Category Archives: Nobody Cares But My Cat

I’m Not Going to Make the Obvious “Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!” Joke

(Note:  The latter parts of this post will reference animal-on-animal violence.)

This past weekend was my very experience with a truly uniquely Harbin place.  Enter the Dongbeihu Yuanlin—Siberian Tiger Park.

I was almost too excited about going to see these tigers.  I love tigers.  More than I should.  If the honey badger wasn’t my spirit animal, the tiger would be.  This will likely be the highlight of my trip. I love them *so* much.

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Okay, now that I’ve got that little bit of fanboy-ing out of the way, I can tell you this stuff:  The park is on the northern outskirts of Harbin and is practically a must-see if you go there.  With only a few hundred Siberian tigers left in the wild, this park is doing everything it can to regrow the population.  According to Wikipedia, the park only had 8 tigers upon opening, and if that’s true, then, yeah, they’re rebuilding the population big time.

We bought our tickets and get onto our tour bus really quickly, and my goodness those buses took no chances: steel bar cages around the wheels (which I suspect are for the tigers’ protection more than ours) and big, sturdy metal grates over the windows (which I certainly hope were for my protection).  When the afore-mentioned guide talked about their ferocity, he wasn’t kidding.  In the slightest.  At all.

The tour began safari-style, with us entering the park to see all of the tigers.  At times, my tourmates were more exciting than the tigers, squealing excitedly when they caught a tiger in the bushes on their cameras.  After the standard tigers came the diversity area, with jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs (oh, my!).  (I had to do it; I’m so sorry.) The most exciting part was their healthy liger population.  Go google them and tell me you don’t want one.  They’re massive and adorable.

Then, the grand finale.  This is where the squeamish should look away.

Feeding time.  We saw this two separate times in our excursion.  Once was while on the bus, when they brought out a baby lamb and dropped it out by the tigers.  The baby was carried off very quickly, met by the raucous applause of my 15-or-so tourmates.

The second was rougher.  In the walk-and-see section (on elevated walkways with big barriers, don’t worry) of the tour, a lady bought and threw a duck (because, yes, live animals are available for purchase for this purpose) into a pond with about twenty tigers.  This wasn’t over as quickly, since the tigers couldn’t see underwater.  It became like hide-and-seek, with the duck popping up for air, being spotted by the tigers, and diving back under.  The whole ordeal lasted about 10 minutes, before the duck was caught and carried off.

I won’t lie.  I got caught up in the excitement.  It’s hard not to with one hundred other people cheering and screaming.  I found myself cheering simultaneously for the duck and the tigers in some perverse version of The Most Dangerous Game.  That’s the effect of mass culture and possibly the most interesting part of the park: this sport is encouraged, so people encourage it in return.

This park could certainly something that couldn’t exist in my home, the U.S., and I’m definitely glad to have seen it.

I know that it will be the tendency of many to dismiss the most controversial aspect of this park as sadistic, and I am not one to say it isn’t.  I would, however, beg of you to consider this before taking too high of a moral ground: the Chinese popular sports are ping pong, badminton, and basketball; all of which feature very low rates of injury to humans.  That’s something that can’t always be said of American popular sports.


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Just What the Hell is My Problem, Anyways?

Misplaced frustration or really deserving of a bath?

This week has been a hellstorm of bad feelings situated around a blank page on Microsoft Word.  At one point, I was ready to declare war and set fire to my computer out of frustration.

I made a pledge to write three articles this week; it’s Sunday afternoon now and I’m writing my first. Suckish, I know.  I just couldn’t, for the life of me, think of anything to write about, despite more than enough time devoted to brainstorming.  I thought I was dead mentally.

I turned to one of my Awesome Aussie pal, Catherine’s, resources online and was slapped in the face with what felt like a week-old pufferfish.

I am taking myself way to seriously.

I am a super-duper perfectionist. Other self-proclaimed perfectionists are amateurs when you compare them to me.  That’s been impeding my writing here a lot because I don’t feel like what I’ve produced is worthy of the internet.  I wanted to fix the world with my writing, right here, right-fucking-now.  Yes, I felt like my stuff wasn’t good enough for a platform that houses (OH MY GOD PARTS OF THAT ARE NOT SAFE FOR WORK) and the Tumblr of every prepubescent child in America (those are probably safe for work, but I still don’t recommend investigating too closely).

The first blow came in the first minute of the first of Catherine’s videos–always nice to start with a swift punch to the gut, right?  People don’t read on the internet, they skim.  Hemingway and Faulkner wrote in books for a few good reasons, the first being that they didn’t have internet, the other being that nobody’s going to sit down and read a whole bunch of gritty, rough, and deep text for what could be said in a paragraph on the internet.  Nay, people are on the internet for grab-and-go writing.

This breaks my problem down quite nicely in to two issues.

I wanted to fix the world.

I need to lower my lofty ideals and realize that each of my entries is NOT going to tackle (and, of course, solve) some societal issue that has plagued mankind since its inception. Yes, my previous entry on homophobes was aimed at humanizing gay people a bit, but it isn’t going to change the world’s view overnight. Quite frankly, realizing this saved me and drastically expanded the pool from which I can pull content. As Catherine would say, “Awesome!”

You’re not here to read high literature.

Style. This one is going to be a struggle, I’m not going to lie. Really, though, if I’m going to be able to push out content, I need to stop writing epics (it took Homer a lifetime to write two, yaknow) and focus on what these are: entries, articles, posts, whathaveyou. They’re snippets of information designed to make you think a little. Save the drama fo’ yo’ momma, I’m here for lightbulb moments, and that’s what I’m going to deliver, goshdarnit.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

-I’m going to start using Write Attack! for posts (it’s what I wrote this on!). It’s a nifty tool to keep you on-task and producing work that I’m in love with, but I’ll let their website explain the specifics.

-I’m going to focus on some of the smaller things that will probably make people think about things closer to their daily life.  Yay, utility!

Here’s what I want YOU to do:

-Write something too. Use Write Attack! or don’t, I won’t mind, but do it. Ten minutes, two hundred words, put it in a Facebook note and send it to a friend. Doesn’t have to be about them or specifically directed to that friend, just throw a thought that’s worth thinking out there for them.

-Let me know below how it went!

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