Friday, June 11, 2010

"The things I'm gonna do for my country." - XxX

THW and I attended a BBQ at the Sweedish Airforce Residence in McClean, Va last night. We brought Ken 'guy flowers' in the form of a 6 pack of mixed stouts from total beverage. Pernilla as always provided a smorgasbord of eats and drinks.

The Aussies brought a bottle of chilled bubbly which complemented the warm breeze. We dined al fresco and the house lights came on as the sun dipped behind the trees. I noticed a bug on Martin's back and offered to pick it up. The bug was an Elaterid and I showed them why this beetle is a favorite party trick.

Take the beetle and flip it over on your open palm. Watch for the beetle to arch its head back, you will feel this as the head presses into your palm. Point at the beetle and say 'JUMP' and if you time it correctly, the beetle will click, flip in the air, and turn itself over. By now most of the nordic foreign nationals know me as the angler married to THW. Most know I am not a normal person and did not find this at all out of the ordinary. Then there were the people Martin was talking to and they thought I was some freak the Sweeds let out of the basement.

I threw the beetle into the air and it flew away. Empty handed, I entered the kitchen to grab some drinks. A Xante and a 10 year Balvenie. I like how its early enough that mosquitoes are not all over the place and eating me alive. There must be a stream nearby other than the Potomac. The caddis and mayflies started to congregate near the lights. I could not help myself, I had to get a closer look.

The Aussies, Sweeds, Fins, Yanks, and others were enjoying a drink while staring at me nose close to the aluminum siding. One of them invited us down to their lake house on Smith Mountain Lake for some fishing and water ski adventures. Score. I'd say the mayflies were size 16 sulfurs or white millers. Several had 2 caudal cerci and others had 3. Some looked like duns with darker wing venation and poppy seed eyes. I was picking them up by their wings and displaying them on my fingertip to the onlookers.


Time for an entomology lesson. THW came over and I pointed out the hydropsyche caddis flitting around the lights. Ken then pointed out that these were special outdoor lights from Home Depot that were supposed to not attract bugs. Sounds like an international diplomacy issue to me.

A 3/4" stonefly had arrived and was crawling around the lights and then the humidor and votives. I was in heaven. 

I had Sweeds and Aussies hanging out and examining bugs. No one else there seemed to notice the biodiversity congregating around the lights. I had no shame in playing with them and teaching the diplomats, the things I'm gonna do for my country! I then described the outbreak of stinkbugs in the area and Martin chimed in that his house if full of them. They fall out of his vents every time the air comes on. He also told us about watching the filming of Bizarre Foods at the House of Sweden where Zimmern ate Surströmming and had it spooge on him when he opened the can. Nasty.

Did I forget to mention the dangling bug zappers? I despise bug zappers. A device created to kill human pests. These pests are not attracted to light, they are attracted to our respiratory waste and body heat. There were dozens of caddis crawling on the zappers cage and getting fried. Others celebrated the sound, I poured out a drop of Xante to my entomological brethren. 

The crowd is gone and we are finally sitting down. I kick THW under the table to indicate I want to go home as its late. She gives in at 12:45 this morning and we head home. Being exhausted behind the wheel is no fun. We had the top down so the blowing air did not help my contacts and the beltway construction made the on-ramps very confusing.

I'll upload the pictures tonight if I am awake. We have a late reservation at cousin Ari's restaurant tonight, Acqua Al 2 DC or tomorrow after the world cup matches.

Wait, what was this post about? Oh yea, I'll play with bugs in front of foreign diplomats. I'm so tired I don't know what I'm talking about.

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