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Archive for the ‘Earth’ Category

It’s late and I should be in bed, so I’ll just throw out a random hodgepodge of brain spew.

Finding myself back in my old company, which I left several years ago right after a merger/acquisition, I am somewhat amused to be plopped right back into a newly-announced merger/acquisition. If I hadn’t left, I could say I’ve worked in the same building for 12.5 years, yet have worked for three different companies. Not too unoriginal in this day and age of consolidation and the death of small companies. Sad. Interesting. Could be good. Good be bad. We shall see.

I learned of the death today of Senator Ted Stevens and, among other things, thought of the blog I wrote a few years ago about Senators Larry Craig and Ted Stevens. I can’t say that Mr. Stevens was someone I admired in any way, shape, or form. But tragic accidental deaths are sad, and I send my condolences into the ether in the general direction of his family and friends. I feel almost bad that I ended that blog referring to another anti-environment Congressperson who died tragically in a moving-vehicle accident. But only as bad as either one of them ever felt about the eradication of many many species of animals living on Earth.

Am I the only one that noted that last week, during the exact same time we had a large solar flare hit the planet, we have 6 earthquakes over 6.0 in magnitude in less than 36 hours? I check the USGS site almost every day. That is not quite normal. But don’t worry. My co-worker who specializes in geology, hydrology, and hazards just laughed at me when I mentioned the correlation to her.

It’s August 10 (yesterday was 8-9-10) and I’m pretty sure I’ve spent over half the year apart from my husband. *sigh* Even for us, that’s quite a large percentage. But I spent a bunch of time in California looking for a job while he was working in Hawai’i. Then, we both moved over here in July and he has spent half of July in another state working. He just left tonight for a 2-day class in the Bay Area. I should be used to saying goodbye. And I shouldn’t worry because I can easily spend 12+ hours at work the next couple of days. But you know what? It still sucks.

I know I’m pretty bad about spending time on this blog updating y’all about what is really going on with me. That was the original intent of the blog. But I haven’t been very good at it. Here’s an update – Sweetie and I are home-shopping. It’s fun. And slightly exhausting. And nerve-wracking. I’ve discovered what I’m sure every other house-hunter in the world has – at this point in time, I wish my Super Power was “Being Able to Mix and Match All the Best Things from Several Different Houses Into the PERFECT House for Me.”

*sigh* Tis not to be. This one has a fabulous kitchen but crap construction. This one has a pool but an ugly backyard. This one is sooooooo cute and soooooo unique, but there is no way I can fit more than one piece of furniture in the living room. This one has great inner space but is in a less-than-desirable-location. And on and on and on. Right now, I think our favorite candidate house is one with: some awesome space inside (large living area); some super-awesome funky-cool details (70’s-like entryway, room partition and fireplace (looks way better than it sounds); and an incredible backyard; but also has a small very outdated kitchen and location issues (a little too close to the freeway). I’m thinking we can live with the drawbacks. Assuming we buy new appliances. But I don’t know. Do we throw out an offer to nab it now? Or do we keep shopping around in hopes of finding something better?

Don’t know. We’ll figure it out. I’m going to do more recon – try and drive around during different times of the day and get a better feel for the neighborhood and noise. Sweetie does NOT understand me when I try and explain that I get “feelings” from houses. I’m not talking ghost-of-your-dead-dog-in-the-backyard or anything like that. I just get feelings about the general flow of a house. Dare I say energy? No, I better not. But I get feelings as to whether or not *I* would be happy in a space. And I need to listen to those feelings because, as much as I liked many things about the house my parents moved into after I went to college, I could NEVER EVER sleep well in it. Even for me, it was bad. But I would only visit. I can’t live in a house that is like that every day. Anyway. Feelings. Sweetie doesn’t get it. But it’s another check-mark in my brain. And this house may get a positive mark.

The search is still young. I’m sure I’ll have a different story to tell in a week. There’s your update for now.

Aloha and good-night.

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New Guinea is a country in Oceania, a group of islands between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia.

In New Guinea, there can be found many members of the family Paradisaeidae.  Birds of Paradise. 

