Archive for the 'cephalopods' Category

Wow, there’s a lot to juggle!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Here I am, three days into being back at work. Lucy is 16 days old, and it seems like my time just disappears before I have a chance to get to everything on my To Do list. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of pictures to post, mostly from Mum and Jana’s visit this past weekend. I’ll get to them soon. In the meantime, enjoy this video of an incredible cephalopod:


Just. Wow.

Monday, May 12th, 2008

On Saturday, Laura and I opened the door to find an unexpected package waiting. It was from our friends Cecile and Taylor Williams. Inside the box was a lovely quilt with an octopus design. “What a cool design for a quilt!” we thought, wondering where they had discovered such a find. Imagine our surprise when we unfolded the quilt and noticed that under the octopus was a pi symbol. It slowly dawned on us that this had been made especially for OP.

Octopus Pi Quilt by Cecile

When we spoke with Cecile, she confirmed that she had indeed designed and created the quilt. She also emphasized that it was to be used (she’d already washed it once). We look forward to giving OP tummy time on such an awesome blanket.

Thank you Cecile (and Taylor too!) for such a cool and personal gift. It will be hard to stop admiring it long enough to put it to use, but I know it will be well loved.

A Family Resemblance?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

[Note: the images in this post were taken from various pages around the web, without permission. I've linked each one to the source, so just click on an image to see where it came from. If you are a copyright holder who has happened upon this page and would like us to remove your image, just let us know in the comments.]

The other day, Laura and I were browsing in a bookstore and happened across the book Life by Lennart Nilsson. Nilsson’s pictures of the inside of the human body (especially inside the womb) were quite astounding. The alien nature of our early development was evident in photos such as these:



Of course, the more developed human fetus is more recognizable, I couldn’t help but notice an uncanny resemblance to something else near and dear to my heart:


Laura and Eben’s California Adventure

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Whew. We got back to Pittsburgh last Saturday night. It was a great trip. My conference went very well, but the highlight was when Laura met me in San Francisco, and we got a whole week to ourselves. If you just want to skip to the pictures you can go to our Flickr collection (445 pictures divided into 8 sets – and that’s just the best pictures), or if you just want to see pictures of yurts, you can check out our abbreviated “yurt-only” set, drawn from the larger pool of our vacation pics.

If you want the full scoop, read on…


Saturday, Feb. 23

Laura arrived in the late afternoon. Eric was nice enough to provide transportation. We checked into the Harbor Court Hotel. Our room was small but well appointed, and it had a great view of the Bay Bridge. We had dinner with Eric and Keika that night. Keika made a delicious sukiyaki (Eric probably helped, I suppose). Then, it was back to the hotel for early bed.

Sunday, Feb. 24 [pictures here]

We got up and walked over to the Ferry Building for breakfast. We then spent the rest of the day walking up the Embarcadero along the various wharves (despite some crazy wind and sporadic rain). We visited Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Boudin’s Bakery. We looked at some historic boats and stopped by Pier 39 to say hi to the sea lions. On the walk home, we stopped at a group of sculptures near the Embarcadero Center. After a nap, we had dinner with Jane at Absinthe.

Monday, Feb. 25 [pictures here]

We walked down to Mel’s Drive-In on Mission for breakfast and then picked up our car, which turned out to be a silver Dodge Caliber – a different driving experience for me. We checked out of the Harbor Court Hotel and hopped on Highway 1, heading South. We stopped at Bean Hollow State Beach to enjoy the Pacific Coast (and got our feet wet in the process). We continued on Santa Cruz, where we stopped for lunch (huge croissant sandwiches) and a candy apple on the wharf. We also saw some wild sea lions and sea otters there.

After some more driving South on Hwy 1, we arrived at Monterey, where we checked into Casa Munras (an excellent place to stay). Too tired to go out, we watched Dream Girls and fell asleep (but not until we’d gotten some of the home-baked cookies from the front desk).

Tuesday, Feb. 26 [pictures here]

After a great night’s sleep at Casa Munras, we checked out and headed over to Cannery Row for cinnamon buns. We wandered around Cannery Row a bit, but most of the day was spent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium was amazing. We saw jellies, sharks, rays, a wild otter and her pup, the only captive albatross, and (of course) a couple of octopuses (octopi? octopus pi?). We had a late lunch of calamari and artichokes, local specialties.

From there, we headed South on Hwy 1, snaking down along the cliffs to Big Sur. We stopped at the Rocky Creek Bridge to watch the sunset over the Pacific. Beautiful. [pictures here]

Driving down the twisty, cliff-lined Hwy 1 was a little hairy in the dark, but we eventually made it to Treebones, where we checked into Yurt 10 and got some dinner. We also met Biscuit, the Treebones beagle. The night sky was clear, and the stars were bright.

Wednesday, Feb. 27 [pictures here]

After waking up in the yurt, we moseyed over to the Treebones lodge to make ourselves some waffles (way better than the standard continental breakfast) and coffee. During and after breakfast, we saw dolphins and whales in the ocean in front of us. Most of the time, we heard the whales breach and spout before we saw them. We walked around the Treebones grounds, which revealed lizards, rabbits, many different birds, and more yurts. After some reading on our yurt’s porch, we were ready to go out and explore.

