May 14th, 2008


...and her hundred miles to hell.

I am a very lucky nixar. No gaping, bloody wound in my head. My dentist is wise and merciful, and I was allowed to keep that right second upper molar. It seems the discomfort was arising from a problem caused by upper and lowers no longer occluding properly (because of the work done on the cracked tooth in February). A little grinding (not even the indignity of Novacaine, thank the gods) Still, she gave me Lortab and penicillin scripts, just in case something should go wrong in there before I find a new dentist in Providence. She's been my dentist since March 2000, and it was an oddly bittersweet parting. Anyway, don't ever say that I've never given you a glimpse of true horror, because if you look behind the cut, you'll find x-rays of my frelled-up mouth:

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After the dentist, enormously relieved and not low on blood, we dropped by the storage unit to see just how annoying moving everything out of it will be on May 27th. Not too bad. And then we went to the Birmingham Public Library, and I sat beneath the beautiful old murals in the Linn-Henley wing. That part of the library appears in Threshold, and it's on that very short list of things I will miss about the South. Truthfully, in an alternate-world Alabama with an entirely different cultural and political climate, I could probably have lived my whole life in Birmingham. Anyway, Spooky took some photos, and I'll put them up tomorrow, after she's had time to edit them. Today, you just get gnarly teeth. We saw an assortment of flattened and living fauna along I-20: crows, buzzards, deer, armadillos, dogs, a hawk. At the rest stop just across the Alabama state line, we spotted a large (probably female) Broad-headed skink (Eumeces laticeps). Spooky tried to get a photo, but the lizard did not cooperate. Alas. After the library, we stopped by my Mother's house in Leeds, and spent a couple of hours there, just talking. She's coming up to Providence to visit in the autumn.

I suppose, now that there is not unsightly recovery to endure, I shall be trying to finish up Chapter One of The Red Tree, beginning today. I need to have that done, and also Issue No. 30 of Sirenia Digest by Wednesday, the 21st, at the latest. Not only will the packing schedule become so hectic by then that there's no way I can even hope to work, but, also, I have to go back to Birmingham next week, to see my regular doctor one last time before the move (and she's been my doctor since 1990).

Last night, after finally getting back to Atlanta about 9 pm and grabbing some Thai food for dinner, we watched two episodes from Season Two of Millennium ("The Hand of St. Sebastian" and the hilariously wonderful "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense", the latter with Charles Nelson Riley). Oh, and discovered a tick latched onto my left hip. No idea where I picked the little fucker up. Maybe at my mother's (rural location plus dog), maybe at the rest stop earlier. She was a female Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and was surprisingly painful when Spooky removed her. The blasted thing had apparently been on my clothing for some time, had only just bitten, and hadn't yet started to feed (no blood), or had fed only a very little. We dropped the tick in a jar of alcohol (70%), where she survived for a hour. Spooky's calling my doctor about it today, just in case she wants me to take any precautions beyond those we have taken already. And, please, no oogy tick-borne disease related stories. Thank you.

Later, I tried to work on the Palaeozoic Museum (New Babbage, Second Life), but the damned asset server was on the fritz again, so that didn't happen. I did make quite a lot of progress on it Monday. Oh, yeah. Monday. On Monday, I worked on the Museum, we got dinner from the Vortex at Little Five Points, and watched two episodes of Farscape ("Home on the Remains" and "A Constellation of Doubt"). I went back to the biography of Henry Fairfield Osborn, which I hope to finish before the move. That was Monday. Huzzah.

Also, I should repost the link to

Is it just me, or are these entries getting far too long winded? At any rate, only 13 days remaining to the dread birthday -04. Blegh. But my Amazon wish list is here, if you are so inclined.

Oh, and since this entry has gone on Way Too Long, I may as well mention how I've been complaining about the sudden proliferation of needless contractions, because people simply can't be bothered. Sure. It's not really anything new. Nabisco stopped being the National Biscuit Company back in the early sixties, but, lately, it seems like this is happening everywhere. National Geographic as NatGeo?! The Biography Channel as Bio? I wonder how many people still remember that WB stands for Warner Brothers, or that KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or that iHop is shortened from the International House of Pancakes? But the one that really tears it for me, that set off a rant last night, was seeing Scarlett Johansson called "ScarJo." What the holy fuck?! Okay, sure. First we had JLo, but that was just Jennifer Lopez, so who really cares? Not only is Scarlett Johansson a fine actress (The Black Dahlia not withstanding), she has a cool name, so why ruin it with a silly contraction like "ScarJo"? It is beyond me, these things that people do. Maybe I would be a more popular writer if I went by CaitKier. Or just CRK. Regardless, I am looking forward to hearing her album of Tom Waits covers. And now the platypus says if I don't stop and drink some coffee, sheheit's going to start gnawing my ankles.

"And it runs deeper than you dare to dream it could be..."

A couple of things I missed in this morning's monster of a post. First, Spooky's father, Dr. Richard Pollnac (Professor of Anthropology and Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island) will be joining Chip Barber (Environmental Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development) for a live webcast entitled "Troubled Waters: Anticipating, Preventing, and Resolving Conflict Around Fisheries." It's being broadcast from Washington, DC, but you can watch it here (May 15, 2008, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., EST). The talk will focus on "...the interactions between demographics, environmental stress, livelihoods, and conflict in the context of fisheries, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia." Spooky's dad has been conducting field studies of fisheries worldwide since the 1960s, from Lake Victoria (Uganda) to Alaska to Vietnam to Thailand to Indonesia to...well, all over.

On a somewhat related note, there's an article at the "ProTraveller" website, "20 Cities, Islands & Countries Threatened By Global Warming." On the one hand, well, it does call attention to particular treasures that are being and will be lost to global warming (the Galapagos Islands, Manhattan, London, Jakarta, Glacier National Park, the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, etc.). On the other hand, I think that it somehow manages to miss the point. Yes, all these sites are indeed endangered, but that's only because the seas are rising worldwide, meaning all coastlines, everywhere, will experience drastic change during this century with even the lowest estimates of sea-level rise. Every inch of coastline, no exceptions. So, spotlighting these twenty sites, and lines like "You might want to book a trip to see some of them before it's too late!" just comes off a wee bit glib. I mean, species face extinction, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced, economies will tumble, and the very face of the globe will change...and we'll lose all these sweet vacation spots. Er...yeah.

Meanwhile, new figures published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, based on ongoing studies at Hawaii's Mount Loa volcano, indicate that atmospheric CO2 levels have now risen to 387 parts per million, the highest in 650,000 years. To put that in perspective, the earliest-known fossils that can be referred to Homo sapiens sapiens only date back a paltry 195,000 years (Richard Leakey's "Omo remains" from the Omo National Park in Ethiopia). If we go back 650ka, we reach the Middle Pleistocene, a time when Homo sapiens sapiens had yet to evolve (though remains of another subspecies, Homo sapiens idaltu, the first recognizably "modern" humans, and possibly the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens sapiens, have been recovered from strata that old).