Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

So I flew out to Colorado on August 12th. It was the start of a short vacation. A much needed vacation. I haven't been on vacation since I've been back from Colorado in the winter of 2010. Well my main reason for coming out to Colorado was to visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, Colorado. I had read about someone's experience online somewhere, probably on Reddit and had to go.

The center focuses their tour around the conservation of wildlife in their natural habitats.The regular tour was very informative and educational. The center really impresses the cruelty towards these animals as well as their importance to a natural ecosystem. All the staff were very friendly. They definitely enjoyed their job and are dedicated to the cause of helping these animals.

Here's the website for more info http://wolfeducation.org/

The VIP photo tour gave me the chance to interact with some of their wolves. It's a once in a lifetime experience to up close and personal with some wolves! It was amazing!


The Regular Tour
It started off with a visit to their red foxes. This guys and girls were pretty cool. They didn't do much most of the time other than beg for food but definitely interesting little critters. They were a bit shaggy looking because they were shedding.

These two are brother and sister. Even though, they are white they are in fact red foxes. Its disturbing to know that their dna was altered to get the whitish coat. This is what fur farms do because the white fur is more desirable.


Another sad fact is that dozens are killed to make one coat. It's so unnecessary especially since there are so many faux furs out there. It's one thing if we were still hunters and gathers but at this stage in civilization its unnecessary.

Here's the video regarding the foxes:
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Onto to the wolves

So first off, for those concerned with safety, the wolves are behind fence and for additional protection for tourists and the wolves there is an electric fence to stop them from escaping. From what I saw and you'll get a feel for it to, there is no danger. Many of the wolves have been raised in captivity and are accustomed to the center's environment. It was a feeding tour and the wolves safely approach the viewing area eager for a little treat. 

The tour started off with some interesting facts about the wolves. At some point, Yellowstone national park the population of gray wolves was nearly extinct, due to hunting. For almost a century there was not any significant amount of wolves in Yellowstone. However in the 90's, they were reintroduced into the park and had a significant impact on the ecosystem. Prior to the reintroduction, the elk were the largest mammals in the ecosystem without any natural predators. They population grew to unnatural numbers and their primary food decreased. The re-introduction of wolves controlled their numbers and food consumption. I can't explain the entire balancing act in my own words but here are some articles that help explain it better:




With all the educational material aside.... THE WOLVES ARE AWESOME! They had some grey wolves, some timber wolves, and I'm not sure what other kinds. They are majestic animals and in this environment, act a lot like dogs. Well it's actually the other way around if you think about it. I'll let the photos and videos speak for themselves.
Just a cute story of 2 of the wolves. 


That's my buddy Keyni. I have some pictures with him below. 

If I remember correctly, this one is Princess and she was raised by humans. She had a lot of dog habitats. She actually wags her tail for a treat which the other wolves generally don't.







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 This is one of the cooler videos. Don't skip over this one. 

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That's Pat. He's a volunteer and frequents the center. He's playing with my buddy.



The VIP photo tour 
This is my favorite part of the tour. A chance to interact with them. Myself and another family of 4, were given the opportunity (we paid extra) to go into one of the wolves areas and play with them. This is what I had been waiting for, and the primary reason for making a trip all the way out to Colorado. When interacting with the wolves, we were all asked to sit down so that we are non threatening. We also weren't allowed to bring our own cameras and any items. I guess in the past, they've been known to steal items.

There were 3 gray wolves, Sakara (the alpha), Kekoa and Keyni. Sakara didn't much care for us. She didn't bother approaching us and just kept an eye from her spot. I didn't get any pictures with her. We all had a chance to give them some treats. At first we were asked to hold the treat in a fist with a small opening. They just came up and started liking it and nibbling our hands to get the treat. After they were accustomed to us, we just hung out.

Kekoa



Kekoa is the big male and as explained by one of the videos, he's the ladies man. He generally gives a lot more attention to the females of a tour group. I only had a minute or so to interact with him. By the end, he was lying down next to a lady and letting her pet him. I wish I had my camera for it.


