Thursday, September 30, 2021
What do you do when there's an alligator in your yard and he doesn't want to leave? If you live in Florida, you need to consider that it might happen. A man identified in some news accounts as Eugene Bozzi and others as Abdul Gene Malik, also known as Florida Man in the most superhero-like use of the term, took matters into his own hands when it happened in Mount Dora. (via Fark)
When she leaves her parents' home, she is excited about having her own place. She is immediately confronted with the limitations of space, money, and the wishes of others: a husband, roommates, and/or landlords. Very well, she says, I will work within my limitations to personalize this place and make it my own. Gotta get creative!
She may not realize it even then, but the nesting instinct comes from way back, and is present in many animal species, in that they are driven to craft the perfect place to raise children. For many women, that time comes eventually, and she works her butt off to keep everything under control. She may have to hold down a job or two to keep it going. She will have to relinquish some control of the shared space to her partner, and eventually to her children. But she does her best to keep the nest as well as she can. Still, chores like deep cleaning and control of unnecessary inventory are a lower priority than Junior's grades or keeping her job.
Children grow up. Spouses leave or die, or if they don't, you come to an understanding about your shared space. But the nesting instinct doesn't go away. When the last child moves out and she can catch her breath, she realizes that now, finally, she can have a home as clean and tasteful as her grandmother's, but with her own taste.
I am at that stage now, and getting there not as easy as you might think. Of course, I am 20 years overdue, since I became a mother later in life, and moving furniture alone isn't quite the same when you're in your 60s. I've waited a long time to begin gracious living.
It was shocking to find out how much "stuff" I have. Over the years, we routinely held yard sales, gave away extra things, and tossed out tons of unnecessary inventory, but there's so much left. I admit that I quit getting rid of furniture and dishes for a few years in the hopes that the kids could take them when they moved out, but they took very little. Yeah, it's better to travel light when you're young, but anything you can take is something you don't have to buy, I told them. Yet they left most of it.
Then there's the fact that my last husband collected tools and building supplies (and vehicles, but I've already taken care of those). It was handy when there was someone here who knew how to use all that stuff. Now I need to assess every item to consider the odds that it might ever be useful to me.
Trying to organize things only uncovered more things. For example, I was proud of myself for selling an entire set of luggage and a few duffle bags. I gave a box full of backpacks to the local school. Then I eventually found five more suitcases on wheels and three more backpacks. This, after the kids took theirs when they moved out. I went through a rarely-used closet and found two aquariums and three sewing machines I had forgotten about.
Then there's the cleaning. I had stacked boxes of yard sale items in the stairwell for a couple of years. After the yard sale, it looked empty enough (it wasn't), so I decided to clean it. Do you know how dirty a piano can get in twenty years? Scratch that, I've only owned that piano for twenty years, but it probably hasn't been cleaned in its 117-year history. Cleaning the piano made me realize how dirty the chifforobe is, and cleaning that got me seeing the remnants of spiderwebs in every hard-to-reach corner of the twenty-foot stairwell. I started this room thinking that I would mop the floor and be done with it, but now it's turned into a weeks-long process. And every room in the house is the same way.
Then there's the outside. I love gardening, but I don't need a vegetable garden for one person, and the soil needs a rest anyway. While I don't want more lawn to mow, I need erosion control because this place is right on the riverbank. My plan is to plant more trees and expand the flower gardens, but it's slow going.
And the house itself needs some TLC. The deck is falling apart. Should I replace it, or use that space for something else? Either way, it will have to wait until I can afford to hire a crew, and I'll have to do something with all that junk stored underneath it. Besides, it's just the largest and most visible problem. There are other priorities like getting rid of the bats and replacing the broken storm door and having that light fixed... the list is really too long to think about.
Yeah, this all makes me sound like a horrible housekeeper, and yes, I am. Since I moved into this house, I've been busy raising and supporting a family, then launching my kids into the world, then dealing with a second widowhood, then caring for my mother, all while holding down a job or two. I'm certainly not alone in that.
