Here are some scenes from the Slug fete that took place on Tuesday. The first two photos are by Carolyn Lagatutta, and the one on the bottom was taken by Lisa Nielsen.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Hell yes, here are my UCSC Banana Slug cookies! Banana slug treats have almost sold out at the Buttery
When I first saw these I flipped out. It's like seeing one of my cartoons or doodles transformed into a food item. And then you start seeing people biting off their heads and nibbling on their little antennae and you feel like saying, "No, no, no, hey you, stop, that's mine!"
Artful cookie photo by Carolyn Lagatutta
This morning, after I drink a cup of you-know-what, I'm going on KSCO a.m. radio right around 715 or so. You'll never, in a million years, guess what I'll be talking about on the radio. Must I say it out loud??? (It ryhmes with 'shmug.') If you want to listen in, feel free.
At 745 am, sharp, I have an appointment at you-know-where, to pick up a bunch of baked shortbreads shaped and decorated to look like you-know-what.
Right around 1045, I will be going up to you-know-where to set up a booth dedicated to you-know-what. Close to 230, I will head to downtown Santa Cruz to discuss you-know-what with you-know-who.
See you all later on. You know where.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I'd write more, but right now, I'm on my way to retrieve a gigantic yellow furry Slug outfit.
Not making this up.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The banana slug you don't know: fascinating facts in the pop cultural history of Ariolimax columbianus
You might even think that Sammy the Slug's cameo appearance—on John Travolta's UC Santa Cruz T-shirt in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 movie sensation Pulp Fiction—was the only example of banana slugs infiltrating popular culture. But Pulp was only the starting point. Here are few well-populized highlights in the history of UC Santa Cruz's favorite mollusk on and off campus.
Slug versus governor
In the summer of 1988, California's then-governor, George Deukmejian, vetoed a bill that would have made the banana slug California's official state mollusk, complaining the bill was not representative of the international reputation California enjoys."
"I think the governor has thoughtlessly missed the point on this one," said disappointed Assemblyman Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, who authored the bill at the suggestion of a children's group, the Redwood Campfire Kids. Sher emphasized that four out of the five banana slug species can only be found in California, and called them an emblem of state wildlife diversity.
Opponents of the bill said it was silly. Never mind the fact that the state has an official insect: the dog-faced butterfly.
Slug versus kitty cat
Back in 1985, on the UCSC campus, Sammy the Slug squared off against a rival mascot—the sea lion—and won the contest handily, as Slug supporters far outnumbered backers of the sea lion in a campus-wide vote. But California Fish and Game once received a complaint that a banana slug fought someone's housecat—not symbolically, but for real.
Here is the transcript of the conversation between a panicked caller and a Fish and Game official, as reported by the Los Angeles Times:
"I have this vicious large slug in my house and he is attacking my cat," the caller told the Fish and Game employee. "What should I do?"
The Fish and Game staffer replied: "It's probably a banana slug. They grow as big as four or five inches."
He also comforted the caller by saying: "This is a rare occurrence, but if it happens again, give us a call."
In June 2008, London's Daily Telegraph ran an article about visiting Santa Cruz. Close to the bottom of the article, the author recommended buying a pair of silky underwear featuring Sammy the Slug, "the friendly mollusk," adding, "You can't get more intimate with Santa Cruz than that."
Weird sex in the slug world
In October 2001, renowned banana slug expert Alice Bryant Harper sat down with Metro Santa Cruz newspaper to talk about some little-known facts about the banana slug's unusual mating habits, some of which are so extreme that we cannot "reproduce" them in this family-friendly publication.
Since then, major authors have described some of the alarming aspects of our friendly local slug. In 2002, a popular book entitled Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson mentions the fact that male banana slugs often get their private areas gnawed off during copulation.
Not the weirdest mascot!
And you might want to clip and save this next time someone tells you that Sammy the Slug is a "weird" mascot, or goes as far as to call him the "weirdest mascot of all."
Not true. Consider the Fighting Okra of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. (The greenish vegetable edged out a previous school mascot known as the Statesman.) And don't forget the Poets of Whittier College (who have battled the Banana Slugs).
Other strange names include:
• The Fighting Kangaroos at the University of Missouri
• The Anteaters of the University of California, Irvine
• The Boll Weevils at the University of Arkansas at Monticello
• The Fighting Camels at North Carolina's Campbell University.
• New York University has dubbed its men's teams the Violets. Women are Violettes.
