worked my way cautiously down alongside the rushing flood, keeping my feet and hands pressed firmly on the polished rock. The booming, roaring[Pg 119] water, rushing past close to my head, was very exciting. I had expected that the sloping apron would terminate with the perpendicular wall of the valley, and that from the foot of it, where it is less steeply inclined, I should be able to lean far enough out to see the forms and behavior of the fall all the way down to the bottom. But I found that there was yet another small brow over which I could not see, and which appeared to be too steep for mortal feet. Scanning it keenly, I discovered a narrow shelf about three inches wide on the very brink, just wide enough for a rest for one’s heels. But there seemed to be no way of reaching it over so steep a brow. At length, after careful scrutiny of the surface, I found an irregular edge of a flake of the rock some distance back from the margin of the torrent. If I was to get down to the brink at all that rough edge, which might offer slight finger-holds, was the only way. But the slope beside it looked dangerously smooth and steep, and the swift roaring flood beneath, overhead, and beside me was very nerve-trying. I therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless. Tufts of artemisia were growing in clefts of the rock near by, and I filled my mouth with the bitter leaves, hoping they might help to prevent giddiness. Then, with a caution not known in ordinary cir[Pg 120]cumstances, I crept down safely to the little ledge, got my heels well planted on it, then shuffled in a horizontal direction twenty or thirty feet until close to the outplunging current, which, by the time it had descended thus far, was already white. Here I obtained a perfectly free view down into the heart of the snowy, chanting throng of comet-like streamers, into which the body of the fall soon separates.
While perched on that narrow niche I was not distinctly conscious of danger. The tremendous grandeur of the fall in form and sound and motion, acting at close range, smothered the sense of fear, and in such places one’s body takes keen care for safety on its own account. How long I remained down there, or how I returned, I can hardly tell. Anyhow I had a glorious time, and got back to camp about dark, enjoying triumphant exhilaration soon followed by dull weariness. Hereafter I’ll try to keep from such extravagant, nerve-straining places. Yet such a day is well worth venturing for. My first view of the High Sierra, first view looking down into Yosemite, the death song of Yosemite Creek, and its flight over the vast cliff, each one of these is of itself enough for a great life-long landscape fortune—a most memorable day of days—enjoyment enough to kill if that were possible.

The rest of this book can be found at Gutenberg Press

This work is copyright free. I have obeyed the rules of Gutenberg by NOT changing anything about the posted segment, with the exception of the font, which is permitted. This is the reason you may find inconsistent spellings and page numbers listed.

You can read the entire license agreement here.

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Attention San Francisco Bay Area dog owners

The San Francisco SPCA, Crissy Field Dog Group, Fort Funston Dog Walkers, Marin Unleashed, Pacifica Dog, and SF PAWS have created a new website.

It’s called Eco-Dog.

According to the site:

The purpose of Eco-Dog is to protect our natural resources and preserve multiple recreational uses, including off- and on-leash recreation, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

They are providing information about where the off leash dog walking areas and trails are in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties. According to the site, this access is threatened in the Golden Gate National Recreation area. There is also a lot of information to help you protect the unique ecologies here while still enjoying the beaches, parks and trails with your dog. The resource library is excellent and provides links to various dog groups and has good maps of the dog walking areas.

I would advise any dog owner to visit the site. There is even a section for donations and volunteering.

Happy trails to all..!

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Dance hall days

One of our favorite TV programs here, and to be honest I can count them on one hand, is Classic Arts Showcase. This is a really varied and quality selection of music and dance programs, for the most part, in segments of maybe 3 minutes to the occasional bit of 20 minutes, well worth looking into.

Maybe because I have two left feet, I really enjoy the dance segments. Particularly the Paso Doble, Fandango, and oh yes, Flamenco. Thankfully, I also have three laser pointers.

Better yet, Tito loves chasing the red dot across the floor (hardwood floor, no less, as in a dance studio).

Butt up in the air, hunched forward, he chases the elusive dot by slapping his forelegs down on it, as fast as any dancer I’ve seen. Pour a glass of Sangria, turn the pointer on and watch the spectacle begin. He even taught Kitsy-Mazuzu how to do it, except I don’t think the pupil’s very apt: way too violent. He’s got the moves, but he doesn’t “dance” so much as try to “obliterate” the dot.

