Archive for June 2012

Ben’s best friend is a scientist, whose research involves snails, tadpoles, bird poop, and the parasites which live therein   Leave a comment

Skylar graduated from Farmington this past May, and she headed straight down to Virginia to start work on her doctorate. She’s spent the last five years at the UMF getting her BA in Biology and Geology the last two summers at VTech with internships studying parasites, and now she’s doing graduate work in parasitology there.

She’s keeping a blog on Tumblr, if you want to take a look at what she’s up to. There will be a lot of stuff about biology, and more than a few things that make little to no sense to anyone not working with snails or snail-related parasites, but there’s also a lot about her dog and pictures of hikes, too.

Skylar, hard at work sciencing

Skylar and Jasper

Hiking Virginia


Posted June 30, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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Anna!   Leave a comment

Matt’s girlfriend Anna is going to be staying with us for the next few weeks. She arrived here at 2 am last night, and she’s going to be in Maine until August. This means that my summer is going to be much more fun than it would have been otherwise.

Anna was an exchange student from Germany at Old Town High School ’10-’11. She was a senior with Matt and she actually graduated from OTHS along with him – she now has an American high school diploma in addition to the German high school diploma she’s going to earn next March (German students who take the most advanced course of secondary education graduate a year and a half later than Americans do). Matt spent his entire Christmas break with her family in Germany this past winter, and now she’s here living with us.

Posted June 27, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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Old Town crews contain kitchen fire quickly on lieutenant’s final day on the job

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Posted JUNE 15, 2012, at 12:29 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — Talk about a memorable last day on the job for Old Town Fire Lt. Mark Graffam.

The 28-year veteran, who is retiring after his shift Friday, responded to one last call Friday morning when a fire broke out in the kitchen of an apartment building on the corner of Stillwater Avenue and Veazie Street.

“There was a room full of smoke when we showed up, a good buildup of smoke coming out of the rear corner of the building,” Graffam said.

Crews were able to get in and knock the fire down in “less than five minutes,” Graffam said.

The building contains two apartments, and while two tenants were able to get out quickly, one woman had to be rescued from an upstairs unit, Graffam said.

“I went up and quickly kicked the door in to get the lady upstairs,” who seemed “very confused,” said Graffam.

The kitchen where the fire started saw heavy smoke damage, but crews were able to keep the smoke from spreading to the rest of the building, Graffam said. Orono and Milford firefighters assisted their Old Town counterparts.

“A handful of off-duty firefighters were here because they were getting ready to throw me a little luncheon so we had a very nice response with full trucks,” said Graffam.

No firefighters or tenants were injured in the fire, sending Graffam into retirement a happy man.

“It’s nice because no one got hurt,” he said. “This is how I’m going to end it.”

Graffam said there is no word yet on a cause. Old Town officials will continue to investigate the incident and interview the building’s tenants.

Mark worked as an Old Town firefighter with my Dad for years, and he was my brother’s high school soccer coach. Their send-off celebration for him today got interrupted by a fire call.

Posted June 15, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

A Sound of Thunder   Leave a comment

Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday, June 5. He was 91 – although to be honest, I’d thought that he’d died years ago. It’s just hard to imagine an author of such classic science fiction whose most celebrated works were all written in the early 1950’s and who had such a luddite bent still kicking around in the age of iPhones.

I thought I should post these illustrations for his short story “A Sound of Thunder,” which I drew for a project in my sophomore English class, as a memorial. I’ve come a long way artistically since 2005 – the anatomy in the final drawing makes me want to avert my eyes in horror – but creating these illustrations was a great challenge and a lot of fun for me.