"In this place, it seems like such a shame..."

Overcast all day, and our high was 52˚F.

A good day, by which I mean a productive day. I spent four hours this morning typing up notes on a chapter I agreed to review for a forthcoming book on marine reptiles. And I'm getting ready to make a third go at The Night Watchers on Monday. Tomorrow will be spent on revisions to a turtle paper that's getting submitted later this month. But, after several useless days, it was good to work.

This afternoon I watched a Ken Burns documentary about Huey P. Long, and then a documentary about the US' 1936 Olympic rowing team (American Experience).

I have not left the house since Christmas Eve, when we visited my mother.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:34 p.m.
Ellen Ripley 2

"Just something from a film I like."

Fuck it all.

Mostly sunny today. Our high was 61˚F.

More work. I still don't feel like talking about any of it.

The afternoon's film was Prometheus (2012). I adore this film, but I also acknowledge it's imperfections. The greatest of these is not, as some people seem to think that scientists in the film do dumb shit. Scientists do insanely dumb – and often deadly – shit all the time. No, the worst of it is a thread about faith that runs through the entire film, that people can believe a thing because it is possible to "choose to believe" a thing. I cannot imagine any idea more ludicrous. When I was young, I was religious, but it was never a conscious choice. I followed the authority of adults who were believers who told me this was true. And as I grew older and began to ask questions and to doubt their authority, I became someone who believes what I can see, touch, measure, test, and so forth. But there was never a choice. Could I have chosen to remain where I'd been as a child? At best, I might have chosen to pretend I was still that faithful person. I cannot believe in anything because I want to. That is a loathsome idea. Belief is the product of experience, not faith. If you want to pick on Prometheus, start there.

Remember when I was on that big Death Cab for Cutie kick back about ten years or so ago? No? Well, I was. It's sort of embarrassing now. But they do have a few songs that still impress me.

No blinding light
Or tunnels to gates of white.
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:43 p.m.
Roy Batty

"This breaks the world."

Sunny today, and cool. Our high was 56˚F.

I did work today, fiction and paleo', but I'm tired and don't feel like getting into the details.

I read some article online today about self-proclaimed "idlers," part of the so-called "Great Resignation." Idlers. When I was young, we called them bums, people who believe they should not have to work. I still call them bums, I don't care how much Marxist bullshit they spout. And yeah, odds are your boss doesn't "care" about you. You're feelings are not the problem of the man or woman who is likely, at best, overworked middle management. We work to survive and to keep the world running. Anything else you're lucky enough to score along the way, that's just gravy.

That said, I have resolved, looking at these people, that I am going to work a lot harder in 2022. I will not be slowed by my anxieties about COVID-19 or political and social upheaval or how we're going to move or money, not by a sense of futility or any belief that my efforts are underappreciated...not by anything. If I can think and can type and can read and can sit in this damn chair, will will work. If I do not work, nothing will happen. That much I know.

Fuck the idlers.

This afternoon's film, as you may have guessed from the subject line, was Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:08 p.m.

Slouching Towards Oblivion

Sunny today. Our high was 51˚F.

No, it was not as productive as were the last two days. Partly, because I woke at 4:30 a.m. and did not get back to sleep until long after five. I just lay there, considering all the possible dooms on their way, thinking about getting up. Then I slept until 8 a.m.

But I did do some proofreading, all paleo' stuff. And I got good news back from Yale.

I'm having trouble eating again. Last night I had my first real meal in two days.

I have got to get back to the fiction, no matter how much I do not want to do that.

Oh, hey. Did you know we have giant ground sloths to thank for guacamole? No? Well, it's true.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

3:16 p.m.
Cordon C3

"Down and down, gone again."

Sunny again today, but chilly. Our high was only 48˚F. But just having the sun buoys my mood.

Another much more productive day. I talked with Geralyn at SubPress about the signature sheets for the new edition of From Weird and Distant Shores, and spoek with Bill Schafer about other SubPress business. I had another productive conversation this morning with Jun Ebersole (McWane) about Eutaw Fm./Mooreville Chalk stratigraphy. I exchanged email with Sandy Ebersole at the Alabama State Geological Survey on the same subject; she and I are about to begin collaborating on a project concerning Mooreville stratigraphy. I emailed the Peabody Museum at Yale. I thought VERY hard about fiction. And...well..a bunch more stuff. Listing it all seems sorta silly. But hopefully there will be more to list tomorrow.

