Monday, December 26, 2005

Photo Chrismas

My Dad Getting Smashed Making the House

Me Making the House

The House

Chocolate Balls... thats all I have to say.

Amazzzing Cookies!!!

Decorating the Tree!

Dishes - My Favorite thing

Meg Likes to Chat Online too.

My Dad unwrapping the pictures we framed for him.

Me Pretending to be a good Photographer.

My Mom unwrapping her gift certificate for a massage.

Me Unwrapping something - probably from EMS in my brand new sox gear.

Christmas Day leaving for my Dad's parents

In The car...



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Snowflake of Life

Snow crystals dancing in the wind;
Hard darkness broken by a whisper floating.
A fresh breath fighting the inevitable end:
Dreams they hold; treasured within a ridged coating.

Glistening and falling gently shattered upon the ground,
Painstakingly breaking themselves until they are no more;
Molding, changing until one solid cover is found.
To ourselves; dreamers, believers, rich in what the world is poor,

Broken on the ground of that which is well known.
Self lost for the sake of belonging as one soul.
Suffocating the foundation; an unbearable stone:
No choice of existence but shattered or whole.

Trapped in the darkness,
Dancing against the breaking wind;
The never ending biting whisper.
Beautiful crystals lay broken forevermore.

Monday, December 12, 2005

i <3 Music

I love music yes I do
I love music how 'bout you?

Music is my favorite thing in the world. Seriously it is. It dominates my life. Some people think I have a soundtrack to my life because I'm always singing and babbling and listening to tunes. If I sing its usually off beat, if I babble the words are sometimes wrong, and if I listen it is usually to something very few people have heard.

In reality that is my life though. I'm a little off beat always. I'm always a note behind or a step ahead. The lyrics sometimes go right, sometimes wrong. They are sometimes sad, sometimes happy, but always going. Everything is a path someone else has sort of traveled down. Yet its unique.

The vocals are powerful; the beat is always folk-alternative rock. (Yes they do go together.) Its something you can always just kind of stretch your neck and belt out.

My life reminds me of a break up song. It’s a little bit of reminiscence, a little bit of melancholy, a little happiness in the end.

10 Artists You Need To Check Out:
(please leave a comment with any YOU think I should know)

1. Chad Barraford: and - great keyboard and vocals

2. Chad Perrone: - his vocals are WOW + his music is amazing

3. James Blunt - - okay now that "you're beautiful" has taken over airways i dont feel so creative in this... but check out his OTHER songs... I've been a fan for a while now... and WOW

4. Yellowcard - and - somewhat popular band - always worth it though

5. Nickel Creek - or great folkish stuff... check out the tune "Jealous of the Moon" and "When You Come Back Down"

6. Nine Days - and - perhaps one of my favorite bands ever

7. Dashboard Confessional - - if you don't know them I don't know what to say... but I had to put them on here.

8. Travis - - just great great great music. I don't know how to start with them. They are Scottish (i think) or maybe brittish and just flat out are amazing.

9. John Gregory - - you might recognize his tune "Ride of Your Life" - this might be my all time favorite song for its emotionally charging lyrics and the way it always makes me think. Definently a guy you should know.

10. The Starting Line - and - much like yellowcard in that they are popular and not all at the same time... very similar fan base... but I <3 them with "the best of me"

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I feel too sick and I'm in too crappy of a mood to blog. I'll say something I'll regret... so here is a happy picture.

Jamie, Meghan, Amanda (on Meghan's back), Me (left to right)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

its really this simple

MySpace.Com - Undergoing Maintenance

Rebooting some databases, site will be back around 4:00AM PST

oh my god. I am going to die.

Field Journal #5

There is a sound that the snow makes when you step on it just right. Many people may not recognize this sound, but I consider myself a connoisseur of snow sounds having lived in Tully, NY for 12 years, a town which receives over 200” of snowfall annually. You do not get to hear many of these sounds in Pennsylvania this time of year due to the lack of snow, but walking in Lower Allen Park on December 6, 2005 came one of the perfect crunches of which I am so fond. It is hard to describe, but when it happens, there is a slight rubbing, squeaking, and last pack of the snow sound. It just feels and sounds natural.

