Thursday, January 12, 2012


It is my great pleasure to announce that we recently experienced the glory that was THE CEPHALOPOD AWARENESS DAYS!! (in October of last year oh no) They are as follows:

Possibly the most amazing illustration of Vampyroteuthis infernalis I have ever seen. Also, I think the common name should be "vampire hell squid", not "vampire squid from Hell". It's more mellifluous. Mellifluouser.

October 8 – Octopus Day

October 9 – Nautilus Night

October 10 – Squid Day/Cuttlefish Day

October 11 – Kraken Day, for the fictional cephalopods of myth, movies, literature and legend. I think you know where this is gonna go... cyclopean horrors

October 12 – Fossil Day (to coincide with National Fossil Day), for all the cephalopods who have gone before.

In honor of these most joyful of days, it was my plan to post something appropriately themed daily. However, due to Blogger being profoundly unhelpful and my newish job apparently subsisting on time, this post is simultaneously:

a) comically late
b) briefer than I'd like
c) out of order

However, it is reportedly the thought that counts so I WILL POST YET.

   October 10th, honors Squid and Cuttlefish. Why are they combined? I theorize it's due to a lack of days, but also because squid and cuttlefish both have ten appendages. Cuttlefish also have the honor of being my favorite cephalopod and my favorite creature since I was a semi-wee five year old. I spent the better part of 2nd grade (when I first learned of cuttlefish) drawing them on most pieces of paper I came in contact with.

    Some of you have seen this image, but I thought now would be a good time to share. This is a vintage ornament that I produced in 2nd grade that graces my family's Christmas tree every year without fail:

For some reason in 2nd grade I typically drew cuttlefish with their arms tucked up under them. I have no idea why, I must've seen them depicted this way in a book or something. I find it strange that I drew this one with cartoon eyes, given I usually took care to draw them with their distinctive pupils in the 8,000 other drawings I produced from this time period.

    This is not a small ornament. I am tempted to design some new ones, perhaps ornaments of questionable reverence featuring other cephalopods playing roles in winter holidays that preceded Christmas (Nautilus = Mithra? Y/N?). I'm sure someone on Etsy has beaten me to to it.

Photo by Hans Hillewaert

Nautilus Night made me think of creativity. First of all, I will present you with a musical number from the animation series Revolutionary Girl Utena. The song is entitled "肉体の中の古生代", which can be translated as "Paleozoic Within the Flesh". If you are interested, a translation is available here. However, I present this because I think of it as "the ammonite song".

The song features all sorts of interesting Japanese vocabulary about old things (stromalites? YES PLEASE) but ammonites ARE THERE and get hollered about at the end. So uh, enjoy a Japanese battle rock opera and duels fought by junior high students on upside down floating castles? This is basically Utena's level of normal, by the way. Sadly the show features more cows than cephalopods.

A quick search on Google or Etsy reveals that squid hats are not an unknown quantity by any stretch of the imagination. In honor of Nautilus Night (yesterday), I propose A NAUTILUS HAT.

Think about it: the hat is stripy like a chambered nautilus' shell and the dangly bits can be arms! GENIUS! Someone who is good at fabric crafts could even figure out some way to integrate the hood (the leathery bit that sits on top of their arms and the shell). WHO SHALL ACCEPT THIS CHALLENGE?

You can see the siphon on lefty here.
    Photo © Ingrid Taylar

As for Kraken Day, I will suggest literature for you: 

Kraken, by China Miéville I have talked about this book before here, but I love Miéville and it so much that it belongs here.

Everyone's gonna bring up Lovecraft (given he is kind of the patron saint of Kraken/Unmentional Horror-lit), but I'd like to bring up this:

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird  It's anthology and features Neil Gaiman, Miéville again, as well as others. I have not yet read this book, but it is currently en route to my home as a gift. Of course there are the original stories by Lovecraft featuring Cthulhu ("The Call of Cthulhu" & "The Whisperer in Darkness") if you're not familiar with it yet somehow.

Cthulhurotica Yes, there is an anthology of erotica that involves the Cthulhu Mythos. No, I have not read it, but I would be negligent if I didn't make my readers aware of its existence. Cthulhurotica 2 is currently in production, for the record.




    (Also, it's boss that you link to an indie bookseller instead of a big giant soulless one.)

  2. !!! I am super-stoked to see the results of this and will absolutely post it. I am way overdue for some cephalopod-centric craftiness myself.

    Next time I head back over to the Pacific Northwest I fully intend to rock out at Powell's, it is a legend.

  3. Nautilus hat is half-done -- woo! Meantime, here is a cool thing that exists:

    1. It's like a year later, so I have to ask: has the nautilus hat been completed?

    2. Yipes--I've just discovered the half-made hat in a box while moving. I've completed the "cepha-" half; the "-lopod" half is much overdue! Will finish & send ASAP!