Friday, October 06, 2006

kinglets and kittens

I spent yesterday afternoon helping out with a field lab my all-time favorite professor was doing with her introductory zoology course, which involved measuring the webs of spiders belong to different genuses out at a local wildlife area. It was a lot of fun, though I must admit my attention wasn't one hundred percent on the students in the lab... I was distracted by the birds.

For the first hour or so all I noticed were a lot of blue jays, the occasional crow, and some turkey vultures overhead. However, as I was walking through the brush from one group of students to another, I struck gold: a mixed flock of fall migrants suddenly materialized out of nowhere in the scrubby trees around me. It was amazing.

It's one thing to drive for a couple hours to visit a wildlife area specifically known for being a staging area for spring migrants about to cross Lake Erie, and another thing to suddenly walk into a flock of migrants when you're not even supposed to be birdwatching. And it's one thing to have an experienced birder point to something moving in a tree and tell you, "That's a ruby-crowned kinglet," and another thing to find yourself face-to-face with half a dozen of them.

Kinglets. A number of them, hopping to the edges of their bushes for a look at me while I just stood there pishing quietly. Also some sparrows, wrens, and a warbler or two, none of which I got a good enough look at to identify properly (though I'm guessing the wrens were house wrens, just based on what species would be likely to be migrating through my area at the moment). After five or ten minutes, the flock moved on, and I went running to find the professor to tell her about it...

Only to find her with two students, trying to coax a pair of abandoned kittens out of their hiding place.

So I finished out the afternoon sitting on top of the earthen dike with my professor, each of us cradling a kitten on our lap. Two of the students who live in the area volunteered to give them homes. After a brief stop to show off the local bald eagle nest, we headed back to campus. All in all, a pretty satisfying way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

Monday, October 02, 2006

movie review

Okay, here is my attempt to write a coherent review of An Inconvenient Truth (as opposed to my infuriated babbling after seeing Who Killed the Electric Car?).

The movie opens with an ethereal shot of a river with mist and trees and Al Gore's ethereal, misty voice-over talking about how wonderful it is. And then it cuts to shots of Al Gore running out on stage and being cheered by people. And extreme close-ups of Al Gore looking pensive. And... I was kind of giggling. Because, you know, it's Al Gore.

But after a few minutes things get going and you get drawn in to the point that you forget to giggle at Al Gore. This film does a very good job of explaining global warming in a way anyone can understanding and showing that it's definitely not just part of natural variation, with a lot of excellent graphs my statistics professor would go ga-ga over. (He has a thing for graphs.) It's not the most sophisticated movie ever, as it's mostly just Al Gore giving a Powerpoint presentation, but that's not the point. It does what it sets out to do. And well, if there's a certain amount of "Look how awesome I am for doing all this stuff spreading the word about global warming" from Al Gore, he is doing a wonderful service, and he probably deserves his moment (okay, many moments) in the limelight.

Memorable quote (wording may not be exact): "Too many people make the leap from denial to despair without pausing to ask what they can do."

Go to http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction, part of the movie's official website, to take a quiz to calculate your own carbon emissions and find out how you can help change things. Kay? And now I must run to my music history class.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

fasting

While fasting was interesting, I'm glad I don't have to do it every day for a month.

Coming soon, a review of An Inconvenient Truth, since Zilla asked.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

just rambling

It's raining. I love being snug inside and listening to the sound of rain and thunder.

Tomorrow is the birthday of one of my roommates, the one from Pakistan. Since it's Ramadan (and she's Muslim), I told her I would fast for her birthday, so I'm going to get up at five A.M. to eat sehri with her and then not eat or drink anything all day until sunset, when she breaks fast with iftar. Is it odd that I'm kind of looking forward to it? I've never been religious myself but I've always found different religions and cultures fascinating, and the idea of trying this out to experience for one day what my roommate (who is also a really good friend) does for an entire month every year appeals to me.

I'm genuinely enjoying the whole roommate this year, now that I'm rooming with three people I'm friends with and enjoy being around. We watch TV together and take turns buying milk and bread. It's cool. It may seem odd that two girls from Ohio can coexist so well with a girl from Pakistan and a girl from Sri Lanka, but it's great fun.

Anyway. That was my pointless rambling for the day.

Monday, September 25, 2006

tv addictions

If you're going to be addicted to something, better a TV show than, say, drugs or alcohol or phone sex, right? First it was just Numb3rs, and now this year my roommates have gotten me into House, and this evening one of the roomies and I watched the premiere of Heroes, which looks awesome (like X-Men but not).

I face a dilemma, though. An Inconvenient Truth is being shown twice this week at our local theater, and a friend of mine wants me to go with her tomorrow at 9, which would mean... missing the end of House! Eek! I definitely want to see An Inconvenient Truth one way or the other, but I'd rather go Wednesday and avoid missing my TV goodness... but she can't go then. Decisions, decisions.

(And no, it wouldn't just be choosing a TV show over going out somewhere with one of my friends. I'm not quite THAT pathetic. It would be choosing one of my weekly rituals with my wonderful roommates over going out somewhere with one of my friends.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

so mad. SO MAD.

I saw Who Killed the Electric Car? with my roommate this evening.

OH. MY. GOD.

I was literally almost in tears as we were walking out of the theater, I was that upset and frustrated. Roomie and I spent pretty much the entire second half of the movie staring at the screen in open-mouthed shock at how much corporations and the government SUCK. Did you know Condoleeza Rice used to be on Chevron's board of directors? I sure as hell didn't. Roomie and I quickly came to the conclusion that she really, REALLY needs to get registered to vote between now and November so she can help get our current Republican Bush-buddy senator out of office. Because right now, my mindset is that anybody even remotely connected with this administration needs to go.

And of course, the stuff in the movie about the Bush administration wasn't even the main focus. When they showed the footage of the electric cars being secretly crushed and shredded and destroyed in the middle of the desert, and then showed the footage of the GM spokesman guy promising that all the parts from the cars would be "recycled"... and when they showed people being led away in handcuffs for trying to block the trucks that were taking the cars to be destroyed...

Y'all need to see this movie. Seriously. Now. If you're not lucky enough to have a little independent theater that show awesome films like this, you need to get your hands on it the minute it comes out on DVD.

Oh my God.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

murphy's law

If it's just after midnight on Friday night, and you're returning from a friend's room in the basement of your dorm to your own room on the third floor, and you're in your pajamas and your hair is messy and you're carrying an armload of statistics textbooks, and you want nothing more than to go to bed... you're bound to step out of the elevator to find yourself face-to-face with a cute guy you know. And not even a cute guy you know well enough to consider a friend so you don't really care that much if he sees you in your pajamas with messy hair, but a cute guy you only know slightly. From band.

Cute Guy: Hi.

Me: Hi... you're an interesting person to run into in my pajamas.

Yes, I actually said that out loud.

(And yes, I spent Friday night watching television, doing statistics homework, and going to bed by twelve-thirty.)