urbpan: (dandelion)
So, much of 2016 was terrible. I won't go into why, you either agree with me or you think the chicago cubs are more important than america. So much death and heartbreak, and my response has been to drink way too much, eat garbage, and scroll down my tumblr page with a dead look in my eyes. In an effort to become a healthy productive member of the Resistance, I am making this post to remind myself that creativity is the animating force of humanity, and that making an effort to be creative--even if that output is terrible, and much of it will be--will make me feel like a better human.

BLOGGING: if I can get god damned photobucket to work, I'll resume taking pictures of urban nature and dogs and public art and other things that make me happy, and post them here. And tumblr and probably facebook too.

NATURE WALKS: This continues to be vital--get out there, take pictures, talk to people about what we're seeing, blog about it, watch the seasons change, drink in life and nature.

PODCASTS: I kind of have two now: Species of Least Concern, which is about urban nature and such, and Doc Talks, which is conversations with my dad. I have other ideas too, the limiting factors are my own damn laziness, and the fact that it costs money to upload and store these things. I'm on soundcloud at the moment.

MUSIC: I love music and I wish I made some. It's kind of easy to make on GarageBand. It will be terrible, but I should just do it. No one needs to hear it. I'm better at coming up with titles than anything else--two songs that need to be written include "Kill the Nazis" and "White People Get Your Shit Together."

CLAY: My most persistent fantasies involve making stuff out of clay--I have an airy comfortable studio, Alexis throws beautiful pots and vases, and I make monsters to stick on them. I do not have a studio or a wheel, but I do have a box of Sculpey and I should get back to making monsters with it.

BATTLE VEST: I have no need for a battle vest, a piece of denim armor covered in buttons, patches, spikes, and bones. And yet I keep making one, in my imagination. I blame @KatieAaberg. I have a shit ton of patches and buttons, all I need is the vest and the ability to sew. It would be good to know how to sew. It would be fun to resume collecting bones, too.

Other things: I dunno. I'm writing this with an overcaffeinated brain during a break at work. The above items were making my mind itch, but I'm sure there's other stuff that I want to be creative with that I'm not thinking of right now. Also I ran out of anti-depressants two days ago so I should probably deal with that.

Told you so

Jul. 2nd, 2013 05:51 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
Apropos of nothing I can put my finger on, I feel kind of depressed and lonely today. The introduction to the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast refers to "everyday compulsive negative thinking," something very familiar to me. I thought of this cartoon, one of my all-time favorites:
Read more... )
urbpan: (Default)
There are many things that are extremely embarrassing about thinking I'd lost my iPod and whinging about it on livejournal. One of these is that I'm now admitting that I dreamt about losing it and finding it all night long. I wish we had the power to choose our obsessions. We can direct our minds and our lives, but only by tiny increments.

It's fascinating to me, as I stand outside of myself for a moment, to realize I was depressed and despairing and for a short time allowed the temporary loss of an object to be the event that made a major decision for me (whether to continue the podcast or not). My brain's chemistry set seems very fragile, requiring the tiniest bump to spill out enough serotonin or melatonin or whatever to jar me into real (temporary) despair.

How do people who have real problems keep it all together to go on with their lives? How are very productive people able to power themselves not just to keep on going but to produce admirable and valuable works?

Anyway, enjoy the holiday weekend, carry on.
urbpan: (Default)
In the middle of last week I misplaced my iPod at work. I went over the last places I had used it, narrowed it down to when I showed a picture of the puppy to a coworker. I was in my car when I had showed her the picture, so when I realized it was missing I searched my car--behind and below and beside the seats especially. I checked my desk three times, checked a couple surfaces where I could have conceivably left it. Finally when I had decided that one of my coworkers was a no good thief, I found my iPod where it has slid out of my pocket while I was driving a golf cart. It was undamaged on a paved area where it could easily have been run over by another vehicle.

When I was looking for it, I was most worried about my podcast--I use the iPod's voice memo function to record it.

Today I can't find it again, and now it seems that a neighbor has stolen it from my car. I hope I'm wrong and it turns us somewhere, but it doesn't seem like it's going to happen.

I haven't had it very long, but boy did I depend on that thing for a lot of different uses.

