Thursday, September 9, 2010


Still from the film. The weird smoke cutline in the center of the frame isn't noticeable in the film, because the camera is shaking. This is POV (point-of-view) shot. Four shots left to finish... only one needs animation, the rest just need painting, rendering, and compositing.

While biking home last weekend, I was stunned at the masses of flying ants in the air. They were beautifully backlit in the sunset, and looked like clouds of little faeries - but I was pretty grossed out at the idea of one flying into my mouth.

I've been unstacking and chopping firewood this week, and noticed hundreds of wings in amongst the logs. I only stacked the wood a couple weeks ago, so I knew they only appeared recently. Today I pieced it together - all those flying ants landed and shed their wings!

Then I chopped open a log and all these fucking white termites started crawling out of a hole. Shhee-it! I didn't believe it at first, thinking termites only exist in Africa and Australia. Not so - they also live in Southern British Columbia (and nowhere else in Canada).

Termite colonies have a really complex social structure - the most complex of the insects, with different castes and biologies for different termite roles. Most termites are sterile, but in the spring and fall, the queen breeds a tonne of winged reproductive termites, which fly out en masse and get all horny and do each other and make more termite nests. Kinda cool. Glad I'm renting, though, because that wooden shed near my firewood is going to be toast in a few years.

Second insect observation: As I've been splitting wood, wasps have been gathering with increasing frequency around the chopping block and wood pile. By the end of the day today, there were about thirty or forty wasps buzzing around me. I finally realized that they could detect all the bugs that I was exposing in the split wood. They were picking up bits of squished earwigs, wood lice, termites and ants, and having a heyday. Some were in the woodpile crawling in and out of termite / ant holes and hunting for live ones. How they could detect the insects is a cool little mystery to me. They appeared almost immediately after I first started chopping the wood.

In the city, we've taken over the ecosystem, so 99% of insects / mammals / birds are seen as pests, and removed. It's nice to be back in the middle of it all, watching life thrive around me and eat my house.

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