Wednesday, May 30, 2007

daily picture

fondue face: we ate fondue for early dinner.
i totally got an A on the bio test.
Today is super sunny. it's says it's 75 but i'll bet walking home will feel hotter than that. Last night was really warm. We need to get a lixit for the dog at night. she gets really hot very fast, even just in her kennel.

I took a math test this morning which went find except for the part about proving some trig. identity. I tried doing it about 4 times, even with hints that the teacher gave on which identities to use to prove it, but it was still not working out, so I left it. Judging by the way everybody else was sighing, I am sure I am not the only one that couldn't get it. I think i did jsut fine on the rest of the test, and that problem was worth 9 points, which i am sure he did so you could miss it entirely and still get an A.

I had a lot of extra time so I started watching the nova special "The elegant universe" again, after some mentions of it in the podcast "Brain Food". I also found an audio book by Brian Greene called "The Fabric of the Cosmos", but i haven't started listening to it yet.

Yolanda's mom is in town. We will probably see her this evening. I just remembered that I work at 4 am, which makes me sad. Memorial Day threw me off a lot.

Tomorrow is the last week of the spring term, then I get two weeks off. At the end of june I start chemistry and calculus, and we are heading to southern california for a few days. It will be a good trip. I haven't seen jimmy since I moved here and I am looking forward to seeing him again. I haven't seen mike in almost that long.

IN biology we are learning about ecosystems. I have not been giving it the same amount of attention that I gave the material in the rest of the quarter. We also get our anatomy/physiology unit test back today. I think I did ok.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

daily picture

Beatrice sits on the back of the couch like a cat. Except that cats don't bark at anything that moves outside like she does.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pond Life

So now that it's stopped raining for the most part this season, it's time to drain the pond in the backyard again. In case you've forgotten, we have a very large koi pond in our backyard that fills with rain water over the fall, winter and spring, and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, midges, and -evidently - a lot of other things in the summer.

This morning liam and I dragged the ol' sump pump out of the garage and began draining out the majority of the water. The pump we have can only get the water level down to about 2 inches deep because of it's design. I decided to try to bucket out the rest of it, but that wasn't going so smooth, so we decided to see how the sun would do this week, as it's supposed to be hot, before we went and rented a shop vac.

Whilst getting out of the pond, I noticed a sort of tampon looking thing, about an inch long floating in the water. I poked at it with a twig thinking it was some kind of worm, but it didn't move. Looking around though, I saw a couple more, and they were very alive. I pulled them out and got them into a jar. I tried to find out what they were for over an hour on the internet and came up with nothing. Behold what science has yet to discover:

notice it's mouth is leech like, but has a super long tail which is not leech like. it's also quite caterpillar like in that it has "legs" along one end. It's also COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT. I also only caught 2 of them for the jar!!! Where did this new tiny one come from? That thing they are eating is a seed thing from the tree above the pond. In the next clip you can see that the bottom ones tail extend from the bottom of the jar all the way to the water surface, probably about 2 inches or so. It's clearer towards the end of the clip.

There's also some blood worms (midge larvae) in the jar, and some other tiny black fast things that are really tiny and I don't remember catching at all. Makes me a little nervous that I was down there scooping up the water with my hands (they were gloved). I caught one to preserve so I could bring it to school on weds. and put it in a tiny little specimen jar with alcohol. It's dead now but it took over 6 hours for it to die in 70% alcohol. If you know what they are, let me know. I will know what they are in a couple of weeks after the keep growing. Then I will let you know.

Krisha came over and we bbq'd and tried out the fire pit thing we got on sale at target today. It worked pretty well, but the firewood we got from WinCo last winter still will not burn. We had an enjoyable Kindling fire though. I smell like a campfire now, which is great, and yolanda things is REALLY great. Also, the people that make the good pumpkin beer, Buffalo Bill's from Hayward, CA, make an Orange Blossom Cream Ale, and it sort of tastes like a beer and a creamsicle, but it's actually pretty good.

I got some pictures of the baby ladybugs. They are progressing slowly. The moth larva still hasn't hatched yet. I feel itchy. I uploaded some more pictures of them to my creepy crawlies album, accessible there on the right under "other pictures." There, you will find some stills of the wormy things suitable for your desktop.

I am very sleepy and I realize now that I forgot to finish some graphs for our plant growth lab paper due on weds. I guess I'll do them in the morning. I also have a lot of dishes to do and the last japanese howework of the quarter, and for me ever, which I don't need to turn in.

