Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To each: one personalized Hell

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the second Fall semester I won't have to care about on an educational level. It's interesting to have my professional life divided on the same basis as my academic life had been for the previous decade, but I'm not going to complain. While I may end up doing the same thing year in and year out (so far not the case; see below), I do at least get to experience a different day sometimes. The summertime was a welcome break for me, despite the fact that a great deal changed while I was doing ordering and inventory stuff:

-Jen is no longer working in Classroom Support. She was second place for longevity of people who weren't there from the beginning.
-I am now doing personnel for CSP, strategic vision stuff, and, as time allows, the day-to-day schedule. I am also our resident filemaker brain and will still be responsible for entry of data into state's inventory. I don't think I'll be doing the day-to-day schedule all that often.
-In a bizarre twist of fate, we now have a person hired to do exactly the same thing I was originally hired to do before Jen decided she needed to be half time to make life with child easier. Apparently, my position was important, despite all of the changes it underwent.

I've actually had to talk so much in the last two days that I'm not even sure my voice is going to work tomorrow. So very, very unnatural.

Recap of the first year overall, though? Hired right before a paid holiday, converted to exempt status just after my six month probation period ended, recieved a job title change to go along with that; polished up the academic year with a few trips out of state, and returned to what seemed like a relatively slow buying period. President Mote approved my pay increase for this year, I moved into my own office and got my own nameplate and business cards.

Why do I say it's possible I won't end up doing the same thing forever? Well, it's been made apparent to me that my job title might end up changing once again in the next 12 months. I don't think any moves or changes in responsibility will occur, but with the front desk position being a contract, we've given ourselves the chance to identify whether or not what we've developed is a working formula. I guess if it turns out we've done well, I'll change title again. That would mean more business cards and probably not a whole lot else.

Do you know why I have trouble believing that? I thought for the whole first 6 months I worked for the university that nothing that was happening to me meant a whole lot; meanwhile, I've gone from financially "oopsed" to "oh look, now I can afford to take leave constantly to make the world a better place." I can go out and see movies when I want, and I don't even have to do that at the crappy theaters in Columbia. I can think ahead to December, about what that trip to Utah will hold for me.

I do know what all of the above means outside of the work context, though - I can consider myself content, if not happy, and being able to say that makes me smile somewhere on the inside.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


zoom zoom

I only used three lenses while I was out hiking around today - the three DA zooms. What I find interesting is how well the 10-17 fisheye works for capturing outdoors scenes. If you can pass over the "less wise" shots involving a high degree of tree distortion, it does really, really well when it comes to capturing scenes that are simply too wide to get with an (affordable, anyway) rectilinear lens.

What's also nice is that, even in the face of an f5.6 max, the 50-200 can catch nice identification shots of birds when used alongside spot metering. I don't think most people who complain about how much light it needs (or really any 200ish f5.6 lens) have ever stood around and had the patience to get whatever they're trying to shoot to move into the light. Of course, not everyone has that kind of patience, nor are we always afforded the luxury of the time for it. Whatever, though - today, I didn't have that problem.

Of course, part of this was dictated by circumstance; it was too humid for me, and I foolishly wore two shirts. I think this is the first time I've ever emptied my water supply when out walking around. I didn't have the desire to do a lot of lens changing to suit specific needs, nor did I have anyone with me to help deal with gear nonsense. I actually left my M 135 and M 50 lenses here to make the pack balance to the bottom for once. I also wish the light had been better - the sky gave quite the beating to the 16-45 and 10-17 when it was visible. Oh well; 2 dollars in park fees and 750 dollars in glass well spent.

McKeldin Rapids


This is a map of where I walked today. A bit over 2.8 miles, counting the "thing" by the bend in the south branch there.

Here's the thing. Some selections:


This is where the north and south branches of the Patapsco go to die.

moody caterpillar

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

True bugs

true bug

I have to figure out exactly what I found, but it's a true bug like an assassin. Check the proboscis mouthpart underneath there... this with my 50mm macro and external flash, f11 and 1/16th output. It was hanging out on the house probably 8 feet off the ground; I had to hold the camera out above my head and look at the center crop of the viewfinder to check focus. Kind of fun, actually!

