The Bird You Cannot Change

Some of you may already know this. I work part-time as a mother bird now. I got the job about a week ago, although I wasn’t given the choice. I suppose one could say I was assigned to the job. Appointed, even. It’s a little weird because the job is illegal in the state of Alabama. I probably shouldn’t even be writing about all this, but if anybody reading this honestly feels the need to turn me in for respecting life and attempting to do so as legally as possible while still technically breaking the law, then they’ll be too late anyway because tomorrow the birds will no longer be in my care. Come at me.

It all started when a chipper little brown bird chose to build a nest and lay her four tiny eggs on my doorstep. I don’t mean in a tree in my front yard or in my shrub beds. I mean she literally built her nest on the wreath that was hanging on my front door. The first bird hatched on or around April 23rd and the last one hatched about a week later. Three little birds to make Bob Marley proud and one more to grow on. Fresh out of the nest, they looked like miserable fleshy insects. Baby birds, much like newborn humans, are positively hideous but in an adorable way that you can’t help but croon over. Their eyes are dark bulbous tumors that grow awkwardly on the sides of their tiny faces. They’re wrinkled and veiny. Their heads are too heavy for their wormy necks. They writhe around the nest like something that should have died weeks ago. Damn, they’re cute.

Momma bird was a good, loving bird. She kept the nest always neat and tidy. I barely got to see a bird hatch before she showed up to clean up the shells. She was always there at night to tuck them in and keep them warm. Best of all, she never dive-bombed me or tried to peck my eyes out when I would pay the little hatchlings a visit. I had faith in momma bird. She sat in a tree and called at me until I eventually learned what her particular call sounded like. A bit of light research and few Youtube videos of various bird calls would eventually reveal that momma bird was a common house finch. I thought she would always be there for them. Hell, even poppa bird stuck around for a while, which is unusual in the animal kingdom. I was witnessing the miracle of a loving family fit for a Disney movie. Then, tragedy struck.

May 5th (Cinco de Mayo, yo) was a cold and rainy day unfit for the season. It had been raining all evening. The air was chilly. I didn’t bother the birds all morning because the last thing I wanted was to spook momma bird away from the nest on a day like this. I was always diligent about making sure they were left alone when they needed to stay warm. Around 3:00 pm, the rain stopped and I opened the door to receive a package. There were no hungry cheep cheep cheeps coming from the nest, which was unusual as the birds had all developed noisy chirps and could be heard from my bedroom by then. I peeked in on the nest and found four wet, struggling little birds. One of them, the biggest one, was entirely too still. I had never touched them before, so I thought long and hard about what I would do next. I looked over at the tree. Momma bird never called. Apprehensively, I stuck a finger into the nest and stroked their heads. The oldest was dead. Rigor mortis had already set in. He was long gone and there was nothing I could do to help. The other three were icy cold and struggling to take breaths. It took me about thirty seconds to shut the door and say “she’ll be back soon, I shouldn’t intervene” before I realized a bird as tidy as the bird I knew would never leave a dead baby in the nest for so long. Momma bird wasn’t coming back.

It’s time for a pop quiz! What would you do in my situation?

A) Nature is brutal. Leave them to die in peace.

B) Spring into action and try to save the remaining birds with what little time and few resources you have available.

C) Call an animal rehabilitation center and hope that they’ll be there in time.

If you know me at all, you know very well that I went with option B. Those birds were fighters. They were still alive with a dead brother in the nest, wet, and frozen. They deserved a better chance. I don’t even want to talk about option A. Option A is for idle bystanders who can sleep at night knowing they could have done something to help and didn’t. I admire that quality, but I don’t have it. Why didn’t I go with option C? Well, it seems like a sensible option if you have any faith in the promptness of animal rescue services. It’s not their fault they’re underfunded and understaffed. I don’t blame them at all. But I’ve called Madison Animal Control more times than I can remember. Not only are they not prompt when you need them, but half the time the phone will go unanswered. This was not the time to be a law-abiding citizen. The law sucks.

