SupergatorPosterSpoilers? Sure. Maybe. I doubt it.

Supergator. Produced in the land before time (2007, when SyFy still had “i”s). Like many Sci Fi/SyFy originals, Roger Corman is producer/executive producer (depending on which credits you check). I mention this because when B-movie nerds, usually male and of a certain age, speak dismissively of SyFy craptaculars, they usually point out that Corman was the master of the genre – he did it first and he did it better. It leaves them flapping their jaws a bit like carp when one points out that the Corman/SyFy dichotomy is a false one and thus their pronouncements are silly.

But I digress.


Kelly McGillis is de-extinticting a supergator. In Hawai’i. Like one does.

It’s a secret.

Since the project to bring Supergator back from extinction is a secret, no one except Kelly McGillis knows that Supergator has gotten loose on this very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island.

A plucky geology research team is there to study the impending volcanic eruption that isn’t a big concern to anyone else, even though it’s a very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island.

Even though at several points in the movies it’s emphasized that the volcano is dormant.

Except when it’s not.


The research team is lead by a pompous volcanology professor. Accompanied by his annoying grad assistant, a blond woman who is apparently a geologist, and a reporter/ex-geology student played by Bianca Lawson (whose resume is actually miles longer than anyone else in this movie and probably should have gotten top billing), he bravely investigates the dormant and/or active volcano by hiking 5 minutes into the deep and remote jungle on the uninhabited and/or densely populated island.

They arrive at a waterfall where they spot a rock covered in blood:

The pompous volcanologist explains that it’s probably a birthing stone. You know, a big pointy boulder that women perch on to give birth. The implication being that the native women-folk of the swanky tropical resort have no need for hospitals or flat surfaces or logic.

I don’t know what this weird bit of dialogue was supposed to reveal about these characters, but it failed on every level except the one wherein we began to actively root for Supergator.

The waterfall is Supergator’s Supersecret feeding ground where he’s been chowing down on people since the movie began.

By “people” I mean “actors you can’t wait to get rid of.”

Soon, the running and the screaming begin.

Go, Supergator, go!

Through the whole movie, a wannabee model in a hot-pink thong bikini runs around looking for help because her photographer and another model were eaten by Supergator at the beginning of the movie at that waterfall on the very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island that is sometimes very close to the resort and other times very far away.

None of it matters. It’s Supergator. Stop thinking so much.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, when you were still paying attention, Supergator was made in 2007. It was followed 3 years later by Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010). I’m sure I watched that one when it aired but I think I’ve repressed most of the details. Luckily (?) our Tivo, Overlord II, recently recorded it for me. The heatwave has been highly conducive to staying indoors and watching crappy movies while I catch up on all the other household chores I’ve been putting off, so I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.

I choose to believe that Supergator battles Dinocroc to save humanity, because Supergator is the friend of all children.

Husband tells me that Gamera is actually the friend of all children.


Go, Supergator, go!


I was drinking coffee and watching sandhill cranes by the lake this morning when a woman, who obviously lives in the neighborhood, let her yaptastic dog scare them off.

Well, you don’t scare a 4 foot tall bird away so much as you annoy it into leaving. I rather jealously wished I could fly away with the cranes.

Now, I enjoy incessant barking and owners who don’t clean up after their dogs as much as the next person, but I decided to make a little small-talk to let this woman know that by not controlling her dog she was harassing protected birds in a designated habitat, not to mention that walking her dog like that was going to result in tragedy sooner rather than later.

Admittedly, I was a little short with her as I watched her tiny terror run around.

Me: “That’s a bad idea.”

Her: (sneering) “You don’t believe the rumors about an alligator in the lake, do you?”

Me: “I did count 8 in there this morning.”

Woman: (condescension in full bloom) “HOW did you count them?”

(What kind of question is that?)

Me, pointing at the alligator her dog was barking at (who would have been about a foot outside the frame of this photo of the gator in question): “One…”


click to view larger image

It amazes me how willfully ignorant people can be about their own environment. You aren’t in the city anymore and there are wild animals here. There’s ample, reputable information about alligators that’s easily obtainable (including in the neighborhood newsletter).

People make me tired.

Husband has been working a lot lately so he took the day off and we’ve planned an ambitious date/day. We’re going to watch a lot of the crap on our Tivo. We have a lot of thematic triple & quadruple features saved up: dragon, dinosaurs, and werewolves, oh my!

But first, we’re easing in with some giant CGI crocodilians while we drink our morning coffee and contemplate hitting the gym and foraging for lunch.

And whiskey.

Lake Placid was a quirky hit that starred Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White, Meredith Salenger, and Mariska Hargitay.

Lake Placid 2 was forgettable. Or, at least, I forgot it.

Lake Placid 3, however, was a special present for SyFy channel watchers.

It’s not much of a present to alligators, but popular culture rarely is.

[embedded video: trailer for Lake Placid 3

Lake Placid 3 stars 5-season Eureka alum Colin Ferguson. And as a bonus, go-to character actor Michael Ironside as the sheriff.

CGI alligators of variable size depending on the camera angle eat nubile hikers and craptacular wackiness ensues. Colin Ferguson saves the day. Lake Placid 4, aka Lake Placid: The Final Chapter goes into production, starring Elisabeth Röhm and Robert Englund.

Everybody wins.

(Except possibly people who saw Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, which was released in 2012 and looked pretty stupid. Even we didn’t watch it).

