greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
On this day, two years ago, I wrote:

Screw this candy-assed Valentine's Day shit. The Romans got it right with Lupercalia. Now, if you want to sacrifice a couple of goats and a dog to Lupa, then run around town naked, save for a bloody thong of goatskin —— that's a goddamn reason to get out of bed. This sugar-coated hearts and flowers crap? Not even a weak echo of a genuine fertility rite. Do it up good and proper, or leave me the hell alone.

The sentiment remains the same, to the letter.

Yesterday was a day off. After not leaving the house for thirteen days, I managed to leave the house. Fuck you, Mistresses Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety. I'm not going to live like that. I'm not going to hide in this room, in my words, while the world goes by. Anyway, yesterday we went out into the filthy winter-bound city. Humans make such a nasty, sad mess of the snow. It was too ugly to stare at very long, so we headed for Conanicut Island. I played Arcade Fire on the iPod and read David Petersen's marvelous Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 while Spooky drove. As soon as we were clear of Providence, the ugly black trash-littered snow was replaced with white snow laying on all the forests and fields, so white and undisturbed it might well have fallen only yesterday. We crossed the Jamestown Bridge, and below us the sea was choppy and the waves whitecapped and precisely the color of slate. The sky was overcast, a blue-lavender hiding the sky (which helps).

We stopped briefly at Zeke's Creek Bait and Tackle and Seafood (which is closed for the season), to survey the frozen saltmarsh.

We continued to Beavertail, where the wind was so fierce it was hard to stand. The temperature was somewhere in the '30s, but I can only imagine what the windchill must have been. On the eastern, windward side of the point, we could only stand to be out of the car for a few minutes at a time. It wouldn't have taken long to get frostbite. It was a little better on the lee shore, and we watched huge crows that might have been ravens, and flocks of seabirds bobbing on the rough water. Then we headed over to West Cove, the beach where we hunt sea glass. It was a bit more sheltered (also a lee shore). Spooky found a few pieces of glass. I found the premaxilla of a cormorant. It was a freezing, bleak day, but the air was clean, and there was a grandeur in the bleakness. That is my world, out there, not in this dreadful room, trapped at the dreadful fucking keyboard. We headed back home about five p.m.

This would be a good day for comments.

There are photos, behind the cut:

13 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I've not left the house in eight days. Presently, it's sunny and 23˚F, though it feels like 10˚F with windchill. Things I only know because of the internet. The last few days, the sun and rain have made a small dent in the mountain of snow. The streets of Providence have begun their annual disintegration, as potholes open up all over. Not that it matters to someone who seems never to leave the house.

I'm feeling much, much better. This has been an odd cold, for Spooky and I both. I've dubbed it the "Long Island Express." Fast and hard. It was sort of like a week and a half of sick, all in three days. Still, I'd rather it be that way, than lower-grade misery for ten days.

I suppose yesterday was a half a day off. I didn't actively write, but I did work. Email, and looked over copy editor's marks on "Tidal Forces" (soon to appear in Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four). I lay in bed while Spooky read back over all of the seventh chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and made line edits. I see now that the seventh chapter is done, and I'll begin 8 today. And I see that this novel may only have nine chapters, so...the ending is nearing sooner than expected. Which feels very, very strange, considering I actually only was finally able to begin it in earnest in November (after, I think, three false starts over the preceding eight months).

---

Thanks for all the potential "if I were" questions posted yesterday as comments. There were some excellent ones, and all have been cut an pasted into a file I keep for such things. But, as it happens, I thought of a very good question last night, which I'll probably post tomorrow. I think it's just the right balance of disturbing and erotic.

---

The thing I was going to get into yesterday and didn't, another highly questionable Amazon.com "review" and the issue of Sarah Crowe's sexuality. I quote:

Over all, I liked the book. I did get a bit irritated with the author constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian.

Now, I should note up front that the reader did, indeed, like the book, and she gave it four out of five stars. And, originally, I wasn't going to carp about this. But it's been eating at me. I will try to be succinct, because it's actually a very simple problem. To begin with, "the author" wasn't "constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian." It was Sarah who did the talking. The interauthor whose journal makes up most of The Red Tree. There are plenty who would say that's an absurd distinction, but I disagree. However, that's not the meat of the problem here.

To put it as simply as possible, most gays and lesbians spend a lot more time thinking of themselves as gays and lesbians than most heterosexual men and women spend thinking about the fact of their heterosexuality. This is simply true, and it follows from the repression and discrimination and hatred visited upon queers. When you aren't "the norm," when, all your life, the validity of your desires and loves has been condemned and questioned and, at times, attempts have been made to beat it out of you, it changes how you see yourself. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Maybe someday a time will come when this isn't true, and no one will give a second thought to being a lesbian. But, for now, we live in a society that rarely misses an opportunity to remind us how we deviate from a heterocentric expectation. We spend a lot more time thinking of our sexual identity (which is not the same as thinking about sex) than do straight men and women, because it has become a label. A tag with which to distinguish us from everyone who isn't a lesbian. And if you're straight, and you still don't get this after hearing an explanation, I'm sorry, but you're just not trying. Sarah grew up in the Deep South, one of those parts of the country where it's very hard to be queer, and has, no doubt, spent much of her life taking crap, and yes, she'd quite frequently think of herself as a lesbian. Ergo, she'd write about it. The Red Tree is her book, her voice, her story.

I grow weary of the "I have nothing against lesbians, but why do I have to read about them?" crowd. It's hard not to see this as closeted or thinly-veiled homophobia. Hets are not entitled to live in ignorance of lesbianism, any more than lesbians are entitled to live in ignorance of heterosexuality. This is the world you made, now butch up and live with it.

---

The rest of yesterday. Dinner was the third day of quadrupedal chicken stew. Because I was too bored to stay in bed, and too sick to do much of anything else, there was a lot of WoW. We're finishing up the Twilight Highlands with Shah and Suraa, which means finishing up the meat of the Cataclysm expansion. The Twilight Highlands has been, by far, the best of the expansion. The scene where Alexstrasza attempts to destroy Deathwing was very nicely done. Most of the Twilight Highlands quest chains are good. While Uldum is pretty to look at, it shoots itself in the foot with all the "Harrison Jones" silliness. At least the Twilight Highlands quests mostly take themselves seriously.

