Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Seeing some of the costumes that showed up on campus today reminded me about this Jim Gaffigan skit on holidays. He talks about other holidays before and after all hallow's eve, but he's funny so it's worth the wait to find out what I'm talking about [at around 2:30 or so].
[Youtube removed this video on me some time today... click HERE to see it on another site]
Enjoy your sightseeing,
"Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out,"
"Oh, and here's a 9-digit retirement package to assuage your ego for your horrible performance."
Here's the capper from the BBC article:
"Compensation expert James Reda told the Associated Press news agency that he wondered whether Mr O'Neal would have many regrets.
Mr O'Neal now has so much money that he would be "basically indifferent", speculated Mr Reda. "
Gee, you think he'd be full of regrets or indifferent... let me see.
Excuse me while my head explodes,
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
My good friend Stud Farmhand has started up a blog as part of his great move East of the Mountains called Palouse Diary. He lives in Walla Walla Washington now, and is settling down for a serious second-half of his life. He is a superb fly tier, a breeder of bird dogs, an amateur historian, and a curmudgeon extrordinaire.
His blog is about his local surroundings [S.E. Washington], the history and geography there, as well as his involvement in the landscape. There will be horses and dogs and fly rods, as well as superb landscape writing and cogent historical forays. Oh, plenty of photographs too (he did up that header of the mountains from panorama shots he took himself).
For anyone interested in the Pacific N.W., his page deserves a bookmark or Atom Feed ("live bookmark" to you Firefox geeks out there).
Ok I'm back to studying. [Stud, I hope I did a decent description there, it was extemporaneous as usual]
Enjoy my talented friends,
I strongly suspect that just using garlic in its raw, whole form would have a better effect than isolating and synthesizing one aspect of the herb that can be proven to work. But -- you can't patent a garden herb, so the studies will continue so that something specific and patent-able can be produced.
Remember that when using garlic for antibacterial and antiviral applications, it loses its potency if cooked. It's got to be raw, and stinky. Turns out that if it is grown organically, it is probably more potent too -- no surprise there.
Enjoy your garlicky funk,
Was my first reaction "great idea, I'll get right on it! I want to help this guy and all the other illegally detained people there." No, my first reaction was "I wonder what list THAT will put me on -- and how long before the government starts harassing me."
That first thought is the triumph of the neo fascists in power right now. Am I going to write the letter? Hell yes I'm going to write the letter, and many more. But I had to talk myself into it -- talk myself into exposing myself to the illegal and immoral aspects of our government.
I know many, many people my own age -- intelligent, compassionate people -- who won't do this. "It's just not worth the risk." Is the most common response. These are people who in other areas of their life show initiative, outside-the-box thinking, and a reasonable amount of historical perspective. But, they're cowed. They're scared. What an accomplishment for the current Junta. What an amazing accomplishment.
Employ what's left of your civil liberties,
Monday, October 29, 2007
That's all, nothing deep today, just crappy tents.
I'll get back to o-chem.
Enjoy your study breaks,
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
Enjoy the honesty,
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Urinal.net has a page of artist Clark Sorensen's high fire porcelain, fully functional urinals. The Page shows 9 of these beauties.
I wonder if these are some kind of response to the famous dinner plates by Judy Chicago. Or the flowers of O'Keefe. Don't know where I got that cynical thought. I'd prefer to think they're full of whimsy instead.
I can't remember where I got this link, but thanks to the blogosphere for creating it.
Enjoy the call of nature,
Friday, October 26, 2007
I have to stop typing now, my hands are too tired.
Enjoy your continued cultural collisions,
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Enjoy your blood relatives,
There are a few good articles floating around about the man and what he meant to politics. I find the Huffington Post Wellstone article particularly cogent and interesting.
Enjoy your democratic process,
[via Pacific Views blog]
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I felt the same way after I took the (absolutely fantastic) Breitenbush Mushroom Conference a few years ago. There was a PhD for every 4-6 people in the class, and the Latin was a-flowin. I distinctly remember saying at the end of the 3 days that if I heard one more Latinate phrase I may throw up.
I feel the same way today.
One fun thing my mind does is little mashups with what little other scientific Latin I know. Like, when I'm not paying attention, it matches up Lampetra Tridentata with Artemesia tridentata. Take a BREAK already... geez.
