Chimes Day By Day - End of the Semester To-Do List

Day By Day - End of the Semester To-Do List

Spring Break has just ended and now that we're finally used to getting back to classes it's time that the semester must come to an end. Let Day by Day help organize your life in this hectic time.

Day One - Sell Your Books Day

Now that the semester is coming to a close you'll finally have the time you need to actually read all the text books you bought three months ago. Now you have the choice of selling them or even better, not selling them. On this day just accept the fact that by the time you get that hundred dollar book onto Amazon the newest version will be released and make it's monetary value roughly equal to that of a DVD box set of Yahoo Serious movies. Such is life. Use them to hold up the broken end of your couch.

Day Two - Find a Place to Live Day

Although a cardboard box behind Home Depot is always an option, it's generally a good idea to look for a place to live before you get kicked out of your dorm for the summer. Remember that home is where the heart is, especially when that home is a two bedroom apartment located in a crime rampant neighborhood. On this day question whether cheap rent really is worth an arm and a leg.

Day Three - Box Up Your Belongings Day

No, you don't remember buying those leather pants at Savers, but you did, and on this day you'll discover so many other possessions you never knew you had as you pack away all of your belongings. After stuffing as much as you can into one box, be sure to wrap it in several layers of tape before it explodes from its sides.

Day Four - Send Out Your Resume Day

It's time to dream of a life filled with more substance than a Cup of Noodles. On this day do what your parents have been continually reminding you to do by finally getting a job. Discover the fine line between the job description of just "babysitter" and it's equivalent "ad interim infant supervisor, chaperon and provisory day-care provider/governess" as you desperately try to spice up the few jobs you've had. Business cards may be an extraneous expense, yet they add a sense of undeniable superiority. Be sure to constantly wear a bluetooth cell-phone to further emphasize your importance in the business world.

"let's never speak again."

Day Five - Burn Your Bridges Day

The semester is ending and to be honest, you really don't ever seeing yourself taking another Biology class ever again. So on this day feel free to show how you really feel towards those core credit requirements, possibly by dragging the now out-of-date text books from the back of your car and driving circles in the parking lot. Then later realize you have the same professor next year and smack your forehead.

Day Six - Quality Bonding Day

On this day spend time with all your friends new and old as you remember the good times you've had over the past semester. Reminisce over a meal of burritos at Molca Salsa and relish the taste of fellowship. Then get the gang together for one last round of Super Smash Bros. Be sure to turn off the system right after winning a game to end the semester as a winner, you deserve it.


All Nighters

There are certain things about the lifestyle of a college student which simply don't appeal to me, while others very much so. Case in point: sleeping. I want lots of it. I really enjoy it. I feel bad without it. Yet somehow Biola University insists that I miss out on this cherished past-time of relaxation, most likely because I've spent more time doing it than reading the Bible.

Last night was a sleepless one as I helped out my girlfriend Beth set up her art show at the Biola art gallery. It was the first all-nighter I've pulled to not feature a non-stop 'bout of playing Tekken and a steady torrent of Coca-Cola with Pop-rocks, which is to say I am no longer in middle school.

When I first arrived at Biola for lunch with Beth I was properly dressed for a day of painting and hard labor by wearing clothes I don't care for. This outfit included my capris, which are more like short pants used only in the case of massive flooding, along with my orange shirt, which is tailored for obese children.

By that afternoon I had quelled by appetite for dinner by swallowing mouthfuls of asbestos which conveniently fell from the ceiling as I mounted Beth's art-work. While this was an effective treatment against my fear of heights, my numerous encounters with spiders only served to reinforce a whole host of other phobias.

Although I may be a hip college student who has been known to appreciate the band Of Montreal, in many ways I'm like the elderly. I enjoy eating dinner before five, getting to bed early, watching Columbo, shaking my fist while yelling "you no good hooligans!" and frequently wish I had access to a Hoveround. So when 9 o'clock rolled by and I realized I was editing audio with Beth and had not yet been properly fed, I began to grow grouchy.