From a 2007 National Geographic article “Birds of Paradise:”

Birds of paradise perch on an improbable branch of the avian family tree, the flashy cousins of straitlaced ravens and crows. They began splitting off from their bland kin millions of years ago, evolving into today’s 38 eclectic species. Of these, 34 live only on New Guinea and its satellite islands.

Fruit and insects abound all year in the forests of New Guinea, the largest tropical island in the world, and natural threats are few. Linked to Australia until about 8,000 years ago, the 1,500-mile-long (2,400 kilometers) island shared much of its neighbor’s fauna. Marsupials and birds were plentiful, but placental mammals were entirely absent, meaning no monkeys and squirrels to compete with birds for food, and no cats to prey on them. The result: an avian paradise that today is home to more than 700 species of birds.

Freed of other pressures, birds of paradise began to specialize for sexual competition. Traits that made one bird more attractive than another were passed on and enhanced over time. Known as sexual selection, this process “is to birds of paradise what natural selection is to Darwin’s finches—the prime mover,” says Scholes. “The usual rules of survival aren’t as important here as the rules of successful mating.”

Mating.  Male Birds of Paradise are all about the mating.  The colors of their feathers.  The behavior they display.  The songs they sing.  For a time in their lives – it is all about attracting a mate.  These birds put on their best plumage, strut their best dances, and sing their best songs in hopes of becoming the lucky male who is picked by the lovely but drab little female chicks.  Take this guy – the Six-Plumed Bird of Paradise. 

What extremes will he go to to impress a potential mate?  He sings.  He dances.  Would you believe he even makes the effort to clean up his home turf before strutting his stuff?

If any of you have watched the enthralling, enchanting, gorgeous, amazing series “Planet Earth”, then you have seen this guy in action.  They even have footage of him cleaning up before any lady friends arrive. 

Hmmmm….does that sound like any other creatures we know? 

Pretty impressive behavior.  Unfortunately for the lucky lady who picks this fancy bird to start a family with, it appears that most of the work and effort end with the act of mating.   The Six-plumed Bird of Paradise is polygamous and does not take part in raising the young.  All that work to make a good impression.  And then, an entirely different creature.

Does *that* sound like any other creatures we know?

I for one worked very hard to make a good impression on my Sweetie when we first got together.  I guess I did a good job because here we are – married and committed to each other for the rest of our lives.  Now, a few years into our relationship, when I go through my bad days and my low points, I still sometimes think to myself: “Don’t screw this up. ”  I worry that my bad points are too too off-putting for anyone to bear.  I wonder if Sweetie really knew what he was getting himself into when he married me.  Did I dazzle him with my bright plumage into thinking I was some kind of woman that I am not?

Which is a ridiculous thought because I went through plenty of low points during our dating time.  And he knew everything about me before he asked me to marry him.  Because, eventually, the newness of our time together wore off and we became comfortable enough with each other to display behavior that was less-than-prime courting behavior.  The burping.  The tears.  Leaving dishes in the sink.  The grumpiness. The insecurity.  His inability to remember to pull the shower curtain to ward off the damp buildup.  My inability to shut my brain off in the middle of the night.  All of it.  He knew.  I knew.  We did a little more in-depth research and soul searching than those six-plumed birdies. 

For many humans, our instincts have evolved beyond the basic “make a copy of yourself before you die” tic.  And with more complicated wants and needs comes the complications of human relationships.  I don’t know if I can ever completely shut off my occasional insecurity in relationships.    And Sweetie may get frustrated by my inability to swallow my own feelings and my endless need to talk things through with him, but I’m not like the housewives of yore – who smoothed their aprons and plastered smiles on their faces for their husbands, no matter what.   And I don’t imagine that’s what he wanted, or thought he was getting. 

At least I am able to reassure myself that I tried not to puff myself up to an illusion of something I am not.  When my feathers come down, I am an ordinary woman with ordinary foibles.  That can’t be too surprising to him, can it?  He knew what he was getting into. 

I think, for us humans, if we want our mates to actually stick around past the mating act itself, we do ourselves a favor by exposing our flaws along with our fine feathers.  In the long run, we are better able to adapt in the future if we see the real people behind our loved ones’ faces.  No guarantees, of course.  But it helps. 

But really, check this guy out –

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