greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
I didn't work again yesterday. Somehow, taking one day off made me so tired that I needed two off. Which is odd, as I left the house on neither day. I think this is one reason I so rarely bother to take days off. Not only do I not have time, and not only do days off make me twitchy (no matter how much I need them), they also seems to make me tireder.

On this day a year ago—right about now—we were flying out of Portland, vaulting eastward, homeward, over a range of towering, snow-capped volcanic peaks, and little did we suspect the hell of air travel snafus and "we don't give a fucks" awaiting us in Minneapolis and beyond. Still, even for that, it was great trip. But I'll never fly again, unless I can't avoid it, or it means I get to cross the Atlantic.

---

Words I find I live by more and more:

Business as usual is unacceptable. If this is the best you can do, do better. Or do something else. Do not expect me to slow down so you can catch up. No one cares, and no one is coming for you. Desire does not equate to talent, and there is too much neglected talent for anyone to have to endure mediocrity born of even the most passionate, talentless desire. Yes, it's true that honey catches more flies than does vinegar, but fly paper catches far more than either. You're dying, already. Do not ask my opinion, unless you're willing to take a chance that I might disembowel your dreams, and no, it's not worth taking the chance.

I know how it looks. Or sounds. But all we have left to us is the truth. Lies are for the World At Large, for The Machine, for Them, the Faceless Corporate Rapists of the World. And the men and women who serve them, the men and women so filled with fear and self-loathing they only know how to believe and consume and hate. The willfully ignorant. If the truth is Hell, and Heaven a lie, give me Hell. That's the only sane choice (sane being an admittedly subjective term) .

This is what happens when I don't work. I bleed thoughts. Ugly thoughts. Like, "When did America cease producing adult human beings?"

---

I have received word from Subterranean Press that Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be arriving in the subpress warehouses today, BUT, Bill Scahfer says they "have a number of titles slated to hit the door before its turn, and half my shipping department is out sick. I don't think we'll be shipping for 1-2 weeks. " So, be patient, kittens. It's coming. It will be my Samhain gift to thee.

---

Nothing much happened yesterday. I took a long hot bath. There was washing-machine drama in Pickman's Basement. The new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I received a biography of Arthur Machen (coincidence?) I've not read as a gift from [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme in far-away England. Small thank yous are often the nicest. Not always, but frequently. I've been playing a lot of Rift again. Not RPIng, just playing. The guild is actually still alive, which sort of amazes (put pleases) me. Selwynn abandoned Meridian, sick of watching the Guardians and Defiant squabble over science and religion while Regulus destroys the world; she now slays demons on her own terms. There were sandwiches for dinner. We read, and then I read to myself, K. W. Jeter's (the man who invented the term "steampunk," April 1987) "Riding Bitch," from the Halloween anthology. Not bad, really. But I stayed up too late reading.

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only two necklaces and a bracelet left, and who knows when she'll have time to make more. You snooze, someone else wins.

Now, back to the donut mines...

For the Moment, Guileless,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I begin to have doubts about my home state when I consider that when, in 1954, either the ruby-throated hummingbird or osprey could have been chosen as the State Bird, voters picked, instead, a chicken.

Um...this is Thursday, right? I thought so. It's actually raining. Started last night, but it's going to be sunny and warm again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote only 953 words, because that's all that was required to reach THE END of "Evensong." It came out not so much a vignette as a very short short story. I think. Why the fuck do we have to categorize, anyway? It's fiction. Leave it at that. Regardless, subscribe! Today, I begin the second new piece for Sirenia Digest #70.

Spooky's having a Premature Halloween Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. Good and spooky stuff. Also, for those who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter, the paintings are almost finished (you now can see these in the project's blog, if you were a backer). I haven't begun on the text yet, but after the LONG delay, the project is chugging towards completion! The Goat Girls live, booya!

Yesterday was dull as the Rhode Island state bird. And that's sort of a good thing. I needed a genuinely dull day. No alarms and no surprises, please. I think the worst of it was the big Rift 1.5 patch. But, hey...those of us who've been there since the start got cool new stuff. And soon we Defiant can buy yarnosaurs! That is, those of us who've been there since the beginning. The rest of you are out of luck. For dinner, we ate the Rhode Island state bird (roasted), then ate Hallowe'en candy, and watched the end of Season Two of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. The show seems to finally be wandering farther afield from the rape/child abuse case of the week formula. Someone must have finally realized there are bolder sex crimes afoot. Either that, or the ratings dropped. We read more of The Sundial.

If you ordered Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me: Volume One, it ought to be arriving any day, if it hasn't already. I'm eagerly awaiting my own copies. Also, I have received word that the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has reached my editor at Penguin. The postal goblins didn't eat it.

Excuse me. I'm going to ask the state bird why it crossed the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Both my feet feel like blocks of wood this morning. Since I began taking Gabapentin, and the neurological problems in my feet began to improve, this doesn't happen so often. Only sometimes. Regardless, it's a very unpleasant sensation (or lack thereof), and can make walking tricky (which is why I used a stick for so long).

A great comment to Wednesday's entry, which was largely concerned with the decline of LJ, care of [livejournal.com profile] opalblack : "It's (LJ's} drawing me back more and more because it isn't so instant, and many of the smaller minds have drifted away for shallower waters." Smaller minds and shallower waters, that's the bit I like.

---

Sort of chilly this morning. Storms passed through Providence yesterday, in advance of the cold front, and now it feels nothing at all like summer.

---

Yesterday, there were some last-minute adjustments to the flux capacitor, which was only managing a paltry 1.02 gigawatts, when 1.21 are required for optimal performance. But, as soon as that was dealt with, I finally opened the envelope containing the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (which actually arrived here on September 8th), and we made it through Chapter One. We'll do Two and Three today. Which seems, at the moment, a lofty fucking goal. But I will say this. With The Red Tree, I got the best copy-editor I'd ever had, one who didn't try to rewrite, and who actually caught genuine errors I'd missed. I seem to have lucked out again, or – though it seems unlikely – NYC's standard for copy-editors has gone up. (And yes, I think "copy-editor" ought to be hyphenated).

Oh, and I answered far too much email yesterday.

---

Please have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. The Halloween stuff is up, as it's that time of year again (well, sort of). And a couple of wonderful new necklaces.

