Saturday, April 30, 2005

Home from Ft. Lonesome

Home. Finally.

We left home (SE Florida) around 10am Thursday, April 28. Walter's in Tulsa now. I just got home today, Saturday, around 3:30 PM. Walter and I parted Thursday around 6PM.

Making this one of the longest 6-hour drives I ever took.

Mr. Babycat is not happy with me. He's coming around, though. A nice nap together will go a long way.

My feet are swollen like two cantaloupes, I'm covered in mosquito bites, and I still have mud on my toes and twigs in my bun.

But the Saturn is full of oranges and fossils and I'll be clean in no time flat. Then I'll sleep in a bed tonight instead of the Saturn. And tomorrow, start posting the whole adventure for all and sundry. My first Road Blog.

This picturesque house isn't mine. It's in Ft. Lonesome.

Someone Else's House Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

6 Phases of a Project

6 Phases of a Project

1. Enthusiasm
2. Disillusionment
3. Panic
4. Search for the Guilty
5. Punishment of the Innocent
6. Praise and Honors for the Non Participants

I used to work for the federal government. We put in 80 to 90+ hour weeks resolving really big financial emergencies. A coworker sent this around.

I think "Non Participants" is supposed to have a hyphen. But I left it the way it was.

Closet Blogger

This is for a certain group of people who will know who they are if they read this to the end. And knowing them in the particular way that I do, some only by this type of communication - this universally intelligent, thoughtful, and kind bunch of folks - I bet they will.

For some time - about five years, in fact - I've been a closet blogger.

I didn't have a blog. I didn't call what I did, "blogging." But now I see it for what it was.

There's this list of email correspondents in my computer. You know, friends, family, some exceptional others. For years I'd send them articles, so many I'm sure I've clogged their inboxes to their detriment at times.

Not one of the people on that long standing list ever asked me to stop sending them articles.

Or my emailed essays. Or notes on things happening in my life, or my family's or friends' lives. This, whether they actually knew each other or not. And despite the fact that we often disagreed, profoundly, on current events, on basic ideologies.

Sometimes I'd meet someone new I thought might also like to get this stuff. I'd try to remember to ask first before sending anything, then I'd send around some "samples." My standard disclaimer to new correspondents went something like this:

I like to email people articles, and I hope you'll find them entertaining, interesting, and worth reading. But I realize my principal purpose is my own cheap thrills in sending them. Once they're out, that purpose is fulfilled. So feel free to delete unread to your heart's content. And please don't ever feel you have to respond. I don't want to put obligations on anyone for me indulging in fun. That would take the fun out of it and make it "work," yuck. And if you'd rather not get them at all, just let me know, and I'll take you off the "articles" list. It won't hurt my feelings a bit. I well know that not everyone likes to get email in the first place, much less a bunch of news items to read.

The only requests for removal were from a couple brand-new recent additions that I forgot to check with before I started sending articles out - my fault, there; crossed a line I don't ever like to cross, and I didn't like that I did that, one bit. But that was me, not them, in my confusion while morphing from email list to blog. And they only said "hold the articles," not "hold the personal emails." Now, that was nice.

And talk about gratifying: I even had a couple requests from people to be added to the list. One said, I'm convinced Florida is just as weird as California, and I'd like to have some news items to prove this to some of my friends. I was lucky, there, since an interesting update to one of Florida's oddest stories had just been published, and that was in the first emailings I sent them. Oh, such fun.

I'd get infrequent but wonderful responses to the articles and emails; sweet and gentle concerned notes if I went silent for a while, saying My mailbox has been empty of articles, are you okay?; and recently, even a big "comments" type discussion, via email, over an editorial by Maureen Dowd. Felt like I stuck my finger in a hornet's nest. And once I got over the shock, I found out I liked it. I mean, liked it very much.

Now that's some serious closet blogging.

Even the hair-raising adventures of Poor Mr. Foot were more than tolerated. That's my left foot. He's been through a lot of injurious misadventures, narrow escapes, and heroic rescues. Despite my misgivings about inflicting him on people I care about, I needed the moral support. I needed it bad. So I wrote about him, too, when things were happening, trying to keep the gory parts to a dull roar.

My email correspondents were more than patient and supportive about him. Requests for status updates on Poor Mr. Foot were the #1 query I got over these years. He's still hanging on, folks.

I'm out of the blogger closet. I would not have gotten here without all of you on that email correspondents list. This is not an exaggeration.

You may be really glad not to be getting all those news items in your mailbox any more. Or you might miss them a bit. Or both. You'll also see me shamelessly cannibalize material I sent around to you before. I hope you'll forgive me. I'm just sharing it with more others.

It's time, that's all, time to come out. Now you can check in here on this blog, and find all the same stuff as before. Lots and lots of links to news articles - yeah, maybe too many, but that probably won't change, although I may separate them from the main blog - and stories I hope you'll find funny or outrageous or just plain interesting; and critter adventures and essays and such. Just where they really belong: open and honest in a real-for-real Blog.

Life can be tough on us all sometimes. You, with your listening ears, gave me more strength through the hard times than you'll ever know. I'll try to give back whatever and whenever I can to you. If there's anything you need, just ask, and I'll do my best to be there for you like you've been there for me.

