Archive for July, 2008


Cooking Lesson #1: All Oils are NOT Created Equally

July 10, 2008
 For My Baby, Whose Birthday Cake I Ruined Last Night …   
Olive Oil       


Olive Oil Versus Vegetable Oil? On WikiAnswers


 According to the “Most Commonly Asked Questions about Olive Oil” there are three differences between olive oil and vegetable oil.

Taste – this is obvious as olive oil has flavour where vegetable oils are bland. I personally prefer it in my salad dressing.

Nutrition – olive oil has more monounsaturated fat. It also has no cholestrol.

Production – vegetable oil is processed in industrial production using petroleum based solvents to extract it. The oil must then be refined to remove impurities which also removes any flavour, colour or nutrients. Olive oil is pressed straight from the fruit keeping taste, nutrients or vitamins.

Vegetable Oil

So what happened is I was rushing around and didn’t bother to read the instructions about needing Vegetable Oil. So I told my bf that Olive Oil would work just fine. *Confession* I have no clue if this is true.  When we went to lick the batter it tasted a little weird, but figured it would probably bake up fine. It did not– def one of the grossest cakes I have ever tried!






So Honey, I’m sorry for your cake, but at least we both got a good laugh. I love you.

Why H.B.? Happy Birthday wasn't gonna fit!

Why H.B.? Happy Birthday didn't fit!




My Happy Little Aquarium

July 5, 2008

One December day, before I had the hectic lifestyle of being a full-time office employee and student nurse thrust upon me, I decided that I wanted a fish tank. My boyfriend had no idea what to get me for Christmas and it was too early in the relationship to ask for anything “sparkley”, so I decided a small, 5-gallon fish tank would be cool.


A few months and countless guppy deaths later, I had a tank with 5 happy Danios. I decided that all I needed was an algae eater to clean the tank some, and bought what I thought would be my final fish, a Pleco.


Well anyone who knows anything about aquariums knows what happened next…the Pleco outgrew the tank. So suddenly, mid-semester in nursing school hell, I was buying a 29-gallon tank to try to accommodate one damn fish (whom I really do love very much). With the extra room in the tank, I was able to purchase some of the fish I had wanted but never had room for. I literally stumbled upon these adorable Balloon Ram Cichlids, whom I had never heard of anywhere, and they are now tied with Plecs as my favorites. I also got another Danio, along with 2 Dwarf Gouramis whom are a little too boring for me. Anyway…



Sometimes it’s a lot of work to care for; like when I come home exhausted after work and need to do a water change or I need to run out to the store for zucchini for Plecs because I ran out. But, I do enjoy it. The fish are the only pets I have in my apartment, and I love coming home to them.









So, as any proud “mommy” would, I decided to show off my little guys. Hope you enjoy!


*Click on photos to enlarge


The orginal Danios, zipping around


 My Ballon Rams, Spike and Spikette, playing tag


 A lone Danio




My man Plecs, with Spike and a Danio



Spike, a Dwarf Gourami, and a Danio


Plecs cleaning the Tiki wall for me


Plecs eating his algae wafer


 Spike pecking, trying to get a nibble






Fourth of July: Fireworks & Folklore

July 4, 2008


Jungle Habitat sign


 Last night I went to see fireworks show called Thunder in the Highlands with my sister in West Milford, NJ, at a site called “Jungle Habitat”. It was hidden off of a main road that I had driven often, yet I had never once heard of the place. My sister told me she had heard that it used to be a zoo in the 1970’s, but that it was closed suddenly due to a TB outbreak among the animals. Supposedly the animals were left for dead, and the park mysteriously closed without notice.


We drove up a long, windy two lane road to get into the park. Once we got to the top of a hill, we came up a large wooden entrance sign. Seeing that the sign was still intact, I was expecting fields and maybe relics of what used to be a zoo inside, but instead was greeted with only concrete.


Other than the fact that we had to sit on uneven concrete for several hours, the fireworks were amazing. I had never seen fireworks that close before, and the show was truly magical.


Below are a few of my photos from the show.






So the fourth of July show was great, and I’m a wonderful photographer, blah, blah, blah.


Back to Jungle Habitat.


I was really interested in the folklore behind the place. So far the only information I had to go on was the rumor my sister had heard, so I researched about Jungle Habitat all this morning. I found various sites with information, including Wikipedia, Weird NJ, and various personal blogs.


Jungle Habitat was a drive-thru zoo operated by Warner Bros that opened the summer of 1972, and closed September of 1976. Jungle habitat had over 1,500 animals including lions, rhinos, bears, llamas, giraffes, elephants, baboons, and a dozen siberian tigers.The animals were free to roam thru the park, and would walk right up to patrons’ cars. I was only able to find two reports of serious injury; kind of amazing when you realize they basically let people go unsupervised in a pseudo-jungle.



 Click here for the Jungle Habitat Map


The following photos are curtosey of IDFlux





This is where the story begins to differ, and perhaps folklore begins to take over. According to Wikipedia, Jungle Habitat closed because the town voted against a much needed amusement park expansion around the same time that Six Flags Great Adventure opened. This was said to put Jungle Habitat out of business.


In my option, the problem with this story is that anyone who lives in Northern NJ knows what a hike it is to get to Great Adventure. In fact, the two parks are 90 miles apart. While the park undoubtedly was host to a large population of NYC residents, I can’t imagine it going out of business just because of another park opening. First of all, the two parks were wildly different. Secondly, there are other parks that were open on or around that time that subsequently thrived. Space Farms is a small zoo located 45 minutes away Sussex NJ has been opened since 1927, and to be honest it’s pretty much a shithole. Also, the infamous Action Park opened in nearby Vernon in 1978, and has been open ever since. Lastly, Jungle Habitat seemed like it would have been a popular spot for local families to visit, as opposed to driving two hours south for a day trip to Great Adventure.


The other story is the animals fell ill (perhaps with TB), and the park was abandoned.



The rumors of what HAPPENED after the park closed is where this story takes a gruesome turn.

Regardless of whether the park’s demise was caused by lack of visitors or health issues, both stories state that the sick animals were left to fend for themselves. Apparently the park was simply abandoned, and when the owners came back there were several dead animals on the premise. Since it was the dead of winter, the animal carcasses could not be buried in the frozen winter soil, and were left rotting until the following spring. There is no note on what illnesses the animals may have had, or exactly how many were left to die. Reportedly, there were 30+ animal carcasses buried the following spring, however there are rumors of many more animals getting free.




According to one source, the only animals that got free were baboons, emus and peacocks. According to rumors, many more animals broke free and survive to this day in the woods of West Milford.
While I may never know what really happened to Jungle Habitat, I am now completly intrigued by the story. I love how everyone seems to have their own opinion on what occured. On a final note, I was talking to my mom today about the fireworks last night, and asked her if she had ever heard of the place. Her responce was a nostalgic “Oh wow, yeah! Me and your dad went there years ago… the animals were abandoned and broke out. The stories are true. You know that’s why we have mountain lions in the woods, right?”

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More Info:

Wikipedia’s article on Jungle Habitat

Jungle Habitat Souvenirs

Another Jungle Habitat Site


Weird NJ