This page serves as a “Who’s Who?” for Dinosaur Bear. It is a way of helping all of us keep track of the various pseudonyms used here on the blog to discuss some various real life people (or maybe just the people in my head, who knows). Consider this to be Dinosaur Bear’s “cast of characters.”
I’ll update these bios as I progress through the blog and mention new people as well as changing circumstances.
[Last Updated: October, 2023]
The Present Cast of Characters
Those listed below are prone to crop up on Dinosaur Bear in one format or another, be it frequently or infrequently.
Taco: Me, see the “About Me” page for me information.
Tristen: A Tyrannosaurus-Rex but still just a small one (but don’t tell him that). He is rowdy and on a constant quest to be “manlies.” Under his self-portrayed rugged exterior, he has a good heart and is smart despite himself. His favorite food is “ricken” (chicken). I am still trying to figure out exactly where he was born, but like his big brother Clifford (see below) it was likely in the Rocky West. Like me he is a law school graduate and has passed the bar exam as well. He is also a “Reast” (beast) – he wanted me to type that last bit. If I had to pick a “problem child” it would most assuredly be Tristen. 😛
Valentino: My 3rd child after Clifford and Tristen, he is a smart polar bear cub. He loves the outdoors, snow, swimming and fish (“rushi”), he also has an eye for fashion. He (literally) wears his heart on his sleeve and is very good-natured. He does however get very cranky when tired and is much stronger than he looks. He is also downright dangerous during his “hibernation” season when he becomes a bit feral without proper naps. He was born in Alaska. He obtained his PhD in Forestry when we all lived near Boston. He has recently acquired a strong affinity for coffee, and one does not deny a polar bear – even a small one – their affinities.
Pig: Pig (or “Rig” as his brothers call him) is – unsurprisingly – a pig who came to live with me on Easter, 2015. Pig is pretty chill and likes relaxing and keeping up with his Icelandic pig friends (Bónus stores). Pig can perfectly understand English, but due to his vocal cords he still prefers Pig-speak. Pig also likes rooting for things in the couch and really anywhere he can get his nose into. He has obtained his PhD in Agriculture, but his true passion is Yoga. He is a Yoga master with his 3000 hour certification and Mr. Bear is his sensei.
Pigsten: Pigsten is the third T-Rex member of the wide-reaching Taco family. He, and his many siblings (not listed here), technically came to live with me and Tristen in Denver (Summer 2015), but this little T-Rex hatchling really came into the spotlight when Pig and I were working in New Mexico in early 2016. Pig was looking for a companion and chose a T-Rex hatchling from our dinosaur nest and named it Pigsten (Pig + Tristen). Pigsten is a big fan of rocks, construction, and geology – and in a cool twist “Pigsten” is a kind of rock in Danish! Pigsten’s favorite possession is a piece of construction machinery Grandma Meem got him and which he uses almost daily. Pigsten has been to many, many places.
Broli: Broli is a hatchling brachiosaurus. Broli came to live with me in Reykjavík in December, 2017 with some other gifts from one of the Boys’ friends (also a brachiosaurus!) during a holiday gift exchange. Broli is still a hatchling and he only speaks brachiosaurus and a bit of the common dinosaur tongue. He does however know his name and will joyfully respond whenever you say it. Broli, Pigsten, and T-Chonk (see below) are the best of friends and spend most days together; just three small dinos in a big-big world.
T-Chonk: T-Chonk is the fourth T-Rex member of the family, though we have a suspicion he might technically be a raptor he has become a de facto T-Rex. T-Chonk came to live with me in Santa Fe in September 2021. The story of T-Chonk coming to live with me is kind of interesting, but I’m glad he did. He’s best friends with Pigsten and Broli and absolutely loves “chomping” on things. When he gets really excited he blasts a ray of light out of his mouth that is surprisingly strong.
