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.

rabbit lying on the lawn

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.

img_6164

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”

IMG_4778

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.)

1975.99

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

Between the Covers, 2016 | Van kaft tot kaft, 2016

chinese primary sources from zhonghua shuju

The Green Wall of Standard Histories, and other primary sources

It’s that time of year again. Or rather, I am slightly behind the times: it has been that time of the past year again, when people make lists of everything related to 2016.

Continuing my habit from 2015, I tracked all the books I read cover-to-cover and finished during 2016 (some were started much earlier). I am happy to report that the total number has gone up! There are twelve books that can be classified as fiction, and some real classics in my list. Continue reading