Note to Creepy Crawlies Division

To: Creepy Crawly Creatures Day and Evening Schools

From: Council of Fauna, Allentown Backyard Wildlife College (BWC)

Concerning your relations with humans:

The College kindly but urgently requests you to stop trespassing on human property, and in particular in the kitchen of flat Nr. 1, where ants have been found holding foraging labs. The team leaders have been notified that the nuclear option is on the countertop and fully deployed. Members of the Ants Department should refrain from seeking entrance, for their own safety and that of their colonies. We remind you that the College does not offer an “Indoor Ants” programme, and it never will.

Furthermore, there has been a request from the College’s human benefactors for the Mosquito Aerial Programme’s buzz training and target landing trials to take place away from the college perimeter where it meets the human dwelling. Other targets for practice are available elsewhere.

While we all appreciate the Creepy Crawlies Division is numerically the largest and among the oldest parts of any BWC, and that Allentown is the new home of the brown marmorated stink bug, that should not give the Crawlies license to display such inconsiderate behavior towards others. It sours the relations with the off-campus community and gives the entire College a bad name, and destroys the hard work from Furry and Feathered Creatures in community engagement.

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Professor Bunny captured here in the glamour role of Most Favoured Furry.

The arachnids should under no circumstances enter the human dwelling. There is a zero-tolerance policy because it is apparently impossible to tell which of you might be poisonous. We have been reliably informed that every single one of you found inside will be eliminated. Even though everyone at the College knows that none of you are dangerous to humans, we regret that no amount of education seems to help with this case of rabid arachnophobia.

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A firefly taking part in the “Lighten up” action, providing much needed reading light to members of the off-campus community.

In more upbeat news, participants in the “Outside Ants” program and “Drawn to the Light: Night-time Flight Navigation” course have been commended for their non-intrusive behavior with the human visitors to campus, and in refraining from entering the human dwelling even when the backdoor opens (with the exception of a couple of bamboozled fireflies). The College hopes that other programs and departments of the Creepy Crawlies Division will follow their example.

Newsletter from Backyard Wildlife College

“More than just fluffy bunnies”

(Backyard Wildlife College, Allentown PA, est. 2017)

Newsletter June 2018

Hello all, and welcome to the first newsletter of the Backyard Wildlife College!

As some of you may know from Twitter announcements, Backyard Wildlife College (BWC) is in the process of hiring a new Visiting Assistant Rabbit following the disappearance of the colleague of Professor Bunny. This position may be converted into a tenured one if the new partnership succeeds in attracting funding for the creation of postdoctoral positions for baby rabbits.

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Professor Bunny enjoying a spot of sunshine

While it is impossible to get a grip on the current number of faculty in the Squirrel Department, the College is fairly confident that shortly there will be a number of postdoc positions added there, too, Continue reading

Mysterious events in the Backyard

I was all ready to publish the first newsletter from Backyard Wildlife College, but that is now pushed aside by the breaking news from this morning: mysterious massacre of multiple members of the Creepy Crawlies Division and vandalization of College infrastructure. This morning, it was discovered that the largest pitcher of the carnivorous Nepenthes (Sanguinea) plant has been destroyed, its contents dropped to the floor.

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Pitcher of Nepenthes plant destroyed…

Upon closer inspection, the mystery deepened, with several ants and one arachnid left dead on the leaves.

Victims of the events found on the plant; detailed picture of spider and ant on the left available on request.

The Backyard Wildlife College welcomes any information that may help shed light on these mysterious events.

The “Outdoor Ants” Program is continuing as usual; the Arachnid Department is rescheduling some classes and will be in touch with its students about these changes. The newsletter will be released in the coming week.

SMART goal* for my flute practice

*Smart goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

 

The flute is a cruel mistress (it’s a feminine word in the languages I can think of that do gendered nouns). To be more precise: she’s a harsh but fair one. She holds up a mirror and gives instant feedback on how much effort you have put in, and how focused you are. For me: three consecutive days of not playing, and the high notes in the third register become elusive; thinking of anything but the piece in front of me, and my fingers stumble in the search for notes as I try to speed up some passages. Continue reading

The power of the ever-present sticky note

I like the look of this: crossing off things on the long term to-do list.

When I moved to Allentown, PA last year and set up my desk in early July, I was overwhelmed by all the things that needed to be done. So I made a list and put it where I was bound to see it every single day: my desktop in my home office. Continue reading

Here be dragons! Hic sunt dracones*

*Dat is wat de Nederlandstalige Wikipedia als titeltje geeft voor de Engelse uitdrukking. “Hier bevinden zich draken”

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Why do Chinese dragons always look surprised? They’re awesome creatures, at the top of the (spiritual) food chain in many ways, not much can harm them, so what could possibly surprise them? Keep an eye out for them in Chinese art, Continue reading

Five years on WorPress? | Vijf jaar op WordPress?

Whaaaat? and all I have to show for is 62 posts? That’s about 1 per month on average. Happy blogiversary! (No, not an April Fool! Although the first published post took a couple of months to appear.)

Wablief? En er zijn maar 62 berichtjes in totaal? Dat is net iets meer dan eentje per maand. Dat kan beter! Gelukkig blog-verjaardag (Nee, geen aprilvis! Maar het duurde dan nog enkele maanden voor het eerste bericht verscheen.)

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This dragon is as surprised as you that it’s been five years! Courtesy of Met Museum

Of course the blog goes dormant intermittently, when work takes over. But in retrospect, most of the “lack of time” is self-created, courtesy of the (inevitable?) curse of our times: FaceBook. Continue reading

Knitting, darning and a productive conference | Breien, stoppen en een conferentie met tastbaar resultaat

It was time again for the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies, and this time Washington DC was the place to be. I am fortunate enough to live within driving distance, so I went down to catch up with friends and colleagues. I had a very productive conference!  Continue reading

A host of angels with coloured wings and the one and only Mystic Lamb | Een schare engelen met kleurrijke vleugels en het enige echte Lam Gods

Rol naar beneden voor Nederlands

When I’m on winter break in Belgium, I like to catch up on some local culture in addition to the usual Christmas and new year festivities (always involving exquisite company over equally exquisite food and beverages). For me, that certainly includes anything from the Flemish Primitives that’s on show, Continue reading