9.21.2014

Pushing Myself: Photographing Insects

The past few years my appreciation for things that creep and crawl across floors has slowly grown, due mostly in part to my camera. The past month or so I have continued to warm up to the plethora of spiders and unavoidable webs that occupy the new property, many of them larger than I'm used to. In fact, I am often told, "You gotta see this, bring your camera," in response to creatures that once would have sent me running the other way...or at least walking at a brisk pace since running wasn't my thing then.

Last night my bug boundaries got pushed to new limits with the discovery of this mammoth insect ten feet outside the front door:
Oh, my god, Becky, look at that bug. It is so big.

Looking at the picture gives me the total and complete creeps, totally; or at least it did until I researched what it was this morning: Belostomatidae, a.k.a. Giant Water Bug, a.k.a. Toe-Biter. It is a common creature in the northwest, so it is not invasive nor is it poisonous to humans. It bites when provoked, hence the name toe-biter, but this one appeared to play dead, as is their MO when feeling threatened by predators; it soon disappeared after taking the photos.

Considering it preys on small frogs, it makes perfect sense that it was hanging out in the entrance way, a place where frogs have been spotted. And since the giant water bug likes aquatic food it lives in vegetation near water, which there are wetlands not too far from where this guy was discovered. So it all makes sense; he was not out of place but merely making his presence known. Now I can only imagine what else might be lurking around, waiting to make its presence known when I least expect it. Such is rural living; it's good to be back.

In spite of the creeps that insects still give me, they offer fabulous opportunities for photographing, learning, and exercising self-control by pushing my bug boundaries; all the more reasons for me to appreciate the little buggers.  What personal boundaries are you pushing today?

Check out more of my pics @ Flickr.

Got pics of insects? I'd love to see them!
Share a link in the comments.


Thanks for reading.

9.05.2014

What Book Would You Ban?

Lunchtime poll a la Eve:
If you could ban a book, what book would it be? 

Or should that be 'which book'? GrammarNazis are openly invited to correct me since I am not in the mood to do the research. I would rather write my ramblings and let the grammatical errors speak for my humanness.

I stumbled upon this question while trying to think up something to write about the topic of banned books. So, with legal pad in hand, I posed the question to myself and my friend while sitting down to a bowl of herb to see what we could come up with. It was a fun challenge and I invite others to consider the question if they haven't before.

At first we couldn't come up with anything. As tempting as the idea sounds in a hypothetical playground, to banish any book(s) from the land that one does not see fit, the idea of stopping the flow of information was a hard concept for both of us to work around. While neither my friend nor I practice any particular religions, we do appreciate religions for what they are along with the writings. Therefore, we couldn't ban any religious doctrines.

I recently read through Matt Forney's review of The Communist Manifesto, which I cannot recall if I have read the book or not though I am familiar with it. But since we were stumped on what books to ban, I queried about Marx's Manifesto to get us past the block. No luck there either. As my friend sagely stated, "No, people need to read that kind of shit." Therefore, no political or philosophical doctrines were hypothetically banned.

After so long, the self-imposed poll resulted in us not coming up with a single book to ban. So, I kicked out some more questions, such as barring writers from writing in particular genres or barring people from writing in general. This proved to be more fruitful as my friend touched on the topic of what I call Talking Head books, by people such as Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and the like. Aside from kindling, it's hard to find a useful purpose for books where the aim is to effect popular opinion by dividing people through repetitive, rhetorical debate so that the people then take the debate to their representatives and the voting booths. Gag me with a bookmark. Therefore, no Talking Head books.

Also mentioned as a sub-genre of books which should not be allowed is any fitness or diet book that features someone on the cover that you do not want to look like; i.e., Dr. Phil. Are there any men who want to look like Dr. Phil? Not in this hypothetical utopia. Therefore, no Dr. Phil weight loss books.

For myself I had a hard time thinking of anything worthy to ban, until I remembered all of the books I have witnessed in the juvenile aisles of bookstores the past years that deeply hit my literary gag reflex: Vampire books and their demon-spawn copycats. Twilight can stay though, only because young girls should have a proper subliminal introduction to the kink that is autassassinophilia.

Overall, it was not easy for either of us to come up with a definitive list of books we would ban, though some genres we could most definitely do without. Even though we do not care for certain books and/or authors, neither of us would ever want books destroyed or authors barred from writing, whether or not we agree with the content. As my friend wisely concluded, "Just because you put out a book doesn't mean it's for everyone," and a book not pleasing everyone is no reason for a book to be banned.

Thanks for reading. 

What book(s) would you ban?
Answer the lunchtime poll question in the comments.

Come to the Dark Side ~ Banned Books Coffee Mug 
Find More Creations by Eve Penman @ ProseAndPix