Friday, July 26, 2019

National Moth Week

It's National Moth Week, as you surely already know. I observed the ... week... by going to a moth-viewing event. We heard a little lecture about moths and then a brief lecture about ticks (summary: "It's Pennsylvania. There are going to be ticks.") and then we were lead out into the woods to view some moth-baited sites.

I learned that there are moth fanatics, a conference called Mothapalooza!, and that moth enthusiasts are called "moth-ers" and are, generally, into very fancy camera equipment that can take high-resolution digital photos for instant viewing in low-light conditions.

Here's the best my equipment could do: 
A white-with-black-spots moth and a cricket of some sort.
The Audubon Society --- which hosted this event --- is generally pro-nature (moths included), not just pro-birds (though now that I think about it, their interests might be limited to "flight-capable animals").

No moths were harmed in the making of this blog post, though ticks were strongly discouraged, sprayed against, and then minutely searched-for in the aftermath.

This post's theme word is acarophobia (n), "an extreme fear of small insects", "the delusion that one's skin is infected with bugs," or "a fear of itching." Watching a swarm of nighttime insects creep across a high-contrast white sheet ticked both the formication and acarophobic boxes of my brain.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler was recommended to my by some friends who said it was good and that they didn't want to say anything more, in order not to spoil it. They even recommended that I not look at the cover of the book, in order not to spoil it.

It turned out to be a good book!

I appreciated the various literary, linguistic, and scientific references, including the surprising Ozymandias deep-cut. The twist/secret/spoilable content wasn't what I expected but wasn't unreasonable, either.

Spoilers below the break.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bunny zone

Frequently spotted on the block are an unnumbered collection of bunnies. These are not just my neighbors, but also my non-tax-paying non-consensual garden trimmers.

 There are certainly at least two of them at the full size:

Additionally, there is at least one (but likely many) tiny bunbun, waffeting around in the yard and being frightened of things like "local residents watering flowers" and "door opening noise".

Given the local paucity of hawks, I suspect that the bunbuns are numerous, though I do not suspect them in The Matter of The Blueberry Thief.

This post's theme word is cynophobia (n), "fear of dogs." The itty-bitty bunny-wunnies exhibited cynophobia, having not yet learned the lesson of dog leashes and recalcitrant suburban humans.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


I am a notorious blueberry-lover. 'Twas with great anticipation that I received the housewarming gift of someone planting blueberry bushes for me, just outside my window.

One plant even came with a blueberry, already there!
... unfortunately, this blueberry only survived two days in the yard. I checked on it lovingly each morning and evening, keeping in touch with its gradually blue-ing hue; then it mysteriously vanished. According to leads and the berry investigator, local birds are the leading suspect.

A very close inspection this evening revealed that the bush is trying again with a second berry.
This berry will be closely guarded, from its current green state to its future and fully-ripe state. I already have a plan to encase it in mesh to protect from bird incursions.

I note that the plural in the title of this blog post is, in fact, accurate: there have been two berries. A third will be just as welcome!

This post's theme word is fabian (adj), "avoiding direct confrontation; cautious; delaying." The fabian approach to berry-harvesting requires protection against impatient berry-eating competitors.