Wednesday, January 7

Eel The Pain.

Over the past couple weeks, me and the Missus have been catching up on the unbelievably breathtaking documentary Planet Earth. This Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series is more or less the greatest nature spectacle ever produced, taking over five years to shoot and capturing almost 11 hours of never-before-seen footage. I encourage all of you to either buy the DVDs or watch the repeats on the Discovery Channel when they re-air; you’ll piddle a little, and that's a promise.

Of the many things that Planet Earth has reinforced for my eternal respect and love of the world we live in, it’s also done some irreparable damage to my psyche in the form of a brand-spanking-new fear: Eel Schools.

I’m a guy that has very few fears. I don’t like the water, the infinite and certain inevitability of my death is constantly looming over my shoulder, and if a grinning midget peeked around the corner of my cubicle at work, I’d probably crap straight through the seat of my ergonomic chair. But that’s about it. However, upon watching the ‘Shallow Seas’ portion of Planet Earth, I saw footage of about ten billion eels slithering in tandem through the waters, and I freaked out so hard that I dropped my veggie burger onto the remote control and cranked my head away from the TV until a Bowflex commercial came on and cooled me out.

I honestly don’t know where this came from. I love eels. I always check them out at the pet store, and even contemplated owning one for a time (“You can’t keep it in the tub” was the Missus’ final ruling). Perhaps it was the sheer number of the damn things, or the terrifyingly precise way they sliced through the water like flying snakes. And goddamn it anyway, can you even fathom how scary life would be if snakes could fly? I mean, can you?

If, for some unforeseen reason, someone where to strap a scuba tank onto my back and heave me into the fringe waters of the Indian Ocean, I’d assuredly curl into a tight ball and vibrate until I exploded upon first sight of a roving Eel Mob. Sadder still, I just discovered a giant, animated eel in the ‘Koopa Cape’ track of MarioKart Wii, and I’m now having a hard time even wanting to play it anymore. And that was my favorite track, you bastard-ass eels!

This is serious stuff, it seems; and completely out of nowhere, I might add. I always figured that me and eels were cool. I wanted to get to the root of the problem and find out just where this was all coming from, so I called my mother, who reminded me that I was raped by an eel at a family reunion when I was five.

Totally forgot about that; mystery solved.

I freakin loved the Planet Earth specials. I can't put my finger on why. But they blew me away. See the one all about the cave full of guano?
Yes! I'm 7/11 finished with the series, and part of the brilliance (perhaps more than part of it, actually) is the lengths and patience that the crews needed to get some of these shots. This is the nature documentary that we've all always wanted to see, "Let's just send fearless guys all over the world and film stuff we're absolutely never seen before."

Each time I see a new chapter or two, I spend the next few days just tripping out over it. I really, truly recommend this to everyone; one of those things that should be shared with as many people as possible. Like herpes.
We watch the Planet Earth series every time we see it on the schedule, even though we saw them all when they originally aired. It really is one of the best nature programs I've ever seen. Eels don't really bother me. I live on a peninsula attached to another peninsula, so I guess I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of what's lurking in the beaches and estuaries, since we try to go fishing in the tidal flats as often as possible (did that for most of the day on New Year's eve and played with horsehoe crabs and hermit crabs and sacrificed some of our bait to the common spider crabs since the fish weren't interested) - although I am terrified of the open ocean and will not step foot on a boat.
We'll be recording Planet Earth next time it's on. Aaah . . DVR.

And I like eels. I find them tasty. They are really good with a red or green curry.
Right on, Maus; I suppose where you live doesn't lend to well to being terrfied of stuff like that. You probably wouldn't get too much done.

One of the more spectacular scenes in Planet Earth is the high-speed footage of the Great White shark jumping completely out of the freaking water to catch dinner, and I was slack-jawed for the entire duration, but I still was more freaked out because of the eels. The billions of cockroaches and cicadas(sp) were a close second on my Pee-Pant Scale.
HOSS - The Discovery Channel is about halfway through their current airing of it, but you can't really watch the 11 parts out of order, so just see as much as you can. Four hours will air this Sunday.
Yeah, growing up down here I've gotten used to having to manhandle blue crabs and things like that and I can bait a line and have few qualms about unhooking most fish (the spiney or bitey ones require gloves). I don't mind reptiles either. Rodents I'm not crazy about, and we get those because of the fruit trees, plus the cockroaches can be pretty awful too (the Palmetto bugs can be a couple inches long - and they freaking fly!!) *shudder* But what really gross me out are maggots. *double shudder*
I have a similar problem. Creepy crawlies of various types on their own, or even a few at a time, don't bother me at all. I can handle just about anything.

Swarms are a completely different story.

Maybe it's some latent fear deep in our animal brains that just hates such multitudes. It's something we have no control over, y'know? Whereas one eel we can eat, or one spider we can put in a Dixie cup and release--a whole room full? Not so much.

I once walked into an old stone outbuilding in the middle of a forest preserve in Oklahoma, only to notice that, in the dark, it seemed as though the very ceiling was moving. I turned on a flashlight and quickly wished I hadn't: the entire thing was absolutely crawling with piles upon piles of daddy long leg spiders. I have no problem whatsoever with those things under normal circumstances, but let's just say that I squealed like a wee baby and got out of that place on the double-quick.

P.S. I agree. The Planet Earth series kicks major ass.
I thought those sandollars wandering around in droves was pretty freaky. I just assumed they were always bony things you pick up on the beach; it never occurred to me that they actually are ALIVE, and walking around and stuff.!
No, I take it back. this is the best video ever.
Hathery - sand dollars are cool. Around here you can wade out to places at some of the the local beaches to get to them and then dig around in the sand with your feet if you're in deep enough water. I don't think I've ever actually found sand dollars along the shore, alive or otherwise. When you pick them up the cilia covering the spines on the bottom tickle as the animal moves around.

That first video with the world's most unhappy cat freaks my cat out every single time I play it.

Wait. Acid makes your food turn into a troll doll with a wife and seven kids? I wonder if Oprah will be made aware of this amazing new miracle diet plan.
EMILY - Your comment made me all itchy and squirmy. Infestations are insane and yes, hardwired to be terrifying. There's a YouTube clip from the old Guinness Records show about a mouse infestation that's about the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen. I don't even want to link it here for fear I'll click on it by accident.

HATHERY - Gosh, that's right! The 'Shallow Seas' hour of Planet Earth was thouroughly frightening, if only because of the time-lapse footage of these gigantic starfish eating everything in their path. I remember looking away from the TV quite a bit when it got to the weird stuff.

MAUS - I never tire of that cat video. Poor thing was probably jacked up on the drugs and scared out of its freaking mind.
That chick freaking out over the hotdog is seriously like the best thing I've ever seen

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