Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 16 PATSP posts of 2011

2011 was a weird year for my relationship with the blog, which I've recently described -- ad nauseam -- so coming up with this list was a stranger experience than usual. I had a lot of good stuff at the beginning of the year, I think, and then basically nothing after July. But it was a very good year for photos, and if pressed, I imagine I can come up with nice things to say about some of the text too. So here are the highlights of 2011:

16. Music Video: "Russian Unicorn" (Bad Lip Reading / Michael Bublé) (29 Sep 2011)

Okay, so this is kind of a cheat, 'cause I didn't have anything to do with making it. But I'm still unbelievably fond of the song,1 and wanted another chance to say so, because it's worth repeating. Also it's my list and you can't stop me.

15. Wednesday morning Marcia, Jan, and Cindy picture (25 May 2011)

Don't know what became of Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, of course: no way to tell them apart from any other robin,2 and the odds are unfortunately high that they didn't all survive to the fall. (The deck is stacked against robins to a surprising degree.) But one hopes. Same for barn swallows Greg, Peter, and Bobby, though we didn't get as much time to get to know them.

14. Random plant event: Breynia disticha 'Roseo-Picta' blooming (8 Aug 2011)

I'm not sure why this one makes it into the top posts post. I think I'm maybe just pleased by how strange the flowers are, and how well the photos turned out. Breynia turns out to be just full of surprises (if you bother to feed it), as you'll see later this year if I ever get it together to sort some photos.

13. In Which I Lose All Respect for the Burgess Seed and Plant Co. of Bloomington, IL (3 Mar 2011)

Not that I had a lot of respect to begin with. Included in the list mostly because "This Ficus is my god now!" still makes me chuckle.

12. Fungus Gnats: Like Puppies That Try To Fly Up Your Nose (15 Mar 2011)

I feel a little bad about writing a post to help people get rid of their fungus gnat infestations, 'cause I actually find fungus gnats kind of adorable.

11. Random plant event: Kalanchoe tomentosa flower (14 Jun 2011)

Not a fan of the plant (more accurately: they're not fans of me), but I hadn't seen the flowers before, and the photos turned out nicer than I'd expected.

10. Storm Review: 2011 Blizzard (2 Feb 2011)

Winter 2011-12 has been a huge disappointment so far: we've only had one snowfall of any consequence, and that snow was only around for a day or two before it all melted. But we've had good snows in the past, and winter's only 1/3 over, so there's still hope, I guess.

9. Pretty picture: Convallaria majalis flowers (23 May 2011)

It's a little too easy to take a nice picture of Convallaria majalis, actually.

8. Phalaenopsitrocity (28 Mar 2011)

2011 will be remembered as the year in which plant retailers finally gave up and decided to sell artificial plants instead.3 I don't do New Year's resolutions, never have, but if I did, I'd resolve to find a way to kill the market for dye-injected plants in 2012. All ideas welcome.4

7. Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady (18 Feb 2011)

In which Helen Hunt is dethroned as the patron actress (possibly "actress mascot" would be more accurate? Less oxymoronic, anyway.) of PATSP and replaced by Mary Tyler Moore (with an assist from Valerie Harper).

6. Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum St. Swithin (3 Jun 2011)

Best orchid ever, yeah?

5. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Houseplant (11 Apr 2011)
I had trouble figuring out what I was trying to say with this one, or whether I was trying to say anything at all. I'm not sure I ever figured it out, actually, but my readership sure seemed to like the post anyway.

4. List: Plants Which Someone on the Internet has Said Bring Bad Luck (12 Oct 2011)

I'm not sure if the people who read this post will come away less superstitious or more superstitious. It probably depends on how superstitious they were when they started reading it: people who were already prone to see plants as lucky or unlucky now have longer lists, and people who aren't, don't. But I tried.

3. Widower (Persea americana) (16 Feb 2011)

As I explained in last year's list, I try to leave off the plant profiles when making these lists, because the point of these best-of lists is to call attention to posts readers might otherwise have missed, and I figure the profiles are already linked in the sidebar so there's no need. But, also like last year, I'm making an exception for the profile I liked the best, because giant ground sloths and gomphotheres are were kind of awesome, and more people should know about them.

