maryland people

DC/MD gothic

Specifically for the part of Maryland that counts as the DC Metro area, because I grew up there and eventually moved away and realized it’s so much fucking weirder than anyone there knows. I’d do VA too but I know jack shit about living in Northern Virginia–and anyway, as a Maryland native, I am a blood-sworn enemy to NOVA and all its ilk, so it doesn’t matter.

“I’m from DC,” you tell everyone. This is a lie. You never go into DC. You know you have been to DC and that you are in DC all the time, but you also know that you never go to DC. No one you know goes into DC. “Half an hour away,” you say. This might be true. The last time you went it took three hours, or maybe three years. You do not remember how you escaped.

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People who know something about native bees often know about the “Squash Bee” Peponapis pruinosa. However, there are a number of other native squash bees, and here is one.  This is Xenoglossa strenua.  It doesn’t help that it looks mighty darn similar to Peponapis pruinosa…but both the male and females have yellow on the base of their mandibles, while P.p. does not.  Helpful under the microscope at least.  

This specimen is one of the few, and the only recent, records for Maryland.  An interesting note is that this species is not found in Maryland on any native plants, but only on the agricultural squash and pumpkin plants which originated in the Southwest and were migrated here eons ago by Indian farmers.  Squash plants cannot overwinter in the region, but the squash bees can.


So hiya, yeah I’ve been inactive again for a while ^ ^; But reasons! Last weekend, I went to visit my lovely friend @reallyquantum, pictured with me in the last photo. It’d been a while since I visited anyone so it was a real treat, we had a really girly weekend shopping at malls, went to SPX, saw Ghostbusters again, her mom was amazing, and also the highlight: my first Renaissance Fest!

I threw together an outfit from stuff I had at home and rushed to make myself a matching elf crown and necklace thingy (I made reallyquantum’s back in college) which turned out a bit fancier than expected >.>; I got a lot of compliments which made me really happy, since I haven’t worn anything cool to a con-like event in a really long time ^ ^ The back, not pictured, is the fanciest part so I’ll try to post pictures of that later.


Op-Doc: The Price of Certainty


It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong. Certainty can be a dangerous thing.

Two years ago, I met the social psychologist Arie Kruglanski while researching a documentary about extremism. Dr. Kruglanski, a professor at the University of Maryland, studies what motivates people to join terrorist groups like ISIS. My producing partner, Eric Strauss, and I had fascinating conversations with Dr. Kruglanski about the psychology of binary thinking, and decided to make a short film about his work instead.

Dr. Kruglanski is best known for his theory of “cognitive closure,” a term he coined in 1989 to describe how we make decisions. “Closure” is the moment that you make a decision or form a judgment. You literally close your mind to new information.

If you have high “need for closure,” you tend to make decisions quickly and see the world in black and white. If you have a low need for closure, you tolerate ambiguity, but often have difficulty making decisions. All of us fall naturally somewhere on this spectrum.

But during times of fear and anxiety — like, for example, right now — everybody’s need for closure increases. We tend to make judgments more quickly, regardless of the facts. We’re also drawn to leaders who are decisive and paint solutions in simple terms. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Dr. Kruglanski and his team of researchers found that as the color-coded terrorism threat system increased, support for President George W. Bush went up accordingly. The more uncertain our world seems, the more we compensate by seeking out certainty.

Dr. Kruglanski has spent his career studying the consequences of this psychology. This film is an effort to impart some of his wisdom as we navigate these uncertain times.

Daniele Anastasion directed “I Am Yup’ik” for ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts, which had its premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Her first feature documentary, “The Redemption of General Butt Naked,” won the Sundance award for best cinematography and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Source: @nytimesheadline

Central Maryland Gothic
  • The people are whispering. There is a Walgreens here now. Have you heard? There is a Walgreens here now. The people are screaming. There is a Walgreens here now. You drive, and see something out of the corner of your eye. There is a Walgreens here now. It hungers.
  • You do not remember entering the parking lot. There is no exit from the parking lot. You loop, and do not recognize the sigils carved into the asphalt. You loop, and see black liquid pooling beneath your car. It is not gasoline. This is your home now.
  • The Costco’s gas line has spilled into the street. They are unmoving. They will always be unmoving. You think that once, you entered the Costco’s gas line. You look at yourself in your rearview mirror and do not recognize the creature staring back at you.
  • There was a fight at school. Which school? It does not matter. There is a video on Twitter, but you can only hear screams. No one notices the fear in the eyes of the students. They cannot cease. It will not let them.
  • There is another pothole in your neighborhood’s road. It is filled with asphalt. When it reappears, it is filled with blood. They do not touch it again.
  • The MSAs are here. Several parents have kept their children home. Home from what? The students cannot tell you. The teachers try, but all that comes out is screaming.
  • The RenFaire is back. The RenFaire never left.
  • Let’s go to the Inner Harbor, says a visitor. You agree. You make the sacrifice at midnight and await the next visitor. You are safe, for now.
  • There is a creature roaming Merriweather Post Pavilion. The screams punctuate the music, in time with the beat. You cannot turn from the stage. You cannot block out the screaming. You wonder if you will be next.
  • Thirty minutes out of Baltimore, you say. Twenty if you are being followed. Ten if you cannot comprehend the physical existence of the thing following you.
  • You are filing taxes. One of the pages is splattered in blood and written in runes that you have never seen before. It’s for the schools, you tell yourself. 

Why does nobody ever talk about how weird Maryland is? 

Nobody ever talks about Maryland, period. It’s like they forget it’s a state. There’s no real stereotypes about people from Maryland, because it’s right in the middle of the east coast, EXCEPT everyone from Maryland is obsessed with crabs and Old Bay seasoning. You may think I’m exaggerating, but my friend’s brother used to actually drink Old Bay straight. The only time I ever saw my boyfriend look at me with anything other than pure love and respect was when I said that I thought crabs served in the shell were overrated. McDonalds in Maryland serves Filet-o-Fish WITH OLD BAY SEASONING. Once I saw a production of The Little Mermaid in Maryland, and the actor playing the chef sang “now some Old Bay!” instead of “now some flour,” and the audience burst into rapturous applause in the middle of the song. Old Bay is as essential to Marylanders as flour.

The official state sport of Maryland is jousting. No joke.

And once, I went to a McDonalds’ down the road from Camp David while George W. Bush was staying there, and there were free-range chickens who lived in the parking lot. It made me uncomfortable.

Edgar Allan Poe, John Waters, Frank Zappa, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are all  from Maryland. Oh, and John Wilkes Booth. Something weird is in the water there. My money’s on Old Bay.