I plucked the nest from the wreath, which was a surprisingly laborious task seeing as momma bird was an expert weaver and had done everything short of cement it to the door. I carefully removed each live, floundering little chick from the nest, but left the dead baby inside. That nest would be his grave. The rest went into a fleece lined shoebox under which I had finagled a space-heater. It was not easy and I hadn’t even the most basic supplies to make this rescue possible, but I was determined. Maybe I’m a little batshit crazy, but you can’t say I’m not resourceful or resolute. I watched them curl up in a desperate attempt to get warm. They were pathetic, scrawny little things and severely dehydrated. I googled about 400 different things about caring for infant birds, all of which insisted the first step was “Don’t do it, it’s illegal.” Eventually, I found some genuinely helpful forums frequented by licensed breeders and was able to come to a conclusion. Pedialyte and Gatorade are both perfectly safe to administer to hatchlings in an emergency. So I warmed up a couple of ounces of blue Gatorade, filled an eyedropper, and dripped some into each bird’s wrinkled beak. Drop. By. Painstaking. Drop. It took forever, but soon the birds were beginning to actively lap at the drops of Gatorade. It was a goddamn miracle. They began to move and chirp again. Whatever I was doing, it was actually working. What now!?

I made for the nearest PetSmart in a terrible hurry. I hadn’t showered and my clothes were unfit for being seen in public. I was stressed and desperate. Is this what motherhood is like? Inside PetSmart, I perused the bird aisle, hoping it had all the answers. I wondered if it would be wise to ask for help, seeing as I was already midway through committing a rather ridiculous crime. I found a large jar of what looked like protein smoothie powder but was labeled “baby bird food formula.” Bingo. I read the label. In bright red letters, I was greeted with a most disheartening message. [DO NOT FEED TO WILD BIRDS.] Well, shit. I looked at the associate. I looked at all the bird seed packages labeled “For Finches and Canaries.” How bad can this formula be if the bird seed packages are perfectly safe for caged birds that would otherwise be wild? I took the leap and asked her if this formula was fit for finches. Affirmative. I asked her if all I need to do is mix it with water. Also affirmative. That was all the information I needed. Wild or not, a bird with some form of nutritional sustenance is better than a bird starving to death. I bought the formula and a syringe and headed home in hopes that the chicks were still alive. They were.

Over the next several days, I fed those birds every three hours religiously. I made sure their shoebox was warm and toasty. I cleaned their poop and gave them Q-tip baths when their faces got dirty. I even went out and bought a dedicated carrying box and a heating pad as an upgrade from their living conditions. They began to sprout feathers and wings. Overall, their condition was improving. I was doing a pretty good job. I could tell them apart now, and even gave them silly little names. I went with Atticus, Scout, and Boo Radley. They’re finches, you see. You understand the reference. (I know Boo Radley is not officially a Finch, but that’s the name that stuck. For some reason, Jem didn’t occur to me.) These birds were my pride and joy. Then, more tragedy struck.

I lost one. Atticus. The oldest of the three remaining. How fitting for the character. Did I curse him with a bad name? Did I set him up for failure? He died so quickly and so randomly. It’s absurd. I was just feeding him one day. He was a brawny bird. Eager and motivated. He was already beginning to fledge. His wings were coming in strong. I don’t know how it happened. He thrashed about for several seconds, keeled over, and died. Just like that. He fell limp. His eyes closed. For the rest of the day, I felt as if the loss of one bird represented my utter failure in everything. Incidentally, it was my graduation day. I should have felt proud, but I felt downtrodden. I should have been celebrating, but I wasn’t. I wept all day. Like a big, blubbering idiot. An idiot who cared. A lot.

