Skeleton Flowers

An appropriate entry for the first of October! I love when I encounter a plant that has a simple name, one that uses another object to describe itself. It usually means this plant has a very unique feature that sets it apart from the rest. So when I ran across a reference to the Skeleton Flower (Diphylleia grayi), I became excited before I saw any pictures.

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By Qwert1234 CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As such, I was at first disappointed. It’s an innocuous appearing little plant, native to parts of China and Japan. The leaves are palmate, with deep veins visible and an uneven coloring of darker and lighter green The edges are spiked and turned down, often being described as umbrella shaped. But it’s called Skeleton FLOWER, right? Not entirely surprising that the rest of the plant would appear not terribly exciting.

But initially again I was disappointed. Bringing to mind the appearance strawberry blossoms to myself, they are small and white. Unlike strawberry blossoms, they rise a bit above the foliage on stalks that then branch out into clusters. Thin white petals and yellowy centers of stamens and pistils of a sort that are seen commonly in plantdom.

But then! Then I found their secret, the reason for their evocative name. When moisture touches the white petals, the color bleeds away and they turn transparent. The vein structure is still visible, white like the petals had been, but the majority is now delightfully see-through. You can see the skeleton of the petals, like taking an x-ray. Many of the images I found are of the flowers looking like delicate glass sculptures. They look as though they’d break with the slightest touch, or tear when a strong breeze hits their damp tissues.

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Eventually, they produce edible berries that look much like blueberries to myself, but that’s besides the point! The point is a fascinating trait that could be utilized and adapted in a fantasy or sci fi story. I have a vision inside my head now, of a forest of plants that all turn utterly transparent except for their skeletons when it’s raining. Imagine your characters navigating through the both potentially beautiful and potentially disturbing maze of now transparent foliage. Stealthy creatures lurking behind layers, the faint suggestions of movement hinted at beneath the translucent layers of plant matter. It’s like an ice cave without the need for freezing temperatures. Hinting, teasing at what treasures or horrors may be just beyond the veil.

Halloween 2018 Day 1: The Purge

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This is a movie, that while I felt a spark of interest when it first came out, I never got around to seeing before now. I can’t remember with any certainty why, though likely a combination of no one to watch it with, and a feeling that it would be a gore porn movie more akin to Hostel then anything else. It turns out the latter was mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, there was violence. You couldn’t have a movie with this sort of premise without some violence. ┬áMaybe it’s just that despite my best efforts I’ve become inured to violence. But it never felt overly gratuitous to me. Well, maybe except for when Mary slammed Grace’s face into the table. But then, by that point I’d gotten caught up and well, Grace kind of deserved that.

The frightening thing to me about this movie, at least at this point in time, in this current reality, is how aware I am now of just how much anger simmers in so many. The hatred and disgust of the other is a seething pot, already spilling over at the slightest provocation. The outright contempt illustrated by the group of privileged hunting down the homeless man, insisting that it is their right to take and kill that random unlucky soul because they view him as lesser than themselves. It may seem a bit cartoonish in portrayal, but it echoes close enough sentiments that are only thinly veiled anymore that it brought chills.

Of course, it has its limits as well. Goodness, am I ever frustrated by films not allowing women to kick ass. Part of this may also be my general dislike of Ethan Hawke, though. Would have much preferred Lena Headey to go on a self righteous rampage than him. It’s always frustrating to watch capable actresses be hindered be scripts like this. Ahh, well, I suppose I’ll have to wait for Game of Thrones to come back to watch her get her chops into something worthy of her again. But then again, the afore mentioned scene where she slammed Grace’s face into the table after smashed her with the stock of a gun was kind of satisfying.

But this is a type of movie that unsettles me for another reason. The certainty that those who perceive themselves as wronged don’t just deserve justice (if they even do deserve that) but also of vengeance, of retribution. It’s something we all have felt at a certain level, at certain times. But we know it’s unreliable and shall we say, not actually justice. Hence, for all its flaws, this is why we have a justice system.

This isn’t really an organized series of thoughts, I know. More just things I thought about while watching. I did mostly enjoy it though. Nothing overly compelling, but gripping enough to keep my attention and not feel like I wasted my time. A good start! No beer with this one because I stayed home from work with a migraine, and drinking with a migraine seemed like a bad idea. But, I’ll watch another movie later tonight and maybe have one then, since the headache has eased up significantly now.

Happy beginning of October!

And the first side project is

While I do intend to mostly focus upon cool phenomenon in the natural world, as I said before my curiosity and interests vary greatly. And truth be told, the reason I convinced myself to FINALLY reboot this blog with the worldbuilding focus was I came up with a side project. For reasons that should be clear to you, reality is incredibly depressing lately (no, I will not going into it here at this time. Maybe later). I need something to distract me more fully, and hopefully cheer me up a bit. I also like trying new things, especially food and drink. And I love Halloween.

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Awwww yeah

Continue reading And the first side project is

Introducing…

I’ve got a lot of random curiosities that I don’t really have any place to indulge. I read a great deal, of just about anything. Novels, biographies, essays, scientific papers, pop sci articles, twitter threads, just about anything can catch my attention. I also possess a desire, like so many, to someday write novels of my own. Whether I ever actually get to that point is to be determined, obviously. So I’m going to try and combine those two things, to hopefully inspire myself to try new and different things in my writing and in my world building in particular, and hopefully inspire other people in their world building as well. World building is a particular love of mine, and I adore novels that go all in with creating rich and touchable and unique worlds for their stories to rest within. And also, I just want to tell someone about all the cool stuff I read about.

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A picture of my own, from near the north end of Lake Powell
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A picture of a picture from my youth. A cecropia moth caterpillar, huge and fascinating to me when I was young.
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A Great Black Wasp drinking from my butterfly weed (cultivated milkweed). Though it didn’t come through well in this picture, in bright sunlight its wings have a blue iridescence.
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A picture of a picture again, the original of a tornado that hit my father’s place of work (though thankfully he wasn’t there). There’s a whole series of images of this tornado at my parent’s house, and I would look through them constantly, fascinated. I’m still fascinated by storms to this day.