Update: it's a long-necked seed bug. I actually sent a resized crop to what's that bug? because the only other picture they had of one was a very noisy silhouette of it; as they said, though, it was distinctive enough to identify it anyway.

Double update: says Dan of WTB:
Hi Nat,
Thanks so much for providing our site with this much needed image of a
Long Necked Seed Bug in the genus Myodocha. BugGuide has many images
of this genus.

Picture's up on the True Bugs 5 page. I'm helping the Internet!

in other news...
Sadly, the rubber hand grip on the side of the camera has started to detach. I use it too much, use it outside too much, and use it in changing temperatures and humidities too much. Rubber's stretching and the glue is failing.

Glue brand suggestions?

Monday, August 20, 2007

So very cool

hummingbird moth

I made this one a lot bigger because I think the subject is quite cool. I haven't seen a hummingbird moth since high school, and ours were bigger and much less hyper than this fellow. He was going around, maybe half a second at each flower, all over the planter by the bus stop across from St. Mary's hall.

Caterpillar update: I found a third on the porch right after I moved the one from yesterday up to the tree.

Sunday, August 19, 2007



I saw one of these fellows on the tree out behind my house. I only found a total of two of them, but they had done a pretty effective job deleafing maybe a third of the branches low on the tree.

Yep. There's a little jumping spider at life size, the caterpillar near the house is a little more than half-life.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Patapsco Valley


doom cicada


I found a place along the river where the bottom is covered in tiny snails. It was somewhere between 3 and 4 miles of walking, given the backtracking I ended up doing, but I think it was worthwhile.

One of the things that continues to amuse me about my approach to hiking is the amount of stuff I find by just slowing down and paying attention. The nymphs along the river, or the bed of snails... most people probably don't know about that stuff.

The only birds I saw were a tufted titmouse and some turkey vultures. I heard another that didn't sound familiar, a high pitched single note, starting out, going down slightly, and then raising in pitch. I'll have to figure that out on Monday.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Alien life form


For comparison's sake - that is 1.4:1 of one kind (actual spider) of daddy long legs... this is the harvestman kind at three quarters life size:


I can only think of one person who would actually enjoy this post for the subject matter...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sometimes things feel right


What I wrote here before was stupid.

I'm changing it to "I like it when things feel like they're going well."


I like it when things feel like they're going well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One Art


This is the first inoffensive thing I've seen in the ASY main ... cavern? ... in quite a long while.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I built a something

I turned this:

into this:

and then put the right pile together into this:

Cost me all of 20 bucks, and 10 of that was the drill bits I didn't have any of when beginning. The wood on the left in the second picture will be zip tied onto my deck so I can mount my bird feeders properly.

... Yep!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Call it "reasearch"

fennec fox
The fennec fox.

rock cavy
The most awesome rodent pose ever, thanks rock cavy!

these things
Flowers and a hydrant, more a study of the colors than the subjects.

Bonus! You'll also find the fisheye'd cat.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How thoughtful


It was just sitting on that branch with its wings held downward for hours. I don't know if it was still there this morning, though, because the dog was trying to kill robins.

Monday, August 6, 2007

uhhh... why not?

cave cricket

I found a little cave cricket.

You can actually see the hair on its posterior... uh... horns? I don't know what they do or why they're there, but they have hair in the full-size version.

Don't worry, my next picture will be of the dog being adorable. I hope.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Big little spider


It's fun what you can do at 10:30 at night with a flash and two macro things.


Fans at night.

Am I at risk?

Or do the two fans I use cancel each other out?

Perhaps there is a swirling spherical vortex of excess oxygen stored in the center of my bedroom between the two fans.

So! If you need extra oxygen, you know where to find it.

Actually, I wonder how much oxygen is bound into ozone by the electric motors in each. It can't be much, and it's probably unstable to begin with, but it has to be there.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Playing catch-up


You can tell I've been cooking a lot because there aren't very many implements left in the blue implement thing.


This jar has been around forever. The Lady Bear used to house oreos.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Question for the readership

Does anyone know or remember if there is a more advanced name for the criminological theory regarding actions and their returns with regard to someone's self-interest? i.e. "I'll only help you rob that bank if it's worth my while."

That was so totally CCJS 105.