UPDATE: I found out this morning. Turns out that they are syrphid fly larvae. Boring!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

i see why lepidopterists are the way they are, sort of

I destroyed the moth i captured last night trying to mount it. My advice to you: if you are trying to mount insects using a spreading board, don't use the shitty styrofoam one that Bioquip provides. It's terrible. the styrofoam facets catch parts while you are trying to move them around, and it's not thick enough for an entire pin to sink into, so you have a bit sticking out of the bottom if you put the insect on the right height on the pin to begin with. I am going to make my own from balsa wood on monday. I really liked trying to mount it though. I don't like moths or butterflies that much but trying to mount them is challenging, and when done well, is probably very satisfying. I feel like i have been a but impatient in my mounting and have taking the specimens off of the spreading board too early.

I have to finish typing up the results of a plant lab experiment (results: miracle gro totally works, for wheat grass at least. it was a pretty boring lab) but I want to build my UV light box tonight because it's warm and I want to try to get some moths and some katydids tonight.

I subscribed to a podcast called "Brain Food" and listened to episode #20 this evening. I would highly recommend it. It uses science and math to explain answer questions about things that listeners write in about, such as why does bleach work to turn things white and what happenes if to spaceships head opposite directions at 75% the speed of light, would they be heading away from each other faster than the speed of light? the answer to that question is sort of ridiculous and made my eyes water. Time/Space is hard for me to wrap my head around.

I gotta get this light box made so I can get the results section all done and sent off to my lab partners. The beaverton farmers market was a lot of fun. We got a venus fly trap, some plum honey, a pupcake (cupcake for beatrice) some INCREDIBLE mustard made by nuns (and i hate mustard and nuns) and some other cool stuff. We plan to meet up with some coworkers there weekly now.

we gave Mijo, one of ours cats, to a coworker because he was getting to be too much to bear, fighting lucy all the time, and there was a rumor that she'd already lost him after a week. She said this morning that last night after she got home from sean's party that she'd put a sweater on him and felt guilty. It seems weird that she would make something like that up to throw us off the trail, so we are happy that he's not dead somewhere, considering he has to have a special diet in order to not get crystals blocking his urinary tract any longer.
I had a good time at sean's birthday party this evening. He lives in an old cabin in a small grouping of trees...thats been developed all around it. while you are there it feels like you are the woods, but then you leave the grove of trees and it's all new developments and a school. The historical society owns it and they are kicking them out. They also had a giant lamp, of which i will upload a picture of in the morning.

I hurt my foot yesterday, and it hurt enough this morning that I called in sick to work, but now it feels better, so I guess that I will go to work tomorrow. I went to lab this afternoon and I felt ok to walk a short distance on, so thats good. I didn't want to have to go to the doctor.

tomorrow it's the beaverton farmers market at 9:30 and then work. I think that i don't like my job anymore. Only about a year before I am fully vested in my retirement, which is good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

daily picture

How to send a text message to your desktop.

I used to carry a notebook for reminders and ideas but they always get washed, or I forget to check them, etc. My old phone used to have a note program that would post a note as the wallpaper and I loved it but I gave that phone to mike when I switched to tmobile. My current phone, a razr, doesn't have that.

Anyway, I wanted to be able to send a text message and have it as a note on my desktop the next time i checked my computer. I devised a pretty easy way to do it for free.

1) Have a cell phone with text message capabilities, preferably your own because the number has to be linked to #2

2)Have a google account, such as a gmail account.

3)Create a google calendar.

4)Link it to your mobile phone number, under settings.

5)Get a widget for Dashboard or Konfabulator
that checks your google calendar for you.

6)Send a text message to GVENT to add a new event to your Google Calendar.

7)Voila! It shows up on your desktop! if you want it to stay for a few days, set your widget to shows the events for the next week, and add a date in the near future, or just add tomorrow.

It's worked great for me the last few days and it was free! other than the cost of the text message.


This girl I was sitting next to on the bus kept ending conversations on her phone by yelling "HEY!" instead of saying bye.

"He didn't say that...*expletive*...He stupid then...All right...HEY!"

I had my headphones on, so I thought that she was trying to get my attention, but everytime I looked over she was looking at her phone.

Also, I managed to snap a lot of good shots of spittle bugs in all sorts of stages yesterday. You can see them in my "other photos" link over there to the right. I will have some more links there to friends blogs soon. This guy below is about 2mm in length.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

baby ladybugs

I took beatrice for a walk today to the small stretch of park a few blocks from our house that has a couple of rows of cherry trees. I noticed a lot of the leaves had been munched on by something so I took the oppurtunity to look for what might have been munching upon them. I was hoping to find some caterpillars or a cocoon or something. I sort of did.

I spotted this tiny bunch on the underside of a leaf on one of the cherry trees. At first I thought that it was a bunch of aphids eating eggs, until I got home and saw that it was actually a lot of things coming out of the eggs.

You can see that they are pretty tiny and that the are coming out of the white eggs. I am supposing that the yellow ones aren't hatched yet. In the next photo, you can see one of the larvae in the eggs.

