The last couple of weeks have been pretty nice at work... exploring Kahuku, mist-netting at ‘Ainahou... I like ‘Ainahou, I mean, it's pretty weedy and there's lower bird diversity and I'm pretty biased towards the rainforest (‘Ainahou's a lot drier than Nauhi), but... it's just a really nice place to hang out. It's sunny and warm and the birds come in at just the right pace... and I'm lounging in the grass under a blue sky, writing, and getting up occasionally to go for a walk under the trees and check nets, and play with birds for a few minutes before going back to lounging and writing and just... how awesome is my life?? Other people work in cubicles. (I told my mom this and she pointed out that other people get paid more than $20 a day. THANKS MOM. ...It's still the best job ever, so there. XP)
And then Friday before last Jackie and I were going to go to Na‘alehu to meet with her friend John from The Nature Conservancy and pore over maps and get his opinions on the best ways to access remote parts of the Ka‘u Forest Reserve, but he absolutely had to go into the field that day... so we went with him! We met up with him and this-younger-guy-whose-name-I-forget in Pahala and drove up to TNC's Kaiholena Preserve, which was AWESOME because I've never ever been up there before. It's way up in the Ninole Hills, which is this really awesome and interesting and (I think) kinda creepy area in Ka‘u, where a massive fault-slip and subsequent erosion created these hills that look completely out of place with the rest of the island's geology (most hills in Hawai‘i are cinder cones), and they're all green and mysterious with their heads in the clouds and I've always wanted to go up there. And the forest in Kaiholena is beautiful, really pristine and full of all my favorite plants, and we took a nice walk along the fence line marking out where the helicopter needed to drop fence-repair materials and I had a lot of trouble keeping up because I kept stopping to geek out at the botany. ^_^;; And we had lunch TNC's little pavilion at the bottom of the preserve with a gorgeous view down to the coast, and on the way down we took a side trip to one of the hills to see this plant called nuku ‘i‘iwi (‘i‘iwi bill) because I'd never seen it/heard of it before and Jackie thought I'd enjoy it, which is... really kind of sweet, actually. It's this really cool vine with beautiful flowers that, yes, do resemble ‘i‘iwi bills in color and shape, and as;hgkalhskfakjshdfls NEW PLANT. *geeks out some more* And all of the lower hills had, mixed in with the native plants, ti and kukui and one of the old Hawaiian varieties of bananas, the name of which I forget, but John told me it was one of the few varieties that women were allowed to eat, and also that it was one of the varieties of bananas that the Hawaiians brought with them in their very first voyage, which makes sense because we're so close to that very first settlement down there. Looking at those ti and kukui and bananas that were probably descendants of plants planted around the very oldest Hawaiian settlements gave me a kind of chicken-skin feeling. ...Anyway, IT WAS A COOL TRIP and it made me very happy. Fuck $20 a day, I CAN'T BELIEVE I GET PAID FOR THIS AT ALL.
On Saturdays I've been doing a bunch of chores for Mom, since her arm's in a cast and she can't do a lot. Father's Day Dad came up to Volcano, and we had a really excellent afternoon: lunch at Lava Rock Cafe, wine tasting at the Volcano Winery, a trip to Jaggar to watch the steam come out of Halema‘uma‘u, and a trip down to ‘Ainahou so I could show him my work site and the historic ranch buildings.
Last week has been more netting at ‘Ainahou mostly, although Thursday and Friday I was on-loan to Mark Kupono trying to catch ‘i‘iwi up Mauna Loa Strip Road. No ‘i‘iwi in the net, just ‘amakihi and ‘apapane and white-eyes, but one of the ‘apapane was this really pretty hatch year bird that was in between fledgling and adult plumage... mostly red with gray and tawny bits and a red racing stripe on the back of its head. SO CUTE. And it was just a really nice day up there, lounging on the rocks and reading. ...Boss Jackie is taking off for Bali for three weeks, so I expect to be doing a lot more of this, along with fun things like data entry and organizing the supply closet. :P
Another major thing is I moved into my boss Dennis' house Thursday before last. He and his family are on vacation for over a month, traveling on the Mainland and in Italy, and I'm house-sitting for them. (Thus the adventure with the can opener the other day.) It's... a bit of an adjustment for me, because they have two dogs and three cats and two bunnies and two turtles and some fish, and it's weird having dependents. And the dogs need to be walked every day, and they have to be walked really early in the morning when no one else is on the street because they get aggressive with other dogs and strange people, so this means I wake up at 6:00 even on the weekends, which is just... not like me at all, heh. But all of the animals are super sweet. It's pretty nice for my ego to come home and EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY TO SEE ME OMG. So I'm really enjoying it, even if there's dog hair EVERYWHERE and Belle is needy and loud and psychotic and has WAY TOO MUCH ENERGY and Splotch has a marked tendency to wake me up at 2:30 in the morning MEOWING LOUDLY FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Can't get too upset with them, THEY'RE ALL SO CUTE.