We started by visiting Salmon Creek, where we saw a triple waterfall after a short hike. Then, we went to a nice lunch at the Whale Watcher Cafe. I had a calamari steak sandwich, which was an interesting and tasty new experience. Laura had some delicious fish and chips. We then moved on to Sand Dollar Beach, where 99 steps down (along with some slopes and ramps) brought us to a small beach covered in green rocks (serpentine?). To park, we had to deposit $5 in a steel tube – one of the stranger-looking self-serve payment systems. A short visit to Jade Cove followed, where we declined another set of stairs. We then returned to Treebones for dinner and bed.

Thursday, Feb. 28 [pictures here]

After more whales and waffles, we left Treebones and drove north to Deetjens, where we had a wonderful second breakfast of local fresh salmon (for me) and delicious eggs benedict (for Laura). From there, we moved on to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the site of a gorgeous waterfall. We hiked around a bit, though visitors were not allowed on the beach.

We decided to visit the Point Sur Light, even though we wouldn’t be able to get out on the rock (weekend tours only). On the way there, we saw some huge condors. The light was impressive even from the road, so we decided to see if we could find more info at the Big Sur Ranger Station. Sadly, their VCR was broken, so we couldn’t see anything, but the ranger on duty pointed us to Pfeiffer Beach. After 2 miles of one-lane road, we arrived at the beach where we got our feet wet again (well, just Laura actually) and saw a molting seal. The beach had purple sand and crashing surf.

We then drove North and took the Old Coast Road (the precursor to Hwy 1) up into the mountains. The 11 miles of unpaved, rutted, winding, sometimes one-lane road provided an adventure as well as some great views. The road took us up above the clouds and down into some redwood forest. We clocked the equivalent distance on Hwy 1, and 11 miles of Old Coast Road came out to about 8 miles of Hwy 1 (which is probably 5 miles on any normal road). After we came out by the Big Creek Bridge, we headed to the Big Sur Roadhouse for some delicious Mexican comfort food (mmm… tacos and enchiladas).

That night we moved over to Yurt 15 for our last night at Treebones. We had only booked two nights and decided to stay Thursday night at the last moment.

Friday, Feb. 29 [pictures here]

After one last waffle (no whales – foggy), we drove North to San Francisco, stopping to photograph condors (at least, we think they were condors). In SF, we checked into the Cartwright (near Union Square) and grabbed dinner at the Oriental Pearl in Chinatown. My fortune cookie contained a very auspicious message:


Keep in mind that OP’s due date is May 29, and this fortune was opened on February 29, exactly 3 months!

A friendly cephalopod

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

  straight-shelled cephalopodEben and I aren’t the only two who think cephalopods are kinda cool.  My friend Erin really liked the straight-shelled cephalopod at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (if you go looking for it, take a ride on the simulator down to the bottom of lake Ontario).   So, to celebrate Erin’s recent foray into motherhood – she and her husband Pete became parents last week to little Elliott Gerald - I made a straight-shelled cephalopod.    

I suppose at some point I should make something for OP, but right now I’ve got another project – this one for our little friend Madeline.  It’s hard to believe that her first birthday is right around the corner.  Then, I’ll have to figure out how to make an octopus!  

Doctor’s appointment update – all looks good – no gestational diabetes for me, and OP’s heart rate is still coming in around 152 beats/minute!  Only 3 more months to go. 


Saturday, December 29th, 2007


It all started with the red onesie that Laura gave to me for Christmas (early). Then I gave her a custom Octopus Pi onesie. Fun was had by all. The kid’s going to be well dressed (or possibly hate cephalopods).

Speaking of Octopus Pi, we have some more conjecture on the origins of the nickname, this time from Jeff Heynen, Alice’s cousin. Jeff says:

I’m struggling with Octopus Pi, the name. There’s a rock band of that name. There’s a long poem in which a character makes pi out of an octopus. There are the photos Laura mentions. I though maybe a pun: Life and Times of Octavian Pi — Marc Anthony’s wife was Octavian — lots of history there, but no strong connection with Pi. I’ll meditate on it.

Glad to know that someone as smart as Jeff is on it.

Octopus Lights

Friday, December 28th, 2007

I need to be careful that I don’t overwhelm this journal with random cephalopod stuff. However, these tentacled lights and chandeliers were just too gorgeous to pass up.

Perhaps hanging over the crib?

Christmas Octopi

Friday, December 7th, 2007

In preparing for the first Christmas Tree of our co-habitation (we had one last year, but I didn’t live in Rochester), I came across this lovely example:

99 Octopi 1

A nice melding of the season and our specific situation. Found on Flickr via


Saturday, December 1st, 2007

As Laura mentioned, we got to hear Octopus Pi’s heartbeat again yesterday. For me, this is the most concrete proof that I’m going to be a father soon. Unlike Laura, I don’t have the constant physical reminders of our growing child invading my body, so the wooshwooshwooshwooshwoosh of the doppler is a powerful manifestation of OP for me.

We first heard the heartbeat on November 2, right before we left for Vermont (where we visited Kara, Eli, and their newborn Asa). That Friday at work was somewhat surreal as I grappled with my “first heartbeat” moment. On the one hand, it seemed underwhelming. I didn’t have a feeling that my life had just changed in any big way. But on the other hand, there was a creeping sense that this theoretical concept of fatherhood had begun to transform into a very real, living being. Or perhaps that was my imagination. Maybe.

Me as an Octopus

I guess you can see were the Octopus genes come from…