Monday, August 15, 2016

Desert Lions Update

One of our favorite aspects of a trip to Africa is the chance to see a lion while on a game drive. We've had some pretty exciting encounters over a few trips. We've witnessed a pride feast on a Cape Buffalo near our camp's gift shop. We watched cubs play tug-of-war with a giraffe's intestine. We've followed lions on the hunt and had them no more than 4 feet from us while in open-air jeeps. We saw a pride of 18 lions filled with cubs, then on a return trip 30 months later, we found the same pride and saw the cubs all grown-up.

A memorable encounter was on our recent(ish) trip to Namibia where we got to see the famous 5 Musketeers. There are approximately 70 desert-adapted lions in the world. These 5 brothers/cousins were the subject of the documentary Vanishing Kings that started airing under the name Desert Warriors: Lion of the Namib on Smithsonian Channel. The documentary focuses on the young five male lions and their struggles to survive and perpetuate the species in a vast location with so few of their species around. At the end of the movie they show two unrelated females nearing the 5's territory. Will they meet up and breed?

We follow the website Desert Lion Project to keep up with the boys and to see some incredible photography. Good news is the lionesses and the males did connect. We do not have information on their success in breeding opportunities. They have encountered each other several times over the last few months. The biggest news of all though is that the lions have been in some unfortunate encounters with farmer/herder settlements. Corralled goats and cows are tempting. The foundation, government, and villagers worked on methods to chase the lions away, including firework trip wires. They worked for a bit. Read the rest of the story in the screen shots below taken from the Desert Lion Project website.

13 Jun 2016. Conflict. When the five male lions (the “Musketeers”) moved past the temporary cattle post (12 km west of Tomakas) two days ago a human-lion conflict incident occurred somewhere between the cattle post and Otjizeka spring (15 km further west). The exact details of the incident are still unclear. Deep inside a Salvadora thicket at Otjizeka spring Xpl-89 “Harry” died of a mortal bullet wound to the chest during the early morning hours on 12 Jun 2016 (photo: bottom right). When the remaining four lions were observed at sunset, two of the males showed signs of injuries. Xpl-92 “Adolf” had a new wound on his right cheek (photo: bottom left) and Xpl-91 “Ben” appeared to have a bullet wound. The photos below suggest that he may have been shot in the lower stomach (photos: top middle & right and bottom middle). It would appear that the bullet passed straight through. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism was informed of the developments. The Purros Conservancy, MET, IRDNC, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge and DLP are all working together to defuse the tense situation.

14 Jun 2016. Xpl-89 "Harry". Finding the carcass of Xpl-89 inside the Salvadora thickets was challenging and required crawling for approximately 30 metres through the thick undergrowth (photos: top row). An autopsy was performed on the carcass and biological samples were collected. The lion died quickly from a single gunshot to the chest. The bullet passed through the heart and lungs. The remaining four male lions were monitored closely and the bullet wound to Xpl-91 “Ben” does not appear to be serious. Two Okongwe lionesses joined the males during the night and after sunrise they were all observed scaling the tall mountains to the south of the Gomatum valley.

19 Jul 2016. Cow. At 03h20 the four adult males approached the Ondudupi village where the cattle were inside a rudimentary corral made of Mopane branches (photo: top left). The lions responded immediately to a display of bright flashing lights / fireworks and they moved away. However, one kilometre south of the village, the lions unfortunately encountered and killed a lone cow that did not return to the corral. At dawn the lions moved to the safety of a nearby gorge.

3 Aug 2016. Tomakas Situation. The human-lion conflict situation at Tomakas and the Gomatum River has become unmanageable. A few days ago a man encountered the four adult males (the “Musketeers”) in a narrow wash 3.5 km north of Tomakas whilst riding on donkey. The man fled into the mountains and walked to Tomakas. The incident was investigated and it was confirmed that the lions killed the donkey. They dragged and left the saddle under a tree (photo: below middle). The saddle was returned to its owner. Thereafter, on 2 Aug 2016, the four males moved past Tomakas and killed two goats. The people of Tomakas have been patient and tolerant of the lions disrupting their lives, but they cannot continue living under these conditions. Removing the lions from the area is necessary. The lions have expanded their range into an area of human settlement that is not suitable lion habitat. Our efforts to deter and cause the lions to vacate the area have failed. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism are being consulted to find an amicable solution.

5 Aug 2016. Xpl-93. The adult male lion Xpl-93 left his brothers and moved to Okongwe Waterhole. The remaining three “Musketeers” yet again approached Tomakas village between 02h00 and 03h00 this morning. They nonetheless responded immediately to a display of flashing lights/fireworks and moved off in an easterly direction along the Gomatum River.

