Tag Archives: laboratory

Weltschmerz

Tuesday was Town Meeting Day here in Vermont (granted, some towns met Monday night). We townspeople gathered in meeting halls, school auditoriums, and theatres to discuss our town budgets, town business, and whether or not to use funds for various items like new dump trucks. It was a long day for many of us (especially those of us not particularly gregarious or tolerant of fold-out chairs) but it is always nice to see your neighbors and enjoy a cup of coffee and a freshly baked maple cinnamon roll.

For many people, yesterday brought along Weltschmerz.

Weltschmerz is a noun that means world weariness; pessimism, mental depression, apathy, or sadness felt at the difference between physical reality and the ideal state. How often have you experienced Weltschmerz this year already, oddlings?

It hails from the German Welt for world plus Schmerz for pain. Literally, it means world pain.

Many consider this part of the oeuvre of true Gothic romantics and the likes of Lord Byron, Hermann Hesse, and Alfred de Musset.

It can also be in the oeuvre of a rather old man who has spent a feverish night making notes in his Laboratory Journal only to rise in the morning and discover that the heat is still not working in that wing of the house and the scones are too dry and the coffee is not strong enough.

Nothing a stiff drink and a brisk walk won’t cure, eh?

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Good Green Mountains

Well, oddlings, I must admit, things were a bit rough there.

There was the mysteriously roving hole in the roof.

There was the fissure in the foundation that multiplied each night.

There was the morning I discovered that the pet gravestones in the front garden had been sucked underground.

There was the note from Cousin Cate that our Great Great Uncle O. Underhill had gone missing. Again.

There was the call from Mordecai that he had relocated most of my creatures from the Laboratory to the Underhill House when the wallpaper had turned itself into curtains and the curtains turned themselves into a chair.

 

And then there was the morning I came back from a pre-dawn promenade in the cemetery with Bubo to discover that the house was gone. Instead, there was a smoldering pile of rubble and a stench of potpouri and whiskey.

And so we left. We got in my jalopy and sputtered to Great Great Uncle O. Underhill’s house in the mountains of Vermont.

We have houses all over the world, you know. The Underhill House is laid out exactly like my Brooklyn House in mirror image. Rather…odd, wouldn’t you say?

Weary from our journey, I collapsed in an armchair (exactly like the one in my Brooklyn parlor) in front of the wood-burning stove. There was a bottle of whiskey on the side table with a card tied round its neck.

The card read: Mine is yours. O.U.

I do believe I am home.

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Happy Fourth of July!

Well, dears, my guess is that most of you in the States are outside, having hot dogs and hamburgers and waiting for your local fireworks display to celebrate American Independence Day.

(It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.)

The dragons have been incredibly busy putting the finishing touches on their sure-to-be-eye-catching home-made fireworks display for this evening. I’m hoping for clear skies since dragons + fire + home-made fireworks + thunder and lightening = mayhem.

Silas has a few pitchers of lemon berry cocktails cooling in the ice box and has been slaving in the kitchen all morning. Mordecai has been in the cellar grumbling to himself and I’ve been in the Laboratory with the monsters. It’s best if the three of us only stay in close contact when cocktails are involved. You understand: family.

Have a safe and happy holiday, oddlings. Remember that fireworks are not toys and be good to each other.

 

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Tentacular/Tentaculum

I have spent the bulk of today following a trail of faintly glowing residue throughout the house. I first discovered this trail in the first floor water closet; along the walls originating at the sink, this trail went over and around the oval mirror, around the outlet and it appeared out the door. The trail appeared lighter and shinier than the wallpaper (which is a truly relaxing shade of dark lavender-grey) and there is no getting around it – it looks like tentacles. This trail has taken me across the house; up the staircase to the Vivarium, across the hallway to the Laboratory, even out onto the Widow’s Walk. I lost it in the grotto and the subterranean canal, but admittedly the walls are made of rock and in the flickering lights it’s difficult to fully track.

My guess is that something lives in the canal and came out last night to explore the house. It appears my nocturnal dragons were not patrolling the house as usual and instead were having a bit of a drunken yahtzee tournament in the garden, enjoying last night’s temperate weather.

So until this creature appears again, I am at a loss as to the origins of this tentacular trail.

Tentacular is an adjective meaning of or pertaining to tentacles; resembling a tentacle or tentacles. According to the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia this definition pertains to any aspect of a tentacle or tentacles: the nature, structure, function, or appearance of a tentacle; adapted or used as a tactile organ; tentaculiform: as, tentacular character, movements, or formation.

The word originates from the Latin tentaculum. Tentaculum, then, is a noun that means A tentacle of any kind; also, a tactile hair; a vibrissa, as one of the whiskers of a cat. Similarly, One of the stiff hairs situated about the mouth, or on the face, of many animals, and supposed to be tactile organs; a tactile hair.

Tentaculum is derived from the Classic Latin word tentare, which means to handle, feel; attempt. Tentare, in turn, is derived from the Latin word temptare which means test, try; urge.

One might say that my beard hairs function as tentaculum; they sometimes seem to have minds of their owns and Bubo swears they move independently of my skin. Oh, if only that were so! Like Medusa, but instead of serpents as hair on her head, my wee beard hairs dance and move like undersea creatures. Creatures who enjoy the crumbs of baked goods. You odd fellows know what I am talking about: a good mustache and beard brush is essential to looking your best.

 

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