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authority ordained it

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm
Mood: Dictyostrophia
Now Playing: Vector Lovers - City Lights From a Train

late night thoughts regarding The Consul and coconut milk pho

It was such a perfect day.

So I went to Pho and I and got a soup thinking "it's spicy, it has cilantro in it, it has shrimp in it." I wasn't thinking "oh, it's coconut milk, which is a lot more filling than your typical pho broth." It's still good, though.

Also, Pho and I does not play Vietnamese music and they have some really cool artwork on the walls. And I should check out Moby Dick's one day.

I made a brief excursion to the MFA between pho and The Consul. Um, I found the Greek room they said opened in September. It's on the second floor, in a room off of the Roman room, not downstairs where I thought it would be.

The Consul is a full length opera by Menotti, in which a dissident escapes and his wife has to go through the consulate to get out but the consul is powerless to help her, and it takes months and her child and mother in law die, so she decides to kill herself. She has a nightmare when she passes out from asphyxiation and the phone rings at the very end. The first two acts open with a recording of a French song and one of the characters sings in Italian.

There's a full performance in Italian on Youtube and there are selections too. Check out Nika Magadoff. He stole the show with that magic act. He also looked a bit like Bashar al-Assad, and I thought he'd be a perfect secret police agent, but that role called for a bass and not a tenor.

The titular Consul doesn't actually show up.

Now, about the opera, I swear that Brian Aldiss or Paul Park or Paul McAuley or Ian Watson wrote stories about being trapped in bureaucratic limbo. I spent some time looking for a list of works that feature similar themes to The Consul, but found nothing. No, that's a lie. I found out that Japanese has a word for people of ambiguous ethnic heritage.

Otherwise, I went in completely blind, not knowing what style of music to expect. I think the guy behind me said the performance would be two and a half hours.

I have heard Amahl and the Night Visitors, not live, but on cassette.

Gabriella brought Anne with her. Anne is also an artist and I'm pretty certain I knew her in high school. They were dressed in "christmas colors," as Anne put it; Anne in vivid red, Gabriella in deep viridian. Gabriella's necklace was some old costume jewelry that her godmother acquired, repainted with nail polish.
(one of the ushers had a streak of hair the color of Gabriella's dress, which I thought was awesome)

I could tell Gabriella is Italian because she was talking with her hands.
I think Anne's Ruthenian or Ukrainian. Gabriella will take her to the occasional concert. Anne said she'd be hearing The Consul in her head for the next week.

We missed the rains when we got out.

Lulu's both a reference to a silent film called Pandora's Box and an opera by Berg. Me, I like double meanings too. Not like "PHRASING!" double meanings when someone makes an accidental double entendre. It's also short for Lolita, like the novel.
She has a new cat named Nabucco and she has to introduce him to the other cats. Actually, I think it's a her. But it's short for the Italian attempt at the Akkadian "Nabû-kudurri-uṣur" or in English "Nebuchadnezzar." She's talking about the weird way cats interact and Anne said "Cats are weird." and I don't know the details of this because of the wall of sound – Gabriella was sitting between me and Anne, some guy behind me was talking about Menotti's The Medium and a magical, mystical land where syringes are used as currency, and the orchestra was rehearsing.

If there's one thing I want to see, it's Magyar Madness.
Magyar Madness and Surround Sound, although Surround Sound happened in the past, so maybe if I had a DeLorean or maybe if I offered something to a dread power and repeated 2014 in an eternal recurrence.

She says I should see Metropolis, but it's impossible to find a complete version due to things like censorship and the lack of preservation techniques and World War II.
I do know every science fiction movie ever references it, even if indirectly.

They play Metropolis at the Brattle Theater occasionally, sometimes with piano accompaniment, sometimes with a small orchestra. Maybe I'm thinking of a different theater.

And she was at Jazz Fest, she just wasn't able to stay for the whole thing.
Burning question: It's a cat wearing a bow tie! How adorable is that?


head in the clouds

Posted on October 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm
Mood: Asio
Now Playing: Crescent - Sombra
Jess said the hook in the cormorant's esophagus was too close to its heart so we had to put it down. On the other hand, the painted turtle was released, there are only two squirrel cages left, the gull is going to be released.

Jess speaks French, along with a bit of German and Mandarin Chinese. I said that German, Dutch, Danish, all those things sound like what I imagine English sounds like to a non-speaker.
She has a cat named Tache, which is French for "spot," and also a cat named Morpheus, which is Greek for the one who shapes, and a cat named Spring, which is English for "spring", but whether it's English for "printemps" or "ressort" I know not.

We did dentistry on a chinchilla because the back teeth were blocking the tongue and he was drooling all over the place and that's really bad for chinchillas. Chinchillas can't get wet and have to take dust baths in fine volcanic dust, which falls off easily and strips the fur of impurities.

And the kestrel from midnight eternal came to get his leg looked at after four weeks. So what happened is since the kestrel was tethered down, the cooper's hawk wasn't able to ravish him away, but his leg broke.

Kaz sang the Following The Leader song when taking us down to show The Magic Button, which turns lights on and off. If you're short, you have to jump to hit it.

Sea turtle hatchlings in the Atlantic go to the Sargasso Sea, where they have plenty of seaweed to eat and protection from predators. They had to put tracking devices the size of rice grains on them to find this out, since, you know, the Atlantic Ocean is more than twice the size of Asia.

Other than that, it wasn't the most exciting day. I don't think I've forgotten anything, unlike the last entry, where I neglected to bring up Brody wielding a blowtorch and Nina wearing a pigtailed blonde wig and nobody could take her seriously while she was wearing it.

burning question: What languages do you encounter in your daily life?

mervyn pumpkinhead

sunset path

Posted on October 25, 2014 at 10:53 pm
Mood: Latrodectus
Now Playing: Curious Ritual - Flow
Today was utterly perfect for Night of a Thousand Faces.

