Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saying, "You Do It, Too" Just Means We're Both Creepy
I just… I can’t let it go. That’s the problem. I think if I had got the message long ago that she was completely utterly straight, I’d be far less interested and burning with curiosity not knowing and always wondering if I just made it up in my head that she could be queer.
No flag, no queer community. Those are the rules I've just made up. If there was an App for this--there should be an app for this--I would call it: The Queerubric. You plug in a title. It tells you if its fans are queer or not with 80% accuracy.What? I'm no Steve Jobs. 80% accuracy is good enough.
Wait...Tegan and Sara?
*Am I the only one wary of setting a relationship status with someone new? Ending a relationship on Facebook and changing your status from "in a relationship" to "single" is the worst; you have to cancel your relationship. Cancel. Like a dentist appointment.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I've had a couple of oddball stories winding around my way. So, we're going to have a new installment today of mini-stories. I won't say short-stories because technically they're not even that long.
Starting last Sunday I went to go hang with my grandpa. We just recently buried my grandma's ashes and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how well he is doing. Hell, I'm not sure how well *I'd* be doing under the circumstances. So, I show up and I bring him homemade pot pie. The pie went down well enough and we sat, watching the classical music ARTs channel while I put photos away that had been piling up. About halfway through putting the photos away--mostly of people I don't know--one fell out onto my lap. It was a very nice, beautifully pristine black & white photo. I recognized not one but two faces, both very young--painfully young, smiling sweet. It was my grandma and grandpa's wedding photo, decked out in white--both of them, my grandpa had a white suit on--and my grandma was wearing a classic 40's pinched shoulder dress. I looked up and there he was, smiling in the same way, but far more wrinkles. He was happily telling me about the Prune Tree Farm in California his father's father had owned.
For the past week or two I've been car shopping. Usually, when I involve myself in any sort of Big Buy or Life Altering Moment I tend to curl up inside into a little ball of nerves. And not unlike the process of a star turning into a black hole (bear with me, I've been watching How the Universe Works for the past four days straight) the pressure of my nerves has actually caused me to draw further within myself. I've become quiet. I've become taciturn (at least, I think so).
My mother, who hasn't bought a car in 22 years, very kindly took on the task of being my wing woman throughout the car-appraising process. That translated into Mom being the Good Cop and Beryl being the Bad Cop.
Good Cop Mom: "It's got a sunroof?"
Bad Cop Beryl: "How many miles does it have? Show me the Carfax. What do you mean you don't allow a mechanic to check it out first?"
Good Cop Mom: "Beryl, it's got a sunroof--AND heated seats!"
It was a confusing time for all.
One particular car caught my eye. It was a 2003 BMW 3 Series sedan, steel blue. All you need to know from those words is that it's blue with four doors and isn't ridiculously old. The Toyota Camry you see everywhere? Same year. Same color. It caught my eye because it was relatively young and in my price range and also holy mother goose, Batman, it was a Friggin' BMW. Plus, I have been worried I'd end up with a Lesbian Car, aka a Subaru Outback (Sorry, Alex) or a Hipster Car, aka a 1991 Volvo sedan (no, Mom, this doesn't make you a Hipster). I've wanted an Outback for a while but the reality is I don't even fake going camping nearly as much as that kind of car implies. Plus, I am not fashionable enough to pull off the hipster ironically retro look.
So, I walk over to the dealer, who looks like he just walked off the set of a bad mafia movie, and say to him, "I'm interested in the BMW over there--the blue one. Can I do a test drive?" I take note of my surroundings as I say this: The cars around me look nice enough. But, the dealers have also got a mobile home for temporary office space, which to me signifies less that they're being low-budget and more that they have a get away car for an office.
He disappears into the Office On Wheels and comes back, shoving his hand through the air a couple times at his 20-something mechanic to go pull it out for me. He then turns to me and pushes the key in my direction:
"You drive car now."
I take a moment to let that sink in. I want to make a comment about Mother Russia, but I found it inopportune as this man was likely to decide the price on the car. I did not want the conversation to go as such:
Beryl: "Is that price fixed or can it change?"