I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Much love,


On the Road Again

Looks like today, my man is finally off to Oklahoma again, back to work. We'll probably leave in the car around noon, headed to Florida's Emerald Coast, Old Town to be exact. He's going to pick up a big rig someone left there and he'll return it to Oklahoma, where he'll pick up his own newly assigned truck. That will be his home on the road, then, for the foreseeable future.

We'll do the six-hour drive to North Florida in the Saturn, stay the night in the rig, and then I'll bring the car home.

Old Town is not so far from north central Florida, home of...the Fossil Farm! Not that I could go there, of course, since it isn't open to the public. But it'll sure be nice to give it a wave Hello!

And coming home, do I head, once again, right through Bone Valley?

Why, yes. I sure do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Leveling the Field

Some things we can all relate to. As we go about each attending to our own important concerns, in our busy days, striving to get ahead, to live right, to maintain our dignity in the face of life's little indignities...well, hell, I can't do it justice. Here, read this extremely funny story for yourself.
Neanderpundit: Friday crapblogging

Via Desert Cat - and a nice big fat juicy dead mousie to you, sir.
Here's an update on the progress of the Polyphemus babies, with a note from Eureka.

Nice plump babies. 4/26/05 - Photo by Eureka Posted by Hello

Hi Folks,

My little green babies are growing and getting fat. I guess I haven't killed them yet. As you will see from the composite picture, though, one of them is a shrimp. There are still 3 healthy ones and one shrimpy one. Only 3 show in the picture. The fourth one was hiding under a leaf. I put some fresh munchies in this morning. Even though the species uses a variety of host plants I'm trying to stick with Laurel Oak since I started with that. I mistakenly put in a Live Oak twig the other day. They don't seem to mind.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Polyphemus Caterpillar, about 1 week old

Photo by Eureka Posted by Hello

Here's one of the baby caterpillars, munching away. At about a week old, it's nicely camoflauged on the leaf, showing its pretty green color and its yellow and red markings.

Polyphemus Moth Eggs Hatching

Photo by Eureka Posted by Hello

Polyphemus is one of the most spectacular moths - and caterpillars - in the world. Both are huge; the caterpillar can get to be 3.5" long, and the moth have a wingspan of 6" or more. The moth has two eyespots in its underwings that it can snap out to look like the eyes of an owl. If you're a bat, say, about to eat the moth, and it suddenly looks instead like an owl - which likes to eat bats! - you may decide to fly away and leave that moth alone. So the moth lives and gets to reproduce after all.

The caterpillars become a beautiful translucent green with small yellow stripes and red dot markings. But they start out looking more like bird droppings. Since caterpillars are quite tasty to lots of predators, looking like bird doo is smart, especially when you're a newborn baby. Those predators don't much like to eat bird poop.

When the tiny caterpillars hatch, they first eat their eggshells. Then they can eat many different kinds of leaves. Even though they get so big, they aren't pests. That's because the mother moth only lays a few eggs, around six, so there aren't enough caterpillars in one place to do a lot of damage to trees.

Polyphemus is a type of Silkworm moth. Their cocoon is very difficult to cut open even with a razor. Silk from any of these moths can be stronger than steel. Polyphemus isn't the kind we make commercial silk from, but it's a very close relative.

Here's a great link for information and beautiful pictures of Polyphemus:

Click the link. An adult Polyphemus in all its glory will fill your screen.

The two pictures posted here were taken by Eureka. An adult female Polyphemus moth showed up at the Fossil Farm during our first weekend fossil dig, drawn to the lights in the pole barn. She got tired after a while, and made her way into one of the volunteer digger's trucks. She laid eggs on the dashboard, and Eureka collected six eggs for safekeeping. They hatched in only a couple of weeks, and she's been growing them ever since. We all hope some make it to adulthood, although this species lays so few eggs, that doesn't always happen. Nature can be harsh. So far, there are still four caterpillars, but only three are eating away. So we'll wait and see.

Meanwhile, Eureka captured their hatching on her digital camera. You can see how the little hatchlings look like bird droppings. The picture in the next post shows one of them about a week later, already turning from its newborn camouflage to its next color stage - that gorgeous green.

Thank you, Eureka! You're a good mom.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Sooo Slowww

That last post, Back from the Farm, was a reconstruction. The original post was lost. As a tech-challenged aspiring blogger, I'll probably be making a lot of those mistakes, and not fixing them so very quickly. And doing things like changing my template, very slowly.

Or taking way too long to recover Desert Cat's handsome whiskers, now missing from his comment.

I'm a slow person, these days. But I still try to get there in the end.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Back from the Farm

Yes, yes. Made it back just fine. We all had a wonderful time at the Fossil Farm. It's hard not to.

And what should I find to greet me back home? Two posts to this, my new blog. Messages from my blog buddies, to welcome me in. Oh, Desert Cat's fine furry face. First! On no other species of Felis will you see spectacles quite like that.

And Little Miss Attila, let's face it - they're just purely jealous. They know perfectly well they have no such fine avatar to show, so they can do only that - keep yours out. Those aren't easy cups to fill, after all.

And did I stop off in Bone Valley on the way home, once again? Searching for more megalodon teeth in the dying rays of the sun?

Why, yes. Yes I did.

And did I happen to find another megalodon tooth?

Why yes. Indeed, I did.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

This Is The Beginning

Walter the Magnificent has just given me a surprise: he opened up this brand new blog for me. What a wonderful way to get around my technophobia.