Keyni
So this is the pup. I'm not sure how old. He seems to be no bigger than 70 lbs and he's extremely playful. We got along famously. Most of the time, I was just playing with him. He seemed to be having fun. I think it's cause I let him play bite. He was grabbing my arm and nipping at my forearms a lot. At one point, he had my bicep in his jaws. Other times he tickled me by nipping my back.





After the photos, I spent most of my time with him. He like the attention. He would actually come to me when I called. After awhile, he went to the side to just rest.















Thursday, November 10, 2011

... and on

I can't even remember where I left off... it's only been 30 minutes and my thoughts are already gone... it's weird.. it's always something i've proud of... the fact that I don't remember... i know I could so easily go back a re-read but.... I won't. By the way, Ruffles is safe, sitting next to me on my bed.

I don't know why I can so easily express my thoughts on a written medium, whether it be an email, paper, or a blog.... often in person, I'm at a loss for words. But now, they are spilling out, overflowing onto the page. And it's not so much for anyone else but me...

so earlier today... i just had this thought, I'm losing it. And now that I see it written down, I'm no longer in that state and there are so many things I need to define and I need to dissect it but for now.. I'll try to recall my stream of consciousness (kinda ironic considering how I started this post). I just felt like... getting back to zero.... I don't even know what that means... I was taking a step back and seeing my life. I shouldn't be in an office... I need to roam. What happened about going to Alaska or New Zealand or walking across the country. I suddenly have vivid memories of Into the Wild. That's a lie. Few of my memories are vivid and certainly not one of a movie. But seriously, why am I back here? And whenever I ask that, I know my exact thoughts on coming back... to see if something could ever be... to see if that one person is in fact that one person. Yeah I rushed back to dog sit Maya when Nancy and Jason went away but that was simply coincidence and gave me a reason to come back immediately (in like 37 hours too... I'm very proud of that for some reason.... come on Avon, CO to West Orange, NJ... that's impressive). And a year and half later, I still haven't found that answer. Or I have and refuse to believe it. I really did come back for you Valentina. I hesitate... hesitate to print that... and hesitate to delete that.. but I try to write as if it were in stone. There's a certain honesty about writing like that. I have these ideas of  settling down, focusing on a career, finding a house, and living out a peaceful life with her by my side. I know its a bit extreme to think like that when you're so far from it... perhaps a bit psychotic. Is a dreamer psychotic? At what point is dreaming harmful. But it seems, I'm no closer to my answer than when I first got here because I refuse to hear what I've been told. There's a part of me that wants to keep on fighting... fighting for what I want. It's a selfish part of me. I am such a fool to believe in such things. Should it be so difficult.... doesn't that make it so much sweeter though? Or does it make it ... ... looking for a word... and as Santos and Johnny starts playing... maybe I'm sleep walking. In that sense, what happens if I wake up? Will I determine that every thought I've had and action to be nothing more than a fantasy? Am I supposed to suck it up... settle down... climb a corporate ladder or start my own business... settle for someone that I'm not absolutely crazy about... and be content with that. It just doesn't seem right? Maybe that's my nightmare. And all this time while trying to figure this out, I feel like I'm standing still... ... more so that I've returned to where I was before... I always come back here. It's good to reflect but disturbing to be back here.

And it seems after all this... I'm at peace again.

And so on....

So now that I've caught you up with what I've been doing in the past year... onto more pressing matters of my mind. I was talking with Valentina and it was interesting to note how people view themselves... what they ask of themselves.... and I came to the conclusion when I stop for a moment and look at my life... my general question is what should I be doing? Now you can say that's it's all a matter of phrasing and it's really all the same but the question is very different then, "what do I want to do" or "am I okay with what I've done" or "if I had done things differently, how would things be." I suppose it comes down to who you are and differences like if you look at life more in hindsight, the present or future. Not simply that but if you are realistic or a dreamer... whether you are looking for acceptance or looking to break the mold... looking for adventure or to settle down.... Well those scales in particular which are what stand out to me.