Surly Dealer: "No, it's not fixed. For you? 5,000 more."
I ended up not only test driving, but re-test driving it, bringing my father along to drive it, bringing a mechanic to test drive, and then buying it.
So. I have a car now. And yes, it's a Friggin' BMW. As Mother Good Cop says, "And Beryl, let me tell you, this is no Lesbian car."
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Seriously, I love the holidays. When the weather turns to more windy and rain I love to walk around or go for runs. When the leaves get crunchy underfoot I am all over them, making mulch faster than my sidewalk trees can absorb them. And the scarves--don't even get me started on the scarves. I have more scarves than I have neck. Even if I were a Giraffe there would still be too much scarf.
"Turkey: $18. Holiday themed centerpiece: $30. The therapy induced from getting together with the family: priceless."
p.s. Seriously, if you are interested in Life and Beryl cards--what in the hell is wrong with your local card shop? Just steal these and print them out on your printer and go support a local business instead. Seriously. It's what I do.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I'm late with the blog again. But, more importantly, I have a situation. A Laundry Situation.
The Laundry Situation
A lot of changes have occurred in a short period of time. Lots of little things fell to the wayside I normally keep up with weekly (like the blog). Then I ran out of clothes.
No, that's not dirty laundry. That would be normal. No, no, see I washed my clothes only to be too tired to fold it on Laundry Night. So, I left the massive pile in the bin. Then I woke up the next day and thought "Man, that's a huge pile. Too bad I have work all day. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll do it."
As most procrastinators will recognize, this is Phase 1 of Denial: believing in yourself.
I then proceeded to push off folding it for another four days. It became absurd, just sitting there, while my actual dirty laundry was increasing in size, without a bin to place it in. I decided to be pro-active. Did you fold it? you ask. No. That would be smart.
I instead moved the huge pile--yes, moved it--to on top of my bed, wherein I thought to myself evilly, "This will get me to fold it! I'll have to fold it to get to my bed!"
Turns out, that tactic didn't work. New data from studies show that a Tired Beryl is ten times more likely to push piles of clean clothes onto the floor rather than fold it. So for the next few days a new, festering routine kicked up:
In the morning, I would wake to see the huge pile on the floor and move it happily to the bed, thinking "Tonight's the night... I can feel it," then of course, shifting it back onto the floor amid a sense of dread and self-disappointment for the morning. It was like a sick, twisted cycle I couldn't pull myself out of. It's still on my bed, waiting.
That's when I came up with my brilliant idea.
So What's Up?
Laundry, like many things in my life, has become obsolete in the face of two part time jobs that are now coming to an end to be replaced by...
*drum roll please*
A full-time position with my favorite theatre company. Not only has this meant a surreal week of interviews and pleasant surprises amid all the other odd commuting and hours I've been working, this has ALSO meant a huge shift in my life for the foreseeable future, all of which I hope to happily keep you abreast* of.
Thank you for your patience and I plan to be back on schedule (whatever that is--what was the last day I was traditionally posting on? Tuesday? Sunday? Can't remember because it's been that. long.) at the top of November, if not sooner.
p.s. Teehee: "a-breast."
So Halloween approaches. You might remember my Otter Costume I fixed together last year.
Earlier today on Facebook it became clear that a lot of people believed me to be a good Robin Hood as a child. So, I managed to find my old Robin Hood hat again. And then I realized there was an opportunity here I could not pass up. I give you...
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
You May Have A Systematic Way Of Looting But We've Got An Art Historian With A Memory Like A Polyurethane Mattress
|I can't help it. I like someone automatically if they're a smoker.***|
Anyway, the Germans created an organization solely dedicated to systematic looting of the occupied territories. It was called the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzen Gebietesay that three times fastor the ERR for short. The ERR used the Jeu de Paume as their central storage and sorting unit before sending thousands of pieces of art--pieces of culture--to Germany.
|Emptied frames of the works stolen by the Nazis during WWII|
I Spy With My German-Fluent Eye
Rose was a quiet woman. She didn't dress flamboyantly and didn't cause much attention, which is a good thing because for over four years she recorded the distribution and looting of over 20,000 pieces of art. Much to the German's chagrin, Rose could also understand German.
