greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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"And you feel hopeless, and homeless, and lost in the haze of the wine..."

First off, let me direct your attention to the auction that is being held to benefit the Shirley Jackson Awards. Appropriately, it is being called a "lottery." A lot of great stuff, and I've donated a complete, signed set of my novels: Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, and Daughter of Hounds. Tickets are only one dollar each, and the lottery ends on February 23rd. Check it out.

Yesterday, after attending to the morning's email, I decided that I could spare one day away from the keyboard, in honour of Darwin Day and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, and also to take some time to simply enjoy the release of A is for Alien. We toyed with the idea of going either to Boston, to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, or to New Haven, to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; either of which would have been perfect. However, Spooky didn't really feel like driving back from Massachusetts, and I really didn't feel like riding to Connecticut. So, we settled for a trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo here in Providence (established 1872).

The day was cold, and cloudy, and the zoo had an odd air of desolation. Mud and melting snow everywhere, bare limbs, ponds still frozen solid, and many of the animals inside their winter quarters. But we still managed to see a great many living wonders of evolution, which seemed a very fitting way to commemorate Darwin's contributions to biology. Animals I can remember seeing: African elephants, Masai giraffes, dromedaries, Cape hunting dogs, a snow leopard, moon bears, a red panda, flamingos, grey-crowned cranes, a two-toed sloth, a Brazilian prehensile-tailed porcupine, harbour seals, Humboldt penguins, kangaroos, emus, a red wolf, emerald tree boas, some beautiful examples of Australian snake-necked turtles, a crested quail dove, elegant crested tinamou, gibbons, carpet pythons and green tree pythons, Barbary sheep, a babirusa, fruit bats, a giant anteater...and, well, various others. But those are all I recall offhand. It's not a large zoo, compared with the Atlanta Zoo, and the interstate is annoyingly near (almost directly on top of the elephants). I think I will like it better during the spring and summer. We were especially taken with the "Tropical America" exhibit, housed in an ivy-covered Victorian building. It was swelteringly hot inside, and the air was filled with the screams of monkeys and tropical birds. Two docents very eagerly pointed out to us that the two-toed sloth was lounging about outside her den, out in the open, which they said she very rarely does. She was only a couple of feet from us, with no glass or plastic or bars in between. Beautiful. So, yes, Darwin Day hooky at the zoo.

When we got home, another box of A is for Alien and B is for Beginnings was waiting for me on the doorstep. I opened it, and admired the books all over again.

Last night, we both reached Level 61 in WoW, but it was a rather dull, frustrating night of gaming. The Valentine's Day stuff is a bit much. And I'm growing weary of not being able to make it through dungeons until we're far past the level where we can get points for the kills in the dungeons. I cannot understand this attempt at forced socialization. Blizzard could easily have designed a solo mode for the game's "instances" (I loathe the sterile misappropriation of that word for the dungeons). I won't play with strangers, generally speaking, and everyone we know who plays WoW is on other servers or much lower or higher than we are. It's a really baffling oversight on the part of Blizzard. But, yeah, Level 61.

And now, the work I should have done yesterday. Here are six photos from the zoo:

Not the best photo ever of a two-toed sloth. But we were so close.

All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Kathryn A. Pollnac

Tags: a is for alien, darwin, darwin day, days off, gaming, rhode island, shirley jackson, winter, zoology

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