Kermit 1 and 2

Kermit comes out to visit
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We used to have goldfish. For six years we had a few goldfish. Now we keep a tropical aquarium. At least for two weeks we have. In it are guppies and neon tetras and snails and a couple sucker fish and several teeny tiny transparent catfsh and two African dwarf aquarium frogs.

Rarely do the frogs present themselves and when they do it’s one at a time. They hide. H.o.p. named them Kermit…both of them, as we can’t tell the difference between the two yet as we only see them one at a time and they are so similar that to our eyes we’ve been unable to note any distinguishing markings.

Kermit 1 (or Kermit 2) came out for a bit today. I always worry Kermit is starving since I never see him/her and thus never see him/her eat.

Welcome to Presidential Debate Night at Our Apartment

Welcome to Presidential Debate Night at our Apartment
Welcome to Presidential Debate Night at Our Apartment
Sept 2008
View On White

Presidential <em>Debate Night at Our Apartment (color)”></a><br />Presidential Debate Night at Our Apartment (color)<br /><a href=View On White

We, like how many other households, were turned in and I thought I’d show this because it is a mass participation event, kind of like football, only we don’t watch football.

First we settled down with coffee and with H.o.p., me telling H.o.p. it was part of his education to watch the debate with us–but it’s not exactly 1968 is it, the election that first really caught my attention as a child (I vaguely remember the one before it because I recollect my amazement at the name Goldwater). H.o.p. wasn’t thrilled but tried watching for around 20 minutes while we explained things to him. He’s well familiar with Bush Land but the names McCain and Obama are still fuzzy and remote to him. When he said, “I really don’t understand anything they’re talking about,” I said, “OK, that’s enough,” and he ran off to pursue another film project.

After H.o.p. was done watching I dug out the cherry pie we’d purchased a couple days ago in memory of the nights we would purchase cherry pie and watch Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” I had been reminded of those nights because I had been reading interviews with David Lynch and watching his earliest film shorts on Netflix, “Six Men Getting Sick”, “The Alphabet”, “The Grandmother” and “The Amputee”. And with the weather cooling off it seemed a good time for cherry pie.

Cherry pie à la David Lynch and the debates seemed to be a good fit. And the wilting sunflowers. I thought they fit in as well, considering the economy.

From his bath later on, H.o.p. called out, “Who won? Really, I want to know!” And we talked about the debate more in depth and answered a number of questions he had formulated in the meanwhile.

MUSHROOMS SUDDENLY FILLED OUR POT OF ALOE VERA

Mushrooms in houseplant pot
Mushrooms, 2007

Mushrooms suddenly sprang up in an indoor pot of aloe vera this week. I don’t know what type they are. Maybe someone out there does? It’s the first time we’ve ever had mushrooms spring up indoors. They only made an appearance in the aloe vera pot.

What do you call the place where the stem attaches to the cap? I can’t seem to find a name for it and these show very obviously that point on the upper cap side. They were an ivory color with brown centers and paper thin delicate

It’s difficult in this apartment for plants to do well, at least consistently. All my cactus, which did great for years, started dying off this past summer and half of the new cactus I picked up died. I love cactus so I won’t be giving it up, but it has been disconcerting.

On a good note, our several palm type plants and good luck bamboo (which we’ve managed to have for about a year and a half to two years) all seem to be doing okay.

Oops, Sally the climbing crab just fell down. She seems to like being held. I’m still timid about it but she readily comes out of her shell.

I’m a little concerned about Jerry and wonder if we got an unhealthy crab. Or maybe he’s still just nervous. He does come out to eat at night and moves around some, but he’s not yet very active, isn’t climbing at all and if I come near he immediately withdraws and doesn’t come back out for a long while.

Update: Jerry finally came out when I was holding him. He is a much smaller crab than Sarah, considerably less developed, more a dull purplish-red color than Sarah whose claws are bright red.

Sarah keeps climbing up and hanging upside down from the top of the terrarium, then can’t manage to get a good grip to climb back down and so falls to the bottom, clack.

Well, I read some are burrowers and will consistently burrow under their dishes if there is room for it. Where Jerry has been, I note he has cleared away the sand to the bottom of the terrarium, next to the water dishes. When we get the 10 gallon terrarium set up today he will be no doubt happy to burrow away in several inches of sand.

And the two day old, small terrarium we can keep for an isolation tank and for easily porting them.

Update two: Finally found this photo of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii that matches up with what we’ve got though ours were more ivory in color (at least by the time I saw them). So identification had. I’d read before about this as a common houseplant mushroom but had only seen images of them in a bright squash yellow.

Windows To The Soul (If They Can Blink)

Dorothy and Dylan in Sepia 2
Dorothy and Dylan in Sepia, 2

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Dorothy and Dylan in Sepia

When we first got goldfish, it freaked me out that we had pets that didn’t blink or close their eyes when they slept. They just stared. What were they thinking? Marty still sometimes stands by the aquarium, regarding, and asks, “What are they thinking?”

I don’t believe a single cartoon has been able to handle the fact that fish don’t blink. We’re so used to blinking as a response. Closing eyes and opening them. And so people describe sharks as having lifeless eyes because they don’t blink. Snakes, too.

