greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast

Date: 2011-12-26 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] briansiano.livejournal.com
You and I are about the same age, so we saw _Star Wars_ at the age of fourteen. I've always wondered if there was some kind of dividing point for people a year or two younger than we are.

I liked the first _Star Wars_ a lot, and saw it multiple times. The thing is, about two or three years before, I saw _2001: A Space Odyssey_ on a re-release, and when you're about twelve and you see THAT on a massive screen, it kind of burns into the brain in a profound way. Also, this was the mid-1970s, and I was a severe film fan, and I was as likely to go see _All the President's Men_ or _Serpico_ as _Star Wars_.

So while I liked the first _Star Wars_ movies, it wasn't with the all-consuming love or passion that people who were only a year or two younger than I did.

It wasn't hard to start resenting the movies, either. Suddenly all anyone wanted to do was make a new _Star Wars_. Lucas started peddling that Joseph Campbell mythic-journey stuff, which is nice, but I'd read his early interviews when he'd pushed it as an homage to Flash Gordon serials, and counted the later comments as highbrow window-dressing. It was as though he spent much of his post-_Empire_ time convincing people that these were the most profound expressions of heroism and adventure in existence, and that it wholly deserved to be the one shared culture for the entire world.

After a while, you feel a bit like Julian the Apostate-- a little resentful of this weird little desert cult that was taking over the culture and wiping out the greatness that preceded it.

Date: 2011-12-26 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Also, this was the mid-1970s, and I was a severe film fan, and I was as likely to go see _All the President's Men_ or _Serpico_ as _Star Wars_.

I truly couldn't afford (or have the freedom) to see many movies before about 1980. After that, and even now, I see almost everything, it seems.

So while I liked the first _Star Wars_ movies, it wasn't with the all-consuming love or passion that people who were only a year or two younger than I did.

Empire came, for me, at just the right time. I was becoming an enormous fan of the space opera, and of fantasy, in general (it is a mistake to see the Star Wars films as SF).

Date: 2011-12-26 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] briansiano.livejournal.com
I was pretty lucky like that. My parents would drop me off at movies that they weren't interested in, so I got to see a lot of "grown-up" movies all by myself. And this was when the national press was covering the "new Hollywood," so I'd see movies after reading reviews that made a point of mentioning things like the editing and cinematography.

Oh, one other thing about _Star Wars_. One thing everyone forgets is that science fiction movies in the early 1970s were a weird mix of social concern, cold irony, strangeness and slapdash production values. Movies like _Logan's Run_ or _Soylent Green_ or _Phase IV_ or the Apes movies. There really wasn't anything like overt _fantasy_, either, outside of Disney or Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. And yes, it WAS like walking four miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, you young whippersnappers.

So _Star Wars_ comes along, and it's not just the dopey story. It's a surprisingly imaginative movie in all the mise en scene shit: the sets are interesting, the sound mix is rich and vivid, the cinematography looked pretty epic, and the miniatures looked really, really good. There was a lot of that in the 1970s, where people suddenly made movies that looked and felt real, rather than looking of feeling Hollywood.
From: [identity profile] papersteven.livejournal.com
I like this a lot. Especially how Volume One has "Two" in the title,and Volume Two will have "Thrice" in its title. Just kind of neat.
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It's a long title, but it's the one I like for now.

Date: 2011-12-26 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenjen4280.livejournal.com
I'm curious as to your thoughts on the end of season 1 of American Horror Story. I won't comment as to not spoil anything if you've not seen it.

Thanks for the tip on Yellowbrickroad. I had been avoiding it because it was panned by reviewers, but based on your review I will definitely check it out.

Date: 2011-12-26 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm curious as to your thoughts on the end of season 1 of American Horror Story. I won't comment as to not spoil anything if you've not seen it.

Yeah, I've not said because I want to avoid spoilers. I will say that I loved it, and especially appreciated what felt like an homage to Beetlejuice.

I had been avoiding it because it was panned by reviewers,

Usually, reviewers are idiots.

Date: 2011-12-26 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenjen4280.livejournal.com
Ah, good catch! I hadn't even thought of the Beetlejuice homage.

Normally I don't trust reviewers either, well not mainstream movie reviewers, but the review of the movie I read was in Rue Morgue, a magazine whose reviewers I do trust, but occasionally do steer me wrong (or at least deviate from my taste in movies).

Date: 2011-12-26 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
I do like that title for the next Best Of. Makes me think of all the pagan-laced kids' TV we got over here in the seventies. And for the title alone, I'd also read that Pugmire (would you mind telling me what collection it's in?). Brings to mind Aickman's story The Stains. But I doubt they're similar.

Yellowbrickroad sounds fascinating. Curious to see a film you find disturbing... I'd like to see your influence on it (and not to brown-nose, but I'm working on something now I can see you've influenced somewhat.)

Date: 2011-12-26 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I do like that title for the next Best Of. Makes me think of all the pagan-laced kids' TV

Cool.

And for the title alone, I'd also read that Pugmire (would you mind telling me what collection it's in?).

