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Archive for December, 2008

Take. Them. Off. Now!

Our dog is not amused…..

Max from the Grinch?

Max from the Grinch?

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Something to cheer you up if you have to travel over the holidays:

Huh.

And I thought I had it tough sharing the backseat with my sister. ūüėČ

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Even though we have about four inches of ice coating the roads.

Even though all the schools are closed (along with the local museums).

Even though there are widespread power outages.

The library is open.

Because, God forbid, you should have to go one day without getting a DVD to watch.¬†Especially an old chestnut like Ernest Saves Christmas…(know what I mean, Vern?).

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So, after looking over a few of my recent posts, I see they are all pretty darn snarky. As this is the holiday season, perhaps I should tone down the snark factor a notch….

What do you think? Let’s use one of the new WordPress tools and try an anonymous poll:

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It seems so obvious now...

It seems so obvious now...

Just a little advice to a certain someone who works at my library:

I am often amazed by the things people do at the library but it is usually the patrons who are doing the odd things. Today, however, you did…er…well, let’s just say the word is “stunned.”

I suppose I can understand that certain emergency situations arise and action must be taken…but I don’t think that having a “not-so-fresh” feeling counts.

I think I speak for all staff (but especially for the male custodian) when I say that, in the future, you may want to strongly consider cleansing the inner naughty bits of yourself in the privacy of your own home and not the staff bathroom. Or, at the very least, hide the packaging AND the used plastic receptacle at the bottom of the dustbin.

Ick.

No, really: ICK!

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It could happen…

Aaaaaaaaaaagh!

Aaaaaaaaaaagh!

My boss loves Christmas. No, I mean REALLY loves it. It looks like the Holiday Spirit threw up in our library. There are five (5!) Christmas trees at our small branch and lights everywhere and other decorative crap stuff.

So much for being secular. (What, no Festivus pole?!)

And Christmas is fine by me, but having Christmas music all day is NOT. We have to be subjected to listening to a local radio station’s Christmas programming while working at the reference or circulation desks. If I have to hear “Holly Jolly Christmas” one more time I may just snap…I know I’ve developed an eye twitch just thinking about it!

Yesterday, I went out to eat lunch just so I could get away from the music for a while. Of course, the restaurant was playing….the same Christmas radio station!

sigh.

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Home of The...

Sorry..this time of year I always channel bits from A Christmas Story (maybe it’s because I have to watch it over and over…yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Mr. G!).

All kidding aside, I am honored to be listed for The Superior Scribbler Award by one of the finest bloggers around, Huckleberry Days (and I’d say that even if they didn’t list me…have you seen their photos?!).

Now, I have to list 5 blogs to pass on this award…which is asking a lot from someone who can’t even decide what to eat for lunch most days. So, in no particular order or rhyme or reason, I present to you 5 blogs you should take a gander at:

  1. Bug Girl’s Blog, because I never would have started blogging if it weren’t for her and because she’s a damn fine writer about insects and science.
  2. Endangered Ugly Things, for clever, witty science writing about non-photogenic fauna (and a source for Save the Wartyback Mussel shirts!). Give some love to the hard-working grad student in the form of comments.
  3. Because they do not post too often, I am listing two of my favorite blogs by librarians as one: If This Be Method and Snaps North. Awesome photos, a wide variety of topics and these women always make me laugh!
  4. Journey to the Center has many blogs and this is just her latest one. She is a naturalist on a cross-country trip and takes amazing photos.
  5. Miss Information, a librarian blog that will have you laughing until you cry (or maybe you were crying and then you’ll be laughing…either way, she’s spot on).

Enjoy!

According to the award guidelines I must post these rules:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deservingBloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
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    big-box-o-pods2

    I realized I hadn’t updated the status of my cecropia caterpillars in a while, so here is goes…

    Out of all the caterpillars I released outside, only two (yes, TWO) survived to spin a cocoon. Technically, they are now pupae (for a nice explanation of what this means, check here).

    They are out in the lilac shrub and I hope they survive to emerge in the spring. However, I am finding out that almost everything eats them (squirrels, woodpeckers, etc…) at their various life stages, so keep your fingers crossed.

    OK, so the yellow jackets were eating the caterpillars I released and I finally broke down and pulled as many I as could back inside. While not all of them successfully spun their cocoons (some of the late bloomers just keeled over), most of the caterpillars got busy and made fairly large orange ones.

    cocoon-close-up

    You could tell when one was getting ready to spin, as it would stop eating and wander around looking for that perfect spot to spend the winter. And they are surprisingly picky! It probably didn’t help that there were so many of them in one cage, as¬†I would guess it might¬†be¬†instinctual to spread out and pupate.

    Also, right before they started to produce the silk, they…er…well…evacuated a lot of “liquid” from their bodies. I have no idea if this is just extra water, extra leaf residue or some sort of internal chemical change discharge. Whatever it is, it really, really stinks. Phew!

    Once they start to spin out the silk from their mouth-parts, you don’t want to move them. That stuff will stick to everything (including you) and the caterpillar is loathe to move from its chosen spot anyway. You might not even notice it is spinning, however, as the silk¬† comes out clear. The white cocoon will eventually turn some shade of brown-orange and stiffen. Here is one that was spun in the corner of the cage (note its squared-off shape):

    square-corner-cocoon

    For a few weeks after they make their cocoons, you can hear the pupa moving around. It’s kind of cool to hear this small rustling every so often. Right now, though, they are firmly in their forms and dormant for the rest of this winter.

    Here is a picture (by Dave Keith, U.N.) of what one would look like if you cut open its cocoon (because I most certainly will NOT be doing that!).

    I am keeping the cocoons in the cold part of my basement (they need to overwinter in cold temps) and occasionally spritzing them with water (so they don’t dry out). Everything I have read about emerging time has been pretty vague, saying spring to early summer, so I will have to keep a close eye on them. Hopefully, I will have some great photos of cecropia moths to share then!

    p.s.: I will not be raising them again…too time consuming for me.

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