I think the gods are trying to tell me to stop showering.

I was stepping out of the shower today, minding my own business, and saw something wiggling behind my shampoo bottle.

I did not scream. This is not to my credit, however, because I think I got all my screaming out over the drain worms t’other day. Instead, with fatal calm, I dried off, put the towel down, opened the shower door again, and peered behind my shampoo bottle.

The two inch centipede that had crawled up the drains waved an antennae at me. In another bug, I might consider it a friendly gesture, but in a centipede, such things are almost always the scuttling equivalent of "Fuck you, mammal! You want a piece of me!?"

Longtime readers may recall that I loathe centipedes the way I loathe bad art and evil, possibly more so, since I am at least sympathetic to the plight of making bad art and I have occasionally rp’d characters who were not quite as lawful good as they might have been. I have been bitten by centipedes. It is excruciating and it doesn’t go away for DAYS. Plus, the legs. Nothing with that many legs is up to anything good. (Millipedes, while not actively evil, are probably plotting something.)

"Hi," I said, to the enemy.

The centipede mimed something rude about my mother.

"Nobody talks that way about my mother!" I cried, and crushed him with the shampoo bottle, which took a fair amount of work, because those nasty little buggers are armored like a chitinous dreadnought.

Eventually he gushed pink stuff and expired. I scooped him up with a handful of Clorox wipes and flushed him.

Then I ordered a quart of the stuff that kills drain goop, in hopes of killing the flies that feed the centipede that crawls up the drains into the shower in the house that Jack built.

If anything more comes up the drains this week, I’m gonna assume it’s a sign and just start taking dust baths like a chinchilla.

No, it’s not you, yes, there is something wrong with Digger. I don’t know what it is–there was a comic there this morning, but it–and a chunk of the archives–have gone poof somehow at some point this afternoon. Trying to track it down now, will keep y’all posted.

I Have Gazed Into The Maw Of The Beast

So, yesterday Kevin took his kids shopping for Halloween costumes.

I had the option to bow out, but tagged along anyway because it was the most reliable way to acquire dinner. We went to Target.

Fortunately for all involved, the kids were pretty well behaved and did not dither on their choice of costume–the younger one wanted to be a knight, and the older, who has learned the basic economic transaction of Halloween–costume = candy–didn’t particularly care, as long as it could be worn trick-or-treating. (He got more excited when he discovered plastic ninja swords as a potential part of the costume. There is something about ninjas that goes right to the hindbrain, I swear.)

Kevin, who is either fearless or completely resigned to his fate, plunged into the kid’s Halloween aisle like someone going under the ice of a cheap plastic and rayon lake, muttering about medium and larges and extra smalls and check sizing. I studied the wreckage–things hung on those little metal arms, far more things piled in heaps below, spilling onto the floor and being trampled by frazzled looking moms–and one frazzled, bald, heavily tattooed dad–and backed away slowly, and went to go locate fuzzy socks.

I located fuzzy socks. I also found an end display that would have allowed me to dress the beagle like a lobster or a hot dog with mustard. I begin to fear for our civilization. This is how the Romans went down, you know. One day they were busy constructing aqueducts and then somebody got the idea to put a little toga on the dog and next thing you know, Visigoths were coming over the river and the Senate was having to buy up Greek statues because the Roman artisans were too busy making chicken suits for horses.

The one thing I noted is that Target halloween costumes for women are rather more demure than the ones at the Halloween Store, which tend towards slutty (by which I mean "Is that a skirt or a wide belt?") I am fine with this, actually. This is arguably the best my body is ever going to look, barring plastic surgery–if I don’t get to wear Halloween costumes of this ilk now, I never will, and then I can never look fondly back on my misspent youth.  (Mind you, since I’m actually going as an escort to trick-or-treating this year–god help us all–and it’s bloody cold out here, leggings will play heavily into my costume, which will insure a certain modesty.) 

Trick-or-treating. God’s teeth. Pray for me.

(And then there’s the thing on Saturday that I’m apparently bartending, but that’s another story and one that I shudder to address although I’m sure I will soon….)