Mostly. But...I would be lying if I tried to pretend that my love affair with WoW isn't coming to an end. Blizzard continues to dumb down the game (and it wasn't exactly a bright child to begin with). And they continue to inexplicably whittle away at warlock abilities (and, I assume, abilities for other classes). Yesterday's big patch took away the "drain mana" spell, which I rely on quite a bit in PvE. It's beginning to look like I'll be able to get a laptop this spring, exclusively for gaming, and I suspect that when I do I'll be dropping WoW for LoTRO and Rift (Spooky's doing the Rift Beta, and it's an amazing game). I need a lot less funny and far more coherent, consistent storylines. I need a world that isn't afraid to take itself seriously, and game designers who are a little more considerate of players. Blizzard, you've lost me.

And now...I make the doughtnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (white)
No less snow than yesterday, not that I can tell.

I've been sitting here doing some mildly grim math. I'm also trying to decide if "mildly grim" is anything like being "a little pregnant." Anyway, looking back over the month of January, I see that the last time I had a successful day off was on Tuesday, January 4th. I tried to have another the 17th, a Monday, but I hardly got out of doors before the anxiety kicked in, and that day earned an L. So, I have essentially been without a day off since the 4th, the day we saw True Grit. Over those twenty-four days, I've written a total of 26,929 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And those aren't rough-draft pages. There will be a polish before it goes to my editor, but those are pretty much final-draft pages. That's an average of 1,122 words a day. However, I didn't actually write on every single one of those days: there was the failed day off, plus three days when I had non-writing writing work to attend to. That means 26,929 words written over nineteen days, and an average of 1,417 words per day. Take into account that about halfway through this my meds stopped working and I had to have the levels adjusted...and it's no damned wonder I feel like ass. Still, I've got to finish Chapter 5 and get Sirenia Digest #62 out before I can have a couple of days off, so I likely have at least three or four more days of this ahead of me.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,518 words on Chapter 5. It wasn't at all the scene I'd meant to write, but a scene I hadn't even suspected existed. This sort of thing is one reason I can't do meaningful synopses before I write a book: the story unfolds as I write it. Also, after yesterday, I've decided there will be a note at the beginning or the end of the novel that says something to the effect of This is the most personal novel I've ever written. That doesn't mean I expect you to like it. That only means it's the closest I've ever come to telling the truth. A small and unobtrusive note.

What I wrote yesterday made Kathryn cry, and I always take that as the highest compliment.

---

Last night, we watched Anton Corbijn's The American (2010; based on Martin Booth's novel, A Very Private Man). This is definitely one of the best films of 2010. It's the sort of quiet, brooding thriller that was common to the seventies, but which we rarely see these days. The cinematography and score are astounding. Clooney is at his very best. The film creates smothering paranoia, in part from its use of space, of perfectly composed wide-angle shots, vistas, landscapes. Corbijn is fast becoming one of my favorite living filmmakers. See this film, and also Control (2007), if you've not already.

Later, there were a couple of hours of WoW. We've finally shaken off the long nightmare of Uldum. I still can't believe that something like two thirds of the non-dungeon quests in that beautiful region were wasted on a bad Raiders of the Lost Ark spoof. It's almost unforgivable. Anyway, we moved along to the setup for the Twilight Highlands, which, at least for now, promises to take itself a lot more seriously than the mess in Uldum. Also, Greely the Goblin is one of my favorite WoW characters ever, and there better be an action figure. I never thought I'd have a goblin crush.

Spooky read me The Lorax before I fell asleep.

As I said on Facebook, I spent a good bit of yesterday in a detestably melancholic, nostalgic mood, mostly missing 1994 and Athens, Georgia...people, places. Lots of things I can't go back and visit, because they aren't there anymore.

And now, the platypus says no more dilly-dallying.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Fucking cold out there. Right now, the mercury's at 21F, and we're only supposed to reach 27F today, with more snow tonight. But I am in New England, and it is January. Which brings me to this, courtesy JaNell Golden, an image which greatly amuses me:



I actually "laughed out loud."

Anyway...

---

No writing yesterday. Just writing-related work. A long and delightful phone conversatin with Lee Moyer regarding the cover design for Two Worlds and In Bewteen. This cover is going to be very, very cool, but I'm keeping it all under wraps for now. The rest of the day was spent on email and talking through the remainder of Part One of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir with Spooky. I might make a few notes, and that's about as close as I ever come to outlines. Notes on index cards. It looks now like Part One ("The Drowning Girl") will be five chapters long, while Part Two ("The Wolf Who Cried Girl") will be six chapters long. With luck, I'll reach the end of Chapter Five (and so the end of Part One) before it's time to start work on Sirenia Digest #62. There was also some research yesterday on the subject of cumulative songs, which are about to become prominent in the novel.

On this day in 1947, the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, better known as the "Black Dahlia," was found in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. She was twenty-three years old. The second half of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is, in part, concerned with Short's murder.

---

If you haven't had a look at the current eBay auctions, please take a peek.

The new iPod, which has been named Inara, arrived late yesterday, so a big, big thank you to Steven Lubold for such a generous and useful gift. Having been bereft of an iPod since the trip to Portland, back at the beginning of October, it's nice to be counted among those blessed with portable music once again.

Today was going to be a day off, snowy graveyards, etc., but it's so cold out. I do much better with mid thirties than with mid twenties. So, I don't know. Maybe I'll have an indoors day off. I've done very good this year about getting Outside. Looking back at the first 14 days of the year, I've left the house on 10 of them. Compare that to only having gone out 2 hours in 24 days during a stretch of December and November. My agoraphobia and social anxiety and general laziness can all go fuck themselves; this is a better way to live.

Okay, so I'm going to have a day off. Or work. Or whatever. I do have to go Outside and help Spooky get all the snow and ice off the van, which hasn't been moved since the heavy snow back on Wednesday, so she can go to the market. That seems like a very fucking ambitious plan.

Yours in Inclement Weather,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
And already it's the third day of the year...

1) I awoke to the news that Pete Postlethwaite had died. An actor I adored, and who never failed to impress. The world is poorer.

2) Got up about eight this ayem (seven EST) and, half asleep, cracked my head rather hard against the edge of a door frame. Hurt like fuck all, but I appear to be okay. Not even a lump. Just a very sore forehead. I need curb feelers or something. Whiskers might do.

3) Yesterday tried to be a day off, but failed rather miserably. We left the house about 2:30 p.m. It was fairly warm, but overcast, with dirty snow still heaped everywhere. A most disheartening landscape, Providence with snow scabs. First, we drove from the train depot on Gaspee to the Ladd Observatory on Hope Street, because it's a route that my protagonist in "—30—" walks and I needed to know the mileage (about two miles). Then we made a trip to the market and the pharmacy. We'd had some notion of doing something more interesting. Anything more interesting. But it began to rain, and so we went home, instead. I went back to work on "—30—". I had Spooky read the whole story aloud to me and was relieved that it works quite well. I made a lot of line edits, and expanded a section near the end. So, the day off turned into a work day.

