Under the Sign of the Rabbit

I got this job about a year ago.  Used to see rabbits about every day there.  Less so in the winter, but I still see them sometimes.  On the way to catch the bus in the dark, the streetlights silhouette a tree stump making it look like a rabbit.  Above is the moon.  Across the ocean there’s some people who say there’s a rabbit in that celestial body.  Stopped to get a new litterbox for my cat.  The place in the store that normally has cats to adopt only had rabbits.  My favorite movie of 2019 had prominent rabbits.  This wasn’t that movie, but it’s a pretty good depiction of the mood in life.

Nature is Queer

My body decided to walk the walk of my self-labeling talk. I’m an AMAB genderqueer person who never touched the ‘mones, but a few weeks ago I started growing a left titty. I was worried it might be the cancer so I got it mammogram’d, but lo, it was merely a healthy tiny amount of breastness happening in there. Shame it isn’t a pair, but what’re you gonna do?

How Could You Be Wrong?

There’s been a lot of very smart essays on the reasons evolutionary psychology is pseudoscience. It’s still happening because EP jackoffs are still crappening. But for this cat, it boils down to one simple ass question every scientist or intellectual worth a shit asks themselves: How could I be wrong?

It’s possible somebody involved in EP has asked this question, but if so, they didn’t answer it honestly. Or their imagination is broken. If you’re going to pose as a thinker, think on this earnestly for just a few minutes and you’ll get answers. The world is complex as hell and there are a million ways any given idea you can conceive could be false.

I’ll show you how easy this is. I could be wrong about this thesis because I haven’t studied the scientific method since high school, and maybe the words I’m using in a vernacular way mean something different to True Science Boyz. I could be wrong because I’m underplaying the importance of feeling confident in one’s ideas during scientific exploration, that I’m opening the door to a paralyzing level of doubt. I could be wrong, but nuh. Get real.

The holes in EP are glaring. They’ve been pointed out in great detail by detractors and handwaved by proponents with no real consideration. Guys, they’re doing the work for you that you should’ve done for yourselves. They’re telling you how you could be wrong. If your magazine-friendly science is going to have foundations this flimsy, at least have the intellectual honesty to point it out in the footnotes. Last sentence on every EP article should read, “Or this could be a total ass-pull that is only convincing because of our cultural biases.”

Sitting on the Ground

I have a less than average concern for how I look to passersby and tend to sit on the ground when I’m waiting for the bus. In the war against homeless humans, a lot of stops don’t have benches, so I’m down in the dirt, sitting with my legs pretzel’d. That puts me close to the small details of the environment – the tiny stones in the concrete, odd-looking weeds moss and stray plants, crumbs, garbage, insects. One time I saw the circle of dust being blown away from a wasp’s wings, as if it was a tiny helicopter. I wonder how many people notice these things.

This morning I had a dream I was in some kind of half-assed boot camp for work. It was in or around an antique church. At one point we had to swim in this heated pool. I was able to swim despite not having that skill in real life. There were ducks swimming underwater near the surface, big fish in the depths. After we got out I saw an automated stand selling posh ice cream cones and wanted one, but the alarm woke me up.

I get to work and there are two cars in the parking lot. Ask one person and tell the other the news. The freezing temperatures last night caused a power outage. We’re supposed to wait for a call at ten AM or check our work’s inclement weather line to find out if we’re going to come in later at all. I could have gone to the mall to wait til ten, but it was less walking and less waiting to just get on the bus home instead. Turned out to be the right call because work stayed cancelled.

While walking to the bus, I saw lots of robins chasing each other through the trees, making cute squeaks. I should clarify these are American/fake robins, so picture a thrush. When I sit on the icy concrete next to the frosted grass, I see crows out in the street poking at I don’t know what. One of the crows bounced back to the curb a few paces from me, nervous of traffic.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen bird breath, but it’s a thing. When the weather is cold enough and the bird is big enough, you can see their breath as surely as your own. Warm blooded, after all. I’ve only ever noticed it on crows, and then rarely. Whether it’s because they’re small or because weird bird respiration keeps their breaths short or thin, even on a snowy day, you can’t always see a crow’s breath. Just when they’re taking a deep one.

This crow on the curb was puffing out so much vapor that when it had its beak tilted down, I saw the vapors break over the concrete. It was like a fantasy creature using its ice breath attack. It was also occasionally sneezing, which was adorable and sad. The sun crested the east side of the valley about then and I wondered if one of those was a sun sneeze – where a temperature shift in your face tickles your nose.

Well, I have the day off, so that’s one three day weekend soon to be followed by a four day weekend. I know I need the practice at work so this isn’t great on that level and undercuts my appreciation of this luck, but I do hope to enjoy myself.

Spoilery Thoughts on Next Black Panther

This contains spoilers for Avengers: Whatever Whatever and Spider Man: Far From Shabby.

So I found out while watching the new Spiderman movie on my b’day yesterday that the people who had been snapped out of existence by T. Hanos were de-snapped 5 years later having not aged a day. For the purposes of spidermanning, it meant some kids were younger than their little siblings, which is kinda funny. But I started to think about the ramifications for other parts of that world.

Wakanda lost a king and got a replacement that was immediately rocked by some turmoil. Then that king got snapped, along with half of Wakanda, after battling and losing against an alien Grimace. I can’t imagine the average Wakandan thinks highly of T’Challa given those events, and do think they’d be quick to blame it on T’challa opening the borders.

I know some of the Black Panther comics involved dealing with movements for Wakandan democracy, but haven’t read them and don’t know how they went. But it’s a really safe bet the next Black Panther movie is going to include some amount of that.

T’Challa is going to come back to a kingdom in some level of turmoil. Maybe his mom will be acting as a regent, maybe his sister be queening. Maybe they will have capitulated to some form of democracy or republic. And you know there will be an agitator who is xenophobic, maybe racist, pushing to become a strongman “reformer” …

What I’m saying is I’d like to see if they make a bad guy of an African Trump. I don’t know how I’d feel about that kind of character being held up as symbolic of democracy itself, opposed only by an ostensibly righteous monarchy. That’s a mess. But it might be funny to see that orange scrote lampooned in the film. What do you think?

Dookie Speculation

To further my reputation as the most eminent thinker on this blog collective, I humbly submit the following informal hypotheses. Content warning: feces, of course.

Random thoughts from last night. Old folks sometimes have terrible dookie stink. It’s kinda sickly sweet garbagey like a dumpster of rotting fruit. Unfortunate.

That’s me in just a few years, so I wonder. Why? And I came up with two possible answers, which could be tested by a scientist with the facilities and inclination. (Or maybe the answer is already known? Whatever, I finish my thoughts.)

The Fresh Trash Hypothesis: The aged digestive system cannot handle food as effectively, meaning the stool has more under-digested components. They smell stronger because they’re not as chemically burned up / denatured.

The Shitbarf Hypothesis: In honor of the prolific graffiti tagger of Seattle, Shitbarf… esquire? Anyhow, I think the gatekeeping of the digestive tract breaks down.

Fluids meant for the stomach end up in the esophagus or duodenum, those meant for the duodenum end up in the small intestine, etc. So basically, old folks could be passing some amount of fresh bile.

I am not googling the answer. Not curious enough yet. Maybe when I’m olda.

I just hope I never get like the person who stinkbombed the “Rapid Ride” bus when it first started in my town. For some reason, one of those busses ended up smelling hella rank, only becoming bearable several months later.

It smelled like one of those Europeans that used to eat mummies went on to become a mummy that was fed to a cruise ship on platters of norovirus shrimp, and the bus was used to ferry passengers to the hospital, with several dying en route.

Dookie. I don’t like it.

I’m Hella OK

It occurs to me, in light of the comment on my latest bird article, some might imagine me depressed. Worry not, dear readers. I’m not. I only ever feel bad to the extent that it would be reasonable to feel bad in any given situation, and my situation is not as bad as many other blogadores y blogadoras on this internet. (Especially on The Orbit. Support The Orbit y’all.) I’ve got that depressive realism, but without the clinical depression, it’s just a pretentious arty flavor in my thought.

The world is rough and keeps getting rougher. And as a quiet cat in the corner with eyes open, you can see the fires burning with clarity. I didn’t call the exact date of the subprime mortgage collapse. But I was that impoverished minimum wage fucko on the bus, looking at ads for home ownership none of us could afford, wondering how long it would be before predatory lending on that scale had consequences.

It’s grim, but through it all I just don’t feel as bad as I could. Seeing people around that have it worse than I do, getting to know some of them personally, I know what mental health is. My mind heals well. I’m probably the poorest person on this network, but aside from that source of stress, I’m one of the most fortunate in the neurochemical department.

When I talk about some grim stuff, I don’t need reassurance. I’m hella OK. Just waxing lyrical.

It Ends Sitting in a Car, Thinking About Birds

I had a long day. It could have been worse. In a stressful moment I was rude to someone I didn’t want to be rude to. Mega-retail on an understaffed, hot Sunday. I remembered to take some Excedrin two hours in and that helped.

In the early morning (later as well), we had an unusually high amount of homeless people looking to steal, or just negotiating some of the innumerable crises that make up their lives (I deal with the phone crises), or some combination of the two. Some Sundays the early part of the day can be dead as doornails, hours with just a few people wandering through. When it’s like today, my feet get beat down. I hope I helped some people.

Some cell phone companies decided to run promotions where you trade in an active cell phone for a deal on a new expensive phone, and chumps on the hustle think they can get a burner and flip that in a day. I try to tell ’em to read the terms of those deals more closely, because cell phone minutes aren’t returnable and they could be out forty bucks for nothing.

The company has a problem with staffing the store on weekends. When people are new, it’s easy to get them to work whatever hours you want. But when they get a little experience, they realize weekends are hell, and restrict themselves to weekdays. So Tha Man has been busting moves and leaning on people to open their availability, cutting hours all over the place. Other companies have been doing the same enough that Oregon was crafting legislation to make it illegal to force retail and grocery proles to work on-call or not at all.

All that’s to say the photo section guy has been reduced to one day a week, and only shows up if he feels like it. The rest of us aren’t as trained as we’re meant to be and have other responsibilities, so it’s a rolling train wreck over there. But I still have to go over and help people with it. One of these days I might figure out how to use the SD card slot on the new kiosks. It’s kinda funny watching a place go to hell.

There’s a weird banana toy thing with a hole in the side, someone left on a counter. It’s got drifts of uncanny powder all around it. What is that stuff? No one wants to clean it up and we’re all non-verbally daring each other to see how many days or weeks we can leave it there. It’s right in front of the drop box for customers sending out film to be developed, and that process takes a little over a week. If we have the resolve, someone could see that banana-thing as they send out the film and again when they come to pick it up.

It wasn’t even the hottest day in recent memory, but for some reason people were feeling it. Back to school shopping, or trying to hump the last days of the summer for all they’re worth, they cram into the place. Meanwhile, our own summerhumpers skip work and leave us even more understaffed than Tha Man’s hijinks have. Lines thirty deep. Stuff like that.

The babies were feeling it worse than usual. The stereotype of retail, I think, is of hating children because you hear them crying all the time. That doesn’t have to be true. I take on board the education I’ve had in recent years about ableism and children’s rights, think about the kid’s perspective. Plus they usually are not as jumped-up as the stories tell. But today they were upset. Zombie-walking with sweat-rimmed cheekbones, falling on the ground squalling. May you have better times tomorrow, babies.

I usually see our security guys, but today they were not to be found. I don’t know why, but the place really took advantage and got weird. There was a white dude slapping a belt in his hands as he walked around. A middle-aged couple almost jovially having a domestic dispute at 90 decibels while they strolled up and down every aisle. I noticed the man had a bizarrely formed earlobe. I used to feel upset about deformity and mutilation as a kid, but I see so much of it every day now that it’s helped me to be less ableist. Still some residual feeling a type of way about it.

While the couple was throwing out that massive wall of sound, a customer and I were trying to finish a transaction and having trouble thinking. She was pretty mad about it, but I tried to quell that by being casual. I said, y’know, people gotta keep life interesting somehow. We can watch drama on TV, some people feel the need to live it. Is it bad?

With overflow business from the understaffed front end of the store, I spent a lot more time than usual at the cash register. That helped my feet get less busted than usual, but I was still wiped out enough to need some rest at the end of my shift. I was waiting for my ride to finish some shopping of her own, drifting in and out of consciousness. I realized it was taking over an hour and went to check on her, helped finish that up and get out the door.

She’s borrowing her sister’s car while she waits to get her own fixed next week, and as payment for that, she had to get groceries for her. The sister is a chatty cathy, so when she brought the bags into the condo, my ride disappeared on me for several minutes. Five? Ten? Fifteen? I couldn’t tell, waiting in that clean new borrowed car in a suburban residential parking lot, surrounded by low buildings and tall trees.

When we first showed up, Steller’s Jays were running up and down rooftops and flitting through dense tree boughs. I heard more of them than I saw, and they were joined in the shuffle by several northern flickers (and another type of woodpecker I didn’t get a good look at). Eventually they all took off for higher treetops, leaving the ground level to a solitary junco.

There was one tall tree I could see well and it had tons of birds in it, like a bird apartment building. I couldn’t see them all at once, but I could see many go in and fewer come out, and hear lots of bird calls. The jays, the flickers, birds too small at that distance to identify. May have been chestnut backed and/or black capped chickadees, goldfinches, red breasted nuthatches, and more.

Among the calls, I heard notes that sounded like the chime of a cuckoo clock, and wondered if it could be a cuckoo. No, the cuckoos here surely have different calls from the European ones of infamy. But it put me in mind of my feels about brood parasitism again.

I was wondering why brood parasitism is selected for, why it is advantageous enough to stick around after it comes into being by whatever odd fluke. (In the comments on my brood parasite article, Icthyic linked to a scientific paper on the evolution of the trait. I’d forgotten that.) Anyhow, it occurred to me cuckoos are not just saving labor energy by non-parenting. They are also hobbling the competition.

In order to have their chicks raised by another species, that species must naturally serve food edible to the parasite. To avoid poisoned chicks, the adults have to be eating the same thing, so they’re competitors. A competitor for food that is being run ragged by your offspring is easier to beat in a race for resources.

I felt clever-ish, despite the fact I probably heard Richard Attenborough say the same shit at some point in time and just forgot about it. But why do I think about brood parasites like this? Last time I wrote about it, I had seen one in person. This time, it was just a random thought.

Since time immemorial, the cuckoo has been a symbol for the sexual paranoia of demented patriarchs. It’s seen a resurgence in the form of the alt-reich’s fetish porn-inspired cries of “cuck.” So it’s in the air. But it occurred to me, is this personal?

My father married my mother when she was already pregnant with my sister from another man. That baby grew up to be dangerous, exhausting, life-ruining. Antisocial Personality Disorder is rough. But then, so is being biracial in a house full of white people. I wish her well (for her own sake as well as the unfortunate people in her life), though I never want to see her again. Most likely, this background has nothing to do with any of my thoughts, waiting in that car. It just felt important to mention. So I’m mentioning it.