Last eve I had a series of very strange dreams. Honestly, all my dreams come from parts unknown in my brain, but I had one in particular that reminded me of a story that my mother shared with me a few years ago. This post seems more suitable for Thanksgiving, but under the circumstances, I feel I can post today. It’s about turkeys. More specifically, it’s about the strange things people do to them.
The dream started with helping a hick living in some podunk town get his car out of a muddy driveway. His landlady came out at some point to yell at us. She apparently did that a lot. When we pulled out we only drove a little ways down the road when I started seeing brightly colored specks. The closer we got I noticed they were animals – birds – who were all the colors of the rainbow. I found out they were definitely giant, plump turkeys. Some of them were multicolored. Some were stark white. Some of them looked like peacocks. A few of them had big feathers sticking out of their heads instead of being bald. They were beautiful and staring menacingly at us. For some reason, as I was staring face to face with a purple and gold turkey, my dream ended.
There is a turkey farm in Guilford, CT where my mom went once and then told me about it. I didn’t believe her at first so I looked it up online. This farm has figured out how to color the coats of the turkeys and parades them out for show before Thanksgiving. Presumably this is in a humane way, although they are grown to be on someone’s plate anyway. It’s a good gimmick. Here are some fun pics:
These are far, far less vivid than the ones in my dream. They are more Easter-y and a subtly pleasant color. They look like turkeys you’d want to cuddle with (if one could cuddle with a turkey), not the menacing darkness turkeys of my dream. Ah well, at least this video has shown me that I can give thanks that I wasn’t raised in a family business of raising turkeys:
There wasn’t a post yesterday due to my first therapist visit. I was nervous all day and when it was over I didn’t feel like talking about it. I wonder what he’d say about all this.
Edit 5/14: I think I know where I got the idea of the birds with feathers on their heads. I love chocobos, but these birds were not as cute as those lovable scamps. I think I merged the two together in my head. So for your happiness, here’s a purple chocobo to compare:
I’m continuing with Collector’s Week (see previous two posts). I have a penchant for macabre subjects and would possibly have made a decent CSI. When I was young I found a small animal skull in the woods we lived nearby. My mother allowed me to keep it, though my father was a little disturbed by my interest. I never found anything in addition to it, but I would have definitely started a collection. Years later I’m now a person who doesn’t go outside much and I don’t have the gold to buy the bones online so I do the next best thing and collect fakes and pirate flags and skeletal designs. Dad still thinks it’s weird.
Another quick story: Last weekend I visited my mother. We went to a craft store. As we were checking out our large and lovely clerk started talking to us about the things we were making with the odd bits and pieces we had bought. Rather, Mom had to justify the soldering iron and heavy wire as Steampunk items. The girl brightened up and said, “It’s okay, I collect bones!” We chatted on about how she was obtaining them. I noted I was familiar with “The Bone Room”, but she was lucky enough to know people who actually looked for them for her when they were out in natural settings.
Say you are in the market for a skull or a femur or a badger penile bone. Where would you go? Sure there are “science websites” that sell rocket kits as well as expensive replica stuff. But what about the real things? As mentioned before, there is The Bone Room. It’s main specialty, as the name indicates, is bones, but it also does fossils, nature-based jewelry, and, eh, “unique gifts”. Forewarning: I can’t post human skulls. This is not because I don’t want to, but because there’s such a shortage that if I post a picture it is likely to be gone within a few weeks or less (despite the high demand prices). Check their Tibetan Carved Skulls for their current stock – seriously cool! Here’s some other stuff they sell:
On the left are “mink baculum earrings” – yes, earrings made from mink penile bones. On the right is a badger skull.
Next up is Skulls Unlimited International. I had actually found this site first when searching many years ago. This one has more potential for a bone collector as they have a wider variety in regards to taxonomy (including several species of fish) and a lot more groupings of items for educational value. However, these tend to be museum replica items as SUI is geared more towards teaching/museums than the creepy loners trying to find that one scapula to complete their collection. Again, there are some real skulls that I can’t link to because they will be gone gone gone soon! But check out their Smilodon replicas and horse skulls:
Also, a present consideration for my upcoming birthday: the “skull carrying case” (it upsets me that this is a limited item).
If you don’t have the cash or like doing the fancy footwork, remember that there may be dead bodies floating around your own back yard! Searching for tips & tricks was hard, but Google Books helped me out and here is an excerpt from Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness. (It’s about a chapter of her book so I’m just linking it instead of quoting.)
If this is far too real for you, don’t worry: I’ll cover the cutesy & cheery side of your skull needs tomorrow.
ZZZZzzzz… Huh? What? Oh, I haven’t posted in almost two days? Well. I’ve been busy. I went to the library. I had a doctor’s appointment. I had to catch up on my Podcasts, which are all on the other computer. You understand.
