March 8th, 2007


life's rich pageant

So, yesterday we walk out the back door and down the back-porch steps, only meaning to have a short walk, maybe over to Inman Park. But we were immediately greeted by an unfamiliar orange girl cat, and we stopped in the driveway to pet her and say hi, as she was very friendly and vocal. Then, suddenly, she turned and pounced something in the grass. Moments later, she had a small snake in her mouth. When she dropped it, we shooed her away. It was a young DeKay's brown snake (Storeria dekayi). Worried that the cat had seriously injured it (the snake had flipped over into the "playing dead" position as soon as she dropped it), I scooped it up and brought it inside the house. It seemed fine and very active. DeKay's are the only common snake in our neighborhood; indeed, the only other squamate I've ever seen hereabouts was an Eastern ringnecked snake back in '05. Anyway, we've been talking about keeping one as a pet this year, as they are reported to be extremely low-maintenance herps. So, instead of our walk, we put the snake somewhere safe from Hubero and drove over to Pet Smart on Ponce to get a small tank and a heating pad (where some dork tried to convince us we were in imminent peril, handling a wild snake, and I didn't have the heart to tell him I've worked as a herpetologist; he seemed the sort who lives vicariously through a World of Warcraft character, poor soul). So, for now, we have pet #3, a young Storeria, which shall either be named Edward Drinker Cope (Drinker, for short) or Severus Snake. We haven't yet decided. We're waiting to see if it's going to feed as readily as Dekay's usually eat in captivity (snails, slugs, worms, etc.). If not, we will release it and hope that the cats and crows don't make a meal of the wee beastie. Here are photos, behind the cut (all photos by Spooky):

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Because of all the ophidian distraction, it was after 3 p.m. (CaST) before I finally sat down to write, and then there were constant interruptions relating to the busyness of writing. Some very good back and forth with my lit agent, but it didn't help the word count. I did only 893 words on "In View of Nothing," which was the entirety of the section labeled "06. The Train." Also, the bit to be written yesterday required research into guns and maglev and metallurgy, as well as Greek and Turkish geography, all of which slowed me down. I hope to do 1,500 words today. I really need to finish this piece by Monday (the 12th), and I'm losing tomorrow, as we've promised to have a movie day with Byron.

As for last night, Spooky and I set out to have the nerdiest evening possible, playing two games of Scrabble while simultaneously watching four Sherlock Holmes films on TCM: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943), The Woman in Green (1945), Terror by Night (1946), and Dressed to Kill (1946). The last of the four is my favourite of the bunch — mostly because Patricia Morison makes such a delightful femme fatale — though none of them are in the same class as Rathbone and Bruce's first two Holmes/Watson outings, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939). It also occurred to me that Basil Rathbone has a certain resemblance to Christopher Eccleston, and I got to thinking how wonderful it would be to see Eccleston play Holmes.

Okay, If I am to get a walk in today, I must sign off. Is that a gorgeous little snake or what?

LJ Postscript (1:41 p.m.) — Robert Thompson of "Fantasy Book Critic" has posted a very positive new review of Daughter of Hounds over at species_of_one. Have a look.