Saturday, May 31, 2008

Scottish Beaver

There is so much to say here. First off, I only recently found out that the Scots have been without beaver for approximately 400 years. I can hardly imagine the suffering.

But, according to the Scottish Beaver's Network home page, "[the Scots] are within touching distance of having beavers back in Scotland." I couldn't have said it better myself.

This redOrbit article states that the Scottish government has licensed a re-introduction program to begin in '09, with the introduction of 4 families of European Beaver that are to be trapped in Norway and held for a while in quarantine before they are introduced. Being of Norwegian origin, it makes me wonder whether they will be the brown or the blond varieties.

There is much conjecture about the difference between European beaver and it's close American cousins. Let Wikipedia put these conjectures to rest, "The European beaver is usually heavier than its North American relative, ... It is also said to have weaker teeth and lesser reproductive capacity." There you have it, question answered.

Fanciful biological daydreams aside, this will be a huge boon to Scotland, not only for wildlife and biodiversity, but for the economy. As the Scottish Beaver network states, beaver not only stabilize water levels and improve habitat, but they encourage tourism. You bet they do!

Surprisingly, this will be the first official re-introduction of a native mammalian species in the U.K. I look forward to hearing how the project pans out.

Enjoy good conservation news, even when it is replete with double bad double entendre,


[photo via the wonderful European Beaver Wiki]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Best gift idea I've had in months

Bumped into the Fat Rags website, and cruised it just in case there was a shirt I couldn't live without. Ended up finding a shirt that Doc Ock's kid couldn't live without.

The "Who's your daddy?" black shirt with Darth Vader -- on a 9-year-old -- how rocking is that!? He always wears black anyway, he's a huge Star Wars fan, it's perfect.

I had to contact the company to see if they could print kid's sizes, and they did a special printing just for me. I can't wait to give it to him, his dad's gonna die laughing.

Enjoy giving gifts to your friends kids for no apparent reason (other than GENIUS),


Knife fashion

Pictured to the right (with our ever helpful product model Sula) are two nearly identical knives -- one mine and one The Wife's. Both of them are the classic Buck Hunter knife. It turns out that they are also fashion and status symbols in ways I hadn't anticipated.

The Wife only has occasional bouts of materialism, and these few and far between. One place this manifests is with knives. She has a few knives, some folding some fixed-blade. Her decision to get a buck hunter was not because I carry one on a daily basis -- she doesn't go for the whole "twinsies" thing as a couple. No, it turns out that this is the type of knife that "all the cool kids" are carrying this season.

She was out in rural Washington this last weekend with a large group of folks preparing for a summer of Lakotah high ceremony. During the course of the work, one of her friends got complemented on her knife -- it was a Buck Hunter. Not only was it a compliment, but it was from some old-school rural ex-military-type type to boot. The Wife needed one pronto.

She told me about her purchase, showed me the knife, then said something surprising.

"Now, hand me over that sheath," gesturing to my belt.

"Excuse me?"

"I need to switch you sheaths, yours is all nice and worn looking. Mine's all new and stiff, I'll look like a newb out there with this sheath."

After a pause, I shrugged and handed it over.

Only tonight, as she saw me taking pictures and knew I was writing up a post about this hilarity did she say, "gee, I could have offered you the whole new knife and just taken yours couldn't I. But then again, men are sentimental about their knives aren't you."

You know, I am, actually.

Enjoy your continued marital negotiations,


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guerrilla gardening makes me happy

Yuri sent me this article link on Guerrilla gardeners in L.A. in an email titled, "This makes me think of black clad hippies scaling buildings." Nice. The photo is one of a set in the article that shows how to make "seed bombs."

I must say, I love stuff like this. It makes me happy to the core -- I know it's uncouth or uncool, or anti-hip to talk about happiness openly and in public but I don't give a rip.

I've known quite a few people over the years who launched little campaigns of guerrilla food production all over the West coast, from Bezerkeley, to Eugene, Portland, and Seattle. At one point, folks I knew were planting Comfrey all over hell and gone when it had been rumored to be pulled off the shelves due to some sketchy science. I've personally planted, or known about plants as varied as raspberries, sunchokes, sunflowers, strawberries, and even fruit trees being planted in unwanted places. I think it's a great hobby, and fun for the whole family.

