Three Thing Friday

1. Already Missing It – For some reason, it hit me today that I am not going back to Guadeloupe this year. Maybe it is reading the posts of what they are seeing out there this year. Maybe it is the stressful year-end I have had at work. Maybe it is just the fact that I enjoy going and seeing the Great Whites.

I do think that it is a good thing that I am not going. While I could squeeze out the money and actually afford to go, I’d rather save it this year. And while I do not think I would actually get bored of going to Guadeloupe, ever, it is still a possibility. Hell, I got bored of London. It is nice taking a year off from expensive trips, especially since I am already looking at two more trips next year.

Of course, one of those is to Guadeloupe.

And just because I don’t think I haven’t said it enough… Guadeloupe.

2. Divided Up – I spent a few minutes today talking with a co-worker about dividing up the United States. We weren’t dividing it up between us; we were dividing it up into a couple of new, smaller nations. Now, if there were ever another fracture between this nation of states, one that would actually cause a break-up, it probably wouldn’t end up how we imagined it. But it made sense to me.

Sadly… right now… dividing out country up into 5 or 6 separate countries also makes sense to me.

3. Voting for the Speaker – With all hell breaking loose in the House these last few weeks, I have learned a lot about the Speaker. More than I ever thought possible actually.

First, I have to respect the old speaker, who willingly resigned in order to get a temporary CRA passed so that I can actually work. I still don’t like him or like his politics, but the man resigned from a very powerful position.

Second, I fear that the crazy Tea Party has that much power to cause him to resign.

Third, I love that the Tea Party thinks they can get their own guy into power. I do not believe they do not have that much power. They can pick the Republican Party member they want, but the House, the whole House, votes on the Speaker. So guess what, they need all of the Republicans to vote their way. And if they don’t get that, they need some of the Democrats to vote for whom they want.

Think about that for a minute. They have a lot of power, but do they have that much power?

A New Jersey Second

Today, while driving, I experienced something that is not uncommon down here in Maryland, but would have been unthinkable in New Jersey. I was in a line, patiently waiting for a light to go green. When it finally did turn green, the car at the head of the line did not immediately move.

I was about the fifth car in this line, patiently waiting for the first car to move, when it happened. No one in line hit his or her horn. Not one driver in this line of cars beeped to get the first guy to move. We were only waiting for a few moments, but in New Jersey, the entire line of cars would have been honking, probably including me.

Now, this is not the first time this has happened nor is it the first time that I have noticed it happening. A couple of weeks ago I stalled the MINI at a light that had just turned green. No one behind me hit their horns in the time it took me to restart the car and get going. Again, in NJ, I would have been hearing horns the moment the light turned green.

Maybe the drivers are slower, and maybe they ride the fast lane, but at least they are patient at lights. They don’t beep their horns in less than a NJ second.

Three Thing Friday

1. What to call it – I just saw a post on Facebook where someone was saying that we should stop calling shark attacks “shark attacks”. His hope would be to stop making sharks out to be villains who plan on hurting and killing humans. At first, I thought this might be a good idea. The sharks are just behaving as they are supposed to. They are hunting in some cases and just curious in others.

And this is when it hit me. It’s the fact that most people are just not educated enough about sharks. No one bats an eye when someone says lion attack. This is probably because it rarely happens near home. Obviously, I am speaking as an American and someone who is fascinated by sharks.

Changing what you call it will not change the perception of the average American. You need to change the perception. People need to realize that a shark attack usually will not be fatal. It is usually a case of mistaken identity. The shark is just curious.

It is still an attack, but the shark is not targeting humans, it is just looking for food in it’s own house.

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2. Assumptions – So, I caught a new special on Shark Week this year that made me question some of the assumptions by the producers and researchers in the special. The title of the episode was “Return of the Great White Serial Killer”. And even though the title shows part of the problem with perceptions, it was actually a fairly good episode. Some of the scientific pages I follow even stated that a lot of what they said was actually factual.