I think the rain delayed and slowed down down our Spooky Trail development.
We added a mad scientist's laboratory (he had a blender and was stirring a barrel of mystery fluid), one of the volunteers had a ridiculous outfit and she was standing on a rock and warning people about the spooky trail. I pinned down a dummy with pieces of a fence because it's hard to stuff sleeves with leaves and crap, and it looked like he got trapped when something fell on him. Not literal crap, I mean.

Nina said that she'd yell one thing if there was a jerk coming so people would get in their face and scary and another thing if scared children were there so everyone would be extra nice and let them know that they're just costumes.

There were at least a hundred fewer pumpkins, but the trail splitting mitigated that. It also made the crowd flow through quicker.

I swear I recognized Alyssa by her tattoo. However, Lisa's face had some cool paint on it and she was wearing a black wig and I didn't recognize her at all.

Jess had Skinky and Spyro, I alternated between Itsy Bitsy and Kaa (and Kaa found his way into my shirt while I was showing off the curved teeth on a snake skull), Courtney had a something monitor something that I thought was a skink. I think that the kids were like "cool, a snake!" and the parents were like "augh, get it away from me!"

I hope everyone had as much fun walking the trails as we did making them. I'm sure they did. We had a lot of people.

My response to the kids at the bridge screaming was "mawp. mawp? mawp." I don't think they're old enough to get it.

Someone was the ghost of Dupont from Breaking Bad. I thought he was post-apocalyptic Jason.

Shane's answer to "a thing that is yellow and dangerous" was "a lemon," because you can squirt it in people's faces. I asked that because he saw a Batsignal pumpkin.
burning question: Just how many people named Emma are there?

mervyn pumpkinhead

prowlers of the night

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm
Mood: Cydrela
Now Playing: Eyeless In Gaza - Leaves Of Life / Seven Virgins
At least it finally stopped raining. It wasn't as nice as it was the last two years we held the event. The pumpkins grew big due to the warm autumn we had but they quickly rotted. Hey, my Goya crone worked.

I got to see the Spooky Trail being made. Emily and someone had a zombie baby with them and they danced.
And as Désirée noticed, the baby swing worked, which she said would be really spooky. With more time, maybe we could have made it look like bones, or bent the circuits so it played a distorted Mary Had A Little Lamb or whatever song the chair plays. The balloon guy dropped down on people. With more time, perhaps some fake drowned bodies under the bridge.

He was digging a hole and said "Treasure? Dead body? No, it's just a rock." I said "maybe it's a calcified fetus!"

So, last year, a kid dressed as Spiderman punched Nina in the face. The spiderman with an eye hanging out and a leg hanging off and a spider that Désireé thought was cute and she forgot what she named it was her revenge. We both hope the kid came back this year.

Désirée repainted the Michael Jackson head, took a chunk off, put some gauze and a fake brain in there, painted some more, and battered it trying to fling it over a tree. While she was making it, I stuck a monster finger in its mouth, and she said if the mouth was bigger, it would be awesome to have a hand coming out of it.

I don't remember her name but her friend is named Sarah (this is number 13, I do believe) and she was dressed like Lana from Archer, so I told Jess to call Kenny Loggins.

I ran into Astrid there. She had the colored hair so she stood out. I told her about noticing her site and leaving a message and asked how she came across the Wildlife Center.

I, along with Jess, Courtney, and a guy who's name I don't remember who owned a northern blue tongued skink named
I swear Itsy Bitsy and Kaa elicited more scares than the Spooky Trail.
And if you're wondering why they're called skinks, it's from the Greek word "skinkos," and that's as deep as Wiktionary goes. As far as I can tell, it just refers to an Asian/north African lizard.

Désireé was swinging upside down and making weird noises.
I think the spookiest part was the guy behind the wall and the guy with the leaf suit.

I think the cleaver-wielding bear was a mixture of absurd and creepy.

Waffle had fake blood on him. I still think a dog with scary stuff on him is still a dog, like in one of the Alien movies.'

There was a turkey beanie baby on the surgery table.

Burning Question: who would win in a fight between Sterling Archer, Burt Reynolds from Gator, or a cyborg alligator?


the sleep of reason

Posted on October 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm
Mood: Leptopholcus
Now Playing: Curious Ritual - How Fast
I tried to make two Goya-inspired pumpkins, one of which was Saturn Devouring His Son with an attempt at a pumpkin inside the mouth, except the stem fell off, and one was the crone I linked to in an earlier entry on a soft pumpkin with green. How apropos! A hawk gets to spend the night with those pumpkins.

By now, most of the pumpkins had been gutted and their guts used to fill gloves to make more dead-looking hands.

Désirée made a zombie baby for Emily's zombie family. I thought the pale green looked cool but I guess she fucked up or something and has to repaint it. Nina thought it would be awesome if the eyes still opened and closed. Better yet, it would say "mama" in a distorted voice. If only.
She has blue hair now (so does Emma and I think I prompted her to do that). I was talking to her about how the Night of a Thousand Faces brings some excitement into my non-aestival life and she said maybe the Wildlife Center should do an egg hunt on the nature trail. At this time, she was making Spiderman with his foot falling off and I thought there should be something gnawing there. She says "rat," I say "zombie baby"

Astrid Charron's site was written on a whiteboard at the Wildlife Center and she offered little boxes where you can reach out to her so I did.

I had the idea to use straw for hair for some figures made from bags of balloons that I thought looked appropriate for an evil clown or something. An evil ghost clown, even. Unfortunately, the idea sounded better in my head. It took a lot of layers to get something and a lot of duct tape, which Nina said made a great headband.

