A less intense question for you, A (possibly) because you've mentioned bird-watching: what's your favorite bird of prey and why? I work with a local raptor rehab center and adore all birds of prey but the common red-tailed hawk is by far the most intelligent and rewarding bird I've ever worked with. Kestrels come in at a close second but that's just because they're generally more gregarious little things. :)
I do love bird-watching! And likewise, I love birds of prey. We have a ton of red-tailed hawks around here, and I’m always excited to spot them loitering on telephone poles or flying past en route to new hunting grounds. My absolute favorite bird of prey, however, has to be cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus):
One of the few Old World vultures, they are intelligent and opportunistic, being known to predate while scavenging is scarce.
Not to mention, they are technically the largest bird of prey.
Otherwise, I would choose what I consider an honorary bird of prey, shrikes (largely Laniidae):
While they’re technically classified as (and are the size of) songbirds, they have all of the characteristics of a bird of prey, from their predation habits, right down to their hooked beaks and talons. I can’t help but appreciate a tiny little bird who overcame its limitations to become an efficient little serial killer and earn the moniker of “butcher bird.”
Hallo! Another huge fan of you and your spouse's work, here! :) Just wondered if you ever had/have the issue of some of the LGBTQ community "rejecting" you because you present as very feminine (at least in your photos), and, therefore, "pass" too easily. I've had problems in the past, and have wondered how common an occurrence this is.
It’s pretty fucking common, unfortunately.
It’s called femme invisibility in most queer circles. There’s a great article about a butch that decided to one day wear leggings here that pretty much sums up what it’s like to be queer and present yourself as even very slightly feminine. Not only do you get flak (or rejected) from your fellow queers, but you also have to put up with shit from non-queers that try to “convert” you back to straight or also assume your sexuality. Because the way you present yourself says a lot about who you’re attracted to, right?
There are all sorts of ways to be queer, not just one kit of clothes and hair and skin for everyone. Unfortunately, both queer and non-queer people alike forget that and instead try to pick apart the basic appearance of people to conclude if they “fit” or not. We are not Barbie Dolls molded to queer perfection, we are people with diverse needs, appearances, and sexualities.
There’s really only one thing to do about it: Keep doing what makes you happy. Because the people (queer or not) that tell you that you can’t be queer because of how you look are wrong, and more than that, they’re being stereotyping, narrow-minded and further stigmatizing an already stigmatized group.
It’s eerily similar to the same stereotyping bullshit that people spout off to categorize any minorities by saying "Black girls can’t do x…" and "Jewish boys don’t like x…."Stop right there, because I’m pretty sure you don’t know every single person of that race, sexuality, gender or creed on the planet, so you don’t get to make broad, sweeping statements about their persons.
I look pretty fucking “feminine,” whatever that means these days. I like looking feminine, I enjoy putting on makeup and lacy bras and garters. I also like getting off to girls. I really like getting off to girls in my makeup and lacy bras and garters. If that makes me somehow “less of” a queer, then my brain and body definitely weren’t aware of it. So anyone who tells me otherwise, I tend to just ignore. They’re on the wrong side of history, anyway, and just can’t handle all dis.
I know A isn't into sappy stuff, so I thought I'd ask you. Did A propose to you, or did you propose to them? And how? I'm curious.
That’s a lovely question! Fair warning, I’m a terribly sappy person, this will be long.
I actually proposed to Stiffler.
It was exactly a year after we’d been officially dating, but only a few months after we’d met in person/lived with one another, on Valentine’s Day. There was an awful snow storm but we’d already planned on going out. Luckily, the bouquet of roses I sent arrived early morning despite the awful weather. After Stiffler arranged them, we set about bundling up and went out to bravely battle the snow.
We caught a bus (for free because of the weather, which was now a Level 2 Snow Emergency) and headed down to one of our favorite spots, a large public market with local vendors selling everything from curry to sushi to fresh bread and even artisinal ice cream. It was one of the first places Stiffler had ever taken me when I arrived in Columbus, as well as the first place I had ever fallen in love (with Stiffler, of course).
After a hearty brunch with some people-watching, Stiffler bought a bag of millet and we headed out. Sparrows and pigeons swarmed us instantly, and Stiffler fed them — a tradition of ours when we went to that particular market. Then we decided to take a stroll through the park, which was entirely empty because of the snow storm. Serenely strolling along, we paused under the park’s shelter house to warm up, and we might have been silly enough to waltz.
It was finally time to head home, but we made one more stop on the way. At an antique store (that, coincidentally, now sits right across the street from our current apartment!) I suggested Stiffler look at their rings and pick one out as a present from me. I don’t know if they suspected or not, but we strolled home with the snow much more softly falling, and the entire way I held Stiffler’s hand near my chest under the guise of trying “not to slip and fall” — really, I was warming their hand so that the ring would slip on smoothly if they said yes.
Once home, we stripped off our coats and tromped to the bedroom. Stiffler sat on the bed to start peeling off snow-laden boots, but I immediately got down on both knees in front of them, taking out the ring that I had sneakily lifted from their pocket. The look on A.’s face was indescribable, and it was the first time I had seen them cry — before I even started asking! Somehow I managed to muddle my way through it, and luckily Stiffler said yes.
We spent the rest of the day inside — with hot cocoa, wool blankets and plenty of warm snogging.
So now that the Chinese are sending a rover to the moon, and the Russians are talking about taking back their parts of the ISS to build their own space station, do you think the Space Race should be a major issue in the coming midterms?
I’ll admit I’m not a big space fan (inasmuch as you can not care about space and still live in it and appreciate your extreme luck in not being hit by an asteroid), so I might be a little biased in saying I don’t get why there’s a “Space Race” in the first place.
Photo altered by Photoshop Scientists to get people interested in space. You can’t even detect these colors with your fucking eyeballs. There are no rainbow clouds, just infinite boredom.
I would think there wasn’t a whole bunch of ownership going on around who discovered what, in the same way the oceans are free (mostly) territory to explore and poke at alarming-looking creatures within. If it fuels the desire to discover and learn more, and funds awesome technologies, great, I’d be happy to see the topic rejuvenated. However, if it just sparks another pissing contest and propaganda fest as in decades before, no thanks. I could give two shits about whose flag got shoved into where, preferably up their asses.
Besides I, personally, don’t want to go to space. It’s just a source of horror and tragedy.