Archive for September 12th, 2006

Sock Monkey Dreams
Keeping with today’s Monkey theme, Tucker and I were walking, not dancing, through Carr Mill Mall tonight. The window of our favorite toy store, Wootini, was decorated with a sockmonkey diarama that had just been created by the folks at Sock Monkey Dreams. A delightful selection of SoMos are engaged in engaging activities including straddling a large rubber band powered airplane, gardening, and just lounging around.

The SoMos are preparing for a book party. At the end of this month, there will be a publishing party for Sock Monkey Dreams: Daily Life at the Red Heel Monkey Shelter.

BTW if you have ever thought you wanted to work at a toy store/art gallery, you should drop by Wootini and talk with owner Michael Maher.

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Monkey Bites
Speaking of monkeys, Fred is the subject of an interview on Wired’s Monkey Bites blog by Michael Calore today.

Fred’s articulate and accurate accessment of the states of Face Book on his own blog over the past few days — the feeds war with its users, the “opening” or exposing of the communities, etc — has gotten a load of press.

Of special interest are an article in Forbes, the Ball State Daily News includes not only insights from Fred, but also ideas from Thursday’s visitor danah boyd and good data-driven findings from recent UNC grad Bret Bumgarner (Fred and I were two of the three committee members for Bret’s honor’s thesis which uses uses and gratifications theory to explain what people do with FB).

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Rhesus looking innocent
Driving to Dharamsala, I noticed a lot of Hanuman Temples — on the way back down the mountains these would all be splashed with orange paint. As we got further into Punjab, I started seeing real monkeys hanging out on the temple walls.
I pointed this out to Vikrant, who was unimpressed. “I don’t like monkeys. I like Hanuman, but I don’t like monkeys.”
“Why?” I asked.
“When I was little, monkeys jumped on me and took my food and scratched my face. I don’t like monkeys.”

When I reached McLeod Ganj, I had another monkey alert. On the back of my door in the Pema Thang were warnings: “Shut the doors and the windows (or the wire-meshing) to your balcony when going out, MONKEYS may enter your room.” “Do not feed the MONKEYs & DOGs”

Sure enough when I walked out on the balcony, I heard rustling in the trees. I could see their little faces peeking out of the foliage. They were checking out my doors and windows (or the wire-meshing).

During my walks around McLeod Ganj, I saw little troops of monkeys looking for mischief. And some large single males getting into trouble. But I also saw evidence that Buddhists try to love monkeys anyway and want them to be happy.
Hanuman Langur is feared by monkeys
Back in Delhi at the airport, I was talking to an Indian traveler. He told me that when the Delhi subway opened some of the first riders were monkeys who followed people on trying to get bags of chips. Once on the subway the monkeys tried to escape with the chips and when they realized they were trapped in the car, they went ape. The solution was to hire Langur-wallahs. Street performers who with their charges, the much larger Langur, terrify the smaller monkeys and chase them off the trains. According to my informant, there are several Langurs and their wallahs on the subway payroll. Sure enough there’s a WikiNews story that supports him.

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