Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I want one!!!!!!!!

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, CA is having a cool fundraising campaign right now called Change for Cheetahs.  They're trying to raise money to help build a new multi-species exhibit for African animals and an anonymous donor will match up to $1,000 of all change collected during the first week of Zoo Lights.  The new exhibit will be:: (from their Facebook page)

"A series of new African exhibits, many multi-species, that together will emulate the African plains and savannas. African Adventure will be a brand new, state-of-the-art home for a pride of African lions, a family herd of African elephants, white rhinos, a brand new giraffe feeding station with 360 degree views of the savanna, a new dine-in restaurant called Kopje Lodge and, of course, cheetahs complete with a cheetah run!"

Very cool!  Especially about the Cheetahs and Cheetah Run.  I got to see the original Cheetah Run Safari at the San Diego Wild Animal Park a few years ago and it was amazing.

Anyway, fundraising isn't any bit new thing for zoos.  Since most of them are non-profit, they always seem to be having some sort of fundraising going on to help improve the lives of the animals in their care.  What Fresno Chaffee is doing that makes it a bit unique is their method of collecting money...

They had these "little" paw print banks made and when you fill it up you take it to the zoo to turn in the money then fill it up some more.  At the end of the campaign, you get to keep the bank.  I wrote on their FB page that I wanted a bank but was outside the area but I'd still be willing to raise money for the new exhibit.  I doubt they'll give me one, but I'd LOVE to have one.  They're so cute and I'm a sucker for Cheetahs!
If I knew someone who lived in that area I'd ask them to get me one, but...I know nobody in Northern California.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll be willing to send me one. 

Anyway, they're supposed to break ground for the new space next month with a completion date of Summer 2015.  I've been wanting to go back to the Bay Area and now I've got good motivation to save for it.  I don't know that Fresno Chaffee currently has Cheetahs so that would be neat to have another zoo with them.  And I've never been to that zoo or any of the others in Northern California.  My zoo travels have really taken a nose dive.  For awhile there I was visiting a bunch of different ones, but it's been a couple of years since I've been to a new one.  If my friend comes out from Utah next month maybe I can talk her into a drive up to Bearizona...I know she's been wanting to go since I told her about it.  It's been open for about 3 years now and I have yet to visit, but with someone else driving (it's about a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive) I think I can handle it.  hahaha.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Today's Blog Post is Brought To You By the Letter..."R"

"R" is for rain, which is what we're having today and I didn't want to bring my camera from my car to the building where I work as I don't have adequate protection for it.  Yes, I have an umbrella, but it doesn't work very well when it's windy and pushing the rain sideways. 

I had yesterday off and went out horse hunting...I took this picture with my cell phone...A cute little Section D Welsh Cob I found near one of the lakes in Papago Park...

It's supposed to rain for most of the weekend.  Oh joy!  Today we're very short-staffed.  Double oh joy!  The owner of No Line Farms blog, Christine, posted a photo for me on her blog of a horse in a field being snowed on...they're getting snow and I'm getting rain.  We're getting snow about 2 1/2 hours north of us in Flagstaff, but all we have is rain.  Where's the justice in that, I ask you?

I'll hopefully have more pictures from yesterday's exploits for you on Monday...Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hurray! There's horse pictures!

Yup.  I brought my USB cord from home and plugged my camera into my computer at work and voila!  Pictures!  The ones I've been promising since last week.  Sorry it took so long to get them up, but hopefully it'll be worth it.

