Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Movie Making: Day 2, Animaniacs

Animaniacs is so funny. In addition to only an hour of Animaniacs I watched an hour of the Sopranos today. It's kind of like the Animaniacs, except one episode lasts an entire hour, not two (like Animaniacs). They're both great shows.

Back to business. Here is proof that I am working on this poor excuse of a nature documentary.

 A lot of files.  

Eww. Monkeys.

As you can see there are a lot of files to sort through and I have been hard at work on episode 1: "Why monkeys are stupid."

Stay tuned. Likely to come out in the late summer of 2014 at this rate. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Amazonia 3: Viper? I barely know her! 1: Fer-de-lance

Enough about boring, temperate northeastern suburban living! Here's a story about how I caught a viper in the supercool, awesome Amazon.

So I was happily strolling along during a sunny afternoon with this dingus named Evan to check out some gaps. Gaps are areas where trees have fallen allowing sunlight to reach the ground which means that lizards that like to bask are found in these areas. Trees fall a lot in the rainforest because their roots are not very deep at all because the soil sucks in the rainforest. Epiphytes might also have a role in tree falls as well. Regardless of the actual reason, the resulting light conditions have great significance for the plants that grow there.

"I love gaps." -Lizard

But who cares about plants? Back to lizards. So I saw the lizard pictured above (Kentropyx pelviceps) in a sunny spot, but before I could noose the darn thing, it ran under a large fallen tree. From the shadow cast by the large tree, I could make out the silhouette of something reptilian so I eagerly noosed it and to my surprise (stupidity) I pull out a fer-de-lance.

The fer-de-lance, Bothrops atrox, is a pit viper complete with a hematotoxin that can kill me. The noose only got tighter behind the viper's giant head full of venom as it struggled to get away at a distance of 10 feet away from me. How do I know it was 10 feet away from me? Because my lizard catching stick is a collapsible fishing pole that can be extended to 10 feet. While this helped me with standing at a safe position, I still couldn't cut or loosen the noose without getting within striking distance of the damn snake.

The common name for these snakes in Spanish is "equis" or "X" which is another interpretation of the patterning on the snake. In America we refer to it as a "diamondback," with regard to rattlesnakes which are closely related to the fer-de-lance I just caught. The snake reminded me of this by violently shaking his rattle-less tail while squirming approximately 10 feet away from me. Pictures and videos would be helpful in illustrating these facts and story, but I was too busy pissing my pants.

Thankfully, before that actually happened, we were close to camp and my friend ran to get the professor who did not simply cut the noose, but loosened it off the snakes head so I could still use it for the rest of the day.

And that's the end of the tail. 
Ha ha ha.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Movie Making: Day 1, Hard at work

And we're back in the US. I've been really excited to start editing the videos I took over the past semester into something cool and now I finally have ample time to start. For now you can see random clips I've uploaded here.

The editing room/my room. 

So I woke up today and ate sushi for breakfast. Then I decided to turn on the TV and Animaniacs was on. What a great show. After four or five episodes I was hungry, so I ate some Popcorners. They are like popcorn in the shape of chips. They were flavored like kettle corn. Mmmm. Popcorn is the best bar snack. Not kettle corn, just regular salt/butter popcorn. I don't normally like snacks, but I love kettlecorn and popcorn. I should eat lunch now and Animaniacs is on until six, so... stay tuned.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Well, it's over.
"You look like a criminal"-My mom

This is a picture of me the day before leaving the US and the day before leaving Ecuador. As you can see, I no longer have ears and should probably shave.

But subpar facial hair isn't the only way in which I've changed this semester! I've gathered the experiences of a lifetime spent with some good friends to boot. And while this is the end of my journey here, there are at least three more things worth posting about. Stay tuned. I wish I could write more, but there is too much to say and I'm currently at a loss for words.

So I leave with sadness, but not with regret, and with the dream of returning one day to romp around in the rainforest looking for frogs and such.

Adios, Ecuador! I'll be back someday.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Amazonia 2: Watch this!

Hi. So instead of posting about the vipers I ran into, I made a little video for a project I'll get to this summer.


I don't have good editing software (Windows Movie Maker), a good camera (Nikon CoOlPiX), or steady hands. That being said, I still got a lot of (subpar) footage of a lot of amazing birds and plants. While pictures are nice, videos are even nicer. So expect some semblance of a cheesy nature documentary with the possibility of me saying stupid things over shaky footage of animals doing nothing in the near future.

Here's a tentative list of episodes:

Season 1. Rainforest
  1. Mammals
  2. Birds
  3. Reptiles and Amphibians
  4. Insects
  5. Walking
  6. Scenery
  7. Trees
  8. Rain

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Amazonia 1: Introduction

PSA: WATCH THIShttp://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/02/17486789-yasuni-national-park-seen-through-the-lens-of-nature-photog-pete-oxford?lite

The piece on Yasuni, some of which is filmed at Tiputini, that features my professor among others that I've been plugging for quite some time. Alright, back to the show.

I was just in Mindo, planning to stay the whole weekend and study this beautiful lizard, but left early. I fell in love with cloud forests early on this semester, but despite hearing an Andean bear rush off into the underbrush right in front of me, I didn't receive the same joy as when I first walked through these excessively lush and borderline magical places.

Not so magical anymore.

To be fair, this picture was taken at a different location (Santa Lucia) and is about thirteen times more lush than where I just was. Perhaps if I went there instead I might feel differently now, but the point of this story is that I miss rainforest. Prior to leaving for Tiputini, our professor told us that some Amazonian tribes believe that there is a spirit in the forest that tries to lure you deeper into the jungle never to return. He then joked that this is probably what kept him in South America for the past 20 years.

Who knows if I'll follow in the footsteps of my professor, but I sure as hell want to go back to the rainforest. While I was in Mindo, all I could think about was getting back to this magical place. Maybe I'll make it in the 12 days I have left. Probably not if I spend all this time writing about it instead. 

I'm sure this must be extremely boring to read since this isn't the usual sarcastic and misleading writing you're used to here, but that's just, like, your opinion, man. Here's a picture to lessen the dullness. 

We have to go back.

Thus begins my blogging about my month in the Amazon, although I should probably write about the Galapagos to be chronologically faithful. During the first week at Tiputini I actually fooled myself into thinking that the Galapagos was cooler! How stupid is that?

To be continued.