Neither Nina nor I got much sleep this past week. Nina's talking about how there was no flash of lightning, only a long peal of thunder and she's wondering if a bomb went off (I do that sometimes) and about the time she saw a meteor streak across the sky and she ran inside and huddled under a table waiting for the blast (I've never done that but occasionally I'll wake from a deep sleep by thunder and I wonder if there's a thunderstorm outside or it was just part of the dream, so it balances out).

burning question: Does that ever happen to you? The thing with thunder in dreams, I mean. Or the thing with the bomb. You decide!


pride before a fall

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm
Mood: catoxantha
Now Playing: The Away Days - Galaxies
Good news, everybody! Curious Ritual has a bandcamp! Now you can actually listen to their music. I'd say "legitimately" but Curious Ritual is a rare sort of band where your searches will lead you to information on a band rather than endless fake download sites.
I needed some good news with what's going on.

Also, everyone should listen to the Robot Knights in solidarity with Maddy Myers, and because they sing about robot knights fighting dragons and Calvin and Hobbes and stuff.
Sometimes I think "perhaps when I wake, the world will be a better place."

Also, listen to The Away Days. Galaxies reminds me of something I've heard before but I can't place it.


Last night was the first time since May I had to wear a coat when walking the dog. Warmth, please stay just a little longer, please. It's funny because I'm actually looking forward to that nebulous period somewhere at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015 when Avernum 2: Crystal Souls comes out.


Socotra is like the Island of Dr. Seuss or something. It's an island off the coast of Somalia that I believe is part of Yemen but I'm not so sure now. To be honest with you, I'm not even sure what the capital of Yemen is.
Brody's vaguely heard of it and I'm surprised nobody else has heard of it.


The gannet died and Jess has no idea why. A cormorant replaced him. He's smaller than I thought he'd be but feisty. He has blue eyes. Seriously, I though he'd be heron-sized. Birds have sort of an hourglass figure, with the lungs and heart up top and the liver and ventriculus (gizzard) and intestines and kidneys on the bottom.

This guy had a fishhook stuck somewhere in his esophagus or proventriculus.

Someone kept a turtle for five years, decided he didn't want him any more, and sent him to us to see if he was (1.) not actually a red-eared slider and (2.) healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
Turtles need vitamin d from ultraviolet-b light, around 315 to 280 nm, to metabolize calcium compounds and integrate it into their bones (and that's why Roger Klotz walks like that), and they need a specific ratio of calcium to phosphorus in their diet and insects require more or less the opposite ratio. Also, unless you're a rabbit, you can't excrete excess calcium in your urine. Seriously, if I still had a rabbit, I'd check its pee to see if it really is orange and crystal-ly.
This one has a lot of shed remnants and a scute that's kind of caved in that he was most likely either born with or obtained very early in his life but his scutes are hard and there's no sign of carapace rot. In other words, his former owner probably didn't soak him but did an ok job otherwise.
Their scutes grow outward from ribs and vertebrae. Someone looked at turtle embryos in various stages of development.

There are bacteria that can produce an enzyme called penicillinase to break apart penicillin molecules or force it out, or they find their way into cells where the immune system can't do anything about them.

Cats and ferrets are really bad about medication. Rob was telling about how people got it down their throat, rubbed their throat to make them swallow, and the cat spit it back out ten minutes later.

Speaking of eyes.
burning question: do people seriously think the light-sensitive cells are on the surface of the eye and that circle that contracts and dilates is there to look cool?


bright matter

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm
Mood: Nephrolepis
Now Playing: Celer - 11
Emma couldn't be there, alas. I didn't get the message that she wasn't sure if she'd be able to make it but thanks for inviting her until I got home (I don't have a smartphone. Mine works fine to make calls and that's what phones are for) See the burning question.

I met a (young) woman with silver-dyed hair and a floral-print ribbon in it and she says people often think they hear an accent somewhere in her voice on the Red Line and a woman who wrote essays and read Kafka (I've been meaning to, I swear) and was going to the Gardner Museum for the first time. We discussed Kafka and Marquez and Pynchon, because I have a collection of Kafka stories I've been meaning to read for about 12 years now. Knight Moves, however, I picked up knowing nothing about it aside from the fact that I've enjoyed Walter Jon Williams in the past. 50 pages in and I feel like the "knight moves" specifically refers to the way knights can pass through other pieces on a chess board. We discussed how I could never finish a story even though I have these cool ideas. October 13 was not her birthday and it's not my birthday either so wish both of us a very merry unbirthday!

Shinique Smith likes butterflies.
I told some people to plant some milkweed because the monarchs will like it. The good kind of monarchs, not the Arab monarchs.

All the links go to really big images so I'm just going to link to them.
one guy thought of piñatas.
Christina (death seraph) would like this; the grafitti is lines from the poem Desiderata.

They reminded me of Chitra Ganesh.
One woman saw a face in this one, hair and shoulders.

one thing reminded me of Georgia O'Keefe clitoria pea flowers with Kandinsky's palette.
Shield of Achilles.
People say of modern art "I can totally do this." and the truth is "No, I really can't."
This reminded her not of a giant snake skin but marshmallow fluff or the white stuff on the inside of a pomegranate. The stuff that should be edible but isn't.

I love the way the Execution of Maximilian contrasts with the neo-classical realistic art in the rest of the room.

I did see Gabriella, when she was going to see the Goya exhibit and when I was going to see Jenny D and the Deelinquents, which is like a 60s girl group with layers of punk.
I told her La Traviata is worth seeing, and she invited me to see The Consul on the 29th, and hopefully I'll be able to go but if I can't she said weeknights are always hard.

I'll probably say this to Gabriella at some point: Goya was ahead of his time.
this one here really stood out.ázaro_Galdiano%2C_Madrid%2C_1797-98%29.jpg
and this one.

