Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shoes: The Effect Of A Blog, The Topic Of A Blog

And also something to wear on your feet!

 So I got Linlah's box right away...har har har, I know, "that's what she said". Geez, you guys are so immature.

However, moving, and then procrastinating on unpacking, had to come first.
 I opened it eventually...and yes, I totally used my own blog as a backdrop to their photo op. Let no one say I let self-promotion opportunities go to waste.
Click to enlarge for at-home forensic creepering

By my super-nifty crime lab detection methods of looking-with-eyes, I deduced that Linlah, or someone in her life, has dark curly hair. Can you spot the evidence, boys and girls? You too can be a stalker-creeper,  if you eat all your vegetables and listen to ca-razy Auntie Kana!

 She also sent a card. It was sweet, humorous, featured a sandwich, and had money in. It was a LOT of money. This is my favorite kind of card.

Thus inspired, I then proceeded to get a little...carried away. BUAHAHA.

When the dust settled, there were seedy pics taken of seed-themed shoes. Well, nuts/seeds.

I don't mind telling you, I had a devil of a time coming up with the cartoon, line-drawing representation of a pine cone. SRSLY. Real devils came to persecute for my sins in life, and were all like, "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you had already been helped."

 Lola-Pants really enjoyed the interesting niffs the packing material provided her -- and the crinkly wonder that is a plastic shopping bag is always appreciated.

Through further stalker-forensics, I detected NOT ONLY what chain store outlets are in Linlah's general area, but which ones she's made purchases at. I am good, guys -- at being a skeezy creeper, at least!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Alaskan Summer: The OTHER White Fluff

Ahhh, Alaska -- home of the 8-month Winter. Where weather becomes, if not a matter of life and death, at the very least a factor in how you're going to be leading your life. Like, whether or not you're going to get to see your friends, or go outside today. Or if your power will be staying on.

As a Hawaii-girl by birth, I'm not accustomed to such a proactive meteorological scheme. I do admit to a flash-flood or two, but that's in a 20+ years time-frame. Every semester at UAA there was at least one emergency shut-down of campus, where students were encouraged to remain safely at home and indoors. And funnily enough, it wasn't because of snow; believe me, Alaskans know how to deal with snow. It was the wind; not a frequent phenomenon, but instantly noticeable when it appears...something about how it tries to eat your skin off through all 4 layers of clothing, including that expensive heavy winter coat.

The void of space; almost as cold as our car in the morning

No, snow is largely the icing (ha!) on an already icy cake. It comes down in flurries of tiny snowflakes, little points of white that stream past the car windshield like stars past the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Thank goodness for Summer-- the Alaskan skies switch their game up with sunshine, rain, and these beautiful white flurries that stream past the windshield like -- hold on, wait a minute! What the fluff?

Just lather, rinse, repeat...every year.
No, you didn't reread -- and I didn't mistype. Here, in the depths of August, white specks float silently in the air, and collect in drifts along the ground. But it isn't snow; thank the gods for that. It's dandelion fluff.

Disregard that my work building is in the background; I do.
Yes, dandelions are one of the many types of wildflower Alaskan hills sport in nigh-on every available color, and it is certainly the most proactive in getting its action in before the Summer fades. Ever accidentally biked through a cloud of gnats? Try having that experience every yard of the way. It is a unique sensation, to say the least, and inspires post-cycling dental hygiene like you wouldn't believe. But it is a sign of Summer, and I'm willing to take that as glass-half-full. Unlike every other white person I seem to meet, I'm not allergic to dander or pollen, and am familiar -- nay, even comfortable -- with the reality of insects. I guess I have my tropical upbringing to thank there. However, in semi-urban Anchorage, the outside world is treated with a strange, hesitant sort of hopeful suspicion. They're used to it trying to kill them, and at least Winter is a familiar concept to them. Summer is full of bugs and burrs, and Kana prances quite alone, barefoot in the backyard.
That speck? Way in the distance? That's her.
I tempted Miss Pants to a dandelion-festooned impromptu picnic last year, however, to great success; exactly why she had picnic supplies and an old shower curtain to spread out in her car at that particular time is just one of the wonderful mysteries that surround her.

And while the brilliant sunshine phase of the brief Alaskan Summer has largely passed us by since last I wrote, this newest of sky-occupants waiting for me to bike through it is none other than glorious, miraculous rain. With my (relatively) new flora-inspired bumbershoot, I look for excuses to go out in the wet. It didn't work so well against the dandelion fluff, so while it means our Summer is fading, I bid a blithe farewell to Alaska's Other Fluff, in favor of a sub-season I can really accessorize with.

