Quick Workout of the Week: Washboard Abs Blast

Quick Workout of the Week: Washboard Abs Blast

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Quick Workout of the Week: Washboard Abs Blast
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Image by mariachily
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Jogging on a bright November morning
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Image by Ed Yourdon
I was walking south along the bridle path that circumnavigates the reservoir in Central Park; and the view here is basically south, with the CitiCorp building and various other New York City skyscrapers in the background. The reservoir is enclosed by a fence (presumably to keep people from falling in, or jumping in to swim, or perhaps even attempting to fish), and there’s a jogging trail that runs along the fence; so scenes like this are pretty common.

I hadn’t taken the sun into account when I took this picture; during this season, it’s pretty far south, and for whatever reason, it left the runner in pretty dark shadow. I tweaked it a bit, and hopefully didn’t distort the background too badly. I also replaced the grayish-white hazy sky with a bluish gradient fill, using Adobe Photoshop Elements …


Note: this photo was published in a Feb 26, 2009 blog article titled "How to Intensify Your Running and Lose More Weight.." It was also published in a blog article (allegedly published on May 21, 2006 – which is difficult to imagine, since I didn’t take the picture until Nov 21, 2008) entitled "Burn Twice as Many Calories Running." It was also published in an April 14, 2009 blog titled "Find Our How Far You Run." And it was used in a May 8, 2009 Internet announcement proclaiming "Come cheer on the Lime team," for the Chase Corporate Challenge race on June 11, 2009. And it was published in a May 21, 2009 blog titled "Cardiovascular Fitness Means Healthier Heart ." I’ve also discovered that it was published in a Mar 20, 2009 blog titled "Running in the City, " (and then republished in the Mar 31, 2010 issue of the same blog ). More recently, it was published in a Jun 25, 2009 blog titled "How To… Stay Fit on the Road." I’ve also just discovered that it was published in the April 4, 2009 issue of the Directory of New York City blog, in an article titled "Central Park Indulgence."

The photo was also published in a Jul 21, 2009 blog titled "How to Get Started Long-Distance Running." Also in a Jul 24, 2009 blog titled "City Dwellers Are Healthier." And it was published in a Jul 29, 2009 blog titled "Le jogging est-il mauvais pour la santé?.." (which, according to Google’s translation service, means something like "Is jogging bad for health?" Yeah, is it? Well, you’ll have to read the blog to find out!

More recently, it was published in a Dec 15, 2009 blog titled "Care to read more of my thoughts on fitness?" And it was published as an illustration in a Dec 17, 2009 blog titled "Eco-Beat, 12/17." It was also published in an undated (Dec 2009) Jog4Life blog titled "Beginner Week Three Marathon Training."

Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Jan 2, 2010 blog titled "Save Money by Sticking to Your Resolutions." And it was published in a Jan 7, 2010 blog titled "Sightjogging: City Walking Tours on Speed." It was also published in a Feb 1, 2010 blog titled "Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health director, speaks on 5-year priorities," as well as a Feb 7, 2010 blog titled "Hold My Heart." And it was published in a Feb 25, 2010 blog titled "Physical exercise for a health" [sic]. And it was pubilshed as an illustration in a brief Mar 3, 2010 blog titled "What can you do with your high cholesterol." It was also published in an undated (mid-March 2010) blog titled "Ungewöhnliche Fitnessübungen ohne Geräte." And it was published in a Mar 16, 2010 blog titled "What Can Raise Your Blood Pressure?"

On April 1st, 2010, the photo was published in a blog titled "Staying Active." And on Apr 8, the photo was published in an blog titled "Write-up on wholesome residing." On Apr 11, 2010, it was published in a blog titled "Post on wholesome living," with a comment that said, "Above picture is a random extract from Flickr, writer of this blog do not claim ownership of this picture, visit Flickr for its owner." Gee, thanks for that enthusiastic citation! Meanwhile, the photo was published in an Apr 15, 2010 blog titled "Recomendaciones para prevenir la hipertensión." And it was published in an Apr 22, 2010 blog titled "New Experiment: Integrating Physical Activity Into the Daily Routine." It was also published in a Jul 14, 2010 blog titled "Running and Peaches." And it was published in a Jul 19, 2010 blog titled "Three Ways we Self-Sabotage." It was also published in a Jul 23, 2010 blog titled "wLe sightjogging : le tourisme en courant!" as well as a Jul 27, 2010 blog titled "En salud no es mejor tarde que nunca." And it was published in a Jul 28, 2010 blog titled "Los riesgos de practicar carrera en ciudad durante el verano."

