greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Bitter fucking cold here in Providence this afternoon, and tonight's going to be so nasty – 6˚F, with 22 mph winds - that Spooky and I are likely cancelling our plans to drive down to Point Judith and watch the brief Quadrantid meteor shower.

Yesterday was the most tedious sort of work day. At least if you're a writer who happens to be me. Which I am. Yesterday, we went back through about a hundred line edits that Kathryn couldn't make when she was editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book back in December (based on notes/proofreaders marks we made fucking months ago), the ones that required I decide if a word was to be changed, or a comma deleted or inserted, or a sentence restructured, or an adjective added...and so on. We were at it all day, until, I think, about 6:30 p.m. My nerves were raw and bloody by the time we were done, but then I sent the files off to Subterranean Press. By then, I wanted stab myself in the nethers with a fork.

But I didn't. Instead, after dinner, I did some work on the process of revamping the website in preparation of the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on March 6th. I chose one of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's photos from back in mid-October, during the shoot for the book's trailer, to be used as the background. My intent is that we'll be swapping the background images out on a regular basis, but for now I just want to get the "teaser" up on a page devoted to the novel. It may be up as early as tomorrow morning (so thank you, Brian, Kyle, and Chris). Also, I'll be posting more behind-the-scenes stills from the trailer shoot this week.

I got preliminary pencils – gorgeous – for Vince's illustration for "Part the First" of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #73 (look for it by week's end).

---

Some people say we haven't lost.
But they're afraid to pay the cost,
For what we've lost.
~ Arcade Fire, "Half Light II (No Celebration)"

---

Someone wrote me (via email) a few days ago, inquiring about my blind left eye. Not the usual sort of email I receive, so it stuck with me. And it was actually elicited by something I said on Facebook, and email resulting from FB is even more rare. Anyway, the person wrote wishing to know more about my useless left eye, as he'd recently lost 30% of his vision in one eye. Specifically, he was curious how it affects my ability to read. To which I can only say, it doesn't really. Except that my eyes get tired very quickly when I read (though not when I'm writing or gaming, and I have no explanation for that), and only in the last ten years has that even begun to be an issue. But the difference here is that I was likely born almost 100% blind in my left eye. I never had any depth perception (binocular vision) to start with, and my field of view (my FoV is only about 90˚-100˚, instead of the usual human 180˚-200˚) was always seriously impaired. I taught myself to read when I was four, well before I began school, so clearly it was never a significant impediment to my fundamental reading ability. Except, I read very slowly. Also, it means that I have a lot of trouble if there's text over on my left that I need to read while also attending to anything on my right (this is a huge problem with text in console games and MMOs). And I was finally forced to stop driving about ten years ago (how I drove before then, and how I passed my original driver's test...long story, or not). So, anyway, short answer, my partial blindness has never caused me any significant difficulty as a reader, or as a writer. But that may be because I was born that way; no one even figured out anything was wrong until I was in fourth grade, and the extent and probable cause – in utero toxoplasmosis that scarred my left cornea – until I was in college. Anyway, there you go.

Now, I find a story.

Searching,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Hallelujah, Noël,
Be it Heaven or Hell...


That's the best part of the Greg Lake song, so that's the only part I'm quoting. And that's being generous. Fuck you, Xmas, and the manger you rode in on.

I ought be working, as that's my usual Xmas Eve tradition, but I'm supposedly vacating. Maybe I'll clean my office. I know I'll spend the evening posting Xmas cheer, like Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" and the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York." And, of course, Spooky and I have our one and only Xmas Eve tradition: watching Terry Zwigoff's Badder Santa (2003), in which Billy Bob Thornton teaches us the true meaning of Xmas. "Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa." Well, that and wooden pickles. And theft. And booze.

Yesterday...er. After all the intoxicants, do I even remember yesterday? There were emails with publicity at Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, because, you know, I'm on vacation. Only writers don't get vacations. Not true vacations. And there was a huge breakfast of ham and eggs and tomato and sautéed mushrooms. Oh, look. LJ can only spell sautéed if you leave off the acute accent. Fucking illiterate fucking internet. I read John Langan's "Mr. Gaunt." I took Vicodin for recreational purposes. Hey, my psychiatrist said it was okay, as long as I don't develop a dependency (flash back to my notorious Xanax addiction of 1988-1991). I thought about cleaning up my office, but it was too much work. I wanted some "candlelight yoga," but I was too stoned...and too sore from the fall at West Cove. I spent three hours on an LJ entry, which is sort of pathetic. We watched the last two episodes of American Horror Story (bow tie!!!), then played SW:toR (and I murdered a Darth! Also bow tie.), and I dozed while watching a documentary on how Earth's collision with a planetoid (Theia) led to the creation of the moon 4.53 Ga (4,533 million years ago, ten to the sixth, etc.). I guess that was yesterday. Oh, except for the Tiger Balm patch and two Red Bulls.

