November 24, 2004

Rest in Peace, Henry Ferdinand T-Rex

Henry Ferdinand T-Rex - "1997 - November 24th, 2004"

Went out this morning and found our little bunny Henry had died. We had had him for a little over seven years. I'm not sure how old he was when we got him. He may have only been a few months old. He was a "Mini-Rex", much smaller than a regular rabbit. When we first got him, and got around to naming him, everyone wanted to call him a different name. I wanted to call him Henry, someone else wanted to call him Ferdinand, and Mike wanted to call him T-Rex, because he chewed on everything. So, we compromised and called him, Henry Ferdinand T-Rex, or Henry for short. I'm going to miss the little guy.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Dolphins Are Cool

Caught this while reading one of the online newspapers I have bookmarked called the The Modesto Bee:

Dolphins shield swimmers from shark

The Associated Press
Last Updated: November 23, 2004, 02:09:10 PM PST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - A pod of dolphins saved a group of swimmers from a predatory 10-foot great white shark off the northern New Zealand coast, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The unusual incident occurred Oct. 30 when lifeguard Rob Howes took his 15-year-old daughter Niccy and two of her friends swimming near the town of Whangarei, The Northern Advocate said.

The dolphins, "started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us," Howes told the newspaper. When Howes tried to break away from the protective group, two of the bigger dolphins herded him back, he said.

Howes then spotted what he described as a 10-foot great white shark cruising toward them, but the man-eater was apparently repelled by the ring of dolphins and swam away.

"It was only about six feet away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face," he said.

Howes realized what the dolphins were doing: "They had corralled us up to protect us."

Another lifeguard, Matt Fleet, on patrol in a lifeboat, saw the dolphins circling the swimmers and slapping their tails on the water to keep them in place. Fleet told the newspaper he also had a clear sighting of the shark.

"Some of the people later on the beach tried to tell me it was just another dolphin but I knew what I saw," he said.

Ingrid Visser, who has been studying marine mammals for 14 years, told the newspaper that there have been reports from around the world of dolphins protecting swimmers. She said that in this case the dolphins probably sensed the humans were in danger and took action to protect them.

Visser, of the group Orca Research, said dolphins will attack sharks to protect themselves and their young.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2004

Another Recurring Dream

I've had dreams like this since I was a kid. I'm being chased. I never know who, or what it is that is chasing me. I can just hear it's footsteps behind me. I had another one last night. I was in a Toys 'R' Us. Actually, I was in the back of the store, in the area where they store all the overstock. Something is chasing me. I know it's not human. I can hear it making some god-awful noises. And, of course, like in all the other dreams, I am running down a hallway with doors. Sometimes, I will open a door, close it behind me, and open the next, while, whatever is chasing me, opens the door that I have just closed. Last night, as I was running, I encounted three or four doors, right next to each other and had to pick the one that led to yet another hall with doors. All the while, I am dodging around crates and boxes of toys. Fortunately, I was lucky in all the doors I chose, as they led further down the hall to other doors and I was able to leave whatever was chasing me behind me. And this goes on, until I wake up. I never find out what it is that is chasing me, maybe that's just as well.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

The Incredibles

Mike and I, and the girls, walked to the local theater today and saw this. It was great! It is much different from any of the other Pixar films that preceded it. I don't want to give too much away, but it involves superheroes having to go into hiding, since they've become a liability to the government. It seems that citizens have been suing superheroes right and left for injuries sustained when they get rescued. Mr. Incredible, aka Bob Parr, (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), works as an insurance agent during the day. His superpowers are extreme strength. His wife, voiced by Holly Hunter, is Elastigirl and can stretch herself out of almost any situtation. They have a son, Dashiell "Dash" Parr, who is blessed with the gift of speed. Their daughter, named Violet, has a gift of being able to turn invisible. The trouble starts when Mr. Incredible is called out of "retirement" to do some heroic work for a mysterious stranger. Anyway, I don't want to give any more away. But, it's a great movie.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004

A Little Too Close For Comfort

Just found out from Mike, that a neighbor, 4 doors down and on our side of the street had their house broken into. Today! This morning, in fact. She and her daughter left to do some shopping. When they came home, they found the front door wide open. All the cupboards had been opened. I don't know if they went through any drawers or not. They took some cash and jewelry. It sounds like someone was watching their house and knew that she had left. That is somewhat unnerving. Whoever did it, gained entry, by reaching in the doggie door and opening the back door.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2004

Scott Peterson: Guilty

From today's Los Angeles Times

Jury finds Scott Peterson guilty of first-degree murder

Defendant faces possible death sentence. Verdict in wife's slaying is first-degree murder, with second-degree conviction in son's death.
By The Associated Press

REDWOOD CITY - Scott Peterson was convicted today of murdering his pregnant wife and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay in what prosecutors in the made-for-cable-TV case portrayed as a cold-blooded attempt to escape marriage and fatherhood for the pleasures of the bachelor life.

