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September 2002 Archives

September 23, 2002

Why Soldier Ant?

Carrying on a proud tradition of superhero origin stories, I feel compelled to explain myself. So, why 'Soldier Ant'? (Especially when 'Worker Bee' is probably closer to the mark.)

First, it helps to understand something about trophallaxis, the process whereby ants in a colony balance the group's nutritional needs via shared mutual mastication and digestion.

Adventuresome, far-ranging ants will bring bellies-ful of exotic treats (an interesting leaf, perhaps, or a piece of fallen berry) back from their constant perambulations -- and vomit said treats up to share with fellow ants. (Ants who, themselves, may be purging up some different foodstuffs -- kind of an ant-equivelant of "Show me yours and I'll show you mine.") Each ant benefits from having access to a wider variety of nutritional content, and the colony as a whole thrives and survives.

Ants invented Reesie-cups

An interesting side-effect of the whole process, however, is that more than just food gets passed along. Trophallaxis is also, it seems, a very effective means for ants to transfer Information. Information about potential danger, a potential windfall, or just information about the lay of the land: what's been traversed, what was found, and where to find it again.

So there you have it. Welcome to my vomit. Please leave some of your own.

Bottle Cube, The Movie

You've seen the stills, now see the bottle-diving exploits in full motion, set to a snappy pop soundtrack, even! (No rights acquired, so ... shhh.)

(That itsy-bitsy type at the end? It's a faux-disclaimer -- see if you can guess what it says. Or leave a comment with your own suggestion..)

Update, 11/29/2007: Changed the link to point to YouTube, instead of the old, defunct .Mac location the movie was previously hosted at.

September 24, 2002

Ohio's Nuke with a hole in its head.

I used to drive by the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant on trips to Put-in-bay during my years in Bowling Green. (It turns out I was comfortably, unknowingly, living well within the 50-mile Emergency Planning Zone for those 6 years.) You can see it squatting in the distance, hugging the Lake, from miles around. From a distance, it even looks oddly comforting.

Up close, it's anything but.

It seems that Davis-Besse has become something of a poster child for the imminent breakdown of our country's (indeed, the world's) aging nuclear facilities. "As Davis-Besse shapes up as a test case for a deteriorating industry, a nervous public, in northern Ohio and elsewhere, may be increasingly unwilling to roll the nuclear dice."

Obviously, now that I'm back in Ohio (and no longer naive enough to believe that nuclear radiation will play nice and pitch its tent in a strict 50-mile radius around a failed and flawed facility) this is mildy discomfiting.

(Courtesy Robot Wisdom.)

September 25, 2002

House blog - managing your life in a blog

I'll expand a little more on this later, but I wanted to put it out there. A very compelling use of the blog format (and one I'm sure others have stumbled on already) is that of a 'Home Blog.' I've been keeping a running account of my family's household matters for ~4 months now (much longer than I've been doing this public blog.)

The categories on our home blog? Bear in mind, these are slanted toward our particular context, of being new homeowners, recently moved from a small apartment in San Francisco to a single-family home in Ohio. They are:

Customer Support
<Dog> (Name removed to protect anonymity)
Home Electronics
Lawn & Garden
Service Calls

These could probably be tightened up a bit, but they've sufficed so far.

Most-used category so far? 'Customer Support' serves to track the constant and constantly grating conversations with Earthlink, credit card co.s, etc. etc. (Most entries are just infuriating accounts of how much time I spent on hold and the various half-truths, deflections and deferrments that I receive in lieu of answers.)

I've not yet had a customer-support issue rise to the level of Turbo-worthiness, but a couple have come close. These detailed logs give me real peace of mind, knowing that - apparently - the customer relationship records that I keep seem to be better than those of most of the companies that I deal with.

Oh, and suffice it to say that the blog is hosted on a local network only, with due security precautions taken. (For additional security, I generally don't post any salient, telling details on the blog -- no account numbers, passwords, names (other than customer service names, which I strongly suspect are made up anyway.))

Like I said, more on this later...

September 27, 2002

Signature Song

I went with a couple of friends to watch Columbus hometown hero
Tim Easton last night. He's been playing Wednesdays all September at Andyman's Tree House.

I've seen Tim a couple of times now (twice lately, and several times in the early 90's with his old band the Haynes Boys) but somehow managed to never hear him perform what I would consider his signature song, "Bitters Past" (Which is weird considering - I'm told - he plays it at every show, hence the "signature" aspect I guess.)

It was a great, loose reading of the song -- Tim even gave a nod to the song's inspiration with an extended segue into "Norwegian Wood" (time to brush up on your Beatles lyric book, though, Tim.)

But a couple songs later, Tim did an eff-ing incredible performance of "Carry Me", off of his last album, The Truth About Us.

Tim Easton - The Truth About Us album cover

Robert and I agreed: Tim might have a new signature song on his hands...

SHJ Sited in the States?

You've probably heard of Spring-Heeled Jack, the white-oilskin wearing, madly laughing, blue-flame-spitting demon that terrorized Sheffield for the greater part of the 19th century. Did you know that he reportedly came to the US following his dissapearance there?

I've always kind of admired Jack's style. His preferred attack? The aristocratic bitchslap. And his preferred escape? Bounding from rooftop to rooftop. Man, if I could get away with that combo, I'd've left a trail of stinging red cheeks in my lifetime, lemme tell you..

Hand of Glory

Here's a nice quick recipe for making your very own Hand of Glory, although I personally wouldn't recommend it.

"Preferably the hand was cut off during the eclipse of the moon. Afterwards it was wrapped in a shroud, squeezed of blood and pickled for two weeks in an earthenware jar with salt, long peppers and saltpetre."

September 28, 2002

The Green Man

Here's a nice gallery of architectural elements from England featuring The Green Man.

The Green Man is a common motif in European architecture -- he's widely believed to be a pagan figure dating from antiquity, said to represent the fertility of the soil.

Many have noted the similarities between the Green Man and the Egyptian resurrection god Osiris. (Plenty of others have extended the comparisons to our own Judeo-Christian resurrection god Jesus, but that'll be a whole 'nother posting.)

It's a distinct possibility that the Man is Osiris himself. Persecuted underground by the Roman empire and the early Christian Church, Osiris-worship has ever since taken the form of architectural homage, good-luck gravings, and sprightly garden-gnomes.

The Green Man is just one of those small, rare things that makes our world that much richer.

About September 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in September 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2002 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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