Archives for the month of: June, 2013

drowned

Death is everywhere, there are flies on the windscreen, for a start, reminding us we could be torn apart

Thoughtful words there from one of Britain’s foremost thinkers, Martin Gore. Strangely though, Gore didn’t contemplate collecting those flies and wrapping them in silk to keep for a lovely snack later that evening. Instead he and his Depeche Mode bandmates dressed up in leather bondage gear and spent the rest of the nineteen eighties in a whirl of sex, drugs, US stadium tours and record signings in Our Price on Basildon High Street. Never mind lads, all the more flies for me.

But going back to the point, I got up this morning and fought my way through the usual new-build webs which have appeared across my doorways overnight. Into the kitchen, I stuck some toast in the toaster. How come I only ever eat actual breakfast at weekends? With my bread beginning to singe I re-assessed my lifestyle choices while absent mindedly looking for a butter knife. Unsurprisingly I didn’t have a clean one, but there’s probably one still in the cold washing up water from last night. OK, from last week. Over to the sink, my hand began it’s swoop down to the bowl. Just before my fingers touch the water I looked down. Yeeuuughheeewuughhhrrr.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen plenty of corpses before. Limbs removed, organs torn and smeared across blooded surfaces. I’ve seen parents randomly murdered in front of their children. Children taken from their families on thrown from a great height. I’ve seen mass killings as entire areas are “cleansed” of their inhabitants just because their neighbours didn’t like them. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen it, because I had become it. But this morning’s corpse was not my doing. When I cull, I cull quickly. A quick swat and splat and it’s done. There should be no pain, no anguish, no wondering why. But to drown? to feel your body filling up and know you have no diaphragm to help cough the water out of your basic lung system? Scratching and clawing at the smooth plastic walls in a final attempt to crawl out of your own grave. At what point do you give up and sink to the bottom? How long is it till your panic, your desperation, your agony, your hope is gone? That’s just cruel.

I solemnly emptied the water from the bowl, encased the poor spider in some kitchen roll and gave it a proper burial. In the bin. Rest well, little one. If I see your family, I’ll inform them of what’s become of you. If one of them then wanders anywhere near my head though, I’ll squash the bastard.

Scaryness: 9. Death is everywhere, the more I look, the more I see, the more I feel a sense of urgency

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knockout

Round Two.

Last year we discovered that lanky spiders will stand their ground against a smaller, stockier challenger. Previously on this battleground a long leg was flicked in the general direction of the approaching threat and that was enough to make them turn and scarper. This time it was more brutal.

The smaller, fatter spider, lets call him Eddie, had been living peacefully where wall joins ceiling for a week or so. Every now and then he would pop out for a bite to eat, maybe have a look out the window, then go back home. Then one afternoon after a nice trip down to the carpet it started a climb up to have a nice rest, but could see something wasn’t quite right. Sometimes if you’re walking towards your car across a large carpark you squint slightly, just to check your car is ok. Are those windows smashed? Does that tyre look flat from here? Is that a much taller, thinner, slightly geeky looking spider in my seat? As Eddie got nearer the ceiling he slowed down and stopped. His beloved space had been taken. He couldn’t believe it. Looking down, unconcerned, was one of the long, thin, sleek wallcreepers who have taken over my house recently. Lets call this one Syd. Syd was too busy making small web adjustments to take much notice of Eddie approaching from below. Every now and then the legs stopped moving and he leant down to see what this annoyance wanted. But Eddie was still. Thinking. What did he want? That was his house. His wall. His ceiling. Remnants of his web were still visible. He couldn’t just walk away and leave this again, could he? He’d been kicked around the ceiling from corner to corner already this year. Now he had a home, was he going to give it all up once more because a lanky git had moved in? Was he heck as like! (That means no, dear overseas readers.)

So Eddie started his final ascent towards Syd. He could feel the adrenaline pumping through his heart. He could sense some sweat dripping from his forehead and started to shake at the thought of this confrontation. He stopped to wonder why he was the first spider in history to have these physical reactions, and the mental capacity to think about them. But then onwards and upwards, towards this homestealing beanpole. Syd readjusted his body and looked down towards this sweaty rotund annoyance. Who does he think he is, barging into other peoples webs like that? Eddie just about opened his fangs to ask if Syd would be so nice as to kindly vacate the premises when a foot swished in nowhere and smacked him in the face. Syd extended his leg with a slow flourish after it had made contact, and like a proud batsman he watched his shot as it rushed to the boundary. Eddie woke up on his back, legs curled up to his chest on the edge of a pile of CDs on the floor. This was not his home. This place would never be his home. Home means not having to look over your shoulder every second of the day. He couldn’t stay here. He slowly turned his aching body over and crawled into the dark corner behind the bookcase. A home could be taken from him. His death would be his, forever.  I never saw him again.

Scaryness:

Eddie, 2. I liked Eddie. He was a cheeky little fellow, with his chubbyness and funny outfits.

Syd, 8. Not much to look at, but doesn’t think twice before kicking you in the throat.

 

midnight hour

From the wall the route is clear. Straight lines. Down. Across. Up. Keep to the right and there’ll be no trace but the line you’ve stretched across. Use that to get back quicker if you need to, though you shouldn’t be detected. These operations are rarely planned to precision, they unfold naturally and are adaptable depending on the nature of the terrain. Always have an eye on each available corner and each possible entrance. Keep away from the light and the space. You need to think between your feet. When the door is shut and the bulbs are cool, we begin.