Jurors found the former fertilizer salesman guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Laci Peterson, and guilty of second-degree murder in the death of the fetus she carried.

Peterson stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, then looked at each of the jurors as they were polled to confirm their decisions. The jurors appeared serious and unsmiling -- none appeared to look back at Peterson.

Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, sobbed as the verdicts were read. Her son, Brent Rocha, wrapped his arm tightly around her. Laci's friends in the gallery, arms around each other, cried. Sobs and loud sighs could be heard in the courtroom.

"You can go home now, this part of the trial is over. The penalty phase of this trial will start Nov. 22," Judge Alfred A. Delucchi told the jurors.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, Stanislaus County District Attorney James Brazelton reached forward and patted the shoulder of the lead detective, Craig Grogan, whose testimony about all the reasons why police suspected Peterson of murder proved pivotal.

Peterson, 32, now faces a possible death by lethal injection or life in prison. Delucchi said he hoped to have the result of the penalty phase by the end of November.

The verdict came after about eight hours of deliberation by the final 12 jurors, following a five-month trial that was an endless source of fascination to the tabloids and cable networks with its story of an attractive, radiant young couple awaiting the birth of their first child, a cheating husband, and a slaying for which prosecutors had no eyewitnesses, no weapon, not even a cause of death.

Jurors had resumed deliberations Friday at the end of a chaotic week in which the judge removed two members of the panel -- one who apparently violated the judge's order only to consider evidence presented at trial, and the other -- the foreman -- for reasons that remain unclear. The final 12 members deliberated for about 8 hours Wednesday and Friday before reaching their verdict.

A huge crowd massed outside the San Mateo County courthouse, where the trial was moved because of pretrial publicity in Modesto, where the couple had lived. Some cheered when the verdict was announced. "He's a sicko. He needs to fry," said Bob Johnston, 42, of San Jose. "I wanted to see that justice was served."

The 27-year-old substitute teacher was eight months pregnant when she vanished around Christmas Eve 2002. Four months later, her remains and those of her fetus washed up about 90 miles from the couple's Modesto home -- not far from where Peterson claims he was fishing alone the day of her disappearance.

Peterson was then arrested in the San Diego area, more than 400 miles from home, carrying nearly $15,000, his hair and goatee bleached blond.

Police never were able to establish exactly when, how or where Laci died.

At trial, prosecutors presented 174 witnesses and hundreds of pieces of evidence, from wiretapped phone calls to videotaped police interrogations, depicting Peterson as liar and a philanderer who was sweet-talking his girlfriend, massage therapist Amber Frey, at the same time he was trying to show the world he was pining for his missing wife.

Prosecutor Rick Distaso told the jury the former fertilizer salesman could not stand the thought of being trapped in a "dull, boring, married life with kids," and either strangled or smothered his wife and dumped her weighted-down body overboard from his fishing boat.

"He wants to live the rich, successful, freewheeling bachelor life. He can't do that when he's paying child support, alimony and everything else," Distaso told jurors. "He didn't want to be tied to this kid the rest of his life. He didn't want to be tied to Laci for the rest of his life. So he killed her."

The jury heard how Peterson had bought a two-day ocean-fishing license days before Laci disappeared, yet claimed his fishing trip was a last-minute substitution for golf because of blustery weather. Prosecutors also offered evidence suggesting he poured concrete anchors and used them to sink his wife's body in the bay.

Peterson never took the stand. His lawyers offered testimony that the fetus lived beyond the day Laci vanished, and they suggested that someone else abducted and killed Laci while she walked the dog, then framed her husband after learning of his fishing-trip alibi.

They explained his lies and inconsistent statements about his affair and his activities around the time of Laci's disappearance as the mutterings of a man in the midst of a breakdown over his missing wife.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos acknowledged jurors probably hated Peterson, and pleaded with them not to convict the man simply because the prosecution had made him look like a "jerk and a liar."

"You're not supposed to just decide this case on whether or not you like Scott Peterson," Geragos said.

The lawyer also noted the lingering questions about how Laci died.

"Maybe the logical explanation for the fact that we have no evidence of her struggling in that house, dying in that house is because it didn't happen in that house," he said. "I would love nothing more ... than to solve this case ... point to who did it ... but the fact of the matter is that they have not proved this case, they have not proved that Scott Peterson did anything except lie."

In addition, Geragos said police found that someone had used a computer in the Petersons' home on the morning Laci vanished -- after authorities contend Laci was already dead -- to search Web sites for a scarf and a sunflower-motif umbrella stand. He suggested the user was Laci, who had a sunflower tattoo on her ankle.

The story proved irresistible to the cable networks, which almost every night brought in talking heads to pick apart the two sides' legal strategies and expound on some of the soap opera aspects of the case, which included hours of secretly taped calls in which Peterson spun out elaborate tales to Frey.