By midnight my abilities at problem solving were already beginning to fade. I tried repeatedly, and failed, to fix the lighting in the art gallery while trying to keep my hands from burning on the hot lanterns. A few hours later I was demonstrated the proper solution to this dilemma by another art student who proceeded to finish my task in a matter of minutes. Defeated, I slid to the floor and managed to sit on a hot glue gun.

By four in the morning I realized there would be no time to return to my apartment to sleep before returning back to campus for work. I was in for the long haul.

After an hour my over-sized capris were the most attractive piece of attire I had ever worn and I swore never to take them off.

At 5 o'clock Beth told me she had the music from "Relient K" stuck in her head. After mishearing her, I assumed she said the music from "The Lion King." We then proceeded to have an entire conversation in which she spoke of the band while I made frequent confusing references to Mufasa and Elton John's musical score.

the lead singer of Relient K

After repeatedly painting the same wall I discovered there was such a thing as a 6 o'clock in the morning, and that the sun goes "up" in the sky.

By 8:30 Beth's show was complete. I walked out of her art gallery with a feeling of accomplishment, which was accompanied by the feeling of coldness around my ankles. With the realization that I would have to wear a pair of stained flood pants to the office I hung my head in mourning for all the lost hours of sleep I sacrificed. Was it worth it? Yes. Did I do it? Most definitely. Now if you'll excuse me I have to pass out on this keyboard. g3oq49wve[340gvj;n0og[;aerbtnirykj



As I've mentioned earlier, Beth's art show is coming up next Monday and I suggest you invite your friends, family, and pets along with you to partake in this artistic bonanza of creativity.


Where: Biola Art Gallery
Opening Reception: Monday April 27th
Food that will be there: Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears etc.
Show Dates: Monday April 27th - Friday May 1st
Gallery Hours: 9am - 10pm

I also managed to finish the first draft of my screenplay, the one featuring lots of zombies. It's taken me a while, but it's done.
Yesterday I felt very accomplished as I posted it to the online forum for my screenwriting class. And now thanks to the "history" option the Biola e-mail system provides me with, I'm able to see that no one has actually read it.
In good time my friends. In good time...

In other news, I should also announce that I'm back in the 2009 Biola Film Festival and am officially nominated for Best Documentary for my film Shooting Blind. Yay! It looks like I'm up against a film about a group of struggling orphans in Uganda though, so the odds might be against me. What can I say? Sex sells. Meanwhile, my film was shot during my cross-country trip last summer from DC to where I am right now. But you probably shouldn't ask me for a copy of it for a little while, at least until I've grown more confident with watching it in the presence of others. Maybe in the meantime I'll cut you a trailer or something. Maybe. At least you're coming to the show though, right?

Things to listen to - and robots to help

Fanfarlo. I like them.

Finish Line - Fanfarlo (via: mondo-nyc)

Here We Go Magic. I like them too.

tunnelvision - Here We Go Magic (via: thefmly)

Here's a robot you might like.

The tweenbot was made by Kacie Kinzer and operates under a simple principle. All it can do is travel slowly towards one destination, in one direction, continuously. With such limited capabilities, the tweenbot is entirely dependent upon other humans to help guide it in the correct direction.

Little do they know that the robot's only goal is to kill John Connor, leader of the future robot resistance.

But while we're on the subject, I should note that Beth's art show is coming up next week, and you best be there.

Opening Reception: Monday, April 27th


Concert Re-cap: Clem Snide at Spaceland 4/7/09

Back in July I had the pleasure of seeing Eef Barzelay perform live at Spaceland here in LA. Immediately the man became one of my favorite live performers, which was a plus considering he was already one of my favorite songwriters to begin with. Now he's back.

Well, sort of.

This time he brought along friends with his former band name Clem Snide.

