Wednesday, April 05, 2006

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm going to be taking a three-week trip to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute starting in mid-May. The current plan is for me to spend the first week doing some collecting and field experiments at at this site, and then move to the main site in Panama City as a base for two more weeks of field and lab work.

I'm really, really geeked about this, and plan to blog during the trip with both barrels (at this blog and Stridulations) if I have time. Most likely, though, entries during that time will be short, because I'm planning to be very, very busy with the bugs. A collaborator at STRI has already sent me some samples, in fact. Like these little beauties (yes, that's a nest complete with inhabitants). And these ladies, whose sting can knock you flat for the rest of the day. Actually, the preliminary work that I've done on the bullet ants has shown me that there's probably little need for me to collect any more. The wasps are another matter. Of course, if they begin to recognize me, I can always retreat to my other project and set fly baits until the heat is off.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Bug House congratulates James Dinan and Susanne Akin Dinan on their April 1 wedding in Alpharetta, GA. It was a wonderful event, attended heavily by quizbowlers, of course. And it's always great to find a good excuse to travel to the Southeast in the early spring. (There were tiger swallowtails everywhere, for one thing. Not something you see in upstate New York on the first weekend in April, to be sure.)

There's a fair amount of travel on my schedule this spring, and I realized on the way home from Georgia that I'm not at all used to actually packing dressy clothing when I'm on the road. On quizbowl trips and on vacations, I usually use my suitcase for a storage drawer. If I hang anything up, it's usually because it got rained on. But, because I was toting a skirt, a shell, and a matching jacket, I had to unpack them, steam them, and hang them in the closet. Consequently, when I got distracted during the packing process, I left for the airport without checking the closet. Fifteen miles into the forty-mile drive from the hotel to Hartsfield-Jackson, I remembered the skirt, the shell, and the matching jacket. Oh, and my favorite self-packable spring windbreaker, which for some reason I'd also hung in the closet instead of cramming the whole thing into its own pocket as usual.

I'm an infrequent cellphone user, and generally don't have a lot of patience with people who won't hang up and drive. So, I'd like to apologize to all the drivers on Georgia State Route 400 late Sunday morning who found themselves behind a woman steering a rented Stratus with one hand, yammering into a cellphone held in the other, and narrowly missing a detour onto the wrong interchange in the process. Fortunately, Rebecca hadn't checked out of our shared room yet, and promised to haul my stuff to Toledo in her mom's car and pack it back up over TRASHionals weekend so that my skirt, my shell, my matching jacket, my favorite spring windbreaker, and I can all meet up in Austin at the end of the month.

Anyway, the trip was a lot of fun. James's and Susanne's families were wonderful, and it was great to reconnect with some of the George Washington University quizbowlers who were such terrific and friendly rivals during my playing days at Western MIchigan. Oh, and if you've never seen a scale model of the Empire State Building made of marble cheesecake, maybe we can prevail upon James to post a photo on his blog when he gets back home.