Saturday, August 28, 2021

Git Along, Tiny Dogies

We're going into farming. We bought everything we need for a protein farm and I don't mean beans, baby. Animal husbandry. Yippee-Ki-Yay. Ordinarily I'm leery of these sorts of projects and balk at the learning curve, but this one seems like a slam-dunk. We're raising fruit flies.

It doesn't take long to whomp up a complete fruit fly out of practically nothing. The mommy fruit fly lays eggs and poops on them, which really revs up the larvae. There are stages. At one point the larval fruit flies are said to encapsulate in the puparium, and nobody wants to see that.

Fruit fly courtship is nice though. The male vibrates his wings and then licks the female's genitalia, and although I wouldn't make a point of watching, I wouldn't necessarily look away either. The female fruit fly is said to be receptive to the male within ten hours of emerging as an adult. Well, no shit. What with one thing and a mother, you basically get a whole new set of fruit flies every few minutes in warm weather.

I have read up a little. The literature insists there is such a thing as "virgin" and "naïve" fruit flies, the naïve ones being virgins that have not even observed copulation, and there are distinct behaviors associated with each. For instance, sexually experienced males spend less time courting and more time mounting, and naïve males are more likely to try to court sexually immature females, when they could just, like, wait an hour. The whole fruit fly life cycle peters out after about fifteen days, after all, assuming it is not cut short by a hummingbird.

But that's the plan. We're raising meat for the hummingbirds. Hummingbirds need solid protein and usually find it in the form of insects or spiders. A hummingbird can edit the spider right out of her web in nothing flat. And that's the sort of thing she'll need to feed her own babies. They aren't all about sucking flowers. She doesn't just funnel nectar into the wee ones.

So, in theory, we will put a banana peel in our fruit fly corral and be in business right soon.

There's a reason people know things like whether a given individual fruit fly has watched fruit fly porn. Fruit flies are one of the most-studied critters on the planet. They're easy. You can study generations of them in practically no time and they are easily herded, using simple tools like tweezers and undergraduate students.

I'm not too worried about achieving mature, well-marbled fruit flies in our corral, from whence both hummers and bushtits should be able to belly-up for take-out. It is true that in season we have literal tons of rotting fruit on the ground in this neighborhood, figs to plums to berries to apples to, in fact, bananas, in quantities that will seem unfathomable come the big earthquake. So we won't run out of fruit flies. The reason to keep them in a corral is the same as for any bird feeder. It's not so much that our birds need our help. It's that we want to watch.

Fruit flies are so good at replicating themselves that for centuries it was believed they spontaneously generated. The ancients believed they just appeared out of nothing, materialized right out of the aether. Which is nuts.

They're thinking of blog posts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Junk Drawer

So yes. My new phone  has ingested several thousand of my sister's old contacts and a dainty portion of my own, and I am straightening out the mess by hand. It's coming along well; I'm nearly done with the back forty and should be finishing up 'long about month's end when the stagecoach comes through.

I am making a point to delete all the contacts I don't recognize. Then I add in the ones that aren't in there that should be in there.

I know what you're thinking. There's no point in deleting, Boomer. It doesn't matter how many people you have in your contact list. You don't have to memorize them anymore. The idea that you need to slim down your contact list is a sign that you're an old person.

But I feel compelled to a degree of tidiness here that is reflected nowhere else in my life. Give me this.

Because this thing feels like a junk drawer, full of orphaned knobs, mystery keys, old twist-ties. Just shut the drawer, I'm told, but the sight offends my senses. I just know one of those unknown contacts is the potato masher that will turn sideways and I'll never be able to open that drawer again.

Here's another sign I'm old: I have already deleted quite a number of people that God deleted first. Without a twinge, mind you: I don't litter the roadside with teddy bears and I don't need dead people in my contact list unless the smart phones get way smarter.

Once I've deleted my mystery contacts on the new phone, I go to the old phone to add in people I really do know. Yes, those contacts are supposed to be on the new phone, because I shlorped them over with a handy shlorping app, but they're not. I'm not troubling myself with "why" anymore. As it is, I feel lucky I didn't pick up the contact list of the dude walking down the alley when he stopped to drain his Weimaraner.

