My apologies to the arachnophobes out there. I was so caught up in the technical mastery exhibited in yesterday’s spider photo that it didn’t occur to me that some of you might freak out. It should have, really. I worked with the most insect phobic person I’ve ever encountered for a couple of years at Oxford. If a fly buzzed into the lab, she would run screaming and refuse to return to work until there was confirmation that the harmless bug had left the building. I was bored at my job. Very bored. When I’m bored, my inner practical joker is wont to come out. I tortured this poor girl once I determined her weakness – dead wasps on her lab bench, macro photos of insects for her computer wallpaper, false alarms of insect invasions just to see her scamper. She reads this blog and is probably angry at me now…

I’ve got not much to say, but wanted to move my fab spider photo down the page a bit. Aha! How about this. For Mother’s Day, I commissioned a portrait of Boy Z for Dr. O’C. I’m a patron of the arts. Like a renaissance merchant, I am. I left it a bit late, as is genetically dictated by my Y chromosome, but the painting is all but done.

Here’s the original…


…and the portrait.

boyz1 large

Jennifer Chevais, who blogs at No Place Like It, was my choice of artist. I love her whimsical illustrations and when she wrote a post about doing commissioned portraits, I knew I had my Mother’s Day present sorted. Dr. O’C’s asked for just a couple of minor touch ups, but we’re both thrilled with the portrait. Can’t wait to get it hung.

So if you’re in the market for a portrait, check out Jennifer’s Etsy site. She does wonderful work at a reasonable price.

In the link love vein, if you come around often you may have noticed that I have rotating header images. I’ve added a new one to the field – a capture from blogging buddy Not Afraid To Use It. She risked life, limb and a smashed up car for this one…


…and I think it makes a great addition.

Happy now, arachnophobes? Don’t scroll down too far…


I’m hooked on Brooklyn alt-country act the Basement Band‘s latest LP. It’s solid, splendidly written Americana in the vein of The Jayhawks and early Son Volt. The Brooklyn quintet is the latest I’ve heard in what seems to be an explosion of talented young country acts that are making the rounds these days – they fit in nicely with The Avett Brothers, A.A. Bondy, The Felice Brothers and others. There’s not a weak track on “Until the Evening Came” and the male-female dual vocals on a number of songs are to die for. Check out The Basement Band’s “Until the Evening Came” on basement band - until the Evening Came.

icon for podpress  Basement Band "On & On" [4:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download