Diane Blackwood on her alligator encounter

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Here’s another longer TV news story on the incident:

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Scary stuff!

Diane Blackwood, wife of my friend Wesley Elsberry, was attacked by an alligator in a park in St. Petersburg Florida while taking one of their dogs (Ritka) for a walk!

Diane & Ritka

Diane & Ritka

Wesley tells the story on his blog (The Austringer):

This past Monday, Diane was out house-hunting. She checked out a listing for a house that was interesting in part because it was close to a park. After looking at the house, Diane went over to the park to have a look at it, too. This was Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, near I-275 and Gandy Boulevard. She took Ritka, our Vizsla, walking with her. Diane and Ritka were near the water’s edge at about 4:30 PM when Diane saw the water churn. She immediately called to Ritka and started moving away from the water. Ritka’s usual behavior is to run ahead, and that’s just what Ritka did. Diane, though, slipped on the slope and fell to her hands and knees, perhaps in part due to the slip-on “Crocs”-like shoes she was wearing at the time. The churning water was, indeed, a sign of a gator making a lunge, coming out of the water. The gator didn’t connect with anything on his first lunge, but he grabbed Diane’s left calf with his second lunge.

Fortunately Diane kept her wits about her and was able to escape with relatively minor injuries (‘minor’ only when considering how bad it could have been).

Diane turned and grabbed the gator’s jaw to discourage it from ripping her calf muscle. The gator then released her calf, but when it snapped its jaws shut the second time, Diane’s left thumb was caught there by a tooth. She says that she didn’t care to play tug with a gator, not with just her thumb as the part in the middle. She reached over with her right hand and grabbed the gator’s eye ridge. Diane says that after maybe 30 seconds to a minute of this standoff, the gator opened his jaws, releasing Diane’s thumb. Diane released the gator’s eye ridge. She says that she briefly had considered trying to hold the gator’s jaws closed and using Ritka’s leash to tie it up, but that she didn’t think that she was up to any more tussling with the gator. So the gator headed back to the water and Diane on up the bank and away.

Another bit of good news is that the authorities were apparently able to apprehend the offending (6+ foot) crocodilian:

This is one of those stories you hear about  on the news but don’t think about happening to people you know personally. Very scary!

My, and my wife Kathy’s, best wishes go out to Diane and we hope for her speedy recovery.

Making Halloween “sausage”

Halloween is coming on fast and I am already behind. This year we have a nice new mummy (with glowing eyes) to add to our yard haunt and I have decided to make him a Papier-mâché sarcophagus and some other props and make a whole display of it.

Here is the sarcophagus lid as it is so far, just a, hum, ‘skeleton’ if you will.


Funny thing I just noticed. In the display cabinet on the left side of the picture you can just make out a miniature souvenir Mayan sarcophagus lid that my parents brought me back from a trip they took to the Yucatán.

And here is a “little” obelisk awaiting some paint and hieroglyphics:


Have to hurry up and get these done so I can maybe work in a little sphinx to go along and then I want to try and get this ghost effect I being thinking about for a couple years working.

My metal masters

From the getting to know your blog host department:



The metal taskmasters who haunt my nightmares (and pay my mortgage…somewhat). These are the printing presses that I operate at work; an A. B. Dick 9810 (foreground) and a A. B. Dick 9870 w/T-head (background).

Stay in school kids or you could find yourself running beasts like these for twenty years instead of being a paleontologist…

[Update (2-18-2018): I no longer work in printing, rather I am now an insect trapper for the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture.]

Avast me hearties!

Have a happy talk like a pirate day says I!


F-ing A. What damn business is it of anyone besides the two consenting adults in question?

[Via Pharyngula]