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I originally thought we should put the Confederate monuments into a museum setting of some sort -- as teaching lessons about history.

After Charlottesville, I say tear them down.

Most of them were raised in the early 1900s as part of Jim Crow. They have no place in America now.
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It was a cloudy evening, under the porch, so my photos were very noisy! But I got some pics of hummingbirds visiting the feeder I just hung!

Ruby-throated hummingbird
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Wow...such a social week...dinner with friends (Ethiopian!) and great dessert afterwards! Coffee...wine...Watermelon Festival...Korean 'Chipotle'....

Really, I'd like to spread my social life out more -- I had stuff to do every night this past week!

Took some quick shots of a friend one night -- this one was interesting to me. I think it is the 'proud' pose he took for the pic. It was on the grounds of the museum here --
Hanging out with a friend tonight.
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1947 Anti-Fascism Video -- starts mostly around 2:16 -- "I thought Nazis were crazy people -- fanatics" --

Tomatoes!

Aug. 11th, 2017 04:39 pm
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The cherry tomatoes are finally coming in. I'm going to dinner with friends tonight, but I got hungry, so this (with some Caesar dressing) is a snack.

Cherry tomatoes, with some Ground Cherries and Basil before I put on the dressing...
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So, we are now reading articles about how a 'war' might look?

It only took 7 months with Jabba in office! Granted, the North Korean situation has ben very flammable for a long time...it's just that Jabba has no skill -- is over his head -- is antagonistic and stupid.

I don't have enough expletives to describe what I think of him.

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Had sorvete / ice cream with my Brazilian friend tonight -- it was fun...it has been several weeks since we had seen each other!

Got fairly close to a Goldfinch in the garden tonight...I think I could've gotten even closer if someone hadn't walked by on the sidewalk and scared him away!

Goldfinch eating Coneflower seeds in front yard
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Between yardwork and errands today and yesterday, I took some pictures in the garden. I was pleased to see a Hummingbird Moth -- Hemaris diffinis -- a Snowberry Clearwing Moth.

They are difficult to photograph partly because they look like, and are the size of, bumblebees, so unless you are paying attention, you don't even know they are around. They are also fairly shy, and if you get within 6 or 7 feet of them, they tend to fly away. Also, they are moving a lot, so they are hard to shoot.

I used my longest lens here (and cropped the result), so that I didn't have to get too close.

Hummingbird moth (Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth)

Hummingbird moth (Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth)


And I was also pleased to see a Monarch Caterpillar -- Danaus plexippus -- feeding on the Swamp Milkweed out front. It means I did the right thing planting the Swamp Milkweed -- which I did to give Monarchs a food source.
Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) feeding on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Sorvete

Aug. 3rd, 2017 09:07 pm
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I hung out again with the 21 year old guy tonight -- he paid for my gelato. It was fun -- he really is a sweetheart!

Sometimes, when you re-start your social life, more and more social life happens. I have plans tomorrow night, next Friday, and suddenly 2 people texted me tonight to try to schedule something with me. One of them is my Brazilian friend, whom I haven't seen in several weeks. And the other is a guy from my English as a Second Language class, whom I haven't seen in a few months!

So, I wondered if Portuguese had a different word for ice cream, and gelato...and maybe not -- Google Translate gives the same word -- sorvete -- which already looked like 'sorbet' to me anyway!

Some Vanessa da Mata tonight -- "Don't Leave Me Alone" --

Weekend

Jul. 30th, 2017 09:07 pm
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It was a really nice dinner with friends the other night this past week...the restaurant had a great vegetarian option -- that's unusual for burger place -- and just really nice conversation.

***

Wine with a friend tonight, who has bought a full frame sensor camera -- and wow, it worked really nicely with my fisheye lens! It really is tempting me to trade up from my crop sensor to a full frame!

***

I met a guy for coffee today...I knew he was young...but OMG -- so young, lol! I immediately went into 'uncle mode' because he is so young -- he's 21...There's more difference in our ages than he is old! I can totally hang out with him -- and give him some support as he 'grows up' as a gay man. He was pretty painfully shy -- which brought out my Uncle mode even more!

***

I was taking pictures of a Goldfinch munching on my Coneflowers today...I never realized that birds would 'squat' before they took a dump, lol! But this finch totally did a wing and leg thing and took 2 dumps -- I didn't catch the actual dumping in my photo, but you can see the pose he took, lol!
Goldfinch, ahem, having a private moment after a large breakfast

***

Speaking of Uncle mode...one of my great nephews sent me a text today...he's 8. So I texted a few things...and sent him some pictures. He seemed to like the picture of Milkweed Bugs on my Swamp Milkweed plant --
Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Summer

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:10 pm
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Had a very nice time with a friend at a wine bar last night. I was tipsier than I expected -- one of the wines was (do I remember the server correctly...) 14% alcohol?

