Saturday, June 30, 2007
After patiently waiting with cameras ready for a month, yesterday's storm (you can hear the thunder in the background) brought out the wog and we were able to capture this short video clip.
The wog, which most believe is a cross between a dog and a weasel, is first spotted by the pond. In order to capture the video, I have to come from behind the blind we had set up. As soon as I do, the wog hops out of the yard, into the tress and vanishes.
You can view previous wog sightings here, here and here.
Friday, June 29, 2007
During dinner, Becky kept looking at the images on her camera while mumbling, “Something different about image 0089.”
It wasn’t until we were back in the hotel room where we were able to export the image to the mobile lab computer that we could clearly see what Becky had photographed.
Upon closer inspection and further enhancement of the image, you can clearly see a difference in the rock formation on the west side of the building. There appears to be an oval shaped creature about halfway up the side of the wall. The team is in agreement that this indeed is a roxopod, most likely a granipillar.
Since there was only enough funding for one night, the team will be back at the university tomorrow. However, we feel certain Becky’s photographs will provide enough evidence for future roxopod expedition funding.
While most people staying at the Black Rock Lodge would be excited about the indoor/outdoor pool, the free continental breakfast or the mint that is left on their pillow, our team was content to stare at the walls. And stare we did all afternoon waiting to see if one of the boulders moved.
When we needed to give our eyes a rest, we spoke to the hotel staff about the possible existence of the roxopods. None of them hesitated to tell either of their personal encounters or the stories told to them by previous guests of the hotel. One story went so far as to claim that a brother and sister collected an entire bucket of sedimentipedes. However, their mother, thinking it was a bucket of rocks, made them leave it outside their room. In the morning, there was nothing left but an empty bucket.
The origin of the roxopod is not entirely clear but the hotel manager claims they were created by the construction workers who first built the lodge. As the story goes, during their lunch-breaks the workers would ease their boredom by gluing little pebbles to bugs with cement. They would place the bugs on the side of the newly constructed walls and bet on which bug would climb to the top the quickest.
It is not know how the roxopods developed after that. Some suggest that the bugs with the pebbles were stronger and more attractive to other bugs and that natural selection favored more rock-shaped creatures. Others suggest that some rocks of a more organic nature bonded to the bugs and that the story of the bored boulder builders is more fable than fact.
Becky, who has been carefully visually documenting the walls with her camera the entire afternoon, claims she has seen a difference in the rock patterns. However, our eyes are strained from seeking all afternoon and it's starting to get dark. We decided to call off the hunt, grab something to eat, and then head back to the mobile lab where we can better examine Becky's photographs.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Exploration: To seek out and find evidence of petro-based creatures know as roxopods.
Location: Mountain region: town of Black Rock
Probability of existence: Medium
Funding: Grant for two days. Possible extended funding based on return of factual evidence.
Our team, consisting of nature photographer Becky Bernard, naturalist/artist Christian Gray, and myself, animal behaviorist Cole Saphone, touched down in the small mountain town of Black Rock this afternoon. Our mission, a one-night stay at the Black Rock Lodge, a motel composed mostly of granite walls and famous for their roxopod sightings.
The Black Rock Lodge
Roxopods is really a family of creatures having two sub species, sedimentipedes and granipillars. Sedimentipedes are usually longer and flatter than their cousins the granipillars, with sighting occurring on low rock piles. Granipillars are shorter and rounder. Most granipillars have been sighted clinging or crawling on steep, vertical rock walls. Since the Black Rock Lodge’s walls are created from boulders, our team’s focus will be fixed on finding granipillars.
Good location to hunt sedimentipedes
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Back at Dukerd University, the team and I are in tight negotiations with Professor Fumbleton in an effort to secure funding for another pigrate expedition. A recent email tip about the possible marketing of pigrate feet can only support our position.
Attached to the email was the following photo taken in a small coastal grocery store, apparently selling supposed pigrate parts.
If the claim is true, we could have a conservation crisis on our hands. Since there is no account of an accurate number of pigrates, we may have a store marketing parts of an animal that very well likely should be protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The negotiations seem to be going well and we are hopeful to receive funding for another expedition by mid to late July.
Friday, June 22, 2007
A few close ups of my latest bent fork...
Holding an apple and along side other soon to be bent forks.
After watching a video about spoon bending by using the power of the mind, I have taken on this new and exciting hobby.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised with my newfound abilities. The fork used in this video is a real fork and pretty hard to bend, that is, without using a mind-bending technique.
Friday, June 15, 2007
This is an illustration I created for Picture-Bookies Showcase theme, Friends. But I got to tell you, it works just fine for this week's Illustration Friday word, Rejection.
click image to enlarge
Why, you might ask? Because, this is an illustration I created based on my chapter book manuscript, HOW TO MILK A DINOCOW. And that particular manuscript was just sent off for the thirteenth time (having been rejected twelve times). You can read about feeling lucky to find out more.
