My brain unconsciously turned to spiders

Chuck Wendig has a list of ten things you can do to persist “in this epoch of syphilitic dipshittery”. It’s not bad. I’ve been following this advice without knowing it for a while. But he left one off.

11. Do your spiders. That’s right. Find a new obsession, the more weird and off the wall it is, the better. Just concentrate for a while every day on it, turn it into an art and science, and identify with your spiders. Because I tell you, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s healthier and saner than the politics in your country right now.

So that’s my plan for today. I shall retire to my lab and office, fiddle about with some new apparatus, fuss over my spiders, and someday, when the time is right, we shall conquer the world and end the reign of foolish primates.

You’ve all got your spiders, or spider-substitutes. What are they? What will you do today to expand your domain?


  1. Sean Boyd says

    Say, PZ, been meaning to ask, but…ummmm….oh, this is going to be uncomfortable….but….aren’t YOU a foolish primate?

    I’ll probably continue to obsess over my bicycle. I can never stop tinkering and tweaking, even when I’ve got it running pretty smoothly.

  2. blf says

    The cheese board is currently well-piled, so the mildly deranged penguin is a little bit calmer…

  3. says

    “What will you do today to expand your domain?”
    Actually, maybe I should go makeup shopping. Next week is my 40th birthday and I haven’t gotten dressed up in forever. I got no place to go, but I miss getting ready to go out. I’m low on foundation, probably eyeliner too. Oh, I wonder if I have any of that sea-foam green dye left?

  4. cartomancer says

    Preparing to teach Tacitus next year, Miniature painting, RPGs over Skype and writing yet further depressive poetry about my unrequited love for my best friend. Isn’t that what everyone does?

  5. fossboxer says

    I suffer these crises of worth all the damn time. My therapist reminds me that a lot of good poetry came out of the Dark Ages.

    I mean, 2017 (the year Wendig wrote that piece) seems like the Age of Enlightenment compared to 2020. Writing about my fictional worlds is the only thing that saves me anymore, and it does not matter that I’m my only reader.

  6. blf says

    @5, “Isn’t that what everyone does?”
    Well, sans preparing or teaching, sans Tacitus, sans Miniature, sans the grenades — no, wait, make that with grenades plus a mildly deranged cheese-seeking penguin — sans Skype, sans various other details as well… then, perhaps.

  7. sparks says

    Thanks for this Professor. Made my day.

    “Banana hole” is priceless.

    And yes, I’m going to use that phrase in casual conversation.

  8. christoph says

    I’ve been rescuing (mostly baby) spiders from my cats’ water dishes. There’s exactly one in there every single morning. The cats don’t mind.

  9. davidc1 says

    @12 Do you mean collecting scrap metal and and taking it to a scrap metal merchant ?
    That’s the only meaning i know of that word .
    During the Third Reich ,those Germans who were not great fans of adolf and his mates ,used to practice Inner
    Emigration ,has it really come to that ?
    PS ,Doc ,if you go to whats his faces photos ,there is a really spiffing photo of a Bug enjoying a Spider Smoothie ,his words not mine .

  10. fossboxer says

    @12 – My wife does a lot of this. From across the room she appears to be performing surgery on a grasshopper. The end results are exquisite. Take that, spiders!

  11. davidc1 says

    @16 Ah yes ,i remember it now ,Graham Greene mentioned it in his entertainment “Travels With my Aunt “

  12. says

    Turning some of my hoarded workshop goodies into a scrap metal collection sounds like a good idea. Maybe in a hour or three, if I run out of interesting articles to read.

  13. Trickster Goddess says

    I’ve been using my time to get in a lot more practice on my djembe. I’m think I’m almost competent now. Fortunately, my laid off neighbour says she likes hearing me play my drum and says I should play more often.

  14. magistramarla says

    I’ve been keeping myself very busy. While my husband works from home in his man cave, I’ve been busy getting our new home organized. There are still a few unopened moving boxes in the storage area of the garage, but I’ve managed to find most of our belongings since the move. The number of books that we moved halfway across the country is a bit ridiculous.Of course, I suppose one would expect a retired Latin teacher and a science-minded PHD to own a lot of books.
    I’m obsessed with glassware and china, so I’ve been busy cleaning and displaying the cobalt blue glass that I inherited from my mother-in-law, the green depression glass that I inherited from my mother and my grandmother’s china, as well as my own.
    Our beautifully restored house was built in 1956 (same as my husband), so my antique glass fits right in.
    We have a grand, three level patio that wraps around the side and back of our new home. It was already beautifully landscaped, but I’ve added some above ground planters filled with herbs. Another obsession of mine is cooking, and I adore walking out to my own garden to gather the herbs for a meal. My husband planted some blueberry and blackberry bushes, and we are already harvesting our own blueberries. I’ve also had to learn to tend rosebushes, since we have a couple of them that produce incredibly beautiful roses.
    I’m currently collecting what I need for my newest obsession. We have a gorgeous oak tree on the lowest level of the back yard. Under it is the perfect spot for a fairy garden, I’ve ordered a wrought iron park bench to sit upon under the shade of the tree. For something interesting there, I’ve been doing some research and decided on a hobbit village fairy garden.
    Once my husband builds the planter boxes for me, I’ll set up a lovely little hobbit village, with lots of succulents and some more rose bushes growing against the fence for a backdrop.
    I have all of these things to do to get me through the summer and the fall. I have many, many books to read or re-read and a basket full of crochet projects for the winter. I also have a few purring cats to keep me company while the husband is working.
    The only reason that we have to leave our lovely little home is to procure provisions at the commissary and wine and spirits at the PX.

  15. chigau (違う) says

    blf #16
    It has been a few years since I have tatted. I remember how it works but I now need magnifying glasses.
    getting old is not for sissies.

  16. says

    I keep my sanity by building musical instruments with my 15-year-old daughter. Today we begin work on a 2-octave xylophone, which will take us about a month. Lots of power tools, lots of math (frequency ratios, resonator couplings).

    For myself, I maintain nearly a half-century’s obsession with music in all its forms. Hindustani raga structures in the morning, Western harmony in the evening. And teaching (mostly the former) all day long.

  17. blf says

    …music in all its forms. Hindustani raga …

    I first read that as “Hindustani reggae”.

    Whilst not at all either thing — is there even what I read it as? — some Scottish Reggae (video; Celtica Pipes Rock).

  18. says

    @26 – to the best of my knowledge, reggae has not encountered Indian music in any meaningful way. But…there is a genre called “Chutney” which emerged from the meeting of Trinidadian African-diasporic culture with the music of indentured Indian laborers. It’s pretty cool, actually.

  19. llyris says

    @21 magistramarla – your homestead sounds positively idyllic.
    My keeping sane task has been quilting, and attempting to destash my ridiculous hoard of fabrics. So far, 2 1/2 small quilts and a net increase in fabric.
    In a week we start ‘remote learning’ again and I’ll be back to supervising schooling for my early primary school kids, so I’d better save up as much sanity as I can now.