Okay.  So.  Here's the story I said that went along with these pictures.  I found a Facebook page about the Salt River herd and on it was some locations to find the horses that I didn't know about so I decided to head out to one of the locations in hopes of spotting them.  When I got to the river, though, there was no sign of them.  I was bummed, to say the least.  I might have hung around a bit to wait and see if they showed up, but there were signs all over the place stating you needed a Tonto Pass if you planned to park your car and I hadn't been able to get one so I didn't want to stay in one place too long and potentially get a ticket.  So I left and got back out on the road, which led me to my discovery...as the road curved around towards the Beeline Highway, I happened to look over and...O.M.F.G!!!!!  A BIG herd.  But I didn't stop right away.  Don't ask me why, but I didn't.  I got out on the Beeline heading back south towards Fountain Hills and where I'd seen the other herds but I kept thinking about the big one I'd just seen and how there was a nice big place to park on the side of the road so I got turned around and went back.  Because I didn't want to startle them, I parked a little ways down the road and got out to walk in on foot.  They were in a little small gulley and there was a wire fence near the road so I just stayed up on the road.  There were a couple of youngsters.  This foal and its mom were a little ways away from the herd...
They were more towards where I'd parked so I got pictures of them first.  They were just hanging out.  Didn't seem too disturbed by my presence.  I tried to be as quiet as I could and they didn't even twitch.  Then I went to check out the rest of the herd and I saw my first greys.  I'd seen pictures of them, but had only seen chestnuts and bays up until that point so I was quite excited to finally see some greys...

Again, I didn't want to disturb them so I took a bunch of pictures then left them to their eating.  I was smiling soooo big that I didn't care when some idiot pulled off the road east of me then honked when they drove by.  I went back by two more times during the day and the 2nd time they were still there, but the 3rd time they'd left, but that was okay since I'd seen them already and had plenty of pictures.  I tell you what, though, that was such an amazing experience!  They all looked healthy and decently fed.  There's plenty for them to eat out there.

Usually when I'm off work for the day and go out and about, I try to find domestic horses to shoot, too.  I usually find a place that looks like it has horse property then follow different roads.  Sometimes I get lucky and find horses near the fence and sometimes there's no horses or they're too far away.  I try to find horses that I can shoot through the fence without getting out of my car because I don't want the owners to think I'm harassing their horses, but sometimes that's not always possible and I'm getting bolder about getting out of my car so I can shoot over or through a fence.  Most of the time the horses ignore me...

but every now and then I encounter ones that are friendly and come over looking for attention or snacks...

Don't worry...I don't feed them or touch them.  I know better than to touch horses that don't belong to me and the chestnut on top is at a show barn so I wouldn't want something happening to him just because I couldn't keep my hands to myself.  hahaha.  Both photos were shot from the inside of my car.

Well, there you have it.  Finally, huh?  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  I'm off work tomorrow again so I'll be out hunting.  This time I'm going to get a Tonto Pass because not only do I want to be able to safely hang out at the river in case there's horses there, but I don't want to have to worry about encountering a Sheriff's deputy like I did last time.  He was just sitting there and probably not paying any attention to me, but why risk it?  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pictures of Wild Horses!!!!!!!

Well, not quite.  I brought my camera to work so I could upload the pictures to share...
but would you believe I didn't make sure I had the right USB cable to connect it to my computer?  I have several in my desk drawer, but the part that goes into the camera is either too flat or just plain too small.  I'm sorry.  I tried.  I really did.  So tomorrow I'll have them for sure.  In the meantime, I have proof that I have the pictures on the camera...you know, in case you're beginning to doubt their existence...hahaha.  I apologize in advance for their crappiness, but it's the best I could do using my cell phone.  Tomorrow.  For sure I'll have the pictures up to share tomorrow.  I'd better since I'm going hunting again on Thursday...depending on the weather.  If the weather is rainy like they're saying then I may not be able to.  I took the day off, but depending on how heavy it's raining I may do something else.  We'll have to see.  Anyway, on to the crappy photos!

The last photo is a group of 3 or 4 grey horses.  Most of the herd was bay and chestnut but there were a few greys and this was my first time seeing them.  I'll share the whole story about it when I put the real photos up tomorrow.