The story behind the episode, in short, is that there have been very localized shark attacks in California. The attacks have occurred in 2008, 2010, 2012, and some kayakers were attacked in 2014 while filming the episode was taking place. Some, but not all, of these attacks were fatal. The researcher wanted to find out if it was a single shark and tag the shark so that the authorities can warn the locals in 2016.

Now, if we agree with some of his assumptions, that it was a single shark, that the shark is on a two-year migration (which is very possible), and that the shark if a large female, his final assumption seemed a little far fetched.

After some work in California, he went to Guadeloupe to get a DNA sample of some large female sharks and compare their DNA to the DNA recovered from one of the shark attacks. The problem I have here is the timing. Guadeloupe is thought to be a mating ground for sharks, and in November, there are a lot of large female whites. But with the gestation period of a Great White being about 11 months (ok, got this from Wikipedia so not sure about this), I would assume that she would be in Guadeloupe in an odd number year. Going from the coast of California to Guadeloupe is very doable for these creatures, I am just not sure it would do it in a month.

Think about this, she’s big, she’s pregnant, and she’s probably hungry. That may be why she’s attacking so much in even number years in California. They should try to get DNA from sharks in Guadeloupe in the odd number years. And my theory is just as good as the researcher’s, and just as easily proven. In other words, not easy at all.

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3. Another Shark Week – Every year I say that it is going to be the last time I watch shark week. And every year, I find myself watching it again. This year wasn’t as bad as prior years. There were some episodes that were just wrong, but others that were actually factual. One example was the episode that measured the same shark twice, and came up with two significantly different sizes. Another example was when they were talking about a large female shark, then showed footage of a male.

But at least there were no shows like “Submarine” or a show about how the Megladon still lives. Over all, this has been the best Shark Week in years.

I am not going to say that I won’t watch it next year, even I know that I will. I might as well accept it; I am addicted to Shark Week. Plus, is it nice to see the Islander and her crew on specials.

It brings back a lot of great memories. I really enjoy taking those trips to Guadeloupe on the Islander. The food, crew, sharks, and everything else are amazing. If anyone plans on going themselves, use the Islander, it is worth the cost. Hell, I will be back at Guadeloupe in 2016. Even I am on a two-year migration.

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Three Thing Friday

1. Mary Lee – Off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, and currently New Jersey is a fairly large female great white shark. How do I know this? Well a good portion of my friends decided to send me all of the articles about her and how Ocearch has tagged her. Well, I actually already knew that she was nearby, but I do appreciate that my friends decided to point it out to me.

My issue is that I am torn with the Ocearch tracking. I love the fact that I can track Great White Sharks. The fact that Ocearch has tagged sharks in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and you can follow what they do almost daily is amazing. However, I hate their tagging practices. They say that their methods are safe, but I cannot believe that taking a shark out of the water to tag it, when you can accomplish the same thing leaving them in the water (where they live), is necessary.

Honestly, I think the guy is doing it for the publicity. So I am torn, I want to follow these sharks, but I do not want to support Ocearch.

Either way, a tagged female is hanging off the coast; I should try and find her.

2. A.C. is on – I can already feel my electric bill climbing. Less than a month ago I had the heat on and I already have the AC on. I hate heat, and with the temps already in the 80’s, I decided to crank on the A.C. This house gets hot during the day, and with a very hairy cat, I want to keep it manageable.

I know I am in the minority, but I already miss winter. Yes, I like my summer sports like kayaking and SCUBA diving, but I prefer the cold to the heat. So I now say, it is open season. I didn’t complain about the cold, prepare to hear me bitch about how hot it is.

3. Alarm Cat – Loki has been acting weird lately, but last night (early this morning) takes the cake. At 3:30 am he decided that I needed to be awake. He has never done this before. He was pushing on me. Bumping me. Doing everything he could to wake me up. Which is why I know it was 3:30, I looked.

I rolled over, look at him, and stated (calmly, of course), “I have over an hour left to sleep you bastard.” And with that, Loki curled up next to me and fell asleep.

