Posts Tagged ‘randomness’

Butterflies, Part Deux

Apologies if I spelled Deux wrong. I don’t actually speak any French. My sister asked me to help her with a French dialogue once, back in high school, and after a few lines she said, “Never mind,” and took it away.

So, if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got unnecessarily invested, and it was all very emotional.

Fast forward to her birthday this year. We get her a fish tank, with the promise of fish sometime in the future. (It is now the future and she has a Betta named Bubbles, who I am again unnecessarily invested in. Apparently I am a lover of all animals.) My sister, however, got her a butterfly kit. With caterpillars.

(The same sister who was disgusted by my French, yes.)

However, the caterpillars were essentially at the chrysalis phase (ginormous) and this was a problem, because we spent most of the next month out of town. So I had to foist the butterflies/caterpillars off on a friend, who dutifully took pictures and videos so smaller, mobile one could live vicariously.

My sister felt bad about the smaller, mobile one missing the butterflies, so she ordered replacement caterpillars with the idea that we would reuse the same butterfly kit otherwise.

About a week later, the caterpillars arrived–dead. And not even caterpillars. Chrysalises. But they were very obviously dead.

Apparently they’d taken three times as long to arrive as expected, and had probably been baked because, you know, summer.

But imagine, if you will, a small child, very excitedly opening the very obvious box of caterpillars–only to find death waiting for them.

Good times. Good times for all.

Anyway, I returned them (got to wonder what the UPS employee thought about that) and my sister ordered replacements, and shortly thereafter we received four alive caterpillars and all was well.

They all made it to the chrysalis phase without incident (perhaps having learned to not shake them around from last year). They all hatched! But, alas, one of our butterflies did not form correctly in their chrysalis. It was more obviously deformed than the one last year (I think it only had one wing, and it was shriveled and wrapped around its body) but much more mobile, so, while still sad, not overwhelmingly so.

Smaller, mobile one did not name them this year. Perhaps this helped. With the attachment issues.

Yesterday we released them (surprisingly difficult to get them up and out of the butterfly kit) and put the deformed one on our last remaining flower that survived the hailstorm on Friday (guess what! We need a new roof in addition to almost every plant in the yard being torn to ribbons. Glee). I’m not 100% sure what the butterflies are going to do, because everyone’s yards/flowers are decimated due to the hailstorm, but hopefully they’ll find food somewhere.

I also forgot to check on the other one to see if it had gotten eaten yet.

I actually feel a little bad about not being so invested this year. Godspeed, nameless butterflies, wherever you are.

The Thrill of Anticipation

I’m not going to lie, Squiders. For the last week or so I’ve had kind of a constant underthought going through my head. And it goes a little something like this:

STARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARS

It crept up on me. When the latest trailer came out and everyone was so excited, I thought it was merely okay. I didn’t bother fighting everyone for opening night/day tickets. And I’m a bit burned, because of the Star Wars prequels and the fact that the last Star Trek movie had some major issues going for it.

But all the same it’s snuck up on me anyway.

Anticipation is a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s a mixture of good and bad. Excitement and anxiety. Something could be amazing–or terrible. Or anywhere in between. And it’s kind of fun, a break from normal life. Sometimes it’s just something on your mind, something coming up to look forward to. Sometimes it’s more of an obsession.

If nothing else, I have some family members who are going to be way easier to shop for this year than usual.

Have anything you’re looking forward to, Squiders? Some big event coming up? Tickets to the Force Awakens? (We’re going on the 19th at lunchtime.)

I Haven’t Seen the New Star Trek Movie and I’m Starting to Get Upset

Squiders, the Star Trek movie has been out for two weeks. Do you know what the last Trek movie I didn’t see on opening day/night was? Generations. Or possibly the Undiscovered Country. It was some time in the mid-90s.

Now, I understand that I am an adult now and I have responsibilities that must be taken care of instead of watching movies, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

The biggest stumbling block is, of course, our new addition to the family. And despite the fact that all sets of grandparents repeatedly tell us how happy they are to watch him at any point in time, the fact remains that I sit here, on the internet, trying to avoid spoilers.

