platypus: (Default)
Yes, I've broken down and started posting on Dreamwidth, since LJ has been mostly non-functional all week. It kind of sucks, since I really want to post my Comic-Con pictures and writeups. And also because of free speech in Russia, but mostly because I am being inconvenienced. Just kidding. Sort of. I'm still confused about how a little journaling site created by some guy in Oregon became a major Russian political speech platform.
platypus: (rosie the ribbiter)
Ken and I had a three-day weekend -- the UC system observes Cesar Chavez day on the last Friday in March. We spent the whole thing geocaching.

Cache stories and pictures and stuff. )
platypus: (toeffe nose)
DSCF2644


DSCF2688

I'd just sat down to put my shoes on, and there he was. Toeffe abhors an empty lap like nature abhors a vacuum.
platypus: (hummingbird - distant)
I've taken to walking on my lunch hour. These are the things I see.

Library canyon
There's a little canyon behind the library, full of scrub brush. It smells fantastic. There's a geocache down there, too (one we found in the dark on Christmas Eve).

Library canyon


Scrub jay
This picture's best at original size. I tried to take a picture of the VERY NOISY scrub jay I encountered yesterday, but my camera was only set to 3MP and it was really bright out. I did manage to get it in the far right of this shot, though. At the far left, you can see mountains in the distance. Mountains! Like hummingbirds, mountains will never stop seeming cool.

Gazania flower stuck on a campus direction sign. I didn't do it, but I found the spikiness and the shadow attractive.

Gazania
Back by the library, there's a bunch more gazania. I'm fascinated by the intricate designs on them, so I often take macros. I love the soft colors on this one.

Gazania
platypus: (rat on computer - 2)
A few weeks ago, I got this ad in the mail.

Honeybell ad


I enjoy all manner of orangelike fruits, so I was intrigued. Yes, despite the gimmicky stuff (tattoos? Really?). I thought the "late-breaking news" was odd ("The good folks at the USDA... tell us that as long as we give it extra-special handling, we can ship our Florida-grown fruit to CA, TX, AZ & LA"), but it didn't seem significant as long as they were confirming that they could ship to California.

The small amount of information I was able to come up with online reinforced my desire to try honeybells, so I went to the Cushman's website and tried to order some. "Sorry," the website said. "This product cannot be shipped to the address you selected."

But they just told me it could, in their helpful marketing material! Disappointed, I sent them an email. Their response: "To prevent the outbreak of a pandemic disease from infecting the entire US crop, citrus products are restricted to the state of origin, and to states where there is no citrus production. ... [W]e are not allowed to send our Florida citrus into California, Arizona, Louisiana and Texas."

It's not that I'm in favor of pandemic disease, but that contradicted THEIR OWN AD. These things were even on the "Stuff we can ship to California" page of their website. But what could I do, argue?

I did a little research online, and it certainly sounded like all that was necessary was extra inspection and certification. I checked some other growers that sold honeybells, and none of them suggested that they couldn't ship to me. So I ordered some from a competitor (Hale Groves). Sorry, Cushman, you had your chance.

The box arrived on my birthday, covered in lots of agricultural inspection stickers. The fruit inside looked like this:

Honeybells


That's... some ugly fruit. In fact, let's compare:

Marketing:



Reality:

Honeybells


Yuck. But, hey, you don't eat the peel. I'd have felt more optimistic if the ad copy were "hideously ugly, but delicious!", but I still had hope.

Until I ate one. Bland, watery, chewy, full of seeds, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. It wasn't even easy to peel. Thoroughly nasty.

I gave another one a try a day or two later:

Honeybell


Not exactly appealing -- the thing looks like it has a skin condition -- but it was actually somewhat better than the first one. Faintly sweet, still watery, not much of a citrus/orange taste at all. Now that I've had a few, I can say that the ones with a more pronounced 'bell' shape are better overall; even though their skin is thicker and lumpier, it peels more easily, and eventually I even had one that really was seedless and sort of tasted like an orange. I am told that the rounder, seedier ones are the result of unauthorized cross-pollinating by bees, but that's not much of an excuse; the grower, which presumably exercises some level of quality control, picked them and sent them to me (for a premium price), claiming they would be the awesomest things I've ever tasted. They aren't. I've had much, much better Cuties, and you can buy Cuties for under a buck a pound. These honeybells were over $3 each. Not remotely worth it.

Hale Groves, the place I ordered from, has a satisfaction guarantee, and I was sufficiently dissatisfied to take them up on it. They said they'd give me a refund. I'm waiting for it.

(I checked Cushman today because I wanted the exact wording of the error message, and it looks like now they will ship to California. Whatever, Cushman. Next year I'm just buying more Cuties.)
platypus: (autumn)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/dec/10/fall-colors-vibrant-san-diego/

Yes, that's an article about fall colors in San Diego. Yes, it was written December 10th.

I've been noticing the vibrant colors lately myself:

DSCF1426

DSCF1465

DSCF1456

DSCF1490
platypus: (moly in window)

Moly monitors the bathroom door carefully in the morning, because she knows if she corners anyone in there they'll have to pet her.
platypus: (glowy things)
Glow Golf at Southridge Mall. My mom and I both got a hole in one on this hole, and it wasn't even a gimme.

Glow Golf was truly bizarre. (Mom: "What's the word for this?" Me: "Tacky?" Mom: "Surreal.") It was occupying part of a vacant Linens 'n Things anchor store at the mall (which had been Marshall Field's and Prange's and Gimbels before that -- how the mighty have fallen). The whole place was lit with nothing but overhead blacklights. There were two 18-hole courses -- the holes were necessarily rather small, but still, it was a good two hours of mini golf. We went on Monday afternoon, and the place was deserted except for us and a grandparents-and-granddaughter team; we started on the opposite end from them, and they left long before we were done. So we were basically alone in this weird, cavernous, glowing space. And they were playing the local Christian rock station. Like I said, surreal.

More glow golf pictures! )
platypus: (Default)
Ol' Pink Nose is back.

Runner-up: flowers still hanging on in my mom's garden.
platypus: (pumpkin wolf)
The daytime photo of the day...

...and the nighttime one.

Both taken at Wehr Nature Center in Franklin; Friday was the Halloween Haunt, a 45-minute walk through a forest full of jack-o-lanterns.

A few more photos from the pumpkin walk )
platypus: (Default)
Milwaukee, as it happened. (Taken in the Milwaukee airport.)
platypus: (Default)
I'm not sure why this memorial plaque is located next to the library (which is nowhere near Revelle Plaza), nor am I sure why someone left partly eaten fruit there.

This is probably the last photo I'll be posting till next Wednesday, when I'm back from Wisconsin. Try not to miss me too much.
platypus: (dogcows)
I actually have no idea what this flyer was for. Maybe it's better that way.
platypus: (toeffe on computer - tail)
Belated Sunday picture. Yeah, it's another cat. I was busy cleaning most of the day. What's it to ya?

(I like how he has a little fang going on there.)
platypus: (toeffe nose)
Toeffe also had his turn in front of the camera today.

Read more... )
platypus: (Penny eyes)
Black cat + good lighting = pictures!



Read more... )
platypus: (moly in window)

I was thinking about going back to bed for a little while, but someone's taken my spot.

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