January 01, 2005

The last weeks have been one big mess of running around and drinking too much. Need to calm down my liver. Read all of submissions for Chain this month and then met for three days with Jena to discuss them. Then xmas. Then the MLA.

On the way to these various places I read a bunch of magazines, a number about remodeling one's kitchen which Jena had in the room where I was staying, and also William Lewis Manly's Death Valley in 49 which I very much enjoyed which surprised me because I usually don't like those pioneering stories. I guess he is just a good writer when it comes down to it. And that saves the book.

Got back to Oakland and spent today reading Sia Morhardt and Emil Morhardt's California Desert Flowers. Lots of great pictures. Weird minutia. Wonderful language, such as this description of the "elaborated sexual parts of Milkweed Family":

The pistil head, shrouded by fused anthers, acts as a landing platform for pollinators who come to suck nectar from filament hoods. The butterfly moves about, its leg slips into a groover between anthers where a saddlebaglike packet of pollen is waiting to attach to the messenger. When the butterfly visits the next flower, the saddlebag is deposited into a receptive stigmatic slit on the side of the pistil head and pollen bursts out of its bags right where it is needed. (p. 24)

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