RSS Feed

Pandas Can Suck It

Posted on

When you think of the World Wildlife Fund and you think of an organisation that is synonymous with conservation, preservation, restoration and a thousand other epic things all ending in -tion.

The WWF has goals, plans, strategies and dreams and promote environmental and ecological awareness.

Which is why their choice of a giant Panda for a logo annoys me.

I understand that the giant Panda is a complex creature, an oddly picky eater with 99% of its diet consisting of bamboo derived delicacies (stems, shoots and leaves), and due to their size require huge amounts of food to sustain themselves.

Bamboo is almost like celery’s slightly beefed-up cousin as it delivers a value of nutrition so ridiculously low that a Panda has to eat for at least 14-hours a day to get the calories that they need to survive.

Sadly, due to habitat loss caused by the areas high population explosion and expansion demands, huge areas of bamboo forest have been cleared to make way for humans, minimising the amount of available food available for this delicate creature.

Estimates say that there are only around 1600 Pandas left in the wild, with a further 200 living in captivity, and so there’s a flurry of activity to conserve existing numbers in the wild and boost numbers in captivity in order to reintroduce stock to the wild.

This is where I begin to have issues with the Panda.

They seem to have embraced their fate in an almost Marvin the Paranoid Android approach, having the view that, “I’ve calculated our chance of survival, but I don’t think you’ll like it,” and having “…a million ideas that all point to certain death.

Pandas just don’t make sense as they don’t appear to be adapting to suit their situation or focusing on breeding a line of super Pandas that can eat burgers and pizza.

The only reason we seem to be throwing a mother-load of money into conserving them is because they are cute, fat and clumsy which combines to make us go awwww and feel good about ourselves because caring for cuteness is hardwired into our DNA.  If we truly cared about our planet, the level of cuteness that any one animal displayed shouldn’t have such a huge impact on the effort, energy and donations contributed to conservation.panda

Zoologist Lucy Cooke (The Amphinian Avenger) has been working hard to raise the profile of the less than gorgeous and frequently overlooked animals.  Her blog promotes their plight, dedicating it to, “…the ugly, the freakish and the unloved animals that are perilously ignored thanks to the tyranny of cute.”

Asian countries aren’t really doing anything to reduce the traditional medicine supply and demand for Rhino horn (Africa and India), Lion bone (Africa), Tiger parts (India), however everyone seems oddly keen to promote and conserve tourist-drawing Pandas in an odd double standard, although I wouldn’t give much for the Panda’s chances of survival if some random part of their body was valued as a natural cure for something fertility-related.

It’s probably a good thing that Panda’s appear to have a monkish disinterest in sex, otherwise Panda soup would be a big part of natural remedies.

Even in Zoos and Conservation Centres, scientists have been forced to give them Viagra, turn on the Barry White, dim the lights and show them videos of other Pandas engaged in the physical act of luuuuuurve in an attempt to heat up the mood.

They do seem to be an almost comically useless animal: fat butterballs that show no sign of diet variation even in the face of dwindling vegetation, slow and lazy due to the lack of nutrients in their bamboo diet which causes low energy levels, with no real interest in sex and doing their bit for the species.  In the rare instance of successful copulation they consequently show themselves to be useless at parenting as the male disappears and the female gets easily distracted and keeps on forgetting to care for and nurture her young.

They are the exotic equivalent of sheep, another animal that is born with a lack of interest in life but has markedly better reproduction rates (in no small part due to our interest in their deliciousness and financial value).

 So, to conclude, a huge thank you to the WWF bumper sticker that I was stuck behind in soul crushing stop/start traffic this morning that massively influenced this anti-panda rant and also a request to all of you guys to not forget to do your bit for the less-than photogenic animals that make the endangered lists each year.

Sibling Battle Royale

Posted on

I’m an older sister, the elder sibling to a younger brother, leading him in age by about 5 years.

We have some horrible stories to share about the brutal, merciless fights that we engaged in during our younger years.

One such epic fight was on a hot, muggy summer day when our parents decided to shop for furniture to revamp our living room.

