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Today I went to the Columbia, SC zoo and gardens. Quite nice, though I thought some of the enclosures were small (the black footed cat from South America needed a bit more leg room, as did the meerkats, who looked plump). Getting to the zoo right when it opens is awesome, because its empty, and you can see a bunch of the animals being fed. The animals also seemed more active. The Simangs were really wonderfully vocal. Their chorus was like listening to an opera, only better. I saw koalas, and I'm not sure I ever had before, very cute and round and dull, which is what I expected, really. And a black headed python, which was cool looking. Oh, and they had a jellyfish tank with black light, which was really pretty.

The gardens were a bit blah, but okay. In between the garden and the zoo there was the remains of a mill which was destroyed in the Civil War, which I enjoyed taking pictures of. The thing about being in NC, its only barely the South. South Carolina is really the South and this is because everywhere you go there is a mention of something that was destroyed in the Civil War (which is never called that, its always some euphemism, though I never heard or saw "The War of Northern Aggression").

My paper went okay. I really enjoyed the conference. It was good to know that its not just me, its everybody that's having a hard time launching their career in this job environment. But it is depressing. I think at this point I'm going to work on my GIS skills and try to find work at an NGO or where ever I can as a GIS analyst. The competition is too fierce and the jobs are too scarce. And my heart is not in teaching.

I'm only roughly following the health care hoopla at this juncture. I am glad the Tea Baggers are finally revealing themselves to the mainstream media as what they are, the party of bigots. There is nothing populist (or redeemable) about them.
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Day 4 of my trip.

I somehow managed, in spite of getting up extra early (6:00 AM) and arriving on time, to miss the tour bus for the field trip associated with my conference. I think I must have been waiting in the wrong spot. That was a real bummer.

(Another aside about the PsyOps meeting: While I was getting I noticed a ton of runners by the river, like more than you'd expect for 7 in the morning on a Saturday. Turns out the Industrial Psychologists have a 5k in association with their meetings. Wacky.)

But I decided to go on about a day anyway. First I went to the Hove perfumerie. That was fun. And then I went onto the Lafeyette Cemetery near Commander's Palace. I tried to get a table at Commander's Palace, but dang, they were booked. I should have made a reservation, but I was intimidated by the "dress code" thing.

So instead I wound up at Slim Goodies Diner on Magazine St. I had the Tex Mex Hashbrowns, which were fantastic. Their salsa was really good. For the price I expected a bigger plate, however. And the hash browns, while real hash browns, were not quite crispy enough for my taste. But I'd eat that meal again, no doubt. It was a fun joint, too, with lots of fun pics on the walls and nice waitstaff.

I did a little shopping on Magazine St. and I got my friend a tee-shirt as requested.

Then I went to the zoo. By the time I got to the White Alligator house (I am not sure why they keep the white alligators in a house and the others out...) I was pooped. It was cool in the building and there were loads of seats. So I sat a long time watching an alligator that was totally under water, waiting for him to come up. Nearly 40 minutes later, he was still under water. And he moved, so he wasn't dead. That was pretty impressive.

I love Audubon Park. Love love love it. I have spent a lot of time there this trip, and could spend more. The egret nesting grounds are especially cool- hundreds of white egrets on a little island. I don't normally think of egrets as making a racket, but dang, they make some strange noises.

For dinner I went to Voodoo BBQ, which is a chain in Louisiana. It was fantastic. I had been smelling it from the St. Charles street car twice a day, and decided that even though it wasn't a foodie tooty (my play on hoity toity) restaurant, I was going to eat there. Yum yum. I watched the Michigan vs Conn game while I ate. I didn't get the final line up right at all. Oh well. People are totally not into college basketball here, either.

Then I went to this Jumping on Julia event, which was basically a bunch of art openings. It was more neat to experience the scene than the art, I'm sad to say. I have seen some abysmal art in this town, and very little good art. I did see some paintings using oil on copper, which weren't great, but the technique was neat. I think many of the native artists are trapped by the culture of the town and stereotypes thereof, a bit. Lots of decadence/debouching themes. I ran into the gal who was staying at India House, but as it happens she is an artist who uses ethnobotany in her work, so she was in deep networking mode and not feeling otherwise social (or at least that was what I gathered).

Then my legs started cramping up big time. Ouch! So I bailed on my plan to find somewhere to drink and hang out, and went back to the hostel for a shower and feet up time. I don't think the sleep I'd like is in the offing, because Gary is working the desk and likes to blast NIN from all of the speakers in the joint till 1. At least. Ugh.

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