For dinner, the second night of black-eyed peas (like I said, I made enough for an army). We watched Andrey Konchalovskiy's Runaway Train (1985; inspired by an Akira Kurosawa screenplay). I'd not seen it since it was new, and Spooky had never seen it. Watching The Taking of Pelham 123 got me thinking about it, the night before. It holds up very well. Only the score, which reeks of the the eighties (and not in a good way), made me wince. We followed it with Gregor Jordan's Unthinkable (2010), a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss that I'd not even heard about. Turns out, it was a direct-to-DVD release (I don't know any of the specifics as to why). It's a peculiar mess of a movie, and I'm inclined to agree with Sean Axmaker, who called Unthinkable "a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle." Later, we began reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which I'm liking quite a lot so far (despite a cover blurb from Sherrilyn Kenyon). Hopefully, the promise of its first three chapters will be realized.

So, that was yesterday.

4) Today will be spent putting together Sirenia Digest #61, which will hopefully go out to subscribers either late this evening or early tomorrow.

5) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks!

6) I want to link to this again today, because it's just so wonderful: "For the children I will never have: The facts of life". Thinking about it yesterday, a thought occurred to me that occurs to me every so often. Given I will never have a child, I sometimes imagine sitting down and writing an account of the life of the child that I will never have. A might have been, as it were. It wouldn't be anything romanticized. I'd at least try to write it honestly.

7) It's sunny today, and there's still snow. We had rain last night, so at least the snow is cleaner than it was. Yesterday's warmth is gone. Here in Providence, it's currently 33F, with a wind from the northwest, 17mph gusting to 25mph, making it feel like 22F. A good day to stay inside and work. I might open my curtain and let the sun in...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
All my best lives are lived in dreams.

Yesterday, being a day off, was, in the main, unremarkable, which is about the best I seem able to hope of my days off. (This is my journal and I may sound glum if I wish, and bugger off if you think any otherwise.)

There was torrential rain, and ferocious wind. The weather always becomes more interesting with the judicious application of adjectives.

I wore my pajamas all day, and we finished listening Madelaine L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. I may fundamentally disagree with L'Engle's cosmogony, which is distinctly Xtian, but I love this book, all the same. There was ramen for breakfast. There were brownies later on, and there was Chinese takeout for dinner. Late, there were those little Mystic frozen pizzas. There was a lot of WoW, because the weather was too crappy to venture out. Eyes of Sylvanas is beginning to feel a little like an actual guild, and there's talk of some coordinated play. We currently have 29 toons signed up. I finally got back to China Miéville's The Kraken, which I rather inexplicably set aside after the chaos of the Portland trip at the start of October. I took a nap in front of the fireplace. Spooky and I watched David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) again. Not sure which of us has seen it the most times, we've both seen in so many times. Just before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter.

Spooky has played a Worgen through the starting area, from Gilneas to Teldrassil. And, I quote, "That was so bad I wanted to die." So, I stand by my earlier assessment. Yes, Gilneas is beautifully designed. But the Worgen are a huge disappointment. Not scary. Not fun to play. Ridiculous to look at. And why do the females stand upright, while the males lurch and slump? The XX chromosomes must somehow protect the spine and pelvis of female werewolves. For that matter, the same is true of the trolls, now that I think of it. And if the Forsaken can be cannibals and scavenge their human kills, who don't the Worgan? Are furries too squeamish? Or is it because the Worgan are Alliance? Yet, I will say that it would be nice if Blizzard would gift the faux Brit accents of the Worgan and the people of Gilneas to the humans of Stormwind...who either sound like rednecks or Ned Flanders.

Today, I'm going to begin listening to the unabridged audiobook of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

And begin Chapter Three of The Drowning Girl. In which Imp may attempt to tell one version of the truth.

Last night, a curious thing occurred to me. These days, most of my favorite musicians are men, and most of my favorite authors are women. It wasn't always this way. In the 90s, most of the musicians I listened to were women, and when I was a teenager, my favorite authors were male. So, not sure what to make of this. A statistical burp, and probably nothing more.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Flippancy is the poor man's wit.

Or, to quote Dorothy Parker, "Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." (My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh for reminding me of the latter).

We're not getting snow, though I wish we were. We're getting rain and lots of wind (gusts 40 to 50 mph).

---

Friday was spent reading back over everything that's been written thus far on The Drowning Girl. We spent hours going over the pages, and I made hundreds of red marks, catching grammatical errors, misspellings, continuity errors, clumsily repeated words, and so forth. I looked up and it was dark, and I had the odd sensation I'd not done enough work that day. Which is idiotic. After writing so much over five days, then spending hours proofreading, a writer should not feel like a bum for not doing more. Anyway, yes, polishing.

Yesterday, I sat down to make all the edits I marked on Friday, but after about forty pages, I lost all patience. Spooky finished for me, mostly, the things she could do on her own. A lot of my editing marks are hard to read, or vague, or indecisive, so she couldn't attend to them all. I sat in the front parlor reading: Hellboy: The Crooked Man & Others and Hellboy: The Wild Hunt.

Tomorrow, I'll begin Chapter Three. Supposedly, today is a day off.

---

The words are a highway, leading from here to there, and it's almost a bearable thing, so long as I don't remind myself that there is Death.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Sleep went disastrously wrong last night. I crawled off to bed about 3:30 a.m., but couldn't sleep (let's not go there). So, I got up, and didn't go back to bed until 5:30. Then I began waking around 9 a.m., and finally got up at 11:15. How the hell do people "sleep in"? I'd even taken a Sonata. So, this morning I am more than half asleep and almost every joint in my body (but especially the knees down) is screaming. These little reminders that I am not a kid anymore. Spooky hardly slept any better than I did, or than did I, or what the fuck ever.

Yesterday was mostly spent reading over "The Colliers' Venus (1893)" for the first time since I finished it almost two years ago, at the end of 2008. I remember not being happy with how the story turned out, but reading over it again yesterday I liked it quite a lot. It's one of the four Cherry Creek stories, set in an alternative steampunkish history, and Denver is, instead, a city named Cherry Creek. And people dig too deeply. I had a lot of questions from the copyeditor, and the only way I could answer them was to read the story. So, I read the story, and then I answered the questions.

