Archive for category Humor

What do Robert C. Stebbins and Stephen King Have in Common?

What does the late herpetologist Robert C. Stebbins and the master of horror Stephen King have in common?

According to, not only did both authors write about all things cold-blooded, they also turned up among’s list of most-searched-for-out-of-print-books-of-2017. According to the report, Stebbins’ Peterson Field Guides to Western Reptiles and Amphibians was keeping good company with such classics as Halloween, the 1979 novelization of the 1978 Michael Meyers horror movie hit; the coming of age classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Madonna’s controversial Sex; and the George Micheal biography Bare.

Why Stebbins was keeping such strange bedfellows last year is anyone’s guess. Hopefully, it means the next generation of herpetologists was stocking up on the west coast’s quintessential field guide. But if the world runs out of Stebbins’ 3rd edition any time soon, you can rest assured that a new edition is in the works. This October, the Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles & Amphibians (Fourth Edition) by Robert Stebbins will hit the shelves with updates by co-author Samuel McGinnis.


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Book Review: The Cartographer’s Coloring Book

The Cartographer’s Coloring Book, by Terre N. Reliffe, Feaux•Afield Guides (, 2018, 41 pages, $11.95

Following in the footsteps of The Synesthesia Activity Book, 2016’s break-out adult coloring book, Feaux•Afield Guides is back with an exciting new activity book for GIS junkies, The Cartographer’s Coloring Book.

If you are an adherent to coloring inside the lines, look no further – you can rack up some soothing exercise as you change altitude from the comfort of your own home with nothing but a crayon! Make your own watershed moment with the Wetlands and Watercolors of the U.S. watercolor-by-numbers exercises. Or try your hand at ending the drought by connecting the dots of any blue-line streams to turn ephemeral creeks into perennial streams. By simply following the signature curves of each topographic line, you can bring the landscape to life. Is it a hill? Is it a dale? You decide!


But nowhere is the marriage of maps and arts and crafts more celebrated than Feaux•Afield’s centerpiece, a centerfold-out quadrangle maze that allows you to challenge your friends to see who can finish the labyrinth in 7½ minutes or less! And when you are done, make sure to rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to re-fold that very same 72-panel centerfold map in as much time. For those of you old enough to remember AAA road-maps, you can relive your family vacations all over again!

This activity book, which elevates cartography to a higher plane, is sure to make your cartographic comrades G – I – S – jealous. The Cartographer’s Coloring Book is slated to hit bookshelves April 1st.



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Vintage Views on Vinyl – Bodega Bay

Remember Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”? The newest addition to my vinyl historical records is a sticker that serves as a “Tippi”-of-the-hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s ornithological horror film. Many might be surprised to learn that the origin of “The Birds’” dates back to the mysterious bird deaths that plagued the sleepy hamlet of Capitola, California in 1961. In the early hours on that fateful Friday, August 18, a flight of sooty shearwaters (Ardenna grisea) returning landward instead crashed into buildings between Pleasure Point and Rio del Mar in an event that was later described as “a rain of birds.” This freak occurrence has since been attributed to domoic acid poisoning (amnesic shellfish poisoning) produced by phytoplankton, or more specifically, marine plants known as diatoms. These bird deaths were tapped by Hitchcock as further inspiration for his angry bird adaptation of Daphne de Maurier’s 1952 novella The Birds to the big screen, set instead farther north in California’s foggy-trodden Bodega Bay.

I’m excited to add Bodega Bay (= “The Birds”) to the growing number of vintage images of California and Western States accumulated in association with the Vintage Views: Mount Diablo project I’ve undertaken with my wife (see Sarah Anne Photography).

Now, through the (bio)accumulation Etsy storefront, you can own these vintage views of the Western States as 3.5X3.5 vinyl stickers.


Vinyl Stickers
These 3.5″ x 3.5″ stickers are printed on premium vinyl with a permanent adhesive and are coated with a protective matte laminate that makes it durable and resistant to fading, scratching, tearing, and water. They are designed for outdoor use, and can withstand exposure to wind, rain, and sunlight, and can be run safely through a dishwasher.

Stick them to your bumper or car window, reusable water bottle, snowboard, skateboard, or bicycle… your options are limitless!

Price: $5.00

To see the other vintage art available to date, visit:


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The Wildlife Confessional – Crowdfund Campaign Underway

image003I am excited to announce that The Wildlife Society – Western Section’s long-simmering  The Wildlife Confessional anthology, a collection of short stories by dyed-in-the-wool wildlife biologists like myself, is now being crowdfunded for publication through the publishing house Inkshares:

The anthology is a collection of fifteen stories by thirteen biologists, including published authors Thomas A. Roberts (Painting the Cows, Adventures in Conservation; reviewed here), Marcy Cottrell Houle (Wings for my Flight, One City’s Wilderness, The Prairie Keepers), and J. Drew Lanham (The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature), plus a memoir of the late Dr. Charles Jonkel, co-founder of the Great Bear Foundation.

The authors whose stories have been collected there represent men and women from all walks of wildlife biology – State and Federal biologists, consultants, students, professors, interns – and take place across North and Central America, from the Gulf of Alaska to San Ignacio, Belize, from the tropics of the Hawaiian Islands to the deserts of Arizona, and in the desert springs, coastal bluffs, national parks, stock ponds, pick-up trucks, traplines, doctor’s offices, roof tops, outhouses, and bombing ranges scattered everywhere in between.

This anthology is a labor of love. One of the primary reasons the authors and editors behind The Wildlife Confessional have undertaken this project is to educate and attract students to enter the field of wildlife biology and to apply money raised through book sales to support student involvement in The Wildlife Society by funding scholarships, grants, and training opportunities.

Pre-sales are underway to crowdfund the project at a cover price of $20 paperback / $10 ebook.

You can also follow the project on Facebook at:


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Book Review: The Rorschach Coloring Book

The Rorschach Coloring Book, by Deus C. Wateyesee, Feaux•Afield Guides (, 2017, 41 pages, $11.95

Following on the footsteps of The Synesthesia Activity Book, last year’s break-out adult coloring book, Feaux•Afield Guides is back with the next best thing in trendy coloring book for the boutique clinical neurology market niche, The Rorschach Coloring Book. Therapy is expensive, and coloring is therapeutic, so why not shrink yourself in the comfort of your own home with soothing psychodiagnostic plates that allow you to color away your inner demons?

As you advance in the book, the inkblots vary from calming rabbits and ducks to the more neurotic, like spilt dime bags of cocaine or crime-scene blood splatters (not pictured here). But be it bunny ears or bloodstains, each inkblot will help you tap into your id through the tip of a crayon. Staying inside the lines has never been so crucial – who wants a misdiagnosis when you scan and email the completed pages to the friendly therapist diagnostic hotline, a free service offered with your purchase of each book.

The coloring plates, which range from easy to difficult, will test your mental patience and take the traditional color-between-the-lines to new pathological levels. And because everyone remembers that in kindergarten currency, a black crayon is as prized as a cigarette in a prison yard, The Rorschach Coloring Book even comes with a complete set of black crayons to ensure you can wax poetic while you discover your disorders.



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