A Perry Potpourri

Posted on August 1st, 2010 by

Here are a number of miscellaneous items related to Perry the Corpse Flower.  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

The “T” System of Perry Volunteer Nomenclature

[Update – Monday, August 2:  see the comments section at the end of the post for a significantly enhanced identification of the “T” crew – BT, DT, and more, along with THG.  And yes, the other two people in the QT photo are Stacia (Assistant VP for Marketing and Communication) and Matt (Media Relations Manager).  Oh…there’s also a reference to THM…]

The “T” system originated in the Corpse Flower Chat Room that was associated with the 24/7 streaming webcam (one part of the online visual coverage so splendidly set up by Dan Oachs of Gustavus Technical Services).  The CFCR became highly active, partly because of the slightly-ahead-of-Perry flowering of Lois the Corpse Flower at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  Lois fans rapidly became enamored of Perry, as well.  I think that it’s appropriate to document this system here for posterity.  It was a lot of fun, and also streamlined the chat considerably.

“T” stands for Terena Wilkens of the Theatre and Dance Department at Gustavus.  Terena was the most indefatigable volunteer of them all, with seemingly endless enthusiasm and energy, regaling hundreds (thousands?) of visitors with the wondrous beauty and biology of Perry during the entire event – with the exception of a wedding that she had to attend (after a thorough shower to remove Perry fragrance).

As the Perry drama evolved on camera and in the CFCR, Terena became T to the CFCRers, then OT (Original T), as the system of T designations proliferated.  I wasn’t a T, but was OB.  IT = Dan.  RT (Red T) = Emily.  YT (Young T) = Philip (to the right in the photo).  QT (Cute T) =  Mark (to the left in the photo).   A number of CFCRers took on “T” personas, as well.  There are some other T designations, but these seem to be the persistent ones.  Let me know in the comments if expansion should be done.  I’ll also contemplate posting almost the entire chat document (> 1,000 pages).  Yes, it does exist, thanks to IT.  A few photos are linked – I don’t have one of IT, unfortunately…at least not right now.  We’ll have to see what the collective archive produces…

The Return of Michael

We had a repeat visit from my former student Dan Eppley and his family, including his son Michael.  Michael followed Perry’s first flowering via webcam in 2007, and he was here in person to see Perry’s Giant Leaf in 2008 (scroll down in the linked post to see photos).  He has now visited Perry in full bloom (and in full fragrance), so now has seen, in person, both phases of Perry’s adult life.  Only a few other humans fall into that category…

Perry in the Mankato Free Press

Perry has been an above-the-fold headline twice now in the Mankato Free Press, the daily newspaper of Mankato, Minnesota (of Little House on the Prairie fame, about 12 miles south of St. Peter):  July 8 and July 23.

Perry in the St. Peter Herald

Perry has now been front page news twice in the St. Peter Herald, our local weekly newspaper, on July 8 and on July 28.



  1. Gina says:

    Thanks OB for the blog on the “T”‘s, what fun we had coming up with those in the CFCR. And thanks again for allowing us to share this experience with you guys through the live vid and chat. There were a few more “T”‘s that I remember. T2 we had heard was an Alumni, her husband was Dobo or Wiz in the CFCR. We never made a confirmed designation for her T nick, but DT (Dobo’s T) or AT (Alumni T) was thrown around. There was also I think it was T3, that had a blue hat on one day, so we were calling him BT (Blue T), he might be in the pic with QT above, but I only remember seeing him in the blue hat. Also in the pic with QT is GAC’s VP of Marketing?, I think that was her title, she also ended up with a T designation of VT (for VP T). And don’t forget the elusive mystery T….THG (Top Hat Guy) who had us all up in arms when he decided to pay a sneaky visit to Perry late in the night. Again, we had a really good time with the T nicks….and hope that all the T’s realize it was with affection and all in good fun.

    Again, many thanks to all of you at GAC for taking the time to educate and entertain us for the last few weeks. I know we all look forward to continuing the journey in the greenhouse at GAC with updates on Perry, Ruby, “Georgia” and any others you will share with us.

    • Brian O'Brien says:

      Thanks for the detailed analysis, Gina, and it was great fun hosting all of you for the Perry event. Your comment really enhances the content, and I’ve placed an update at the beginning of the post. I’ll be blogging on Perry, Ruby, Georgia, et al. until the next flowering, though not as frequently as of late. I have a draft of a post that relates to Ruby in an odd way, and am planning to post the comments on what Perry smelled like as a series. The next really big events will be when Perry is repotted and when he/she begins to grow a new leaf. The leaf should be…impressive. The last one went almost to the roof of the greenhouse…

  2. Ben Carlson says:

    Brian, I believe i was known at BT (or Blue hat T) i spent a good porsion of friday and sunday on the chat room.

    • Brian O'Brien says:

      Hi Ben – thanks, and it’s excellent to know the identity of BT. I’ve posted an update at the beginning of the original post. I now have two impressions cached in my mind for “BT” – “Blue T” and Bacillus thuringensis. :)

  3. […] mail yesterday, addressed to “Brian O’Brien and Perry Family,” from Preesi of the Corpse Flower Chat Room.  I can now become a member of the World Association of Amorphophallus Eaters […]

  4. Alaina (awhit) says:

    Gina it is good to see you comment on this. I honestly haven’t been back on the GAC website since the saturday of Perry’s bloom.
    OB I was trilled to see this blog post as I had many hours of great fun watching Perry and chatting in the CFCR!
    I was part of the crew that discovered several of the identities of the “T” gang. Especially Dobo’s wife. He actually was watching the live stream with us when the appearance of the THG (Top Hat Guy) happened late Friday night. He was the one that called security, and the security officer showed up when you and YT came in in the middle of the night to analyze Perry’s progress. I believe this is the link to the photo (Look in the window) http://oachs.it.gac.edu/titanarum/cam2010-hd/100723/100723-230601.jpg In the picture he is just behind the window, but what wasn’t captured by the timed camera stills was when he actually came in the room and up the steps right by that door, and then we think he heard something because he BOLTED out very fast and OB and YT came in shortly to check on Perry.

    BT (Ben)– i’m glad your nickname fits with your real name blue and Ben.

    Thanks for all the memories of Perry 2010. I look forward to seeing him blossom again.


  5. Alaina (awhit) says:

    here is a photo of IT (Dan Oachs) in the tootsie roll shirt.



  6. Gina says:

    We loved Dan’s (IT) tootsie roll shirt!