We continue to work on Dancy's cigar box. In the meantime, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries Etsy shop. The whole tax thing really did a number on us this year, and I feel like no amount of work can compensate. I wrote two stories between October 18th and October 24th, and I still feel like a slacker. After all, what about all those hours I was awake when I could have been writing more.

I'm not leaving the House enough, even though I'm leaving it more than usual.

Oh, yesterday I also backed up almost everything on my iMac to Spooky's Toshiba 250 gig external hd. That meant, among other things, removing almost exactly 10,000 photographs from my Mac, and, to no one's surprise, it's running much better now.

My thanks to Steven Lubold for the marvelous packages that arrived yesterday.

In theory, today is a day off. Though, I'm told I have to work on the painting I set aside more than a month ago. Study #2 for Yellow.

Some very good rp in CoX last night (and a little bit of leveling). Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus.

And now...well, we'll see.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
I predict a third day of higgledy piggledy.

I have just discovered that I receive messages via LiveJournal. There are, in fact, 64 of them I have never read, because I never knew they existed. I suspect some may go back to 2004, when I made the jump from Blogger to LJ. Why do I need to get messages at LJ (or Facebook, or Twitter)? I have a perfectly good email address? Anyway, if you've written me at LJ and not received a reply, it's because I'm a technological dullard, not because I'm ignoring you.

Yesterday was meant to be a day off. I looked up from finishing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities (still no title), and realized I'd not left the House for nine days. It just happens. So, we were going to the shore. But as soon as we went Outside, it got cloudy and chilly, and we only made it as far as Newbury Comics, where we got the new Grinderman CD and a comic box of the wrong size. The comic box is because I took all my issues of The Dreaming down off the shelf where I keep books I've written and anthologies I've been in, because I'm probably never going to write comics again, and I needed the shelf space. But this comic book box is enormous, so Spooky's going to store patterns in it, and I'll get a small one later.

I spend a lot of energy trying to avoid politics in my LJ. Why? Because I hate the flamewars that inevitably follow. I thought I'd left that shit behind when I finally escaped the wretched clutches of Usenet. But I commented yesterday, on Facebook and on Twitter, about the Pope's asinine remarks comparing Atheism to Nazism, and, before the day was over, I'd been accused of being anti-Semitic (?!?), and intolerant (?!?), and ignorant of history (?!?). I actually had to tell someone on Facebook to shut up. I'm not sure I've ever told anyone on the web to shut up. At least not in so many words. Anyway, he didn't, so I had to ban him, and I hate doing that shit. I may simply avoid Facebook for a time, since it won't allow me to turn off or screen comments.

Just for the record, I'm not being intolerant by getting angry when someone calls me intolerant for complaining about the intolerance of the Roman Catholic Church (which, by the way, condemns who I am on several levels, and can go fuck itself).

Enough of that crap. I get started, and I'll go on and on. About France's racist decision to ban the wearing of burkas, for example. Or the environmental nightmare caused by planned gadget obsolescence. Or how scary the Teabaggers are becoming.

Speaking of which, I think I've begun to suspect that NIN's Year Zero wasn't so much about Bush's America, as it was a display of prescience on Trent Reznor's part, and the album's really about America after a couple of terms under a Teabagger administration.

But...never mind.

Last night, we watched the remake of The Crazies by director Breck Eisner (produced by George Romero), and starring Timothy Oliphant and Radha Mitchell. I loved it. An amazingly tense and atmospheric film. Very gory, but the gore is handled with wonderful finesse and indirection, making it effective, instead of overwhelming or humorous. The cinematography and score both took me by surprise (in a good way). I never much cared for the original, but the remake is one of the scariest films I've seen in a while. And no, it's not a zombie film, just like Twenty Eight Days Later wasn't a zombie film.

Today, I need to read all the way through this new story that does not yet have a name.

Oh, and my thanks to everyone for the wonderful (and not infuriating) comments to this journal over the last couple of days. I ought to repost a few of them, especially on the subject of science fiction.
greygirlbeast: (white)
We're keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Earl. At least it's been downgraded to a Level 3. We're right at the edge of a "red zone" (high threat) and soundly in the yellow ("medium threat"). But we're on high ground, above the area that would have to be evacuated if worse came to worse. And the flood gates are strong. We should see the storm on Friday.

Meanwhile, the worst heat of the summer seems to have come yesterday, on the last day of summer (I have always considered August 31st the last day of summer). In the House, the temperature reached 91F. We left, though the heat index outside was something like 97F. We drove to Warwick, and then across the Western Passage and out to Conanicut Island and Beavertail Point. I'd hoped there would be enough of a breeze at Beavertail to offset the heat. But it was still early in the day when we arrived (maybe four p.m.), and there was hardly any breeze at all. The sun seemed to rob everything of color. It was like a hammer, that sun. And, somehow, my heart just wasn't in it, this visit to the sea. I can't recall that ever before having been the case.

We stopped for a little while on the western side of the island. We watched two herring gulls using strands of seaweed to "fish" for crabs. The sea looked wrong. The tide was going out, but the rip currents were strong enough to see. The bay seemed calm, almost flat, but seethed near the rocks in a way I have never seen it move before. It almost seemed to boil, and the whole scene (coupled with the heat and the light) felt somewhat surreal. The coves, where the water is usually crystal clear, were murky with silt and organic detritus. I'm assuming these are all early affects of the hurricane. I know the rip tides are.

We moved on to the lighthouse at the point. More weirdness. In my experience, the waves at the point rush in from the southwest, moving northwest. Yesterday, they were coming from the east, moving west. We sat near the base of the old lighthouse (destroyed by fire on July 22, 1753) for a time, watching the strange waves and getting too much sun. Then we retreated into the tiny "aquarium" inside the current lighthouse (built in 1856). It was much cooler inside, in the dark, lit mainly by the lights inside the tanks. We watched a pool of small shark, spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). There were various other local fish, including Northern puffer fish (Sphoeroides maculatus), and couple of sea robins (Prionotus carolinus), along with various invertebrates— urchins, starfish, horseshoe crabs, et cetera. There was the carapace of huge rare "blue lobster" (not a different species, just a rare morph). Back outside, we sat for a while in the shade of the lighthouse, pretty much the only shade there was to be had.

About five, we gave up and headed back to Providence.