Imagine that sweet, quiet librarian you always thought nothing of, spying on every conversation between brutal, murderous Nazis. She would just sit there, soaking up the information, memorizing the names, titles and locations of every piece, and would later write it down every night in a secret journal to be distributed to the Allied Forces if and when the invasion would occur. She also risked her life to send this information the French Underground so that bombs wouldn't be dropped on the trains shipping out the priceless pieces of art.
And that's why you should know about Rose Antonia Maria Valland. Yes, she has been awarded and remembered by the French Government for her incredible work. She published the book Le front de l'art in 1961 describing her incredible story and proceeded to become the chair of many artistic preservation boards. However, I would have much preferred to learn about her during my sparse education of important women in, say, middle school or high school or hell even in college. The fact that I'm learning about her now leads me to believe that many other Americans have no idea about her.
So, remember: Rose Valland.
***Small Disclaimer: I like you automatically if you're a smoker but only if you're also French, female and a middle-aged Spy working against the Nazis.
Friday, September 30, 2011
So the other day I was working an event. The event? A visiting Ambassador giving a speech to Americans on the status of the geo-political alliance of select nations he represents. It was my first official night working as a tech for this new job I've just started and I didn't want to mess it up. Tech isn't really my thing anymore (partly because I just don't have that much black clothing) but I wanted to be a team player and show my new bosses I could take on responsibility outside of the office. I wanted to shine and prove that I could represent our company with pride and eloquence. And I certainly didn't want to look like a fool in front of an Ambassador. That's my sister's specialty.*
I show up. I'm wearing my blacks. I'm calm, I'm cool, I'm collected. I've been given a simple task: make sure the event goes up on time. The event is simple enough; it's just a powerpoint. With a man talking. Not that big of a setup--just a couple microphones, a podium, some cables, a table with linen and water and viola! you have a classy setup for a classy man. No problem, right?
It's about five minutes before people--real people, not just people that theoretically are arriving but real, live, human beings that have come here, come to see my event and be in the room that I'm setting up--start to arrive. That's when the first bump of the night happened.
I go over to my boss's boss, who happens to be there as an audience member, and ask politely, "When are they bringing in their computer to set up their powerpoint?"
She responds just as politely, "Oh, you're providing them with the computer."
And then her smile falters a bit, "You've got a computer for them, right?"
And I say as calmly as I can, "Oh, did not know that. I was told that they were bringing it in."
"Well, you can provide them with a computer right?" she smiles again, "I don't have to worry, right?"
This is about when the night started to take a turn for the bad.
"Oh no, you don't have to worry. I'll let you know if you need to worry."
I stroll back over to the stage. My tech--let's call him Ben for the sake of anonymity--is finalizing the cabling for the computer, the computer that I've just been informed is never to going to arrive. I inform Ben of the latest development in our setup. We both share a look of mutual understanding. We need a solution. Fast.
For anyone who has not worked as a tech--or perhaps wonders what working backstage of a theatre would be like whenever out watching a play--there is without a doubt something wrong going on that you are completely unaware of. It could be a missing prop, it could be a light cue that was fumbled, it could be a line that was dropped. But, it's in moments like this that the onstage techs become the true actors of the evening: they will carry off every fumble and every blurp during the performance with complete indifference for the outside world. They will walk patiently and talk quietly into their headphones that the stage left pillow is missing and would the actor be willing to bring it on in the next scene even though they'll be on fire for the duration of the second act?
On the outside techs look calm and quiet. But, on the inside stress is building to an incredible level. And it's a very lonely form of stress, mind you, because the public is right there surrounding you as you shift bits of props and furniture around. And while they are gambling on about how they interpreted the first act, you're fully aware that your star kid performer is actually stuck on a bridge in traffic with his parents because they thought it was an eight o'clock show and not seven and he's on in ten minutes.