Lots of people have trouble throwing things away. They think they might need that metal clip some day, or that doorknob, or that hand-scrawled note that no longer makes sense. But I'm surrounded by perfectly useful items like mops and scrub brushes that apparently I've never found a use for. So hitting "delete" is easy for me.

After all, my own brain has decided all on its own what I don't need to know anymore. I'll be searching for a name, or a word, or the reason I walked into a room, and my brain says "Shh, there, there, you don't need to know that," and I've finally come to accept it. It's been a two-step process for my brain: first, go to the Data Department and poke a bunch of holes in it; second, pop over to the department that is supposed to monitor all the loss of inventory in the Data Department, and sing to it until it quits investigating. There was about a five-year lag between step one and step two but now I'm feeling better about it all. I'm pretty sure the third step will involve wearing a medical alert bracelet.

In the meantime, this doesn't hurt my writing at all. You have to get really creative with your metaphors when you can't come up with the word you wanted in the first place.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Real Truth About Vaccines

Buckle up, darlings! Our guest today is an authentic anti-masker on a recent thread. Uppercase segments and redundant punctuation are retained to indicate sincerity:

    Why should I deprive myself of my God given human rights? Why should I deprive myself of oxygen, increase my carbon dioxide levels and re-breathe the toxins I've just exhaled? Why should I lower my immune system and make myself sick?
    This is outright tyranny, manipulation and control of others. You have zero evidence to back up your claims and have done zero research. The mask wearers are leading us all into stupidity, slavery, and sickness.
    The fact is that this virus has a 99.9% survival rate and that is what people need to focus on. More people die every day of many other things. Death and sickness is part of life, you have to learn to live with it.
    This "vaccine" is not the normal vaccine, it's GENE THERAPY, this means your genetic blueprint can be MANIPULATED and CHANGED. This "vaccine" is still in clinical trials and therefore EXPERIMENTAL, which is ILLEGAL to both roll out without informed consent and against the Nuremberg Code. We have a legal and ethical RIGHT to BODILY AUTONOMY. I could go on and on. The SURVIVAL RATE IS 99.9%!!!! More people die of the shit sold in the supermarket!!!!!!!
Okay, okay, Petunia, calm down--you're hyperventilating, and that might be the whole problem right there. Put a bag over your nose and mouth Well. Let's take these points one at a time. Because the real problem is nothing you say is true.

First, your God-given human rights. God never said you didn't have to mask up. In fact, in Exodus 33:23, God said "Thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." You sound young, Sweet Pea. May we see your back parts?

Next. Nobody's increasing your carbon dioxide levels or forcing you to re-breathe toxins you've exhaled. What have you been eating? What we're actually doing with the masks is mandating them as a carbon collection system to mitigate global warming. Once our masks are saturated with carbon we can drop them in the ocean. It's either this or we're coming for your hamburgers--your choice. BTW butt masks are next.

Mask wearers are not leading us into slavery. You're all mixed up. The phrase is "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some takeout," and that's where the slaves come in. They're just gateway slaves now, racing around town in their little cars trying to patch together a living out of the gig economy, with no benefits, pensions, or health insurance, but we can see where this is headed, and it's nowhere good.

About that zero evidence. Close to zero, sure, but we have administered 4.3 billion doses of vaccine worldwide so far, and some data are trickling in. Data? That means the raw bits of information with which we can draw reasonable conclusions. It's sort of like the stuff you use to conclude COVID has a 99.9% survival rate, or that vaccines lower your immunity, only in your case it's not "data," it's "bullshit."

I'm surprised you didn't mention the tracking devices we're putting in the vaccines. That's for real. But we're not tracking people like you, Peanut! We're monitoring the agents at the border so we can maximize illegal entry of future Democratic voters, ultimately achieving the goal of having more people to redistribute other people's wealth to. We also should be able to discover the optimum times to spike trees and blow up pipelines. We're planning to repurpose those, by the way. We're visualizing them filled with CBD oil, and underplanted with small labor-intensive artisanl arugula plots in a mixed-vegetation permaculture environment. You're going to love it.

Also, before you bring it up, we would never work with China to make a virus! Not until they promise to raise wages and quit using coal. Now, we have invested in bat conservation.

