Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

ABC African Animal Book   Leave a comment

Hey lookit me I’m on BuzzFeed!

But seriously though, check out this totally sweet book I wrote and illustrated and presented at the ‘96 Viola Rand Elementary School Talent Show.

BuzzFeed: “ABC African Animal Book” By A 7-Year-Old

When I was in first grade, I wrote and illustrated a book which I read aloud at the school talent show. [Ed. note: This spectacular book is part of keepsake show and tell]

Dik-diks happen to be the most painfully adorable antelope ever.

After I’d finished about half the drawings, I started to get bored with rote depictions of animals in their natural habitats, and my illustrations started to get a bit more … creative.

Here, for example, we have an ibis who’s apparently just locked a bad guy in a cage or prison of some sort, and is also dressed to attend a birthday party. Or maybe he’s some kind of rather flamboyant wizard? I can’t recall.

These nyala are apparently sailing to France in the year 1731. Because, sure, why not?

Can you see the ostriches? There’s one in the middle of the page, who’s just punted Scar over a waterfall with a kick of one of his mighty ostrich legs.

Depicted here is some sort of epic battle, featuring ostriches, chameleons, hyenas, characters from The Lion King, and a large arsenal of missiles on both sides.


Now that’s more like it!

This image features, among other things:

  • a lemur with a police badge on his chest and a sign saying “Lemur” taped to his forehead
  • two chameleons gesticulating angrily at some warthogs
  • and a gray character who appears to be either rudely mocking someone, unhinged with fury, or perhaps both simultaneously

Urotriorchis macrourus is the scientific name for the Long-tailed Hawk, and was the closest thing I could find to an African animal whose name started with a U.

“Macrourus” is from the Greek for “long tail”; “uro” is Greek for “tail” and “triorchis” is from the Greek meaning “having three testicles.”

I was unaware of that fact at the time.

So, since this is an alphabet of African animals, you all knew from the beginning that the last animal was going to be “zebra” OH SNAP NO IT’S “ZEBU”!!!

The zebu is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia that has been raised in Africa for hundreds of years. It’s pretty obscure; you probably haven’t heard of it.

Oh man, I totally had you fooled! I even tricked you by decorating the “Z’s” with black and white zebra stripes.

This is the back cover. Here we have, let’s see:

  • a white chess piece knight on a checkered path of some kind
  • a bunch of hyenas (they had haunched shoulders and gangly hips in The Lion King,features which I depicted in a manner that makes them look the twin humps of Bactrian camels)
  • and a grey hyena who is A) apparently a good guy, or at least disguising himself as one, B) sporting a purple bandana and cape, and C) also maybe some sort of cyborg, with mechanical spider legs – and maybe that cape is actually an exhaust pipe?

And God only knows what this poor bugger’s deal is.

And finally, my performance at the Talent Show (with assistance from my mom).

Thanksgiving   Leave a comment

Family Portrait

Aunt Barb’s birthday

Matt’s spending Christmas in Germany again this year, so Aunt Barb gave him his present early. She actually bought him that knitted beard hat you always see ads for on Facebook.

Posted November 25, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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Gloucester   Leave a comment

Mom and Dad and I took a weekend trip to visit Gloucester.

We got to see my incredibly adorable little cousins.
The little one was born just after our visit last year.
Her sister we’ve seen a couple times before, but this visit the two of us became buddies.

More photos here

Posted November 15, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal, photography, travel

Halloween ’12   Leave a comment

I went trick-or-treating with Circle K collecting change for UNICEF’s Six Cents Initative, so I grabbed some of Dad’s old turnout gear from the basement and went as a firefighter.

The mustache is my own, enhanced with some mascara.

The jack-o-lantern is meant to show that this is a Halloween costume, and that I’m not, y’know, actually a firefighter.

Posted November 1, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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Prince Edward Island   Leave a comment

Last month, I joined Mom and Aunt Barb on a trip to Prince Edward Island, which none of us had ever visited. We didn’t go on our yearly camping trip on MDI with her this year, but this trip was a very nice substitute.

