Monday, July 26, 2010

This is a really long blog post about a flower that smells like death

You know how you get swept up in something and you don't even know how it started? That's pretty much what happened with me and Lois, the corpse flower. I know a couple of weeks ago I saw or read a story about the Houston Museum of Natural Science having a corpse flower that was beginning to bloom. And the next thing I know, it's been two weeks and I've spent a couple hundred hours in front of my computer watching a webcam of a flower.
To be fair, it wasn't as much as the flower blooming in super-slow-mo that kept me watching. It was the tweets being broadcast to the side of the webcam. It combined people watching with tweeting. How awesome is that? And took me from about 100 tweets on July 1 to the 628 I have now. I'd say at least 450 of those were about the corpse flower.
Originally, the museum estimated it would take a couple days to bloom. They started staying open 24 hours a day so everyone that wanted to could see her. I absolutely love the museum and think it's awesome they were willing to work so hard to accommodate everyone in Houston (and the people that came from even further!). When the webcam went live, the name of the page was "Our Corpse Flower "Lois" is Blooming!" and it kept saying that and no bloom! So I jokingly tweeted that the museum should rename the page to "Our Corpse Flower 'Lois' Might Bloom in the Next Decade." And then did! At least for a few minutes until I could get a screen shot. Hilarious!

I also took the time out of my oh-so-busy schedule (I couldn't even type that with a straight face) to draw a picture. I have made similar pictures for some friends regarding events and stories going on with us, but that's another story.

The museum retweeted the picture and I'm not going to lie, it pretty much made my day!

I wanted to see the flower but not until it had released it's pungent corpse-like smell. (That's a phrase I don't think I'll ever use again.) Lucily for me and a couple thousand others, the museum put up a Stink-O-Meter so we could track her smell. Lois peaked in nastiness on Friday morning so we headed to HMNS on Friday evening to wait in line to smell a funky flower. It took a little more than an hour to get from the end of the line to the exhibit.

Sidebar: There are WAY too many roaches in the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Ick!

But back to Lois. Here are a couple of pictures I snapped.

When you walked into the room where Lois was temporarily living, you could barely smell anything. Once you got to her "good" side though, you got a big whiff of funkiness. It wasn't a very strong smell since she was already on the decline, but it definitely smelled bad!

And of course I had to draw an updated picture of Lois once she bloomed (complete with Stink-O-Meter).

I have some more thoughts and experiences to share but I'll save that for another blog post likely to be titled "The Nerdiest Thing I've Ever Done."


  1. Thanks Karen! How fun for you. I loved the pictures and like knowing that you did them. It really was fun.

  2. Found you on twitter. What a great Lois blog. Nice to see your identity. I was a Lois tweet voyeur. I did not enter the fray, just lurked by the webcam bouncing back and forth between it and FB and Twitter for CorpzFlowrLois. I miss it so already...Write more, you're funny :)

  3. Thanks! I need to write about the Tweet Up soon before I forget what happened!