Saturday, September 5, 2009

FO: It's disgusting. I'm warning you!

I never in a million years thought I'd go this far.

The House Cup has begun (Go Ravenclaws! Woot!). We have six classes, a Quidditch tournament, and optional OWLs. It's quite a workload -- and a positively stupid amount of fun. Stick the House Cup blog in your readers if you'd like to follow along!

I have already turned in my first assignment, this one for Defense Against the Dark Arts, along with the required essay. (Note: It's disgusting, and you've been warned.)

Every summer for wizards and witches living in Texas features at least one battle with the infamous cockiroaccus villiferous (common name: evil cockroach). A close cousin to what is more commonly known among muggles as “just a plain old cockroach,” the evil cockroach does in fact possess disturbing magical properties, despite all the jerks out there who keep claiming, “What? It can’t hurt you.” Little do they know.

The evil cockroach is found in Texas, Mexico, and the equatorial region of the Western hemisphere (unlike its non-magical cousin, which is more widespread). It is approximately two inches in size, not counting the antennae, and moves at short bursts of speeds up to 30 mph (48 kph). Known magical properties include causing the human skin to crawl (see endnotes re: documented case of Miss Garabella Gordon, whose epidermis crawled four meters to the left before returning to its proper place upon vanquishing the evil cockroach); flight; psychic devastation, or the dementor-like removal of all coherent thought from any sentient beings who catch sight of it; and, on occasion, a bite that causes chronic nightmares in the victim for years to come.

The evil cockroach primarily lives outside and feasts on basically anything. Because of a serious overpopulation in the Texas region, they often encroach on wizard and witch habitats, appearing underfoot at the absolute worst possible time.

The evil cockroach is vanquished in one of a few ways. The swift, heartless application of a shoe is effective but leaves a mess that can have almost the same effect as the live organism. Pesticides derived from the magical raidius spraecano plant are effective, if applied with good aim. Curiously enough, the summoning of a patronus also banishes the evil cockroach with little mess, thus proving the oft-preferred method among wizard and witches. Researches speculate that the patronus works on this dementor-like creature because of its ability to instill irrational fear; studies are forthcoming.

My own recent experience includes an encounter with an evil cockroach. Despite unflagging efforts at cleanliness in my home, one such creature was found in the kitchen.

As I am particularly susceptible to the evil cockroach’s dastardly powers, I called for my husband to come kill it. He came to my aid.

“Is it a boggart or the real thing?” he asked. He is aware that boggarts typically appear to me as an evil cockroach.

“I don’t care!” I screeched. “Just do something about it.”

“Expecto patronum,” he said with a flick of his wand. His patronus, a big orange cat, appeared at the end of his wand, took one look at the evil cockroach, and in a fit of disinterest, went to the couch where he promptly started grooming himself.

“That stupid cat,” I grumbled.

“What? He’s cute,” my husband protested, and went over to play with the cat, who eagerly received his behind-the-ear scratches until he dissipated.

“Fine, I’ll do it myself,” I said. I pulled out my wand, and I summoned my courage. “Expecto patronum!” I shouted. (Shouting the spell in a blind rage can often increase its strength against the evil cockroach.)

My patronus appeared, a cute little chimp.

He ambled over to the cockroach, picked it up, and smashed it on the counter. The evil cockroach turned over onto its back and began wiggling its legs, a sign that it is close to death.

My patronus didn’t want to wait, however; with one hand, he pounded the bug into many pieces before eating the remains and then vanishing.

Though I still shudder at the memory of this spectacle, I hope my account will add to any efforts to help the wizarding world avoid any further encounter with the evil cockroach.

Epilogue: If I see it out of the corner of my eye, this FO still gives me the willies, and I’m the one who made it! Fortunately, an editor I occasionally write for enjoys a fascination with insects and spiders. I have already sent it to him.

kitty pic used with permission from martinimade.

ETA: I forgot the real project info!

I free-formed this little critter. In fact, it was a disgusting experience to make him, once I had to sew together the body to the back. (No, I'm not going to look up scientific terms for cockroach anatomy, because that would involve looking at pictures of real ones, nothankyou.) I used Knit Picks Shadow (laceweight) for the body, legs, and antennae, and Plymouth Yarns Encore DK for the body and head.

I was going to describe the process I followed to make the thing, but you know what? Not gonna! There are enough of the real ones in this world without anybody else going and knitting up a fake one.

I'm off to play with lace before dinner -- something that doesn't have legs!


Gena said...

Hahaha! Love it! Well, not the cockroach, but the essay is fantastic.

DonnaW said...

This is the best blog post I have seen in a while. Love the knitted icky bug and the cat's lack of assistance was great.
BTW, I knit your Reasonably Hip hat pattern and blogged it - love it. Come see the pics at my blog KnitWriteCookGo
Next up is the Monet Mitts. They are lovely.