JUNE 27, 2009 10:18PM

When They Look at You, They Look at You With One Eye

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Zooey and Franny

 

This post is dedicated to all of our loving readers.
We wish you continued inspiration and healing for this dear community.
Peece!


Melissa: (waking) What time is it, love?

Michael: (E) 12:46.

Melissa: (E) Hahaha.

     (E) No, I was just starting to read the script.

Michael: (E) Ohhh.

     (E) (sings) Ruin it, ruin it, ruin it, ruin the banana splits y’all!

     (E) You put the bananas in. You put the ice-cream in. Then you put the whipped cream. Then you put the sprinkles.

     (E) Then you put the boogers, the boogers, the boogers, the boogers.

Melissa: (E) (laughs)

Michael: (E) Does anybody want banana splits?

Melissa: (E) Okay, I’ll take it out.

Michael: (E) Thank you.

     8:30.

Melissa: No it’s not.

Michael: You’re right. It’s 8:31.

Melissa: (checks phone to confirm)

Michael: It’s 8:06!

Melissa: You scared me.

Michael: See? That’s time-gifting through deception.

Melissa: (jumps up, starts typing)

Michael: (over bird monitor) Superboys!

     (B) Have we ever publicly mentioned that we mistook the birds for girls?

Melissa: (B) Not yet—and that’s exactly what I was starting to say up here, when I asked, “You know what?”

Michael: (F) “Up here”?

Melissa: (F) Yeah, I originally said it right after you said, “Superboys!”

     (B) And then we got derailed by this spider story. And then the whoopdedoos. And our reader’s probably wondering what—

Michael: (B) Not “readers”—

Melissa: (B) It’s singular!

Michael: (B) Oh, “our reader is” probably.

Melissa: (B) Yes!

Michael: (B) I didn’t say “probably.”

Melissa: (B) Yes, you did!

Michael: (B) I said “sorry” after “probably”! While your attention was already turned away from me to begin typing.

Melissa: (B) You heard “sorry” in your mind, but you didn’t vocalize it. If you had, I, the Recorder, would have heard it.

Michael: (B) I said it much lower than what I said before.

Melissa: (B) Help! We’re never gonna get around to saying what we wanted to about the birdies’ gender identity crisis!

Michael: (B) They didn’t have a crisis. And why won’t you let me say “sorry”?

Melissa: (B) (laughs)

     (B) Stop, stop, stop. We’ve got to get this out or we’ll never finish.

Michael: (B) Mm-kay.

Melissa: (B) You know what?

Michael: (B) What?

Melissa: (B) We actually made a recording of me telling you about this discovery. Maybe this should be inserted as a transcript. Our first insert.

Michael: (B) That might be interesting.

Melissa: (B) So what was intended to be original text will actually become a meta!

Michael: (B) A “meta”?

Melissa: (B) Yeah, the next one. “(C)” I suppose.

Michael: (B) Stop. This will save you a lot of time. Do splat-return.

Melissa: (B) Ooh, yeah. Woohoo! Positiveness!

Michael: (B) Hahaha.

     (B) Now what?

     (B) Okay, Franny and Zooey—

Melissa: (B) Wait! Stop! You don’t need to explain this now. That’s what the transcript is for. We just need to make it. Right now.

     (C) Guess what?

Michael: (C) What?

Melissa: (C) Franny and Zooey are males!

Michael: (C) How do you know?

Melissa: (C) Remember how we noticed they started getting a bluish tinge to their beaks?

     (C) I looked it up—and this is at Starling Talk—and it says, “Male starlings in breeding season have a blue cast to the beak and females have pink.”

     (C) And then I read a little bit more, and it says, “The male finds a nest site and then uses his song to attract a mate. It is also the male who builds the nest and includes things such as fresh flowers, green leaves, and herbs. The male also engages in wing-waving in which he half extends his wings and rotates them while singing.”

Both: (C) Hahaha!

Melissa: (C) “This seems to be a way of attracting a mate. In breeding season the female is dominate, perhaps because there are two males for every female starling.”

