valentineThis valentine shows the mutualistic relationship between ants and aphids where both benefit. Aphids produce very sugary poop, which ants find delicious. The ants protect the aphids from other insects that might want to eat them. Win-win.

If you are not following the work of Bird and Moon, you should. She makes art that is both informative and adorable.  And today, a metaphor for my relationship with you, dear readers.

As a single person of a certain age, it’s tough to not be a little crabby this time of year.  So rather than griping about what I don’t have this Valentines Day (because apparently I have the same romantic habits as a cicada–we have sex once, and it only happens in 17 year intervals), I thought I would be happy about what I do have.

Leading off: Students!
I still talk to students that I taught and mentored years ago.  That means so much to me.  There is also a lively community of entomology graduate students and postdocs online, and they let the old lady play with them. I love that.

oatmeal cartoon

The other big Thank You goes to the online science community. I mean more than just the ScienceOnline group by that–all of you online writing and consuming science writing!  You make this blog more than just a lecture by me about bugs and their awesomeness. You turn it into a conversation.  I started this gig just to amuse myself, and now suddenly I have friends on every continent.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been trying to get a job since I was laid off for…well, over a year, actually, and it is basically a soul-sucking process.  I spend a lot of time and effort writing letters and customizing resumes, and then….FAIL.

So much FAIL.

I have been applying for things full-time since I stopped blogging in September, and I am still unemployed.   You all give me the strength to keep going on, and help me believe that I am a good person, and worthy of employment.

You help me cling to the idea that my failure is a problem with the job market and my lack of fit, not my inability to be a good person or a good employee.


Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. You’re very welcome. And if I weren’t married to the OTHER most wonderful person in the world, I’d propose right now. (If it helps, my wife and I don’t bother with Valentine’s Day, either. Valentine’s Day for us is like New Year’s Eve was for Hunter S. Thompson: it’s the day where we let all of the amateurs have their fun.)

  2. The cicada joke… this is why I love you. You make me laugh, you are a font of advice and wisdom, and you are always there when I need a reality check. Thank you for inspiring me; thanks for being you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. I don’t guess I really should say, “We Don’t Talk About Sugary Poop Here”, should I?

  4. Thank you for all your wonderful blog posts. I really hope you find something right for you soon.

  5. You *are* a good person, Bug. If I had any semblance of power in this world, I would hire you in a heartbeat.

    Of course, the first thing that I would tell you is that *some* of us are not entomologists! :-p

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