Insects don’t have eyelids and don’t blink but they’re too small for us to be consciously bothered by it. But, as with fish, when we blow them up large and make them characters in cartoons and movies, we give them eyelids so they can blink and show emotion. If it blinks and shows emotion you may be able to attempt to reason with it. Whatever doesn’t blink is lacking “soul”, without feeling, having no ability to reason as we reason (or even as a blinking cat reasons), “blindly” motivated by only its own mechanical sense of instinctual justice and therefore not subject to personal, passionate plea and argument. Except for god. Many people think of god as having a kind of All Seeing Eye that doesn’t blink. If that god’s All Seeing Eye blinked, then all the lights would go out. So, god doesn’t blink. Yet people don’t think of god as lacking soul. Indeed, people think of god as being the god father of soul. But they’re wrong. James Brown was the god father of soul.

* * * * * * * * * *

Inspired by the movie, I reread Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly and finished it last night.

At the wheel of his slow car, Bob Arctor forgot theoretical matters and did a rerun of a moment that had impressed them all: the dainty and elegant straight girl in her turtleneck sweater and bell-bottoms and trippy boobs who wanted them to murder a great harmless bug that in fact did good by wiping out mosquitoes–and in a year in which an outbreak of encephalitis had been anticipated in Orange County–and when they saw what it was and explained, she had said words that became for them their parody evil-wall-motto, to be feared and despised:

IF I HAD KNOWN IT WAS HARMLESS
I WOULD HAVE KILLED IT MYSELF.

That had summed up to them (and still did) what they distrusted in their straight foes, assuming they had foes, anyhow, a person like well-educated-with-all-the-financial-advantages Thelma Kornford became at once a foe by uttering that, from which they had run that day, pouring out of her apartment and back to their own littered pad, to her perplexity. The gulf between their world and hers had manifested itself, however much they’d meditated on how to ball her, and remained. Her heart, Bob Arctor reflected, was an empty kitchen: floor tile and water pipes and drainboard with pale scrubbed surfaces, and one abandoned glass on the edge of the sink that nobody cared about.

The novel’s even more brilliant than I’d remembered it to be.

Because I’m Worth It has a Mysteries blog post up and yesterday I made a couple of silly comments on it, in which I speculated the object in question was a “sentient life being”. I’d intended to write “sentient living being” but was eating ice cream and was conversing with Marty so was distracted. Playing around, meaning to correct my comment with another comment on how I’d intended to write “sentient living being”, I instead questioned if “sentient life being” was redundant, though I was thinking, no, not on certain levels, at the same time already bogging myself down with now we’re getting into questions on how to absolutely qualify sentience when all I’d intended to do was make a stupid joke with Kate Moss as the punch line. I’d this fantasy going that the metallic sphere in the picture was some alien being and the tube or nozzle down near the grass was its one eye. Sucked in by the celeb columns and using them as its only information source about Earth, the creature had fallen in love with Kate Moss and had come to Earth and landed in this out-of-the-way lawn behind a nowhere building and was waiting for Kate Moss to pass by, its one lonely eye inspecting all that passed and no one even knowing it was sentient and stopping to welcome it to Our World. Certainly, as it was in England, Kate Moss should pass by at any time, the creature had at first believed. But the days and weeks passed and no Kate Moss. Eventually, Because I’m Worth It comes along and takes the photo, wondering what is this thing, but failed to recognize it was a sentient living being as the creature, despondent, sunk in hopelessness, too long ailing over both the loss of its dream and its foolhardiness, was scarcely aware of her presence and so didn’t even bother to squack and buzz in greeting. And because its one eye doesn’t blink as ours blink.

Yeah, I know. But that’s my story for the creature and I’m sticking by it.

Returning to reading A Scanner Darkly, I came on this passage about an hour later.

“Imagine being sentient but not alive. Seeing and even knowing, but not alive. Just looking out. Recognizing but not being alive. A person can die and still go on. Sometimes what looks out at you from a person’s eyes maybe died back in childhood. What’s dead in there still looks out. It’s not just the body looking at you with nothing in it; there’s still something in there but it died and just keeps on looking and looking; it can’t stop looking.”

“What did her friend think of me? Why did she make that face at me?”

"What did her friend think of me?  Why did she make that face at me?"
The Gargoyle Guards the Door on His Perch, 2007

H.o.p.’s questions on someone visiting the building, who made a face at him and sighed, it seems, with some contempt when she was passing and he was playing the gargoyle. I hadn’t noticed it but H.o.p. did and asked me about it several times. What I had noticed was that though it is our apartment building, and she was a visitor waiting outside for her friend, she looked at me with such an expression of displeasure, on her approach, seeming to wish me away, that I had H.o.p. follow me down the corner around the building to wait until she’d left. I was wondering if it was my imagination but there was some peculiar enough vibe that it walked me off.

At first he simply said, “What did that woman think of me?” I didn’t understand his concern but realized after a bit he was serious and asked him what was making him wonder. And he mimicked for me her action and how she had puffed out her breath contemptuously at him and asked why she’d done it.

I told him that perhaps she was tired. Perhaps she was.

The woman in the pic is not the woman who made the face.