Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Coyote Piss and the Spiders Jerusalem

I’m in the process of wrapping up a mix (I’d already completed it, but for reasons I’ll hopefully +get into elsewhere, I need to swap out a few songs), but I feel like I’ve been lax about keeping up with this, so I just wanted to write something up real quick about what’s going on around here.

It would appear that the southern California summer has finally broken, with this past weekend being the first in recent memory without triple-digit temperatures. So that’s nice. We’re still in this shitty drought and there’s no rain on the horizon, but we had a pretty rainy weekend about a month ago, which is probably as good as it gets for the time being.

Still, I find it so difficult to go without rain for as long as we do here. It’s not just the drought, I love rainy days. To not have them for 9 months out of the year is a crushing blow for anyone whose favorite thing in the world is to curl up next to a fire with a book on a rainy day1.

To make matters worse, the rain we get is so sporadic that we don’t get that wonderful smell. Usually, the rain brings with it that incredible petrichor smell of earth combined with wet concrete that is easily one of the most pleasant smells on this earth of ours2. But unfortunately most of the plant life around our house is dying a slow arid death thanks to the combination of drought and my forgetting to water on Monday or Thursday evenings (the only time I'm legally allowed to water the yard). So instead of that wonderful smell, the rain just brings up whatever has been deposited in our dead soil over the past year. Which, in our unfortunate case, is lots and lots of coyote urine.


When we get rain after a dry spell now, it just smells like cat piss everywhere. Like, to the point where I can't open the windows to listen to the rain. that is straight up CRUEL. and this isn't to complain about the coyotes, as I actually enjoy them. I only really see them right before dawn as I'm leaving for work, but it's nice. They (along with the family of 7 raccoon that live in the storm drain across the street) are my morning buddies, the only other moving thing on my street at 4:45 AM. Incidentally, we had a three-legged coyote living in town for YEARS. I haven't seen that one in a few months, but I hope the scrappy little guy is still around. 

So yeah, my yard is bone dry and reeks of coyote piss whenever it rains. That's the worst of it, right? WRONG. Because right now it's a goddamn SPIDER FARM.

When we first moved here, I was repeatedly told about the tarantula migration that takes place in September. The way it was explained to me, every fall swathes of tarantulae migrate south from the nearby mountains, wreaking havoc on the town and its inhabitants. To be honest, I was kind of excited. I've never seen a tarantula in the wild and I know that their bites aren't really serious, so I was looking forward to the general weirdness of seeing herds of the little buggers. Sadly, that never happened due to population growth and the expansion of the 210 Freeway have pretty much stopped the migration in its tracks (bad pun very much intended)3

So of course I don't get to see any tarantulas. Instead, I have been exposed to black (and to a lesser extent brown) widows CONSTANTLY. It used to be sort of novel. In our first place out here, we had a solitary female black widow who hung out on our back step and chilled out, catching some lunch here and there. We named her Faith Evans the spider. It was cute, or so I thought at the time.

Since then, though, it's become something of a problem. Last week, while I was watering the last 4 tomatoes of the season, I happened across (i.e. did not search out) no fewer than 20 different black and brown widow spiders in our yard. Which means the actual number is probably something like 9004. They're all over the place. To the point that I'm wearing shoes when I water at night5 and I'm already wondering how many of them have made their way into our home. Whenever we move out of this place, I'm going to be in a full hazmat suit.

and it's not like I'm that afraid of their bite. I know it's still relatively mild except for toddlers, one of which we happen to have running around the house. So yeah, I'm essentially copping to the fact that I'm about to kill off a whole bunch of spiders6.  I'm okay with it. Finding a bunch of dead spiders in boxes is a far less terrifying idea to me than finding a bunch of live ones...

Anyways, a mix is coming eventually, as well as a less-insane comics post and maybe an explanation of why I like Toots & the Maytals so much. It's a big world, people.

1. Of course, having a small child is also a pretty crushing blow to that particular pastime

2. Weirdly, I can't imagine this smell without thinking of this Operation Ivy song.

3. As someone who spends a good deal of time around naturalists, I've heard many a complaint about the effect that this particular freeway has had on area wildlife. The freeway, which runs parallel to the San Gabriel mountain range, effectively cuts right through the migration areas for several wildlife species, including the bobcat and the much loved San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat.\...

4. by my count, 5 males and 15 females

5. this might not seem like such a big deal, but I place great value on barefootedness.

6. Side note: does killing a lot of bugs as a kid qualify as an early warning sign of becoming a serial killer? Because I killed a lot of bugs as a kid.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Poor Kitty: The Ghosts of Halloween Past

I'm about to dive back into a mix I want to have ready by the end of the week, but first, a reminder that Halloween used to be much, much more terrifying.

see more here

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Bill Mudron, The Forest Spirit; Night Falls in the Spirit Realm (On the road to Castle Cagliostro), Princess Mononoke, Ghibli Studios, 1997.

via Magic Transistor