Of course, I spent the next hour pondering, “What the hell is wrong with my cat?”

Three Thing Friday

1. A Day Off – I find myself writing this blog at 6 am on a Friday that I have off. What thought is running through my mind? What the heck am I doing up at 6 am on my day off? I blame my mother. She always had the mentality of “If I am up, everyone is up!” Well, now I am up. Even the cat has gone back to sleep. Me, I am sitting in my living room waiting for this day to get started.

I hate not being able to sleep in.

2. Pollen – I don’t remember having allergies when I was younger, but I guess this is another aspect of aging. Allergies are kicking my ass right now. The MINI has turned an ugly shade of yellow thanks to all of the pollen. It’s just that time of the year.

I understand that it is important for the birds and the bees. But come on, does it really have to kick my ass worse and worse each year? Well, at least I only have to deal with this for the rest of the pollen season (which seems to be nearly year round now) and I guess I have to deal with it for the rest of my life (which may not be all that long with all of the stupid shit I do).

3. Selfies – I realized two things recently. I was asked for a picture of myself from one of my cage diving trips. After being asked, I realized that I don’t really have any pictures except for the two pictures of my in my business suit with my friend T.J.. Actually, I don’t have that many pictures of me in general, but I really had to struggle to find pictures of myself from those trips. So, what did I realize?

Well, first, I was too busy taking pictures of sharks to take selfies. I was on these trips to see these amazing animals, not to take pictures of me. It’s not like I am going anywhere.

Secondly, I don’t like pictures of me. Pictures of other people I am fine with. Pictures of animals are all over my house (ok, mostly sharks). But pictures of myself? I just don’t like them. If I want to look at myself, which is what a mirror is for, and even those I will avoid as much as possible.

So, I had to dig up a picture, and it wasn’t even my picture.

Three Thing Friday

1. Drones – I admit, I was really indifferent to the use of drones. Not really for their use, but not really against it either. I didn’t like how easily this country could use them against our “enemies” and that they had a history of killing non-combatants. But, their use was protecting soldier’s lives.

Now, the president had recently announced that a few months ago a drone mission killed two hostages. This I have a problem with. If you are an American Citizen who takes up arms with terrorists, you have what is coming to you. I have no issues with you being killed without a trial. Sure you are an American citizen, but you waived your rights when you started to hang with the absolute wrong crowd. I would prefer a trial and a conviction, but I can live without one, and sleep perfectly fine at night.

However, we now killed innocent civilians. Apparently we need to work on our information gathering. We need to make sure we know what we know before we launch an attack. Two innocent civilians. Two people who were true non-combatants. And I already had issues with non-combatants being killed; this just makes it even worse.

Maybe we should slow down the drone attacks. And I know a few of my friends who would disagree with that, but killing of innocents is what “they” are supposed to do, not us.

2. Local Shark – This week I was made aware that someone spotted a shark in a local body of water. A coworker said that my diving with sharks just got a lot cheaper for me. Personally, I was thinking that I found a new place to kayak. However, the person who brought this to my attention was more curious about what type of shark it could possible be. I mean, what kind of shark can live in brackish water up here in Maryland?

Well, being the fan of sharks that I am, I could actually answer this. What type of shark would be in this area, and can live in brackish water, and actually cause fear (this is for my enjoyment)? Well, I listed the Bull shark. Sure, they may not be common in this area but it is possible that it was a bull.
Odds are that it wasn’t though. There are other sharks more common in the area, and while they may not survive for long in brackish water, they could survive for a while, depending on the currents.

3. Grover Cleveland – I am currently reading a biography on the only man to serve two non-consecutive terms as president of the United States. And first, this biography is actually a biography, unlike the crap book on Bush Sr. that tried to pass off as a book.

Now, this is a two-volume biography. While I am only half way through the fist volume, I already like President Cleveland. Sure, he was a democrat, but he was actually trying to be honest. At least so far in his career.

I know that I have two presidencies to go through, plus however long he lived after his presidency. So far, he may be one of my top 5 favorite presidents… well, maybe top 10.

