a great sleep last night, i went to bed with not a care in the world, didn't have to worry about waking up at any particular time, i was really enjoying myself at the sleep buffet. at one point i woke up for a split second with total amnesia, i didn't know where i was or the time, and that was a good thing. i woke up before noon, ate some leftover pizza for lunch, then installed my new maxtor 250gb hard drive. when i went to format the disk, it gave me 120gb as the only option. oh oh. i was afraid of that. despite warnings all over the box and the instruction manuals about requiring an ultra ATA/133 pci card, i decided to risk it and install the drive anyway. why didn't it work? apparently large capacity drives require a special card in order for them to work (at least with old G4's, which is what i have). so instead of playing around with 250gb of free storage, i went online looking for a good deal on ATA/133 cards. they have fairly cheaps one for the PC's ($40-50), but i didn't want to risk the chance of it not working right so i looked for ones that were specifically mac-compatible (which of course meant they were more expensive). going price? $80. so the $140 hard drive deal i thought i was getting turned out to be actually $220 in the end. it's still the cheapest solution for me to secure more storage space. i ordered a card, it should arrive at the office no later than wednesday.

i thought about running but it was getting late enough that i couldn't exercise and still have time to go naturing, so i opted for naturing instead. besides, all the walking i did yesterday combined with the eventual walking i'll do today probably equals a sweaty run anyway. i went down to the cafe again and drove to habitat (i passed my mother and godmother browsing a neighbor's garage sale), the audubon sanctuary in belmont. for me, it's the poor man's nature spot, because it's close by but there isn't too much to see. the facility was rented out again this weekend, perhaps a wedding party, but that meant every single parking spot was filled and i finally had to leave the car out by the entrance gate. standing in front of the info bulletin board, i sprayed myself with insect repellent, putting some on my clothes too.

as much as i like going into the woods with other people, i think i really enjoy it most when i'm out by myself. i can be a meanderthal in the forest all i want, i don't have to worry about anybody else. habitat for me always involve a walk around turtle pond first, the same place i saw the snapping turtle last time. there were a lot of people wandering around today, so i figured the turtle would've been scared away a long time ago. still, i was more than cautious when i went by the exact spot where i met gamera's cousin. within the pond itself i could see fish darting about, and these large (about 3" long) blobs wiggling underwater, which turned out to be green frog tadpoles. tadpoles freak me out, especially when they're large. there's something kind of obscene about them, how they look like monster sperms, but they also have that empty stare shared by all amphibians, and i know for a fact that they'll eat anything, including resorting to cannibalism.

i was disappointed with the low number of wildflowers i found, nothing like what i saw at the fells a few weeks ago. the only new flower was the lance-leaved coreopsis, kind of remind me of an orange version of a chicory flower.

pink knotweed (immature)

blue flag

milkweed flowerbuds

lance-leaved coreopsis


hawkweed seeds

on the insect front, nothing much to report either. there were a lot of milkweed growing out in the fields, but their flowerbuds have yet to bloom, so i don't know if monarch butterflies are attracted to them quite yet (in which case, no caterpillars to be found). the one really cool thing was i got some photos of a resting tiger swallowtail butterfly. i've seen them as early as back in april, but they're always in flight, never stopping long enough for me to get a good photo. the one that i found today, i saw it fluttering in the air, and it came to rest within a sunny spot in the woods. it took the combined 4x optical zoom power of the nikon 4500 and some fancy stretch work to get the photos. when it eventually flew away to some higher branches, i threw small twigs at it to get it to fly back down, but my actions had the opposite effect as it quickly flew away. most of the flying insects i saw out in the field where skippers, the half moth half butterfly taxonomic oddity of the flying insect world.

i went to my parents' place a little bit after 5pm. i wanted to use the bathroom and couldn't go in the forest because there were too many people around, and i was all natured out, suffering from two itchy mosquito bites, one on my chest, one on my back. i got back at the same time my parents were coming home from the cafe. my mother made yiou-yui-gen, which is this soup with bits of squid tentacles covered in a batter (it's very good, trust me), and we also had tsongtse (sticky rice with bean paste inside, wrapped in banana leaves).

i stayed long enough to watch this national geographic special on china babies, then got a ride home. you couldn't tell there was a block party on my street earlier this evening (it ended at 8pm). although i'm curious to meet more neighbors, idle chit chat and having to deal with unruly children made me think otherwise. i watched a new episode of the dead zone before wrapping up this sunday.