There are photos, behind the cut:

31 August 2010 )


---

Last night, we watched the second film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1980, this one directed by James Marsh. It wasn't as brilliant as the first film, but still very good. Later, there was WoW. We belatedly began the "Keepers of Time" quests. The "Old Hillsbrad" quest, saving the young Thrall from dragons trying to change the course of history, was really a lot of fun (despite having to be disguised as a human). I read the first few pages of Louis Chiappe's Glorified Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, which came as part of a very wonderful literary care package from Steven Lubold (thank you!). I think I got to sleep a little after four ayem, and, amazingly, slept about eight hours, with the aid of no pills whatsoever.

And that was yesterday.

Today, I have to attend to some email, then get Sirenia Digest #57 laid out and PDF'd. I'll do my best to get it to subscribers by this evening (but it might be early tomorrow). Spooky and I are holed up in my office with Dr. Muñoz the Coolerator, and hopefully we won't melt. It's going to be another scorcher today.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
Here it is 1:21 p.m., and I'm only just now sitting down to make a blog entry, which means I'm running about two hours behind what I might laughingly refer to as my "routine."

Last night, we realized that one of Smégaol's paws has developed a pad infection...again. More complications from his plasma-cell pododermatitis. So, he goes back to the vet today.

As for yesterday. I got a package from London, from Steve Jones, containing two books. One is the Russian edition of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women. So I can now say that "So Runs the World Away" has been translated into Russian, and I've always loved to stare at my words in Cyrillic, even though I have only the faintest idea what any of it means. There ought to be a word for that: being unable to read something you yourself have written because it has been altered in such a form that, while it retains its essential meaning, it is no longer recognizable by its author. The same package contained the Polish edition of an anthology that doesn't actually contain anything written by me, so that one will remain a mystery.

Sonya arrived on the 2:20 train from Boston. We picked her up, then swung back by the House before heading south to Beavertail. The day was overcast and, once we reached the sea, a little chilly. We climbed down onto the rocks about .16 miles northeast of the lighthouse. There were the usual gulls and cormorants, and some small species of Calidris (possibly a plover or stint) that we weren't able to identify. The surf was rough, and there was a mist rolling in, with a storm not far offshore. My ankle's still giving me trouble, and I was frustratingly clumsy, so we didn't do much clambering about. We located a bit of 19th-Century graffiti we first spotted on June 23, 2008. The sun came out, and we sat a while, just watching the birds and the sea.

Later, we headed over to West Cove at Fort Wetherill. It's our favorite spot for gathering sea glass, and we found some spectacular pieces yesterday. We also saw three specimens of Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia), a species neither Spooky nor I had spotted before. We headed back to Providence about 7 p.m. We stopped at Fellini's for a pizza. Back home, Sonya and I watched Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (my third time to see it) and James Cameron's Avatar (also my third time time to see it), because Sonya hadn't seen either. I was up far too late, and didn't get to sleep until about four thirty. We talked about everything from mass extinction events to the novellas of Ursula K. LeGuin. Spooky took Sonya back to the station today for a noonish train back to Boston, before I was really even awake. It was a good visit, but far too short.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Unexpected expenses seem to be raining from the sky, lately. You might also find something you like at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop at Etsy. Thanks.

Here are some photos from yesterday:

16 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On this day last year, The Red Tree was released. And here I am, a year later, with no Next New Novel finished. Indeed, it's only barely begun. Of course, I know I have perfectly valid reasons for this. But the little voice in my head, the one that keeps me awake nights, keeps telling me I'm a bum, and there's no excuse, and anyone can write a book in a year...and so forth. But I can only do what I can do. I suspect the little voice believes I have it within me to be a factory. I wish it were right. However, I know I don't. But there's not much point in bemoaning this long, slow composition. It comes when it comes, and all the threats and deadlines on earth can't make it come sooner. This is the best I can do, but I still have to try to do better, and hope for patience from my editor.

Mornings and most of the afternoon, for weeks now, I've been struggling with very low blood pressure. I spend half the day sick, and only start feeling okay towards sunset. Turns out, it was because two of my meds cause low blood pressure, and I've been taking both at bedtime. Last night, I only took one, and I woke up feeling fine this morning. I'll take the second drug around 2 p.m., and hopefully the problem will be solved.

We begin to grow old. We talk about medication in our blogs.

Yesterday was an oddly productive day for someone who was supposedly taking a day off. After the journal entry, I answered email. After that, I went back to work on the painting I've been trying to finish. And then I spent about an hour on the Table of Contents for the "Best of CRK" volume. Turns out, my very tentative ToC is already up to 181,203 words (out of a target word count of 200k). So, I'm going to have to shuffle, and choose carefully from here on. Then I went back to work on the painting. Then the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I read for a while and almost fell asleep. I went back to work on the painting, and feared I'd made a horrible mess of it. I stopped and took a bath and washed my hair. I went back to the painting again, and fixed what I'd hated (I dither as much while painting as while writing).

After dinner, I overindulged in rp in Insilico. But there were two great scenes, and my thanks to Nina, Hibiki, and Dr. Ang Faith (and Jake the hovering robot). Before bed, we watched two more episodes of Nip/Tuck. This show confounds me. Every time I think I'm fed up with rich white people whining about their problems, Nip/Tuck gets amazing again. I got to bed about 3 a.m., and dozed off to Blade Runner.

And that was yesterday.

---

The new JVP (Vol. 30, No. 4) includes the paper "Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): synonymy through ontogeny" by John Scannella and Jack Horner. Unlike most papers in JVP, this one's been getting a lot of press, and like most science that gets a lot of press, the story has often been misinterpreted by the media. Late last night, William Gibson tweeted, "No, Virginia, there never was a Triceratops." And I found myself correcting him, which was surreal, indeed.

Two things about this paper (since it seems to have caused such a fuss). First off, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, by which all biologists (neobiologists and paleobiologists) have to comply, dictates that whenever a situation like this one arises— one where a single animal has been given two or more names —the first proposed name has priority over all later names. Later names become junior synonyms. The object of this is to preserve taxonomic stability and avoid confusion in the scientific literature. So, in this case, the name Triceratops, erected in 1889, is conserved, and the name Torosaurus, erected in 1891, is abandoned. Which is to say, "No, Virginia, there never was a Torosaurus." Only, this isn't really an accurate way of looking at the problem.

