But it wasn’t this year’s upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie — it was a real goddam highly venomous spider on the outside of my garbage pail just now. (The signature red hourglass marking would be on its underside.) I would have loved to find Scarlett Johansson clinging to the side of my garbage pails, but generally my luck doesn’t work like that.
My neighbor found it and pointed it out to me, and my Internet search indeed seems to confirm that it is of the Southern Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans) species. I also learned two fun facts: 1) “black widows” are actually several species of spiders that are also called “true widows,” which I find vaguely poetic, and 2) these are the most venomous spiders in North America. The female’s bite is approximately 15 times more potent than than a rattlesnake bite. Okay … that second fact is probably more terrifying than it is “fun.”
My neighbor also started telling me other black widow facts, like how if you find one, you can expect to find more because of … mating season or something, but I literally walked away as fast as I could, because that’s the kind of fatally depressing news I expect from the national news.
Anyway, my best friend got a new pet just yesterday, and she keeps showing off her hamster pics — so maybe this is my way of keeping up with the Joneses.
These are just a couple of shots of Roanoke that I altered with basic photo-editing software. I don’t know why, but I like black-and-white photos with their details enhanced and with plenty of dark spaces in them.
I have no doubt that a proficient photographer would look at shots like these and find them to be elementary stuff. But I’m still learning about the process and having fun with it.
So I hit the supermarket last night because I NEEDED fresh meat. (I’m part velociraptor. 23andMe says so. I even wrote it in on the census.)
Let me tell you something — Roanokers are 100 percent diligent in maintaining the recommended six feet of distance. And on top of that, they’re STILL polite and good-natured. My neighbors are smart, classy people.
And I’m doing my best to blend in … I think they’ve mistaken me for one of their own.
So I just saw an eagle. I believe it’s only the second one that I’ve seen in my life. (I went through an embarrassing phase upon arriving in Virginia in which I thought all those vultures were eagles, but I got over that.)
It looked truly enormous, even from a distance — much larger, I think, than the eagles I’ve seen in Youtube videos; I’m not sure what the story there is.
This comes a day after a veritably massive heron took me off guard, too. (It was like a pterodactyl. It buzzed me like Maverick buzzes the tower in Top Gun.)
I keep trying to get pictures for you guys; I’d love to run photos here. But I’m always too clumsy in grabbing, pointing and shoot my camera. (I need to practice drawing and shooting really quickly, like maybe one of those Westworld robots.)
After my vain attempt to get a shot of tonight’s eagle, it occurred to me that if I knew where it nested, I could at least keep my eye out. So started eyeballing the treelines in my neighborhood. I might have looked funny, because I had to squint, because my eyes aren’t what they used to be, and I’ve been told that I look “grudgy” when I squint, like I’m “looking for revenge or something.” So I probably look like a lunatic walking around now, vengefully squinting upward, like a dude just waiting for the Martians to attack again so he can finally fight back.
My neighbors think I’m weird enough. I can tell by the questions they ask me.
I know this is perfectly strange (look who you’re talking to), but I have never once checked a day’s temperature in my life. I’ll check whether it’s going to rain, sure. But when it comes to the temperature, I’ve always relied on just sticking my head outside to “see what it’s like out.”
Anyway … the past few months have been bizarrely warm. A warm September doesn’t faze me much, because sometimes Septembers are like that.
But it was warm enough to wear a t-shirt out this past Halloween, wasn’t it? And maybe even shorts, depending on what you find comfortable?
Throughout December, my fellow Roanokers occasionally commented that it was like spring out. And I absolutely cannot remember a Christmas that was more unseasonably warm.
It is the evening of January 11, and it was too warm after nightfall tonight to wear a winter jacket. Even a heavy sweatshirt might have been pushing it. A light rain has cooled this evening somewhat as we are arriving now at 7 PM, which makes a jacket okay, I guess.
This post isn’t intended as a commentary on climate change or anything. I’m just saying the situation is pretty damn weird, that’s all.