October 7, 2008
MS Windows is unbearable
I don't know why anyone who had a choice would put Windows on a computer used for public presentations. Every single powerpoint talk I have seen this semester has been marred by a nagging popup continually asking for a restart for whatever upgrade Windows had to download that day to fix some new security breach or flaw. Watching tonight's Presidential Debate in the Gold Student Center, we had to wait about eight times for someone to find the mouse and dismiss the window and reset the live videocast. There really doesn't seem to be anywhere to tell Windows not to bother us again with that warning.
Entomology Major for Pitzer?
Since the end of August, the local populations of black widows (and also a lot of what I now know to be Steatoda grossa, the introduced European "false black widow") seem to have exploded. We have killed many on our stone-walled patio and along the outer corridor of our building. They seem especially partial to enclosed, wood-slat benches in the alcoves, making the students a tad nervous. Numerous extermination attempts have reduced their numbers, but I still see them everyday at Pitzer and Scripps and our friends' homes in Claremont. (The false ones are only mildly poisonous and prey on true black widows, so I guess I should look more closely before I squish and spray.)
Here's the one that kicked off the action for us back in August:
And a zoomed-in view:
Yesterday, I saw this tarantula sauntering down the sidewalk between Mead Hall and the Grove House. These Aphonopelma species are all around this area, but no one can remember seeing one in town. I guess they mostly get squished by cars or killed by pets. I captured this one and released it the Claremont Wilderness. (Actually, some friends made the dropoff and say they saw another one on the road on the way. Like with the black widows, is this an OUTBREAK? An Arachnophobia-type event? Stand by for updates....) The sighting and capture created quite a stir among Mead residents! Oliver (our nearly-three-year-old) loved it and instantly added a tarantula-walk imitation to his growing repertoire.
Ready for transport: