Welcome to The Evil Petting Zoo
The virtual lair of Carla Campbell (at well.com), Scott Stanton (at evilpettingzoo.net)
EDITED: Once again the whole family (Carol, Mark N., Susan, Paul, Helen, Mark S., Carla and I) gathered for the Christmas holiday. This year we met in Santa Fe, NM in a nice rental house within walking distance of the sculpture district. The weather was cold and snowy while we were there, so we actually had a white Christmas.
Paul, Mark, and I went skiing one day at Ski Santa Fe. We really noticed the absence of any high speed lifts. The snow was good, though, and one day of skiing was just about right.
The rest of the time we spent walking around Santa Fe seeing the sights and checking out the art galleries. The half million dollar paintings were impressive for their size and price tag, if not their artistic appeal. The sculptures were far more interesting for the most part (especially for Carla).
On Christmas Eve we went out for the Canyon Road Farolitos Luminarias walk. There were hundreds of people out walking around the various art galleries looking at all the lights and singing carols. Definitely worth braving the cold and wet to see.
We flew out to Sarasota, FL for a whirlwind visit around Helen's 80th birthday party. It was nominally a surprise party, but for one reason or another most of the surprise was revealed over the course of a couple of days leading up to the party.
There were lots of familiar faces in attendance, and despite the short length of the visit, we did get to catch up with some folks we haven't seen in years.
Carla and I travelled to Chilhowie, Virginia for a week to visit Carla's family. We wandered around the area checking out the farm and some of the local sights. I snapped a few pictures to capture a flavor of the area.
Originally Helen was going to join us so she could show us around, but she hurt her shoulder right before we left and couldn't make it. Hopefully we'll be able to make it back there with her soon.
After a couple of years of dealing with health issues, we're hopefully back to taking the occasional trip. I'll try to be a little more diligent about getting photos up here in a timely fashion.
We met Susan, Paul, Mark S., Carol, Mark N., and Helen in Kauai for Christmas this year. I have one word to describe the vacation: wet. The slightly longer version is: very wet. It rained pretty much the whole time we were there except for one completely clear day. However, despite the rain, we managed to have a generally good time, and I got to do a bunch of diving.
Most importantly, I got to use my EOS 10D and its new underwater housing. Digital photography really rocks underwater. I got a lot of photos that are way better than anything I'd ever been able to get with film. Here's my favorite from the trip -->
The viz was actually pretty poor for Hawaii. There was a lot of sediment in the water from the rain and the swell. On the plus side, this brought out a lot of fish as you can see in some of the reef shots. Of course I'm used to diving in Monterey, so it's all good.
It's going to take some practice to be able really get the best out of my shots, but I'm really happy with the way things progressed even in this one trip. It's so much easier to get everything set up properly when you can check the exposure immediately. Next I want to try getting some shots down in Monterey.
Susan and Paul came out for a quick visit at the end of July to help us celebrate our 13th anniversary. We drove up to the Russian River valley and stayed a couple of nights at Grandma's House in Monte Rio. This was a wonderful place to relax. It's right on the river and very nicely appointed. As they say on the web site: "Grandma must have been rich."
On the way down, we stopped in at Aussie Tim's Texas BBQ for a quick bite. The highlight of that stop was definitely the biker in full leathers, a metal peg-leg, skull rings on all his fingers, tattoos all over, a three inch polished bone through his nose, and a little pug named Spike that he claimed was his "seeing leg dog".
On Saturday we spent about 4 hours paddling down a tributary of the Russian River on inflatable kayaks that we rented from SOAR Inflatables. We mostly had the river to ourselves and were able to see a bunch of birds on the way down. Jamaica and Justin had a blast riding in the kayak. Jamaica eventually decided that the best place to ride was at the very back on top of the hull. Every now and then she'd "fall" off so she could swim around a bit. At one point she was riding along with her back end hanging off the kayak, flailing her legs around trying to get back on. Too bad we didn't have a camera at that point!
We had a wonderful dinner at the Village Inn & Restaurant just down the street from Grandma's House. It had a nice atmosphere and very good food. I'd highly recommend it to anyone in the area.
On Sunday we stopped off at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve to go for a quick hike in the tall trees. It was a nice park, and we even got to verify that deer do in fact crap in the woods. However, I still think that Big Basin Redwoods is my favorite place to commune with the giant sequoias.