So, uh, to distract you from my bad excuses, here are some shiny frogs:
Atelopus Frogs are a genus of “harlequin” frogs (or “toads” if you want to get technical, but they seem froggy enough for me). The one pictured here is the Purple Florescent Frog.
This is the more common “Panamanian Golden Frog” you’ll see under the Atelopus label. Although due to Purple’s recent discovery & news article in ’07, it’s a higher search hit. Does this cause rivalry in the taxonomy world? The 80 or so other species may disapprove:
For any more pics or info, you can click on the images. Here are some more resources:
Frogs with Beautiful Rainbow Colors! – Really good pics there, felt cheap to steal from that site.
Atelopus.com – a site dedicated to the education & preservation of them since many of these subspecies are going extinct!
When I say extinct, I mean pretty much all of them.
And I can’t resist adding this from one of my favorite (now defunct) webcomics:
I have a New Year’s Resolution: Be as fierce as the Owlbear! What a magnificent and handsome beast be the Owlbear, so strong and robust (I like my coffee like I like my Owlbears).
When I was an aspiring author at the ripe young age of 8, I had completed a story about a hunter by the name of JoeJoe (if you’re a fan of Who’s Line Is It Anyway you will keep thinking “the Mutant Small Person”). JoeJoe apparently wanted to hunt a big, “sloppy” bear and when he came across said monstrosity he was chased back into his castle (hunters lived in castles in my world, baby). JoeJoe missed out on his chance. At first, my thought was, “I’m JoeJoe. I have a cowardly and defeatist attitude about my fears. When I see something, I will not consider how best to approach it and as soon as it looks scary, I run.” … Okay, that is me. But the point is that had I but *known* that Owlbears existed back then, I would have made it an Owlbear and JoeJoe would have been ripped to shreds before he could escape. And I probably would have been sent to a therapist.
The brilliant piece of fiction can be found here (part a) and here (part b). (If you are concerned it’s going to be long because it comes in 2 parts, don’t be. These are pics of a stained sheet of paper from 20 years ago.)
Bears have been a part of my growing up. When I was young, I was even called “Betsy Bear”. Next comes the owl part. The blog even has “owl” in it because for a long time I’ve looked up to owls, often seen to be harbingers of death (not the ideals of wisdom as so many misinterpret thanks to silly Greek Mythology). I even have an owl that watches over me:
His name is Nunnos. I’ve had him, thanks to my friend Zanders, for about 10 years now. I also have several mini-statues and arcane pieces collected over the years. Wait, they’re harbingers? Does that mean these figures are wards or am I welcoming death with open arms? Guess that would explain the icy chills.
When I began playing D&D I found there existed a monster called an “Owlbear” and thought it had to be some sort of model of perfection when it came to monsters. Turns out it is rarely used amongst my friends. Possibly because it *is* so awesome, they are afraid of not simulating the correct Owlbear personae. So I bring to the world a post dedicated to the wonder that is the Owlbear:
I found what appears to be a game story writer who dedicated a series and several images to these marvelous creatures. His name is Jon Hodgson. I really like some of the work:
I also found a *really* old fan post from story games: i stab you in the hope with my ennui for Owlbears.
And last, but not least, you can find D&D shirts and fun doodles @ TheOwlbear.com:
If you love these hairy, feathery lugs as much as I do (and you should!), you’ll check this stuff out.
This will harken back to early August. I was house sitting for a friend (she knows who she is) and during a rainy week one of the pots ended up over-watered. Slowly a small, but fascinatingly phallic, bright yellow mushroom started growing.
I took a photo of it and asked my Facebook friends to ID it:
The fungus is “Leucocoprinus birnbaumii” and was fairly harmless, however I now was under suspicion of destroying my friend’s garden. I swear it was the rain!
This got me wondering about mushrooms (for about a day, but it was a fun adventure). I found Mushroom Appreciation was a good site to find info on types and pictures for recognition. Mind you, my next jump was not about food. Not about drug use. It was about death. I began researching the most poisonous fungi. This was both out of my own paranoia about dying in a strange way and because I like to fantasize about using something called “The Destroying Angel” as part of a diabolical plan. So in case you are like me and need to know, here are The 13 Deadliest Mushrooms on the Planet.
(This is called a “Death Cap”. The article says, “No antidote is known.” I feel better already.)
And because I’m in a generous mood, if you are particularly paranoid or evil, whichever the case may be, here’s A List of Deadly Poisons. (The deadly one that mushrooms gives you is Amatoxin.)
If all of this was boring, here’s a cool video from BBC’s Earth. I hope it remains up, as it’s a mirrored vid. The original was not allowed to be embeded by BBC, but thankfully I found this copy as it is *awesome*.