Clifford: My oldest son, a Tyrannosaurus-Rex. He accumulated
billions trillions of dollars by investing in electricity before humankind even discovered it. He believes you have to learn “Responsibility” to get things in life, but never really explains it beyond that. He was born somewhere in the Rocky West about 65.5 million years ago. He comes and goes as he pleases and got his MBA when we lived near Boston. While he is very independent, he always maintains a secret subterranean apartment which is connected to whatever apartment I currently reside in via a closet (Narnia style).
Meem: My Mom person. She made me ride a log ride once when I was a child, causing me great emotional distress. But she is coo and I forgive her, unless I want something. Meem raised me to play Ponopoly in Mexican Restaurants, but I didn’t have what it took to play professionally and became a wino. Meem recently transplanted herself to West Coast, leaving behind the Confederate States of America circa 1861. Meem has been my lifelong cheerleader, other than the whole log ride affair, of course.
Dad: My Dad person. He is good peoples and is largely the person I credit for my own work ethic. When I was little I sort of looked like his clone. He always told me to be the best at everything I did. One night in specific he told me that “If you’re going to be a thief, be the best damn thief there is.” I’m still figuring out what I want to be, so I suppose being a thief is still on the table. 😛
Stepmom: My other Mom person. She is married to my Dad person. Like my Dad she is good peoples. She keeps my Dad from dying of starvation and makes very good BBQ ribs. Her mushroom soup and egg-noodles are known for causing extended periods of sitting at the table. I and I do mean extended periods – as some say little Taco is still sitting at that table to this very day.
Daryl 1: He is the older of my two half-brothers. He is about 12 feet tall and went to college so that he can be a NBA coach who gives all his wealth to his elder brother some day. He is presently part of a collegiate level coaching staff. If he makes it big, which I believe he has the potential to, I might give him a more honorary title than “Daryl 1.” I once chased him around the house with a knife and “pallows,” which probably diminishes my chance of money. If I am emotionally barren, then Daryl 1 wears his heart on his sleeve.
DBH: Daryl 1’s wife (Daryl’s Better Half). She is a nurse, which is a good thing (not only because we need nurses) but also because Daryl 1 needs something to take care of him. We are similar in that regard. DBH takes good care of Daryl 1 – even when he probably doesn’t deserve it – and that’s what matters most.
Daryl 2: The younger of my two half-brothers. He is a teacher and coach at an Indiana school. He definitely has a thicker hide than me, I don’t think I could ever be a teacher, especially not for that age group. He had a racoon at one point and I am immensely jealous of that fact.
Sinclair: Sinclair – yes, the Sinclair of Sinclair Oil Company Fame – is a brontosaurus/brachiosaurus (paleontologists pls) who lives with Grandma Meem. I purchased Sinclair for Grandma Meem during my brief time in the Midwest in the summer of 2017 before I moved to Iceland. Grandma Meem (and Tristen) had had an affinity for Sinclair ever since we first saw him during our adventures out west. As such, when I had a chance to bring Sinclair to Meem as a gift, I jumped on the opportunity. Sinclair is now best friends with Mr. Bear and is beginning to learn his clairvoyant ways.
Lawrence: Lawrence is also a squirrel, but deserves a separate line from the Squirrel Buddies above because Lawrence is my faithful doorman who controls access to my house. Lawrence came to live with me in 2013 and quickly took over the admittedly vacant position of watch-squirrel. Lawrence has dutifully watched over me in many locations. His most recent post has allowed him to soak up some California sunshine and keep a care eye on the palm trees for lurking intruders.
Mr. Bear: He is a friendly brown bear who lives with Meem. He as transcended the mortal plane and freed himself of the physical vices that burden most of us. He shares his enlightened state of nirvana with those who are fortunate enough to cuddle with him. He is Pig’s sensei. As of late, Mr. Bear’s physical form is becoming more and more fluid as his spirit becomes increasingly untethered from his corporeal self.
Flopsy: Descendant of the original Easter Bunny, Flopsy used to live in Indiana but now lives with me. He is good friends with Tristen, Valentino, Pig, Pigsten, Broli, T-Chonk, and Clifford. He especially likes football and his giant-sized (for him) football is never too far away. Even before living with me Flopsy tended to sleep over with the Boys at Grandma Meem’s house, because everyone loves Grandma Meem.
Little Friend 2.0: The version of Little Friend (see below) that came to live with me after I moved to the West Coast. He is an offshoot of the offshoot that rose from the ashes after OG Little Friend’s “death” while I was in Iceland. So this is probably more like Little Friend 3.0, but regardless of the number, Little Friend 2.0 is a testament to Little Friend’s ability to rise from the ashes. He currently lives with me on a bookshelf with fancy artificial plant lights (i.e. he’s spoiled).
Thomas “X”: I say Thomas “X” because Thomas is actually a line of sentient pumpkins who come to live with SB and I around October and have been known to stick around for as long as July. While they were originally Jack Be Little pumpkins, they’ve since branched out into other pumpkin forms and appear to have a darker side and may be part of Little Friend’s plot for world domination. Thomas I was 2014-15, Thomas II was 2015-16, Thomas III was 2016-17, and Thomas IV was 10/2017-4/2018, Thomas V was 10/2018 – 1/2019. Thomas VI was 10/5/2019 – 4/26/2020. Our most recent Thomas is Thomas VII – who came to live with me on 9/25/2020 and left for the next world on 6/6/2021. Thomas VIII joined me on 10/1/2021 and continued residing with SB after I left. Thomas IX came to live with me on 9/11/2022 and ascended to the pumpkin realm on 12/12/22 (apparently this Thomas really liked 2s). Thomas X (as in 10, who knew the X would ever get double-dipped here) came to live with me on 10/13/23 (Friday the 13th no less). As you can tell, Thomas “X” is both constant and infinite.
Aunt Train: My paternal Aunt who lives in New Orleans. When I still lived in Boston she bought me lots of food and alcohol which was (and is) pretty much the most sure-fire way of getting me to visit! I had to take a train to see her, or vice versa, and thus the name.
Aunt Sommelier: My not-aunt, aunt who lives in NOLA. She is awesome in that she both knows how to make really yummy food as well as where to find cheap really yummy food that other people have made. She also introduced me to the magical world of canned champagne and second lines.
The “Retired” Cast of Characters
In the adventure we call life some fellow travelers are only with us for part of the journey. Those listed below were once part of my story but have since passed on or now weave their tale elsewhere.
SB: Silly Billy. My ex spouse. It’s just the name I chose for her when I started this blog and now I have no desire to change it. As her nickname would suggest, she is somewhat odd – though so am I.
Little Friend: The first plant who came to live with SB and I. He was a gift from my Dad and Stepmom in 2008. I believe he is a variant of the Acanthocereus tetragonus cactus species. He was once over 6.5 feet tall before he had to be trimmed down – though he has since returned to that height on more than one occasion. He has a wide range of emotions, but all you really need to know is don’t make him mad. He pretty much runs the whole house (and soon world). He loves Christmas ornaments and has been known to draw blood if you try to take them from him. Sadly, Little Friend’s original form died while I was in Iceland (he was being cared for in Indiana at the time). However, despite his original form’s death, he lives on in his many children – one of which shed an appendage which I was given to start Little Friend anew as Little Friend 2.0. OG Little Friend still lives with SB.
FIL: Ex Father in law. SB’s Dad person. He bought me comics and beer, he also let me make fun of SB without recourse: pretty much the perfect father in law. He may or may not be Batman.
MIL: Ex Mother in law. SB’s Mom person. Up until I moved to Iceland she was the sole parent who still regularly sent me care packages, which was worth at least 100 points in the cool book.
BIL: SB’s brother person. I am not entirely sure what he is going to school for but he is currently in a PhD program in Texas.
Sebastien & Serendipity: The OG Squirrel friends who date all the way back to 2008 or 2009. They are technically slippers for SB, but they’ve long since stopped allowing SB to use them for such menial tasks. They are the most mature (if not the physically oldest) of all our squirrel buddies and are a married squirrel couple. While the other squirrels like to stay active, Sebastien & Serendipity are fine with lazy days – though they tend to be ehm.. “frisky” after long periods of inactivity. They live with SB.