So. About the vaccines not being normal. True. Used to be we had to get someone to scrape scabs off cowpox victims or gather secretions from coughing and vomiting children and grow our antigens in chicken eggs just to get our vaccines ginned up, but now we can't get enough migrant scab-scrapers willing to do the jobs we don't want to do. Could be they'll come around once we lose all our crops to drought, but in the meantime, these modern mRNA vaccines that don't involve pathogens at all are really getting pretty slick.

None of this involves manipulating your genes, but if it did, I have some cool ideas. Maybe you could grow wool! You could shear yourself in the summer and wear yourself in the winter!

I'm not saying you don't make some good points. You said you "could go on and on"--absolutely true. And people do die of other things all the time. You could turn your head for one moment to scowl at a mask-wearer and bam get hit by a bus! Wouldn't that be something?

As to why you should deprive yourself of oxygen, well...there are some things to be said for that.

Meanwhile, rest assured clinical trials have been conducted and monitoring continues apace. In fact, you're in the control group, Sugar Pants. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

If You Want Dignity, Choose Chess

I've been bicycling for a long time. Lots of things have changed. For instance, fifty years ago, people bought components for their beloved bikes designed to shave a few grams off the weight, even though it would be a lot less expensive to just take it off their thighs. Now, bicycles are made out of some kind of miracle metal where the atoms are so far apart that the whole thing wouldn't tip a scale against a bag of chips.

Also, modern bike saddles have some cush in them and are no longer made out of pterosaur clavicles.

Plus, people have helmets now, and stuff. They're made out of old ice coolers, but they're better than nothing, which was the style helmet I wore for the first 35 years.

Old-timers like to make fun of this sort of thing. What a bunch of sissies. We did just fine without all that guff, they say. Old-timers love to say "guff." Of course, the ones that didn't do so fine are no longer with us.

One time, our old beloved Hostel Club group went off for a week-long tour in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the home of zero cars and food bigger than your head. A couple of our friends put on strappy little leather helmets and toeclips and raced each other to Pennsylvania. From Virginia. They loaded up on salt tablets, because that was a thing then. We were already there, transported by motor vehicle as Nature intended, just in time to see them race up side by side, blast into the parking lot with a spray of gravel, lean over, and vomit copiously on their shoes.

If dignity were the goal in life, this did not appear to be the activity to get into. Naturally, we got into it.

The toeclips distinguished the serious biker from the hobbyist. They were little cages for your feet, and you jammed your toes in them, reached down, and cinched up the leather strap. With your feet locked in, you could really move. Problem. A moment of inattention while you're locked into your pedals, and you will go over like a dead dinosaur. It will look very majestic: no struggle, no fuss, no flailing, just your inert body, tied to a stake named Gravity. Modern bicyclists have abandoned the toe cages for a system wherein their shoes are locked into the pedals. You're supposed to click out of your pedals easily, but it doesn't always happen. Also, it is possible--I hear--to come up to a stop, click off one pedal, and lean the other way. Everyone's done it at least once. Lance Armstrong has done it too, I assure you, but he cleated all the witnesses. He stomped them into amnesia or worse.

So that's one way to efficient your way into a case of "road rash," or the transfer of all or part of your epidermis to pavement. I have never had a bad case of it, because no matter what I do, the road beneath my wheels doesn't go by all that fast. And if I get going down a mountain where my friends will gleefully reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, I will show up at the bottom considerably later, and my forearms will burst into flame from braking.

Clothing is different also. Seems to me my serious biking friends in the '60s wore wool shorts and tee-shirts. Now you are expected to deck yourself out in Spandex. It's not attractive. I don't care who you are. You're going to look like a bunch of link sausages in Technicolor.

The Spandex, at least, makes a certain amount of sense, and reduces chafing, but does not solve all the problems in the shorts region. On one long trip, I emerged from the porta-potty with a distinctive hitch in my git-along and eased myself back in the saddle. A woman rode up to me and said, quietly, medicated diaper powder, and then rode off before I could thank her.

I submit that if the first words from a complete stranger include "diaper powder," you are not engaged in a dignified activity.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Don't Travel With Me

I'm lucky in life and love. I'm not lucky in tech or travel.

Extraordinary things happen to me when I travel. I've woken up in the middle of the night in the deserted, uncoupled last car of a train in Germany. I have lost my obsessively-checked passport between airport gates. My luggage has been abducted by aliens. I'm bad at this.