Frey herself testified, saying that Peterson told her while they were dating that he had "lost his wife." Two weeks later, Laci vanished. But Frey also said that in all their recorded conversations, Peterson repeatedly professed his love for his wife and never said anything to incriminate himself in her slaying.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

Desperate Housewives

Caught this new series last night. I like it. I caught the 6th episode, so I missed the pilot. However, like a soap opera, I was able to pick up what's been going on. I can empathize with the one character who has kids. She was locking horns, with another mother, over a school play. I've run into women like that when the girls were in elementary school.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2004

Chowda! Chowda!

The above is from an episode of the Simpsons. Mayor Quimby's nephew, who has a Boston accent, gets angry at a French waiter, because he doesn't pronounce the word "chowder" properly. He would say "showder", in a snooty french accent. While the nephew pronounced it as, "Chowda! Chowda!" So, what reminded me of this? An article I found on the BostonChannel.com:

'Baahston' Accent Wreaking Havoc On 411
Verizon Tweaking Automated System

POSTED: 5:28 pm EST November 4, 2004
UPDATED: 7:39 pm EST November 4, 2004

BOSTON -- If you have ever had a tough time understanding Boston's famous accent, you're not alone.

Chrissy Conroy has a Boston accent. When she called Verizon 411 nformation for the Barker Tavern in Situate, she ended up waiting on the line for a live operator.

"Bahhkahh Tavirn," she told the operator.

"(The operator) understood me," she said.

"We certainly recognize that Boston has some unique accents and we take a close look at how the service responds to the Boston and the Massachusetts area," said John Vicenzo, of Verizon.

Verizon's new voice recognition system is still learning the ways of Boston speak.

"Worcester is one of those we have had to put into the voice recognition system so it can understand the meaning," said Vicenzo.

But how about a simple name like Newton?

"(The system) made me repeat it once, went to the computer twice, then I went to a human being," said Bostonian Sarah Dunleavy.

Verizon said the more often the new system hears certain words pronounced, the quicker it will learn to recognize the Boston accent.

"Over time, it will be like you will be talking to a human," said Vicenzo.

Until then, Bostonians will just have to wait patiently on the line.

Copyright 2004 by TheBostonChannel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2004

Dogs are so handy sometimes!

So, last night, right around when I expected Mike to be home, someone rings the doorbell. I figure it's him. Sometime, even when he has keys to the front door, he will ring the bell, hoping that someone will open it, saving him the trouble of fumbling for the keys and opening the door in the dark. However, I can tell by Peppers reaction, that it is not Mike, it's someone else. She's not barking, yet, but she is sniffing intently at the crack under the door. I decide to ignore it. However, the doorbell rings yet again. I get up and peek through the peephole. Turns out the porch light was on, and I could see some guy standing out there. Someone I didn't recognize. Okay, so I'm still not going to answer it. "Hello!?" He yells out and rings the doorbell yet again. Hmmmm...... It seems he knows someone is home. Maybe it's the guy from down the street, finally comng up to get the pink slip to the trailer we sold him about 2 weeks ago. I pull open the door and peek around. And, this is where Pepper comes in. She runs between the gap between me and the wall in the foyer and starts barking ferociously. Also, she is jumping and slamming into the security screen. Hitting it at about 6 feet off the ground. I notice, right away, that it's a teenage boy, and he has what looks like a clipboard. Shit!!!! He's selling something. This is why I didn't want to answer the door. Pepper is making quite a commotion, and me, feeling a little mean, did nothing to quiet her down. "Yes?" I say. Here is what sort of transpired:

Pepper: *Bark* *Snarl* *Bark* *Growl*

The kid: "....selling....subscriptions.....gangs....."

From what I could understand, he was selling subscriptions to the local newspaper. And, if I bought one, this would somehow help to keep him out of gangs. Oh, okay..... I've heard this one before.

Pepper: *Bark* *Snarl* *Bark* *Growl*

"I'm not interested, " I reply.

Usually, at this point, they don't take "no" for an answer and try to regal me with all the benefits I would recieve if I bought a subscription. But, he took one look at Pepper and walked away. Dogs are so great for times like this.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:34 PM | Comments (2)

November 02, 2004

Election Day

No matter what tonights outcome is, I am so happy that this day is almost over.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

A Mountain of Mail Order Catalogues

Tis the season. The mailman has been leaving about 2 to 5 pounds worth of catalogues in the mailbox everyday, for the past few weeks. I guess this is my fault. Every Christmas, I try to do as much shopping as I can through catalogs, or over the internet. So, the more I order, the more mailing lists I get added to. I keep them all and grow through a few when I get the time. When I see things I am interested in, I bend the page corner and add that catalogue to a "keep" pile. The other ones get tossed into the recycle bin. Eventually, I will go through the "keep" pile again and take a second look at the items I marked. The ones I am really interested in, I will order and the other catalogues will go into the bin. I really do enjoy looking through them. There are a lot of unique items out there. Unfortunately, I don't have the money, or the room to get a lot of these things. But, they are nice to go pore through and find gifts, for those people who are hard to buy things for.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)