I thought that they were pretty neat. I put them in a jar out of the sun and will go back later to get some more leaves for them to eat.

I also found this guy, that I am sure the other little ones will eventually turn into.

This guy is a ladybird beetle (ladybug) larva. They aren't very quick and they can't fly like their adult forms. I put him in a small prescription medicine bottle. He seems to like eating the leaves too. I think I will keep him until his final molt, so I can see what type of ladybird beetle he becomes.

I think that over the summer I will use this blog to keep up on insect studies, since I am not taking any biology courses that term, just chemistry and calculus. I want to put together a field guide to NE portland, since there's a lot of interesting bugs here. I am working on documenting some spittle bugs in our backyard, from larva to adult. One of my neighbors has them all over their lavender. I think what I thought were leafhoppers on the ivy last year were the final instars (stages) of spittle bugs.

daily pic in 3D

with bed head. now i have to get ready to go to school.

Monday, May 21, 2007

parental duties

here's one of the interesting things i learned today, from my textbook Campbell Biology:

Compared with many other insects, giant water bugs of the genus Belostoma produce relatively few offspring, but parental protection enhances survival. Fertilization is internal, but the female then glues her fertilized eggs to the back of the male (shown here). Whereas the males of most insect species provide no parental care for their offspring, the male giant water bug carries them for days, frequently fanning water over them. This treatment helps keep the eggs moist, aerated, and free of parasites."

Also, about some Annelids:

"Among the simplest systems are those of polychaete worms (phylum Annelida). Most polychaetes have separate sexes but do not have distinct gonads; rather, the eggs and sperm develop from undifferentiated cells lining the coelom. As the gametes mature, they are released from the body wall and fill the coelom. Depending on the species, mature gametes may be shed through the excretory openings, or the swelling mass of eggs may split the body open, killing the parent and spilling the eggs into the environment."

japanese hw

i did my japanese homework in record time tonight, but it's all a charade: i am terrible at japanese.


Heres a test with photos. That being the fun part of this.

i think this upload from my phone costed me 1.35! this will be the last mobile blog with pictures.

(this was just a test of blogger's mobile blogging capabilities. Took me forever to set up. turned out that i had smtp and smpt mixed up.) it's not important. stop reading.

starting a new blog

i had the old blog at but that's the old one and this is the new one. I think this one is just easier to deal with, as it's linked to my google account.

I thought that maybe i wouldn't tell anybody about this blog, but i don't think that's going to be the case.

since i have a camera built into my computer i think i should probably take a picture of myself with every post. that way i can eventually time lapse it all and watch myself grow. That is, if I don't let this one go away too.

I wanted to start another blog as a way to upload things that I learn or think are interesting daily. At least one f act a day, that way I can at least learn something interesting everyday, and maybe share it.

Today I had a test in biology that I studied for and studied for and i guess it paid off because i thought that it was pretty easy, though i didn't finish as fast as a lot of people. I was only iffy on a couple of the essay questions, about neural thresholds and about kidney function. I think that the worst I could have gotten was an 85%. On the last test I got an 88%, but I argued one of my answers about seed predators successfully, and ultimately got a 91%.

I got a tire fixed at les schwab today and they forgot about me, so what should have taken 15 minutes took over two hours. But i read a bit in the new yorker about barack obama. that guy seems all right. They way they described him, he seemed like kind of a jerk who doesn't like anybody. At least, I felt like he wouldn't like me If he met me, which made me wonder why he would he want to be president. Though the fact he seems like sort of an asshole and not a nice guy makes me trust him a whole lot more. I don't think anybody that wants to be president or is serious about being president should be smiling right now, or ever. I don't feel like you can really trust any info you get about anybody anywhere anyway, since even the candidates are trying to sell you on something. This is a pretty cliche blog post, so more about neat things.

I found a snail with a tiny tiny tiny shell underground. He is a snail, but the shell is the size of a pinky toe nail, like it didn't develop right. Since i've been catching and preserving insects for my BIO213 class, I thought i'd try saving a mollusc, and now I feel guilty. The reason I feel guilty is that right after I dropped him in the Alcohol, (which is everclear diluted down to 70%) he immedietely turned himself inside out. or at least a lot of his insides come out of his mouth and are still attached. I will post a picture soon, cause the camera is all the way downstairs. So here's this weird mutunt, minding his own business underground, probably has no friends, and I give him the most painful fiery burning death by drowning him in scalding alcohol and he resoponds by up-chucking his innards. He's in a baby food jar for now/forever.

I am currently downloading caddyshack on liam's recommendation. Yolanda and I started watching the first season of the Mole: UK but it's seemingly exactly the same and the Mole: Australia. Same challenges and everything. Not the same outcomes...entirely. They also said at the beginning that the contestants were told they were going to be on a fictional show...


i need one.