In case you're curious, the camera is a Canon 40D.  I've had it for....4 years?  When my great uncle died he left me a small inheritance and I used some of that to buy the camera.  Okay, I just looked it up.  I've had it since May 2008 so that's 5, going on 6 years.  It still does quite well, too, except the flash won't stay down anymore.  hahaha.  It's been dropped a couple of times and has had waves of 55 degree salt water splashed on it many times.  I guess you could say it's like a Timex watch...takes a licking but keeps on ticking.  I have no idea how many clicks it has on it and I know digital cameras have a shelf life, so to speak, so I imagine it's only a matter of time before it stops working.  I use my smaller Kodak C182 more often since it's so portable, but for some stuff I use this one.  Especially if I need the reach.  Attached to it is a Canon 70-300mm IS lens and a battery pack.  The battery pack adds weight to it, but makes it more stable as well.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Uniden Scanners...

So, as I mentioned in my blog post on Friday, there was to be a launch party on YouTube by Uniden for at least 2 new scanners.  They said it would start at 12pm CST, but when I went to the link at the appropriate time, they were doing a 5 minute countdown, which was a little odd especially since it turned out it wasn't really a live broadcast but rather a taped video.  Anyway, the broadcast started and we were introduced to the new BCD436HP
and the BCD536HP
Initially I was pretty excited, especially about the handheld one.  The unit size is about the same as my Pro-106, but the screen is much larger
It also looks like a radio that police and fire use, which is pretty cool.   On Saturday I had been looking at the Uniden Home Patrol-1
because I could take it with me and be able to program any zip code in and instantly listen to what was in the area where I was...perfect for traveling.  But then it turns out the new scanners are sort of a new version of the Home Patrol, which is what the "HP" means at the end of the model numbers.  Not only can you program your scanner by hand but also through the computer or you can enter the zip code of where you are and listen in.  Like the current Home Patrol, you can hook a GPS device and literally be able to drive from California to New York and never have to touch the scanner because the GPS will "talk" to the Home Patrol and change it as needed for each area you pass through.  Pretty cool.  The base unit of the 536 also comes with a wifi set-up where you can put it in one room and listen to it via a microphone throughout your house.  Pretty cool.  I'm not sure what the range is so you can probably go outside and do yard work and still be able to hear what is going on.  Unfortunately, that little feature comes with an additional cost and it's not something you can elect to have or not have.  If you want the 536HP, you have to have the wifi feature.  So, I figured I'd just get the 436HP when it came out in January.  But then, I was able to get my hands on the preliminary users guide and my excitement started to lessen.  I'm not a programming expert of digital scanners by any stretch of the imagination and even with using the computer to program it, it still looks VERY complicated.  Add to that the WEEKLY database updates and I'm thinking I'm not liking this thing so much anymore.  Sure, I can use just the zip code feature to find what I want to listen to, but I'd still have to update it weekly and I don't want to do that nor do I want to spend that much money on something I can get for almost $100 less (the Home Patrol).  Then...someone who lives in Arizona expressed concern on how it would handle Phoenix PD's Regional Wireless Cooperative (RWC) radio system.  The RWC is made up of 19 police agencies across the county and each has their own radio tower system and talk groups.  It can get quite confusing.  The guy expressed concern that the new radios could even handle it because of the interoperability, which made me start to get concerned, too.  I'm not real sure where his concerns lie since you can use the software to program it like you can the Pro-106, but the whole thing is enough to make me wait to see what Whistler Group comes up with.  It's already been said there will be a replacement radio made for Radio Shack's Pro-106, it's just a matter of when...and for how much.  Whistler bought out GRE and GRE made the radios for Radio Shack and their first scanners to hit the market will be to replace the two digital and two analog radios that were most sold at Radio Shack.  I guess we'll have to see.

At any rate, I'm anxious for these scanners to get going and hit the market.  The new Unidens won't be out until January 2014 and I have no idea when the new Whistler ones will be out other than the first quarter of 2014.