People are used to looking at species as static entities. But biologists work with species (and all other taxonomic units— the case of Triceratops is a genus-level problem) as hypotheses. And any given hypothesis may be discarded by future discoveries. That is, the name Triceratops is a hypothesis seeking to explain a collection of seemingly related fossils of a Late Cretaceous horned dinosaur. The hypothesis says that all specimens of Triceratops are more closely related to one another than they are they are to any other genus of chasmosaurine dinosaur. But, like all hypotheses, it can be falsified in light of future discoveries. In this case, the discovery of new fossils giving us a more complete picture of Triceratops as a living population of animals, and allowing us to realize that the morph we used to call "Torosaurus" is actually only the very mature form of Triceratops. As an hypothesis, "Torosaurus" appears to have been falsified. Now, it's possible that Scannella and Horner are wrong, and that future discoveries and/or research of old discoveries will show that Triceratops and "Torosaurus" really are two taxa (though I've read the paper, and this seems unlikely). All hypotheses are provisional. Nothing is ever certain. Never. The best argument may be in error. That's how science works, even if the press seems unable to grasp this.

And it's time I get to work. The platypus is growling, and the mothmen are livid. Here are a few more photos from Monday, taken at Spooky's parents' farm:

2 August 2010, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Elizabeth's suicide. She would be almost forty, had she lived. Yeah, it's a grim way to begin an entry, but it was a grim way to begin a day, and to go to bed last night, and I at least try to tell the truth here. It seems impossible, utterly impossible, that time can have swallowed so much distance between me and that day in 1995. Between me and her. But it has. And I have gone on to have this life. I spent seven years or so doing very little but grieving. And then I found Kathryn, and I began to heal. There will always be a hole where Elizabeth once was. But life continues. Until it doesn't anymore.

---

Yesterday was a good day off. Even if it did begin by having to take Spooky's laptop to the Geek Squad at Best Buy in Warwick (and, so, having to delay a visit by [livejournal.com profile] sovay). It'll be two weeks before she gets it back. Neither of us are happy about that, but there you go. Anyway, we figured that as long as we'd driven to Warwick, we might as well drive on to South County. First, we stopped by Spooky's parents' place. Her dad was out, but her mom was home. We picked apples. We missed picking the blueberries this year. Spooky's mother also gave us yellow tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, blueberries, and eggs. Vegetables fresh from the garden, apples fresh from the trees, blueberries fresh from the bushes, and eggs fresh from the butts of the chickens. We visited with Spider the Enormous Cat.

And then we headed farther south, to Moonstone Beach. As I was getting out of the van, four swans (Cygnus sp.) flew by low overhead, honking loudly. I'd never seen flying swans up close before. They were amazing. We walked over the dunes to the beach. There were a few people, but not so many we couldn't find a quiet spot. I sat and watched the waves, wrote in my notebook, and took a few photos. The sun was still high and hot, but the wind was chilly. Spooky spotted an osprey in among the gulls and cormorants, and saw it swoop down to snatch a fish from the sea. About six p.m., we walked back to the van, and headed to Narragansett for dinner.

Unfortunately, there were so many tourists crowding Iggy's, that we had to settle for George's, over in Galilee. Still not bad. We ate fish sandwiches and watched the Block Island Ferry coming and going. Then we headed back to Spooky's parents, to pick up our produce and eggs (which we'd not taken with us to the beach, because we didn't have the cooler). Her dad was home. I wanted to stay the night, there in the cool and quiet, among the trees and chirping insects. But we'd left my meds at home, so back we drove. It must have been close to nine p.m. by the time we got home.

There are photos below, behind the cut.

I had some good rp in Insilico (thank you, Joah), while Spooky painted. Later, we watched three more eps from Season Two of Nip/Tuck. Before bed, I started reading "Madonna Littoralis." I pretty much never read my own stuff after it's in print. But I've been reading The Ammonite Violin & Others (which is now officially almost sold out, by the way), and enjoying it. It's good to see a book in print, and have so few regrets.

And that was yesterday. I get one more day off, today, and then it's back to the word mines. This afternoon, I'll finish a painting, wash my hair, do a little house cleaning, stuff like that.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Thanks.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

2 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a day off, as predicted. It was not the best sort of day off. I was too tired to leave the House. I helped Spooky clean the place a little. I started a painting I've been meaning to start since May. I read a little. There was a nap before dinner. After dinner, I went back to WoW and played my night-elf warrior, Mithwen, who has sat neglected since November 2008, when I abandoned her for my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad. Anyway...it was a day.

It would only have been a day, had Spooky's laptop not decided to go belly up. Again. Once again, it's probably the motherboard. She's taking it in for repairs today. Fortunately, it's still under warranty. But she'll be without it for a couple of weeks, which is going to make it harder to deal with eBay and various other necessary things. So it goes. She's stuck on my ancient, but dependable, iBook until her laptop comes back.

---

I wanted to put down some notes addressing John Glover's concerns, posted yesterday, that the "Best of CRK" volume would neglect older tales in favor of new ones. It is a concern that gets to the heart of why putting together the table of contents is proving so difficult for me (though there are other factors, as you'll soon see, that also make it very hard).

Yes, it's true. It's very hard for me to read the older stories (certainly those pre-2000). This is normal. Authors grow. Change. Our voices change, as do our likes and dislikes, etc. But, so far, a good portion of the ToC is comprised of stories written between 1995 and 1999, stories from Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores, and Wrong Things. So, they certainly won't be left out. It helps, too, that very few stories written after 2005 will be included, as those are being reserved for future collections. So, this is mostly Tales of Pain and Wonder through To Charles Fort, With Love and Alabaster. Mostly. There will be very little material from Sirenia Digest, for example. Which helps me to avoid giving the older stories the cold shoulder.

Of course, nothing from the novels written during that time will be included. And none of my comics work (the latter for legal reasons, as all my work for DC/Vertigo was "work for hire," and I don't own it, so have no reprint rights. And getting those rights would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.). This is a "best of short fiction" volume.

But the question of what goes in and what doesn't is more complex than making sure the book represents the full range of my work during this initial eleven-year chunk of my career ('94-'05). The biggest problem I have is in defining the term best. Are we talking about my personal favorites? Reader favorites? Those stories that have been chosen by editors for annual "best of" anthologies? The stories that have won awards? The stories that were only nominated for awards? The stories that have been singled out by reviewers and received the most praise? Stories that mark a sudden stylistic or thematic shift? The stories that have most often been reprinted?

What does best mean in this context? Truthfully, there's no correct answer to that question. All answers must be subjective, relative to one perspective or another. I'm weighing all of these factors (and probably a few more) in choosing the stories.

So, that should offer some insight into how I'm going about this process. When I was offered the chance to do the book, I think my reaction was, "Wow. This will be so easy!" But it's not even remotely simple.

---

It's 12:49 p.m., and I'm still not awake. Mothmen, get the oxygen tank!

