Arachnid in the Bathtub!

And what kind of name is “Shelob” anyway?

Photo by Roman.

For this I beg your pardon. Some will object to the image quality. Meh! The lighting was poor that morning. Some will object to simply being presented with a spider. Eek! But the spider is now dead and I wish to present its image to all and sundry because I killed it out of fear. Although, when it appeared in the tub that morning, it was warned: You have six or seven hours to leave.

Centipedes heed this warning more often than not and are gone by then. If not, it is removed, scoop and toss, leaving it perhaps a bit less fit but still alive and able to do what it does so well: Hunt other bugs.

The spider remained in the tub and was whacked with a sandal. Yes, that is a double standard for rescues. Centipedes are reliably venomous and are far more alien-creepy than any spider could be and they move real fast. Using alarm as a standard, centipedes should die on sight. But centipedes seem to listen whereas spiders have a cold just-business-nothing-personal affect even though they may be harmless and shy. I lief leave spiders be when they’re not in the way. Otherwise…

So this is my apology to the spider. It was entirely personal. You were not even food.

“Apocalypse Animated”

I’ve been watching a lot of short animation these past several years, and there are a lot of interesting animators out there. Nina Paley is one that I check on regularly and this is a trailer for one of her latest projects: a study, of sorts, of mandalas… based on “the Book of Revelation with animated GIF loops, in the tradition of Medieval and post-Medieval Apocalypses”:

Shadow Pools

Photo by Roman.

It’s another classic image: the darkling city street in contrast to a brilliant sky. The only aspect remarkable is that it was late morning when the image was captured, but winter often leaves stubborn pools of shadow in Chicago’s avenues, much like my beloved mud-puddles.

We may as well be at the bottom of a puddle: Here we are, our dizzy gaze upward toward the light, a heavenly glow that beseeches our devotion with memories of warmth. Truly, haven’t some theologians described Hell as the absence of God? Where else to find enduring darkness but winter’s big city streets? And yet, isn’t Lucifer described as the bringer of light?

Never mind. All this is magical thinking far beyond me. After all, what do I know? And why do I know it?

Never mind. Leave me here, swaying gently in the middle of the sidewalk, making sugar from light, a dim and muted contrast to the glory above.

Like falling stars from the universe we are hurled
Down through the long loneliness of the world
Until we behold the pain become the pearl
The pearl
The pearl

— “The Pearl” by Emmylou Harris

“Maximum Man: The God of Cigarettes and Beer”

Evan Hadfield’s Rare Earth channel was on a combined vacation / COVID break / existential reassessment but is now back and this 9 minute video is the second of the newest episodes. It examines one particular aspect of the fusion of Mayan and European cultures in Guatemala, about which I know absolutely nothing, so Hadfield could be handing us a load of hooey yet what would I know? But Hadfield’s presentation is interesting if not colorful and now I can pretend that I know something about Central America beyond anything B. Traven wrote. Furthermore, as Hadfield put it: “Maximon was a wild thing to stumble across. Who knew that God could be so unassuming?”