2010, I hardly knew you

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last updated.  Thank you, WordPress, for hanging onto the blog while it languished.

Vox Hortus has its own domain now, so you can find it at www.voxhortus.com or at the WordPress address.

So much has happened in a year.  I’ve finished my third field season for my research project, I’m writing my thesis and looking for a job.  I graduate this spring, into an economy that is, as we know, underwhelming.  I remain optimistic.

In 2010, I stomped grapes for Chardonnay, drank a good amount of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, read a metric tonne of journal articles, wrote some papers, took a few classes, went to Idaho, went to Washington, went on one date, took up birding, dropped the ball on knitting, took up spinning, identified 4,150 insects, learned and forgot a bunch of statistical whatnot, sat through 5 successful graduate defenses in my cohort.  I’ve made great strides in getting over my fear of arachnids.  It’s been good.  Strange, but good.

Vox Hortus is 5 years old!  There are new features in the works and lots of ground to cover in gardening, insects, science, and the natural world.  The blog has a new theme and it’s all new from here out.  Welcome back!

Mac Love, part deux

The Mac continues to knock my socks off with its intuitive ease and quiet efficiency.  I found a citation management program for Mac called Bookends and it is, in two words, the shit: basic database, fast as lightning, logical organization.  You can try it for free and store up to 50 citations before you decide (that you can’t possibly live without it).

I’m going to have to spring for Time Capsule; I’m investing a huge amount of time and PDF storage into this computer and while I trust it completely, well, you know.

For the first time since I have owned a computer – and I started with XTs and DOS thankyou – I have my entire life on a computer and I’m not micromanaging file storage and setup.  I actually use all the applications and bells and whistles.  I didn’t take it out of the box and immediately start trying to delete useless applications and circumnavigate shortcuts and paths I didn’t want.  This computer is smarter than I am, and we both know it.

I’m going to stop going on and on about it now, but I have a little tear in my eye.

Grad school is going okay.  Did I tell you I have a new computer?


ps – I’m reading the biography of Stephen Hawking (A Life in Science) and it’s quite good.  Of course I do most of my voracious reading when I’m supposed to be doing something else (likewise knitting).  The biographical bit is good as is the primer on cosmology and quantum physics.  This is a very pleasant way to learn about something I can’t possibly understand.

Defection: PC

I’m in the midst of migrating all of my files from one laptop to the new one; already I am smitten with the intuitive simplicity of the Mac platform.  I thought about the move for a long time, but then the MacBook Pros went on sale for less than half of full retail; meanwhile PCs have been giving me the business in just about every venue where I use them: the decision was made.

This morning I went to set up the internet connection and I plugged in the ethernet cord ready to tell the Mac about the network and all that good stuff, and it said, “I’ve got it – don’t need your help.  Behold!  The intarwebs.”

Everything is so much easier and I’m ready to trust a computer.  I never have before, but I’m feeling more confident in this machine than in any of the 5 computers I’ve owned in the past.  Old Faithful, a lovely Fujitsu Lifebook that weighs 13+ pounds and takes about 15 minutes to boot up: buh bye now.

Century Egg


See that black and green region on this plate?  Century egg.  Why is it that color you ask?  Well, because it’s rotten.  Why is it on a plate instead of in the trash?  Because it’s a delicacy.  You will eat some, and you will like it.

And I did, and I did.  It’s got an earthy flavor and creamy texture, and you only taste the “offness” of it a few seconds after you’ve swallowed it.  I split it with 2 other people, and we pretty much ate it with great relish and exclamations of bravado.  The tofu chaser next to it makes everything okay again.  Follow with white fungus soup and a steamed pork bun.  Yum!

I expected to have stomach distress of various kinds in Taiwan but it never happened.  In fact, the relative richness of food back here in the states after being on a pretty clean diet for 2 weeks caused the most distress.  The richest thing I ate was fried duck – served whole, of course, so we could make meaningful eye contact while I dined on his innards with a nice guava nectar.