Clem Snide is somewhat of a paradox. From what I can tell, the supporting band members are a constantly rotating assemblage of musicians with the center axle being that of Barzelay himself. What separates this from Barzelay's solo projects is more of a concern of content rather than composition. After all, Eef performed with back-up when on tour for his previous album Bitter Honey. While that project was significantly introspective, personalized, and tailored with electric folk, Clem Snide aims for the crowd with more prominent country influences which rarely overwhelm their penchant for alternative folk. In other words, it's largely similar to what you've heard, except with the possibility of more solos on guitar, drums, or even Eef's own a-cappella melodies.

Performed live, Eef showed relentless exuberance, at times even appearing to suffer from some sort of musical tourrette syndrome.
"I'm too drunk!" One audience member replied when Eef solicited help with a broken guitar string.
"I'll tell you who's too drunk," he quipped back with a smile.
The man could have fooled me, but if this is under the influence I wonder what kind of a musical madman he is sober.

In terms of catchiness the new Clem Snide might not reach the same peak that Eef's "post-apocalyptic folk" album Bitter Honey did, but it certainly serves as a wonderful extension to it. Lovers of the old can't go wrong by giving it a listen and newbies will certainly find to be a fantastic introduction.

Me No - Clem Snide(via:rollogrady)

here's a video of him back in July:

And here's Clem now, featuring Eef and the infamous broken string:

Keep you're eyes peeled for me and Beth, we'd be standing somewhere over on the left in front of Eef himself.
(she got nailed by one of the drummers tossed sticks)

this next one is my favorite off the new album. It's "Born a Man."


It's a Lemon

I know what you're thinking, and no. It isn't a grapefruit.

That's a lemon from one of the trees at Beth's house, and it blows my mind.


Spring Break-In

I spent Easter at Beth's place in Visalia, which is surprisingly high-tech for such a quaint one story home. By "high-tech" I mean she has a keypad on her front door instead of a traditional key lock, which for me is one step away from the rapid vertical sliding doors from Star Wars. Considering my poor memory for anything involving numbers this also means I frequently have to wait outside until being let in. With that said it's comforting to be able to sleep in safety at night knowing that any intruder will curse all the time he spent learning to lock-pick after seeing the vast array of buttons and combinations on the front door.

The day after Easter I woke up to hear Beth in the living-room watching television. Seeing that it was nearly noon, I decided it would probably be a good time to wake up and get a shower. As I was standing under the running water I heard the front door open and someone call out loudly "Anybody home?!"

This, I thought, was a strange thing for her dad to yell when he came back for lunch, but I shrugged it off and continued to groom myself. Stepping out to dry I heard a strange tapping at the window above the toilet, which I assumed to be either a possum or a tree branch. Standing on my toes I slid open the small window to find Beth on the other side wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt displaying the words "Fear Not."

"Zack," she whispered, "I think there's a strange man in the house. He just wandered in."
As though in response to my scared expression she concluded with, "I think he might be crazy."

Naturally, when I wake up in a house I'm not used to there is a certain amount of confusion to my morning routine, however this was the first time I realized there was a distinct possibility that I was going to die.

"Can you get to the car?" I asked her.

"I left my keys in the house," she replied. "What should I do?"

Very confused by the sudden turn of events I suggested she try to get to the front of the house, and with the she moved away from the window.

I looked to the door and thought, "if I stay here I could be safe, but considering his ability to go through high-tech locked doors that might not be true. Am I going to go out the window?"

I looked outside the tiny opening and saw the splintered pile of wood on the ground.

"I'm not going to go out the window."

Then I looked at the pile of wooden sticks and noticed one was a bit pointed at the end.

"Am I going to grab one of the pointed sticks and use it as a spear for self defense?"

Realizing I was still only wearing a towel around my waist I decided hunting down an intruder with a crude wooden spear was a tad barbaric, even for me. It might be spring break but that doesn't justify killing somebody with a stick, no matter what MTV might say.

Newcott, Hunter from Beth's Bathroom

"I'm not going to use the spear," I decided.

