It has been a busy few months at work leading up to the opening of our seasonal exhibit (hence the blog hiatus, hence no new pictures, hence no new facebook posts) BUT the great news is that the exhibit grand opening went fantastic and I’m back to being a normal human again working normal human hours and days. Weeeee!!
Unfortunately that means there has been no time to do any new pictures lately (lies! there is one new one: The Brontothesaurus of Friendship – i’ll post it soon on the facebook page) but I did get a chance to meet up with an old friend today and get him ready for his big blog debut. I am talking of course about Magic Panda. He is a little bit shy and has been reluctant to come on the blog (which is why it has taken so long to officially introduce him), but I talked him in to it with promises of blueberries. Oddly, he likes to supplement his diet of primarily bamboo with blueberries from time to time… i guess it’s the antioxidants… but blueberries are a pricey commodity in San Diego since they don’t grow here, so it was a treat he couldn’t pass up. Seriously, $5 for a tiny little container of them?! Outrageous. But worth it to get him to finally make an appearance. So without further ado, here he is for the first time, Magic Panda, everyone! <insert talk show audience applause track>
The first time I met Magic Panda was at a lunch with Rainbow Cow. They are good friends, and Magic Panda was in town visiting for a few days (this was before he lived in the area) so he joined us at a nice little cafe that had a great garden patio and the best iced tea you could ever imagine… maybe I was just thirsty, but this iced tea was memorable. Rainbow Cow and I did most of the talking since we had much to catch up on – it had been a while since we had seen each other and he wanted to tell me about some new projects he is working on (more about that later), and I wanted to tell him that I had finally tried cake pops (much to his delight). “See? i told you they were good. didn’t i say cake pops are the best? i told you to try them so many times, and now you did, and now we can talk about how good cake pop are! today is the best! can we order cake pops here? i want a cake pop right now. lets make cake pops tonight too! we could eat cake pops together and it would be the best ever! Magic Panda, have you ever had a cake pop?” I think it went on like that for longer, but the first time I heard Magic Panda talk was his response to the cake pop question: he smiled, looked down bashfully, and quietly said ‘yes’ with the slightest glimmer of a memory shining in his eye. I didn’t think much of it then, but I would later learn the story behind his first cake pop encounter and that innocent, bashful smile would make so much sense. It was a small, subtle gesture and it told an incredible story to those who knew him without using any words at all. But in that moment, it was just a smile like any other, and i didn’t think anything of it. I left lunch that day with my impression of Magic Panda being that he was sweet and gentle, shy but complex and probably had an adventurous side that would come out sooner or later. I liked him, and I knew we would be friends.
I guess I need to give a little background on pandas and why he is magic and others aren’t. It wasn’t always that way… other pandas were magical too. In fact, ALL of them were magical in the distant past and there are still many pandas today who posses the same genetic anomaly that led to the magical powers that their ancestors had harnessed thousands of years ago. But today, pandas will not acknowledge this power or practice magic any more and they will almost certainly deny it even existed at all.
But I will tell you the truth (or what I know of it from things Magic Panda has told me): The origin of their powers is thought to be from a strange anomaly in the panda’s brain (i’ll spare the detailed medical mumbo-jumbo) that was initially caused by eating bamboo that grew in close proximity to an underground mineral spring. No one has been able to identify exactly what the mineral spring had in it that was being absorbed by the bamboo to cause this because the spring dried up long ago. Luckily researchers observed a slight pigmentation difference between the leaves on affected bamboo plants which allowed them to trace the dispersal of the affected plants over time. They reverse tracked it from its current known locations back to where it originated hundreds of thousands of years ago and that is how they came across the dried up spring. They believe the ancient pandas that lived in this region to be the common ancestors of all future populations of pandas.
On a side note, there is also evidence of ancient mining activity in the area, but no historical accounts exist of what was being mined – it is actually a big mystery among the geological community these days and a subject of much interest and debate because despite many geological surveys and sampling, there have been no conclusive results showing anything out of the ordinary in the soil, plants, and rocks of the region.
Whatever the case, the long and short of it is that pandas ate this altered form of bamboo, got special powers, and almost ruined the entire planet. And now today, no pandas will even acknowledge the existence of their magical past or the blunders of their ancestors. There is a much larger story here, but I’ll have to save that for another day because this is getting a bit long. How did pandas almost ruin everything? Why is Magic Panda so open about magic? What happened on that occasion when he ate a cake pop for the first time? How did Magic Panda and Rainbow Cow meet? (legitimate question, not even I know that actually)
There is much more to tell… tune in next time!