melanistic. he’s super melanistic, baby!

Photo via Andrew Evans of the National Geographic.

All-black penguin discovered

By Stephen Messenger, TreeHugger

King Penguins are notorious for their prim, tuxedoed appearance — but a recently discovered all-black penguin seems unafraid to defy convention. In what has been described as a “one in a zillion kind of mutation,” biologists say that the animal has lost control of its pigmentation, an occurrence that is extremely rare. Other than the penguin’s monochromatic outfit, the animal appears to be perfectly healthy — and then some. “Look at the size of those legs,” said one scientist, “It’s an absolute monster.”

The under-dressed penguin was photographed by Andrew Evans of National Geographic on the island of South Georgia near Antarctica. As the picture circulated, some biologists were taken aback — including Dr. Allan Baker of the University of Toronto. His first response was disbelief:

Wow. That looks so bizarre I can’t even believe it. Wow.

While multicolored birds will often show some variation, Dr. Baker explains that what makes this all-black King Penguin so rare is that the bird’s melanin deposits have occurred where they are typically not present — enough so that no light feathers even checker the bird’s normally white chest.

Andrew Evans:

Melanism is merely the dark pigmentation of skin, fur — or in this case, feathers. The unique trait derives from increased melanin in the body. Genes may play a role, but so might other factors. While melanism is common in many different animal species (e.g., Washington D.C. is famous for its melanistic squirrels), the trait is extremely rare in penguins. All-black penguins are so rare there is practically no research on the subject — biologists guess that perhaps one in every quarter million of penguins shows evidence of at least partial melanism, whereas the penguin we saw appears to be almost entirely (if not entirely) melanistic.

Whether or not the all-black look catches on in the penguin fashion world, it’s nice to see someone dressing-down for once.

Stephen Messenger is a correspondent at TreeHugger, where this post originally appeared.

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Happy List for March 08, 2010

It feels good to get things done.

What a busy day!  Being hopped up on caffeine does wonders for domestic productivity.   Loving the Starbucks Via packets!  What I do is use an empty water bottle, put in my desired amount of either Caramel sauce or honey, soy milk, and then empty a Via packet into the bottle and shake!  Instant yummy coffee that is the perfect strength for me and is super fast and easy… which is how I take my coffee and my men… teehee.

photo from

1.  Had a lovely morning shower with more hot water than I knew what to do with (Thank you Mr. Landlord for replacing the 22 yr. old water heater with a brand-spanking new one last Saturday! Much Happy Blessings for you!).

2. Played with #2 in the morning and did a couple of loads of laundry before doing the school run to pick up #1. 

3. Then took both of my Precious Happies to the newly discovered Japanese market near by.  Oh how I love love love this market!  It has a variety of fresh seafood that astounds and delights and that only Japanese Markets can provide.  Bought a slew of sashimi products to delight the DH for dinner: tuna, salmon, yellow-tail, ikura, geoduck, and the most treasured of them all–blue fin ohtoro at $69.99/lb!  Total for sashimi = $45 of yummy goodness!  Only complaint is that there was no uni to be found. Other than that, we got a two person feast for under fifty bones.  And they even provide FREE ice for all your seafood cooling needs!  Oh how lovely! That’s some Precious Sashimi Happy right there folks!

photo from

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Photo from Sakuraya Fish Mart

4. Found the most adorable Wii Remote Pez-like Candy Dispenser for $1.59 each. They are A-DOR-ABLE! You load it up and it shoots out Pez-like candy when you press the “B” button on the very realistic mini Wii Remote Controller Candy Dispenser.  The kids got such a kick out of it that I got them each one, one for Mommy, one for Daddy, and an extra one for #1 to give to his best friend.  If we have another Super Mario Bros. themed birthday party, I’m thinking that these would make awesome party favors.  They are too cool for school, Man!