• The name of the Rhode Island School of Design's mascot is so salacious that we can't even print it here, though you're free to Google it if you wish.
• The New College of Florida has an invisible mascot called the "Empty Set," delineated by a pair of parenthesis.
• Let's not forget the Dirtbags of California State University, Long Beach.
It also is worth mentioning that UCSC is not the only university whose mascot fended off a challenge from a rival mascot. Some years back, Scottsdale Community College students chose Artie the Artichoke as their mascot after knocking back a challenge from the rutabaga. And no, we're not making this up.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I am still enjoying the surge of publicity related to my upcoming banana-slug cookies.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I will try to post a photo when the first one comes out of the oven next week. In case you are wondering, the baked goods will be part of a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of UC Santa Cruz's famous banana slug mascot.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
For another, the alien invasion focuses on a single building in a dangerous London neighborhood and surrounding alleyways, trash-strewn fields, rubbish bins, etc. The aliens' combatants are mostly a group of young people who are well on their way to becoming thugs. The housing project houses three generations of full-blown and potential criminals: two older crime bosses, their adolescent henchmen, and, coming up just behind them, two little tyros who idolize the henchmen and are always trying to show them up. Stand this gang up against a group of alien creatures and you've got a truly novel fight to the death scenario.
I can tell that the makers of this movie put a great deal of thought into all this -- the hierarchy of the gang, and even the way the creatures interact with one another and what drives them to attack (which I won't reveal here).
The high-rise apartment complex is put to excellent use. I have a feeling that location scouts explored every nook of a real high-rise, considering every way that the garage underneath the complex, the tight and endless hallways, two creaking elevators, stairwells and skyways with perilous drops separating them, can be mined for suspense and shocks. They also though long and hard about all the things that scare us, and transported these old phobias from a 'scary woods' scenario to a 'scary city' scenario --the feeling of entrapment, disorientation, feeling pursued without knowing where you are, having to make a break from a safe zone while having no idea if something terrible is waiting just outside the door or the garbage bin.
All in all it was a wickedly clever film. Yes, it's funny, but it will also make you jump, shake, and spill your popcorn all over the place.
See it now, preferably in a nice, claustrophobic theater. I would recommend Haight-Ashbury's Red Vic, but someone told me that it just shut down for good. If true, this is very sad news.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
I, for one, enjoyed every moment of my grand Southlands tour which included Santa Monica, Westwood, Hollywood, Reseda, Tarzana, Redondo and Palos Verdes. Yes, there was a bit of sprawl, and yes, their was a bit of traffic (I almost got clipped in half by a Hummer, and had to rev my engine and drive like mad on the Rosecrans entrance to the 405), and yes, the place is humongous, but I loved the aspirational energy, the food, and the sense that I was putting every bit of my Driver's Ed training -- including all those "Red Asphalt" movies -- to the test. I went into a wonderful Bay Cities Italian deli in the middle of Santa Monica, and it was bedlam -- everyone clamoring for the same eggplant paninis and turkey Reubens. The struggle, the waiting, the clawing and shouting, made my sandwich taste even better.
We spent a good sized chunk of our time in Santa Monica, in a lovely rented house in a leafy, mostly quiet neighborhood -- I say mostly because it lies directly in the flight path of the Santa Monica Airport. The planes did not bother us at all, even though they swooped above us at regular intervals. I imagine it would be more of a problem if you lived on that street year-round and had to deal with the planes all of the time. (see the bottom of this post)
In the course of the week, I found that "nearby" highlights in Los Angeles are nowhere near each other, even if they look cheek-by-jowl on a Southlands map. For instance it took FOREVER to go from Santa Monica to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but it was worth the extremely long trek. I especially loved the Zodiac heads sculpture by Ai Weiwei, now on exhibit at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The heads – a rooster, a pig, a dragon, and a toothy sheep, among others –were beautiful and unsettling. All of them stare down from six foot spikes, and bare their teeth. They stand in judgment of the viewer. I read that Wei Wei based this sculpture on a looted work of art, erected in China by Jesuits and and pillaged by invading French and British forces in 1860. Most of the animal heads in that garden – save for the ones that inspired the animal heads in Wei Wei’s magisterial work, were carted off or destroyed. “You can scarcely imagine the beauty and magnificence of the place we burnt,” lamented the regretful Charles George Gordon, the British captain who led the mission.
(Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in that crash. Still, these good folks should think about moving the airport some place else. I guess the other alternative is moving the houses, but that would be harder.)