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I had the pleasure of hanging out in Fairbanks for a few days. It was a delightful fall weekend and I spent most of it out exploring the permafrost. Incredible ecosystem.

-building, IRL. More back story on the re-construction (Part Two):

Nevada Barr, an author known for US National Park ranger Anna Pigeon mystery books (which come highly recommended!), put out a memoir of sorts a few years ago. The book is called _Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat_. Lots of autobiographical random snippets, mostly, but one that stuck out to me was her lamenting (briefly) about heeding a builder who told her during her own house remodel that she "didn't need an architect."

"I should have hired an architect," she wrote.

Since many of my limited undergrad dollars went to feed her, her agent and publisher, I figured that was some sage advice. So my first call-out on this project was to find an architect. That was over 2 months ago...

Fast-forward to now. And, as it turns out, hiring an architect is basically a pointless endeavor unless you are also prepared to hire a structural engineer! Heed the layers of wisdom writers who communicate across time and space dole out, kiddos.

I guess it makes sense though; different people wearing different hats. And at the end of the day, sometimes you've just gotta trust the experts. 🀷

Anyway. the has many good and a few not-so-great things about it. The good definitely outweigh the bad though.

The defunct laundry / mudroom we tore off wasn't added until at least the 70's (rough guess; don't take that for fact). I'm guessing that the beautiful red Acer Palmatum (AKA Japanese Maple), pictured below was probably planted afterward, in the 80's, as you can see how it filled in only on one side. These trees tend to grow fairly slowly.

Background is of covered work tent and wood waiting to be refinished and re-used in parts of the remodel.

-building, IRL: Preface

The was built in 1948 and is currently about ~740 square feet of house. When I first walked around the outside of the property a few years ago, I "heard" some cries of the suffering plants being choked out by weedy and invasive ivy, disgustingly snaky bindweed, reed canary grass, caterpillar grass.

It had once had a well-planned yard design, but the existence of a lawn and child's playground toys meant it had been neglected for a long time.

My decision, at the time, to mortgage myself to this little stead was not that hard. My heart had always yearned for some "filthy" dirt on which to compost my kitchen scraps instead of piling them into the trash (which you kind of have to do when you're an apartment dweller), or shoving them down the noisy garbage disposal with grinding-gear machinery that imitates the greedy gears of evil and extortionate landlords.

My mother was also literally born in 1948, so I took this, too, as somewhat of a nudge from the Great Mystery that perhaps this would be a good idea.

The house, as many of these old houses were apt to be, was built out gradually a room or two at at a time. The most recent addition was a laundry / mud room on the back of the house. I came to learn, after an electrician informed me that the power main and inside breaker boxes would both need replaced, that hey this part of your house was never permitted properly. So here's a massive expense.

Anyway... I've saved and scrapped these last few years and did the tear-down of the add-on over the summer.

Finally ready to re-do the addition the "right way": with permits and paid professionals and plans.

Here's progress so far (before & after teardown) ...

After a few months absence, a Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) has re-appeared near my workplace at International Business Park in Singapore. Nice to see you again. πŸ™‚

#iNaturalist #Nature #Singapore #Photography #Birds #Aves

On iNaturalist [ ]

"In an article about education, it's appropriate to start with a pop quiz. Today's question: Republican strategists want to privatize education because:

a) Education is a multibillion dollar market, and the private sector is eager to get its hands on those dollars.
b) Conservatives are devoted to the free market and believe that private is inherently superior to public.
c) Shrinking public education furthers the Republican Party goal of drastically reducing the public sector.
d) Privatization undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party.
e) Privatization rhetoric can be used to woo African American and Latino voters to the Republican Party.
f) All of the above.

OK, I admit it, the answer's obvious: all of the above."

Above quiz from: "Why the Right Hates Public Education" by Barbara Miner (link:

Good quiz! Just how badly do the Florida Republicans hurt their teachers?

