April 10th, 2021


Community Building Tip: Food

For my current set of tips, I'm using the list "101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City.

68. Set the table for community conversation. After breaking bread with someone, it’s hard to consider them a stranger. That’s the philosophy that informed The Longest Table, a 400-person feast put together by community groups in Tallahassee, Florida, to break down social barriers and get neighbors talking to each other.

While the concept of food as bonding is valid, not everyone likes large feasts nor is a crowd conducive to close personal connections.  Consider also offering introvert parties or arrangements where families trade hosting each other.  The latter is especially useful across ethnic lines or other cases where people may have quite different cuisines.


Today's weather is wild.  Earlier it was gray, and it has rained a couple of times -- once arriving in a sudden deluge.  Now it's mostly sunny and very windy.  It's supposed to rain off and on today and tomorrow.

I fed the birds.  I've seen a few doves today but not much activity.  Can't say I blame them.

Purple and white tulips are blooming in the purple-and-white garden.  Bluebells are open, which is a good three weeks ahead of when I usually see them at my parents' place. 

Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano

... is erupting.

I am uneasy about multiple fresh eruptions (not counting some shield volcanoes that leak more or less constantly) in far-flung places.  If you get several close together, it usually means there's a hotspot in that one place, with a pretty high likelihood, which is risky but at least localized.  If they're spread out, it might be a coincidence -- but if it's not, it can mean that the whole mantle is churning up, which occasionally means "bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."  Since Yellowstone has been fractious the last few years, this is really not reassuring news.

Now add in the fact that volcanoes and earthquakes are just two different symptoms of crust activity to release stress underground.  The more volcanic activity, the more likely that earthquakes will start popping off to relieve pressure in their own way.  Considering that most of the West Coast is a mess of faults, many of them connected, several major ones long past their usual timespan between quakes, and some in areas with zero preparation to cope with earthquake hazards ... this is not a good situation.

If you live in an area prone to volcanoes or earthquakes, now would be a good time to check your plans and resources for coping with those challenges, just in case things get rough.

Dinosaur Sounds

This cartoon talks about dinosaur sounds, in regard to their relation to birds.

The thing is ... some birds actually can growl.  If you try to reach under a broody hen, she is likely to growl right before trying to tear your arm off.  It is a tickier sound than a mammal growl, but still recognizably a growl.  A goose can indeed honk, but other than that their sounds are surprisingly feline, including not only a very ominous growl but also a hiss.

Thinking about this, I suddenly realized how much Jurassic Park velociraptors sound like giant, bloodthirsty geese.  Yes.  Terror geese.  I'm going to bet that someone(s) in the development has been assaulted by geese.  Especially after that scene with the damn eggs.  Also if you hear geese making raptorlike sounds, you should haul ass out of reach.  They are territorial as fuck and large enough to break bone.

Regarding dinosaur roars, that trainlike shriek used for large carnivores probably isn't far off.  It sounds a lot like the first half of a peacock's shriek, scaled up a lot.  Parrots and macaws can also shriek ... actually about as loud as a television's dinosaur shriek.  Scale that up and it would be bone-rattling.  Hence my rendition of deathbeaks in Torn World, which was based on a combination of terror birds and my own experiences with birds.

There were, however, almost certainly honking dinosaurs, the duckbills.