So what should I be doing? And the past couple of days that I've asked I am unable to focus. My mind continually vears to what I should not be doing and then to a wider idea of what people should be doing. I've always thought that people should not be stuck behind a desk, staring at a computer, talking on the phone, simply to achieve.... well someone else's goals (that's the first time I've actually been able to formulate that thought into something understandable... I mean that last part of someone else's goals). Me in particular why am I running numbers and reports, looking at an accounts receivable... and the answer is often for the money. It's something I'm capable of doing that provides me money. Even that answer... well it's less than satisfying. Most people in this world supplement that distaste with other things in their life but more and more I don't see that as a viable solution for me. Others, out of necessity. And for few and far, because it's their passion... whether it be the pride in running their own business or working for and towards a specific cause... to be part of a system that yields something great ... or some just to make a shit load of money. At this point, I am not one of those lucky few.

When I left Hawaii, well I had no real expectations. I simply thought I might be traveling a bit and getting by. I didn't even know that my next destination was Colorado and there was no way I could imagine that I'd be back in New Jersey after that. And now I unexpectedly come back to my thoughts from earlier, the reason for starting this blog... in Hawaii, I didn't know what the next day would bring (metaphorically most of the time) but it wasn't even a concern... I found a job, a place to stay and simply lived. I spent much of the first weeks wandering around, literally strolling around downtown or around a new beach slowly stretching out til I covered the island. I went on hikes not knowing where it would end, backpack, some snacks and 2 bottles of water. There were days where I would set out around 9 am and not get back til 10 pm. I didn't know that it would be such a long day but I didn't care either. I take solace in not knowing and not caring. Its a freedom that I am fortunate to have. Which brings me to another point...

I grew up expecting. Like much of the upcoming generations, I was handed everything. Loving parents, a nice house, all the essentials, plus so many amenities... expecting toys and gifts growing up... Transformers to play with and ultimately break... a bike to explore... an allowance... tv... internet... video games... other random electronics... later in life a car... an education.... Many use these as tools to set a standard in their future lives to achieve more...


Well it seems I take it for granted. Its fucked up though. Upon that realization, I have no desire to try to appreciate those things but rather would give everything up. We had this major snowstorm on October 30, 2011 and lost power for 2 or 3 nights. The first night it was a bit shocking... having no power changes everything... by the second night, I had went out and bought a book that is long overdue... sat with ruffles and just read. That next day I was looking forward to be without power and hoped it would continue. In no time though with the return of the grid, I'm back to my normal habits. And now have dreams (or delusions) of being on the road... backpack and dog... and figuring it out... as I go. A simpler life... and back to another earlier thought... it's worked out quite nicely as I'm actually getting to the points I've wanted to express....

I just want to know that what I do and how I do it makes a difference... and people will argue that it does. My employer may say that without me things would be tougher or that I'm doing a great job or what not.... but as much as I like that type of acceptance from an employer... it isn't enough. The doctor I work for... He helps so many people with their lives. He really does care and sacrifices much of his time and energy to do so. To save on time, it is his passion. I literally cannot imagine what that feels like. I understand it's not a feeling that persist through every moment of the day. There are frustrations around all the time varying from a patient who does not want to help themselves, a hopeless patient, or simply an idiotic patient who does not need his services. At the end of the day though, when he takes a step back, he is happy and proud to be a doctor.

okay.... to be continued... Ruffles is whining and wants my attention... we'll start with a walk in the part behind my house....i'll probably let him loose in the baseball field... he'll run out and i'll lose him for like 30 minutes (which has been agonizing in the past... 30 minutes without your dog who is always by your side feels like an eternity especially when you don't know where he is).. but i trust he's happy chasing deer and running freely, hope that he does not get in an accident (it's late and a quite neighborhood so I doubt it but my mind jumps to the worse case scenario at times), and he has always returned home.

Ruffles Wu

So, where to begin it's been over a year since I last wrote... and what have I been doing... well not so much of anything. I have a dog!!! Ruffles!!! On June 12th my friend Joe Deguzman and I ended up going to the Best Friends' Foundation pet adoption at the Livingston mall. I had been thinking about getting a dog and for the most part avoided the thought because I wasn't really situated yet... I didn't want the responsibility... and I didn't think I could give a dog the life I'd want to give him/her. Nonetheless, that day I went home with a dog...


