Friday, January 29, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 033

Seedling 033A doesn't have many distinguishing characteristics; it's basically one more in a long series of orange/pink blooms.1 This doesn't make it any less deserving of a name, but it does make it a little bit more difficult to care about the name. So here we go.

TinEye gave me 30 possible names, which I reduced to six, and I considered seven other "emergency" names, but only wound up adding one of those to the list of serious contenders. The themes were "extreme femininity" and "art." I didn't plan it that way. It just happened.

I don't have anything in particular against Stevie Nicks, and she gets points for showing up organically as part of the TinEye search, but I can't say I feel like I've ever really connected with her music.2 Also orange and pink aren't Stevie-Nicksonian colors at all.3 And her involvement in season 3 of American Horror Story didn't improve my opinion of her.4

And there is technically nothing wrong with Miss Nicaragua as a seedling name, but it doesn't sit well with me. I think I'm worried that it would come across as disrespectful of beauty pageant contestants, or Nicaraguans, or something. (I actually have a lot more respect for beauty pageant contestants now than I did, say, a month ago, because I found the Tom and Lorenzo posts discussing the "national costumes" portion of the Miss Universe pageant from this year and there turns out to be a hell of a lot more drag queen / Miss Universe overlap than I would ever have anticipated. Highly, highly recommended. Part one; two; three; and four. Also see: Genevieve Valentine's coverage of the same segment.5)

Femmebomb is, if I understand correctly, the title of some kind of yarn-bombing art-installation sort of thing, or possibly more than one of them. It's really hard to tell. A 2004 Femmebomb has an online installation video at YouTube, though the TinEyed photo is from 2007. Best guess on the 2004 Femmebomb: it appears to be a knit building-cosy, or at least a gesture in the direction of one.6 As a concept, I guess I'm on-board (though I wonder what happens to it when it rains. And autumn when the leaves start to drop is probably no picnic either.), but as a seedling name, I don't think so. Maybe if the flower were a little more obviously girly -- pink, double the number of petals, maybe ruffly petals, something. At best, 033A is a Femmegrenade, not a Femmebomb.

I like Impossible Flag as an idea (the photographer has a series of "impossible flag" images, which mostly appear to be carefully-cropped shots that result in a geometric, vaguely flaglike picture, many of which would probably be pretty easy to convert to an actual flag so I'm not sure how he justifies calling them "impossible"), but as a name I don't think it works very well.

Distant Lights is sort of descriptive, I guess, in a way, somehow. I don't know why it appealed to me in the first place, now that I look at it.

Which leaves us with two: Clueless and Dusty Springfield.

This isn't really the sort of color palette I think of when I think of the movie Clueless; it's hard to imagine Cher putting pink and orange together on purpose, or doing anything with orange at all. But the word feels like it fits the flower pretty well anyway, somehow. I think it could work.

The color palette feels a lot more like Dusty Springfield than seedling 106A did (though the paler bloom fits better than the darker one does), which I guess is why she got dragged in as an emergency name.

So then after briefly thinking wait, maybe Miss Nicaragua would be workable after all, who knows, and deciding against it a second time, for the same reasons, I realized that I like Clueless way better than I like Dusty Springfield, and it turned out not to be much of a contest. Obviously, seedling 033A is Clueless.


1 It's possible that 033 has two distinct seedlings in it -- looking at the photos, there seem to be both a slightly lighter orange/pink with somewhat ragged-tipped wide petals (first two pictures in this post), and a slightly more saturated orange/pink with pointed narrow petals (last two pictures). I can't know for sure until I get several blooms at once, to compare, and that probably won't happen this year.
2 Well, "Landslide." I like "Landslide." But I'm actually more familiar with the Dixie Chicks cover than I am with Stevie Nicks' original. (The Dixie Chicks video, which I hadn't seen until I started writing this post, is terrible, by the way, and should serve as a cautionary tale to all music-video directors: don't do green screen and CGI effects if you don't have the budget to make them look at least a little believable. Unless the director was actually aiming for country-pop-music-video-by-way-of-The-Persistence-of-Memory, in which case the execution was fine, but the concept went horribly wrong.)
For the record: Stevie's version is better, if only for showing some restraint on all the show-offy harmonies. I get that showoffy harmonies are the Dixie Chicks' thing, but hey, Dixie Chicks, know when to throttle back.
And I say this as someone who likes the Dixie Chicks.
3 The first two pages of image searches for her name are approximately 75% black outfits, 24% white, 1% dark gray, and then there's a rounding error of one burnt-orange outfit and one red outfit. The lady likes her black clothing.
4 AHS: Asylum or GTFO, is my feeling. Except for Myrtle (Frances Conroy), who was wonderful, and maybe three of Kathy Bates' lines (Llllllliiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeessssssssssss!), Coven was dull and stupid, with no redeeming qualities, and I am a lesser person for having watched it.
5 Indeed, it's entirely possible that Miss Nicaragua's entry in this year's pageant makes it literally impossible to make fun of Miss Nicaragua. (Also worthy of special mention: Indonesia, British Virgin Islands, Nigeria, Venezuela, Panama, Argentina, Curacao, and Guatemala. Don't misunderstand: I unironically love all of these -- Argentina's is one of the best things I have ever seen -- as well as several of the others that I didn't link to. But what could anyone possibly say to insult or demean one of the outfits that it wasn't already shouting about itself at maximum volume?)
6 (It's possible that only the front of the building is covered.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 093

Seedling 093A is the one the husband got to name. Wasn't sure exactly how to do this: I didn't want to make him write a whole blog post on his own, but I did want there to be some kind of explanation for how he chose the name, which I figured was probably better in his own words. After all, the whole point of doing it was to give y'all some time in someone else's head, since I figure you're probably getting bored with mine.

But. The TinEye process is long and boring, and if the husband had to go through the photos by himself, the most likely outcome was that he'd pick a bunch of names I'd already seen and rejected 700 times, which would make this whole experiment no fun for me, so . . . I did the TinEye thing for him, and presented him with a list of 32 names and said, pick one. (Not one of the terrible ones.)

This is the seedling he got to name:

And these are the TinEyed names he was given to work with:

Sisterhood Crossed Paths Heat Signature Vulcan Boiled Cranberries Saxophone Michelada1 Love Story Proposal Griffin Flamingo Burlesque Hot Bird Postmodernist Foursquare Late Afternoon Dismayed Angel2 Screw Aerodynamics Dolly Parton Seahorse Torch (or Torch and Pitchfork) Gramophone Beach House Can't Remember Jupiter Silence Bangle Rundown Barn Work in Progress End of Days Coral-Friend Warped Spicule

And here are his comments on those names:3

Sisterhood: Meh.
Crossed Paths: It works for hybrid plants.
Heat Signature: I don’t know why, but for some reason it reminds me of the practice of using cold temps to force blooms.
Vulcan: Initially the name had emotional appeal, but the nomenclature is illogical.
Boiling Cranberries: Gross.
Extreme Saxophones:4 I suppose the blossoms could resemble saxophones. The "extreme" is too exaggerated. I suppose you could jazz up the name by adding a color like, Red Saxophones.
Michelada: It makes me think of an unappealing drink.5
Love Story: The blossoms take on a "bizarre mating ritual" quality. I think I like this name.
Proposal: I would recommend a name that describes the plant in more detail.
Griffin: The mythological beast associations don’t work. If you think of the blossom as an open mouth and stamen as microphone the Kathy "Griffin" name could work. I suppose there is the more obvious hair color reference.6
Flamingo Burlesque: Flamingo Burlesque is my personal favorite. Though I suppose people think of flamingos as being pink.7
Hot Bird: it's good, makes me think it is a sexy cousin of the Bird of Paradise.8
Postmodernist: It is a little abstract, but I like it. My impression is that the color is too bright for postmodern art.
Foursquare: I can’t get past my associations with the Foursquare Evangelical Church.9
Late Afternoon: The orange colors of sunsets occur in the evening.
Dismayed Angel: Seems like the name should belong solely to the photo it is inspired from.

Screw Aerodynamics: It works for that particular car, but not for such a delicate plant and blossom.
Dolly Parton: It is too obscene.10
Seahorse: It reminds me of the ads in the back of comic books.
Torch or Torch and Pitchfork: Overly dramatic.
Gramophone: It totally works, I like the sound of it, maybe even add a color like "Coral Gramophone."
Beach House: Adding the word "sunset" to make "Beach House Sunset" could work, but then the name is too long
Can’t Remember: Too vague.
Jupiter: Jupiter is a cool name on its own, but I think of the planet Jupiter having white, yellow, orange, and brown stripes. Maybe the red planet of Mars is more applicable.
Silence: Sorry, I’m not getting anything.
Bangle: The bracelet doesn’t fit. The color of a Bengal Tiger is closer, but still not quite there.
Rundown Barn: Color palette is close.
Work in Progress: Description needs more development.
End of Days: Too radical.
Coral-Friend: This name has potential.
Warped: Well I’m not quite sure it fits.
Spicule: It does express an explosion of color.

In the end, his first, second, and third choices were: Flamingo Burlesque, Vulcan, and Gramophone, with Saxophone as an honorable mention, so 093A gets to be Flamingo Burlesque.

As is probably clear from footnote 10, I would have chosen Dolly Parton, had the decision been up to me personally. Had the name been a collaborative effort, we'd probably have wound up at Vulcan, because even though it wasn't either of our first choices, it was his #2 and somewhere in my top five. But I can live with Flamingo Burlesque.

Dolly Parton will of course be transferred to the list of emergency names, where it will come up over and over again until some lucky seedling actually gets it.11


1 I'm pretty sure that I had not settled on, or even thought of, 102A Michonne when I made this list. It would obviously be a little confusing to have two names that began with the same four letters.
2 The photographer titled it "little angel," and technically it is, but when I look at the photo, I mostly see "dismayed."
3 He's concerned that you'll think that he just hates everything and is mean, so I should note that he was encouraged to find things to be critical of, this being the only way that's ever worked for me to narrow down a long list of name options. (It comes more naturally to me, of course, as I actually do hate everything and actually am mean.)
4 "But Extreme Saxophones wasn't the name you were supposed to consider; where did you even get the 'extreme' part from?"
"It was on the Flickr photo. Sorry."
5 And holy cow is he right -- I don't necessarily object to the lime juice, salt, spices, and peppers, depending on the specific spices and the relative proportions of everything, but throwing a beer on top of all that just sounds dreadful. (When I drank, I was never able to develop a taste for beer. Granted that I wasn't trying very hard, but I found it pretty repulsive.)
6 It had not occurred to me that the name could have anything to do with (comedian) Kathy Griffin until I read this comment; I was going totally off the mythological-creature associations. He's right that it fits Kathy better than the creature.
7 The thing is, though, that flamingos are actually orange (or coral, or peach). Not only do they show up all the time in the TinEye results for orange seedlings, but orange flamingos outnumber pink ones in regular image search results by at least 2 to 1, and many of the pink flamingos that do appear in searches are lawn ornaments, paintings/drawings, or photographs that have obviously been processed heavily to make the flamingos pink.
8 Better than my mental image: some older, sluttier cousin of Big Bird's.
9 Which is a thing. One set of my grandparents went to a Foursquare church for a while, and I went with them at least once; my main memory of it is that I was intensely bothered by the font they used for a Bible quotation on the main stage, which had such elaborate y's that I thought they looked like p's. So God was the same "pesterdap, todap, and forever." I doubt I thought about anything else the entire time we were in there.
"Pesterdap" is a good word, though. Not sure what it means, but I feel like it should be a thing.
10 "WHAT??!?!," I asked. "HOW DARE YOU."
"The photo is pretty gross," he replied. [It's probably not technically unsafe for work, if you're curious, but he's correct to observe that it's in bad taste.]
"Well, yeah, I guess, but you're not choosing the pictures, you're choosing the words. I just can't even. How could you."
"Don't apologize to me! Apologize to Dolly, and just pray that she forgives you."
11 I realize as I end this post that I haven't actually made a case for the awesomeness of Dolly Parton, and have been talking about her as if we were all already in agreement about her awesomeness. If you're not, try reading her Wikipedia entry and see if it doesn't get you on board. Or watch 9 To 5. Or Steel Magnolias. Search the internet for memorable Dolly Parton quotes. ("I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb. And I also know that I'm not blonde.") You'll find something. Plus by all accounts, she's delightful in person, one of our few genuinely nice celebrities.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pretty picture: Dendrobium anosmum 'Superbum'

This looks very pretty, but it seems like the growth habit would make it awkward to grow. I mean, that has to take up quite a bit of space in a greenhouse or whatever, right? Compared to an upright-growing plant of equal mass?

That's the sort of question I could ask the Illowa people about at the orchid show, if I hadn't already spent so much time complaining about the backgrounds and proofreading. But I have, so I'm a little afraid of them.1 (This one's sign read "anosum" instead of "anosmum." They're just fucking with me now, right?)

'Superbum' turns out to be Latin (Google Translate renders it as "proud," in English, which may or may not be accurate2), but when I'm feeling especially playful or British or something, I like to read and pronounce it as a synonym for "phenomenal backside."


1 (As you probably already know, orchid fanciers can be very menacing.)
2 I'm never quite sure how seriously to take Google Translate results.