A story I've told before sums this up. As a kid, I wondered why grandma's house was always so clean and in good repair, while ours wasn't. Mom only got annoyed when I asked. When I had kids, they asked me the same thing, because by then my mother's home was perfect. And I understood her annoyance from all those years ago.
This essay has enabled me to put off mopping the stairwell for an hour now, so it has served its purpose.
Disney's holiday film for 2021 Encanto is the story of a family who has been blessed with a magical house and superpowers. The trailer shows how far computer animation has advanced, with eye-popping colors and flowing motion that rivals Disney's golden age of animated feature films. I also like the idea that Disney films are continuing their move away from defining a happy ending as a romantic coupling and more toward family bonds. Encanto is scheduled to open on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
How would different animals run if they had human bodies? Comedian Daniel LaBelle is glad to demonstrate the way various animals run, all in less than a minute. My favorite has to be the chicken. (via Laughing Squid)
A full professor finds out she is grossly underpaid, and there's nothing that be done about it. (via Metafilter)
This year, photographer Tara Mapes went to the cornfield and brought some clowns. What could be more terrifying than that? Oh, you'll find out, when you check out the rest of her photo shoot for Halloween 2021.
The National Zoo is Hand-Raising a Cheetah Cub. In an update a week later, we learn the cub is doing well.
Game Document is Notable for Something Besides the Game. Can you figure out what it is?
A Twitter story about where our medical system is right now. "we are tapped out and because of that your father is going to die. Maybe today. I'm sorry."
Guy dancing in the great outdoors. Be sure to turn the sound up before you start the video.
Haunted Places With Chilling Histories Around the World.
The Cactus That Only Exists in Exile. "When is a species considered extinct—when it no longer exists in the wild or when it no longer exists at all?" (via Damn Interesting)
A blast from the past (2014): 11 Wild and Crazy Sandwich Mashups.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
The new movie version of Frank Herbert's Dune is set to hit theaters on October 22, so it seemed to be a good time for Screen Junkies to revisit the first attempt at turning the sprawling 1965 sci-novel into a film. The 1984 David Lynch version was critically panned and turned out to be a box office failure. However, the disappointment stuck in the consciousness of Gen X so well that another film was inevitable.
PS: If you aren't familiar with Alan Smithee, read this.
The Eisenbahnbetriebsfeld in Darmstadt, Germany, has a model train that may not be the biggest or prettiest in the world, but it is probably the most accurate, because it is used to teach rail traffic control. The Eisenbahnbetriebsfeld model train can be controlled by mechanical switches, which can be a hundred years old, or by electronic switching from the mid-20th century, or by computerized systems that only the wealthier cities have. If you want to be a railway signal operator in Germany, you'll have to learn all the systems.
The World's Most Hated Fast Food Brands.
Unvaccinated Mom Wants To Know If You’re Coming Home For Covid This Year. (via Kottke)
A Look at Seven Odd Victorian Halloween Traditions.
Cat on a slick tin roof.
Math Is Personal. How one professor changed the culture of mathematics for his students. (via Metafilter)
The World of Toilets Shaped Like Skulls.
How would humans decompose on Mars? (via Damn Interesting)
The Winners of the 2021 Ocean Photography Awards. Click the numbers beneath the winning images to see other top-ranked photographs in each category.
A blast from the past (2013): 10 Delicious Examples of Sushi Art.
Yeah, it's a fight of sorts, between two cats who can't be bothered to even stand up. And they are easily distracted, and have to take breaks for a quick wash. But they keep at each other for quite some time. I have two children who are just like this. (via Daily of the Day)
Monday, September 27, 2021
A guy named Backyard Racing has a large back yard and plenty of time on his hands. He spent four months and $9,000 building an enormous Hot Wheels track. In this POV video, we soar through every corner of the property, including a leap through the air, a couple of underwater sequences, and loop-the-loops. The effect of watching this is akin to going on a roller coaster ride without waiting in line or tossing your cookies. Keep your eyes on the tracks going around the turns and you'll know what I mean.
