greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
The Red Tree is having a particularly good week. Indeed, last night its sales ranking went as high as 3,949, which is the highest I've seen it. The numbers went up some time ago, right after Amazon.com posted that "Top 10 Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy" list back in early November, which includes The Red Tree at #2. With luck, the numbers will stay high for at least another month or so. By the way, this absolutely does not mean I'm suddenly making money off the book; it only means that the book is selling, and so some part of my debt to the publisher, incurred via my advance, is being paid off, and so the publisher is more likely to continue publishing my novels. If it kept selling like this for a year or so, I might see a royalty check.

---

No Writing yesterday. I tried. The best I managed was proofreading the galleys for the reprint of "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" in Joshi's forthcoming Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. It's a very good story, one I'm quite proud of, and I found a small number of errors.

It's bitterly cold here in Providence, and will be more bitter tonight. What is it Amanda Palmer said in "Coin-Operated Boy"? Oh. "Bitterer." Tonight will be bitterer than today. The sun is out, at least.

Yesterday, the December '09 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. Lots of good papers in this one. I began reading "Tethyshadros insularis, a new hadrosauroid dinosaur (Ornithischia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Italy." Oh, and I had no idea that, last year, Greg Paul (a notorious taxonomic "lumper" since at least the '80s) split the taxon Iguanodon into Iguanodon, Mantellisaurus, and Dollodon. I'm extremely skeptical, and it should be noted that most of Paul's "lumping" of taxa has failed to withstand the test of time (for example, his attempt in 1988 to combine Deinonychus, Velociraptor, and Saurornitholestes into a single genus).

We read more of Greer Gilman's amazing Cloud and Ashes last night.

Oh...almost forgot. We also watched Roar Uthaug's Fritt vilt (2006, aka Cold Prey) yesterday evening. I was very, very underwhelmed. To start with, the version we could stream from Netflix was dubbed from Norwegian into English, only it sounded like the dubbing had been done in Japan. Dubbing is never a good idea (possible exception, some animated films). It mutilates a film as surely as do pan-and-scan prints. Regardless, it's not a very bright film, only a very formulaic slasher flick. Five kids trapped in an abandoned ski lodge and pursued and picked off one by one by a lumbering serial killer. Blah, blah, blah. It's a shame the director could not have done more with the setting, which manages to simultaneously inspire a sense of claustrophobia and agoraphobia. I will say that the last ten minutes or so were almost interesting, but coming, as they do, after all that dullness, they were hardly worth the wait. Sure, it was definitely an improvement over Deadline, which we watched on Tuesday night. At least the murders aren't bloodless. But I would not recommend Fritt vilt, unless maybe the Ambien's not working for you.

On the other hand, here's something both beautiful and terrible, the art of Monica Cook.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday was almost, and perhaps actually, a total loss, so far as writing is concerned. I managed only 285 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics," and then I just...locked up. I couldn't tell if what I was writing was good enough. I was suddenly no longer certain if any part of the story was anything but trite, hollow...and so I locked up. I sat here another hour or so, angry and baffled and aware that it might all have stemmed from my having used Ambien to get to sleep Tuesday morning. Finally, Spooky said I should get up, that we should get out of the house. And so we did.

Though it was late in the day when we left, we headed across town to the Bell Gallery (Brown University) at 64 College Street, which is currently featuring Rachel Berwick's installation "Zugunruhe." Berick's work generally concerns species that have recently become extinct, or were thought to be extinct until recently, or may soon be extinct— the Tasmanian tiger, the Galapagos tortoise, the coelacanth, etc. "Zugunruhe" is devoted to the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a bird that once inhabited North America in almost unimaginable numbers, but was wiped out during the 1800's by hunting and deforestation. The species was effectively extinct in the wild by the early 20th Century. The last captive specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914 (the last authenticated sighting in the wild was made in Pike County, Ohio, on March 22, 1900).

The instillation is startling in its simplicity. First, we are greeted by an enormous copy of Audubon's 1840 Birds of America (five feet wide when opened), displaying his life-sized illustration of the passenger pigeon. And then there are grey walls on which have been recorded excerpts from the writings of 19th Century naturalists and hunters, describing the almost unbelievable size of Ectopistes migratorius flocks. On a pedestal stands a glass bell jar or globe, inside of which is an odd contraption with a large brass needle which rotates erratically, almost compass like, both recalling migratory instincts and pointing to the quotes on the walls. The final part of the instillation is a great heptagonal glass case in a darkened room. The case contains a tree, and the branches of the tree are festooned with hundreds of passenger pigeons cast in orange copal (a million or so years old, an immature form of amber).

