Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lizard Walk and fractal furniture...

I am happy I am not a lizard, or should I not be?

On the way to my office, everytime I have to get there, and thankfully, it is not a ritual I need to do every day, I walk along what I name the "Lizard Walk." This is where I witness the kamikaze dashes of the lizards that live around my office surroundings, from the grassy lawn to the planter bushes. I must be mindful so I do not accidentally step on one of them, especially the younger and thus tiny ones. These creatures can run fast, and by sheer randomness, I am fearful that one of these mornings, our paths will collide and will prove to be fatal for one unfortunate lizard. Since they dash as fast as the Dash boy in the Incredibles (have you seen that movie? Incredible!) it is unlikely that I can step on one by pure coincidence, but you never know, the probability is there.

Lizard Crossings... Please Slow Down...

Common lizards can have a number of different colors, ranging from brown or yellow-brown to almost green, with a pattern of darker spots, flecks or stripes. Males have an orange belly flecked with black spots, while females usually have a plain yellowish belly. Adults generally grow to around 14 cm long and have a long slender tail. Common lizards can be mistaken for newts but are more alert and move quickly if disturbed. Well, I do not know how these lizard scholars learned about all these facts, but I can tell you that at the speed with which they move, it will be a cold day down there that I can tell the gender or the color of any of them ( when hell freezes over will be a good subject that I may blog sometime in the future, not too distant, I hope.)

The food habits of the lizard species are not well studied, but scientists do know that they are omnivorous. Studies document the lizards feed on small insects, such as ants and bees, along with leaves, buds, or seeds from native plants. Most lizards can run, climb, and cling. A few can swim. I am sure the ones living around my office can do all these chores very well.

People often see lizards dart over logs and rocks. They run quickly across the ground. However, some lizards have small, weak legs so they move slowly. Yeah right, I got to see that to believe. Knowing that birds do include lizards in their diet, I am sure that the colony of very vocal blue parrots loitering around my office buildings is very interested in catching these sprinting lizards.

So, who would want to be a lizard? I thought that I may not want to be one, but I was wrong. Today, I need to do household chores, and let me tell you, that is not a task lizards need to do, so I am rethinking that philosophy. I, once in a blue moon, to help out, participate in cleaning the house. I use this opportunity to catch up on listening to my music. This morning, my plan is to tend to my maid duty for about 90 minutes. I have not listened to Beethoven for quite a while so his Emperor concerto and his 1806 violin concerto that he wrote for his buddy violinist Clement add up nicely to about the time I need. Dusting around, I muse to myself that this is a losing battle that one must constantly fight, once in a while in my case. All dust has to do is nonchalently gathering around, helped by its friend gravity, depositing layers after layers of itself everywhere. Once a layer is wiped away, more will come the next microsecond. This futile battle is identical to that of trimming down tree branches and bushes, which I do not particularly like to do no matter what for the simple reason that the minute a limb is cut, an invisible message is sent to the root structure that rouses up the army of tentacles deep down in the earth that furiously fuels the relentless marching of photosynthesis they do so well into new growth that would defeat the most hardy human spirit of trimming bushes or tree branches.

My dusting chore is vastly more complicated than necessary because in her infinite wisdom, my wife always collects fractal furniture. We do not have flat uncomplicated furniture in the vein of the run of the mill that you find in furniture stores in America's malls where everything is flat and smooth. Instead, I must dust around all the fractal surfaces that are everywhere... In case your mathematical brain cells have forgotten, fractal surface areas hide the nasty fact that the area that dust covers your furniture is A LOT wider than meet the eyes. So my dust feather has to travel to distances far larger and cover areas far more extended than what it appears to be. Trust me. I have made a rough calculation using fractal geometry, and the area increase may be as much as 6.31.

Areas are bigger than appeared!

Well, I am coming to the second movement of the violin concerto, and it is time to turn on the vacuum cleaner. I need to find my noise canceling head phones. Boy, life sure is complicated. May be being a lizard is not too bad after all. The pluses are: I can jump higher than 10 times my height, I can dash as fast as Dash boy and I can detach my tail in case of danger lurking. On the other hand, the minus are: being omnivorous. Yuk!