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Mine wasn't too bad.  Nothing too exciting happened.  Did my laundry on Saturday and took a nap.  Went to breakfast with my mom Sunday then went grocery shopping.  Took a nap.  Hahaha.  I have such an exciting life!

I had wanted to upload those wild horse photos I mentioned last week, but I was running late for work today and so I'll get them up tomorrow.  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Questioning my sanity...one person at a time...

So, I went out at lunch time to pick up some eats and as I was driving into our parking lot I see one of my most favorite-ist vehicles of all time...a Pontiak Aztek

This isn't the same vehicle because I didn't think to take a picture, plus I just remembered that my phone was at my desk, but the color was the same.  Anyway, so the driver side window was open and someone was sitting in there so I went up and said "Can I ask you a random question...do you like the Aztek?"  He said yes without hesitation and said it was a real smooth ride.  I told him I've liked the Aztek since it came out and even though it has gotten bad ratings (for looks, not performance) I'd love to have one but they aren't very common on the secondary market.  We chatted for a few seconds then I thanked him and walked away.  Now, I NEVER do something like that unless there is something I just got to know and this was the first time I'd ever had the opportunity to ask someone if they like the vehicle.  I'm glad to hear there are people who do.  Pontiac only made the Aztek for about 2 years so there aren't very many of them unfortunately and I don't know that I'll ever find one for sale when I'm in the market for a car, but I'm glad to know my "worship" (for lack of a better word) of this vehicle isn't misplaced.  hahahaha.  I still can't believe, though, that I walked up to some random guy in the parking lot!  hahahaha.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it before, but I'm a scanner buff.  I like listening to the police and fire department goings-on in my county and the cities I travel to.  Currently, I only have one scanner (there's people out there with many, many scanners...like, in the double digits)

...I take that back, I have 2 but only one really works for my area...but I have been wanting another one so I'd have one for work and one for home.  I briefly had a desktop (the above is a mobile) one that I bought for work but I couldn't get very good reception so I returned it and have been wanting another one since then.  Well, a few months ago it was announced that the company that makes 2/3rds of the scanners was going out of business.  The scanners made by GRE, which includes Radio Shack branded scanners like mine, quickly started selling like hotcakes and the ones that are still out there tend to be very expensive.  I got mine at a Black Friday sale about 3 years ago.  It hasn't been that cheap since.   You can get analog scanners for a pretty decent price, but like I said, most of my county is digital.  Anyway, about a month or so ago it was announced that the company that is best-known for car radar detectors, Whistler, had bought everything from GRE and they would be entering the scanner market in early 2014, which is cool, but tomorrow is something even cooler at the moment.  Uniden, who is the only company currently manufacturing scanners, will be having an announcement on their YouTube channel about at least 2 new scanners they will be releasing in the near future, possibly as early as January.  I've never been "in" on a new scanner release so it's pretty exciting for me.  There's been a lot of speculation as to what features will be available on it, but all the Product Ninja will tell us is that it will have features never before seen on one of their scanners.  We've also been able to get a couple of pictures.  This is the back of the handheld one
I wasn't able to get a picture of the desktop one because it was part of a video that I couldn't do a screen grab of because I don't know how.  hahahaha.  But with the announcement tomorrow, there's been personal countdowns on cell phones...
And an official one on the Uniden YouTube channel set up for the announcement...
The time above is obviously not the current time clock since the announcement is at 12pm CST tomorrow.  I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.   I just hope I remember to watch tomorrow.  The last time I wanted to watch something at a specific time, I completely forgot.  I'm thinking of setting an alarm on my phone and my iPad mini so I don't forget.  We'll see.

And this post isn't completely without horses...Stone DAH has released two braided hunter molds and I want both of them!

I'm not particularly fond of the Morgan tail on the first one, but I wouldn't turn it down entirely.  I like the braids on the second model.  Unfortunately, it's not in the funds to order one right now so I finally broke down and bought Misty Harbor, whom I've been wanting for awhile

I probably shouldn't have, but I had a moment of weakness.  I can't wait for him to arrive.  I have other new ones that I haven't shown here yet plus I have a bunch of pictures of wild horses I got during my last day off the week before last that I haven't even uploaded yet.  Eeeek.  I hope to do that early next week.