Michael: (C) Mmm, what about Franny’s eye?

     (C1) Can you go back and see if I said “eye” instead of “eye
s”?

Melissa: (C1) (checks) You’re right!

Michael: (C1) You know why I said “eye”?

Melissa: (C1) Why?

Michael: (C1) Because when they look at you, they look at you with one eye.

Melissa: (C1) Oh, right!

Michael: (C2) I suspect something!

Melissa: (C2) You think we’re not gonna finish, but we are!

Michael: (K) But we didn’t.

Melissa: (K) We almost did.

Michael: (K) (over bird monitor) Supergir—I mean, superboys!

Melissa: (K) Haha. I know. It’s gonna take forever to get used to that.

Michael: (K) I know.

     (C2) Oh no. No. But I don’t think we should record it.

     (C2) I suspect that
maybe Lutz is going to . . .

Melissa: (C2) What? “Maybe Lutz is going to” what?

Michael: (C2) Never mind. We’ll see.

Melissa: (C2) “We’ll see” what?

Michael: (C2) What? What? What?

     (C2) Wouldn’t I have to say that, “Whuuu-t? Whuuu-t? Whuuu-t?”

Melissa: (C2) What?

     (C2) Okay. Let’s stop there.

Michael: (C2) Okay, but can we say that the “Whuuu-t”s are all rising?

Melissa: (C3) I’m hungry!

Michael: (C3) Me, too!

     (G) Did we ever eat?

Melissa: (G) Yeah, don’t you remember? The co—

Michael: (G) Oh, the corn!

Melissa: (C3) (from kitchen) I’m gonna use one of these hot dog buns to butter the corn.

Michael: (C3) Okay.

     (C3) (taking plate) Is this salted?

Melissa: (C3) No, it’s salted butter. I tried it, and it tasted fine. Try it.

Michael: (C3) (tries it)

     (C3) Where’s the salt?

Melissa: (C3) Do you want the sea salt?

Michael: (C3) No, I want my little shaker of salt.

     (C3) Thank you!

     (C3) Salt.

Melissa: (C3) “More salt?”

Michael: (C3) How did that bun work out?

Melissa: (C3) Well! It worked great.

     (C3) Now I’m having it as a roll with my corn.

Michael: (C3) (finishes corn)

     (C3) Thank you, sweetie.

Melissa: (C3) You’re welcome.

Michael: (C4) What’re you doing?

Melissa: (C3) Trying to keep the light on.

Michael: (C3) After that.

Melissa: (C3) Finishing this post.

Michael: (C4) Yeah, right.

Melissa: (C) Well, I went to their specific page about identifying starling gender, and the iris test, as they say, is not 100% accurate. And, they also say that between 3 and 7% of starlings have conflicting iris and beak indicators. So, it’s almost impossible to tell for certain, unless you test their DNA to see what gender they are. But I’m pretty sure . . . maybe, I don’t know if both of them are, or maybe just one of them, ’cuz that’s why we always thought Zooey was a male—

     (C5) Oh, did you hear that?

Michael: (C5) What?

Melissa: (C5) (rewinds)

     (L) Is it correct to say “rewinds” when it’s digital?

Michael: (C5) Oh, I bet I know what you’re talking about. Is it the sound of the sodey being opened? Whssh.

Melissa: (C5) Yeah! How’d you know?

Michael: (C5) ’Cuz I noticed it earlier.

Melissa: (C) . . . but Franny’s eyes were more like a female’s, and then we thought that because they were the same gender, ’cuz they didn’t breed, they must both be girls. But we went the wrong direction. It was that they must both be males! So now we’re gonna have to get used to calling them boys!

Michael: (C) Well, if they are.

Melissa: (C) Brothers!

Michael: (C6) I wanna finish my feckin’ spider story!

Melissa: (A) You know what?

Michael: (A) What?

Melissa: (A) There’s a spider crawling on me!

