Master of Disguise

Today I’m so excited to talk about a fantastic creature who has a process that spans across other oceanic creatures and even insects but this one is truly the best at this! Now we’ve all heard of or seen some type of camouflage I’m sure. They sell camo clothes for humans, especially hunters, bird watchers and nature photographers who are looking to blend into their surroundings while observing a creature without disturbing them. There are also a lot of insects and marine creatures and even reptiles who are able to change their skin to blend with their surroundings. It’s like a “Where’s Waldo?” type of challenge to find them. One creature, however, stands out above the rest.

The cuttlefish!

Cuttlefish are a type of cephlopod that roams deep ocean. A cephlopod is a predatory mollusk that is unique in that its body is very symmetrical; meaning if you cut one down the middle, both sides would be identical. The most common cephlopods that people are aware of are octopi and squids. The cuttlefish is kind of a mesh between the two because it’s back end is like that of a squid but its face is very octopus like with all it’s tentacles.

Now, octopi and squid are able to change their coloring to match their marine surroundings. It’s not an exact science and you can still spot them most times but what the cuttlefish does in comparison is quite extraordinary. Not only can it change its coloring, it can also change it’s coloring and pattern to match literally any of it’s surroundings. The article I read by NatGeo News expressed it best when they made the comparison to a high definition television. The cuttlefish has what amounts to electric skin but instead of pixels, cuttlefish have what are known as chromatophores in their muscles that are able to broadcast different colors depending on their surroundings.

The chromatophores are basically muscles the cuttlefish are able to bend and contract to form reds, yellows, browns and blacks. What’s super cool is they are able to do this even in the dark. The neurons in their brain are just that advanced. Funnily enough, cuttlefish are colorblind but their skin is like a rainbow when it comes to reflecting their surroundings because white light bounces off of them and is able to transmit any color because white is, after all, all the colors combined.

This amazing method of camouflage is literally the difference between life or death for the cuttlefish. Most mollusk species have a hard outer shell. The cuttlefish is completely squishy so not only does the color change help them capture unsuspecting prey, it keeps them from being prey themselves. One of the coolest things however is besides the color change, they can shape shift! Yep, you read that right.

The best example is when it’s mating season. Not all male cuttlefish are the same size and it’s always a huge competition to get to the female and inject her with their baby makers. One such incidence, which happened to be caught on video, shows a male cuttlefish on the smaller side trying to get his chance at the female and being barred and even attacked by the bigger males. This cunning little cuttlefish then does the genius thing and changes not only his coloring, but his body to make him look like a female! The males surrounding him can’t tell the difference and he’s able to get through them to the female. Success! Check it out below:

Have you heard of the cuttlefish? Would you agree that the cuttlefish is a master of disguise? Isn’t that male cuttlefish in the video a genius? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Balance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in my world about jobs and what people sign up for when they take on a job. For example, I heard a story on the radio this morning about special needs teachers and their preparedness for anything that could possibly happen while teaching the students. I won’t get into the super details but the story involved a teacher who I believed grossly overreacted to a situation she encountered with an autistic student. It got me thinking about my own experiences with jobs I’ve had and jobs my friends have had and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter today.

With everything there are positives and there are negatives. I believe the way in which we handle these occurrences head on is what makes us either better or worse individuals. I’m sure anyone would love to live in a world where ignorance is bliss. In fact the entirety of that quote is “ignorance is bliss; knowledge is misery”. It’s usually equated to a child vs. a grown up. As children (hopefully) we live in this blissful world where nothing affects us much except for the next time we get to play our favorite game or go outside or hang out with our cousins. We aren’t thinking about the real world. Then there’s that point in life where you have to deal with those facts because it either creeps up on you too soon or it’s around the corner waiting to creep up on you eventually. We all have to grow up and be adults even if we don’t want to.

The “knowledge is misery” part of the quote quite fascinated me because I happen to think knowledge is an essential part of life. Most people are thirsty for knowledge instead of viewing it as something miserable. For example, I don’t want to know about politics but I still pay attention because I want to be prepared for anything that occurs in this country that may or may not affect me and my loved ones in some way.

Circling back to the bit about jobs, I feel like when you sign up for a particular job, you have to know what to expect going in. For example if you’re an artist of some sort: writer, movie director, music producer, painter, you have to know going in that when you release your art to the world that there are going to be some who absolutely love it and some who absolutely hate it. Now, I am none of those things but I feel like on some level you have to know what to expect and how to handle what gets thrown at you in any form. Obviously you are going to praise the ones who give you glowing reviews but should you ignore the ones who don’t or worse, call them all trolls or put them down? I don’t think that’s right. If anything, you’d learn from every bit of feedback or critique you receive so that you have a better direction going forward; learn how to to turn a negative into something that can strengthen you and your fan base so that you don’t lose anyone, including the negative Nancies because there is always that possibility that they’ll still support you and even like future works even if this one flopped for them.

Another example, and this is personal experience, is being a manager. Being promoted is a great feeling but with it comes great responsibility and one of those things is the ability to handle a rude customer. First you have have to acknowledge that it’s not a personal attack at you. The person may be having a shitty day. Such is life. Then you have to strive to fulfill their needs as best you can without making it worse than it already is. Now are there some customers who are just rude out the gate? Absolutely. Even so, there are methods in which you can handle the situation that could potentially open their eyes to their own behavior and get them to calm down. Is this a perfect be all end all method? Of course not. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’d say.

One last example is having that tough conversation with an employee who is just not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t want them to think I’m personally attacking them because they are not doing a great job lately but I also want to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated either. Sitting them down one on one and going through what I see and trying to get to the root of what’s going on so that we can figure out how best to proceed going forward is usually the best route. Again, is it foolproof? Absolutely not and sometimes it ends more badly than you wanted it to but sometimes that’s just the right route.

I think life is all about balance. You need to make mistakes and fail to become a better, well rounded person. Sometimes our emotions dictate our actions before we fully comprehended what happened later but if you have the ability to acknowledge that and correct it either in the now or in the future, I think that makes a good recipe for greatness.

What do you think about balancing positives with negatives in life? Do you agree about jobs and what to expect when you take a specific job on? Any examples you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Why I Like Social Media

I was debating whether or not I should write about food today but I have a habit of making everyone hungry every single time so I decided to switch it up this morning and talk about social media. Lately there’s been a big hoopla about how evil social media is these days especially in regards to tragic events and the like. I understand how it can be viewed in a negative light. I mean it’s come a long way since MySpace days where it was very basic and all you had to worry about was exes sending you harassing messages or subjecting yourself to chatrooms to meet new people and smartphones weren’t a thing (man I feel old). Regardless of all these factors however, I’m a huge fan of social media and I wanted to outline a few reasons why.

For the record, I only dabble with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and YouTube.

Diversity

The number one reason I love social media is it’s diversity. There are so many subjects that I never would have even thought of thinking about if it wasn’t for the many people discussing these things. I follow a lot of animal related pages, cooking pages, book related pages, some of my TV shows, etc etc. The list goes on for a while but I feel like my mind is constantly becoming more open and my tastes are constantly evolving. It’s also great to see other people’s reactions to the same thing I’m viewing to get another way at looking at something. Before social media, it was pretty restricted to what you learned in school and what you physically experienced but now you have the added aspect of virtual experience. You also get to meet different types of people from all around the world and learn about their culture and heritage. WordPress is a great example here and blogging in general because you’re exposed to new and interesting content each day.

Communication

Second reason I love social media is the communication aspect. I was reluctant to get Facebook for the longest time because I was so heavily involved with MySpace and thought it was the best. However, as more of my family joined the platform and I saw how clean and sophisticated it looked, I decided to switch. In the beginning I mainly used it to communicate with cousins and family I didn’t often see. Now I can communicate with pretty much anyone. Its honestly a genius resource regardless of all the negativity it receives. It’s nice when you leave a job and can still have contact with a person you became close with without having to call or text message them constantly. And the amount of control you have is great. There all kinds of settings for how you want your Facebook to operate and I think nowadays, a lot of people don’t take advantage of those so they end up hating it. I have mine set to Private and only Friends can see what I post; not friends of friends and the general public can only see a very basic profile from the outside. There is also that wonderful block button and unfriend/unfollow button whenever you need it. Same goes for Twitter essentially and I love Twitter because who’d ever thought they’d have the ability to speak to their favorite authors or celebrities without writing a letter and pray it gets answered?? I mean that’s just the coolest thing ever.

Learning

Lastly, at least for today, the third thing I love about social media kind of ties with the diversity aspect. I learn a lot each day. For example, last night I watched a cooking video and literally after work went grocery shopping for all the ingredients, went home and proceeded to cook it. Turned out to be a huge success that my husband praised me for and I just felt really great because it was social media that encouraged me to do that. You also learn other cool things like household cleaning hacks, upcoming book and movie releases and even the news. For someone who’s “cut the cord” long before cutting the cord was even a thing, social media is a huge resource in keeping me in the know about what’s going on in the world without having to visit a million news sites. YouTube is especially helpful in DIY videos that help you save money or for me right now, prenatal exercises without having to go out to a gym and paying someone to guide me in these (I’m so cheap).


These are the three big ones for me. I could go on but I don’t want to subject you to reading a super long blog post. How about you? How do you feel about social media? Do you agree with my reasons? Disagree? Have any additional reasons you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

New Star in the Universe

I don’t know what I really had planned to write today but probably something along the lines of pie because today is Pi Day. For those of you who don’t know, Pi is an impossible, yet genius mathematical formula that’s regarded highly across physicists and mathematicians alike. That’s pretty much the extent I know about it because I personally suck at both subjects. Here’s what it looks like:

π

Now today is the greatest excuse to eat pie as well. Places all over the world celebrate today with various types of pies. There’s even a Google doodle because today marks the 30th anniversary of Pi Day:

30th Anniversary of Pi Day!

However on top of all that, I woke up to the sad news that Stephen Hawking has died. It’s very sad but also kind of fitting that he would die on such a day. This Pi day will go down in history because Stephen Hawking will always be remembered. If you did not who this is, just Google the man. He was absolutely brilliant for someone who fought ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) for over 50 years. This disease did not stop his creativity nor his ingenuity in the field of physics. It’s thanks to him that we know as much about black holes as we do. He was a very encouraging individual and we’ve definitely lost a great hero. But that’s okay because all you have to do is look up to the stars as he would always say and never give up. Rest in paradise, professor.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Tasmanian Devil

Growing up watching Looney Tunes did not do the Tasmanian Devil the justice it deserves. Being the size of a small dog, they’re actually sort of cute little Austrialian pups. …see for yourself. 😛 

The name for these guys may be a little deceiving, as scientists have found. They mainly live in the state of Tasmania and are extinct in their original homeland of Australia. Hunters were killing dingoes for their pelts and when they ran out of dingoes they turned to the next best thing. The claim was that they were a massive threat to livestock and so they needed to be dealt with accordingly. Some 50 years later researchers are finding that they, along with many humans, are victims of facial and skin tumors and cancers. As a result, many are being sent to zoos in order to help provide better care for them.

While they do rip and shread their prey, they are somewhat communal animals. Once mated they protect and fight for their female at all costs…and we all know how that goes! 😉

All in all, just some food for thought. I’m sure those farmers and hunters didn’t dream that what they were doing to a group of animals in the mid 1940’s would impact them so many years later. Unfortunately, it is still happening today with many other groups of animals for a variety of reasons. You’d like we’d have learned something by now.

If you’re interested in learning more the Parks and wildlife service have got you covered.