10 Aug 2016. Tragedy. On 6 Aug 2016 the Ministry of Environment & Tourism approved the translocation of the four “Musketeers” from Tomakas to the Uniab Delta as a last-resort effort to solve the on-going human-lion conflict. Several parties participated with the planning of this operation: an aircraft was secured to transport the lions from Purros to Terrace Bay, vehicles were gathered to take the lions from Tomakas to Purros and finally from Terrace Bay to the Uniab Delta as we waited for the three males to return from the mountains and reconnect with Xpl-93.

However, the three males encountered a new and previously unknown cattle post of semi-nomadic pastoralists. The lions killed a donkey and the people (previously from Omiriu and then Ondudupi) retaliated by poisoning the lions. The carcasses and the satellite collars of the lions were then burnt. With this tragic development a difficult decision had to be made about the fate of the lone survivor. With the Ministry of Environment & Tourism we darted Xpl-93, loaded him in the Desert Lion Project Land Cruiser and started the long journey to the Uniab Delta. The convoy of three vehicles struggled through the Floodplain and dunes that were covered in thick fog. We finally reached the mouth of the Uniab River at 05h25 and found a narrow wash with some protection to off-load Xpl-93 (photos below).

11 Aug 2016. Uniab Delta. The last survivor of the “Five Musketeers”, Xpl-93 also known as “Tullamore”, has recovered from the ordeal of translocating him to the Uniab Delta (photos below). The lion was kept sedated for 14.5 hrs and transported in the back of the research vehicle for 279 km from Tomakas to the mouth of the Uniab River. He is currently feeding on an Oryx carcass and his movements will be monitored closely. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism must be commended for their leading role in the operation and thanks also go to Namibia Wildlife Resorts and Wilderness Safaris for their support. The Ministry of Environment & Tourism and the Namibian Police Force have launched a detailed investigation into the killing of the three males (Xpl-90, Xpl-91 & Xpl-92) 12 km north of Tomakas. The developments over the past few days may generate reactions in the published press and on social media. The Desert Lion Project would like to: a) state that the problems of human-lion conflict are complex and b) call on everyone using the information presented on this website to remain objective. The daily movements of Xpl-93 will now be posted under “Obab Lionesses”.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Charities of The Month: National Multiple Sclerosis Society and St. Jude

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

July: In July we supported The Roosters of Orange County Foundation with $125 donation to honor the wishes of a friend that passed away. Her husband runs the organization's holiday food drive and our dollars will go directly to those efforts in Gail's honor.

August Charities of the Month:

July was not the best month for us in terms of people passing away. Early July our friend Gail passed away and late in the month our friend Ellen passed away. We met Ellen Hoffman and her husband Rich while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands, specifically the island of Jost Van Dyke. As newbies to a place they had been visiting before electricity came to the island, Ellen and Rich were perfect ambassadors to a place we grew to love. For the next ten years we would meet again on the tiny island and catch up with each other and hear all the going-ones with their growing army of grandchildren. Jost Van Dyke's White Bay Beach is one of those places that is overcrowded from 10:00 - 5:00 each day with tourist and day trippers visiting world famous bars. Once they cleared out we would retake the beach with our friends, share various snack crackers and nuts we brought from home, and watch the sun set behind the mountain.

Ellen asked for donations to go to St. Jude. For those of you familiar with our Charity of the Month you've likely noticed this one repeated many times. It's a testament to the quality of the work they do. We selected the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as the second charity because Ellen was living with that disease. The links below take you directly to the organization's donation pages.

National MS

St. Jude


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Beers from Around the World 2016

In our house we celebrate the start of the Olympic Games with a tradition we've kept for over 16 years. That tradition is "Beers from Around the World". On the night of the Opening Ceremonies we'll order out some food and have beers from different countries (as the name implies). We buy a variety and share each bottle. Rules: Sample the U.S. beer when the U.S. Team comes out (did not do that this year) and be sure we have a beer from the host country.

A few years ago friends asked us to film this experience. In 2014 we did it from a hotel room. This year we were home, but Holly had a 20 mile run the next morning. We decided to save the American beer for last just in case it got too late (and it did). This year we used Facebook to broadcast live two times.

This year's country line-up: New Zealand, Japan, Scotland, Denmark, Czech Republic, and the host country Brazil.

Here are all the videos in order. At the bottom is a link to a playlist to see them all continuously. Enjoy!


