Rainbow Dragon's Dares

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    It's bad enough we have to share Laura's attention with the birds. Now she's ignoring us to photograph an insect. An insect!

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      Good doggies

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          Aawwwwww!!!

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            Beautiful pictures as always! I missed these

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              Oh wow! That butterfly is gorgeous!
              and your dogs are cute

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                BlackButler ! Are you back? I have missed you!

                NancyTree
                Anek
                Trbrat75
                PetiteSheWolf
                Whirly
                Sasstronaut
                Zastria
                sleep_twitch
                Mianevem
                CODawn
                DorothyMH
                'rin
                CaptainCanuck
                Matan
                Fremen
                Mamatigerj
                AnnieW
                Gandhalfit
                HellYeah
                TopNotch
                mavie
                and anyone else who is still checking in with me in spite of my sporadic (and not much related to workouts) posting and lack of presence elsewhere in the Hive of late: Thank you! I lost the plot a little bit over the past month, but I am still here and still working out every day. I shall endeavour to check in with you all soon, and to at least get some weekly summary reports for the past month posted here. But in more general terms:

                1. I was doing great on my mileage, both with running and overall, and making good progress towards catching up to my targets after falling behind in the spring. Then we got slammed with a heat wave which just would not break, and my outdoor activities ground to a halt. There were multiple days when I did not even walk my dogs. The heat wave has broken now, and I'm starting to get back out there, but my mileage is still low at the moment since it is still too hot during the middle of the day to run or walk my dogs, and my sleep schedule is messed up, so I've not been getting up early enough to do these things in the morning. I'm hoping I can improve more in this area soon.

                2. I found out at the last minute (as usual) that the guy who purchased the woodlot behind my home planned to remove parts of it to expand his parking lot. Since we still do not have in-person planning meetings here, my only recourse for objecting to this action was to prepare a written submission, and I had to drop most other things to get that done in time. I got my submission in, but the Planning Committee voted to allow the guy to go ahead with his plans anyhow. The outcome was not surprising, but I felt that I needed to lodge my objection in any case (even though I knew that doing so would put me further behind on other projects and contrubute to messing up my sleep schedule).



                3. It turned out that the volunteer position I had agreed to take on with the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas expected me to sacrifice a considerable amount of time to activities that I do not enjoy. Even worse: a good deal of the work was downright unpleasant and not entirely safe. I learned fairly quickly that this would be the case. But I don't like to renege on a commitment. So I stuck it out for the first year and got a small amount of the requested work done. But mostly: feeling resentful over the fact that I was being asked to do for free work which I found onerous resulted in a lot of procrastinating on my part, which took the form of falling right off the wagon in terms of my commitments to myself to limit my solo gaming and to maintain a regular sleep schedule. And when I finally did sit down to finish up my contributions to the Atlas for this year, a technical glitch on the Atlas website prevented me from inputting most of the data.

                I could feel frustrated by this experience, but actually I am grateful for it. I am grateful because it forced me to finally accept something about myself as a birder that, in all honesty, I was already aware of but had previously been denying to my own detriment: I don't enjoy being a "Lister".

                Maybe this should have been obvious to me sooner. But the truth is, in the world of birding, listing is a slippery slope. In the beginning you're a person who enjoys hiking in nature and occasionally stopping to photofograph interesting wildlife you encounter along the way. Then you sign up for an eBird account because that's an easy way to keep track of all the different species of birds you have encountered in your travels. At first everything is okay, because all birders of any skill level are welcome to use eBird, you are told, and you can log as much or as little of your birding as you like. But hey! It would be awesome if you could use a birding protocol that includes details of the exact path you travelled on your birding adventure and how much time you spent out there--read this article to find out why. So you do. But the "why time and distance information is important" article leads to another article on why it's better to try to identify and list every bird you encounter on each outing, and that article leads to yet another on why it's best if you include an accurate count of how many individual birds of each species you encounter, and this article leads to yet another one that explains you cannot actually submit a "complete" bird checklist unless birding was your primary activity while you were out there. So if you take your eyes off the birds to photograph wildflowers or chase butterflies or hang out with your friend Jeremiah the bullfrog, you're somehow doing it wrong.

                At least this is how it was for me. But as my dedication to being a good Lister increased, my enjoyment of being a Birder decreased. I felt pressure to be able to identify everything I encountered, and I even began to avoid visiting locations where I new I was likely to encounter birds I could not ID and/or numbers of birds I could not accurately estimate. The amount of time I spent birding decreased too. I actually sacrificed opportunities to go birding on many occasions because I had a backlog of old lists I had made as field notes and still not entered into eBird. I felt guilty about not doing my duty to share my lists. So I started to forgo hiking to stay home and do data entry instead.



                Yeah. It seems ridiculous to me now. But this actually went on for a few years until the extreme regimentation of doing Point Counts for the Atlas (coupled with the difficulties I encountered in actually entering the data I had collected into their website) finally caused me to say: Enough. This is not what I want to be doing with my precious time. So I resigned from my position with the Atlas and immediately began to enjoy birding again.

                I am not abandonning my eBird account. But I have decided to return to using it only as I had originally intended to do: to keep track of data which is personally interesting to me. This means that my data will not be as valuable to professional scientists who rely on eBird submissions for their research. And I'm okay with this. Professional scientists are paid a living wage for the time they spend using eBird. I am paid nothing at all. Life is too short to waste on activities which negatively impact my health and happiness which I'm not even being compensated for. So I'm done with that. (Which means I am also abandonning my goal to submit 100 complete lists to eBird this year. I will replace this goal with something different which is more meaningful to me.)

                So... athough I did not enjoy my time working on the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 and will no longer be contributing to the project, I am grateful to the Atlas for helping me to beome a Born-Again Bird-Watcher.

                4. My YTT is taking up more of my time than I had anticipated. But this is mostly a good thing. The bare minimum workload to achieve certification is not heavy. (The program affords me 12 months to complete the same amount of work which an in-person YTT intensive would cover in one month.) But I'm taking the program not for the certificate at the end but to expand my knowledge. The optional learning opportunities with this course are significant, and I've been taking advantage of all of them--hence the larger time commitment than I had originally anticipated.

                5. The one downside to my involvement with the YTT program is that most of the optional content is offered via a private Facebook group. I usually try not to visit Facebook too often because I find it to be a terrible time sink. But now I'm visiting every day because the YTT program frequently offers opportunties which one must reply to within 24 hours in order to take part. This would be fine if I only visited the private FB group for the YTT. (I do have it bookmarked.) But once I'm there I often decide that I should check in with my friends elsewhere on Facebook, and Facebook is just not a good place for me to be right now on account of the large volume of stupidity, ignorance, selfishness, and outright denial of objective reality I keep encountering there. (I don't personally have any friends who are anti-vaxxers. But several of my friends have more diverse FB networks than I do. So I'm encountering a lot of problematic content in the form of comments on my friends posts.)

                We're in the middle of a federal election campaign in Canada right now, and it's shaping up to be a very ugly one. One of our federal parties is controlled by far-right racists, and this party has now become the nexus of the anti-vax, anti-mask, anti-lockdown, anti-any sensible public health measures crowd. It's still thankfully very much a fringe party. But it's support is growing and very loud and increasingly violent. Yesterday supporters of this party threw rocks at our Prime Minister at a political rally in a town I used to live in. Last week they demonstrated in front of hospitals all across British Columbia--in some cases in crowds thousands of people strong--where they harassed and assaulted healthcare workers, and disrupted people's ability to get into the hospitals to access needed medical services, all while waving around absolutely disgusting signs (such as white people brandishing signs that equated vaccine passports with apartheid). I campaigned on behalf of a female candidate in our 2019 federal election. I know she was the target of threats and harrassment at that time (mostly online, but still absolutely unacceptable). But the level of violence and vitriol that's going down here now is significantly worse than in any previous election during my tenure in Canada, and it's scary. I am genuinely saddened by and afraid of what is happening in my country.

                So... I'm not in a great headspace right now. Probably I should stay away from unsafe corners of social media until after September 20. (Mainstream media is reporting on the violent protests--which are happennig almost daily--too. So there's really no escaping it. But at least with mainstream media I can just read the story, feel saddened by it, and then get on with the rest of my day without feeling the need to waste my time explaining to idiots why they are wrong or to the "let's all agree to disagree and just try to get along" crowd why I cannot agree to disagree with people whose actions are destroying other people's lives.)


                Anyhoo... this post just became a whole lot darker than I had intended. So I'm going to stop here and make a new post about something happier.
                And I'm okay. Really. Things are hard right now. But I'll survive.
                Thank you for reading.

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                  Je me suis acheté des choses pour m'aider dans mes études de français:

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                    It's all good, the best part about the Hive is that it is not a very needy place.

                    The election is a bit disconcerting, especially the shift not just to the far right but even the medium right. I got to meet my present MP, who is also the Minister of Health when she was campaigning door to door. I tend to vote for the candidates that I meet or see in the community, so I guess that is settled (technically I saw the PPC guy, but that's a hard no for me).

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                      I am thinking that for my oral French proficiency test I would like to try to teach some people to play Wingspan in French. Is anyone up for being my guinea pigs?

                      To participate, you would need to have installed on your computer Tabletop Simulator and Discord. The Wingspan content for TTS is only available in English. So we'd be playing with virtual "cards" with English text on them. But the idea is that I would explain the rules of the game en français, and you could ask me questions also in French. I would attempt to understand your spoken French and answer in French myself. This will be quite challenging for me. But I think that by January I can get to a place of being just about able to do it.

                      So, if you're interested in playing a fun game about birds online and are willing to suffer my broken French to do so, please let me know.

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                        Originally posted by CaptainCanuck View Post
                        The election is a bit disconcerting, especially the shift not just to the far right but even the medium right.
                        Agreed. The poll aggregator I follow is still showing the Liberals favoured to win slightly more seats though. I'm desperately hoping that holds.

                        Originally posted by CaptainCanuck View Post
                        I got to meet my present MP, who is also the Minister of Health when she was campaigning door to door.
                        Hers is a safe seat for the Liberals, I certainly hope. The incumbent for my riding is a Conservative. So I guess I can take comfort in knowing that whatever happens here on September 20, my riding at least will not move in a worse direction. (Though I maybe should not say that. There are currently twice as many purple signs in my neighbourhood as blue ones. People elsewhere in the riding are reporting a similar scene. I am pretty sure this is because our MP is a lazy campaigner, whereas PPC supporters tend to be zealots. Certainly I hope this is the case. The amount of purple in this neighbourhood is definitely troubling.)

                        Originally posted by CaptainCanuck View Post
                        I tend to vote for the candidates that I meet or see in the community, so I guess that is settled (technically I saw the PPC guy, but that's a hard no for me).
                        Candidates rarely show up on my doorstep. I live in a small community within a geographically large riding. (It's not as big as ridings in the North. But for Southern Ontario it is large.) Candidates here need to focus most of their time on the larger population centres within the riding. I've been searching for some sort of all-candidates' forum for my riding, hoping the hear our Liberal and NDP candidates go head-to-head, but nothing has been announced for this election thus far.

                        In any case, I vote for the progressive candidate I think has the best chance of defeating the Conservative candidate. In my riding in this election, I'm fairly confident that is the Liberal candidate. This is a bit of a tough pill for me to swallow, because the guy sought the nomination to be the Conservative candidate in a neighbouring riding in 2019. (He did not win the nomination, and he now claims that seeking it had been a mistake. He claims he did not realize until after he'd put his name forward that the Conservative Party is controlled by people with a right-wing social agenda. The trouble is: if I take him at his word on this claim, I have to ask what size of rock he was living under that he managed to become a name on a Conservative candidacy ballot without being aware of that party's widely known social platform.) Still, he's clearly preferable to our incumbent. So, given our FPTP electoral system, I think I need to mark my X beside his name.

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                          That is interesting, one of those cases where a person is claiming to be more incompetent than ignorant, where neither of those is a good thing.

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                            Wingspan is a nice game! Sounds like a great idea to practice a language with a game. The French part would be a disaster for me though 🙈 So I'm afraid I can't be of help

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                              Yep I am back and here to stay! missed you too its great to read your thread with the beautiful sketches and pics

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                                Sorry you're having such a hard time right now. Very pleased that you've rediscovered a lost pleasure. All too often, as we do something for a long time, we end up getting caught in all the paperwork and articles and etc etc etc, and we lose sight of why we started whatever-it-was in the first place. Glad you've caught sight again.

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