New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird.

Date: 2011-12-26 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wolfsilveroak.livejournal.com
As long as we still dream our dreams, they still have the chance to come true one day.

Date: 2011-12-26 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

As long as we still dream our dreams, they still have the chance to come true one day.

Not so sure of that, but perhaps.

An unintentional rant and awkward intro?

Date: 2011-12-26 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pylaydia.livejournal.com
'It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place.'

I read that line and thought to myself, there should be more of those. I know there are already quite a few but locations are often downplayed so hard these days in favour of 'human' conflict and development. It seems as if it is no longer acceptable for an event to have occurred without a rational, easy genesis. Houses can't just be bad, land can't just be tainted, the sea or rivers can't just be hungry, there always has to be a man-made agency. Argh!

I did not intend to go that way, sorry. I've been lurking mostly via twitter, over there I'm Pyris. I'm glad you are resting better and are actually 'vacating' as much as you can allow yourself.

Re: An unintentional rant and awkward intro?

Date: 2011-12-26 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Houses can't just be bad, land can't just be tainted, the sea or rivers can't just be hungry, there always has to be a man-made agency.

While the film is very much concerned with the effect this Wrong Place has upon the psychology of the characters (as it should be), there is no explanation offered; the inexplicable is allowed to remain inexplicable.

Re: An unintentional rant and awkward intro?

Date: 2011-12-27 12:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pylaydia.livejournal.com
Yay, a proper mystery. I shall be checking this out, hopefully it's streaming free in the UK but they are funny about things like that =s

Date: 2011-12-26 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coyotegoth.livejournal.com
It's always frustrated me that Kershner didn't have more of a career, Empire aside.

Date: 2011-12-26 07:35 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-26 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
Star Wars... I saw it the day before the opening, having paid the huge sum of $20 for a film archive benefit. I loved it then, and still have a liking for it now. I did the same with The Empire Strikes Back, which I think is the best in the whole series, maybe because Lucas had so relatively little to do with it.

I've never seen Yellowbrickroad, since I avoid anything with a wizard of oz reference, but the words "streaming free" make it suddenly interesting.

Date: 2011-12-26 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I did the same with The Empire Strikes Back, which I think is the best in the whole series, maybe because Lucas had so relatively little to do with it.

Exactly.

Date: 2011-12-26 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katesavage.livejournal.com
In an odd coincidence, I had one of my reoccurring dreams early this morning that I was given a new place to live. In these dreams, the place in invariable larger than I am used to with fetching architecture but has some unwholesome aspect to it, usually fungal in nature. Today's dream involved prolific black mold and so other type of spore in the air.  I will have to check out Yellowbrickroad. We are driving home from Oakland ME so with luck, I can stream it.

Date: 2011-12-26 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mizliz13.livejournal.com
"mizliz" is not moi. But even I, mizliz13, had to do a double take when I came across that name, since she/he/it also comments on Billy Martin's LJ blog (which I do from time to time).

Also, I absolutely adore the title choice for your next "best of" book. It's very you.

Lastly, I got SW:otR yesterday. I took a cross country road trip -- including Canada -- while it downloaded. I shall play it for the first time today. I blame you and Spooky entirely.

Date: 2011-12-26 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] humglum.livejournal.com

Imposter!!

SWtoR is fun. Lots of cut scenes, but I love being able to choose what I say and get a better feel for my character. Definitely not a "shut your brain off and whack on stuff" kind of game, if you stick to following the story and your class quest line.

At this point, I feel like I can play Rift in my sleep. Maybe we need to go to Ember Isle, where things are a little more challenging.

Date: 2011-12-26 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livia-llewellyn.livejournal.com
I also saw Yellowbrickroad, a couple of months ago (on Netflix). Interesting that we have different opinions about the ending. I thought it was beautifully unsettling and truly horrifying up to that last scene - which felt to me like it was too literal. Everything else up to that moment had been wild and unexplainable and without any kind of logical explanation or rational anchor to/with the human-imagined world. The end felt like it belonged to another movie, one imagined by Spielberg or Stephen King. I don't know. I'm not explaining it very well. I'm a bit drunk. All I know is, I loved the movie better when I had no idea what was at the end of the road, when the end could have been/led to anything.

But I slept with the lights on, anyway.

Date: 2011-12-26 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessamyg.livejournal.com
I saw Star Wars at the age of nine and, at that age, it was the most wonderful film ever. Yes, later on, The Empire Strikes Back begame my favourite of the films, but Star Wars hit at the right time along with Doctor Who, Andre Norton, James Blish, Star Trek, and all the other pulp that melted my brain.

Love the proposed title for the second collection. One of the first stories I remember writing was based around Kubla Khan, and Coleridge can take some of the blame for my juvenile experiments in taking various substances and writing poetry, not that I needed much excuse.

Date: 2011-12-27 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fusijui.livejournal.com
The farm sounds like it would be our loss and your gain. Go for it. And thanks for the note on "ZOMG"!

