Ten things right now that don’t suck

1.    Mardi gras beads

2.    500Gb external hd

3.    La Calavera coffee cup

4.    Pangea Organics lotion

5.    Adequate hydration

6.    Examples of heroism

7.    iPod (old school)

8.    Giant mega super stapler

9.    Huge window w/great view

10.  Trusty MB Pro

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O Winebringer, the sun is up

Driftwood Vineyards, very early a.m. Click on the link to see a photo (not mine) from the opposite perspective.

Pride ’08: Mighty Real

A few of you may recall that here at virgotext we celebrated Pride last year with a rather impromptu series of posts about all manner of things queer.

Well, it’s coming on that time again, so put on your marching boots. The parade starts tomorrow morning.

(image source unknown)

I contain multitudes: visual meme

Found a cool n’ different (to me anyway) meme idea over at casa de Charlotte della luna:

The concept:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your flickr name?

Go on! Give it a shot.

Hot hike

Went on a hike yesterday morning on some new land recently obtained by the City of Austin Water Quality Protection program. For the most part, it was a great hike and the acreage is gorgeous. About three/quarters of the way through, on our way back, I got overheated during an uphill climb across a ridge. Not heat exhaustion or anything too serious, just way too freaking hot, and I’d have to say it was my fault for not pacing myself and trying to go too fast. The last leg of the hike was therefore pretty tough, and I was embarrassed and angry at myself to boot. I wasn’t the only casualty — a college student got into some fire ants and had a bad allergic reaction and a fellow Master Naturalist hurt his back pretty bad. We couldn’t just stop, though. There was no way out except to hike it.

Overall, still a good day though.

It threatened rain in the morning but didn’t deliver much, just enough to make it hot and muggy.

Canopy, from on high.

Classic upland grassy savannah.

Poetry blogging: if light had not transformed that day

Effort at Speech between two people
Muriel Rukeyser

: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.
When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair :
a pink rabbit : it was my birthday, and a candle
burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.

: Oh, grow to know me. I am not happy. I will be open:
Now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music,
like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.

: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
fluid : and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
and I bent my head to the painted woodwork, and wept.
I want now to be close to you. I would
link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.

: I am not happy. I will be open.
I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems.
There has been fear in my life. Sometimes I speculate
on what a tragedy his life was, really.

: Take my hand. Fist my mind in your hand. What are you now?
When I was fourteen, I had dreams of suicide,
I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death :
if the light had not melted clouds and plains to beauty,
if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt.
I am unhappy. I am lonely. Speak to me.

I will be open. I think he never loved me:
he loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam
that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls:
he said with a gay mouth : I love you. Grow to know me.

: What are you now? If we could touch one another,
if these our separate entities could come to grips,
clenched like a Chinese puzzle . . . yesterday
I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
Everyone silent, moving . . . Take my hand. Speak to me.

Hill Country grasses photoblogging

I had the privilege yesterday to participate in a field class on identifying the Texas Hill Country native grasses. The class was held on the Onion Creek Management Unit of the City of Austin’s Water Quality Protection Lands. It was conducted by botanist and Master Naturalist Tom Watson, a Land Steward for this beautiful acreage.

Examining the stolon structure of Curly-Mesquite, Hilaria belanger

When I took the Master Naturalist certification training last year, I was lucky to have several teachers that were very knowledgeable about grasses, and grasses were emphasized all through our training. Even so, it’s a difficult subject that takes a lot of experience to fully master. At best, after nearly a year of training, there were only a handful of the more familiar species I could identify without their flowering inflorescence, which is only present for part of the life cycle. I found this class especially helpful because we spent a lot of time on learning to better identify the structural vegetative features of family Poceae.


A grass everyone is likely to become more familiar with, due to its potential as a source of ethanol: Panicum virgatum, commonly known as switchgrass.

Finally, my favorite: The beautiful Eastern Gamagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides, interesting due to the inflorescence having both separate male and female flowers. The orange stamens are the most easily recognized as they are larger and visible for a longer period of time. The more delicate stigma is visible here, in Tom’s right hand, directly above his index finger.