Squirrel Buddies: Nutty, Nuts, and Nutsie. They live with SB, usually in the the bedroom next to the window (so they can climb out onto any nearby tree for adventures). They are pretty chill. They know a little bit of English but mostly stick to Squirrel-Language. They help keep the apartment tidy with their squirrel-organizational skills. In fact, if things get a little too disorderly they have been known to forcibly straighten things up. I think it’s a squirrel thing.
Bonsai Buddy Jr: A household bonsai Plant who currently lives with SB. He was a gift from Meem. He is a Jade Tree of the succulent family. This was nice because it means most of the plants had roughly similar care schedules. Bonsai Buddy is the son of Bonsai Buddy Sr. who was killed at the Battle of Bunker hill in the great gnat war of 2013. Bonsai Buddy Jr. is often referred to simply as Bonsai Buddy as a homage to his lineage. Bonsai Buddy Jr. has proved his valor in battle, as he survived a harsh Midwestern winter all while on a back-porch that was below his comfort level for heating.
Rosita: A plant SB received as a gift from her former employer. Rosita seems fairly chill and has settled in nicely with the succulents. I don’t think she likes me that much though as pretty soon after we met for the first time I trimmed her down fairly substantially and she never seemed to forget that. Still, all the subsequent watering sessions have improved our relations. She can normally be found in the middle of all the other plants, I think she likes the limelight. Much like Bonsai Buddy Jr., Rosita proved her heartiness over the course of a Midwestern winter. Rosita lives with SB.
Luna: Luna is a crassula “moonglow” succulent, which probably helps you understand why I chose the name Luna in the first place! Luna came to live with SB and I when we picked her up during our 10th Anniversary Trip throughout southern Arizona. Luna almost died in the summer and early fall of 2021 but I managed to bring her back from the brink of death and she’s doing well now! Luna currently lives with SB.
Three Amigos: Three cacti who lived together in a pot, also a gift from my Dad and Stepmom. Their names were Pancho, Nacho, and Quixote. All three names were given by SB, which is special in that usually I was the one who named most things. Pancho and Nacho were (mostly) well behaved young cacti. Quixote however was quite the rapscallion. He liked to grow well beyond his boundaries and abilities. In fact the Three Amigos had to be repotted solely because of Quixote. He also poked the living hell out of you for no reason. After a repotting in Las Cruces, Nacho’s mortal coil unfortunately perished, but not before his soul could move into one of Quixote’s second growths – thus ensuring that the three Amigos lived on for a time. Sadly after moving to the mountains of Santa Fe Quixote and soon thereafter Pancho also passed away in December 2021. They all now reside in heaven, probably poking God.
The Barley Bros: The Barley Bros were two barley plants which previously existed in two separate pots but which later lived together as one entangled barley entity. The Barley Bros started as two barley seeds SB and I picked up during the Guinness Storehouse tour in Dublin over the 2017 Christmas holiday. There were 3 seeds I took, mostly as a joke/souvenir. I gave one to my Dad and one to FIL and kept one for myself. My Dad planted his on a whim a full 9 months after I took it from the Storehouse (and who knows how long it had been there) and wouldn’t you know, it actually grew. So I planted my own and FIL’s as well and sure enough, the Barley Bros were born. My and FIL’s plants lived with us, while the third Barley Bro resided with my Dad. Our Barley Bros passed away after an (extremely) long barley life on July 17, 2020.
Þórunn, Gunter, and Logi: Our three Icelandic aloe plants! They came to live with SB and I shortly after we moved to Reykjavík. They were itty-bitty babies when we adopted them, and they fit right in on the small table with our router – right next to the big balcony windows! Their names are pronounced “Thor-rin,” “Goon-ter,” and “Low-yay.” We unfortunately couldn’t take them back to the U.S. with us, but they went to live with on of SB’s Icelandic co-workers who is also a plant-nerd and who has three plants named George (George was once one plant that became too large, so he became three Georges) for them to live with! I’m not sure what happened to them but I imagine a plant Valhalla is involved somehow.