As for Groove Salad, it's one of the channels of SomaFM online. Listener supported online radio from San Fran. I'm listening to it right now as I type, and it just kicks butt. Their other channels are pretty catchy as well, Secret Agent and Beat Blender are two of my other favorites.
Enjoy your random harmless annoyances,
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Poor little scupper had strep throat simultaneously, which is not uncommon but has to be pretty crappy. He's now in quarantine for 10 days or so.
Enjoy your cute little disease vectors,
If you're not on Verizon, ignore this post. I'm not on Verizon, but this irks me enough to want to share. From a co-worker:
So I got one of those "Hey, we're changing the rules..." pamphlets from Verizon last week.
Seems they want to now sell your calling profile to 3rd parties. Things like, how often you use your phone, what numbers you call, how often and for how long to each one, etc., no names or personal information (heh, where do you draw the line?) but enough big brother to make even me squirm.
It's called CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information).
Here's a quick link to get the lowdown:
Get ready for more advertising on your cell phone
So here's the deal: Call this number 1-800-333-9956. It's an automated system. Plug in your number and some other personal info (same kind of stuff you would give them if you called customer service) and opt out.
I think we can all agree that we have enough of our personal info floating around the great blue nothing...
[Here is the original posting. Thanks a ton Mr. Goodman]
Enjoy the remnant shreds of your privacy,
Monday, October 22, 2007
If someone has a good argument against 49 I'd love to hear it. So far, I'm hearing fluff and bluster from the other side.
In a real-life example, a development was going in near Salem on groundwater-restricted land. 42 houses were proposed, and when concerns over available water at the site were brought up the developer said he would have a study done. The study said that no more than 3 houses could be sustained on that property without damaging wells in the surrounding properties. [see clarification of these details in comments below] The developer claimed 37 and went on his merry way with the original plan. Sorry, but that's wrong. Without a law in place to say they couldn't do this, the developer could ignore the facts and damage all the existing properties in the area. Here's a blog about the situation.
Wish I could be more eloquent or exacting, but I've got to jet.
Enjoy your voting rights,
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Had a great night last night, just being home. T. and The Wife and I sat around in the living room and talked garden plans, gate plans, espaliered-fruit-tree plans, cutting up concrete in the driveway plans, sharing excitement about the soon-to-be-coming grain mill (and subsequent fabulous breads), and hunching together around the computer messing around with our own and familys' names (of all things).
The name thing was a discovery out of the comments section of Shocho's blog, tons of entertainment just finding obscure names and seeing when they were popular and when they weren't. "Buddy" just isn't popular anymore, but it was in the 30's, for instance.
This house and little chunk of land provides what seems to be a lifetime's worth of projects. Getting as much food out of the land as possible, reducing our footprint as much as possible, making things pretty (we all concede to a vain side when it comes to the front of the house especially -- why we limit vegetable growing out there and stick to mostly flowers and now fruit trees). It is all good work, and begs to be pursued full-time. I admit to some regret around how much time I've spent not doing these things with T. and The Wife in pursuit of my degree.
School has started and it is amazing how little time I spend at home. Outside of actually being unconscious, I can't spend but 2 hours a day at home, morning and night, on most days. It's pretty crazy. The rainy grey season has finally fully arrived (instead of just teasing like it did much of the summer) and I guess it makes me a bit contemplative. I work not to live in a way that makes me hope for the future -- but I can honestly say I look forward to having more time to just tinker and fix and fuss over our cool little house.
Enjoy your domesticity,
Friday, October 19, 2007
Now, if you click on "comments" tab below you should get a pop-up screen. On that screen are some options under "choose an identity." You can pick to use a google identity, anonymous, or "other."
Feel free to use anonymous if you don't have a google account. Anonymous works on my website right now because I don't have freaky trolls posting random rude comments on the blogs. So, for now, [knock on wood loudly] anonymous is an option.
Once you choose anonymous, you will then be set up to type in comments. If you have any other problems, call or email me.
I look forward to reading your comments soon.
Then I dig deeper, and find out it's penned by a group associated with the Zeta Times. In the FAQ I found this:
The Zetas are a group of Service-to-Other Beings who are assisting this planet and it’s people in the transformation from 3rd to 4th density. This Transformation is happening now, and will be completed sometime after the passage of the 12th Planet, and the resulting Pole Shift that this passage will cause.