Shortly after Labor Day and the beginning of the fall season in 2010, the photo was published in a Sep 10, 2010 blog titled "Le logiciel libre en entreprise expliqué par un communiqué de presse." It was also published in a Sep 20, 2010 blog titled "Get Fit for Fall." And it was published in a Sep 27, 2010 blog titled " Fitness events take focus off weight-loss frustration," but also with the title and notes from my original Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (early Oct 2010) blog titled "Be Heart Healthy With Home Remedies For High Cholesterol." And it was published in an undated (Oct 2010) blog titled "Cardio Workout Routines- Maintain A Cardio Exercise Routine And Lose Weight Efficiently." It was also published in an Oct 18, 2010 blog titled "Come prevenire i dolori alle articolazioni." And it was published in an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Weight Loss Maintenance," as well as an undated (mid-Nov 2010) blog titled "Healthy Weight Loss: Exercises To Augment Your Efforts, Part 2." It was also published in a Nov 12, 2010 blog titled "Translation service: for any kind of language translations." And it was published in a Nov 19, 2010 Brazilian blog titled "Do que eu falo quando eu falo de natação." It was also published in a Nov 21, 2010 FeelBetter4Life blog, with the same title as the caption that I used on this Flickr page, as well as a Nov 21, 2010 blog titled "How many steps should I be walking each day for weight loss?" And it was published in a Nov 30, 2010 blog titled "Consejos controlar presion arterial." It was also published in a Dec 16, 2010 Lifehacker blog titled "Working Out Before Breakfast Is Better for Weight Loss," and it was published in a Dec 19, 2010 "Cool Weight Loss Programs That Work images blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. I then found that it had also been published in a Dec 17, 2010 Vertical Jump Training blog and a Dec 26, 2010 Awesome Diet blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. There was another undated (late Dec 2010) publication in a blog titled "Weight Loss Remedy is Diet."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Jan 3, 2011 blog titled "Vertical Jump Workouts," as well as a Jan 4, 2011 blog titled "6 Faktor yang Dapat Meningkatkan Tekanan Darah." It was also published in an undated (early Jan 2011) "Weight Loss Helps" blog titled " The Pure Acai Berry Seeded fruit Weight Loss Program." And it was published in a Jan 12,2011 blog titled "Best Means To Burn Belly Fat Fast." It was also published in a Jan 13, 2 011 blog titled "Some of the Tips on How to Lose Weight Effectively," as well as an undated (mid-Jan 2011) blog titled "Right Attitude for Weight Loss." It was also published in a Jan 24, 2011 blog titled "The effect of weight on fertility, as well as a Jan 25, 2011 blog titled Perfect Acai Pure Organic Acai Berry (1 Bottle) Reviews , with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written here on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Jan 28, 2011 blog titled "Diets – the big, fat lies."

In February, it was also published in an undated (early Feb 2011) Dutch blog titled "Geef stress minder kans: vergroot uw weerbaarheid." And it was published in an undated (mid-Feb 2011) blog titled "State faces enforcement questions for air pollution-prone Fairbanks, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Feb 15, 2011 blog titled "Nice How To Lose Fat Fast photos." And it was published in a Mar 4, 2011 blog titled "what do you think of chitocal and acai berry diet pill?" It was also published in a Mar 14, 2011 Fasts to Lose Weight blog, with the same caption that I used on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Apr 16, 2011 blog titled "Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada – Spring Sprint ." It was also published in an Apr 18, 2011 blog titled "Heart Needs Work After Heart Attack: New Study Challenges the Notion That the Heart Must Rest." And it was published in an Apr 24, 2011 blog titled "Incorporación de ejercicios quema grasa en su vida diaria!", as well as an Apr 25, 2011 blog titled "FTC Cracks down on “fake” websites," with the same detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a May 6, 2011 blog titled "c25k redux." And it was published in a May 21, 2011 blog titled "How To Reduce Your Weight Quickly." It was also published in a May 24, 2011 blog titled "The Most Effective Way To Lose Weight and Get In Shape!!" And it was published in a Jul 11, 2011 Forbes blog titled "Random Acts of Exercise: Why Little Movements Can Have Big Benefits." It was also published in an undated (late Jul 2011) Stresspages blog titled "Increase resilience." And it was published in an Aug 8, 2011 Cool New York pics blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had used on this Flickr page. It was published in an Aug 22, 2011 blog titled "Feelgood Fitness: 3 Great Cities for Jogging," as well as an Aug 24, 2011 Tolle Fitnessübungen Bilder blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Sep 19, 2011 blog titled "Stuck in a Design Slump? Go Outside!." It was also published in an undated (early Oct 2011) blog titled "Realizing You Have Everything You Need." It was also published in an Oct 4, 2011 blog titled "Feel Better and Accomplish More: How to Make Your Routine Work With Your Bad Habits and Energy Levels." And it was published in an Oct 5, 2011 blog titled "Hey, That Hurt!" It was also published in an Oct 28, 2011 blog titled "25 Exceptional Photos of Runners, Races & Marathons." And it was published in a Nov 1, 2011 blog titled "Vancouver Personal Training | Enhance Your Mood With Fitness." It was also published in a Nov 27, 2011 Weight Loss and Sport blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page.

