Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things I've seen

In the morning, I'll be flying back to Vegas. It has been a lovely and delightful week with Cardgrrl, as always, but life must go on. All play and no work makes Grump a broke boy. Or something like that.

My first day here (Wednesday last week) I went for a walk while Cardgrrl was on an extended work-related conference call. Here's some of what I saw.

Some very pretty flowers (pansies? I'm not sure):

A big, old tree with wrinkled skin:

A sculpture that I kind of liked, for reasons I can't exactly articulate. It is identified as "Divine Nature" by Chris Tousimis, 2006:

This is part of the outside of a Jewish center. I just like the assemblage of interesting lines--two peaks, one of them under a gentle arch, some vertical lines, some horizontal lines, some criss-crossy lines:

A lovely, simple, red door at St. Albans parish:

Many years ago, my brother told me about having seen a bunch of ants paired up two by two, heads together, mostly not moving, but occasionally the dyads would break apart and they'd each find new partners. He was at the time somehow in contact with E.O. Wilson, the world's pre-eminent ant researcher, so asked him what that was about. Wilson apparently told him that it was a territorial battle between adjacent colonies, and the pairs were soldier ants that had their jaws locked on each other. I thought that sounded pretty cool, and for a long, long time I have hoped that someday I would get to see such a thing for myself. (You might think photos would be on the web. Maybe they are, but do a Google image search for "ant wars" and you get all sorts of things, but not that.)

I stopped to look at a bunch of ants on the sidewalk, wondering what bit of food had attracted them. I was surprised to find that there was none. They were also mostly stationary, not milling about. When I looked more closely, I noticed that they were in pairs, head to head. I had found it! My own little ant war! And now you can see it, too. Look at the big version, and it's easier to see what's going on.

(The macro setting on my camera seems to have some aberration in the lens toward the right side. Never noticed it before, and don't know what it's about. More exploration needed when I get home. Sorry for the partially blurred image.)

Here's a shot from the basement of Cardgrrl's apartment building. Kind of a Hitchcock "Vertigo" thing going on, though it feels a lot safer on the bottom looking up than the other way 'round:

Finally, while on a trip out to the burbs for some errands, we passed by this sign, which is one of the finest examples of oxymoronity I have come across:

(Yes, I know that it's referring to Bush 41, not 43, and not to his own personal intelligence but to the gathering of security information about other nations. Still funny.)


Memphis MOJO said...

Thanks for the photos. The first one is a vinca.

Anonymous said...

That ant battle was just fantastic - thanks! I always enjoy your photo-heavy posts. My only fear is that your cheery mood will impede proper grumping when you return to the felt.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Grump, Loose Cannon from AVP - With all due respect, the flower in pic #1 is called Vinca.

Pansies are winter flowers - you normally won't see them until October (in the mid-atlantic region).

Still loving the blog. Please keep up the awesome work.

Rakewell said...

I knew somebody would help with the ID. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Here is a nice close up picture of two ants locked in battle