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April 6th, 2009

Here I've made no entry since April 3rd, and I have to try to play catch up. Generally, it's a sign that a vacation is going well, if I can stay away from the blog.

Friday and Saturday are a bit of a smudge. I did little but read on either day. Read and sleep. Lots of naps the last few days, which are helping enormously in this bid to restore me. But, anyway...reading. On Friday, I picked up Burleson's Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe, only to be disappointed to learn that it's primarily a dry attempt to subject HPL's work to the rusty razors of deconstruction and post-structuralist literary theory. I made it through "Pre-lude: The Manner of Reading" before the yawning was getting the better of me. I don't think anyone can fairly accuse me of being anti-intellectual, but I can live without Jacques Derrida, thank you very much. Joshi is quoted as saying that this text is "The most challenging book ever written on Lovecraft." It's certainly the most tedious. So, anyway, I tossed Burleson aside, and picked up Goldner and Turner's The Making of King Kong. Much better. I read about half the book on Friday, and finished it late yesterday. Also, on Saturday, at the suggestion of a reader, I went back to The Children of Cthulhu and read the three stories that had been suggested: Tim Lebbon's "The Stuff of Stars, Leaking," Alan Dean Foster's "A Fatal Exception has Occurred at...," and Brian Hodge's "The Firebrand Symphony." The first wasn't bad, a little skimpy, but not bad. I thought it worked primarily as a mood piece, but didn't quite live up to the images evoked by its title. The second, the Foster story, was both dull and ridiculous. And someone should have told the author that earthquakes are not at all unusual in Denver, since he made such a big point of them never occurring there. But I rather liked the Brian Hodge story.

There's also been an awful lot of "television." I use the quotation marks because, these days, we pretty much stick to DVDs and what we can stream from Hulu or Netflix, and watch it all on Spooky's laptop. Lots more of Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And someone somewhere was saying all of us who'd abandoned Dollhouse early on should give the latest episode a try, since it felt much more like Joss Whedon. They did caution that it wasn't any good, just that it at least felt much more like Joss Whedon. I would amend that to say that the latest episode of Dollhouse felt like a parody of Joss Whedon, made by someone looking for the "secret formula." Eliza Dushku simply can't act (and here, the main problem is that she has no range, in a role demanding great range), and the show's about as interesting as...well, actually, it's not interesting at all. I did rather like the most recent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, though. One of the best of the series so far. Also, we've started watching Season Two of Heroes. It's about what I recall from Season One. Bland, frequently silly, but oddly watchable.

Yesterday, we'd planned to drive up to Boston and spend the day at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. But the weather was so sunny and warm (high about 60F, though with winds gusting to 24 mph), after three or four consecutive days of rain and cold, that we decided, instead, to head out to Conanicut Island. The sky was a brilliant blue, and there were more glimpses of spring in the woods, along the streams and in the bogs. The fields are all brilliant green, and the trees have gone red with a wash of buds. We reached Beavertail, meaning to explore a favorite cove on the western side of the point (about .15 miles northwest of the lighthouse), but the wind was a bit harsh. Also, we kept stumbling upon clusters of small jellyfish (so far unidentified) washed up on the rocks. So, after just a little while, we crossed over to the more sheltered eastern shore. I found a comfortable spot (about .44 miles northeast of the lighthouse) among the tilted beds of Cambrian-aged phyllite and slate, and I just lay there in the sun, listening to the sea and watching the birds. It was marvelous. There were some unfamiliar birds floating on the water, birds that were neither cormorants nor gulls. They might have been either murres or eider ducks; we didn't have the binoculars, so we're not sure. Might have been a few of both, or none of either. I think I dozed a little, right at the edge of the surf, as the tide roared in.

Later, we made it over to Fort Weatherill, south of Jamestown (still on Conanicut Island, but about 2.82 miles, as the gull flies, northeast of Beavertail Lighthouse), to our favorite place to hunt for beach glass. We found lots, including some very old pieces, and one largish shard emblazoned with the word "ASK." Well, I'm sure it's actually a fragment of a longer word, but...still. We also found an assortment of gull bones, including a nice tarsometatarsus, a cervical vertebra, and a dorsal vertebra, along with what appears to be the synsacrum and incomplete pelvis of a cormorant. The usual assortment of crustacean remains, including Carcinus maenas, Cancer irroratus, and Callinectes sapidus. The water, both at Beavertail and Fort Weatherill, was so amazingly clear, and so many countless shades of green and blue. There were a couple of scuba divers at Fort Weatherill, and I envied them. We made it home about six p.m., I think. My face got a bit sunburned.

Okay. This has gone on longer than I meant it to. I have a few emails I have to answer...and then I'm just going to read, I think. Here are some photographs from yesterday:

April 5, 2009Collapse )