Playlist format:


Monday, August 1, 2016

Randoms: July 2016

It's been a while since we had a random topic post. Let's see how this goes.

Chicago Weekend

We spent a weekend in Chicago with a bunch of friends from all over the place. The Chicago Rock & Roll Half Marathon Weekend has become a tradition for Holly (legacy runner with all 8 under her belt) and our friends. On Friday Dave hosted lunch at Howell's & Hood, then took his friends on a tour of his office on the 76th floor of the Aon Center - the country's 7th largest building. Later that evening bar stops included 3 Dots and a Dash, the Renaissance's new rooftop bar, Miller's Pub, and dinner at Stout Barrel House.

The next day 14 of us took to the Chicago River in kayaks on a tour from Urban Kayaks. Our 2 hour private tour was perfect for novices and included a lot of Chicago historical facts along the way.


On race day there was a bit of lightning and rain during the event, but it cleared out quickly. A few of us a couple of songs from the headlining band - Echosmith. They were very good and so young (ages ranged from 15 - 21). We had lunch at a Printer's Row favorite: First Draft. Later that night was date night with drinks at Siena Tavern and dinner at RPM Steak.

Summer TV

TV for us this time of year means a few hours a week dedicated to Big Brother and movies we've DVR'd during the year. We caught up on the 4th season of Orange is the New Black and found a few other gems this season:

Stranger Things on Netflix is a well-done eight part Sci-Fi series set in 1983. The story follows several pre-teens and their families as they try to solve a mystery surrounding some disappearances. The 80's theme is everywhere: toys, clothes, Trapper Keepers, TV commercials, and background music fitting an after school special. The entire season is available.

The Night Of on HBO is not as family-friendly as Stanger Things, but it's a story that draws the viewer right in. Without giving too much away it's about a good college-kid that has a chance encounter changing his life forever. Episode 1 lays out the premise and the rest (so far) is dealing with the aftermath and trying to determine the truth. Episodes are released weekly and as of this post four have aired.


We tried Pokemon Go. We liked the initial concept, but the game is not fun for those of us in the rural suburbs of Chicago. There is no way for us to progress in the game. There are no Pokestops near the house and the nearest gym is miles away.

Dave has been enjoying the other recent Pokemon release: Pokemon Trading Card Game for the iPad. You collect cards, win decks and other rewards through trainer tournaments to create your own decks. You can join Online tournaments and play against others.

Jackson Hole

Our next big trip is coming up in a few weeks. We are going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for their marathon. We're going to be joined by 3 other couples and enjoy our time visiting the area including the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

Olympics and Beers from Around the World

This was the year Chicago was supposed to host the Summer Games, but the city lost the bid to Rio. This will be a fun year to watch for Dave since he works closely with many Brazilians and will enjoy their POV on how their country is portrayed.

Our Olympic tradition continues this Friday: Beers From Around The World. This is when we buy a bunch of international beers and film our review while watching the Opening Ceremonies. We may take advantage of some of the new broadcasting tools like Periscope to bring a segment or two live.

Link to 2014 video

Link to 2012 videos


Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Vermont City Race Report and Video

Holly's recap of the 2016 Vermont City Marathon and video.

I picked the Vermont City Marathon for Vermont because it has quite the reputation for being a very well run race and the spectator support is outstanding. One of those statements is true, the other not so much. I was super excited for this race weekend because I would be running with my great running pal, Jessica and we would get to see her Dad, Steve and her adorable daughter Harper. We had a blast leading up to the race and you can read about that in a previous post.

Jessica and I were stalking the weather all week and it looked like it was going to be a warm one. The race kept sending out warm weather updates and said they were prepared with extra water, ice, etc. The race had a late start of 8 am and we were hoping they would move it up to 7am to try and beat the heat. They said that they couldn’t do it due to the staffing and logistics with the city. Interestingly enough the Buffalo Marathon was held on the same day and they DID move their start time and it proved to be very successful for them

We got to the start area and it was quite warm as we expected. The sun was out and it was humid, but we were smart and we were well hydrated and planned to drink extra at the stops and to slow down our normal pace. We started off by going through downtown Burlington and the crowd support was great. We saw Dave a few times and then headed out on the worst part of the course, the part they billed as scenic and a real treat to run on. It was a long out and back on a boring highway. There was no shade so it was hot. The water spots were far apart and we were surprised they didn’t add more given the conditions. We get to the one on the highway and there is NO water, or Gatorade. This was not good. Jessica and I were lucky and we carry our own bottles and they were still relatively full. Most others were not. I knew at this point that they were not prepared like they said they would be. I have run another hot race, Chicago 2007 and this same thing happened and they ended up cancelling the race. I was worried it would happen here but thankfully the next stop was fully stocked and we didn’t have an issue again.