Many, many shops were visited over the course of the day, resulting in two increasingly bored children with no outlet for their energy, with tempers rapidly being stretched to breaking point.

Breaking point was reached after the purchase of a very ornate, very heavy metal coffee table.

The glass top had been removed and safely stowed in the boot of the car (or trunk for you, my American brethren), however as the boot was stuffed full of cushions and other purchases, our parents decided to transport the coffee table across the laps of their children seated on the rear passenger seat of the car.

As the furniture shopping was not quite complete, we made one last visit to a store to pay for and arrange the delivery of an already viewed and approved sofa set.

So picture the scene: two already hot, flustered and annoyed children pinned in place by a heavy metal table, left in the car by their parents who have gone to finalise the purchase of a sofa.

It started simply enough, with one of the siblings convinced that the other didn’t have as much table lying across their lap, resulting in an uneven distribution of weight that simply wasn’t fair.

The other sibling defended the table distribution and disputed the claim, maintaining that there was an even share of table on both sides…in fact, upon closer comparison it appeared that they themselves had the bulk of the table on their lap and therefore the other sibling should slide more table over to their side to keep things even.

Thus began a horrible game of see-saw, with a heavy coffee table being pushed and shoved back and forth across two laps.

Then it escalated as already restricted limbs were used to try to limit the other siblings ability to slide the table and, once arms got involved, it was simply a matter of time before the pinching, hair pulling and, I’m sad to say, biting started.

Our parents returned to the car in a giddy whirl of joy, having paid for and arranged delivery of the sofa set that would add the perfect finishing touch to the family room.

They were met with sweaty, flushed children, clawed and scratched arms and guilty, embarrassed faces.

The way my parents tell this story, this was the first time they had any clue that their two children fought.

Unbeknownst to them, my brother and I regularly engaged in the most brutal of physical fights whenever left alone for too long: playful games of ‘See who can throw the other off the bed’ turning into violent hair-pulling, clawing wrestling matches when the weaker, younger sibling got frustrated at constantly losing and employed dirty tactics to win.

I’ve held a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a dish cloth against my brothers ribs after a particularly brutal fight had resulted in him falling back against a table, catching himself a nasty knock that instantly ended the fight and triggered my older sister/Florence Nightingale instincts, both of us worried that any potential bruising would alert our parents to our scuffle.

We’ve applied cold water compresses to each other’s arms after indian burns and finger nails left marks that our oblivious Mum or Dad might spot.

We’ve sat together watching Sesame Street, sipping orange juice, recovering from a particularly vicious fight, holding kitchen tissue soaked in cold water to clawed limbs.

I’ve been leant over the bathroom sink, pinching my nose to end a nosebleed that resulted from an hand or elbow that got a little out of control, with my attentive, considerate brother standing by my side armed with handfuls of tissue for me to hold to my dripping nose whenever I needed it.

The thing is, no matter how brutal or violent any single one of our fights got, they came to a swift and decisive end once one or both of us decided that enough was enough, or realised that The Mothership was due home shortly and we needed to tidy up the house, put the furniture right and hide all evidence of the conflict.

Once a fight was over, we instantly became the sweetest and most considerate of siblings, helping each other to disguise wounds and making sandwiches and pouring cups of juice, a war feast if you will, in mutual homage to the glorious battle we had recently engaged in.

So when I saw the photo posted by Reddit user lala989, sharing her daughters ‘To Do’ list for when her brother Ethan was absent, I laughed until I cried.

This little girl plans the following for her brother:

  • Take his bedroom,
  • Take his money,
  • Hammer his Legos (into dust I imagine),
  • Sell his black bear (honestly, who messes with the cuddly toys, that’s just evil),
  • Rip his minecraft poster,
  • Dye his carpet pink,
  • Hammer everything he loves.

This child is brutal, amazingly so, and the grand finale of destroying everything he loves is the climax to a bitter campaign of vengeance.

However, the ‘dye his carpet pink’ part makes me doubt that this is a stone cold plan of action because messing with décor/furniture crosses the boundaries of discretion that almost every sibling fight works within: never let Mum or Dad find out.