Introducing!!!!

This his before I even decided at the pet adoption drive... he's a funny looking guy. He was like 35 lbs back then. Just a good ol' mutt.

 Ruffles at the vet a week later
 He doesn't seem to happy there but look at those big floppy ears!!!!


So he's been occupying most of my time now. He's a solid 60 lbs, loves to run and wrestle with other dogs, chase squirrels and chipmunks (sorry Nicole. Look at this way, he loves chipmunks too!!). He's very attached and so am I. We go on hikes (not really a hike compared to my hikes in Hawaii) in the local reservation, the dog park and just chill at home like so....


And like I said he likes looking for chipmunks....



and running in the snow. Sorry can't upload the video it's too big. Either way I think you get the point, we spend a lot of time together.

 Ruffles Puppyupolous or so I like to call him.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I need to write... i need to write...

I've been so distracted with life and work and settling back into living in New Jersey... or is it the other way, rather than distracted, I've simply living. I haven't had time to think... to take a step back and see what's going on. I miss having that. I had so many nights in Hawaii... just pondering about life... often thinking about how great it felt being there... where I was gonna go next... what other adventures I could find. I always came back to the same conclusion. The sound of the ocean at night... it's calming... it's as if everything is in the right place.

I've been thinking about the choices I've made in my life. Often times, in attempts to think everything through, I eventually conclude I'm going to go with where life takes me... a leap of faith... and in a flash, life changes. I came back here for a reason... to find out something... and slowly I'm coming to a conclusion that I'm less than happy to accept. Things don't seem to be going anywhere in that respect... hope floods my mind.. provoking action... instilling patience... giving these moments of bliss, mine and mine alone... then as quickly as it came... it recedes.... I come back to the same daunting conclusion. Is this what I came here for? To find out this? To find out and move on? I sidestep back....  I won't give up... ill fight for this... it's meant to be this way. Yet in the back of my mind, I slowly draw my contingency.

Now I question, am I half heartedly chasing her? Have I already lost enough hope that it's spoiled my plans. If so I'm in the wrong place. Nothing should be done half heartedly. That's by absolutism speaking that often conflicts with more logical ways to approach life. Perhaps knowing that reveals that my heart is elsewhere... not in a person... but an ideal. Nonetheless, what rewards me in life is chasing my lucid dreams. If one fades... i'll find another... rather I'll make another.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maya!!!

Long post over due, so on April 27th, I started the long trek back after a quick visit to my friend in Loveland, CO. Hope you're doing well Alex. Made it in 31 hours!!!! That's with a 2 hour nap at a rest stop in Iowa. I'm not surpised to find out that sleeping in a Mini Cooper when you can't recline the seat.... well that's why it was only 2 hours. Plus I was awake and hadn't really been doing anything but driving. Made it back Wednesday, late night. I'm impressed with my driving tolerance.

So onto the title. I met this cute girl, Maya. She's so lovable and playful but can get herself into trouble.
I spent a week dog sitting while she and Jason were in Jamaica. I initially stayed at her place but went back and forth a lot. Ain't she cute? She's only about a year old and doesn't get out much. Which explains her timidness. She was afraid of everything! The garage door at my parent's place, the sound of pots and pans crashing, my brother working on his car.... and she always needs to be around someone. That's not such a bad thing though. After the first night, I woke to her lying her head on my stomach, crammed with me on the couch. I later learned she's a couch hog. Or maybe I am... but anyway.
She wasn't the brightest but still fun. I play hide and seek with her all the time, especially in my house. She's not that explorative. I hid behind a door and even with a million hints, she still didn't find me until I popped my head out. Not sure where her sense of smell is. One time, I threw her toy from the living room, and I jumped on the couch and hid under a blanket. Guess what.... she couldn't find me. She happened to jump on the couch cause I was barking and I guess she thought I was behind the couch. Lol.
She wasn't always good though. I have new curtains in my room thanks to her. And had to clean up some messes. I think she did it because she was upset that I left her. I just took her for a walk and left her for 3 hours. Wtf, maya! I still love her though. Spent many content hours, rolling around the floor and lying around. She always goes for the ears!

