Friday, February 13, 2015

Pretty pictures: Masdevallia Copper Angel 'Highland'

The foliage really was this yellow, and an image search for the cultivar suggests that it probably shouldn't have been. (What would cause this? Some kind of fertilizer problem?)

It's nevertheless kind of a nice effect, if you can bring yourself to pretend that it's supposed to look like that. I mean, at least it's a smooth, uniform sort of yellow.

Masdevallia Copper Angel 'Highland' = Masdevallia triangularis x Masdevallia veitchiana (Ref.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 010

And for the second-to-last Schlumbergera post until like October (probably), we have #010A. Which is . . . okay. I mean, we've definitely seen worse.

This one was another seedling that I found difficult to name. TinEye generated a lot of names, but none of them quite worked for me.1 I spent a vast amount of time trying to come up with something I liked from the TinEye results, and then when that failed, I spent even more time shuffling around the various pieces of the TinEye results, in hopes of stumbling onto some kind of recombinant name genius, but that didn't work either. Nor was it helpful to bring more fragments from names I'd previously rejected and shuffle those:2 all that managed to do was drive me to semantic satiation for all the words and word-pieces I was shuffling around.

So in the end, I chose the best photo TinEye had come up with, "Presidential," and added to it to make "Presidential Pumpkin." I didn't actually like the name, but I couldn't afford to spend another however many hours it was3 trying to come up with something better. And that photo is straight-up adorable besides. I mean, I'd vote for her. Seems like the sort of person you could sit down and have a couple beers with, you know? Somebody who understands what ordinary people are going through.

And then, having made that decision, it occurred to me that not only was "Semantic Satiation" probably more appropriate for this particular seedling, given the circumstances, but it 1) saves me a repetition of "pumpkin," and 2) is two characters shorter to type. Therefore, a last-minute impulse decision to "Semantic Satiation."

And thank goodness there aren't any more seedlings to name for a while. I don't think I could handle it.


1 I think the problem is that we're at the end of the show, so there's pressure to come up with a really good one.
2 Which is not to say I didn't come up with some names that were amusing or interesting in some fashion: I just didn't come up with anything that I thought I could live with indefinitely as a name. "Pepper Void," "Chick Detective," "Granny State," "Mostly Dancing," "OMG Soup Soup," etc. are all interesting ideas, but they were also all too easy to rule out for one reason or another.
3 (I'm positive I spent at least four on this. Would not be surprised to be told six.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 030

For what I suspect will be the spring's third-to-last Schlumbergera post, I reined in my tendency to collect all the possible name options a little bit. (I thought yesterday's was maybe a bit much.) So instead of 12 finalists, we have seven.

A small apology for the photos: I tried to hide it as best as I could, but these were taken before the flower had fully opened, because the light was better that day than it was supposed to be on the following day. This is most obvious in the following image.

However, even on the following day, some of the petals hadn't flipped back yet, leaving it weirdly flat-looking at the front. So it's possible that this is genetic. Time will tell.

The seven contenders, in order of their elimination:

"Bel Air" is an okay photo, I guess, but the name doesn't really have much to do with the bloom, has a certain snobby rich Southern-California vibe I don't like, and it sounds too much like something someone else would name a plant. I wouldn't necessarily grind my teeth every time I saw the name, if someone forced me to call this seedling "Bel Air" anyway, but there are more compelling options.

"Roadtrip:" I like going on road trips, which I guess counts in favor of the name. It's an odd thing to name a plant, as well, which is also a minor point in favor. But the name's not really relevant to the flower, and there's nothing about it to get me excited, so, again: we can do better.

"Ganesha" has a lot going for him -- "remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom," per Wikipedia. Seems like he'd be right up my alley. And the picture is actually kind of nice too. But Ganesha has always just bothered me. Much of this is probably because elephants are freaky, on their own, even when you don't combine their heads with human bodies.1

"Grannyface" shows up on the list again. I don't know why, but that word just tickles me.2

I'm not crazy about the photo -- nothing against the subjects or photographer, it's just, you know, it's just very 1979, in a way I don't like -- though that's not hugely relevant, I suppose. Clearly I really want to name something "Grannyface," someday, but I don't think this is it.

"T. rex" would make a decent plant variety name, except that it looks like a species name (because it is), so it might be confusing, having a species name followed by a different species name. I suppose you could get around that by changing the punctuation (Schlumbergera "T-Rex") or spelling it out (though it seems cruel to ask someone to type out both the word "Schlumbergera" and the word "Tyrannosaurus" every time one wants to talk about the cultivar). It's not as though there aren't plenty of other possible names out there, so I'm not feeling any pressure to somehow force this one to work.

