Well, let’s see. What things were delivered unto me over these last few days? Call them the Universe celebrating the day I was born. Today, I came home to see the cat doing the silly feline dance out in the backyard. The spring-leap-cavort paw-at-the-ground dance. At first, I thought it was just a mouse or a big slug (who are out in force these days) the cat had found, but, after watching him shove a paw into the ground and make the earth wiggle about six inches away, I realized we had our first mole of spring.
Now, I’ve only got a strip of grass about as wide and long as a box of unwrapped twinkies laid end-to-end and it seemed somewhat wrong that said small patch of grass (which, by the way, I am still managing to kill), was going to get rutted through by a mole. Being chased by the cat.
So, I grabbed a pair of gloves and a spare box from the garage (an empty Huggies box, of course, which is the only sort of spare box I have in the garage on a regular basis these days), levered up a slab of sod and found myself finger-to-nose with a tiny mole. Swooped him in the box and, like all triumphant trappers, went back into the security of my house to contemplate the next move while the little fellow scrabble-scrabbled at the cardboard.
I have, truth be told, never actually been that close to a mole before. They are pretty fascinating creatures. Soft little pink noses that are like the tip of a elephant trunk in how they quest and touch objects. Big strong claws and shoulders. Strange little cry that isn’t like a cat wailing but more like the sound of metal grinding on metal.
Anyway, I took him out to the big lot beyond the warehouses across the road from us where land is still undeveloped and released him. He scrabbled on the ground, getting his bearings, and I could almost see him realize, “Ah, wait, soft mud.” He scampered over to the shade of a clump of crab grass and, within five seconds, had burrowed under the ground. Five hippopotami. Gone. I can’t even — shit — I can’t do ANYTHING in five seconds.
Was lazy most of yesterday as can be expected of being King For a Day. While the lovely wife was off doing birthday shopping and the little dude was sleeping, I read Bakker’s The Darkness That Comes Before and wandered through a few stages of an old video game I had never finished, all the while dodging family and friends who were trying to call and interrupt the King’s Solitude. Later, I had ice cream cake.
Lovely wife returned with a copy of Pinchbeck’s 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, a very nice surprise. Much more so that Bakker’s book, which was tough going. Big herkin’ first volume of a philosophically rich fantasy trilogy that was, unfortunately, 500 pages of setup. The word that came to mind mostly while slogging through it was “fretting,” as in the characters seemed to be doing a lot of it. I’ve got the other two on the shelf and, frankly, not quite as excited to be tackling those. I’ve also got Erikson’s Memories of Ice up there. In 500 pages, Erikson accomplishes a good deal more. That’s not to kick Bakker too hard in the teeth. The Prince of Nothing is his first trilogy and there are some delightful things he’s doing there, but…there’s a lot of “fretting” going on.
Speaking of first books and commentary, my thoughts on barthanderson‘s Patron Saint of Plagues have been posted at Strange Horizons in a cage-match grudge-fest between myself and Paul Kincaid. Kincaid, eh, kind of got hung up on Anderson’s copula-deletion (he discusses the rationale of his choice over at jlundberg blog) (and, no, I don’t really know that fancy linguistic term, I’m stealing it from another fellow who can actually pull terms like this from his ass at a moment’s notice).
Me? I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Of course, I was trapped in an airplane for four hours with nothing other than this book and the SkyMall catalog. So, in a way, Barth Anderson saved me from making some rather embarrassing purchases at 35,000 feet.