Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blogger's Block and Ants

Today's entry is pretty short because I still feel rather blah about things, which has led to a case of blogblock or brainblock or whatever you want to call it.

My exercise schedule these days includes going for a run every other day. I start out walking for about 2/3 of a mile to warm up, then do my run. The walking part goes alongside the football field of Temple City High School where I notice red ants have made nests in the dirt patch between the curb and the sidewalk.

I mentioned in earlier posts that I used to collect red ants and put them in fish bowls or other glass containers to watch them dig their tunnels. I've always had an interest in ants because they are social creatures and their actions mirror humans in many ways.

The difference is, these industrious ants don't think, whereas humans (supposedly) do - that is, ants operate from instinct and probably know not what they are really doing.

I walk past the nests and see little mounds of dirt where ants have busily excavated their nests in the ground and carried up dirt, one bit per ant at a time, which piles up into these mounds. No one tells them what to do, they just do it and it would appear to me, the observer, that they do a very efficient job of it.

At one point in time I wanted to write a book about an ant society in which one ant suddenly possesses the ability to think, and becomes aware of its existence. She observes her fellow workers and with her thinking ability (the majority of ants are females) comes to the conclusion that she can make their operations more efficient.

Over time, other ants gain the gift (?) of cognitive ability and now within the colony of what once were oodles of creatures operating on instinct, more and more of them are able to think and evaluate their surroundings and they all develop their own opinions as to how to improve it.

Eventually this leads to mayhem as the thinking ants clash with each other and also attempt to exploit their unthinking cohorts and the results prove disastrous. What once was a thriving, growing ant colony now becomes a paralyzed mass burdened by bureaucracy as well as hindered by class wars, prejudice, and other problems previously only enjoyed by humans.

Well, the possibilities are endless and such a book could certainly turn into another War and Peace; now and then I toy with the idea of actually sitting down and writing it, just as I do with all these other ideas I keep pushing to the back of my mind. Maybe that's why I feel so blah - I keep stifling myself and my brain is overstuffed with ideas growing rancid.

John Stossel hosted tonigh's edition of ABC's 20/20 and spent the hour pointing out how all too often government acts as an obstacle to progress, and how we'd be better off without all their red tape interference. Earlier today when I went for my run, I was thinking about those ant colonies and how they operate on autopilot, and how maybe I ought to expand on that for my blog entry. When I watched 20/20 I thought, hey, tonight's subject runs along those same lines. So I came back to the computer and wrote this entry, which also had the effect of getting my brain churning with more ideas about the ant story.

Whaddaya think? I'm starting to not feel so blah all of a sudden. Or is that a dopey idea? Here's a Saturday double feature for you..

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