Thursday, June 23, 2005

even educated fleas do it

Have you ever seen tortoises fucking? I did once, at the zoo, of course. I'm talking about those huge, 300-year-old tortoises the size of bathtubs. Their sex is pretty much exactly what you'd imagine: incredibly slow and fairly clumsy. The one surprise, for me anway, was that they grunt while they're doing it. The male climbs up onto the female's back--not all the way, of course, he just gets his front legs (flippers? feet?) about halfway up the back of his lover's shell. Every couple of minutes, he thrusts, the motion accompanied by a rumbling grunt. It's rather loud, especially when you didn't realize tortoises ever made any noise. The noise is sort of what you'd expect from a really old man getting up out of his armchair or shitting his pants unexpectedly. I think the best part about witnessing the tortoise fucking was the fact that the female seemed completely uninterested in what was going on. In fact, she had bits of slimy chewed lettuce stuck to her mouth, and a long, viscous stream of drool streaming slowly to the ground. That's hot.

Next time I'll tell you about the time I saw a zebra masturbating at the zoo...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

PMS rears its salty, dripping head

Yesterday, I cried:

1) while picking out Father's day cards

2-4) 3 separate times while watching Operation Homecoming on The Learning Channel

Thank god I didn't see any Purina commercials (you know, like the one where the boy gets the puppy and then the puppy becomes an old dog that can barely make it up the stairs but when it does the boy--now a handsome young man--lets the dog lick his face and he hugs the dog joyfully, and all that). I am getting choked up just thinking about it. This is pathetic. Damn you, hormones!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm a sucker for fur and claws

Another Monday, another start to another blah week at the office. The weekends always go by way too fast. Saturday morning I realized I have gained back about 15 pounds of the weight I've lost in the past year. Gee, I wonder if eating Dairy Queen 3 times a week had anything to do with it?? Three 30-minute walks per week apparently aren't enough to combat frequent consumption of Blizzards. So anyway, I have officially re-committed to the get-fit effort. Kind of sucks that I worked so hard only to re-plump just in time for bathing suit season. I have 4 months to take it off again, shouldn't be too terribly hard if I can stay away from the candy jar 3 cubes down and keep J from tempting me with late night ice-cream runs. I tried Cold Stone Creamery for the first time this weekend (a last hurrah before the recommittal??) so that should tide me over for a while, right? It better: a medium (sorry--"Love It"-- in Cold Stone parlance) size is *17* points (that's Weight Watcher speak if you didn't already know). I am only supposed to have like 24 points in an entire day, so needless to say I will be staying away from CSC as well.

This morning I dropped one of my guinea pigs, Hank, off at the vet. He is being briefly anesthetized to remove a weird cyst-like thing on his ear. This should set me back about $150. I am officially nuts. But I did adopt the little guy and promise to give him the best of care, so I suppose I am obligated not to allow the ear cyst to expand to kiwi-size and possibly rupture and cause a deadly infection, right? Combined with the thousands spent on the cats in the last couple of years, I've sent some vets on some nice vacations, I think.

But I could not live my life without animals around. Dogs are OK--good for taking camping and for a jog and to help you feel safe at night when your significant other is away and you hear a strange noise in the house. Cats are smarter and pickier about sharing their affection with you, which is why I think I appreciate cat affection way more than dog affection. Dogs have a basic need to slobber at your side at all times. Cats act as if they could do without you--and they probably could--so that when they do come up and cuddle, it's because they chose to, not because they have no other modus operandus, making the experience just a little more special. Yell at a dog, and they just beg to be forgiven so they can sit at your side again. Piss off a cat, and you'll be begging it to forgo the cold shoulder and forgive you for having mistreated it. I've cared for a variety of rodents in my day: hamsters, rats, and now, guinea pigs. I'll admit that I enjoy them more from a biologists' point of view--I really just ilke to observe their behavior. This has been especially true of the pigs--they are amazing social creatures that have a complex system of vocal communication that humans, as far as I can tell, have only figured out on the most basic level. Plus, they have cute little furry butts that they waggle back and forth as part of a dominance display.

