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Whatchoo Lookin At?

Hummingbird on a feeder looking at the camera

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Whatchoo Lookin At?

Setup the camera on a tripod in the breakfast room and focused on the spot where the hummer was landing with some frequency. Used the IR remote and bounced it off the window pane so I wouldn’t startle the hummer when taking the shot.

The shutter noise didn’t scare him off, but did make the little guy look at the camera and cock his head in a rather quizzical manner.

Hummingbird on a feeder looking at the camera

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Whatchoo Lookin At?

I For One Welcome Our New Ant Overlords

With another blistering summer firing up and an in-place population of any number of unpleasant bugs and critters, life in Houston may be getting just a little more unpleasant as we find ourselves being invaded by a species of ant that seems to be impervious to pesticides and has an appetite for electronics.

Exotic Texas Ant, Paratrechina also known as the Crazy Ant or the “Raspberry Ant” (named for Tom Rasberry who discovered them) stands to make his mark our humble little town.

Mentioned at Engaget this horrifying little creature has captured the limelight and is making headlines all over the web.

They have been known to short out many different types of electrical apparatuses. In some cases the ants have caused several thousand dollars in damage and remedial costs. These ants often cause great annoyance to residents and businesses.

For now they seem to be mostly in the South and the East…near the chemical plants oddly enough.

(queue 50’s sci-fi music).


Distribution
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Distribution

Distribution

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Distribution

I’ve already had one support call where the user jokingly suggested the problem with our Blackberry Enterprise Server might be a result of Crazy Ant infestation…har har…Rasberry, Blackberry, get it? Ugh!

On the plus side, these “Crazy” Ants seem to eat Fire Ants so they could be a boon to our area.

Now playing – Cheepnis by Frank Zappa

Ladies and gentlemen,
The monster,
Which the peasants in this area call FRUNOBULAX
(Apparently a very large poodle dog)
Has just been seen approaching The Power Plant
Bullets can’t stop it
Rockets can’t stop it
We may have to use NUCLEAR FORCE !

Bat Terrorizes Local Software Company

In my job, one of my responsibilities is to oversee incoming trouble tickets and make sure the support staff is routing them correctly.
I was working on something when my co-worker Luis asked me about a particular ticket that had just come in and how to handle it.

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There’s something you don’t see everyday. A trouble ticket about a bat loose in the building.

Even more distressing was this bat was on my floor.

I told Luis to pass it to facilities and to contact the facilities manager so she could contact animal control, which he did. But then he decided to go have a look and in the process of checking out the bat it took flight across the length of the 15th floor and buzzed my desk.

Did you see that episode of The Office where they discovered a bat living in the ceiling? It was the episode titled “Business School

I can now tell you from personal experience that having a bat flying loose in your place of work is not nearly as amusing to experience as it is to watch.

When it was reported as a barely moving, half dead bat I was just a bit put off, but mostly uninterested. Now that I could see the thing flying around the office I, of course, had to get in on the action. It eventually landed itself near the ceiling where the window blinds are.

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As I was snapping a few shots for the record I did begin to question the sanity of getting too close to what could easily be a half-crazed, sharp-toothed, erratically flying rabies delivery system. That was when the Dwight Schrute quote from the same episode sprang into my forebrain:

“Whenever I’m about to do something, I think “would an idiot do that?” and if they would, I do not do that thing”

Animal Control eventually came and took the bat away.

Pigeons

Cynthia and I were heading down Richmond in an effort to get around some congestion on 59 headed back to the house. As we were driving past the Ragin Cajun we noticed the most enormous flock of pigeons in the parking out front of Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations, which is in the same strip center.


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We had to circle back and investigate.

There were hundreds and hundreds of them all in the parking lot. They were also lining the roof of the building.


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Then this man came out of the building and they all took off…


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The birds flew around in a few circles, but landed again pretty quickly and the man just walked amongst them…


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He came over to me and we started talking. His name is Vichien and he’s been working at Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations for over 22 years. He’s been feeding the pigeons for 10 years.

He expressed some sadness as he told me the property had recently been sold to developers and he worried about the fate of his “friends.” Vichien told me how he tried to watch over the pigeons and how much money he’s spent on feed over the years.

As we talked I saw a Red-tail Hawk circling above the parking lot. Vichien clapped his hands and the birds all flew into the sky. This caused the hawk to retreat a bit, but he stayed close. Vichien confided that he’s lost to the hawk on many occasions.

After we were done chatting he went to his truck and pulled out a bag of bird seed and began to pour it onto the pavement. That was a sight to see…


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Before I left Vichien gave me a copy of last month’s Houston Press. He pointed out a picture of himself and said that the Houston Press was making fun of him. He just smiled. He asked if I could bring him a print of one of my pictures and I said I would bring one by when I had a chance.

All in all, it was an odd encounter, but it completely made my day.