1/3 Rabid


[The blog post in which I rapidly transcribe many half entries scrawled on bits of paper]


Bats are quite often agents for  spreading rabies. So, to be safe, any bat researchers that handle them need to get their full vaccines. This is a series of 3 shots taken over 3 weeks that can cost $1000-$1500 in the United States. In Panama, however to deter what could maybe be a very serious hazard to public health, they offer this vaccine for free. So I am off to get myself free super-powers!


The needle is longer than the radius of my arm and it goes straight in, so I don’t understand how it doesn’t hit bone. I am fine for the first day and a half, but slowly get incredibly dry and sore throat.


Marc buys us Palm fruit on the way back. Tastes like southern boiled peanuts but much larger and substantial.


Begin designing with Toni some exploratory tools for research. After each design we do a little physical performance to act out how our code would work. She is impressed with how effective this technique is for making you think about the weird non-obvious assumptions you make in programming. We change a part in our design, perform the new process, change, and iterate.


They have a tradition of naming new bats after fellow researchers who have left. So today we processed a May, Florencito, and Molly bat. Last year May and them gave me the honor of naming a little “Andy” bat after me. Marc Seid says that bats are real outliers on the size to lifespan chart. For how small they are, compared to other mammals, bats can live a super long time. More than 30 years old seems to be the consensus around these parts. It is fun that this little andy bat can still be flapping around in these forests when I am 60 years old. Their heart rates are crazy too. 1300bpm in flight and several hundred bpm while resting. These rates would make your heart explode.


The May bat’s transpondering failed, but we already registered her in the permanent records. We will forever keep the May bat’s punchings and record on file, we will never know if we catch her again. So now due to a physical error, this bat will persist eternally under the “May” identity in a bureaucratic limbo. She is now a phantom of information penetrating the forest.


We go and process the bats out in the field. Strolling around marc tells me about some research that wasn’t exactly quashed, but was put off indefinitely because it went against what an expert in the field had purported to be true. This is the more sinister way science can be manipulated. Not outright rejection of non-canon, but overall doubt in the researcher and peers about contradictory findings.


Whipped out some better bug tweezers for taking out parasitic specimens for the bat people. I am not the best biologist, or designer or researcher or artist or anything, but damn if I am not good at carrying around tons of equipment that might be useful. I am like a hobo hoarder of potentially interesting tools. I have found that by not every truly knowing what I am doing, I tend to be specially prepped in a lot of situations. I can be the contingency guy.


After crazy day of performance art, hiking, designing costumes and all night neon party out in the field with Santi and Toni.





Pass Peter and his band in the field. They take a rental car out on pipeline and rip off the back.

They’ve been hunting Trachops without results for many weeks. Now suddenly stumbled across a nest of ten in a tunnel. Most are bats never even caught before.





I hop the 4:45 am bus to go to the airport. Waiting outside in a tornado of sex. The leafcutter ants are having their nuptial flights all around me, and the street lights are confusing their orientation, working as strange attractors to the orgy clouds around me. The males are the size of testicles. You can hear them smashing together in a fury. I step into the dark bus, a diablo rojo. This particular one of these blinged out virginian school buses is lined with LED strips and has a large disco ball up near the driver. He steps out the bus and pees.

By the time I set foot in the airport my throat is on fire. The rabies vaccine is reacting badly. I get a sample of whisky from a girl selling it, and use it to gargle in my throat. Numbs it a bit.The lady sitting next to me waiting for the plane says that it is too early (6am) to be drinking. I have an achy flight to San Francisco. My foot is also infected from a thorn that I tried removing in the jungle. It throbs along with the main character’s infected foot in the book, “Oryx and Crake” that I finish up on the flight. I get to SF before Kitty. The air conditioning is freezing. I crawl into a large plastic bag and sleep on a bench waiting for my lovely wife.