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Down the way, the road's divided...

An apology regarding yesterday's entry. There were many, many thoughtful comments, and usually I am very good about replying to almost all comments. I am usually very glad for comments. But something went awry yesterday. I don't quite know what. I just sort of feel like I slipped off the face of the world for a bit there. I do very much appreciate the comments, that you guys took the time to make them. I'll come back to those questions later. Meanwhile, Liz, yes I would very much like to discuss this with you further. Do you have my e-mail?

Yesterday, I did 1,511 more words on "In View of Nothing." And I do not know if this story is going to work. I cannot seem to get it right. It's like I'm writing some dim shade of the story this ought to be. Yesterday afternoon, I was ready to shelve the whole thing. But I've decided to give it one more day.

The sun is bright today, and the warmth has returned.

I read an absolutely terrifying article yesterday afternoon in the new National Geographic, about the explosive growth and Disneyfication of Orlando, Florida since the mid-1970s. My first stepfather's parents (my step grandparents, I suppose) lived there back in the '70s, and I remember Orlando as a drowzy sort of nowhere in particular place, all blue crystal springs and citrus groves. I had no idea that it had become such a wasteland of consumerism and superhighways, megachurches and exurbs and McMansions. I suppose Orlando's another place I will never revisit.

Here's a marvelous quote from Lewin's Bones of Contention (1987). It's nothing especially profound, if you spend a lot of time thinking about evolution, but it does a good job of saying what it says:

Although we usually fail to think of it in this way, the world around us today is just one of countless possible worlds. The millions of species of plants, animals, and insects we see around us are the expression of myriad interacting processes, including chance — perhaps especially including chance. At any point in its prehistory, a species might just as easily have taken a different direction, given a slightly altered confluence of events, thus leaving today's world a slightly different place. And this includes the line leading to us. If, for instance, the massive asteroid collision that appears to have spelled the end of the dinosaurs had also wiped out completely the infant primate lineage that existed 65 million years ago, then there would have been no bush babies and other prosimians, no monkeys, no apes — and no us. And if the climatic changes that so altered the African landscape between 5 and 10 million years ago had in fact not occurred, apes might have remained the highest of the primate order, as they were then. There are so many "ifs" in our history that could so easily have shifted the course of events. Despite our intense desire to believe otherwise, Homo sapiens simply cannot be seen as the inevitable product of life on earth..

Oh, and Spooky found my glasses, so I can see again.

Also, a link for those who have not yet heard of the discovery of Albertaceratops nesmoi from the Upper Cretaceous of Alberta.

Comments

( 18 comments — Have your say! )
fremen_dancer
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
I had the misfortune of living in Orlando for about a year, and despised it. The place no longer has any kind of a soul.
mevennen
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I don't think I do, but mine is:

liz(at)arkady(dot)org

if you are interested. I was very interested by the comments made, by the way.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Got it.

if you are interested. I was very interested by the comments made, by the way.

Thank you. I am interested. Just scatter-brained of late.
sclerotic_rings
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
I have a cousin who lives in Orlando, and I only discovered this as I was packing up everything and moving from Tallahassee. Not only is he from my father's side of the family, which still hasn't forgiven me for abandoning Catholicism, but he apparently makes his money from real estate deals of exactly that sort. Suffice to say, the Orlando you knew is gone, and I'm related to someone who made it that way. Bugger.
frankiemouse
Mar. 6th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
total side point, but i used to have that book in you icon when i was a kid. i remember liking it. i don't remember how accurate it was, but i did like it. i should check about and see if i can find it.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
total side point, but i used to have that book in you icon when i was a kid. i remember liking it. i don't remember how accurate it was, but i did like it. i should check about and see if i can find it.

It's a favourite book from my childhood — Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles by Jane Werner Watson (1960; A Giant Golden Book, Golden Press, NY), illustrated by the legendary Rudolph F. Zallinger who did the famous murals for the Yale Peabody Museum. I still have my copy.
frankiemouse
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
i hope i can find mine. if not i'll have to try to hunt down a copy. thanks for the info.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
i hope i can find mine. if not i'll have to try to hunt down a copy. thanks for the info.