Or if you want to have some fun, visit the dinocow website to see this little puppy in action. Don't forget to click on the milk bottle!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Here’s the problem. All the little turtles keep getting out of my pond. They get out of the pond, then they get out of the little fence around the pond, and then they get out of my yard. So I’m done with little turtles.
Not long ago, I helped a rather large snapper cross the road. Since that day I have been thinking about getting me one of those big snappers. So today, we went fishing and low and behold this fellow comes along. From the water to the net, from the net to the bucket and from the bucket... well, I put him/her back in the lake.
I’m not sure why. Maybe I didn’t think having a 2-foot snapping turtle in my yard was all that safe. Or maybe it smelled really terrible. Or maybe I just thought he/she would be happier swimming around a lake then some little pond in my yard.
So did I do the right thing? I could go back. This turtle was way cool. Big alligator feet and claws. Fast action neck with kung-fu jaws. But smelly. Did I mention smelly? Smelly.
Another illustration by nature artist Christian Gray based on a theory by animal behaviorist Cole Saphone. Cole believes that the pigrate may spend much of the day sleeping under docks or other hidden places to avoid the heat of the summer sun.
He further believes that the pigrate spends much of the later evening hours forging for food, either scavenging left over sandwiches or whatever else it can find on the beach, or diving for sea grass and kelp.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The Return Trip
While driving back to Dukerd University we noticed quite a few yard ornaments in Surfsail Village that celebrate the pigrate. Becky snapped this photo of a wooded pigrate that was sitting on a fish table in the side yard of a house on the sound. The patch over the eye and the wooden peg leg show how the people of this village revere the pigrates as national heros.
If your are not familiar with the story you might be interested to learn that the pigrates first learned to swim while aboard a fishing vessel during the Revolutionary War. One legend describes a battle between the ship carrying the pigs and a British battle ship. The pigs are noted as having single hoofedly sinking a fleet of British ships.
Naturalist and artist Christian Gray created this illustration from memory of what he saw on day three of our exploration.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Day Three: Afternoon, Last Day
The afternoon turned up nothing. It was time we called off the search and headed back to base camp. We tried to encourage each other by talking about the successes of the previous day. Though discussing yesterday’s near sighting and hoof print tracks lifted our spirits, we were still disappointed in the thought of packing up base camp and returning home, empty-handed.
It was animal behaviorist Cole Saphone who spied the creature first. A large, orange animal was rooting through the sand, some 2000 yards up the coast.
Photographer Becky Bernard immediately pulled out her camera. However, she was only able to capture this one photo before the shy creature caught wind of us and leaped into the waves. Though we can’t be positive, the entire team feels this creature is the elusive salt water, swimming pig called the pigrate.
Though we are out of time and money for this trip, our team is filled with excitement as we head back to camp. Armed with new evidence of the existence of the pigrate, we feel certain we will receive continued funding from the university to conduct future explorations.
Day Three: Morning, Last Day
After walking the beach for five hours this morning, our team heads back to camp for lunch empty-handed. From the excitement of a near sighting and hoof print tracks yesterday, we find ourselves disappointed in having found nothing today.
We’ll have one last chance this afternoon but without so much as the discovery of a rutting hole, the chances of us picking up the trail of a pigrate seems doubtful.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Day Two: Evening
Nature photographer Becky Bernard has seen something about 100 yards up the beach. She calls to the team and points, indicating the spot where she says she saw a creature trot down a dune and disappear into the sea.
The rest of our team arrives at the location, searching the waves for a peak and possibly capturing a photo of a swimming pig. However, after fifteen minutes of staring at the sea, we come up empty handed.
are these the tracks of a pigrate?
Reluctantly, we call off the search but as we turn to head back to camp, naturalist/artist Christian Gray draws are attention to a set of tracks that lead down the dunes and into the ocean. Becky hurries to photograph what appears to be hoof prints before they are washed away by the rising tide.
The near sighting and the fresh tracks have energized our team. We’ll head back to camp now filled with excitement about what a new day will bring.
The Hunt for Pigrates
Day Two: Morning
The waves pound against the sand as our team patrols the beach. Last night’s storm scattered debris up and down the coast. We sort through sticks and seaweed looking for signs that a pigrate may be near.
Apple cores and empty grape stems would both be signs that the elusive swimming swine was here, but we find neither. We do spy small holes in the sand that seem to indicate rutting may have occurred.
The holes on the beach, and the fact that we can’t find a decent seashell after last night’s storm, keeps the team ever hopeful that we might see something before night.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Day One: Evening
Our team, consisting of animal behaviorist Cole Saphone, nature photographer Becky Bernard and naturalist/artist Christian Gray, reached base camp tonight. We are staying at a little motel in the small fishing town of Surfsail Village.
Our mission, spend the next three days searching for proof of the existence of a salt water swimming pig know as the pigrate.
As eager as we are to start the hunt, rain has already begun to fall and it looks like it is going to be a very stormy night. We’re disappointed but hopefully, after a good night’s sleep, we can start fresh in the morning.
(only know photo of a pigrate)