The world does not end with the dawning of each night, or the ending of your time. Your eyes do not cause our existence.

Your philosophies do not define us.

Your hatred does not kill us.

Your structures do not hold us.

Your world does not concern us.

We will always be here, somewhere.

You will not.

 

Scaryness: Irrelevant.

 

Drumroll please, 8-armed drummer, for this is the first of our guest contributions. See the “Guest Contributions” tab for more details about this new exciting feature which may/may not return later on, depending on how many humans are left after Spidergeddon. If you want to feature here in the future, send in your photos, text, finger-paintings or anything else to scarymail@scarywebs.com.  

So, our first guest contribution is from Professor. J. In this important, informative article we have a serious look at what happens to our brains when we see a spider, and how the evil seeps into our psyche. I’ll leave you in Professor J’s capable hands…

Spience

If we’re being completely up front about this, I think we can all admit to finding spiders just a wee bit unsettling. Go on, you don’t have to tell me but you can just nod at the monitor. As somebody with several science-type qualifications who’s seen quite a few spiders around the house and sometimes in the shed I’m going to explore with you today some of the reasons why we find spiders bothersome and what you can do to make sharing a planet with them a bit more bearable.

 Spiders are unpredictable

 If you see a human mooching around somewhere, you can be pretty sure which direction they’re going to move in. It’s going to be forwards. You don’t often see people move backwards or sideways. Same goes for tigers really – their whole thing is based around running very fast forwards too, so if you’re behind a tiger there’s not much to be concerned about (disclaimer: don’t ever go anywhere near tigers as they’ll catch you and eat you). Crabs are a little bit more difficult because they can go left or right with no indication, but at least there’s still a safe zone to the front and back.

 Spiders, though are what we professionals call a ‘whole different kettle of fish’. If you stand in front of a spider, it might run at you. Behind? Still in danger. To the left or right? Nope. Wherever you are in relation to a spider, you’re a target.

 I’m a pretty dab hand with scientifically accurate diagrams so I’ll use one here to explain it in layman’s terms:

graphic 1

Spiders have lots of legs

 It’s a well known phenomenon in science circles that the number of legs on a species is directly proportional to the number of people who are scared by that species. This is largely because legs can be used for so many things, and the more of them you have the more things those legs can be doing at any one time.

 Take Paula Radcliffe. Paula can run a marathon on two legs in 2h 15m or thereabouts. Assuming each of her legs provides half the energy she needs to propel herself to the finish line, imagine what eight legs can do for you! We can find out by working through the maths like so:

 2 legs = 2h 15m

4 legs = 1h 7.5m

8 legs = 33m 45s

 So although Paula is an incredible runner and an inspiration to us all, she would have a torrid time keeping up with our friend the spider who could probably run 26 miles in just over half an hour! To further illustrate the point I’ve included a graph from the popular science book “Legs – Getting One Over on the Competition” (Harper et al 2009):

graphic 2

This neatly leads into the next area in which spiders scare us all silly. Speed.

 Spiders can run very fast.

 Spiders aren’t slow. I mean, you’re not scared of a hedgehog or a snail because a quick sprint will take you well out of harm’s way when they start kicking off. Applying the same mathematic principles from the previous chapter we see that – yet again – spiders come out on top of the nature pile and will make a mockery of your sprinting. We’re going to pop Paula back into this equation here – her marathon running prowess yields an average running speed over the 26 miles of 11.55555555555556 mph. Gordon Bennett, that’s impressive. Well, prepare to have your socks well and truly blown off:

 2 legs = 11.55555555555556 mph

4 legs = 23.11111111111111 mph

8 legs = 46.22222222222222 mph

 FORTYSIXMILESPERHOUR. To put that in context, that’s faster than popular American automobile the Ford Model T and not far off the top speed of an American Quarter Race Horse. So if you’re confronted with a spider don’t even think about hopping in your popular car or on your horse, they’ll chase you down without breaking into a sweat.

 Spiders – they’re a concern

 That just about brings an end to my small foray into the science behind the fear of spiders. As we’ve seen in this illustrated guide spiders are 360 degree killing machines with three times as many legs as Paula Radcliffe who can definitely run at almost 50 miles per hour. If you were playing Top Trumps then spiders would be banned.

 What can you do to feel safe around these ultra-death multi-eyed turbo-legs ultra-speeders? Well, looking at our first diagram the clever amongst you will probably be thinking “Ah HA. I know, I’ll just stand above a spider to be out of the circle of death. That’s only a 2D diagram so I’m safe up here in my third dimension.” Well I’ve got some bad news for you bub. Jumping spiders are a thing that exists and according to sources they can jump 25 times their body length. If they were a human that would work out at 150 feet. That’s around two thirds the length of a football pitch!

 So in short, you probably can’t do anything. They can walk into your house at night, tippy-tapping all over your naked body, sleeping on your toothbrush and chilling in your underwear drawer. They can see more, kick more, run faster and set webby traps for you to walk into on your bleary-eyed struggle to the cereal each morning. Yep, you’re pretty much screwed.

 My advice? Make friends.