By the way, "zugunruhe" is a an obscure German ornithological term for the nighttime restlessness displayed by migratory birds.

---

Leaving the gallery, just as the bells at Brown were tolling four p.m. (EST), I had a minor absence seizure. Which may explain the trouble I'd been having with the story, as work often becomes difficult before a seizure. We stopped by the market before heading home. There was Chinese takeout for dinner, as no one felt like cooking. We streamed a truly dreadful film from Netflix, Thora Birch and some other people in Sean McConville's Deadline (2009). This has to be one of the dullest films of the year, and I'm not sure why we didn't shut it off after the first twenty minutes. I will say, the ghost story is one of the most difficult supernatural tales to pull off effectively, especially in film, and one does not manage that trick by regurgitating every tiresome gimmick from the last decade of American and Japanese cinema (most of which never worked to begin with). Avoid this film. And you might also want to avoid WoW until after the "holidays," as its been infested with inappropriate Xmas idiocy again. We quested a bit in remote parts of the Howling Fjord and reached Level 71. There was a genuinely creepy encounter with the Lich King inside a sepulcher at the Vrykul city of Gjalerbron. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew the Vrykul queen Angerboda as she was attempting to resurrect King Ymiron. But the Lich King made a brief appearance and spirited the two giants away.

And that was yesterday. But there are photos:

15 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The insomnia came back last night. I was still wide awake at 4 a.m., when I finally gave up and took Ambien. I think I slept about six hours. I function far better on nine.

Yesterday, when I wasn't busy slamming New Moon, Mormons, and Americans who are more comfortable with a 1.9 trillion dollar war bill for our occupation of Iraq than a 1 trillion dollar bill for health care overhaul...when I wasn't doing all that...mouthing off, so to speak...I was writing. I managed 1,003 words on "Sanderlings" (formerly "Teratophobia").

Roger Ebert's review of New Moon is actually rather priceless. He gives it one star out of four. I was pleased to see that the film currently has only a 4.4 rating at imbd, and that it's not fairing so well over at Rotten Tomatoes, either. Of course, this is mere criticism. The film broke all box office records on Friday, and is likely to break the opening weekend record. So, lots of happy studio execs and queer-hating Mormons getting the last laugh. Tiddley pom.

Truthfully, I think I need to go back to feigning indifference and keeping my social and political ruminations to myself. Because, face it. Yes, I am a fatalist and a pessimist. There's nothing I can do to make much of anything better, and on those rare occasions when I try, I usually only manage to make things worse for myself. For example, yesterday I probably managed to do very little but piss a few people off and discover that an enormous number of folks on Twitter no longer know (or never knew) the definition of irony. The second bit upsets me far more than the former. Anyway, yeah. Less politics and critique. This is your world. I leave you to it. I'll write about my writing, and comment on movies I've seen and books I've read, and post pretty photographs of Rhode Island. The rest I leave to others.

It's cold here in Providence. Truthfully, I wish the snows would come. The cold is less depressing when there's snow. The snow takes away all the sharp edges.

We've begun a new mini-round of eBay auctions. Please have a look, and thank you. Also, a reminder that Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for The Ammonite Violin & Others.

Last night, we suffered through the third extremely dull episode of the reamke of V (it really isn't getting any better), and then watched Adam Green and Joel Moore's Spiral (2007), a surprisingly good little thriller. Frankly, I miss flipping channels. Now, instead of flipping channels looking for something worth watching, we flip through the streamable (new word, I suppose) films at Netflix. Last night, we searched through them for almost an hour before finding Spiral.

And now, more photos from Green Hill. Today is documentation of the "starfish apocalypse." Actually, I was annoyed to discover that by the time we reached that part of the beach most blanketed in dead starfish, we'd evidently tired of photographing them. But this gives you some impression. We must have seen hundreds, which means there were probably thousands. I was thinking about this yesterday, and it occurred to me that we likely were not seeing starfish that had died in a single stranding, but the effects of multiple strandings, maybe many days' worth. After all, it's probable that a portion of the starfish that perish during any given low tide would not be washed out to sea on the next high tide, that, over time, an accumulation would occur. Anyway, yes, photos:

18 November 2009, Part 4 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
On Thursday, I sent the proposal for Blood Oranges (working title, and almost certainly not the book's final title) to my agent. And now I'm waiting to hear back from her. I was hoping I'd get her thoughts before the weekend, but, alas, no. So...I wait. If she likes it as is, it will be sent along to my editor at Penguin. If Merrilee says the proposals needs work, I'll revise it, then send it back to her again.