They are assisting this planet in preparing ourselves for:
Troubled Times is a group of volunteers helping each other prepare for the passage of the 12th Planet in 2003, and the resulting Pole Shift of the Earth.
In 2003, mind you.
That is so awesome we giggled over it for a long time. We both love shit like this, stuff that's so far off the map you can hardly believe what you are reading.
And, in the end, it still is a good site for links about how to make your own sausage, alternative power, and the need for community.
Enjoy your E.T. loving friends,
Thursday, October 18, 2007
#15 bus driver, on snowy morning a couple years back:
"Ok, you folks that aren't used to riding the bus, you need to sit down or grab hold of something, because I know what this bus can do, and I will drive it like it's stolen."
- SE Morrison and about 17th
-- Overheard by: And he got me to work on time!
[another "I check daily" blog, original post here]
Enjoy your local talent,
I do not consider the Bush Team (tm) to be idiots. Folks love joking about how "dumb" Bush Jr. is, but I take a different perspective. Yes, he's a dancing monkey for a team, but it is the team that is important, deadly important. That team is patient, ruthless, criminal and genius.
Yes, I called the Bush Team genius. Who but geniuses could pull off such a solid, sweeping conversion of a constitutional government in such a short time. Who but geniuses could set the whole country up to fall, through a now-short series of steps, into an executive-led fascist state? Continual war, enlarging the gap between rich and poor, gutting most social services, privatizing everything they can get their hands on, and suspending fundamental civil rights that have existed for over 300 years. That is not the work of idiots.
So, when this team suddenly decides to piss off China, I take notice. They don't give two shits about the Dalai Lama. The U.S. government hasn't given a shit about Tibet or the Dalai Lama for a long long time, not even when he first began making eloquent entreaties to the world community for action in Tibet in the 70's. Thus, something else is going on -- the Bush Team wants to piss off China.
The situation is much more complex than this, and yes Bush has agreed to visit China during the Olympics in appeasement for this action, and yes it was Congress that voted to award the Dalai Lama the medal -- but the timing still just stinks. And besides, it's pretty obvious Congress is on the Bush Team too.
Ok enough politics.
Enjoy your internal conundrums,
In a move that is 20 - 30 years too late, the White House is recognizing the Dalai Lama as an important international figure for peace. Bitching I say. At first blush at least...
In another move that is even a couple decades MORE off the mark, Congress wants to recognize the genocide of the Armenians during World War I -- and Bush is loudly, and publicly warning them against it.
Meanwhile, if China even talks about cutting it's U.S. debt holdings... just talks about it mind you, the dollar falls in value, because they own so much of it. Only Japan holds more.
Also meanwhile, Turkey is prepping for operations into Iraq, and the White House is warning them against unilateral action (yeah, because unilateral action in Iraq is a bad idea... er, if you aren't the U.S.).
Not to confuse things further, but China is talking to Iran about nuclear issues after the UN security council imposed restrictions intended to pressure them to stop their nuclear enrichment program.
Something stinks. I'm no political analyst, and I'm not going to start now -- but something stinks to high heaven. Why is the Dalai Lama suddenly a priority? Why is a 1/2-century-old genocide suddenly a priority? Wasn't the Dalai Lama a major proponent for peace back in the 60's, and 70's and 80's? Wasn't the genocide wrong back in the 40's?
Again I want to re-iterate, I think the Dalai Lama is an amazing presence in the world. I just can't see how this move helps relations with one of our largest creditors in the world. Genocide is happening all over the world right now (in Burma for instance) and why is a 50-year-old one suddenly important to congress and scary for the white house?
It just stinks.
Enjoy your extemporaneous blogospherical daybreak diatribes,
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Doc Ock turned me on to this amazing video. It's 9 minutes long, and worth every minute, every room just gets better.
Enjoy your musical oddities,
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Ran across these little guys when I was researching the Order Urodela for vertebrate zoology class. They are called either Human Fish, or Olm, or Proteus Anguinus if you are a fussy scientific type (follow that link for more info). Got to get back to studying, but had to share the photo.