Well, that's about it.  My lunch break is almost over.  Tomorrow is laundry day.  Yippee!  hahaha.  They keep saying the weather is going to cool down considerably this weekend, but on the Weather Channel last night it didn't look like it would as much as the local news claims.  I never believe the local weather because they're usually wrong.  Anyway, have a good weekend and hopefully I'll have those horse pictures for you on Monday or Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Ultimate Breyer Experience...

For the low, low price of only $5,000 I can fly to Wayne, NJ and have a Breyer model painted any way I like and get an exclusive tour of Breyer headquarters and...uhm...that's all.  It's for you and three guests plus includes lunch and two hotel rooms for one night.  Oh, well, sign me right up then!  While there is no doubt I would LOVE to tour Breyer HQ...I mean, what self-respecting plastic poneh lover wouldn't...
and it would be pretty neat to get a truly one-of-a-kind model of your horse...
Impress Me Shannon---I think lol
I can think of a whole lot of other things I could do with that $5,000!  Especially since that doesn't include airfare or hotel for however long you plan on staying.  If you live in that area of the country then one night in a hotel is no big deal but if you live on the other side of the US and have never been to the NJ/NY/PA area then one night/two days is definitely NOT enough time.  Then there's food and other incidentals.  I wonder how many people will actually sign up for this.  From what I saw on Blab, most people think it's too expensive and wouldn't do it even if they had the extra money lying about.  If I had that kind of money available to spend however I wanted, I wouldn't be driving a 15 year old car, I tell you what!  hahahaha.  I'm not sure where they came up with the $5,000 price tag because personally, I don't think the Experience is worth even close to that.  I'm not sure what kind of price I would put on it.  $1,000?  $2,000?  Certainly no more than $2,500.  You can get a custom paint job from a good customizer for a lot less than that.  Oh well.  Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be a big bust for them, but they really should have a lower price than $5,000 for it.

There's a new model up for grabs on the Collector Club...
I have no interest in entering to win it as I don't like the mold.  Last week people were speculating what the mold would be based on the sneak peak picture, which showed a portion of his shoulder, and the general consensus what that it was going to be on the Brishen mold and they were right...unfortunately.  I would've liked to have another silver filagree (I only have Chrome from Breyerfest), but Brishen just does nothing for me

I love Gypsy Vanner horses, but I really dislike the pose of this mold.  Oh well.  There's plenty of people out there who like it.  I'm still waiting for the Collector Club Marwari to be made available, but I guess that won't be until 2014, which is good for my bank account.

Well, I suppose that's it.  NASCAR is in town this weekend.  I won a  chance to spend Friday in my company's suite at the track for the truck race because one of the big general agents we do business with (I work for an insurance company), his son is an up-and-coming driver in the truck series and the dad is combining a business trip to meet with our Underwriters and seeing his son race and they decided to have some of us join them.  I'm not sure how many employees won, but I was one and a girl I know in another unit.  I didn't even know she liked NASCAR.  When I saw her name on the email I briefly considered going since I know her (I know some of the others, but not as much as I know Leslie) and it would be nice knowing someone, but my brother is going to be at the track all weekend and I would only get one ticket so I'd have to leave my mom home alone...which is no big deal because she doesn't need a nurse-maid or anything, but I'd just rather not go.  Besides, I'd want to be at the track all day to get the most out of the event with qualifying and the pits being open and driver introductions and such, but I'm not sure we have enough coverage on Friday for me to take the whole day.  No big deal.  I'd probably get bored anyway.  It would be different if I could bring someone, but since I can't I let them give my ticket to someone else who didn't get chosen.  Mom and I will go out to dinner on Saturday.  Yay!