WASHINGTON (AP) – A 7-foot sea creature with hooks on its arms, flashing blue-green lights and a donut-shaped brain may sound like a fish story; but it’s real, and the Smithsonian has it on display. It’s Taningia danae, a deep-sea squid that’s part of a new exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. “In Search of Giant Squids,” opens Saturday, introducing visitors to proof that, in the words of researcher Mike Vecchione: “Weird things actually exist.” Vecchione is part of the museum’s “squid squad,” a team of scientists that studies the eight-armed, two-tentacled mollusks and maintains a collection of 100,000 preserved squids and related sea creatures. “In terms of its biology, the squid is far more interesting than any myth you can dream up,” said Clyde F. E. Roper, curator of the exhibit. Taningia alone may prove the point. Living in the lightless depths of the ocean, more than 3,000 feet below the surface, Taningia can flash its lights like a pair of blue-green strobes mounted at the tips of two of its arms. The scientists refer to it as the world’s largest flasher – a trick apparently used to warn off predators. Who would eat an animal 7 feet long, weighing 135 pounds? Whales, said Roper. “Whales eat pretty much what they want,” and studies of their stomach contents disclose that they often want squids. Other sea animals eat smaller squids, as do people, though the exhibition tactfully refrains from any mention of fried calamari. It’s unlikely a person would tackle another squid on display at the museum. Architeuthis dux is 9 feet long and weighs 440 pounds. And she’s a midget compared to others of her species, who can grow to 59 feet and weigh nearly a ton. The squids on display, though not alive, are carefully preserved and lifelike, giving viewers a close look at the animal’s size and structure. Nearby displays show their insides and a picture of Taningia shows it underwater with lights flashing when a button is pressed. Squids are hard to keep alive in captivity, Roper explained. And even in the sea they live only a few years, with one reproductive cycle at the end of their life. They are often confused with octopi; and while they are related, squids have two extra tentacles, often much longer than the other eight arms, that can be used as feeding arms to reach out and grasp prey. Squids use jet-like propulsion to swim, ejecting water through a funnel that can be aimed to allow them to move suddenly in one direction or another. They have been clocked at 45 miles per hour. Squids are also famed for their propensity to blow clouds of black ink into the water to confuse predators. But Vecchione says there’s at least one weird variation on the theme – a deep water squid that squirts ink that is luminous. Bacteria that live in the squid glow, and the animal ejects them in its ink, leaving a glowing cloud in the water as it escapes. Black ink wouldn’t work in the deepest water, since there’s no light there and everything is black anyway, Vecchione explains.

Still at work…

but just goofing off. waiting for a file to finish pumping down the pipe, so I’m surfing now that I’ve finished my duties. I’m actually ahead now because I polished off everything in my inbox. (the beauty of working at night is that there’s no bothersome telephone, or marketing types breathing down my neck for stuff, which only slows me down.) I found my one of my Benny Goodman CD’s in my buddy Kevin’s computer, so I’m jamming to Big Bands, like some silly Hippy/1940’s guy hybrid. I miss newtie.. so I hope I’m not here much past 11. Must remember to reactivate the newtcam. I keep forgetting! If I had DSL, I could leave it on all the time.

driving me mad.

Inigo: “Who are you?”
The Man in Black: “No one of consequence.”
Inigo: “I must know.”
The Man in Black: “Get used to disappointment.”
— “The Princess Bride”

People do this sort of thing to me all the time. What do they care who I am, or what I’m doing there? I know I’m a big, scary, hairy guy. But if I’m not messing with anyone, just leave the BSHG alone, ok? I live in the USA… there should be no need for showing my papers, and explaining what I’m up to. (For what it’s worth, I was doing laundry, and writing character notes/sketches in my notepad. Nothing really.) When an older guy walks up to me, and gives me silly nonsense about loitering (Waiting for your laundry is loitering? In front of the Laundromat?) I automatically got defensive. If he’d taken a different diplomatic track, like maybe giving a smile, or asking politely, I might’ve given a grin back, and had a friendly conversation. Instead… I turn into a bit of a creep. Feed him some of what he’s giving off. (A bad move. I really shouldn’t deal with people when overtired or cranky.) The discussion went something like this.

Older Guy : “Hey, you! This is a no loitering area! You have a reason for being here?”
Me: -thinking to myself- *man, leave me alone*
Me: -out Loud- “Yo no hablo Ingles” (in my american florida accent.)
Older Guy : -something in spanish – I assume the same thing he said in english-
Me: -thinking to myself- *Nuts. Stupid bilingual old guy. I shouldn’t have done spanish in south florida.*
Me: -aloud- “um, Yo no hablo espanol.”
Older Guy: “I’m going to go get a policeman. You’d better be gone when I get back.”
Me: “Fine. Go get a cop, you f-ing nazi. See you when he gets here. I’ll press harassment charges.”
Older Guy “This is private property. you have to leave”
Me: “Yo no hablo Ingles”

Older guy leaves. My dryer finishes, and I begin folding my laundry. Older guy returns.

Older Guy : “Are those your clothes?”
Me: -Holding up a XXL Tiedye T-shirt.- “What do you think?”
Older Guy : “Why didn’t you tell me you were here for a reason, instead of loitering?”
Me “No Hablo Ingles”
Older Guy, Pissed off. “Finish and leave. Don’t come back.”
Me “Que? Yo no hablo….”
Older Guy “Are you trying to start a fight?”
Me “…” -folds laundry-
Older Guy glares for ~45 seconds, then leaves.

I finish folding laundry, and go home.


I feel that if I was a clean shaven 5’6″ guy, nobody would have cared. He never said he was the owner or anything, so when my next batch of clothes come due… I’ll be interested in seeing if he’s there. Never seen him before.

everway down.

Officially stopped gaming w/everway group today… would still like to see them socially, but the time spent gaming was too much of a burn on my time. I like the gang, though.

One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work
hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.
A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.
– chuck palahniuk, fight club

Welcome to my wall scrawls.