Now 3 weeks later, I'm contemplating getting a doggie.... I really don't want a dog to be sitting at home for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week though. Everyone says they will get used to it but I don't my dog to get used to that lifestyle. Then Valentina argued that it's better than being in a shelter... I think that's the winning argument. I'll see.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Choices

So this weekend I was back in Jersey. Mom's birthday was on Friday so I had decided to surprise her. After getting back to Jersey a bit after 11pm, Al picked me up so we could both be there. When we got there, the house was still. Both Mom and Dad were still sound asleep, despite the noise of the garage door and my brother and I creaking up the stairs. I always hated those noises as a teenager. They signaled I was home and usually late. Mom's not such a light sleeper anymore. Can't blame her with dad's snoring. :) So my brother and I are both standing in the rent's bedroom and we gently wake her. Thinking about the moment before, I asked myself, would she just think it was a dream? So she's groggy and surprised and I guess doesn't know what to think at first. So I find myself repeating happy birthday a couple of times. She's delighted to see us. My dad woke up to but there wasn't much of a reaction. I probably would be the same way if I was awoken in the middle of the night. But he seemed glad. Then back to bed...

It was an impromptu trip. It crossed my mind a week or so prior. I wasn't working, just spending my days reading a lot and at the coffee shop, playing a lot of video games, and sleeping even more. Hey, I can get a free tickets with all the miles I traveled to and from Hawaii last year. 4 times to be exact. Why not. So after a brief online booking, I tell my brother a couple of days later and he wants to pick me up. Nice. So I'm all set. I didn't really announce my arrival to anyone except a handful of people. I tend to be good and not announcing my future activities. Maybe cause they're unplanned. Still I had enough time. I suppose I realized when going back to Jersey, that it wasn't very important. Most of my friends know I'll be back one time or another as I popped in and out while I was in Hawaii.

Throughout the week, I had been searching online for a job, so why not look in Jersey. I didn't really plan it out well but it worked and I locked in an interview on that Friday. I should have just extended my trip a bit and got some more in. Returning to Jersey, I found myself pretty occupied that Friday. Interview here, stop by the old office, another appointment, stop by the older office, pick up Mom (thanks for the car), then home for what was supposed to be an hour nap. I was up til 4 am Thursday... drowning in my alertness. Anyway, back to the nap....zzz... zzz... zzz... and 4 hours later. Go out, play some Rockband with the Leaches and Deguzmans. Followed up with some drinks with Deguz. We had a really good conversation. I couldn't recall about details but him and I get into these somewhat philosophical discussions of life. Good times... good times...

Well it's not so important what I did on the trip. At some point or another, in talking and thinking about where I was, what I was doing, I realized, It makes no difference if I'm here or there. Either place, I'm not really doing much, just looking for a job. And so I really start to consider a trip back for an extended but not too extended period of time. After playing some pool with Rich and Nancy, I find out that she has this boxer (I knew that before) and she's going on a vaca this upcoming Friday. Suddenly, a light bulb is hovering around my head. Dogsitting!!! Yes I'm that excited about it. Hey I can make it back here by next Friday if I really wanted to. And that thought persisted all day Sunday. On another note, it was good seeing Angela at QTime. I hadn't seen her in over 2 years because I was elsewhere and so was she. So it was good times again... sitting after the bar closed til 3 am... having some cigs inside... and just chattin about this and that (Lost Boys).

So Sunday, twas my lazy day... wake up late... run some errands... get some coffee... then met up with JK for a bit. Our usual routine outside DnD, talking, smoking... just catchin up. He always has a story and it's great to hear. After that a fantastic dinner by Mom. She's the best cook I know. Not just saying that because I'm her son. Even other extended family and friends would agree. Her pound cake is famous among her co-workers at the hospital, my friends, my brother's friends, and a whole many others. I found it a bit difficult to sleep that night. I was thinking about a couple of things. For awhile I was imagining dogsitting and how much fun it would be. Since I don't have any other obligations, I could spend time playing, sleeping, and eating... just like a dog. Rolling around on the ground, being a bit bothersome to him/her, and just giving him/her all my attention. I've never actually met the dog before but I'm sure it'll like me, cause I like it already. Though I'm still unsettled of what I'm going to do.

