Archives for: March 2010
After a long hiatus, we went to a nearby pond on Sunday to visit the white ducks.
On our previous visit, we were disappointed to find the group of five had reduced to a gang of four, with one distinctive duck (Mr. Speckles) missing from the batch. But for our visit this weekend, there were seven white guys, and while our speckled friend was still missing, obviously a few others had come in his place.
They were a bit frisky, so perhaps there will be more soon.
When it started becoming apparent on Friday night that I was going to spend the weekend trying to kill off a cold, I was pretty grumpy with the thought of losing the freedom of two non-working, weather-friendly days to illness. But while the cold came, rubbing my nose and throat raw, I think I actually made the best of it.
On Friday night, the exceptionally creepy cover of Monstrous Affections by David Nickle caught my eye. I read the first story in the bookstore and immediately decided it was a keeper. I spent a good part of my waking hours this weekend plopped on the couch reading the collection of short stories, finding nearly all of them compelling, creative, and downright neat. I've been wasting a lot of reading on some fairly bad horror writing lately and recently pulled Clive Barker's The Inhuman Condition off the bookshelf just to restore my faith in the genre. Glad to say, Nickle's work built off my recent Barker read, which I think is fairly high praise.
NCAA Frozen Four: while most of the country is captivated by the basketball tournament, I've been watching the opening weekend of the ice hockey college championship. While we won't be going to the finals this year (after happily seeing the opening games last year in DC), I've been enjoying the games on ESPNU. And if anybody ever wondered just how good the hockey team from Rochester Institute of Technology is, be sure to tune in to ESPN2 on April 8 to see them in the final (that is, frozen) four.
FalconCam: Few things are as fun in life than spying on animals when they don't know it is happening, although for as many times as the birds look straight into the camera, I can't help but think maybe, just maybe, they know we are watching...somehow...
For all my reading about insects lately, I think reading about ants is one of my favorite topics. Their communal abilities and survival instincts take volumes to document...as the volumes of books I found myself collecting would indicate. True, most are working drones with no future but that of slavery to a thankless queen, but they accept the role with tireless passion for their job.
Beequeen - Penelope Patience: A short interlude piece of organ music.
Mulholland Drive Soundtrack - Mr. Roque / Betty's Theme: To me, David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti are one of the best "chocolate meets peanut butter" director / composer pairings in movies. The Mulholland Drive soundtrack matches an equally fantastic film.
Venetian Snares - Eurocore MVP: I haven't gotten into this CD (Detrimentalist) as much as previous releases, but it is filled with the same wicked electro beats and samples one would expect from the artist.
City of Ghosts Soundtrack (Dengue Fever) - Both Sides Now: The Cambodian-influenced band fits nicely on this (mostly) collection of east-Asian traditional tracks.
Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man: Good droning Cohen.
Beatles - Sexy Sadie: Kinda bland song (I'm always afraid I'm going to incur the wrath and curses of a million Beatles fans when I say stuff like that).
Dreadnots - Evil's Wings / Scrape & Bake: Nice track from the the Pittsburgh based trippy / samplin' / rap-ish / very hard to categorize band.
No Age - Keechie: A rather ambient droning from an otherwise rockin' type of band.
On Feb 14, after a week of being hammered by snow, I posted this link that said we were less than six weeks away from the Blue Bells of Spring.
And here they are.
Taken this evening at Cub Run.
Nicole and I went to Meadowlark Gardens this weekend, a small park on the outskirts of Vienna that hosts a variety of plants and wildlife. We always find ourselves seated, overlooking a small pond where turtles, geese, and fish pass by nearly oblivious to our existence.
There are also a number of insects. This guy started crawling on my black jeans, exploring my leg for many minutes. It wasn't until I looked at him through the macro lens that I realized it was a tiny spider.
I put my finger down to see if he would crawl onto my arm.
He did. And when I finally directed him back to the arm of the wooden chair I sat in, it only took him a few seconds to revisit my leg. We repeated this process a number of times.
I suppose one can do worse than having spider friends.
The early appearance of a Bluebell. Soon there will be hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, of these covering the Cub Run area.
DJ Shadow - Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II): From the live scratchin' samplin' beat CD. Alone from the rest of the CD, the song is kinda blah.
Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice - Dead End Days With Ceasar: 20+ minutes droning crazed noise...and I think trying to be the Velvet Underground.
Everly Brothers - Nashville Blues: A fairly low-key blues song, I guess.
Deerhoof - Fresh Born: Fun, mathy track from the latest Offend Maggie album that I could swear they've been playing live forever.
Radio Thailand - Tropic Audio Ephemera: Again from the Thai radio broadcast CD set, a fairly peculiar spoken word, stray music track where, once again, I have no idea what is going on.