I decided to pour all my energy into saving the little ones. I called every animal rehabilitation center in north Alabama, hoping to give them a chance at a normal life. They were full. They didn’t take birds. They didn’t take songbirds, only raptor species. Failed attempt, after failed attempt I began to think I would raise these birds to adulthood. What would I do with a week-long beach trip coming up? Would I take them with me? Would I have to feed them in the sun and sand, every two hours? Would I even be able to enjoy my trip? It didn’t matter to me. This was my responsibility now. I made that choice days ago. Then it hit me. We’re driving across the entire state of Alabama. Surely there must be a wildlife center somewhere between Huntsville and Orange Beach with room enough for two barely-fledged finches. I made a list and began making phone calls once again. Sure enough and to my utter relief, Oak Mountain State Park called me back. They would take the babies and raise them. They would be happy there. It’s a state park. The land is protected. They’re located far from the city, where the birds could live and thrive just as nature intended. Without missing a beat, I told them I would be there on Saturday.

So here I am today. Still caring for the same little birds that appeared on my doorstep, singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true. Their wings have come in beautifully. They flap instinctively when they get excited. Soon, they’ll want to fly. It’s Friday, and tomorrow I’ll be packing up all my things and leaving them with the people who were made to do this. I don’t want to give them up anymore. I’ve grown attached, but it would be even more selfish of me to keep them. They’re wild. As wild as the warning on the baby bird food formula. If my goal when I rescued them was to give them the opportunity to live their lives, then keeping them in a cage would be hypocrisy. It’s time for the birds to be birds.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.
— Maya Angelou

The Polyester Rite of Passage

It finally happened. I graduated. I can officially say it now. I’ve got the paper and everything. So, why don’t I feel any different?

You know what? That’s a lie. I do feel different. I feel as though I’ve been hit by a train. It’s something about big glamorized ceremonies that makes my hair curl and not in the cute way. I completely understand how important graduation (or “commencement” I guess) ceremonies are. It’s a tremendous accomplishment that not everybody has the privilege to achieve. I firmly hold that anybody who manages to meet the extraordinarily arduous (and sometimes legitimately challenging) requirements for any diploma should be recognized and presented proudly to their friends and family. I don’t intend to belittle the importance of graduation. I intend to explain why I never felt particularly inclined to bask in all its glory.

First of all, it took me eight fucking years (including a three year hiatus) to complete what is normally determined to take four years. Now, I know that’s a superficial reason to reject pride. Most people don’t complete a four year degree in four years. But at this point, I’m nearly 28 years old. I’m not personally proud of changing my major three times before deciding that what I really need is a Bachelor of Arts in English. I respect the English major and I know a lot of people who also respect the English major. That being said, I know more people who don’t respect the English major. You know the stereotype because you’ve heard it a million times. The tale of the English major who spent four years studying Charles Dickens so they can properly craft a Grande White Chocolate Mocha in their professional life. It doesn’t offend me because I get it. In an STEM world, the humanities are cast aside to make room for more useful things like vaccines and renewable energy. It makes sense, doesn’t it? What people don’t realize is the humanities are responsible for getting us where we are technologically. I won’t get into all that boring history today, but I will find the time to tell you all about it. We’ve got all the blogging time in the world. My point is, not many people care about a BA in English. Why should I celebrate my triumph with a bunch of people who don’t give a shit? The answer is, because there is a handful of people who do give a shit. The aforementioned family and friends? The graduation ceremony is for them, not for me. It took a surprisingly long time for me to come to terms with that, but I eventually found inner peace.

Okay. It took me forever to graduate. So what? Well. That’s the other thing. Graduation doesn’t mean much to me because I’m already over 1/3 of the way finished with my Master’s degree and I’m pretty much barreling straight into the rest of it after this. The BA is a checkpoint. Checkpoints are cause for a little celebratory jig, but do I really need a whole musical number? What if Sonic the Hedgehog came to a screeching halt every time he hit one of those checkpoint diddlybobs because Tails and Knuckles strongly believe it warrants a fucking coronation? I know it’s not the same thing, but that’s how it feels. Even if I tragically drown trying to retrieve golden rings from the bottom of a lake, I don’t get to go back to my graduation and try again. I’ll just stay dead. In that regard, graduation isn’t so much a checkpoint as much as it is a very loud and brightly lit roundabout.

