Friday, January 30, 2009

More Fun Hyperlocal Rockridge Stuff: Pugs and Hummingbirds

I'm thrilled by all the readers who've dropped in and commented so early in my blog's history. I really want to make this more of a local casual blog instead of putting on my Serious Writing Face every time I post, and include more local Rockridge stuff. There's no point in my recycling political news, especially because I'm new to Oakland and I often don't have much to add to the conversation. When I do have something about local politics to say I'll say it here. In the meantime:

I've developed a hummingbird obsession. Fish are to Frank Gehry as hummingbirds are to me. Fascinating that something which today fills the same niche as insects and is occasionally eaten by them is descended from theropods (dinosaurs) and that the evolution of their speed and metabolism has a ceiling based on the limits of kidney filtration (though there's some argument that it's mitochondrial function too). They're a biochemical swiss watch. They're an evolutionary treasure - something I would be proud to show an alien if I met one, as proof of the awesomeness of my biosphere. I've often wondered how close we are to building an RC plane the size of a hummingbird. Put a little camera on it. Fly it down to the corner on Sunday morning before you go to see if there's a line at the breakfast place.

This time of year they don't have many flowers to drink from. The other day one was flying along the edge of my balcony, methodically searching every square inch for sugar. He got quite close to me in the process and seemed desperate. Given their metabolism, they can go from well-fed to death by starvation in literally an hour. So I made a little feeder for them and hung it in the courtyard of my building with some fake red flowers to draw them. I hope they find it.

Equally randomly, there are two pugs next door that, when they let themselves out through the dog door into their yard, scream and cry until they've been let back in. They sound for all the world like they're dying slow and agonizing deaths. Once you realize it's just these two dummies wallowing in their separation anxiety the performance becomes not only tolerable, but progressively more hilarious every time.

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