March 21st, 2006


A new dinosaur and aliens from Earth.

It's raining here in Atlanta. We had a wonderful bit of thunder and lightning a few hours ago.

It seems these days that new dinosaur taxa are being named faster than I can keep up with them. My thanks to shadowcircus for putting me wise to the new titanosauroid sauropod, Erketu ellisoni. Its remains were discovered in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia in 2002 (but only just described), in Cretaceous-aged rocks. The titanosaurs were the last lineage of the great long-necked sauropods, which included such familiar beasts as Apatosaurus ("Brontosaurus"), Diplodocus, and Brachiosaurus. Erketu likely measured more than 15 metres snout to tail tip, with half that length being neck. It appears to have had the longest neck, relative to total body length, of any known sauropod.

Erketu ellisoni, named for dino illustrator Mick Ellison.

Also, Dr. Brett Gladman, from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver has delivered a paper during the astrobiology session of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, proposing that meteorites created from the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous — that is, Earth rocks thrown into space by the tremendous blast — might have had the potential to carry terran microbes as far away as Europa and Titan, where they might have survived and taken hold. Panspermia is seeming just a little more respectable these days, and I'm beginning to wonder if a century or two from now exobiologists are going to be faced with a true headache of molecular genetics, trying to figure out if life originated several times on different bodies in our solar system, or if it originated in just one place and then spread via such impacts. Are we Martians? Will Europans be Terrans? Like sclerotic_rings, I was very amused by Dr. Gladman's response when questioned by another Conference participant as to whether he thought Earth microbes might survive in Titan's frigid environment. I quote, "That's for you people to decide, I'm just the pizza delivery boy."

Okay. It's bedtime for nixars...

someone flying, only stolen

I might have gotten four and a half hours sleep last night. Possibly. Possibly less. Maybe I'm fighting some unnatural bit of personal evolution. Maybe Nebari sleep a whole lot less than humans. Maybe it's an elvish thing. Maybe I've entirely lost my silly, sleep-deprived mind.

All yesterday was spent preparing for our Ostara ritual, which I thought came off wonderfully. I'm not sure what if anything I should say about it here. I sincerely don't want to become one of those tiresome gits who drones on and on and on about spirituality in her journal. But it was beautiful. We'd decorated our altar with acorns and dogwood and all sorts of wildflowers. Spooky baked honey cakes with flax and molasses, and I dyed brown eggs red. We bathed in hyssop and jasmine. A thunderstorm hit just before we began. During the ritual, after the invocation of the goddess, we planted basil seeds in soil into which I'd used my athame to stir the ashes of resolutions we'd each written down and then burned. Before we dismissed the Watchtowers and before the taking up of the circle, we ate the honey cakes with fresh strawberries and ale. I think next year I'll fix a proper feast for the occasion. Later today, we're taking one of the cakes and a strawberry, the eggs and and some ale out to the two oaks in Freedom Park (see my dream of 3/08/06); it seems right. Oh, while gathering acorns and flowers yesterday, we spotted a Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata), which was a new bird for both of us. And now it's spring, and I've survived another winter.

It doesn't look or feel much like spring out there today, not if you're going by the temp or the cast of the sky, which are both leaning back towards February, but the trees are all going green. That grand pale green of early spring. Warmer weather's on its way.

I'm listening to Moby's "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die," which has been stuck in my head since Sunday night, and the lyrics are making me think of Deacon in the epilogue of Low Red Moon.

I've heard more reports that the hardbacks of The Merewife and False Starts are nice. I haven't seen them yet, but Bill at subpress says there are copies on their way to me now. Today, I shall read "pas-en-arrière, " aloud to Spooky and make any corrections/changes that seem necessary. Then I may begin a new vignette (or that may not happen until tomorrow). There's reading I need to do. There's always reading I need to do. Also, "Night,"* which had been planned as a subpress chapbook will now be appearing instead in a forthcoming issue of Subterranean magazine. I don't know which one yet, but yes, the art I'm doing for the story will still appear with it. I much prefer this to the chapbook plan, as the magazine will get a larger readership for the story than the chapbook would have gotten.

setsuled, the way things have been going on Wikipedia, I think you're going to have to do a new pin-up: Nar'eth, Barbarian Queen of the Ankylosaurs.

Please note that only 22 hours and 41 minutes remain on the "choose your own letter" Frog Toes and Tentacles auction. You snooze, you lose. Also, please have a look at the other auctions. The platypus will be grateful, as will I. And there's a bunch of stuff about gender polarity and Wicca (morganxpage, I'm looking at you) that I want to put down, that I need to write out here, but it's going to have to wait until a later entry. The day's not getting any younger.

* Eventually retitled "Zero Summer."