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Sketchy minutes: It was something like that

Yesterday I met up with some local bloggers for brunch, and, about midway through the meal I was assigned the task of taking minutes.

I’m tempted to add Minute Taking to the list of things I’m not especially good at, but I might have done better had I known from the beginning that I would be taking minutes. As it was, I was a bit of a sloppy, intermittent, cryptic minute-taker.

Here are my notes, such as they are, faithfully transcribed and reconstructed from my Hipster PDA, which captures mere snippets of a small sampling of the rich and diverse conversations taking place all around me:

  • M2 steel rusts easily so you have to keep your tool oily
  • Bulldog balls aren’t as cute after the bulldog isn’t a puppy anymore
  • The contents of Milan‘s backpack
  • take unlucky pants out of house
  • scrumping: to steal apples for the purpose of making cider
  • blogging as a recovery tool; information, popular culture and community
  • Hipster PDAs (Almost everybody pulled out their Hipster PDA when the topic was raised, except Woodsy who pulled out a very nice notebook which she referred to as her Hipster PDA. Eyebrows were raised. But then everybody got distracted by Milan’s ingenious Hipster PDA Accordian File Expansion Pack.)
  • Cohabitation: Yes or No?
  • The big morel mushroom hunting expedition
  • Urban Panther‘s brother, the organizing expert Someday Syndrome. (I swear I saw Megan quiver at the words “organizing expert.”)
  • Most popular search terms by which visitors arrive at our blogs: gay love, women’s change rooms, human bingo, 22-inch penis, radial symmetry
  • Protecting your content (blog posts, photos, etc) from getting ripped off on the internet: Should you bother trying?
  • The way to deal with four wasp nests is to mount four cans of wasp spray with braces and hinges, each one aimed at a nest, and connected via a series of timers to a control panel in the house. Four similarly mounted webcams would capture all the action for live blogging coverage.
  • Bras
  • Should you refrain from putting photos of your kids on the Internet because some pervert somewhere might get turned on by your kid’s picture and use it for masturbatory purposes? Or should you not worry about icky acts over which you have no control and which have no apparent consequences?

Today I had breakfast with Robin and I was telling him about brunch.

“Milan brought a book about using mushrooms to save the planet,” I said, “and he showed me a picture of an ant that walked on a particular kind of mushroom and the ant got spores on his feet and then he ended up somewhere way up high and a mushroom grew out of his feet,” I said.

“Are you sure?” asked Robin.

“No,” I said, “but it was something like that.”

(Feel free to address any inaccuracies and omissions!)

18 comments to Sketchy minutes: It was something like that

  • XUP

    Did you tell Robin that “G” travelled 2 hours by Greyhound bus in hopes of meeting the man whose photos he so admires and was very (very)disappointed that the admirable photographer in question hadn’t bothered to show up??

  • I didn’t tell him that. I thought G traveled two hours on a Greyhound bus to see ME. (By the way, do you suppose there’s a whole lot less napping going on on Greyhound buses since the decapitation?)

  • For those who wanted to know what Morel mushrooms resemble, here is a photo. Apparently, one of the best places to hunt for Morels is in forests where there have been fires recently.

  • I may also have been a bit harsh about M2 steel. It definitely corrodes much more easily than many common knife steels (like the US440C used for Swiss Army knives, and even the tougher but more corrosion-prone ATS-34 and 154CM). This person, at least, thinks concerns about the corrosion of M2 are somewhat overblown.

    That being said, maintaining any kind of steel tool properly will extend its life. Ideally, they should be cleaned, dried, and oiled regularly. This is doubly true in damp or marine environments.

  • Sorry for posting so many comments, this will be the last one for now.

    Residents of Ottawa who want to go on mushroom hunting expeditions should look into Les mycologues amateurs de l’Outaouais.

    They are on the web at:

    Their next excursion is on September 14th, and membership is $15 a year for individuals or $20 for families.

    Going on these expeditions seems to require a car (which I do not have). As such, if anyone decides to give a mushroom expedition a try, I would appreciate it if they would be kind enough to bring me along.

