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Random Saturday Thoughts

1. Why is it that the mockingbird, which is capable of imitating the calls of other melodius birds (the cardinal and the chickadee, to name two that I can reliably identify), has, as its own call, a sound that is reminiscent of nothing so much as a squeaky garden-gate hinge? (Tim Powers once noted that their call sounds like they are saying "cheeseburger, cheeseburger", and cadence-wise, this is also true.) The inescapable conclusion is that they want it that way. I suppose that's not impossible. David Attenborough (my hero) tells of a Bird of Paradise that is imitative, some of which live close enough to civilization that they have incorporated into their repetoire things like car-alarms, and chainsaws. (I've heard the audio; it's uncanny. A very tiny bird, emitting the unmistakable sound of a chainsaw.) So I guess that mockingbirds might imitate squeaky hinges on purpose. Who knows?

2. It is Wolf Spider Season. Baby wolf-spiders keep turning up in unexpected places, like the end table, or the kitchen counter. Unaccountably, I find baby wolf-spiders kind of cute. Lucky thing, because in the old offices that Sardis used to occupy, back in the day, they particularly favored the windowsills above my desk, in the spring. They're odd-looking spiders -- their legs are very short in relation to their bodies -- and to the best of my knowledge, they don't spin webs. (They just scuttle around stalking their prey; they jump, which is another reason I ought to detest them.) Apparently somewhere deep in my brain, they fall on the correct side of the insect/crustacean divide. (Insects = loathsome; crustaceans = cute; also, delicious.) This doubly makes no sense, because when you get right down to it, wolf-spiders basically look like scorpions without the tails. And I loathe scorpions as I loathe no other arthropods, except for earwigs. Often, I don't really understand my brain.

3. Why have they not released "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" the series on DVD? Why? I caught the 93-minute pilot as a movie on the History Channel today. Gosh, I loved that show. "Oooh, Corsairs!" I said, as my dormant inner WWII Aircraft Geek was reawakened. *sigh*

ETA: SQUEE! They have! The first ten eps! *runs to Amazon*

ETA.2: Also? 4. Bought an indoor/outdoor thermometer at Radio Shack, in part because I had store credit I had to use up. Got it home only to find that to install batteries in the outdoor unit, it requires THE WORLD'S TINIEST PHILIPS' HEAD SCREWDRIVER. V. annoyed. The packaging couldn't say this along with advising it wanted two AA batteries? Where am I going to get a Philips' Head screwdriver that tiny? Grrr.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 4th, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC)
1. No firm opinion. Although a bird making car alarm sounds might be amusing.

3. No firm opinion. Although yes, Corsairs are cool.

2. You Are Whacked. I didn't even know your house had Wolf Spider season. I may never visit again. You must order the cats to kill them all immediately. *Shudder* etc etc.
Jun. 4th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
3. No firm opinion. Although yes, Corsairs are cool.

Have you ever seen the show? Starring Robert Conrad. The pilot also had some familiar names who were in the series (like Robert Ginty, and John Laroquette), and Dana Elcar (I'm not sure if he was in the series or not), and a bunch more of Hey, It's That Guy.

Also, it was an early Stephen J. Cannell effort. Qual. E. Tee. (Actually, it had higher production values than a lot of his later stuff. It's kind of like... if SJC did early M*A*S*H*.)

2. You Are Whacked. I didn't even know your house had Wolf Spider season. I may never visit again. You must order the cats to kill them all immediately. *Shudder* etc etc.

Don't be silly; the cats are oblivious. Also, it's not that bad. It's like at the old Sardis offices -- Wolf Spider Season only lasts as long as it takes the baby wolf-spiders to realize that my house doesn't actually contain their prey, and they all go elsewhere. And that doesn't take long. I've actually only seen, like, 3.

