1918: End of WWI
1919: Bermondt gets his ass beat
2022: Kherson. Oh, Kherson.

Press close to me if you wish to be free
Freedom is slavery even if it cannot be
Help me in unfreedom to liberate freedom
To colour the world without knowing any colours.


Better listen to advice not to speak
Look at me closely with closed eyes
You can still hope without having hope
To experience a bright day in the night


Press close to me if you wish to be free
Freedom is slavery even if it cannot be.


I have a fifty tits of grey post lined up, but a quick interlude about predators, social birds, and cooperation.

I think I didn’t mention it here, but this winter, I started leaving walnuts out for the crows – leftovers from years past that we found in the storage room, but still good. To be honest, this started when I noticed a ragtag group of corvids (crows, jays and magpies – not explaining the word ‘corvid’, all three were members of this loose affiliation of walnut aficionados) eating the few nuts we had straight from the tree. It was a small crop anyway, so I don’t feel too bitter about it…

Getting rid of the evidence on the neighbours’ roof…
(c) rq, all rights reserved

Thief, caught red-beaked. (c) rq, all rights reserved

Just taking a stroll… (c) rq, all rights reserved

Anyway, I started feeding them through the cold snowy months, and while the jays and magpies haven’t been sticking around, there’s a small flock of 4 or 5 crows (family group?) that regularly cleans out the (much cheaper, if buying) peanuts.

[Read more…]

Evasively Cute

As mentioned previously, tufted tits (more correctly, European crested tits) have been a tough customer for me. They are shy and hyperactive, plus their camouflage markings make them difficult to see, as they prefer to remain in the hedgerow as opposed to coming out in the open. So today’s exemplar is uncooperative. In other words, find that tit!

Such a pretty little bird, as you can see… (c) rq

A little bit of yoga, to stretch the neck and spot those seeds! (c) rq

Not looking at you… (c) rq

Unfortunately, that’s the best I could do. I really love them, but they could manage to hold still long enough, couln’t they…?

Here’s someone else’s photo to get a better view:

And in honour of today’s Perseverance rover landing (hopefully!) On Mars – David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.


Great Tits!

The visual tour of our local tit diversity continues. Today: great tits! They really are great, also larger than other tits – really big tits. They’re also braver than other tits, as they have safety in numbers. In bright lemon yellow, so quite the cheery addition.

Checking out the first feeder (it broke), there’s rarely just the one. (c) rq

Also not shy about the acrobatics! (c) rq

Excellent form. Thought there’s no seeds down there… show off. (c) rq

Given to curmudgeonliness, despite the bright colours! (c) rq

And not shy about tackling walnuts or buried seed. (c) rq

Floosh! (c) rq

Concentration… must get that seedy goodness! (c) rq

Next up I think will be tufted tits, which are devious to the core and absolutely refuse to hold still for any kind of decent photo. Tough customers but adorable in the extreme.

Red Moon by Tom Jackson

I watched CBC’s Trickster and just love the soundtrack.


Blue Tits!

Here’s the first set of this winter’s tit pics. The blue ones are rather rare this year, but there’s one or two regular visitors willing to put up with the great tits and sparrows. I have to say the weather this weekend was that perfect winter mix of sun and frigid, no wind.

So, let’s all be 12 together and check out some blue tits, shall we?

Blue tit with walnut (c) rq

At the other feeder (c) rq

The walnuts are for the corvids, but they haven’t been by for a while. (c) rq

Warming up… (c) rq

… for the acrobatics! (c) rq

Note: most photos are taken through a selection of windows, one of which is tinted, so the lighting can be a bit odd.

Another cover today, but hey, it’s winter, warmer under the covers!

Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”, performed by Eivør.



Whatever anyone says, the kids aren’t alright. Emotionally speaking, that is. But we deal, even if the current state of affairs makes it hard to be there for them. That’s today’s sad comment.

These motion shots always remind me of Caine (I miss her) and somehow I forgot to transfer the best one (working from my phone). But I’ll find it! There’s also still plenty of bird to get more.

Consider these teaser tit pics. But I will call them by their adorable Canadian name this time, because I also miss Canada. My mum is still being responsible and not flying back. So there’s that, too.

