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Gaia stole my new tripod!

See, on Saturday, Weasel really does go for a little tramp in the woods. This is made possible by a hand-held GPS device — I own the same make and model those British sailors apparently had, but let’s not talk about that or I’m going to want to nuke somethin’ — without which I can get lost on the way to the little stoat’s room.

Mine is set to record a ‘bread-crumb’ trail as I hike. I usually upload this and superimpose my path over Google Earth when I get home, to scope out what the hell just happened to me. So it is that I can tell you right when Gaia hooked her sticky fingers in my pack and stole my brand new tripod on its first outing.

I know where I stopped to take a picture of my butt in the woods, like I promised you guys (I erased it. Only thing worse than a picture of one’s butt in the woods is an unflattering picture of one’s butt in the woods). I jammed the tripod in one of the water-bottle pockets of my pack after that.

The gaps are where I spread my stoaty wings and flapped serenely into the warm upcurrents of a Spring morning. Or maybe where the GPS lost signal. Lousy signal day, this. That angry knot at the top is where I left the path and attempted to bushwhack across to another path. It isn’t marked “swamp” on the topo. But it is one.

Have you ever hiked swamp? Uff. Little humps of soggy sphagnum moss, each with a sickly tree in the middle, separated in the winter by ice, in the summer by stinky puddles, and in the spring (what it is now) by puddles of stinky ice. Navigation is by island hopping, judging distances and leaping from one quivering, insecure hummock to another, clutching at trees that won’t take your weight and landing on solid ground that isn’t and won’t, either. Rot-nourished scrub everywhere, grabbing your jeans, pulling off your hat, tearing at your pack.

My pack…

Somewhere in that vile soup an innocent-looking young rhododendron shoot wrapped a tendril around my gorillapod and nicked it. I started to re-trace my steps, but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like I had just had an all-body floss with a blackberry bush. Stupid, spiteful nature.

Want a free tripod? Go to N41.93488, W71.75488. Wear good boots.

Mobbed by tits

On my way back to the car, a little bird landed on a branch right at my elbow. I stopped and stared at him. Another, identical bird landed next to him. I lifted my camera slowly, and two more landed on the ground to my left.

Soon, six or eight of them had gathered. I stood still, and they hopped and twittered all around me. I suppose it might have been some kind of territorial aggression, but it didn’t look it. It looked like plain old curiosity. Or the sheer pleasure of being a gang of small birds in the woods.

So, what is this? A tit? A chickadee? I swear I’m not asking so I can keep saying “tit.”


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: April 2, 2007, 2:14 pm

So… the tripod wraps around rhodeys too then.

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: April 2, 2007, 3:29 pm

Umm, I thought tits and chickadees were the same thing. Americans just don’t tend to call them tits due to the giggling that commences.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 2, 2007, 3:38 pm

Well, that explains why the word “tit” and the word “chickadee” popped into my head when I saw them. I don’t know much about birds.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 2, 2007, 5:24 pm

What, your google-fu finger broken or something? Fine – yes it appears that you got ganged up on by chickadees. Sez there that tits are same fambly, but different species.

Sorry about your tripod. I’ll betcha keep a better handle on it the next time you go tromping around out there.

Comment from Alissa
Time: April 2, 2007, 7:31 pm

They’re very small tits, at any rate.

Comment from BGG
Time: April 2, 2007, 7:45 pm

I have tufted titmice here. Titmouses?

BTW I looked at your map and noticed a Lake Chaubunagungamaug. That’s like trying to say a whole sentence with a mouthful of toothpaste!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 2, 2007, 9:29 pm

Hey, you’re not far from New Bedford.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 2, 2007, 9:44 pm

I was in New Bedford about 10 years ago and some scummy old drunk grabbed my arm and breathed on me and said,

“Weasel! Some day you’ll leap to land where there is no land and on that day a tripod will go to its grave. And your boots will squish! And a butt picture will be taken – but will fade within the hour! And you’ll be surrounded by tits. And all, all of them – all except the ones that don’t – will fly away.”

I told him my name wasn’t Weasel, and he said something rude and shambled off.

Strange place, New Bedford.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 3, 2007, 5:14 am

BGG, the full name of that lake — I am so not kidding — is Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Yeah, I had to copy and paste that. It supposedly means “you fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side, nobody fishes in the middle” in whatever local dialect of Injun-speak we had around here.

Yes, McGoo, New Bedford is where they tried Lizzie Borden. She did the ‘orrible deed in nearby Fall River. Her house is a bed and breakfast now (the bedroom where she chopped up her stepmother is booked several years in advance).

I drove to Fall River on August 4, 1992 — the centenerary of the murders — thinking I’d get a t-shirt out of it or something. They weren’t observing the occasion AT ALL. Some people have no sense of history.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 3, 2007, 6:32 am

Lizzie Borden. I remember that story. She got off (legally, I mean), didn’t she? Or was that someone else? I guess I could look it up but that would spoil it.

When I was visiting France in the late 90’s I noticed that they didn’t celebrate the 650th aniversary of the bubonic plague of 1348-9 either. Not a peep. Odd…

That lake name should be illegal.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 3, 2007, 6:45 am

Yep, she was acquitted. Nobody believed she was innocent, though (her case is often compared to OJ). She inherited a bundle when her dad died, bought herself a mansion and cohabited with a local actress for a while. Several years after the murders, she was arrested shoplifting in Providence.

My last cat was named after her.

I visited Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg once. I struck up a conversation with an old dude who walks there every day. I asked him to pronounce the name of the lake for me, and he said “Webster.” That’s its slave name: Lake Webster.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: April 3, 2007, 12:51 pm

That old dude was wise – or lazy. Or both. I have to take two breaths just to pronounce the long name, and I’m no-doubt doing it incorrectly.

Are you sure he wasn’t saying “Webster” – as in “Look it up for yourself, asshat!”?

Yeah – that’s what I remember – Liz got off, and lived in quiet sin for the rest of her days. But she was always suspected. I would suspect her too, but, then again, I suspect everyone.

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