Sunday, May 30, 2010

Give Away! (Comic Book Edition)

Wow, this blog has now hit the 400 mark in terms of followers! I really appreciate everyone who has stopped by and taken a look at my ramblings. And I'd like to say thank you. In fact, I'd like to do another give away. So, since Gabriel and I will be at Heroes Con this coming weekend (you can read about that here if you'd like) I thought I'd send someone a small comics care package.

What will be in this package? Well, a Heathentown poster, for one thing, like the one pictured here (although it won't be framed):

And a copy of Spider City, the collectors edition full color 8 page comic that Gabriel and I did for the L.A. Zoo's spider exhibit. We can sign either or both for the winner. I'll also include something cool from Heroes Con, TBD this coming weekend. 

Want to win? Just comment on this post with a way to reach you and your favorite thing about comics. I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner on June 15th. Thanks again, and good luck!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back to Heroes Con (has it been a year already?)

Wow, where did the year go? It seems like it was only a couple of months ago that Gabriel and I attended the last Heroes Con!

We had a great time in '09. But this time we are officially on the guest list! We'll be there all three days too, June 4th, 5th, and 6th (just around the corner, yikes! I'd better start packing!)

We'd love for you to stop by AA-411 and say hello. We'll have copies of Heathentown for sale and Gabriel will be doing sketches all weekend long for $40 apiece. If you'd like a sketch you might want to tweet him a note; his request list is already almost full. I'm personally hoping that someone asks him for his interpretation of Frog Thor, but maybe that's just me...

In short, we can't wait to return to Charlotte and catch up with everyone we met last year and hopefully meet some new folks too!   We'll have Heathentown buttons and postcards for anyone who wants one... Especially if you bribe us with cookies. Or books featuring Frog Thor.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bridges Beyond Borders

One of my favorite things about living here in the future is the sense of community fostered by things like, well, blogs. There are plenty of horror stories about how social media has impacted our lives, but there are many ways that our lives have been enriched too. Let me give you an example. I "met" Lindsay on the handmade and vintage commerce site Etsy when I bought something from her shop. I liked her sense of style, so I started following her blog and her Twitter feed. Which is good, because otherwise I would have never found out about the fledgling nonprofit she is starting up, called Bridges Beyond Borders.

Bridges Beyond Borders mission is mentoring young refugees. Transitioning to life in the US can be very difficult. This organization aims to make it a bit easier. It pairs college students with refugee children, with the goal of aiding the kids academically and socially. Want to learn more? You can visit the official Bridges Beyond Borders blog, follow their Twitter feed, or check out their Facebook

See, living here in the future is kinda cool. I would have never known about this worthy organization if it wasn't for social media. And I certainly wouldn't have been able to tell you about it! Bridges Beyond Borders indeed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Meet the Toco Toucan

I had heard that Toco toucans are amazing birds. Now that I've seen them in person I can't disagree. They look like cartoon characters, all long colorful beak and short dark body. One wonders why they don't simply topple over at the first hint of a gentle breeze!

Looks can be deceiving though; the beak is actually quite light. Its interior is something like a honeycomb crafted from keratin (the material that also makes up human fingernails), but even so it is nothing short of incredible that the toucan's skull can support such a huge seven and a half inch construction.

Tocos are fairly common in the wilds of South America where they congregate in small flocks of about six birds. The males and females both display the outsized beak, using it to catch insects, frogs, and lizards. It is also deployed as a tool to pluck eggs from nests and fruit from small branches they couldn't otherwise access.

Despite the unwieldy shape of their heads they have evolved to rest in hollow trees. They accomplish this by turning their necks completely around and tucking their beaks along the ridge of their backs. They then turn their tails to drape over their beaks, and so transform into a small ball of feathers. As many as six birds may occupy a single wooden cavity in this manner.

Of course, there are some trade-offs to this lifestyle. Flying well is one. That doesn't seem to bother them much though. They simply hop through the tree tops. Escaping predators would seem like a huge downside here, but in fact flocks of toucans employ a little known rule of the jungle: the most ridiculous-looking animals get the last laugh. And in fact Tocos do, often surrounding birds of prey and jeering loudly at them until they become annoyed enough to leave the area. After all, they have the bigger beak.

Thanks to Bone Clones for the photo of the Toco skull!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kreative Blogger Award: 7 Things About Me

Not to brag, but I just received the Kreative Blogger Award. Okay, maybe I'll brag just a little since it was bestowed upon me by Scrivener's Retreat, a beautiful blog run by the wicked imagination behind the etsy shop of the same name. If you have a pet and a sense of humor, I strongly suggest that you visit her shop.

By accepting it, I am bound by the rules of the award. It requires me to list seven little-known facts about myself and select seven bloggers I admire in the creative arts field. So here goes...

1. My husband and I have never been without a black cat in our home. He already had Lucy, a wonderful feline, when we moved in together over 17 years ago. Later we rescued Fredo who lives with us to this day.

2. I have two sizable scars on my left hand. One is from an angry seagull who bit me when I was washing cooking oil off of him (seagulls are notorious dumpster divers and sometimes encounter old buckets of grease. Yuck!), and the other is from a spider monkey.

3. Masked and Anonymous is one of my very favorite movies. I'm probably the only person who can make this claim, and I hope it doesn't cost me any blog readers.

4. I went to a "gifted" school from fourth to eighth grade, but I couldn't hack the math.

5. My math-O-phobia made me believe that I couldn't hack any sort of real science in college. Then, in my mid-twenties, I read The Selfish Gene. Richard Dawkins convinced me to pursue a zoology degree. Thanks Mr. Dawkins!

6. I once rescued a sea lion out of the back of a police cruiser. It had wedged itself between the back seat and the front divider. It's still a mystery to me how the officers got it in there though.

7. I am slightly obsessed by the idea of time travel. Although this might be a well-known fact about me.

I will tag:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Reason to Love Coffee

Some days coffee is the only thing that stands between me and an unfortunately timed nap behind the wheel of my Miata. Other days it just makes the morning (and the afternoon) better. Pretty much any day is a day that I could wax rhapsodical about caffeine. But who knew it could also help plants grow?

Turns out, in California at least, coffee grounds are great for the soil around plants. Especially acid-loving plants like gardenias. That's because the soil in the western United States is less acidic than the soil back east, where this trick probably doesn't work very well. Hmm, I live in California. I  have lots of coffee grounds. And I have (I think) a gardenia.

Sadly, the plant is puny and doesn't want to produce any flowers.

Maybe it wants some coffee grounds? I spread some around its base yesterday.

Today, I noticed what might be buds. Then again, they might be new leaf growth. Whatever they are, they probably predate my caffeine application since I've been watering the plant more lately too. Hopefully the grounds will at least make it less of a runt? They should, since they're quite nitrogen-rich, and nitrogen is a key component of fertilizer. Supposedly they will also repel ants, slugs, snails, and cats who want to use fresh soil as a litter box.

It'll be interesting to see if this works. If it doesn't, and the plant dies, I I can easily blame the grounds and not my sleep-deprived self. Thanks, coffee!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...