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Posts Tagged ‘snake encounters’

Tubed at last.

July 23rd, 2009

Thanks to my son Alex taking up the challenge of learning how to edit and post video (he’s 16 so he has a natural advantage) I finally have a couple of clips on YouTube, with more to come.

The challenges of selecting clips to use were more involved than either of us anticipated.   First of all, audience members kept getting in front of the camera at important moments, severely limiting the number of possible vignettes available.  Each animal’s part in the show has a story, and it doesn’t work well if you don’t get the whole thing.

Sound levels are a challenge too, as are the differences that can creep in between what you edit and what you post.  Still trying to figure that one out.

So what you can see so far are two clips from my eighth visit to Columbus, Mississippi to perform at the famous Market Street Festival on behalf of my friends at CableOne.  The first is my introduction. The second is the bit I did with my Jungle Carpet python.

So check ‘em out, leave comments and let me know what you think.  I think they do give a decent idea of the look and feel of the show.

New Animals

June 28th, 2009

Doing what I do leads to a lot of folks asking me to adopt animals that, for various reasons, they can’t continue to care for.  I’ve always done what I could.  Sometimes that even means that new animals end up doing the show with me, as living ambassadors for their kind.

My latest additions to the Snake Encounters roster are both very unique snakes with distinct personalities.  They couldn’t be more different.

The first we have named Peter Piper – the Persnickety Pine snake.  He picked a peck of pinkie pups.   Actually, he’s too big even for rat pinkies – we’re talking jumbo mice or small rats for him, but they don’t begin with a P.  And he has a delightfully demonstrative attitude, including what may turn out to be the best hiss in my collection.  Distinctly patterned, unlike most Pine snakes – very impressive.  He may well be taking the place of the smaller (but more vocal) of the two Bull snakes I currently use in the show.

The other is from the opposite side of the planet, and he’s already in the show. He’s a big, short, stout, impressive Blood python.   His name is Vladamir.  Generally speaking, Blood pythons are very well named, but this one’s a total sweetheart.  The crowds seem to love him.  Check out the pic – that head can swallow something even a bit wider than his enormous middle.  The photo was done by the photography studio that was hired by Dr. Pepper/Snapple, along with me, to do their latest ad shoot – promo material for their two new flavors of the energy drink called Venom.

Posters and such with my Albino Burmese named Neon draped around a very pretty model (tough work to be sure) should be appearing now, mostly in independently owned convenience stores across the country that carry the product.

While we were at it the photography team took shots of Neon and Vladamir without the model, and DP/S gave me permission to use them.  HUGE files.  My computer didn’t want to be doing anything else when I opened them.  Wow – these guys work at outrageous resolutions.

The Pine snake shot, in sharp contrast, is my own work.  6.2 megapixels is a completely different world to say the least.  Sigh.  You should’ve seen the camera setup the studio pros were using.  Extremely cool.   Then again, I do get a lot of mileage out of my humble Canon Powershot.  Mounted on a monopod, it acts as my primary snake stick and lets me tell a much more specific tale about what exactly is the nature of someone’s snake problem and what needs to be done about it.

So here they are for the first time on the web, Peter Piper the Pine snake and Vladamir – the Blood python!

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Back to Mississippi!

May 6th, 2009

We love doing Market Street Festival for our friends at CableOne. It’s a great event that draws huge crowds of very fun people. The bands are always excellent, the food is a delightful slice of the South, and this year even the hotel knocked the ball out of the park.

CableOne put us up in a jacuzzi suite with a widescreen, and it was roomy and sumptuous. Just the place to recover from a ten hour drive.

We did shows at 10, noon and 2 on Saturday the 2nd and the crowds were wonderful. For some reason, the festival had rearranged the locations of several things, much farther away from our stage than any previous year (this was my eighth) but we pulled in enough for all the seats and lots of standing room.

Despite all this, the local paper barely mentioned it even though the festival itself dominated the front page. Apparently there is some kind of unhealthy media rivalry going on between the various agencies in Columbus.  Figures I guess.  Being the most popular festival in the area, there would be a few power plays involved.