Here we were, ready to write our final journal. I’d been to three other parks in the last few weeks but nothing felt right; so one last attempt would have to be made. With me were David and Amanda. It was not too cold out, the sun was shining and birds chirped somewhat merrily. A few cardinals flew by, and something that sounded like a northern flicker hummed off in the distance. The small ice and snow cover, really only a dusting, was not putting a damper on the life around.

As I wandered through the uneven fields straying off the path it became clear that even some of the plants were still surviving, though just barely. A few red berries loomed looking poisonous but ripe and grass, still green, fought against the ice and snow. The uneven ground is thick and almost frozen. In the spring this area is probably almost marsh -like due to its thickness and water retention.

It seems like in this time between fall and winter; when the seasons are really on the brink of changing, everything stirs up in excitement and preparation. Though many things are already dormant, others are in their full.

Trees litter the paths on which I make; cutting against my clothes. I should have worn a jacket probably, I think, but it is too late. Thorns prick through my clothes and I realize I have been dragging stems for quite some time now, explaining the pricks in my leg.

A crow makes its noise in the distance. I have no real clue where I am, but I hear the others nearby. Cutting through the dry trees I emerge somewhere along the all too familiar Yellow Breeches. It is muddy and the banks are steep. Erosion wears away at the banks. The creek is fairly passive, seemingly stagnant. No sounds are made by the usually rippling water.

This place brings back memories, for we stopped here on our Yellow Breeches survey last year. This was one of the cleaner sites if I remember correctly. Farther back in the woods than the other stops, yet still not entirely remote.

The banks are covered in snow compared to the relatively clean path I stand upon. Whorled green leaves of short plants form a barrier transitioning from the bank to the flat. As I continue to walk along I begin to hear rippling of the water. Then suddenly it seems loud enough to block out the chirping birds.

The water is churning around many logs and fallen trees. They almost form a dam of sorts. The water turns and pools. It is much more relaxing to me when the sounds of the creek can be heard. In the spring and summer the sounds would be inviting for a swim, but today it is too cold to even come close to considering it.

One of the larger trees, perhaps an oak, clings to water on its underside. It looks like many of the rocks along the side of the road. The water seeps and clings in beads along the bark of the tree. Water relations this time of year are so very delicate for each and every species, plant and animal.

Turning back into the woods I step on rotten fruits of a black walnut. Large, slushy, and potent; they can poison out many other species. Another pile of slushy material, this time brown, sits to my left; potent in another way; stench. It is easily recognizable as deer scat, and sure enough nearby are the common oblate shaped deer tracks. Surely, if it were later at night deer would fill the area.

One of the trees draws my attention. About fifteen feet up the trunk is a sort-of growth. It does not look healthy. I have seen this on a few trees and always wonder what it is. Is it a tumor or some weird genetic mutation? Or perhaps as David proposed is it a mutation caused by a lightning strike as a young tree? I do not know. Regardless, it stands out as different. It cannot be that large of an advantage or heritable or I would see more around. Thus, it impresses me that it is still surviving despite the burden of the strange growth.

I continue walking and come upon another interesting formation; this time on the ground. The snow and ice have formed an interesting pattern causing me to assume the direction I currently face is south. Behind trees on this side (north facing) is still snow. It forms almost a semi-circle around the tree. Directly behind it is snow, further stretching out is ice and then grass (see drawing). The sun’s angle to the earth here is decreasing daily and days are shorter and shorter as we have begun to approach the winter solstice. Combined, perhaps this is the cause for the unique arrangements of snow, ice, and grass that are found. Grass exposed by the warmth of the sun, ice formed by exposure to sun melting the snow and longer periods of cold refreezing it, and the snow protected by the constant cooling of the shade of the tree. Examining other areas this seems to be a common thread.

I have found another path with David and Amanda. Much of it is covered in scattered dead wood; twigs, logs, branches, and such. A closer look revels that they are covered in lichen. In fact, on some of the branches you cannot even see the wood anymore. There are three distinct types of lichen visible, though no doubt there are more present among the woods. One is green flakey lobed lichen. It seems to be common, but not as common as the gray-blue lichen which looks similar but clings tighter to the wood. Finally, a speckled yellow-orange lichen, though perhaps a fungus, dots the areas in which wood can still be seen.

The live trees also have lichen on them, though not as much. Mosses, not only lichen, are found on many live trees as well. The rumor says that mosses face north, though that has been many a time disproved by exceptions and such. It would be impossible to make a generalization here as mosses seem to cover all sides of the tree branches and trunks.