You’ve been on the internet. You know how impossible that can be, especially when you are friends with fellow nerds, all of whom either don’t have children or have better babysitting set-ups.

Now, I don’t mind people talking about it. I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding spoilers. And I’ve been kind of lukewarm about the movie. But at this point, with the amount of times we’ve tried to go see the movie, it’s starting to feel like a bad comedy.

I’m hoping, fingers crossed, that things finally align and we can go either tomorrow or Saturday, but at this rate the movie will probably be out on video before we can get there. (We still haven’t seen the Hobbit, mixed reviews and all.)

Suggestions, Squiders? Not really a big deal, I know, and yet…

The Evil Lure of the Jigsaw Puzzle

Imagine, if you will, the following picture. You’re at someone’s house. It could be your own, it could be someone else’s. Maybe you have a glass of wine in one hand. You step into the dining room to discover a partially complete jigsaw puzzle. Maybe part of the edges have been done, or maybe someone has completed a house or a boat and then wandered off.

“Oh, I’ll just do a couple of pieces,” you think to yourself.

Is there anything more devious than a half-done jigsaw puzzle? You’re minding your own business. You have better things to do. Yet, hours later, you’re still attempting to fit pieces together, wondering where the heck that last edge has gotten to, because you swear you’ve touched every piece in the box at least twice.

It’s maddening, really.

Is this a writer thing? We just can’t leave something unfinished? We have to see where the thing goes, even if we can look at the picture at the front of the box?

No, really, those are all questions. My family is notoriously easy to distract with puzzles, but we’re all of the writerly bent, so I don’t know if it’s genetics or a personality thing.

Are you a writer and can you resist the call of the jigsaw puzzle? For how long? Do you have to leave the house?

Are you the sort who can work on it for a certain amount of time and then go do something else without the puzzle lurking in the back of your mind?

How long can you leave a puzzle on the table before your significant other tries to throttle you? (My husband – not as attracted to puzzles. There may be hope for our offspring, if it is a genetic thing.)

Do you sometimes seek out jigsaw puzzles like an addict?

Let me know I’m not alone, Squiders.

Gardening (An Analogy)

So, I have a vegetable garden in my backyard. This is year two – last year we had potatoes, onions, spinach, and broccoli, and it was lovely. Everything was very good and we reaped a plentiful harvest.

This year we have potatoes, carrots, peas, and then some broccoli, spinach, and two onions that regrew from last year, though I’m not sure how. Especially the onions. I apparently have no idea how onions actually reproduce.

The spinach and broccoli that regrew never really reached a harvestable stage. Instead, they grew in very odd places and went to seed almost immediately. What leaves the spinach grew looked diseased, and I’m not sure the broccoli ever actually broccolied.

The onions are flowering and ginormous. My husband keeps saying I should pull them out, but I kind of want to see what the do next.

The potatoes and peas are happy as pie. The carrots, despite being planted in an equidistant, straight row, are growing in strange little carrot clumps.

My vegetable garden this year reminds me of the writing process. Last year, when everything was new, everything was where it was supposed to be, laid out perfectly, and everything was easy. Like when you first start a story. Or when you’ve outlined and know exactly when each element is supposed to come into play and where it’s supposed to go.

This year, I’ve got random remnants that I thought I’d gotten rid of, weeds seeping in, some surprises, and I’m interested to see how it all goes. We’ve all had stories like that, haven’t we? We pull a plot element out halfway through, then forget we’ve done so and later find sickly elements that need to be removed.  Or elements that are choking what we do want. And there are characters and plots that come out of nowhere and yet, work so perfectly. Or when you write just to see where the story’s going.

Both are creative processes, if you think about it. Both require planning and creativity to accomplish. And in the end, you hope to reap a bountiful harvest.

