Friday, July 16 2021

planning parties, eraserhead, and power feeding

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Dear Journal,

Good morning everybody, and happy Friday. It feels good to reach the end of the week, even over the background roar of planning for a party. At the time of writing this, I'm sitting in the midst of decorative cobwebs adorned with plastic spiders, fuzzy-legged caterpillars with bulging googly eyes, and a kitchen stuffed with food that I'm not allowed to eat yet.

It's good to get back into planning parties. Entertaining people can take a lot of effort, but I think it also brings out the best in us. And once the party ends and you shut the door behind the last guest, nothing tastes sweeter than that first quiet moment alone.

The party planning cycle in our house follows a similar pattern to the "witches hat" diagram we learned in high school literature. Growing tension, a climax of late night cleaning and prep, and finally a denouement when it's time to sit back and wait for people to show up.

We also share a little post-party tradition. On the first free evening after a party, we share a bottle of wine and watch the movie Heat. Why Heat? Because it's awesome, and every second of that movie is cooler than the last.

Sip. This is probably going to be a movie heavy post. Last night's film selecton Eraserhead has been bouncing around in my brain all morning. The film has waited unwatched in our collection for a while, and based on the little we knew about the premise and style, we were dreading it. When I made my choice, it was in the spirit of getting something over with, like a doctor visit or an awkward encounter with a weird neighbor.

But boy were we wrong. The film tackled a lot of mature themes, like sex, adultery, fertility, and parenthood, but it handled the subject matter in such a playful and comedic way. The movie showed violence, but not in a way that twisted my stomach into knots. It portrayed sinful desire without inviting me to indulge. The movie took its time without being too drawn out. The story telling feels bizarre, but it also doesn't wander far from its own message and moral backbone.

I guess knowing how many uncomfortable and challenging movies we've sat through, you should take our recommendation with a grain of salt. I don't know what kind of stomach you have for movies. But like us, if you've sat through Requiem for a Dream or The Lighthouse, then in comparison Eraserhead will feel like a brisk, late night walk around the block.

In other news, today is spider day. My new spider was supposed to arrive yesterday, but there had still been nothing on the tracking history since it left California. I felt a wave of relief pass through my body when I checked again before going to bed. The package arrived in Madison last night at 10:30 PM - not quite early enough for a Thursday delivery, but still early enough to unbox a presumably living spider.

To quell my own worries, I jumped on the arachnoforum and hunted for some insight into how well spiders travel in the mail. Funny enough, I read that juvenile spiders are so small and weightless that they're practically shock proof, and as long as they have access to soft padding and moisture, they can survive in the mail for up to a full week. Glassy's four day trip from California to Madison suddenly didn't sound so scary.

Along with a new spider, the shipment includes a new enclosure for Karta. That dark spot on her abdomen continues to grow and spread, meaning her molt is approaching. I'm feeling grateful that I'll have time to set her up in a more functional enclosure before she begins the painful, delicate process.

Spidey was in rare sorts yesterday. After he had finally finished that worm from the night before, his abdomen had swelled up so much that he was actually having trouble moving around. He was too big to get up to his favorite mossy patch above his cave. He spent all stay standing awkwardly in the corner cleaning his fangs.

I felt bad about over-feeding him at first. But then I noticed his own dark, shiny spot growing on his abdomen. It's possible that the large meal I gave him sent him into his own pre-molt response. It seems that by giving him access to so much food that I've unintentionally swerved into the controversial world of "power feeding".

I read that some tarantula keepers "power feed" their young spiders as often as a big meal every other day. Over-feeding adult spiders can be dangerous, but the rational behind power feeding a small spider is to speed up their metabolism and their growth. A juvenile spider is fragile in the wild, and it's in its best interest to eat, grow, and molt as quickly as possible if it wants a chance to survive.

Even from the little I know about power feeding, I think I stand in the slow and steady camp. While the momentary gorge may have triggered a positive physical response, Spidey just looked kind of uncomfortable. Besides, we all should have the right to enjoy childhood and grow up in our own time - even a tarantula.

After work, Rodney and I went on a monster of a grocery run to pick up food for the party. We went the easy route for dinner, grabbing a pair of frozen pizzas. Rodney still demonstrates unwaivering loyalty to Tombstone, along with Marissa. In the meantime, I'm still eating Home Run Inn all by myself. Knowing I was eating a pizza that nobody else wanted, It took every ounce of self-control in my body not to eat the entire thing in one sitting.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by. Oh, and if you're around, come by our house on Saturday at 4 PM to celebrate Rodney's birthday. It's an open invite, so consider this your invitation.

Have a great Friday, everyone.