Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Sometimes when I’m birdwatching

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debunkshy: QueenPedernales Falls SP, TX20 May 2018

Friday, October 19th, 2018


Pedernales Falls SP, TX
20 May 2018

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savingoursanity: Me once I’m in a room trying to remember what/why I entered there for in the first…

Monday, October 15th, 2018


Me once I’m in a room trying to remember what/why I entered there for in the first place 

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justqueenthoughts:Bohemian Rhapsody. We Will Rock You. Somebody To Love. All hit singles, and all…

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018


Bohemian Rhapsody. We Will Rock You. Somebody To Love. All hit singles, and all the direct product of a band that was formed when an astrophysicist and a dentistry major found a new friend in an art college, who then went on to recruit a fourth member from the electronics school. Based on this alliance I propose the rift in society between Arts and STEM students was fabricated to keep us separated so as to dilute our true power – and fabricated by who, you may ask? The business major, the only member of society who reaps no reward from art and science and thus must weaken us so as to stay ahead. In this essay I will

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artismydeepersoul: Elisabeth, Empress of Austria known as…

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018


Elisabeth, Empress of Austria known as “Sissi”.

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chandelyer:Marchesa Resort 2019

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


Marchesa Resort 2019

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snailkites: portmanteau-bot: snailkites: Downy…

Thursday, February 1st, 2018




Downy Woodpecker


This portmanteau was created from phrase ‘downy woodpecker’. Beep-boop. Portmanteau^bot^1

Portmanteau bot is renaming the birds for us!

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greenandflex:morning walk

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017


morning walk

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madfilmstudent: Music’s the only thing that makes sense…

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017


Music’s the only thing that makes sense anymore, man. Play it loud enough, it keeps the demons at bay. 

Across the Universe (2007) dir. Julie Taymor

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msknope: How did you know when you were in love with your…

Friday, March 3rd, 2017


How did you know when you were in love with your husband?
I remember calling my sisters and telling them about Paul and I couldn’t – I remember feeling like,
“I can’t stop talking about him,” like I was talking about him all the time. But I wasn’t aware,


of how I was feeling yet. I just knew I was like,

compulsively talking about this guy. One of my sisters was like, “Who is this person?” But yeah. I don’t know if it was a definitive moment. It was just so easy. There was nothing hard about it. 

That’s the thing about falling in love,

too. Sometimes one person falls really hard,

like I felt like [Paul] fell really hard earlier. You fell really hard and I was like, “Whoa. He’s really going there.” And I felt it too,

but I wasn’t quite ready to vocalize it. And then like 6 months later,

I was PANICKED in love. Like,

panicked and fraught with “I can’t even deal with these feelings.” But he had already been like “We’re together and that’s great! There are no problems here.” That’s our love story.

That’s beautiful.
[Laughs] Is it? No,

it is beautiful. I love it. I do. (x)

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marykatewiles:Please enjoy my newest reflection video, “Five…

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017


Please enjoy my newest reflection video, “Five Things I Don’t Like About Myself.” 

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Wednesday, October 12th, 2016


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holtzymannz: Someone is creating a device that amplifies…

Friday, September 16th, 2016


Someone is creating a device that amplifies paranormal activity and we might be the only ones who can stop it.

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sylvia-morris: Leslie Jones is getting a lot of racist hate on…

Monday, July 18th, 2016


Leslie Jones is getting a lot of racist hate on twitter. If you have time to make something or send her a nice note, it might serve to make the world a marginally happier place for her.

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Monday, April 25th, 2016

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lies: Green leaf beetles (Trirhabda flavolimbata) at the…

Friday, March 25th, 2016


Green leaf beetles (Trirhabda flavolimbata) at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

I mentioned previously that I’m a volunteer docent at the Carpinteria salt marsh. I started off being mostly into birds, but in the spring of 2009 I started obsessing about bugs, and it was these beetles that started that. I was looking for invertebrates to photograph for Circus of the Spineless, when I discovered that there were large numbers of shiny green “caterpillars” (I thought) feeding on the coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) at the marsh. I estimated that there were more than 500 of them in a single medium-sized bush.

It turns out they were actually beetle larvae. Over the next several weeks I watched as they turned into adult beetles and kept munching. By the end of the outbreak, in late May, much of the coyote brush along Ash Avenue had been completely defoliated. The first two shots above are from that 2009 outbreak; they show the larvae (left) and an adult beetle (right).

By the next year the coyote brush had bounced back. There were only a few leaf beetles at the marsh each of the next three springs, but this year they’re back in a big way. Once again, a lot of the marsh shrubbery has been eaten down to bare twigs.

I was out there yesterday and today gathering data as part of a citizen science project that I’ll write up in another post, and while I was there I took some photos.

The second row above shows the effect the beetles have on the coyote brush. On the left is a plant that still has leaves (and beetles). On the right is one that’s already been eaten.

Finally, there’s a shot I took with the macro lens attachment I bought recently for my iPhone. It’s just a little dingus that slips over the end of the phone. I’m pretty impressed with how well it works, though I need to work on my focus skills. There isn’t much depth of field to work with.