After lunch, we’ve decided it’s going to be all dinosaurs all the time. I’ll probably post about those on Tuesday. See also: whiskey.

As I hurtle towards the inevitable end of the semester, it’s a good time to polish up some of the drafts that have been piling up. Instant content, just add coffee.

Yes. Well.

In my Anthropological Research Design seminar this semester we’ve been, um, designing research. Specifically, ethnographic research. (As a biological anthropologist, this is not something I do often).

I knew I wanted to do something involving Floridians and alligators. I’d read Laura Ogden’s Swamplife: People, Gators, and Mangroves Entangled in the Everglades and her scholarly articles on the cultural and political constructions of nature and the concept of ecosystems but I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. (Here’s an interview on the Anthropology and Environment Society blog with Ogden about the book – it’s fascinating).

I was flailing about on a Friday night in late February, knee-deep in a literature review, when I decided to take a brief twitter-break. That’s when I saw that uber-scienceblogger Brian Switek had tweeted this::

My fear of a world where apes evolved from men kicked into high gear and I quickly responded.

Later I discovered my Tivo, Overlord II, had been trying to give me nudges in the right direction all week:


Amidst all this chatter, and the inevitable branching twitter conversations, I realized I was thinking too narrowly. Reading Ajay Gandhi’s ethnography, “Catch Me if You Can: Monkey capture in Delhi” was a turning point. My ideas were sound, but my theoretical model was all wrong. I don’t think that multispecies ethnography (see references at the end of the post) is really going to be The Next Big Thing, but the possible applications are intriguing.

So the moral of the story: Twitter is not always a waste of time and Tivo is your friend and it just wants to help. Also, beware the Ricardo Montalban Effect, which I still haven’t fully explained but intend to in the very near future. I thought I had an old post explaining it, but I was mistaken. I’ll fix that, but probably not until the semester is over.

In related news, Brian Switek’s new book, My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs, is waiting for you to buy it. It’s pretty great.


Fuentes, Agustin
2010 Naturalcultural encounters in Bali: monkeys, temples, tourists, and ethnoprimatology. Cultural Anthropology 25(4):600 – 624.

Gandhi, Ajay
2012 Catch me if you can: Monkey capture in Delhi. Ethnography (13): 43-56.

Kirksey, S. Eben and Stefan Helmreich
2010 The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography. Cultural Anthropology 25(4):545-576.

Ogden, Laura
2008 The Everglades Ecosystem and the Politics of Nature. American Anthropologist 110(1):21-32.

He said: “He was dressed as a blue Smurf and nobody goes out to battle dressed as a blue Smurf.

Link courtesy of JunglePete. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, JunglePete is a rockstar. Check out the letters he got after his recent presentation about alligators to a group of elementary school students.

I must admit I’m mildly concerned that I’m going to be sharing a bathroom with Chomp-Chomp when I go to visit.*


*That was a joke. JunglePete is a responsible professional who does not keep wild or so-called exotic animals as pets or keep reptiles in his bathroom. I hope.

I was walking down the sidewalk last night (from stage left to right in this picture) and there was a large carton blocking the view of this part of the sidewalk until I was past it.

Not a nice thing to leave in the path of a floridian!

Consequently, I didn’t see the “alligator” until I was stepping over the tail and my brain processed what it was. Or wasn’t, as the case may be. It wasn’t a terribly large critter, but it was enough to startle me.

Despite recent posting evidence to the contrary, I’m the last person to suggest that life is anything like the movies. Nevertheless, I must describe the events of today because even I thought them a little too cleverly and conveniently plotted.

I ventured out of doors today (which is, in itself, newsworthy since I have been sick) and met a friend at the local coffeeshop.

We hadn’t chatted in a while and I was going to tell her of the NaNoWriMo novel I’m trying to work on when I feel well enough to write. Then I was going to write a little.

Before I could even tell her title or premise, this random guy joined our conversation. Even when we very aggressively ignored him, even moving to a more distant table, he continued to leer and just generally be creepy. It was appropriate, though, in it’s own way, as I was trying to tell my friend about Freak Magnet, my novel in progress, and about the phenomenon of, well, attracting freaks. I was clearly exhibiting my natural freak magnetism, so she got the gist quite quickly.

Inn passing, I also mentioned how I am The Finder of Lost Dogs. The novel isn’t autobiographical, but freak magnetism and lost dogs are important to the plot.

So after we chatted, I spent a little time writing. Specifically, I finished the chapter started yesterday: about a fire at a place rather like Gatorland. Later, she and I walked home.

A dog came bounding down the sidewalk and greeted me like a lost littermate. Fortunately, his owner wasn’t far away, so we didn’t have to go through the prolonged ritual that includes the catching of the dog and the reading of the tag and the calling the owner. (I keep a leash in my purse, very handy in these situations).

Then I returned home to catch up on the news. Needless to say, the headline concerning today’s massive fire at Gatorland caught my eye.

I never go to movie theatres because most movie theater seats don’t play well with my arthritis, plus the whole adventure usually just wears me out for days afterwars, but I may have to try and see Stranger than Fiction, because, well, things just have been.

On the other hand, I’d probably just end up sitting behind someone who would converse, loudly, with their invisible friends throughout the entire movie.

Or, possibly, the woman who sat next to me during The Matrix, but that’s a story for another day…