dry site

my blog at 4pm, when everyone and their mother is on this site: dry wasteland of content

my blog at 10pm, when there are approximately 3 active users and 2 are bots: content explosion, a veritable renaissance of posts

I snuck out to take a super quick shower while she was still asleep and she took my warm spot. At least she’s shuffling around some on her own now.

Herb of the Week-Foxglove


Common Foxglove
Deadmen’s Bells
Fairy’s Glove
Folk’s Glove
Purple Foxglove
Witch’s Bells
The herbal plant known as the foxglove can reach six feet in height. The foxglove has a straight stem without branches and grows as a biennial plant. During the spring bloom, foxglove flowers hang in bunches on the stem - the flowers have a dull pink or purple coloration, and often come with white spots on the corolla. The large sized leaves of the foxglove possess distinct and prominent veins running along the lamina.

Among all the traditional medicinal plants of old, the foxglove is considered to be among the loveliest, the most significant, the best known and even the most lethal. The plant poison called digitalis is simply the powdered down dried leaves of the foxglove plant. Digitalis is a well known cardiac stimulating compound that has helped millions of heart patients stay alive due to its property of stimulating the cardiac muscles.

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Ridiculously Weird Michigan Forest Flower

(Ontonagon, MIchigan -  8/2014)

Update from bethjpalik! “Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, a perenniel. Also called Prince’s pine. Has medicinal uses for above ground parts as anti-inflammatory and thought to antibacterial properties. Guessing you found on sandy pine site? Indicator plant for drier sites. One of my fave dry site plants! Beautiful macro shot!”




Altun Ha lies on the north-central coastal plain of Belize, in a dry tropical zone. The site was very swampy during its pre-Columbian occupation, with very few recognizable water sources. Currently, the only recognizable natural water source is a creek beyond the northern limit of the mapped area. The water sources used during occupation were Gordon Pond, which is the main reservoir, and the Camp Aguada, which is located in the site center. The site may have contained two chultuns, but provenience is lost since they are used in modern times.

The site itself consists of a central precinct composed of Groups A and B. Groups A and B and Zones C, D, and E consist of the nucleated area, with Zones G, J, K, M, N making part of the suburban area. The site does not contain any stela, suggesting that stelae were not part of ceremonial procedures. There are two recorded causeways, one in Zone C and one connecting Zone E and Zone F. The Zone C causeway does not connect to any structures, but is probably related to Structure C13, and was perhaps used for ceremonial purposes. The other causeway connected the two zones where water sources were located, and was constructed for topographical reasons, specifically to traverse areas of swampy land; it may have been impassable without raised walkways.

Occupational history

Altun Ha was occupied for many centuries, from about B.C. 900 to A.D. 1000. Most of the information on Altun Ha comes from the Classic Period from about A.D. 400 to A.D. 900, when the city was at its largest.


The earliest structures found at Altun Ha, found in Zone C, are two round platforms that date to about BC 900−800, structures C13 and C17. Structure C13 contains remnants of postholes and several burials, while C17 has traces of burning, or fire. Structure C13 was an early religious building, with Zone C inhabitants being of relatively high status. The Late Preclassic had a population increase and large public structures were built. The first of these was structure F8 in AD 200. Although this structure was constructed at the end of the Preclassic, the majority of the archaeological evidence dates to the Early Classic. This structure has a two-element stair composed of small steps with stairside outsets that were perhaps devoted to innovation. F8 also had a three-stage development.

Early Classic

One of the most important finds in the Early Classic comes from structure F8, specifically tomb F8/1. The tomb was placed here about fifty years after the construction of the structure. It contained the remains of an adult male who was interred with a jade and shell necklace, a pair of jade earflares, two shell disks, a pair of pearls, five pottery vessels, and fifty-nine valves of Spondylus shells. Bib head beads in the necklace are associated with southern Mesoamerica. The ceramics for the most part reflect the pattern that was being established at other burials in Altun Ha. Above the burial, however, the roof showed association to the large Mexican site Teotihuacan. The burial was capped with over 8,000 pieces of chert debitage and 163 formal chert tools. The ritual offering, or cache, also contained jade beads, Spondylus valves, puma and dog teeth, slate laminae, and a large variety of shell artifacts. The clear association to Teotihuacan however, comes from the 248 Pachuca green obsidian objects and the 23 ceramic jars, bowls and dishes. The obsidian is of the Miccaotli or Early Tlamimilolpa phase, suggesting that this symbolism was still important and dominant at Teotihuacan. This offering may be of importance to Teotihuacan because of the associations that the ruler in the burial had with central Mexico or the association that the entire Altun Ha community had with Teotihuacan.

There is also evidence of contact and trading with the other side of Mesoamerica in the intermediate area. An offering in the central ceremonial precinct contained an undecorated lidded limestone vessel with jadeite objects, two pearls, laminae of crystalline hematite, Spondylus shell beads, and a tumbaga gold-copper alloy bead representing a jaguar claw. This deposit has been dated to about 500. Traditionally, it was not believed that the Maya had gold during the Classic period; gold was restricted to the Postclassic. This is in part because many believed that gold was not naturally occurring in the Maya area, but recent investigations have shown that placer gold can be found in the streams of the upland zone of western Belize. The Maya most likely did not use metallurgy because of a lack of techniques, which may have been due to the fact that yellow in Maya ideology represent dying plant life and crop failure. This artifact is also identical with other artifacts of the Cocle in central Panama. The Cocle had a sufficient amount of metalworking by 500, and surely played a role in trade relationships beyond Panama. This discovery also shows that important trade networks were set up much earlier than previously thought.

Late Classic

In general, the elite burials at Altun Ha during the Late Classic can be characterized by large amounts of jade. Over 800 pieces of jade have been recovered at the site. More than 60 of these pieces are carved. The beginning of the Late Classic at Altun Ha had one of the most interesting burials in the Maya lowlands. Structure B-4 has tombs with many jade artifacts, including a large jade plaque with a series of twenty glyphs in the phase six construction level. In the 1968 field season, after excavating many tombs in Structure B-4, also called the Temple of the Masonry Altars, the seventh phase of construction revealed the most elaborate tomb at the site nicknamed “The Sun God’s Tomb”.

The Sun God’s Tomb

The Sun God’s Tomb is located in Structure B-4, also called the Temple of the Masonry Altars. Structure B-4 is located in Group B, which is part of the central precinct at Altun Ha, and has a height of 16 meters. Phase VII is the level in which this tomb is located, is dated to about 600−650, which is at the beginning of the Late Classic period. The tomb is the seventh and earliest in B-4, which made the excavators designate this burial Tomb B-4/7.

Tomb B-4/7 contained the skeleton of an adult male with many offerings. The body was fully extended dorsally with the skull facing south-southwest. The person had a height of 170–171 cm, with the recovered skeletal materials consisting of a fragment of the skull, the mandible, long bones, five teeth, two vertebrae, five carpal bones, the patellas, and miscellaneous metacarpals, metatarsals, and phalanges.

The bulk of the interpretations, research, and interest in this tomb have undoubtedly been on the artifacts that were contained in this particular burial. In the initial study, Pendergast classifies these artifacts between perishables and non-perishables.

The perishable artifacts that are in the burial that the researchers were able to recognize include a wooden platform that the body was placed on, felid skins, cloth, matting, cordage, rods, stuccoed objects, red pigment, and gray clay. Not all perishable objects have been interpreted for their original use in the burial, but some have clear associations. The entire tomb was covered in cloth, with textile impressions noted on the pottery. Red pigment was distributed throughout the tomb, with evidence of it on most of the jade.

The researchers documented 43 non-perishable artifacts. These include ceramic bowls; shell beads; jadeite anklets, bracelets and beads; pearls; pyrite and hematite artifacts; and, the most outstanding of all, a carved jade head of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau. The jade head has a height of 14.9 cm, a circumference of 45.9 cm and a weight of 4.42 kg. The jade head was placed at the pelvis of the body, with the face of the jade boulder facing the skull. The Sun God’s Tomb marks the starting point for tomb construction in Structure B-4 during the Late Classic period. The unusual form of this tomb shows the distinctive cultural aspects of Altun Ha and the Caribbean zone compared to the inland Classic Maya sites. Pendergast suggests that with so much jade found at the site, the jade head may have been carved at the site with imported jade. The giant jade head also suggests that this small site had a strong status as a trade or ceremonial center. Pendergast also suggests that this tomb contained a priest that was associated with the Sun God, and that Structure B-4 was in fact dedicated to this deity, based on this one artifact. More recent research however, has shown that this interpretation may be incorrect. Recent research suggests that this giant jade head is actually a Jester God. When drawing this figure spread out on a plane, the figure on this carving shows more of a resemblance to a bird deity with maize iconography, not Kinich Ahau. The Jester God is an early symbol of Maya rulership and is usually seen iconographically in the head, or in this case the jade head. With so many artifacts associated with this tomb, it is clear that the male buried in here was of great importance. The Jester God argument is a better fit for what this person represented, which would also correlate with this being the first tomb constructed in Structure B-4.

Terminal Classic

By 700, modifications in the Central Precinct became rarer, and in Plaza B only Structures B4 and B6 were modified regularly, while Plaza A was still being modified extensively. By 850, structures B5 and A8 were completely abandoned. Gradual abandonment of the site began in 800, except for Zone E, which actually reached its peak usage and occupation between 700 and 800.

Structure D2 is located at the edge of the site’s Central Precinct and is dated to the Late-Terminal Classic. This structure in particular yielded a stemmed bifacial blade of Pachuca green obsidian in a post-abandonment offering. The form, size and manufacturing characteristics are very similar to those found in F8. Two possible explanations for the context of this artifact are that the blade could have been produced long after the decline of Teotihuacan, or was reused from an earlier time period.


In the Postclassic, Structures A1 and A5 were solely used for depositing the dead. By the beginning of the eleventh century, the site of Altun Ha was completely abandoned. During the Late Postclassic after 1225, however, there was a renewed limited occupation at Altun Ha which lasted probably until the fifteenth century. Lamanai-related Postclassic ceremonial vessels were excavated atop B-4.

In The Name of Your Father

TITLE: In The Name of Your Father


AUTHOR: wolfpawn

ORIGINAL IMAGINE: Imagine Loki is training recruits for a war that Asgard is in. Every house has to send one man to fight in the army, but your father is too old/ill to go, so you disguise yourself as a man to save him from certain death. Basically something resembling the Disney Movie of Mulan.

RATING: Teen and Up

NOTES/WARNINGS: Sorry about the delay in updating. An idea came to me for a continuation for one of my one shots and I could think of nothing else until I wrote it out, and it turned out to be a few chapters long.

The training continued over the following weeks, with several more attempted desertions, but overall the group progressed well. Loki for the most part seemed pleased. He often conferred with you regarding certain matters of minor issues and concerns, and you helped whenever possible.

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The New World

I. I’m moving on Friday. Actually moving. After a year or two of wondering if maybe I’d go to Brooklyn or maybe just get out of this little studio up here on the sixth floor and go somewhere else nearby, I’m actually going. I haven’t even been here for three years, but I still feel like my whole adulthood has happened in this apartment. I turned 30 here. I stood in a particular place I’ve never stood before or since, over by the cable box, leaning on the high dresser, when I talked on the phone with my friend’s boyfriend, he telling me she was dead. I had a very few guys up here, but the ones I did mattered, in big and different ways. Pretty much everything I’ve written on here, on this dumb blog (are we still calling them blogs?) was written on this little brown couch, the one my sister bought, fleeing from a different apartment, before she left it all behind to go to L.A. (Only to come back again–she’s now in a nice place in Williamsburg.) This little hermitage, on 14th Street, central and small, has been the nexus of, well, me for long enough that it feels very strange and sad to be leaving. I haven’t packed at all, because I’m no good until the last minute, so it doesn’t feel over yet. But there’s tonight, and then Wednesday, and then Thursday, and then that’s it. All that! Just three more nights of all that. 

I don’t know how I’ll feel in the new place, deeper in the East Village, with one of my best friends. I’m sure I’ll miss living alone, but I hope I don’t. Living alone hasn’t been great for me–I’ve the Tumblr posts to prove it. I’ll miss the convenience, the ease and annoyance of Union Square being right there. I don’t know that we can really ever prepare for something new until it happens and then it’s not new. I had a drink with my future roommate tonight, who just started a teaching job at a tony prep school uptown, and she’d been so nervous all summer, nervous but also blank. She didn’t know what to feel. Because how could she know until she’d been there? And now she has, and it’s good, and it’s nice to have the question answered. I’m eager for that, to not live in that weird liminal spot where I am right now, all my books and Playbills and DVDs and whatever else seeming less like accumulated life than just a chore, things to be thrown in a box and carted off. I can’t wait to feel like myself again, my new self, anyway.

The NYU kids are coming back. I saw them yesterday, tromping down 14th Street with “Class of 2018” T-shirts. I like to joke every year that the freshmen look like children, actual children. Such babies! And they do, sometimes. But mostly they just look like people, albeit people with bright faces and sloppy gaits, as yet unburdened, un-muted and tightened in the way that too much time spent in Manhattan can do to you. The Class of 2018. It’s such a silly, enormous number that it doesn’t mean anything. The Class of 2014 was much, much scarier. 2018 is an imaginary number, one only the math geniuses, lugging their boxes into their new homes while their parents nervously inspect every vagrant dotting the block, can understand. I wish them luck! But me, I’m moving toward the river.

II. I joined a gym. I joined a gym and paid for 20 sessions with a personal trainer. An insane expense that I can’t afford, but they pressured me into it, there in the little downstairs office, the guy giving me his practiced spiel, frustratedly losing his way every time I interrupted him with a stammering question. I’m glad I was hoodwinked, though, even if my bank account isn’t. The sessions are tough and I dread them, have even last-minute canceled a few out of fear, but I’m starting to see the good in them, the focus they draw out of me in a way that sitting in front of a computer and letting my mind reel but my body fall apart does not. My trainer, Matthew, is a weird guy. He’s into Magic: The Gathering and talks about chess. He told me he was a literary agent once and I’m not sure I believe him. He said to me today, while I was struggling on some horrid machine, that he wants to get back to writing, “If only someone would let me do it.” All I could muster to say in return was, “Yeah, it’s a racket.” And he wasn’t sure what I meant by that, which is fair, because I didn’t know either. It just felt like all I could say, sweating there in that gym. I turn to the side in the mirror every night to see if there any results. Of course there aren’t yet, and never will be unless I do the other work required, like diet and cardio. But still. I’m going. And all that pull and push and dread eventually giving way to relief is worth something, it feels like. I hope I keep going once the gym isn’t an easy two doors down from my apartment.

III. I went to Fire Island. This strange trip, like a pilgrimage. When I was about two years old, my uncle Bobby died, he and his lover and pretty much all their friends wiped out by disease. But before that, there had been summers on Fire Island. He owned a house in the Pines, and I went there once, as a baby. I’ve seen the photos of my sister and me in the pool, have heard the dim, gauzily remembered stories about my toddler sister enamored of drag queens, grabbing at their sequins and feathers. Nearly thirty years later I went back, to meet some friends, to stay at a house in Cherry Grove and sit by the pool and go out at night, to be enamored of the drag queens myself. That place had loomed so large in my imagination that, my whole time there, I had to keep reminding myself that I was, in fact, there. I liked it, I think. That you can see the mainland, and yet are so hidden and tucked away, clapping around on little boardwalks, contained by the feverish, sad, horny spell of the place. 

The friends I was with were accommodating, knowing that I was nervous about the whole thing. The couples I didn’t know who were also staying at the house were great too, summer expats from Connecticut and Toronto who let some part of their year, every year, orbit around the island. We went out, we drank a lot, some of us smoked a lot. There were too many innuendo-y jokes for my taste, drag speak hurled around with abandon, but it was fun to try to forget myself for a few buggy nights.

At the grocery store in the Pines–the Pantry, excuse me–right by the checkout line, where impulse buys usually are, were the ultimate impulse buys. Condoms and lube and enema kits and laxatives and all those gnarly gay sex-related items that, I blushed to think, the checkout girls were so familiar with. Probably more familiar than I am, anyway. I felt like a stranger on Fire Island, but peering in, saying “Ohh, I see,” was its own kind of success. We stumbled home on the beach one night, from the Pines to Cherry Grove, and I stopped a few times to point up at the very visible stars, and though no one there on the beach with me was all that interested, I thought of my mom. Who, when we’re in Rhode Island, likes to rush my sister and me outside and point out some constellation, or a planet’s seasonal glow. My mom might have been on that beach once, with her brother. It was sad to think about. It felt, sometimes, like I was walking on bones. But as the ferry chugged away, back to Long Island, and I watched older gay men serenely waiting to get back to the city to pick up supplies and then return all over again, the island, and all its bitter and lovely history, seemed perfectly eternal. Tragedy and loss and time be damned, there are still sunny, choppy Tuesday afternoons in the summer. 

These are the two obvious metaphors about Fire Island: that it’s this spit of land just to the south of everything else, this tiny strip where people seek out each other. Where they can be together in their difference, there in the thin place between land and the deep, lonely oblivion of the ocean. And then, second metaphor, there are the deer. Who are afraid of nothing. We were walking through the Meat Rack (during the day, I’m not that brave yet) from Cherry Grove to the Pines and we stumbled across a doe and her two fawns, picking at the dry grass near the site of a fire. We hung back for a second, thinking that if we got too close to this mother’s young she might attack us. But we quickly realized that she was not fussed about us being there at all. Or about her being there. The deer on Fire Island are, more than any other creature on that silly line of scrub and sand, perfectly, wonderfully confident. Completely content with where they are. 

Isn’t that nice? I think so.  

There’s a highway stretching over
the roof of our apartment, dividing the blankets
of stars apart. You, with your eyes
on the road and I, with my heart
on the dashboard, are flowing a
thousand miles per hour against
the current of the pavement.

With the songs bursting out of the stereos
I ask myself which is worse:
being ashamed of the awkward sounds our hearts make
or being uncomfortable with this rumbling silence?

Last Saturday night, I noticed the
almost-human lampposts lined in the streets.
I heard the asphalt talking.
I felt it moving. I felt it taking me
as it moves almost perpetually.

But for what reason?
For what cost does it continue
to move for people like me
who have not yet mastered
the art of breathing?

Tonight, the whole highway
is but a dry crash site. There are no stars
and the sky is as lifeless as ever.
It is in these nights when I
ask myself which is heavier:
a crowded room full of empty people
or an empty person full of crowded rooms?

—  The Room, The Sky and The Silences in Between | (j.d.a)
"Happy Valentines day."


“I do not know was fae do for the holiday, but I do wish to make mein.. attention towards you clear..” Tail flicked as he shifted smirking some.

“Made you chocolate as well if me as a gift is not…suitable.”

Oberon’s mouth went dry at the site of his friend and lover standing in front of him with so very little on, his eyes roaming across Kurt’s lithe, muscled frame.  With a soft clearing of his throat, the Fae finally managed a stammered response.  "Ah…the holiday was not quite…well…it was just becoming popular…when I left for Hollow Earth.  A smile tugged at his lips as he continued, “Apparently…I have been missing out.”  Stepping forward, hand stroking a furred cheek, the king gazed lovingly down at Kurt.  "You are perfectly suitable, beloved.  Although…“  Eyes dancing playfully, he chuckled.  ”…we can hardly let all of your homemade chocolates go to waste, now can we?“

Where the Phantom was born: the Palais Garnier

The underground lake; the deadly chandelier; the buried corpse…where do myth and reality overlap at the Garnier Opera House?

Source The Telegraph

By Lucinda Everett

5:32PM GMT 17 Feb 2010

It began with the water. In 1861, Parisian workers attempting to lay the concrete foundations for a grand, 2,200-seat opera house in the centre of the city were baffled. The theatre had been commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of his sweeping reconstruction of Paris, and 12,000 square metres of ground had been cleared. Yet a seemingly endless flow of water bubbled up from the swampy, newly cleared ground – and no one could do anything to stem it.

Thirteen years later, in 1874, architect Charles Garnier’s neo-baroque masterpiece, Le Palais Garnier, was finally complete. But rumours of a vast, fish-filled lake swirling beneath the building endured.

One Parisian who grew up with the rumour was the detective writer Gaston Leroux and in 1910 he would use it as the inspiration for his gothic love story The Phantom of The Opera.

In fact, historical and fictional events are so blurred in Leroux’s story that he was able to claim in his prologue (and on his death bed) that ‘the Opera ghost really existed’ – a claim that has left the Paris Opera, as it is now known, shrouded in mystery ever since.

Pierre Vidal, curator of the Palais Garnier’s museum and library, is more familiar than most with the myth of the Phantom’s watery lair but admits that the reality is rather less exciting.

He says the ‘lake’ is actually a huge, stone water tank created by the construction team after numerous failed attempts to pump the site dry. ‘The pressure of the water in the tank stops any more rising up the through the foundations, and the weight of the tank stabilises the building,’ he explains.

Today, the tank (which is covered, except for a small grate) is used by Paris’s fire fighters to practise swimming in the dark. And while Vidal concedes that the cellars are large enough to contain a makeshift home, they actually house the building’s technical rooms.

Olivia Temple, who looks after the archive of Maria Bjornson (the late designer of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original West End stage production), visited the Palais Garnier’s cellars in 2005 and understood immediately how they could have inspired Leroux. ‘It was completely convincing that somebody could have lived down there,’ she recalls.

‘There were alcoves and arches that I’m sure had passageways that very few people would have bothered to explore. And it’s bound to stretch out under the streets of Paris and join up with other watery cellars. Somebody like the Phantom could have had the run of it.’

But Temple admits they have lost a lot of their eeriness. ‘Because of health and safety rules, there are rather horrid bright lights down there now,’ she explains. ‘It has definitely washed away the gloom of those netherworld regions and you don’t get the feeling of what it must have been like when it was just lit with candles.’

Further inspiration for Leroux’s story came in 1896, when the counterweight from the building’s grand chandelier fell, killing a construction worker. Leroux wove the incident into the novel’s climactic moment, during which Erik (the Phantom) kills an audience member by causing a chandelier to fall during a performance and, in the furore that follows, kidnaps Christine, dragging her down to his underground home.

However, perhaps the most ingenious blending of fact and fiction in The Phantom of the Opera is in the prologue, when Leroux mentions the burying of phonographic recordings in the cellars of the opera house. He explains that, while the cellar is being prepared to house the recordings, a corpse is uncovered that is identified as Erik’s.

There may not have been a body, but the burying of recordings did take place. In 1907, the Gramophone Company sealed 24 records in two containers and locked them in the cellars of the opera house, to be opened 100 years later. In 2007, the containers were opened and the records digitised by EMI, which released the collection as Les Urnes de l’Opera.

Today, many remain unsure where the Palais Garnier’s history ends and Leroux’s story begins, and Vidal regularly receives calls asking him if the story is true. ‘We don’t like to break the illusion,’ he says, ‘but nobody has seen a ghost in the opera house. Although we do blame the “Phantom” as a joke if something inexplicable happens.’

There is, however, one element of Leroux’s story that holds some truth, and which Temple can bear witness to: the Palais Garnier’s water tank is home to a large, white catfish, which is fed by the opera house staff and can be spotted swimming past the open grate from time to time.