A couple of links:

"To Breed or Not To Breed" ("Among childless adults in the United States surveyed by Morning Consult last year, one in four cited climate change as a factor in why they do not currently have children." And as I said on Facebook, this is the reason Spooky and I both regularly have given over the past 20 years for being glad we never had kids. And now there's this fascism thing. It is simply best not to bring more children into this world (get pissed at me if you want). (NYT)

~ and ~

"Indiana Republican Backtracks After Saying Teachers Should Be 'Impartial' When Teaching About Nazism, Fascism." (No, really. Because you know, Nazisim is so inherently neutral; The Hill)

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

5:05 p.m. (yes, this bathroom window belongs to the spiders)

"How we rise when we're born, like the ravens in the corn."

Rainy today, and the high was 63˚F.

And it was, for me, a better day. I pushed back at the depression with greater force and managed to get a number of things done. I dealt with World Fantasy 2022 obligations I'd been putting off, including writing a biography for them. I did a bunch of paleo' related stuff, beginning with reading a preprint (preprints are still new to me, letting the scientific community read your work before peer review) – "Global ecomorphoplogical restructuring of dominant marine reptiles prior to the K/Pg mass extinction," and then I wrote the corresponding author. I am discovering that, no matter how difficult the effort, forcing myself to work beats just sitting here, helplessly staring at the walls.

I'm done losing time. I have too much left to do.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

5:44 p.m.

"We're nothing, and nothing will help us."

Our high today was 57˚F.

Today would have been David Bowie's 75th birthday.

Nope, no work. I cannot find a way out of this hole.

I can now tell you that I am scheduled to be an Honored Guest at the 2022 World Fantasy Convention in New Orleans. The announcement has been made on their website. I remind myself how much I hate conventions. This will be my first public appearance since March 2018.

Now, this is assuming there's a New Orleans ("as we know it") left in October, which there well may not be.

America as we know it is on the ropes, kittens.

Tonight, we watched Scott Cooper's extremely excellent Antlers (2021). I see the critics did not love this film. I would argue they simply did not get this film. It's quiet, short, has exquisite creature designs, and great performances from both Keri Russell (whom I can never get enough) and Jeremy T. Thomas. It was the most disturbing film I've seen since Gretal and Hansel, and I strongly recommend it, so ignore the reviews.

I do have some political links tonight. Sorry.

"Democrats Quietly Consider Using 14th Amendment to Prevent Trump From Running For Office in 2024" (MSN)

~ and ~ (you really, really need to read this one)

"How Does This End"

Aunt Beast

1:26 p.m. (the best root beer on earth)

"Standing, by the wall..."

Sunny and cold today. Our high was only 42˚F.

On this day in 2092, Ellen Ripley will be born.

There's actual almost nothing worth saying about today, because the best of intentions are worthless, and trying to work is not, in fact, working.

And Sidney Poitier died.

And that news made be realize that it had not quite struck me that two me so important to evolutionary biology, Drs. Richard Leakey and E.O. Wilson, died not much more than a week apart.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast (Look, nothing about fascism!)

2:07 p.m.

"The more I disappear..."

And today was the one-year anniversary of that day.

On this day, January 6, 1931, geologists from Miskatonic University discover the Mountains of Madness and all the horror that entails...

Okay, well...I tried to start off with something light. I mean, that wasn't the weather. Speaking of which, cooler air has arrived, at least briefly. Our high today, with rain, was 57˚F. Our low tonight will be (drum roll) 22˚F.

I did not write today. I did, however, have a long phone conference with Drew and Jun about subdivisions of the Mooreville Chalk and the location of the Santonian/Campanian boundary in western and central Alabama, and that was the very, very best part of the far. After that, it was an utter log flume. The Utter Log Flume, by Ogdred Weary.

Oh, look. Links to articles about the rise of fascism in America:

"Americans Aren't Hearing the 'Democracy in Danger' Alarm" (MSN)

~ and ~

"There Aren't Two Sides To a Story When One Is a Lie: Why the Media Must Defend Democracy" (MSN)

And shit I said on Twitter:

Trying, again, to comprehend the sort of people who would, by hacking & other means, sew chaos & suffering simply "for the LULZ." I'm hard pressed to think of any human sinking any lower than that, and it must surely be an expression of severe sociopathy (if not, simply, "evil).

~ and ~

Trying to think about Santonian/Campanian stratigraphic problems and plioplatecarpine mosasaur morphology, sane stuff, and my brain keeps getting dragged back to the insanity of QAnon and Trump and January 6th and science deniers and the GOP.

~ and ~

I've never shied from voting & civic duty. I spent a year doing nothing but reproductive rights activism. I've worked for 2 Democratic presidential campaigns. Right now I'd like to pretend science & my writing & the mind are safe havens where I can shut out the fear. They're not.

All I have for now. Check back tomorrow.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

5:21 p.m.