Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 271

This one's simultaneously boring and interesting. The boring part is the color,

and the interesting part is its ancestry. 271A is the first seedling from Schlumbergera x buckleyi to complete a bloom. Which is somewhat evident from the shape of the flowers,

if you compare it to buckleyi itself.

Both flowers are more or less actinomorphic, similar to 202A Joan Didion, though more so: Joan did eventually develop a sort of weak bilateral symmetry.


271A is both the first seedling from x buckleyi to bloom, and the only seedling from x buckleyi to bloom; two others formed blooms this year, but those apparently inherited buckleyi's tendency to drop buds if conditions weren't perfect.

Our name finalists: Chestburster, Hannie Schaft, Not Here To Make Friends, Svarog.

Chestburster is a reference to the Alien series of movies, specifically [SERIOUS SPOILERS for a 38-year-old movie] this scene from Alien. Not sure why it seems appropriate in this case; maybe it's best if we don't think too hard about it.

Hannie Schaft was a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II; there's a pretty bare-bones description of her life at Wikipedia. She's apparently pretty famous already, but I wasn't familiar with her until I ran across this article about Freddie Oversteegen, who was also involved with the Dutch resistance as a teenager. Schaft was known as "the girl with the red hair," and even though I'm pretty sure her hair wasn't as intensely orange-red as this flower, I figure it's as close as I'm likely to get, so.

Not Here To Make Friends is the reality show line. Again, I don't know why it feels appropriate for this seedling. I'm apparently in a hostile, fighty mood or something.

And Svarog is the Slavic fire / blacksmithing deity, previously considered for 056A Demons Begone, 072A Chell, and 180A Miss Emma.

These are mostly terrible (though you should have seen the ones I threw away!), but these are the choices. So.

Chestburster's got to go. It's not the color of the . . . character? . . . from Alien, or the shape. Makes no sense.1

The remaining three are all sort of equally unappealing to me. Worried I'm overdoing it with the WWII references lately, Svarog's been rejected multiple times already, and I don't even like reality TV shows (except the couple of them that I like).2

Still have to name it something, though, so I went into Excel and picked a random number between 1 and 3,3 and it returned 2, so I'll call this one 271A Not Here To Make Friends. Not thrilled about it, but I wasn't going to be thrilled with any of them, so I guess it's fine.


1 I think "burst" made sense because of the shape of the flower, and then "chestburster" popped into my head so I ran with it. Also I love Alien.
2 I'm even off RuPaul's Drag Race lately, for reasons too numerous and complicated to get into, but what finally got me to stop watching was when, two seasons ago, LOGO decided that it wasn't enough ask me to load the shittiest, most ad-encrusted, impossible-to-load, and frequently just plain broken website I've ever seen in order to watch RPDR, they were also only going to make it possible for me to watch the show if we also had a cable subscription. Our local cable company doesn't even carry LOGO, so I don't know what this was supposed to accomplish for them. No doubt there are places one could go to illegally download copies of the episodes regardless, but I was mad at LOGO, and sort of mad at Ru, and it seemed like the simplest thing to do would be to just wash my hands of the whole show.
On the other hand, we've started watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, and I kind of love it. U.S. Netflix skips the first three seasons, so we started watching with season 4, so it's possible that it's just an unusually nice and pleasant season, but the absence of "I'm not here to make friends"-type comments has been fucking delightful. The cooking stuff is interesting sometimes, but I watch for the emotional tone of the show more than anything else. Everybody seems pretty happy to be there, the contestants assist one another occasionally without appearing to make a big deal about it, everyone seems sad when someone gets eliminated, it's, like, just a bunch of people who like to do a thing getting together and doing the thing.
And I think that's all the reality TV I like, as Supernanny is no longer airing. (And Supernanny was starting to get old by the time I quit watching it, to be honest.)

Anthurium no. 0897 "Sylvia Womansune"

I think this is one of the names I came up with, and I'm a little disappointed with it now that I look at it. I was misremembering the Neil Diamond song ("Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon,") plus "Sylvia" is not a great stand-in for "she'll be a," and I'm a little iffy on rendering "soon" as "sune," as far as that goes, though I can't think of a way to spell it that carries the pronunciation I want.1 And there are other problems with it too.2 So it's possible Sylvia's going to get a new name eventually.

Anyway. Not the most exciting seedling, but not terrible, either. I've been a little unhappy about how many of the recent seedlings have been red/red or red/purple. Nothing actually wrong with that, it's just that I've seen it a lot already and it's kind of boring to me.

And the foliage could be more impressive, though I suppose it's not bad. A little damage here and there; I can't tell if it's mechanical damage or thrips damage.

So I don't know. The seedling may or may not be a keeper; the name may or may not be a keeper too. I'll have to get back to you.


1 When I'm trying to reproduce a phrase with a drag name, I don't like to spell the name the same way as the words they're standing in for. I want it to take a second before the meaning is obvious.
Occasionally, this ends up confusing me: I don't always remember which names I came up with and which ones are those of actual performers (especially since the performer names can come from so many different possible sources), and more than once I've found myself scratching my head, trying to figure out what I was trying to say with a name that wasn't even mine. (This was worst with the now-deceased 1135 Sylvia O'Styformore: it somehow looks enough like something I came up with that I went over and over it trying to figure out what it meant before figuring out that it was someone else's.)
2 "Sylvia Womansune" is also maybe a little problematic in that it could be taken as belittling to trans women, and I have thought about changing the name on those grounds. Haven't done it yet because I'm not sure it's a problem necessarily: there are ways to read it that aren't bad, for one thing, and for another, even when I read it as an insult, I'm not clear about where, exactly, the insult is.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 198

Only got one flower from 198A, and only one photo of that one flower.

The name finalists all started with P or R this time: Pat Benatar, Prophecy Of Joy, Reaffirmed Result, and Recurring Dream.

Both of the "R" names are just ways of saying "this again."

Pat Benatar is, of course, the classically-trained, Grammy-award-winning singer of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Love is a Battlefield," "Fire and Ice," "Shadows of the Night," "We Belong," and a gazillion other songs you may or may not have heard of. I wouldn't have thought of naming a seedling for her, but in March, someone made a MetaFilter post about Duran Duran, which linked to Christian James Hand's analysis of their song "Rio," which was pretty damn mindblowing for me personally.1 And I wanted more, and it happened that the next week's analysis was of "Love is a Battlefield," and when they played the track of Benatar's vocals by itself, I was like, oh my god, I can't believe I've never noticed how amazing Pat Benatar was.2 I didn't know she had been trained as an opera singer, but it's not surprising at all if you listen to the vocal track.

I don't know where Prophecy Of Joy comes from for sure -- probably a random word combination? -- but I like it.

So. Going to drop Pat Benatar first, on the grounds that I think she deserves a more impressive flower. And of the two "this again" names, I think I like Recurring Dream better, so we can lose Reaffirmed Result. Which means it's a choice between Recurring Dream and Prophecy Of Joy, and I think I'm more in need of optimism than accuracy right now.3 So: 198A Prophecy Of Joy.


1 I'd never given all that much thought to how "Rio" was constructed before, is part of the mind-blowingness: if I'd had access to the separate bass, drum, vocal, keyboard, and guitar tracks like they do in the link, I probably would have thought about it a lot.
There is a certain amount of obnoxious DJ chatter to get past, unfortunately, but the payoff is worth it.
2 Which is not to say I didn't like her; I have a particularly special relationship with "Shadows of the Night." I'd just never really paid attention to her vocals specifically. The relevant part of the discussion begins at 14:41.
3 And at most other times, to be honest.