Click to the right to advance the comic. This comic is almost the opposite of one posted a while back. There's always tomorrow! This comic is from Roby Poche at StrangeTrek. Yeah, he knows there's a typo in the third panel.
Kateryna Nikiforova is a bounce juggler, which is just what it sounds like. A juggling routine can be made to appear way more complex and confusing by bouncing balls off a surface, yet she manages to keep them going. (via Memo of the Air)
The Soviet Pilot Who Stole a Top Secret Aircraft.
Vampire Bats are Full of Love and Kindness -for Each Other.
America's First Female Spy is Still Unidentified.
William Shatner is Going into Space. He is 90 years old. (via Fark)
How Henrietta Barnett Reformed the Children's Workhouse of London. (via Strange Company)
The House That Inspired The Conjuring is for Sale -Again. Get more details here.
The Foo Fighters Share a Stage with Corporate Kawaii Characters.
Dasha Plesen's Petri Dish Art. (via Nag on the Lake)
A blast from the past (2014): 9 Extinct Big Birds.
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Before social media, before iPhones, before YouTube, even, there was Homestar Runner. It was goofy and subversive, funny and innovative. The experimental Flash animation didn't need any promotion or search engine optimization because it was shared granularly. If that sounds like jargon to you, what it means is that everyone liked Homestar Runner, so people turned their friends and acquaintances onto it. This video takes a look at how Homestar, Strong Bad, and the other characters took over the early internet to the delight of all who were desperate to find anything worth the effort of logging onto the web. It succeeded because it was fun.
The cartoon survived the demise of Flash, and it's still there, even though the videos are now hosted by YouTube. (via Digg)
Phil is a huge malamute who fell in love with his owner's new baby. He is Mia's protector, cuddler, and friend. His dog buddies Niko and Teddy, and even Milo the cat, love the baby, but Phil was enamored with her even before she was born! Read more about Phil and his family at Supa Fluffy.
Saturday, September 25, 2021
This song from A Cappella Science is a parody of "Bohemian Rhapsody" aimed at physicists and those who love physics. The lyrics, and a link for buying the song, are at the YouTube page. If you understand any of this, you have my utmost respect. All vocals by Tim Blais, even that puppet doing the processed falsetto. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Friday, September 24, 2021
Lucky for this sheep, he was spotted by Australian TV star and former rugby player Nick Cummins. Anyone would be willing to help the sheep (we hope), but Cummins was strong enough and knowledgeable enough to get it done. Read more about the incident at Supa Fluffy.
The Mandalorian won seven Emmys this week: Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup, Outstanding Musical Composition, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Stunt Coordination, Outstanding Stunt Performance, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series, and of course, Outstanding Special Effects. The effects are what makes the series seem like a movie, one that just continues, to the delight of fans. Enjoy this overview of the visual effects from season two.
As you can see, they used every trick in the book to make you believe you're in a galaxy far, far away. Not only CGI, but puppetry, stop motion, digital effects, animatronics, miniatures, LED backgrounds, whatever works. Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Bluff explains it as we go. The seamless way all these different techniques blend together in the finished product paid off handsomely. (via io9)
The Amazing Story of Eddie Munster’s Kustom Chain-Link Bike.
Great Scientists of the 21st Century. The latest from Tom the Dancing Bug.
The Great Tarantula Migration is Underway in Colorado. (via Fark)
Kurt Vonnegut's Strange Connection to the Cape Cod Cannibal.
Employment Outlook: Which Jobs Are Growing and Declining. (via Digg)
Catching Birds with Your Bare Hands -for Science!
Why These Children Fell into Endless Sleep. A neurologist makes an emotional visit to understand “resignation syndrome.” (via Damn Interesting)
Stray Dog Goes to Veterinary Clinic to Give Birth. That's a good dog.
A blast from the past (2014): 8 Antarctic Traditions.