The two salient features of PEI are red dirt and Anne of Green Gables. Other prominent features include:

  • Francophones!
  • Japanese tourists. Anne of Green Gables must be huge in Japan, because at least a quarter of all the tourists were from there.
  • Fields of wheat and potatoes.
  • Views of the ocean. The island is only forty miles wide, and it’s cut through with inlets, bays and estuaries, so it’s hard to drive far without catching a glimpse of the coastline.
  • Really lovely, unique churches.
  • Céilidh. This is just good old fashioned traditional Gaelic music. It’s the Irish word for “gathering” or “celebration,” pronounced “kay-lay.” We didn’t get the chance to hear any while we were there, but Mom and I listened to some at the National Folk Festival the week after.

Anyway, we had great three days there. Here’s some of what we saw.


The Campbell House

The Campbell’s home, which Lucy Maud Montgomery called the “wonder castle of my childhood,” was built in 1872 by her Uncle John and Aunt Annie Campbell. The first Campbells settled here in 1776, and the house is still in the Campbell family after over two hundred and thirty years. It was the setting for Anne’s Lake of Shining Waters.



Green Gables

This, of course, is the inspiration for the titular house in Anne of Green Gables. In real life, this farm was the home of David Jr. and Margaret Macneill, who were cousins of Montgomery’s grandfather. The farm was first settled in 1831 by David Macneill Sr. Although Lucy never lived here, she grew up nearby with her grandparents. She came to know her cousins’ farm through her explorations of the surrounding woodlands and places she discovered and named, such as Lover’s Lane and the Haunted Wood.

Soon after Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, people began coming to Cavendish in search of Green Gables, along with the other places and people of Avonlea in the novel. It became a part of Prince Edward Island National Park in 1937 and it was declared a National Historical Site in 1985.



The provincial capital of P.E.I. It was founded in 1764 and named for King George III’s wife Queen Charlotte. In the following year it became the provincial capital of St. John’s Island, which was renamed Prince Edward Island in honor of Prince Edward, fourth son of George III and father of Queen Victoria and Commander-in-Chief of North America.

Charlottetown City Hall

Built 1887-88 in the Romanesque Revival style. Its multi-functional plan, typical of town and city halls of the period, included a police station, fire hall and stable on the ground floor, and council chambers, a court room, and offices on the upper stories.


Beaconsfield Historic House

Beaconsfield Historic House is a large Second Empire and Italianate influenced home located on the corner of Kent and West Streets. Prominent local architect William Critchlow Harris designed it for one of Prince Edward Island’s most successful shipbuilders, James Peake Jr. (1842-1895).

Unfortunately, the Peakes were destined to enjoy their elegant home for a very brief time. With the collapse of the shipbuilding industry and other personal financial problems, James Peake was forced to declare bankruptcy and had to leave Beaconsfield in 1882. He eventually moved to British Columbia where he died a broken man.

At the time, Beaconsfield was considered to be one of the most elegant and modern homes on the Island.

It featured gas lighting, central heating, a water closet and running water. It had twenty-five rooms, eight fireplaces, encaustic tiling, porcelain chandeliers, a beautiful coloured glass window above the staircase that featured Peake’s initials, lovely gardens and a waterfront view of Charlottetown Harbor.


Province House

Seat of the Prince Edward Island Legislature since 1847 and Canada’s second-oldest seat of government after the Nova Scotia Legislature’s own Province House in Halifax.

In September 1864, Province House had an important role in helping Prince Edward Island host the Charlottetown Conference. This conference resulted in the Canadian Confederation, which formed the British Canadian colonies into the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867, and was the birth of Canada as a nation.


Auntie Barb in front of the lighthouse with her Anne of Green Gables novelty hat with braids.

Summer, minigolf, Schoodic, and Anna   Leave a comment




Schoodic Point, Birch Harbor and Winter Harbor




Anna left to return home to Germany yesterday.

We had an awesome time with her this summer. I’m really going to miss having her around.

Posted August 7, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal, photography

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Kitty cat is sick. One trip to the vet and $250 later, she’s full of anti-biotics for the infection, pro-biotics to counter the effects of the anti-biotics on her digestive system, and saline fluid to re-hydrate her.

They had to inject the fluid into her skin, so for a while until her body absorbed it she was all puffed up like a water balloon. She looked like a little Quasimodo cat.

Posted July 31, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal