and saline water

anonymous asked:

I wrote in asking about what intersex means and I wrote it wrong. I meant if someone who's biologically female has high testosterone levels, sorry!

I already answered it and the answer is still the same in this case so I will take this time to teach you all that Bull Sharks are commonly thought to be very agressive because they have the highest levels of testosterone in comparison to size. This is in fact NOT fact, and that myth came from anomalous data from a single subject. They actually have pretty average levels of testosterone for their size. While it’s true there are a lot of unprovoked bull shark attacks on humans, there is no correlation between the myth and this fact. In my opinion, it’s most likely because they can be found in saline, brackish, or fresh water, which increases the chances of running in to one.

This has been Marine Biology Lessons with Damien


A few hours before Hurricane Matthew made a fuss in eastern Virginia, I was on the water with my cousin Mark. Mark left a corporate career to become a waterman. He has started an oyster aquaculture business on the York River on 240 acres of oyster grounds (100 ha) leased from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. The beds - which are in view of the site of Cornwallis’s surrender to Washington at the end of the Revolutionary War - are also in view of Mark’s home on the river. He measures his commute in feet.

His aquaculture operation takes microscopic oyster spat to seed size, about the size of a coin. Seed oysters are then transferred to shell beds or cages to mature and reach market size. 

On the day of my visit Mark pulled a cage to send me home with about three dozen tender beauties. His grounds are in mid-salinity waters in the York, and his oysters are fat and sweet and not too metallic at the finish. The cage shown here holds about 500 oysters that have been growing contentedly for about fourteen months. 

Mark has rigged a pontoon boat with a crane and winch, and he uses a platform that functions as a large funnel to return by-catch and wash water to the river. The cages are also home to hundreds of sea squirts, crabs, and bottom-dwelling fish. 

He is still looking for a brand name for his oysters. Visitors are encouraged to leave suggestions, and a wall on his deck is covered with dozens of post-its with ideas. I offered “Clay Bank Sweets,” but I think my favorite is “High Mark Oysters.” 

Addenda: Mark will never be found on a boat without a Tilley hat. This is an immutable truth. The fish shown in this photo set is an oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau), and so large it must have taken up residence in the cage at a very early age. The little crab is a black-fingered mud crab (Panopeus herbstii) that has lost a claw. If it still has a molt left in its lifecycle it is possible the missing cheliped will regenerate. If you look closely at the photo with the flag you will see a streak from a smudge on my camera lens where a sea squirt got me. For such small, brainless things, their aim is uncanny. 


Ikaite - A calcium-carbonate mineral formed in cold, saline marine waters where calcite formation is inhibited.

(via イカイト | Flickr - Photo Sharing!)

quick tips #2
  • shampooing your hair every day is bad for it. try to shampoo every other day - or fewer, if your hair is less greasy! you can still condition every day.
  • use a soft t-shirt to dry your hair as opposed to a towel - it is easier and lighter to hold on your head if you’re a fan of towel hats!
  • ibuprofen is much more effective against period cramps than tylonel, because it helps reduce inflammation.
  • using a translucent powder over any lipstick can make it matte.
  • place a few drops of saline solution or water into your mascara to make it like new again!
  • always keep some baby wipes around for when you’re doing your makeup. they’re great for wiping foundation off of your eyebrows/hands and are just useful in general!
  • in the case that you haven’t tried them yet - thongs and tampons are a life-saver if you get worried about pantie-lines and people seeing your pad.
  • better than tampons - a diva cup. they last for 12 hours - meaning you can sleep in them!
  • coconut oil can be used to help whiten teeth and clean your mouth. swish with a tablespoon of it for about 10-15 minutes and spit.
  • try to go without makeup as much as you can. it helps build confidence and it is incredibly liberating!
Resilient and Fragile: To Rise and Fall, In Reverse and Farewell

Part of my hospital chaplaincy duties is to write a reflection on how it’s going. Identities may be altered for privacy. All the writings are here.

I did my first baptism ever, at the hospital, for twins who were just born.

Lisa and Aletha had a ton of complications. One had survived. The other had died. The mother had dropped out of college and had just been evicted. The mother’s grandmother had passed away the very same day from cancer. The twins’ father had fled; he couldn’t deal with seeing his cold baby daughter, much less ponder how he was going to raise the surviving one, who he had expected (maybe hoped) would die.

I entered the room and stood at a curtain, reading the label of the sterilized bottle of saline water, feet shuffling. The mother called me in.

“Chaplain,” she said, actually smiling. “Weird to see a guy walk in instead of walk out.” She chuckled, and burst into tears. Then laughed some more.

“I’m sorry,” I said, hanging my head. “How are you?”

“Besides wanting to punch my boyfriend in the neck?” She cackled, loud enough for a nurse to walk by. “Oh, you know, it is what it is. I’m so tired of crying. I just found out I have to put my dog to sleep. What a week, it’s been. I’ve never had to be so strong.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Maybe you don’t, though. Have to be so strong, I mean. Weak and strong are both okay.”

She nodded and reached for my hand. She squeezed it for a second, closed her eyes, smiled, let go. “Glad you’re here, at least,” she said. “Go ahead, chaplain. Do your thing.”

“Is there a specific way you’d like me to do this?”

She laughed again, through tears. “You know, chaplain, I’m not religious. I don’t even know why I want this. It just feels right. Bless my baby into heaven, and bless the other one to live her best.”

Both the cribs were next to her bed. I looked at Aletha, perfectly still, a brown and blue pallor in her skin, future interrupted, a snapshot of unknown dreams in a box. My stomach swirled with a very different grief, like opening an album of blank pictures, entering a hollow hallway with outlines of where the frames should be. I opened the saline bottle and I sprinkled some water over Aletha and I held her and I prayed.

I didn’t know what I was saying; it felt like random, generic, religious language, maybe a thee or a thou in there somewhere, repeating Father over and over, trying to sound official, and I thought about all those ritualistic baptisms and the robes and altars and goblets and glass, and I couldn’t do that here. Not in a place like this. In the middle of praying, I suddenly said, “I don’t know why, God.” I shuddered and clenched my fists. “I don’t get it. We don’t know why. We … I want to believe that You do. Aletha is with You now, and she’s okay. I hope she’s okay. Be here, please. Be here somehow, in the places we’re broken.”

I turned to Lisa, who was breathing rhythmically, red and peach skin, mouth moving, a box of possibility. I sprinkled the saline, said a few spiritual-sounding things, and finished: “We give her to you, God, all the future in the world. Thank you for Lisa. Thank you for her life and all she can become.”

I turned to the mother and said, “I’m sorry. I wish I could do better.”

“No,” she said. “It was perfect. The only good thing all week.”

We talked for a little while. She laughed and cried, simultaneously, in waves of euphoria and heartache. I realized only later as we were talking that I was doing the same.

I prayed one last prayer for Lisa and Aletha. I thought about how resilient and fragile we are, little creatures born into blinding stimuli, fighting for breath, fighting to the very end, how earlier I visited a grandfather who survived rolling out of a car and I visited a young woman in her twenties whose blood had inexplicably turned against her, and I saw how painfully weak and remarkably strong we can be, that turnarounds and reversals can happen in the lowest of depths, that farewells must be made even when all is spring and sun, that flat-lines become summits and a pulse can crash mid-flight, and what crushes one person may sculpt another, and healing is just as hard as hurting, and sometimes we need ritual, but other times we need to break free, and we don’t always get to find out why—but the end of one possibility may open the door to another hallway, where the frames must be filled somehow, baptized by a memory of the future, even as the glass runs dry of sand and we return to dust. I grieved over all that Aletha would miss, and I was scared for all that Lisa would endure. Life, I suppose, is tremendously weird this way, and so we find some way to hold such opposing waves in each hand, the inevitable interruption of dying, and the surprise that we are still alive and fighting.

We are resilient. We are fragile. And maybe both are okay today.



Went to LA today for kirscheofthenorth’s early birthday (she was born on the same day as America, hooray!)

The Last Bookstore for windowshopping, and AX for people watching. Cecil’s glow cloud actually glowed.
Also I received my official “this is how much financial aid you’re getting” letter and I might cry a bit so goodnight.

“Being a poet,”
She glances at her nails again,
chips a few flakes of pink
onto the carpet,
“will never pay.”
She is not watching me,
but I know she is looking for something
I won’t give her.
I start unpacking,
stripping stained cardboard boxes
of all their internal organs;
crumpled letters, receipts to the craft store,
a milk jug of saline water,
postcards from Denmark,
turtle bracelets from South Carolina,
a box of broken crayons,
splinters of lead pencils.
I shake out red sand from Australia,
a punchcard from a pizza shop
I haven’t visited it years,
the smell of seven ex-boyfriends.
This is my mess of riches.
If you think, for a second,
I’ve gained nothing for every word I’ve written,
you’re blind.
I’ve been given more tender embraces,
more stranger’s heartbreak trusted into me, 
more gentle warm wishes that melt
the Decembers of my stomach,
than I would have ever received otherwise.
These people have paid me their time.
That is far more than I deserve.
—  Schuyler Peck, Making Money on Poetry

Settled in the mundane activity of observing, you disarm me with composed intellect, pry the seeking from these eyes

Dizzy, I fall like rain, collapsing into the arms of old wounds, the ones that only heal when charming words grace their tissue

Can we throw a little ice on this fire, cool the caustic moment, quell the forest of nightmares brewing in your head

Silence forces its way through me, disseminating a galant manifesto, to all my flagrant follies I surrender and bequeath

Ask why you remain, you state everything is not what it seems, secretly feel there’s a heart alive in me, you plead with the shore for a sign in the dark

Cold philosophy loaned by sages is not enough to counteract my lack of love or joy in said complacency

Hooking your arm into mine, you attempt to procure the hour, then draw away swiftly to the salinity of the water, knowing we are too misunderstood