Michael Swanwick wrote a collection of stories based on Goya etchings.
Read it here:

A woman at Pita once barked at people when she was angry with them.

Burning question: have you ever thought your phone was ringing/vibrating when it wasn't? That happened to me five times, I swear.


in time of plague

Posted on October 12, 2014 at 9:34 pm
Mood: Hymenophyllum
Now Playing: Giuseppe Verdi - Dies irae
I met a woman from Brazil, a kid in a band that sounds like Queen, a man who had a squirrel climb up on his pant leg, and a comedy troupe that was performing something called The Marriage of Little Caesar. According to their kickstarter, they bash congress, dance moms, the Muppet's (sic) and pretty much all of Italy.

So I saw the entirety of La Traviata, in which Violetta throws a party and meets Alfredo who is uttermostly smitten with her, they run off to the countryside, but Alfredo's father (the guy who plays him was born with only one arm. During the scenes in the countryside, he was in a military uniform) isn't happy about this, so he breaks them apart, and then Flora throws a decadent burlesque and Alfredo publicly humiliates Violetta, Violetta returns to a now dark and empty loft, a carnival happens in the distance, Alfredo asks forgiveness, Violetta dies of tuberculosis in his arms. It totally fits in with the ebola scare.
Everyone is dressed in Edwardian clothes, or at least what I thought were Edwardian clothes. The women wore dresses with sleeves and long skirts and the men wore suits. There don't seem to be any pictures on the website.
here's a photo from the party scene.

Once, Kathleen got on the Ashmont train, figuring Braintree was always the last top. Spoiler alert: it wasn't and she ended up in Ashmont instead. Julianna said I should illustrate a children's book or something, like Shel Silverstein, also, The Giving Tree and many Dr. Seuss books and The Rainbow Fish and a story I think I'm unfamiliar with about mice with flower names are totally relevant. Therese doesn't understand how people can sleep on the train. Therese spelled out her name, even though I can't think of any other way to spell Therese.
Actually, I can't think of any other way to spell Kathleen. At least, that's the default for me.

Burning question: di Provenza il mar, il suol chi dal cor ti cancellò?


all tomorrow's parties

Posted on October 11, 2014 at 11:58 pm
Mood: angiopteris
Now Playing: Tori Amos - Josephine
So one of my very very many cousins got married.
It wasn't quite the short short version but it was short, and I swear at least three quarters of the ceremony was everyone walking up to the metaphorical altar to some music I've never heard before. I swear it was just a contemporary song arranged for strings. I did recognize the Canon in D, and that's it. If you want an interesting ambient electronica version of that, look up Domain by Future Sound of London. Last wedding I was at felt a lot longer, but that was 14 years ago. But yeah, very short reading, vows, the end. The speeches came later.

It's hard to carry on a conversation when there's music and dancing going on (I briefly danced with a woman, and I thought she had pink hair but it was just the lighting. I felt a bit awkward. Think Gene Belcher dancing with Tina Belcher moaning. Also, it's hard to dance in dress shoes. Also, I did the Hans Gruber dance from the latest Bob's Burgers and my uncle did an awesome dance that would make Gene Belcher proud). Emily was wondering why people were afraid of clowns and I've heard it's because kids think the clown makeup is part of their face. And us singles had no regrets.
And I thought that Carolyn's fern tattoo was a scorpion or a eurypterid* or an anomalocaris**. She wants a millipede. Just no scythe fish and sun around the eyes.
*An eurypterid just sounds wrong.
**I was talking to Emily about the Paleozodiac and thought that an anomalocaris would make a good Cancer. There's nothing that's unambiguously a crab until the Jurassic, after all.

I did my best to showcase Emma's art but Tumblr was being weird. I didn't bother with Erica's. I'm going to blame Tumblr for this because when I showcased the Burgess Shale fauna, everything worked fine, but the tumblr showed half-artworks, half-gray.

And it's probably for the best that the DJ probably had a set playlist.
Because if the DJ was taking requests, I'd totally request Datura by Tori Amos.

Rachel and Lauren were given the short straw when it came to tables, apparently.

Rachel was talking about some conservative guy she knew who wasn't very bright and took the Daily Show seriously and got pissed off at Jon Stewart.
My guess is he bribed someone, since math and hacking into school computers most likely isn't on his list of talents.

October's not the worst time for a wedding, nay, that's July and August, but it's not the best time either, nay, that's September or late in May or June. At least, to us Bostoninans. It may differ in other parts of the world.
burning question: Why would you even consider an outdoor wedding in October? I mean, yeah, it could be blue skied and 82° F but it's just as likely to be a snowmaggedon.


reverent souls

Posted on October 06, 2014 at 6:19 pm
Mood: morus
Now Playing: Tori Amos - Glory of the 80s
There is a gannet at the wildlife center. Well, two. One dead, one living. Both had fishhooks that threaded through their wing and back. The living one is approximately two and a half years old, we can tell by his dark brown plumage. Adults are white with black wing tips and yellowish on the head. And they have huge wingspans. Gannets are suliformes, which includes frigatebirds, boobies, gannets, cormorants, shags, and darters. Boobies are Pacific-only but the others can be found in all oceans. Not necessarily the same species in each ocean, but you know what I mean.

This is our gannet. His spinal column feels very firm. This guy dove under the surf twice while someone was trying to catch him and bring him to us.

The screech owl wasn't too happy. One of his/her (they have color phases: red and brown, but they're not indicative of sex) retinas was detached. They'll go after insects, and I guess the insects swarm around car headlights, or show up in car headlights, and get hit by cars.
I think the herring gull had some bone sticking out. It was either the gull or the swan, that I know.

Here are some random events:
I normally say the meals the animals get look good, but not today, because (a.) the greens looked terrible, and (b.) the herring gull had dog food and mice sauteed with fish viscera.