‘Alala aka The Hawaiian Crow

Crows of any sort aren’t typically my thing, but because my co-author spent quite a bit of time in Hawaii, this post is pretty near and dear to her. As with anything, if something is extinct or nearing extinction there’s a pretty clear problem. Getting to the root of that problem can sometimes be a little challenging, but well worth it, IMO.

…because there are no living ‘alala in the wild these birds have been reproduced in captivity. Upon being released into the wild, researchers are learning of many difficulties that these little guys have been facing. Some aren’t finding proper mates and others aren’t feeding their babies properly.

Crows on the mainland are a large part of the literary world. They can symbolize death, mystery, and magic. Have any of you had any experience with wildlife conservation in any capacity? I’ve been lucky enough to befriend two conservationists. I believe that they are invaluable to the sustainability of our little winged friends and hope that you do, too!

For more information on them here’s a quick excerpt from the San Diego ZooContinue reading “‘Alala aka The Hawaiian Crow”

Something New

Throughout my days, whether it’s at work, home, or hanging out with friends, I find myself trying to learn something. There’s always something to take away. There’s also plenty to give.

My days are typically filled with work – from working out, to actually going to the job that pays me, sending or receiving emails, trying to network with rescue organizations, and beyond, I’m always working on something.  I’ve learned a lot from the younger people who work for me…and I’ve learned a ton from the older ones, too. It’s interesting to subjects from another lense.

I’d say that overall I’m a realist. I have realistic views, expectations, and hopes for the future. I’m not asking for or seeking perfection: but I want to see people trying. Trying is often times different than doing – but sometimes all you can ask is that people are trying.

Working in the pet food industry has taught me a lot. Managing people has taught me even more. Doing my best to gain something from everyone has shown me a lot about life. Having wonderful friends and a supportive family has certainly helped along the way. I challenged myself to create time to write something today. Something. Anything. …to try to be part of this blogging experience with a great friend. …to try to pull my weight, or at least part of it. The longer I sit the more emails flood through. Questions, comments, concerns, things that require fairly immediate action, others that just want my opinion on what to do or how to do it.

Yesterday, I learned about plasma and just how cool and helpful it is. Today, I’ve learned (and really have known for a while) that good friends truly are a dime a dozen. My co-author has carried the weight and the work of this blog since conception. I am thankful for her and I learn from her and about her everyday from this opportunity.

What are you learning about today? Is it something new? …perhaps it’s something you’ve known and are revisiting. Share it with us so we can all learn together! 🙂

Timely

I Did It: Day 20

Twenty days ago, I signed up for the WordPress blogging university course: Everyday Inspiration. Everyday I received an email to write a prompt about something ranging from lists, quotes, maps and pictures. Everyday I also took it a step further and incorporated the daily prompt somehow into each post.

I have to say it’s been about five years since I’ve taken any type of course. And this is a course I wasn’t required to do but chose to do to challenge myself. I usually don’t sign on for any type of challenge unless I know for certain I can finish it. So far this year I’ve tried to do many different workout challenges found on YouTube and still make it past Day 2. Currently the only challenge I’ve been a religiously sticking to is my Goodreads reading challenge.

Makes me wonder why challenges are so hard to adhere to. In my opinion, it has to do with two things. One, to successfully be able to finish a challenge, I have to genuinely enjoy it. If I feel that I’m bored in any way it’s highly likely I’ll throw that challenge out the window. Secondly​, it can’t feel like another job. I work enough as it is at my 9-5 and at home doing housework. I don’t need another stressor.

This writing challenge fits in the first category. I genuinely enjoyed doing this. I learned that there is a vast audience out there that loves to write beautiful pieces that inspire them. I learned that one piece of writing can make a person’s day no matter the subject matter. I learned that it’s okay to write whatever pops into your head; that you don’t need a specific direction. You can go with the flow and write whatever comes to mind.

