What is it about slugs?

Specifically, what is it about stepping on a slug in our bare feet that causes us to recoil?

Physically, we are no danger, aside from the small possibility of slipping and falling. We are not expressing concern over the fate of the slug, indeed it probably barely registers to us. We are concerned with the sensation.

Why do we find it unpleasant?

Is this a learned opinion, or something hard-wired? Would a baby crawling along the ground burst into tears if he crawled over a slug, or would he be curious? Or would he not notice at all and just keep crawling?

If it is an evolved response, why? Why is it beneficial to find a squishy, sticky goo “icky”?

Sure is nice out today

I’m feeling a lot better, mentally if not physically… something about venting is cleansing.
Plus it’s a relentlessly nice day out. I feel less feverish and my headache has lessened.

I got the Erythritol that I ordered in the mail. It’s a natural sugar substitute that I’ve been reading about, 0.2 calories per gram, 60% the sweetness of sugar, and without the potential laxitive side effects of other sugar alcohols like Xylitol. I got a pound of it to try out in recipes and things, should be an interesting experiment.

There’s Something out there, in the dark…

As of late, Trouble has been afraid to go outside.

I’ll hold the door open for her, call to her, and count down from 5, which lets her know I am closing the door and if she wants to go out, she should go now… but she sits a distance away from the door, looking out but refusing to go.

Tonight, I carried her out onto the deck. She instantly ran to the door and started pawing to go back in. I thought I could hear rustling in the bushes down below. I opened the door and she scooted back inside.

I don’t know what it is… a neighbor cat, or a skunk perhaps, but something seems to have muscled in and claimed her territory.

So lately, she’s just been sitting on the carpet in the middle of the living room, for hours.

Earth Day Checklist

Someone made a list of “50 Ways to Help the Planet“…

Here it is, checklist style, with the ones I do checked off, and the inapplicable ones crossed out.

CHANGE YOUR LIGHT (I switched several lights to compact florescent, however I use dimmers, so couldn’t switch them all)

TURN OFF COMPUTERS AT NIGHT (I use sleep mode – I measured, normal operation is around 220W, sleep is 4W)

DON’T RINSE DISHES (I usually don’t)

DO NOT PRE-HEAT THE OVEN (hmm, have to try that I guess)



HANG DRY (I’d try this, but I dunno… seems like outdoors it would expose my clothes to animals or theft, and indoors it would take a lot of space)



USE ONE LESS PAPER NAPKIN (I find realistically, I only need two napkins at lunch. If I have leftover, I take it to my desk to use later)

USE BOTH SIDES OF PAPER (though I try not to use paper at all)

RECYCLE NEWSPAPER (I don’t buy them in the first place)

WRAP PRESENTS CREATIVELY (I sometimes recycle wrapping paper, though not always)

RETHINK BOTTLED WATER (I have a metal cup I use at work, when I do use plastic, I reuse them often)

BAN BATHTIME! (I always take showers)


SHOWER WITH YOUR PARTNER (sadly, I don’t get to do this often – even if I could, I don’t think it would be time-efficient on a daily basis…)

TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER (I generally take 10-15 minute showers)


USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL (I do, when I’m taking long trips)

SECOND-HAND DOESN’T MEAN SECOND-BEST (yeah, I do tend to buy a lot of stuff…)

BUY LOCAL (maybe this summer I’ll see if there’s a farmer’s market nearby)




TURN OFF LIGHTS (mostly – I do leave the kitchen light on at night, but with the dimmer way down. And there’s one light in the basement that stays on, for navigation purposes)


PICNIC WITH A MARKER (the idea here is to carry a sharpie to mark disposable cups for reuse at picnics…)

RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES (yeah, I need to do this, I have 2 or 3 kicking around)

MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE (plus I inflate my tires to 42/40 for better gas milage)

RECYCLE UNWANTED WIRE HANGERS (didn’t know I could – I just chucked ’em)


TELECOMMUTE (though not often, it’s discouraged at Staples, but I do about once a month)

KEEP YOUR FIREPLACE DAMPER CLOSED (there’s a breeze around my fireplace that should really be fixed for heat loss)

CUT DOWN ON JUNK MAIL (I did several no-junk-mail requests – seems to have helped)

CHOOSE MATCHES OVER LIGHTERS (not that I use fire much)

LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING—ONLINE (I still like having a paper phonebook sometimes)



PLASTIC BAGS SUCK (yeah, I should start using reusable bags)


DOWNLOAD YOUR SOFTWARE (eh, 50/50 on this one, sometimes I like a physical CD and manual)

STOP YOUR ANSWERING MACHINE (I don’t get a lot of messages… I really should transfer everyone over to my cell number, except I get crappy reception at home)

SKIP THE COFFEE STIRRER (though I do occasionally use a stirrer for making a white russian, but that’s like once a week)

FIND A BETTER WAY TO BREAK THE ICE (well, started to do this, this winter I used a lot of sand)


PAY BILLS ONLINE (whenever I can… a couple places don’t do that)




Spring Spring Spring!