As of yesterday, it's been four years since I finished Daughter of Hounds, which I began writing in the autumn of 2004. This time last year, I'd just finished The Red Tree, late in October, and was working on a short story, "The Collier's Venus." And now, here I am trying to find my way into the Next Novel, which I probably "should" have begun writing back in June. But my novels come slowly. I seem to be good for about one every two years. Well, that depends what you count and what you don't. If we say I've written seven novels— which is what I'd say —they have been written over a period of seventeen years. Which is, what? A novel, on average, every 2.4 years. Which seems entirely reasonable to me, especially given that, since 1993, I've also written and sold something 175 short stories, novellas, comic scripts, and vignettes.

Anyway...

Yesterday, I didn't write. Yesterday was cold and windy grey, the clouds low and threatful. And we went to an afternoon matinée of Roland Emmerich's 2012. A stupid, stupid, stupid movie. But, it is enjoyable on a certain level, that level wherein I derive a perverse glee from seeing all human civilization reduced to ruin and rubble, while almost seven billion people die screaming in convulsions of fire and water. It was stupid, but it was pretty. Stupid and pretty. I found it painful watching John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor trapped in the thing. At least John Cusack was allowed to be a bit lighthearted. Poor Ejiofor had to play the whole silly mess with a straight (and grim) face. I will say that Woody Harrelson was hilarious, and if only the film had given him a larger part, it would have been quite a bit more worthwhile. Has anyone else noticed that Emmerich keeps making the same film over and over and over, and that these films essentially adhere to a formula begun almost forty years ago, with Airport (1970) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972)? The last forty minutes or so of 2012 (the film was probably an hour too long, by the way) might almost be viewed as a cynical, hamfisted remake of George Pal's When World's Collide (1951). And did I mention this is a stupid film? No? I mean, it's like Emmerich hired a team of astrophysicists, planetologists, geologists, and engineers as consultants, then did exactly the opposite of whatever they advised. I was amused with Ebert giving the film 3.5 stars (out of 4), reasoning that "2012 delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year." Yes, it's big, dumb fun. Just check your brain at the box office, or it won't be.

Last night, there was a fire in the house next door. Spooky and I heard an odd pop, and ten minutes or so later, the block was surrounded by fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances, and smoke was pouring from our neighbor's roof. We went downstairs. The night was cold and wet, and we watched the firemen and the chaos. It appears the fire was started by a faulty lamp short-circuiting, something like that. No one was hurt. All the pets were evacuated. Today, there's a truck pumping water out of the basement. My impression is that the damage from the fire was minimal, but the smoke and water damage must have been quite substantial. There are a few photos behind the cut:

13 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Yesterday, I managed to write 1,068 words on "Galápagos." They were grueling pages. When it was done, Spooky and I read back over it all, all of it thus far, and then I sent it off to a few readers, all of whom liked it a lot, despite my expectations. I think the worst part is that it really wants to be a novella, or at least a novelette, and I just cannot allow it to go on that long. Oh, and it's a given that it will be disliked by the sf readers and reviewers who dislike my sf because it's a bit dystopian, and has extraterrestrial life, and isn't obsessed with the Singularity, and possesses a sort of gee-whiz element, and can be read without an engineering or a computer science degree and few dozen tech manuals on hand.

Okay, yeah. I'm ranting. I'm half fucking delirious. Bad insomnia last night. I was up until about 4:30 a.m., so, thank you, Insomnia, for those six hours sleep. I finally took an extra Ambien and worked on Shaharrazad's mining skills while I waited for it to knock me out. I needed thorium, and northing but thorium, and went from Shattrath to Orgrimmar to Ferales to Silithus to Un'Goro Crater. To bed.