In all seriousness though, I honestly hoped to do the ceremonial walk once and for all when I complete the requirements for my MA. I felt that it would be pretty redundant to go through all that hassle for something that I can do in just one more year with far more dignity and self-importance if people were willing to wait. If I’m extremely fortunate and receive an enthusiastic acceptance into a reputable Ph.D. program, I will even do it again! Ph.D. graduation is far more interesting than regular graduation anyway. Each Ph.D. recipient is individually recognized and presented to the audience (none of this marching onto the stage like a herd of cattle and having names hurriedly called out from a long list bullshit) and an elaborate hooding ritual takes place. Now that’s a tassel worth the hassle. Even if you don’t get a job in academia, people have to call you “Doctor” and you have the express license to be as much of an ass about it as you’d like. In a perfect world, that would be my one and only graduation.

It’s not a perfect world, though. We have cancer, poverty, and dog fighting rings. And I have to attend my commencement ceremony, even though the only thing commencing is the other half of my other more important degree. Que sera sera.

So. How was the ceremony anyway? I’ve been a such a diva about it all this time, I’m sure you’re ready at last to hear me admit that it really wasn’t that bad and that I regret making such a fuss about it.

I couldn’t tell you how it was because I was barely cognizant. I haven’t the foggiest idea who our speaker was or what he/she spoke about because beneath my 100% polyester graduation gown was a small purse containing my phone with a freshly downloaded audiobook, a portable battery charger, and a can of Red Bull. Once I sat down in my seat under the oppressive glare of the arena lights and threaded my earbuds through the neck of my gown, I could close my eyes and imagine I was back on my patio, listening to the the gentle voice of a carefully selected narrator and working on my bomb ass tan. The only thing missing was a little gin and a nice smoke, which I’m honestly surprised I didn’t bring. I admittedly detected a slight hitch in my brilliant plan when I realized too late that I was still listening to my book when my name was called to the stage. Did my graduation photos all feature me shaking the hand of the elderly president with a pair of white Apple earbuds jammed in my ears like I’m in a poorly choreographed iPod commercial? They certainly did. Was it worth it? Of course it was. I would have been bored to death without my provisions. If the trade off is a tacky graduation photo, then at least I’ve got a good story.

Go Back To Sleep

If you’ve ever had the tremendous honor of seeing A Perfect Circle in concert, then you know exactly where I’m going with this title. Last night was the experience of a lifetime, and I mean that in every sense of the expression. I feel the need to justify the bold confidence of a statement like that. After all, bands go on tour all the time. Any schmuck can get on to Ticketmaster and buy a seat in the cheapest row of their favorite band’s concert venue, and it will still be totally fucking awesome. Is it some rare life experience though? Well, sometimes. I’ll give you three reasons, starting with the most obvious.

The band itself is a paragon of musical excellence with a lineup more impressive than any singular band you can think of. The best way to describe it is a cornucopia of talent plucked like fruit from the trees of the world’s most beloved bands. Another way to describe it is “Tool but with more pizzazz,” although I’ve been repeatedly told this does not do A Perfect Circle any justice. So, besides the fact that their music should be used as a yardstick for evaluating the quality of future supergroups, why else is seeing A Perfect Circle live is such a delicious treat?

Despite the band’s wild success, its activity has been sporadic at best since its conception in 1999. Over the last 17 years (yes, it has been that long) they have released no more than three albums. All three are awesome. But that’s just it. There are only three. Think about how incredible it is that a band with only three albums under their belt manages to sell out every arena after going on tour for the first time in six years. We live in a time where a meme is considered washed-up when it appears on your Facebook news feed a week and a half after you saw it on Reddit.