Oh but, with TWO pointers going, we have quite a performance going. With the occasional collision, naturally… Which of course is followed by Mazuzu exclaiming “HMWAH!!!” loudly. If I read Tito’s expression correctly, I believe we agree the naked brute doesn’t get the spirit of the dance.

Once again, from the top, then!

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Midnight Movie Madness

I sell the dead!” – A Man Could Go Quite Mad (85 minutes, USA 2008)

“Never trust a corpse…”

Amongst the various genres, horror, and I suspect humor to a lesser extent, fans have quite an eclectic variety of interests, from zombie movies to vampires, slapstick to satire, but they are quite passionate about them, perhaps even… Picky.
So blending genres is always tricky, especially when dealing with a public who knows what it likes. Quite the balancing act.
The exceptions are rare enough to be noted and recommended, such as the Sam Raimi-Bruce Campbell “team”, Neil Gaiman-Dave McKean or the craftsmen behind “I sell the dead”. Larry Fessenden has been at it a long time, and knows film making in and out. He both produced and acted in “I sell the dead!”, Glenn McQuaid’s true directorial debut, even though “I sell the dead!” was developed from a previous, shorter effort, “the resurrection apprentice”.

Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) sits in a prison awaiting his execution after being convicted of grave robbing. There, he is visited by am Irish priest (Ron Perlman), who has a curious interest in criminals such as Blake and his partner Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden). In flashbacks, Blake describes his adventures from street urchin to businessman-corpse supplier in association with Grimes, against strong competition from the Murphy clan, a ghoulish collection of killers.
Along the way, increasingly horrific supernatural encounters seem to promise the rivals riches, but at a terrible price.

When dealing with a low budget genre movie made by hard working enthusiasts who know their craft and share real affection for film, as well as each other, the result is… Infectious. There usually are aspects to forgive given budget constraints, but not here: the decors, costumes, music and McQuaid’s script and direction all blend with and support the actors.

And what performers… Ron Perlman, Dom Monaghan, Fessbenden are of course excellent. But John Speredakos is devilishly creepy, as is Angus Scrimm , of course. Heather Robb and Brenda Cooney are remarkable, and James Godwin’s got to be seen to be believed.
The interplay between the two grave robbers Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden) make me wonder about Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

There is ambition which shows through, from producers Peter Phok and Fessenden, to McQuaid and this talented crew, but there is also experience: the film is consistently good to great without anything for the audience to ‘forgive’, as I stated earlier.

Watch it after Midnight, with a bottle of Scotch or Whisky. Then the next day, when you can’t remember how it ends, shave your eyeballs and watch it again.

“I sell the dead!” receives 4 jellybeans.

4 beans

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“welcome to the jungle”

Okay, so it can go either way with Kitsune a.k.a Mazuzu Whang: tuna will either make him sleepy, or turn him into a crack monster.
After feeding him maybe a spoonful in hopes of calming him down and going back to sleep, nature called and I had to get up again.
Outside the bathroom, something sat in a crouch, waiting for poor, unsuspecting me in the doorway: the hunched back, the basket ball sized eyes, the ears, big enough to outfit the Mayflower.
Right: Mazuzu Whang, the Benjamin Button of catdom.
The unsettling part? He was making this weird clacking sound he usually makes when staring at birds, like the Predator.


After maybe half a minute, he trotted away back to bed. Neither rhyme nor reason.

You gotta respect something about a tenth your size, standing in your way and looking up at you as though it could just as soon kill you. Christ, even Schwarzenegger might have to check his drawers…

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Tito’s Guide to Cats

MeeMee! Prepping for the arrival of your new cat.

Now that you have cat/kitten proofed your home, it’s time to think about other things.

If you already have a kitty and are adding another, you’ll want to use the same food you have now. Just remember to find out what your new cat has been eating in the shelter or cattery. You will want some of it so that you can change the food gradually. A sudden change can cause tummy aches and diarrhea.

Kitsy and I have a bowl of dry food available and we’re free-feeders. Mom doesn’t have to measure because we’re not over eaters. Some kitties will over eat though, so watch out for that. Mom measured my food when she and dad first brought me home. When they realized that I was ok with free-feeding, they just kept a bowl full of food.

