Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Is Here

Don't be scared.

It's only Kevin.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Creepy Dead Snake

Here is a creepy dead snake that I found in May; I believe that it is an Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

We Can Do Better Than the Bunnyman

Now is the Halloween season, when we are inclined to consider the tales that bring fear.  Here in Northern Virginia, we have only one horror-related urban legend—the Bunnyman, a guy in a rabbit costume who assaults people with an axe at a railroad bridge in southwestern Fairfax County.  (And I doubt how widespread the legend really is. I grew up in this area, and only heard about the Bunnyman sometime in the last ten years via the internet.)

In my opinion, this Bunnyman, or really any bunnyman, is too silly to be scary.  Northern Virginia needs something better.  Can't we find a ghost, or a werewolf, or a zombie, or some sort of giant evil bird, or a possessed lawn mower, or even a big creeping mound of peat moss with strangely human-like intelligence?

If anyone out there is attacked by the Bunnyman, I hope that he at least has the decency to sing you some Eighties alternative before chopping you with his axe.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Halloween Gets Real

The Halloween season is coming, or perhaps it has been here for a few weeks.  As my friend Brian recently said, Halloween has taken over the whole of October, just as Christmas controls the whole of December.  And I can't help noticing that a Spirit Halloween store has been operating in the site of a closed Office Depot in the local shopping center since late August.  

I have blogged much blogging about Halloween over the years.  (Just click the Halloween tag below to read the old posts, and analyze them for inconsistencies.)  Halloween fascinates me because it's the time when we pretend that our monstrous fantasies could be real.  But mostly Halloween for me has been an abstraction. No one ever invites me to any Halloween parties, and I am probably too old to go trick-or-treating (based on the fact that if I want candy, I can drive to the store and buy some.)  That changed last year, when my place of employment held an event in which we were invited to come to work in costume.  I went with my Spock costume from 2001—pointy rubber ears, a blue pullover sweater, and a Starfleet insignia that I made by cutting out a piece of cardboard and painting it gold.

Now I am starting to worry about what to do this year.  Should I be Spock again, or try something else?  I want something simple, because it's just a work event and there's no cash prize for best costume. Possibly the simplest costume would be Han Solo, because it requires only a white shirt, black pants, and a black vest.  But I don't think that I could carry it off.  Han Solo is a charismatic figure, and I don't have that kind of charisma, or really any charisma at all. 

Another simple option would be to dress like Harry Potter, because, well, I kind of look like Harry Potter already.  But I've never read any Harry Potter books or seen any Harry Potter movies, and generally have no knowledge of Harry Potter.  And someone would say to me, "Are you ready to stop Wingledorf from stealing the magic Thumblewump?"

And I'd just say, "Whaaaa . . . ?"

Or maybe I could try a noncommittal and apathetic costume, in which I wear a really long scarf, and tell people that maybe I'm Harry Potter, or maybe I'm the fourth Doctor Who.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

An Observation on Tectonics

Tectonics, or, as it is also known, structural geology, is the study of the movements of large rock masses.  I have noticed an odd coincidence in which the words for most of the concepts used in tectonics begin with either the letter S or the letter F.  

Or, to put it most succinctly:

Structure is shear, strain, stress, and strength in faults, folds, fractures, and foliations.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


The inside of the Currituck Beach Light, a lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina, as seen from the bottom.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Political Questions

I don't blog about politics.  I think about politics a lot.  I read about politics.  But, the older that I get, the more I think that there is no point in discussing politics with anyone else, because most people aren't open to reconsidering their political positions, and the only thing that I would accomplish would be to get other people mad at me, or maybe to get me mad at other people.  Yet I worry that people will think that I'm shallow because I don't blog about politics, as political interest is seen as the mark of intellect, especially here in the Washington area, where people eat, drink, and smoke politics.  

Today, though, I am making an exception; I have decided that, in honor of the 2016 presidential contest (which has been going on for maybe three years now, and will probably continue until at least 2019), I will share some of the deeper questions that I am contemplating regarding today's political landscape:

  *Did Carly Fiorina sing "Call Me Maybe"?

  *Am I correct in my impression that Bernie Sanders is Doc Brown from Back to the Future, and in order for his policies to work we would all have to drive at exactly 88.8 miles per hour?

  *What is the difference between Rand Paul and Paul Ryan?  Is there some simple mnemonic that I could use remember that difference?

  *Never mind Hillary Clinton's e-mail problems . . . how was Bill Clinton able to avoid being caught up in the Ashley Madison hack?