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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.





The granite outcrop we climbed to drop the spring of yew (it's about fifteen feet high).



Looking down from the cliff at the sea.



Detail of the large crystals that compose much of the granite at West Cove.



Shuggoth! Well, actually a boulder covered in rockweed.



Did I mention the march of the shuggoths?



Spooky doing a rather odd dance as she searched the pebbles for interesting bits.



A vintage (1950s?) plastic Xmas ornament we found.



The toothed pharyngeal bone from a tautog (Tautoga onitis).



Looking out to the mouth of Narragansett Bay and the open Atlantic as the sun sets. Two boats on the horizon.



Moments before my fall. I'd just found a very nice crow feather. And yes, I'm dressed like a dork.



West Cove at sunset.



On the way back, we spotted Santa Claus prematurely breaking and entering.

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



---

Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:



It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

Dreadful,
Aunt Beast

Date: 2011-12-23 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r-darkstorm.livejournal.com
I always enjoy the pictures you post of the sea. And though you may have been dressed like a dork, at least you were a warm(er) dork.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

And though you may have been dressed like a dork, at least you were a warm(er) dork.

This is true.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shanejayell.livejournal.com
I'm sorta... iffy about Prometheus. Could be good, could suck.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Could be good, could suck.

If the latter, my opinion of Scott will plummet.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] martianmooncrab.livejournal.com
I have been watching a lot of the classic movies on TCM lately, between the costumes, makeup and lighting, not to mention the lack of special effects, it makes me appreciate movies that dont depend on high speed car chases, explosions, or SFX to entertain the audience.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I have been watching a lot of the classic movies on TCM lately, between the costumes, makeup and lighting, not to mention the lack of special effects, it makes me appreciate movies that dont depend on high speed car chases, explosions, or SFX to entertain the audience.

I can adore both equally. Both sorts of films. But I cannot abide gimmickry that forces directors, art directors, and cinematographers to deny the most fundamental tenants of film-making.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] martianmooncrab.livejournal.com
which at times seem to be story, plot, characters and pacing.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] britmandelo.livejournal.com
I, too, am just confused and appalled by the 3D issue. I would have thought that folks like Scorcese and Scott would know better.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I would have thought that folks like Scorcese and Scott would know better.

Bingo.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] briansiano.livejournal.com
Go see _Hugo_. Scorsese uses 3D in a way that's actually justified.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I am blind in one eye, and therefore cannot see 3D, as I do not have binocular vision. Which is required if one is to see anything in three dimensions.

Date: 2011-12-24 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] briansiano.livejournal.com
I guess I ought to apologize: I wasn't thinking of people who couldn't see 3D.

Still, _Hugo_ uses 3D in a way that's not just a gimmick, but a valuable addition to the film. (I posted a semi-essay about it on my LJ.) It's not an addition that'd work for _Avatar_ or _Prometheus_ or even the up-coming depthening of _Titanic_. It's actually unique to _Hugo_.

Date: 2011-12-23 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mastadge.livejournal.com
3D makes films harder to pirate (an advantage I can only imagine is lost when they also screened in 2D0, and also the tickets cost more, which means the movie grosses more per butt in seat. At a guess in this case it was all a compromise: Scott got to keep his big budget and R-rating if he agreed to do the thing in 3D. I imagine that happens a lot.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Anti-pirating is irrelevant, as fewer and fewer people are bothering to spend more to see 3D (% of 3D ticket sales have plummeted to about 20% of box office take), and more and more people buy/rent/stream DVDs.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:23 pm (UTC)
inthetatras: People planted in the ground like flowers sprouting in spring. (lazy day for a drive)
From: [personal profile] inthetatras
The tautog bone looks really interesting. I had never heard of that type of fish before now.

It really is a pity that Prometheus will be in 3D. I may have only seen a couple movies in 3D so far (Resident Evil: Afterlife last year and Hugo just yesterday), but I've never been of the opinion that a 2D movie couldn't capture the same greatness that its 3D counterpart might hypothetically provide, and I feel that 3D movies would be just fine in 2D without losing anything important.

