Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Helpful lists and idiot epiphanies

I'm a list maker.  I have been for ages.  It probably goes back to fourth grade when we had to write down in a small notepad everything we needed to do for our homework that night.  I remember having one with a bright green cover and a wire spiral at the top of the notebook.  The paper was bluish-white with blue lines.  (How can I remember these details but not my own cell phone number?)

Ever since grade school I have had the need to create lists of things I need to do, buy, make, read, etc.  Then I cross things off my list as I get them done, which gives me a silly sense of accomplishment.  Sometimes I even write things down that I've already done just for the sake of being able to cross them off my list.  (In retrospect, I think my listing habit has contributed to my unfailing need to plan out my life for at least the next five years, much like the ex-Soviet Union.  You can officially start thinking of me in terms of obsessive-compulsive behavior now.) 

Anyhoo, I probably make at least one list a day and sometimes I make at least two.  My lists are a jumbled mess of things related to work, stuff related to home, and sometimes inane, random ideas I put down on paper just to get them out of my brain.  Sometimes I will start a list at work, only to forget to take it home with me at the end of the day.  That's not so helpful when it's a list of things I want or need to do that night.  I just found one list that I started yesterday, but it must have gotten buried under the strata of papers on my desktop and I forgot about it.  This list has a couple of items I want for my vegetable garden, along with a few ideas for my talk at the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally next month.  It also has "banana acid?" written on it, which is in reference to whether my potted dwarf banana needs an acidic fertilizer or not (it does).  Then, at the bottom of the list, is a cryptic note that reads, "SonAP."

SonAP???  This does not ring a bell for me, but obviously I thought it would mean something when I wrote it out yesterday.  What does it mean?  A different statisical procedure to look into?  The abbreviation for a scientific journal?  Some strange acronym for a molecular technique?  I was baffled by this item when it finally hit me that I had meant to Google the plot for the movie, "Snakes on a Plane."   Talk about an idiot epiphany.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Arthropod Haiku

The NC State University Insect Museum in Raleigh recently held a Hexapod Haiku contest.   Read more about the Hexapod Haiku 2009 Challenge.  They haven't announced the winners yet, but I thought I'd share a couple of my own submissions.

Stabbing pain, hot fire!
Yellow jacket samurai 
Have found my soda can.

Ancient signals flash
Through twilight as fireflies ask,
Where are you, my love?

Limulus appears 
On muddy beaches once more.
Late spring on the Bay.

For you non-biologists out there, Limulus is the genus of the Atlantic horseshoe crab.  Horseshoe crabs are those prehistoric arthropods with many legs and other flapping appendages that simultaneously fascinated and scared the carp out of me as a little girl when I found them on the beach in late spring and early summer.  They're living fossils and completely harmless, but I love the way they lumber up on the beach to mate and lay eggs before disappearing back into the water as if they were hideous monsters from a 1950's science fiction movie.

Wikipedia has a good entry on the
horseshoe crab if you'd like to learn more about them.

Update, April 22, 2009!  I was given two honorable mentions by the judges for my firefly and yellowjacket submissions.  You can see the other honorable mentions posted here.

Now I have to decide how to include this on my CV.