Dinner with some other friends later this week. Should be fun!

I'm trying to re-start my social life a bit. A dear friend has been more and more unavailable to me for the last few months. He and I have always been sort of an 'odd couple'...but somehow we (maybe it was just me that..?) made it work for several years. But it has made me sad...And now I have to decide what the f**k to do with the small birthday present I bought him, which is sitting on a chair in my house!


Even when I don't get the words...I still listen to Brazilian music -- I figure if nothing else, it 'trains' my ear to the sound. And in this song, I looked up the lyrics..and there are a lot of words about Carnival that I don't really get...nor do I get the storyline. But it's pleasant music.



Headed over to the the fine art museum here to snap a few pics of Chloe -- the gigantic head outside of the museum. She's pretty eye catching! And flat from head on!
Chloe @ VMFA

Chloe @ VMFA
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My house has a new resident -- it appears to be a leafcutter wasp.

As I was walking around the house this morning, I saw this bug fly into a hole in the mortar. I watched it come and go a couple of times, but it was too fast -- I couldn't see it well enough to identify it! So I brought the camera out. Again, it was so fast that I couldn't point the camera (and have the camera focus) fast enough. So then I brought out the tripod and shutter switch. Still not a great pic, but enough for me to ID the bugger!

The green you see is a piece of leaf it has cut to bring back to line the nest --


The good news is that they seem to be excellent pollinators. And it doesn't seem that they will do great harm to the house. The bad news is that once one finds a 'good spot', they mark the spot, so others know about it. Although solitary nesters, they tend to have nests near each other. So, I suppose this could become a problem in the future. But for now, the nest is safe with me!

***

The heat has been fierce lately, so I haven't wanted to work in the yard. And by the time I was up and about today, I didn't want to go to the river and be in the sun. So, I decided to visit the butterfly exhibit at the local botanical garden again.

If I thought it was humid outside....wait until I got inside the butterfly exhibit, whew!
It wasn't humid in there....not not at all  馃槣


I wanted to "pan" the camera, in the way I do for bicyclists....but butterflies don't go in a straight, predictable line! I still think this photo is interesting, although not what I was aiming for --
It's hard to photograph a moving butterfly!


I had seen the 'eyes' on the wings of these butterflies before, but the angle of this this photo really made them stand out! I was surprised at how much my eye was drawn to the fake 'eye' instead of the actually head of the butterfly!
The Eye!


Another butterfly in the exhibit --
Butterfly


I have not seen many butterflies in my garden at home this year -- small ones -- Sulfas and Skippers, but not many large ones. I'm hoping when the Asters start to bloom that I'll see a few more.

Asimov

Jul. 21st, 2017 05:02 pm
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Growing up, I read a lot of Isaac Asimov...his Foundation series (along with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings) was definitely a big part of my growing up. His writing style is a bit terse and old fashioned, but since his stuff was published in the 40s and 50s, that's understandable.

And Asimov was prolific - there are a lot of short stories and novels that he wrote. Today, I read a less than 15 page 'novel-ette' called "Nightfall".

I realized when I was reading it, that a lot of Asimov's stories are 'thought experiments'. What if there was a world with 6 suns, where there was never any light? How would the people react if there was a time of total darkness?

Published in 1941:
41 ' "It came to pass that the Darkness
42 of the Cave fell upon Lagash, and there
43 was no light on all the surface of Lagash.
44 Men were even as blinded, nor could one
45 man see his neighbor, though he felt his
46 breath upon his face.
47 ' "And in this blackness there
48 appeared the Stars, in countless numbers,
49 and to the strains of music of such beauty
50 that the very leaves of the trees cried out
51 in wonder.
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In addition to the Flash cards, I decided to learn more parts of the body. So I printed out some skinless medicinal images of a body and began labeling them.

My friend laughed at me -- I was using Google Translate, which sometimes is NOT my friend, lol. I typed 'calf'. And Google gave me the word for a child of a cow....a calf...but not the 'leg' kind, lol!

The same thing happened with chest! Google gave me "o ba煤, but my friend says "o peito"!

So I had to correct several of the words I got from Google!







Ent茫o, tem cuidado! Be careful what you get from online translation services!



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Until I get a handle on the verb tenses, I'm afraid my Portuguese is always gonna be very mediocre.

They are just hard for me! In French, I had many classes over many years, all drilling le plus-que-parfait or le pass臈 simple and many more into my thick head...But I don't have that in Portuguese, so I am now reduced to flash cards, lol! I printed them myself, and I intend to keep adding to them.

This morning, I chose 10, and I got 6 right....but the 4 I got wrong -- I really got wrong! So today I've been specifically practicing the 3rd person plural of present, past and imperfect of the verb fazer (to do/make): n贸s fazemos / n贸s fizemos / n贸s faz铆amos.