Friday, November 20, 2009

Cultural Offerings Close To Home

There's no excuse for not seeing a Marks family member in a stage performance this weekend; whether you like the rock and the roll, or you prefer the legitimate theatre, we have a talented relative to suit your taste. On Saturday, November 21st, be sure to catch Vacancy at the Vibe Lounge in Rockville Centre, just off Sunrise Highway. That's Devon on vocals and rhythm guitar. Doors open at 2 p.m., and VACANCY hits the stage around 4 p.m. (Yes, not exactly rocknroll standard time. Perhaps AARP is sponsoring the show. But hey, it leaves your whole evening free!)
And with that free evening, stop by Temple Emanu-El on Neptune Avenue in Long Beach Saturday at 8, Sunday afternoon at 3, to see my dramatically talented sister Janet bring to life the role of Gwendolyn Pigeon in the Long Beach Theatre Guild's production of Neil Simon's magnum opus, The Odd Couple. I mentioned this to someone who averred they'd never seen The Odd Couple, not in any incarnation: not the play, nor the movie, nor even an episode of the television series. I found this hard to believe.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Sweet Gig

Were you passed over for the position of NPR librarian? Take heart, there are still some excellent gigs out there, like this one. Makes me wish I had some archival experience...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Arachnophiles Only Read On

Here now is the late (very late indeed) late-summer roundup of Spiders In The Backyard, 2009 Edition. We will be starting with egg cases, but later there will be big hairy spiders, so you are aware. This summer we had a number of Cribellate Orb Weavers (Uloborus) on this one low evergreen shrub. They build a horizontal orb web, and sit around all stretched out with their legs before and behind them in a line. Odd. Here's a shot of what the egg cases look like. Naturally, I missed the emergence. Very hard to catch these things.

Here's the Uloborus stretched out, as is its wont, in the center of the web.

Here she is, stretched out (again) to the southwest with one egg case behind her:
So that was something new and different. There were plenty of familiar octopeds, too.
Here, it was a cool day, and this guy was sleeping under a buddleia leaf just off his web.

Look at the design on this spider's abdomen. It reminds me of a woven tapestry or rug:

Click to enlarge and check out the child-like flower image on this spider's abdomen, a brown flower with two leaves on a cream background:
( I don't know what's for lunch, but it looks like there's plenty of it... )

And last but not you-know-what, here's a belly-view of a late-summer badass, the kind that build giant webs across frequently-traveled paths...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hiding In Plain Sight

Would you look at that? Do you see what's in the seed pod, beside seeds?
I usually cut down the daylilies' flower stalks before they develop seed pods, but the ones I miss have, by mid-October, been dessicated into lacy cups of glossy jet beads, like the ones here. I thought it made a nice image, with the shadow and the contrasting textures, and photographed them two weeks ago. Only now do I see.....the snail. (Make that snails. That's one in the left pod, too!) These guys get everywhere. It's not unusual to see the little critters poised at the end of an eight-foot-long willow branch that must have taken them hours to traverse the length of, from the ground to the very tip where now is being chewed up the tenderest, juiciest new growth. But really, you climbed all the way up the stalk, into the seed pod... Did it eat and fall asleep? Was it attacked by a predator and left there, an empty shell? Went looking for that same stalk and seedhead today, but it's gone; it's been two weeks of rain, wind, leaves falling, sun, rain, etc. So. Something impossible to look out for next year...