Postscript: I just heard from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Ammonite Violin & Others is down to the last 82 copies. That's only 82 remaining out of 1,800 copies. So, if you want to snag one, you'd better do it very soon.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Today is a day off. As will be tomorrow and Tuesday. I'm exhausted and need to try to rest and recharge, so I can come back at The Drowning Girl with a clear head.

Autumn seems to have come to Providence. Spooky assures me this is not the case. But the highs are in the 70sF, the lows in the 60s and 50s, and the sky has that vacant autumnal blue.

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #56 ready and out the "door." I hope people are pleased with it. Part Two of "The Yellow Alphabet" is already coming together in my head.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. "The Black Alphabet" chapbook goes off this afternoon. Thank you.

There's a grand review of The Ammonite Violin & Others in the new issue of Locus (my thanks to Bev Vincent for sending it my way, and to Curt Jarrell for the heads-up). So, the book got glowing reviews from all the biggies (of those that will bother with it).

A couple of quick announcements. First, last night I agreed to appear as a guest at the 2010 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, OR (I think the dates are September 30th-October 3rd). This will be my first trip to Portand, and my first trip to the West Coast since October/November 1998. We're still ironing out the details, but it looks like a done deal. Second announcement, Bill Schafer at subpress has agreed that The Dry Salvages (2004) will be included in the "Best of CRK" volume. That's 30,600 words of a 200k-word book I don't have to worry about. And, on the subject of this volume, I received an email from John Glover, who writes:

It's my hope that when you are considering the ToC for the volume that you do not put too strong an emphasis on your most recent work. You have often blogged about your declining opinion of your early work, frustration with the "compounderations," etc., but I hope you will keep in mind that your early work was distinctive, unlike the rest of what most other writers were doing in the 1990s, and it attracted attention for that reason. That those early stories may seem painfully young (?) to you now is not the same thing as them being of low quality. "Persephone" is a effective, evocative, affecting story, and the same could be said of many of your early published stories.

I have often been frustrated, generally speaking, by lists or anthologies or summative essays that claim to cover the "best" of an author, genre, or whatever...and almost always seem to be focused on the now. My copy of
The Ammonite Violin arrived a couple days ago, and I am very much enjoying it, but from what I've read thus far, I don't feel that the stories contained in it could be said to speak for all of your work; it speaks of what you've been writing in recent years.

I think I can see the outlines of why you might say
Ammonite Violin, and your most recent work in various formats, is the best example of what you are trying to do as an author -- but by the same token, 14 years stand between "Persephone" and The Red Tree, and those years are replete with good stories. They might not, as you look back on them, be exactly what you were trying to do, and they may reflect your changes and growth as a writer, but I don't think any artist ever attains anything she will actually consider perfection when the work is viewed in retrospect. There's always a wart, or an adverb out of place, or one too many compounderations; those are the charms of the work as it was made.

So often artists talk about what they are interested in the moment, and seem to show little interest in where they were 5-10-however-many years before. The unstated sentiment behind that, I think, is that their old work is somewhere between inert and dead to them. Sometimes they actively revile it (witness: Anne Rice). I don't think there's anything wrong with that, in so far as it bears on what *is* happening in the moment--creating new work--but when taking the long view? Not so much.
Sirenia Digest has obviously been a great place for you to experiment and write some less traditionally marketable work, but I see it as only one part of your work -- it doesn't have as much of the South, the overtly deep time of Threshold, the Gothic of ToPaW, etc. -- all of which should be represented in any Best-of-Caitlín-R.-Kiernan volume. (In my opinion, of course, which may not be shared by you or by other readers.)

To which I say, no need to worry, John. Well, not about this, anyway (but I'll say more later).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I shall not allow the fact that I am not awake dissuade me from making this blog entry.

Yesterday was, as I said, a day off. And it was not a bad day off, but I fear my head was not cleared out during the course of the day, as I'd hoped it would be. So, I move ahead with a cluttered head.

I've done A-E of "The Yellow Alphabet." Today, F-H.

Watching The Runaways night before last, and pretty much any time I see something made before the advent of the personal computer, the cellphone, the iPod, videogames, the world wide web, and so forth...I am left with the disquieting feeling that the world is becoming increasingly less real. No, I cannot yet quantify that. I'm still working on some way to explain precisely what I mean. Just a sense that things were more real than they are now, and that we continue losing the integrity of reality as we accept more and more techno-distraction into our lives. And sure, this likely goes back to radio and motion pictures, television and telephones. Maybe it even goes back to the invention of the printing press. But the latter was invented in 1440 or so, and it was only at the end of the 19th Century that the explosion of communication and entertainment media via electronic delivery devices really began. Sure, I sound like a Luddite. I probably am a Luddite, albeit a Luddite who spends most of her life online, who uses Twitter and Facebook and LiveJournal and Gmail. Who has an iBook (from 2000, but still), an iPod (from 2005, but still) and a cellphone (from 2004, but still). Mostly, I'm just thinking aloud here. I think the world is becoming less real, and the rate of disintegration may be exponential. Maybe this is what all those transhumanist H+ wonks mean by the "Singularity."

---

I think that my various new meds have my body a little off kilter. Specifically, my blood pressure. When I went to the doctor last Monday, my blood pressure was high. But mostly, the Prazosin is causing my blood pressure to drop. In the mornings, I am woozy and weak. My pulse tends to race. But the alternative to the meds is unacceptable, so...I'm dealing with it.

---

So, yesterday we saw Phillip Noyce's Salt. The first half was slow, but it picked up steam and the second half was quite enjoyable, as long as you didn't expect the plot to make much sense. As long you're satisfied by watching Angelina Jolie kick butt. Which I was. The ending is more of a "just stopping," so I assume this is the beginning of a series, unless this film tanks. But yeah, big dumb fun, leave your brain at the door.

Which brings me to the fact that we finished Season Two of 24 last night. It's a strange, strange show. It's really not very good. It is, in fact, often perfectly ridiculous. And yet we keep watching it. I think it's mostly Kiefer Sutherland, and the violent absurdity of it all, that keeps us coming back. But I can't imagine anyone watching this one week at a time, one episode a week, with commercials. It's certainly not that compelling. And, setting aside all the silliness, the plot devices and stuff the writers just pull out of their butts because it looks cool and Jack's such a badass that physics don't apply and the like, my main annoyance with the series is it's insistence on irrelevant subplots. In this respect, Season Two was both better and worse than Season One. All that business about Kim and the murdered wife and the murdering husband...it was just a huge distraction. I suspect studio execs insisted there be something to "appeal to the female demographic." But none of it had anything whatsoever to do with the actual story until the very, very end, and then only as a too-convenient device to distract Jack during a crucial minute or so, which was hardly enough to justify its existence. But yeah, we made it through two seasons. Not sure if we'll keep going (especially given that what happens after the Season Two cliffhanger was put into a frakking videogame).

