Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I can think of no better way to acknowledge Halloween than to dig into the rotting mass of memes that have infected this blog over the past year and expose their hideous visages to the light of day.

The “Thinking Blogger” meme was first contracted here several months ago through Christopher at Hungry Hyaena. Self conscious, I pretended to ignore the ever-swelling pustules, but once a septic sneeze from Darren at Tetrapod Zoology gave rise to several new lesions, this exercise became futile. Recently, a new tropical strain, the “Creative Blogger” meme, was introduced from Panama by Debby of Drawing the Motmot. The recommended treatment for these contagions involves spreading them to worthy weblogs. Rather than furthering the epidemic, I will only mention a few of these. Although this should be the role of a blogroll, the Rigor Vitae blogroll is in need of some updating and additions, chief among which are:
Drawing the Motmot – Notable mainly for the wonderful drawing skills of its proprietor.
Laelaps – I was a latecomer to discovering this prolific paleo/bio blogger, who has just joined Scienceblogs.
Camera Trap Codger – A smart naturalist who knows how to have a good time.
Jon Swift – Political satire that is often brilliant.
Creek Running North – First-rate nature writing.
Bioephemera - Intelligent blogging about biology-related art.

Last summer, another deadly virus fell, panspermically, from Heavenabove at Wildalive. This meme mandated that I divulge eight personal facts about myself. Okay, here goes:

1.As a young boy, I had a three-foot-tall female wasp as an imaginary playmate.
2.My first conflict with the police involved being arrested for stealing hay at age 15.
3.I actually derive an odd pleasure from hearing the song “Kung-Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.
4.I'm missing most of two fingers on my left hand and suffer from Jungle Rot on my right foot.
5.I've started reading “Finnegan's Wake” 12 times.
6.Dreaming that I was trying to find an exit from my parents' house, I once sleepwalked into the bedroom of a beautiful acquaintance. To this day, none of my friends believe this.
7.I've never gotten further than 80 pages into “Finnegan's Wake.”
8.I was never able to get my artwork displayed publicly until I was nearly 30.

A new pathogen, provisionally named the “Cool Animal Meme” appears to have been originally introduced on an infected Serbian quail. One can hardly blame Neil of Microecos for infecting me with this one, since I was responsible for his contamination with the “Beautiful Birds” meme, from which he is still suffering. It's only fair that I answer his five questions, characteristically typed in lower case, and only appropriate that I put it off for another day.
All images in this post were constructed in ways that nature never intended from various parts stolen from the internet in the dead of night by CPBvK

Monday, October 29, 2007


I'm back from a fantastic island-hopping spree, with a refreshed work ethic, a new fascination for birds of paradise, and a humbling ankle wound inflicted by a lowly millipede. I visited Taiwan, Borneo, Singapore, Bali, Flores, Rinca, Pulau Bidaderi, Pulau Kalong, Gili Montang, Komodo, Gili Lawa, Gili Banta, Sumbawa, Flores, Sulawesi, Ambon and New Guinea. Right now I have to focus on catching up on my painting schedule, and in lieu of ending my hiatus with a more sophisticated post, I've simply put up some composite images of some of the more interesting photographs I took while away
Small Mammals: Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) Silvered Langur and young (Trachypithecus cristatus), Ebony Langur (Trachypithecus auratus), Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), unidentified Hipposiderid bat , flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus), Colugo (Cynocephalus variegatus), Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus), and a large (about 18cm from head to toe) blurry bat that roosted alone inside of a culvert beneath a road through montane forest in NW Bali. Do any of you smart people have any ideas as to what this might be?
Non-skink Lizards: Flying Lizards: Draco fimbriatus, D. sp., D. cristatellus, Clouded Monitor (Varanus nebulosus), Sail-tailed Lizard (Hydrosaurus amboinensis), Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella), Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko), Frilled Gecko (Cosymbotis sp.), Garnot's Gecko [with Tree Sparrow] (Hemidactylus garnoti), House (Hemidactylus frenatus), Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus sp.), Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis).
Artiodactyls: Bearded Pig (Sus barbatus), Red Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor), Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), Banteng [domestic] (Bos javanicus), Timor Pig (Sus scrofa).
Non passeriform perching birds: Collared Kingfisher (Todirhaphus chloris), Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda), Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera nympha), Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba), Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis), Blythe's Hornbill (Aceros plicatus), Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbills (Aceros undulatus), Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaultii), Bushy-crested Hornbill (Anorrhinus galeritus), Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris), Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis), Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis), Sacred Kingfisher (Todirhaphus sanctus).
Cartoon map and all photographs by CPBvK