  • Well, oily tools and motion-control bras led to a discussion of “survivor fat” which is what I call mine. If I fall out of a boat, I need survivor fat to keep me afloat, hydrate me and keep me from being dragging down by my multi-tool, which needs to be well oiled to prevent corrosion. Like that.

    I only had a tiny Swiss Army knife with scissors, a pen and a light but if I had had Milan’s large multi-tool when I fell out of the prospective (proverbial?) boat, it would have been a struggle to stay afloat. Me or the tool? Maybe, as well oiled as it was, the tool could have survived being on the bottom of the lake until it was recovered. I would not have survived time on the bottom of a lake, this much I know.

  • I feel left out. I did not bring my tools. Mostly because people would have looked at me funny for hauling a whisk and a spatula around with me. If I fall out of a boat, I’ll not be of much use to anyone unless there are pancakes involved…

  • Awww geez I really missed out!

  • The strangest part, other than Hella Stella’s bulldogs’ balls, was listening to people talk about my blog. That’s never happened before. I get a lot of people leaving comments and sending me emails but I’ve never actually heard the words “Salted Lithium” spoken out loud by anyone except myself and my psychiatrist.

    It’s actually two hours and ten minutes on the bus, and it’s a really nice trip. The bus takes the Quebec side so there’s the river on one side and the mountains on the other and lots of hamlets and villages where, when I was eighteen, I used to go to drink myself stupid. I didn’t nap on this trip because there wasn’t enough room as all the chairs seemed to be stuck in a lean-back position.

    I was disappointed Robin wasn’t there, but I did RSVP initially so I could say hi to Zoom… and get to Chapters. It was a lot of fun, I wasn’t sure how meeting everyone was going to work, and I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to meet everyone. I’m glad I met the people I did though — Urban Panther, Milan, Hella Stella, Robert-The-Human, XUP, Woodsy and of course, Zoom. Hopefully I can properly meet Megan and David and everyone else at the next one.

    The photos thing… photos you don’t want others to use in a forum you don’t know about left on the Web should have some kind of identifier on them. Or, if you’re running a Gallery Blog like Robin it’s always a good idea to keep the photos at a low resolution (dpi). None of the photos on any of my blogs are more than 20-30dpi. A magazine or newspaper needs 250-300.

    I’m sorry I missed out on the bra conversation… it would have given me a chance to talk about my ideas on incorporating velcro into the design.

  • Milan, you can leave a handful of comments on my blog any day. Mushrooms, steel, knapsacks, oily tools – so eclectic at first glance, but so skillfully woven together. It’s an art. (By the way – how far off was I in my retelling of the mushroom ant to Robin?)

    Julia – survivor fat! How could I have forgotten that conversation??

    Hella Stella – everything’s always better with pancakes, even falling out of a boat.

    Tiana – next time!

    Gabriel – in that case, I’ve heard your blog name said out loud WAY more than you have. I hope next time we can talk more – you and I were geographically at the outer limits of being able to have a conversation. We need a round table next time.

  • I can hardly sleep for trying to figure out the mushroom ant.

  • One of the wierder population control mechanisms that nature has come up with is a particular sub section of fungi, and each targets a particular type of insect. They infect them, rewire their brains a bit, and then grow out of the insect after killing them. Then they let off more spores.

    For instance, once ants notice an infected ant acting weird they drag them away from the nest because they’ll kill all the other ants if left be.

    I learned about this on youtube.

  • By the way – how far off was I in my retelling of the mushroom ant to Robin

    The fungi in question are of the genus Cordyceps. For instance, Cordyceps lloydi and Cordyceps myrmecophilia can infect carpenter ants.

    I think the mechanism of infection is the ingestion of spores or pre-sporulating mycelium. Cordyceps lloydi is rather neat, in that it apparently gives ants the “irresistible impulse to climb to the top of the jungle canopy and lock its mandible into a leaf.” A mushroom then sprouts from the carcass, spreading spores across a wide area.

    Humans who think that athlete’s foot (often caused by Trichophyton rubrum is a bad fungal affliction should consider themselves lucky.

  • There should be a closing parenthesis after ‘rubrum’ in the comment above.

  • Incidentally, one of my favourite articles from The Onion is about ants:

    Ant Farm Teaches Children About Toil, Death