Isn’t that beetle adorable?

I tried taking some video, too, which I’m in the process of uploading to YouTube. I’ll post a link to that when it’s ready, so you can see beetles in motion. (Update: As promised: shaky beetle video.)

Originally posted 2013-05-26.

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“This is the second and final appearance of the eleven-foot model Enterprise, which orbits from…”

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

“This is the second and final appearance of the eleven-foot model Enterprise, which orbits from right-to-left in the teaser. When the transposition to the parallel universe occurs, the ISS version is orbiting in the opposite direction. Although the episode was produced in 1967, the footage of the ship was filmed for “Where No Man Has Gone Before” in 1965, indicated by the heightened bridge dome, the oversized deflector dish, and the unlit Bussard collectors (complete with spires). However, in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, there were no rounded “nodes” at the rear of the nacelles, which appear in this episode. The first time the ship orbited in this direction, (TOS: “Shore Leave”), scenes of the revamped production model were simply reversed as can be seen by the backward registration. In this episode, though, the model was shot with reversed nomenclature as the port side was unfinished. It is unknown why so little of this footage was used during the series. Despite the effort expended to highlight the opposite nature of the mirror universe, the Enterprise is seen orbiting from left-to-right in all of the scenes after the main title.”

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thalassarche: Common Raven (Corvus corax) – photo by Mircea…

Sunday, March 20th, 2016


Common Raven (Corvus corax) – photo by Mircea Costina Photography

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scioscribe: I have seen people say that one of the tragedies of “The World Was Wide Enough” is that…

Friday, February 5th, 2016


I have seen people say that one of the tragedies of “The World Was Wide Enough” is that Hamilton and Burr both break with their natures–Burr doesn’t wait and Hamilton throws away his shot.  This is perfectly, literally true, as well as excellent wordplay in the second instance, but I’ve been thinking that one of the really beautiful things about the musical is that it’s not completely true.

Hamilton throws away his (gun)shot, but that’s never–in his own mind or in the play itself–been what the metaphorical shot really is, at least not consistently.  “Not throwing away your shot” is about not wasting your opportunities; it’s about making the deliberate choice.  Hamilton throws away his more active military career when he signs on as Washington’s aide, but he views this–at least in the moment–as seizing his shot, because Washington has persuaded him that it’s harder and more honorable to try to live.  He and his men take the bullets out of their guns at Yorktown to better secure their victory.

And it’s not only Hamilton who wins by losing, or at least by forfeiting the showier and more conventional route to victory: it’s Washington, too.  LMM is explicit about this in the notes on “One Last Time”: that the song highlights Washington’s “most radical act/lasting legacy,” which is his decision to walk away from power and not seek it again.  He throws away the most obvious form of power, but he doesn’t throw away his chance for meaningful action: he just redefines what meaningful action looks like.  Even though Hamilton says it will make him look weak, Washington pushes through, because “they will see we’re strong.”  He turns down one shot for another: he teaches a country, and a succession of presidents, and Hamilton himself, to say goodbye.

And that’s what Hamilton learns from him, and from Eliza, who chooses–consciously and actively–to forgive.  He says, “If I throw away my shot, is this how you’ll remember me?  What if this bullet is my legacy?”  And it is, and he knows that, and he chooses this chance, this idea of meaningful action: to aim at the sky.  To not kill, or even feign to kill, “[his] first friend, [his] enemy.”  And we don’t say he’s weak for that; we see he’s strong.

Because kindness, in Hamilton, is always deserving of our awe and respect.  Hamilton’s “non-stop” series of accomplishments is wonderful to behold, but the one thing we’re really asked if we can even imagine is Eliza offering him forgiveness.  When Hamilton chooses to aim for the sky, he doesn’t throw away his shot, he takes stock of everyone he’s loved, and everyone he’s lost, and everything he’s done, and seizes the opportunity–to be kind.  To make peace.

And for us, at least, that’s a substantial part of his legacy.  So part of what makes Hamilton so awesome, for me, is that it recognizes that sometimes deliberately refraining from action is the most powerful action you can take, and it defines its characters by those active refusals, those conscious choices to not go after more.  Hamilton throws away his shot, Eliza throws away her anger, Angelica throws away her chance, Washington throws away his reelection.  Principle is sometimes most meaningfully expressed by where we draw the line and what we refuse to do, which is why Hamilton cannot back Burr after hearing that there’s “nothing [he] wouldn’t do.”

Hamilton never really gives up.  As Burr says in “Wait for It,” all he does is “change the game.”

These things, too, are part of taking your shot: you take the opportunity to be better, smarter, kinder.  Hey, sometimes you “take the bullets out your gun” and that’s part of how you win the war.

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marykatewiles: It’s that time again, time for Craftversations,…

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015


It’s that time again, time for Craftversations, and this month I’m getting festive with Joey Richter! Tune in as we make little pinecone Christmas trees and talk School of Thrones, I Ship It, and Muzzled the Musical. And stay tuned for part two coming Friday!

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