Pollination Party – Ants and Flies

I truly am envious of Nightjar’s flowerbed.

Nightjar notes: Ants are not very good pollinators, but they definitely show up for the nectar buffet, as do flies. One curiosity I was told about the Stomorhina lunata is that the larvae feed on, very specifically, locust eggs!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Acanthiophilus helianthi and an ant.

An ant. On a flower. In a picture.

Eristalis tenax a bee mimicking hover fly.

Stomorhina lunata


Teacher’s Corner: Bathroom Breaks

Teacher’s Corner will be an irregular feature containing my mumbling and ranting on issues of education  and people.

The theme of today’s post is probably going to be a reoccurring one: Why are the USA determined to be so horrible? On Twitter somebody posted the following note which apparently was handed to their child:

Note about bathroom use

Mrs. White’s 8th Grade Admin/Bathroom/Water/Nurse Pass

I will only have two passes for the ENTIRE month during Focus, BOTH Math Blocks, Community, Lunch, Restoration, etc.

I understand that once the number is circled, it indicates how many times I have went (sic) thus far for the entire month.

I understand that I need Mrs. White’s signature for EVERY TIME I leave to go to the Bathroom, Nurse, speak with Admin or to get water.

I understand that once I have used my 2 passes for the ENTIRE month, I will not be able to go to the restroom, get water, or go the nurse (sic).

I understand that only special accommodations will be made if my Doctor writes a note regarding a medical condition.

I understand that failure to comply with the Bathroom/Water/Nurse Pass will result in an Automatic Detention and a zero on whatever assignment I decide to walk out on.

I understand that Ms. White is petty and although we both have options, I can be denied going to the bathroom/water/nurse during the lesson.


I mean, WTF?

As a teacher, I know that “the potty goer” is a nuisance. It is disruptive in class when every other minute somebody asks to leave, leaves, comes back, etc. That’s why we encourage our kids to use the breaks, which are, btw. included in this bathroom pass. We have two big breaks of 20 minutes between 2nd and 3rd, and 4th and 5th lesson, and short five minutes breaks between the other lessons. And still we don’t deny our kids bathroom breaks. At the most, they get some extra work (I have a whole book of extra work that “fits the crime” where the kids have to reflect on their behaviour). Some classes have a system where you automatically move to “yellow” if you go during the lesson. In most cases we use common sense. The kid who asks to go five minutes after the end of their break needs to learn that yes, going to the bathroom is part of their “during the break” activities, same as eating*. The kid who asks to go after 30 minutes probably couldn’t have known during the last break.


*You wouldn’t believe the amount of kids who return to the lesson and then take out their breakfast. Many of them react angrily when you tell them to put it away and feel treated unfairly because they are hungry.


Although the school issued a retraction (see below), this isn’t the first time an American school is in the news for “strict”* bathroom policies.

On Twitter, while many people shared their stories about peeing/vomiting/etc. in class due to similar practises, many people replied that they didn’t see the problem and that it would teach kids discipline. It’s a dangerous gateway to the authoritarianism we currently see.

*strict as in dehumanising, cruel and completely fucked up.


Retraction letter from school

Retraction letter from school

The road goes ever on and on…

Way emerging between two dark rocks

The road goes ever on and on
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Dear readers, dear friends

After talking among ourselves, with Rick, and PZ, we, the Affinity writers Charly, voyager and Giliell have decided to continue the blog as a joint endeavour.

Affinity was always about community, about bringing people together, about sharing our lives, our highs and lows, and we decided that we do not want to lose the community, but to continue and keep it alive, in Caine’s memory as well as her spirit.

Of course, we do not want to continue as if nothing had happened. The blog will change. Not only does none of us have the time that Caine could invest thanks to being a professional artist, more importantly, none of us can replace her and we will not even try. Some regular features will remain, others will change or be replaced. TNET will continue as a place to hang out and chit chat. Also, the blog has always lived off the contributions of its readers, be it your pictures or projects and we absolutely want to continue this. Affinity shall remain a place for all.

To me personally, this is home and I would love to share it with all of you.


Barcelona: The City 5: Streets

While there are few green areas in the centre, there are wonderful planted balconies and lovely squares. One thing is that apart from the pretty fountains there are water fountains everywhere that keep the population on two legs as well as four legs hydrated.

A balcony with overgrowing plants

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Fountain in the middle of a sunlit place.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeons bathing in a fountain.

Another pigeon bath
©Giliell, all rights reserved


Barcelona: Camping 3: Friends

Camp sites are interesting social spaces, because for a short while they throw people together who then all have to get along with each other. For adults that may be stressful, for kids that often means new friends. Subsequently you get to know their parents and often you find out that just like the kids, you can easily pass some time with total strangers and amuse yourself over a glass of wine.

pixellated image of three girls eating ice cream.

There’s nothing like ice cream. It’s not that I was unable to take a proper pic, it’s just that I don’t want to publish recognisable images of children, especially not other people’s children. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

Funny enough, this was the second time at this specific camp site that the kid and parents were on a several months long journey through parts of Europe following the birth of a child. I don’t know if this is becoming a new trend with middle class families with one main breadwinner who then takes the paid parental leave and then they all take off together.

I’m not going to have another child to find out.

Along the Volga River

Many areas were flooded to become part of the Moscow Canal and Volga-Baltic Waterway. The remainder of this church is underwater.


A beautiful church on the banks of the Volga River


Private residence on the Volga River



Another beautiful church, built in the traditional Russian style, along the Volga River

©voyager, all rights reserved


Link to previous post –The Moscow Canal

The Humble Potato Blooming

The humble potato does have pretty flowery, albeit a little small.

Only after I downloaded the picture into my PC have I noticed the hiding Colorado potato beetle. Damn. I have thought I nabbed them all. Time to go out with a jar with a few drops of acetone again. Unfortunately I doubt the beetles will listen to reason, it is either them or me.

Oh and btw, if you ever heard or read that in former Soviet bloc the propaganda was saying that the CIA was intentionally dropping the beetles from airplanes on crops in order to starve us, it is true.  It was taught in schools until the end of the cold war. We were told this as late as in 1980’s. Until today when someone says the colloqual term “americký brouk” (american beetle),  most people will know what the talk is about.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Jack’s Walk

Jack and I were out in the country this morning looking for wildflowers and we found trilliums. They grow in wooded areas all over the province and are protected by law, so no digging up plants to bring home. They’re one of my favorite flowers and a real treat to find because the flowers come and go so quickly. Usually they come in sequence with red trilliums first and white trilliums last, but this year they’re up and blooming together. In fact, all the wildflowers are up and blooming together this year. In the space of one week of warm weather all the leaves have arrived and the flowers are blooming. It’s like spring has exploded this year.

Red Trillium

White Trillium


©voyager, all rights reserved