Random rantiness about whatever interests, engages, and annoys me...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Scourge of The Rodents

Update:  My boss totally caught the hawk back on the light:

Recently I noticed on the path between the employee parking lot and the main lot a dead field rat.  It looked rather gruesomely killed, as it was missing it's head. 

Now, I started wondering why there would possibly be a headless rat lying in a parking lot median.  A while ago (while catching the bee swarm, actually) I saw a pair of sharp-shinned hawks passing food to each other on top of a lightpost.  One of the hawks had successfully caught some rodent and passed it off to its mate, who took it home to the nest in a nearby redwood tree.

The lightpost was directly above where I now found the headless rat.  'Well,' I thought to myself, 'I guess someone dropped dinner and was nervous about landing to pick it up.'  Case closed.

Today I noticed the gruesome scene had been added to.  There were two more bodies that definitely had not been there this morning.

The first squirrel had at least almost been finished, but the other one, again, was just missing a head.  I started to suspect a cult.  Maybe some weird hawk cult involving the ritual sacrifice of small rodents.

'Man,'  I thought, 'these hawks really suck at passing food between them.'  When I had seen them do it before it looked like a pretty slick operation.  Now I was starting to wonder about them.  I looked up at the light, trying to imagine the scene... and suddenly I saw a little head poking out looking at me!

A very curious, annoyed juvenile hawk was camped out on top of the light sneaking a peek at me!  Aha!  Someone is a sloppy eater and dropped his last meal before finishing.

I was sure it was a juvenile because it was all just sort of a dirty mottled brown, no distinctive markings of an adult.  He paced back and forth a bit, like he wanted to come down and get his squirrel but was too scared.

I think after watching his parents land on the light so often he was curious and flew to it, and decided he liked hanging out there.  Unfortunately, his sloppy eating habits are kind of freaking out my fellow employees.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Artichoke Bug Update

More arthropodic assistance to give us a bumper crop of artichokes this year.

First, a wasp going to town on aphids. 

And second, a beautiful jumping spider sitting in wait on the stalk.  She is huge!  About an inch or so.

Astute observers will notice I flipped the picture.  The spider is easier to recognize this way but I'll note she usually sits facing the ground.

Thank you, bugs!
yes, I know, spiders aren't bugs.  I know wasps aren't even bugs in the hemiptera sense.  I don't care.

You Know It's Time

I procrastinate my fair share, sure.  And I leave my truck messy on occasion.  I was walking to my truck from work today and happened to glance at a truck parked near mine.

Here is how you know for sure that it has been way too long since you cleaned out the bed of your pickup:

At first I thought that someone had thrown a plant in there.  But no, that's a big-ass weed growing in the busted up bags of soil in the bed of that truck.  Those bags have been like that so long that a dandelion seed blew in there and sprouted!  And is now huge!
Time to clean, man.

Hope he doesn't get busted for having a bag of weed in his truck.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Like Nothing's Changed

I saw that recently some whack-job burned a copy of the Quran.  Then some other whack-job (who also happens to be the president of Afghanistan) got his people all pissed off about it.  Unable to travel to Florida and kill the book-burner, the angry mob turned on some local UN officials, and killed them instead.  24 people, to be precise.  Who had nothing to do with any of it.  Because, damn it, someone's gettin' killed! 

Of course, this makes me think of one thing, and one thing only!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More wildlife of the buggy kind

Ants have been putting their livestock out to pasture on our artichokes.  Every artichoke I cut off is full of aphids and ants.  Can't something be done?  Won't someone save us?

Enter The Beetles

Just when you thought it would never be safe to enjoy the delicious artichokes again, along come a pair of beetles devouring every aphid in their path.  Thanks, amigos.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We used to have a walnut tree out front, that died pretty much when we moved here.  It only produced a little bit, and then passed away.  It was cut down, leaving only a little micro-stump in the front lawn.  After it died it's roots are being eagerly devoured by a mycelium, which fruited like mad with the late spring rain.

You can see the poor stump, and tell where the roots were by the lines of mushrooms.  I had lines of mushrooms running through the backyard, too.  I actually dug until I found old roots there, and deduced that before I moved in there was a similar tree cut down in the backyard.

On a hike in the Muir Woods during the rainy season we had some good luck with the mushrooms.

 I love the colors on this one.  Maybe a hygrocybe.

 Some kind of coral fungus

 An amanita.  I think amanita aspera

 Another great coral fungus

 Stinkhorn, maybe?

 This is just a great picture.  Love the black on green. Cortinarius Violaceus, I think.

more below...

Friday, March 18, 2011

For all the women in my life,

Sorry you have to put up with crap like this:

For added fun, check out the comments.

My favorite one is when someone quotes something sexist from Star Trek:

Nabuquduriuzhur said, 4 days ago

Remember what Nomad said about Uhura
Spock: that unit is a woman.
Nomad: a mass of conflicting impulses.

A close second, though is this one:

twright64 said, 4 days ago

“Girl logic” was forever set when the very fitst(sic) one of them took dietary advice from a talking snake.
Bam!  Way to drop original sin!  Not only are women illogical, let's all remember that they doomed us to a world with pain and suffering by defying god.  Thank you, Christianity (and Islam and Judaism, to be fair), for  blaming every single one of the world's problems on women.
I feel compelled to keep reading these comments.  It's like a terrible accident on the highway of equality, and I can't stop rubbernecking:
dtroutma said, 4 days ago

Would “girl logic” be putting time in a bottle— of Olay?
Nice!  The youth/make-up angle!  Way to think inside the box!

What hurts the most is there are some women who see no problem with this sort of thing.  There should be a feminist version of an Uncle Tom.   I propose "Aunt Schlafly"

Here's another one that was in the paper the same day:

Those wacky women!  Judging men so quickly, yet always taking so much time with the clothes.  They are so illogical.  And emotional.  And hysterical.  Unlike the guys who wrote this strip.  They're just douchebags. It's the strangest thing, though.  My wife is always waiting on me to get ready when we go out.  Maybe I should tell her to stop bucking the stereotype.

The saddest thing is, I bet the authors think they have very reasonable attitudes towards women.

Unsurprisingly, XKCD sums this up nicely, with fewer words and actual humor.