I recently returned from a vacation in French Polynesia. This was my first ever solo vacation and something I planned and anticipated for a long time before I could finally make it happen. It was not my first air travel, nor my first vacation, but the first time I traveled to a far-off place alone with no academic conference, family visit, or other purpose in mind. It was also the farthest from home I have ever been, at nearly double the distance of my previous record. And it was glorious.
It’s the end of an era, and by era I mean a handful of months of trying something new and watching it not quite work. Today, I officially lay my paludarium ambitions to rest for the foreseeable future. It was okay while it lasted, but the test did not yield the desired results and it is over. I am pivoting.
So, what happened?
Evolution is a powerful thing. In the span of generations it turns scuttling reptiles into towering sauropods and soaring birds, and it has made and unmade more living things than humanity will ever know. Understanding the relationships between the lineages of living things is one of the grander ways in which humans understand our place in the infinite assemblage of life, and it also tells us an enormous amount about how everything is related to everything else. For the right ultra-specific kind of nerd, it’s also barrels of fun. Fortunately, we have just such a nerd in attendance.
So I made cladograms for all my pets and plants.
My grandmother is dead and everything is worse now.
For the past several years, I have known that I had space for exactly one more aquarium in my office and my tank-maintenance routine, bringing the total in my home to three. I have been hemming and hawing about what, exactly, to do with that space ever since. My original hope was to set up a marine system designed for a mantis shrimp, in fulfillment of a childhood dream, but my research into that quest showed it to be far more expensive and challenging than I was prepared to take on, especially as a third system. I ultimately settled on a different childhood dream to pursue: a paludarium. Continue reading “Operation Paludarium”
Some days, the inspiration does not come. Some days, none of the things you have been thinking about feel worthy of becoming essays, whether because they seem too obvious, have been written too many times already, are too incomplete to distribute safely, or cross the threshold from shareable musing to private contemplation. After spending a large chunk of today banging my head against that particular brick wall, I have accepted defeat.
So here are some funny captions on pictures of crabs.
A few months ago, I wrote a fantasy scenario for an expansive train network for Ottawa. The revised version of that that I posted in March was head and shoulders above that original. Now, it’s time to think even farther into the fantastical future. This article is meant to be a complete reference as well as a commentary on its predecessors and also contains some readability improvements on its map.
I’ve updated this scenario. Here’s version three.
A few months ago, I wrote a fantasy scenario for an expansive train network for Ottawa. A few astute commenters and my own lingering misgivings kept me thinking about that map, and I’ve now gone back and made an even better, more fantastical vision for a train-loving Canadian capital.
CN clothing ads, including lingerie
I really like this ad.
In late November 2014, I discovered that I am a transgender woman. In March 2015, I began speaking to a therapist in pursuit of hormone replacement therapy. In September 2015, I received my spironolactone prescription. In October 2015, that was joined by estrogen, and in May 2016 by progesterone.
It has been 17 months of being Alyssa, in place after place, until the only pretending left was for government files. There are steps in my journey I am stalled from taking, trapped in bureaucratic hell and financial purgatory. But when I look back on where I was then, and what I look like now, they don’t feel quite so urgent.