Anyway, like I touched on in my post about Market Street last year, even though I have never lived there, Mississippi is in my blood.  My mother was born and raised in Jackson, and we visited often.  My aunt and several cousins live in Wesson.  Most years, that’s where we have Thanksgiving.

I recently learned something from Mom’s past that’s pretty funny.   When she was attending Jackson High, there was a sock hop that her friends were going to, and they asked her along.  The school had hired a garage band from Tupelo High.  Average copy tunes from the era, but a pretty decent band.  Her friends wanted to meet the band during a break, and Mom remembers thinking the lead singer came off a little full of himself.  But she did think that Elvis was a catchy name.

Crystals Part 3, First Revelations

March 19th, 2009

The first oxalic acid bath is complete and while some of the stones need another, I’m posting pics of a few that are complete.

My camera doesn’t really do them justice, probably more because of my limited expertise as a closeup photographer than the limitations of the camera, but somehow blaming the equipment feels better.

It’s so amazing to gaze into the water clarity of some of these buried treasures that we dug out of the Arkansas clay.  To see them emerge from the dust and rust to show their stuff is awe inspiring.  Even the tiny ones have amazing personalities upon closer inspection.

If you’re looking for a field trip that will bring you together and restore a sense of wonder in our relationship to Mother Earth, this is an idea to consider.

While these clearly aren’t museum quality pieces, most of them are really beautiful and all are completely unique.  Not bad for a single day on the mountain.

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Crystals Part 2

March 9th, 2009

This is another of my “where the heck are the snakes in this?” posts, but the Arkansas crystal hunting trip has been a significant sideline lately.

Quartz is far more common than diamonds (though not as much so as a certain cartel would have us believe) and therefore not worth much per carat, but the reason that it’s so pricey to own a large,  unusual or exceptionally intact specimen is not only the rarity of such an occurrence, but the pain in the posterior it is to bring a collected specimen to market readiness.

Seriously, this is a lot of work.  Detailed, methodical, repetitive and time consuming.  Given my personality, I really shouldn’t be having as much fun doing it as I am.

The clay doesn’t just wash off.  Stones that were soaking must then be dried so the clay contracts and another power washing session can remove more.  These deposits prevent the acid bath that will follow from getting to some of the rust that prevents the natural clarity from coming through.

Not only that, but I’m trying to end up with usable clay sediments as a byproduct, because of its healing properties.  Seriously, Joan took a nasty cut from one of the crystals she found and it bled only briefly, healed over by the end of the afternoon, and never hurt at all beyond the initial cut.

A nearby newbie miner asked John the guide for a band-aid after a cut.  We heard him tell her, “It won’t stay on for more than a few minutes of digging.  The clay will heal it.”  It’s true.

Here are some pics of this stage of the cleaning process.  Pieces that were barely identifiable under all that mud and clay are beginning to show their stuff, and the next drying stage is underway.

Sedona

February 19th, 2009

Julie and I were both drawn to make The Big Detour, so I guess it’s time I came out about the reasons why.

Many would call it the metaphysical and spiritual capital of North America.  There’s even an old saying, “God created the Grand Canyon, but he lives in Sedona.”  Having been there, we concur. Going through the area on the way back from California was well worth the extra effort and expense, and it’s one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. Sedona is also, in many ways, our kind of town.

I don’t know how much it comes across on my site, but an affinity for metaphysics has been a big part of who I am for most of my life. I was raised in a very spiritually centered environment (I was actually born in the small campus hospital of a very parochial university) and early on I began to explore within and beyond the belief system I inherited. I never disavowed most of what I was taught in those days, except the concept of exclusive access to the truth granted to any one consensus of outlook.  I’ve merely embraced a broader spectrum.

You see, I believe in magic.  Real magic.  Otherwise known as science we haven’t figured out yet.  Sometimes because of science we think we’ve got nailed but don’t yet know we’ve got wrong.  History’s full of that.  It’s subtle and often difficult or impossible to prove, but I’ve seen and felt it many times.

That may sound a little cryptic but that part of my life has never been done justice by attempted verbal narrative. Suffice it to say that so far it has morphed into certifications in Usui Reiki (recently) and Alphabiotics (since 1990) in addition to projects in shiatsu, remote acupressure (Julie’s horse taught me that one) meditation, shamanism, ESP, EFT, etc. Without question, it was the underlying reason Julie and I were drawn together.