You may tease shallowness in the "Comments" section below. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sub-Post: Follow-Up of the "Goodbye Tone"

Facebook is going through some tough times right now, deciding whether or not their IM chat should be worth a shit or not, and currently lacks the ability to let be in "invisible" mode. I'm not an IMer. I just wanna check Facebook without getting into four spontaneous, contentless conversations by people I'm just digitally bumping into. So as I am ensnared, a window pops up from the friend of a child of an old room-mate (keeping up?) of mine:

Leilani  8 minutes ago
    • Hi Kana

kana 8 minutes ago
    • hi lei!

Leilani  8 minutes ago
    • are you by tori?

kana  6 minutes ago
    • sorry, hon. I haven't seen Tori in a long time. She's not back to Alaska yet.

Leilani  5 minutes ago
    • nope
    • well i'm going to get off and do something else ttyl

kana about 1 minute ago
    • k bye!
And that's it, folks. She was gone like the wind.   If everyone was just that blithe and ingenuous -- and it wasn't considered odd, but rather the norm -- I think we'd have up to 15% more free time in each day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Lies for the money...and it feels sooo bad
As I might have mentioned once...twice...maybe a dozen times, I've been applying for a new job of late. It's an awful, exhausting business, trying to fool strangers into believing that you're a whole and normal adult who's totally going to positively contribute to their business. Full of lies and smiles, I refrained from telling boss after prospective boss about all my failings.

The fact that I'm a real person is probably the biggest setback. I am odd, individualized, inconsistent in my day-to-day attitude, scatterbrained, and generally unfit to do anything more regulated than maybe - MAYBE - brush my teeth everyday. I mean, come on -- everyday? That's, like, so monotonous.

So, I got hired from one of the fatcat bosses I lied so boldly to. They think pretend Kana is just who they need. I'm terrified that real Kana is going to come as a bitter disappointment.

Not this kind of model
And yet, surprisingly
close to the mark in effect
This woman is terrifying to me. She's one of those expensively maintained models that runs on success and attention. (By "model" I mean to dehumanize her into a machine, not claim that she rocks the catwalk.) She's fifty, looks thirty, has a private plane she doesn't use, a lakeside cabin she has no time to visit, two grown daughters who live thousands of miles away, and a giant house up on Hillside (the good part of town). She also has a terrifying way of letting her smile sort of sour and fade while you think about your answer to her questions, threatening to take it away entirely if you don't give the "right" answer - read, "whatever she wants to hear." And it's not always clear what that is. AAAHHHHHHH!

I'm going to be working with a lot of these high-motivation career types - this is Oil & Gas, where the big money's made. So not just fatcats, but oily fatcats. I can't believe they wanted me. I can't believe I'm planning to work there. These are not my people. I am going to be forced to talk to these phoneys and submit myself to their judgement and their bullshit for hours everyday. I've been hired. Dammit.

Things! Things! I MUST HAVE THINGS!!!
I just want to state my agenda to the Universe (by means of this obscure blog) right now; I want enough money to be able to do things, not money in its own right. I am not a "career" person. I am a "job" person. I go, I earn the money, go home, and then my real life begins. I value happiness over things, and while some things make me happy, I'm not going to save up a cavern of gold like Scrooge McDuck just to be ready to purchase every good thing that comes along.

"...and please don't hurt me." Forgot that bit
And to this awful lady, who reminds me so much of my last boss at the Spa job: I do not admire you. I do not trust you. You are a phoney. Do not reward me with your expensive fake smile.Your empty nest and heavily be-ringed fingers do not appeal to me, nor your unused glamor-items standing in hangars or by lakesides unattended. You are not what I consider an example of success. Do not look down on me, and tell me how "on" I was today. I will serve the public trust, man my post in your records library so that public access and accountability may be maintained. I will not buy into your byzantine private-sector-meets-public-sector game of lies, profit and smarm. So there!

And if I can hold to this rant, keeping it in a small, locked-up portion of my brain that remains pure of the bullshit I'm about to undergo, maybe I'll make it through this new job.

Friday, June 24, 2011

You Probably Don't Remember Me, But...

...I'm still alive, I'm pretty sure!