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 6, 2012 Lifehacker blog titled "Why Placebos Work, and How You Can Use the Placebo Effect to Accomplish Your Goals." It was also published in an undated (early Jan 2012) blog titled "Thought Questions." It was also published in a Jan 16, 2012 Fitness Websites blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written here on this Flickr page. And it was published in an undated (mid-Mar 2012) blog titled "BioMio Mør okse." It was also published in an undated (early Apr 2012) blog titled "Allenamento per corer meglio." And it was published in a May 5, 2012 blog titled "Slow Jogging Just A Few Times A Week Can Add Years To Your Life." It was also published in a May 20, 2012 blog titled "Zacznij biegać – już teraz!" And it was published in a Jun 8, 2012 Step Exercise Equipment blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Jun 20, 2012 Samsung Lifeblog titled "작심365, 그 첫번째 – 다이어트." For some reason, the photo was also published in a Jun 24, 2012 blog titled "Whitecaps surpass 2011 win total with 1-0 victory over Colorado." It was also published in an undated (late Jun 2012) blog titled "20 Great Pictures of Central Park NYC."

Moving into the 2nd half of 2012, the photo was published in a Jul 5, 2012 blog titled "10 Good Reasons to Drink Coffee." And it was published in a Jul 26, 2012 blog with the bizarre titled of "Jogging on a bright November morning and Pure Raspberry Ketones in Evolution Slimmings Raspberry Ketone Plus+; Now off with Immediate Shipping." It was also published in an undated (mid-Aug 2012) "Fine Retirement" blog titled "Exercising With Varied Health Challenges." And it was published in an Oct 28, 2012 blog titled "What weight loss pill should I take that will work fast?" It was also published in a Nov 1, 2012 blog titled "どんなに忙しくても僕らがランニングをするべき7つの理由 ." And it was published in an undated (mid-Nov 2012) blog titled "What Is NRF2?" It was also published in an undated (late Nov 2012) blog titled "Travel: Escaping reality or trading up?"

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 8, 2013 blog titled "Your Vision Will Drive You To Lose Belly Fat." It was also published in a Jan 16, 2013 blog titled "How to Exercise Your Willpower by Working Out," as well as a Jan 16, 2013 blog titled "What is a good diet pill to aid in the weight loss process that has minimal neg. side effects?"


Having seen this Photoshopped color version of this photograph, my instructor in a March 2009 street photography class suggested that I convert it to black-and-white to accentuate the vertical shapes of the fence behind the runner. I did so here on Flickr, using Apple’s Aperture program, and with a yellow filter applied to the initial image.

I think the result is interesting, and I’ll try to keep an open mind for a while before deciding whether I like it better than the color version. However, if you have strong opinions one way or the other, I’d enjoy hearing it; leave me Flickr-mail or email me at ed at yourdon dot com

sengoku (my old pet iguana)
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Image by LHG Creative Photography
He got to 23 years old and about 6ft 3 inches, and was undoubtedly one of the longest lived and largest green iguanas ever seen in britain.

His early life was a massive struggle, he was bought in newport gwent from a filthy and tiny cage where he sufferred with maybe 40 other iguanas, I could only save one, so it was he that I chose, the one with greatest chance of survival.