To breathe a word of this to the public would be unprofessional. It would ruin the theatrical experience. It would be the end of the theatre's magical deception. But, most importantly, it would be a failure. And you, as a techie, would rather die than admit failure. No, really. You. would. rather. die.
This is the other reason why tech work isn't really my thing anymore.**
So, people are filing in, holding their drinks in one hand and explaining their jet lag with the other. I'm waiting to hear back about whether or not we even have a computer onsite to use.
There is one and Ben plugs it in. But, when Ben climbs back up the stairs to the tech booth he is unable to get direct signal; it's like having a big screen TV with no remote. Ben tries a second backup computer--this one doesn't even go so far as to get an image on the big screen. Now, I can't speak for Ben. So, I'll just tell you how I felt: stress starts to rage through my body and it is then that I discover another attribute about my psychological/physiological makeup I was previously unaware of: apparently, when I get really stressed, I turn into a fainting goat. Ever seen this video?
Just like those little guys my leg muscles freeze up when my fight or flight adrenaline kicks in. I know this now because at one point I had to bend down to remove some cables (since we were ditching our original setup plan) and I couldn't do it. I couldn't bend my knee. So, still trying to look calm, cool and collected in front of the now fiercely growing crowd, I did what can only be described as a poor attempt at the Trepak dance:
I didn't end up having to do that.
Another thing you must know about working in tech: for some reason, and I feel superstitiously scared of letting you non-theatre people in on this secret, but there is always something that comes along (usually) that stops the production's problem from turning the show into a complete meltdown.
Sure, there is an awkward moment; the stage hand backstage might experience a mini version of cardiac arrest; the audience might clue in that something wasn't quite right when the music kicked in on top of someone's line. But, there is some magic to live theatre that causes some solution to appear last minute, some sort of idea that hadn't been tried before that is discovered just at the last possible second before you, the techie, can bear it no longer.
These moments--and I tell you as a theatre kid who has worked in professional theatre for over six years now--have happened with almost every show I've worked on. And each time they happen, it feels as if the solution to the problem could not been realized *without* the stress of a hundred oblivious eyes surrounding you.
Ben came up with the solution. It was all him. I take no credit. I still don't quite fully understand what he did. But, basically he pulled the computer offstage, put it upstairs in the booth and plugged it in directly from there.
It was still wonky. We were still dependent on a system we had half-hazardly setup fifteen minutes after the presentation was supposed to start. I had to run up to the stage in the hushed quiet of the Ambassador's entrance and manually hand him his remote for the powerpoint I had just previously raced/limped down from the tech booth.
I remember squeaking out, "Mr. Ambassador--Sir, here is your remote. For--for the powerpoint." I handed it to him and he grunted, "Oh. Thank you."
I had no idea if it had batteries in it. We didn't have time to check. Watching him talk for the first five minutes until he clicked his first slide was an eternity because if that little piece of plastic and metal didn't have batteries in it then we were sunk. Then I really wouldn't have been able to do anything because both my legs would have frozen up and Ben would have been left in the tech booth on his own trying to manually click the slides himself.
But, it worked. The Ambassador spoke. The people clapped. The questions were asked and answered. And aside from the mics not being properly set--just fyi: ALWAYS TAPE CABLES TO YOUR MICS--and the Ambassador literally pulling his cable line out of his microphone, it ran smoothly.
At the end my boss's boss congratulated me on how on top of everything I was.
I smiled and awkwardly slapped Ben on the chest saying, 'It was all him!" (Note to self: don't slap the people you're grateful for). But, that was the end of it.
That was my first gig at the new job.
Monday, September 19, 2011
That was when I was informed that the computer server was down and I could either wait to talk on the phone, like this woman right here, or take the little business card that was handed to me and call on my own time. Subdued by this news I sat down and figured, "Well... I'm here. Might as well wait."
Waiting, it turns out, was another poor judgment call. Just FYI, in case any of you are considering taking a nationally ranked standardized test and your computer server goes down on test day, the customer service phone tree by law will not take more than one customer on one phone call. Security reasons. Go figure.