Itsy Bitsy grabbed the fire alarm at a petco with her tail, or so Nina said.

Someone drew a unicow on the whiteboard.

Here are some random facts:
Hamsters will jump if you've been handling a snake without gloves/with the same gloves you handled the snake with before handling them.

Baytril/Enrofloxacin is not used in humans because it causes hallucinations and tastes disgusting. Much like datura, I guess. I don't know how vivid baytril hallucinations are.

I'm getting over a cold. Last week at this time, I had a sore throat, which was weird because I felt perfectly fine that day and the days before.
Midnight did feel eternal that day.
Hopefully, I'm completely over it by Friday. I think about a liter of snot came out of my nose this week. I don't even know how it fits in there.

Burning question: in the movie Die Hard, why is no one singing or dancing?


midnight eternal

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm
Mood: actinosphaerum
Now Playing: Fields of the Nephilim - Moonchild
Of all the days to not bring my camera. I know September is the slowest month at the wildlife center but we still get cool things.

A kestrel was attacked by a cooper's hawk with metaphorical balls the size of casaba melons. It also let out chirps when being looked at. I think the kestrel was being fed quail balut, which is probably really amazing if you're a raptor or possibly a raccoon and pretty disgusting otherwise. Kestrels aren't the most successful animals here (in Massachusetts, I mean, not "at the wildlife center"), mostly because the smaller hawks prey on them.

Something was going on in the janitor's closet because one of the volunteers made a sign with a skull emitting green fumes, a radiation hazard symbol, a biohazard trefoil, and a dead janitor with his tongue hanging out and the letter x for eyes for emphasis. It said "ankle breaking danger ahead. Seriously. I see sunshine cuz the fumes are bad. There are holes in here… it will make you sad. Relax, don't do it, when you wanna go thru it. Relax. Don't do it. Don't go beyond this door."

There's a really cool mural on the third floor.

Otherwise, nothing exciting. Jess and I were sifting through a box of veggies and fruits, separating the mushrooms, the greens, the whole fruits (peppers, apples, bananas), and the strawberries, and the garbage. I said it would actually look pretty tasty if it was fresh.

Jess says that if the raccoons were still around, she'd just throw some in there.

Someone was smuggling 51 turtles in his pants. Jean can't imagine how, but I figure they were baby turtles and they were taped to his leg.

A bird, I want to say 'house sparrow,' had rotary nystagmus (N as in Nancy! I thought he said M as in Mancy.), which is indicative of brain problems.

And I thought that Assad would just try to survive until Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton became president.
Burning question: Is it weird that the Sunni monarchy of Bahrain, which has been suppressing Shi'ite protests for the last three and a half years, is now helping the Shi'ite quasi-republic of Syria do the same to its Sunni population?


sunset prism

Posted on September 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Mood: Hepatica
Now Playing: Pia Fraus - Far Fade Whisper
I ran into Kyra (blonde, born under the sign of the Acanthodes*, definitely not a replicant, as she is currently more or less a decade older than she was when I last saw her), of all people. But not for long enough and I didn't have my sketchbook with me. This means nothing to you, I know; I'm pretty sure nobody here read my journal 11 years ago. There were other things that happened in the years 2003 and 2004 too. One day I'll post them, but today is not that day.
Although you can read some of them now. Check the Internet Archive. Actually, no, don't. Some of them are kind of cringeworthy. Check the index.

*I imagine, since the extreme southern part of Plymouth County and the Cape evoke the Permian, their zodiac signs should correspond to Paleozoic life, so I'd be something that's ambiguously a crab or maybe a trilobite, Sara would probably be an ammonite or something, and Pisces would simply be fishes that are more amorphous and less evolved than haddock. I'm not sure if Scorpio would remain a scorpion, or if he'd be a eurypterid. Taurus is probably some kind of dimetrodon. Leo's a gorgonopsid. Capricorn is a tetraceratops which is NOT a dinosaur, or a ceratogaulus. I can't even imagine Libra or Sagittarius.
But that's silly, because the constellations 250,000,000 years ago are vastly different.

They're not finished with the signal thing or whatever, probably because most of the money is going to Bashar al-Assad's war. And you know as well as I do that if Bashar wins (big if, even with the rest of the world behind him. Just ask the French, Asma. There's a good reason very few, if any, French restaurants have the motto 'we'll treat you like royalty.' ), he'll spend all the money that should be going to the arts and education and public transit on new calendars where May is named after his wife and Friday is named after his dog which is also the word for bread and snake, and a giant gold statue of himself that rotates to face the sun, and concentration camps for Sunnis. I said "Since they're not finished," but I got sidetracked. But anyway, I didn't arrive until after 4.

It may be autumn but it still felt like summer.

And I'm very glad I bought a new set of pens.

Someone was humming the Jeopardy theme.

NOT-Emma liked my drawing, at least. I seriously thought she was Emma. I also mistook someone for Brian. But that's different.

It was a diverse mix of humans and dogs. I had jambalaya for dinner, only because I didn't notice the Brazilian food stand.

They're (I didn't get their names) not super-into-jazz but they do enjoy going to jazz concerts. This is their first Jazz Fest. It's my first Jazz Fest too; I probably would have went last year but I ended up seeing Mahler's 2nd instead. But totally worth it, even if I (along with Layla, Jill, Jess, and Tori.) only got to see two events. I don't know how I missed a band called Screaming Headless Torsos or Snarky Puppy. Dionne Farris and the Russell Gunn Quartet was awesomeness incarnate. Shiela E. was pretty damn energetic, and there was much dancing.

I did not know that Mass Avenue Station is an outdoor platform. It makes sense, I guess; it's a few blocks away from Symphony.