Instead I opted to get dressed.

Then I heard the knocking at the door.

This is it, I thought. This is the moment I'm going to have to face a crazed, probably coked up intruder without even a spear at my side. Maybe I could grab the toothpaste and squeeze some in his eyes. No that won't work, I thought, after realizing that the only toothpaste I could find was a little sample bottle.

"Psst! It's me!" I heard on the other side.

I opened the door to find Beth standing bravely on the other side.

"I can't find him," she said.

"Let's get out of here."

We both stopped for a moment before entering her bedroom, keeping a close eye on the closet and the dark space underneath her bed. In our minds the intruder was lurking behind every door and dark corner. We grabbed the keys and ran outside.

"Look!" Beth said, pointing towards the side of the house.

The stranger had pulled his truck up to the garage.

I had seen this before on Oprah, I realized. Robbers pull up their vans to the garage to make hauling the goods even easier. The sick freak.

We huddled in a Ford Explorer until deciding to make a break for Beth's car.

Slowly we moved around the side of the house until we saw the intruder for ourselves. In a bizarre twist the man was on a ladder scraping the side of her home with paint materials.

Then we realized the guy was hired by Beth's parents to work on the house.

Wiping the sweat off my brow in relief that I didn't go after him with a spear, I relaxed. It was over, but for how long? After years of paranoia and repeated viewings of crazed zombie movies I thought I would be more prepared for this exact situation, yet I still fell short. With that realization I decided I needed to better prepare myself.

And that's why I have a pile of sharp sticks in my bathroom.


Chimes Day By Day - Beach Week

Day By Day - Beach Week
By Zachary Newcott

WOO! Spring Break! This time Day By Day is going wild by celebrating at the beach all week long.

Monday - Find A Spot At The Beach Day

For something that spans an entire coast line, the beach is surprisingly crowded, especially when spring break comes along and it’s time to party. On this day drive around various neighborhoods trying to find a spot to park. Slowly follow a family to their parking spot before realizing they’re just putting away an umbrella. Curse Poseidon for his inconvienience.

Tuesday - Fend Off Seagulls Day

There’s nothing like a lunch at the beach. On this day realize why it’s called a sandwich after finding seashells inside of your hoagie. Try to brush off some of the sand and realize you’re only making things worse. Once the seagulls catch wind of what you’re eating make sure to cover your eyes as they pick clean the rest of your picnic. It’s a sick world we live in.

Wednesday - Forget the Suncreen Day

On this day make sure to go to the beach and get a dosage of mild radiation when you forget the sunscreen lotion. Be sure to ask yourself later how exactly you managed to burn the bottoms of your feet. Console yourself by imagining how your red complexion will soon turn to an even bronze tan once the burn disappears in the form of flakey skin. Then wince in pain when you accidentally scratch a mosquito bite.

Thursday - Dramatically Cast Something Out To Sea Day

Whether it's ashes, shells, or a simple bottle, nothing dramatizes the way you feel inside quite like casting an object out to sea. Be sure to note the brevity of life by screaming "Go back from whence you came!" before the toss. As the sun sets it's preferable to have a single tear roll down your cheek. Simple, yet dignified.

Friday - Desperately Try To Fly A Kite Day

When a kite manages to take full sail it can be a wondrous and exhilarating experience. When there's no wind out on the sand however, it could be the loneliest experience of your life. On this day repeatedly run as fast as you can before having your kite pitifully crash back into the ground after a mere five seconds of time in the air. Once the kite finally does manage to make it off the ground for an extended period of time, relish your accomplishment before realizing that there's not much else to do with a kite once it rises several yards above you.

Weekend - Find Sand Everywhere Day

Just because the week is ending doesn't mean your beach party has to end! Luckily for you the beach insists to come back to your apartment the only way it can. On these days discover that not only everything you own, but even parts of your body are still caked with a fine layer of sand. Be sure to relive your time at the ocean each time you repeatedly slam your shoes upside down against the wall and watch a cascade of sand flow to the floor. Eat a sandwich and feel the familiar crunching sensation of sand in your teeth. Now it can be Spring Break 24/7!