You're welcome. I think it turns up fairly regularly on eBay.
sclerotic_rings
Mar. 6th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
By today's standards, the book is painfully obsolete, as it continues with the old routine of sauropods and lambeosaurs being forced to be aquatic, but I've been a huge fan of Rudolph Zallinger since I had my first copy of that book in '72. As much as I love contemporary palaeo artists such as John Sibbick, Zallinger's work after his Age of Reptiles mural still qualifies as the best at expressing, without actually showing human figures, exactly how big some of them could become.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
As much as I love contemporary palaeo artists such as John Sibbick, Zallinger's work after his Age of Reptiles mural still qualifies as the best at expressing, without actually showing human figures, exactly how big some of them could become.


On the one hand, I'm a stickler for accuracy. On the other, I'm a sucker for romance. And few illustrators have ever painted the romance of lost worlds the way that Zallinger did.
nykolus
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
OT: 'skin game' was deliciously nasty & hot. 'a season of broken dolls' and 'excerpt from memoirs of a martian demirep' from TftWP both were both disturbing and exquisite.

i've read all your novels, but nothing thrills me more than your short/long storied future-noir.

thank you.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
i've read all your novels, but nothing thrills me more than your short/long storied future-noir.

Cool. You're welcome.
sovay
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
I did 1,511 more words on "In View of Nothing." And I do not know if this story is going to work. I cannot seem to get it right. It's like I'm writing some dim shade of the story this ought to be.

I have rarely been able to translate dreams exactly into stories; "In the Praying Windows" is the closest I've ever written, actually, and half of that is you. There are always so many extra dimensions in the dreams that don't make sense to anyone else on the page.

My first stepfather's parents (my step grandparents, I suppose) lived there back in the '70s, and I remember Orlando as a drowzy sort of nowhere in particular place, all blue crystal springs and citrus groves. I had no idea that it had become such a wasteland of consumerism and superhighways, megachurches and exurbs and McMansions.

I don't know about the megachurches and McMansions, but I do remember that when I was last in Orlando—I was in elementary school—it was dead impossible to find a bookstore anywhere near Disney World or the Epcot Center, which struck me as counterproductive.
niamh_sage
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
I read the National Geographic article too, and Orlando sounds appalling. The megachurches particularly freaked me out, I don't know why. If I ever make it to the US, Orlando will *not* be on my list of places to visit.
hangedwoman
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Regarding the Lewin quote, yes, one thing that tends to really irritate me about some of the religious nuts is that if they actually paid attention for five minutes they could see that there is so much to be found in science that speaks of wonder, so much that could in fact support faith.
sclerotic_rings
Mar. 6th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
In their case, it's not about faith: it's about control. You used to have a grand tradition of men of faith making great contributions to science (read any good biography on Gregor Mendel to start, but also look at the contributions of many Anglican ministers to natural history during the Victorian Era), but the loudmouths who claim to speak for God are all about keeping their organ donors stupid and compliant, and science is a very good way to get them to look up from time to time. (Personally, I also find the Bible to be delightfully subversive if you read the right spots: I'm planning to have Proverbs 26:11 carved onto my crematory urn, and I just love the expressions on local thumpers' faces when I ask "So...what did you think of the Book of Songs?")
hangedwoman
Mar. 6th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, the power of The Stupid. I ended up stuck talking to an evangelical young woman a few weeks ago, and at one point she said something along the lines of, "I guess Jesus wasn't any particular denomination. I don't remember reading anything that said he was Catholic; do you think he was Catholic?" I'm just proud of myself for not having a seizure at that point.
sclerotic_rings
Mar. 6th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
I understand: I spent my high school years in a shithole burg called Lewisville, Texas, where I was repeatedly informed by the locals that Catholics weren't actually Christians, and that that we were all in on the Vatican's plans to take over the world. (Naturally, I was rather ticked off that nobody let me in on the plan, and I left the Church because nobody was willing to give me my cut.) Of course, this was Lewisville: a few years back, I joked that about the Lewisville Erotic Film Festival consisting of "87 back-to-back screenings of Deliverance" and received the response "...so? What's the problem?"
( 18 comments — Have your say! )