Her name is Layla, not Leila like I thought it was. Good. Because I don't like Leila Khaled. If it was Leela, I'd draw her with one eye. She has a sun pendant, and when it's night, she reverses it so it shows the moon. And it's one of those suns and moons with a face you sometimes see in heraldry and medieval art. I immediately thought of Asakiyume when she told me that. She's from Chicago, not Boston. I told her about the time I found a pendant in a drawer. She's into filmmaking. She wishes she could make art. Jill, however, draws things on the whiteboard in their dorm.

Jill's like "You know how it is. Next thing, they'll say 'Next train to Oak Grove arrives in 20 minutes.' then 'thirty minutes,' then 'The train is never coming.'"

The train was rather crowded, despite being inbound. I'm not as well traveled on the Orange Line as I am on the Green and Red Lines. So Layla and I got separated from the others, and ended up talking about life in Boston, and where we've been, and where our friends have been, and where we want to go.
Layla wants to go to Madagascar. I told her I want to go somewhere untouched by humans, "I guess Mars," I said. We got an excellent view of the city and the setting sun.

Jess has a tattoo; it was words and I don't remember any of them except for 'love'

It just ended up this way: there were three friends, I think one of them was also named Jessica, and they all ended up on different pages of my sketchbook.

I posted a poem for Pluto the day I last went to the ICA and a celebration of all things Vox Day hates. Here it is.

burning question: Bashar al Assad and Hassan Rouhani are stealing from the MBTA. Why do we have to pay for it?


end of summer

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm
Mood: Cyphoderia
Now Playing: Jenny Olivia Johnston - Glass Heart
Winter lasts 89 days and 1 hour.
Spring lasts 92 days and 20 hours.
Summer lasts 93 days and 15 hours.
Autumn lasts 89 days and 19 hours.

At least, that's how things are in the northern hemisphere. I'm pretty sure I don't have any readers in the southern hemisphere. If you are in the southern hemisphere, just switch winter and summer and spring and autumn. Also, ignore the title. Think of this as "Swan Swan Hummingbird."

There's a new swan who's just a juvenile. Jean believes that swans aren't made right; the legs are too heavy and the bodies are too light. They also grow up really slowly; we've had swans who have spent seasons with us.
There's a swan with lead poisoning. I'm not sure if their main source of lead poisoning is now illegal in Massachusetts but if it is, that would mean that lead poisoning cases will drop over time. This one doesn't look great. It lost 200 grams (I think) and it was underweight to begin with. That's not good.
There's a hummingbird with a broken coracoid who's beating his wings but can't seem to get out of his box, which is a Happy Birthday box with flower print with a sharpie drawing of a hummingbird on it. His ruby throat feathers fell off because food got stuck in them.

On the bright side, the bird who had conjunctivitis has either been released or is scheduled to be released.
The raccoons are going to leave us Sunday. Nonetheless, they're planning something. They're gathering pebbles for some reason, and a few of them have discovered they can climb up the wall and squeeze through, getting themselves between the inner door and the outer door. I think they plan to pelt the next intern who goes in there with pebbles and then run out to the woods DESPITE the fact they're going to be released Sunday.
Once, a fox escaped and rampaged about the medical corridor.
The coyotes are going to leave tomorrow, along with summer. It's a time of great social upheaval in the coyote world. Normally, you send juveniles into coyote territory, the adults attack them until they leave. In early autumn, the juveniles are all going out into the world and establishing territory.
Some squirrels are leaving.

So is Catherine, who learned English from Metallica songs. Someone said it's better than Barney. For the record, I associate Barney with the drunk, not with the purple dinosaur.

Nina says she can't help but sound like a baby when she attempts Spanish. It's just the way she learned.

Since Catherine was leaving us, we had Panera Gurpgork.


Back in 2010, a raccoon dropped down the ceiling and landed on a student's desk at Plymouth North.


Someone who isn't much of an artist said I had no sense of beauty. The internet wasn't working so I couldn't show Jessica the poses, but she found my attempts at the poses hilarious. One's possible but unpleasant. One might be literally impossible. I don't know. Whatever, I'm not even going to try to describe what he's doing.

Burning Question: Why don't we get a giant science molecule to waddle out here, then you guys can do a cute little bit together?



Posted on September 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm
Mood: Chelodina
Now Playing: Celer - 7 Light, long human recordings, chartreuse, cobalt, emerald, malachite, sap, terre, verdigris, and viridian green leaves, rain stands
Jessica agrees that Turkmenbashi is at least somewhat humble because he named the worst month after himself. She told me she doesn't understand how dictatorships like Turkmenistan and North Korea and Sudan survive. I know that Karimov successfully portrayed himself as a bulwark against terrorism and Sri Lanka is really good at public relations and Assad survives because even after the ISIS thing backfired dramatically, he's still able to lure us into fighting his war. Ok, I guess Syria was more an authoritarian quasi-republic and not a completely batshit insane dictatorship where the name for bread and snake and Friday and that damn dog are all the same word, where there are ice palaces in the desert and golden statues that rotate to face the sun. I just don't think the Syrian Arab Republic will remain a simple authoritarian quasi-republic if it survives a decades-long civil war. I do think it will be less Turkmenistan-like and more Sri Lanka-like.
It's just too bad trying to remake the world is like casting rocks at the moon.

I didn't tell Jessica this but part of me thinks that if Sterling Archer ran a country, it would be a lot like Turkmenistan. Probably because I just thought of it.

She's never been to Turkmenistan but she's been to various Caribbean islands (and doesn't know what monkeys are doing there) and Japan (the dictatorship fell apart because they antagonized the United States while fighting a stalemate in China) and Germany (where the dictatorship fell apart because they tried to invade the Soviet Union AND they tried to terror bomb the British into submission instead of going after military targets AND many many other reasons).