If you do a search on Alphabiotics you’ll get lots of positive hits and a few negative ones, because it has come under attack several times.  Mostly at the hands of chiropractors who are trying to debunk how much better it works, or say that it’s really chiropractic. It is not, in several ways. Quite a few of my classmates were DC’s, and they certainly knew the difference. It’s a difficult technique to learn, and the chiropractors were generally surprised to find that they didn’t have much of an advantage over us laytypes.

It’s not a cult as the new age watchdog sites will tell you, and the stuff about the only big court case against someone doing this work fails to tell you how long ago it was, how outside the mainstream of the work the practitioner was and how little this all has to do with Alphabiotics today.  It fundamentally reunites matter with spirit and left brain with right, with a resulting dramatic decrease in stress and its side effects.

I’m results oriented – about all of this. If it works, it works. I could go on for hours with the stories of people I’ve known, including close friends and family members, who have seen amazing results with this less invasive and more effective modality. My own story was one of a skinny kid who kept locking up with a muscle spasm (usually left trap muscle) that rendered me incapable of holding my head up quite straight, made it hurt to move and hurt almost as bad not to move. Dr. Virgil Chrane, with that first alignment in 1980, opened a window to a new world for me.

As for Reiki, learning Alphabiotics makes your fingers learn things your verbal side can’t begin to address. I’ve always preferred to end an alignment with an aspect of BEST (bio energy synchronization technique) because it cemented the left – right hemisphere balance, and it let me tune in to the new relaxed and centered energy of the participant.  A very palpable sensation.

As Julie and I learned more about equine acupressure (from a great lady we met from East Texas, which led me to the discovery of the remote variant) we came across the subject of Reiki quite often. I had been the recipient of many sessions over the years from Reiki Master Maji Phillips in Arlington (we’ve traded work on each other over the years) but it had never occurred to me to ask her if it was something I could learn. When I inquired about the process involved, she said yes, and Julie and I became certified level 1 practitioners of Usui Reiki last year.  We underwent level 2 training and attunements in February.   This field has always had a remote version, so the match was perfect.

Julie is really amazing at it.  It’s fun to watch as her horse goes all mushy when she works on him, and the dog, the cats, the squirrels and the cardinals all move in very close to soak up the energy.  As for me, my new abilities in channeling Ki have taken what I can do for a participant to a whole new level, to say the least.

Our plan is to incorporate these modalities into a primarily equine practice that will address the fact that a horse will benefit far more from a Reiki session if the owner receives one too, and since I work on humans and can offer the additional option of an Alphabiotic alignment we’ll be offering an unprecedented combination in the field. Come to think of it, any animal/owner situation could benefit from this.

What does all this have to do with snakes? Actually, the snake is the ultimate example of a spinal column, and my understanding in both fields has been a healing influence on my animals – and provided deeper insight into my work with humans.

So on the way home from California we stopped for the night at the home of my friend Dale and his wife Heidi, and left Phoenix determined to take the scenic route. Funny, as soon as we exited 179 Maggie the Magellan GPS unit thought we were lost. When we reached Oak Creek Village just outside Sedona she thought we were still two hours away. That route starts to turn beautiful pretty fast, and as you enter the canyon it gets really breathtaking. There’s a lot of road work being done in the area but it wasn’t all that much trouble and should be really great when it’s done.

You know you’re in Sedona when you start to see the crystal shops, the healing centers, the jeep tour offices and the incredible backdrop of the landscape all around you. How to describe it? A little like being in the Grand Canyon, only someone let you build a pretty little town and actually live there.

We’re thinking about it.

We hiked the energy vortex known as Bell Rock, and I’ve never seen Charlie the dog happier. I had been worried that at 16 this was going to be a hard trip on him, though he has always loved to go along and would, every time we pull out of the driveway, if we let him. He can’t hear very well and is nowhere near as fast as he used to be. It was a matter of carrying him up steps and into the van the whole trip, but by the time we were leaving Sedona on the trip to Flagstaff he was leaping from stone to stone and going up inclines he would have completely avoided two days earlier.

