Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

Finally made it to the vet on Thursday this week, and asked about the bald spot from a month ago. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal. Said probably allergies, that it was a good sign that it seemed to be filling back in on its own, and to watch and see if it came back, basically. You can still see where it was, in the above picture, if you know where to look, but by comparison with what was going on four Saturdays ago --

-- it's not as bad. It's still a little odd that she'd have had allergies this year, but not last year. I mean, all the same stuff should have been around. But whatever.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum roebelenii

Not thrilled with the photo. It's sometimes difficult to get flowers and leaves both in focus at once, and in this case I didn't manage to do it. On the other hand, it seems like a nice enough plant. Even the foliage is nice.

The tag read "Paphiopedilum roebbelinii," with an extra B, and even if the spelling were correct, P. roebelenii is now officially P. philippinense var. roebelenii. I'm willing to forgive "errors" when names have changed, but not misspellings, so that brings the running error count for the 2012 show to:

wrong tags: 4
incomplete tags: 1
missing tags: 2

out of 17 orchids to date. Shameful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

They Grow Up So Fast, Part 4

Feeling kinda meh the last few days (long story), and there isn't much new stuff going on with the plants at the moment, and I've spent a lot of the last week or so being distracted by the SCP Foundation,1 so not a lot to talk about.2

I have, however, noticed that some of my plants have grown significantly, and took pictures of them, so we can talk about that, perhaps. Or I can at least post pictures and say, Look! Look how they've grown significantly!

So first up is Vriesea imperialis, which started out as a tiny offset from a plant at work in 2008:

July 2008. 3" (8 cm) pot.

It grew very, very slowly, for a very, very long time, to the point where I wondered if it was worth trying to grow indoors at all, but has picked up speed lately. It still isn't as big as the parent plant was, but it's gotten large enough that it seems plausible that it might get there someday.

May 2012. 6" (15 cm) pot.

I'd almost sort of prefer that it didn't get as big as the parent, 'cause the parent was huge, but that's another issue entirely.

Up second, the Ficus maclellandii. It was always sort of a big plant --

Oct 2007. 6" (15 cm) pot. I realize it's hard to get a sense of the size from this photo; it's the earliest picture I have.

-- but it's become downright unmanageable since it got up-potted. Part of that was my fault, for putting it in a clay pot, but I think it the only pot I had in the right size when I decided to up-pot. Something like that.

May 2012. 14" (36 cm) pot.

Finally, I can't believe I haven't shown you the Araucaria bidwillii before this. I guess I had plenty of photos from different times in its profile, but still: that's been a while ago. The plant outgrew its spot in the plant room, so I moved it outside for the summer, and I realized while looking at it out there how much bigger it is than it used to be.

Oct 2007. 4" (10 cm) pot.

I really had no idea it would grow as fast as it has, back when I first got it, though I'm pleased that it does.

May 2012. 8" (20 cm) pot.

Don't know where I'm going to put it in the fall. The unfortunate part about having lots of plants that are doing well and getting bigger is that they take up more and more space. If the house grew at the same rate, we'd be fine. But.

Perhaps I should do an SCP write-up about a house that somehow (telepathically?) causes its residents to fill with hundreds of plants over a number of years until all their time is consumed with plant-tending and -propagating and then they collapse of exhaustion.

Probably too over the top to be believable, though.

1 Which is a group-written, fictional, wiki-type website with the premise that it contains the internal files of an organization called the SCP Foundation. "SCP" stands for "Secure, Contain, and Protect," and the files refer to objects, locations, people, other organisms, and the occasional really odd thing with "anomalous" properties. (Both the organization and the objects it contains are called "SCP," which is confusing.)
It's more or less a site for horror-fiction. I, inexplicably, have a high tolerance for scary stuff so I don't find most of it particularly freaksome, but some people report nightmares and stuff so YMMV. There's a whole complicated backstory for how the organization came into being (actually, there are several -- part of the fun is having no official canon as to what is "true" in the SCP universe and what's not), which is what I find most interesting, personally.
      As for individual files of interest, my definite personal favorite is the possibly-sentient, probably-trans-dimensional Japanese vending machine (and definitely also read the Experiment Log for SCP-261). Similar, also-good SCPs with extended experiment logs include The Clockworks and The Coffee Machine.
      For the more straightforward creepy horror stuff, my personal introduction to the site was via The Stairwell, which is pretty good. I Am a Toaster is both riotously funny (to me) and creepy as hell. The Sculpture was the original SCP, and still wildly popular, though I think they've done better stories since.
      I should warn that several of the SCP descriptions and photos are unimaginably squicky, The Mother of Them All and the photo for Hard-to-Destroy Reptile being way up there. The site also has an unfortunate tendency to use rape as the go-to worst thing possible, when they want to emphasize that a particular SCP is something really, really bad, as in Special Personnel Requirements and Expunged Data Released (the latter is also highly squicky), so you may not want to bother checking out the whole site for that reason. (I'm pretty sure the vending machine, clockworks, and coffee machine are all rape-free, though.)
      My interest is partially just because it's a whole lot of decent, unpredictable, easily available short fiction to read, and I get bored a lot, and partly because once I figured out how the site worked, I decided I really, really wanted to write a plant-related SCP. (They already have several, of varying quality and realism; my favorites are probably The Bladewood Grove, The Greenhouse, The Serrated Lawn, and Seed Bead. As you might expect from a horror-driven site, there's a strong tendency toward plants that are sharp and hurt people, and carnivorous, particularly human-eating, plants. Which are certainly scary things, but I think they're leaving a lot of territory unexplored.a)
      I sort of have an idea for my own SCP, after thinking about it for a couple weeks, but it's not realistic enough to post here, and the group over there pride themselves on being incredibly harsh on submissions, particularly with respect to any ideas that have previously been used in any SCP ever (and at ~1200 SCPs, plus several that were deleted for being sucky, that's a lot of back material to be familiar with), so I may not want to put myself through that. We'll see.
      But so that's part of what I've been doing lately.
      a But then, considering what happens when they steer clear of the carnivorous and impossibly sharp plants (examples: 757, 843, 822, 1180), perhaps we don't want to encourage them to stray too far from the formula.
2 (Besides the SCP Foundation, obviously.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pretty pictures: Cattleya aurantiaca

With this one, I'm being less correct than the tags -- this is technically Guarianthe aurantiaca, as the tag said, not Cattleya aurantiaca. (This is mostly because I'm favoring consistency over taxonomic correctness; this plant has appeared at PATSP before, more than once, and it's easier to be wrong again than it would be to go back and correct all the previous references to the plant.)

Still one of my favorites, mostly for the color.