Monday, November 30, 2009


One of the things I hated about being a college professor was when people asked me what I did for a living. Along with it being impossible to explain what linguistics is, it just seemed like such a pretentious thing to be.

So then I went to the other extreme and worked at a job where I had to haul bales and sweat and get sore and have poop all over my clothes.

Now, when people ask what I do, I have to say I am a writer. Which combines all the pretentiousness of being a professor with the low pay of being a zookeeper.

I guess I am going to have to keep trying till I get this right.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

sort of...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pugs with Thanksgiving parade

Pugs with parade
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

They are not having too much fun. Who doesn't love a parade? A pug who'd rather be at the dog store getting cookies, that's who.

Also I think Lilly did not like the competition for attention. There was not nearly enough petting considering the number of people on the street.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More from the history of infectious disease

Another picture from the Halloween plague event. (I was hoping this one would get in the newspaper article, but it didn't.)

This woman is helping kids make plague masks, like the one worn by the statue in my earlier post, out of construction paper. But it's something else that's really interesting. She's not just dressed in period costume, she's dressed as a particular person from the history of infectious disease: Sarah Nelmes, who was the milkmaid of Edward Jenner. Jenner basically invented vaccination when he noticed that people like his milkmaid who'd had the related disease cowpox were immune to smallpox.

But the best part was after I wrote all that down and I asked her name. Which is also Nelmes. She thinks she's probably a relation, since her family originated in the same part of England.

(If you click to see the large version of the photo, you can see that she has costume wounds on her hands to represent the cowpox pustules.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009


You can keep your zombies and monsters and all that fake stuff. What I did for Halloween was go to a museum exhibit about epidemics. Now that's scary.

(That's the outfit that a doctor wore to treat a patient with the plague. The beak is stuffed full of herbs that they hoped would ward off infection.)