Looking Back On October

Creations / Blog / Looking Back On October

Oct 31, 2023 | About 5 min reading time

It's nearly the end of the month now, so here's another one of my monthly log posts!

Bird Feeding

My backyard has quite a few different birds: chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays, ravens, you name it. Recently, I've been going outside every now and then with some seeds and/or peanuts to feed them. I used to go to a nature reserve to do this, but social anxiety is a dick lately and there's plenty of them in my backyard anyways (plus a squirrel who keeps investigating me from a safe distance).

Note that I have done my research on this: I bring out sunflower seeds for the smaller birds (chickadees, nuthatches) and have checked that those are safe to feed them. For the corvids (bluejays and ravens - yes, bluejays are corvids), peanuts are actually quite nutritious and good for them, and bluejays in particular are known to prefer peanuts over pretty much any other food you offer them. Common sense applies here, too: don't give processed foods to wildlife, even if the foods would be safe for them otherwise (processed foods aren't even that good for us usually, but they can do far more harm to wildlife). Anything that's salted, roasted, whatever, is probably not good for wildlife. Go for the plain options.

So far, the chickadees and nuthatches in my backyard are quite skittish. I can hear them nearby chirping up a storm, but I usually don't see them. The squirrel has come near my feet to investigate me, but usually runs off the second he realizes I've noticed him.

I don't recommend trying to feed or hand-feed squirrels, by the way. I've done it myself, sure, but I'm keenly aware of the risks I'm taking. If you've ever been out in the woods and heard something that sounded almost like a drill, that might've not been a woodpecker but instead a squirrel gnashing its teeth together (they do that when they're angry, usually at other squirrels from what I've witnessed). A bite from a squirrel is pretty much guaranteed to be painful as hell. I've already had one nibble my finger, thankfully without biting down hard or hurting me at all (I don't know what he was trying to do, actually, he just very gently took hold of my finger between his teeth, tried to pull it away, and then seemingly realized it was attached to me and ran off). They can also carry rabies, which is basically guaranteed death if you get it (in a lot of places, people who work with animals are required to be vaccinated against rabies, but the average person is most likely not). Like, we can give a person with rabies all the best treatment in the world, and 99% of the time, it will not work. Vaccination immediately after exposure is highly successful at preventing it (100% success if given before symptoms appear), but that requires the person who just got bit to get their ass to a hospital immediately (within ten days at most). The first person known to have survived rabies without this vaccination is a girl who was put into a medically induced coma and given antiviral medications, this treatment being now known as the Milwaukee protocol, but while it's been tried again to do this multiple times since, no one else has survived (and that girl had to relearn how to walk and things like that so...). That's not even mentioning the risk of parasites, ticks, other diseases, or the squirrel becoming too used to humans and becoming a problem (which can also happen with corvids too).

Anyone who read through that last paragraph in full is probably wondering why I mentioned I've done it myself despite knowing all those risks. To answer: I have poor impulse control. I used to work at an animal shelter, and there was a dog brought in that had bit my boss (a Husky, not a pitbull; not exactly the dog you think of when picturing that sort of scenario). This dog's face was covered in my boss's blood and still, when I went near the cage and the dog whimpered and cried, I genuinely wanted to go in to comfort him, knowing full well he would probably bite me too.

Basically, I fit the stereotype of "white woman who will happily interact with dangerous animals being fully aware of the risks".

Anyways, the corvids are a bit more interested in me, though the ravens don't come very close to me (which is fine, I don't intend to try and hand-feed them). The bluejay perches in the branches above me to investigate, and has nearly landed in my hand before (he changed his mind at the last second). He blends in surprisingly well, too, despite him being so colorful and the surrounding woods being so drab and colorless. There have been multiple times I haven't noticed him there despite looking right in the direction of where he was perching.

I've also seen a few bald eagles flying overhead recently, which was pretty cool.

Web Projects

Main project that I finished up this month was my website featuring artists and providing helpful resources, the Art Hive Studio. The October exhibition is still up if you'd like to go check it out, and submissions for the next exhibition will open on December 1st!

I've been considering a lot more what exactly I want to do with my website and the web projects I make recently, too. Honestly, all the work I've been doing on them has been burning me out a bit (I've been changing the layout for my main website way too often, too), and I find the web revival community is often portrayed as a way less toxic alternative to social media when I've honestly found that many of the same issues I had with social media are present here too. My website and my work getting more attention has been overwhelming at times, especially being openly transgender in the space. Talking about the issue of web accessibility hasn't helped, either; there are plenty of people who have been nothing but supportive, sure, but there are a lot of people who go out of their way to interpret my words in bad faith and assume blatantly untrue things about me and what my goals are when I talk about the issue.

I'm not yet sure how I want to deal with this issue going forward, but I do want to focus more on things that bring me joy, not things that stress me out. This might be hard, because most of my ideas for things to add to my website or new projects tend to focus on things that can help others and I'm certainly not going to stop doing that altogether, but I'm also going to work on a lot more things that are just for me.

Looking For Work and Long-Term Goals

Job hunting sucks. Gas and transportation are complicated right now, so I've been looking for those crappy work-from-home call center jobs despite my auditory processing issues because honestly, I'm desperate at this point and I'll take what I can get. None of the jobs I've applied for have gone anywhere, though.

I'm also trying to work on my programming skills and portfolio, so maybe I can at least do freelancing for that. Ideally, I want to be able to start a career in some area of programming, it's just hard keeping track of what specifically I need to learn and thinking of projects I could both actually accomplish and add to my portfolio.

Financial stuff is hard too, because there's a lot of stuff I need to prioritize saving up for at the moment (paying off debt, paying for wisdom teeth removal since they're impacted at the moment and prone to getting infected, etc.), but really all I want long-term is to be able to go meet my partner in person (we've been long-distance for over three years) and eventually move in with her. She was working on converting an old bus into a tiny home for us for a bit, but due to some issues that bus is no longer in her possession, and it's surprisingly hard to find old buses for that purpose (I think they're called skoolies). I don't really care what we end up living in, though. I mean, I'd like to not be homeless, but beyond that, I'm not picky.

Alas, I have to be a responsible adult and focus on taking care of the debt and the wisdom teeth removal before I focus on that, and she keeps telling me to focus on those things and not to worry about the rest, that she'll take care of it. I'm really lucky to have her, even when we're separated by thousands of kilometers.

Anyways, that's the monthly log for this month. Hopefully November will be better.