---

Last night we played Rift, wandering about Gloamwood on our najmoks, working on achievements for the region. Then we watched the last couple of epsiodes of Season Five of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which means we'll now have to "resort" to the mail for Season Six (perhaps the Athenaeum, if they have it), or go back to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. When all is said and done, the latter is actually the better of the two, even without Vincent D'onofrio. But the "rape of the week" plot template gets old fast. Still, there's Richard Belzer. Anyway, then I read a couple more stories from The Book of Cthulhu, Michael Shea's "Fat Face" and Brian McNaughton's "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth."* Shea does a great job of capturing a particular and especially seedy side of LA. McNaughton's story is good, but would have been a lot better if he'd turned the volume down just a little near the end. A little goes a long way, a lesson it has taken me the better part of twenty years to learn.

Platypus, what's wrong with this picture? Where's my sugar-free Red Bull!

In the Gloaming,
Aunt Beast

* An interesting note. The antagonist of McNaughton's story is named Dr. Isaac Mordecai Saltonstall. And in The Drowning Girl, the painter who painted the titular painting is named Phillip George Saltonstall. For the record, before last night, I'd never even heard of "The Doom That Came to Innsmouth" (which originally appeared in Tales Out of Innsmouth, 1999, Chaosium Inc; oddly, I don't even own that anthology). I found the name in a Rhode Island or Massachusetts cemetery, where I often find names. I'm combing through my Moleskines, trying to figure out which cemetery it was. Anyway, only a curious coincidence.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
I'm almost awake.

Today, 121 years ago, August 20, 1890, 9:00 a.m., Howard Philips Lovecraft was born in his family home at 194 Angell Street here in Providence.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,206 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. It is remotely possible that I could finish the chapter today, if I can push to 2,500 or 3,000 words. Or unless there's a lot less remaining of the chapter than I think (this seems unlikely). But if I could do this, I would have written a chapter in a mere four days.

Someone commented, a couple of days back, that they thought Blood Oranges might be a "game changer" for me (I think it was [livejournal.com profile] opalblack ; if I'm wrong, please correct me). And I have to say no. No. It's a momentary diversion, something mostly fun to write, and a little bit of insurance. Truthfully, it's The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that we're all counting on to be the game changer. It's the novel that matters. Blood Oranges is just a bit of whimsy sparkling at the side of the road. Metaphors have been mixed here, I'm quite certain.

Email from Michael Zulli yesterday, which I need to answer before I begin writing today.

Last night was a bit saner than the night before, in terms of post-writing recreational activities. We played a couple of hours of Rift (mostly in the Droughtlands and Stillmoor), then watched Vincent Ward's adaptation of What Dreams May Come (1998; from the 1978 novel by Richard Matheson). For all its schmaltz and smarm, I gotta admit I have a very soft spot for the film, which I'd only seen once before, during its theatrical run. On the one hand there are the astounding visuals, and...on the other...well, sometimes, we don't have to explain ourselves. We just love a thing for what it is. Period. "It's a beautiful dream. But it's only a dream" Even as a pagan atheist, it gets me, on the level that any good fantasy hits me. Also, there's the Werner Herzog cameo. After the movie, we read more of The Stand, and I think I got to sleep about 4 ayem.

I'm going to go ahead and announce next month's book early (and I'm still trying to live down that business with Carrie Ryan; many hours of self-flagellation with a dead cat have been involved). Next month will be Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958), which I hope won't be too hard to find. But I wanted something I know is brilliantly written, and that a lot of readers here might be unfamiliar with.

And now...I should go. Many words to write before Insilico and Telara and Captain Trips.

Have a kindly thought for the Old Gent today. Tip your hat to a night gaunt.

Squamously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny today, Again, I should be in the sea. This is a thing that will not happen, though, because even if it weren't for the writing, I've got a doctor's appointment this evening. Actually, doctor's appointments can be fun, if you go about them the right way. I have found most doctors to be horrified and/or stupefied at the notion that everyone doesn't want every conceivable test for every conceivable symptom which might lead to any conceivable malady.

Doctor: "But you might have X?"

Me: "So what? If I do, I'd rather not know. It's not like I could ever afford the treatments, and, besides, I'm chronically suicidal."

This is not a fiction. I have actually had this exchange. It was lovely. I'm pretty sure it's not a patient response taught at medical schools.

Or! If any cavity probing is involved, only agree to them if the doctor first agrees to say "Good puppy," at regular intervals.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,957 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. The book is moving quickly towards its conclusion. I'm pretty sure an old school bus filled with Swamp Yankee werewolves is involved. Some idiot is going to proclaim this a great "horror" novel. Or say something like, "Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan has figured out how to write great horror." And me, I'll just sit back and laugh. The hardest part about this book is that most of what is perceived as "horror" became self-parody and comedy long ago, but very few people have figured it out. It's hard to parody a parody. So says the world's only triggerpunk, and she ought to know.

Spooky (on the other paw) went to her parents' place, to visit with her sister, Steph, and nephew, Miles, who are up from Brooklyn. Miles is three and a half, and he likes pirates. And he proclaims, "Brothers are sisters. Sisters are brothers." I wish they taught this shit in school. Anyway, Spooky took photos of a cute kid and a frog (behind the cut, below). I cry foul.

---.

This morning, Bruce Sterling tweeted, "Social media does not exist for you. You are the PRODUCT in social media. That's why it's free." Fucking brilliant. I'm going to have a stencil of that quote made and start tagging everything in site.

---

As for whatever else there was of yesterday...nothing that warrants recording, but I'll record it anyway. A little Rift (I'm trying to get the achievement for killing 250 centaurs in the Droughtlands; see, and you thought I was all like smart and shit). We read more of The Stand (1978 text, accept no substitute). There was some Second Life RP. Oh, furries are annoyingly little shit (just in case you didn't know). "It's not a fetish! It's a lifestyle! Do you think I chose to want to have sex in a fursuit!? I'm a Loony Toon trapped in a human body!" Milk and Cheese! Milk and Cheese!

Sorry. That wasn't nice, was it? I'm channeling Siobahn Quinn.

As for Ridley Scott directing and producing a Blade Runner sequel or prequel...I'm not sure how to react to that.

Hesitantly,
Aunt Beast

17 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Thank you, those who helped [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and me reach – and exceed – the $1,200 goal of our Drowning Girl Kickstarter in less than 24 hours! We're going to add a couple more copies of the book at new price points (by request), and maybe something that's so cool I'm going to hold off mentioning even the possibility of it. You guys truly rock. As will the fruits of this undertaking. We can all point at the results and say, "We did this." This makes us mighty (to paraphrase Mal Reynolds).