Three Thing Friday

1. 5 Reasons – Apparently, there are five reasons that I would willingly put on a suit, and most of the time, it’s not even willingly. These reasons are for a wedding, for a funeral, for an interview for a new job, for a meeting with the contractors, and finally for a dive with sharks.

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Those are the only reasons I believe that would get me in a suit. And yes, this week I had to suit up, and I was not all that happy about it. But sometimes, you just have to what you do not want to do.

2. Timing – Sometimes, the timing of certain news articles just has to make you laugh. Yesterday, for example, we were in a meeting where we were told about what the commander of CECOM and the commander of AMC (the higher command) said about furloughs, layoffs, current employments levels, and a few other things. Nothing new was covered, but still, it was probably a good thing that this information was covered.

Then, when I got back to my desk, a co-worker pointed out an article on CNN that stated “U.S. Army Officers Lie Routinely.” Wow. That was perfect.

Now, I am not saying that the leaders of CECOM and AMC were lying, but I am saying that seeing that article right after the meeting… made me laugh, and wonder. Maybe I should be a little more concerned.

3. Bloody Cold – Ok, I admit it, it is damn cold here. Not as cold as it could be, but it is damn cold. And while I love the cold, I like to be prepared for it. This week, sadly, I wasn’t. I forgot to dress in layers. I only wore my one coat, and it wasn’t even my good winter coat. I was just not prepared.

Now, while a co-worker of mine changed his mind about moving to Alaska, where his neighbors would be a good distance away, this cold snap actually made me want to move to Alaska even more. Sure, I would prefer my own little island, but I believe Alaska would be a little more affordable.

So yes, I still love the cold.

Three Thing Friday

1. More Cameras! – So, a couple of days ago another pod of orcas was caught on film killing a great white shark. Apparently they did this using the shark’s weakness of catatonic immobility. The flipped the great white upside down, and then killed it. This seems to be fairly easy for a pack of killer whales. Obviously this is not the first time that this has been caught on film. A few years ago, off an island near Mexico, the same thing was caught on film and the scientific community was awash with glee.

On the page that posted the video, at least the one I was looking at, there were some interesting comments about the attack. Some people were talking about how this, while being an act of nature, made them sad. Others said that it was exciting. Some people made the comments about how the killer whales are teach each other how to kill the sharks, and may even push the great whites to extinction.

Now, after some discussion with a friend, he brought up a good point. Is this actually a new occurrence? Is this something the orcas have only recently learned to do? Maybe, as my friend said, humans are now spending more time on the water and we all have cameras on our phones so it is easier to document something like this. It was only recently that a shark giving live birth for the first time, and it’s not like this is something the sharks just learned how to do.

Maybe, with people finally taking an interest in life under water we are beginning to see nature in all of it’s true beauty, and horror.

2. More Time! – Today, on my day off, I have an appointment with someone to look at putting solar panels on my house. Now it is not the normal solar panel setup, I will not actually own them. It’s more like I will be renting them, and will get a discount on my electrical bill. I’m not sure if it is worth it, or if I will even qualify for the solar panels. This is how my morning will be spent, waiting.

I was given a 4-hour window for this appointment. I have to wait for this guy to show up, look around my attic and at my fuse box, then leave. Finally, after all of that, I may get my day started.

At least I can get some good X-files in.

3. More Focus! – I still want to go to the Bahamas in January of next year. I still want to go diving with tiger sharks, but I am having a hard time finding exactly what I want. I found a highly recommended “tour guide” but he only does trips where you live aboard the boat for the week. Since I have friends who I want to go with me who do not dive, this does not make sense on any level. I found an option where I could rent a boat for a day, but this could get expensive if I do not have other divers, say about ten of them. I have limited funds for this trip. I guess I should lock down on a number of divers who are actually interested in going, maybe then I can make more firm plans. But, those same people will want to know exact costs before they decide if they want or can afford to go.