The end goal is to share but I believe it is also to try and get a reaction. I realized that half the time I got a reaction out of myself more than anyone else. When I read over some of my posts I say to myself, “Wow! I didn’t know I had that in me” and I feel proud, confident and it encourages me to want to write further. Even now, I didn’t expect to write this much but there’s a burst of thoughts in my head waiting to crash onto this screen and if I pause for even a second I’ll miss that perfect stroke and be back at a blank canvas.

From now on, I’m curious to see what types of content I come up with. I began this challenge saying I’m not a writer, I’m a reader but I guess I have the capacity to do both.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 2

Today’s inspiration prompt requires me to write a list. I have a choice in which list I choose to write about but they are so simple, I’m choosing to write a list for all of them.

Things I Like:

  • Books. Books are my life. I love to read. I feel like an addict going through withdrawal when I don’t have something to read. I honestly believe it keeps me sane and I lose a lot of sleep because of reading but I can sleep when I’m dead right?
  • Food. I am a foodie. There is a short list, on one hand, of foods I won’t eat. Exploring new-to-me restaurants is great fun. My favorite eats: sushi, ramen, anything in pasta form (alfredo, spaghetti, ravioli etc) and Chinese food
  • My pets. I have two cats and a painted turtle. I used to hate cats. I had a roommate back in college who had devil spawn cats. They would constantly destroy things and howl at the moon. I vowed never to have cats. But then one day a friend presented a box of stray cats to me and Milliardo was the only one sleeping in the box and right when I was going to walk away he opened his eyes and looked at me and I was sold. The turtle has been around for 10 years and counting and we decided Milliardo needed a more mellow friend so that’s where Isabel came into the picture.
  • Netflix et al. I love watching television shows. I gravitate mostly towards historical pieces (Vikings, Downton Abbey, Spartacus..) and drama shows (Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, Scandal..) but I’m open to anything. I’ll even watch documentaries here and there. HUGE Marvel fan and DC (sometimes when they’re good). My husband and I go and see all the Marvel films as well as the Marvel adaptation shows on Netflix.
  • Music. I looooove listening to music. Some of my favorite artists include Ed Sheeran, Lindsey Stirling, Pentatonix, Beyonce, Josh Groban, Evanescence.. I am all over the board. I make it a point to watch the Grammys every year for the performances.

Things I’ve Learned:

  • Lately I’ve learned that I would make a wonderful psychiatrist. I have been dishing out a lot of advice to my friends lately and I’ve learned that it’s actually pretty good advice. I’ve been told that I have the type of mindset that tries to analyze a situation from different angles in order to understand the whole picture. I like to think up different possibilities or motives for why people act or say the things they say before instantly judging. Now I can’t say that it applies to all situations (ask my husband) because I do like to be right but I’m also not afraid to admit when I’m wrong.
  • I’ve learned I have the capacity to learn new things even if at first I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve started a whole new career path that has absolutely nothing to do with what I thought my dream job would be but in the month and a half that I’ve been here I’ve been told I am doing a really good job. I’m proud of myself and it only encourages me to continue to push harder and become the best at what I do.

Thing I Wish:

  • I wish I could get paid to read. I know I keep saying it, but I love to read and that’s my dream job.
  • I wish snowstorm Stella would take a hike. I don’t mind snow but I am so tired of the up and down extremes. I live in Ohio and it can literally go from 70 degrees one day to 20 degrees the next. Its exhausting.
  • I wish I had enough money to buy a Tesla. That car is so sexy!

Things You’re Good At:

  • I’m good at helping people with their computer or phone problems. I’m pretty tech savvy and have become well versed in a lot of computer programs. I love Windows and Android the most but I dabble with other operating systems from time to time.
  • I’m good at driving stick shift
  • I’m good at making people laugh even when they don’t want to
  • I’m good at crying over fictional characters
  • I’m good at singing in the shower
  • I’m good at sleeping
  • I’m good at giving advice and recommending things
  • I’m good at social media
  • I’m good at love
  • I’m good at being honest
  • I’m good at being me

One tenth of the way into my blogging university course! See you tomorrow for Day 3.