The policy of not planting food in public lands and parks in the cities has always been suspect to me. I know it could create pest problems, but I'm still suspicious of other, more anti-humanitarian/pro-market, motivations. So, consider having some fun and reversing this trend yourself.

Enjoy feeding strangers with a low-cost, anarcho-green hobby,


Using bees and satellites to track climage change

Here's an interesting article on using bees combined with satellite data to track climate changes. When I expand into having "regular" Langstroth hives in the future, I'm going to put some on scales to watch them more closely. Looks like good, geeky fun.

Enjoy low-tech, animal allies,


[photo credit in linked article]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some more bunny suicides

Got to get to class, so here's some humor to hold you over til I can post some more:

Enjoy twisted humor for breakfast,


[soon-to-be-dead bunnies via The Book of Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley]

Monday, May 26, 2008

RBT: Mantis Shrimp have amazing vision

Apparently that handsome fellow there has some seriously amazing eyeballs. Mantis Shrimp can see, apparently, in 12 primary colors as opposed to the paltry 3 that we perceive. They can also perceive polarized light in ways previously thought impossible for animals.

This National Geographic article has a decent explanation of both vision in general, and this little guy's vision in particular, if you care to geek out a bit further. But really, this post is all about the photo -- that's a handsome little dude right there.

Enjoy acknowledging when we as humans are out-matched,


[photo credit in linked article, article via my Canukistani Operative Yuri]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Amazing -- video of that fluish bug I contracted over a month ago and isn't still quite gone yet

Amazing that someone caught this bacteria, or virus, or combo of the two on video. So many people have contracted it, and it's taking approximately 4 weeks for most folks to even moderately recover. It's a real bastard.

See video below of what a person looks like the first 3-4 days after contracting the "black plague" this spring flu season.

Notice, specifically, that dazed, that-really-hurt look in his eyes right after contact. That's me, the whole last month, every day.

Enjoy scientific accuracy whenever you can find it.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saul Williams -- poet stuck in my head

My Canukistani operative Yuri sent me the video below of Saul Williams performing a song in a style I'd never heard come out of him -- raucous, loud, poppy, industrial. At first I thought, "catchy" -- and then I kept re-listening to it. The beat is so simplistic, and yet that's part of why it works. This song was picked up for use in, of all things, a Nike commercial, which is giving it a second life. So, this post qualifies as a "songs stuck in my head" post.

Before more, here's the video:

Saul Williams has sick talent, he just keeps creating in whatever venue or medium he can get his hands on. He was known first as a slam poet, winning a grand slam championship at the Nuyorcian poets cafe. He starred in the indie film "Slam," getting many kudos for his performance, especially at Sundance. He, as evidenced above, does music and music/poetry projects as well. For his album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust he even worked with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

I've seen him live once, and would do so again in the drop of a hat. It was impressive. The stacatto, machine-gun style of his verse can wear me out, but there's no arguing his stage presence, far-reaching intellect and capacity with words.

Enjoy long introductions,


Friday, May 23, 2008

Turning down Angelina Jolie for sex

I know, it's a strange blog title, let me explain.

The Wife thinks it's absolutely crazy that, even in the dream state, I remain monogamous. What can I say, married consciousness runs deep in this case, so sue me. Not that propositions don't come my way during my sleep, mind you.

With a history of this behavior, here is our exchange in the car early this morning.

The Wife: "Wait, you said you had a sex dream with Angelina Jolie in it last night."

Me: "Yeah"

TW: "But what you described just now was a shower scene with Angelina Jolie, in which you turned her down."

Me: "Yeah, but it was sexy. We did kiss. And she offered me the use of her private jet any time we wanted to get together."

TW: (turning to me, staring incredulously): "Just to clarify, you turned down Angelina Jolie for sex -- even though it was in a dream."

Me: "You got to give me some kind of brownie points for such stalwart fidelity."

TW (laughing): "No, no brownie points, because THAT'S NUTS, see -- NUTS! .... You are so weird."

I still assert it deserves brownie points, but only to myself of course.

Enjoy the glory that is marriage,


Thursday, May 22, 2008

I now have greek letters associated with my name

Phi Kappa Phi inducted me tonight -- I don't think this makes me a greek, but confirms that I'm a geek.

Enjoy bizarro left-over, pseudo-secret-society-secret-handshake groups that give out medallions and scholarships,


Dueling pastors

OK, enough humor -- here's some surrealist, apocalyptic nutbagness. Truly epic nutbagness. And it's in the McCain Camp, which makes it important to be aware of.

