Aug 26, 2008

¡Viva la [BEEEEEEEP]!

On Saturday, my wife and I went to a restaurant in our neighborhood called Old Mexico. It's got good food, great service and decent prices. It also has some interesting choices in music! We were sitting there enjoying our food and talking, when all of a sudden the music switched to a high-pitched BEEEEEEP and then switched back to music again.

It was kind of stormy, so we attributed it to some sort of signal interference. Until it happened again. My wife and I looked at each other and cracked up. The vocals in the song were pretty wild, and there were sections when the signer would just be yelling all kinds of stuff...all in Spanish, of course. And then we heard the beep for the third time. I looked around at the other customers, but no one seemed to notice.

Now that's got me many other songs are cussing en Español and NOT getting beeped?!?!

Busted in the Panhandle

On Saturday, my wife and I decided to replace our "PC Road Trip" Geocache at a local park. The old cache was a combination sudoku puzzle / driving trip around Panama City, and it hasn't exactly been a hotbed of activity. We also received a recent comment that the puzzles were gone, and the cache container was wet. So, we decided to do some re-vamping.

Due to the high cost of gas, we scrapped the whole 'road trip' idea, and instead settled on a 3-stage multi-cache (each destination gives you the coords to the next stage). We took the ammo cans home to be cleaned and dried out.

At this same time, Tropical Storm Fay was beginning to move into the area. Premium Geocaching members always get an email as soon as a new cache is placed, and they race to see who can be the "first to find". Knowing this, we thought it would be a great idea to place the cache ASAP, and try to get it published before the storm left the area (each cache has to be approved by an independant reviewer). That way, the FTF winner would get drenched! We aren't premium members (it costs $30.00 per year) and we thought it would be a good way to torture them a little bit. All in fun, of course. This was around 9:00 pm. So, we updated the swag in the ammo can, grabbed some hide-a-key containers for the first two stages, and headed to the park.

It was already drizzling, so when we got to the park I opted not to park in the lot, but off the road in between some bushes instead. That way we would be closer to the final stage, and I wouldn't have to carry the container as far. We hopped out of the car with our umbrella, flashlight, ammo can and hide-a-keys. We got about 10 feet before we saw another car pull into the park. And stop behind our car. We pretended not to notice, and then the whole area was flooded with a spotlight. We still continued walking, though we both knew that a cop had totally busted us. We agreed to keep walking and pretend we didn't notice him, and for the love of Pete DON'T TURN AROUND. I was expecting to hear a "Halt!" over the loudspeaker any moment, but it never came.

We agreed not to attempt to place the cache in the wooded area nearby (that would look too suspicious) so we just walked on. No plan. No idea what to do. Just keep waling. We walked around the baseball field and could still see the cop sitting there with his spotlight on our car. We decided to stash the ammo can because it would be difficult enough to diffuse the situation without holding a camoflauged box that looked an awful lot like a bomb. We also had no official Geocaching paraphanelia, no GPS unit, and we knew it would be difficult to explain the whole Geocaching idea. So we stashed the box under a bench and continued walking.

By this time, we were pretty wet and we had reached the opposite end of the park, so we started back. We could still see the cop's light on our car. He wasn't leaving. My wife wanted to go back and try to prevent him from writing us a ticket, and I agreed. Okay. Now it's time to get our stories straight.

We settled on this: "We were out for a walk, and didn't want to park in the parking lot because it looked muddy. Now that the rain had started falling harder, we decided to leave. We didn't notice the cop car or the spotlight." Lame, I know. But it was the best we could do on short notice. And it took us a while...we were almost back and I distinctly remember saying, "What are we doing out here? What are we going to say?" We were cutting across the grass now, headed directly toward our car. There were some bushes blocking the cop, so we couldn't see what he was doing.

A few paces later, my wife noticed the blue lights were on. Great. OK. Here we go. Show time!

We cautiously stepped out from behind the bushes. My wife was like, "Hello?" No answer. "Hello?" She wanted to make sure he knew we were approaching so there wouldn't be some kind of awful shootout. Well, we weren't carrying guns, so I guess it would be a shooting, not a shootout. Anywho, I realized what she was doing, and in the same moment also noted that I was still holding the thick Maglite Flashlight. I raised both arms slowly and walked forward.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he stepped out of the car. "Is this your car?" Yes, we said. Are you the registered owner? Yes, I said. I handed him my driver's license. We soon heard over the radio "Silver 2004 Ford Focus registerd to..." and then my wife's name. Oops. Oh well, show him your ID, honey.

She didn't have it. We hastily rattled off the story, and I interjected with, "it's such a cool night, y'know, not like the hot ones we've been having". Yeah, that'll convince him. He eyeballed us for a moment, then asked why we didn't park in the lot. "Oh, it looks muddy", I told him. He looked at the soggy ground where we were parked, and said, "It's pretty muddy here." I pretended to notice for the first time...oh, yeah. Hmm.

Then he told us that sometimes "not-so-nice" people park in these same bushes and do drug deals and stuff. I'm thinking, 'we've got drug dealers in the neighborhood? Great. ' Anyway, he told us to park in the lot next time, and we wholeheartedly agreed. Then we both got in our car and waited. He turned off the blue lights, then the spotlight, and left. Whew! That was a close one.

But the cache still needed to be placed. We drove the car over to the lot, and discussed what to do. It was decided that we would both walk to stage 2 and place the hide-a-key. Then, my wife would return to the car, and I would continue to stage 1, place the hide-a-key, pick up the container and go into the woods to hide it. This seemed like a good idea in theory, but upon execution it contained a couple of flaws. First, my wife was left in the car all alone - what if the cop came back with more quesitons? Second, I would have to walk the ammo can under some streetlights near the road to get it back to the right side of the park. Third, we didn't get our stories straight before we seperated.

As I walked, it started raining harder. I placed the hide-a-key, and picked up the ammo box. My story was going to be that my doctor told me I had to walk twice as far as my wife, so that's why I was walking alone. In the dark. In the rain. Carrying a bomb.

Unbeknownst to me, my wife was facing the same dilemma, but came up with a more convincing story - I went off to look for something that I thought I lost while we were walking the first time. That was good. Way better than mine!

Luckily, we didn't need it. The cop didn't come back, we didn't get hauled off to City Hall (which was like 2 blocks away), we didn't get seperated and questioned individually, so no one found out that our stories didn't match.

After I left the woods, I could barely see. My glasses were all wet and there was no way for me to dry them. But when I got to the parking lot I could make out a person running at me - my wife. We embraced, and she told me she was glad nothing happened to me. We got in the car and headed home to dry off.

Our cache was published the next morning, and some brave premium members found it. Coincidentally, the rain wasn't that bad, and they didn't get very wet. Well, that's karma for you.

I love Geocaching.

Tropical Storm Fay: Panama City's Wind Damage

Aug 21, 2008

Today in History – August 21

On August 21, 1911, Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, the Mona Lisa, was stolen from the Louvre in Paris, France. The next day, a painter named Louis Béroud walked into the Louvre and went to the spot where the Mona Lisa had been on display for five years. However, where the Mona Lisa should have stood, he found four iron pegs. Béroud contacted the section head of the guards, who thought the painting was being photographed for marketing purposes. A few hours later, Béroud checked back with the section head of the museum, and it was confirmed that the Mona Lisa was not with the photographers. The Louvre was closed for an entire week to investigate the theft.

At the time, the painting was believed to be lost forever, and it was two years before the real thief was discovered. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole it by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. Peruggia was an Italian patriot who believed Leonardo's painting should be returned to Italy for display in an Italian museum. After having kept the painting in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was finally caught when he attempted to sell it to the directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The Mona Lisa was exhibited all over Italy and returned to the Louvre in 1913. Peruggia was hailed for his patriotism in Italy and only served a few months in jail for the crime.

Aug 19, 2008

Dumb Steve Joke VII

Dumb Steve was broke. He went to his rich uncle's house and asked if there were any chores that he could do to earn some extra cash.
"Well, my porch needs to be painted," said Steve's uncle.
"Great!" said Steve, "I'll get right on it."
Steve's uncle gave him a couple of buckets of paint, and the supplies he would need to do the job. He then went to his office to make some phone calls.
To the surprise of his uncle, Steve returned in only 30 minutes, reporting that he was finished painting the porch. His uncle was pleased by the speed of the job, so he gave Steve a nice bonus on top of the money for doing the work.
Steve gladly accepted the cash, and said as he walked out the door, "By the's a Ferrari. Not a Porch."

Aug 15, 2008

Shoe-Buckling Rhyme

You're probably all familiar with a few lines of this nursery rhyme in one fashion or another:

One, two, buckle my shoe
Three, four, shut the door
Five, six, pick up sticks
Seven, eight, lay them straight
Nine, ten, a good fat hen
Eleven, twelve, who will delve?
Thirteen, fourteen, maids a-courting
Fifteen, sixteen, maids a-kissing
Seventeen, eighteen, maids a-waiting
Nineteen, twenty, my stomach’s empty

It dates back to the Middle Ages, and several lines have very macabre origins. (What nursery rhyme doesn't?) I can also understand every word in the poem save one: "delve". This is quite rare considering the other nuggets I've seen from the period.

I went to and was given the following definition: "to carry on intensive and thorough research for data, information, or the like; investigate."

I don't know much about the Middle Ages, but I'm fairly certain that children of that time period likely would not spend great amounts of time researching data.

The second definition was a little more helpful: "to dig the ground, as with a spade."

This fits with the macabre references, and is also listed as the 'Archaic' definition (commonly used in an earlier time but rare in present-day usage). Huzzah! Mystery solved. It's about digging. Grave digging to be precise...[shudder].

Now if we could just do something about that last "rhyme"...

How about Nineteen, Twenty, my eyes are squinty?

Aug 8, 2008

The Devil's Fork

A devil’s fork, also known as a blivet or poiuyt, is an undecipherable figure, an optical illusion and an impossible object. It portrays two irreconciliable perspectives at once, creating a "lost" layer between the top two rods, and an impossible extra, vanishing rod in between the bottom two.

Aug 1, 2008

Peculiar Creatures: Angora Rabbit

The Angora Rabbit is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara, Turkey. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 1700s, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s. They are bred largely for their long angora wool, which may be removed by shearing or combing. Angora rabbits typically weigh anywhere from 5-12 pounds, depending on the breed.

New Series Launched: Peculiar Creatures

I happy to announce the creation of a new recurring series here at Planet Bizzle. It will be titled "Peculiar Creatures", and some future subjects include the blobfish, the tarsier, and the yeti crab. This new series will feature pictures, weblinks and brief descriptions. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to your feedback! Let me know if there are any creatures that you would like to see featured here...I guess that would make them "featured creatures". Ha! And I would be your "featured creatures teacher" (or preacher). You all will be screechers in the "featured creatures" bleachers. HAHA! I kill me.