Enjoy your little living anomalies,
ps/addendum: Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for access to this photo, details to follow -- Proteus - Ulm - "Human fish" Foto: Boštjan Burger / Postojnska jama / Notranjska region / Slovenia / Europe. Time of photography: December 1999.
Originally uploaded to English Wikipedia by en:User:Lander on 11 September 2005.
Congress tends to dislike anything that makes its' votes easy to track and obvious, because it makes them accountable.
I especially like the upcoming votes section, because phone calls and letters and even emails are much much much more effective when targeted toward subjects that are specific, and upcoming in the near future, and actionable. If you write an email railing about the war, it will go in the "railing about the war" pile and be noted. But if you write about the upcoming vote on the Internet Tax Freedom Act - H.R.3678, that is a whole different matter entirely. It is something your representative can actually do something about. Then, in the next month or so, you can see how they voted and ask them to explain themselves if they vote in a way that you disagree with. Simple, but very effective.
This is an easy way to be involved and informed without being overwhelmed or deluged by media.
Enjoy your representative form of government, while it still lasts,
What to say about this.
Just too weird to comment this early in the morning.
Enjoy your frozen synapses,
Monday, October 15, 2007
Enjoy your internet geek humor,
ps: the site has a "factory" where you can make your own lolcats, which I think sets it a step above.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I completely dug this movie. In fact, I can say I dug this FILM. Watching it forces me to make a bit of a confession -- when I go to a normal movie, I prep myself. I set myself up by thinking thoughts like: you know this is going to suck, but enjoy the explosions; or, this is a pat storyline but you are here for the acting of -X- actor. I dumb myself down so I can enjoy much of what I watch. There was no need to do any of that for this movie.
The entry monologue is a dam fine piece of writing and actually hooks you with words. How long has it been since a movie hooked you with words? The climax of the movie shines again with some more superb, gripping, and energetic writing.
This is Tony Gilroy's directorial debut. He also wrote the screenplay -- he wears both hats exceptionally well. He got his chops by adapting the Bourne books into the trilogy that I (and millions of others) loved so much.
This movie had an incredibly solid team: great acting, great writing, great directing and great cinematography. The story was low key enough to demand the best out of the crew, and they delivered. This is a people movie, a dialogue movie, but well shot enough that I recommend folks see it on a big screen if you can. Normally I reserve people/dialogue movies for DVD rental, and see the special effects-type movies in the theatre, but in this case you would miss a lot if you only saw it on the small screen.
I give the movie a solid A. Watch for some oscars on this one as well, Gilroy has to be considered for both writing and directing, and Clooney just kicks ass. I sometimes can't stand him when he's being smug, or confident, or sly in a part -- but as this beat-down, conflicted, passionate lead he shines.
As for the "meltdown" mentioned in the title of this post -- I have an O-chem exam tomorrow. I've been studying all weekend. The first exam for a new prof is always touchy, you just don't know what you are up against. In the process of working through past exams for dozens of hours this week, I just keep making the mistakes I was set up to make by the questions -- every -- freaking -- TIME. Finally I got mad. Like, quiet mad. I closed my book, went outside for some fresh air, and decided to go see a movie -- picking the closest theatre and nearest movie time I could find. I needed to hit the reset button on my psyche. It worked, and I found a movie in the process that would probably have gone right under my radar otherwise.
Enjoy your unexpected surprises,
Doc Ock somehow found this video on youtube, originally attracted to it because of the visuals. But as we listened, the whole family (that's study and home family) has decided we really like the music too. Like simple downbeat fusion hip hop or something. T. says it sounds like a hip hop version of a spiritual.
Anyway, it's groovy and I thought some of ya'll would appreciate it.
Enjoy your new musical discoveries,
Saturday, October 13, 2007
It's not like we didn't know this, but some folks have quantified the difference between free range eggs and standard commercial factory eggs. Mother Earth News performed the comparison tests in both 2005 and 2007. Here are some of the results, with pasture-fed birds providing eggs with:
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
The Mother Earth news article provides plenty more evidence, including some of the more ridiculous disclaimers from the egg industry.
[via Foodshed PDX blog]
Enjoy your local produce,
Friday, October 12, 2007
Had my first Aikido sword class today. I've never trained in martial arts weapons before, so this was a completely novel experience. I have to admit, I freaking loved it.