Now, I keep hesitating to hear this guy's message as it's being described all over the net -- basically that the holocaust was God's Good Work. Outside of epistemological and/or ontological arguments that are beyond the scope of what I'm willing to engage 20 minutes before class -- the simple interpretation of this guy's sermon does lead one down this road, doesn't it?

As for pastors that one would need to distance oneself from in a presidential campaign -- I'd say Hagee trumps Wright any day. But then again I'm just a left-coast independent, what do I know.

Apparently, McCain has moved on this and distanced himself from the crazy pastor -- although in a thoroughly half-assed way.

Enjoy keeping things in perspective,


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quote: Jack Handey on boxing and ballet

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Jack Handey
(1949 - )

Enjoy false fronts,


[via the quotations page]

More Bunny Suicides

Something about that McCain post below really makes me want to post some more bunny Suicides, so lets, shall we?

[I trust this audience is geeky enough to know what's about to happen here]

Enjoy a splash of humor on the newly-shaven face of your week,


[soon-to-be-dead bunnies via The Book of Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh and by the way McCain truly sucks

Just in case folks are too caught up in the Blue side politics at the moment, a quick reminder of why McCain is just not fit to be President.

Enjoy pre-emptive netroots activism,


Absinthe cures ulcers

I have a great Microbiology teacher, his name is Radu Popa and I'm enjoying his class quite a bit. He's Romanian, and therefore sounds a bit like Dracula when he lectures -- it's fantastic. Today, he went off about Absinthe and inspired me to post about this psychoactive liquor.

Did you know that Absinthe cured ulcers? It kills a bacteria called Heliobacter pylori which causes many types of ulcers (but not all). Now I am not, of course, suggesting you drown your ulcer in Absinthe when a simple treatment of antibiotics will even more effectively treat the same condition. [get that AMA -- I'm NOT suggesting that, for the record] But it's a cool fact nonetheless.

The active ingredients in Absinthe (at least those what make it fantastically, radioactively green, and gives it the characteristic bitter taste) are toxic in sufficient quantities. This is part (but not all) of why it gained such a stigma in Europe and in the U.S. When distilled improperly, it is quite toxic. The other reason it got such a bad reputation, according to Dr. Popa, was its competition. Vinters, brewers and distilleries made a conscious attempt to smear the reputation of Absinthe. The fact that lax producers produced a sometimes-toxic product made their job easy. Only recently has it seen a resurgence in popularity across Europe.

When distilled properly, Absinthe is purported to have psychoactive qualities. These are imparted by the use of "Wormwood" -- Artemesia absinthium in the recipie. The substance which most likely gives these effects is Thujone. Stepping aside from the science of it, I'll say that apparently the Thujone provides Cannibis-like effects. I could geek out for a whole post on the theories about how these effects are created, but I'll spare ya'll the physiology of it. The simple fact is, it's trippy stuff to ingest.

Absinthe has recently been legalized in the United Stated -- but there's a catch. Of course, the only Absinthe legally available in the U.S. has to be free of Thujone (or at least in concentrations of no more than 10 ppm -- which is for all practical purposed zero). Yep -- all the taste and look of the original but none of the psychoactive goodness. C'est La Vie -- maybe this will be one of those famous 'slippery slopes' and real absinthe will be available some day. There are, of course, ways around this law.

The Wife is pretty fascinated by Absinthe, so I don't expect this will be the last post on the subject. For now, however, I've got papers to do and people to write so I'd better get to it.

Enjoy your Thujone-free day,


[Absinthe graphic via Madame Talbot's website. If you like the graphic, kick down for one of their posters.]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bunny suicide, but first -- a gecko inside an egg

As for random biological tidbits, I think this one takes the cake. A man found a fully formed gecko stuck inside an egg he was going to prepare for dinner.

Check it.

I won't even posit a mechanism, it's too much for me to contemplate on a hot Sunday night. I just knew ya'll needed to know.

And on that note, here is the promised bunny suicide:

Enjoy anomalous juxtaposition whenever you can find it,


[Egg article via Kanukistani Kate, Gecko picture via the Couriermail article; soon-to-be-dead bunny via The Book of Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley]

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Bill O'Reilly F*ck it/Flip out dance remix

I love this -- it's got a nice beat, you can dance to it.