Stereolab - Perversion: Another bouncy good song from my favorite Peng! album.
Yo La Tengo - Sometimes I Don't Get You: Unfortunately, kinda like I don't get much of their new music anymore. Still a great band, I'm just kinda stuck about a decade behind with them.
Rovo - Horses: Fast paced, drum driven goodness.
This is pretty nifty, I think.
A Sow Bug (or Pill Bug) was sitting on an old leaf that I had provided as food to the slugs and millipedes in the terrarium. The leaf looked dried and decayed, but it was when I zoomed in that I noticed just how interesting the remaining pattern was.
It would appear that the insects have a desirable portion of leaves they like to eat, leaving a skeletal remain that has gone undisturbed for weeks now.
Each leaf in the tank is like this now, stripped down to its bare form. I don't know why the insects and slugs won't eat the veins; perhaps it would be like eating the bone of a steak...in which case, I guess insects need pet dogs to finish the remains.
Lack of tiny leaf-eating dogs notwithstanding, this is just another remarkable find in the ever compelling terrarium for me.
Photograph taken a long way from home, fortunately.
I was walking through the very wet trails today and found this little guy under a fallen branch. It was coiled so tightly that I thought he was a centipede, but he expanded with little legs and lizardly goodness.
I think it is a skink, but I'm not positive. I'm worse at identifying reptiles than insects, and I'm proving over and over again here that I'm pretty bad at identifying them too (not that I feel bad...there are a lot of insects in the world and they change dramatically as they age).
He's cute, tho, whatever he (or she) is.
Edited to say, looks like we have a Red Back Salamander.
(Not to be confused with Mmmmm, flower, which is an entirely different flavor all together.)
Sonic Youth - Schizophrenia: An oddly fitting song for the morning.
Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice - Friend, That Just Isn't So: An interesting track from the Gypsy Freedom album, a hippie dippy collection of strange tracks.
Chris Stamey - Ghost Story: A silly, lengthy, mostly instrumental track that seems to imitate a cornball haunted house, only not.
Cheer Accident - Mescalito: A short, random noise blasting track.
Philemon Arthur & The Dung - Skolsangen: As always, beyond description.
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Don't Go Away: Now that the snow is gone, so is my habit of constantly listening to Toad. There is, of course, no reason one way or the other for this. Sometimes it is just the way things work out.
The Paper Chase - The Sinking Ship, The Great Applause: Another miserable song from the great Paper Chase.
Pigalle - Rejouer Juste Une: Like The Pogues in French!
I found a beetle at work a week or so ago. I brought it home and took a number of pictures before inserting the insect into Terrarium 2, but annoyingly had the aperture set poorly and got a bunch of shots of a half blurry bug.
Tonight, I found a beetle a floor away from the terrarium. Again, I took it upstairs and took some shots of it. After studying its beautiful markings, I'm now convinced it is the same beetle, especially as it seems to walk with a small limp and the second picture above seems to show an odd growth or damage to its body.
I'm under no delusion that most of the creatures in the terrariums could escape if they wanted to. With the exception of the millipedes, which seem drastically clumsy compared to most insects, they all scurry with such grace that I think the only thing that holds them in the tank is the pleasant environment.
But, apparently the above pictured beetle didn't feel the same way. And, as if knowing its eventual fate, it leaped from the table where it was getting its picture taken and easily escaped by way of the back room carpet.
I'll look for it next week downstairs again...
Sunday's walk was the best of the season yet. Spiders everywhere...a true sign of spring.
It was small, pale, and not moving, and I actually thought it was shed remains. On its back, the millipede played dead well, but finally it thrashed and started crawling around.
Cute, however, I found it to be, and gently put him back in the terrarium.
Talking Heads - Found a Job: You'd think I have 800 Heads songs on the iPod for how often they show up in the Random Eight. Not true, but the tunes are fun to hear.
Archers of Loaf - White Trash Heroes: The last song on the last studio album from this great band.
Butthole Surfers - Ricky: That typical Surfer 80's sound.
Clint Mansell - Pi R 2: From the great Pi soundtrack, one of my favorite movies that is scored very well.
Robyn Hitchcock - Insect Mother: Imagine me liking a song with this title.
Alec Empire - No Remorse: Solo recording for the Atari Teenage Riot tune, pure loud drumming and screaming.
Blind Willie McTell - You Was Born to Die: Another character that appears on the Random Eight a lot...with a good, cheery song to start the day.
R.E.M. - Driver 8: From an era of the band that has aged well with me.
A walk this past weekend turned out to be an easier ordeal than the weekend prior. The massive piles of snow have melted to practically nothing, and even the most tree-covered, sunless trail was starting to show bare ground.
Go dog paw!
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