Evil little kid

Yay For Citrus Perfume, Boo For Fresh Fragrance

Posted on

I don’t want to claim that Florida has finally got to me, but there’s something about citrus scents that I can’t get enough of right now.

After wearing the Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit body mist for the past few months, I know that I flipping love the smell of grapefruit, so I’ve been on the hunt for a decent perfume to upgrade to.

The Body Shop’s fragrance is all well and good, but it’s so light and diluted that the scent doesn’t hang around for too long.  I’m also trying to find the balance between smelling like I hugged a grapefruit tree and smelling like citrus-scented toilet fragrance.

My fairly generous criteria were:

  • Grapefruit based scent
  • Eau de Parfum and not Eau de Toilette for longer lasting citrusy-goodness

I did a ridiculous amount of internet hunting for grapefruit-based perfumes and read a lot of user reviews, and finally decided that the Hesperides Grapefruit scent from Fresh, sold by Sephora, sounded like one of the better ones

I’ve owned Fresh fragrances before and have liked all of them, and although this product had a mixed spectrum of reviews such as, “I never smell commercial cleaner, only fresh beautiful grapefruit,My only complaint is it goes on very strong at first but then it doesn’t last very long at all,” and, “A bowl of pink grapefruit sprinkled with sugar in a perfume,” I felt it was worth a try.

Anyhow, I popped into the Sephora store in Jacksonville and, after a little light spitz on my wrist to sensitivity and sniff test, bought a bottle.Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit perfume

It’s been a couple of weeks since I started wearing it and, although it’s good, it doesn’t quite live up to the price tag or Fresh brand.

  • It has a surprisingly short lifespan for an Eau De Parfum.  You could almost believe it was Eau de Toilette.  I have to reapply it throughout the day to maintain any hint of scent.
  • When immediately applied, the lovely fresh smell of grapefruit comes through, however that rapidly loses the tart sharpness of grapefruit and quickly fades into what ends up smelling more like a Mandarin/Satsuma.

Not too impressed with this product, almost definitely would not repurchase and my hunt for a zingy, lively, awakening grapefruit-dominant perfume continues.

Any USA-available suggestions you may have would be greatly welcomed!

The Players Championship 2014

Posted on

You know it’s going to be a weird day when one of the first things you hear after entering is, “Man, I did waaaay too much coke this morning.”

I had no idea plaid-loving golfers partied quite so hard!

Although I’ve lived in Florida for over 2 years I’d not once attended The Players Championship as I’m not really a golfing fan and didn’t see the appeal.

I respect that it’s an established PGA tour location that’s been hosting the event since 1982, I appreciate that it boasts the infamous par-3 17th Hole, an Island Green that is one of the hardest shots to make and became legend in 1998 when a seagull stole the Steve Lowery’s ball after he made a successful shot, I understand that Florida is considered a place for golfing pilgrimage…sadly none of these things encouraged me to attend TPC.

My company were even hosting a corporate event at TPC this year with an open bar…not even free alcohol could motivate me to go.

However, one of our largest clients reached out to The Hublet and offered him complimentary tickets to join them in a chalet at TPC, and it seemed like a great chance to 1) spend some quality time with a client and 2) experience TPC for the first time.

I researched the heck out of the TPC rules and restrictions and Googled the heck out of what to wear (light sundress and cute’n’comfortable sandals for me and shorts, collared golf shirt & canvas loafers for him).

We rocked up a little after 12:00pm, parked and made our way to the chalet area.

The atmosphere was amazing: crowded but quiet, everyone dressed similarly, a slight ‘Stepford Wives’ atmosphere.

The chalets were fantastic because Florida in May is HOT, HUMID and downright ICKY and sheltered air conditioning is most welcome.

I felt like a complete rock star armed with a lanyard provided by the company funding the chalet which gave me unlimited free food and drinks.  The fools.

I worked my way through the Grey Goose cocktail options and have to say that the official Sawgrass cocktail, the ‘Sawgrass Splash’, tasted almost exactly the same as the ’19th Hole’ cocktail and every other citrus-based Grey Goose cocktail on offer.  Or maybe that’s what my drowning taste buds wanted me to believe.