Yesterday, I wrote an extremely respectable 1,800 words, getting Chapter Six of Blood Oranges off to a good start. I discovered how to write an action scene without belaboring the affair with blow-by-blow choreography. Which, for me, destroys novels. Also, I think there may only be nine chapters, not the originally projected ten.

Belatedly, I'm announcing this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. Last night, Spooky and I read the first two chapters of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and we're liking it a lot. Someone sent this copy to me, but I've forgotten who. Regardless, thank you (this is the audiobook cover, but you get the idea). Go forth, and be literate!



Spooky made a peach cobbler last night, with peaches from the farmer's market. So, I was a bad kid (again) and had a slice for breakfast.

I'm going to have to make it clear to editors, from here on (probably on a case-by-case basis), that I am simply too busy to write short fiction for anything less than 5-10¢/word, because I'm getting really tired of these 1¢/word offers. Last time I looked, pro rate was a measly 3¢ a word, and if you can't meet that, I'm not sure you should be publishing (a few good small press magazines excepted). By the way, the "pro rate" has stayed pretty constant for about a hundred years. Still want to be a writer?

Some good RP in Insilico the past two nights. Grendel is back from London. But, to my guildies in Rift, I have not forsaken thee, and should be back by Monday evening.

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Today is Lughnasadh. Unless, of course, you're in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case it's Imbolc. So, may the day be good to you.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,465 words, and finished "The Granting Cabinet," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #68. The story was sent away to Vince Locke to be illustrated. Today, I'll begin laying out the issue. As soon as I have Vince's illustration, I'll get the issue out to subscribers.

In the meanwhile, I'll get back to work on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges.

I have discovered that the ubiquitous "In a world..." has been replaced in the realm of movie synopses by "...begins to suspect that..." Well, at least so far as Netflix synopses are concerned.

And here's a story I found...interesting: "Married Lesbian Couple Rescued 40 Teens from Norway Massacre". What matters here is not that these two women are a married couple, but that their efforts have almost certainly been ignored by the press because they are a lesbian couple. Anyway, I especially liked this paragraph:

The mainstream U.S. media, which loves a hero story almost as much as a tragedy, has been uniformly silent about the lesbian superstars. Instead, you get a gay man, Bruce Bawer, in his self-serving WSJ piece saying how shocked he is to discover his extremist anti-Islam writings are quoted in the extremist anti-Islam writings of a killer.

Yesterday, I read another paper from the May Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "New occurrences of dinosaur skin of two types (Sauropoda? and Dinosauria indet.) from the Late Jurassic of North America (Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation)."

Last night, we watched Dominic Sena's Season of the Witch. And...this would have been a perfectly enjoyable, fun B-movie if only someone hadn't convinced Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman that men in the 14th Century were incapable of emoting. Otherwise, the cast is fine. Claire Foy is quite good, in fact. Tippet Studio's climactic demon sequence is disappointing, but serviceable. Again, Season of the Witch is almost a fine little B-movie, and I think we need to acknowledge that there is a place for B movies. Anyway...later, I did two short RP scenes in Rift, one with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and one with [livejournal.com profile] r_darkstorm, and also got our Guardian-side sister Guild, the Hidden Variable, up and running (as a prop, it plays an important roll in the story arc of Watchers of the Unseen, but also provides the advantages of a guild for our Guardian-side characters).

And that was yesterday. And here's the photographic beach porn I promised yesterday:

30 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
So, first off, yes, The Ammonite Violin & Others has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Best Collection. And yes, I am surprised and very pleased. Richard A. Kirk (who did the cover and endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others) is also nominated for a WFA this year, in the category of Best Artist. And! He's the Artist Guest of Honor at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. So, don't we fucking rock? My thanks to everyone who sent congratulations yesterday, including the 200+ who did so via Facebook. Soon, we will be listing copies of the sold-out collection on eBay to commemorate the nomination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and the wolfulous aspects of Siobahn Quinn's nature made their first appearance. May I write as well today.

We had dinner from the farmer's market. Spooky brought back a huge tomato, four ears of corn, peaches, and a length of kielbasa (from pigs born, raised, and slaughtered out on Connanicut Island). A locavore's feast, it was.

And now, from the Ministry of the Truly Fucking Embarrassing, the van finally came back from the shop on Tuesday, as you know, and yesterday afternoon Spooky discovered a cache of unmailed eBay packages in back, mostly hidden by a beach towel. And our eBay customers must be bloody saints, because no one has said, "Hey, my book's a month late!" Thank you for that. Anyway, amongst said packages were the signed signature sheets for Two Worlds & In Between. Now, I signed all 600 of the damned things way back on May 19th (and if you look at this entry, you'll see a photo of me doing it). And then...well...shit happens. I lost track. I'd feel worse about this if anyone at Subterranean Press had noticed the pages hadn't arrived. They'll go into the mail today, along with the tardy eBay packages, and all the more recent eBay packages.

Here's a new and very brief interview with me, on the occasion of the reprinting of "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint" in the forthcoming A Book of Horrors (even though I am not a horror writer), edited by Stephen Jones. Yeah, I go for the danishes every time. Especially if they're cherry and cream cheese.

I should also mention another anthology, Halloween (Prime Books, edited by Paula Guran), which will be reprinting "On the Reef."

Okay...that's a lot of announcements. Enough for one day. The platypus is looking askance, the lowly fucker. But I will say Rift RP is going very well. We had a great scene last night, and my thanks to everyone in our guild, Watchers of the Unseen, who took part. Despite a sort of rocky beginning, the scene quickly became what was probably the best large-scale group RP (as opposed to one-on-one) I've done since my days in the late, lamented Dune sim on Second Life (ca. February 2008). Sure, last night was all mages and warriors, but what the hell. Oh, and one very troublesome rogue.

Yeah, platypus. Keep your panties on. Comment, kittens!

Undefeated,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Er...okay. LiveJournal seems, at the moment, to actually be live. Oh, and by the way, as I expounded on Twitter yesterday (good girls wander when the necessity arises), it's utterly boneheaded to be blaming LJ for this, when the DDOS attacks are the result of hackers almost certainly backed with funds from the Russian government. Of course, things could be worse. Six Apart could have licensed LJ to North Korea...

Anyway, I got some good news this morning, and I'm going to try as best I can to not indulge in the sort of morose rage that has been so in evidence in the last couple of entries. This is a little like putting a Band-Aid on an amputated leg, but I'm trying.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,711 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. I seem to have found the book's rhythm again, and I'm feeling much better about it. Much, much better. I hope to have this chapter finished by Tuesday, August 2nd, at which point I have to immediately jump back into Sirenia Digest mode, in order to get #68, out by the evening of August 5th. Then, I'll be switching right back to Blood Oranges, and have set a new target date for finishing the novel on Saturday, the 27th of August. At this point, 39,202 words (or 179 pages) of manuscript have been written; since the estimated total word count is 70,000 words, I'm well past the hump and headed down the other side. Which I should, indeed, be able to reach by the 27th. And then...well, then there's the next thing, which, sooner or later, I'll be able to announce.

I'm salvaging the plan.

The weather here in Providence remains mild. Highs around 80˚F, which is a great relief after the swelter of last week. We could use more rain, though.

Last night, Spooky and I watched Gore Verbinski's Rango (2011). And wow. Truly, there was no moment of this film I didn't love. Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful CGI animation I've ever seen. Every frame is marvelous. But let's pretend, for a moment, that the animation was lousy (even if it was brilliant). This film would still be so unexpectedly funny and smart I'd still give it very, very high marks. It's sort of hard to even imagine it as a children's film, as most of the humor is clearly pitched at adults. Then again, as a friend suggested, Rango can be viewed as the sort of trick turned by so many of the classic Loony Toons: animated films functioning on at least two entirely different levels, managing, in the same moment, to speak to both children and adults, saying different things with the same words. Think "What's Opera, Doc." Only in a desert, with lizards and rodents. And with Los Lobos, instead of Wagner. Regardless, yes, great. See it.

Oh, the van's out of the shop. Again. It was in the shop almost every day of July (beginning July 5th). Also, things have been chugging along well in Rift, as our guild recovers from the shard transfer and the RP picks up again.

Cracking My Knuckles,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunday. Sunday means nothing whatsoever around these parts. Here in deepest, darkest Rhode Island. The hinterlands of Federal Hill.

"You'll forgive her," said the platypus. "The heat's been at her. And she's not been sleeping well. She's jumping at shadows." And the dodo, she concurred.

---

I'm trying to get myself ready to go back to work on Blood Oranges tomorrow. Yesterday, we read Chapter Three. And I still like it. It's not in the same ballpark as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but it was never meant to be. It's in this other ballpark, over here. This book will, I think, be finished, and if it is finished, it certainly will be published. But, back to baseball analogies, it's got a couple of strikes against it. And I can't even explain them all here, because I'd have to bring in People Who Are Not Me. Which is poor form (I am the last good-mannered beast). In June, I had amazing enthusiasm for this odd little side project, this diversion from the course of my writing career. Now, I'm struggling just to be able to write the second half. Nothing whatsoever has changed about the story. This is all about changes in the marketplace that occur so suddenly they can hit you in the middle of a book that you're writing in the absurdly short span of only two months. But I will finish it, because I can't leave a story half told, and it will be published. And the little paycheck will be the small consolation that all paychecks are.

Today, we'll read Chapter Four.

---

The heat continues to batter all in this house, though relief is on the way in the form of cooler weather, and the new window-unit AC has helped a little. Last night, the high humidity made 84˚F feel like 94˚F. I think Spooky and I are both going deaf from the constant whir of fans and the drone of AC units. I've not yet named the new AC unit. Or I did, but forgot the name. Threw away the key. And so it goes. Yesterday, I actually made a little chart in my Moleskinne notebook, the temperature in the middle parlour for each hour. I'm still making entries. I may plot the whole thing on a bar graph once the heat breaks. Cooking doesn't help, by the way, but I was tired of cold food.

---

Last night, we watched the third episode of Falling Skies. It's hard watching something and knowing it would have been so much better had it not catered to – or been forced to cater to – the sensibilities of a low-brow audience. Last night, during the saccharine-sweet scene where the good little Xtian girl who hasn't lost faith – even at the end of human civilization – leads the others in saying grace, I very almost puked. I settled for laughing, instead. But Fallen Skies was playing it safe, playing it dumb, playing to middle America. Middle, in this case, being synonymous with mediocre, and pause to consider the etymology of that word (yeah, I'm on an etymological kick):

"Mediocre: [via French from Latin mediocris moderate, literally: halfway up the mountain, from medius middle + ocris stony mountain]"*

You play to the middle, to mediocrity, odds are somewhat more in your favour that you will, in fact, succeed. And, of course, lots of producers and TV execs are still terrified of playing to any other demographic but the mediocre. Mediocre fiction for mediocre people. No, not people. Consumers. I'd love to see what this series could have been on Showtime.

---

Yesterday, I read two articles in the May JVP: "A new basal ornithopod dinosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia" and "First occurrence of the long-snouted crocodyliform Terminonaris (Pholidosauridae) from the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian) of Texas."

---

Last night was the first night since...whenever...that it's been cool enough to sit in the office (where we usually game) and play Rift. There was some fine rp at Kelari Refuge, and then at Meridian. We are essentially rewriting Our Story Thus Far, since the guild moved from the Shadefallen shard to Faeblight (where people actually rp!), so things are a little hinky, but it was fine rp, all the same. Oh, and the offer still stands. To quote yesterday's entry:

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

Come on. I know there are gamers among my readers, among my readers who read this journal via LJ, Facebook, and Twitter. And this is the best MMORPG I've ever played. And it's never going to get any cheaper than this offer. Don't be too cool for school.

Anyway, gotta scoot. Catch you on the flipside, kittens.

Until That Day,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is "Let's Make Comments Day." Just in case you'd forgotten.

mis·ad·ven·ture [ˌmɪsədˈvɛntʃə]
n
1. an unlucky event; misfortune
Etymology: [Middle English misaventure from Old French mesaventure, from mesavenir, to result in misfortune : mes-, badly; see mis- + avenir, to turn out (from Latin advenre, to come to; see advent).]*

This being a definition I offer against the memory of yesterday, yesterday having been the very epitome of misadventure:

Do I even have the patience to write this down? Oh, I will say that here, inside the house, the temperature is a marvelously chilly 80˚F. That is, in the middle parlour. In the kitchen pantry, where we now have AC, it's probably 75˚F. The pantry abuts my office. I think you see where this is headed. Which is to say some misadventures may have not-so-unhappy endings.