No other developed nation has a debt ceiling, and we should just get rid of it to avoid the shenanigans we go through on a semi-annual basis, and the occasional crisis. Hold onto your hats, we may be nearing another one. (via Fark)
Mitch McConnell vs. Mitch McConnell pic.twitter.com/YmwubhEdVd— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) September 22, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Click to the right to advance the comic. Then you'll see a scenario playing out across the country. The CEO would probably accede to the guy's wishes, but middle management needs to retain their reason for existence. This comic is from Trying Times Comics.
From light to object to our eyes to our brains, the process of perceiving color in our environment is pretty complex. This video from the American Museum of Natural History breaks the process down into its steps in a fairly thorough yet understandable way. Oh, and it's beautiful, too. I sort of wish it had narration, just so that we could continuously follow the gorgeous graphics. (via Geeks Are Sexy)
A Tale of Two Freddies. Jared531 wore this costume to the NY Village Halloween parade last year and was such a hit that he posted the instructions for pulling off the costume. (via reddit)
Female Spiders’ Maternal Instincts Captured in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber.
The Only Dry Martini Recipe You’ll Ever Need. Period.
Before Food Trucks, Americans Ate ‘Night Lunch’ From Beautiful Wagons. (via Kottke)
What is Fat Bear Week, and How Did It Get Started?
Why everybody’s hiring but nobody’s getting hired. It's not just the pandemic and the low pay.
Searching for the Platonic Ideal of the Piña Colada in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (via Digg)
A blast from the past (2014): 11 Beautiful Black Chickens.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Disney's latest effort in the Disneyland ride genre is Jungle Cruise, still in some theaters and, of course, on Disney+. The film has made millions of dollars, but performed below expectations. It has yet to break even. This Honest Trailer explains why- the source material is thin, the plot is formulaic, and everything about Jungle Cruise is borrowed from other films that did it better. However, its more than two hours is filled with puns and dad jokes, which cements its connection with the theme park ride, so it works as a kids movie.
People on the island of La Palma in the Spanish Canary Islands are scrambling to evacuate their homes as a volcanic eruption continues. Watch this drone footage showing lava from the volcano engulfing a neighborhood. (via TYWKIWDBI)
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The animated TV series Futurama only aired until 2013, but so many things that happened in it could be set in 2021. It only makes sense, because the show was set in the future and made jokes about how the world changed since the early 2000s. Yet many of those jokes were so precient that you might even believe it was from the future. However, Futurama writers were just following bubbling trends to their ultimate, if ridiculous, conclusions. (via Digg)
Do you remember? The 21st night of September! It's that day again- not the autumnal equinox, but a very memorable day in the song "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire. And every year, right on time, comedian Demi Adejuyigbe leads us in a celebration of joy over a date on the calendar. Adejuyigbe certainly put on a show this year, and invites you to participate in a charity raffle here. By the time you read this, the $100,000 goal will be history, but every bit will go to a good cause. See the entire series of Adejuyigbe's September 21 videos from the past six years at Pop Culturista.
Update: They raised the goal to $250,000, which also may be history by the time you see this.
Not that it's all that deep. Wouldn't the planet be better off if all the leaders of the world could just get together and sing a joyful song? This is what world peace looks like! (via reddit)
What is the Oldest Archaeological Site?
20 Memorable Farts Heard 'Round the World.
The Weirdo American Who Invaded Mexico, Nicaragua, And Honduras (Without U.S. Permission).
Colorado Man Finds Golden Ticket; Wins Candy Factory. (via Fark)
Shudder Is Teaming Up With Horror Hostess Elvira for Some Seasonally Appropriate Programming.
Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow. The fact that these acts lasted into the 20th century reveals the audience's fascination with race. (via Nag on the Lake)
The Mysterious Sex Lives of Dinosaurs. (via Fark)
The Takeout is holding a seven-week deep dive into the top Halloween treats.
In week one, they ranked the candies by their wrappers, and in week two, they ranked them by the nostalgia factor.
A blast from the past (2010): Neatolicious Fun Facts: Bluetooth.