Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brandie Pahl's photography

My love for travel, photography and nature must have come from somewhere. I believe it favors the nurture rather than the nature side of the debate, as my parents don’t share the passion I do but my sister, Brandie, certainly does. I grew up interested in wildlife and landscape photography, while my sister was always into fashion. So much so that about a year ago she started making children’s clothing and accessories and developed a clothing line called Little Lotti Clothing, which she will soon begin selling through her website Recently she has usurped my progress down the marketable photography path by deciding to take the pictures for her site herself. She did a few preliminary shots with me as the over eager model which follow, and you can see her show off more of her talent on her blog The Delights of Anticipation.

This last one is my brainchild. What can I say? Fun with raw chicken.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Disgusting Insects/Random Fact #3

Recently I watched a television show called I was Bitten. It featured a variety of horrifying footage of brown recluse spider bites, rattlesnake bites, and even bear and shark attacks. Viewers were not spared from pictures and video of pus filled wounds, rotted tissue and bone-deep, teeth-made gashes. This gave me the idea for not only my next travel blog post, but also my third random fact: I actually enjoy watching crazy, disgusting, f**d up television shows. Beyond my morbid fascination though, I think it of the utmost necessity that while I research places I would like to visit, I may want to brush up on what deadly, hideous creatures I am very likely to encounter. As fascinating as it is to watch suffering and torture from afar, I am very reluctant to be the victim.

So everyone knows about disease carrying tsetse flies, mosquitoes harboring malaria, and vicious Africanized honey bees, and we’ve all seen that picture of a soldier holding an enormous Iraqi Camel Spider (they do only grow to six inches though…only six inches?!), but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Following are various bizarre, out-of-this world insects that most people don’t even know exist, much less right in their own backyards (or bed sheets).

Japanese Giant Hornet

This hornet located in Japan is just the size of the average persons thumb, (the entire thumb) but their sting can be fatal. Not only can the poison they inject disintegrate the flesh around the sting site, they can also shoot it over a few feet! In addition, they can fly 50 feet in a day and the pheromones they give off attract every other hornet from that hive to chase you 50 feet and shoot acidic poison in your eyes!! Apparently about 40 people a year die like this.

Bullet Ant
These inch-long ants live in the rainforests in Central and South America from Nicaragua to Paraguay. They live in trees and, get this, they shriek at you before they attack you! So that noise coming at you from the canopy of trees above is not a howler monkey, but an ant. AN ANT! And its about to attack you with an “unusually severe” sting that has been described as being similar to getting shot.

Bot Fly

So this one takes the cake for me. There are many species of Bot Fly, from the Horse Stomach Bot Fly to the Human Bot Fly, with most species found, once again, in Central and South America and other species in various corners of the world. This little dandy lays its eggs in grass, which animals eat (hence the origin of the name Horse Stomach Bot Fly) or on horseflies or mosquitoes which then land on humans (hence the origin of the name Human Bot Fly). What happens next is a scene from a B movie on the Sci-Fi channel. The eggs hatch on or in the animal or human and the larvae proceed to feed on the flesh or tissue of the victim.

Huge Spider

No-one seems to know what this is, but I thought I’d just throw it in, because it is absolutely HUGE. Imagine if you turned a corner in your house and this was sitting eye-level on your wall ready to attack and eat your face!!!

Bugs on Hand

Now apparently these bugs, whatever they are, aren’t poisonous, but I think it’s mighty ambitious of this person to have them crawling all over their arm.

I guess the bottom line is that yes most bugs get a bad rap, they’re not that threatening and obviously here for a reason. Their presence also won’t deter me from visiting any country, but I will definitely be more cautious when I rest up against a tree as I’m hiking through a rainforest in South America, or even just lounging in a house in Vanuatu (see Getting Stoned with Savages). I don’t mind sharing the planet with these creatures, I’d just rather I wasn’t aware of their brain-burrowing capabilities…