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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Lana Lang, Insect Queen's LiveJournal:

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Monday, December 26th, 2005
2:42 am
seven days and seven years
I have spent most of the last months with Melvin, in DC. There were a lot of us there - some people I knew only from these journals - watching Fox get better and trying to find the man who did that to him. Now that the immediate crisis is solved, we are all moving out and away again, it seems like. I am in Chicago now, spending the holiday with Mom and Aunt May. It seems like longer than just a few years since I have seen them, and so much has happened to me. But I am thinking that it is time to settle down again and get a real job and stop living out of my suitcase - pass the torch and let someone else become the rogue ET hunter. It is not that I am resigned too what I have learned, but I am accustomed. I can sleep through the night now, and living like a normal person does not seem so silly as it did a year or six months ago.

I am reading my entries from this January and it is hard to imagine that they were written by the same person. But I did send Hanukkah cards this year! I finished them on the bus to Minnesota and sent them yesterday from a little town. People who were in DC - I sent yours to the forwarding addresses we traded, so they might be a little late, but at least they will be secure.

Happy Holidays, every one! May your generator not run out of gasoline only a week after the rebellion!
Saturday, November 5th, 2005
10:51 pm
I left Texas to meet my next contacts after the holidays, and got to South Florida just before Hurricane Wilma. I am beginning to think that I should have stopped in Kroner on my way out of Texas, afterall; I have seen too many hurricanes this year. But so has everyone, I guess. The climate is changing and I do not even know enough to know whether it is our doing, or theirs. The insects feel a change coming, though. That I feel through them.

Arthur and his brother Arthur, who was visiting, were not as concerned about the weather as I was. They had caught the fringe of Katrina too but Arthur said that he had lived through lots of hurricanes and as long as the water was not alive, he was not very worried. During the worst of the storm he told us a very creepy story about Fox and Dr. Scully and a Thing that emerged from the toilet. (I went beachcombing with little Leroy Suarez after. He is five and three quarters and he swore that it was all true, he saw it himself. We did not find any watery monsters, though, unless you count parts of a Physalia physalis that were slowly melting across a quarter mile of beach.) We have just gotten power back today; Arthur and Arthur called their sister Arthur this morning to assure her they were fine and there had been nothing to worry about.

In fact, they were more worried about the World Series. Arthur keeps saying that they know they do not need to hide anymore. He says for about the last sixty years, that both of the Sox teams have been the homes of alien players, who wanted to live the game but very carefully kept their teams out of the championships so that they could go unnoticed. Now that the invasion is in progress, he says, they do not need to worry about being unnoticed, and they are finally letting themselves win, and that is why the curses are being broken. Arthur says that he is obsessed and not to listen to him, but that did not stop him from cursing WQAM when we all crouched around the battery powered radio trying to listen to Game Three and they were playing hockey instead. (The aliens do not play ice hockey, you see, because they do not like the cold, so Canadian sports teams do not need to worry.)

I will be heading north from here, and I plan to be close to DC by the holidays, unless something else happens.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2005
6:17 pm
Rita
We are all fine here. We did not try to evacuate; we knew that Wallace's friends would not be able to get out of the city, any way, and so we stayed to help and keep watch. The storm was not very bad; no worse than storms off the sea in New England, all though we did lose power and telephone off and on, and there are trees and fences down. The sky turned green and then red, and the clouds looked like a film run at twice its speed.

It was the town that was scary. It never emptied out all the way, but it became very quiet after the evacuation was declared and all of the rich people with big cars were trapped on the free ways. The panic in the days before was one thing, but the entire city was so empty. Not quiet. Most of the people who stayed were not the quiet kind. But empty. I was not in one of the areas that lost its children, but I can't help wondering if that is what it felt like? Like something is missing, and like we were all waiting.

I think about what Fox and Melvin and their friends told me. Wallace has all the issues of Melvin's paper, and he knows as much as I do. In seven years, is this what all of our cities will feel like? The schools were empty and the stores were closed. Abandoned cars stood by the road, and gas was carried in cans, not pumped from underground tanks. The city was dark, even in places that had power. There is an anticipation there along with the fear, that even if we all die, we will be apart of something huge when we do. And the city was ours for a few days, the people who stayed and dared it. It is still something big and huge in my mind, but I think I am starting to understand it, to make it fit into my world. This month I have seen from two side what happens at the end of our world. It is bad, but something still comes after. The city is coming back. We, like ants or bees, are a communal species; it is almost impossible to kill a community. Even if every member is destroyed, next spring another swarm will find the old nest.

The insects were restless. They are still keeping us very busy here at the shelter. But I think once Wallace is less swamped, I will be ready to go on again.
Sunday, September 4th, 2005
9:37 pm
I am just updating to let you all know that I am okay. I meant to check in several days ago, but every thing has been crazy. I came to Houston two weeks ago to link up with a contact of Melvin's who runs a clinic here. Wallace is one of the wisest and best people I have ever been privileged to meet, so I found myself staying, and then I was here when people started evacuating in. We have been working full time the past several days doing what we can to help. When the world is turned over, God's most despised creatures come together to help each other, in amazing and suprising ways, and that is what will save us in the end, if anything can. I am learning, any way. Maybe I will learn to move on.
Monday, July 25th, 2005
12:55 am
I have had the strangest, nagging feeling the past few weeks, as if there is something that I need to be doing, and that if I do not do it, terrible, awful, unimaginably bad things will happen to me and people I care about. I dreamed last night of being chased through a dead white forest by moths with wings made of shredded plastic bags, and I had to get somewhere or find something, but they dripped thick black ichor on me and it burnt the flesh from my bones, and a skeleton in a plumed hat laughs at me and laughs... There are many things that need to be done, of course, I simply don't know what is causing the anxiety to get me now.

But it is bugging me, to coin a phrase. So I thought writing my thoughts in this journal might help.

I have been travelling since my guests left several months ago. The people who know, know what I have been doing. But something happened that made me think I might want a rest of my life, and that ever since I came to DC I have just been treading water, and that I need to get my own head together if I want to earn a family. I have been figuring things out, but it is difficult to keep in touch when I never know where I will sleep a night. Yet I feel restless.
Saturday, April 16th, 2005
2:38 am
an Adventure.
(flocked to everybody)

Melvin was acting moody and odd for a while. I was a fraid that it was because he was not enjoying himself at his visit and he did not know how to tell me. I have a very boring life, compared to what he and his friends do all the time, and Hilo is sleepy, especially this time of year. Emily seems to be enjoying herself, she has all the local boys wrapped around her little finger, and she likes my guitar. I am thinking may be I'll let her take it home with her, I never actually learned to play and she seems to be enjoying herself, but Melvin was not acting happy or relaxed.

And then he asked me out on a date! That is what he was nervous about. I said yes, of course.

And then I spent ten minutes trying to convince him that yes means YES.

Yes, I was not kidding. Yes, I really mean it. Yes, I find him very sexy as any smart girl should. I finally had to kiss him to get through to him, and then we got a little sidetracked and he did not actually give me a time and a place before Emily got back and we had other things to talk about.

Emily told me he had not actually been able to decide on a place, so I took matters in to my own hands and made reservations at the nice restaurant next to the Wal-mart, which has very good food, and Emily promised to keep herself occupied and out of trouble for the night.

Dinner was nice. :)

Actually I may have ordered one too many drink refills as an excuse to keep talking and being with him. Because around ten o'clock I found myself confessing that I had been on Hawa'ii for four months and have not been able to see the most exciting entomology on the island, and I have been thinking about leaving and I would always regret not having been there. So he said let's go.

There is just something irresistable about a man who keeps an automatic lockpick, false US government ID, and night-vision goggles in his everyday luggage.

The Wekiu bug lives only above the snowline on the peaks of Mauna Kea. It is rare and unique in its adaptations to a very extreme environment, sometimes compared to Mars or Titan. The rangers at the park will not give me a hiking permit for the Mauna Kea summit trails because they still do not believe my story about how I came to be up there four months ago, malnourished and lost and with no identification. (Well, I am not sure I believe my story either, but they did not have to assume I am criminal.) Not that I would have really gotten to see the habitat anyway. They keep the tourists away from the telescopes. And most of the prime Wekiu bug habitat (which is on Puu Wekiu, oddly enough. Nysius wekiuicola. The joy of taxonomical hijinks,) is threatened by a plan to build a set of six outrigger telescopes for NASA's Origins Program. Which is supposedly tied up in the courts.

So we drove around to the back access road of the park, picked the lock on the gate, got as far as we could in my little rental car, and set out the rest of the way up on foot.

Illegal mountain climbing in the dark is stupid. You would think that we were both old enough to know better. Somehow once we got close, though, it felt like something I needed to do. Really cool bugs or not. Mauna Kea was where I came to Hawa'ii, and somehow I knew I needed to go back before I left. It does not make any sense in the light of day, and I was not that drunk, but it was almost like a dream, I knew things without any context for them, and one of them was that I had to get up that mountain. And I wanted Melvin along, because, well, I like having Melvin with me.

But we did not actually get very far, praise heaven for good sense. There was something going on up on that mountain. Something that involved lots of lights and people and vehicles, but all of them set up in such a way that we did not even notice until we were practically on top of them and I had almost stumbled on an armed guard-- luckily the night vision goggles warned me. Maybe they are secretly building the telescopes after all. Maybe Poli'ahu was objecting-- that would explain the glowy green lights. At any rate, suddenly seeing a man with a gun not ten feet through the foliage ahead of me was enough to shock me out of whatever trance I was in, and I realized how very stupid the whole idea was.

Melvin wanted to stay, to keep going and find out what they were doing. That is because Melvin is a hero and a great man. I am not. I am an entomologist. I convinced him it was too dangerous and not worth the risk, since we had no idea what was going on. Melvin is a hero but he is also quite intelligent and he did not require much convincing. We got out to the car as fast as we could and took off back to Hilo without any headlights on. I think nobody saw us: I hope nobody saw us: there was no sign that anybody saw us.

We got back to my apartment in the early morning, still full of adrenaline and vibrating with relief and nervous energy. It's gcod to be alive.

And around noon Melvin made breakfast-- the best Mexican omelets I've ever tasted. He cooks, too! Unbelievable.

Current Mood: satisfied
Monday, April 11th, 2005
9:03 pm
Oh my g-d, the weather. I was talking about the weather. I have the worst social skills ever. I know all sorts of alluring stuff to talk to men about--bugs, and robots, and computers, and ufo conspiracy theories, and sci-fi B-movies. Well, they work on the guys who do not get scared away, any way. Why was I talking about the weather?

because I do not want to scare this one away?

Even though I was acting like an undergrad with a crush on her TA, he must have been impressed by something, because he and Emily are coming for a visit. Here! And the only tourist thing I can think of is trying to sneak into Volcanoes National Park to look for Wekiu bugs. I should probably work on that. And my apartment is a mess.

Current Mood: excited
Friday, April 1st, 2005
6:03 pm
It has been a year since I started writing in this journal. It is hard to believe. A lot has happened in that year. A lot has happened just since my last entry here, a month ago, right before it happened.

It is difficult to know what to say about that. No one was taken here, it looks like it was only in the lower forty eight. We did have panic and martial law, and most parents are still keeping their children out of school, but except for the national news it would be easy to forget what has happened. There is no dictator to overthrow this time to make us feel better. It is hard to talk about this because I know that for the people who lost children, it is terrible, and I can not know what you are feeling. But I was taken myself, something happened, but it was not terrible for me. I do not know how or why or who, and I have been thinking about it a lot in this month, but I was not harmed and I do not remember any pain or any thing at all. That is all I can say. I still have no idea what is going on. I used to like that feeling. Wonder is harder when so many people are being hurt.

The annual hula festival is going on this week despite everythnig. There are bigger and louder crowds than usual and childen everywhere, in the streets, running and playing, and every one pays more care to them than usual, strangers and neighbors and friends. I think we feel very lucky. I have been busy but I am planning to go watch the final 'Auana competition tomorrow. Maybe I will learn to dance. Mai-li says I have the look for it. I want to get moving. I want to do more than sit and watch, even though I know that whatever is happening, it is no place for an entomologist.

Current Mood: discontent
Monday, February 28th, 2005
3:14 am
Friends Only

It turns out that somebody did notice I was gone! I finally got around to checking up on my old accounts on the networks at MIR, and Ivan has been busy. I still have access to the control programs and data feeds from the newest sets of experimental robots froms the research we were doing together, I wonder if he did that on purpose, because he has sent them out into the world! He activated the three I took to BARC with me, and it turns out that they were locked in a storage facility in Fort Marlene with all my other stuff, but he activated the local receiver that was with them and has had them working a search pattern through the DC area since September! He also seems to have developed a new sort of surveillance robot based on the cockroach pattern we had given up on just before I left, which are very small, and fly. Twelve prototypes started sending video, swarm chatter, and telemetry from a post office in Columbia two months ago, and six of those are still functional in the area. Since he didn't send me any e-mails about it or talk to Aunt May, I assume he must have a reason for trying to keep things secret. There is nothing in his published research that implies the miniatures are as functional as they seem to be, either. He is also engaged, it appears. So I have not contacted him either, but I did take back control of one of the spiderbots, and he should know it is me, and how to reach me. I am very carefully snooping around Fort Marlene during evenings my time, and sifting through six months' worth of snooping data. It breaks the monotony, any away.

This is making me feel somewhat more charitable about the people I was with the week before whatever happened happened, and the way they made no effort to keep in touch with me. I have caught up with what was happening, and I had a wedding invitation in my e-mail! Congratulations, mf_luder and starbuck_md, and many more years of happiness to you! I only saw it coming ten years ago!

It seems like that bunch has been very busy lately, with weddings and messy break-ups and long lost relatives and vampires and evil clones all sorts of soap opera fun. I am sorry I had to miss the wedding, but going by precedent I am almost expecting it to have been interrupted by somebody's ex-wife or a minor war or something, so perhaps I'm better off halfway around the world.
Tuesday, February 15th, 2005
2:25 am
I have surprised myself by getting settled here. I finally decided to get in touch with Mom and Aunt May, and they helped me get access to my accounts and sent me some of my old things from home. I do not know where the things I had at BARC have been sent, though. What ever happened to me, it was covered up as National Security, and Mom and Aunt May never even knew I was missing, which explains the nasty e-mails sitting in my account about the lack of Hannukkah cards. But I feel slightly less bitter about the fact that none of my acquantances were worried when I disappeared. And it has made it easier to start setting up a life again, all though since I have no idea what happened or why I ended up in Hawaii, I am trying to stay under the radar, and not trying to contact my former employers for now. I also have not tried to access my old accounts on their networks, although my work e-mail was still activated, so maybe once I am more accustomed to this laptop I will try to go in quietly and see what I can find out.

I am working at a little tourist-trap gift shop in Hilo so that I do not have to dip into my savings for food and rent money, and avoiding the observatory and parks people. I think the rangers at Volcanoes are still convinced I am some sort of butterfly poacher, even after Aunt May vouched for me. I am paying quite a lot of money by mainland standards for a low-end one-room apartment with a leaky roof, but the extra price is worth it, for the free entertainment provided by a large society of Leucophaea maderae, Nauphoaeta cinerea and friends, and occasional visits by Mecistocephalus maxillaris or, just for a bit of excitement, Scolopendra subspinipes, like the large and healthy one I carried out of my neighbor Mai-Li's room. It is making me homesick for Miller's Grove.

I do not know why I automatically get named "crazy bug lady" every time I move to a new place. Any way, I swear that was a Koa bug on the acacia out front, which is very exciting. And I am not used to seing honeybees flying around and pollinating; the tracheal mites have not made it here yet, and the rainy season is finally starting to taper off.

I also got into a discussion with Tana, my manager, about Akua Lele, "flying gods", the Hawaiian name for ball-lightning type mystery light. She says that ever since the astronomers at Mauna Kea photographed a UFO in December, akua lele have been being seen with much greater frequency than usual, and that they are the gods' messengers telling us that something terrible and destructive is going to happen soon. I told her it is just insects swarming in the charged atmosphere of the rainy season, all though these days that sort of thing does almost give me chills. I am more intrigued by the UFO, which must correspond pretty closely with my arrival here. I am thinking about risking asking up at the observatory.

But I still have no idea what is going on.
Saturday, February 5th, 2005
1:21 am
private


I am on Hawaii.

I have been on Hawaii for over a month. I am not exactly sure how long, because I lost count of days while hiking out of the jungle and trying to deal with the Park Police.

A month ago I was in Maryland. In July.

It appears to be February.

I still have no idea what is going on.
Thursday, July 29th, 2004
12:10 pm
I'm enjoying my extended stay at the hotel. Ruby's a nice girl and always has interesting things to say! And Mr. Frohike is very sweet. I've had some long talks with Suzanne as she's recovering and I'm glad I was able to be here for her in this difficult time.
Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
12:27 am
Well. A great deal has happened: I am back at BARC now. Suzanne woke up on Sunday conveniently amnesiac, and Dr. Scully and I convinced the others that a blackout of several days is was too serious to play around with conspiracy theories and she needed a hospital. I I anly spoke to Susanne for a few minutes, as she was tired and very wrapped up in John, but she seemed all right. I felt like a third wheel then and the boys and I went back to pack up at the hotel, after I traded contact information with toto_bytes and the others. (as much as they were willing to give me anyway). John (sorry, jfb_nark) told me he would talk Susanne into starting a journal too. Good luck, I only tried for a month.

It seems it was a stroke of good luck however that I went back when I did. The lab security was hurrying everyone out and I barely had time to grab my stuff and leave a note for Susanne and Fox before they hustled us all back to the compound. The compound itself resembles a termite mound that has been disturbed, so I have not even had any questions about my admittedly cavalier attitude to security during the con. And nothing about Susanne, either, which worries me. Although Creepy Supervisor Greg said he would be having words with me very soon, but he was too busy telling me that I needed to pack up my experiments and arrange things to minimize the loss if we not in the lab for an extended period. It turns out our sudden recall is because the FBI has taken over several of our sister labs at Fort Marlene as part of the "Anthrax Investigation". You can actually hear the skepticism when people say that. Creepy Supervisor even makes those annoying quote things with his hands. Any way, they are afraid the shutdowns might affect our labs so every one is scrambling around doing damage control.

Okay, I admit it. I have NO IDEA what is really going on.

Either way, things are very unsettled here, so I just wanted to warn you paranoiacs not to worry if I suddenly fall out of contact again, it may no''[][]'\[]'\qqqqqqq\\']\'''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Monday, July 19th, 2004
12:34 am
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Strange. If I were convinced that the world was on the verge of being destroyed by alien colonists, I would not waste time filling out silly livejournal surveys.

Luckily, I am not. I also have my own laptop, so I do not have to steal someone else's. (All though, the way that Ruby was giggling over Melvin's, maybe I should anyway.)




last words you said: "Don't you think--" the last time I tried to insert some scientific skepticism into the ongoing brainstorming session. I did not finish the thought. (Dr. Scully is very good at glaring.)

last song you sang? I never sing in public, but I said my horoscope along with Al when the Horoscope song came on my cd player earlier.

last person you hugged? Wow. I think it was Ivan, after the good-bye party he gave me before I moved to Maryland. That is actually rather sad.

last thing you laughed at? The look on Kevin's face earlier. (Kevin: Ruby wuvs Langly, Ruby wuvs Langly-- Ruby: Oh, no, Kevin, I don't wuv anyone except my adorable widdle brother, but I wuv him so much.)

last time you said 'i love you' and meant it? Father's Day.

what's in your cd player right now? Weird Al, "Running With Scissors". Cousin May got me hooked.

what color socks are you wearing? Black. They never get dirty.

what's under your bed? Five somewhat functional but deactivated biomimetic termitebots.

what time did you wake up today? 6:45.

current taste? Diet Coke

current hair? Just above the shoulders and about to reach the stage where it goes completely out of control.

current clothes? Jeans and an old flannel shirt over my "Entomologists do it with Ecdysiasts" T-shirt. (I use the t-shirt as a screening test. It has a burlesque Coccinella septempunctata on the back, but that is not visible under the flannel)

current annoyance? Being treated like I am mentally deficient because I do not believe in UFOs. (Usually it is the other way around.)

current longing? That I was better at relationships. And that I actually have one at the moment.

current desktop picture? A shot from "The Temple of Doom". Harrison Ford in a room full of bugs. Oh yeah.

current worry? That they might actually be telling me the truth about what is going on.

current hate? Not knowing what is really going on.

favorite physical feature of the opposite sex? Hands and smell.

last cd you bought? I do not remember. It has been a while.

if you could play an instrument what would it be? Flute.

favorite color? Blue

favorite season? Winter. It seems at first that everything is dead or gone, quiet and empty, but if you know how to look there is so much life teeming everywhere.

favorite person from your past: Steven, the boy I went to prom with. He was the only person other than myself who did not care when I started to actually fit my name. We wpent most of high school annoying our science teachers, but I have not spoken to him in years. (I would say Ivan, but I still talk to him fairly often.)

favorite day? The day I finally finished my doctorate.

where would you like to go? The canopy of the Amazon. I want to suddenly break through into that sunlit otherworld of velvet butterfiles and unknown spiders, like Bilbo in Mirkwood.

Finally, have you ever kissed a member of the same sex? Yes. (I will just say that I spent a very very long time in college. It does wierd things to the brain.)

Current Mood: sleepy
Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
12:30 am
So, I have spent the past few days slinking around the convention hall trying to find Fox's friends, since he sort of forgot to tell me where they were or what they looked like when he invited me to join with them. I think I did get close once, right before I was hauled off by one of the security guards who came with us from the lab, and he asked me just what I thought I was doing.

I parroted back some of the paranoid conspiracy things I have been reading on Fox's and his friends' journals the past few days and said he was not to interfere with my work, as it had been authorized by Spender himself, and that I was survielling becuase I had heard from a high-up source that Krycek was alive and had been seen in the area. I hope I did not cause problems for anyone-- especially myself-- by what I said, because I did not expect him to actually believe it, but the way he immediately deferred to me and then ran off acting slightly panicked made me begin to think that there is something actually going on here.

Then mf_luder found me, and dragged me off to dinner with all his friends to give me the details on the great alien conspiracy they are trying to prevent. Something about an intelligent mind-controlling virus that bursts out of people's chests, and aliens that may actually be gods/ancestors/descendants of ours. It's not really very clear. Actually, nothing he told me was clear at all, which he seems to think was a point in his favor.

Dr. Scully kept giving me dirty looks every time I spoke to him, and gave him dirty looks every time I called him Fox. I am going to continue to tread carefully around her, as she is far more scary than any little gray men or black oil, although I am still not sure what the thing is with the name. Dr. Scully literally dragged him up to their hotel room after we finished, apparently determined to prove that she had no need to be jealous. Lucky. Both of them, incredibly lucky. I would never do anything to break something that beautiful. Besides-

John and Melvin insisted on escorting back to my hotel room. Well, John insisted. I sort of encouraged Melvin. He is _hot_. Um. Obviously extremely intelligent, that is, with some very intriguing ideas and a talent for explaining very weird things in a way that makes it seem even weirder, yet somehow inherently plausible. Also, those gloves!

John muttered something about not both of them at once and female praying mantises (which is a myth. Well, mostly) and very politely insisted on coming along. I had not actually been back to my room since the first day of the convention; I went to too many of these things as a poor student sharing a room with twelve male science geeks, and am accustomed to packing only a backpack and catching sleep in the convention hall.

Any way, who should be passed out in my bed but Suzanne. And it turns out that John Byers-not-Myers is the John she kept mentioning, sighing sadly, and rubbing her ring finger about, and they have been having this tragic, epic love affair for fifteen years despite only having met twice at previous conventions before being forcibly separated by Men in Black. And that when they first met she was being stalked by Fox who was her ex-husband. Or something like that, any way. (I can believe that John loves her-- noone who saw his face this evening could doubt that- I am willing to consider the conspiracy stuff-- the Fox-as-stalking-boyfriend is frighteningly plausible-- but I can not believe that he would leave Dr. Scully alone with any ex-girlfriend of his. He is not that callous.) I have heard so many B-movie worthy scenarios in the past twelve hours that I would not be the least bit surprised to find out that Fox is actually Darth Vader's son or a half-alien or something

Any way, Suzanne apparently found the ouzo at the bar downstairs as she is passed out like a dehydrated sand flea and secreting black tears. Well, Fox and his friends claim that it is the mind-controlling alien virus again. I am willing to reserve judgement myself. Especially if it means another evening of Fox and Melvin very earnestly trying to explain things to me.

Especially if Dr. Scully hauls off Fox again to resume the discussion in their room which was interupted earlier, and I can just smile and nod and look at Melvin. Well, why not? Ruby and Ringo and John and Suzanne are occupied, and Scully is deep in girl talk with the Russian spy lady. I miss girl talk, Suzanne has been my only female friend on the base and she was always too wary to share very much, possibly for good reason, and I really admire Dr. Scully. Maybe if I am safely in a relationship, it wouldn't be too risky to try to approach the good doctor? Okay, I am getting ahead of myelf here. And rambling crazily, I have not slept in thirty hours, I am in PMS-rebound, and I have overdosed on caffiene and bizarre apocalyptic scenarios. I am going to sleep. In Melvin's bed, since my room has apparently been taken over by the attempt to destroy the evil alien and save Suzanne. I hope he does not mind.

Current Mood: quixotic
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004
12:33 am
It has been so long since I have had the opportunity to write here that I am not certain that I recognize this place. I was hoping to post with exultation during the Great Brood X Invasion, but all the entomologists were, without much of warning, pulled off our projects and put on Cicada Duty (which was mostly answering phone calls from laypeople asking for information,) and did not even have sufficient free time to enjoy it. Right after I went back to the complex, there was a sudden security lockdown. I did not think I should risk posting to this journal under that climate. No, I do not know what caused the lockdown, although I suspect it was just more Homeland Security paranoia. John said that it was because the government botched the cover-up for a UFO that crashed out in Oregon or somewhere like that, which is hands down the most creative theory I have heard.

And on that note, I am actually posting this from a MUFON convention in the District. Suzanne asked if I was interested, and it turns out that a lot of scientists from the classified projects are attending; enough that some of the security came along as well. I know why I like these things, but I certainly did not expect so many others. I did not even know Suzanne was interested in fringe science; she has shown clear disinterest in the past. And MUFON people are flaky even for a group of believers who are all pretty flaky. (No offense, mf_luder, if you are still reading this.)

Suzanne ditched me shortly after I arrived, and I have lost track of most of the rest of the BARC contigent (only partly intentionally). The crowd here is unbelievable. I keep bumping into people or seeing people I think I should recognize out of the corner of my eye. You may have figured out from my earlier entries that I do not like crowds very much.

I have found a secluded corner right now where I am only occasionally accosted by nutcases, near a stand selling "alien detectors" which have been going off occasionally as conventiongoers walk by. This is providing me great entertainment. The con has wireless internet available, which is what I am using now. It should be reasonably untraceable, with the extra privacy precautions on my laptop, so I am taking the opportunity to look over livejournal again. I will most likely spend the entire convention hiding in a corner with my laptop, in fact, if previous experiences provide an accurate baseline, but the wireless connection does not seem to be very reliable, (it has taken me almost half an hour to post this) as it is probably overloaded, so I do not know how consistent I will be.
Saturday, May 1st, 2004
7:40 pm
year in insects 2: the divine emperor
I have a new companion sharing my quarters. Actually, right now he is standing on the edge of my desk, looking at me like he is trying to decide whether to pounce. I have dubbed him the Emperor T'ang Lang, because he is very good at the "Lord of All I Survey" posture even though he is barely more than a baby. I found him hanging around outside the building yesterday, which is not a very safe place for young predators, at least the non-human kind, so I invited him up to my rooms. I am fond of him already. No place is ever really home until I am sharing it with a friendly insect, and I like Mantis religiosa most of all.

It was a mantis that taught me to love insects in the first place. The summer I was eight my parents rented a rundown old farm and farmhouse in Kentucky. They were both naturalists so they thought this was a brilliant idea and got excited over every weed and frog and rodent they found living with us. I was a bratty little girl and spent the first week complaining about how it was hot, and boring, and smelled like mouse poop, and skeeters kept getting into my bedroom through the ancient window screen and biting me all over, and I itched. Normal parents would probably have given me calamine lotion and fixed the screen, or put up mosquito netting around the bed and told me to pretend I was a fairy princess. My father caught me a three-inch-long praying mantis and showed me how I could make it a harness and leash out of Mom's best silk thread and tie it to my bedpost so it could keep watch for pest insects for me. That night I stayed up all night watching it wait silently on four legs on the ratty quilt, then snatch its prey, solemn and cheerful at the same time, just like my grandmother swatting flies at her kitchen table, and I had a praying mantis epiphany. I fell in love. That there were creatures all around us, living their own lives in a completely different world from ours, alien in appearance and bearing, but also somehow our kin, and we could so smoothly coexist and even help each other out. I think that is when I was condemned to become an entomologist.

That was also the year Star Wars came out, that probably added to my alien mindset. I named it Greedo the Hunter and watched it all summer. It was fully grown when Dad caught it, and I let it free halfway through August when we went back home. It would have died soon anyway, after mating and leaving a foamy egg case to hatch in late spring, after all the prey species have rebuilt their numbers. I think T'ang Lang must have hatched this week, it's the right time and weather for it, and he is still only about an inch long. I am sorry I missed the hatching, that is one of the most miraculous things I have ever seen. Having him keeping me company here is miraculous enough, though. He seems to be adapting quite happily to living in an apartment. I will have to feed him, though, since the souless goverment workers keep this building deadly sterile and I can not even open a window to let the life in. I have set up a small cage of aphids in the back of the entomology lab for now, although he will be moving up to bigger prey soon. I wonder if I can embezzle drones from the lab for him; we always have plently of extra drones.

Current Mood: nostalgic
Tuesday, April 27th, 2004
12:54 am
Movie Night
The Lazarus Bowl was on Sci-Fi tonight. It's one of my favorite movies, right up there with Plan Nine from Outer Space and Godzilla vs. Mothra in terms of sheer quality. Though the ending is a total gyp-- I end up yelling at the screen every time I watch it, it's so obvious that Mulder and Scully belong together. Even if Tea Leoni has absolutely no chemistry with Mulder's actor.

I asked Suzanne over lunch if she wanted to watch it with me, and make a night of it with popcorn. She laughed and said she has never been into science fiction, she prefers something closer to real life.

Well. Leaving the broader point unargued, Lazarus Bowl is based on a true story. I can vouch for that. I met Agents Mulder and Scully myself, a few years ago. I like to think of it as my one brush with fame. Fox is a lot cuter and more charming in real life than on the silver screen. He is a lot stranger, too, though. He had me convinced that we were being invaded by robotic, man-eating cockroaches from outer space. As nice a dream as it was to believe for a few days that there really were alien beings among us, as soon as I sat down and looked at the evidence it all fell apart, of course. As long as he was there, though, the sheer power of his belief made it sound reasonable. That is something the movie did capture, the wonderful b-movie aura of the absurd that man carried with him.

I did not get to talk to Agent Scully for very long, but I think she was having a bad day, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt. And I did not get to meet AD Skinner at all, but if he is anywhere near as sexy, yet ambiguously gay, as Richard Gere played him in the movie, it was surely my loss.

I read a rumor that they are going to make a sequel. I wonder what the real agents think of that? Ivan mentioned something a few years ago about a scandal at the FBI or a jailbreak or something. They can't be in the mood for more publicity, at any rate. Still, it is not like the first movie made a big splash. Not everyone has the fine taste to appreciate special effects of that caliber.

Current Mood: cheerful
Saturday, April 24th, 2004
1:34 am
Drosophila melangaster, the common Asian fruit fly, is famous for primarily two things.

It is beloved of geneticists, the subject of many early and standard experiments, the first animal species whose genome was fully sequenced.

It is also among the only organisms which can subsist on a steady diet of ethyl alcohol, C2H5OH. Its body has a superproduction of alcohol dehydrogenase, AHD, the same enzyme the human body uses to break down alcohol, only in D. melanogaster the enzyme is produced in every part of the body, right down to the male's seminal fluid.

It is too bad the same is not true of those who study them, or I might even consider finding Dr. John the Arrogant Geneticist and taking him up on last night's offer.

God, I am so hung over.

Current Mood: hungover
Friday, April 23rd, 2004
8:14 pm
Spring mating rituals.
Work has been busy the last few weeks. Rain and then a week of good weather means lots of interesting work for naturalists, and some data came in on a very unusual strain of semi-parasitic eusocial mites being studied at a lab in Washington State. It has been suggested we work with them in next year's round of testing, which will, of course, be a great deal of work at this point. It does look very interesting, however. Apparently they are capable of surviving on plant cellulose, like termites, and they glow in the dark. Very interesting, if any of it is true.

However, work has slowed down a little. And I want to reassure you that I do have a life other than bugs. Not much of one-- I've only been at this lab for about two months, and the social dynamics of a small, enclosed group of bioscientists are about the most baroque ethological systems I've ever encountered. Sometimes I think we would be better off if we lived like honeybee or termite colonies. (Although the hierarchy in hymenoptera is a lot more complex than the common conception. But I am not going off on a tangent about insects this entry!)

And we are not really as sequestered as I might make it sound, after all. We can go out, as long as we clear it ahead of time with Security, through the Creepy Supervisor. A group of us are going out clubbing and drinking in DC tonight, to unwind now that there's a lull in the work, and Suzanne dragged me out of the lab at lunch and told me I was going along.

Suzanne's a biochemist who specializes in neurochemistry and pheromones. She is only partly attached to the bee project; there is something else (top secret, of course!) which she spends most of her time on. She calls herself a consultant. She seems to be very comfortable with the way things work here and is on familiar terms with most of the supervisors, and she moves around more freely than most of us. Suzanne and I get on well. She is a lot more cautious than I am, and keeps warning me not to get too caught up in my work or the community here, but she is probably the closest I have to a good friend here so far. I guess she has sort of become my mentor. Women are even rarer here than in most scientific establishments. There are plenty of girls, and even some female scientists, but women are thin on the ground.

I am actually looking forward to going out. Can you tell? We are discouraged from leaving the compound alone, and I am getting restless. Maybe it is the spring, and all the "fucking plants," as my fellow entomologist Peter describes the pollen season. And I know from experience that when a group of biologists goes out to cut loose, there is no telling what will happen.

Current Mood: naughty
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