Saturday, June 30, 2007


I got this beauty from Cindy's blog. It turns out that we are both alike, but I am way nerdy!
I always knew that I was a nerd and it is good to have an online quiz to confirm my status! Check it out...

Your Score: Pure Nerd

73 % Nerd, 21% Geek, 21% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Friday, June 29, 2007

I want one...

Gosh... I wish I had $600 for a new phone... This baby looks sweet!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


This weeks plant is Aquilegia or more commonly called columbines. This genus is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family which have a variety of growth forms. Most members in this family have 5 petals and many stamens with some members in this family having modified petals that form a nectar spur. There are three species found in California but many species are grown for ornamental use and can be found at your local nursery.

This past weekend I was in beautiful Park City, UT and everywhere I went these flowers were planted in gardens and flower beds. I didn't want to pick a few flowers from someones garden, so I was forced to guerrilla key (id via photos) the ones I saw. I was unsuccessful.

In this photo you can see the long spur or modified petals. At the bottom of the spur is the nectary where the pollinator inserts it tongue to lick up the delicious sugar water. As you can see they need a long tongue!
Also, if you gather all the spurs and bite them off, you can have a sweet treat. This works especially well when there have been no floral visitors to the flower. The entire flowers is edible so you can eat that too. One often finds them in edible flower packets sold at Whole foods or co-ops.
This genus are my favorite in this family. This family is very diverse in the different flower morphs and can be tricky to identify. Another member, Delphinium, also has a spur but the largest member Ranunculus looks more like a buttercup. As you can see below, Aquilegia has quite a distinct shape and once you recognise this morph, you will never be mistaken again.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

birds are out...

A few months ago I posted about how cool the environment is right now. Every day one can hear about new legislation to cut carbon emissions, websites where you can calculate your carbon emissions or websites where you can learn how to be green. For now going green is on Americas conscience and it is a welcome change. Especially for one who makes a living studying the natural world.

The other day a few friends were talking about nature in art and I don't know how it came up but they totally mentioned that birds are going out. Remember deer? I chuckled a bit. I know some hardcore birders who go on vacation to see birds and for them, birds are always in. Nature is big, even the art and fashion world. I just hope hope all this hype translates to legislation to protect, study and restore nature for the long term. I love clean water and air...

Thank you art and fashion for keeping the environment an issue in the news. Good for You! I am not sure what will replace birds, apparently mushrooms are the next big thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Clarkia rubicunda...

I collected this beauty in the hills above Orinda. The common name for this plant is farewell to spring because the flowering time is June or July. Sometimes common names make sense!!!This species is a member of the Onagraceae family. Onagraceae as a general rule have 4 petals and 8 stamens and members of this family are easily identified.

This flower was conspicuous compared to the other vegetation found at the site. All the grasses are brown and flowers such as these are easily noticed. This photo from the web captures the habit well. Notice the red center of the flower. I wonder if the pollinators are attracted to that red center?

I love this new feature of my blog. I have identified 4 plants so far. I get practice keying out plants, keep my botanical identity, and have something to blog about. Nice!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Plant of the week

Wow, I started this new feature on my blog and I almost forgot to identify a plant!!
Luckily today was a boring day at work and I was able to id this large faboid shrub I found.
Spartium junceum or Spanish Broom, a non-native plant which likes disturbed places.
I have misplaced my camera so I have to steal images from the Internet. Here is a picture of the habit it grows in. A big shrub.
Here is a close up of the flower.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The big 2000!!!

I just reached 2000 visitors on my blog! how exciting! 2000 people wasted minutes on my site. Thanks for reading.

My birthday...

It was my birthday this past Friday. But why celebrate only once when you can have a 3 day fiesta to celebrate you? Betsy was the best and planned 3 days of celebrations. it was awesome! I had no idea I was this popular! Here is a photo montage of all the cards I received. Thank you all for your gifts and love.

Here is a card from Shawn, Robyn and Tatanka...
Form Dan Fife...
From the Grovers...
From my parents...
From the Becksteads...
From Betsy...
Form Emily Bates...
Form becca...
From Erica...
And from my roommates...
You guys rock. These cards were attached to various sorts of gift cards, books and socks. Bets spoiled me the most. Thank you Bets for all you do for me!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Justice is so sweet...

YES!!!!! I cannot believe it! She has to go back to jail!!! I am so stoked! Justice was served.

I mean who calls in sick for jail? Come on!

Celebrities usually get out of most things because they can pay large fines and buy their way out of trouble. I thought this case would be similar. Good job Judge. Way to sock it to her. Maybe when she gets out of jail she will be humble and do good with all the money she has access to. Probably not.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Plant(s) of the week

In an effort to maintain my botanical identity, I decided to start a new feature on this blog, Plant of the Week. I will identify a new plant species from our field sites that I don't know. This will be helpful in:
1) learning a new plant species,
2) keeping up on my botanical keying skills,
3) having something to blog about.

So for this inaugural week I have selected two plants that have caught my eye. Both are purple and pretty.

The first is: Tragopogon porrifolius or Purple Salsify. This common plant is a member of the Sunflower family which can be a chore to id, but this species wasn't so bad. An interesting fact: you can derive a latex from the root that can be used as a chewing gum.
It is very pretty!
My next victim is a member of the Liliaceae family: Triteleia laxa or Ithuriel's Spear.
This plant species is also a common monocot found throughout the bay area. They are also pretty. Liliaceae is one of my favorite plant family because many members are big and showy and colorful.
well there you have it. I have successfully identified 2 out of the 8,000 or so plants that grow in California. Only a few more to go and I can lobby to change my title back to botanist!

Friday, June 01, 2007


It is official. I am a professional now. I have business cards. I can network, generate business, and win a free sub at the sandwich shop in thier weekly drawing! I have arrived.

The only problem is they say wildlife biologist on them. I am not sure if I qualify for that title but it does have a nice ring to it.
So please contact me if you have any questions about snakes or snake related accessories.
Thank you for your time.