So, I went back home. I got onto my own phone and then was on hold for an hour and a half. I got through, rescheduled for two days later and that's how I found myself in the middle of downtown San Francisco in the back of a sky scraper building, coming face to face with something I've been denying for years.
I Do Not Read Directions
I hate admitting this because anyone who doesn't read directions, according to everyone around me from grade school up to my very first job in customer service, is an idiot. And yet, anyone who works in Marketing and hears you bemoaning that "They didn't read the directions!" will say to you: "Duh."
So, it goes both ways. I feel bad about it but we're also told since day one of our lives in computer/advertisement-happy-land to split our attention focus, to multi-task, to scan rather than read, to be "efficient" in pulling out information from the deluge of materials that come our way every day in life.
I'm making excuses.
The point is, there I was sitting down to take my Graduate Record Examination and I found myself slipping, slipping, slipping away. I don't mind being asked math puzzlers or being asked to answer questions about vocabulary. I love algebra, calculus and geometry. I love learning new things about the English language.
But, as I was sitting there, it became quite clear I had a problem that wasn't going to go away. And the problem wasn't the test.
I'm Not Allowed to Talk About the What Was On the Test So I'll Talk About What It Was Like Taking It With a Fake Question Instead
So, I'm sitting there and it doesn't really matter what the question was about, so I'll just give you a rundown on the inner monologue I had while reading:
1960s....marine fossil records... I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight? I do have that eggplant I've been meaning to dice up for a bit... and I still have some falafel mix left over but I don't think I should get into the habit of frying things that often--FOCUS BERYL--volcanic activity causing ruptures... marine biologists have come a long way in developing new strategies... I wonder what Rickey's making for dinner? I should txt him when I get out of this test. This test that I'm taking RIGHTNOWFOCUSBERYL...
Fossils... fossil record... marine biology... you know, that girl was a marine biologist. She was so cute...calling someone more than once when you don't hear back...that's ok right? God, that is not ok. I should let that one go. But, she did at least not hate being around me and Marine Fossil Records In Volcanic Ash Can Be Found Stirred Within The Ancient Sea BedsI wonder if I could trick her into liking me... or maybe she'd like me if she thought I was a science geek like her--like if I started to drop random latin-sounding words around her for animals that aren't native she might fall for it: "There is the girafficus bigamous spotticus onnicus the bottomus..."
Then again, knowing my luck, she'd be like "Actually, their name is giraffa camelopardalis" or something. Ugh, stupid science girls who aren't stupid enough to fall forFOCUS BERYL I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL MAKE YOU RETAKE THIS TEST IF I HAVE TO.
Marine fossil records in volcanic--Oh.
About four hours and thirty minutes later I was done.
WOO UPDATE: Woo has a problem with her favorite puppy toy. We at the Baker homestead are now very painfully aware that Woo sometimes believes her stuffed animal doppleganger is in fact a real dog.
She will place it in her bed and if we're not careful a sick, sad cycle will begin in which she just starts to stare at her "buddy" waiting for it to do something, to move or at least play back.
Friday, September 9, 2011
So this week was kind of a cluster of not good scheduling. And, I'm quite surprised to say it really wasn't my fault. So, I'll be back next week to tell you the lovely story of what it means to miss your GRE test and have to figure out a way to take it so that its returned scores don't come back after you apply to Grad School.
How are you?
No, really I do care. I'm not just asking this question because I have the urge to surreally change the subject.
Anyway, I'm out.
Ok, so I lied about really caring or not.
But, please. Leave me some glorious updates on YOUR life as I will be absent from discussing mine presently.
It would have been more about Colin Firth, anyway.
p.s. Depending on how much flack/feedback I get about Colin Firth, that may or may not still happen. Two Party Democracy: it makes half the population unhappy.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I am coming back from a week of incredibly intense experiences, one right after another. Needless to say, the gearing up to those pivotal hours was emotionally overwhelming at times. I don't want go into detail on how I reacted during the bad parts, nor do I really want to publicize the parts that had me acting like a little kid who just was given a brand new Playmobile Pirate Ship. (That was what I got for my 5th birthday, by the way. I was a lucky, lucky kid. And hell yes, I still have that sucker.)