Date: 2011-12-23 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humglum.livejournal.com

The tautog bone looks really interesting. I had never heard of that type of fish before now.

Had it not, like all fish bones, threatened to stink us out of house and home, it would have been rescued from the beach. I took 5 or 6 photos, all macro, so we'd at least have decent representations of the thing.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mlb194.livejournal.com
Beautiful beach photographs as always, and it is best to look like a dork and be warm. I live close by the sea on the other side of the Atlantic and when I venture onto the beach proper I always look rather randomly dressed and layered up - the wind can be very harsh.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

the wind can be very harsh.

The wind is a harsh mistress.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] robyn-ma.livejournal.com
I may have mentioned this before, but a co-worker's son can only see out of one eye, and (like you, I'm sure) she has to go out of her way to find a theater playing a 3D movie in 2D.

I have yet to purchase any DVD or Blu-ray for the library collection that is exclusively 3D. I think the only 3D disc we have, actually, is Coraline, which offers both options anyway. Someone today who'd just bought a 3D HD set asked if we had any 3D films. I shook my head scornfully. Scornfully, I say!

I can see why some of the bigger directors like Scorsese and Scott would be curious to try 3D — it's a toy they want to play with. I've seen my share of 3D, and — not that you didn't know this anyway — you're not missing much. The post-processed ones are crap, and the actual shot-in-3D ones...well, not everyone is James Cameron.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I may have mentioned this before, but a co-worker's son can only see out of one eye, and (like you, I'm sure) she has to go out of her way to find a theater playing a 3D movie in 2D.

Yep.


I have yet to purchase any DVD or Blu-ray for the library collection that is exclusively 3D.


Well, I bought two versions of Avatar, but both neither had a 3D option on the discs.


I can see why some of the bigger directors like Scorsese and Scott would be curious to try 3D — it's a toy they want to play with.


Hopefully, it will be broken and forgotten by next Xmas.

Date: 2011-12-23 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
"Mermaid's tears" is a beautiful name for sea-glass. I've not heard that before. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

How bow-tie is The Call of Cthulhu film? I love it very, very much. My favourite Lovecraft adaptation. I've seen that the HPLHS also made an audio version of Mountains, and I'm quite tempted.

I haven't heard much about Prometheus (and can't view the trailer on this thing). Somebody told me wooden starships were involved, but he may've been winding me up. The 3D news is dismaying; I see no point to it.

I attempted to introduce the concept of Bowtie to my friend last night. It'll be ages before I can wean off the A-word.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

"Mermaid's tears" is a beautiful name for sea-glass. I've not heard that before. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

You're welcome.


How bow-tie is The Call of Cthulhu film? I love it very, very much. My favourite Lovecraft adaptation. I've seen that the HPLHS also made an audio version of Mountains, and I'm quite tempted.


Not "Mountains," but "Whisperer in the Darkness."

Somebody told me wooden starships were involved, but he may've been winding me up.

It's true that Scott opted to keep CGI to a minimum and do as much with miniature, in camera, as possible. For this he is to be lauded.

Date: 2011-12-24 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
The fact that he's using practical effects gives me hope.

Date: 2011-12-23 09:05 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
From: [personal profile] sovay
The toothed pharyngeal bone from a tautog (Tautoga onitis).

That's just beautiful.

Thank you for the photographs.

I'm glad it was a good solstice.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

That's just beautiful.

The exquisite poetry of nature.

Date: 2011-12-23 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
3D or not, that cast looks amazing. I'm hoping that Ridley Scott will give Ms. Rapace a role that's more hearty than what Guy Ritchie did in the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Cause really, Lisbeth Salander, Magneto, Edward VIII and Heimdall all team up versus the Alien? Oh hell yeah.

Date: 2011-12-23 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

3D or not, that cast looks amazing. I'm hoping that Ridley Scott will give Ms. Rapace a role that's more hearty than what Guy Ritchie did in the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Er...the Sherlock Holmes film rocks, as she does within it.

