greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast





The house next door, and the limb that took out power lines and four cars.



From another angle.



Yeah, we lost trees.



On the Point Street Bridge. One gate in the hurricane barrier was open, as the tide began to rise.

All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac



***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."

Date: 2011-09-06 06:04 pm (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance.

I didn't realize that was John Carpenter! Yes. Bridges does nonhuman so well.

"The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."

"Freako, 1. Civilization, 0."

Date: 2011-09-06 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I didn't realize that was John Carpenter! Yes. Bridges does nonhuman so well.

Yep. Bridge's studied the movements of birds for the part.

"Freako, 1. Civilization, 0."

Spooky "In-fucking-deed."

Date: 2011-09-06 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trvolk.livejournal.com
Paganism is such a primitive construct that trappings of religion can be easily stripped from it. Beyond becoming one with nature lies becoming one with the nature of reality.

What can I say? I am a retired radiochemist.

Date: 2011-09-06 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

What can I say? I am a retired radiochemist.

Works for me.

Date: 2011-09-06 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
Hmm, well that's one f word I won't use again. Just glad I didn't piss you off, inadvertently or not.

I've heard mixed things about Prince of Darkness. China M describes it as an "underrated" film. It sounds like a good premise (if a rehash of a lot of Nigel Kneale) but I'll trust you on this and stay well away. Perhaps I can imagine a better film.

I rewatched The Thing a couple of weeks back. I'd forgotten how great it was. Awesome, but that word's got devalued of late.

Date: 2011-09-06 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

China M describes it as an "underrated" film.

Alas, he is wrong.

Date: 2011-09-06 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eluneth.livejournal.com
It's where suspense goes to die of boredom.
Nice. I so enjoy your movie reviews (and now I want to see Starman).

Good-bye to that uprooted ash tree! Most of its root system looks surprisingly shallow, from what's visible in that photo.

Date: 2011-09-06 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

(and now I want to see Starman).

It's one of those woefully underrated films.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strange-selkie.livejournal.com
I am not given to deep or any thoughts about religion, being content to let my Judaism chase its tail and just as comfortable with the whatever-it-is I picked up from my grandmother, who has a reputation in her tiny Rhode Island town as the woman you go to when you need a thing; but thank you for sharing yours. They resonated.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

but thank you for sharing yours. They resonated.

You're welcome.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaz-mahoney.livejournal.com
If I remember rightly (which I may not), there was an early episode of Californication were Hank's girlfriend-of-the-moment says "L-O-L" while they're in bed one morning, effectively destroying the relationship.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humglum.livejournal.com

Indeed. I tried to find the scene on YouTube, but only managed to find it dubbed in German and Italian.

Date: 2011-09-06 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaz-mahoney.livejournal.com
Now I want to see it again, too.

Date: 2011-09-06 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

BUT! I think the clip I posted last night is from the same episode. Hank Moody, my man.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elmocho.livejournal.com
"OMG" has also entered this reversal, and sounds even worse than "LOL," especially when phrased as "And I'm all, like, OMG, y'know?"

Date: 2011-09-06 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm hurting now.

Date: 2011-09-06 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joshrupp.livejournal.com
I enjoyed "Prince of Darkness." The implication that an evil lava lamp is responsible for our problems resonated with me. It's a metaphor. They were saying that the irresponsibility of the disco age is what led to the apathy of Gen X, which is why we stand at the brink of environmental oblivion.

Do you see? DO YOU SEE THE METAPHOR?!

Date: 2011-09-06 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Do you see? DO YOU SEE THE METAPHOR?!

Honestly, no. You blew it with the lava lamp, which would be more of a metaphor for the sixties....

Date: 2011-09-06 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joshrupp.livejournal.com
Whatever. "Prince of Darkness" is still about environmental responsibility. And that if you find a weird thing in the basement, you shouldn't drink it. Either way, it's important.

Please tell Panthalassa I say "hi."

Date: 2011-09-06 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unknownbinaries.livejournal.com
Something pretty great that may help make up for the LOL stupidity, since we all know your love for things Tolkien; an art student has made his own hand-illuminated Silmarillion (http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2011/08/art-student-hand-illuminates-binds-a-copy-of-tolkiens-silmarillion.html).

Date: 2011-09-06 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Oh. Fucking. Wow.

Thank you.

Date: 2011-09-06 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spank-an-elf.livejournal.com
That is amazing.

Crazy Donald Pleasence

Date: 2011-09-06 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spank-an-elf.livejournal.com
My dad loved Donald Pleasence. Dad called him Crazy Donald since DP always seemed to play over the top characters determined to act enough for the rest of the cast. "What's Crazy Donald up to now?"

Alice Cooper played the head of the group of homeless folks hovering outside the church, correct?

You're generous in including "The Fog" in Carpenter's plus column.

Re: Crazy Donald Pleasence

Date: 2011-09-06 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Alice Cooper played the head of the group of homeless folks hovering outside the church, correct?

Yerp.

You're generous in including "The Fog" in Carpenter's plus column.

Very, very generous.

Date: 2011-09-06 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catconley.livejournal.com
I loved "Slouching Towards the House of Glass Coffins." The rhythm and sounds of it were wonderful and I ended up reading it out loud to myself. And I really loved Muirgheal's name and how it contrasts with the wastelands. Excellent story!

Date: 2011-09-06 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I am very pleased. I was nervous about that story.

Date: 2011-09-07 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catconley.livejournal.com
It all worked beautifully together. You nailed it.

Date: 2011-09-06 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aarontbc.livejournal.com
... and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

Even the notion of this is rather exciting.

Date: 2011-09-06 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Indeed. It gets me wet.

Panthalassa

Date: 2011-09-06 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cliff52.livejournal.com
We can only see so far, and imagine just a bit farther. Whatever lies past that point surely doesn't care what we call it, or even that we acknowledge its' existence.
Even so, it serves us to talk about it and that requires a name.
That's why I enjoy your discussions of Panthalassa.

Re: Panthalassa

Date: 2011-09-06 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm glad. I always fear I'm boring people sideways.

Re: Panthalassa

Date: 2011-09-07 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xanadu-dreamer.livejournal.com
It's interesting and I'm always glad when you share your views. Not boring at all.

Date: 2011-09-07 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
'I say it was coke and whores.'

Maybe. Or maybe just not giving a fuck anymore. For continuing proof I refer you to his latest, The Ward, which makes Prince of Darkness look like The Thing.

I have a soft spot for They Live, though. It's one of his more personal, political films.

Date: 2011-09-07 02:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kennydoogs.livejournal.com
I'm curious as to your thoughts on Carpenter's 1988 film, "They Live."

Date: 2011-09-07 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mq-musings.livejournal.com
Re: Panthalassa - Very interesting distinction. Please feel free to go on about that at length.

Re: Prince of Darkness - Many years ago we watched PoD and In the Mouth of Madness as a kick-off to a Lovecraftian role-playing game. I found the most interesting character in the movie to be Donald P's impressive 70's mustache, which about ten minutes in I named "Dave". I started doing a verbal intrepretation of the plot as though Dave were the main character. Everyone joined in and the movie turned into an MST3000 event on the trials of Dave. If you're ever stuck watching the movie again, I recommend this technique. Or, y'know, drugs.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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