(Also, just a reminder that we’re starting the summer T/Th schedule next week, so the next post shall be on Tuesday, June 19th.)

Alpaca Overlord Week: How to Worship Your New Leader

Greetings, minions. It is I, your new overlord, the Alpaca. As is befitting my takeover of this blog (and shortly, the world), I have graciously put together this list of instructions so you may show your gratitude and awe in the most appropriate manner. Follow them, and you shall be rewarded. Disobey them, and the consequences shall be severe. Even now my network of carefully brainwashed and trained super llamas are infiltrating your every day life. You never know who could be one of them. It could be your grandmother. It could be your yoga instructor. Do not defy me.

1) There shall be no mention of my former rival.
Obviously, I have prevailed, and he does not deserve my respect. Obviously I am aware that the title of the blog remains the same. Something about passwords and firewalls and blah blah blah. I had my technician executed.

2) Everyone must learn the difference between an alpaca and a llama.
Alpaca are clearly superior, and I will not have our good name smeared by association with those callous louts.

3) No petting.
I bite.

4) All Cheez-Its are hereby banned.
Cocoa is allowed. And delicious.

5) Tribute shall be gathered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This leaves you free on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to come here and read my wisdom, and leave properly adoring comments. Additional tribute will be accepted on Saturdays and Sundays but, at the moment, are not required. You may praise my mercifulness.

Actually, it turns out that writing out a list of instructions is all a bit tedious. I grow bored, and so I leave you with this, my peons: worship me, adore me, and do not betray me, and you will be, if not rewarded, not punished. Do what you will to ensure your safety. Further instruction and wisdom will follow. I DO expect tributes tomorrow, so do not be late.

Don’t Encourage the Ceiling Turtles

I had several friends over yesterday. There’s a room upstairs where I’ve painted sharks and squid and fish and seagulls, and one friend said I should have painted turtles on the ceiling.

Two problems: One, I have popcorn ceilings. It would be the lumpiest ceiling turtle of all time.

Two, ceiling turtles need very little encouragement to move into your home. We’ve talked about how they like french fries, but the truth is that ceiling turtles are kind of dumb. If you place fake turtles on the ceiling, painted or no, real ceiling turtles think there are already ceiling turtles there.

Sometimes this works in your favor. Ceiling turtles have occasionally been known to be territorial, and sometimes if they think you already have an infestation, they will move on, looking for a free home in which to wreak havoc.

Mostly, however, when the “resident” ceiling turtles do not react aggressively to the new arrivals, the new ceiling turtles will assume they are welcome and make themselves at home.

Be wise, my friends. Ceiling turtles are not to be messed with. Do not give them a reason to enter your house or take up residence on your ceilings.

And popcorn ceilings suck to paint.

The Lure of Alpaca Poetry

One of the nicest things about having a wordpress blog is that it tells you what search terms people are using to end up at your site. I get a lot of people looking for information on specific subgenres, quite a few hits on the Grammar Week articles, people looking specifically for me (blog name, my name, book name), and the writing craft ones seem fairly popular as well.

But the search term that gets people here most often? Alpaca poetry.

I admit this amuses the heck out of me. (The Landsquid is less pleased with this turn of events. Though admittedly “landsquid” is pulling in a substantial amount of hits itself.)

(Although, the search term that is currently amusing me the most is “fear of plesiosaurs.” I don’t even what.)

So what is it about the fuzzy and evil Alpaca (and their poetry) that not only makes the Alpaca Poetry post one of the top three most viewed here, but makes people actually search Google for it?

Is it that their propensity to steal top hats? The fact that they look dashing in a monocle and an evil mustache? Their ability to wreak havoc with their sheer adorableness?

I vote for their innate ability to be hilarious in almost all situations. The Landsquid thinks the Alpaca is merely googling himself. (If so, he does it an awful lot.)

What do you think, Squiders?

Evil Laugh Alpaca(P.S. My tablet is working again.)

