April 14th, 2006


"Not in front of the Klingons..."

It's very warm here in Atlanta, highs in the eighties yesterday and again today. I'm loving this early taste of summer. A sunny day out there, so I'm determined not to waste all of it in here at this dratted desk.

I thought that it might be interesting to do something I've not done before (at least, I don't think that I have) and show one of Vince's early working sketches for a Sirenia Digest story. The following was his first go at "To One Who Has Lost Herself," the result of e-mail exchanges between us shortly after I finished the story last week:

Copyright © 2006 by Vince Locke

There's really not much to be said about yesterday. I think the highpoint was when I walked down the back steps and almost stepped on a Dekay's Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi) that had just molted and was sunning itself. It was a beautiful little beast, about twelve inches long. We moved it from the driveway to a safe patch of yard. I've now seen two species of snake in our neighborhood, the Dekay's and a ringneck (Diadophis punctatus ssp). There ought to be green snakes, as well, and garter snakes, and maybe a few other species. And anoles. I've yet to see a lizard in Atlanta. I think I'm beginning to miss reptiles. I kept snakes when I was a child, and then, while I was in college, I had a fondness for lizards and turtles. At one point, about 1988, my bedroom housed a Tokay gecko, a smooth softshell turtle, a Barbour's map turtle (now endangered and protected), a common snapping turtle, and a yellow-bellied slider. Perhaps my office would benefit from a snake...

Later, we continued our Star Trek movie binge with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Mostly, I've been surprised that the Star Trek movies are a little better than I remember them being, even IV, despite it's atrocious score, the insufferable Catherine Hicks, the particularly wonky science, and all the chintz that comes with 1986. However, ST:V is every bit as gawdawful as I remember it being. Indeed, it's so bad one wonders that there was ever another Star Trek movie after it. Most of the SFX would have looked cheap and dated at the time (1989), production values seemed to hover near zero, Shatner's direction is the very definition of "hamfisted," and the climax...never mind the climax. This one should come with a warning label.

My thanks to headhouse for directing me to this truly wonderful site, Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America. It has some of the best paleogeographic maps I've ever seen, and you can track the evolution of the continent from the late PreCambrian (550 mypb) all the way to the present. My favourite's, of course, are the three Late Cretaceous maps (100-75 mybp). Check it out, kiddos.

There's news of a ground sloth skeleton unearthed in the Florida everglades (not surprising), and, naturally, I'm very excited about the data and photos streaming back to Earth from the ESA's Venus Express. None of these things make it easy to think about the work I need to be doing, though. Indeed, I'm afraid that I'd much rather be looking at maps of North America during the Mesozoic or these magnificent images of the Venusian south pole than writing anything I need to be writing at the moment. Sometimes, all my life seems a binary opposition between writing and those things which kindly distract me from writing.