RIP Possum 04/08/09

When I saw the possum in the middle of the road my heart said stop but my foot said go faster. The foot won. The possum, sadly, lost.

I didn't know you, possum. But if I did I think we would've made great friends.

Sure, I do like to think that you had rabies and in a way I did a good thing by abruptly ending your life when I was heading home from a concert late last night, but you were a possum and that means something. In my defense, I first thought you were a plastic bag or some piece of garbage out on the road.

Although I am secretly relieved you weren't something cuter like a cat, dog, or even any other rodent, I can't help but feel sorry for you.
I'm sorry possum. But I have to ask, what were you thinking when you were out there on Imperial Highway? You must've seen me from about a mile away. How could you be so blind?

Just so you know, it's been a rough year for all of us, and this loss is one more to add to the list. On the bright side I will see to it that you'll forever be remembered as a great actor, and who knows, maybe you'll get an Oscar come award season.

Isn't that the greatest gift of all? I mean, besides life? Because I certainly can't give you that one back. No siree. My car jumped about a half-foot into the air when you met your demise.

I just don't want you to think I wasn't affected in all this. I remember the moment just before we first met. Beth yelled "It's a POSSUM!!!" and I screamed too while desperately trying to maneuver around you and slamming my foot down on the accelerator. Good times.

Well, I suppose now we should part ways. Farewell my friend. You will be missed...


Bananas In the Ears

Get those bananas out of your ears Dole Man!!

Well played Japan. Well played indeed.

Chimes Opinion - Doppelgangers

It could be said that I have a familiar face, which is helpful if I'm trying to get into a club, but very unhelpful if I ever find myself a suspect in an episode of CSI. Although in my writings I frequently refer to myself as having the appearance of Fabio, in reality that's only really a half-truth. The reality of the matter is that I look like a disturbed child between Andy Dick and Josh Groban.

Although I'm not Jewish, I'm fairly certain my nose is. It's rather large and defined. So when my co-workers at the now defunct Biola Scholarship Fund referred to me as "Josh Groban," I took it as an immense compliment. Perhaps too much of a compliment. Once I began doing renditions of "You Raise Me Up" between phone calls, the comparisons quickly ceased and the barrage of insults from the call recipients began to take full flight. That was until several months later when I was approached during a magazine awards dinner for celebrities and was briefly mistaken by another member of the press. "Josh Groban?" She asked me, before fully seeing me in the light and gasping in shock. "Oh, nevermind, I seem to have made a mistake, a huge mistake" she clarified, not stopping to dab the water she spit out in shock from my face.

I thought it was a coincidence, until a few weeks later when on a flight a stewardess withheld my soda and blue chips before asking, "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Josh Groban?"

"Why yes, yes they have," I said before breaking out in a solo of "You're Still You."

After the emergency landing it was agreed between myself and the TSA that my impersonations quickly stop. Unfortunately, it's hard to capitalize on having the similarities to a singer-songwriter without having any of the vocal or musical attributes that a singer-songwriter has. For years this similarity went on without any monetary return. Months went by, and with the ability to grow patches of unruly facial hair the comparisons between myself and the big JG (as I like to call him) have ceased.

Then something different happened. As I was buying a sweater similar to the one Cosby wore at my local Savers store, the woman at the checkout stopped her barcode scanning to mention, "you know who you look like?"

"Josh Groban?!" I quickly answered.

"No," she said. "That weird funny guy. What's his name? Oh yeah, Andy Dick!"

Although being compared to the popular 90’s comedian from the short-lived sitcom News Radio was in a way flattering, it was on the other hand a step below the flowing locks of Groban. “Excuse me,” I politely noted, “but I believe you are very confused. I think you mistakenly said Andy Dick when you meant Josh Groban or Fabio.”