Now, I know I’m cheating a little bit by claiming that A Perfect Circle has but a modest three-album career. If you add up the albums that every member of the group has worked on, the collective number would beat some of the world’s longest-standing stars by long shot. Maynard James Keenan alone had a hand in so many albums, it warranted a separate Wikipedia page. But there’s something about A Perfect Circle that is unique from each artist’s individual work. While most people associate A Perfect Circle closely with Tool (owing in part to the fact that they share a frontman), it’s nothing like Tool. Sure, the average listener will instantly recognize Maynard’s familiar and uniquely robust voice, but it sounds ever so slightly different from the voice he employs in most of Tool’s music. The distinction is eerie but truly magnificent. That same aesthetic applies to A Perfect Circle’s music when compared to any other generic rock music. You know what I mean by “generic.” The kind of thing that Pandora will play when you select the “Hard Rock” station. I imagine it will take an arduous amount of thumbs-up and thumbs-downing before Pandora plays even one song by A Perfect Circle on a standard rock station. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a healthy sequence of songs by Tool or even Nine Inch Nails and a few thumbs-up might kick you in the right direction. That’s what is so great about A Perfect Circle. It’s difficult to shoehorn their music into a genre because it seems to defy genre altogether, to the point where the band has a cult following. Diehard fans feel more strongly connected to this particular band’s music than the type of music it’s supposed to represent. This is where I offer you another justifying reason for this concert’s awesomeness.

A Perfect Circle is a thousand times better live than they are on recorded album. Put away your pitchforks before you claim that what I just said implies their recorded music is bad. It’s not. I’d let it go without saying, but this is the internet so I’ll spell it out: A Perfect Circle makes outstanding music that opens a door into my subconscious, invites itself in, and serenades my psyche with the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard come through my otherwise unremarkable phone speaker. It rattles my very soul. We good now? Terrific. Now let me tell you about how much more awesome they are in concert.

Let me preface this by saying that not all bands are good live. Some vocal talent does not easily translate from a padded room and high-quality recording equipment to a microphone blaring across a screaming audience. It comes out sounding echoey, harsh, and all-around terrible; it’s no fault of their own. Live singing is not for everyone. Other bands are just not particularly exciting in concert. They don’t do much on stage short of exist. So, you get the awesome live music, you get the proximity, but the band doesn’t do much to convince you that you wouldn’t have been better off listening to the same music somewhere else. Other bands are too exciting in concert. Case in point, a mosher suffers the pain of literal death for attending a Smashing Pumpkins concert without remembering to wear his riot police uniform.

A Perfect Circle is better than many other bands because it is as much a visual experience as it is an auditory one. And it’s not because Maynard jumps around on stage in punk rock manner, dives into the audience, or leads a grand choreography. There are no tesla coils or flamethrowers. No elaborate masks. It’s really quite the opposite. The band, especially Maynard, lingers mostly in the shadows. Maynard’s disembodied voice drifts out from somewhere behind the heavy fog. It’s surreal and it instantly captivates you. When the music picks up, your only job is to submit yourself to the music and bear witness to the festival of light arrays and kaleidoscopic imagery that suddenly rolls across the elaborately assembled stage and dances the dance of its people. Not unlike Tool, A Perfect Circle commit themselves to pairing their music with an equivalent visual experience you won’t easily forget. It’s so visually engaging, you almost forget where you are until some human turd decides he needs a twentieth overpriced beer, so he gets up and stands in the middle of the stairs with his flowerpot of a girlfriend and chooses that moment to discuss the future of the critically endangered black-footed ferret or whatever the fuck it is they decided to discuss right then and there while blocking your entire row’s view of the stage. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a really stunning show.