I still want to go, I still want to have a fun vacation with friends, but I am losing my focus on booking this trip.

I may just give up, but not yet. I still have a little under a year for this trip to come together. And I still have the hope of going back to Guadeloupe at the end of 2016, because I love diving with those great whites.

A Little Infatuated

A while ago, I don’t even remember how long ago it was, a friend made a comment that I am obsessed with sharks. And, proudly, I admit that I am. I have gone diving with these beautiful animals. I have seen them in Aquariums. I have pictures of them all over my house and my computer.

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Hell, I even dream about sharks. I had a dream last night about diving with some sharks,and in it were some of the people I have gone diving with. The boat was unrecognizable, as was the area we were diving in, but I knew the people. And the best part of this dream was that I was not diving in a cage! And at least one of the people in my dream (looking at you Heather Nardini) was willing to go in the water without a cage as well.

You walk around my house and all you see are pictures of sharks. I don’t have any pictures of people. While I do have some pictures of cities I have been in, sharks do take up the majority of my wall space. Even one of the best Christmas gifts I got this year was a calendar with shark pictures.

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In my cube in the office, I have more pictures of sharks than most people have pictures of their family. I have three pictures that I took, a “Shark Crossing” sign, a shark picture frame (ironically with no picture), and a few other shark items.

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Yes, I am a little infatuated. But who cares? These are amazing and beautiful creatures….

And I am looking into diving with Tiger Sharks right now… hence the shark-based post.

Three Things Friday

1. Not Blogging – I have to say, taking a week off of blogging was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I spent the last week posting one or two blogs on the gaming site, and just considering what I would blog on this site. We passed Election Day, another weekend, a long week at work, the Bengals forgetting that they play in the NFL. There was a lot of complaining that I passed up on. I am still not picking up the ball and running with it, but another Three Thing Friday should be an easy blog to post before I drop off the blogging world again.

Of course, I still read blogs. I haven’t actually fallen off the edge of the Earth; I am having a hard time finding it. Plus that stupid gravity seems to want me to remain where I am. It must be some sort of magic, it can’t possibly be science…

2. Forced Voting – Since we have passed Election Day, I thought I would make a short comment. Australia fines people for not going out to vote. That’s right, if you do not use your right to vote, you get fined. At first, I was against that idea being moved over here to the states. But the more I thought about it, the more my thoughts about this have changed.

I was originally against it because it bothers me when uninformed voters vote. I am not saying I have issues with people who disagree with me. I mean I do, but in different ways. I have issues with people who vote, but do it in an uninformed way. But apparently there will be some good side effects to forced voting. Apparently in Australia, the average voter actually cares about whom they have to vote for. They actually try to become informed voters. Second, they have approximately a 90% turnout for their elections. That is far ahead of the 40% to 50% we get here in the greatest democratic nation in the world.

Finally, apparently the politicians actually care about the swing voters in Australia. It seems, from some articles I have read (though I cannot vouch for their accuracy), that the politicians actually work for the swing votes rather than the corporate vote. I am sure they work for that as well, but when you have 90% of the population voting, you want those swing votes.

Maybe in this country a fine wouldn’t work. But there are other options; we could give a tax break to those who votes. The republicans would love that; it is a tax break after all. However, the republicans (and the democrats) don’t actually want the swing voters to vote. That may actually swing the votes and show them what the people really want. We cannot have that.

3. Not that big of a deal – This week I caught a YouTube video of a baby seal in Guadeloupe. Having been diving there a couple of times myself, the video did bring back some great memories. But the big deal was that this seal entered a cage to avoid being eaten by a large shark. Except, I am not sure that the seal was ever in any real danger. The waters are so clear there that the big sharks cannot sneak up on the seals. Yes, this shark was close, but it was going after a tuna head more than a baby seal.

I did enjoy the video. And yes, the seal may have been in some minor danger, but it didn’t really seem that the shark was all that threatening.

Of course, since I want to swim out and hug a great white, maybe I am not the best judge of what is or is not a threat.