Slice of Life — Pachyderm Division

Talking about animals with James, and whether smart animals are more likely to be percieved as vicious.

James: “I dunno. Elephants are smart, and they’re mellow. They’re like big…Zen… Buddhists…”

Ursula: “Well, in fairness, some of them do go nuts and kill people.”

James: “So do some Buddhists!”

I guess there’s no arguing with that…

I woke in the night and heard myself say “Back to the sausage mines with you!” Then I had to get up and write that down on the back of an envelope, because…well…y’know.

Edit: James and a couple of DA commenters have already uttered variants on “Man! That’s…ripe for…some kind of…is that a euphemism for…”

I agree. And yet, I couldn’t actually think of one.

This is not a challenge.

Seeking Answers…

The esteemable Mizkit is doin’ some research for a novel, and seeking answers to various questions, most of which are legal, but a few of which cover the realms from Central Park to pens to cafeteria tables, light bulbs, and 17th century London. Since my readers have done everything twice, if any of you are inclined to spread the knowledge around, mosey on over that way!

Like every other entry on Livejournal today, I am bummed that Steve Irwin died.

Whenever people ask about the inspiration for Digger, I tell them the same story–I was sitting around going “What to draw, what to draw…” and at that moment, a wombat took a chunk out of Steve Irwin’s leg on TV, and the rest, as they say, is history. I would probably have made a black and white comic anyway, and it would probably have been strange, but if not for Steve Irwin’s wombat, it could have been about anything on Animal Planet that day. I dunno if “Flapper–the story of a heron” or “Gronker–the tale of one hippopotamus’s quest to find meaning in a mad world” would have worked half so well.

It’s hard to imagine that someone like Irwin would be happy in a conventional heaven, so I will assume that somewhere, there is a vast mudpit in the sky full of grumpy crocodiles that need their toenails trimmed.

I realize he was a polarizing figure, but I ask that commenters refrain from speaking ill of the dead. I kept my mouth shut when Reagan died, and if I can do that, y’all can bite your tongue about a silly guy in khaki shorts.

Yet More Tales of Defective Wildlife!

We were out drilling some holes in a pot for a container planting when there was a rustling in the grass. We looked over, and discovered a box turtle making a gettaway–he’d been hanging out happily in the grass, but then we started stomping around making drilly noises and he decided to head out.

James caught him. “Oh…you’re a good turtle, arntcha? Oh, you’re checkin me’ out…what a good turtle. You’re an old turtle, aren’t you? Look at you…”

I realize I’m biased, but James is very cute when talking to a box turtle.

Because it’s our yard, though, he was–of course!–a Defective Turtle. Like the squirrel, he’s missing an eyeball. More than that, this turtle–well, it’s hard to tell with turtles, they’re born looking ancient–but this turtle LOOKED old. His shell was as gnarled and ridged as octogenarian toenails, and the webbing attaching him to the shell was pale and infinitely wrinkled. He had an old look. His remaining eye was fluorescent red-orange, and unlike other box turtles, who clam up the instant they see you, this guy was kicking and glaring at James, and probably demanding in Chelonian that we get off his lawn.

Since there’s nothing we can do for an elderly one-eyed turtle that wouldn’t be much worse than the affliction, and he seemed active enough, we put him under the nearby cherry laurel where we wouldn’t step on him and finished our work.

However, I think it’s become obvious that the Defective Wildlife Vortex is localized on one or the other of us. On general principle, I blame James.

WOooo! Lumpy squirrel on the feeder!

God help me, I’m excited to see that the local squirrels have botflies. Obviously I am sick in the head.

For those readers who’ve joined us since last summer, the squirrels in North Carolina (and many other places) are afflicted with a parasite known as squirrel botflies, which burrow under the skin, cause a huge bald lump, and then hatch out. It’s generally not harmful to the squirrel, although I must assume they don’t particularly enjoy it–you’re not supposed to try to catch them and remove them, since the stress of capture is apparently far greater than the annoyance of having a bug hanging off you. It causes the squirrels to get a rather disturbing Quasimodo-ish look for awhile, and leaves a distinctive round scar.

The first of the defective wildlife I began watching was Lumpy the squirrel. So there’s a weird kind of nostalgia attached, which probably is a sign that I am a major freak.

I suggest not googling, unless you have a remarkably strong stomach.

Started the morning with a power outage. That threw my schedule completely outta whack.

I am a creature of intense habit, I fear–I get up, I have my cup of tea, I eat breakfast, I sit down at the computer and work. If the cycle gets thrown off, it all goes, and I find myself accomplishing very little in the way of work. It may simply be a lack of self-discipline on my part, but once the schedule’s gone, and I’ve spent half the day wandering around looking for things to do until the power comes back, I am mentally shot. If I get in a groove, I can work all day, like crazy, if I’m in my routine I can at least do some solid, workmanlike hammering out of Diggers and whatnot, but if I’m not in the groove, and my routine is broken, I wander around like a lost wombat, picking at things in the fridge and wondering if I can justify a nap yet.

On the bright side, heard back from the plant conservation people, who told me not to sweat the devil’s grandmother too much–it’s common enough down here that it’s a lot more important to slaughter the Japanese stiltgrass. (Apparently one of the top ten invasives in North Carolina. Must! Slay! Grass!) So I feel a lot better about that. My eco-guilt is assuaged. Hopefully it’ll be dry enough this weekend to put in some serious stiltgrass slaying time, although I’m glad we’re getting the rain.

“Entropia” arrived. Very cool little book. Art style isn’t one of my general favorites, but very charming. It was, as I was told, a lot like something I’d write, which of course makes me want to write something like it…because of course, I need another project like I need a pungi stick through the spleen.