Bunny is also an ant, lifting
things many times his own mass
So, long time no write, I know – a time of much jobsearching, interviews, unpacking, and D&D. Thankfully, Ike is way better at this 'moving' thing than I, so he's taking it on/putting it off on his own terms.

Whether it has been the soul-destroying enterprise of literally trying to sell myself to poser fatcats, or the stress of interviews, or maybe just a curse of unrest on my mattress, I have felt nothing but weary for weeks now. It’s taken its heaviest toll on my creativity; storywriting, blogging, drawing – usually an irrepressible font of ideas, both good and bad. Now I can barely doodle. I’m tired, guys; weirdly tired. It’s like I don’t have the energy to fountain ideas outwards – I’m only up to taking it in, hunkering at the bottom of a well of nightly escapism in paperbacks, telly and movies. I just can’t reciprocate. 

Grey spot on foot is where I was
stabbed by my own toes
In conjunction with this mental flat-lining and energy lull, I have also started to fall apart a little physically; a filling is missing on one of my teeth – when did THAT happen?? – and I accidentally kicked a Kirby vacuum, which has more in common with a Model T than a Dirt Devil. We think my toe is fractured, but can’t really get it professionally checked out. The dentistry is going to be expensive enough without insurance. Yaargh. Poor sucks. 'Nuff said.

So! Bitching and excuses aside, I am trying to shake off this feeling – we got a CO2 detector put in, and the toxic gasses I was half-sure were suffusing our new home and killing us slowly are simply not present, so this really is just me, and…well…I’m working on it!
On a positive note, I’ve DMed my first one-shot campaign, and am also now the proud momma of 4 little she-mice. We didn’t name them per se, but rather insult them on a case-to-case basis. The little brown one usually has shit-themed slurs, and the white one gets ice-queen allusions, but my Honeybunny called the dominant black one Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which has stuck for some unknowable reason. Lola the Fatass Kitty is more jealous than intrigued by them, although we have set up a chair for her to watch their terrarium, which we call Kitty Television. That scene of pure cute is helping me with my itis, fo' realies.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Apologies and Excuses

Sorry it's been so long...apologies, excuses and updates time!

See? Safe and sound on the peak of Mt. Holyshit
Linlah, I got your package. I'll get to it someday, in a far future where I accomplish all goals and remember all promises. Until then, I'm keeping it prominently displayed so I don't forget.

It sits in the rubble of my personal Utopia - we're moving, and crumbling brown cardboard boxes stack high like city buildings, and (with)hold everything I own. Theoretically. Someday I will know where things are again.

First, I was sick. I coughed so hard I pushed my tampon out. And remember, guys -- if that was disgusting and traumatic to read, at least you didn't have to try living it.

Then it was moving time. Five straight days of hard labor and cleaning. Short tempers, dust, and arguing about what to keep as we downsize to a smaller house, oh my. We seriously scared the poor GCI guy, who didn't know we'd been reduced to serfs of the field and tried to talk to us like we were modern homo sapiens.

We are moved, but not unpacked. And now have to return to work, remembering how to dress professionally, recall what "appropriate" means and try to confrom to it, and pretend we're not living in a canyon of boxes, which I posit is just as savage as living in a box canyon. Subtle but different. Some day soon, blogging will truly resume. Until then...a clipart pic of bugs and dandelions!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Frackin' Rabble-Babble Razzum-Frazzum

So, apparently the ubiquitous F-word of the SciFi/Fantasyscape, "frack", as in "What do you mean there's no frackin' chips?" is . . . a real thing??

Kana's Tummy-Bubble Figure 1
Championed by such speculative-fiction titans as Battlestar Galactica and Warehouse 13, the idea of fracking, or "to frack," is not actually as fun -- and is in truth far more naughty -- than Hollywood would lead you to believe. Not just the fictive step up from "hinky" (which is also a real word, not just an NCIS Abbyism) anymore, fracking is a method of injecting a toxic chemical cocktail into the ground to extract natural gas, much like our nigh-unconscious method of inciting a burp by swallowing a little bit of air; the gaseous link to the surface enables egress to hitherto isolated pockets, or bubbles...see Figure 1. It's not well-thought-of by the progressive liberals, which have an opinion-piece/FAQ here. Regardless of the politics, it blows my mind that fracking's a THING. Our language is actually way more comprehensive than the public seems to realize, and we do have words for the things we know about, we just have to frackin' learn them.

And I love 'em.

Even though communication occurs only when meaning is successfully conveyed, not when one person knows a bunch of obscure words, I can't help myself. It's like corn chips for my brain -- you think you just want, like, 3, and then you take down half the bag by yourself. And even though frack became frak on the good ol' BSG to make it an official "four-letter-word," it is still a bridge from Cylons to true eco-concerns that I invite you all to take; worry about "what will happen next time" on Days Of Our Lives, No Seriously, This Really Is Real Life.

Speaking of vacuum might really be a Cylon. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Wheeled Fetish

First off, I regret to inform you that this is an anthropological use of the word 'fetish' -- so however reluctant you are to cast off images involving straps, safewords, or clothes with special holes cut out in exciting places, it's time move back into academia. The cultural application of the word refers to an object to which is ascribed properties, usually intangible, that an outside observer might not see any clear connection to, such as a holy icon's ability to heal those who touch it. And so, with a salutary nod to my professors through the years, I now boldly key my “thesis statement.” Are you ready? Here it goes.

I really, really hate cars. 

Not a knee-jerk hate like racism or something, where just seeing one makes the loathing swirl in your stomach and your mouth sneer. That’s more of a phobia. Probably xenophobia. No, cars have been too consistently a part of my life’s landscape for me to even really “see”/think critically about them until, as they so often do, they break or eff something up and piss you off. Why do Americans care about cars so much?

It seemed so funny at the time
Yeah, yeah,  they represent auto(ha!)nomous movement and independence, and we sure do have a raging brainer for those concepts. But to the point of not having any other viable interstate public travel network? Japan and Switzerland are laughing at us. And they might’ve been the geeky kids back in global-school that America swirlied in the fifties, but now it’s class reunion time and they’re slim, coiffed and successful, and America is “between jobs’ and smells of stale beer. 

We fetishize cars, they’re FREEDOM and ADVENTURE and INDEPENDENCE and if you take the city bus than you’re a LOSER. Every single person on a bus looks like a failure, because they, for one reason or another, weren’t able to achieve the most basic American standard of success; a high school education car. That’s all we want, nationwise. Wheels and the highway. Are we a nation of rebellious teens? We keep telling England we’re grownups, equals, but we still just want to roadtrip every summer because summer school is BORING. We are children who are excited by bright colors and movement. So maybe juvenile velociraptors.

No beep, no light-up indicator….but it made
a sound like a cricket and a smell kind of like
formaldehyde once. So you should’ve known
But they are not freedom. 
They are car payments, and oil changes, and snow tires, and insurance, and traffic, and anonymity and road rage, and the hellish ragescape of the supermarket parking lot. 
They are little lights that flare up on the dashboard, demanding yet another expensive appointment that needs to be made at the autoshop. 
They are unexpected failures that leave you a forlorn figure on the side of the road, because some damn tell you were supposed to have picked up on evaded your perception because you were trying to think about something OTHER than your car for a godsdamned minute.

If one hates going fast, dislikes confrontation or crowds, and has spatial issues with concepts like will A fit into B, then it seems perfectly reasonable to dislike and not participate in driving. But it is not seen as reasonable. Boyfriend’s Mom looks down on me. I am a burden to my friends with cars. Suddenly I am a parasite, a drain on my society, because the bus system is shit and there are no bullet trains. I am somehow juvenile for not matriculating into the adult world of car ownership. All my well-meaning loved ones have at one time or another stuffed me into the driver’s seat of their car and forced me to
-        Get to the other side of the parking lot
-        Park in this space
-        Make my way home or I’m not getting there

They mean well. They really do.
But all this makes me want to do is leave America for one of those more composed, successful nations. Surely they’ll love me for who I am and buy me pretty  bullet trains. But one thought always slides into the forefront of my mind at this point in my line of reasoning: It IS easier to learn the Driving Manual than learning a new language…So I will stick with America, and breathe in the stale beer stink of shame. Because I am lazy, and emigrating is HARD.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Month 3: Blog Evaluation -- I Should Not Become President

At least I can check off that I checked in
Much like our poor leader's Presidency, a couple months of posting is long enough to evaluate a blog; on how the rest of it is going to go, and what choices were actually mistakes masquerading as policy decisions. I'm re-thinking the amount of posts Right now I usually do weekdays, no Fridays, with an occasionally employed "eff it" contingency, but I still seem to be putting way more in than I'm getting out. With all the other projects I try to get into daily, the cost-benefit ratio is definitely listing off the port bow. From now on, I guess I'll do a once-a-week posting, and if response continues to be so low, I'll rethink the whole Presidency -- I mean, uh, blog -- thing entirely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple Pleasures, Part 2: The (Silver?) Lining

It's time for the second installment of the Simple Pleasures series, where the good stuff in life is celebrated as it should be. And today, it's all about pants! No, not Pants, PANTS. Ahhh, fuggedhaboudit.

Khaki's secret inner purple
 For all the male blogviewers, let's just preface this with Yes, women's pants frequently have liners of a different print and fabric than the actual pants, inside the pants. Now that we've moved on to the meat of the topic, they're adorable! I had this pair of dark green corduroys that had the most unexpected pink-and-white pinstripe lining inside the pockets...ahem. But I digress. There's no use getting bogged down in the particulars.
This one even MATCHES!

Because this post is not just another whimsical Kana-anecdote, it is a message to the masses! For what I would like to submit to the Blogoshpere today is that inner linings are darling and sweet, frequently unexpectedly so, and that they are an opportunity for a moment of softness in your psyche's day. Allow yourself to be softened, however momentarily, by their delicate print patterns and precious colors. They won't let you down!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glass Cat Wars

You might have seen them. Stupid, pointless impressionistic pseudo-cat shapes made from glass, which serve no purpose but to gather dust, and seem to spontaneously manifest and congregate in old ladies' window sills. This is what my mother thought I would want, one fateful birthday so much like this last tragic Christmas. Well, she was "that guy" even then, and handed over this glass cat with a pleased smile, which I tried to match. WARNING: Results may vary. 

"I am a dumb!"
It was molded of clear glass, and it had no face, or any other recognizable features -- but if you looked very closely, in just the right light, you would realize it had two ever-so-slightly raised areas on one side of its blank head, which were eyes, and THEREFORE IT HAD BEEN LOOKING AT YOU THIS WHOLE TIME. Ick. It stood, unwanted and somehow accusing, in whatever random corner was the least trafficked, for at least a couple of months. Until Fancy came over for some drinks with HunBun. Now, it's hard to tell whether or not Fancy is drunk, because he's, well, he's just...Fancy. But when he's drunk, apparently he likes glass cats. Or at least our glass cat. We gladly handed it over, hoping he'd at least accidentally break it so we could throw the damn thing away, but he wandered home in the morning still the proud, slightly tipsy owner of the glass cat. 

Mexican pervcat says: Hola, seƱora
hermosa. ¿Puedo sentarme en su regazo?
It was a far more sober Fancy that returned it to us the following weekend, to our great disappointment. But my ingenious Bunny tricked him back into it, saying he "had a present" for him, and so all was well again. Until Button and Fancy were married, honeymooned in Mexico and returned, sunburned and with nick-knacks. Ours? Was a blue Mexican glass-ceramic cat, with ornate South-American flowery embellishments all over. And a mustache, I believe. This was the beginning of the Glass Cat War, and terms were laid. 

-It must glass, ceramic, or somehow fragile. Lightness is key.
-It must be a cat, and not only a cat, but a cat in that stupid pose, sitting with its head turned at a right angle to the rest of its body, tail in close.
-The giftor must trick the giftee while still alluding to it being "a present" -- the keyword my Sweetie had tricked Fancy with initially.
-It cannot be mailed as a package, or presented at Christmas or birthdays...or any time of great gift-giving.

With these rules laid out, the real challenge began, and we were at a disadvantage, holding both of the existing cats in play. But Lovely went into a whirlwind of plotting, and got rid of both over the next month; cramming one (unconvincingly, I thought) into a Fallout game case and demanding that Fancy "check it out". He did, and howled for us most delightfully. But the real triumph was discarding the original hated glass cat. For Fancy was wary now, and on the lookout for Bunbun's treachery. 

But he still wasn't ready for The Glass Cat Mastermind.  

The trap was carefully laid; a drinking night, lowering Fancy's defense against glass-cattery. A huge glass mug, that Fancy, as a heavy drinker, prefers to use. The presence of YouTube videos. While he stared glassily (ha!) at a YouTube video, my love went into action; to the kitchen, in which to remove the glass cat from the junk drawer that had been its rightful home. Placed ever so gently, ever so silently into the tall glass mug. Then ice from the refrigerator dispenser to, ah, 'cloud the issue', before actually mixing the poor fool a drink. The YouTube feature draws to a close, as Sweetness comes bearing "My gift to you, Buddy." And BOOM. He'd been glass-catted. 

Oh, the look of astonishment, of defeat, of drunken dismay! 
Oh, glorious victory.
Picture this with fur. Yeah.
That's when Fancy got the womenfolk involved, and Button made the next foray several months later, offering me the most obscene bag I could have ever imagined -- all cute-as-a-Button like she is, saying "Look what I got for you! It's a preeeesseeent." I was all unsuspecting, as all my warning bells were already in a clamor about the bag itself, not What Lay Within. It was made out of red, blue, orange and green Kool Aid pouches. It was trimmed with blue faux fur. It was vivid, metallic, and truly awful. So full of garish visual stimuli, I had no time for what my ears were hearing. I took the bag. It was heavy. It had the blue cat in it.

It went nicely with the faux fur, actually.

Apparently my dear sweet Muffin had immediately called shenanigans right at the door when she'd said "present" -- he has no time or mental space of purses, but apparently plenty for treachery -- but had agreed to let her try it on me, with the agreement that she not even try to play again til after Christmas. It was July. Even though his lady let him down, and totally fell for it, it was still a steal of a deal. When Button attended her first D&D game with us in August, Bunny gave her her own dicebag with a full set of die. And a glass cat stuffed in for good measure.

Pants shook it up by introducing two small, incredibly broken and just generally shitty cat figurines from her parent's house -- one now resides with Fancy, the other is on our kitchen counter to this very day. But it wasn't me! Honey totally fell for it. Who knows what ingenious revenge plot he is concocting? He definitely knows how to play the long game.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notebook Doodles: Wouldn't It Be Hilarious

...If two little Indian sisters moved to America? And their names were Nawan and Nabadi? Oh, the confusion that would ensue, the shock, awe and heartache -- such junior-high high-jinks!

3, 2, 1, aaaaaaand HEARTBROKEN

She may never recover her filial relationship

...Aahhh, just say them aloud if you don't get it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Might Have Noticed The Picnic Layout

Or even have had an epileptic fit after being confronted by the sheer colorful busyness of it all. You might go so far as to question why I chose to populate my busy background with an assortment of birds, bugs, food and flowers.

And my response is: Can if I want to.

--Love, Kana

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sometimes Reality Blows My Mind

I am a fiction writer. But as Richard Feinman said, "I think Nature's imagination is so much greater than man's....she's never gonna let us relax." The constant striving to survive against whatever odds has led to outlandish extremes of life, and even as a fictionalist, without proof I could never have lent credence to these real-world phenomena:

The Blue Hole of Belize is one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders. It's found in Belize's Barrier Reef Reserve System, about 60 miles away from Belize City. It is believed that this hole is the world’s largest sea-hole. It is about 125 meters deep and it's about a quarter of a mile in diameter. It was created by the collapse of a limestone cave system when ocean level began to rise again after the the last Ice Age -- the caves flooded, and the roof collapsed into this beautiful deep-sea pit. It's now a prestigious advanced dive-spot, with crystal-clear waters, a constant 73 F temperature year-round, and many impressive aquatic species, including giant groupers, nurse sharks and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark. There have also been irregular sightings of other species of sharks, like the bull shark and hammerheads. It is a place of implacable beauty and danger, and in my mind the elemental balance to the next phenomenon I wanted to share:

The fire-pit at Darvaza is a gas crater which has been flaming for nearly 40 years. During its time under the rule of Soviet Russia, Turkmenistan had geologists conducting gas drilling in Kara-Kum desert in 1971 when an underground chamber was discovered close to the village of Darvaza (known in Turkmen as Derweze, but sometimes also referred to as Darvaz). The discovery of the chamber was accidental and resulted in the drilling rig collapsing, leaving a massive crater filled with toxic gases fuming out into the open air. The concentration of gases within the crater was so dense no one dared approach it. It was then that someone came up with an idea to light the gas in the crater on fire so as to burn it before the poisonous fumes engulfed the nearby town of Darvaza. The geologists decided to burn the gas off with a controlled detonation. As it turns out, the supply of quality natural gas below the crater is near infinite, as the crater’s been burning uninterrupted ever since.

But not all my mind-blowing phenomena are geological, lawsy no; our flora-fauna synergy is amazing as well.

Cool story brought to my attention c/o of Ariadne @
With over 1/5 of Pakistan underwater after a heavy flood, millions of spiders climbed into trees to escape the rising floodwaters. The water took so long to recede that the trees became cocooned in spiderwebs. The result is this surreal fantasy landscape, with any vegetation covered in a thick mass of gauzy spiderweb.
This bizarre turn of events may be a blessing in disguise, as Britain’s department for international development reports that areas where the spiders have scaled the trees have seen far fewer malaria-spreading mosquitos than might be expected, given the prevalence of stagnant, standing water. This catastrophe may be another lurching step in natural evolution, an event that kick-starts a new habit in insect behavior and a significant change in the region's ecosystem!

For much cooler expansion on this topic,
read Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy.

This precious little gem is called the Golden Tree Frog, or Phyllodytes auratus. Found only on one mountain in the world, in Trinidad, it lives and breeds exclusively in only one type of giant bromeliad that grows high up in the canopy layer of the trees there. Visiting herpetologists found gold-striped tadpoles only in the bromeliads that had a single adult frog present, suggesting the parent may care for their tadpoles in much the same way as poison-dart frogs do -- by guarding and feeding them on unfertilized eggs. The frog lives in flowers that have been filled with water during a rainshower and will spend its entire life in a single flower; when they die they sink to the bottom and release nutrients into the water, allowing both the bromeliad and other frogs to glean their nutrients for survival. What an amazing, closed little universe, in the center of a flower atop a tree atop one lone mountain on an island, far far away. This may be more mind-blowing to me than fire pits or mile-deep shark tubes. A universe within a universe, like suds inside a larger bubble just floating in the sky.

How would those little frogs feel if they looked out of their bromeliad universe, to the outer petals and to the branch extending into an incomprehensibly larger world? And how would we feel if our furthest deep-space satellites sent back images of massive petals, hinting at something even larger beyond?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm A Time-Traveller...And A Pretty Generous One, Too

Linear Human Reality Timeline  v.  Kana Timeline
While we're not sure whether or not I was born this way or damaged in a car accident when I was was twelve (Apparently it's hard to tell at that age whether you're mentally injured or just a preteen), it is clear that I am now a time traveler. It's inconvenient, since I'm not driving the time machine, but life as a passenger has been pretty helpful in the development of my character. I am pretty easygoing about reality, because I so rarely get to visit, and don't get as emotionally invested in it as the natives. I just have to make VERY sure of a few basic things, like the content of my friend's characters, and that my automated reminder calendar program is up-to-date.

Let me explain: I can only use my memory as the most basic guide to past events, so I have to be able to rely on my friends or somehow communicate with my future self about something I've managed to recall NOW. Because my memory is so patchy, I frequently am not quite clear on the timeline that connects the current me with any of the past Kanas that have defined things like my persona, living situation, or the reason why there is now two yards of burlap sacking on my floor. (See last post for a hint on that one.) Automated reminders and good organization means I can function like a normal, capable adult while actually being a time-traveler.
Why do I have $11?
We may never know.

Making good decisions is also helpful, because at least then you're pleasantly surprised by what life confronts you with. Like yesterday, when for the nth time, I found cash in my pockets and I have NO idea how it got there. I don't use cash - I'm a debit person. The idea of a points system is more understandable to me as a concept than exchanging dirty manky bits of cloth for, say, 2 liters of Mountain Dew. (And then when hobos ask if I have any cash, I can say no with total honesty. Because Maui did NOT have beggars, and that's still hard for me to deal with.) Which means there is no good reason for there to be cash in my pockets; it's like an unexplained gift from the past to the (ha!) present.

The Kana that wore the stonewashed
jeans was very generous -- we like her
This sort of unqualified good news provides more emotional ballast to balance out times when the people in my life come up to me and say "You promised to come to my ceramics workshop tonight. Grab your coat, it starts in half an hour." In having faith in my friends not to take advantage of my time-traveling nature, I just wonder, "Did I...? Huh," and then go get my coat.

This feeling of "Really? Okay," promotes an easygoing but very unreal sensation that leaves me with the feeling that I am sort of "just visiting" reality, with the same good-humored patience of a tourist stuck in a Spanish traffic jam because it's the Running of the Bulls. So I'm a time-traveling tourist on permanent vacation...there's worse things to be.