Highly invasive New Guinea flatworm spotted in Florida

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The more hours I spend in my yards the more I am becoming very aware and sensitive to how the native flora and fauna interplay.  I’ve tried to be careful to avoid plants termed invasive (even if they are sold by home stores to the home-owner gardener).

Beyond being alarmed by a newly spotted, highly invasive, transplant, this thing just ticks all my squeamish boxes (and I am a lot less squeamish after playing in the dirt every weekend).  This thing can climb trees!

Source: Highly invasive New Guinea flatworm spotted in U.S. – Boing Boing

Wildflowers

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It is Summer in full blast here, but before Spring let go – not long ago- I was running out in advance of the lawn-mower every weekend to collect the wildflowers that kept popping up in the middle of the back yard.  This is one day’s harvest; and they lasted longer than I expected them to.

I’m all about identification, so I looked them all up.  I had been calling the blue ones irises, but really they are Common Spiderwort.  The pink, trumpet shaped flowers would spring up within a day or two of a fresh mow and wave about a foot above the grass.  They are Rain Lily, and are, apparently, attached to bulbs that will sprout new flowers every year.  They also spread by seed.  Next year I think I am going to grow our rain lily patch.  The tiny pink flowers,  Meadow Beauty, are still going strong on the water’s edge along with some other crazy grasses that grow in ground too wet to mow over.

still brainstorming house colors

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The more time I have to mull over something the more I consider  other options.  There is a pretty, new, bright blue paint job on a house two blocks away that caught my eye and I realized how crisp blue houses always stand out in a neighborhood.  Then, a friend questioned my decision to avoid green (though I love it) because the gorgeously kept house across the street was green.  I would lean more to the avocado than the neighbors.  I like how the house seems to rise from the grass in that picture.  I also started playing around with a more obvious color variation for the chimney.  Why not, right?

Added to these mock-ups is a firming idea that I want to paint the slanted brick sills to look like slanted brick sills again.  The front door alcove is tiled in a terracotta color, so it would carry those red tones through the rest of the exterior.  This would be something I could do before painting the whole house, as is getting a screen-door insert from Old Florida Retro or Hip Haven.  Our screen door is probably original, but it is very simple.

NSA surveillance: how librarians have been on the front line to protect privacy | World news | The Guardian

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‘Librarians were the original search engine’ and long before Edward Snowden, thousands campaigned against the government violating privacy rights

Source: NSA surveillance: how librarians have been on the front line to protect privacy | World news | The Guardian

Jem, superhero

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There’s been talk about Jem and the Holograms, the movie and the comic re-visitation by IDW.  Jem is near and dear to my childhood heart and a solid evening filler from my DVD shelves.  ‘Trick or Techrat‘ is on our list of Halloween viewing every year, so I felt a little compelled to add my voice to the cacophony over the movie trailer’s laying out a to-be-successful-and-like-yourself-you-must-become-someone-else story without actual holograms.

I could re-iterate arguments on how the original Jem was empowering and the movie looks anything but, however, in thinking about just what about Jem was most important, I made an amazing discovery!  Jem is the pink fashion plate Batman of superheroes!  Consider, for one reason or another both Jem and Batman have to adopt alter egos.  They do so with pretty amazing technology and run around fighting bad people and protecting children.  They are both orphans, live in mansions, and have pretty successful real life identities.  Because of their complicated issues, alter egos included, they are ridiculously bad at romance.

Now, who would go to watch a movie about how Bruce Wayne get’s a lifestyle coach in order to come out of his shell and finally have a good relationship with his sweetheart?  No, Bruce Wayne’s story is great because of Batman.  And Batman isn’t just a handle Bruce uses on his fitness and training discussion boards, Batman is the costumed, tech-ed out, fighter of evil doers and symbol of justice.