Yesterday, sweaty and ill, I made my entry, and then we got dressed and headed for a matinée in Warwick. Specifically, the 12:55 p.m. screening of David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.2). We got a medium-size screen, but at least it was flat. The big screens were, of course, occupied by 3-D, and it didn't help that Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger had just opened. I'm not going to bother people with the details of the film, or get into spoilers. But this I will say: David Yates' film takes the bloated, tiresome mess of Rowling's novel (well, here we're talking about the second half of the last one), and from it he fashions an exciting, eloquent, and heartbreaking film. Scenes that, in the novel, were, at best, cumbersome, and, at worst, absurd, are brilliantly reworked, restyled, fixed. We'd just rewatched Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Pt.1) on Thursday night, and, as I said last summer, as I suspected, these are truly two halves of a single film, and they are best seen back to back, the second literally picking up where the first left off. Anyway, unless you hate the series on principle or its just not your thing, I strongly, strongly recommend this film. Brilliant. I would not have changed a thing. And I managed to cry only three times. So, ten years from start to finish.

This was the good part of the day.

By the time the film let out, the blazing sun had pushed the temperature Outside close to 100˚F. Our plan was to return to Moonstone Beach. Back on Wednesday, Spooky and I got swimwear, because, after all, it isn't legal to swim nude at Moonstone. We planned to stay until sunset, before returning to the swelter of home. We only made it as far as Slocum (very rural, about a third of the distance from Warwick to Moonstone) before the van – she of the new engine – began jerking about. The RPM gauge went whackadoole, and then the engine light came on. We pulled over at the edge of a turf farm, across from the Slocum post office. Spooky tried to call the garage, but reception was shit. So, we nursed the van a bit farther, to Kathryn's parent's place. Her dad's in Newcastle, England (after having just returned from the jungles of the Philippines; and I swear he's no anthropologist, but a CIA operative only masquerading as an anthropologist). By this time, the heatsickness I've had on and off for days came back pretty much full-force. And...this story's already boring the hell out of me.

Cut to chase: Spooky called AAA. They came and towed the van back to the garage in Providence. Spooky's mom drove us home (we made it back about 9 p.m.). The temperature in the house was 91˚F. But! Her mother installed a second AC unit (one her parents weren't using) in the pantry window. I'd passed out on the bed. After Spooky's mother (who has an actual name, Carol) left, Spooky made me wake up and eat and drink. I was extremely dehydrated. And the thermostat began to drop. By 3:40 ayem, it was down to 82˚F. We finished watching Season Three of Law and Order: Criminal Intent before finally falling asleep.

So, misadventure. But, we hope to have the van back on Monday, and the house is suddenly pleasant to be in. So, maybe, despite all the sweat and yesterday's misadventure, and despite this fucking heatwave, I can now begin catching up. I've only lost three precious weeks.

I think the most annoying (and embarrassing) part of yesterday was misidentifying a frog in the koi pond at Spooky's parents as a leopard frog (Rana pipiens) when it was actually Rana clamitans melanota, the Northern green frog. Her mother corrected me. Kittens, do not try to show off your mad herpetological skills when your brain is heat-addled.

---

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

And now I should go. I have a train and a track, a horse and a saddle, and I have to put one and one back together and make two again.

Arithmetically Cooler,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Comment, kittens.

It seems that, in the past twenty-one hours or so, I have suffered a massive reversal of fortune. Suddenly, I am no longer debt poor (though a few publishers still owe smaller advances, some of which are horrendously late), our guild was able to transfer to Faeblight (Riftspeak, ignore), and Spooky is off retrieving the automobile from the team of gorillas who have been holding it hostage! (She just returned, and we had a belated "breakfast").

So, um...better now. My agent made me promise to buy another coolerator. I considered naming it after her – Merrilee – but think, instead, I'll named it Astor, as Writers House is in one of his old banks. Anyway, suddenly life sucks a lot less, and bills can be paid, and cats can go to the vet, and I can get my office in better order, and all manner of things have been made good again.

If you've not yet ordered Two Worlds and In Between, do so!

Yesterday, I sat here in the heat (I did not adjourn to either middle parlour or bedroom – the two coolish rooms – as I am a fool) and wrote 1,117 words on "The Granting Cabinet," which I began back before Readercon 22. They were 1,117 words written mostly in a fever, I think. But then, clouds came, and there was rain, and the temperature Outside plunged ten degrees in about half an hour, and a sweet, cool breeze blew in through my office window.

---

I forgot, yesterday, to mention two movies we watched during the con (while hiding in the room between programming obligations). The first, Jonathan Liebesman's Battle Los Angeles is an oddly forgettable film. We rather enjoyed it while we were watching it. Good SFX, a serviceable script, Michelle Rodriguez, halfway decent cinematography, and so forth. A good summer B-grade flick. But the next day, my memories of it made Battle Los Angeles seem, at best, only half as good as it had seemed as we watched. This same thing happened when I saw Sin City (2005), and it's happened with other films. There's a magic, for me, while I'm watching, that appears to fade upon reflection. Anyway, I'd still say it's worth a rental or free streaming. If you like blow-'em-up marines versus extraterrestrial invaders films (and I generally do), you could do worse.

But the next film we watched was pure celluloid shit. Unless no one uses celluloid anymore, in which case it was shit of some other sort. Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood. Of course, this is the woman who made the screen adaptation of Twilight, so I was hardly surprised. It's sort of hard to explain how perfectly awful this film is. Even Gary Oldman didn't help. He just looked bored and trapped and recited his lines like a sleepwalker. Though set in some vaguely Medieval village, the costumes all looked like they'd come straight from a ren-fair. You could tell sewing machines were involved, and colors that would not possibly have been available were everywhere. Shiloh Fernandez (Peter) is a dead-ringer for Edward Cullen, right down to the hair gel and the terminally blank expression. Massively uneven art direction. The only thing that didn't stink of the fecal matter of aardvarks was the werewolf, which was a case of very creepy, effective CGI. But it couldn't save this turkey. Avoid it like the plague. Had I paid to see this film, I actually would have walked out halfway through and asked for a refund. I could have written a long and insightful review of this film, but it's just not worth the time and effort.

---

In the first paragraph of Sunday's blog entry I typed self when I meant to type shelf, which has to be indicative of some unconscious glitch.

---

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed for a truly superb mix CD. Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for going far above and beyond to help me and Spooky retain our sanity during Readercon.

---

I've played this round, I've played your lover.
I've played it out and to the hilt.
You're coming on with something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel.

You love it.
You hate it.
But you want to re-create it.
Now this is here. This is me.
This is what I wanted
You to see.
That was then. That was that.
That is gone. That is what
I wanted you to feel.
-- R.E.M.

