Mr. Popoy cuts a tragic figure: salt and pepper hair; one arm resting on the protruding belly of one well-past middle age; one arm outstretched, fingers grasping for the warmth of human contact; and the forlorn, faraway look of a king who has lost his country.
His tragedy is in no way lessened by the fact that Mr. Popoy is not of our species: He is a gibbon, a member of the ape family.
I met the sad-looking simian recently when I visited the Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Center, which is located 44 kilometers – a two-hour tuktuk ride – outside Phnom Penh. Story is Mr. Popoy was once the other half of a gibbon pair – which mate for life, according to our tour guide – that had been rescued from the wilderness from poachers who hunted gibbons for use in traditional medicinal remedies.
For a while, Mr. and Mrs. Popoy lived happily ever after in their little kingdom, a large cage in Section 1 of the rescue center, presumably doing the things that gibbons like to do: swinging from tree branch to tree branch; flirtatiously lobbing fecal matter at each other in a mock snowball fight; perhaps even engaging in acts that could have produced little gibbon babies.
But the happy ending did not last, and life, or, rather, death happened. Mrs. Popoy got sick, and Mr. Popoy was left alone.
Keepers tried to find Mr. Popoy another friend, but other gibbons would not do: they were female, they were fertile, but they were most definitely not the Mrs. Now, Mr. Popoy can only find comfort in his caretakers and the tourists who walk through the wildlife center who are benevolent enough to find sorrow in his story, bold enough to brush the thought of monkey cooties aside, and brave enough to take his outstretched hand.
Photo: Julie Anne Ines / Flickr “Chronicles in Cambodia” (New photos added!)
I hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend, but for finals last semester and for finals this semester Undergrad Neighbor has done something unintentionally, yet incredibly annoying. Last semester, the day before my Torts final, it was inviting his douchey, possibly hipster friends to talk about Picasso, smoke douchey herbal cigarettes, and scream like Howard Dean while running into walls.
What could possibly be worse than that?
One word, nerds: Drums. And not just any drum kit, mind you. From what I gather, Undergrad Neighbor has either borrowed or has recently purchased a digital drum kit, which means that there is one drum set with a million preset kits on it. And he’s going through every single one of them.
Every. Single. One.
Now, I wouldn’t mind if he had drum skills so crazy mad that he could play the dress and undies off a feminist groupie, but that is not the case, my friends. All I’ve been hearing for the past hour or so is “bass, bass, bass, bass-snare … high hat!” tried with all the different kits that came with the drums.
To grasp my level of annoyed, think Rock Band on the easy setting played by a rhythmically challenged kitty cat, minus any potential cute factor. “But kitty cats have no hands, much less the manual dexterity afforded by thumbs!” you say.
Puppies, kittens, unicorns and rainbows.
I am currently living on a law school budget, and, as such, my furniture and technology choices are often restricted to what I can find at WalMart, Target, the local Goodwill, or generous donations from the Parentals. That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a lovely piece or appliance when I happen to see one. Like this television set, for example.
Just look at it!
Too frakkin’ cute!
But Teenie Me says she’s got it down. She read the first week’s worth of homework over the weekend.
Yeah. She’s a gunner.
Teenie Me is super ambitious. On the first day of orientation at The Blawgirl’s law school, the dean of students stated that there could be only one No. 1 student. Yup. Law school is kind of like Highlander, only without the kilts and big ass swords.
Teenie Me aims to be that student and has already threatened The Blawgirl, stating that she will hide case books toward finals.
The photo at the left was taken last week, even before the The Blawgirl had gotten her mile high stack of casebooks and supplements.
Teenie me is like me only smaller. Much, much smaller.
In all other regards, we are strikingly similar.
We both wear glasses on occasion. We both have an affinity for messenger-type, cross-shoulder bags. We both love ginormous dogs. We both love chocolate, cheese and the TV show “Chuck”. We both think penguins – or “pengins” as Teenie calls them – have an evil, secret plan to take over the world.
Oh, and we both despise men who pop their collars, except European men because they can’t help it: They’re European. They come out of the womb equipped with Speedos and weird-ass shirts.
I first met Teenie Me several years ago at Anime Expo, where she was just chilling at a booth making snide remarks at all the girls dressed in Sailor Moon outfits who probably shouldn’t be wearing mini skirts and the gross amount of man boobs on display. I appreciated her candor and decided to adopt her then and there.
We’ve been inseparable ever since.
You can see where Teenie’s been so far on my Flickr photostream, and you can continue to follow her adventures here as she follows me into law school.
Somewhere in the back of all our closets is a yearbook containing a photo that we hope will never see the light of day. Let’s call it the Bill Compton (or any other hunky vampire hearthrob, and, sorry, Edward Cullen doesn’t count) of yearbook pics.
But unlike Sexy Bill, these photos are decidely unsexy: your hair doesn’t fit in the frame, you blink at a bad time, you sneeze at a bad time, you wonder whether you left the crimping iron on in the bathroom, etc.
So why in the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s green earth would you want to see what you would look like in a yearbook photo from previous decades? Because it’s hella fun!
Yearbook Yourself allows you to try on different looks from many different decades. Want to see what you’d look like with a ‘fro? Check the 1970s. Want to rock a bouffant? Try a look on from the 1960s.
Try it out, and post links to your photo albums below! It’s groovy. Also, you can check out some more of my Yearbook Yourself photos here.
The closest I’ve ever come to going to a circus was on the frequent childhood “family trips” to Las Vegas, when my parents would hand me and my brothers $20 to go play in the arcade. Between two boys and one girl – and despite the keen money management of said little girl – the cash lasted all of 10 minutes. After that, one of our parents or other responsible adult would take us out to the Midway Stage where we would be dazzled by any number of free circus acts while sitting on sticky benches next to the warm bodies of other tourists who may or may not have showered that morning.
This probably explains why the circus I remember from my childhood smells of stale popcorn, the mysterious sticky stuff on those Midway Stage benches, cigarette smoke, McDonald’s french fries and just a touch of body odor.
This also probably explains why today I found the eau de barnyard and exhaust that greeted me as I approached the Ringling Bros. Circus train cars so refreshing.
Unlike the stale, musty odors of the circus I remember, this smelled like life, like the wonderment of youth, like the promise of childhood joy under the big top … and, yeah, like poo.
Visit my Flickr photostream to see/download the elephant photos!
UPDATE: See more video of the elephants walking here!
About The Chronicles of a BlawgirlThis blawg follows Julie Anne Ines as she continues her law school journey as a 3L in Fall 2011. Learn more about her here. Find/stalk her online profiles using the social toolbar at the bottom of your browser. Email her at ja_ines (at) msn (dot) com. Thank you for reading!
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