Saturday, October 15, 2011

HPV and one woman's effort to make a difference.

This story has started making it all over the internet, and I wanted to add my small part toward urging people to visit this woman's website and donate, educate, do what you can toward a worthy cause.

A tragic situation that she is using to try and make a difference. My heart and admiration go out to her and her family, a pretty meek offering in light of everything.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

xkcd: Sickness

Nicely done, xkcd.

(Here's the link)


I haven't been quite as busy with school this semester as last, and have been doing some work around the house to attract more birds to our yard. We get a decent variety of native species around here, and this year has started off pretty nicely as well.

A goal I really had this year was to try and get our Eastern Bluebird to nest again and raise a few broods of fledglings. Our first and second year here, we had a bluebird pair that nested and raised two sets of fledglings each year, then abandoned the site the following two years. In large part I believe this was due to the nestbox we had used initially to attract them. It was given to us as a gift, and was not really constructed properly for long term use. It was inadequately ventilated, unable to be opened for monitoring or cleaning, and after those first two years, I think it just became a bit too uncomfortable for any of the native cavity nesters we have in this area to use.

So I went to our local Wild Birds Unlimited store (a fantastic resource for anyone interested in birds around their area, they have stores nationwide you can find here), spoke with the staff and ended up getting a very basic but nice bluebird house to replace the old house we had. That same afternoon we had a pair that seemed to be fairly interested in the house, and we were excited that it looked like our plan was unfolding nicely!

Of course, it appears now as if things have turned a bit in another direction. The past several days we've had a pair of Carolina Chickadees that have been taking an interest in the nestbox as well. They are native, and quite lovely. I've been monitoring the box and each day the Chickadees place the fur and hair of their nesting material on the nest the bluebird has already built, and at some point, the bluebird removes the nesting material. There have been a few loud squabbles, and, honestly, I would like to see the bluebirds win out, but the other day I figured that what would be ideal was if I could get both the Bluebirds and the Chickadees to nest in our yard by giving the Chickadees an alternative.

So...I got a house specifically sized for the Chickadee and put that up, but it looks like this is to no avail. I think the Chickadees (surprisingly) are going to be the ones to nest in the bluebird box, now I'm just worried that should this happen, the bluebirds may attempt to kill the Chickadee fledglings, assuming they end up laying any eggs.

At this point, I'm waiting to see if the Chickadee pair do lay any eggs and if they will hatch to see if I need to put up a hole reducer to protect them from the bluebirds. I think the Carolina Chickadee only raises one brood of chicks, in which case I will remove the reducer as soon as the fledglings leave the nest and clean it out in the hopes that our Bluebirds return and use it the rest of the season. Hopefully we can get this to work out and the Chickadees will switch over to the actual Chickadee house next breeding season and we will end up having both in our yard next time around.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the Eastern Bluebirds and Carolina Chickadees.

Female and Male Eastern Bluebird checking out the new birdhouse within an hour of it going up!

Male and Female Eastern Bluebird as dusk approaches

Male and Female Eastern Bluebirds

Male Eastern Bluebird and American Goldfinch (coming into its summer plumage)

Carolina Chickadee

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Carl Sagan Day

Ah, shitbirds. I didn't post this earlier in the day, but today, which is coming to an end here in the Eastern portion of the United States, is Carl Sagan Day. He was actually born on the 9th of November, but today was the celebration of his influence on popular culture through science and skepticism.
Got this from Bad Astronomy, and thought it'd be appropriate, if late.
This is done by the awesomely geeky Sara Mayhew, enjoy!

Halloween 2010

The semester is winding down and getting more insane with exams, projects, labwork. But we found the time to join in a little Halloween fun! My wife actually bought her costume from Target this year, but I for one, was pretty happy with the results. I spent way too much time building my costume, a bioluminescent jellyfish, but I'm glad I did it. Still photos don't really do it justice, but here you go:

And our lovely pumpkins:

Not sure how comfortable she'd be with me plastering the others all over the intertubes, so this is all I'll post for now:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pride Festival.

I hate parades. Not a big fan of social events either. I'd prefer spending time with my dog than with most people. And even the ones I will spend time with, it still isn't as much time as I like to spend with my dog. All of that being said, we went downtown to the Gay Pride Festival where G Play, the band my wife is now in, played for the fest. It was awesome. Hot and sweaty, but really cool to watch them all play, and especially to see her back doing the very thing that really drew us together.

When we first met she was finishing up her senior year of college and playing out quite a bit for school, both her flute and bass. It is one of the things I loved about her and was a basis for our initial relationship.

I feel like we have grown accustomed to hyperbole in our everyday speech: everything is so wonderfully great, it makes us incredibly happy, there's no better feeling. But her getting back into playing music, it's strange how happy this makes me. It's easy to lose touch with things, even things we love dearly, in the daily grind. You have bills to pay, obligations to fulfill, work to get through. And we push something to the back burner for awhile, not realizing how easy it is to let that become the status quo. It's great, actually a really NICE feeling to see her getting back into the very thing that helped make me fall in love with her at the beginning. Here she is being the quintessential bass player.

LGBT Pride Festival 2010

And, as usual, once I actually got out and past my initial prickly reluctance at socialization, I had fun.