We spent two nights in Sedona (thanks to Dale, we stayed in a killer resort condo) and are determined to make more of them happen very soon. Great food (most notably Ken’s Creekside Gourmet and APizza Heaven, which was) and all of that incredible scenery. Plus, gorgeous weather – in early February. Sweet. If you’ve never seen it, consider this our highest recommendation.

So how to live there?  Well, there are stables in the area and trail horses need even more TLC from dealing with all those tourists than most I’m sure. They’ll love Julie. I’d be the only Alphabioticist in town (the next nearest is in Scottsdale) and lots of those tourists would want to add the new Sedona Serpentarium to their list of stops when they visit.

I could still do big road shows, and could even do stuff as small as parties, scouting events and libraries in the surrounding area, including Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff – and Phoenix.

We could even learn to be Cards fans.

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Return to Mobile, AL

December 22nd, 2008

I’m more than a little overdue to post this one.

Four more sold out shows at the wonderful Gulf Coast Exploreum, and I have three separate tales to tell about that trip.

First, the museum did something I’ve never tried before. They staged my show in their IMAX dome theater. It was very much like speaking in a lecture hall (I did that for the Texas A&M Veterinary College Open House a couple of years ago) only with steeper angles. The lighting was a big challenge but the sound system was awesome, and seating was clearly very comfortable for all those present. On the first day, the second show was sold out before the time the first one ended.

Big kudos to the excellent staff of the Museum, who also added a fun element to the experience due to the layout of the theater.  Like most IMAX domes, the audience exits out the top, which opens into a large area where I was able to let folks interact with Capone (the big black and white Tegu) and Neon (the big albino Burmese python) and me directly.  Nicely done.

A local TV station filmed one of the shows, and while the lighting in that room wasn’t designed for a show on a stage at the bottom, some of the footage is still pretty good.  They aired it across the region later.

Second, I was graciously invited to stay at the home of Special Events Coordinator Abigail Reeves, whose house is lovingly referred to by the locals as The Purple Palace.  One extremely artistic and creative lady, Abigail has the most outrageously decorated dwelling I have ever seen.  Her Scion is a well-known and award-winning “Art Car” and the house is at least that elaborately well done.

In her younger days she saw (and in many cases met) most of the great performers of the age, and her collection of memorabilia alone is amazing.  The Beatles, The Doors, The Who – you name ‘em Abigail was there.  She weaves all her own rugs and gave me the most incredible snake design picture frame and an artsy “Coexist” light switch cover.   Both her own work.  She’s one extremely interesting person that I am glad to call my friend.  Her neighbors are an extended family and I had the most wonderful evening of true local hospitality when we visited.

The third tale involves a couple of trips across the bay to Orange Beach,  to join Dolphin Queen Cruises, under the able command of my friend Captain Lori DeAngelis.  On the first day I arrived in the evening after her last cruise and Lori, her hubby and I went back out for a brief trip as the sun was setting.  I faced down one of my own little phobias (there was, after all, a jellyfish warning out at the time) and eased into the warm, dark water to float on my back, holding onto a line from the transom.  It was absolutely amazing hearing the dolphins clicking away beneath me, echolocating the dimensions of the big floating thing above.  Awesome.

Day two, at Capt. Lori’s invite – I became her first mate for an amazing experience, a shrimping trip.  A very nice family from up North had booked this very exclusive private two hour cruise which included casting the net, hauling in the catch – and most importantly – tossing the culls overboard.  Among the shrimp were small red snapper, drum, little blue crabs and such – which get tossed over the stern – and the dolphins know this very, very well.

They follow the net as it is being towed, converge as it is hauled in, and get right up close to the boat to catch what gets tossed overboard.  The other dolphin cruises all move in close to give their passengers a good look, but the really close action is aboard Capt. Lori’s vessel.  Very, very memorable.  The family gets to keep the shrimp, and this particular catch was pretty impressive.

During a lull in the action I did some magic for them, and now Capt. Lori wants me to do that again on a future trip there.  A shrimp, dolphins and magic cruise.    Hard to beat.

BTW, please pardon the resolution on the images.  I took only video on this trip (helps with the dolphins especially) so all the pics are vidcaps.

I love Mobile.  And the surrounding area.    Hope to return soon.