I went to Texas recently, and I was there for two great weeks. Met lots and lots of interesting and nice people, saw lots of Texan stuff, took lots of pics, and had more fun than one person ought to be allowed to have in such a short period of time. It was a blast. I stayed with good friend Junkill and his wonderful partner, Suzi, where I also met dichotomyboi. We had a very small nodermeet, during which a new expression was coined: "I am gay for xxx". Works very well in most settings. I ended my two weeks with missing my flight and having to pay a good $580 (more than 3000 DKr) to get home to Denmark again, one day later than planned.

I might even be tempted to write about the whole trip at some point. Not right now, though.

While I was there I made the acquaintance of a couple of delightful personalities named Nicholas J. Cosmo and Ayumi Tanukiko. Elegant, beautiful, and very friendly Nicky and Ayumi totally won me over, and I ended up looking forward to the daily ferret fun.

Ferret fun, yes. Because they were ferrets. Quite small, frisky, bubbly, and bouncy ferrets, with little tails and pointy teeth, silvery coats and pretty, triangular faces. Nicky with the characteristic "bandit mask" around the eyes, and Ayumi almost entirely silvery grey.

I didn't know much about ferrets before meeting those two. A friend had told me that the ferrets she had met had been very annoying, very smelly, and very keen on biting all the time. I am not particularly thrilled about little, quick animals who bite, so I wasn't too sure about actually socialising with Nicky and Ayumi. Junkill assured me they didn't bite, but he couldn't vouch for the smell. (As it turned out the smell was a little musky, but not too bad at all).

My first meeting with Nicky was coming out from my room, seeing him flipping around with a ferret chewey toy thing. So fascinating. He took one look at me, and proceeded to bounce after me into the sitting room, probably hoping for a treat from this new human person. So I got to give him a ferret treat with raisins, and he did his trademark trick of climbing up on the stage and sit up on his hind legs when I said "Ilder" (Danish for polecat).

Too darn cute!

Nicky will get into all kinds of mischief such as climbing into your waterglass to drink, or onto Suzi's keyboard to type out ferret swearwords. Tipping things over, or hopping down the trash can seems to be ferret favourite things to do during ferret fun time, and if you aren't attentive anything can happen. He'd also try to get into your Gin & Tonic or Port, even though he didn't seem to like the flavour very much - but hey, it was ill-gotten goods, and so it was interesting.

Ayumi wasn't quite as feisty or social around me, but she was still a real cutie. She was a little poorly, zigging and zagging on her hind legs when she wobbled across the kitchen floor towards the feeding bowls, and as soon as she had eaten she usually crawled under the futon to sleep. We had to take her to the vet at one point, and I got to sit with her wrapped in a soft towel. She poked her little head out now and then during the drive, sniffing the air, but not being too happy about the bright sunlight she always disappeared again. She never tried to weasel out of the towel, and even let me scratch her on the head. And when we picked her up the next day she seemed a little bit more alert. On the last night of ferret fun she let me scratch her all over while she wriggled around and eventually fell off of the couch.

By the time I left Texas the Way of the Weasels had worked its charm, and I really missed them.

Well, yesterday I learned that Ayumi had died from what had ailed her. It's amazing how much you can mourn a few ounces of silvery grey weasel, but there you have it. Mostly, though, I am sad for Suzi and Kellum, who loved the little critter, and for Nicky, who is now alone in his cage. I think he will get a new companion at some point, but for now he has the ferret hammock all to himself.


'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Navy version.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the skies,
Air defenses were up, with electronic eyes. Combat pilots were nestled in ready-room beds,
As enemy silhouettes danced in their heads.

Every jet on the apron, each SAM in its tube,
Was triply-redundant, linked to the Blue Cube,
And SPY-1 and Hawkeyes gave coverage so dense
That nothing that flew could slip through our defense.

When out of the klaxon arose such a clatter
I dashed to the screen to see what was the matter;
I increased the gain and then, quick as a flash,
Fine-adjusted the filters to damp out the hash.

And there found the source of the warning we'd heeded:
An incoming blip, by eight escorts preceded.
"Alert status red!" went the word down the wire,
As we gave every system the codes that meant "FIRE!"

On Aegis! Up Sparrow and Standard and Mark 45!
And scramble the Hornets like bees from their hive!
Launch decoys and Nulka! Use chaff by the yard!
Get the Harriers up, then warn the Coast Guard!

They turned toward the target, moved toward it, converged.
Till the tracks on the radar all finally merged,
And the sky was lit up with a demonic light,
As the foe met his fate in the high arctic night.

So we sent out a Seahawk to look for debris,
Yet all that they found, both on land and on sea
Were some toys, a red hat, a charred left leather boot,
Broken sleigh bells, white hair, and a deer's parachute.

Now it isn't quite Christmas, with Saint Nick shot down.
There are unhappy kids in each village and town.
For the Spirit of Christmas can't hope to evade
All the web of defences we've carefully made.

But a crash program's on: Working hard, night and day,
All the elves are constructing a radar-proof sleigh.
So let's wait for next Christmas, in cheer and in health,
For the future has hope: Santa's coming by stealth!

I found this bit of gimpy doggerel floating around the net. It's mostly just silly, but it made me chuckle, which is worth something out here.

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