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I’m a member of research colloquium call the Association of Internet Researchers and every year, we have an international conference in October that alternates between a site in Europe and the States. In 2011, the conference was held in Seattle, and in 2012, it will be in Salford, England.  I found out on Tuesday, that my paper, “Blockbusters and Button-mashers” was accepted for the conference, known as AoIR 13.0. This will be the third time I have had a work accepted for the conference. In 2010, I presented in Göteborg, Sweden, and I was accepted for Seattle, but the money just wasn’t there to attend. I try to travel overseas at least once a year, and I’ve done that for the past three years; India, 2009; Sweden, 2010; and Ireland, 2011. Iguanas on the other hand are not permitted to travel through customs. Heck they’re not even allowed to travel here. The airlines, in all their intelligence, have determined iguanas to be a dangerous pet, outlawed from sitting in the cabin because of some archaic determination by the CDC that they carry dangerously high levels of salmonella. Now, I cannot dispute that “some” iggies carry salmonella, it’s true, there have been a small number of cases where a human has been infected by a roving iguana. But in the mass history of humanity, more dogs and cats have sickened and killed humans on a regular basis that even the Dr. Evil of Iguanas could ever hope to. The truth is that people fear the unknown, and while dogs and cats have been with humans for centuries, iguanas have only been see as pets for the last hundred, and its only in the last 20-30 that we’ve truly begin to understand good husbandry and how great of pets they make. When some people meet Dorian, or find out that I have iguanas, I get the stereotypical overreactions such as, “Does it bite?” “Is he slimy?” “Does he eat crickets?” Such ignorance and rudeness would never be asked of a dog owner despite the fact that dogs kill over 200 people a year. That’s right, dogs. So much for man’s best friend, huh? No one, and I mean no one, has been killed by an iguana. It’s just the airlines way of keeping Old Lady Wilkins from being hysterical about “what’s in the bag.” Meanwhile her ugly-ass fluffball Mr. Winkie gets to sit comfortably in his plaid pet carrier polluting the air with his cat stench and his pet dander. Mmmm… asthma. Thanks cat lady! It’ll take some brave soul to challenge the system, but the odds-on-chance you’d be kicked off the plane, or worse, have to have your reptile stuffed in cargo below or lose your little guy altogether at the gate is a stiff price to pay of you gamble wrong.

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