Chickadee whoosh… (c) rq

More chickadee whoosh… (c) rq

Chickadee whoosh while told off by a brambling. (c) rq


The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter

The original may still be the best, but I love this cover.

Northern Parrot Substitutes

Hi everyone, things are nuts, but what can you do. I’ll complain later.

Winter has come, with so much snow, it’s wonderful. Never a better way to get the kids outside.

This year I also decided to tame some crows (progress: none), since they were stealing the walnuts anyway. As a side effect, I decided to feed all the little birds, too. I put out large nuts for the large birds, and keep the others supplied with sunflower seeds and pork fat. The nuts disappear, but I still have no crow friends to gloat about…

Anyway, I can’t compete with Charly’s amazing birds, he’s certainly got some wonderful rare species showing up, but I’m quite pleased with this year’s feeder flock. Tit pics later, currently I’m most proud of my bullfinches because at least two couples live nearby and visit.

They obviously don’t mind each other’s table manners… a match made in heaven!

Taking care of the competition… (c) rq


Wipe your beak. (c) rq


I got one photo of both together, then the male walked out of the frame. (c) rq


No napkins in nature, I guess! (c) rq


Cooking with Escher: A Practical Solution to a Geometric Problem

This is from my own Facebook post from a few years ago, during the winter holidays, when I had a boatload of gingerbread cookie dough to go through. I’m not always a fan of baking, but I don’t mind the meditative aspects once the kids have gotten over their helping phase (they do fine, it’s just not very relaxing).

Anyway I had some thoughts about women’s work and its devaluation and how simple actions that we learn to do can have complicated underlying rules. I’d either recently bought or recently read a book on Escher with the kids, and so I imagined a book that took the idea of tiling and applied it to baking – a book that analyzes the concepts of positive and negative space and their optimization to get a maximum yield of cookies, given a plane with defined boundaries, and also a known quantity of cookie dough.

Of course, you have to calculate the rate of expansion during the actual baking, because while ordinary problems of tiling require the entire surface to be covered, you don’t want one large mass of cookie (generally speaking – of course there are exceptions). I wrote a short summary for the book jacket:

An exercise in the ancient question of tiling a regular surface with irregular shapes in order to produce a maximum yield with a minimum of fuss, “Cooking with Escher” examines several distinct categories of shapes. Inspired by the enigmatic mathematical genius, this is a purely practical analysis of the unique challenges presented by each individual shape. The categories explored in this edition are: basica, exoticb, roboticc, patrioticd and erotice. Final results are not available due to extreme consumption.

Citos vārdos, dziļi matemātiska nodarbe ar noslieci uz ģeometriju. (In other words, a deeply mathematical activity with an inclination towards geometry.)

I still imagine what this book could be, with diagrams and arrows and lots of calculus formulas.

a – Basic shapes adhere more-or-less to regular geometric shapes, in this case, a square.
© rq, all rights reserved

c – Robotic shapes are defined by their resemblance to anthropomorphic appearance and yes I know it’s a snowman.
© rq, all rights reserved

e – Erotic shapes in this case are defined by the jargon term for female genitalia, i.e. squirrel.
© rq, all rights reserved

d – Patriotic shape, self-explanatory.
© rq, all rights reserved

b – Exotic shapes are tropical animals not usually met in the wilds of the northern hemisphere.
© rq, all rights reserved

This is my idea of a fun quiet time with myself.

What Remains After

Because I have so many links about art saved (>200), I’m trying to group them by themes. Today’s theme is abandoned spaces, and although the title seems a bit dark, it’s not a commentary on current events in the world. 

What remains after we are gone? After the life industrial has faded and transformed into its modern, shiny, robotic cousin? (Well, that’s how the moving pictures show it…)

The end of everything? The slow decay of silent things, with no one to witness their passing? The carcasses of once-great buildings, now uncertain in their unstable uselessness and sharp aura of danger? There is potential in these abandoned and lost spaces – but a melancholy potential, the complete opposite of new beginnings, a potential that is meaningless and only full of the possibilities of what could have been, what never was, what never will be. A lot of never will be.

From THE END OF EVERYTHING, by Jan Erik Waider.

Still, what it can be is a whole lot of art.

[Read more…]