I made a friend in the form of a lovely lady who works for Beaver Street Fisheries/Sea Best and kept me company while The Hublet was taken on a tour of the servers and electronic doohickeys that keep TPC running smoothly.  She took me to their fancy Deck 17 that SeaBest has only recently launched at TPC: the breeze flowing through the Deck, between the 17th and 18th, was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever felt in my life!

I cannot tell a lie: golf is pretty boring.  It seems to me that it’s a lot like tennis in that it’s a fantastic thing to play yourself, however infinitely boring to watch, however  I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of TPC, in no small part helped by the Grey Goose on tap and the fancy-pants feeling of having access to a private chalet.

TPC is quite a wonderful experience and a huge noteworthy happening in Florida’s event calendar and absolutely worth doing at least once, if only to say that you did it.

Nominate Your Tech Hero Today!

Posted on
Tech Hero backpack from Carpathia stuffed full of booty!

Tech Hero backpack from Carpathia stuffed full of booty!

I have to admit to being biased as The Hublet has been my Tech Hero ever since he explained to me many years ago exactly what is meant when you’re asked if you’ve power cycled a device (essentially, it’s a fancy way of asking, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”) and became my outsourced laptop/PC/device technician during our 4k miles apart, long-distance courtship.

He was the person who got me my first part-time job in America: stuffing FedEx packages, testing and charging batteries and configuring and imaging handheld devices.  That part-time job evolved into a full-time role as a Tier 1 support on a Wireless Service Desk, working to ensure that our Business Partners End User’s were kept up-and-running.

I manage my company’s Twitter account (you’ll know it when you see it, there’ll be British spelling like favour, organise and humour littering the place) and whenever we receive a retweet, follow or favourite I’ll go check it out to see if it came from a bot or a real, breathing human being.

Which is how I randomly stumbled across Tech Heroes/@heroesoftech on Twitter and discovered their website which allowed me the opportunity to nominate someone as my Tech Hero.

I’ll be honest, I was at work and in a wee bit of a rush and therefore I didn’t scan their site as thoroughly as I should have, so I completed my nomination and submitted the most magnificent picture of The Hublet that I had to hand, thinking that if he was successful in winning the Tech Hero award he would receive a backpack stuffed full of wonderful Tech-related things.

Imagine my surprise a few days later when The Hublet received via mail a backpack stuffed full of Tech booty!

  1. Soft grey hooded top with the male Tech Hero icon emblazoned on the front.
  2. $25 Amazon gift card.
  3. Pen…a very nice pen.
  4. Pocket-friendly pack of Advil.
  5. Can of full fat Red Bull.
  6. Zoom Charger compatible with most devices.
  7. Moleskin notebook with the male Tech Hero icon.
  8. His’n’Hers Tech Hero stickers.
  9. Fantastic 27-piece tool set and pouch.
  10. Backpack with more pockets than a troop of kangeroos including a fancy red-lined laptop sized pocket.

They even included a couple of tops for me with the female Tech Hero icon on.

I gave them a shout out via Instagram along with a photo of the box that arrived at work for The Hublet sent for my attention (I’m not in the habit of opening other peoples mail thank you very much) which they kindly posted to their Twitter account.

I was honestly really impressed with the quality of the backpack contents and felt it was a very, very generous way of not only raising awareness of the unsung Tech Heroes of the world, but also bringing attention to their company and brand.

On a related note, I appear to have promised away rights to the naming of my firstborn/first pot plant/first puppy to approximately 35 people.  At this rate it’s going to have the longest name in history!

A tip of the hat to you Tech Heroes / Carpathia.

Carpathia / Tech Hero / @heroesoftech

Carpathia / Tech Hero / @heroesoftech


Where Do I Hand In My Blogging Card?