Now, granted -- you would be totally unable to ever do laundry in my basement. THAT is Spider Central. (That reminds me, I have to put a note on the washing machine to tell the other tenants that, logical as it is, they should NOT leave the lid of the washer open, because... yes, I have in the past gone down there and found spiders had set up house inside, obliging me to rid the machine of them somehow... or else have spider-guts strewn throughout my wash.)
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah. I wasn't a huge devoted fan or anything, but I've seen several episodes. It was syndicated on UHF in Philly for years. And you're right, for a Stephen J Cannell show it was fairly low on cheese.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)
And see...in my world, the washing machine would be filled with like...tasty spider treats. Some nice aromatic flies or something. Or maybe I'd install some kind of ultrasonic spider call that they'd find irrestistible. And once all the spiders in a 1 mile radius were all milling around in the basket of the washing machine, I, gibbering and cackling in my hardened spider proof bunker, observing via closed circuit cameras, would flip a switch and the lip would slam down *kathunk*. And then I'd set the washing machine to the anti-gentle cycle. Or frappe.

That would be awesome.

Jun. 4th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
It would.... but it would also waste Precious Quarters.

Plus, I gotta figure, the washing machine is ALREADY somehow filled with Tasty Spider Treats, (gnats probably), or else why would they bother setting up house there in the first place? And that's disturbing.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
Quarters expended in the cause of mass spider extermination are no waste.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
Sez you. Me, I got laundry building up.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Wolf spiders big scary jaw things look like mustaches. Earwing mandibles look ucky, plus those tail things. But wolf spiders look like they should be in a barbershop quartet.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
No, see, these are BABY wolf-spiders. Therefore they are far too tiny to see their Big Mandibles. Seriousl, these things are, like, the size of... the "B" on this screen.

I didn't say I was wild about adult wolf-spiders. One appeared in the window-well of my car today, and I had to use an old drinking-straw to flick it off the car. Besides I'm sure it will find a lot more prey in the grass, than on my car. I hope.
Jun. 4th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, Corsairs are way cool, and I loved that series, too. When my father was CO for the Marine Corps fighter squadron which was in some way or another the direct descendent of the one in the series, he got all of the then-surviving members of the squadron together and threw them a somewhat legendary kick-ass party (this was in Hawaii, and I believe he finagled them free military transport, so almost all came). They're still wild and wacky after all these years, if a bit slower. And somewhere around here, I have a piece of squadron letterhead with a note to me and all of their signatures -- including Pappy Boyington.
Jun. 5th, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)

Yeah, this presentation by the History Channel was quite interesting, as leading into commercial breaks they often had little clips of comments from actual members of the 214; and then they also had two historians on hand who'd written books about Boyington and the squadron respectively, talking about the historical accuracy (or lack thereof) of the film/series. Which was cool. It was noted that most of the pilots weren't necessarily as edgy to start with as the film suggested; but that yeah, socially speaking, as a squadron, they pretty much came to deserve their rowdy reputation.

Apparently the DVD set has an interview with Boyington, which would be interesting.
Jun. 5th, 2005 09:02 am (UTC)
Nifty, maybe I can borrow it from you at some point (that is, if we ever see ya... ;>) If you haven't run across it already, there's a pretty good synopsis here:


Jun. 4th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
It is Wolf Spider Season. Baby wolf-spiders keep turning up in unexpected places,

We are curently in the midst of ant swarming season. Oh my god. So HUGE. Billions of Nasty Things with wings and everything. Ick.

As for that screwdriver.. have you tried the kind that comes in an eyeglasses repair kit?
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:49 am (UTC)
Yuck. With WINGS? YUCK.

I'd wonder if it was carpenter ants (we used to get those at 4 Walnut; I don't so much here, but I do see the occasional one), but I don't know if those ever involve wings.