I'm thinking this puts me into a whole new level of nerd/geek/dork territory. Perusing the vernacular definitions of these words (see links), I'm thinking this falls into more than one category. I say, Nerd and Dork. Geek seems to have an element of neophilia, and this interest is the opposite... I wonder what the word for that is. "Oldophilia?" I'll just say it's a Luddite persuit -- no electricity needed.
Ps/addition: I posted this video at school, and hadn't heard the audio til just now. Wow, what a strange selection of music to go with the visuals. Hilarious.
Enjoy your esoteric pursuits,
Woke up 10 minutes ago, my ride will be here in 5. I need to wake up -- here is my choice for audio caffeine. When I mentioned to my cool cousin and his girlfriend (they are captured here, a rare picture of the gaming couple) that I like Missy Elliot, they looked at me like I was insane, and possibly contagious. Being uncool is so... cool.
I dig the dancing in this video, especially the two little girls absolutely busting out. They are in a few of Missy's videos, and absolutely kill it every time. Very cute.
Ps: Stingite I think you will like this remix, despite some of the language.
Enjoy your anachronistic tastelessness,
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I looked Sambucol up to write about it, because I thought it was kind of retro and cool and whatnot. What did I find? It seems that it may fight the bird flu, in addition to being a comfy throwback for those who were raised by hippies in the '70's. Go figure.
Enjoy the small discoveries,
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I think that there was some cheapo offer of multiple magazine subscriptions involved in this long a list of subscriptions. T. has been saying he's not going to re-up any subscriptions except The Economist on his end of things. The Economist is a brit publication, and the information that it provides is refreshingly frank and has an obvious, overwhelming, and reasonable bias. It's about the money, stupid. If anything is "anti business" then it gets the stinkeye. Simple enough to sort out for us. It turns out to be a really great source of international news, providing info on stories that would never hit U.S. publications.
For The Wife, The New Yorker is going to stay for sure. Hell, that magazine is worth it just for the comics. There are always loads of interesting feature pieces and good book and movie reviews. Plus, it's just a tradition for her. Harper's seems pretty much like more of the same, so will be nixed methinks.
For The House, The Onion will stay. It's just too funny to let go. There are free teasers online, but having full issues laying around is really great. National Geographic, however, is under debate at the moment. Mostly we appreciate the magazine, but it seems that the quality of the articles has been steadily, slowly, but inexorably dropping over the last decade or so. The videos for sure just absolutely suck now. The court is out as to whether we'll keep that.
For me, Primitive Archer stays. Dorky as it is, there are techniques published there that exist nowhere else and I want to archive them. I don't make a ton of bows, or right now even target practice much, but having a full library of these magazines seems like a good idea to me despite these facts. Too much nearly-lost information gets published there to give up. It is like having a full set of Foxfire Book Series, an archive for future generations. As for my Northwest Flyfishing -- well -- it's a guilty pleasure. It's fish porn, and especially now that my best fishing buddy has been out of state for so long, and I'm in school, and so busy in the summers -- I just haven't gotten out like I used to. Having fish porn around can be good in these circumstances and bad. It can be a horrible taunt about the things I'm NOT doing in my life, but it can be a nice arm-chair escape as well. Jury is out on that publication, I just can't make up my mind yet.
Not much I like better than slimming things down in life -- whether it is gathering up unused clothes for goodwill, giving boxes of old computer gear to FreeGeek to reuse and sell, or quitting less-used subscriptions. Just feels good.
Enjoy your random domestic decisions,
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Couple of pictures from The Luddite's wedding that don't involve a latrine. So the first picture is, from the left: The Luddite, Shady Kate (of the Canukistani Crew), The Wife, T., Tony, Bp, Jmichaell.
Second picture: The Wife and I posing as prompted by the photographer to "be romantic." Just can't take a statement like that seriously. I chose this picture specifically because it shows off the beautiful work The Wife did on the ribbon shirt I'm wearing. The shirt is sewn from scratch, and I believe is the first one she ever did. Not a simple design. If you didn't follow the link, the short explanation of a ribbon shirt is Native American Formalwear -- normally a clean pair of jeans, cowboy boots and a ribbon shirt.