Enjoy the various ways to make an embarrassing video go viral on the internet,


[via Media Monarchy, awesome catch guys]

Random Chore Man gets green on a Saturday morning (and accidentally induces the need for a quick rant)

[Disclaimer regarding the use of the term "green" -- some folks know I have a severe and sudden allergy to the word "sustainable" as its being used in advertising and greenwashing campaigns lately. It's overused, and an actually sustainable human endeavor is a VERY high bar to set, if you actually include all the costs you really have to offset before you can consider something sustainable. I prefer the term "green" because, although it sets no bar on how environmentally sound the idea is, it does imply that you are at least trying. It strikes me as more intellectually honest. *gets off soapbox* and now for your regularly scheduled posting.]

Random Chore Man showed up this morning to hang a Sunline retractable clothesline we purchased from Hankins Hardware over on MLK. I dig that hardware store.

Anyway, we have had clotheslines under the car port before, but eventually we'd stop using them because they'd get dirty and be a pain in the butt to clean. The answer was a retractable -- stays clean when not in use, and out of the way. Trappin' Pat (who comments often on this blog) suggested this model for me, and I had a hell of a time finding it at first, until I got a hold of Hankins.

Now we have our 4-season clothesline in. Clothes dry just fine in the winter as well, just takes a bit more time. When it's hot in the summer, they dry very fast.

Enjoy the simplicity of some of life's correct decisions,


Friday, May 16, 2008

Beekeeping lessons continue to be hard

Well, as I suspected would happen, clearing out that much comb from the remaining hive encouraged them to abscond. No more bees this season unless I can get some swarms. An expensive lesson.

Lesson learned: with Top Bar Hives, check the comb production right after introducing a package of bees or a swarm very often so you don't have to disrupt well developed comb to get them back on track. If you disrupt brood comb, they'll (reasonably) bail on you.

May or may not be able to get my hands on some swarms early enough this season to establish hives this year. They need time to build up their comb and honey stocks enough keep themselves healthy throughout the winter, so the later in the season you get a swarm the less chance of them surviving the winter. We shall see.


Scads of sturgeon hanging out below Bonneville

Here's a video by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers showing tons 'o sturgeon hanging out below the dam. This isn't any kind of proof about whether the overall population on the river is rising or falling, but it is heartening to see such large and key fish species in abundance. Better news than all the horrifically or non-existent salmon returns (prompting a declaration of "fisheries failure" by NOAA) we've seen this spring on the West coast in general.

Sturgeon ball

Enjoy holding tight to the strands that aren't yet broken,


Gathering a swarm of bees, in pictures

Glen Andresen is a man of his word. I had called him asking about swarm gathering a week or so ago, and he said he'd call me when he was going out so I could watch him do his thing. Sure enough, he called. There was a swarm biking distance from my house that he was going to gather, so I met him and took some pictures and notes.

Below are the pictures, but I'll give you the outline here (tired of wrestling blogger to interpolate text in pictures):

1. Picture of the swarm, not a huge one but a swarm nonetheless.
2. Glen, without smoke or a suit, knocking said swarm into a bucket.
3. Tapping the swarm into a hive box from the bucket. At this point we can assume he's gotten the queen into the hive box, so her pheromones will attract the rest of the bees.
4. One of Glen's nice tricks, he taps a few bees outside the entrance of the hive, so they can gather around, open up their little butt glands and fan pheromones into the air to alert the rest of the swarm that's still flying around where to go.
5. Another nice trick, he cuts the branch where they were swarming, because it's covered with queen smell and will continue to gather bees, and lets it sit near its old location for a while gathering up stragglers. Then he drops that second gathering into his box and removes the branch so the bees only have one source of queen smell, and that's coming from inside the hive box.
6. Here is the box, with a good amount of bees outside the entrance fanning. Glen leaves it til nightfall, then takes it to his bee field.

The patience he shows and little tricks he uses to make sure to get every last bee greatly increases "the take" of bees when he gathers a swarm, and decreases mortality once he takes the swarm box away. I assume many beekeepers would dump the bees, wait a few minutes, and close up the hive box and leave. This strands many bees (to their death) -- but doesn't require that second trip.