To the hilt,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Awoke too early, as of about forty-five minutes ago. Too early, considering that we didn't get to bed until about 4:30 ayem. Yeah, too old for this shit. Spooky and [livejournal.com profile] sovay are still sleeping.

I did, at least, awake to an email from Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press, containing the Library Journal review of Two Worlds and In Between:

A mission to a distant planet goes dreadfully awry in the suspenseful novella "The Dry Salvages." Dinosaurs and immortals interact in a tale ("Giants in the Earth") set in a universe created in Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time. These stories, along with 24 other pieces of short fiction, including "Night Story 1973" written with Poppy Z. Brite, chronicle the literary progress of one of the genre's most remarkable and exciting voices. Covering the years from 1993 to 2004, these selections, chosen by Kiernan herself, display a unique, iconoclastic vision that celebrates language as well as story. VERDICT Fans of the author and connoisseurs of elegant prose should enjoy these tales.

Not bad.

Yesterday is, presently a bit of a blur. Much more conversation. Spooky had a terrible headache, so we didn't go anywhere, and, besides, it was raining hard most of the day. Which meant yesterday was cool, though the heat will be back today. Sonya and Spooky went out to get dinner about 6 p.m., and I fell victim to a nap that left me disorientated and groggy for hours afterwards. We watched the Criterion version of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), a fairly bold take on murder and the wages of unfortunate parenting (and, also, a film on voyeurism) with some striking similarities to Hitchcock's Psycho (also 1960). Later, we swore we were going to bed early, but didn't.

Not awake enough anything else just now. Sonya's up, so I'm going to be sociable.

No Rift in two nights. Withdrawal has definitely set in.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Pretty much every single entry I've made to this journal over the past four summers has been made from my office (here in Providence). But today, I've taken the laptop and retreated to the sanctuary of the middle parlor, where Dr. Muñoz is valiantly struggling to hold the temperature at a vaguely comfortable 82 Fahrenheit. I'm sitting on the chaise, working on my laptop, and I know the rest of the world has this whole mobile, toil anytime and everywhere shit down like the heart of a clockwork peacock...but not me. I'm supposed to be doing this at my desk...where it's probably 90 Fahrenheit by now.

Yesterday...

Yesterday, it was hot.

Yesterday, I thought we'd completed proofreading the manuscript copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. But I needed to add one more story. I'd intended that to be "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," but then I remembered that Joshi will be reprinting it in Black Wings II next year***, so I really ought not put it in this collection. As in, that would have been inconsiderate and unprofessional. So...now I need another story, which will likely be "Untitled Grotesque, which we'll need to read today. After I print it out, because, unlike that mobile-ebook-loving world Outside my window, I can't proofread text off a computer screen (or read for enjoyment). Anyway, yesterday we proofed "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction," "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," and "Fish Bride." In the cool, dark bedroom. And I wrote something I needed to write for a magazine - marginalia, essentially. And I saw to it that Sirenia Digest #67 went out to subscribers (thank you, Gordon!). I hope you have it; I hope you love it. There's some iffy formatting on the last page, and the cover's a bit blurry, so I may actually have that fixed and do a second mailing in the next day or two. But last night it seemed more important that I just get it out. Anyway, comments welcome.

Today, I have to look at "Untitled Grostesque," and if it works for the book, I proofread it, and then Spooky and I check over the PDF of Two Worlds and In Between to be sure that all the corrections have been made, before it goes away to the printer. Last chance to catch errors before it's set in stone (so to speak). So, more tedium! Maybe I will write again, some day soon.

---

After the work, I napped yesterday. It was too hot to do much else. I drifted off on the bed, and Spooky woke me about twenty minutes later for a cold dinner of tuna salad. Oh, before the nap, I read Lucius Shepard's story in Supernatural Noir, "Ditch Witch," which is my favorite from the collection thus far. After dinner, I rolled a new Bahmi warrior on the Faeblight shard, to replace Shaharrazad over on the Shadefallen shard (this is Riftspeak, sorry). Her name is Bataarmaa, which, is a Mongol name. Bataar, masc. "hero" with the fem. suffix maa, so Bataarma. Her big scary cat's name is Sukh, which is Mongol for "axe."

Last night, we watched Byung-chun Min's Natural City (2003). Which is pretty much a South Korean remake of Blade Runner, spiced with dashes of Aliens and The Matrix. Only, it's about forty minutes too long, the action sequences are usually poorly choreographed, and the story is muddy (partly, this is the obviously bad translation for the subtitles). But still, it is a visually stunning film, so when you have no idea what's going on, you can sort of just sit back and admire the cyberpunk eye candy. That said, there are some good moments, and the ending was appropriately poignant.

I got to sleep sometime after four. The sky was growing light.

Okay. Come here, you sweaty platypus.

Unwillingly Mobile,
Aunt Beast

*** Evidence of how heat and med-addled my mind is at the moment. A reader wrote to remind me that "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" was in Black Wings. Actually, "Houndwife" will be in Black Wings II. To quote Mr. Bowie, "It's all deranged."
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Wicked hot here in Providence. Summer finally arrived with a vengeance. We spent most of yesterday hiding in the middle parlor and the bedroom, the two cool rooms. Fortunately, you can proofread anywhere. Right now, it's 85˚F Outside and 81˚F in the cool part of the house. Here in my office, it's probably as warm as Outside. And...Spooky's about to leave to take the ailing automotive vehicle to the mechanic, after which she'll have to walk back in the heat. I made sure her stillsuit was in good repair.

Yesterday, more proofreading on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: "Derma Sutra," "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," and "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." It is my intention that we'll finish the proofreading today. Then I can post the ToC. I think.

Last night, I got the final PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, the probably-final layout with all my corrections. The book is getting very close to publication. We're just a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of the day Bill Schafer asked if I wanted to do the book. My thanks to everyone who has, or will, preorder.

Spooky has left the house and wandered away into the bled. May Shai-Hulud have mercy upon her.

Today, is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67, and subscribers should have the issue this very evening. This issue includes the new vignette, "Down to Gehenna," along with Chapter One of Blood Oranges.

And! Today is the official publication date for two new anthologies edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow: Supernatural Noir and Naked City. The former includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn," and the latter another of my stories, "The Colliers' Venus (1893)". It should be noted, by the way, that when you read "The Maltese Unicorn," you have to hear a young Lauren Bacall as the narrator.