Same thing with technology. If I try to set up or fix a device, something bizarre will happen. To the degree that when I surrender it to a young person, they start tapping away with confidence and then get this funny look on their face and squint and tap some more and then say "Huh," and hand it back, all sheepish. When it comes to travel or technology, apparently I'm the gremlin.

So I wasn't eager to set up my new iPhone when it arrived. Transferring my stuff from my old phone to the new is supposed to be a snap once I download the "Move to IOS" app, which I did. But things involving an iPhone are a snap only if they do not also involve a developmentally-disabled old Android and, of course, me. I set it aside for a full three weeks before tackling it.

But everything did go smoothly. I don't use a lot of apps and I'd already unloaded all my photos on the old phone to relieve its chronic indigestion, so basically I just wanted my phone contacts to sail over. Per instructions, I plugged the phones in, clicked on all the right things, put in a code, politely averted my eyes while they rendezvoused, and after a while both phones said the transfer was complete.

Somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, my passport caught a passing zephyr and appeared briefly in the real world.
It was a while before I checked my contacts on the new phone. There were a whole bunch of them in there. More than I thought I had. And almost no phone numbers. And I didn't know who a lot of them were. A little more sleuthing and I discovered these were my sister's contacts. 

My sister's been dead for thirteen years. She's the type that could come back and send a message from beyond the grave if anyone could, but this was just mean. Upon further review, I recognized a lot of my own contacts too, again mostly with email addresses and no phone numbers, and eventually realized that although I put my "Move to IOS" app in the old phone, it ignored all my phone contacts and instead vaulted over to my abandoned desktop computer, Old Sludgy, in which my sister's contacts were stored, and took THOSE contacts. How could that happen?

"It probably got them from your bluetooth," my friend Leslie said.

"I don't think I have a bluetooth," I said.

"Yes, you do," she said, and I never argue about things like that, because I'd be wrong.

I'm a big girl. I took the phones to the fix-it shop around the corner and asked the nice man to make them talk to each other. He said he could, but he just knew I could Google the answer myself, and save some money, and I felt ashamed and went home and Googled.

There are lots of ways of transferring contacts. But since the "Move to IOS" app is the slickest, I decided to do it again, after first (deep breath) wiping the new phone clean. After all, whatever was in there had only been in there a few days. This time I turned my desktop computer off and sent it to its room, and went in a whole 'nother room. "Your contacts have been transferred," my phones both agreed, and I felt a little lift.

Somewhere near Roswell, New Mexico, my luggage dropped to the desert.

I checked the new phone. Same damn contact list as before. No phone numbers. Okay, maybe the sucker scavenges contact lists from everywhere, but shouldn't it include the ones from the phone it was shlorping data out of? Huh?

Second method: Export contacts from old phone into a VCF list. I followed instructions and did that. VCF list created. I don't know where to find it though.

Third method: SIM cards. I looked it up and I still don't know what or where the hell my SIM card is.

By the time I researched the fourth method, and considered the shame of going back to the fix-it shop, I was worn ragged with the sort of despair only tech challenges can put me in. It wasn't healthy. I went for a fast walk. And when I came back, I decided to put the phones side by side and type in all my phone contacts by hand.

I thought about the time I wanted to paint salamanders and frogs on the floor of my studio using a stencil only to trace, and then fill in the paint with a tiny brush by hand. It's the kind of project that never gets off the ground if you think about how long it's going to take. But I came home from work and put in one salamander a day, and before too long, I had the whole thing done.

And you know what? While I was typing in all the phone numbers, I felt calm. I knew what I was doing. Yes, it was taking a long time. Two hours in, I was only up to the H's. But I feel better than I have in days. I can do this. It will get done. One salamander at a time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tomorrow's Nostalgia Today

I'm outside in a comfortable seat, and it's about 78 degrees with a nice little breeze stirring things up. Birdies are at the feeder and bath, and I have a beer to hand in a frosted glass. We don't have mosquitoes here. It's a lovely evening.

I just took delivery on a couple air purifiers. I'm not the type to fret about airborne particles, pollen or dust or mites or cooties or mold or any of the other various prospectors from the fungi kingdom, or even bad juju, which is purportedly ether-borne. I've been very lucky with my health and don't suffer from such things. But the odds of getting through the summer here without a smoke event are very remote. That's something we have now, smoke events, such as last year when we were at 400+ on the index that says you should stay indoors under a wet towel and weep if it gets above 35. I didn't care for the odor, or the orange daylight that matched the curtains of the Apocalypse, but I did okay. Dave tends toward bronchial issues, though, so I thought we'd get air purifiers for at least a room or two. In the event.
I have yet to get a go-bag together. Yeah, sure, I know about the emergency kit for the big earthquake, which I hope to either survive underneath my piano or die under it, flattened and accompanied by a celestial 88-key chord. But a go-bag, in case of wildfire and a shift of wind, I had not thought about. Also? Supposed to keep my gas tank at least half-full in case I have to get out in a hurry and there's a traffic jam. I've given some thought to what absolutely needs to be saved out of the house. Tater Cat, my external hard drive, Pootie, and...well, Pootie's best friend Hajerle, whom I promised my sister Margaret I would take care of. There's probably other stuff, if I put my mind to it.

Getting a gun is not in the plan, even if someone wants to take my stuff. I guess I understand the reasoning, but some deep authentic part of me, which may or may not be reasonable, insists that if I survive a tragic event it will be with the help and cooperation of like-minded friends and strangers, and not if we're all guarding our castles and putting heads on pikes. I might be naïve here, but questioning myself on this would damage my heart in irreparable ways.

It's interesting to be this age, in this age. I can look back on my life as though it were sliced into little planes of existence, stacked up against time, so that it is easy to see the progression. It wasn't long ago I never thought about washing face masks and trying to re-shape the little wires in them. I never thought about spiffing up my basement so there will always be a cooler room to sleep in.

It never occurred to me to quit writing books because nobody will be around to read them soon.

We did have fears, in those earlier life-slices. I remember being afraid of our toaster, because it was well-known that you could die from sticking a knife into it to get your toast out. We were never to run with scissors, or take candy from strangers. But strangers never offered us candy.

Air travel was rather new. We went to the airport at least once just to gawk at the big airplanes. They'd lumber off the runway with a roar, and we'd point at them and go home again. Where we'd watch them pass over the back yard. Seems like it took them a couple seconds. We didn't think about carbon at all.

We were afraid of dogs. Dogs ran free and sometimes in packs, and a few of them were scary, especially if you were little.

So, toasters. German Shepherds. Something that could "take your eye out." But nobody had a Kevlar backpack.

Tonight I'm watering the blueberries, trees, and vulnerable beds. Supposed to get up to 104 tomorrow. 109 on Friday. I remember when that didn't happen.

I really like German Shepherds now. My fears are both stronger and more diffuse. It's harder to get ahold of them, compared to Death Toasters. I'm sitting in this beautiful breeze with my beautiful beer and beautiful husband and thinking: this, today, will become my new nostalgia, as the Gulf Stream Jacuzzi winds down and subsides into a sloshing ocean of apathetic bath water.

That wasn't in the picture when I was little. Then, and again now, the future used to be further away.

Saturday, August 7, 2021


I didn't even know there was such a thing as a cryptid. Which is appropriate, because the thing about cryptids is nobody knows if there are any.

What cryptids are, or aren't, are critters that have been claimed to exist but whose existence has not been proven, such as your Loch Ness Monsters, your Sasquatchii. Your winos.

I maintain winos should be on the list along with everything else quantum physicists have come up with. Quantum physicists should be celebrated far and wide for being super smart and also way, way around the bend. They are always coming up with things like "We haven't found one yet, but we're pretty sure there are squarks," and this is why I love them. I mean, I'm smart, but I get lost in a hurry drilling into particle physics, and the notion I could just make up a particle to explain the spooky parts cheers me up no end. It's like religion, only more fun.

