5/18/2008

The weather continues to be in the mid-70’s with a cool breeze – makes it very enjoyable to spend time outside.

We meet Perry at Crusoe’s for breakfast – the waitress remembered what we normally order even though we were not there for two weeks – which is cool. It seems like Crusoe’s has not been very busy the last few time we’ve been there…. might be a side effect of the slow economy or the variable quality of Crusoe’s food. My breakfast was pretty good – the kitchen must have been having a good day….

After breakfast I dropped John off at the RV park then I went to the St. Louis Zoo. John was helping fill the swimming pool with water and setting up the patio chairs and tables when I left. It takes two days to fill it with 22,000 gallons of water from a single garden hose. John asked me if George was still sitting by the pool and watching it fill up with water when I returned – he was not.

The zoo was busy, but I still had an enjoyable time walking around and checking out the various animals. I went to their sea lion show for the first time. The show cost $3.00 and I didn’t have high expectations – but it was actually lots of fun. The trainer was very personable and she explained how the animals have been trained using positive reinforcement, but still sometimes do what they please and can even go back to their homes at any time. There was three California sea lions – two slender females and one 300 lb male. They each had their own rock to sit on while waiting to do tricks. I was impressed when one of the sea lions balanced a small basketball on her nose while she swam around the front of the stage and jumped over two ropes that were several feet over the water and then back to the stage without dropping it. When one of the sea lions got off their rock when they were not supposed to, the trainer would praise the other sea lions for staying on their rocks – but not the one who left. The show lasted 30 minutes and then she said that we could stick around and watch a training session with some younger sea lions who are starting to get used to being on the stage in front of people.

The two six year old sea lions were brothers that were born at the zoo. Their training went fine for the first 5 minutes as they worked on saluting by putting their flippers up to their heads and balancing balls on their noses. Then one of them got jealous because his brother was getting more attention and they started to fight. The one sea lion was chased off the stage and back to his home by his brother. The one sea lion then returned to his rock wanting to do another trick. The trainer then explained that she can not reinforce negative behavior and that the training session was done. The lone sea lion was then asked to return to his home – which he did… I think this technique might work well with John…

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One of the elephants at the Zoo...

I spent 3 hours walking around and then riding the zoo train. Riding the train is fun and it interesting to see how people at the zoo like to wave at it as it goes by. The engineer of the train was a large grandfatherly type guy who made sure that he waved to everyone in site… I rode the train all the way around the park – twice…. I like trains….

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My favorite little primates - they sit in the corner, hold each other and look very out of place in their cage... they usually have this "how the fuck did we end up here" look about them....

I made it back to the RV park by 4:00pm to find John and Prince surfing the web – I’m sure he was checking out iRV2 and other RV related websites – he likes to read the questions and answers to technical problems that other RV’ers post. I check iRV2 now and then – I like to read about other people’s black tank problems – often with gruesome results… it makes me giggle and visualize the exploding black tank scene in the movie “RV“…

We then meet Perry and Doug S. for supper at Bandanna’s BBQ. They are a chain restaurant in the St. Louis area – we have not been to one since we returned to St. Louis. I was looking forward to eating some BBQ – probably the only thing I miss about living down south. Our Bandanna’s experience was not the best – we had slow inattentive service from an inexperienced waiter who did not understand the concept of multitasking. It was fun to hear about Doug’s vacation to Cancun and the latest escapades of his two cats – who like to fight with each other… I had a combination platter with pork and beef BBQ with sides of potato salad and baked beans. The pork BBQ was pretty good – moist and full of flavor. The beef BBQ was dry and chewy – not good….. if I go back to a Bandanna’s I would just get the pork….

I don’t plan on doing anything else tonight – probably play with the ham radio, read a book and watch TV…. I think my work week should go relatively well… my least favorite project is now in production and I can start working on other tasks. I need to work on some support tasks that I have been putting off – I don’t expect them to take too much time to complete – once I get started on them… John is scheduled to help watch the pool fill with water and clean 160+ window blinds with George…. fun fun…

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