I'm currently awaiting delivery of two tadpoles (part of an Uncle Milton--yes, of ant farm fame--kit I was given last Christmas by J), which will bring the animal-to-human ratio in our house to 4:1. If I ever have a farm, watch out...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I destroyed somebody's babies

Yesterday, while filling the feeder on the front porch with birdseed, we discovered the beginnings of some wasps' nests on the awning. One was hanging right above the feeder and was about the size of an egg. Because one does not necessarily care for a huge wasps' nest on one's front porch, I took a razor blade and sliced it gently off of the awning. I picked it up gently and observed it, amazed at the detail and fragility of its construction. It was made of a thin gray paper--I cannot even conceive of how the insects produce this stuff but I am sure it is known. I will have to consult my E.O. Wilson tome on insect societies. There was a thin, one-layer outer shell with a quarter-sized opening in the bottom. Peering in, I saw a small grid of combs. There were maybe 15 hexagonal openings. At first I thought the nest was empty, but when I tore away the outer layer to get a better look at the inner details, I saw that, indeed, each depression held a tiny life form, a small white grain that was probably only days old. Not quite egg, not quite larva.

As I was contemplating the tiny miracle of nature in my hand, the structure's architect (presumably) came flying onto the scene. J caused me to panic, urging me to destroy the thing, lest its owner discover it in my possession and decide to attack. Not quite thinking, or perhaps not wanting to think, I let it fall to the ground and crushed it quickly under my shoe. Apparently not yet aware of its flattened nursery lying on the pavement, the adult wasp frantically circled the wisps of nest still left on the awning, bewildered. How long had it taken this creature to so carefully build the structure which I had just carelessly destroyed in an instant? Would it take time to grieve for its lost offspring or just begin building again? The sight of that poor animal circling the remains of its labor of love almost brought me to tears.

There is another beginning of a nest in the other corner of the awning. We did not cut it down yesterday, as it was being carefully guarded by another adult. I know I cannot leave it where it is, it's just not practical. But I can't bring myself to be the destroyer again just yet.

Friday, June 03, 2005

because my brain wasn't mushy enough...

Reality TV I have watched this week:

"Beauty and the Geek". Not entirely sure what the setup of this show was, but I caught the "elimination round" in which two couples (each of which consisted of a vapid, cute girl, and a geeky guy) faced off: the guys answered pop culture questions while the girls got questions on politics and history. My favorite part was when one of the vapid girls was asked "Who was the president of the United States during the Civil War?" When told that it was not Hoover (her answer), but, in fact, Abraham Lincoln, she grimaced "Oh! D-day!". Yeah, I don't get it either.

"Britney & Kevin: Chaotic". Britney is a trashy whore. Kevin is a trashy gold-digging idiot. But you already knew that. So did I--maybe that's why I felt compelled to watch their show.

"Dancing with the Stars." Semi-washed-up celebrities, paired up with professional ballroom dancers, compete (perhaps for the title "Most Desperate for Publicity"?). Evander Holyfield hammed it up and was pretty smooth; Trista Rehn of "Bachelorette" fame was stiff and awkward. I have no idea why I watched this. I was probably hoping someone would really fuck up.

"Hit Me Baby One More Time". 80s artists perform current hits in this well, retarded, competition. I guess last night was the first episode. Loverboy did a horrendous rendition of Enrique Inglesias' "Hero", and Tiffany butchered Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway". I always hated Tiffany (she was popular as I was entering my rebellious metal phase), but last night proved that she is talentless as well as annoying. Arrested Development delivered the winning performance with their cover of the Los Lonely Boys song "Heaven". And they deserved it--they were the only band to actually infuse their own real style into their performance. They started out a little shaky but as they really got into it, they rocked the house. Oh my god, I think I got way too into this one...this is going to be a LONG summer of reality TV...