Enjoy your formal occasions,
Discovery channel news sure knows how to write a headline eh? This article outlines a study in which researchers hypothesized and then created a process by which aquatic animals could get caught in tree resin. This has long been a mystery to scientists who studied amber -- how did aquatic animals end up inside a resin dripping off a tree? Their method (tree near water drops resin into water, aquatic animals get caught in water-borne resin) was simple enough. It also worked like a charm, trapping many if not most of the small aquatic life in the waterways they tested.
Enjoy your serendipitous time-capsules,
Monday, October 8, 2007
Failing is kind of like breaking a leg or getting a rectal exam -- before it happens you are all freaked out, but after the experience the worst part was really the anticipation. After that, it's a short sharp shock and then just time to heal. No big.
Enjoy your life endeavors,
I feel very blessed that I don't cringe when I receive invitations to family events. My family is huge, and fun and kind. Folks get along and there is always lots of laughter. This wedding was no exception.
First photo: The bride and her two sisters. Left Sister sang a gorgeous acapella piece of At Last for their exit walk. Right sister made all the family men cry with her toast speech. We're a bunch of woosies anyhow.
There are only pre-wedding photos available so far, which is why I don't have one of the couple together yet.
Second photo is the groom, in full regalia, psyched. Congradulations again Ali and Kevin.
Enjoy your blood relatives,
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I'll have more to say when I've slept off this sugar hangover (yes, actually a sugar hangover I was the designated driver).
Enjoy a bizarro Zefrank episode in the meanwhile:
Friday, October 5, 2007
The Luddite's parents did lots of educational outreach inside the crapper. Here is a diagram of the basics of the design and a few of the instructions.
There are other schools of thought about how to deal with Humanure, such as the method espoused in The Humanure Handbook. But they are much more hands-on. I think the right decision was made to use the most aesthetically pleasing method of composting in this situation. We mustn't forget, this is a toilet for a wedding, after all.
Enjoy your widening horizons,
It is strange that during the preparations for a friend's wedding, during the wedding itself, and after the wedding, the main topic of conversation was the crapper. I like the term crapper, in deference to Thomas Crapper who didn't, it turns out, actually invent the inside toilet. But it's a good story, regardless.
Back to the composting toilet pictured above.
It gathers its own rainwater for handwashing, it doesn't smell, it doesn't poison the groundwater below it, it fertilizes directly and then provides compost for use year after year.
I have like 3 minutes -- I'll make another post about it today, but in short The Luddite's parents built it, used his eco-friendly Land Ark Northwest wood treatment on it, and put in snazzy things like a naturally-curved (I believe Alder) limb as part of the door. It's just too cool for school, and was the talk of the town at the wedding.
I'll post more pictures and descriptions soon.
Enjoy your calls from nature,
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Soon, you will be hearing about a fabulous crapper I encountered recently. Before I write up that post, I figured I'd share this one my Mother sent me.
My mother sent me a potty joke video.
I'm just letting this sink in for a minute...
Enjoy your family relationships,
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Normal day on the farm -- a long day at school, Qi Gong class at night, go to a friends' business to literally sniff at a hot smell and postulate what might be causing it (it's almost never electrical, but I get the call anyway), and come home to hear T.'s stories of First Aid class.
Did you know if you puncture or cut one of the "big" arteries (Carotid, Femoral) you have approximately 2 1/2 minutes before you are in steep steep trouble, maybe 5 minutes after that before you are expired? All those scenes from action movies with studs running around with arterial bleeding pumping out of wounds didn't ever look real... but will look even less real now.
T. has taken to "improving himself" lately. Not that he isn't always doing that, and hasn't been doing that ever since he reached adulthood, to my knowledge. I can't go into details because he's Mr. Private, but he is not exactly a slacker in the self improvement department. He's more on the super hero side of things, actually.
He's decided not only to become versed in classical music and opera (taking an audio lecture series and everything), but to become disaster-prepared. He read a disaster preparedness book, which has lead to good conversations and plans. It is a total trip to think about, actually think about, if things get seriously effed up. What you do, what you don't do, what you need in the house, who you let in who you don't. It feels very adult and responsible and sane to be thinking over this stuff -- some of the answers are quite a surprise.