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5.  Got to use my pretty new pink and floral Playmate Cooler for the sashimi and ice that I purchased from the Japanese market for the trip home.  My fresh fish stayed nice and cold and FRESH all the way home to my fridge until din-din time.  Good tip for all you fish and meat lovers, keep a cooler in your car for your shopping trips when you want to keep your food safe and cold.

6. Once home, finished doing the dishes… score for Mommy!  This is one of my least least least favorite things to do and it feels really good to finish it.

7.  Also did a few more loads of laundry.  Yay to clean clothes.  I can actually look like a decent human being again.  I have missed you my Lacoste polos, cashmere sweaters, and my replenished supply of butt-hugging jeans!  And yes, I wash all of these in my washing machine.  Just select the delicate or hand-wash cycle on your machine and DO NOT put in your dryer machine but lay out to dry and you too can clean cashmere and expensive polos without having to dry-clean them!  This has saved much dinero for me over the years!  Can’t wait til tomorrow when I can finish my “Brights” load so that I can climb into one of my favorite hoodies;  my blue and yellow UCLA one that I get loads of compliments on and questions as to where to buy (which is actually a  pretty strange question as one can get it directly from UCLA!).

8.  The counters are clean clean clean! Goodbye grease! Hello my reflection in the granite!

9. Got to break in the new broom and dust pan I bought.  It was a splurge (at $12.99 for a friggin dust pan, that’s pretty extravagant to yours truly) but since it is Japanese built as in made for small spaces, it folds up and fits neatly in the teensy space tween my fridge and the kitchen cabinets.

10.  Did some bills! Gah I hate credit card companies!  My fixed 9.99% rate Amex just jumped up to a variable 28% APR for no apparent reason.  When asked why the terms changed, they replied “new government regulations, economic change, prime rate change, blah blah blah…” meaning they are suddenly screwing me over after a faithful, perfect payment history for the past 10 years BECAUSE THEY CAN! …. Okay so this isn’t too Precious Happy but at least some bills got paid and we had the means to pay them (always a blessing especially during this scary recession).

I’m starting to freeze (living in a rented 50 yr. old house with paper-thin walls can do that to ya) so I must bid adieu for now.  Away to my cozy down comforter I go.  My feet need heat.  Wishing you all some Precious Happy of your own until next time!


Precious Happy

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Happy Valentine’s Day AND Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Wishing you all the best on the day of love and the first day of the Year of the Tiger. This Valentine’s Day I got two types of flowers! DH surprised me with a Valentine’s card, lovely vase containing a dozen red roses, and a sweet new Bottega Veneta Large Veneta in Orchid… two of my favorite flowers: roses and orchids! Yay!  Valentine’s Day card, flowers, Bottega Veneta and Red Money envelope? So much fun!!! That’s some Precious Holiday Happy 🙂

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I still can’t get over my dad dying. I feel like my life is on hold until I do. I barely have enough energy every day to survive sometimes. I hate how depression can suck all my will to do anything besides feeding and taking care of my children. I hate this feeling but I know I won’t be able to get past it until I accept the fact that he’s gone forever. I hate this so much. But I have hope that I am getting better. I’ve slowly stopped thinking about him as if he is still here. The present tense has slowly evolved into the past tense whenever I think of him now. This makes me so sad but also a little bit relieved. I used to feel like if I scream loudly enough inside of me with all my heart, this reality won’t be real and he never died and still lives somewhere where I can visit and see him, talk to him, say “Hi” to him and “How are you doing?”… and what I wish for most–to have him meet my sons. Now my screams of protest have become mere whimpering. Perhaps acceptance will come soon. It has to come soon yet I know it can’t be rushed. Gah this sucks. That’s why happiness is so tenuous and delicate. Life can end instantaneously. Don’t live for the moment just for the sake of it. Savor the bitterness and sadness too. Life is not just smiley pictures… life is mostly the moments between the smiles. It’s beautiful even when it’s full of sadness. I miss my dad. My beautiful, flawed but amazing dad. I am just grateful that I had someone I loved enough to grieve this much for.


