I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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May 23, 2005

I know that a lot of people are pissed off because I haven't covered the walking panda story yet. What you have to understand is that I am battling a number of firmly entrenched financial interests in my ongoing crusade to expose the panda porn once and for all, and while nothing escapes my notice, it doesn't necessarily get written up right away, because there is a strategy at work here. I don't have the kind of resources that the panda sex industry does. In all honesty, I did mean to cover this last week, but then I got side-tracked with the Oregon Trail thing. I'm here now, though, and here it is:

TOKYO (AFP) A lesser panda is proving a hit at a zoo near Tokyo as it can stand on two legs like a human being for about 10 seconds, an unusual feat for the species, zoo officials said. The two-year-old male panda named Futa stands up several times a day when "it sees something interesting", said Hiroyuki Asano, an official of Chiba Zoological Park, southeast of the capital. "We have kept lesser pandas for nearly 20 years at this zoo, but I have not seen one like Futa, which can stand for such a long time," Asano said. "Futa is like an idol to his fans."

I remain doubtful that even a panda can make walking upright "cool", but if these fans really are driven to imitate their idol, it can't be a bad thing. Seriously, though, what does a lesser panda have to do to stop being lesser? The poor bastard is walking upright for ten whole seconds and has legions of devoted fans, and he's still a lesser panda. At some point, Futa has to begin to wonder why he even bothers.

The furry, seven-kilogramme (15 pound) animal, whose natural habitat are the mountains of China and the Himalayas, was born in another zoo in central Japan. Unlike the black-and-white giant panda, the lesser panda has brown fur with a stripe on its tail. Futa, fed fruits and bamboo every day, has a female mate, and the zoo hopes they will have a baby panda in the near future.


FUTA: Look! I'm walking!
ZOOKEEPER: That's great. We hope you will walk over to the female panda's vagina.
FUTA: But see how the crowds enjoy my walking!
ZOOKEEPER: You know what they would really enjoy? Two pandas fucking.
FUTA: But this is nearly unprecedented among my species!
ZOOKEEPER: We must have more panda babies. All else is irrelevant.

Apparently - and I'm not making this up - Futa has a grandfather named Ron who is also good at walking upright. Way to go, Ron. But nothing in the world matters less than a panda who's too old to make more babies.

Every once in a while, I feel a responsibility to put something on here that absolutely nobody other than myself is going to find amusing. This photo gallery is fairly old - it's from my second day in Russia, when I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to do by myself in Vladivostok on a rainy day. There was a museum built in mounds overlooking the bay with decommissioned chain guns and missiles sitting around, and I don't even know if I was supposed to be walking around up there, and I guess technically I don't even know if any of them were actually decommissioned, but eventually I wandered into a cave-like museum dedicated to the Russians who had, throughout history, kept Asians out of this particular area. And, as it so often does, a certain madness set in, and I started trying to photograph the little army men in the museum's many dioramas in dramatic ways. The lighting was very bad (I believe there were proles on treadmills at the power station), but I did my best, and I really do think the last few are nice. I could make this one available as a print. It's even more pleasant at three times the size.

I still haven't found a satisfactory program for making simple, unobtrusive photo albums. I had wrangled Picasa to behave more or less as I wanted it to, but installing the otherwise excellent Picasa 2 replaced my modifications with the butt-ugly defaults. Jesus! I bore even myself with this technical discourse. My love affair with Gmail ended abruptly today when I received a "Lockdown in Sector 4!" message that kept me out of my email all day, which I found stressful. (Fuck your sci-fi whimsy! I could be missing important messages from Nigerian bank executives! The Nigerians prize me for my turn-around time.) Admittedly, I got a lot of work done, but it's not an experience I'd like to repeat. Access to my account was restored, unannounced, a few hours later. A cursory web search revealed a variety of factors that cause Gmail accounts to get locked down, but I don't know which one did me in. If someone tried to send me a monkey, please let me know and I will give you an alternate email address. Apparently it's against the Terms of Use to send live animals as attachments. Who reads those things?

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.