---

Last night somehow turned into a sort of impromptu horror-movie festival. Mostly, I was too tired to read (or even play WoW). Isn't it odd that after spending six hours writing, I feel guilty for not spending the evening reading? I find it odd. Anyway, here are three very quick reviews:

Masters of Horror: Imprint (2007), directed by Takashi Miike. First off, I'd loathed everything I'd previously seen from this series of short films. But I was very impressed with Miike's short "Box." I was not as impressed with Imprint, which lacked much of the atmosphere and subtlety of "Box." For all I know, Imprint is truer to his usual style than was "Box," but if so, that's a shame. Some nice visuals, and sort of a neat story, but it was all overwhelmed by the gore and some stiff acting. There are many (maybe most) horror films where less gore would be more, and this is one of them. There were hints of the Carteresque fairy-tale quality that makes "Box" work, but the whole falls flat.

Splinter (2008), directed by Toby Wilkins. We went into this one expecting very little. But the line in the description about a "splinter virus" intrigued, and we decided to give it a shot. And were glad we did. This is one of those gems, like The Descent (2005), Feast (also 2005), and Slither (2006) that sets out to be nothing much more than a great creature feature and succeeds admirably. Surprisingly believable acting, superb (and truly chilling) creatures fx, and just enough levity to punctuate the horror without reducing it to camp. It harked back to Carpenter's The Thing (1982), that brand of biological horror, and I strongly recommend it. Also, very oddly quotable. Here's a trailer:



Piranha (1995), directed by Scott P. Levy. We should have stopped at Splinter, we really should have. But we didn't, and after watching this piece of crap, I'm left with two questions. First, why would anyone bother to remake Joe Dante's Piranha (1978), almost scene for scene, and not bother to at least make it as interesting as the original (which isn't saying an awful lot, admittedly). Secondly, why wasn't the remake a musical? It could have been brilliant. Oh, the cast included Soleil Moon Frye (aka "Punky Brewster"), and at least we got to see her devoured (along with a lot of other annoying people) by stock footage from the Dante film. Really, really bad.

And since I seem to have a theme going here, I'll leave you with the trailer to Jennifer Lynch's forthcoming Hisss, which has me excited in more ways than one:

greygirlbeast: (Max)
So, yesterday I wrote 2,315 words in three hours, and I did finish "The Lovesong of Lady Ratteanrufer." What started out to be a two-thousand word story I'd planned to write in only two days grew into a 6,297-word story that required two and half times that long to write (and there's still tweaking to be done on it and on "Metamorphosis A"). But I am very pleased with it. What a strange and different (for me) bit of fiction it is. As I'd planned, it's a retelling of "The Pied Piper," but not nearly so married to the source material as I'd expected it would be. Which is to say, yesterday was a very good writing day.

That said, I must admit that I am so very near to exhaustion. Not the sort of exhaustion where one is merely very, very tired and needs a rest, but a sort I've only ever glimpsed before. A sort where the next day, the next story, seems pretty much inconceivable. I'm writing too much. I've seen no sign that the quality of what I'm writing has been suffering for this, but it's quite clear that I am. I need a sort of rest that I could only find by not writing anything at all for a few months, at least. But I am a writer. I am a working writer. And there are deadlines. And if I do not meet the deadlines, bills will not be paid. So, there can be no extended vacation from writing. Not now. Not at any point in the foreseeable future. Maybe this falls under "be careful what you wish for," though, personally, I think it has more to do with how little most writers are paid for what we do. We're forced to make up the difference in volume.

At least I am. And the trick, then, is to make every single story, every single sentence, as good or better than all those that came before, and to do this indefinitely. Otherwise, the world — that part of it which is only commerce and the cost of living and such-like — has won and I'm beaten and it has made of me merely another cog. What a bizarre concept: the cost of living. What a world men and women have fashioned for themselves when so much time must be spent making money to cover the cost of living that very little actual living gets done. But I drift. I digress. I will keep on keeping on, because that's what I do. Howard Hughes knows the score. The alternative is a cardboard box at the corner of Crack and Whore. But, I'm just saying what Bilbo said, "Thin, like too little butter spread over too much bread," or maybe I'm only paraphrasing what Bilbo said. Either way, Rivendell is looking pretty good right about now.

