There’s no point in pretending I’ve been anything like attentive to this blog over the holiday break, so I won’t bother with the charade. The only thing I’ll say in my defense is that my last post, from December 27, is 6,778 words long. That’s gotta count for something. Sure, some of my colleagues with too much free time on their hands can knock out two or three short, mildly entertaining posts a day (I’m talking to you, Koughan). But what would you, dear reader, rather deal with in your busy life – the constant pressure of having to check the same blog multiple times daily for single-serving brain droppings? Or the luxury of knowing that once a week or so (okay, sometimes two-plus weeks), you’ll get a tightly edited, wildly entertaining narrative that will leave you physically and emotionally spent? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Anyway, I’m fine, right? I mean, that’s what really matters here, isn’t it? That I’m not going to die? Well, this month, anyway. If I had a quarter for every person who told me they wished I’d put a disclaimer at the front of that last post stating that I did not in fact have a fatal illness, that everything that followed was just for the sake of telling a story … I could very likely use those quarters to hold down a very small piece of paper, like a business card. So not that many quarters, actually. Next time I’ll ask for Sacagawea dollars. But it’s the thought that counts. So thanks for worrying. Next up: a post about my field survey of the poisonous snakes of Japan.