Bacon Makes It All Better

I’m trying to “keep calm and carry on” as the Anglophile in me thinks is best. My frame of mind at the present is a whirling dervish of unpredictability, with valleys of torrential self-pity…which I hate. What I hate even more is that I seem to be at a total loss regarding how to verbalize any of this. Or write about it either. My focus as of late has once again been reduced to Twitter-level: short, random, and most often pointless.

[Loba Tangent: I speak hypothetically, of course. Loba does not tweet. Although I get the sneaking suspicion that one of my Internet PersonalitiesTM does. I’m just not sure which one…yet.]

Anyway, this is why the lair has been a relative ghost town as of late. Minus my holiday investigation with Santa Sidle, of course.

[Loba Tangent 2: Did you know that, apparently, all I needed to do to give my visitor numbers a nice bump was to mention Sara Sidle? Who knew? I wonder what mentioning Jorja Fox will do to my stats. Gina Toscano? Maggie Doyle? Seriously, I’m a closeted stats whore, so I’ll do whatever it takes to make my numbers soar. Heh. That rhymed.]

However, I wanted to bring you all something during this final countdown to the end of 2010…something more special than gold, frankincense, and myrrh combined. What could be better than that combination, you might ask? How about Wil Wheaton, the Golden Girls, and Dungeons & Dragons? Framed in bacon?

Yeah, it’s okay to be speechless right now. It’s also okay to be mesmerized. Go ahead, take your time and stare. I’ll wait.

It’s breathtaking, isn’t it? Even Wil Wheaton didn’t quite know what to call this masterpiece. His blog post on it was titled what is this i don’t even

I don’t even either, Wil. All I know is that when I start to feel sad, I open this image and the tsunami of awesome that crashes through my mind immediately sweeps the sad away. It’s a temporary palliative, true…but I’ll take temporary like this any day. With an extra side of bacon, please.


Colonel Kira guards my stash. All arguments are henceforth invalid.

(Oh, and ImagiFriendsTM inspire the silliness in me. One of many reasons why I love them so…)

The Bajoran and The Beast

The anachronistic fustercluckery of this cover delights and disturbs me in equal measure. Ro Laren in a dress that looks like a reject from a Smut Trek bodice ripper romance? Running from…what? A Jawa with a raging case of gigantism and osteoporosis? And she’s holding a Cardassian phaser? In her left hand?

[Loba Tangent: Yes, I do notice things like this…I’m left-handed, so I almost always register when someone is similarly dexterous. Ro Laren, however, was not a southpaw. Neither was Admiral Cain or Maryann Forrester. Michelle Forbes, however…also isn’t left-handed. Just so you know.]

It’s all too much. And yet not even close to being enough. I want need to know what this comic is about. Although in my mind, I’ve decided that this is a really bad first date, and that look of murderous intent in Ro’s eyes is either: A) Because she’s now on her way to assassinate the creator of for completely botching her request for someone “dark and mysterious, with a sense of Old World adventure” or; B) Because she’s had enough of Tall, Dark, and Bony grabbing her…bustle.

Whatever is going on, I can’t stop laughing at this cover. Silly Star Trek comics, you just don’t care about continuity at all, do you?

If you find yourself needing to know more about this particular comic and my explanation just isn’t cutting it for you, then might I direct you to this electronic comic book collection, brought to you by Santa Timmy and his lovely worker elves at ThinkGeek. Consider it my gift to you at this festive Tribblemas…

He’s Bread, Jim

The theme for our division’s door-decorating extravaganza this year was “gingerbread men.” Most people in the division went the traditional route, gumdrop buttons at all.

Most people in the division aren’t raging geeks. Thank the prophets I am. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have…”The Gingerbread Man Trap”:

It’s not nearly as detailed as the OCD/anal-retentive part of me would like, but it’ll do.

You’re a Wonder

Not that long ago, I lamented that I would probably never see a photo of my grandmother in her WAVES uniform. I’ve been searching through every stash of family photos and papers that I can get my hands on for several years now, trying to locate such a photo, but to no avail.

This weekend, while visiting my dad, I came across a container I’d never seen before, sitting on the floor next to his computer. Inside the container were stacks of family photos. Buried deep in one of those stacks was this:

It’s blurry and badly damaged (someone ripped half the photo away at some point, so I have no idea who she’s saluting…although in my mind I’ve decided she’s saluting Yeoman Prince) and in desperate need of some PhotoShop love…but all that is incidental. This is my grandmother, our family’s very own Wonder Woman…only she never had to spin in place to show us the powers she possessed. She was gracious and kind-hearted, erudite and whimsical, always the magnetic core of any room she entered.

Simply put, she was wonderful.


I told you, denizens: Once upon a time, we had a pet squirrel. My dad discovered this little tiny baby squirrel in our front yard. She was so small, her eyes hadn’t even opened, yet by some miracle of universal proportions, she survived without a scratch a fall that would have left a human with at least several broken bones.

When she finally opened her eyes, I named her “Peepers.” Not the most brilliant name imaginable, but cut me a break…I was 7 years old. We’d always let Peepers run free whenever we were in the kitchen. I’m sure that most people probably cringe at the thought of a little wild animal, running about in an area where food is prepared and eaten. What can I say, we’re hopeless pet lovers. Besides, how can you not think this is adorable?

My mother adored Peepers. It seems to me that if Peepers wasn’t in her cage, she was on my mom’s shoulder. I know that’s not completely true, but that’s just the image I have stuck in my mind. It’s no surprise, then, that this is one of my favorite pictures of my mom:


I promised you I would come home for your birthday.

We spent the day celebrating you: eating what we knew you would have enjoyed, doing things we wished we could have done with you if only one more time, remembering the happiness you could bring and trying just for a while to forget the emptiness you left behind.

And now, tonight it’s snowing. The yard is blanketed in white, and the soft sizzle of falling snow fills the night air. I know you would be delighted. Snow on your birthday, a perfect complement to the Christmas tree I know you would have had me set up today.

There’s pie and ice cream and a final toast to be made in your honor before the evening’s end, and maybe we’ll watch some slides of birthdays and holidays past…evoke your spirit just a little while longer.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Something Squirrelly

No, I’m not referring to happenings at the lair…although I do believe that you are due an appy-polly-logy for yet another Friday come and gone and nary a Flashback Friday in sight. Do have pity on me, though, denizens. I was still in the glorious throes of food coma this past Friday, being the day after Thanksgiving and all. And the food was well worth the coma, let me tell you! Loba is indeed spoiled by a cousin with mad culinary skillz.

Besides eating, however, I did have several chances to try out my latest gadget. Seems that, after slightly more than six years of rather strenuous use, my lovely little point-and-click Kodak digital camera has decided it is time to rest. I’ve been so impressed by it throughout the years, that I decided to replace it with a new Kodak. I went for the EasyShare C195. Yes, I have the purple one. I didn’t order it in purple, but it was a lovely surprise and didn’t cost me anything extra. So I stuck with it.

I haven’t given this new camera a proper workout yet, but what I have done with it so far has been all right. Nothing mind-blowing, which I suppose isn’t the greatest review, eh? I find that I miss the ease of my old Kodak’s setting wheel when choosing different photo scenes. I also miss a view finder. That great big 3-inch LCD screen is lovely for reviewing photos, but nothing beats setting up a shot the old-fashioned way. Plus, I can see from the battery icon that this little camera is going to devour power like Augustus Gloop on speed!

However, it was quite reasonably priced, has lots of new photo scene options and, at 14 megapixels, I’m hoping it’s going to provide me with some great high-resolution shots. I just have to get used to it. (I also need to download the full manual, which apparently only is available online…yay for tree-saving!) So I’ve been carrying it with me to visit family, taking all the prerequisite animal photos that my family is required by genetics to take. This includes these lovely shots of two chubby, fluffy visitors to my aunt’s deck:

I know that my British compatriots are not fans of the American gray squirrel. I remember on my first trip across the pond, I was wandering through St. James’s Park, snapping photos of the wildlife. A rather large gray squirrel ran across my path and began to follow the woman slightly ahead of me and to my right. She was eating some sort of delightfully gooey-looking pastry, which the squirrel was obviously trying to charm her into sharing. Instead, she audibly “tsk”ed the squirrel, looked over at me, and said, “Cheeky little bugger, innit?”

I laughed but said nothing more, for fear that she would hear my blatantly Yankee twang and order me to take this fat, demanding American squirrel with me when I left. He was, indeed, cheeky…just like these voracious little visitors sneaking about, consuming anything they could shovel into their chubby little faces. Still, look at them! They’re so cute. I do have a soft spot for squirrels, obnoxious little tree rats that they are. I am sorry that they’re such bullies to their smaller British red cousins…but what can I say? They’re American 😉

Stunning, Sunning Sea Lions

I hate being touristy. I prefer to blend into the local colors, to savor the flavors around me as if I belonged to that particular tribe. It’s how I’ve sneaked past HRH’s defenses defences three times now without being sussed out as an” other” on first blush (God save me and Queenie when I open my Yankee yap, though).

However, when I learned that I was going to get the chance to return to San Francisco, a city I adored upon first visit in 2007, I knew that there was a destination I’d missed that first trip that I needed to catch this time around. Pier 39 is grossly touristy, with its cacophonous cavalcade of gift shops, kitschy themed restaurants, and way too many people for someone with well-defined personal space boundaries. But there’s something at Pier 39 so special…so wonderful…so adorable-beyond-belief that even I was willing to put aside my inherent disdain for humanity to witness.

You can hear their bellicose barks all the way from the main turn-off for the pier. Sharp, stereophonic yarps…benedictions, banishments, or simple berating for sticking a cold, wet nose or flipper where one is least appreciated. As you walk closer, your initial impression is one of somnolent (and slightly malodorous) mayhem: soggy, stinky sea lions, piled in surly, sleepy stacks under sanguine sunshine.

What is there not to love about that?

Okay, the smell is indeed abrasive when you get your first few (hundred) whiffs. Then again, they’re not Chanel No. 9 perfume models. They’re sea lions! Adorable, cranky sea lions, napping anyplace they can find the room…even if that means sprawling in confused tangles with the rest of the denizens of this unique little diversion from the main frenzy of Pier 39.

I couldn’t get enough of them and spent a good portion of my stop simply observing. You’d think that watching sleeping sea lions would be boring. However, they were a constantly shifting mass of fur and flippers as they moved across, over, under, about, aboard…prepositional beasts of perpetual motion all of them, vying for the best position to catch some rays before that infamous San Francisco fog rolled back down through the Golden Gate (which, indeed, it did only a few hours later).

I did finally snap out of my observational mode to snap several photos of this whimsical behavior. Here, then, are three of my favorite shots. As the sea lions would undoubtedly say: “Arrr! Arr arr arrrr! ARRR!”


Black, White, and Brooding

It must be the weather. I feel dark and brooding today. Therefore, I give you this photo that I took recently during a trip to visit Stratford Hall. This is the entrance to the Lee family burial vault, found at the end of the Great House’s eastern garden. I ran a color desaturation and a color burn of some of the darker parts of the photo, and then I added a pattern overlay to give it a bit of a worn, scratched look. Why? Because I like worn and scratched.

Definitely a contrast to yesterday’s bright burst of autumnal color, no?