He was anorexic for two years despite my giving him all I could, importing uv lights years before most people used them, the vivaria was thermostatically controlled and always perfectly regulated for temperature, even with seasonal values, and humidity, and basking was always available, I even had different fittings in similar locations so he could still control his temperature at night without even waking up. I even tested the thermodynamics of his viv to ensure the gradient was correct and that the ventilation was sufficient. I used vitamins,a balanced mixture of 3 different makes with extra individual components to balance them for different ages and biological states. I helped him heal from injuries, cure and recover from metabolic bone disease, salmonellosis, cryptosporidia, and protozoan ailments , stomatitis of the mouth, and premature antipericular gout, treated his skin for fungus, even cured an infection of the vent and hemipenis, and more unusaually still, a major imbalance of the lacrymal gland which meant he excessively sneezed salt and knackered his own ability to retain fluids. For two years it was totally touch and go , always another problem just because he had been imported badly . I bought some very expensive aloe based moisturisers for two years to keep his cracking skin supple and keep repeat fungal infections away. The bills hit quadruple figures in two years and thats even with me be able to do most of the medical aid myself and saving on labour costs and many veterinary price markups on drugs. After 2 years of ownership he sloughed perfectly every time from being given to me with the skin consistancy of lumpy porridge with cysts and severe symptoms of MBD, 18 months into ownership, after force feeds, and nearly dying on me he regained the will to live, and never looked back.

For the best part of 20 years his scales were glassy smooth, soft because he never scarred, but hard as stones, and from aloe massages to baths he was in such condition that even his neck studs were razor sharp and perfect, his sloughed skin parted in whole perfect sheets and quickly, his nails were hard as iron. A rotting swollen mouth was replaced by perfectly flush fit lips, strong teeth, his nosetip grew back, and I discovered he even had three nose horns. His jaw and subtympanic scale was so large I have never seen bigger. His bone structure was so good he had a flexibility in muscular movement I have never seen outside of a wild iguana, he could seriously bloody jump, five feet straight up, nearly 8 feet along, and when he ran, he could run as fast as me on his back legs,and swim much better, casually, effortlessly. He could crush up or stretch out like a cat, he didnt have the stilted stumbling movement I see in most captive iguanas, he moved with precision.

His bite power was transformed from risking a jaw break with a nip on a bit of cucumber to a bite that split a broom handle in half and even chomped through whole carrots, ripped into butternut squashes and chomped down whole bananas and could handle the toughest leaves. I would make him balanced daily meals of up to 22 different fruits vegetables and leaves, plus commercial formulas. I used supplementation from the beginning. It was the predatory temptations of locusts, waxworms and mealworms that finally broke his post trauma anorexia, and I had to work very hard indeed to up his vegetable intake. A year later though he was taking a 95% veggie diet happily, but I couldnt ever overestimate how much work that took. Tricks like stuffing a bit of romaine or banana in his face when he went to grab a locust so that he would get a taste for it , get used to eating it again. That cracked, he doubled in size vitually every year until he hit 6 foot.

In his life he had loads of freedoms, physically I almost never restrained him unless he was a bit territorial through spring and likely to bite people (no small thing a bite from an adult iguana – with his bite power and strong skeleton and well exercised muscles a square bite to your hand would break every bone in it, and leave you with fleshwounds like someone had a go at you with a hacksaw) and eventually our relationship grew and I do genuinely think we finally became friends, or at least achieved a retained mutual respect , the "I live, I am here, and I command my life" thing was mutually understood and appreciated. Sure we fought, but it was 99 times out of 100 ritualised, and he was testing me, and sometimes I picked up the game and tested him back. We found an accomodation of ego.

Somehow it seemed humanity was finally forgiven for the wrongs they inflicted upon him, for we had done him much wrong collectively, we sent some peasant out to capture him for pennies, we demanded perhaps unwittingly, that he be loaded into a crate together with other panicking members of his brethren, teeth claws, whipping tails and all, unfed , unwatered, covered in shite, denied the sunlight they love and need to live, put for endless days in transport, by truck, by boat, by plane, then loaded into dealers and warehouses alien environments, then finally to petshops where snotty nosed kids gawp and bang on glass. For an animal, surely even being eaten is less sufferring by a magnitude of many times.

Those days over, he would run to me, climb my arm willingly take food from me, even scout the fridge, he got in the shower with me, we went across fields and climbed trees together in the warmth of summer.We watched birds and people come and go and I knew that he felt alive when so many others in captivity did not. It pleased me because of what I was able to achieve for him, but I felt a deep shame towards my own race treating others of his species so very badly.

Somehow though, despite my doing all I could, it doesnt make the days of his capture ok , it was from me the best apology I could manage once I realised about the realities of the pet trade. I was young when I bought him, perhaps naive, because in the sale price of that single iguana I justified in one moment the torture the others went through, because I just paid the air fare of more of them. Now of course, I never would encourage the trade, though it is still so very hard to tear yourself away from an animal that you can save for the sake of a couple of hundred quid or much less. If we don’t agree to such trades though, the only way to stop them is starve them of cash, and make sure others do the same.