There you have it, gathering up free wild and healthy bees to bolster your own hive field a-la my bee mentor Glen. [Remember you can click pictures to get a bigger view]

Enjoy insect workers and their portability,


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Voting in Portland

Ok folks, the deadline is past approaching. You know you want to... that ballot is sitting on your desk, just waiting for your attention.

Local elections are huge, your votes hold degrees of magnitude more power than national elections -- go for it. Just because the system is frustratingly effed up doesn't mean you should throw down one of the main sticks you carry to beat on it with, quite the contrary.

Here are two guides I peruse when I'm digesting down my decisions. I'm always surprised by some of the endorsements, and don't vote down any one particular line. In hindsight, I wish I had done more research on Measure 53. Definitely read up on that one.

The Mercury's voting guide:

and Will Week's -- I take this one with even more of a grain of salt than I do most media, but it's worth a perusal.

have fun flexing your political muscle.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How did I miss this one? In Bruges Trailer

How the hell did I miss this movie? Looks great, getting good reviews, and even The Pixies on the soundtrack. Can't wait to catch it. It's in the beer theatres this week, so I know I have to act fast.

ps: I just finished up with a round of mid-terms, which is why the lack of posting, then the sudden flood of posting. Just fyi.

Enjoy hidden gems,


The Bunny Suicides, my new favorite thing

Just ran across this cartoon online, and I love it. Quick research proved fruitful, these cartoons are from a book called The Book of Bunny Suicides, by Andy Riley [or the sequel The Return of the Bunny Suicides].

I have so many favorites I think I'm going to just post one every once and a while for mirth's sake.

The first is a good "typical" example of the series....

The second is a style that I seem to enjoy the most -- you have to look carefully.

Enjoy a belly laugh wherever you can find it,


Interviews with people making a difference

Ran across this new series by Brave New Films called This Brave Nation, and I thought I'd throw it your way. Activists and educators across a broad spectrum are featured in this series, and I'll venture to say the most important names are not ones you will recognize. I'm going to begin watching this today, so ya'll may here more about it in the near future.

Since I've leaned heavily into education and public school reform, policy, and history -- I'm needing some morale boosts. The current situation in public schooling in the U.S. is abysmal, and books like Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol are opening my eyes to this. It's a difficult situation for me to look squarely in the eye, and I need to be careful of my resolve and energies as I digest the new information.

As a result, I'm becoming attracted to positive messages and role models, like this series of interviews.

Enjoy help where you can find it,


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Surreal: Japanese Cat weight Lifting

Just the kind of entertainment I need after a long long day, and before mid-terms starting tomorrow. My brain's fried anyway, might as well fry it more.

You won't believe the concept and execution of this show. It's literally cat weight-lifting -- Japanese T.V. blows my mind. Note the sound effects, especially toward the middle and the end. The heavyweight feline contenders are identified, and their presence accompanied by heavy metal guitar riffs. Fantastic.

Enjoy melting down the last of your neurons, you don't need them anyway,


[via Canukistani Kate; via Muse]

Saturday, May 10, 2008

J. Paul Getty quote

"It isn't a very long step from a conformist society to a regimented society. Although it would take longer to create an Orwellian nightmare through voluntary surrender of individuality -- and thus of independence -- than through totalitarian edict, the results would be very much the same."

- J. Paul Getty


Songs stuck in my head series: Rock Star -- Nickelback (and its spoof)

So this song by Nickelback is pretty good as it is -- especially the lyrics. For some reason it reminds me of that Joe Walsh song, I guess because it's contemplative of the rock star lifestyle and is understated.

So, here's the Nickelback song that's stuck in my head (and The Wife's head as well).

But the REASON it's stuck in my head, is this really great spoof, called "Pop Star" by James at War. The lyrics are every bit as good as the original, even if the video gets a bit goofy at times. It's very very funny, give it a listen.

Enjoy good lyrics, even if it comes with rock guitar,


More beekeeping lessons, "creative" comb and the Top-Bar hive

So I took a peek into my remaining hive yesterday, to find a big beautiful 1/2-drawn comb that they created. It was 5" x 8" and looking dandy. Except -- it was drawn perpendicular to my top bars -- meaning, it is unacceptable as a starter comb. This is what the Barefoot Beekeeper calls the bees "getting creative" about their comb placement.

The instructions for beginning a top-bar hive say to check in on a new set of bees often, and remove any comb started in the wrong direction. Once they start a comb in the correct orientation (parallel to your top bars), then they are off and running and you can leave them alone.