On other logs and branches mushrooms and such fungi are found. Most of these are small shelf-like fungi. They are white in color and are found more on the sides, not the tops, of the logs, though I am not sure why. They sit absorbing all the nutrients they can before they can no longer survive in the conditions.

It seems as if the dominant form of life that is able to be found these days is that of decomposers. These decomposers have a feast provided by the fall drop of leaves, branches, and twigs.

Back in the shaded area now the full cover of snow has returned; though the perfect crunch has not. For a few weeks I have seen very little as far as interactions go when I have been out exploring. Today, however, it seemed as if life was once again stirring. Perhaps those around me didn’t feel so; but it amazes me that in December life is still fighting; especially since merely 4 hours away there is over 60” of snow on the ground already. Whether it is decomposing creatures such as lichen and fungi, grasses, mosses, berries, deer, or birds; life is still alive and interacting.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


On Jumping to Celebrate Christmas Early:

The point of this time before Christmas (Advent) is not to rejoice in Christ's birth, but to renew ourselves and prepare ourselvs for Him again. Just because he was born 2000 years ago doesn't mean we can act like we do; we are just like the people in Isaiah. We are to remember that we are sinful, that we walk in darkness, and that we too can see the great light in our life in what Christ did for us. We aren't to just celebrate blindly though, we are to prepare.

We are to prepare so we can truly experience the gift of Christmas. That is, whether if there is snow or grass, turkey or ham, a plastic tree or real tree, Christmas is Christmas. And you have to be ready for it. You have to prepare for His return; His redeeming return.

For if we celebrate this too early, without adaquate reflection and preparation, we lose the meaning of Christmas; we do not take Christ's birth for the real redeeming gift that it was, is, and ever shall be.

Monday, December 05, 2005

the final stretch

6 papers to go.
5 tests to go.
2 presentations.
and thats what you get.

10 days. thats it.

Heres a present:

long story

so brian grabs my feet
yanks them out
katie saves me... and is stuck with the majority of the weight.....

Moral of the story... people pick you up when you need it... and staged pictures often are what publishing companies are looking for.

L to R: Chris, Brian, Dr. Cable, Sebastian, Katie, Someone who's name I'm drawing a blank on, Joanna. ME (across)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

When you feel like crying

I don't even know how to describe what happened this morning.

All I can say is I've never taken blame for something I wasn't responsible for like that ever. And it really hurts.
Its not my fault. It really isn't.

I love my father. Don't try to convince me otherwise. Don't try to say you didn't say something that you did. Don't try to tell me that you meant something different and therefore its my fault. What matters is it hurt. I shouldn't be sorry for that right?

Don't make me appologize for you're pain that you could have avoided. I'll smile and say sorry anyway. Just don't expect to see me around anymore. This is it. The end.

I'll survive though. Its funny how you realize how the people sometimes you complain and joke about really do love you and it kinda makes you feel guilty.

so thanks mom. you made the whole situation good once again.

Saturday, December 03, 2005



goodbye insects.

Tropical and Temperate Insect Communities

Right now. I want to kill anything dealing with species richness and Tropical and Temperate Insect Communities.

It will own me for the next 12 hours.



Okay... let's do it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Grow Up Already

13 Months later here we are, though the team has changed, one thing hasn't - the ball controversy.

Yesterday, the Red Sox filed a lawsuit against Mienty saying the ball belongs to them.

The entire thing is stupid. The ball isn't the property of the Red Sox, Mienty, or anyone else. It is a ball. Two pieces of leather and a bunch of string. Thats it. So what if the ball is on display in some cellar of Fenway you and I will never see or in Mienty's house?

The ball really belongs in Cooperstown so fans can see it. The Red Sox and Mienty forget this is all about the fans. Its not about their million dollar contracts and rights but its about the beauty of baseball and what that game meant to fans. But thats an argument that doesn't even come into play here, because neither side is giving in.

I really don't care who ends up with the ball. In the end does it matter? No. What does matter, however, is the fact that at 11:40 on October, 27th 2004 Edgar Renteria grounded out to the Foulke - Mienty combination.
Perhaps the Red Sox should stop focusing on this ball and focus more on the off season to prepare for next season's run. I'd rather see them hoisting the trophey again than with a lousy ball.