If theres one message Sengoku could give to you through me- its that. Lizard and reptile though he was and so alien to many, it is noneletheless the voice of one of the best friends and animal teachers in my life speaking , and I want you to listen.

He bit me a few times, and once nearly managed to remove my thumb, but to this day I still miss his head bobbing communications every morning, the way he would be part of my routine bumming around the house, watching TV (he had a thing for golf maybe just liked the green on the screen) and eating the houseplants (loved christmas cacti). I used to collect dandelions and hibiscus flowers for him the works.

His skeleton was one day taken in an x-ray, and he is the model for skeletal perfection used by vets to this day. He sired 60 sons and daughters, and taught me a new way of seeing and of appreciating animal kind and nature, a less human kind of appreciation where egos are left at the door and what you want yourself becomes less important.

I liked his uncompromising nature, but as a 30 pound adult iguana he would sit on me and we would sunbathe together and the level of communication was staggerring. From coming to me when I called him, to pointing out things in the view from windows to each other, head bobbing expressions of mood to each other,using eye communication to reassure from along the length of a room, to make and exchange judgements about people and situations, taking clues from me about whether to be calm or aggressive, relaxed or cautious, indicating where and when he wanted to go places, what he wanted to eat when he wanted to eat, the works.

I couldnt give him freedom but I gave him his reign unsubdued, his male ego was fundamental to him, to suboordinate it would have been unforgivable, and I think we learned mutual respect, and thats a much better fate than that which awaited most iguanas in this country who live in fear, and die from nutritional ailments, poor funding commitment, denial of sunlight, and temperature induced ill-health and the consequences of abnormal behavior caused by the stereotypical symptoms of fear and boredom from living in tiny boxes, and finally the biggest factor of all, one that pertains to all the other factors, that most people do not relate to reptiles properly and cannot see their needs in a timely and pre-emptive enough way with compassion enough to stand back and give them the space necessary for a successful life without a smothering love that is not real compassion. To provide without hope of reward, to give things grace.

He was finally balanced psychologically even when under natural sunlight, and he showed me that there is more to life than domestication. Not fleeing, but still going where he damn well liked. He also taught me not to underestimate the intelligence of a reptile. While his personality saw most of the emotional states that mammalian colonial animals have irrelevant, he was extremely intelligent. I wouldnt have put him far off an african grey parrot for smarts.

By far the biggest bugger about owning him was giving him sufficient vent for his incredibly high sex drive. Iguana courtship is violent as hell, he and his mating partner injured each other a few times, leaving me needing to perform stitches in one case, and introductions had to be carefully monitored. The eventual solution came in the form of a stuffed toy crocodile, and he used to ask for it when horny, drag it off and rape the crap out of it (well it was either that or the cushions on the sofa copped for it- or worse still, my arm!). Used to have to go and spray water on his bits cos he used to get stuck to it like a kid with his tongue stuck ion a freezer door.lol. They don’t tell you that bit in the manual.

What he showed me wasnt domestication, it was intelligent adaptation to circumstances. He was a reptilian genius who had all the initial fear to be anything but, that he overcame this, showed trust and an iron will, was to his immense credit as a species and as an individual, and he showed that while I had to fight hard for his life, he was still an example of natures perfection. I would rather he was a king of his time in the wild, for surely he had that potential, but I could never take him back to guatemala, (surely a loss for him and the iguana population of guatemala, he would have beena fine breeding male contributing to the survival of the species), the place he had been so foolishly ripped from, but I gave him all I could, and in return he taught me things most humans will never know.

It felt like being kings together, equals. He taught me about not only the nature of iguanas but about myself in response to them.

Even now after his death, I can walk past an iguana in a zoo, and ask them through bobbing language how they are, announce who I am , and even though their eyes are jaded from millions of chavvy onlookers they still respond to me. I never fail to feel the weight of that priviledge.Unfortunately its not human sentimentality that allows me to see that the first wish most of them express is that they would like to come to me and to be free, as if I could help them. It shames me that I can’t for I know in our lousy climate they will die outside their cages, and I would never harm our native environs by releasing one here. I wonder if perhaps I saw one caged in its own country if I would walk by, or perhaps just rip that damned cage open. I think I probably would rip it apart.

Even a gift given from a reptile can be a truly special thing.