We headed back in to town and saw Dave and his college roommate Duncan and they gave us some orange slices and said we looked a lot better than most people running by them. We were good, we were hot but we were smart and listening to our body. We headed back out of town up a huge hill that took you by the finish line. The sun had gone in at this point and it had actually gotten cooler. We were both feeling good. We got to mile 17 and a fireman got out of his truck and said. "That’s it, the race is called, it’s over" I couldn’t believe it. It was finally cool and why would they cancel it now?

We kept going because Dave was up ahead at Mile 18 so we figured if we had to we would get a ride back with him. None of the volunteers knew what was going on. Some said we could keep going, some said they thought the clocks would be turned off, some said the water stations would not be supported. No consistent message at all. Jessica and I decided to keep going because we both felt fine. The spectators were great. They all had hoses going and were handing out water, fruit and popsicles. We weren’t sure if the race would count but we figured let’s keep going. We got to the 20 mile timing clock and mat and it is still on. We got text messages with our times so I thought we would get a finish time. We passed another clock that was still on. We also passed MarathonFoto photographers who were still out on the course taking our pictures. All the water stations were manned and they were cheering us on to keep going. It was a normal race. We were getting towards the finish and we both didn’t feel great at this point so we decided to play it safe and walk a bit more.

Dave was great and found us on the course a bunch more times. We got close to the finish and could see a thunderstorm was getting close so we picked up the pace. We ran towards the finish line and the clock was still on, again MarathonFoto was there taking our pictures, and we got high fives from race officials. We were texted our finish times. It was a normal finish line experience. BUT it wasn’t. Later that night we found out that the race director decided not to count anyone who finished after 4:30. A time he determined based on when he decided to call the race. He said he called the race due to something called wet bulb temperature. I asked him what the temperature readings were and he said he didn’t remember. What? You cancel the race for the first time in history and you don’t know what the readings are? I have to say I am extremely disappointed in the follow-up and the way this cancellation was handled. When Chicago was cancelled, it was very obvious it was cancelled. The road to continue was blocked off. It was clearly communicated that the race was OVER. That was not the case here and the fact that I have a time and he won’t let it be in the official results is just ridiculous. So now it looks like we have to go back to Vermont to get an "official" result for my 50 states quest. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of choices in this small state so I may have to go back and do this awful race director’s race again, which will completely kill me.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Colorado Beer Touring

When you are into brewery culture you look for any excuse to visit Northern Colorado. There are so many classic breweries along with new ones popping up almost every month. Dave's cousin (the junior bridesmaid at our wedding) was getting married near her home in the Loveland area so we had a perfect reason to do some brewery-hopping.

We landed in Denver Thursday evening and spent our first night in the downtown convention center area. It was a 15 minute walk to our first stop: Jagged Mountain Brewing. Their location is in a brick building, which may have originally been a warehouse or light industrial building like many of its neighbors back-in-the-day. This whole section of Denver is under some form of revitalization because of its proximity to Coors Field. The crowd inside was surprisingly more yuppie than hipster. We started off with a flight mixed with wheats, porters, and a black IPA. We hung out for full pints and enjoyed a snack of mac & cheese from a foodtruck.

A short walk away was one of the more famous breweries from this area: Great Divide. Their Yeti stouts are very popular (too hoppy for us) but our favorite from Great Divide is their Claymore Scotch Ale. The tap room was nice with a bar area in the front and a few tables/communal areas in the back of the room. We started off with samples first, then moved on to full servings of our favorites. We were getting hungry and the obvious choice in the area would be to go to Breckenridge Brewery's restaurant a few blocks away (been there before). Fortunately for us the couple we had been chatting with at the bar suggested we visit First Draft, also a few blocks away. The area between the two businesses was a little sketchy, but it was still very bright out and traffic on the roads was still steady.

First Draft is a concept we'd like to see spread like wildfire across the country (read an article that there are over 300 self-pours in the country). Patrons start by securing a RFID card with their credit card. Then they get free reign to pour their own drinks. 30 taps of beer, wine, cider, and cocktails line one wall. The RFID cards are used to activate the taps and they monitor how much beverage is poured. Drinks are charged by the ounce. Information about the beer was displayed on iPads. After sampling, we picked some full serving favorites and then ordered food. We split the thai corn cakes and waygu burger. Both were awesome.

