Giraffes and Big Canoe

Saturday I went up to Big Canoe to visit Mom, Carol, Bob, David, and Andrew who are staying all week as well as Jeb, Kathy, Kelly, and Claire who were just staying the weekend. But first I went straight to the zoo where it was announced this week that a baby giraffe was born. At least that’s when I heard about it in the AJC, but actually it happened on July 13. In the wild, giraffes have to be able to walk pretty quickly or they will be eaten. So they come out pretty big already, and this “baby” is already six feet tall. It’s amazing they survive at all given the drop from the mother which is also six feet.


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Post Office Officially Obsolete

This morning I went to the post office to get 2 stamps for my last two letters to Nicole before she leaves her site. My post office isn’t open on Saturdays (they’ve never been open on Saturdays, but I’m sure they don’t have the budget for it), so the only time I can get stamps is first thing in the morning on my way to work, though I have to be a little late to work since the post office doesn’t open until 8:30. I went in this morning and spent 15 minutes in line, stuck behind one guy with 2 packages and then a woman signing up for a P.O. box. I was still third in line and they lady was still doing the paperwork for her P.O. box when I gave up. They only had one register open, probably because of budget cuts. I have been there before when they had more than one register open. To his credit, the guy at that register is one of the nicest people ever, but they need to open more registers or provide some kind of vending machine for basic stuff like stamps. But they did away with the vending machines years ago, no doubt to cut costs. I liked the vending machines because they were open any time and I could make a big dent in my supply of spare change buying $8 worth of stamps. But the post office has now cut their budget so much that they really are no longer effective, at least in terms of having a store front. Anyway, this is the second time out of the last few visits where the time I was spending in line made no sense relative to what I was getting and I wound up leaving. So I will just e-mail until she comes back. I can get regular stamps at the grocery store and otherwise can hopefully avoid the post office.

Jet Torch Lighter

Some years ago, Susan asked me to get her a crème brûlée kit for her birthday or Christmas. It had some custard mix, four little ramekins, and a butane-powered kitchen torch along with a can of butane to refill the torch. The torch was very impressive and some of you may have seen it when I took it to Anna Maria one year to light cigars. It had all the menacing danger of a blowtorch, but smaller and cuter.

I don’t know how I started looking for lighters at DealExtreme, the Chinese website where I get a lot of flashlight stuff, but I found out they have jet torches that are lighters. I don’t smoke, so I didn’t realize they also have those in stores here too. I found one that got positive reviews and was less than $3, including shipping. I figured I couldn’t afford not to buy it. They include just enough butane to make sure it works, so when I got it, I got maybe 2 seconds of flame.


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This morning as we were getting back from our walk, Austin sniffed around in the thicket in my front yard that may have once been a pine island. There were these big fat blackberries and most of them were ripe. I’ve never seen such perfect wild blackberries. They were round spheres of fat individual drupelets (this is the correct term which I just learned from Wikipedia), like plump little soccer balls. I had about 10 or so and they tasted good (though I don’t like the seeds in blackberries). I did not eat the lower growing ones in Austin’s range.


Ultrafire WF-501B with MC-E Drop-in

Reviewer’s Overall Rating: ***

Light in hand


Battery: 1×18650
Switch:  Reverse clicky
Modes:  5 (H-M-L-S-SOS)
LED Type:  Cree MC-E M bin
Lens:  Glass
Tailstands:  No
Price Payed:  $20.00
From: DealExtreme


  • Bright
  • Cheap
  • Mode memory works well
  • Nice Low


  • Under-driven
  • Dark donut hole in beam
  • Current not well-regulated
  • Whines on medium
  • Host can’t handle heat

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