There are culinary benefits to thinking about disaster preparedness. For instance, there may be a hand-crank grain mill in the works. Anything that helps with food and isn't electric needs to be considered. I'm excited about this particular item because of the prospect of fantastic home-baked, freshly-milled breads.
T. has also taken a First Aid class. Despite being woozey through most of the class, he learned a ton and now we plan to get this same instructor to teach us and our friends in a Cpr/First Aid workshop. It's cheap, and the guy loves teaching voluntary classes (as opposed to company-mandated classes). We are going to get a hold of 20 - 40 of our closest friends and run a full class (or classes, depending) for CPR and First Aid certification. I did it when I was in The Union, because it is required for Electricians -- but it's been a few years now so a refresher is in order.
Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the picture at the top there is an Oarfish. It is possibly the longest of all fishes, and to my eyes, a real looker. No, it doesn't have anything to do with anything -- I just thought it was pretty. There is an older picture at the same website I got that one which shows a much much bigger specimen.
[clicking a few google ads when you go to the fish site could keep this blog in good karma, since I just grabbed the photo gratuitously -- it was shiny, I couldn't help myself]
Enjoy your strange juxtapositions,
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Finally, in the senior year of my degree in Organismal Biology, I'm studying Little Dudes directly. Anything that moves (especially if it is vertebrate but even if it's not) and can be seen by my naked eye is what I consider a "Little Dude." I went into Biology not only to teach high school kids, but to study Little Dudes too. I've had years and years of pre-req's like physics, general chemistry, Cellular Biology -- years of minutiae and numbers and abstractly small things -- years without Little Dudes. It's very nice to finally be studying something more tangible, alive and non-human.
In my Vertebrate Zoology lab we are working on identifying Oregon vertebrates. Today we covered amphibians, including the local little guy pictured above. Did you know that many, if not most, of the salamanders in Oregon (family Plethodontidae) are lung-less? They breathe exclusively through their skin.
I picked this little dude to mention today because it is named after one of my favorite near-town hikes, Larch Mountain. Maybe 45 minutes away and offering hikes,views (you can see Hickman Butte lookout with binoculars from there) and lots of big second-growth timber. One of the many reasons I love living in Portland.
Enjoy your local wildlife,
My in-laws sent me this great article on backyard beekeeping from the New York Times. It points out that backyard beekeeping can be an important source of protection against some of the problems facing the domestic bee populations. Basically, the genetic stock in domestic bees is looking really thin, so that (predictably) when new strains are put on the populations, like the newly introduced Varroa Destructor Mite
from Asia, the populations collapse.
Right now, bees are under a multi-point plague situation. The Varroa mites are attacking hives left and right, and that opens the bees up to other infections that they might otherwise be able to fend off. Asian bees have grooming behaviors to protect them from the mites, but the ultra-specific modern commercial bee stock in the U.S. doesn't display this behavior.
From this new information, my plan as an urban beekeeper is looking better and better. What I wanted to do was buy only one starter colony of bees commercially, and then learn and begin to collect swarms as they occur in the area for my other two hives. There are many reasons why this is beneficial: 1. the bees are free 2. a colony swarms when it is doing so well that it decides to split off 3. colonies that swarm are therefore healthy and most probably better adapted to local conditions, carrying genetics that you would want to encourage.
Years ago, when I first got the idea to start keeping bees, I approached Glen Andresen and talked to him about possibly mentoring me in the endeavor. It's been many moons now (3-4 years) but I do believe I'll be going back to talk to him about beekeeping, and most especially about gathering wild local swarms.
Enjoy your honey and insect-pollinated plants,
Monday, October 1, 2007
Rarely, occasionally, I feel compelled to buy t-shirts with text on them (yes, that's a Cicada, and yes the text is "*tastes like chicken"). This was so up my alley I had to get it, from a very cool company called OneHorseShy.
And here's some literature to back up the whole "eating cicadas" idea. From what I read, they taste more like shrimp, especially the soft shelled ones.
Enjoy your small indulgences,
The Luddites got married this weekend. There will be pictures and stories when I glean digital media from other people because I was an idjit and forgot a camera. They are honeymooning in New Zealand to check it out for expating to --
And there's the tie in to this article, from which the awesome picture came.
Enjoy your home country,