Michael: (A) Where? How big? I don’t see him. Did you fling him on me? He’s probably glad you did. He said, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Melissa: (A) Why is the spider thanking Jesus? Because you’re the patron saint of insects?

     (H) I was going to say that spiders aren’t insects. So are you the patron saint of arachnids, too?

Michael: (H) I’m the patron saint of bugs.

Melissa: (H) Right. Insects. Spiders aren’t “bugs”.

Michael: (H) I thought “bugs” was more inclusive. How ’bout this, then? Creepy crawly things.

     (H) I’m the patron saint of creepy crawly things.

Melissa: (H) That’s it!

Michael: (A) Partly. It’s also because he needed to get over here by the computer.

Melissa: (A) Oh, he did?

Michael: (A) Yeah. Didn’t you see him?

Melissa: (A) I thought we couldn’t see him. That’s the problem.

Michael: (A) Well, once I realized where he went, I noticed him crawling along my arm, and then he hopped onto the table—

Melissa: (A) Wait. “Hopped”?

Michael: (A) Literally.

Melissa: (A) Ah, a jumping spider, perhaps.

Michael: (A) I’m ready to go back to what the spider did.

Melissa: (A) Okay. Go for it.

Michael: (A) . . . approached the keyboard, scaled its face—

Melissa: (A) “Scaled its face”?

Michael: (A) Uh-huh.

Melissa: (A) Go ahead.

Michael: (A) I have to try to think of what this thing is called. The bumps in a moto-cross course.

Melissa: (A) “in a moto-cross course”?

Michael: (A) Not “a moto-cross course”! “A motorcross course.” One word.

     (A) Now I’m not sure. Let’s look it up.

Melissa: (A) “Motocross”! “Motocross”!

Michael: (A) It’s without the dash.

     (A) (googles “motocross tracks”)

     (A) Track designs.

     (A) “Whoopdedoos”! I bet that’s what they’re called.

Melissa: (A) Are you serious? That’s a real-life term? I thought—

     (I) Do you wanna know what I was gonna say here?

Michael: (A) No, we’re supposed to post this, and it’s 1:40 in the morning. But our reader probably does, so go ahead.

Melissa: (A) It won’t take long. It won’t be that interesting, either, though.

Michael: (A) Then why say it?

Melissa: (A) Verisimilitude.

     (A) All I was gonna say is that I thought “whoopdedoo” was just some nonsense interjection like “la-di-da.” I didn’t realize it referred to a concrete object.

Michael: (A) Actually, it’s made out of dirt.

Melissa: (I) Haha.

Michael: (A) Well, I haven’t finished looking yet.

     (A) Oh, they call them “whoops” now, probably.

     (A) (searches)

Melissa: (A) (reads) “‘Those are pretty large whoopdedoos, aren’t they?’ Frank asked.”

     (M) Help. We’re sending them to some crappy teen fiction book.

Michael: (M) Why are we doing that?

Melissa: (M) ’Cuz it’s a way of referencing our source without having to include a citation.

Michael: (M) Oh. Mm-kay.

     (N) It’s Hardy Boys!

Melissa: (N) Is it really? I didn’t even notice.

     (N) Haha! It’s called Motocross Madness.

Michael: (A1) You’ve got too many ‘o’s. And I don’t know about using the term “googles.” Just use “searches.”

     (D) (chants) Take those aspirin. Take those aspirin. Take those aspirin.

     (D) (performing)

Teacher: (D) “You don’t wanna be a naughty little boy, do you?”

     (D) “Well, then you get up here and say this poem.”

Student: (D) “Nu-uh, I am not saying that poem.”

Teacher: (D) “Okay then, your punishment is that you cannot come back to school until you learn that poem.”

Student: (D) “What’s that?! You say I have to leave school and can’t come back until I learn that poem?”

     (D) “See ya, Crabby!”

Melissa: (D) Is that all a direct quote?

Michael: (D) Oh, it’s not a direct quote. It’s my best memory of it. And then he begins to be hounded by that repetitious and kind of ominous chant “Learn that poem,” “Learn that poem.”