One the way back home, we stopped in at the Ace-In-The-Hole, America's First Cider Pub for lunch. We got to sample all of their ciders, and wound up taking home a six pack and a couple of gallon jugs. Good stuff!
And of course, we've got some photos in the album from the trip.
December 2003/January 2004
Well, a lot has been going on in the last month or two:
After a tiring couple of months of preparation, Scott passed his second kyu exam in Aikido. This means he gets to trade up from his rather tired old blue belt to a crisp new brown belt. About time! Of course the new belt comes with a great big target painted on it. Everyone likes to beat on the brown belts.
Following Goblin's lead, Justin decided he had to have the latest fashion haircut too. Shortly before we left for Christmas break, he had to go in for emergency surgury to have a blockage removed from his intestines. It turns out he swallowed, among other things, some tinsel and a Hindu god finger puppet (Garuda). He came through surgury fine but then he got pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for several days. He is fully recovered now, but it was a tense period right before we had to hop on a plane to Albuquerque.
As soon as we got Justin out of the hospital, we went to Albuquerque (actually Coralles) for Christmas. We visited Scott's aunt and uncle and had a nice family gathering. Be sure to check out the photos.
Having received a spiffy new Canon EOS 10D digital camera for Christmas, Scott finally got around to getting an online photo album set up using a great free package called JAlbum. One of the cool features is the ability to send any photo in the album straight to Shutterfly to get prints made. Isn't the web great? Look for the little icon in the lower right corner of each slide page. The images in the album should be big enough for 4x6 or 5x7 prints. If you want something bigger, send us mail and we can send you the full size image.
November 2003Aside from Thanksgiving, the big event this month was that Goblin had to go in for emergency surgery to remove the wad of yarn that he had eaten. It was a tense week as we waited for him to recover. Thankfully he pulled through and is doing fine now. We have removed all traces of yarn from the house. Hopefully he will not find any new ways to get his belly shaved.
October 2003It's been a while since our last adventure trip. This time we decided to check out the Florida Keys.
August 2003Well, Scott's company has finally rolled out a public web site that describes what he's been working on for the last year. The quick summary is that Electric Cloud develops technology that reduces software build times. Check out the site and be sure to tell all your build team friends what a great idea it is!
Carla took a quick trip to visit a friend in D.C. and had the opportunity to see a This American Life show. She also visited the Spy Museum.
November 2002Carla decided to take the plunge and get a new guide dog. After much soul searching, she decided to go to The Seeing Eye in New Jersey. She now has a wonderful golden retriever named Justin.
As usual, Carla spent a week at the annual American Council of the Blind convention in Houston. She was busy for much of the time doing massages for stressed out guide dogs. The press showed up, and so she was in the news twice! Check out the piece about her in the Houston Chronicle. She was also featured in a brief spot on TV.
June 2002Unfortunately, June saw the loss of Maxwell, Carla's guide dog of 9 years. Max was 12 years old and amazingly fit and happy right up to the end. Unfortunately he suffered a rapid decline due to a brain tumor that was diagnosed earlier this year. He will be sorely missed.
After a short but enjoyable term at Reactivity, Scott has decided to move on to a new start-up opportunity. Scott is now Chief Architect at Electric Cloud and is enjoying all the benefits (hah!) of working at a company with fewer than ten people. As usual, there's not much that can be said about the company publicly, but if you ask Scott, he'll be happy to tell you about it. So far the change has been positive with lots of challenging design work to be done.
More equine classes for Carla, this time through Equinology. She was in Southern California for three classes: Stretching and Rehabilitation, Saddle Fitting and Farrier Science, and Equine Dentistry. Did you know horses have 44 teeth, unless they are mares, in which case they have 42 (usually)? Useful facts!
Well, it's a new year. Carla is furthering her equine massage education. She recently completed a week in Loveland, Colorado for the Equitouch course. She learned a lot of new techniques while trying not to freeze to death in the snow.
We're back from Costa Rica after an exicting trip planned by the great folks at Serendipity Adventure Tours. We've got a number of great pictures from the trip.
Here is Scott's public key. For more about encryption and email, check out The GNUPG website.