Archive for September, 2008

Mushroom hunting at 20 mph

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting, Bruno, Weather.
Monday, September 22nd, 2008 at 9:47 am

I took one of the longer routes in on my bike today, and as I zipped through one particularly wooded trail section I found myself trying to scan the ground for signs of mushrooms.  Not very easy at that speed!

We had much better luck yesterday, when Karen and I took Bruno for a walk in the river gorge.  Mere feet away from the steps leading down the ridge we saw numerous … somethings … in several clumps on the ground.  White spores and otherwise fairly indistinct makes it pretty hard for us rookies to identify.  20080922081643_2878534979_79bc5ef4d0_o.jpgThen after another few steps off the trail Karen spotted these guys at right: awesome!  I don’t remember it now, but we were able to pretty positively identify them.

All in all a very successful outing.  What a difference to explore some of these areas after the rains we had last week – we were in similar terrain with my parents a few weeks ago when it was still dry and it was hard to find anything!  Now they’re popping up everywhere.

Saturday morning was also a good hunt – Karen had to help run a watershed cleanup down in Hastings, and I got come along and "help", that is, hunt mushrooms if I promised to take a trash bag with me and also collect any trash I saw.  I ended up filling a few bags of trash, and also finding some really big gilled mushrooms and a few nice sized boletes.  … all of which defied identification.  One of the young gilled specimens had a pretty cool cortina (I think – basically a cobweb protection around the gills), and sort of purple flesh, but even with those good clues I couldn’t figure it out.  The bolete flesh turned reddish brown when exposed to air, and all the ones I found were enclosed in a partial veil of some sort.  Also good clues, but not enough for me to figure out.

Great hunting, though!  Next I think I need to start identifying trees more accurately, as that will give me a better clue as to what mushrooms might be growing near them…

The take-away message: hunt slowly, not at 20 mph.  The act of stopping and stooping to grab a piece of trash often lead my eyes to a mushroom that I would certainly have walked past, even though I was actively looking for them.  It’s important to mix it up, crouch down, and always check the back side of the trees!


What to do?

Posted by Nate in Politics, Soapbox.
Thursday, September 4th, 2008 at 9:37 am

The RNC here in St. Paul comes to a close today with a final party hosted by Google at my place of employment.  Whoa.  Somehow my invitation was lost in the mail, but it’s cool – I’ve got other plans tonight.

Ironically, being this close to the RNC and watching their speeches on the public TV channel has gotten me more riled up than the whole DNC.  I just can’t get over my jaw-dropping disbelief as I see these people rise from their seats again and again, cheering for the most blatant, hateful, destructive lies and plain old mean-spirited attacks.  Their massive disconnect from reality, their permeating sense of self-importance and holier-than-thou attitudes just make me crazy… and sick.  Because these people aren’t going to stay home on November 4th, and they’re not going to stop trying to spread their bile to anyone who will listen.

So what’s it gonna take?  I’m finally realizing that I live in a protected political bubble, surrounded by like-minded people, and there are actually citizens out there who are barely aware of who the two candidates are – let alone the first thing about their policies.  And it doesn’t help when Palin repeats her brazen lie about saying "thanks, but no thanks" on the bridge.  No fool, she knows 30 million people heard that line and only a fraction will do the homework to realize she’s lying — the swooning media certainly won’t call her out on it.

Is there a way to reach these people?  I’m writing off those who’ve already made up their mind – it’s not going to change.  But if there are really people with no idea who they’re going to vote for, how can they be convinced?  And who the hell ARE they???  Anyone?

Meanwhile the big brains at the Obama campaign think they know who they are and what to do to convince them, so go give them some love.  And by "love" I mean "money".  And by "some" I mean "lots".  Seriously.