Melissa: (D) You gotta finish your spider story!

Michael: (D) I’m trying to.

     (D) He whoopdedoed over the keys, disappeared over the top—

Melissa: (D) The top of what?

Michael: (D) The only reason you’re saying that is we’re out of context now. In the context of the story, you would’ve known that he was crawling over the keyboard. You even had a clue when I said “whoopdedooed over the keys”.

Melissa: (D) Yes, but it seems strange to think of the “top” of a keyboard. That’s why I was asking. I thought you might’ve meant something else.

Michael: (D) Well, while the top of the keyboard is the side with the keys, I didn’t also think it sounded right to say “disappeared over the back of the keyboard” because I kept using the climbing metaphor, as though what he was doing was climbing some sort of mountain. Or to keep with the motocross metaphor, over the top of the jump. But you wouldn’t say “the back of the jump.” “Disappeared over the back of the jump.” You’d say “the top of the jump.”

     (D) Anyway, he made his way through a couple of pens, some dividers—

Melissa: (D) What kind of dividers?

Michael: (D) Drafting. It’s to capture distances between two points in order to transfer them.

Melissa: (D) Oh. Those are called “dividers”?

Michael: (D) Yes. You can also use it to divide up spaces.

     (D) Walking with the points. Between points.

     (D) Back and forth, back and forth. Pshhpt. Pshhpt. Pshhpt.

     (D) I did four of them.

Melissa: (D) No, you did three.

Michael: (D) Really?

     (D) The spider then scrunched under a Q-tip and, for some reason, took the long way over a bottlecap.

Melissa: (D) (laughs)

     (D) Then what happened?

Michael: (D) He scaled the final obstacle—the backing of the table.

Melissa: (D) The “backing”?

Michael: (D) Yes. A monumentous—

Melissa: (D) (laughs)

Michael: (D) . . . quarter of an inch barrier erected at the back of the table to prevent your keyboard from sliding off. And once over the top, he slid off, and that is the last I have seen of our little friend.

Melissa: (D) Bye little spidey!

Michael: (J) (sings)

     (J) The itsy-bitsy spider went up the CPU

     (J) Once at the top, he searched it through and through

     (J) Picking out a spot, he starts to build his web

     (J) And the itsy-bitsy spider feels at home once again



L  E  G  E  N  D
letters = sequential meta conversations
                   (C occurred after B, B after A, etc.)
numbers = mini-meta tangents within meta conversations










































 

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Comments

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Man I just love reading your posts. I can't even explain why. I just find myself emersed in them once I start reading. It's like listening to a schizophrenic mind ticking away. I was confused on the beginning of the post. I felt like you were saying goodbye. Please, please tell me you are going to continue writing these amazing posts.
Very sorry for any confusion about the dedication, Mike. It’s because of cherished friends like you that we’ve decided to stay. That’s why we’re dedicating this post to peace in our community. As disappointed as we were about the ads, we decided people are ultimately more important than principles, however passionately we may feel about them.

Warmly,

m&m
What a delight! I learned something new about starlings, as well as a new verb ("whoopdedoed")!

Here's my few cents' worth toward meta-ing:

Loved the story of the spider's journey. I used to be afraid of spiders, but have learned to be more or less at peace with them over the years (strangely, my being at peace with them began shortly after participating in a Native American sweat lodge).

In our house, when we see a spider, we think of it as a reminder that we weave our own destinies, as well as sort of a totem of story-tellers.
@Owl_Says_Who:

Owl_Says_Who: What a delight! I learned something new about starlings, as well as a new verb ("whoopdedoed")!

Melissa: We’re always happy to hear when someone learns something new, as we so enjoy learning ourselves.

Owl_Says_Who: Here's my few cents' worth toward meta-ing

Michael: Yes, all are welcome to meta along!

Owl_Says_Who: Loved the story of the spider's journey. I used to be afraid of spiders, but have learned to be more or less at peace with them over the years (strangely, my being at peace with them began shortly after participating in a Native American sweat lodge).