But, it has gotten my thinking thoughts going again. Having gone through a record run* of stressful experiences, I was faced with people (including myself) who willingly created conflict rather than smoothed the passages for communication.
Retail Is The True Test Of Faith In Humanity
I don't know if you know this but I have had a lot of experience working in customer service. And anyone who has worked in customer service knows to the full extent that there is a portion of the human population that will misbehave, act out, yell, throw tantrums, threaten, humiliate and verbally abuse the other human given the doleful task of handing them their bill. In those moments I found myself repeating an odd inner mantra, sighing:
It's a simple mantra. It got me through the day. But, I noticed I was saying it a lot, which brings about two possible facts: 1) I don't know when I've beaten a line to death and 2) A lot of human beings "misbehave" a lot of the time. Not willing to accept number 1, I have since decided to methodically examine conjecture number 2.
Luckily, I have a human test subject that's willing to give me feedback on her recent personal experiences being human and dealing with emotional stress: me.
|Lion King: Years of Therapy in the Make|
|Mr. Darcy's attractiveness summed up|
Naturally Emotionally Immature
The majority of evolutionary scientists** contend the beginning of Human Civilization (as in, agriculture, the written word, technology and increase in longevity) began to kick off around 10,000 years ago. Right? So, before agriculture, humans were hunter-gatherers, as in nomadic animals, running around trying to live long enough to breed. Then we sat our seeds down and slowly stayed put. Then that gave us time to develop strategies for static living conditions, language, culture, shared technology, mass food production--all the big stuff. With me so far? Great. Because this is the last time you'll see me try to summarize human civilization's evolution in four sentences.
Here's the upswing I'm seeing of this evolutionary track humans went on 10,000 years ago: Setting aside the change in gene frequencies in the human brain, psychological traits (which are still results of our chemical, biological, environmental and cultural inheritance) in the human brain haven't really changed in the last 10,000 years. Yes, our technology and accountability for a wider range of knowledge about the world and ourselves rapidly expanded.
But, we haven't.
I want an expansion pack.
In the heat of the moment, how often do people really try, really actively work on rising above the need to HIT IT WITH A STICK ? I think our struggle as humans is not so much how we "rise above" being human--but how we deal with ourselves when we don't reach the standard of our preferred definition.
Conclusion: Humans are naturally emotionally immature. We have the same cognition ability as Ms. Gatherer way back when. She would have eaten her weight in Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey if she could have gathered it, just as much as my friend Rickey would if no one was watching him. And even then he'll still eat it. I've seen him do it.
It's not healthy. But, it's natural.
*If you're scratching your head going, "Jesus, what happened to you last week?" then here is the factual answer: Within 48 hours I turned 25, officially spent a morning mourning my grandma's death, which caused (as death usually does) familial strife, went to a wedding for my two good friends and I asked a girl to dance. I want to be noble and say hitting the quarter-century mark, dealing with death, mama-drama, or even watching my friends turn into a family has transformed me into a more maturer me. But, instead I just keep kicking myself in the head that I must have looked like an idiot asking a girl to dance--a really, really pretty girl--only then to realize I don't know how to waltz.
**If you're like me and like to watch science discussion videos for reassurance, then check out what evolutionary psychologist, Professor Satoshi Kanazawa, said during his interview on The Big Think. He discusses some interesting points--some I find myself cringing over because they sound potentially like sweeping generalizations about women (Dear Scientists, stop leaving out lesbians, love, Beryl). But, his take on the psychological evolution of the human brain is fascinating. He only gets away with it from me because he goes on to compliment those who are "unnatural" by saying we're more "intelligent."