2. Pretty pictures: Rime ice (12 Jan 2011)

Several kick-ass pictures at the rime post, but this particular one is probably my favorite photo for the whole year of 2011.

1. All the Rumble Among the Jungle posts (14 Sep to 15 Nov 2011)

Probably cheating to include this, too, since the Rumble wasn't a single post, and y'all did at least half the work there, but, you know, the Rumble was a big deal. It kinda has to be #1.


1 It may not be my favorite Bad Lip Reading song; there's like a four-way tie between "Russian Unicorn," "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)," "Morning Dew," and "Rockin' (All Night Long)." The one I listen to the most often, though, is "Rockin' (All Night Long)." It took a while to get into, but I listen to it all the time now.
2 (Though the one that chirps with a lisp is probably Cindy.)
3 Quote from this article:
"We are an industry of plant nerds who hold our plants and Latin naming on a silver platter," says Olivia Sellards, Syngenta Flowers. "But we are first a service industry and should hold our customer demands before our personal preferences. Absolutely sell a (dyed) plant, a glittered poinsettia or a bunch of blue tie-dyed cut flowers. Remember, if they aren't buying real plants, consumers will buy fake ones."
Well. Cleeeeeeearly the solution is to blur the line between real and fake, then: take real plants and spray-paint, dye-inject, or glitter-bomb them until they look artificial. (That was my sarcastic voice, in case that was unclear.)
Also, Ms. Sellards: I care that you've created a plant that people can only enjoy once. This has nothing to do with Latin name snobbery; this is about deceiving customers and creating impossible expectations. It's fine to sell people plants they're clamoring for; my question is whether the customers know what they're getting. (I'm also upset with y'all for creating a tacky and garish product. But mostly the deceiving and the expectations-setting.)
I would also question whether it makes any sense to disparage an industry of plant sellers for holding their plants "on a silver platter." Ms. Sellards' thesis is that the plants should be . . . less important?
4 (#OccupyTheXylem!)


CelticRose said...

The deception involved in those hideous blue orchids bothers me too.

The ones that really make me mad are the strawflowers glued to cacti. The growers deliberately picked a flower that will open and close in response to humidity changes even when it's dead. And removing the damn things usually injures the plant. *grrrrr*

Liza said...

I can't believe I missed your rime post - gorgeous!

Loona said...

Dear Mr.S,

I was pretty busy recently and tried to stay away from the internet to avoid all the stuff that may tempt me wander away from what I actually have to do, so I missed your post about why you haven't been around for awhile, so I know my reaction is a bit late, but still.
I wanted to let you know I, as many other people, am really happy about the fact that the blog is up and running again (who cares about the pace, relax and feel free to post only when you feel like ;) ).
I see what you mean by the side of the net and media overall that makes you hate humankind in the matter of seconds, and I also often feel the same (that's basically a main reason for us not having a TV). fortunately I am pretty skilled in missing related stuff (don't know how I do it though, it's not really conscious), but every now and then I also stumble upon news/topics in forums/videos like the one you linked and it gets me in the similar state you described in seconds. I don't know what could be done about is, guess nothing, humans are hopeless I guess :( *sounds like an old lady*

about this post: no. 8 makes me feel a bit guilty :/ I promised you to take pics of a blue Kalanchoe blossfeldiana the next time I see one, and the reason I didn't send you a pic yet is that they seem to have disappeared since (Murphy never sleeps :P ). regardless of the fact I can't really do much about it, I still feel kind of bad as was eager to take that pic and I failed, that's how it goes :/ (didn't give up yet, my camera is something I always have with me ;) )
but the good part of their disappearance is that this means they didn't become popular enough to encourage marketeers to order another bunch after the originals got sold, which is good :)

as a semi-compensation, here's a "funny" auction link for you:

a summary of the description is that "it has seen better days, but it is dead right now, which is bad, but still it goes well as decoration, it's cheaper like this, and you can't even buy such a cactus anywhere else (it's a thing I am quite glad about actually - L.), so it's rare! I have living plants too, please check them out (the thing I guess noone does after seeing this -.-; L.)!"

poor cactus... funny what people want to get money for :/