We decided we could work in one more brewery and walked a few blocks over to Ratio based on Dave's cousin's recco. Sadly we passed a brewery on the way to Ratio an did not stop. Ratio had a really cool outdoor patio. We ordered two varieties of Scotch Ale - one traditional and one coffee flavored. Quality beers but the coffee one was a bit too coffee-bitter.

The next morning our first stop was to Denver's VooDoo Donuts. We loved their products when we visited Portland and had to go out-of-our-way to get them again. Mental note: donuts topped with cereal get stale quickly. Getting 6 to eat over two days was a little much, but we wanted to try a few different types. Holly enjoyed the one topped with Tang powder.

We headed west to Boulder. Instead of visiting a brewery we visited The newly opened Skirt Sports store. It's a women's running clothing store. Dave just plopped on the chair and played with his phone while Holly took the time to try on a variety of items. Good thing we left room in the luggage.

Now for some fun! We stopped at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids restaurant. Unfortunately it was too early for lunch but all the food that came out looked great. Oskar had about 30 beers on tap including all their own current offerings and guest taps to round out the selections. We were working individual tasters and our great bartender threw in a couple of other sippers for us to sample. We got to try a nice variety of beer.

Everyone told us to visit Grimm Brothers in Loveland. Nice place tucked into an industrial park, great bartender, fun games available in the bar, but the beers did not wow us. Dark beers must not have been their niche. Oh well.... After Grimm was time for lunch. We went to Coopersmith's In downtown Fort Collins for a quick bite. Since Dave had more driving to do during the day he tried the homemade root beer which was very good.

We met Dave's family and took possession of his dad while his aunt ran errands. We walked a few blocks from Coopersmith's to Patero's Creek Brewing. We had beers ranging from kolsch to wheat beers aged with Swedish Fish to Oreo Porter. Yes, Oreos infused into the beer. We learned about the Brewer's Olympics - a charity event taking place the next day.

After attending a pre-wedding picnic we dropped dad back at his hotel and headed back towards our hotel in Fort Collins. Black Bottle Brewing was nearby. They featured their own beers plus guest taps. We had their Peanut Butter Porter and New Belgium's Lychee Tart. Food looked good but we decided having sushi back in our room would be more enjoyable.

We had our marching orders on Saturday to be at Dave's aunt's house between 1:15 and 1:30 for pictures. That left us a little free time to walk the streets of Fort Collins and browse some shops. Beyond the breweries Fort Collins really is a nice town/city with a lot to offer. We plotted our course through town to end up at Equinox Brewing around 11am when they opened. We started with samples and enjoyed almost everything we chose. The Brewers Olympics team representing Equinox was getting ready to leave for the event and invited us to join them in a celebratory beer shot. Fun! The bartender allowed us to eat the Subway sandwiches we bought beforehand, which bought us some time to have a full beer. We really enjoyed Equinox - the taproom is very pleasant with a lot of local art and there were plenty of quality beers to choose from.

We rushed back to the hotel, changed, checked-out, and made it with plenty of time to spare for photos back at the house. The rest of the weekend was spent with family and at the wedding.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Charity of the Month: Roosters Foundation of Orange County Food Drive

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

June: In June we had our first double-charity month. We supported The Humane Society of the United States and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with $125 donations each to honor the wishes of a friend's wife that passed away after a long battle with cancer.

July's Charity of the Month:

In our September 2015 Charity of the Month post we told you about our friend Gail and how they discovered she had a brain tumor while preparing her for back surgery. Gail took the challenges of surgery and chemo well and continued to fight and recover. She never gave up and always had a positive outlook. Unfortunately she had an accident recently that caused bleeding in her brain that would be inoperable and she passed away this week. We had a lot fun the two times we met Gail and her husband Jon for dinner in Orange, CA and Disneyland.   Gail was a true friend and would do anything for you that she could.   She will be missed by so very many.  

Her husband Jon is a member of the Roosters of Orange County. From their website:

The Roosters is a charity and social organization, consisting of 100 professional men, with diverse backgrounds, from the greater Orange County area of Southern California. Each year, we raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for disadvantaged children. February 2014 marked the 37th year that the Roosters have been active in philanthropy and outstanding community service. We are a 501-C-3 tax-exempt corporation (33- 0764177) that provides a cost effective means of fund raising with marketing advice and support for small, local children’s charities and community groups that do not get national or government funding.

Jon heads their annual Food Drive which provides holiday meals for local families in-need. Gail always enjoyed helping with the annual drive and they requested donations in her name to go towards this event. On the donation page the event is noted as "Food Drive Contribution in Memory of Gail Giberson". The donation link is below.

Rooster's Food Drive in Memory of Gail