Lesson: when the instructions say "check often," that means every other day or so. Don't let it go for a week to "give them a rest" like I did. Now I'm going to have to remove this big beautiful comb so they'll start comb in the right spot. The bees don't re-use their wax like they would honey, so it's just a waste for them. I feel like a big jerk.

This period is one of the down sides of a top bar hive. You have to keep checking the bees, and removing comb, until they get it the way you want it. Sometimes, they take the prompt from the bees wax right away, and start in the right spot. Sometimes, they don't. With a modern hive, there is wax foundation that tells them exactly where to build, and even exactly what size comb to build. You don't have this problem of "incorrect comb placement" in a modern hive.

So later today, when it's warm and the little ladies are flying, I'll have to get suited up and remove this perfectly good comb to get em to start over in the right spot. Lesson learned on the backs of the bees, poor things. I'll be checking them every 2 days until they start a correct comb from now on.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Mr. Rogers pwns the Senate

This is possibly my favorite video I've ever posted to the blog.

In 1969, during the Nixon administration, funding for public broadcasting was on the chopping block. Mr. Rogers presented himself to the hearings to speak for his show, and intelligent, compassionate children's programming of all sorts. This soft-spoken, heart-centered man absolutely bowls over the at-first antagonistic audience of Chairman Pastore. It's amazing to watch.

In the end, he clinches his argument with a poem -- A POEM for crissakes, and immediately not only wins back the funding for public broadcasting, but gets it increased.

A must watch.

Enjoy the good guys winning by sheer force of compassion,


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Staggering beauty in a grain of sand

Check out this gorgeous photo set from Discover magazine's website depicting macro photography of individual sand grains. Just beautiful stuff.

[another great catch by my Canukistani operative Yuri -- photo credit in linked article]

Enjoy unexpected sources of beauty,


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Garlic Destruction" (tm) appears to be working

With only my second dose under the belt, it appears that the Garlic Destruction drink is working on this accursed bug. Simple recipie: juice of one lemon, fresh squeezed; 2 garlic cloves freshly minced, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper stirred vigorously into above mixture. Down quickly after introducing the cayenne pepper so it won't rehydrate and burn ya.

After only two doses my energy level is improving, which leads me to think this bug was bacterial in nature. The Sambucol had little effect.

Enjoy using yourself for health experimentation,


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Corporate Welfare/Billionaire Buyout recession protection plan

Here's a video that talks about some of the high-roller-type financing and taxation loopholes that are used to reduce the tax burden of the richest Americans. If you want to write a letter about what you learned, click here for the War on Greed page where you can get a hold of the candidates and tell em what you think.

The War on Greed starring Larry the Loophole

Enjoy pulling the wool back off of your eyes,


Accursed bug

People love telling you how miserable you are going to be when you get the latest bug. My lawyer friend, when I described my strep-like symptoms two weeks ago and the fever said, "oh, you'll be miserable for at least 3 weeks, I know this one I had it a month ago." I blew him off.

But here I am 2 weeks later, low level sore throat and what amounts to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'm going nuts. This is almost week two with no yoga and no Qi Gong. I'm getting grumpy and negative and antsy enough to chew my own foot off.

I'm countering it right now as though it's a virus, so am using Sambucol. After a couple days of treatment, it's not budging (whereas in the past, Sambucol has kicked the crap out of my other winter colds). If in another day it's not eased off I'm going to add my dreaded bacterial-infection attack: 2 garlic cloves, minced fine; 1000mg of vitamin C powder; juice of one fresh-squeezed lemon, and 1/4 tsp of Cayenne pepper -- 2-3 times a day. Why hadn't I just done this right away, you ask? In addition to the Sambucol? My scientific habit got the better of me and I wanted to separate them a bit to possibly isolate which one was the effective treatment. What can I say.

Enjoy not having this thing that's eating me,


Monday, May 5, 2008

Our current level of national discourse

I needed a laugh today, and this video hit the spot. Some 4-year-olds arguing presidential electoral politics.

The kiddos get a bit more articulate after the first few seconds, it's a good laugh. And -- sounds all too familiar in both content and delivery.

"I didn't vote for Bush, I wasn't even BORN yet."

