Fresh Nectarade 🌺

A small, black hummingbird perches on a red nectar feeder.
Figure 1. A small, black hummingbird perches on a red nectar feeder.

Spotted last evening, April 12, 7:35 p.m. EDT, first of the hummingbirds returns to SE Christiansburg, Va., draws down the free sugar drinks we set out for such guests. Small, dark-throated, likely to have traversed at low altitude many miles. In 2022, the first arrived on April 10. More settled in unsettled, until they were dancing and diving as an all-summer-long electron field, altering Earth House’s surrounding airspace. #picaflores #hummingbirds #flightpaths #wonderhollow


  • How is the resolution to blog every day in 2011 going? Not too shabby. Not too shabby, at all.
  • Shabby or shabbily? Shab. Shabulous.
  • IHE today reports that distance ed critic David Noble died last week at the age of 65. I read an article or two by Noble in 2004, but I never did get around to picking up his book, Digital Diploma Mills. I should, though. In fact, it undoubtedly connects with work I’m doing lately (and in the semester to come) to shift EMU’s UWC into online consultation. Also, for that matter, stuff like power adjuncting (a topic of fascination for me more than anything else) and, too, the dissoi logoi that for all of our belly-aching about automaticity in higher ed (in the humanities, particularly), there are a whole lot of ways in which we could better adopt and apply automation to some aspects of our work, especially where long-term data-keeping is at issue. Anyway, I live in an Automation Alley county, surely indicative of something.
  • Winter semester begins Wednesday. I am teaching a Tuesday night grad class, ENGL516: Computers and Writing: Theory and Practice (the titular colonpede tempts me to add another segment: 011000010111011101100101011100110110111101101101011001010000110100001010).
  • That we meet on Tuesday the 11th for the first session leaves me no other choice than to assign two articles for the first class. Right? Right! I am mildly concerned the articles will be met with a chorus of “Shabulous!” Besides the grad class, I have a faculty consulting appointment in the UWC (mentioned that earlier) and then a course release carried over from last semester from an internal research grant. My plan is to make this the hardest working semester ever and actually get a couple, maybe three, of these two-thirds finished projects sent off by May.
  • Ph. flies back to Kansas City on Saturday, ending his month-long visit. I guess this can only mean I owe him a day snowboarding at Alpine Valley, probably tomorrow.
  • Will put together a slow-cooker lentil soup so that everybody has something hot and good to come home to. They might be thinking this tastes shabulous, but their mouths will be too full to say it.
  • Last thing: Weird about the fallen birds in Arkansas, right? I mean, 1,000 birds within one square mile? The question I can’t put down is to what extent this is rhetorical–a rhetorical happening, perhaps purely of nature’s precarious course. We don’t know a cause. But then! A school of fish were found belly up in the Arkansas River a few days later, and, according to one report, “Investigators said there is no connection between the dead fish and the dead birds.” No connection? If these are rare events whose cause(s) remain(s) unknown(s) and they are geographically proximate, why assert that they are disconnected? Even if it is too early to identify a causal connection, their coincidence does foist upon them at least a choral connection. Then again, what better than “no connection” and “this happens all the time” to suppress panic. (Reminds me of this entry on dropping paper messenger “birds” during wartime)

    Saw a clever tweet linking this curious event with taking Angy Birds too seriously. I’m inclined to relate it to Twitter, though, more along the lines of subjecting my own Twitter account to “lightning or high-altitude hail.” To be continued.

    More: a turn to labs for answers. Though still no speculation about zombie scarecrows.

Bieber Marley Alvin

As the final web-based event of the old year, I just downloaded Bieber’s “Baby” onto Is.’s ipod (at her unceasing request). Yes, please feel free to hear it for yourself. She tells us that everyone in her class sings the chorus often and ably during clean-up time: baby, baby no, the chorus during chores.

This means I will continue my 2010 anthem as my 2011 anthem, which will make this the first repeat anthem of my life (since I began thinking of years as warranting dedicated personal anthems three years ago, in 2009). Last year’s anthem and next year’s anthem shall be

With a little bit of good luck, this will be the earworm to sound my path next year. The melody to heat these earbuds! Although, since rhythms are difficult to keep steady in an age of unpredictably mutated dromos (i.e., timetracks), no doubt some days it will end up sounding like this.

May those days in the year ahead be few. And phew.