M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, October 31, 2003  

Reader Mail Slot, Episode XVIII

After I wrote about how we at our house are waiting around helplessly for the hammer of a ladybug infestation to fall, the e-mails proliferated like…well, like ladybugs.

Jillian wanted to know more. Or she thought she did:

Wow, that's pretty creepy...here in Rockville, Maryland (about an hour or so outside of D.C.) it appears we're also being stalked by these adorable insects. On two non-consecutive days last week, there were at least 2-6 ladybugs on almost every window in the house. We found several of them inside the house for days after. I saw more ladybugs in one of those days than I've seen in my entire life! Do you know if it's a national ladybug over-population, or if the two instances are just weird coincidences? Whatever the reason; freaky. I did notice the gold bugs, but we had a lot of the normal red ones too, if that helps at all. Just curious.

Turn back, Jillian! Before it’s too late! Move to someplace where the bugs aren’t so hostile! Like maybe Borneo. There is no good news for us. Signman says (no pun intended):

My parents had a similar encounter in Dahlonega, GA a few years ago. There is a local college (North Georgia College and University) that did an experiment with breeding and creating hybrid ladybugs and the experiment quickly got WAY out of hand and the town became ridden with ladybugs. Anytime I would visit them for about a year or so I would see them all over their house. You get in the shower, LADYBUGS! You go to sleep and feel something LAND ON YOUR FACE!!!! LADYBUGS! So, I feel your pain, and I know my parents do too. They don’t have the problem anymore, but my parents had their house exterminated and most of the town had to as well. So...who you gonna call? Ladybugbusters!

That’s great. There’s a Stephen King story in there somewhere. Ill-advised experiments on nature that go awry and wreak havoc on the general population are one of his favorite themes. And he can do for ladybugs what It did for clowns. Meanwhile, Holly Golightly has this to say:

Oh dear. I've been the victim of a ladybug infestation more than once. It's true that they're not hostile, but unfortunately, it's also true that they're incredibly stupid. They'll circle the room drunkenly for hours, smacking themselves against the ceiling, light bulbs and pretty much any other object, making an annoying thwacky ding every single time their shells connect.

I know that noise. I hear it IN MY DREAMS.

You will have to start squishing them. They emit a funny smell when this happens.

Oh, joy.

People will start looking at you like some sort of bug Nazi when you tell them that you've been killing ladybugs.

Even better.

But don't fear. It's for the good of your family and for any chance at peace and quiet (that being the kind without thwacky dingy noises as you sit at your computer or try to sleep).

Maybe I could record that thwacky dingy noise and broadcast it from the speakers on an ice cream truck and use it to lure the ladybugs…oh, why bother?

Sarah has even more good news:

My friend, welcome to the wonderful world of Japanese Lady Beetles. They've become quite a problem down here in Ohio. I didn't think they could make it in Minnesota. What's the point of surviving Minnesota winters if you still have to deal with bugs?

That’s an excellent question. Got a spare bedroom?

You can read more about the evil little pests here.

Quit trying to make me blog.

Now, the good folks at OSU suggest that you don't use chemicals to kill them. Well, you know, yea them. Any bug killing chemical with "(blank)methrin" will work pretty good at getting rid of them. We use a hose attachment one to get to the upper reaches of the house, and a spray bottle inside. You gotta be sure to get the entry points to your house. If you are worried about toxic chemicals in your house, you can vacuum the bugs up once they get into your house (and they will get into your house), but the sound of the vacuum cleaner scares them so they shoot out this yellow stuff that stains ceilings, walls, curtains, etc and has a lovely smell.

The cats say, “Oh, great. More messes they can blame us for.”

And, again contrary to OSU, the little buggers do bite. The fact that they do it out of curiosity instead of maliciousness does not mean it hurts any less.

Thanks. That’s swell. I’ll be looking forward to that.

And speaking of bugs, Caenis has alerted me to a technical problem:

So of course I've been reading your blog for forever, but over the last week or so I've noticed that you seem to be much more introspective. Every statement has become a question. Every paragraph a seeking for knowledge. I mean, the amount of thought put into the query "So if I were to fall off the ladder?sorry, experience some kind of "catastrophic ladder failure??nobody would be around to take me to the hospital" threatens to set me on a path of questioning everything around me.

Ok, seriously, when your lovely, wonderful page is viewed with Mozilla (so, also probably Netscape, though I don't know for sure), all of your quotation marks become question marks. This is not a problem that you've had all along, but only something I've seen in the last couple of weeks.

Oh, I’ve just been experimenting with uptalking? You know, when every sentence you utter rises in pitch at the end? And it gets really irritating in a hurry?

Seriously, I’m pretty sure this has something to do with my entries being typed on a more recent version of Microsoft Word. It has “smart quotes,” you know. Of course, when Microsoft calls one of their features “smart,” they generally mean “guaranteed to piss you off.” Software is never more annoying that when it thinks it’s smarter than me. Of course, I could just turn off the smart quotes, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

On the plus side, I was glad to learn I’m not the only one who drives a bottle of wine around in my car for no reason. There’s also JAdamson:

So what you're saying is, I should take the bottle of white wine out of the car. I think the poor thing is a refugee from a bachelorette party back in April. And I think it's still there because I keep telling myself that it has been heated and cooled so many times that it can't possibly be drinkable anymore, so there's no use taking it inside the house. Irrational people may assume that the next logical step would be to throw it away. They would be wrong. It's an expensive bottle of wine, and I feel that its presence in my back seat makes me appear suave and cosmopolitan; nestled in the corner with that Krispy Kreme box, it says about me, "I am witty and urbane, yet not a snob." Also, it says "I am very lazy." But I don't listen to it when it says that.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. But beware, lest Mandy’s tragedy befall you:

Ugh--winery car!! We had that for a time this summer in our '89 Civic. My husband does avant-garde jazz/improvised music concert promotion here in Austin, and that genre being such a small music scene he does all of the hospitality himself. (Along with everything else associated with said concert promotion. This is a barely-breaking-even "hobby" of his; he's a librarian by day.) Anyway, he forgot about a bottle of red wine in the trunk of the car, unopened from the last concert he did a few months ago, until I noticed a very pungent, winey odor on his clothes when he would get home from work. I thought maybe the library had driven him to drink. But no. After digging through the mounds of junk, papers, old shoes (?), etc. in the trunk he found the wine bottle, sans cork. Sans wine. It's hot in Austin in the summer, as you know, and the old Civic's air conditioning just doesn't work adequately, so the car was a big, hot stinkfest of eye-watering sour grape fumes for a while. Yee haw! We just had to pull the liner out of the trunk and hose it down and let it air dry, several days in a row.

So what happened to me could have been worse. It could have been red wine instead of white. It could have been a Texas summer instead of a Minnesota one. And I could have been mistaken by my wife for an alcoholic. I’m counting my blessings.

Today’s best search phrase: “Allergies blogging sneezing machine gun.” Great. Now everybody’s going to want one.

posted by M. Giant 3:38 PM 0 comments


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