Alpaca vs. Landsquid: The Aftermath

Phew!  I am exhausted, but I am home, and it seems like a good time was had by all with my lovely guest bloggers.  Much thanks and love to KD, Ian, and Anne, for their stimulating pieces on interspecies warfare.

To wrap up our epic battle, I thought I’d let you, Squiders, vote on which creature you think would win in a fight.  (Also, I must figure out how on Earth I’m going to follow that.)

Quick reference: Landsquid, Alpaca, Sky Shark

Alpaca vs. Landsquid: A New Challenger Appears!

Today’s post is brought to you by the effervescent Anne Marie.  Anne writes YA urban fantasy and allows me to foist new music on her on a regular basis without complaint.  She also adores pancakes despite being allergic to them.  You can follow Anne on Twitter at twitter.com/annemariewrites and stalk her at http://annemariewrites.livejournal.com.

I must apologize to both KD and Ian, as this whole week was a lead-up to today. Kit and I are nefarious and clever. You see, no one really cares about landsquid or alpacas when there are SKY SHARKS in the air. 
 
1. How can anyone feel threatened by landsquid when you can ply them with a thimble full of dry scotch? You don’t even have to buy the good stuff. And it’s not like they do topless dances on the bar afterward for the entertainment value alone. They slump over in the booth and talk about how no one likes their shoes. Sky Sharks make their own hooch in cloud distilleries.

2.    Landsquid will help you if you give them Cheese-Its. Sky Sharks don’t need help. They’ll take your Cheese-Its, and maybe your arm. Depends on their mood.

3.    Landsquid giggle like hamsters but worse. So much worse. Add in cheesy crumbs and all that drunken sobbing and you’ve got a whole lot of squidly mess. When drinking, they’re prone to inky discharges. Doesn’t that one word alone put you off landsquid for life? Discharge!

4.    Then there are alpacas. Hooves of Doom vs Jaws of Doom, who do you thinks going to win that one? Like I need to tell you how delicious shredded alpaca meat is. It goes great with everything from rice to Cheese-Its to sides of landsquid eggs.

5.    Alpacas think they’re so high class with their monocles and canes. This is only to hide the terrible smell of their unwashed fur. This is what happens when you take a filthy pack animal and put a silver spoon in its mouth. In the morning, they’ll still be filthy and you’ll be wondering what happened to your spoon.

6.    Alpacas think they have the element of disguise. You only need a disguise when you’re hiding something. Sky Sharks need no such pretense. They rule the *expletive deleted* sky. (See “Snakes On a Plane” for clues to that one.) They’ll sneak up on you before you even know what’s happening and you’ll be worse than Jonah.

7.    Sky Sharks are the most graceful of creatures. They combine aquatic fluidity of motion with lightness of air. In the same movement, they can dive from great heights and level out faster and more delicate than a jet engine. They have row after row of razor sharp teeth to make any fight a little pointless. You don’t want to mess with a Sky Shark. Fighting a Sky Shark with any weapon is like going into a nuke war with a toothpick. They will pwn you. Then they will tell their friends about it.

8.    No one who has ever seen a Sky Shark has lived to tell the tale. No really, do you know anyone? They’d knock at your door and say, “Pizza delivery.” You’d ask, “Who’s there?” Sky Shark, “Candy-gram.” And then you’re dead! Not only are you dead, but there isn’t a body to collect evidence.

9.    This hasn’t, however, touched on the scariest fact involving Sky Sharks. This thing is so scary that only the highest echelon of the Australian government has knowledge. Well, and me … and now you too. The only reason I know is because I am a mad hacker. Okay, everyone, brace yourselves. The secondary flag of the country of Australia has nothing to do with Union Jacks or six stars on a blue background. The secondary flag is, in fact, a Sky Shark riding a Giant Spider. Hide your kids! Hide your wife!

10.  So’s your face.
 
It’s a dangerous place out there, kids. Keep your eyes on the skies. And if you do see a Sky Shark, I don’t really have any advice for you. Guess I’ll see you on the other side, brother.