I have a question. Is there anyone out there who knows if it's possible to transfer my entries from Blogger to LJ? That is, all those entries before April 16th, 2004, when I opened the LJ account. I have tried to find the answer for myself, searching the bewildering array of LJ FAQs, but to no avail. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Yesterday evening, when the writing was done, we braved the bone-chilling wind and went back to the Plaza to meet Jim and Byron for one more film from the Horrorfest "8 Films to Die For" weekend. Unfortunately, that film was J. S. Cardone's perfectly (and I mean perfectly) lousy Wicked Little Things (2006). Some idiot over at imdb actually had the audacity to label this one of the "greatest horror films of the year." I suspect it was Cardone himself. Or herself. One can never be sure when only initials are involved. Wicked Little Things was, in fact, one of the most shameless and artless romps through the fields of cliché that I have ever paid to see. I would be hard pressed to pull from this wretched mess even a single bit of redemption, and I take no pleasure saying that about a film. Wait. It had pretty scenery. There's One Nice Thing, even if the director had no clue what she or he was supposed to do with it. I picked this film because of the backstory involving children killed in a early 20th Century coal mining disaster. And the rural Pennsylvania setting. And the cannibal zombie children. I figured it would be fun, at the very least. Wrong. It was dull, through and through, and there is no greater sin for a "horror" film. It wasn't scary. It wasn't creepy. It wasn't effectively gory. It didn't make me ponder the great and indifferent cosmos looming all about us. It wasn't even fucking funny. Not even in a schlocky, bad movie kinda way. It was just dull. And dumb. I'd say it felt most like a '70s Made-for-TV movie, only had this film been made in the '70s it might have had the mivonks to go with a suitably dark ending. This is a film I would cross the street to avoid. This is a film that would give "straight to DVD" a bad name. And I'm not just saying this because of the rubber tarantula hanging in an orb web in the Pennsylvania woods. I can forgive a whole truckload of geographically-challenged, orb-weaving rubber tarantulas, if they are placed within a movie that does not suck. Or even one that knows it sucks and has some fun with itself. Do not pay to see this film. Do not rent this film. If this film gets picked up by SciFi, as it likely will, because it's exactly that dull, do not even watch it for free. About the only good that could come of this film would be a drinking game using its plentiful continuity errors. At least that way, you'd be so drunk halfway through that the dullness might not be so painful. Ah, well. At least The Abandoned was good. And we got a free T-shirt.

More Final Fantasy XII last night, almost eighteen hours so far, and have I mentioned that I'm leaving Spooky for Fran?

Time to make the doughnuts...
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
Oh gods, the sun is bright. Wait. There's a merciful bit of cloud...

Yesterday, we met Byron at the Hollywood 24 googleplex for my birthday movie, which was, sadly, X-Men: The Last Stand (see "review" below). Afterwards, the three of us met Jim and Hannah back at the house. Dinner at the Vortex at L5P. I ate a very large salad and had a black and tan. We got Mexican hot chocolate ice cream from Xocolatl, which was astoundingly delicious stuff (I'm not usually very excited by chocolate), then headed back to the house, meaning to watch Dr. Who. Except, for some reason, the Skiffy Channel didn't show Dr. Who last night, so we just sat around talking for several hours, instead. And that was birthday -2. Good frelling riddance, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Today, I have to get all the last bits of work done on Sirenia Digest #6, so it can be sent out tomorrow. This will be a day spent tying up loose ends. Oh, and I also have to send "So Runs the World Away" to an editor who'll be reprinting it in a new anthology. I'd be more specific, but the particulars elude me at this moment. That's why I have Spooky and why I make so many lists.

And I guess that gets us to the part of the entry where I talk about X-Men: The Last Stand. It's behind the cut, for spoilers and those what really don't care:

click me )

Okay. Time to pimp the platypus. Sheheit's not gonna pimp herheit's self.
greygirlbeast: (chi5)
Some vital part of my brain hasn't yet awakened, though I've been "awake" well over an hour. So, we shall see how this goes. We always do.

Despite being a bitterly cold day (for late March in Atlanta), and the fact that my mood was scraping bottom almost the whole time, yesterday really wasn't too bad. I scrapped "Glove" and started over. The new incarnation of the selkie vignette (which might actually be more like a short short story) is called "For One Who Has Lost Herself" and is set in Manhattan instead of Massachusetts. I did 1,243 words yesterday, which comes to 6 pages. Spooky likes it a lot. Me, I don't yet know. It's very different. I worked on it until 5 p.m. or so, then did two Wikipedia entries, for the ankylosaurs Texasetes (likely a synonym of Pawpawsaurus) and Animantarx. I didn't leave the apartment all day, and I don't do that very often anymore. But the temp barely reached 50F, and I just wasn't up to the chill.