***EDITED TO ADD***
After doing some more research on Prof. Kanazawa, I've gotten the sober reality check of a lifetime from other leading scientists: Dr. Kanazawa is a bit of a hack. But, you have to admit, he gets his attention from the likes of me because the idea of sweeping generalizations over time is always fun; it makes one feel connected somehow...this is turning into a metaphor for religion...oh dear, not my intention. Anyway, so I officially apologize to anyone who is completely dependent on my scientific delusions for accuracy--this just goes to show you that anyone is susceptible to falling down the rabbit hole of theory versus factual, methodical proof. I've left the original link I had advertised above so that anyone can make their own decision on the value of his theories. But, now you have a link as well to Dr. PZ Meyers, who will quite happily yell at you for believing anything before researching it, first.
Friday, August 19, 2011
|Marlene Zuk (caption later added)|
I can't help it. My nerdy little brain just went POP when I heard that there was a book out there talking specifically about the kinky activities of insects. It combines two things I am naturally fascinated by: weird ass natural science and sex. What more could I want? That meeting I was going to could wait another few minutes, right? Who needs to talk about the future of my company's finances when there is a discussion going on about cricket sex? Not I, said the fly.* Wait, did I tell you I'm one of nine people who founded a theatre company? I didn't? Next blog post.
It's My Party And I'll Write About Insect Sex If I Want To
Anyway, fun fact about Marlene Zuk that I just learned: she got her Ph.D the year I was born. Another fun fact: my birthday is next Friday (if you don't buy me a present then I will make this blog invisible to you). I was planning on just taking the week off from the blog this time around since my scheduled Tuesday posts have been thrown out of wack now. But, I figured. Hey. If it's my birthday week then this means I get to write about crickets having sex. Because that's what I do with my free time. Don't judge.
So here's the story. Field Crickets in Hawaii were introduced back in 1877. From what I've learned, whenever I see the words "introduced" alongside a year in the 1800s it usually means White People Ships Crawling With Invasive Species scraping up onto the other beaches of the world.
|A Dramatic Representation of the arrival of Invasive Diseases to The Bahamas|
No Really, This Is Creepy.
You know the classic story of a stalker-fan of someone's music gets too close and pulls a Mercy on you? Well, it turns out Mr. Singing Field Cricket has got one fan he doesn't want. They're called the Ormia ochracea. It's a parasitic fly (don't you get a little inner cringe every time you read "parasitic" in a sentence?). According to Dr. Zuk, the female flucan "hear the song as well or better than a female cricket," and will land on the cricket, laying her eggs on and around the body of the guy. The larvae then burrow and live off of the cricket's tissue for a week or so and then...
"They burst out like the movie Alien."
You know, Dr. Zuk. I like it when the movie Alien is not reinforced as a reality in the natural world.
Learning Dating Techniques From Crickets
The best part about this story is that around 2003 something changed. A mutation occured in the male cricket population: some male crickets are not able to sing. They just... are tone deaf (re: don't rub their wings). But, of course, if they don't sing how do they get to pass on their genes? And if they don't pass on their genes, then how has this mutation continued to grow?
Turns out, insects are more shrewd than I am. These silent males literally hang out around the dude who's singing, waiting for the females to literally mistake them for him. It's like sitting around at a campfire, while Grace Slick is singing folk songs, meanwhile you're Yoko Ono off to the side listening and some hot-hottie comes up to you and is like "Hey. I love your voice. C'mon. Let's get out of here."
And what are you going to do to right this moral wrong? Nothing. Nothing at all. Because you're a cricket. And you just want to live long enough to have sex and not get eaten by a parasitic fly out to plant her babies in your body.
I think we can all learn from the Silent Field Cricket. I am now going to try and hang around Adele's next concert off to the side and whenever some cute-cutie walks by I'll be like "That's me singing" and all will be solved. Right?
*But, unfortunately Me, said the B. Don't worry, theatre kids. I went to the meeting and was on time. But oh you BETCHA I listened to the feed on the npr website later on that evening. Now you can listen too.
EDITED TO ADD: Just FYI, I actually like Yoko Ono. She's badass and has put up with a lot of crap over the years. I just prefer Grace Slick when it comes to vocal power.