Michael: That is fascinating. Do you think it was because you came to realize your interconnectedness with all forms of life?

Melissa: Like the spider’s web! Interwoven strands of being that make up this shared earth.

Owl_Says_Who: In our house, when we see a spider, we think of it as a reminder that we weave our own destinies, as well as sort of a totem of story-tellers.

Michael: That’s a great way of looking at it. And especially that part about the totem of storytellers.

Melissa: Yes! I love that image. It sounds like the community we’ve found at OS.
Ah the birds of postings past! Love the near truth they seem to embody. Maybe they are a fair shade of pink and blue together. In the eye indeed :)

When I see spiders these days, I see Anansi - the critter of old, weaver of meta stories from back in the day when that's all that kept the sparkle in the human Eye. Cut our reality with an Eye, Ai, I/i! and see it refracted in the eye of a sparkling with a shade of blue and pink.

Love the post, soooo glad to read you are staying!

peece!
dj
@Michael: “Do you think it was because you came to realize your interconnectedness with all forms of life?”

That’s certainly a possibility – every day of my life, I’ve been struck by the interconnectedness of all forms of life – if anything, I’ve also been struck by how we are even connected by non-living things and ideas. It’s one of many things I love about the metaness blog – it hits on that concept in a visceral way.

It was the oddest thing – 2-3 days after the sweat lodge, I saw a spider. Rather than my usual increased heart rate and immediate search for a way to dispatch it, I looked at it calmly, and used a glass and a piece of paper to set it outside.

@Melissa: “It sounds like the community . . . at OS.”

I wholeheartedly agree – it’s one of many reasons I finally started writing again – great storytellers inspire me.
I just got off the motocross course and I said to myself, "what Madness makes me want to go ride again?" After settling down and listening to my spider's CD while watching the Lil' Rascals stymie Buckwheat, I got to thinking that ratings in the meta are like the starlings flying to Europe on Air France. Of course, I stayed and ate some corn--no butter. rAted!
:) loved it like always
hoping for more starling pictures though...
@dj:

dj: Ah the birds of postings past! Love the near truth they seem to embody.

Michael: They seem to be completely truthful to me.

Melissa: Hahaha.

Michael: They lied that one time when they said they didn’t eat that moth, when it was obvious that they had because they had little moth dust on the sides of their beaks. What I can’t figure out is how they both got a piece. They can barely stand to be within one foot of each other.

Melissa: That’s not true. They roost side by side all the time. The fighting just happens when they’re first settling. They have to see who can claim whatever happens to be the coveted corner of the evening.

dj: Maybe they are a fair shade of pink and blue together. In the eye indeed :)

Melissa: What would that be? Lavender, perhaps?

dj: When I see spiders these days, I see Anansi - the critter of old, weaver of meta stories from back in the day when that's all that kept the sparkle in the human Eye. Cut our reality with an Eye, Ai, I/i! and see it refracted in the eye of a sparkling with a shade of blue and pink.

Melissa: The trickster!

Michael: Now we get to learn something again!

dj: Love the post, soooo glad to read you are staying!

Michael: I was the one who was probably most set on quitting. But gradually, as Melissa said earlier, we began to realize that principles are fine, but to abandon all of the friends we have made here would seem like a betrayal.

Melissa: I wouldn’t have even considered abandoning our friends. The only thing I could think to do was to relocate metaness to an independent, commercial-free website. But there are just too many fragile interconnections we would’ve lost by doing that.


@Owl_Says_Who:

Owl_Says_Who: That’s certainly a possibility – every day of my life, I’ve been struck by the interconnectedness of all forms of life – if anything, I’ve also been struck by how we are even connected by non-living things and ideas.

Melissa: What a lovely thought. Ties in, once again, with the theme of the ordinary that keeps coming up in other threads (as consonantsandvowels can attest).

Owl_Says_Who: It was the oddest thing – 2-3 days after the sweat lodge, I saw a spider. Rather than my usual increased heart rate and immediate search for a way to dispatch it, I looked at it calmly, and used a glass and a piece of paper to set it outside.

Michael: So the experience removed your fear of spiders. Did you lose any other fears?

Owl_Says_Who: I wholeheartedly agree – it’s one of many reasons I finally started writing again – great storytellers inspire me.

Melissa: We’re so glad you did! Thanks for the inspiration you give us and so many others in this community.


@Mr. Mustard:

Melissa: Thrilled to see this post has inspired your own creative short story!

Michael: I thought the Lil’ Rascals’ Stymie ate buckwheat!

Melissa: Seriously, Chuck. We can’t tell you how much your seeds post meant to us. We’re looking forward to getting to know some of the unfamiliar faces you were kind enough to recommend.


@Julie:

Julie: :) loved it like always

Melissa: Thank you for your ever-smiling, cheerful presence, Julie.

Julie: hoping for more starling pictures though...

Michael: Melissa is planning to start up another blog here specifically for her birdie journals. I thought it was gonna be the one we started with, but somehow, metaness elbowed its way in.

Melissa: Yes, it was utterly spontaneous so took us by complete surprise.

Michael: Mm-hmm.

Melissa: But that’s what I love about the creative process. You just have to follow whatever paths open up to you along the way.
i don't really understand your posts yet but i love Franny and Zooey and loved learning more about them. and i love a good whoopdedoo. what a hoot, guys. i was just thinking today about how i'd love my birthday this week, the 2nd, to be a big whoopdedoo and then i saw this in your post. very veyr cool. i'm drink on sangria and tired from finally uploading and posting a bunch of photos of me and my wonderpups. come take a look i fyou can. i love you very much. love love lvoe and gratitude
I felt like I was reading in a mirror! Camp is full of creepy crawlies, birds of many sorts, and is a mini-communal experiment everyday. A spider has taken up residence in the doorway of the crafthouse and soon we will have to duck to enter, the little kids have named it Charlotte so we certainly can't knock it down. As for whoopdedos, my mom taught us to call them "Thank-you-mams"...go over the hill, get the feeling in your belly, and say "Thank you mam".
Thinking of To the Lighthouse, poor Mr. Ramsay. Never getting to Z and Mrs. Ramsay gone. Clouds of starlings. I love that starlings gather fresh flowers, green leaves and herbs for their love nests. (That made me think of bowerbirds. I've seen some lovely bowers: the males seem drawn to decorating with every bit of blue they can find--bottle caps, bits of string and ribbon, broken balloons, anything blue...) Blue and pink beaks - just like nursery colors. I'm rambling. Because you've caught me in your web again. I'm convinced you cast hypnotic charms over your words. They seem innocuous, but it's all "come into my parlor", ride the whoopdedoo-
@Michael: "So the experience removed your fear of spiders. Did you lose any other fears?"

Not that I noticed - though it's possible. The fear of spiders was so tangible, while most are pretty nebulous.
@Theodora:

We hope you don’t have too bad a hangover today! We love, love, loved your hilarious post about you and your wonderpups. Much love and gratitude to you, too, and wishing you BIG whoopdedoos on the 2nd!

@mamoore:

“Camp is full of creepy crawlies, birds of many sorts, and is a mini-communal experiment everyday.”

Ours is relegated to the domestic confines of our apartment, but yours sounds perfectly delightful!

“A spider has taken up residence in the doorway of the crafthouse and soon we will have to duck to enter, the little kids have named it Charlotte so we certainly can't knock it down.”

Hahaha.

“As for whoopdedos, my mom taught us to call them ‘Thank-you-mams’...go over the hill, get the feeling in your belly, and say ‘Thank you mam’.”

Oooh! Another new phrase. We’ll definitely put that into circulation.

Thank you, ma’am!

@consonantsandvowels:

Oh, now you’re making me (Melissa) feel guilty for not reading To the Lighthouse yet. Your literary references always send us on new journeys where we learn something new. Somehow, in this case, we ended up reading Virginia Woolf’s suicide note for the first time. And now we’re so emotional we’re having a hard time finishing our response.

Now, to look up bowerbirds!

Michael: Pretty! Do they actually have purple eyes? . . . Look at that! What is that?

Melissa: That’s a Satin Bowerbird.

Michael: That is the most amazing-colored eye I’ve ever seen!

Melissa: It’s cobalt blue. Electric blue, really. Goes with their blue obsession!

Okay, we feel better now.

@Owl_Says_Who:

Here’s to the end of nebulous fears!

( m&m )
META:


Yah!!! Goddamn spiders!!! Hate em....I have decided to replace
them in my Haus-hold with
Daddy Long-Legs....

they kinda look like spiders,
but they aint spiders....they are a hell of alot better at
negotiating obstacles....

see, what they do is imagine em out of existence
so's they are no longer there
except to flummox the spiders...

Daddy L's cant stand spiders....but they are nice to them
nonetheless, cuz they are pantheists...
sure, they got a few problems with Spinozistic doctrine,

but true pantheists dont worry about shit like doctrine....
they remember Hegel's words:

"Look, if ya wanna be an absolute idealist,
ya gotta be a Spinozist first"....

Daddy L's, unfortunately, are
wary of CPUs...

they prefer Radios tuned to national public radio....
that is where they
will be found, building their nests.....

Jim
Her note was very sad and very kind, wasn't it? Sorry if I spoiled for you some of the plot for To the Lighthouse. I like Mrs. Dalloway the best, anyway. I don't care what those snooty litcrits say.
Oh, how wonderful! Wikipedia had a picture of a bower! You got to see it! I've even seen some where the bowerbird made a kind of "roof" to it. They were so charming that if I could have shrunk myself I'd have gone in there. Check out this bower made by a Papuan bowerbird. If that isn't the avian gesture equivalent to champagne, roses and chocolate...makes those Australian bowerbirds seem a bit mingy. Still, gathering all that blue isn't easy, I guess. Isn't blue the rarest color in living nature? Oh, hey - that completely absolves them of stinginess, then. It's like they were presenting diamond rings!
Whew, that was close! Glad you didn't leave us high and dry because of the ads. I figure they pay for our free blogs.

How did the starlings get inside? If one laid eggs, it would settle the gender question. Any signs of nestbuilding? Might they be gay?

Do starlings eat spiders?

You certainly have a lot going on at your keyboard. Hope you keep it tapping.
@Jim:

To quote The Young Ones:

Saturday night
Hanging round for a bite
Find a real cutie with the dust mite blues
Hangnail, high tail, fairy tale, very well
Finding anything that I can chew

Coo Coo Daddy Long Legs
. . .

“they prefer Radios tuned to national public radio....”

Smart little daddies.

( m&m )
@consonantsandvowels:

Melissa: Yes, precisely that: very sad, and very kind. Hence very heartbreaking. And no worries about spoiling the plot—you didn’t, and I kind of had a vague idea about it anyway. Mrs. Dalloway I have read, and I’ll confess I was a bit disappointed. But maybe it was because I read it right after reading The Hours during the time when there was all this rage about that book, and that of course, was a disappointment, too. So they all got swished together into a big ho-hum. I should probably give Virginia a second chance. Oh, for a little time to actually read again!

consonantsandvowels: I've even seen some where the bowerbird made a kind of ‘roof’ to it. They were so charming that if I could have shrunk myself I’d have gone in there.

Michael: When I was very young, my grandmother took me to my “Aunt”’s house and while my grandma and her talked and smoked in the kitchen, I went into the bedroom and discovered a small clock containing an even tinier little man swinging a infinitesimal little hammer up and down while a fire glowed orange in the back. I was enthralled. I kept wishing I could shrink down and go inside that little scene the man was in. And that desire inspired me to want to make shadowboxes that would recreate that same sensation.

consonantsandvowels: Check out this bower made by a Papuan bowerbird.

Melissa: It’s a teepee!

Michael: Did the birds make those little piles?

Melissa: Yes!

Michael: Can I point something out? They sort! Those are sorted!

Melissa: Wow.

consonantsandvowels: If that isn't the avian gesture equivalent to champagne, roses and chocolate...makes those Australian bowerbirds seem a bit mingy.

Melissa: “mingy.” I have to look this up.

Michael: So do I.

Melissa: “mean and stingy”—wow! What a great word. It is just what it sounds like!

Michael: Exactly.

consonantsandvowels: Still, gathering all that blue isn't easy, I guess. Isn't blue the rarest color in living nature?

Melissa: Yes, I think so. I remember asking my mother when I was a child if there were any blue roses. This was before too much hybridization had started happening. I just remember searching the flower garden for examples of the color blue and coming up short. Which reminds me of a food color study done recently that concluded the color blue is often off-putting because it once indicated a sign of poison or decay. Or was it green? I couldn’t find the original article, but I did find this, which is pretty interesting, too.

Michael: If green was off-putting, then all vegetables would be off-putting. It’s probably blue. It’s kind of an unnatural color.

Melissa: You’re right! And I keep picturing in my head the blue cupcake they featured in the article. It was beautiful, but I didn’t have any desire to eat it. I guess that’s where the appetite suppressant part comes in.

Michael: I’ll tell you what is natural to eat that’s blue.

Melissa: What? Candy?

Michael: Close. Popsicles!

Melissa: (laughs)

Michael: Bubblegum is my favorite. Oh. Sometimes that’s pink and sometimes that’s blue.

Melissa: Just like the birdies’ beaks!
@Hawley:

Melissa: We’re honored to see you here, especially knowing how precious little time you have these days (a plight we sadly relate all-too-well to).

Hawley: How did the starlings get inside?

Melissa: The starlings got inside when we adopted them as orphans three years ago or so. Now they pretty much get the upstairs of our small apartment, while we’re relegated to the downstairs.

Hawley: If one laid eggs, it would settle the gender question.

Melissa: Yes, exactly. That’s how we decided they were both the same gender when they were about a year old. Only they had conflicting iris signs (Franny’s looking more feminine, Zooey’s more masculine), so we erred on the side of female for a couple of years (the first year, we thought Franny was a female and Zooey was a male). For some reason (we need to ask our starling rescue expert friend, Erin, about this), they didn’t start getting blue beaks during the breeding season until this year (their third). So that’s when we knew for sure that yes, they’re both the same gender, but that gender is actually male.

Hawley: Any signs of nestbuilding?

Michael: Not really. They like picking up and tugging on things, but they lose interest in them quickly and drop them.

Melissa: Weren’t you telling me the other day about how Zooey took a what-was-it, a blueberry (hey, a blue food!) and put it in her bee pollen and rolled it around? What was it? Do you remember?

Michael: She was clearly following a pattern, where she would take it from one cup up to another, and then at one point, she diverted from the pattern and went and dunked it in her water—and left it there.

Melissa: I just realized we’re still calling them both “she”!

Michael: Oh, help!

Hawley: Might they be gay?

Michael: Well, after calling them girls for the last few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were confused one way or the other.

Melissa: They always did seem like tomboys.

Michael: Yeah, if anything, they seemed more like lesbians.

Melissa: That’s what I was saying. Sort of.

Hawley: Do starlings eat spiders?

Michael: Not if I can help it!

Hawley: You certainly have a lot going on at your keyboard. Hope you keep it tapping.

Melissa: We’ll try, barring tendonitis and other OS-induced RSIs!
So, both boys? Will choose a name that is not gender specific. Great photo! Would love to see some kind of representation of how they look with ultraviolet vision.
Stephanie! Thanks for alighting here.

“So, both boys? Will choose a name that is not gender specific.”

Smart thinking. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

“Great photo!”

Thanks! Franny and Zooey like playing with the camera, so that makes the process a little trickier—and more fun.

“Would love to see some kind of representation of how they look with ultraviolet vision.”

Hmm, perhaps a photoshop filter. But of course, we wouldn’t be able to see it—we’d have to ask F&Z to check it for us :-)

( m&m )