“Hey!” Yelled the checkout woman to the Mexican shopper behind me in line. “Doesn’t this kid look like Andy Dick?”

The Mexican shopper laughed and clapped her hands, “Si! Si!”

I understood. Hanging my head limply I wandered the streets, briefly looking into a storefront window to see my reflection. I didn’t even know who I looked like anymore. Was it Groban, Andy, maybe a young Woody Allen with a little bit of Richard Gere thrown in?

It didn’t matter. I realized that there was only one person I needed to look like in this world, and that person went by the name of Master Zachary Donald Newcott the First. Straightening my sweater I marched on my way, confident in how I looked, and man did I look great.


Concert Re-Cap: Chad Vangaalen

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Chad Vangaalen perform at Club Spaceland here in LA. Not quite electronic, and certainly not acoustic, Chad Vangaalen orchestrates a unique combination of sounds and music to a point in which they both become complimentary to each other. Unlike the opening band Women, Vangaalen's music is never fully overpowered by the back-up reverbs and electronic hisses and pops. Instead he fashions his personal and revealing vocals, often quivering in the midst of reflections upon death and the supernatural, with traditional melodies accompanied with very non-traditional instruments. This here is your quintessential alternative-folk artist.

His music is very much his own. I struggle for comparison, but the closest I can come to explaining him is like an electric Sufjan Stevens meeting Of Montreal, except this individual brings the former into the world of rock and doesn't bother with the latter bands musical tangents. Somehow I think even that description doesn't suffice. So instead I say you just give him a listen, or a look, or maybe even both.

cries of the dead - Chad Vangaalen (via awmusic)

Molten Light - Chad Vangaalen (via guessimfloating)

Chimes Day By Day - Midterms Week

Spring break is coming up and right before it arrives we get to look forward to the onslaught of midterms and papers. This week let's learn how to deal with this usually stressful time.

Monday - Decide to Study Day

Midterms are just around the corner, so it's time to buckle down and start studying. But first you need to check your Facebook. Take a look at all the status updates until you come across the profile of your arch nemesis. Write an anonymous death-threat in their honesty box application. While you're at it, check your old Myspace profile too. Reject every spam friend request and then vow never to check Myspace again. Use stumble-upon for the next several hours.

Tuesday - Reading Day

It can be expected that every course you're taking this semester has reading from required texts. On this day you might want to consider actually buying the books and then reading them. When you discover how expensive the books are begin gagging and resolve to find the books at the library. Find out the library does not have the books you need and then discover the wonders of wikipedia. Since you're already online you might as well check your Facebook while you're at it.

Wendsday - Get a Good Sleep Night

If you're going to do well on these exams you're going to need to get a good rest each night. On this day resolve to go to bed at least before 11'oclock. Realize by 10:55 you can still fit in a quick round of playing Golden Eye against the roommates before calling it a day. At midnight realize you can't go to bed hungry so take a late night trip to Molca Salsa. At one o'clock begin to regret that shrimp burrito. Later, update your Facebook status to "is throwing up from Molca Salsa shrimp burrito." At 9:30 realize you have to get to chapel.

Thursday - Study Off Campus Day

There are just too many distractions in your dorm room. On this day get off campus and study at your local La Mirada cafe. Before opening that book drink a couple iced-coffee's until your bladder feels like it's going to explode. Realize that the cafe gets free wireless internet. Check Facebook and update status to "is exploding iced coffee bladder."

Friday - Swear Off Facebook Day

Facebook has brought you nothing but pain and misery. Besides, you haven't even gotten that many notifications anyway this week and the ones that you did were only in regards to your "strengths and weaknesses." Give it up for a couple days for the sake of your grades. Open up your text book and begin doodling in the margins. realize that the corners of the pages could make for a great flipbook.