Similarly Jem isn’t just make-up and a costume that a paralyzed performer puts on to get through the day.  Jem is a hologram extended to the entire band, misdirection that foils enemy plots, and a message to women and children a like to “Believe in Yourself,” and “Share a Little Bit of Yourself” because “Love Unites Us” and “We Can Make a Difference;”  “You Already Know” that you are “Truly Outrageous.” (Wikipedia)


LeEtta 1995 ’cause I was inspired by laughter

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I could not keep my composure while reading The Teen Years: 9 Cringe-Inducing Realizations | Wait But Why, because it is so spot on and hilarious.  And because I am human and all humans like to think they are different, and perhaps not as ridiculous as everyone else is even though they are, I dug through my stack of old journals for your enjoyment…

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I remember being excessively proud of this Jester poem when I was 15.  That memory caused me to laugh out loud and scan this for ya’ll above any other poem in this multi-color pen monstrosity.  It is not the worst thing in there.  The green inked companion poem in this picture isn’t even the worst thing in there.  I can only embarrass myself so much.

I also found LeEtta circa 1997 while I was looking.  I include this ’cause I actually like it and it seems much more than two years different, to me at least.

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Site updates

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I may not have had enough completed artwork to do an end of year roundup at the New Year, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have enough to update the website in May.

Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London

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Mapping Emotions in Victorian London is a crowdsourcing project designed to expand possibilities for research in the humanities. The project has invited anonymous participants to annotate whether passages drawn from novels, published mainly in the Victorian era, represented London places in a fearful, happy, or unemotional manner.

Source: Historypin | Mapping emotions in Victorian London

Splat

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What happens when LeEtta flips through her sketch book and is unsatisfied with the fact that she typically draws humans over and over again?

This is my theme song

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▶ The selfsearching song from The Inspector General with Danny Kay – YouTube

Before and afters

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Hello beautiful people.  I remember promising some more before and after pictures from the house, so now I’m going to give them to you.  Welcome to my 1949 original pink bathroom.  Originally, we wanted to wallpaper the bathrooms; we had some wonderful paper picked out for this one.  Then I wallpapered the back-splash of my kitchen and we decided that sometime in the future we are going to hire someone to wallpaper the bathrooms.

I was left with a conundrum:  what color to paint.  The white was too plain; it emphasized how faded the blue tiles had become (my first impression was that they were grey).  I made a mock-up to test colors by splicing some pictures we took around the time we moved.  The mock-up also helped us shop for needed accessories, like a cabinet over the toilet.

I’m quite pleased with the final product.  The bathroom cabinet is a 1952 cream with gold accents ebay find.  And I splurged on a little chalkware cat head and mermaid wall hanging.  Unfortunately, 1/2 of the light fixture stopped functioning, but getting it fixed will give us the opportunity to refinish the chrome.  There is a crack in the sink from where someone dropped something hard and heavy into the bowl which, thankfully, does not leak.  I can live with this, because I can’t stand the thought of replacing such a handsome fixture.  The glazing on some of the tiles has been damaged by product bottles over the years and the grout is varying shades of grey, because it’s not really grout, it’s concrete.

After trying different cleaners (some of which the previous owners left behind) and researching house construction methods, I realized that the tile in my pink bathroom was applied by mudding.  Mudding is the process of setting tiles into a slurry of cement and it predated wall board (which wasn’t around until 1946).  It made sense since every original wall in my house is concrete (yes, all the interiors as well), and is probably the reason why the bathroom held up so well to obvious abuse.  I have made peace with the idea that I will not have bright white grout.

Hamlet is way funnier as choose-your-own-adventure game – Boing Boing

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The world is making games that I want to play…for the first time since Strawberry Shortcake on Atari! And with seriously awesome artists!

 

 

Step into the shoes of Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet Sr. in To Be or Not to Be, a laugh out loud funny interactive tale that you’ll want to play again and again.

Source: Hamlet is way funnier as choose-your-own-adventure game – Boing Boing

Amazing utensil inventions from Australia

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I have decided that Australia is the best place on the planet to find inventive utensils.  It all began with a Kick Starter campaign for the ButterUp.  For those of you who keep actual butter in their fridge and not spreadable margarine, you are familiar with the bread destroying inflexibility of the chilled substance.  Many of you may have moved on to French butter keepers.  If you are a Floridian, you may have tried French butter keepers and found our humid, fertile environment too mold rich for this method.  You face a dilemma.