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are not an anti-Jewish screed, they're an attempt to discredit republicanism by associating it with undesirables, sort of like Democratic Underground and their attempts to smear the Arab Spring by associating it with Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

I did learn that birds, reptiles, and rabbits all have chunky pus that has to be scooped out and then flushed instead of liquid pus that can be drained and flushed because of different white blood cells and different enzymes. And the long-necked varieties are susceptible to abscesses on the backs of their necks because they often have their heads sticking out and when they pull it back in to protect themselves, they scrape it against their scutes.

I really don't know what happened and how I missed both the draining and the hawk getting x-rayed.

The coyotes have radically different coat patterns. That's normal for coyotes around here.

Nina quoted Kindergarden Cop to a ferret (it's naht a toomah!) and I can't say the name Mendoza without raising my hand up and shouting.

Burning Question: Bob's Burgers is getting preempted for football. Ugh, it will be like this until the Super Bowl, won't it?


all the world against us

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm
Mood: dendrogramma
Now Playing: The Levellers - What A Beautiful Day
One day, I want to describe something as "as dead as Asma al-Assad."
Alas, today is not that day.

It's fine that I left my camera at home because holy shitsnacks, the wildlife center was as dead as Moo Mar Gadaffi (and I swear something literally died in the men's room, but I didn't see any drowned animals in the toilet). It's not totally ok that I left my sketchbook at home (I did show Jessica, Nina, and Kaz the collaborations I did with Emma, I did not get to show Jessica or Kaz the stuff Emma did. I did not get to show them the drawing I did of Emma. I did not get to draw a portrait of Nina or Kaz. I learned that Tumblr can be fickle on mobile devices but at least it actually worked unlike last time, so I'll probably just showcase Emma's, Erica's, and Crystal's art to the people I work with by simply storing it on the iPod's hard drive.).

On the bright side, the Wildlife Center got a new beardie named Puff.

Ha, Erica called the Tea Party "Dingbat Revolution." That is the most apt description I've ever heard. Aside from "The Cadence of Stupidity," although that was a set of Pinocchio heads with phallic noses. I don't know if they're supposed to be phallic.

In my dream, I had a bracelet with Tamil writing on it.

Anyway, I've been putting this off for too long. I have little else to say so please enjoy this art by Crystal (vocalist/artist for As The Sparrow)
This one probably isn't safe for work. Just saying.
I'm not quite sure what she's saying here. Jaws did WTC, probably.
For the older stuff, go here.
Or here.

Also, I think I have enough burning questions to last the rest of the year.
Burning Question: If I really had $10,000,000 to my name, would I really have to survive two days on fumes, free samples of cherry tomatoes, tortilla chips, and Tasty Bite meals? It's rhetorical.


continued in colour

Posted on August 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm
Mood: Japetella
Now Playing: The Art of Noise - Dreaming In Colour

Emma and I did this together, in more or less equal parts. She started and finished it.

Krissy brought a sketchbook with her, in which she drew several Bruins players using a photograph as the reference (she says she can't draw from life very well. Thing is, I use a photograph for anything more advanced than a fifteen minute sketch) and self-portraits as Simpsons characters, a cat, Homer Simpson, and Dr. Zoidberg (my response to this: Now Zoidberg is the popular one! Horray for Zoidberg! in a Zoidberg voice)
she uses these things called PrismaColor pencils. Someone called it realistic but I wouldn't; the colors were exceptionally vivid.

This was actually Wednesday, not yesterday, but I saw a woman with this tattoo: an inverted treble clef and a bass clef, together forming a heart.

Burning question: What if Fry never fell into that freezer-doodle and came to the future-jiggy?


what is done in the darkness will be brought into the light

Posted on August 29, 2014 at 6:40 pm
Mood: Amphitretus
Now Playing: Lush - Shut Up
The Griffin Photography Museum was pretty cool, if pretty tiny.
They were giving away photography books because they didn't have enough space.
One of the staff told me that polaroid that looks like ink may have been in an acid wash. Another once underexposed a cyanotype or did some steps prematurely so it looked purple instead of cyan. I'll have to look into that.
They had a setup where you could put things on a photosensitive paper. I'll try to get them up at some point in September; I'm having scanner problems. I'd like to scan them, but I'll photograph them if I have to. Someone named Emma (she's right, there are a lot of people named Emma) did one of her hand and it looked three-dimensional.
There was a book you could doodle in. It's called Behind A Little House and it's by Manuel Cosentino, which autocorrect fixed for me without me noticing. To "consenting," which is so ironic it's like O. Henry and Alanis Morissette had a baby and named it that exact situation, because I did not consent to that autocorrect.
Someone drew an eyeball, someone drew the Zakim Bridge and the UK and US flags, someone drew nuclear power plant cooling towers, I drew dinosaurs.
giant sushi with a nude man as the sashimi.
a nude woman with a domestic goose, its tail feathers obscuring her naughty bits.
it's number 15. It was done by spitting on halides in negatives.
They all merge anatomical drawings with photographs of plants.
I don't know what Google did to their image search. Or their search in general. I can't seem to directly access images via Google Search and if they're going to change things

burning question: why can't they bring back discussion and blog search? That's what we want, not endless site redesigns.


the interrupted measure

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Mood: Sepioteuthis
Now Playing: Witherspoon - Tingles and Everything
Found in the bathroom at Anna's: "it's the yellow king" and "horam expecta veniet," which, according to Google, is "wait for the coming season"

Some guy played the Mario Theme and some other things I either don't recognize or can't remember or probably both, at Downtown Crossing.

Had I known the Esplanade was open at 5 PM, I'd probably have asked to meet her earlier.