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Has it been a month already…

…since my last post?

My, how time flies by. It seems as if nowadays (since our eldest child has entered the public forum that is private school) time is sectioned by whichever happens to be the trendiest of viruses and bacteria that is first passed around at #1’s classroom and then shared miserably and equally among our lil family of four. What fun to be had each and every time. You probably know what I’m talking about if you have kids and if you don’t you should try it.

Let’s just keep this one casual as I try to regain my blogging mojo (yes, something I don’t think I had but I’m working on it). Hhmm, let’s see…

Discovered that I love love love Anthropologie’s designs but hate the bad craftsmanship and cheap fabric and especially at their crazy prices–for $200/a dress, I can buy better quality! So I will pass and stick to Zara, H&M, Banana Republic, et al. with the occasional discounted Diane Von Furstenberg, Burberry, Lacoste thrown into the mix. Although I still very much love and relate to Anthropologie’s designs the most! I told DH that I will buy one of their dresses, deconstruct it, then use the pattern to rebuild it in a much nicer fabric for my own use and consumption. His answer? He snorted. Why the lack of support, eh Hubby? Oh, right… because I don’t own a sewing machine and I don’t know how to sew and I’ve said before how I plan to cobble my own shoes but have yet to do. Oh, alright but a girl can still have seamstressy dreams.

DH denies it but he secretly lusts for the iPad which btw I hate the name of! Seriously? iPad?? They didn’t bother testing that name with the female side of Apple Fandom did they? Is it that time of the month to use an iPad yet? Eeww and gross. So I will stubbornly rename it and refer to it as the “iTablet” because that’s what it is suppose to be, right? It seems fine but not a necessity to me. iPod – gotta have. iPhone – I seriously can not live without. The “iTablet” seems fun but just another gadget to clutter up one’s purse/briefcase. So of course the DH would want one. He has yet to admit that and I have yet to admit that I’d probably play with it if we ever get one for him. My geekiness occasionally swells at the sight of fun lil electronic gizmos. After 8 1/2 years of marriage DH has caught on that I am geekier than I initially appeared. But he has yet to realize that despite my complaining, I actually like going to Frye’s with him. I just rather he not know that because then he tends to be more patient when I drag him clothes-shopping. Hehe. That is a phenomenon I call the Give-and-Take of marriage. 😉

We decided to cancel our cable and premium internet opting for just the basic internet. We also don’t have a land line either. I was worried that I would miss cable but I actually don’t. I love the lessened amount of advertisements in my life. My kids don’t jump up and down at every new toy they see in commercials now as well. Of course they have always been good at not asking for the stuff they see but I hated them being exposed to that shite! I’ve found out that I can live off entertainment media provided by the internet alone. I highly recommend I am in love with them. But this love affair will end if they decide to start charging fees! Here’s to hoping that they remain nice and fee free!! Cutting the cord has saved us $100 a month! Not too shabby. And ladies, doing my designer math… I figure it’s equivalent to getting a brand new smaller Louis Vuitton a year! Yeah Baby!

I am also grateful for the awesome powers of the local farmer’s market!!! I can not say enough wonderful things about it. It has started to become our Sunday tradition of having breakfast then hitting the farmer’s market conveniently located 2 minutes from home. Fresh, organic veggies at a percentage of the cost of Supermarket tasteless blobs = heart heart heart. It reminds me of one of my favorite King of the Hill episodes where Hank discovers the wonders of organic food. It’s really funny. I sure do miss that show.

It’s raining like crazy outside right now. As our streets get flooded and less fortunate people’s homes become threatened by mudslides, I am grateful that we live on a hill in a 50 year old house that has decent enough drainage. Thank goodness for that. Escaping four wild fires in 2007 was bad enough! I am happy that I’m safe inside this little rented dwelling of sticks and stucco. The only thing that could be better would be that we end up owning a house again one day. As soon as this crazy economy stabilizes a little bit more–hopefully on this side of 5 years–we will tentatively venture into home-ownership once and again. Our own personal American dream has been stalled but I’m happy we have a temporary shelter for us to call home. Unbearably hot during the Summer, freezing during the winter, but right now my family and I are warm and dry. And right now is my own little Precious Happy.

