Prickly Pears on Cedar St


Everything happens for a reason


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’tis the season…

…to season your cast-iron pans in preparation for the holidays. I’m going for 5x1hours at 500 degrees. Added bonus: a toasty apartment!


Cornucopia of the world – that’s what they used to call California when they were still trying to attract immigrants. And it’s true – with rare exceptions, everything grows here. So I’ve made a vow: Every time I go to Berkeley Bowl, I want to try one new type of vegetable or fruit (and blog about it, obviously!). I’ve already tried Jicama , a sweet kind of turnip that can be eaten raw. Boooring, right? Now, think of the most challenging plant that one can possibly eat. No, not celeriac (even I am not that crazy)… Here’s a hint for the German speakers out there:

Cacti! Who would be so crazy as to eat plants “that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant“? Mexicans, obviously! Now, you have a choice. You can buy these guys right here:

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Litotes spotted in the wild!

‘It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.’

— Chancellor Birgenau, e-mail to the UC Campus community

Wait, what? Are you trying to tell us that holding hands is violent protest? Or rather, are you not trying to not say that? Someone here is – as he himself would probably put it – replete with excrementum tauri…

Whatever happened to ‘good enough’?

Is the gym around the corner really telling me that I could look better? Appalling! They offer a “personal training” class that, as far as I can tell, consists of a guy with a whistle around his neck shooing you round the block with a handful of other could-look-better persons, all carrying medicine balls in their arms and sometimes hopping on both legs, pregnant-bunny-style, while the whistle guy walks behind them at a leisurely pace and checks his iPhone. Lookin’ good!

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I took a little break from blogging…

…due to a parallel, long-term project I’ve been busy with since August.* I hope posting frequency will pick up somewhat once the project is out of its initial near-exponential-growth phase. As expected, it’s still a bit of a time sink right now. I’ll mostly be blogging from my phone now, so… no more of the infamous epic-length posts (probably for the better!).

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Shared space

Our charming wood-shingle house seems to be especially attractive not only to humans, but also to the surrounding wildlife. In addition to hummingbirds, cheeky squirrels, sparrows that constantly try to invade my kitchen, and (harmless) roof rats in our attic, a hive of honeybees has now moved into the ceiling below our apartment. According to the exterminator, they are endangered because of a virus (see Colony Collapse Disorder), so poisoning them is not an option. Instead, a (fearless) person from Alameda County Vector control will have to come round and remove the colony, complete with queen bee, hive, and honeycombs! We’ll see how that works out…

Twosome doves

Doves arrive on location, somewhat dishevelled.

Time for an afternoon clean-up from top…

…to bottom.

Looking much better…

…and ready for a night on the town!



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