Last night...well, I braved the heat and, as a nod to the holiday, made BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and potato salad. We only almost perished of the heat in the kitchen. We ate in the parlor, which our coolerator droid, Dr. Muñoz, is doing it's best to keep tolerable (see graph 1, above). Then more Law and Order: Criminal Intent, then more Rift on the Faeblight shard while local hooligans celebrated Independence day by trying to blow up the neighborhood. The cops finally showed up, and things got quiet sometime after two. I got to sleep far too late. 5 ayem, and awoke at 10:30 ayem. Too hot to sleep much.

And now...off to hug a sweaty platypus. Comment, kittens!

Warmly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Today is mine and Spooky's ninth anniversary as Us. We actually met in New Orleans in 1999, but there was much caution and testing of the waters and so forth before finalizing the arrangement. Time has proven that a wise move. It's going to be a fairly unremarkable day, though. A little work. I need my hair trimmed (Spooky does that these days), and I'll cook dinner. Our financial situation is currently too precarious to allow for "lavish" anniversary celebrations ("The check will always be late.").

Nine years. Kind of hard to wrap my brain around.

Yesterday, we made very good progress reading through the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It really is more of a read-through, and less of editing. I'm making line edits, here and there, but these stories are, for the most part, in very good shape. We read "The Melusine (1898)," "Untitled 33," "I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light," and "Dancing With the Eight of Swords." All fairly long stories. We'll make it through a few more today.

I've been trying to decide whether or not I'll write an introduction. I feel the need to justify these stories – they are profane, obscene, pornographic, and "bizarrely" so. But I also know that attempts at justification and defence would only subvert the stories, when the object of the stories themselves is to subvert normative, non-transformative sexuality. Of course, these stories are no more or less obscene than those in The Ammonite Violin & Others, and I didn't feel this urge to defend them. So, I'm not sure what's up, why I have become more skittish. But I'm reading Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography, and pondering the matter. Carter writes:

Pornographers are the enemies of women only because our contemporary ideology of pornography does not encompass the possibility of change, as if we were slaves to history and not its makers, as if sexual relations were not necessarily an expression of social relations, as if sex itself were an external fact, as immutable as the weather, creating human practice but never a part of it.

She wrote this in 1977, but it seems as relevant now as it did thirty-four years ago. Perhaps we should consider that all fantasy (including sf) is obscene, as it subverts the normative, immutable view of reality and revels wantonly in the infinite alternatives. It certainly violates. You might even go so far as to say fantasy rapes reality in that act of transformation, as there certainly is no consent involved, between the writer and the "real" world as we know it. That most authors avoid including sexuality in the act of reshaping the world (or creating novel ones from bits and pieces of this one) is, more than anything, I believe, a reflection of our society's sexual hangups. There are exceptions, of course. Consider The Left Hand of Darkness, for example.

Then again, this may all be bullshit defence, where, as I said already, defence likely is both unnecessary and possibly detrimental.

Also, I've let the email back up again.

---

Back in the early nineties, I was a great fan of Law and Order. That was just before I stopped watching television for several years. I was especially fond of the seasons with Michael Moriarty as Executive Assistant District Attorney, but confess to being less enthusiastic about the show once Moriarty left and the cast began to shuffle about. Anyway... last week, bored, Spooky and I began streaming Law & Order: Criminal Intent from Netflix, mostly because I love Vincent D'Onofrio, and I loved the Holmes and Watson parallel. The show is pretty awesome. I'm not so crazy about Kathryn Erbe, but she's growing on me. Most of the cast is pretty flat, and many of the actors seem baffled by D'Onofrio's delightful antics. Courtney B. Vance has potential, but rarely opens up. We blew through the twenty-two episodes of Season One in only a handful of days, and are ready to begin Season Two.

Also, we may be moving our Rift guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, to another shard after all. Spooky's been exploring rp on the Faeblight shard***, and it seems rp really is taken much more seriously there (and the move is free and fast). On our present shard, supposedly an rp shard, we mostly get idiots, and see very little rp beyond our own. I was skeptical that things would be better on Faeblight, but seems I might have been wrong. That happens, on rare occasions.

Now...I should go. I need a bath before work.

In All My Sadeian Glory,
Aunt Beast

*** Turns out, Faeblight has closed to transfers in the last few days. But I have an alternate plan. I'll contact all the guild members.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I need to just stop making plans. I mean completely. I need to quit making plans altogether.

I should be in Boston right this very minute, with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and Co., but I'm not. I'm home. Sitting in my stupid chair at this stupid fucking desk, typing on this stupid fucking keyboard. Because the car's acting fucking sketchy again (bad crankshaft). Kyle just called. He'll be meeting up with our Eva Canning this afternoon (as played by Sara Murphy)*, scouting locations and getting test shots for our sort of Secret Drowning Girl project. Oh, and Neil even went to the trouble to get us on the guest list for Amanda's show at the Mill tonight...but...no. I'm. Sitting. Here. Maybe I'll go back to bed and be done with it.

Tiddly pom.

Oh, and, here in Rhode Island, we're still having a wonderful March.

Anyway...yesterday, we had a very fine birthday for Spooky. I even made her the World's Most Strawberry Cake Ever. Maybe too strawberry. But it was appreciated. By Spooky, I mean. She spent most of the day playing American McGee's Alice: The Madness Continues, I think. There are photos below, behind the cut.

All the work part of my day yesterday was taken up getting material to [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest for the new Sirenia Digest website (which is looking amazing). I did that, but nothing much else. I did read a couple of stories in Supernatural Noir, Melanie Tem's "Little Shit" and Brian Evanson's "The Absent Eye." I played Rift. Selwyn made Level 50 and capped. Yes, this is the breathtaking excitement of my life. Maybe I just have everything backwards. Maybe it's a problem of perspective. In this Post-Modern Age, perhaps it is the digital experiences we ought to cheer as "genuine," and not those troublesome and inconvenient analog ones.

Looking at it all fucking backwards.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

24 June 201 )


And yeah, Peter Falk died. Which I think I'm just having trouble processing. Is that a computer analogy? Having trouble processing? If so, fuck it. Anyway, I grew up in the seventies, with Columbo, but I try not to think of Falk as that character, because too few people remember that he was a very good actor. For example, his role as "Der Filmstar" in Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin (1987). Here's a clip I love:



But on the brighter side, gay marriage is now legal in New York. So, we have New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. But I don't think it'll ever happen in Rhode Island. Too many goddamn Catholics.

