Monday, February 27, 2012
The evidence keeps on coming. This year's County Fair and Date Festival was the "Best Ever." Here Beast watcher Arminda Aceves captured Ariana, Caitlyn and Cypress Hill from North Shore California visiting with the staff at the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce booth. We salute these promising Future Cryptozoologists of America!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
Record crowds have been thronging the Fairgrounds in Indio, and the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce booth has been a mob scene. Idy has been inviting scores of adventurous young people into our little "wildlife preserve" for photo ops. Researchers are combing through the mountain of evidence that has resulted from these encounters and will be releasing the images as we are able to confirm their authenticity. This image seems unretouched except for some color/brightness adjustment.
The Chamber still needs volunteers. Chamber watchers and Cryptozoologists may apply in person at the Funky Bazzaar, the Cave, or Bubba's Books. Steve and Peter have tickets and parking. Give Idy a break!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
There were some challenges in training the Idyll-Beast to keep the table neat. Those big paws were not made for straightening up tightly spaced piles of brochures, but I think he’s getting the hang of it. Our Beast-Whisperers have also done a great job of developing the Animal’s “script.” We have replaced last year’s greeting, “You look delicious” (maybe too provocative) with the more business-like “Have you ever been to Idyllwild?” His old sign-off line “Look me up when you’re in town” was also deemed by some too personal and he now ends each conversation with “See you in Idyllwild!”
This brings up a sensitive subject. Some members of the community have suggested that the Idyll-Beast “scares children.” I am always quick to ask if the speaker has actually seen a Beast scare a child or heard a child complain about being scared. Or is the complainer just projecting? Setting aside for the moment the fact that many Idyllwilders “scare children” and are still allowed out in public, I would like to point out that the only incidents I have personally witnessed were the results of parents (generally new fathers) who were unclear on the protocol for introducing babes in arms to a new animal. Some careless adults see the Idyll-Beast and just push the carriage right up to him, forgetting themselves completely and giving junior something of a shock when he or she glances up from their bottle to see a mountain of fur towering over them.
I believe the proper method is common knowledge, but among modern parents it is unwise to assume anything, so here I present a digest of accepted practices:
Upon seeing a new animal, park the carriage at a safe distance, 10 to 20 feet. Gently direct the child’s attention to the animal. Smile.
Leaving the carriage (preferable with a parent or other familiar adult) approach the animal yourself slowly, being sure to smile and present yourself in a non-threatening manner.
Having greeted the animal and asked its permission, you may pet, shake hands, or put an arm around the creature. Again make eye contact with your child, smile, and make reassuring noises.
Finally, if the child seems willing, slowly bring the child closer to the animal and create a suitable photo-op.
It should also be mentioned that our Idyll-Beasts have received sensitivity training. Don’t approach little ones, let them approach you. Identify yourself as a representative of the Chamber of Commerce. Never go through hand bags, back packs or vehicles in search of snacks. When greeting visitors “Welcome to Idyllwild!” is preferred over “you look delicious!” Always refer to children as “Offspring” and not “appetizers” or “tasty little morsels.”
We are presently preparing a customer satisfaction survey that will allow visitors to rate their “encounter” and give the Chamber some metrics. Contactees will be asked to rate their Idyll-Beast on courteousness, grooming, and general knowledge. Science marches forward.
Friday, February 10, 2012
It was about two years ago that we began to think of getting a pet for the Idyll-Beast. We introduced him to a number of cats and dogs, and then took him to meet several shop-keepers and restaurateurs, but the animal seemed unsure….until the evening he saw a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I was reminded of the first time I saw an aquarium; the brightly colored creatures flashing too and fro, some alone, some in little schools, the sense of a jewel-like miniature world under the unearthly glow of the fluorescent light. Looking through the plate glass at the Water District that night, I knew Idy was hooked.
The Beast was fascinated with his new hobby. He learned to tell the various officers apart, explaining to anyone who would listen the difference between the first and second Vice-President. “The Second Vice-President is taller, and handles membership.” After a few months Idy succeeded in hand feeding most of the directors, and even found a little castle and a scuba diver to decorate the meeting room.
Keeping pets, as we all know, is not without its moments of grief. One morning I woke to find one of my little gems colorless and belly up. I remember having to scoop it out with a net. My elders explained that “burial at sea” was an appropriate method of interment. So sad watching the little fellow spin around in the porcelain before vanishing into the hereafter.
So it was with heavy heart that the Idyll-Beast took out his net at the recent meeting of the Board of Directors, at which President Nick Todd’s resignation was accepted by the other Directors. Todd had not been himself lately, his color fading, his fins drooping. He never really recovered from his encounter with the larger fish from the County. The debacle of the Town Hall lease left him feeling filleted and salted. Luckily for Todd, there is compelling evidence for life after the Chamber of Commerce