Brittle Imaginings

Pursuant to Remedial Gigerology’s digression into scrambler/ophiuroid relationships, here’s my impression of one, cobbled together from pieces of the other. Consider it a belated Hallowe’en treat:

And what the hell: seeing as how we’re on the subject of my favorite holiday, here are a couple of blasts from the past. Even casual visitors will have seen at least one of these before; more anal analysts (hmmm— I wonder if those two words spring from the same root…) might nod knowingly when I let slip that the Nosferatu chick in the other is Susan Oshanek.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday November 02 2007at 08:11 am , filed under blindsight, misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

12 Responses to “Brittle Imaginings”

  1. Whatever happened to the Darth Vadar and R2D2 custumes ?? Also, I recall there was a glowing human skin alien type costume as well?


  2. I can’t quite work out the symmetry of this creature.

    – Lars

  3. Jason said…

    Whatever happened to the Darth Vader and R2D2 costumes ?? Also, I recall there was a glowing human skin alien type costume as well?

    Wait a minute — are you that Jason? Rose Davidson’s kid? Man, you were like, two years old when I went out as that hairy/scaly lizard thing with the compound eyes. (The skin didn’t glow — in fact, it was black, I spray-painted my skin black that night — but that’s the only thing you might be thinking of, offhand.) And there was no R2D2. There was a Darth Vader (and Johanne went out as Boba Fett), but no R2. I think I might have old pictures of those hanging around too, but man, that was the old days. You couldn’t buy that stuff, you had to build it from scratch. As I recall, the breath-mask respirator was an aquarium-filter grid, painted black. The chestplate contained an embedded cassette recorder playing a tape of me breathing through a SCUBA regulator for an hour.

    Those costumes kicked ass in the day. Don’t imagine they’d look too shiney by modern standards, though.

  4. The scrambler rendering is decidedly creepy. It recalls centipedes, snakes and spinal columns in the worst possible way. Good work.

  5. Wait a minute — are you that Jason? Rose Davidson’s kid?
    Against all odds, I survive !
    Forest Hill Dr:
    V, Knight Rider, Planetariums, the original walkmans.. oh man.. the days 😛
    Those really were awesome costumes. I think maybe Rose packed me in the R2D2 using your lizard aquarium lid as a dome for it?

  6. All of you are right, and all of you are wrong. Scramblers are dotted with chromatophores, people. They change colors, all the time. Jeez.

    The specimen in the picture is in kind of an albino phase with all the chromatophores contracted, allowing the underlying tissue tint to show through. Think of those pallid, formalin-soaked invertebrates you had to dissect back in Invert 101 (well, if you took Invert 101). They were real enough, but they still looked a lot more colorful in the wild. This is kind of the same thing.

  7. Jason, you remember the planetarium. That’s sweet. I myself have very fond memories of that thing. Kept it going in one form or another right up until the mid-eighties. I especially liked the electric water pipe with the mouthpieces that dropped down over the bed. Man, those were the days. Thirty bucks an ounce. We would get completely stoned while tripping through the Trifid Nebula, then come out into the living room and giggle hysterically while the cat chased Gaskin the Basilisk up and down the hall.

    But you’re mistaking me for someone else entirely if you think Knight Rider had anything to do with those days.

  8. The scramblers really ought to have some kind of radial symmetry shouldn’t they? Promachoteuthis sulcus has a rough hexagon around it’s creepy, human-like mouth. I mean, the scrambler is ok, but if you look at it a while it looks more and more like something that was just thrown together in photoshop. (which it was, I know)

    BTW, do you have CAD drawings of Beebe Station? I was looking at the general layout page and it looks like you might have made the drawings from a CAD app of some kind.

  9. Nah, the book’s canon, and the book says scramblers only start out radially symmetrical and dorsoventrally compressed. Then, as they mature, they swell from discs to spheroids, and the arms migrate from the equatorial zone to any lat/long you’d care to name. Where they end up settling is almost random, but it doesn’t really matter because weightlessness is their natural environment; they don’t need any special orientation of limbs to support themselves.

    They may not look very photogenic, but that was just me trying to get away from earthly conventions. Pretty much every macroscopic animal on the planet has some kind of symmetry, and I wanted my scramblers to be alien, so…

    I rendered Beebe with the help of a little shareware polygon-editing app. It had CAD-like elements, but I don’t think it was an actual CAD program. I don’t even think I still have it around anywhere. A shame. It was fun to play with.

  10. Is Susan Oshanek the person who you modeled Lenie Clarke on? (You say in an interview that you are not sure if the proto-Lenie is still alive and you say in Starfish that you are not sure if Susan Oshanek is still alive.)

  11. Yup. That’s the one.

  12. Interesting. It’s actually close to how I was picturing Lenie, except of course for the skullcap, white makeup, and strap-on claws.