Speaking of bands that are better live than they are on a recording, let’s talk about who opened for A Perfect Circle. If you are already familiar with a duo known only as Prayers, then this may not come as a shock to you. The rest you, gentle readers, are about to learn some brand spanking new information. Prayers is a Chicano electric rock duo that happens to be the first group to identify as Cholo goth. Didn’t know you could string all those words together to form a coherent genre? Me either, but I fucking love it. Listen, Prayers is a weird group. They’re a little intense. The lead singer shouts pretty much all the lyrics right at you and the music is performed on a single synthesizer. I can’t explain why, but I was instantly taken by their eccentricity. If you’re feeling brave, look them up on Spotify. It’s worth a listen. If you don’t like it, which it won’t come as a shock to me if you don’t, try to keep an open mind anyway. Picture laser lights and inverted crosses. Go see them live if you get the chance, even as an opening band. I really enjoyed the music in that environment and if you’re anything like me (you’re probably nothing like me) then you may just be pleasantly surprised.

Pro tip: Pandora may not be the best medium to explore Prayers. The genre is too obscure and the algorithm will desperately throw songs at the proverbial wall until something sticks. Here’s an example of what it did to me in the first five songs:

Prayers – Ready To Bleed >> The Cure – Play For Today >> Die Antwoord – Strunk >> Prayers – Tomorrows Unknown >> Depeche Mode – Precious


Start a Prayers station on Pandora. What could go wrong?

Eat Your Science (at Ovenbird)

Last night I had the pleasure of attending (for the second time) Alton Brown’s road tour, Eat Your Science. I had already seen the show in Huntsville, but I didn’t mind getting to see the same show again in Birmingham this time. Different city, different audience, different experience. That’s the beauty of a live show!

Before the show, though, we experienced something almost as exciting as the show itself. We had the great honor of dining at the same Birmingham restaurant that Alton Brown himself deemed the best food in the city. He had visited the place for lunch the very same day, in fact. It came to me as a rather last-minute decision. The plan was to have dinner in Birmingham before the show, but there are a few cardinal rules I follow when dining in other cities. 1) I prefer not to eat at a chain. If I can get it at home, why bother eating it away from home? 2) I choose a restaurant that most of the locals (or somebody of culinary prestige) have chosen either as the flagship restaurant of their city or the one with the most consistently high-rated food. Those two don’t always coincide, I find. I was closing in on the last hour or so before we would be leaving for Birmingham when Alton Brown’s Facebook page lit up with pictures of delicious food. Tiny plates of food, but they appeared delicious nonetheless. Ovenbird. What an interesting–if slightly morbid–name for a restaurant, I thought to myself. Let’s eat there! So we ate there.

The food was excellent! As the restaurant promised, everything was served as if it was an appetizer at a gourmet restaurant. That is, it was all on “small plates for sharing” which is just a salesman’s term for “order lots of food.” I chose the “Mussels and Clams” and the “Leg of Lamb.” Don’t be deceived, it’s not as big as it sounds. Terryn ordered the “Beef Shoulder Complex” and the “Suckling Pig” (featured photo). Again, not as big as it sounds. With these names, you would think we were having dinner at Medieval Times. I assure you, it was nothing like Medieval Times the jousting restaurant nor the period of time between the 5th and 15th centuries. For dessert, we split the Seven Layer Chocolate Cake. I think that may have been my favorite dish. It was a perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but it was still light and fluffy. Not too rich, not too chocolatey. I would definitely order that again, and I don’t even really like chocolate cakes. The dishes were small, but incredibly flavorful. I think the most shameless thing I did was ask for more bread so I could sop up the delicious mussel and clam broth, totally Greek style. Despite my reservations, I was pleasantly surprised. I left the restaurant pretty satisfied! Then again, I’m used to eating snack quantities as meals, so I have a pretty tiny appetite as a result. I’m a cheap date. Scale your appetite accordingly. In fact, scale it closer to my alcohol tolerance.

