Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cats and Catts and Katniss

Katniss at Planet Comic Con
I attended Planet Comic Con this weekend and had a fabulous time. I saw question-answer sessions with Billy Dee Williams, Edward James Olmos, and various X-Men creators. The costumed conventioneers represented classic comics, video games, TV series, and films. Many costumes looked like they involved hours of time and yards and yards of fabric. In fact, I'm a little familiar with the process. But my favorite was this girl doing a perfect Katniss Everdeen. Her costume had the right mix of old and new. I saw The Hunger Games Friday morning, so I might be a little biased. (I loved the movie, but I recommend you read the book first.)

Natalie, Robin Thorsen, and Brian
The absolute highlight of the convention was seeing Robin Thorsen from The Guild. She and Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa) seemed genuinely cool. I like the whole cast but, between me and you, Clara is, like, 70 to 80% of why I watch the show. Robin Thorsen also shined in an episode of Parks and Recreation. I'm not very good at meeting famous people, but Robin was so nice! And so pretty! It made my day when she complimented my footwear (blue canvas sneakers with white pinstripes from H&M, if you're wondering). 


If Patience is a Virtue...

... then orchid growers must be extremely virtuous. The average time from orchid seed to orchid flower is about seven years, and some species take over a decade to flower. Waiting years for a plant to bloom can be frustrating, but it's super special when it finally happens. 

This is Ceratostylis retisquama, a plant I've had in my collection since 2008. It spent time in the vivarium, the main orchid table, and, finally, the Brassavola aquarium set-up. It grows at a slow pace and I've had difficulty in figuring out how to make it happy. I was thrilled when it bloomed recently. The flower was tiny and faded within a few days. Who cares? It finally bloomed!

Buying full, blooming-sized, plants is sound advice for beginner hobbyists. Sometimes it pays to invest in the future. Many orchid vendors sell flasks, but that's a little too hardcore for me at this stage.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life Just Got Easier

Remember when you only had six orchids in your collection and you could water them all at once in the sink? It took only five minutes. Remember that? It’s a fading memory for me, too. I've graduated from the sink to the bathtub, and I've used various empty fish tanks to accomplish my watering goals. But no more! My fantastic father-in-law swooped in from Forks, Washington and installed a deep, two-tub, sink in the orchid room. Normally a chore that takes several hours, I was able to water all of my plants today in about twenty minutes. I put the orchids in the tub, turned on the water, and set them back to dry. Amazing! I'm also able to fill the humidifier without leaving the room to fetch water. That’s huge. I fill the humidifier everyday from September to April, and not having to leave the room to fill it up is a major time-saver.

Oh, and Randy also remodeled the bathroom: removed the tub and sink, tore up the floor, and replaced everything. New mirror. New cabinets. New light. The crazy thing is that it only took 72 hours and one or two trips to the hardware store (I might be exaggerating the low number of hardware store trips). Seriously, it was like one of those house remodeling shows.
The new bathroom is awesome, Lan Lan loves the new faucet, but have I told you about the sink in the orchid room? I have? Sorry. I'm just excited.

My advice? Boys, when you grow up, make sure that the woman or man you married has a father who is a general contractor, expert woodworker, and overall awesome dude.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Penguin Cam!

Broadcasting live with Ustream

Have you seen the San Diego Sea World penguin cam? It's one of the coolest things ever. I haven't seen March of the Penguins. I'm not sure I would've mentioned penguins if, a week ago, you had asked me to list my favorite animals. The Penguin cam, though, quickly won me over to Team Penguin. They are impossibly cute. The Penguin cam is only available for a couple of months, so take advantage of it while you can!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Cat Ate My Blog Homework

Paphs in bloom, March 2012
We're back from hiatus! There's nothing sadder than a neglected blog, so I'm happy to get back into orchid and kitty postings. My absence was due to an array of causes, but the central one, I think, was purely technological. I replaced my laptop and desktop machines, and the transition period was slow. My brother and sister-in-law got me a phenomenal birthday gift -- an iPad2! It’s as life-changing as promised (and I’m a PC guy), but it’s interface with Blogger (both the Blogger app and Blogger functionality via Safari) is kind of horrible. It's taken me weeks to figure out a reasonable process and routine. All of these are, as the kids say, “first world problems” and, as such, lousy excuses. The time away has taught me that the orchids are going to bloom whether I blog about them or not. So, I might as well blog about them. Right?

There’s been plenty of action in the orchid room. I have a few Paphs in bloom (see above), my B. Little Stars is wrapping up its yearly show, and two flowers opened today on the only Cattleya in my collection (C. Bob Betts). The daylily project is also moving forward. I planted 40 seeds and about half of them have developed into healthy seedlings.

And the kitties? They're adjusting to a new food regime prompted by concerns about Lan Lan’s kidney health. No more free grazing! Special food! Three of our cats are adapting remarkably well. Griffin, however, demands more feeding times and extra treats. Some things never change.