reference's blog

Cupid behind the scene

You know the story: two movie stars meet on a movie set and fall in love with each other. Then everyone talks about them and their infatuation is the best thing that can happen to the tabloids and paparazzi. Their romance might last as long as the shooting period of the movie, or they might end up marrying and staying together for a long time (usually, against all odds.)

My Deserted Island Books

One of the inevitable truths of life is its impermanence. What we think and feel today often changes by tomorrow. When pondering my favorite books, the list remains in constant flux. If I am entrenched in a fiction mood, the list is weighted towards fiction. If I am hiking often, the list leans towards natural history. If I am spending most of my free time on my porch, well, you get the point: the books that shape us change.

Oxford English Dictionary Online

While pondering what classes to take my last semester in college I seriously considered a course in lexicography. What is lexicography you ask? The act of writing dictionaries. A noble act indeed. For a few days I could think of no better way to spend a semester than examining the intricacies of dictionary writing. My mind's eye saw bushy eyebrowed zealots amidst piles of words and a gilded scale of linguistic judgment. While my interest in taking the course thankfully waned, my interests in dictionaries did not.

I wish I could break 4:00

If I could choose one physical accomplishment, without a doubt, I would run a sub-four-minute mile. Growing up in a running family, the four-minute mile was--and remains--the zenith of cool for me. I never got anywhere close to breaking four minutes, but I have witnessed a few at various track meets and get goosebumps each time.

Jose Saramago

The chicken or the egg? Saramago or Portugal? Am I enjoying reading Jose Saramago because of my recent fascination with Portugal, or did the Portugal fascination open the door to Saramago? I honestly do not know which came first. I do know for sure that over the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed planning a someday trip to Portugal and am pleased to have finally read the great Portugese Nobel Laureate.

Trees: I look at them; I like to sit beneath them.

I like trees. Whether a stunning forest or a lone oak in a pasture, I'm constantly on the look out for beautiful trees. Last spring I realized that despite loving trees I'm quite inept at identifying them. I could walk through my yard and declare "that's a hackberry and those are red oaks," but I embarrassingly could not identify the other trees in my yard. That wouldn't work. I brought a few field guides home and set to work learning about American elms and scrub oaks and a tree that many call a weed but I call a chinaberry.

Fire in the sky

On June 30th, 1908 something incredible happened on Earth; specifically, in Siberia, near the Tunguska River. Some witnesses say that it was like the sky was split in two by a huge ball of fire, for others it was like we had another sun. Then they heard a huge thunder, and another, and another. We are talking about the Tunguska event, something that has kept the community of scientists busy for more than a hundred years. The first expedition to the area came after this explosion happened almost ten years later. What they found then was about 80 million trees knocked down in 800 miles square miles. At the center of this area though, the trees were standing, but they were stripped from their branches and bark. Creepy!

Was that a butterfly?

I always feel like I can't never get enough of butterflies. They just go so fast that I get this feeling that I’ve seen something beautiful but I cannot tell exactly how it looks. I can talk about its colors in general but that’s it! No details of the shape of the wings or anything else. On two different occasions I’ve been lucky enough to see the gorgeous Morpho butterfly in Costa Rica: you can only see this metallic blue flash going around, so it is hard to believe it is a butterfly. Amazing!!


Subscribe to RSS - reference's blog