Weekend - Rest Assured Days

Well, you've done all you could. Whether you've already taken all of your exams, or still have a few left, rest assured knowing that you have studied to the best of your capabilities, which as a college student are surprisingly limited. Pray to God that there was some confusing mixup with the exams and then begin to look forward to Spring Break. Realizing you have so much time on your hands, decide that you might as well check your myspace page.


The Other Housemate

Last night my other housemate pooped on the couch. No, it wasn't Micah, this time, it was actually Anthony's cat Stiggy. Strangely, when the dookie first turned up Anthony immediately blamed Jon. Apparently he suspected a poop transplant of sorts from the litter box to the couch as a sort of sadistic prank. Stiggy's persistent pacing back and forth indicated otherwise.

Here's a video Beth took of the Stig attacking the blinds next to my bed.

Beth's pretty much the cat whisperer, so maybe she can get to the bottom of this whole couch-pooping mystery...


Behold my new favorite Korean food.

Check out these ricetards below.


Birds of a Feather - Chimes Opinion

Birds of a Feather
Chimes Opinion Article

I have only ever eaten duck once. On the other hand, I have had numerous experiences visiting the nearby public park and realizing I have nowhere to sit due to the plethora of duck poop on every bench. With this in mind there has always been a vast incongruousness to the give-and-take relationship between the ducks and me: I don’t eat nearly enough duck to justify my consistent lack of benches. I thought we had a deal. Instead, I’m getting robbed. Robbed by poultry. It’s a sick world we live in.
Just recently a duck couple moved into the Tropicana apartment complex and began using the pool as a private resort. The literal love birds have spent the past month floating in circles, sun bathing and ruffling their tail feathers in my face. Part of me wants to welcome our feathered friends, yet somehow another part of me wants them to start pulling their weight around the place. So far the only contribution they’ve made is caking the bottom of the pool in a fine layer of duck turds. Granted, the pool is probably extremely cold and my Speedo probably violates both Biola contract and the Geneva Convention, but on the other hand I am an American and if I want to use the Tropicana pool despite the fact that I don’t actually live there, nothing should stop me. Especially duck poo.

It might be that my prejudice against the ducks is rooted in my past experiences with living poultry. Just the other day Beth and I visited the park on a lunch break for a quick little picnic. Within seconds we were approached by two geese that waddled toward us with their long white necks outstretched and their toothy beaks open wide. It’s a bit surprising how much they’re like Velociraptors in many ways (minus the ability to open doors). We tossed them some bread, too, but became distracted when we were also approached by a one-legged duck hopping toward us. Enraptured by this seemingly Dr. Suess-esque animal, I had forgotten about our current situation.

Beth glanced in my direction when she heard the fluttering of feathers. Suddenly she exclaimed, “THERE’S A GOOSE NEXT TO YOU!”

I quickly looked down and saw the deadly cold eyes of a goose staring right back at me, its beak only inches away from devouring my hand.

Thinking fast, I let out a high pitched squeal similar to that of a little girl, which had the unfortunate side-effect of causing the surrounding geese to mimic my scream with loud quacks. My only option was to toss away the remaining pieces of bread I had as a distraction and run away. The plan worked.

Upon returning to Tropicana I noticed that the male duck was floating alone in the pool, seemingly abandoned by his feathered companion. Repeated visits displayed a similar scene. Sometimes he would be drifting aimlessly in the water, other times he would be sitting on the pool steps staring aimlessly out across the surface. Occasionally he would tilt his head at an awkward angle to meet my eyes, and although his expression showed no emotion or cognizant capabilities, deep down inside I sensed a painful sense of isolation.

It was then that I realized I needed to push my poultry prejudice aside. After all, deep down inside, aren’t we all birds of a feather? Learning this, I tossed him a piece of Funfetti cake and tried to cheer him up, telling him that his duck love would one day return. Sure enough, she did. Or another duck that looked similar to her. Really all ducks kind of look the same to me. Even so I found myself appreciating our new duck friends, and if one day little ducklings come along, well, I’ll welcome them too.