EDITED TO ADD: Aaaaand it was in my car, between the driver's seat and the middle thingie, where I'd already looked three times. Well, it was fun to test myself with existential despair over a small object anyway. Thanks for playing, universe, you win again.
urbpan: (Default)

This goldeneye lacewing Chrysopa oculata was found posing in the upstairs bathroom sink. I gently moved it outdoors.

I have to confess some feelings of insecurity as a naturalist today. Perhaps it's just pre-event jitters: tonight we are hosting a group of scientists and naturalists who will be setting up an insect attracting light and identifying what comes to visit. Tomorrow I am participating in the Dedham BioBlitz. The pressure is on to make identifications! A lot of them! In the field! The organizer sent a handy list of known plant species in the area I'll be in for the Blitz--over 250 of them, most of which I'd never heard of, including 7 species of goldenrod and untold numbers of ferns. I printed it out, but looking at it makes me anxious. In an unfortunate coincidence, today I got notification about the identification of the insect pictured above. The message, sent via Bugguide.net, was "Chrysopa oculata, one of the commonest ones --and easiest to tell," sent dismissively enough that the entomologist author didn't bother with capitalization or punctuation. Ouch.

Let's leave that unpleasantness behind us. The green lacewings, like their cousins the brown lacewings are predators of aphids. The young lacewings are renown for their appetite for the plant pests, and this species produces three generations of them in a year in our part of the world. I knew at least some of that when I took this lacewing out to continue its good work in our garden.

As for this weekend, I plan to enjoy my humility and learn a lot about the nature of Dedham.
urbpan: (dandelion)


One of the first of what turned out to be many Daffodil (Narcissus sp.) blossoms that popped up in one of the perennial beds.

Daffodils embody in many ways my ambivalence toward cultivated flowers. On the one hand, they are one of the first flowers of spring, green shoots poking through the snow, the promise of life and color returning. Alexis has a great fondness for them, which rubs off on me to some extent. But on the other hand, they don't really do anything, that I can see. We did see a cabbage white butterfly resting in the trumpet ("corona") of one flower recently, so they seem to have some interaction with wildlife. The most common cultivated daffodils appear to be so remote from their wild ancestor that no one really knows what it was, or what other organisms interacted with it. I guess that's my problem: I have a hard time seeing the value of a plant unless I know how it interacts with animals--I'm a Kingdomist, I admit it.

The fact that so many humans appreciate the appearance of this plant is reason enough for it to exist, and I have no real right to question it. The joy it brings, and its symbolism (Easter, unrequited love, the return of spring, self-destructive vanity) are all it has needed to develop a symbiotic relationship with humans.

In the greenhouse at the zoo, the wild rodents nibble the stored daffodil bulbs enough to destroy many of them, but not as many as the tulips. The bulbs are toxic, and even humans have eaten them--mistaking them for onions.
urbpan: (Default)


My dad visited last weekend. This photo shows us in Brookline, in front of the MATEP tower, but we spent most of the visit exploring Dedham Square.
Read more... )
urbpan: (Default)
If you gave me a choice between working my regular job for $100/hr for a year (then returning to my normal pay rate) and having a year off at my regular rate (then returning at my normal pay rate), I would take the year off every time.

I think I will always be an "eat the marshmallow now" kind of guy.
urbpan: (dandelion)


Yesterday morning I took Charlie swimming at a pond behind a warehouse on RT. 9. In the median strip in rt. 9 in Brookline, in the areas they haven't rebuilt yet, there is a thick monocultural herb garden of blooming chicory, my favorite wildflower. It's raining right now, for the first time in over a week. The plants Alexis put in our front area were starting to wilt and shrivel, so hopefully this will help.

more personal stuff )
urbpan: (family portrait)
Leave it to my brother to take a simple meme and turn it into 2000 word assignment. In addressing his suggestion, "Blog about your transition from kid fascinated with animals to art student to zookeeper," I have also answered [livejournal.com profile] drocera's questions about what it was like where I grew up, what I was like in high school and how I met Alexis. [livejournal.com profile] belen1974's questions (including the exciting one about my back hair) will have to wait for another post. Trust me, after this novella, you'll need a break.

My life story, if you can stand it. )

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