Most importantly... week before last I got all my bling for Oliver, including his license plates. Spent some time getting him all pimped out; HE LOOKS AMAZING NOW. I was supposed to use rubbing alcohol to clean the areas I was attaching the decals to, but I didn't have any... I did have some Smirnoff vodka in one of those little airplane bottles, so I used that instead! :DD And when I was done there was only a little left, so I just went ahead and drank it. And oh god let me tell you, cheap vodka that's been sitting in a small plastic bottle for who knows how long? IT WAS SO DISGUSTING. But I feel like all of this makes the experience better. OLIVER HAS BEEN CHRISTENED WITH CHEAP VODKA, how awesome is that? ...Also, I love his plates. They're practically personalized, and I didn't even have to do anything. The letters spell out the name of my favorite character from my favorite web comic, and the numbers are... mathematically significant. IT'S LIKE THEY KNEW HOW NERDY HE IS AND ASSIGNED THE LICENSE NUMBER ACCORDINGLY. :DDDD
Oh man seriously I have been waiting for years to have my own car so I could decorate it. Here have some pictures of my baby in all his nerdy glory:
BLUE FUZZY DICE. I bought these back in high school; it was one of the first things I did after I got my driver's license. They go in any vehicle that is "mine" for any length of time; it's how you know it's me driving. They looked GLORIOUS in Purple Truck (the clashing colooooorrrrsss, omg~!), but now they live with Oliver. ...If you understand why I would want fuzzy dice, mad props to you, CLEARLY YOU ARE A COOL PERSON. If you don't understand why I would want fuzzy dice in my vehicle, and are now kind of embarrassed to know me, actually... it's at least 70% ironic, meta, tongue-in-cheek, and self-aware, I swear. I KNOW IT'S CHEESY AS HELL, THAT'S WHY IT'S AWESOME. (See also: I KNOW I'M CHEESY AS HELL, THAT'S WHY I'M AWESOME.)
BATMAN DECAL. Because. BATMAN.
Oliver's tramp stamps. FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER DECAL. The only thing cooler than a Darwin fish~. (If you're deeply religious, no offense meant... most of my affection for the FSM is due to its status as a nerdy pop culture reference, more than out of any intent for mockery.) "I AM THE STIG" DECAL. Because Oliver needed a blatant Top Gear reference, and also because I am the Stig. They were also selling "I am the Stig's American cousin" decals, but, uh... no. Not as cool as the actual Stig. Also he's fat and lives in a trailer and probably eats gators. ...Sadly, probably the only person on the island who understands this decal went back home to North Carolina a week and a half ago. *sigh* AUTOBOT DECAL. Always wanted a Transformers sticker for my car, couldn't decide on Autobot or Decepticon... but I guess it really depends on the car, anyway, and Oliver is CLEARLY an Autobot. I mean, look at him: tiny, adorable, happiest car in the world... HE'S FUEL-EFFICIENT, FOR CHRISSAKES. Hemm'd and haww'd over colors before choosing blue to match the dice. "IT'S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE" DECAL. Thank you to sirona_gs for reminding me I needed this... I mean, Mom's Fit Sport is the TARDIS, she's TARDIS blue for chrissakes, but Oliver is still a Fit, so... he really is bigger on the inside. AND HE WILL TAKE ME ON ADVENTURES THROUGH TIME AND SPACE~! :D
KEYCHAINS. The one in the middle is an African puff adder... because it was a lot classier than inscribing ALL ADDERS ARE PUFFS down the length of Oliver's left flank in blue paint. Also, it doubles as zoological geekery! The others are a koala with baby and a lion-dog my Mom brought me from Osaka... mostly because I wanted something on my keychain other than the plastic tag it came with while I was waiting for my puff adder to arrive, and these were on my purse zipper and they have bells on them and I was tired of making so much noise just walking around. Also double as zoological and cultural geekery!
DOESN'T MY BABY HAVE SUCH FABULOUS BLING?? ...My Dad took one look at him and was like, "What's with the Batman thing? Why are there so many stickers on your car?" *SIGH* ...At least my mom understands why I'd want to decorate him, even if half of the references are over her head. And she actually refers to/addresses him as Oliver. There are reasons I love my mom. ♥