So, what about the show? That was the whole point of driving an hour and a half to Birmingham, after all. The show was great, but more than that it reminded me of how much I miss Good Eats (rumor has it that it’s coming back, but I’ll believe it when I see the next Tool album finally drop). What I love about Alton Brown the most is that he, among others, is partially responsible for paving the road between science and the arts. The culinary arts are so remarkable because in essence, they’re a science. They’re as science as science can be, actually. The best chefs aren’t just the chefs that have a nose for good aromatic complements or an eye for proper sauce viscosity. The best chefs are the chefs that fully understand why something is prepared the way the recipe book (or your instructor, your grandma, Emeril, what have you) says it should be prepared. What’s really going on in the pressure cooker while it makes that relentless hissing noise? What happens beneath the moist towel that makes your bread dough go from a lumpy mass to a perfectly smooth doughy balloon? (If you’re as fanatic about Good Eats as I am, then you know it’s obviously the work of several flatulent sock puppets.) Alton Brown is, dare I say, the only Food Network persona who aimed to answer–rather than obscure–these seemingly irrelevant questions of science. Naysayers often insist that precise measurements (by weight, damn it) and by-the-timer cooking is offensive to the warm, whimsical imprecision that went into grandma’s home cooking. Grandma didn’t need a digital scale and neither do I! Right? Well. My grandma also stuck her finger in 120°F milk to “measure” the temperature before adding the yeast cultures because there were no digital probe thermometers in rural Greece during World War II. (In case you’re curious: If she could count to eight, the milk was cool enough.) That doesn’t mean I’m going to stick my finger in every pot of yogurt starter and hope my pain tolerance is the same every time. It’s imprecise, impractical, unsanitary…and it kind of hurts, ya know? Sometimes, technological advancement, and precision, is a good thing. Embrace it! It’s science! That’s what Good Eats aims to teach us. (Namely that yeast cultures will die if the milk is just a few degrees too hot and you absolutely should measure the temperature with a digital thermometer if you want the same result every time, but I digress.) Good Eats is entertaining, educational, and nostalgic. It’s no surprise that AB has been granted the official title of “The Bill Nye of Food.”

By the way, Bill Nye has a new show on Netflix and Alton Brown was on it for all of one minute. What the actual fuck? They could have co-hosted the damn thing.

More information on the Eat Your Science Tour and Ovenbird.



The Disreputable Chronicle of My Graduate Life

That’s what I hope it will be, anyway. I’ve decided to start this blog at this particular juncture in my life because, in short, I couldn’t think of a better time to finally do it. For a long time, I have deliberated on owning my very own blog. A place where I would record the moments of sudden lucidity that only the written prose can do justice. A tiny slice of the Internet that represents me. My keyboard identity. That thing I’m supposed to do on my Macbook while I sip on my Tall Double Skinny Vanilla Latte (because they don’t do Skinny Caramel anymore, but they can do an actual unicorn Frappuccino). I never got around to starting one because every time I thought about it, I always returned to the same stupid questions. Why now? Who will even read it?

I guess I always thought that if I’m going to start something, it can’t just be at random. It needs to represent not only the start of my blog but the start of a new chapter. This time, written (typed?). I hate vapid motivational buzz phrases like “new chapter,” but I can’t deny that it fits the situation. As a newly minted English major, it makes for an excellent pun. Actually, it’s a lot less annoying when I think of it as a pun.

So, why now? I guess graduating from college is a pretty good excuse for a “new chapter,” if I may be so bold. I’m starting graduate school at UAH in the fall. I accepted a job as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. I’m beginning the process of applying for Ph.D. programs (again, but more on that some other time). I’m taking the whole summer off from all manner of work and school to transition. If this isn’t a good excuse to start a blog, then I’m obviously too wishy-washy be in the business of starting one. Besides, who gives a shit if anyone reads it? It’s a blog. It’s basically an Internet diary without all the heart doodles and Harry Potter fanfiction.

So—here it is, gentle reader. Go nuts.