Cats are obligate carnivores.  Please do not put them on a vegetarian diet.  Be sure to look for a food that does NOT have grains listed as one of the first three ingredients.  These a just empty carbs that are not processed well by the kitty.

You will also want to think about litter boxes and litter. My brother, Kitsy, isn’t always coordinated with his box when he poops and misses sometimes. They got us a covered box and it helps a lot. A covered box is good, but requires constant cleaning as it holds in the smell. It’s also a good rule to have at least one box per kitty. The best is 3 boxes for two cats, but we do fine with just two.

Warning! If your kitty begins peeing outside the box in an inappropriate place, it may not be bad behavior.   Many times, it’s a urinary tract infection.  If this happens, take kitty to the vet right away.  Many cats are given back to shelters because of this, when simple treatment for UTI will cure it.   Spaying and neutering also helps prevent this problem.

Never flush your cat litter. Squidoo has a page with good info on why it’s bad to flush cat litter.

According to Squidoo

Did you know that cat crap can give sea otters a potentially deadly disease if it is not disposed of properly? This is a major issue for sea otters along the California coast as well as river otters, but one that most people have never heard about.

Let’s talk about why cat crap stinks.  There’s pretty solid evidence that Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that attacks the brains of sea otters, is transmitted through cat feces. (This is the same parasite that can cause birth defects in humans, so pregnant women should stay away from poopy kitty litter boxes too!).

When feces is flushed down the toilet, it goes to the sewage treatment plant with all the other feces in the sewer system. You would think that this parasite would be killed as the waste water is treated, but it survives! Toxoplasma gondii is one tough hombre and isn’t affected by sewage treatment process.

I know this doesn’t matter to a lot of you who don’t live near the sea, but it’s still good knowledge to have.  In addition, flushing the scoopable litter can wind up plugging up your pipes, especially if they’re old.

Mom and dad use scoopable litter, but they don’t flush it.  We live in San Francisco and there have been lots of sick sea otters here.  We don’t want to add to the problem.

I do hope all you moms to be saw the bit about staying away from the litterbox.  No litterbox cleaning until AFTER the baby.  Be safe please.  Ask your partner to take care of it.

I have one more litter suggestion.  It’s not the cheapest litter, but it’s one of the best.  It’s called Feline Pine . The scoopable is messy. The pellets are very good. All you do is put in the litter and then put a one inch layer of the old litter on top until the kitties start using it. They won’t, otherwise. The pellets turn to sawdust as they collect the urine. We use a sifting litter box. This litter is great as there was NO ammonia smell from the urine. There is also no clay dust.

Oops, I have a disclaimer. I won’t recommend ANYTHING unless I really like it. Right now, no one is sending us samples or anything. If they do, it will have to be with the knowledge that if I don’t like it, I will say so. I will also donate anything (if possible) to local shelters.

Well, that’s it for now.

MEE! I’ll have more later..!

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Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison and American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is bit of followup to Lastech’s Midnight Madness discussion of Malpertuis.

Harlan Ellison wrote Deathbird Stories in 1975  It contains 19 short stories that took him ten years to write.  The book looks at what happens when the old gods are replaced by new ones.   Computers, money, and isolation are just a few.

Ellison has a comment at the beginning of the book.  He suggests that the reader not attempt to read the entire book at once.  I would agree.  The writer deals with facets of our humanity that are not always pretty and nice.  It’s good to take the time to digest and think about it.

Along The Scenic Route is about road rage with a twist.

Paingod Ellison answers his own question of:

If God is good, why does He send us pain and misery?

The Deathbird What if Genesis was wrong and things happened a bit differently?

Be aware that the book is NOT for children and does explore some adult themes.  It’s well worth tracking down though.  Lucky for me,  I’ve been able to bring it in from the library.  The San Francisco Public Library is a wonder and if they don’t have the book I want, they will bring it in from elsewhere.

This book gets 5 claws.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman was winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2002.  It, too follows the theme of old gods being replaced by new ones.  The old ones are dying off, but a war is brewing.  It’s quite a good read and you’ll have fun figuring out who all the gods are.

This book gets 4 claws

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