Also, I'm not usually opposed to American remakes of foreign films, not by default. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't. But I am horrified at what's been done by Matt Reeves to Låt den rätte komma in. It's one thing to move the film to America. It's a far, far worse thing to remove Eli's gender issues. That, essentially, guts the film of one of its driving forces. This is not just a story about a budding serial killer and vampirism, but about sexual violation and gender ambiguity, and by striving to make the story more "accessible" (Reeves' own choice of words), he's destroyed it. There's a reason Tomas Alfredson's movie was pretty much limited to the art-film circuit. It was smart and subtle and dealt with complex issues, and dumbing it down for the mass American consumer is an abominable notion. Even if it's a notion that makes money.

We have eBay auctions ending this afternoon. Please have a look.

Anyway...I should get to work.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather here in Providence is quite nice today, proving how it's all about the humidity. Outside, the temperature is 83F, with a forecast high of 88F. But the humidity is only 36%, and the House is quite comfortable.

Not a good writing day yesterday. Terribly, terribly frustrating. Five hours yielded only letter E for "The Yellow Alphabet." This time out, E is for Europa, by the way. I think the word count was a measly 176 words.

The current eBay auctions end tomorrow. There's some stuff we haven't offered very often, like the "Highway 97" and "Black Alphabet" chapbooks. Thanks.

I'm taking today off. I need to get my head clear, and then come back to it tomorrow. I've not really left the House since Thursday night. No, that's not healthy.

Last night, we watched Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, which is really very good, as I'd hoped it would be.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This morning, I dreamed of meeting Bob Dylan.

Yesterday, I walked in the sea.

No writing yesterday. I'd not really left the House since we did Gallery Night at the RISD Museum last Thursday (June 17th), and I was getting a little restless. So we went to Conanicut Island and Beavertail State Park. To the rocks and the sea. We parked and followed a path down to the western shore of the island, about .45 miles north if the point. The day was hot, and the sun a bit brutal down on the slate and phyllite. After a few minutes of watching the sea and looking for beach glass, I waded into the surf. I've never done this at Beavertail before, despite our many trips there. I went in as far as my thighs. And it was wonderful.

The water was icy, but the shock passed quickly. And I just stood there, feeling the sea all around me, pushing me and pulling me. I have resolved that I'm going to begin swimming again (I was once an excellent swimmer), and that next time we go to Beavertail, I'm swimming. I have to get this body back into shape, and swimming is one of the best things I could do towards that end.

There are trails along the cliffs that we'd never before explored, and we followed them south. The woods were full of birds: catbirds, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, pine warblers. Spooky spotted what we think was a Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). We saw osprey nesting in the salt marshes, and egrets. Off shore, there were cormorants. There were gulls everywhere, of course. And rabbits. The dog roses are in full bloom, and the rose hips are ripening. So are the blackberries. There were tiger lilies on the cliff sides, in amongst the great green tangles of wild grape, blackberry, green brier, poison ivy, raspberry, honeysuckle, and milkweed. As we walked, the day turned overcast and cooler, as a mist began moving up from the direction of Point Judith, sweeping over Narragansett Bay. I found a sheltered cove where I intend to swim, despite the especially steep path down to the rocky beach.

But all the time we were out, it was impossible not to think about the Gulf of Mexico and the BP petrocalamity. It was impossible not to think about how easily we could lose the bay. One really bad tanker spill. There was a bad one at Moonstone Beach, back on January 19, 1996, when the tank barge North Cape and the tug Scandia grounded there. This was nothing remotely in the range of what's happening in the gulf, but, fourteen years later, there are still plenty of signs of that spill, including thick rubbery hydrocarbon mats between the rocks at Green Hill. It was also impossible not to think of the fact that we drove about 70 miles, round trip from and back to Providence, to have that day on the island. That's roughly 3.5 gallons of gasoline, refined from a well somewhere in the world.

---

Back home, Spooky made a cold dinner (my appetite has been off for days) of chicken, feta cheese, cucumber, watermelon, and olive bread. I was a bit groggy from all the sun. We spent much of the evening with the PlayStation. Spooky played Folklore and I played Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I've really missed the lombax. Later, she looked at a craft magazine my mother sent her, and I browsed through Martin J. S. Rudwick's Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2008), but I was too bleary to actually read.

Oh, Vince sent me the pencils of his illustration for "Tidal Forces," and it's gorgeous. I'd feared this story wouldn't be amenable to illustration, but I was wrong.

Also, may I refer you to [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's (Cat Valente) "5 Reasons You Should Not IM Me," because I couldn't have said it better myself, and now I do not have to try.

And here are some photos from yesterday:

26 July 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (The Hatter)
Just something short. Yesterday was a right proper conflagration of a day. The heat was miserable. At some point, it was actually hotter Inside than Outside. But today is much, much better. It's only 82F in the house at the moment, and it feels heavenly. I think the worst part of all this is that I'm currently on no less than three medications that make me heat sensitive. And so it goes.

The mothmen had droopy, sweat-soaked wings all day yesterday.

And yet, we still managed a marvelous birthday for Spooky. Which was really all I was concerned about getting right yesterday. There was no writing. There was no trying to write. There was no not-writing. There was not even the goddamn busyness of writing.

Her gift from me was a copy of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Yesterday afternoon, we holed up in the bedroom, made it as dark as we could, and watched the movie. I'd somehow managed to forget just how amazingly wonderful it is (despite having seen it twice in theatres). Later, there was chocolate cream pie and Rainier cherries. Oh, we also dropped by the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Grounds and got strawberries, asparagus, and snap peas. We're going as "locavore" as we can this summer (I'll write a lot more about this later).

I think there will be watermelon today.

My thanks to Chris Walsh for sending the new Gorillaz CD, Plastic Beach (Snoop Dog and Lou Reed on one disc) and also the self-titled Broken Bell's CD. About the latter, I now have a new favorite band. I think this is my first new favorite band since the Editors (but I might be forgetting someone). I truly adore everything about Broken Bells, and I'm amazed I'd not heard them already (I had heard of them). The lyrics, the vocals, the sound, everything. So, thank you, Chris.

Okay. Now I go to discuss writerly matters with the platypus, the dodo, and the newly incorporated mothmen.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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