Apr 25, 2008

pierre's plumageless posterior

April 25, 2008 — A custom-crafted wetsuit may have helped Pierre the African penguin, seen here, recover from a bout of a baldness. Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences commissioned the gear after Pierre began shedding his insulating, waterproof feathers, leaving him with an embarrassingly exposed behind.

Unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank, Pierre ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water. "He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy.
When a heat lamp failed to help, Schaller turned to Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear based in San Leandro, California.

"We were really excited to do it," said Teo Tertel, company marketing specialist. "We heard most of these penguins only live to 20, and our little buddy there was already 25. Anything we could do to help them, we were all for it."

One concern was that the other penguins would reject Pierre in his new duds, which fastens with Velcro at the back, covers Pierre's torso, and has small openings for his flippers. But in fact, they accepted his sleek new look.
In the six weeks he has been using the suit, Pierre has gained weight, grown back feathers on his hind parts, and is again acting like his feisty, alpha-male self.

Schaller can't say for sure whether the wetsuit allowed Pierre to recover, but "certainly we were able to keep him comfortable during a period of time that would have been very difficult for him to stay comfortable."
With his plumage restored, Pierre is being now weaned off the suit.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Apr 20, 2008

spring skiing

we've had a string of ex-Fairbanksan friends visiting - Amanda, Christina and Hannah - who are very good at getting us to appreciate the beauty of late winter in interior AK. the snow starts to get pretty old after 6 straight months of it, and come March, most people are anxiously awaiting Spring. there are a few out there that would like snow all year, but I am not one of them! although... the last couple of months have been really beautiful and have provided some epic days of downhill and xc skiing.

including an incredible bluebird, 18-inch powder day at girdwood with reba and alec (no photos unfortunately).
skiland with amanda -
i think amanda looks like natalie portman here:We didn't get a chance to ski/board with christina (we headed down to girdwood instead), but here we are looking cool in front of Gulliver's -
thanks to Hannah, we enjoyed an EPIC weekend of skiing in cantwell with hannah, jon & chrissy and the dogs -

Apr 16, 2008

gussy mcgusterson

(aka Gus) is our new kitten. we got him about mid-February. He was born around Thanksgiving, and a woman took him but soon returned him because he was "too spastic". this probably should have sounded some warning bells, but he's so CUTE! we had a tough time deciding on a name. Miles was easy. We put on Miles Davis his first night at home, and he seemed to like it. The new guy arrived as Milo, but since it was a bit too close to Miles, he went through Badger, Mooshki, Pushkin, Leo, Louie, Crazer, ... and finally landed on Gus.

he's really cute but he drives Miles (and Hannah) crazy.



Apr 14, 2008

blog hiatus

yes, i know, it's been a long time!  i'll have to do some short back blogs to get caught up...

the first topic is HOME IMPROVEMENT.  everyone has been asking about our house.   since we bought the house, we had it lifted and leveled, new deck put in, ripped out the floor, put in new joists, new (non-squirrel inhabited) insulation, new plywood floor.  ripped out the cabinets, put in new ones, new countertop.  a bit of painting and small touchups upstairs.  the bamboo floor is almost in, when it's done, i'll have some before and after pics.  soon!  we still have a lot to do, but it's looking much better already.