Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Your tireless/negligent writer has been quite busy and as it pleased to announce that in zir endless quest for employment, employment has been acquired (huzzah!) and I've relocated from Houston, Texas, to the Boston, Massachusetts area as part of the deal.

I've traded being about an hour from the Gulf of Mexico to having rocky New England beaches within five minutes' walk; the sandy ones are slightly further. I need to a camera that is not attached to a phone to document my adventures and interactions with local tide pool denizens and waterfowl.

So far I have only met cod inside tanks awaiting their doom.

For those of you who are familiar with this area of the U.S., feel free to provide recommendations for food, drink, cultural events, etc, to a Southerner who's in stage 1 of culture shock. I wish I could just wander around here and look at stuff full-time.

In the meantime, here's STUFF:


Walking Trilobite animation ©2000 by S. M. Gon III
maintainer of the glorious Trilobites.info

You will never see another person as excited or enamored by trilobites as Dr. Fortey. This book made me so happy because you could practically hear him flailing with trilohappiness through every page, including inspired poetic descriptions of them. There are few things more wonderful than to listen to an expert who truly loves their subject talk about it; you will know it when you encounter it, it is unmistakable. 

I recently finished reading Fortey's Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and every time he mentions trilobites a bit of that unbridled love shines through. This man's work is a joy to read and he makes me laugh while educating me about stuff ("stuff" is my favorite noun right now).

 I love Cambrian sea images and dioramas so, so much.

Along similar lines, go read Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the History of Life, which Fortey often refers to. I'm aware of the controversy and issues surrounding Gould and punctuated equilibrium, but that's not what I read the book for, nor is it an issue I'm qualified or interested in arguing about: I'm there for Burgess Shale beasties and the drama of their discovery!

Do you want to read about my power animal Anomalocaris? Of course you do! It's a bit dated (1990), but the history of the discovery of the Burgess Shale organisms and the publishing of monographs on them still stands true. I found this book wildly compelling and it was one of the best I read last year.



TONMOCON IV - October 7-9th, 2011, Washington D.C., USA. Admission is $15. Regular readers and fellow ocean dorks will know that TONMO refers to The Octopus News Magazine Online, one of the Internet's premier resources and gatherings of cephalopod enthusiasts. This convention is right up my alley and I sorely wish I could attend to hang out with/terrify fellow cephnerds.  Alas, cruel geography prevents me. I encourage all to attend and spread the signal to interested parties.

Speaking of Kubodera & Mori (the zoologists responsible for that image of a living giant squid up there), I strongly recommend all cephalopod dorks who haven't read China MiƩville's Kraken do so in short order. You do not have to be a cephalopod dork to like it, but it really does help. It is fiction but sometimes you have to read fiction or your brain will melt under the sheer weight of science.