September 22nd, 2021

Western Interior Seaway

"And a letter he wrote from a dry, foundered boat."

Not a bad day. The rain seems to be gone, leaving dry air and cooler temperatures. Our high today was 74˚F. It is currently 70˚F.

I went into to McWane at 1 p.m. and spent the afternoon examining one of the two specimens that are the subject of the paper I'm writing (this one is on loan to me from the State Museum at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa). But I'd forgotten my "reading glasses," which means I got a LOT less done than I had intended to get done. Fortunately, I'm going back Tuesday afternoon. It is definitely wonderful being able to go back into the lab, but it also underscores how much was lost the last year and a half. So much work that could have been accomplished, that needed doing, that now likely never will be, at least not by me. You can't just toss aside a year and a half and not expect it to have significant and long-term consequences. So, being back at McWane is bittersweet. I was double-masked the whole time, even though most of the museum visitors can't be bothered with even a single mask.

And yeah, after all this time and me becoming once again so reclusive, and worse than I ever was before, and Alabama being so near the center of the worst of COVID-19 in North America, it's stressful in ways that a) being at the lab never were and b) ways that are not conducive to doing good science.

It's surreal, driving through downtown Birmingham. During my long seclusion it stopped feeling – at some point – as if I live anywhere, in a geographic sense. I live at my desk, at my work tables, on the floor in the living room where I watch TV, at the dining table, in bed. But not in Birmingham.

It's gonna be a long, slow process, coming back from this.

Never mind all the ways that Birmingham no longer looks or feels quite like itself, like my home.

If you've not been following the current eBay auctions, please have a look. Kathryn has put up another set of the Vile Affections/Cambrian Tales ARCs, and THIS IS THE LAST SET WE CAN AUCTION. So, if you want these ARCs, this is it. Anyway, thanks.

This morning, I finished reading In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and began Steve Brusette's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

3:07 p.m. (a small portion of the massive McWane bulk sample collection)