After getting back to Avon, here's the plan. All my belongings are packed in my car. I have an interview with American Income Life down in Denver tomorrow. I'm not sure why I'm still going. Possibly because I said I would and also the hope of it being a really good position. If it does turn out to peak my interest, well back to Avon, unpack everything and start considering for a place in Denver. Well I guess I wouldn't unpack everything. Otherwise, as my uncle often said on ski trips in my younger days.... on the road again... and make it back by Thursday.

Oh yeah.... there's this girl in Jersey.... probably the most important factor.... who knows.... but I can dream.

Friday, April 23, 2010

If I wrapped my arms around you, I know everything would be alright...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love or something like it

Me: I don't want to find out that Karla put him in jail!!! Why would she? There's no benefit for her. Things were good between them... I hope I'm right.... but am jumping to the worst scenario.
Nicole: :) ur in love.
Me: I usually am... I'd be completely lost if I weren't at any given time... whether it be a person, idea, place... or just being in love with wanting to be in love. 
So I was casually reading Shantaram (yes... I'm still reading it.... it's taken me forever) at a Loaded Joe's, a local cafe. I hadn't picked it up in a couple of weeks but no more work and taxes are pretty much done... it's a good time to sit back and just delve into the world of Gregory David Roberts. So there's a character Karla that the main character Lin is in love with. She's alluring... intelligent... observant... manipulative... reserved.... mysterious. Someone who walks into a room and you can't help but watch. Someone to chase... and as many times as you fail... you'll still chase.  They just hooked up and then within 24 hours, he's put in jail for 3 months later. Upon getting out and after some time passes, I find out that she's gone and the person who possibly set him up is an attractive woman. And thus the txt message above....

And onto a broader observation of my own life. Though my understanding of love is limited, at any given time, I am in love with something. For one day back on December 9, 2008, I was in love with Hawaii.... and decided to follow it to the fullest. Other times, it's a girl, hopelessly chasing in my own non-existent manner... often times it's this... the person is raised on a pedestal and idolized from a far... til the day when I can no longer keep quite... and everything goes astray... sometimes it cycles with the same person and it simply becomes understood as how I am and will continue to be in the friendship.

We all need to find something or someone to love. I need something to fight for. Sadly, some struggle is often enough to maintain our attention on life.  In my case, since I lack something to fight for, it has become the journey to find something to fight for. Without it, I'd be a zombie, simply dragging through life. I think I've come across this thought in the past and may be reiterating. When was the last time you asked yourself, what am I fighting for? What's important to you?
 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beaver Creek Splashdown 2010


 

So on Monday, Beaver Creek held their annual employee splashdown. The mountain closed the day before so we had the mountain to ourselves. They opened the main lift from 10am to 12:30pm for all the employees. It was pretty sweet knowing you can go as fast as you want and not have to deal with other people. So we rode for a couple of hours than they had lunch at Spruce Saddle (a cabin on top of the main lift). Burgers, dogs, salads... your typical barbeque... but on a grand scale. There were so many people up there, some in outrageous costumes, most just chillin, enjoying a free meal.
Then at 1, the splashdown! 50 employees trying to ski or ride over a short pond that my boss built with a cat the day before. The water must have been freezing! They had a competition for best splash, best costumes, and best pond skim. There was this one guy dressed like Apollo Ohno... looked exactly like him! And another girl in an 80's leotard... so cute.... towlie from South Park. There were throwing out freebies and t-shirts and other random crap too.
Rusty! Enjoy Alabama!

Apollo Ohno.
Random person...

Oh yeah... they had this bungie thing there. They've had it all season but it was free for the day (free makes everything better). So I got strapped in and started jumping and flipping. They had some kind of pneumatic system to help you bounce up. I did a flip at first then a forward one.... then a double and finally a triple back flip. Very dizzying experience but fun! It's an odd sensation. At points you're weightless and others you just don't know which way is up. 


It's been a fun season! Ready to move on and would love to work on the mountain again. Perhaps somewhere else at another time.