Posted on

I don’t want you to judge me too harshly, but I honestly cannot believe that I went into blogging hibernation for as long as I have. Not sure what to blame it on because naturally I want to make excuses for myself: it’s human nature to find a thousand and one reasons as to why something that happened wasn’t actually the fault of the individual.   So, here’s my list as to why I haven’t blogged:

  • Getting distracted by the 2nd stage of my Green Card process (still haven’t received my renewal yet…*gulp*).
  • Planning and executing a truly magnificent trip to the UK, in fact my first trip since I got upgraded from Miss to Mrs.
  • Discovering Instagram.  Seriously, this has been a life suck (JaxRedCoat in case you want to do a little stalking).  I never knew that there were so many photos of puppies doing ridiculously cute things in the world.
  • Being moved from my role on a Wireless Help Desk to a sales/appointment setting role.  It’s been a bit of an adjustment but a ridiculous amount of fun.

Ok, I’m all out of excuses…if I think of any more I’ll let you know.  At least I didn’t let a whole year go by without a post.  That’s something, right?

Here’s a picture of some puppy eyes to sweeten my apology.

Puppy eyes

All Hail Queen Lobster

Posted on

There is a lingering stereotype of the British, portraying us as sun-mad plebians who, at the first hint of weekend summer sunshine, strip our clothes off and expose our under-exercised, wobbly, tone-free glowing white flesh to the great eye in the sky.  This then results in the inevitable mass casualty list of sun burn victims who drag themselve into work and congratulate each other on an sun-filled weekend of indulgence and express jealous Ooohs and Aaahs over the colour change from white to red.

Although I have a coffee-coloured Asian Mum, my Dad is a freckly, uncooked chicken-white cultural blend of European countries that don’t boast excessive summers, and therefore although my Brother is a naturally caramel hued creature who tans fabulously with little effort, my default skin tone is pale.  However, thanks to my inherited Asian DNA I have discovered that if I tan carefully and steadily I too can enjoy a lovely olive-brown skin tone without too much effort.

I have readily mocked the British relationship with the sun – that mindless stripping-off that we do when the suns rays beat down, the mass migrations to the coast, the brutal courting of the suns rays that we go through – and you’d think that I would in turn be less of a novice when it’s my turn to baste myself.

However, you’d be surprised.  Exactly 2-weekends ago today The Hublet and I decided to take ourselves to the beach to make the most of the long awaited Florida sunshine after what has been a surprisingly long, cloudy, wet winter.  We went to the store and loaded up on beach chairs, towels, a dorky foam board to goof around on, and even went out of our way to pack a bottle of sun lotion.

We headed away from Jacksonville and bimbled down towards St. Augustine, choosing a far less crowded beach on which to unveil our winter-white virgin flesh for the first time.  We arrived at the beach and were so keen to maximise our tanning potential that we made the decision to not slather ourselves in sun lotion.

Why.  Why did we make this amateur mistake?  Was it my British DNA betraying me?  Was the sun sending nefarious rays to my brain and messing with my common sense center?

We spent 3-hours at the beach: 3 glorious hours of paddling and splashing and reading books and shaming ourselves on the foamie board under the judgmental glare of serious surfers.  After 3-hours of blissful abandon we decided to head back to Jacksonville and, upon returning to the truck, were happy to see that we had both definitely caught the sun.Lil Lobster

Oh boy had we.

Over the next few hours our sun-kissed glow rapidly began to turn into taut, painful, red flesh.

I couldn’t walk properly by nightfall and we both gingerly eased ourselves into bed, thankful that our backs had not caught the wrath of the sun in the same way that our fronts had, allowing us to at least sleep on one part of our bodies that wasn’t turning into lava.

I won’t go into further details as The Mothership has already given me a massive ear bashing over the phone, everyone at work had their, “You shouldn’t have done that, you should have done (insert obvious statement here that, to someone with pure unburned skin is so easy to offer) instead…” moment, and I just know that all of you guys will be tutting to yourselves as you read this post.

Suffice to say, PLAY SAFE IN THE SUN KIDS.  Make sure you slather up with lotion before you go out as, with sun burn, prevention is infinitely preferred to cure.

2-weeks later I’m still a little leper, however I’m happy to say that underneath the peeling skin I have definitely changed colour and can swear that beneath the children-scaring layers is a hint of olive.

Summer Season = 1, Me = 0

%d bloggers like this: