A Spider, a Fly, Genius and Death.

I believe a tribute is in order. This week I was witness to a spider besting a fly of proportions at least tenfold to those of itself. It truly was a story of David and Goflyath (did I get away with that one?).

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the spider on its sheer audacity and quick thinking. This spider’s brain is something to behold, and I would go as far to say as better even than Hawking’s. Seriously. I mean, think how many brain cells old Stevey must have in comparison to this ambitious octopod.

The average human brain has 80 billion neurones, if Wikipedia is to be believed. The keen-eyed individual will also note that an entry to Wikianswers seemingly suggests that your intelligence may be dictated by your name. According to them, ‘Each human Brian has 100 billion neurones.’ That’s an extra 20 billion just because you’re called Brian. Handy eh?

Anyway, back to spiders, and I believe we were discussing their dominance over Steven Hawking. Imagine a Spartan style intellectual examination, where thinking channels were stemmed and choked until only a brave and heroic 300 hundred neurones, unafraid of kicking entirely innocent nerve messengers down a seemingly infinite grey spongy well, met and did academic battle with one another, then this fucking bad ass spider would definitely outwit any opponent.

So what of his epic exploits? I sense you pleading,

well…

Initially, as many great take downs begin, this one began with a trap. A web to be precise.

Big deal, a spider makes a web, I hear you mock, but you would be wrong…

This was not a straight up, symmetric, fishing net type web. This spider plays not only by its own rules, but in its own game entirely. It makes the rules. This web- needless to say- had superpowers (Invisibility to name but one). The spider had command of damned enviable spinnerets (for those of you without the luxury of either a knowledge of the morphology of spiders, or a blank google search page at the ready, that’s the bit the web comes from).

Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, no great victory is without its hiccups, and this was to be no exception. Upon being trapped within the invisiweb, the fly decided (entirely legitimately) that it would really rather not be idly twiddling its thumbs in a predator’s web, and would like to give escape just a little go. Considering the dimensions of its captor, it was probably rather embarrassed too. Escape then, was attempted, and among a fly’s tactical repertoire of escape techniques, one tends to be used more than others: thrashing wildly. And so it did.

It started to look as though the flailing of wings and appendages were presenting the fly the upper hand, and the spider decided action ought to be taken. It danced its way down the web, around the fly, circled, and hesitated, almost as though paused in thought.

Tactically this spider had already proved itself astute, but now it demonstrated quick thinking. It lunged on to the fly, smothered its rear legs (which were certainly putting forward the most persuasive argument in favour of departing the web), and bound them together. From the verge of breaking free, the fly had effectively been disabled from the waist down.

This tactic had been so successful for the spider that it methodically moved around the fly, intently ensnaring all of its limbs, both to the web, and to other limbs. The fly was genuinely tangled faster than carefully stored and untouched earphones.

At this stage you would be forgiven for believing that the said spider’s genius was complete, but you would again be wrong.

During the struggle between massive insect and tiny arachnid, massive insect had slipped rather far down tiny arachnid’s web, and was in fact, give or take, half a foot from tiny arachnid’s base camp. It could be understood if the spider at this stage reflected, well it’s ten times my size, maybe I’ll have to break it up and carry it back piece by piece. 

But do you really think a spider of such kick-ass, maverick nature would really think this?

Didn’t think so. No, what the spider did think was, naturally at this stage I will construct a winch out web, and using just my astounding strength, I shall reel in the still struggling fly, and kill it from the comfort of my own home.

So that’s what it did, and this blog ends with the death of a fly. Now if you would, I would like you to imagine an edit of this scene in the sob-story style of the X-Factor.

The soft sound of hoppipolla to a black and white cut of the fly slowly struggling less and less, as it surrenders to its impending fate, drowning in the overwhelming flood that is its death. It looks wistfully back on its maggothood, and on the maggots of its own, wondering if it spent too much time perched on horse dung, and regrets all the wasted time stuck on the wrong side of windows, all acted out to the sombre and painful backdrop of a spider one tenth of its size repeatedly biting it in the face.

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Filed under battle tactics, death, Pests, spiders, steven hawking

What’s That Word Again?

OK, so here’s a hypothetical conversation between just the two of us:

‘Did I tell you that thing that happened earlier?’

‘No. What?’

‘Basically what it was, was that there was this guy cycling past…’ and it seems I may have already lost your interest. But don’t worry, I think I’ve worked out why.

Somewhere within the bafflingly vague ‘that thing,’ the lexically lazy double ‘was,’ and the tediously nondescript ‘guy,’ the story will die before it develops any further. It’s not that the event isn’t interesting, its just that by the time I explain how the blind, deaf, and dumb man actually managed to kill the poor cyclist with nothing but a punnet of nectarines and a devilish aim, nobody will be listening. And this is why: a good story teller uses pitch, pace, rhythm, and carefully placed words while the content is surprisingly unimportant. Those of particular talent could captivate a crowded room with how they decided to choose their curtains, while others would be entirely ignored as they retell a truly magnificent event. This is, unfortunately, unavoidable. Although unaware of it, most of us place enormous value on charisma.

Consider this:          Society is full of socially thick, and conversationally clumsy individuals, myself included. We are the population. It is truly an elusive exception to the human rule to be ‘socially adept.’ That is, to be the chap everybody wants to be friends with, to be considered ‘normal.’ And therein lies the problem; what we perceive in people as being ‘normality’ is in fact often extraordinary, while the truly average subsequently adopt a substandard view of themselves. In a world of TV, radio, film and celebrity, the general public has forgotten that we aren’t all supposed to hold every last person’s attention constantly – it’s just physically impossible. At any party you will get those in the bedroom, those in the front room, those in the kitchen, those in the garden, those still at home who didn’t get an invite (but fuck it they didn’t want one anyway), and those lingering around outside, because surely they were supposed to get an invite? The point is, society wouldn’t work without every part of it and not every party-goer can be in the bedroom (apart from in some parts of Sweden, but that’s a different type of metaphor altogether).

So if we say that the basis of a person’s popularity (please note that I dined on that word first so that I could digest and then shit it on to the page), assuming you’re not the kind of bastard who would judge people according to wealth and fashion, is the ability to speak to and make friends, then you can see where the problem lies. Speech is a skill that is resoundingly unaffected by intellect, artistry, logic, and other such concepts. This seems to be why, despite technical brilliance in any field, people often revert to a mumbling spotty teenager in the face of social situations.

The inherent complications of speech originate in the inescapable fact that you have to fashion your words from the immediately available bits-and-pieces buffet your brain serves up to your mouth, and consequently, like a quickly assembled buffet, the words are often under or over cooked and can in no way be combined to make a satisfying combination. People will generally be left feeling politely uninspired.

Like it or not, most of us cannot whip up a lexical banquet, most can’t dazzle with dialect, and most are unable to simply stroll in and woo whoever they fancy. It couldn’t possibly be any other way. Do not feel dejected, however, as I’ve come to realise that this can be a good thing – every cloud and all that.

Us mere normals should recognize that, unlike the very popular, our friends are real, they’re not leeches trying to suckle on society’s popularity-teet. Our friends will still be there whether or not we tell a boring story, and friends like that are worth infinitely more.

So I implore you to join me in a toast for the average, while raising a big middle finger to the popular. I can’t think of any better way to conclude a blog than with another pleasant little hypothetical conversation,

‘Hey, society,’

‘Yes?’

‘Fuck you, you cunt.’

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Filed under popularity, society, speech

Could Humanity Die Out By 2012: Clothes-Moth Theory

First Contact:

OK, first of all we need to do a backwards time roll to some point last month. I was absent-mindedly sitting in my bedroom when i noticed a clothes moth, chilling on the cupboard door. I watched it for a few moments to ponder its fate. They damage clothes, I reasoned inwardly, I cant let it live… My thumb reached out to merely an inch away from its body; no reaction. No attempt to escape. Not even a worried glance over the shoulder. This moth was innocent, I suddenly thought. It was probably starving, I dementedly continued inside my head. So what if it had a little chew on the carpet? Spare its life and it would move on.

Two Weeks Later:

Up until this moment, I had instilled a sense of wellbeing in myself. I had helped a friendly insect. Yay for me. No more moth sightings, and I believed Mothy (did I not tell you its name yet?) had graciously departed and found a new home. Mothy, however, had evidently devised a more sinister plan. It must have smuggled in a breeding companion, as, seemingly instantaneously, there were six young moths fluttering around my room. They had abused my trust, my mothspitality. Mothy had taken it too far this time, I thought, so I methodically tracked down each of his children, and splatted them on the wall. I threw down the gauntlet, and Mothy was nowhere to be seen. I had hoped he was frightened off. I had sent out a message: Do not fuck with me moths.

Later that week:

A couple of days had passed since the massacre. My sympathies with the moth populous had waned. I had developed a blood-lust by now, and I was grimly hoping that more would be foolish enough to consider trespassing on my property.  And i got my wish. Two moths appeared, they were young. I thought, Mothy you old fox, you’re still here aren’t you? I attacked, frenzied by the thrill of the hunt, and spilled the blood of one, but the other desperately fled. I failed to catch it. I exhibited its fallen comrade to the rest of the room, still crushed upon the weapon against which it perished, a Bill Bryson book, as an example to the others. Secretly, however, I felt ill at ease. Where the moths previously had been impassive to my presence, they were now running from me, they had become wise to my intentions.

Four Days Later:

Lying in bed, distracted by literature, my peripheral vision screamed alert to the tune of fluttery movement. I leapt out, and pivoted seamlessly, wielding the crushing Bill Bryson Tome of death, but it was already gone. The stomach twisting revelation hit me; it was testing my speed. Mothy had scouts gaining intelligence on me. The bastard must have been preparing a counter attack.

The Next Night:

Under the same circumstances of the previous night, the same damn moth arrogantly fluttered past once again. I waited for a chance to strike, then wildly bludgeoned at it with the deadly literature. But it was to no avail. Its evasion techniques were too good. Worryingly, the moths had started using their camouflage against the earthen colours in the carpet. It escaped behind my bed, leaving me seething with rage. I panicked: Were they amassing an army from under the bed on which I sleep, and for how long had they now been observing me, malevolently plotting?

Desperate to reattain the upper hand, I did a little research. It appeared that clothes-moths have an innate desire to journey outwards at dusk, so I dimmed the lights to simulate this, and waited for a patrol to pass. Then, as I had hoped, an instant sighting. At high speed, it desperately soared past me. I clumsily lunged at it with my book of war, and stunned it. It spiralled downwards, smoke and flames trailing in its wake (I imagined that bit, actually) but as I wretchedly groped around on the floor, to finish it off, there was no sign of it. I can only speculate that there must have been a high speed, high risk rescue, hatched from underneath my bed to drag it to safety. The moths were showing conradery, solidarity, teamwork.

The Following Morning:

I rose to a sitting position in my bed. I waited quietly, to check that there were no moth operations underway. Nothing immediately suspicious came to light. Then, something flashed past my vision from above. I rolled desperately across the bed to see a bundle of dust ponderously sinking toward my bedsheets. A rush of adrenaline shot down through my shoulders and into my chest. Of course, I never saw the dust rise. The dust doesn’t rise. It only ever falls. Logic gripped me and told me that which I dreaded; the moths were dust-bombing me. They have been following me everywhere, observing my allergies. They knew I would sneeze if I breathed in dust. It all came to the fore; this was an aggressive assault.

Yesterday:

A few tense, maddening days have passed. I now live in a prison of fear and paranoia. The moths will get to me, they have grown too intelligent, too strong, fast, vengeful, conniving. Just after lunch I risked turning on my computer, and I came face to face with Mothy for the first time since day one. It launched a stealth attack, having crept past me without my realising. I knew now for sure that Mothy was behind it all. Ever since I wrought pain, despair and death on Mothy’s family, this was the ultimate goal, to take me down. The moth arrowed towards my neck, but fortunately I was just fast enough to evade the attack. I rolled sideways out of my chair, and looked up helplessly. God alone knows what foul moth weapon it was wielding at my throat. My eyes scanned the room, but Mothy had disappeared, presumably lurking and observing, devising the next assault.

Today:

At this stage I am celebrating any minor victories, as they are all that remain. I have lost the war, and am trying merely to survive the small pockets of battles remaining. I lasted the night, and that at least is positive. So now all that remains is a mutual waiting game, while Mothy searches for my weaknesses, for an upper hand. I am not aware of how this will end, but I ask desperately for you to listen to me when I tell you the end could be nigh; for why would these mutant hyper-moths stop only at me? I worry for mankind. I have created a mothster, a vengeful beast, that is bearing its teeth not only at me, but soon the world.


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