Enjoy flipping the day off,


[via Neatorama]

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Only 1/3 of the animals you killed were ENDANGERED YOU JERK WAD

Nice work butthead -- 2 of the 6 Sea Lions you shot were endangered Stellar Sea Lions. Way to display your ignorance and thoughtlessness. I mean, who cares if your grandkids will never get to see one in the wild, right? Jerk.


[photo via]


That graphic of the "absconding" fugitive below reminded me of The Specials, which reminded me of Ska, which reminded me how much I like the below song -- Mirror in the Bathroom, by The English Beat.

Enjoy stream of consciousness posts, especially when they lead to high school flashbacks by the author,


Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Bees absconded!!

I went up on the roof to check on the bees today. I did it nervously, because one of the hives didn't appear to have any activity. Sure enough, it was empty -- empty of a queen, or any live bees. My $75-worth of bees had decided they didn't like the digs I provided, nor the conditions they were unceremoniously dumped into (quite literally) and they bailed on me.

As Stu said when I told him what happened, "Yeah, I figured we would have some expensive lessons this first year." Very true. Ruhl Bee Supply isn't taking any more package bee orders this year, so I was put on a (long, apparently) waiting list, in case someone flakes out on picking up their bees. Not super likely. I also got on their swarm list, meaning they'll call me to deal with swarms in the East Portland area. There are plenty of other bee keepers on the list, but maybe something will come my way.

The other hive is doing well. The first comb they developed, however, was in an unsustainable spot, so I had to snap it off and hope they'll start one on a top-bar like they're "supposed to." Harsh measures, but I'm assured that once they start building comb on the bars in the right direction, they'll continue to do so. You just have to keep an eye on them in the beginning to make sure they take your cue of pre-set beeswax in the top bars.

I'm going out soon, hopefully, with Glen Andresen to watch him gather a wild swarm. There is a huge demand for gathering swarms, and I intended to learn how to do that anyway, this event just pushed up my time table a bit. I had a third hive set aside for a wild swarm, now I just have two.

I cracked up when I found out that the official bee-keeping term for a queen and her workers bailing out on you was called "absconding." Same word as when criminals take off... too funny.

Enjoy your F.O.F.G.'s, even when they're costly,


[image Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cougar removal at Yosemite and its implications

Here is a fine article on Discovery News that gives an overview of the effect of removing a top predator from an ecosystem. Nicely done, with a mix of pictures and video.

As a side example, when you remove the mega predators from an ecosystem, the songbird population takes a complete dump. Why? Because the meso predators such as oppossum, skunk, mink, weasel, fox and raccoon no longer have as much control on their populations and eat up a bunch of birds and eggs.

Enjoy learning about the web that binds, pull on one string and its hard to predict what else will move,


Tony Robbins -- the guy we love to hate

I was turned on to this talk by Tony Robbins -- yes THAT Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker guy, by Stu. I, like many others I suppose, have stuck this guy in a bin with any number of other popular-but-wacko-and-lacking-depth personalities over the years. I won't make a list, because I don't want to offend. But most folks I know detest this type of thing, and at the least look askance at Mr. Robbins. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this video.

As a side bonus, there is an absolute classic moment where he banters with Gore in the audience, and a one-liner that you will be able to keep forever. Just hilarious.

Worth your 22 minutes. I'm not going to run out and buy his tapes or anything, but it's a good watch, I assure you.

Enjoy getting past unfounded prejudices,


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nothing to see here, move along please.

I'm sure Passive Cellular Triangulation doesn't have any horrifyingly Orwellian applications whatsoever.


... Srsly.

Enjoy just relaxing, and a little hummed tune of "lalalalalalal" with your fingers over your ears, like I'm doing now, for instance,



Dude, you're missing the big book sale!

PSU Library's annual book sale is happening right now, for 3 more days. Details as per their website:

Don't miss the thousands of bargains at the Library's Spring Book Sale, May 1 - May 4, 2008.

Hardcover books $2 - Paperbacks $1 - Records, sheet music, cds, tapes, videos, maps, and magazines are priced from 25 cents to $2.


Thursday, May 1, 12 Noon - 9 pm
Friday, May 2, 7:30 am - 7 pm
Saturday, May 3, 10 am - 7 pm
Sunday, May 4, Noon - 9 pm

[don't worry, if you aren't here right away all you'll miss is the pushy professional book buyers, with their blank stares and laser bar code readers and attitude.]

Enjoy your trip to the campus to fulfill your bibliophilic desires,