I'm not sure I've ever heard the phrase "Love Fest" spoken in a way that wasn't sarcastic, dismissive, hostile, or some combination of the three. I mean, probably I have at some point, and when I did a search for "love fest," most of the results were of actual public events that people had deliberately and sincerely named that, including: Love Fest in the Midwest, Saint Lucia LoveFest, R&B Love Fest, Library Love Fest, Lovefest San Francisco, etc., so clearly not everybody thinks of it that way, but I wouldn't be able to take it seriously as a name.3

Which brings us to the winner, "Diwali." It's something pleasant, it happens in the fall,4 and fireworks are involved.5 Plus I really, really happen to like the photo for this option, which is never a requirement but certainly never hurts. Also there's enough of a Hindu connection to make me feel a little better about passing up Ganesha.

Tomorrow: the final seedling-naming until autumn. Probably.


1 When was the last time you really looked at an elephant? I don't think people appreciate how weird elephants are, since we grow up being exposed to photos of them, and lots of other weird-looking animals (giraffes! killer whales! penguins! horses!) so by the time you're an adult, you just look and see: elephant, and that's as far as the mental process goes. But elephants are almost literally unbelievable. Check it, yo:

Adorable! And yet. . . .
2 The explanation may be as simple as me being reliably amused by most _______+"face" constructions, since to some degree or another I find "duckface," "[resting] bitchface," "Murderface," "shitface[d]," "Funny Face," "'o' face," "pizza face," and, weirdly, "Scarface," all a little funny.
The only exceptions I can think of are the race-related ones (warning: some of the links may contain objectionable images:) blackface, yellowface (The fish is okay, though.), redface, brownface, and paleface.
The face thing doesn't work in reverse. Face blindness, Facebook, face off, face painting, Face the Nation, face value, face-centered cubic: none of them are amusing.
Well, Face the Nation is a little funny. But in kind of a sad way.
3 Taking "Cyborg Unicorn," "Leather Fairy," or "Sofa Fort" seriously: not a problem. Taking "Love Fest" seriously: problem. In my defense, I never claimed that this hangup of mine was in any way rational.
4 Though Diwali is often earlier than a Schlumbergera would bloom (between 2014 and 2022, the earliest date is October 19, and the latest is November 14, so occasionally Schlumbergeras would be blooming for Diwali, but usually they wouldn't). And this particular seedling didn't bloom until February 2, so it's, like, really, really late. So the season may not be that much of a point in favor.
5 Also a bit of a stretch, but Schlumbergera flowers sort of have a vague resemblance to fireworks. Close enough for seedling-naming purposes, anyway.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 031

Aren't we done with the Schlumbergera seedlings yet, you may be thinking.

And the answer is, well, no, obviously not. But I think we're pretty close. As I write this on 30 January, two first-time bloomers have buds (#010A and #030A), and all indications are that those will eventually open and get their own blog posts eventually, but that's all I have for now. #079A began then dropped a bud, and doesn't seem inclined to try again, and a few of the plants from the first batch, that I blogged about in December, are building a new round of buds now, but a) that's no guarantee that the buds will continue to develop (that group has dropped buds before), and b) even if they do, odds are good that they'll be repeats of flowers you've already seen.1

So my guess is that we probably have two Schlumbergera posts yet to go, certainly not more than four, and then we're done with them until October. And you know what that means: when we finish the never-ending Schlumbergera posts, we'll switch over to never-ending Anthurium posts. So . . . I hope you like pink and red at least as much as you like orange.

Schlumbergera #031A is nice enough. Obviously would have been a lot more exciting if this were the first orange bloom we'd seen, rather than the 473rd, but that's not the flower's fault.

As is becoming standard, I flipped through TinEye until I got about a dozen options (exactly 12, in this case). I eliminated about half of those immediately, and then agonized over the rest for way too long before settling on one. So here's what I was considering, in the order of elimination:

Pizza is a sort of questionable thing to name a flower, but it's worse when the flower is not actually the color of pizza. I mean, I see why TinEye thought they were similar, but that photo doesn't work at all.
Natalie Downtown was a photo of a woman, I assume "Natalie," drinking a Slushee, and although there's something appealing about the name, it seems super-weird of me to single out a stranger that way, so I'm not linking to the picture. Also it wasn't even that interesting of a picture: the main appeal was the picture's title. Which wasn't, like, push-me-over-with-a-feather spectacular either, frankly. I don't always understand how my brain works.
Arson was pretty easy to rule out too. I don't think there's anything illegal about calling a plant "Arson," but . . . it just seems unwise.
Dig Me Out is an intriguing name: it appears to be a bar / restaurant in Osaka, Japan. It's also sort of a self-defeating thing to name a plant variety, I expect, because you know there would be customers who would.
Guest Room is overly bland as a name. Though the room itself looks fine, I guess.
Dried Spiced Mango is a good color match, but that's sort of the problem: "dried spiced mango" is probably the name of the paint color the people who painted "Guest Room" used, and they probably got it from the Sherwin Williams display at Home Depot. I can do better.
Ibuprofen is sort of obviously ridiculous as a name, though I really like the photo. Really like ibuprofen, too, as far as that goes.
Copper Rocket was seriously considered, but a) it's the name of a bar in Maitland, Florida, which is probably irrelevant but makes me a little uneasy, and b) it's also possibly misleading as to the color of the bloom. A "copper" bloom should be a little redder than this. Though I decided to salvage the word "rocket," because there is something sort of propulsive and projectile about the shape of Schlumbergera blooms, now that I look.
The Gates was the title of the Cristo and Jeanne-Claude installation in New York City's Central Park back in 2005, and the color is certainly in the right ballpark. I think I mainly find "The Gates" too nonsensical of a name for a plant variety, and "Cristo and Jeanne-Claude" is too long, plus I'm not even sure I like Cristo and Jeanne-Claude as artists. So there's no single thing wrong, but there are enough things that are almost wrong that I'm comfortable dismissing this option.

Which leaves us three and a half serious contenders.

Rocket is the half, and you already knew about it, and it's maybe not quite specific enough but there's no denying that it could be sort of appropriate and evocative and blah blah blah.
Baby Carrots is a really good match to the color,2 plus there are my earlier comments about how tomatoes are kicking carrot ass in the vegetable-photography wars, so maybe this would be a good way to stand up for the world's carrot population. Also as far as I know, people are generally in favor of babies, carrots, and baby carrots, which is helpful maybe.
Heatsink is an interesting concept to me,3 and an interesting word, and they're often made of copper, hence the color-match detected by TinEye. Does it make sense for a plant?4
Planet Zip was my favorite photo from the group: according to the Flickr tags used by photographer, it's some kind of long-exposure shot of cars on a highway at night, not that you'd ever be able to figure that out just by looking at the photo. The name is a little weird, though.

[a day of pondering elapses]

I don't think I'd be able to respect a seedling called "Planet Zip." So that's out. "Rocket" is fine and even appropriate, but I feel like there are probably a lot of plant varieties called "Rocket," or some minor variation thereof: it doesn't feel enough like a me name. And as much as I like "Heatsink," well -- you know how sometimes you'll meet someone named Jennifer and they just really, really don't look like a Jennifer, and then every time you encounter them you have to struggle to remember that their name is Jennifer? I feel like that would happen if I named #031A "Heatsink." Therefore "Baby Carrots."


1 #022A "Sad Tomato," #024B "Bryce Canyon," #026A "Brick Wall," and #057A "Pyrotechnic." "Bryce Canyon" is apparently just a maniac about blooming -- it had a ton of blooms the first time through, and has a ton of buds in development again. None of the other seedlings works anywhere near as hard as "Bryce Canyon" does.
2 Which raises the question: is the color pigment in orange Schlumbergeras carotene, as in carrots (as well as a lot of other orange fruits and vegetables: mangoes, apricots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash), or is it more likely to be an anthocyanin like pelargonidin, which you'll remember from the Anthurium-genetics post? Or some third thing entirely?
Asked and answered: third thing entirely. Cactus flower pigments are more likely to be betalains, the compounds which produce the various colors in beets (Beta vulgaris, hence the name betalain), amaranths, and other cacti. Betacyanins produce red to violet colors; betaxanthins produce yellows and oranges. Carrot orange, Anthurium orange, and Schlumbergera orange are produced by three different pigments, yet all manage to be basically the same shade of orange.
3 Basically a place to dump all the excess heat generated by whatever you're doing, so that it doesn't hurt the equipment that's doing the work. Wikipedia has an explanation.
4 More importantly: does it need to? I mean, if "Sofa Fort" and "Rose Hoses" are acceptable, doesn't anything go, pretty much?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pretty pictures: Phalaenopsis Madeline Hayden

Well, it's not orange. So that's something.

Initially, I was unimpressed with this one, but it seems pretty cool now. Maybe I'm drawn to the plainer, calmer Phalaenopsis varieties, as opposed to the ones with the wild dots and stripes and what have you. I mean, Phal. Mistral's Sunrise Flame 'Mendenhall' was one of my favorites from last year's show, and I had relatively nice things to say about Phal. (Sogo Yukidian x Brother Oxford) in October.

So maybe my problem with phals is not that I find them boring so much as I would like them to be more boring.

Phalaenopsis Madeline Hayden = Phalaenopsis Taisuco Carol x Phalaenopsis Taisuco Peace (Ref.)