---

Last night, we watched a genuinely exquisitely creepy film, Brad Anderson's The Vanishing on 7th Street (2010). Anderson also made such superb films as Session 9 (2001), The Machinist (2004), Transsiberian (2008), and also directed ten episodes of Fringe. Right now, The Vanishing on 7th Street is streamable from Netflix, and you really, really ought to see it. Cosmic horror wonderfully translated to film. Man's fear of the dark and the dissolution of self. An apocalypse of darkness and aloneness. Beautiful.

And now I should go. Sit in the chair. At this desk. Maybe I'll try to write the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012), which will be called "Sexing the Weird." HPL and sex. My own refusal to be apologetic for the seemingly explicitly brutal nature of so much of my erotica, etc. One woman's pain is another's pleasures and affections.

* Turns out Sara hurt her arm at an audition at an audition, and I may have another chance to make it to Boston tomorrow. By the way, that came out wrong. Don't mean to imply I might benefit from Sara hurting her arm.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
If I had a kiddo – which I don't and, for better or worse, never shall – I would teach her or him this: there are two things, only two things that you must learn, and having learned them you'll be able to do anything you wish. Oh. You may not be able to make a living at anything you wish. But you will have the intellectual means. Learn to read and learn mathematics, and all the world can, in theory, be yours. Sorry, stray thought as I roll my mathematician's dice and wish for a different possible and unrealized past.

We are in the final few hours of the last auction in Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. This is, of course, the auction for the hand-corrected ARC of Two Worlds and In Between. Not only is this a first chance at owning the collection in any form, it goes without saying that the ARC is one of a kind (or ooak in eBay speak). The reason we're pushing eBay so hard just now is that I'm in paycheck limbo, an inevitability for all freelancers. Check might or might not come in the next two or three weeks. But I can't count on it coming, and must have a Plan B if I am to attend Readercon 22. The auctions are Plan B. So, if you can, please bid. Thanks.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,551 words and found the far end of Chapter Four of Blood Oranges. That's the first 35,794 words of the novel, either just a smidgen more or just a little less than half of it. It will be written by the end of July, my peculiar little popcorn novel.

Also, I managed to nail together the first and very rough draft Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Right now, there are twenty-three stories. I expect this will go up to twenty-five. So, presently, 102,566 words. By the way, at the moment I'm working on four books, in various stages. I'm in the middle stages of editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm at the final stages of editing Two Worlds and In Between. I'm halfway through the writing of Blood Oranges. And I'm just beginning the editing of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Never before have I done such a thing. Thank you, dubious pharmaceutical cornucopia.

Last night, Spooky made yummy pasta salad, and I played far, far too much Rift. It's time to back off a little, I think. I get too immersed, and just keep going for hours. Last night, I don't even know. But Selwyn is halfway to Level 49, and there was a lot of great rp (special thanks to all, especially Spooky, Tracy, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus).

Late last night, I saw the first images from my Drowning Girl collaboration with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. I'll post something as soon as he says I may.

Now, I should scoot. Slept too late, and the day is leaking away between the cracks.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This morning might almost be mistaken for June. Sunny. Warm, if you ignore the breeze. 74F.

Speaking as someone who has (and continues) to cope with addiction, I remain forever...how shall I say this nicely? I remain forever at odds with NA and AA. I've seen so many sane, decent, rational, likeable drunks and addicts turned into unbearable, self-righteous zombies obsessed with abandoning personal responsibility and shifting it to their so-called Higher fucking Powers. Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s, I had a therapist in Birmingham. I can't even recall her name. But she tried to get me on the twelve-step bandwagon. There was a day she grew (no shit) absolutely livid because I refused to "surrender" to any "Higher Power." She accused me of "not even trying" and threatened to stop seeing me. "Can't you at last pretend?!" Hell, let us here note the success rates of these programs are crap. And here's the thing, it's not that I don't recognize that the universe is filled to overflowing with that which is more powerful than the one little organism of me. I do recognize that. Humpback whales. Hurricanes. Volcanoes. Plate tectonics. The sun. Whatever. I'm just one little bug. But I refuse to make up – or buy into other people's made up – sentient "Higher Powers." Trading one drug for another, in effect, one dependency for another. Though, in retrospect, maybe I should have claimed my Higher Power was a female Black Lectroid leader named John Emdall (from Planet 10, natch). Sorry. Rant ends here.

---

Workwise, yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. As I was about to begin the next section of Chapter Four, I realized there was a huge continuity error, and that its roots lay far back in a conversation I'd written in Chapter Two. I refused to rewrite the conversation, and sat here until I found a way to progress, resolve the continuity problem, and keep the conversation. All that led to a somewhat lowered word count, "only" 1,034 words.

There's something about Blood Oranges that I hope people will understand. This book is "just for fun." Spooky calls it a "popcorn book." Which is fairly accurate. It is in no way meant to be received the way I hope people have received The Red Tree and will receive The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one's just for shits and giggles.

Anyway...

I've felt so lousy the last few days (much better this ayem), we splurged last night and went to the 6:30 screening of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life at the Avon on Thayer Street (I half made up for it by have PB&J for dinner). Malick is in the tiny handful of directors who can, in my opinion, pretty much do no wrong. I'd love to write a review expounding just how amazing and beautiful and brilliant Tree of Life is, but, as I've said many times, I have no talent for reviews. But...you have to see this if you can. A film that manages to place the everyday life of a Waco, Texas family in the 1950s within a universal context, within the context of deep time. From the formation of the galaxy to the prebiotic earth to a Cretaceous forest...to the emptiness of an architect's life decades after his brothers death...to the nova of our star and, then, earth as a burnt out cinder. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are both perfect. Indeed, this is about as close to perfect as film ever comes. There's not much I can think of that's comparable to Tree of Life, except Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Only Tree of Life is a better film. No film has impressed me this much since Synecdoche, New York (2008). Tree of Life goes on my "Top 50 Films Ever" list. Not sure what gets bumped off.

---

Later, back home, I played Rift. A lot of Rift, while Spooky played the new American Mcgee Alice game (which is gorgeous). My thanks to Tracy T. for a combination of superb rp and helping me survive two enormous fire-rift events in the Droughtlands. Ah, Maelforge, chaos incarnate, dragon ruler of the Plane of Fire, you are a right bastard.

Then Spooky and I finished reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants (this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club - hint, hint). A marvelous novel, though I actually think the film may be ever so slightly better. That actually does happen from time to time, the creation of a film that bests its source material. Oh, our mathematician's dice came yesterday! And I read "Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia" from the January JVP.

Oh, and I think I've decided that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be dedicated to Henry Darger.

Also, all of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has ended except this.

Okay. Must write now, and must not wish (too hard) that I were at the sea.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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