How Feminism Changed My Duck-Feeding Habits. Plus: Epic Food Fight!

Here’s an interesting thing about becoming a full-bore feminist: it’s changed my duck feeding habits. Seriously. Female birds tend to be pretty plain, and they’re not usually aggressive show-offs like the males. Before I started getting seriously into feminism, I just kind of ignored them. The boys were prettier. The girls were boring. [Read more…]

Escape: A Harrowing Tale of Fundamentalism and Freedom

I’ve been in an easily-distractable mood lately. I keep fussing around with books, picking them up for a few pages or paragraphs before tossing them aside and moving on to something else. I was afraid I’d never finish another book again in my life until I picked up Carolyn Jessop’s Escape. I didn’t even mean to buy it – I was there for Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, actually, and decided I’d better look around for similar books written by women, because my reading list has unfortunately been skewing too heavily dude. Up popped Escape, and I said “Brilliant,” and placed my order.

Image is the cover of Escape, which is photo of Carolyn Jessop on a black background. She cradles a framed picture of herself as an FLDS teenager in her hands. She is a woman in her thirties with chestnut hair and blue eyes.

This seriously screwed up my already-precarious sleep schedule, and almost ruined my April Fools’ Day plans. [Read more…]

A Hairy Woodpecker In Your Face!

I’m having all sorts of awesome good luck with birds this winter/spring, people. I mean, hooded mergansers on North Creek, American coots (which you shall soon have adorbs videos of), an owl(!), some super-cute diving birds I’ll be unleashing upon you soon, and woodpeckers.

You got the ID on our very far away and barely visible woodpecker from Lord Hill Regional Park. It is indeed a hairy woodpecker! Congratulations to all of you who either got the ID. Condolences to those who thought it was a downy woodpecker – I thought it might be, too, hence my laundry reference. Now that I understand the size differences, I agree with the hairy woodpecker crowd. Damn these lookalikes!

Here for your viewing pleasure is a much better video of a hairy woodpecker. [Read more…]

“There Have Never Been Frontiers Between Astronauts.”

This is a beautiful sentiment from the first human to walk in space:

“There have never been frontiers between astronauts. The day that this notion sinks into the minds of politicians, our planet will be different.”

Part of me would like to see that world. Part of me wonders if, as Robert Frost’s neighbor said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” I know we need fences even in our own communities. I know sometimes those fences are the only way to co-exist. There are some frontiers between people and nations that need to be there, at least for a time. I just hope that if we do ever get to the point where frontiers dissolve, it’s because we’ve all learned how to treat each other well. [Read more…]

Fundamentals of Fungi: Baby Butter! Plus UFD!

Ermahgerd, you guys, it’s baby witches butter!

Image shows a tree trunk with a tiny patch of bright-orange fungus growing on it. The patch is only about the size of a pinkie nail.

Baby witches butter, with my index finger for scale.

This was at the entrance to the Temple Pond trail at Lord Hill Regional Park. That place has become our go-to spot for winter hiking. There are so many trails we haven’t even seen them all, and we’ve been out there several times. This time around, we did a bunch of the ponds, and it was perfectly lovely. We saw a woodpecker, and heard owls, and visited about a billion ponds (okay, maybe four or five). I’ll be doing up a full guide someday, but it’ll have to wait until after we’ve finished exploring the trails a few times.

Just down the trail, we found a couple of logs loaded with wood mushrooms. [Read more…]

Bi-Erasure and the Prejudice Against Bi-Oriented People

Goddamnit, humanity, can we for once just bloody learn to get along? I mean, seriously. You’d think the one safe space for people with bisexual or biromantic orientations would be the LGBT community. I mean, there’s a B, right there, specifically for them. But it appears there’s work to be done breaking down bigotry. K.C.’s post on her experiences coming out reminded me that prejudice lurks everywhere. [Read more…]

A Victorian MRA Interlude: Coverture

I’ve fallen a bit behind in fisking our Victorian MRA dude, but never fear! I shall persevere until the end. Eventually. After finishing mah bad Bible stories book, doing up some hawt geology posts and working on this amazing backlog of nature photography I have got. In the meantime, there’s this very concise (and potentially rage-inducing) post on coverature by Cerys Gruffyydd for your history-of-how-horribly-women-were-treated needs. Trigger warning for marital rape. [Read more…]

Mutant Mallard

I’m a very bad person. Let’s just get that right out of the way: I’m terrible. Every time I go for a walk along North Creek, I forget to bring duck food. Most days, it doesn’t matter, but then there are days when all the duckies are hungry and quacking at me and I feel like a complete failure of a hominid. What good am I to them except as a duck feeder? I fail.

But they let me photograph them anyway. They’re dears, even if I know the males are terrible rapist assholes.

On a recent warm spring day, I went for a walk along the creek, and encountered a mutant mallard, who graciously posed even though I had no foodstuffs for him. [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Whooo Ya Gonna Call?

Back in March, B and I were traipsing through Lord Hill Regional Park. We’d just got done with the River Trail, and were trudging back along the main trail. It was getting near sunset, and the woods were dusky, with only occasional glimpses of the sun. The usual wind rustling branches, little birds chirping, and sometimes planes flying by filled the silence. And there was a loud, echoing call in the distance. I thought it was kids making silly animal sounds. It became a sort of background noise. I didn’t think much of it. [Read more…]