Last night, I somehow got sucked into watching bad sf/horror films on the skiffy channel. First, there was this perfectly abominable thing with William Forsythe called Larva. One of those dreadful skiffy channel "originals." Mutated liver flukes or something of the sort. Someday, someone will write a book on all these Z-grade films that Bonnie Hammer has visited upon the world. Or they won't, which would really be for the best. Afterwards, there was a Tobe Hooper film called Mortuary. It might actually have been fairly decent, if not for the pan and scan, the bleeped-out profanity, the fuzzed-out nudity and obscene gestures, the lousy CGI, and the last 30 seconds, which reeked of having been tacked on in the eleventh hour to satisfy the producers. I don't know this film's history. But I suspect it was picked up by skiffy when it failed to find a distributor. Something like that. There was a little bit of "The Shunned House," a little bit of "The Colour Out of Space," some of the eighties horror spoof vibe, some very funny lines. I fear I rather enjoyed it up until those last thirty seconds, even with all the commercials and bleeping and fuzzing out. Perhaps I'll see it again on DVD, if it finds it way onto DVD.

Later still, Spooky finished reading me "The Colour Out of Space." She spent most of yesterday working on the new doll, Ignatius. He's a stunning shade of violet, a fact which, in his youth, led to much taunting and consternation and gender confusion, accounting, in part, for his foul disposition. I think she'll be finishing him up this afternoon.

Anything else? Oh, yeah. New Boschen and Nesuko. Also, only four days and eight hours remain in the Alabaster ARC auction. remember, this is the only copy of the ARC I'll be putting up for auction. And there are the other auctions. Okay. I'm gonna go try to wake up...
greygirlbeast: (Nar'eth)
This morning's entry will likely be short. I need to see to one or two last details with Threshold and get it back in the mail to my editor. I need to not forget to tack on a new bio, or they'll end up reprinting the one from 2001. My eyes are only about half open, despite the coffee. Not much to say about yesterday. I worked on MDS #4, which is woefully late, but coming along (apologies). I'm about to have to shift gears from Threshold to Alabaster and begin editing the collection and start writing "Bainbridge," the "last" Dancy Flammarion story. Actually, having to do this read-through on Threshold couldn't have come at a better time, as far as getting me ready to work on Alabaster is concerned. Dancy is now fresh in my mind.

I was amazed at how well the distribution of Sirenia Digest 0 went. Only one person reported any trouble opening the PDF, and only a couple of copies were misdirected. Next time, things should be just about perfect. If you missed 0, you can make it up to yourself by not missing Issue 1. Subscribe today. Click here. A mere $10/month gets you two vignettes and assorted other goodies.

Have I mentioned how much I've loving Shadow of the Colossus? Of course, I have, but some things bear repeating. I'm pretty sure that it's my favourite game since The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher's Bay (which supplanted Primal). Indeed, it just might be The Coolest Game Ever, as far as I'm concerned. After four nights, I've bested seven colossi. Clearly, I need to keep an eye out for Ico. SotC astounds me — the beauty of it, the game's brilliant simplicity, its physics, the graphics, the fact that the creators were brave enough to trust the gamer to get by without an elaborate backstory, etc. and etc. It makes me grin (and too few things do).

Spooky and I are due a decent movie. The last couple of DVD rentals have been pretty awful. There was an Italian western on Saturday night, Giovanni Veronesi's Il Mio Westo (1998; aka, Gunslinger's Revenge). The only thing that comes close to redeeming this film is David Bowie's tongue-in-cheek performance as the preening, egomanical villian, and the whole comes off three parts Disney fluff to one part half-assed spaghetti western. Then, last night, we watched Stealth, and don't ask me why I do these things. Sometimes even I'm astounded at the depraved depths of my masochism. Stealth probably has the dullest and most superfluous first hour of any action movie in history, followed by a second hour that put me in mind of the "original" movies that the Sci-Fi Channel's been coughing up lately.

Okay. Time to work. Yippee. Oh, yeah. Spooky's decided that the hamster's full name is Chiana Marshmallow Pipsqueak, aka Hamtaro. Also, it was good to learn I'm not the only Jethro Tull fan out there...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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