Emma ended up learning chess from an artist who seemed just a bit crazy to her. Being able to win in two moves or in four moves is cool but it requires an opponent with the intelligence of a koala, and if you're not insulted, you haven't watched True Facts About Marsupials. I didn't think to bring any watercolors or gel pens and she forgot hers or something and the sketchbook she had with her was tiny (and I did a nearby tree's portrait while she was playing chess, and she collaborated with a seven year old budding artist earlier to do portraits, and there's some rather personal writings in it that I don't remember anyway and I wouldn't share them if I did, along with a good quote about making so many pictures that I don't quite remember), so we did what ended up as a forest scene together, totally out of place in a sketchbook filled with portraits. Emma had pale green and blue paint in her hair. She wanted to dye her hair purple but I think a proper pale green streak would look good. She sings and plays the djembe and used to play piano, so I might find her in Cambridge somewhere.

They both had to leave early. Emma and I will hopefully get together to make art properly this time. Here's my awesome idea: we both do something in watercolors and have each other ink it. Gabriella and I will hopefully meet at Beantown Jazz Fest.

Gandolfi wrote a piece commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle of Fort McHenry, but alas it was canceled (more or less during the British march to Washington, right after Reinagle's Mrs. Madison's Minuet and right before the British soldier's chorus of Handel's See, The Conquering Hero Comes! from Judas Maccabeus) due to thunderstorms.
It was the anniversary of Beethoven's 1814 Fidelio overture, which was rewritten to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and the anniversary of his Eighth Symphony, his only symphonic minuet, a tribute to Haydn with "wrong notes".

Here. Have a clip of Krusty singing the national anthem. In Krusty's defense, To Anacreon in Heaven was written so vocalists could show off. Also, they were probably drunk.

Fuck you, thunderstorms.

On the bright side, I saw Russell on the T and he talked about robots and bureaucracy and the time he petitioned SGA for money so he could go to Japan and compare robotics. CRUSH! KILL! DESTROY!

Burning question: Do you honestly want to live through the rise of the machines? Which you won't, because no one will. I-- It's rhetorical!


indian summer sundowner

Posted on August 26, 2014 at 1:11 am
Mood: Epalzeorhynchos
Now Playing: Celer - Cantus Libres I
It's a new moon in Virgo, so I guess not all Rosh Hashanahs happen when there's a new moon in Virgo. It's finally warm again but I feel that summer will soon pass into unseasonable winter once again. In a month, the coyotes and the raccoons will be back in the wild. The ducks are leaving soon. We have a hawk that has some kind of respiratory infection and a painted turtle who needed x-rays done, a chinchilla needed his teeth fixed.

Brody imagined civets as more like horses but he says it's even funnier with mongoose-looking things. Civets eat coffee beans and it goes through their digestive tract and people sift through their poop for semi-digested beans and make insanely expensive coffee out of it.

Scientists regenerated a thymus in mice. Jean suggested that it might be used to mitigate AIDS but I can think of a lot of people who won't sit by and watch that happen.

Poisonous snakes are a thing, at least according to Courtney. The poisons are concentrated in their skins. Unfortunately, everything about poisonous snakes is from people who can't tell the difference between poisonous and venomous.

For some reason I forgot to post about this. "Nano chip mind control" written on an ad on the T.
This is what an intense summer will get you.

We caught a male box turtle trying to sneak over the barrier to the female's section of the enclosure.
I think I know why they put the barrier there.

Burning Question: Why isn't it possible to choke the Mad Genius Club with their own incompetence?


summer idyll

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm
Mood: selenicereus
Now Playing: Charmparticles - Gas Gauge
I saw Chichi, of all people, at Braintree Station. Unfortunately, she was coming out of Boston, not going into Boston.

I met a woman who also drew portraits and sat still because she knows how annoying moving around is and really likes my Cats Against War t-shirt and a woman from Lithuania.

A woman from Russia did my portrait on a CharlieTicket receipt while I was drawing a man who may or may not be Chinese (okay, that describes every man on Earth)

Emma took a picture of my shirt. She wants us to make art together, so we're going to meet early on next week. We got separated since she had to livetweet all the stuff going on, and we ran into each other at the Aquarium's displays. She always needs bookmarks. I discussed the relationship between penguins and loons with the guy at the table.

Penguins have very dense bones, by the way. So do loons. The main difference is loons can fly. Despite the keel, they're too awkward to fly.
And speaking of penguins, bats have really long pregnancies and their newborns are huge. I wasn't expecting that, mostly because I simply can't imagine a pregnant bat flying about. I picture mommy and daddy bats coming home to a nest to feed their babies for a long time until the babies are developed enough to fly, but no.

Sheep brains are surprisingly small. The Museum of Science had one in a bag people could hold.

I'm sorry I couldn't find her in that crowd, and it was too dark. I couldn't find Gabriella either, alas. If I had to say a nice thing about the rain last week, it's not as difficult to find someone in a group of 300. Since I just remembered that I don't think the area around the Hatch Shell is open at 5 and it's a big Esplanade. So I think we'll have to arrange something.

As for music, they're all paeans to nature and all new to me.

Der Freischutz (Carl Maria von Weber) is an opera set around the end of the Thirty Years War. For a modern version of that war, see The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Syria and Iraq are turning into that). For a fantasy version, read The Black Company. Max makes a pact with Samiel, the dark spirit of the woods, evil is vanquished with the key of C Major.s
The Flower Clock (Jean Françaix) is a seven movement oboe concerto each devoted to a flower that blooms at a specific time, although I'm not quite sure how time works in this situation if day jessamine blooms at 3:00, night-blooming crocus blooms at 10:00, geraniums bloom at 19:00 and night flowering catchflies bloom at 21:00.
The orchestral suite (Edward MacDowell) consists of five movements but I only heard three: In A Haunted Forest, Summer Idyll, and Forest Spirits.
Sibelius' 2nd Symphony was written in Italy. Makes me want to read Lucky's Harvest and The Fallen Moon. Somehow.

burning question: don't you hate when you see someone and they turn out to not be the person you're looking for?

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