Yeah, am going to try to get an eyeglass repair kit at, like, CVS when I'm out today. I just couldn't face getting home at the end of a long string of errands, and then having to go out and hunt down something else last night.
Jun. 4th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
i love what you said about the mockingbird. making a choice to sing a specific song for whatever reason is quite charming. well, maybe not *every* reason. hee!

and of course the packaging would leave a few details out. or perhaps write them as tiny as the screwdriver required to put the batteries in. yeah for eyeglass repair kits. *g*
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
The eyeglass repair kit (I don't own one, yet) is my next plan. Although, I didn't think those had philips-heads. I'll find out, I guess. It's that or march back into the Radio Shack store and brandish it at them and complain bitterly about the whole "you need to buy a specialized tool, which costs extra, in order to deal with this product" thing. Which I hate. I hate it anyway, and I hate it more when they don't even tell you, so you get all the way home at the end of a long round of errand-running, and all you can do is look at this and think, "oh, for fuck's sake", because there's no way you're hauling yourself out again at that point to hunt down the stupid little tool.
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:39 am (UTC)
i hate that moment when i arrive home *at last*, only to discover that i have to turn right around and go back out for more stuff. ack. and after being around noise and activity *all* day long it's wonderful to arrive home to peace and quiet.

this makes teleporting even more of an important option. still, cracks me up in an existential way that the people who put these packages together are so immersed in their specialized field, that they *forget* to include the important details. *sigh*

i once had a person at the store open the package before i bought it, at which point we discovered that they hadn't included all the parts anyway. is it some kind of murphy's law shopping karma?

i hope you have a nice quiet errand free day. *hugs*
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:56 am (UTC)
:) The main question for today is whether I will get off my butt, and out kayaking. It's possible...
Jun. 5th, 2005 10:15 am (UTC)
hee! i can identify with that sunday afternoon feeling.

i've unfolded the ski machine, and the big-blue-execersize-ball-of-hilarity (tm carolyn_claire) has been rolled into the living room.

i figure it will be hard to avoid working out as long as i keep watching the 4400 marathon. *g*
Jun. 4th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
I love Black Sheep Squadron (or Baa Baaa Black Sheep or whatever they call it.) I used to watch it all the time when it was on regular syndication on some channel.
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
You know, I didn't know the difference, either, but apparently (I now read, in connection with the DVD release) the series was originally called "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (which was the title of the book that Boyington wrote, which inspired the creation of the series), and it ran for a season and a half or so on one channel, was cancelled, and then was picked up again after a short hiatus by another channel, retitled "Black Sheep Squadron", and ran for another season. (It's not a long series, overall.) So, there we go! It's BOTH!
Jun. 4th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
how is it that you can make "baby wolf-spiders" seem cute?

your brain is indeed a curious place.

i am NOT buying Baa Baa Black Sheep. Thank goodness that's one fandom I have no danger of being sucked into.

you've been obsessed with mockingbirds a long time. maybe you should put one on your crest.
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
how is it that you can make "baby wolf-spiders" seem cute?

'Cause they kinda are. I dunno. Don't ask me.

your brain is indeed a curious place.

Indeed it is.

i am NOT buying Baa Baa Black Sheep. Thank goodness that's one fandom I have no danger of being sucked into.

Dude, I never said YOU had to buy it. I said that *I* was tempted to buy it. And I'm not in any danger of being sucked into the FANDOM. (Is there a fandom? Of course there must be, somewhere, I guess.) I just haven't seen it in years, and it really is kinda like an hour-long M*A*S*H* only with WWII fighter pilots instead of Korean War doctors; and a little less wacky.

I can't imagine why you'd even be tempted. Except of course for the Robert Conrad thing. (This series was made in '76, so he isn't as heart-breakingly young as in Wild Wild West; but hey, he's playing a maverick character, and he's 41, which isn't a bad age for him. Even I was sitting there thinking, huh, yeah, Robert Conrad, and *I'm* not the one who's all ga-ga over him.)
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:13 am (UTC)
Oh, also? I am NOT obsessed with mockingbirds! I don't know what gives you that idea. It's just that I've got a loud one that lives right outside my office, and I've got another loud one that lives right around my house here. They're hard not to notice. Especially since I'm always like, "ooh, a cardinal!... no, it's just a mockingbird...." and "you can't fool me, you're not a real chickadee, you're a mockingbird."