Date: 2011-12-27 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sillythrombus.livejournal.com
I sometimes dream about having a goat farm, with both dairy and meat goats. Sometimes I like to look at a picture of Bill Niman and his goats,

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/dining/15goat.html

Date: 2011-12-27 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unknownbinaries.livejournal.com
Thank you, by the way, for all the movie recommendations you post. You've sent me scrambling after quite a few things I've ended up loving enough to own, and I don't buy movies often.

Date: 2011-12-27 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com

Nice title - it's got some heft to it, not light and frothy and forgettable.

I'll have to check out Yellowbrickroad - like the poster above, I've avoided Wizard of Oz stuff on general principles.

'Empire' has always been my favorite. I've always loved that it always felt like a story in motion, without a beginning or an end. It was comfortable being the middle, and didn't pander to the false stricture that it must tell a complete story. I saw it multiple times on release, including a rather disastrous first date (which did lead to a very nice long-term friendship, in the end).

I hope the vacatering continues to be relaxing...

Date: 2011-12-27 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stillsostrange.livejournal.com
I'm glad to hear YellowBrickRoad is good. So many of the free on Netflix films have left me scared and scarred in all the wrong ways.

Date: 2011-12-27 03:54 am (UTC)
ext_83: (Default)
From: [identity profile] joecrow.livejournal.com
Yellowbrickroad is probably the closest we're ever gonna come to a John Tynes-style King in Yellow movie. There's things I woulda done slightly differently (were I making it) but it's like that with everything, isn't it? Excellent film, that.

Date: 2011-12-27 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katesavage.livejournal.com
I just finished Yellowbrickroad. Wicked film with an extraordinary cast and gripping story. Searing images. I streamed a bit on the road to get a feel but decided watch it on my TV which was an excellent decision because the scale of the landscape mattered. I am lucky enough to have a sound bar with a remote base and that added significantly to the sound track. I will fall asleep with the lights off but those images may crop up in my dreams. Thank you for the recommendation.

The first time I saw Star Wars was an early show with my younger sister. We were so blown away that we hid in stalls so we could sneak in to see the second show. While we pulled it off it was only due to the apathy of the theater's staff as we giggled while hiding.

The first thing I thought of when I read the proposed title of Weave a Circle Around Her Twice was a picture of Jesus in a bible my mother had. It reminded me of the woven crown of thorns around his head in that picture. The second thing I thought of was that the act of weaving three circles may have some ritualistic meaning. I could google it but the mystery is more satisfying for the moment.

Date: 2011-12-27 04:10 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer.

I have never seen The Empire Strikes Back in theaters. I wish I could, but I don't think it will happen until (unless) George Lucas allows the originals to be seen again instead of his pointlessly retinkered self-redactions. I have old VHS tapes, but it's not the same.

I will keep Yellowbrickroad in mind.

Date: 2011-12-27 04:56 am (UTC)
inthetatras: People planted in the ground like flowers sprouting in spring. (after the smoke clears)
From: [personal profile] inthetatras
I have never heard of "Yellowbrickroad" before now, but I remember seeing BWP in theaters back in the day, and HoL is on my very long To Read list. I will have to look for this movie. Thanks for the recommendation.

For some reason the immediate association the title gave me was, instead of anything Wizard of Oz related, a certain short story or novella or something around that length from a long time ago called "The Yellow Wallpaper." Wizard of Oz followed afterward. My mind works in mysterious ways.

Date: 2011-12-27 09:04 am (UTC)
mithriltabby: Jedi Holocron (from Star Wars) (Jedi Holocron)
From: [personal profile] mithriltabby
My mother was dating a sound engineer at Sprocket Systems (part of Lucasfilm) back in the mid-1980s, so I got to see Return of the Jedi in the theater with Lucasfilm folks, who were in the habit of applauding particularly challenging special effects. I even had a Revenge of the Jedi T-shirt, before they settled on the release name.

Many years later, when [livejournal.com profile] obsessivewoman and I were first dating, she was the head of customer service at Lucasarts, and she allowed me to make use of her employee discount to get the trilogy on laserdisc. She happened to let slip that she had never seen the films (she caught Battlestar Galactica but not Star Wars), and that decided how we spent that weekend.

Date: 2011-12-27 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fornikate.livejournal.com
oh fab, i've wanting to see yellowbrickroad but i didn't trust any of the reviewers i've read so far.

Date: 2011-12-28 02:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliemaeo.livejournal.com
Watched the "yellowbrickroad" yesterday on your recommendation and . . yes! It was. . .super atmospheric and did have hints of "The Red Tree" and "Blair Witch'

Now I'm just wondering where I can get the awesome soundtrack : )

Ellie
From: [identity profile] mr. mpomy (from livejournal.com)
Although I am a regular reader of this LJ, I somehow missed this recommendation from just a few days ago. So I just stumbled on this film out of nowhere and, before too long was thinking, "this is like The Red Tree! I wonder if CRK has seen this?"

I'm so glad that you did and I agree with your recommendation 100%. It's a shame this movie didn't get more critical notice.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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