Friday, August 29, 2008

Cool. Wierd.

It'd be so easy to make this blog all about fringe music and cool You Tube videos. I'm tickled to have found both in one. In a rare moment of weakness induced by an evening of wine tasting and a carafe of roses, I'm posting. If you haven't laughed yet today, here's your chance...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If the shoe fits...

A tenebrio beetle (adult form of a mealworm) on my shoe. SO cute.

My most recent experience with educating the public came the other day NOT while at work, but when I went to the mall to buy shoes. I was looking for a pair of dress sandals, something comfortable, I told the lady, because I'll be doing a lot of walking in grad school.

"Oh, grad school?" she asked. "What subject?" And when she heard bugs, she and the other sales lady launched into a full blown story of their cockroach problem. "We've had people come out and spray... But it didn't do anything!"

And that launched me into a full blown discussion on integrated pest management (IPM). They...were...fascinated. They'd never heard of IPM. They asked a ton of questions, repeated the advice and steps I gave for remediation like it was an incantation, and wrote down what they couldn't remember. It was great. Then they began asking questions about using IPM methods on pests in and around their homes. They seemed so relieved to know there were other options, ones that addressed the source of pest problems and nipped 'em where they start. They couldn't wait to go home and try out some new approaches to long-standing frustrations.

I looked down and realized I was still in the shoes I tried on more than 30 minutes prior. So comfy I didn't even realize it. How 'bout that. Given half a chance, they sold themselves... Just like IPM!

I'll miss my job in Arizona. But it's nice to realize I don't have to leave the work behind when I move to Oregon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Kidding

I got this link in my inbox the other day: It's for a product called "The Mosquito" which is supposed to deter loitering youth. I thought it was a gag -- shared with me, appropriately, because I work in pest management. Kids as pests. Ha, ha, cute (kinda).

I went ahead and clicked on the site. As I looked over the product details, I kept waiting for the "...gotcha!" moment. It never came. Dry humor, sure. I dig that. But clicking further I discovered they even list phone numbers for product ordering and links for media coverage. I followed up on both in a state of complete agog.

Could it be? An audio device geared to deter loitering youth? That's legal? That emits a sound which adults over 25 yrs. cannot hear?

True, true. True. And true. Amazing. At $1400 bucks a pop, it'd have to be.

{Related FYI: this product is called the "Mosquito", but it is not for mosquitoes. Devices that are designed to deter mosquitoes by emitting an ultrasonic or non-ultrasonic sound are bogus. They've never been scientifically proven to work. ...Though someone's buying them because new ones keep coming out. Guess quick-fix technology is too sexy to resist.}

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Olympic Moment

I don't follow wrestling, but I do follow the Olympics. This is my favorite Olympic moment and story. Even if you know how it ends for Henry Cejudo, the video is just great.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Sky

A bit blurry, as were my eyes for this 5:40 AM photo.
It'll still do for a Sky Watch Friday post.

Still in monsoon season, this front was a teaser
for all but those in Northern Arizona.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Velvet Visitor

Do blondes really have more fun?

This is an ant... Of a velvet variety. Velvet ants belong to the family mutillidae. There are over 150 species in North America, several dozen live in the desert southwest. My favorite VA looks like a rolling ball of cotton and even walks in a hurried, erratic fashion. It's also compared to thistle down, or a creosote seed blowing in wind. Female velvet ants are furry and scamper about on the ground, doing their business during daylight hours. They also pack a painful sting. I've been fortunate enough to avoid discovering this.

The males fly, do not sting, and apparently look very little like conspecific females. I've never seen a male, but I've encountered plenty of females in my travels around the country, and each individual was equally captivating. Perhaps it's the striking colors that say "watch out" or their covering of fuzzy hair (setae) that says "I'm awfully cute". I can't figure out which message draws me more.

This female was found on my second story living room floor. Odd. She has very short setae and subdued coloring compared to other VAs -- quite unlike any other I've seen. After some light poking and prodding, she proved herself every bit the feisty and fast VA. I could not resist enjoying her before sending her back outside.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Still, I'm anything but

Still some regular flooding around the valley of the sun with monsoon season. Still lots of alate (winged/reproductive) termites after rains, and the toads are still hoppin'. I'm still planning on stinging myself before leaving town. And yep, I'm still going to graduate school in Oregon. Still moving next month. Still a lotta work. Lots of stillness. I'll post as I can...