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The ButterUp is designed to make spreadable ribbons out of your chilled butter.  One side is cut into cheese grater like holes while the other side is gently serrated.  I have found it requires the right butter dish (like a traditional butter dish and not the pyrex bowl I put my sticks of butter in) to achieve the knife to butter angle that best produces ribbons. You can order these fabulous knives from Australia right now!

splaydAfter the ButterUp, what flatware collection is complete without a spork?  I tend to make a lot of chili and stew in Fall which are both too meaty and chunky for spoons and too liquidy for non spoons.  A spork seemed like the best solution, but my initial searching found only camping utensils and collapsible picnic ware.  I wanted a table top edition, something that could fit in with the rest of my flatware.  I found Splayd Utensils.

Some people say that the spork was invented by General MacArthur while he was in the pacific (“Spork’s Weird History” on Salon), others trace the roots of the spork to icecream forks and runcible spoons.  Whatever the true past of the spork, the splayd was invented in 1940 by Bill MacArthur (explanation for the General MacArthur myth?), who apparently wanted to save ladies and their tea dresses from balancing plates, forks, and knives at outdoor barbeques.  Splayd Utensils are a beautiful step in the evolution of the spork.  The straight edges aid in cutting without being sharp or dangerous when using the utensil like a spoon.  The bowl is a little shallow for good liquid retention, but it does the job.  I found a used set that, like the picture, has a very angular design.  New Splayd Utensils are a bit curvier and can be ordered from Australia.

Last, but not least, and, I suppose, not really a utensil is the  Memobottle.  This is another Kick Starter that I found answered a very specific question:  how to properly organize a bag that carries your files, your laptop, paper, tablet, etc., things that are all flat and rectangular, with a water bottle as well?  The answer is to make the bottle flat and rectangular.  I know there are many of you who never encounter this problem, who do not attend academic conferences or corporate business retreats.  You may not need this, but everyone else, all you paper pushers, should seriously check it out when Memobottle is finally made available for purchase online.

Levi Levi is at a conference, he’ll return your messages when he gets back

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And lest you think all those conference sessions were just ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,’ and ‘because detective-story-nerds:’

Key Note:  “The Evolution and Unending Applicability of Private Investigation”
Key Note Speakers:  Aleister Bean and Sean McCallister from the Aleister McCallister Detective Agency and stars of the new movie A Million Ways to Kill Your Lover, opening Thursday and followed by a pre-conference cocktail hour.
*Social Night on Friday sponsored by Blue Moon Detective Agency and Hart Industries

Jessica Fletcher -“How to Survive Becoming the Victim in Your Investigation”
Not all investigations can be conducted without coming under the scrutiny of the very person you are investigating.  This scrutiny, obvious or not, can interfere with your investigation and create a danger to you.  In this session, learn methods of assessing your position in your own investigation and minimizing personal risk without giving up your footing on a case.

D.C.I. Barnaby -“How to Solve the Case with Critical Thinking and Delegation”
Learn how to apply efficiency of action to your detective work and maximize the use of all resources and staff in order to minimize personal stresses and reach a timely conclusion.

Harry Dresden -“Using Unconventional Methods While Working with Diverse Cultures and Interests”
Learn how to adopt new and unconventional methods to succeed when dealing with challenging and unconventional clients and partners.  How flexibility and continued professional development will save your skin in a scrape.

Hetty Wainthropp -“Retirement, Family, and Business:  balancing the demands of the female investigator”
Private investigating as a woman comes with unique obstacles and challenges.  Examine what the cases of successful female investigators, like Phryne Fisher, Ms. Marple and Sally Lockheart, can teach us about managing life’s pressures while solving our cases.

Jonathan Quayle Higgins III -“Managing the Private Investigator in Exotic Locales”
Private investigators must be self sufficient, self starters.  The nature of the work eschews reliable communication and location. Yet they must be managed like any other employee, are prone to the same amounts of distraction, and subject to increased levels of danger specific to the environment and culture.  Learn tips on managing investigators with focus on exotic locations.

J. Constantine -“Dangerous Partnerships for Ultimate Ends”
Cultivating and tending relationships with dangerous people in order to build a network that will help you out of any jam.

(more…)

Roses

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My very excellent aunt gifted me with an angelface rose when we moved into our first house.  Angelface was my mother’s favorite rose, and thankfully it is also pretty hardy (though I have killed one in the past).  I planted it outside the front door next to the wild rose I found growing underneath the weeds.  It has since tripled in size and seems really happy.

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