OMG it’s sooooo nice out today! Sunny and warm, like winter is truly over…

However, in a cruel joke, I hear this weekend will be crummy.

Ah, well, I’ll enjoy it while I can.
I ate out on the patio at lunch, if I can I’ll get a walk in this afternoon.

Thanksgiving in Maine

Maine was fun. I gave Judy her Christmas presents early (an iMac and iPod Nano) and transferred all her stuff over to the new machine on Wednesday night.

Then Thursday morning, I baked a pie (for the first time) totally from scratch.
It came out pretty good, the crust was nice and flaky and the pie was not too sweet without being tart.

Click here for more pie=making photos.

We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at Mildred’s, with lots of yummy food.

Friday I went for a walk with Judy, then she patched my coat (I still need to sew the button back on, she didn’t have the right thread), and then we went through some boxes of old childhood records and drawings.

More photos of the walk.

I drove home Friday night, and when I got home, lots of surprises were waiting for me:

1. They finished paving Clark street! It’s no longer an obstacle course.

2. My new Sony eBook Reader arrived! Yes, I am a gadget whore.

3. A document from the court came in the mail – my name change went through! I don’t even have to go in to court!

4. UPS didn’t deliver my projector, I have to go pick it up on Monday. This is because UPS sucks. FedEx is so much better.

Beaches and Mountains

On Saturday I went to Old Orchard Beach to hang out with Judy, Aaron and Marcye.

I was stressed about it, for a number of reasons (see earlier post). When I got to the beach, I had no idea where to find them amongst the throngs of sizzling flesh-blobs, so I walked up and down the beach awhile, looking for them. Every time I tried to call one of them, I would get voicemail, and when they tried to call me, they would get my voicemail. I was getting extremely frustrated and on the verge of just getting back in my car and driving…somewhere, when I decided to apply a little logic. Marcye has pain when she walks a lot, so they would probably be near the boardwalk. I went back there and sure enough, there they were.

(click for more photos)

We stayed on the beach awhile, walked on the boardwalk awhile, and walked around town awhile. My cheap-ass sandals weren’t doing it for me, so I left them at the blankets and was barefoot the whole time. Which wasn’t painful or anything, but did provide a perspective I don’t often experience. At crosswalks, for instance, the white stripes feel powdery and cool. Occasionally a sharp rock would poke me, or I would see a patch of broken glass, gum, or dropped ice cream to avoid, but it went ok.

I ate pretty much crap from the moment I got there.

I hadn’t eaten yet, so I was starving when I got there around noon. Aaron had a large order of cold french fries covered in nacho cheese, so I hungrily ate that. It wasn’t very good, but I was so hungry. Later when we went for a walk on the boardwalk, I had a soft pretzel (not bad) and saw “Fried Oreos” on the menu, which I had to try. They turned out to be a lot like fried twinkies, only with oreos. I ate about two bites, everyone else had a bite, and then I threw the rest out. They were not good.

(click for more photos)

After that I was still a bit hungry, and looking about for something resembling food, all I could find was pizza. So I bought a slice and shared some with Judy. After that I was full of fat and grease and felt yucky.

After another walk on the beach, I headed out at around 4pm, and drove to Sarah’s.

Before I headed out, I called her to let her know I was on my way, and said “I need something green and healthy to eat!”

When I got to Sarah’s we had some tofu and rice in a whole-grain wrap, and a salad with sesame-ginger dressing. Yum!

I noticed my face and feet (my pale hobbit-feet usually never see the sun) were a bit sunburned, but not too badly.

The next day, we decided to go hiking, and so we headed out to Mt. Tom. We had tried hiking there once before, but got turned around on the trails, and ended up circling the base of the mountain instead of actually going up it. This time we were determined to make it to one of the observation points.

(click for more photos)

We got a little mixed up once or twice, but quickly got back on track, we went up to some ruins, and climbed an off-limits observation tower (shhh!). We had a little picnic lunch of PB&J sammiches and strawberries.

(click for more photos)

Then we went further up the mountain, to another open-to-the-public observation tower. After that it was all the way back down, to the car. None of the hike was particularly difficult, but we are both somewhat out of shape, so we were ready to rest after getting back to the car.

I thought I might have been stung by a bee, because my neck hurt, but when Sarah looked, it was just a sunburn. I had slathered my face with lotion this time, but had neglected my neck. Ow.

We went home for a nap, then out for some Mediterranean food for dinner.

All in all, a nice outdoorsy weekend.