Cause really, Lisbeth Salander, Magneto, Edward VIII and Heimdall all team up versus the Alien? Oh hell yeah.

This is a nerd sentence (cough, cough).

Date: 2011-12-24 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
Er...the Sherlock Holmes film rocks, as she does within it.

I didn't say I thought the movie was bad, or that she did a poor job, I just wanted more of her. Greed.

This is a nerd sentence...

Guilty as charged.

2 cents...more like 20 cents...

Date: 2011-12-23 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dystempted.livejournal.com
Wim Wenders has changed my mind about a thing or two in the past, and he did it again about 3D technology. His latest documentary about dance choreographer Pina Bausch was filmed in 3D, to which my initial reaction was 'oh groan, not ANOTHER one,' but then I remembered that Wenders is better than that. If he was doing 3D, he'd have a reason to. I was fortunate enough to see a screening of the film with him providing a lengthy Q&A before and after, and he said he'd been trying for years to develop a film about Pina, but he felt film just wouldn't capture the essence of her work at all. Somehow he had the epiphany that 3D may be the one and only way to go. Sounds hokey--but if you ever get a chance to see Pina in 3D, I highly encourage it, because it's a very masterful use of the technology. Wenders could probably care less about his audience, and far more about his subject, so he seemed to really view the medium from all angles and made it the best tool possible to bring Pina's work to life on the screen. It's by far the best 3D work I've ever seen. Afterwards, Wenders said that he feels 3D is a very important technology for the documentary genre. (Again...GROAN...but...I've learned awhile ago to trust his judgement about how he's going to do things.)

This in no way excuses the, for lack of a better word, exploitation of the medium that the studios are doing, with exactly what you described in having images gratuitously leap out at you. I don't know how Ridley Scott will emerge from this experience, as far as I know it's his first 3D work...I guess we'll find out if we ever start seeing ads for a Blade Runner rerelease--in 3D.

Re: 2 cents...more like 20 cents...

Date: 2011-12-23 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humglum.livejournal.com

Ugh. Yeah, I heard a bit of an interview with Wenders on NPR on the way home from errand-running this afternoon. I was not pleased. I can see how it could work, but still find it unnecessary. Maybe my outlook would be different if 3D did not make me motion-sick and if Cait had binocular vision, but somehow I think not.

Re: 2 cents...more like 20 cents...

Date: 2011-12-23 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dystempted.livejournal.com
It is a good point to remember, that it is a technology/medium that alienates a good deal of people. (And this time I don't mean by a matter of taste, heh.)

Re: 2 cents...more like 20 cents...

Date: 2011-12-23 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Wim Wenders has changed my mind about a thing or two in the past, and he did it again about 3D technology.

Hold on, going to weep and then vomit.

The world is lost.

Date: 2011-12-23 11:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] serizawa3000.livejournal.com
The only thing I could think while looking at the Prometheus trailer was "This reminds me of 'At the Mountains of Madness' only it's in space."

Well, that and "Those screechy noises sound familiar." Because the first few trailers for Alien used that very same sound...

When I was five or six, I saw one of the TV spots for Alien... it was just the egg, the letters of the title forming... and then the crack and the glow and I knew that no, I did not want to see this... the commercials for the action figure were no help either.

Then I saw the movie when I was twelve and it became one of my most favorite things ever. Out of the whole tetrology the first one's still my favorite (and yes, I have a soft spot for the fourth one, which no one but me seems to like).

I'm wondering whether they go as far as to name the ship after something out of Joseph Conrad...

Date: 2011-12-24 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

and yes, I have a soft spot for the fourth one, which no one but me seems to like

Same here. But I am a sucker for Jean-Pierre Jeunet.


Date: 2011-12-23 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ministry-victim.livejournal.com
I have to agree with you regarding Scott's decision to put this one down in 3D, and I can't wait for the novelty to run out on this gimmick so we can get back to screening quality movies without the insulting pop-out images.

That being said, I was a little underwhelmed by the trailer, but there's time yet.