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Tim Minchin’s Storm

In the past week, I’ve just discovered Tim Minchin. I am in lurve! The man’s a genius. The ending of this particular song/beat-poem gets me everytime. I love it all but I especially love the part that starts with “Isn’t this enough?” and onward. It’s so beautiful it makes me want to weep everytime I listen to it. It’s so true it hurts and yet the soul rejoices at the discovery of a kindred spirit. It’s a happy, delightful pain.

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Stream of Semi-Consciousness

I wonder if scrapbooking has lessened due to the advent of social media and all it’s myriad of tools to catalog one’s daily lives.  Has Flickr replaced photo albums?  Do digital images remain forever on our high-tech cameras and hard drives with the promise to be printed?  Do people still buy bound journals when typing is faster and oftentimes more coherent at capturing our thoughts than putting pen to paper?  I know I have only completed one notebook journal in all my life.  Doogie Howser, how far we have come. 

Technology is moving at a rapid whip-lash speed.  Will the world be recognizable to me 20 years from now?  How will my children fare?  I know the world I grew up in is unrecognizable to my children already.  The Jetsons, come meet your new neighbors.

I wonder what of my children’s childhood will they remember?  What will they forget or rewrite through time’s fuzzy vision?  I wonder if the moments I tag as important for them will even register 20-30 years from now?  How can I ensure the accuracy of their remembrances?  Will the time I lost my temper and disallowed my son from playing with an electronic toy be a bad memory or one that he will recognize as necessary parental discipline?  I hope the latter as I meant the latter.  But what we mean and what becomes are much different things.  I doubt my own parents would ever have foreseen how I now see my childhood to be.  This is all new territory for me and the hubby.  We each did not have -that- pleasant of childhoods to begin with.  He got off better than I did, for sure.  It feels so so bizarre how vastly different mine is to my children’s.  Despite my firm belief that I am doing right by them, most of the time I still feel terrified at flying blind.  I can’t model my parenting skills after what I witnessed firsthand.  No, that would not do.  Emotional, mental, physical abuse is definitely not to be recreated in this generation that I am raising.  So how to teach without the methods my father used?  How to show love without the manipulation and guilt-laying my mother did?  How to address property rights when I had none growing up?  I don’t have models for appropriate parenting.  I’m flying blind and it is terrifying and it’s all I’ve got.  I’m thankful for having the courage for my children’s sake to do it anyways.

As I worry about the future and our ever-changing plans, I keep falling down the rabbit-hole of past memories.  Flashbacks assault me throughout the day.  Not just images, but actual sensations that I had in those moments when I had them.  The time period changes–they come and go in phases.  Right now I’m being haunted by my high school years when I’m awake and at night I relive my 20’s.  Then I snap back to the present in my 30’s.  The inevitable happens and I pick up a childhood relic of mine and instantly I’m transported to sitting on my Daddy’s lap playing computer games as he tells me how proud he is of me.  Love love that memory.  A picture of Robie Sr. is the background on my iPhone.  On my desk lies the 4 1980’s Sierra Adventure Games DH got me for Christmas.  Too sensitive just yet to be installed by me.  On my living room bookshelf sits my Dad’s old Glass Electricity Globe Light thing.  I wonder if it still works or will it explode after it is turned on for more than an hour?  It would suck to be electricuted by something that is 25 years old.  Is this because New Year’s is looming its head around the corner?  Is this because I still so fully, wholly, and painfully miss my Dad?  Is this because I’ve recently found some old friends, faces from the past that I came upon on facebook and google?  Or just because I’m between being rooted and being lost?  I think all of it.  Why not?  When has life ever been simple?   I’m hopeful for the future no matter how painful the past nor how uncertain the present.  I’m grateful for that.

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