"The low pay Florida’s teachers are currently suffering through is the result of deliberate choices made by Tallahassee politicians. Political agendas that have focused on flawed bonus schemes and performance pay, expanding school choice, and consolidating power at the state level while usurping local control have each played a factor in Florida’s decline in pay relative to the rest of the nation. [In] the 2006-07 school year, Florida’s teachers were 28th in the nation in average salary. While being in the bottom half of all the states is nothing to be proud of, Florida has fallen almost 20 spots since then. "


Regarding the reference to Republicans' attacks on public education and teachers' unions (
), there are many things to say.

Many things to say, because it has been happening for a very long time; when did Republicans "forget" to stop lying?

They hate admitting they change history textbooks and deny indigenous wisdoms. "Vouchers" won't remedy that.

They think everything should be for sale, while failing to realize there are many things nobody (nor no money) can buy.

They hate that they can't make the US of A reflect anything but their own willful ignorance.

They try to portray the uncovering of their corruption as "fake news," but it is not; they're in a mess of their own making, and their messes are getting bigger.

Happy September! Best month of the year for weather junkies to study the beauty and power of Mother Nature.

Hurricane Dorian is set to encroach on the Treasure Coast, a place I lived grades 4-9 in the late 80's and early 90's. This was before the evil Bush regimes destroyed public education in that state, so was astoundingly fortunate to have a fantastic education in public schools. My family's little hometown there was Jensen Beach, FL, which felt some of the impact of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. I remember distinctly the layers of excitement under awe and some fear of the power of weather.

Today, I work on for a living (AKA "Artificial Intelligence") algorithms, and my awe has waxed more than waned. So many variables go into the models that predict these storms, and while we've made amazing progress in predictive capabilities over the last couple decades, forecasting is still an imperfect science.

Still. Football season has nothing on hurricane prediction season, in my book. Happy tracking!

πŸŒ€ 🌬️ 🌧️ πŸŒͺ️

Excellent article put out by Global Justice Now about the white saviour complex surrounding how people have reacted to the destruction of the amazon.

"It is this implication, that the Amazon rainforest is somehow the collective property of everyone, which reveals a startling colonial tendency in responses to climate crisis. In these narratives, indigenous communities are either erased, represented without agency, or as essentialised guardians of the forest."

Happy to spot the Malayan (Megisba malaya sikkima) at the Pandan River, Singapore, on 14 Aug 2019. The last time I got a shot of it was in 2016.

The Malayan is a small, moderately rare butterfly in Singapore. I saw it fluttering on the ground and decided to take a closer look. What I saw got my heart excited. :-)

#iNaturalist #Nature #Singapore #Insects #Butterflies #Papilionoidea #Lepidoptera

On iNaturalist [ ].

#florespondence i've managed to cultivate a teeny patch of #violets, and the more prolific they get, the more I keep thinking of picking and sugaring some of the blossoms.

@indie i was looking up feather identification for the spotted feather we found, with the orange rachis. i found out what bird it is. Its a Northern Red Flicker. here is a link if you want to read about it. <3

The Internet has quite a bit of experience with globally-coordinating things, eh? So many countries on board with :

27th of September, "On the anniversary of Silent Spring"

If Rachel Carson is what it took for white people to wake up and start thinking about the environment like people have been for thousands of years, good on her.

Oh, good... I was looking for this post the other day on as . Adding hashtags for easier location in the future.

As I have posted in the past, we need to #boycott companies like Unilever, Cargill, PepsiCo, Mars, NestlΓ©, Danone, etc,..

Stop Blaming Cows and Start Targeting the Corporations that are Destroying the Amazon - via @shareaholic

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Decolonize your thinking! Ecosteader is a network for sharing better ideas around designing, building, and innovating eco-friendly spaces on our shared soil. We collaborate and amplify the voices of all indigeneous peoples with "Traditional Ecological Knowledge" (TEK) as we seek to build and participate in a better form of Ecological Democracy. Design lean, build green: compost for wildlife-friendly gardens, micro-homesteads, living walls not border walls, off-grid communities, recycled materials as artwork, and more. WATCH: Why America Must Change. We are anti-Realtors, anti-landlords, and against corrupt RepubliKKKan politicians!