Whew. Okay. Well, leaving aside the horrors of maggottyness in the shower for awhile, I offer the following links of things that are mildly icky, but not quite THAT icky. (Seriously. We need our minds taken off this. Dude.)

ACEO – Never A Good Sign
ACEO – Those Little Teacups (okay, not icky at all, but y’know.)

And, it being that time of year, let me turn your attention to zombies. If you have not been listening to Mur Lafferty’s podcast "The Takeover," it’s brief and highly entertaining, in the ol’ style radio drama sort of way…but forget me talking, Kevin did a much better review over at Intrepid Media. Go! Read!

(Even if you’re not into podcasting (and I’m really not) this is very accessible stuff that requires very little investment in terms of technological poking. I recommend it highly if you have heard of podcasting, but have not gotten into it because it’s a whole ‘nother world, because that’s about where I am with it.)

WUAAAAAUGGGGGHHHH!

So I had an exciting morning.

I was taking a shower, which was uneventful. Having finished, I got out, toweled off a bit, and then thought "Hmm, those sandals have been in the shower stall for awhile*, I shall move them."

I did so.

There were live wormy things under them. Small, black, very much alive…worms.

It would be nice to say that I handled this with my usual unshakable aplomb,** but the truth is that I screamed like a little girl, dropped the shoes, yelled an obscenity, staggered backward, skidded on the wet linoleum, yelped, and found myself on the opposite side of the bathroom, shuddering uncontrollably and frantically checking my feet to make sure nothing wormy had come in contact with my toes.

How the hell does one get WORMS in a shower? A second-story shower? I mean, sure, the spot under the soap has that kinda sticky build-up, okay, yeah, we get the hard water staining along the little metal door lip, but this is a reasonably clean shower! I have had cleaning PMS at this shower! NOTHING SURVIVES THAT!***

My first thought–they were very small, black, perhaps twice the size of a maggot and comparably shaped–was that we had somehow acquired shower leeches, which I don’t think really exist, but was enough to make me consider taking my feet off at the ankles, just in case, or perhaps just bathing with the garden hose for the next decade.

Once I had calmed down a bit–mostly by Cloroxing the hell out of the worms, flushing them, throwing the shoes away, and then freaking out at Kevin, using words like "scrub" and "bleach" and "non-negotiable demands," which he handled very well, with assurances that he would scour the shower down to the porcelain, as well as some gratifying cries of  "WORMS? WTF?!"–I went googling, and discovered that apparently this is not a terribly uncommon phenomenon, particularly for people on septic systems. The worms were in fact the larvae of the drain fly, which feeds on organic matter trapped in drains, the adults of which we had noticed, but which were sufficiently small that we just assumed it was gnats or fruit flies or whatever. The larvae generally stay in the drains, but possibly the area under the sandal was sufficiently protected and moist as to provide a habitat.

Fortunately for my peace of mind, it’s not due to failure of cleaning, but apparently to the set-up of the drains as to whether there are nooks where organic matter can hang up, and whether there is sufficient water flow to flush it out–which, for a bachelor living mostly alone for over a year, there probably wasn’t–and being on a septic system makes one much more prone to it.

The only solution is, unfortunately, pesticide. Much as I am opposed to pesticides, here I draw the line–I will NOT share the shower with maggots. If I have to pour poison down the drain, so be it. I am as ecologically minded as the next person, but there are limits.

Blaaaaarrrggh. That’ll wake you up in the morning…

ETA: Okay, I found an enzymatic drain cleaner that’s supposed to be safe for septic systems and will clean out the gunk from the pipes. It’s at least a stopgap until I can order the stuff that’s supposed to eat the slime and whatnot, and apparently it will not require poisoning the world. At any rate, I needed something that goes down the pipes NOW, TONIGHT, because I cannot handle taking a shower with the knowledge that there is a swarm of little wigglies just under my feet. I have limits.

*You know, the usual "Something vile has happened to these sandals, and while they have been cleaned, I am still a little iffy on them, so I will toss them in a corner of the shower to steam clean for a bit. Then I will forget they are there."

