Chimera Song Mosaic
Saturday, July 05, 2003
I tried several permutations in effort to get an alternate identity (of course I had several possible responses to some of those questions), and I am still the Beast. After six tries and being the Beast every time, I got one hit on Professor X. Didn't like that because I am trying to stay well away from my students.
I guess I really am the Beast. I think it's because there were a couple of responses that I simply could not change, no matter how I looked at myself (which is possibly part and parcel of being the Beast).
It's not that I don't like being the Beast. Apparently, I am in good company, but I wanted to see what else was out there. I was not surprised.
Anthropologically Speaking, I am Such a Lumper and not a Splitter
Some more freaky things happened when I cleaned out my desk: I looked through that old notebook from the Napa Valley Writers' Conference in 2000, and I found Eileen Tabios's name on the contact list--on the same page as Caeli and Richard! (I was on the back of the page.)
I must be the most innocent person in the world because minor coincidences like that still shock me. Why wouldn’t Eileen be at the conference? That’s her neck-of-the-woods, so to speak (a beautiful, yet trite expression).
So I'm wondering, do Eileen and I know each other? I don't think so; I don't remember meeting her. I bet she wasn't in Claudia Rankine's workshop with me and Caeli (Richard was in Brenda Hillman's). But if she were, and I met her before, that would be freaky! (Eileen, if you are reading this, Hi! Again?)
Then I realized that although I love all the blogs and everyone’s blog-persona seems extra-nice, the real-life stuff intimidates me. I think the only person I would be comfortable meeting in person is Jim Berhle (exception of course of Catherine, Josh, and possibly Eileen, since we may have already met). He makes me want to pretend I am in NYC. But I guess Blog/Con is way out for me. Sorry to be such a freak.
Another minor coincidence that sends me: I saw examples of Caddis Fly domiciles at the Houston Museum of Natural Science yesterday (yes, I know I keep going back there, but the Cockrell Butterfly Center has a wonderful man-made cenote-form spiraling down into the humid thick of butterflies: Julias, Ricepapers, Malachites, Blue Morphos, Great Owls, Postmen, Orange-Bandeds . . .), and they (Caddis Flies) are incredibly fascinating because they build protective cases out of anything sturdy they happen to find and wear them like shells. I imagine if you just saw a Caddis Fly larvae lying around and you tossed a few diamonds and toothpicks on the ground, you’d see it do its thing with the diamonds and toothpicks. The coincidence is that I have a book at home (that I’ve never had a chance to read) called The Postmodern Animal. On the front, there is a shark--or at least a mechanical shark, like JAWS--and on the back are Caddis Fly larvae with their casings, which look like golden jewel encrusted lipstick cases. So clearly I need to read this book.
We didn’t get enough time in the Genome Project display area, but I did learn that calico cats have erratic color patterns because the code for white is stable and the code for black and orange exists in the same gene-plane. So a calico will have its white pattern, and the orange or black pattern expresses randomly—there’s no predicting it. That’s why the calico kitten cloned at Texas A&M University last year did NOT have the same color pattern as his donor’s coat. Presumably, he had the same pattern of white.
I wonder how to explain the colors of Winnie.
I don’t like cloning, but my sister insists that it could be used as a last ditch effort to save species from extinction. This has already been attempted on the Indian Guar, but the poor Guar-baby died two months after birth because of an infection.
We got to see the huge dinosaurs in the hallway, and I cattily pissed my sister off by saying, “Do you think these things really ever existed?” She glared at me, so ready to believe that I am an idiot. It’s interesting to note our varied reactions to things like gigantic dinosaur skeletons: my mom was clever enough to ask the question, “How many of these bones are real and how many are duplications?” It never occurred to me that they weren’t all real, despite my smart-assed question. Then, when we looked at the Giant Sloth, my sister told us that they were alive at the same time humans entered North America: "Imagine primitive man's response to this!"; I said, “Look at its massive and flat femur—it must have incredible weight-bearing properties. Look at the bumpy places of articulation near its joints—those non-smooth places are where the huge ligaments attached to its muscles” (I was such a nerd in anatomy class); my mom said, “I thought it was a bear,” and we said, “Look at its tail! It was practically a tripod!” It really did look like a bear, though.
I love homologous structures. The image of the Caddis Fly (which I have perversely not provided) and this stuff about the Giant Sloth and how his bones--clavicles, hip joints, tibia and fibula--look so much like human ones is about the closest this blog has ever come to its own description. I love integument and the integumentary off shoots. Some insects secrete a protein into chosen plant matter that causes it to manifest growths, cankers, galls--tuberesque structures on the plant's leaves, twigs, surfaces--that the insect makes a home in, lays its eggs, nourishes its larvae.
I love that there is morphosis and meta-morphosis. That there is change and extreme change. I love that we can make these distinctions, mitosis and meiosis, which maybe means I am a bit of a splitter after all. I saw dinoflagellates and iridophores. This is what I mean when I talk about poetry.
And you thought there were no more bargains to be had
I guess when I go home again I immediately revert to a goofy teenager who can’t remember the Boy Scout credo: be prepared.
Yesterday I was in the restroom of a Barnes & Noble in Houston and was digging in my tiny purse for some change to feed the machine that dispenses tampons. I was thinking, with the way that pay phones increased in price from 10 cents to 25 to 35 before becoming almost obsolete with the popularity of cell phones, those tampons have got to be at least 35 cents. I only found 25 and decided to give it a try.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that they were only 10 cents apiece! And name brand!
Even if those bastard health insurance carriers want to stop subsidizing our birth control, at least we can save some money somewhere!
This is too good—a new take on the “Ex-Files”
I have to go have fun now. Lars is bouncing his little brachiocephalic face on me (well, he is at least midway between brachiocephalic (Boxer) and mesocephalic (Labrador)), and that means he is sick of my writing and wanting me to pay attention to him. The ferret must be on speed--she just lapped the house and ran up and down the stairs in two seconds. Then she stared at me as if she forgot who I was. Life through the myopic eyes of a ferret.