So anyway they haven't found a wino yet, even though they think there are three of them, all hypothetical fermionic supersymmetric partners of the W bosons of the SU(2) gauge fields. As the families confidently say in Family Feud, "It's up there, Steve!"
Your correspondent as a young herper
But most people would not put these worthy particles in the cryptid category. Wikipedia lists some 64 known (that is to say, unknown) cryptids, from the Mongolian Death Worm to the Bunyip, and right there in the list is the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander. I'll be go to hell. I have been a salamanderphile for over sixty years and I never heard of the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander.
Evidently people have reported seeing gigantic salamanders in Northern California for a hundred years. One source says they are comparable in size to a hellbender, but at up to ten feet long, no the hell they are not. There are giant salamanders in the world but they generally top out at under six feet. In spite of my love of salamanders, I'm not that pumped up about the really big ones. I love salamanders for their unrivaled beauty, and their weeness is part of that. Even among the wee ones, some are cuter than others. The giant ones are not adorable. They're entirely aquatic and blob around on the bottom of streams and have giant folds in their skin, the better to absorb oxygen. I should relate to this animal especially since the day I twisted around to get a look at my butt and discovered I had developed back-fat folds to the degree they might be flossable, but this isn't my favorite thing about myself. The Japanese giant salamander is also "said to be nocturnal," which, for some reason, I find hilarious. ("Maybe it moves at night," they said. "We'll never know," they said.)
A true giant salamander
Tycoon Tom Slick was so taken with the stories about the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander that he took his Thunderbolt Grease-Slapper and mounted several expeditions to find the blobsters in the '60s, but had no luck. Although there has been a number of credible sightings reported of enormous salamanders in the region, none has been landed or definitively recorded. Now this I like. I like to think that a huge unverified salamander can exist right under our prying noses. It might not be as dashing as a woodland Plethodon, but I fervently want it to exist.
Also? The giant salamanders of the world are all in the family Cryptobranchidae. I think it's a sign.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Butter Or Nut, Here It Comes

Last year, volunteer squash plants mustered all over my garden, and I left a few of them and hoped for delicatas or butternuts. I'd certainly put plenty of delicata, butternut, and acorn squash carcasses in the compost pile. Well. Acorn squash plants took over the meeting and talked over everyone else. They zipped over to the grapevine and asked for directions to the county line. I had to resort to buying a butternut plant but it was completely intimidated by the acorns, which probably kept it up at night growing boisterously, and it withered away.

This year I got the usual fleet of squash plants, assumed they were acorns, and bought a butternut squash early. I planted it in a corner of my bed and pretty soon an acorn squash volunteered to guard it from the other corner. The butternut was quickly overwhelmed by the acorn, which put out leaves the size of baby blankets, but it was still alive, and flowering. Yay! The acorn squash plant set about a hundred fruit and the butternut was shooting blanks.

This is where you get to brush up on your flower sex. The first thing I thought about majoring in was botany, because I was so thrilled by learning about stomata pores (cells shaped like paired buttocks, complete with a hole in the middle), and botany is basically about sex, but really? Not as arousing as I had hoped.

But it's straightforward. You gots your male flowers and your female flowers and the male stuff needs to get in the female stuff. It would be cool if there was some tendril loving involved but instead they farm the labor out to migrant bees. We have plenty of bees, and the acorn squashes were partying away, but no butternuts. It was suggested I might look into servicing the flowers myself. All that was required was to figure out which flowers were male and then shlorp the powdered jizz over to the females.

I don't know what the hell this is.
The female flower was described as being plumpish around the base, with bumps surrounding a central hole. I can remember that. All righty then, what does the male flower look like? Peer inside and there's your anther. Artificial squash insemination involves whacking off the anther and then "gently rubbing" it over the female parts.

This sounded interesting.

I had nothing penciled in for the afternoon ("Nothing," it said on my calendar) and looking for squash blossom wieners is a lot like doing nothing, only with the promise of butternuts. And I found them. Lots of them. All of them. Where were my female flowers with their bumpy cucurbit bits? You need the female flowers. Have a bunch of male flowers gathered around and all you get is a mess of pollen everywhere.

This was all sounding pretty familiar. The red-legged frogs we help across the highway are the same way. For a few weeks it's nearly all males, eagerly hopping downhill boing boing boing to get to the wetland and practice mounting something. Eventually the females, looking tired and bloated, start down. Bloop. Bloop. Bloop. You don't sense ardor. You sense resignation, and a sincere desire to dump the egg pudding.

Maybe the female squash blossoms are holding back too. Maybe they're hanging around outside the mixer to see who goes in and whether he's worth it.

The next day I saw it. A genuine green butternut squash hanging off the edge of the bed. It had shot right through the acorn squash plant and out the other side. 
Clearly, trying to get away.