**I keep hoping that if I claim to have it, it will become true.

***Seriously. Men have died.

Oh font of all knowledge! I have a question, and the internet is failing me.*

When you’re harvesting bull semen, the general method is to shove an electrified probe up their rear until they provide the goods. (That’s the real money in cattle, apparently–top beef stud semen is worth many times its weight in gold.)

Now, I think there’s a limit to how often a human male can ejaculate and have viable sperm–if memory serves, it takes a few days for a sperm to grow, and so a guy could conceivably (no pun intended) ejaculate sufficiently that they would run through their available sperm until a new crop came out of the testes. I could be on crack on this one–my sex ed classes were in a public school–but such is memory. (NOT that you would rely on this for birth control–sweet jesus–but just that there’s only so much swimming space in the testes. For all I know you’d be ejaculating dust at that point.)

Now, the question that arose is about bulls. Presumably you wish to maximize your bull semen harvesting, but as the key bit with bull semen is viable sperm, how much down time does a bull get? Is he getting a prostate massage every six hours come hell or high water, or does he work one day a week and spend the rest of his time working on his novel? 

Since somebody’s gonna ask why I want to know this, the answer is simply "It came up." I have no plans of getting into the lucrative field of bull ejaculate any time soon, I assure you. Really.

*And by "failing me" I mean "I don’t want to google some of these terms."

Fear the ACEO!

Maybe I just like that I can do something utterly uncomplicated and straightforward, without having to obsess that it’s too simple, too easy, too lazy. I don’t have to obsess. The size does not allow it.

Grumpy Fish

As I have no idea how I should be pricing these, we will throw it to the free market to decide (not that the free market is battin’ a thousand lately, mind you…)

Grumpy Fish Auction

ACE-I-E-I-O

So I’ve been sort of intrigued by ACEOs* for the past couple of days, after picking up a wee little pack of pre-cut illo-board cards in the ACEO size and a book full of fascinating ATCs.

Thing is, there’s no WAY I can draw that small. I look at some of this stuff on-line and my jaw drops. I do not have that kind of mad micro skills. My fingers are not fat, but they are fumbly.** I look at people painting miniatures that you could lose in your ear canal, using size 0 brushes and needles, and my brain gets melty. There is some wonderful art done on these things. I will not be the one doing (oh god, NPR mentioned Joe the Plumber again, please kill me now) it, however.

But I do have the digital skills, and a really kick-ass printer, and gel medium and I have always liked some of the little collagey things some people do out of vintage papers and whatnot (although I have little skill in their physical assembly.) I’m sort of tempted to set up the collage digitally, print the layers separately, cut ’em out and assemble, then fool around with pen and ink and all that stuff. (Then I could scan THAT, convert it to a digital print, print it, and find myself staring into a freakish alternate dimension opened by the production of recursive art…) 

Mind you, I have no idea if anybody would want to BUY such a tiny collagey thing, or what I’d sell it for, and while it would be an original collage of digital elements, I’m not sure how anybody would feel buying THAT. And I wouldn’t mind offering very teeny LE prints, for that matter — the smallness of the size appeals to me as much as anything. A wee little original and maybe a series of 8 prints or something (that being the number one could fit on a single sheet of paper…) I think I just like the idea of being able to put them out on the table at cons, since I like the mini-print format quite a lot. They’d have to be really cheap, obviously–like $2 apiece or something for the prints–to be feasible, I suspect, but still.

I dunno, I may muck about with the idea a bit. I don’t have any interest in just doing really tiny paintings, per se, but I love the format and the potential.

*Art Card Editions and Originals, little thingies done on any surface 2.5 x 3.5 in size. AKA Artist Trading Cards, except that apparently there’s a grumpiness if you sell an ATC, so the ACEO is identical to an ACT, but you’re allowed to sell it. (You kinda get the feeling that the bland wikipedia statements about this dichotomy conceal a wealth of internet rage, flame-wars, and name-calling. The pixels just sit there innocently on thepage, but somewhere behind them, you smell burning. Mind you, I could be nuts.)

**Witness the Butter Knife Incidents. Yes. Incidents, plural. Kevin takes cover when I open the cutlery drawer now.