And I just opened all my windows yesterday, so I was getting to listen to "squeaky-gate, squeaky-gate" a lot.
Jun. 5th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
There aren't many instances where I'm glad I live in England, but this is one of em. Wolf Spiders? Now, normally I don't have too much of a prob with spiders, but I *really* don't like the sound of these lil buggers. Hoping they don't learn to swim and cross the Atlantic.

I agree, Corsairs are pretty cool, but I'm more of a fast jet geek. Give me an F-14 Tomcat (preferably *without* Tom Cruise) and I'm a happy bunny.

Never heard of Baa Baa Black Sheep other than the nursery rhyme, but if it's a new fandom for you my love, enjoy and be happy :o)
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
Okay, okay... apparently, I was misinformed as to the common, informal name of these spiders. So they aren't actual wolf spiders, as I had long been told. Does "jumping spiders" sound better, though? It doesn't really, does it?

Note, adults are about a quarter-inch long, at most. They're non-toxic. And they're very shy, so there isn't a huge chance of them getting near enough to you to bite, anyway. Whew!

I wouldn't be so sanguine about them, if there was. I've never had one jump *onto* me.


Ah, see -- fast jets actually do very little for me. Really fast cars, too, come to think of it. I'm way more of a vintage girl, in terms of both aircraft and cars.


Not a new fandom, as such. :) Just an old, old fondness. Another of those shows from my childhood that I loved that I'd liked to see again, and ooh, I can! And unlike some of them (for example, "The A-Team"), I know I could watch this one without too much wincing. (I know that A-Team's out on DVD now, but I can't quite bear to bring myself to watch. Better the hazy fond memories, there.)

There are a *lot* of media properties I have loved over the years, some of which I then get induced to want to own. BBBS would be one. But I tend to feel *fannish* (in the sense of wanting to get involved in a fandom, with the fic and the discussions and all) about almost none of them. Fandoms are like lightning striking, for me. The only two media properties I've ever been involved in fandoms for are "Blake's 7" (back in college; had it not been for the college dynamics, I don't think I would have fallen into the fandom), and now, SG-1.

I loved a bunch of shows in between; some of them I taped religiously to save, and some I didn't and would still like to own the DVDs for. Bab5, Buffy, Angel, Farscape, Firefly. Adored them all. Wasn't tempted into the fandoms. That seems to be more my default, and SG-1 seems to be what's really unusual. (And for me, that can be neatly summed up by the Power That Is Jack. ;-) He seems to be the critical factor that pushed me over the edge.)
Jun. 5th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
Wasn't tempted into the fandoms. That seems to be more my default, and SG-1 seems to be what's really unusual. (And for me, that can be neatly summed up by the Power That Is Jack. ;-) He seems to be the critical factor that pushed me over the edge.)****

Well, it would do, wouldn't it? ;o) My GF and I went to a Firefly con and the energy was infectious. Loved it so much we're going to another one in November. Loved B5 with a passion, Buffy, Angel and Farscape too. Muchly looking forward to Ben Browder coming to Stargate SG-1 :oD
Jun. 5th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
I *adore* FF, can't wait for "Serenity" to come out... I just don't feel the urge to seek out fanfic or anything. I think it must be because I'm content with what the show itself offered me. That is, if you subscribe to the theory of fandom being especially intense when you crave more than the source material provides.

I don't always subscribe to that theory, although sometimes it's as good as any. It's probably somewhat true in the case of SG-1. I think there's more going on with it than that, though, and I'm not always sure what all the factors are.

I'm looking forward to BB coming to SG-1, definitely. BB is great, although like MS/Daniel he fits into the category of guys whom I can appreciate in an aesthetic way, but who don't really push my buttons themselves. ;-) I'm just hoping that the enormous New Shinyness of BB on SG-1 doesn't make everyone be all "Jack who?", because I know that *I* am going to be relying on fanfic to keep giving me necessary doses of Jack, since the show won't be.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )