wasps redux

We’re sleeping in our own bed tonight! The last couple of days only one or two wasps have made it into our bedroom and they’ve all died in front of the windows, so it’s probably safe…

posted at 10:29 pm on Saturday, October 28, 2006 in Personal | Comments Off on wasps redux

earth observatory – United States Population Density

EO Newsroom: New Images – United States Population Density

This image also has Canadian population density information on it. It’s a very cool looking visualization; check it out.

posted at 12:05 pm on Friday, October 27, 2006 in Links, Science and Technology | Comments (1)
  1. Irving Reid says:

    Harrumph. I clicked on the “Subscribe to Earth Observatory” link, and was offered something other than an RSS feed. I guess I’ll just have to rely on Harald to blog the good bits.


Perhaps foolishly, I just geotagged all “my Flickr photos”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/chkoch/

posted at 12:30 am on Thursday, October 19, 2006 in Personal | Comments Off on geotagging

Vote with your Throat

I saw these beer bottles in the LCBO today. The people on the bottles are candidates in the upcoming election for Mayor of Toronto.

I was amused…

(Update: the blonde on the left won. The politician, not the beer :-)

posted at 7:07 pm on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 in Personal | Comments Off on Vote with your Throat


I arrived home this evening to find my dining room dripping (it’s been raining fairly heavily all day).

bq. You are at wits’ end. Passages lead off in all directions.

posted at 6:16 pm on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. A maze of twisty little passages?

  2. Marianna says:

    I have problemsw ith wasps nesting under my house; they are digging thru the wood frame of the doors and even rubber cement (caulking) isn’t working; the wasps Iwinged) appear to be lethargic when they emerg and are non-agressive; are they the males?
    another thing….the ants are coming out of the same hole in the wall.


I woke up Sunday morning from evil dreams involving buzzing creatures to find a dozen wasps in our bedroom! Fortunately they were all clustered in the windows at the opposite end of the room; they’re attracted to the sunlight. It turns out that there’s a nest under the floor in our bedroom. The wasps found a home there because the second floor sticks out about 3-feet farther than the first floor, and the overhang is just covered in aluminum, with lots of nice cracks for wasps to crawl through.

We’ve been plagued with the damned things for years. They keep building nests in different parts of the front porch, in places that I can’t easily get to with commercially available tools :). This is the first time they’ve made it into the house, though. Wasps will chew through wood to find nest space (and to build their nests), and with the cold weather outside, they were attracted by the warmth and the light that filters down through the furnace vents from the bedroom.

Since Michaéla is allergic to the beasties, I called a professional (“Bees & Pest Removal”:http://www.yellowpages.ca/business/0%2C1/2720719.html). They came around noon (on Sunday!). We actually had two nests; one “yellowjacket”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowjacket and one “umbrella wasp”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polistes. He blasted both nests with finely powdered “pyrethrin”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrethrin. The powder form easily fills the cavities in the walls and floor, coating the various surfaces (unlike the commercial foams and sprays). The wasps walk through it, tracking it into the nest, killing the whole crowd (up to 10,000 of the critters!) in 24 hours.

It seems to have worked; there’s no more activity outside the house. However, every morning since we’ve gone upstairs to find one or two new wasps that have managed to avoid death. We’re sleeping downstairs for the time being, because the bedroom smells nasty with all of the pesticides floating around, and neither of us wants to be accidentally stung. Monday morning there was a huge wasp (probably a male) on the wall in the bathroom, because the light had been left on overnight; when I turned off the light he eventually moved to the window. Since then I’ve seen either huge wasps or immature workers.

I want my bedroom back… sleeping on the futon is not helping the back injury from last week.

posted at 2:31 pm on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Eek! I hate wasps, esp when they’re indoors. There’s a wasp nest in the roof above Jeff’s home office.

    Were you happy with the company you used? If so, I’m going to call them in the spring (very little activity now with the colder weather).

  2. chk says:

    Granting that spraying a wasp nest isn’t difficult, I was happy with the company. They came on a Sunday (within two hours of my call), the price was reasonable, and the guy who showed up was knowledgable and professional.

    They offer a service where they come and spray the outside of your house in the spring to prevent nest formation. It’s a guaranteed service; if wasps form a nest in/on the house they come back and deal with it for free as part of the fee. I think he said it was $165 for the treatment, usually done in April or early May as the weather warms up.

sushi puns

I saw them, I had to share. With everyone! Mu ha ha!

“Irregular Webcomic 1356”:http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1356.html

posted at 9:54 am on Saturday, October 14, 2006 in Humour, Links | Comments (1)
  1. Ha, very cute. :-)


Yes, it’s true, I threw out my back washing my hands.

On Monday morning I woke up with a bit of a twinge in my lower back, right over my left pelvic bone. A day in the car driving from Ottawa to Toronto didn’t help, but I was feeling a bit better on Tuesday, so I went into the office to deal with about a half a million burning fires.

I went to the bathroom. Our sinks are a little low (wheelchair access), so I bent forward to wash my hands. Big mistake; my whole lower left back went into spasm. I made it back to my desk, but after that I could not stand up for love nor money. Pain-killers and rest didn’t help; I was trapped in my chair, unable to get to the elevators, never mind to my car.

My darling wife came to rescue me (two coworkers wheeled me to the curb in my chair, then took my chair back to my desk; quite a sight for the rest of the HP employees, I’m sure!). She helped me hobble into my doctor’s office (after convincing the receptionist to give me an appointment that day instead of the following Monday!). I could walk, barely, if she supported me and I walked stooped over like an old man.

The doctor did a bunch of tests for pinched nerves, then wrote me a scrip for Naproxen and Tylenol 3, and sent me home. I spent all day Wednesday flaked out, but on Thursday I made it up to the shower and to dinner with the family, and today I was fairly mobile, even managed to pick up the kids from school.

It still hurts to move the wrong way, and I can’t put my own socks on :-). Still, that was my week. (How was yours?)

posted at 6:58 pm on Friday, October 13, 2006 in Personal | Comments (4)
  1. Ouch, sorry to hear this! :-( Hopefully you’ll recover soon!

  2. chk says:

    Thanks. As of Saturday morning, I’m still a bit stiff an sore, but I’m off the painkillers! yay!

  3. Luisa says:

    Oooo – sorry to hear about that! Reid is no stranger to back pain, and I suppose I’m not either. I found, over the years, that my doctors were particularly useless. My chiropractor is much better (especially at diagnoses). Hope you’re all better soon!

  4. […] got another spasm in my back. Higher up this time, and not as bad as the first one; I can still put my own socks on […]


G: “Uh-oh… one of us is going to die!”

C: “Who’s wearing a red shirt?”

posted at 8:24 am on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 in Humour, Personal | Comments Off on peril