February 4th, 2009

Middle Triassic

"Back to work," growled the platypus, and the dodo, she agreed.

The snow stopped sometime this morning before we awoke. Now it's sunny, but cold as hell. Currently, the temperature is 20F, but only 8F when you factor in wind chill (that's 6.66C, and -13C, for those in Celsius countries). The sun is making diamonds of the snow. The sky is impossibly blue, with only a few stray wisps of cloud. I shall not be going Outside today.

The FREE surprise went out to Sirenia Digest subscribers yesterday afternoon. And, as expected, it bounced back from at least 50% of those to whom it was sent, though only a handful of people gave us instructions not to address to their usual email accounts. So, we're working on how to get it to everyone who hasn't gotten it. We may have to put it up somewhere on the website as a downloadable PDF, then send a password to subscribers.

Oh, and the moral of yesterday's entry is: If you want to get people talking on your blog, just impugn a popular social-networking service (in this case, Twitter). If only my fiction elicited such passionate reactions!

Now, I'll try to play "catch up."

Monday afternoon, we made our way from Federal Hill to downtown Providence. Sonya (sovay) was arriving by train about 3:30 p.m. (CaST). The streets were all slush and water dripped from everything as a month's worth of snow and ice melted away. There's new snow and ice now, but on Sunday all of Providence seemed like a great salt- and dirt-flavoured Slushie. The capital building, across the street from the Amtrak station, was stunning in the bright sun and remaining snow. Once we'd rescued Sonya from the pigeon-haunted train station the three if us headed south, having decided that a trip to Moonstone Beach was in order. We stopped in Wakefield, at the Wakefield Mall, because toilet facilities were needed. First, I discovered that my much-beloved Toy Vault has closed and then I dropped my iPod in the restroom. It appeared, at the time, that I'd broken it. Only slightly daunted, we continued on to Moonstone.

All the fantastical growths of dog roses, green brier, poison ivy, and etc. were only brown ghosts of their former summer selves. Trustom Pond, set back behind the dunes, was still frozen over, and there was a great noisy flock of mallards scattered across the ice. This beach, as I have said before, has many moods, and on Monday it was covered with cobbles and pebbles. I'd only seen it like that once before, back in the summer. As all the piping plovers have flown south for the winter, the barriers that keep people out of the nesting areas were down so we could stroll much farther to both the east and west than I'd ever done before. We picked up stones, shells, beach glass, the claws of crabs and lobsters. I found a small white toe bone, from a fox, I think, bleached white. Then, almost immediately, Spooky found the ulna of a very large bird (the bone measures 22 cm. along the mid-line). Back towards the dunes I located a thin layer of black sand, no more than a couple of cm. thick, marking the January 19th, 1996 oil spill that devastated the beach. A geological fingerprint, so to speak. There were a few other people out, but it was bitterly cold and we had the beach mostly to ourselves. After walking west a while, we turned and walked east, about a quarter mile, as far as the inlet where Card Pond connects to the sea at high tide (the tide was going out, so we could cross). Almost all the way to the place where Moonstone Beach becomes Browning Beach. We found innumerable mermaid purses of at least two species. Spooky found an enormous piece of driftwood, shot through with large rusted iron spikes. I guessed it had once been part of a pier's piling. It had evidently spent years, if not decades, at sea, and had snagged all manner of detritus——ropes (of all sorts and sizes), old gloves, a lobster pot, netting, etc. About 5:30 p.m. (CaST), clouds moved in from the west and the sun abruptly vanished. The beach grew much colder at once, and we quickly, reluctantly, made our way back to the car. All told, we must have walked at least a mile, which seemed three times that far, given the cold wind and how stiff I've gotten sitting in this chair every damn day.

I should really wrap this up, as I have to get back to editing The Red Tree today. Much tedium awaits, as we return to the line edits. Also, I should be seeing actual copies of A is for Alien this week, so I'm pretty excited about that. If you've not yet ordered a copy, please do so today. Thanks.

And yes, I am extraordinarily amused to see Stephen King taking Stephanie Myer to task. Bravo! To quote King, "...Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good." Which is, of course, a much more tactful choice of words than the ones I've tended to use when describing Myer's novels.

Oh, the iPod was working again on Tuesday morning. Lucky me. The thing's a bloody tank. This is a first or second generation iPod I got back in the spring of '05.

Photos from Monday, behind the cut:

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