I would never take back the time I had with him, but for the sake of his sufferring brethren , I hope never to see this species in a petshop again. Just too big, in nature they dominate a territory the size of a football pitch a totally three dimensional space, and they rule from the highest canopies, this species needs to be free. Its written in their nature, and to be mentally as exceptional as sengoku was is rare. Those not as strong willed and intelligent as he, those who have owners without an ounce of accurate empathic response and the willingness to become a bit reptilian will only ever suffer.

He died in his sleep, in a seasonal brumation period (yep thats right I even read local guatemalan daylight reports and gave him those hours and relative cool periods) from renal failure aged 23 years old (at least). He went to bed one evening at lights off, looking noticeably older than usual and never woke the following day,he died looking like a statue on his tree branch, all six foot of him in his arrogant and kingly pose stiff as a board, even in death he never reliquished his crown, or his authority. I, unlike so many others could never and would never have taken that authority from him. We reached an accomodation, he was never suboordinate to me mentally, and I would never have insisted he be so, this was no dog to be trained, you have to be so much more subtle than that. There are times when neither you nor they can deny what they are and the way it makes them act, and there are solutions other than dominance and sublimination of character. Sometimes its just impractical to fight those raging hormones. Found another old pic which nicely demonstrates that.


In life, even though it was a captive life, he was ultimately triumphant.

On a final note, if I have made iguana ownership seem prosiac or desireable, I should counter by saying that in every aspect of his life, Sengoku was hard work to help find a balance, he was at times physically dangerous, I copped for huge vet bills over the years, and in total I estimate he cost me through accomodation, feeding , heating and various other potions at least £1200 a year average to keep, a lifetime investment probably breaking the £25000 mark, his purchase price of around a £75 was as cheap as anything ever got, and the gifts of comminication and companionship he gave me didnt even begin to emerge for perhaps 5 or 6 years and they had to be consistantly worked at.

At his peak years of dominance he could be hell on wheels, and though I handled him fairly easily, I should also point out that I used to scruff badgers, deadly snakes, insects, handle dangerous dogs, catch deer with my bare hands and Sengoku still rated as one of the most formidable of them when he was in a mood. This is not an animal a layman will cope with well. A fit healthy fully adult green iguana is four times stronger than your average sick one in your average british home, he was muscle and persistance itself and could be genuinely vicious.

This is not a quick fix pet for child or adult. It isnt really a pet, and the smallest size I would recommend for housing one is basically the same size as a family lounge at least, basically a tropical house, not a vivarium in the conventional sense, and I say that hand on heart to stop others making the mistakes he and I made while learning, for I had to work most of this stuff out for myself. 20 years ago outside of the states good literature on this sort of stuff was just non-existant. Now we have to stop each other endlessly repeating mistakes.

I hope the sort of people that declaw cats and chop the balls of of everything, who carry small dogs in handbags, put fish in tiny bowls, who keep hamsters in sweaty little plastic pods, and those who leave their dogs alone all day and don’t walk them or work with them socially, those who put intelligent lizards and tortoises in tiny vivs, and snakes in tubs realize really just how damned far they are off the mark now. Whatever you read, whatever you know, from magazines to books and even scientific literature, exceed the minimum standards by as much as you can, and for gods sake choose your species wisely.

If you havent read anything at all, well just don’t go for it, because not only will you make mistakes but you could buy an animal totally unsuited to captivity, and never see what a sufferance its life can become.

There are lots of animal owners, an animal lover is an entirely different thing.

My most enduring memory of him will always be the day I was lying on my bed asleep to find myself awake with a warm sunbeam coming in from the window, and a warm 6 foot lizard on my chest with his face 6 inches from mine. I forgot to shut his enclosure properly, and being smart and dextrous he probably just used his claw like a human hand and slid the door open as I had seen him do many times before. I was probably overworked at the time, it wasn’t like me to forget the lock, but he wasnt being aggressive, in fact, given his weight and his razor claws he must climbed up and settled down on me very gently not to wake me, without doubt he didnt wish to disturb me. He could have been there already over an hour for all I knew but he seemed completely calm, just perhaps wanted to be close to something else living. He gave me a head bob as soon as he saw I was awake the "hi dude " sign. I gave a half bob back a sleepy kind of "yo", and yawned, he yawned back. The universal language for "lets just have a kip". He settled his chin into the base of my neck, I nodded off again and so did he, both happy in our sunbeam on a sleepy day, my hand on his tail and he not objecting, It was the day of complete trust when two powerful creatures who had not one reason to get on, or trust, decided that they would anyway. All fears of past and all ego settled, just friends enjoying a sleep in the sunshine.

To you my good buddy. Rest well.