Date: 2011-12-24 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Well, glad to hear your opinion on 3D.

But I still think the trailer kicks ass.

Date: 2011-12-24 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sylvarthorne.livejournal.com
As much as I love Chicago, part of me wishes I'd lived on the east coast longer and/or later in life, so I could have had the opportunity to really *appreciate* it. I miss the little I remember; I miss the idea of it. Sounds like you had a wonderful time at West Cove :) And the Tautog bone looks like it could be made into a gorgeous piece of jewelry!

Also - off topic. I don't know if you've been stalking announcements for VNV's US tour part deux, but it's posted. They're doing a show in New Haven, Connecticut. A bit of a hike for you, but sometimes we do what we must to feed the soul, no?

Date: 2011-12-24 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
I don't really need to see the chest-burster coming at me in 3-D. But I have yet to see a 3-D movie. I catch most films in good old 2-D at one of the cheap, 2nd run theaters, or at our discount local cinema, which does not have 3-D equipment. I don't feel like I've missed out on anything.

Date: 2011-12-24 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sillythrombus.livejournal.com
I like what Roger Ebert wrote about the use of 3-D in Avatar:

Cameron promised he'd unveil the next generation of 3-D in "Avatar." I'm a notorious skeptic about this process, a needless distraction from the perfect realism of movies in 2-D. Cameron's iteration is the best I've seen -- and more importantly, one of the most carefully-employed. The film never uses 3-D simply because it has it, and doesn't promiscuously violate the fourth wall. He also seems quite aware of 3-D's weakness for dimming the picture, and even with a film set largely in interiors and a rain forest, there's sufficient light. I saw the film in 3-D on a good screen at the AMC River East and was impressed.

Date: 2011-12-24 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alumiere.livejournal.com
3D makes me think meh, but I agree that I have on one occasion seen it done well. I struggle with it, and spend large portions of the film with the glasses off (I have minimal vision in one eye, but am no longer totally blind in it) because it gives me headaches. That said, I was surprised that I can see the difference in the film quality when watching a converted version of a filmed in 3D movie at an IMAX theatre; they clearly have to film at higher frames per second or pixel ratios or something that does make a difference to a discerning eye.

And I'm finding that at least here in LA they're not using the IMAX theatres for 3D screenings but converting 3D to IMAX (which costs more than conventional 2D to attend but isn't quite as bad as high quality 3D). I don't mind the extra few bucks on the rare occasion I'm willing to pay to see a film in the theatre, so that may be part of the equation for the directors too.

Date: 2011-12-24 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpine137.livejournal.com
I've yet to see a movie that was really improved by 3D, well maybe the 'Piranha' remake. I really wish this trend/fad would quietly go away, as 3D has done before. On happy thoughts, I really liked the Narragansett Bay picture.

Date: 2011-12-24 03:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thimbleofrain.livejournal.com
Years ago, I talked with Dark Horse Comics about writing an Aliens mini-series for them. (Do they still use that term?) I ended up doing a couple of treatments. They rejected the first one for being too similar to the 4th movie (even after a rewrite), but they couldn't tell me how because the movie wasn't out yet. At the time, I was actually happier with the second treatment, but Dark Horse brought in a new editor, who introduced a new Aliens "bible," and the storyline didn't fit within the guidelines. I grew frustrated and gave up. I still regret that a little.

The Prometheus trailer "felt" a bit like that second story: polished and lofty with a mythological ambience. The recent Battlestar Galactica series had a bit of that flavor too, but not as bright.

Leif Jones was going to be the artist for the story. He was less excited about the second treatment than the first because one of the things he loved about the original movie was the straightforward sensibility of the technology. The people who built the Nostromo didn't spare much energy on beautification. Almost everything about the ship felt functional. Over time, I have come to see things the way Leif did, which is why I'm not as excited about this new movie (after seeing the trailer) as I'd hoped to be. 

If you wanted, I imagine that you could work out a deal to write a story set in that "universe," particularly with the new movie coming out.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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