Maybe, late tonight, I'll go out and give all my money away to street crazies, and vets we can't be bothered to take care of, all the freezing and the homeless and lost and forgotten and forsaken and as good as walking dead. But not crack whores. I do not take pity on crack whores, kittens.

And now? Well, we shall see, won't we. Keep watching the skies.

Filled With Happy Juice,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I realized over breakfast – a cold hard-boiled egg with black pepper and salt, accompanied by iced coffee – that I've not left the house since June 28th. I had no idea I'd hit a stretch of inadvertently going shut-in again, nor had Spooky. The last week and a half has been an utter blur of proofreading, Important Phone Calls, heat, internet porn, cat hair, other people's fireworks, Vincent D'Onofrio, car trouble, and Rift. But yeah, today will have been the tenth day, if I don't go Outside. My record is fourteen days...

My dog and fuck me, it's hot in here. 9O˚F? I don't know. I just couldn't deal with typing in the middle parlor again.

Okay, here's the tentative Table of Contents for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance:

Author’s Introduction: “Sexing the Weird”
“The Wolf Who Cried Girl”
“The Bed of Appetite”
“Untitled 31”
“The Collector of Bones”
“Beatification”
“Untitled Grotesque”
“Flotsam”
“Regarding Attrition and Severance”
“Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)”
Unter den Augen des Mondes
“At the Gate of Deeper Slumber”
“The Melusine (1898)”
“Untitled 33”
“I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light”
“Dancing With the Eight of Swords”
“Murder Ballad No. 6”
“Lullaby of Partition and Reunion”
“Derma Sutra (1891)”
“The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade”
“The Belated Burial”
“The Bone's Prayer”
“A Canvas for Incoherent Arts”
“Pickman’s Other Model (1929)”
“The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction”
“Fish Bride”
Afterword (author TBA)

Note that "Untitled 31" and "Untitled 33" will have titles when they appear in the collection. And yeah, the ToC is subject to minor changes. This is a slightly longer collection than The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

Yesterday, the heat had me feeling ill, and very little work was accomplished. We proofed "Untitled Grotesque," because I'd realized it would be appearing in the collection. I answered some email. I'm on two meds that increase my heat sensitivity. Last summer it was three, so I suppose I should be grateful (but to whom or what?!) that I'm down to two. I did talk to subpress about tiny design details on the Two Worlds and In Between dust-jacket. But, mostly, I lay in bed feeling vaguely nauseous. Whee!

[livejournal.com profile] sovay is supposed to be here this evening. That gives me a focal point.

Do kids these days have any idea of what a telephone operator once was?

Mostly, I need to get back to work on Blood Oranges, and I am beset by a Great Reluctance to move forward. I probably ought not say why. That would be indelicate. So, I'm sweating and spinning my wheels and wasting precious time. Oh, I slept eight hours this morning (beginning at 3:30 ayem). Yesterday morning, I dreamt of excavating an enormous (roughly 90 meter) mosasaur skull from beds of chalky marl (or marly chalk) in central Alabama. I very clearly recall the frontoparietal suture. I think it was of the genus Prognathodon. This morning, I dreamt of Alabama zoos, and subterranean passages beneath zoos that led into vast green rivers, and swimming in those rivers.

Waste is the only sin, and nothing in the world is more precious than time. Someone will tell me love is more precious, but love can be readily reduced to a matter of time.

Sorry, platypus. Not up to sweaty fur today. The dodo will console you. Wait, here's a cool thing: sunrise at Tycho (that's on the moon, yo, located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

Secluded in My Secret Lair,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Comments, please. Some evidence LJ isn't dead.

Yesterday, UPS brought the ARCs of Two Worlds and In Between.

Last night, I was going back through the blog and came across the short "to-do" list I made for April. I don't usually make "to-do" lists, because they tend to guarantee I'll not get anything done. However, I've done well this month. The Dark Horse story is written and turned in. "Fake Plastic Trees" is written and turned in. Now, all I have to do is get Sirenia Digest done by May 5th, and I'll be well and truly jake. If only for April, which will have passed by then.

A tumult of dreamstuff in the hour or so before waking. A stony dam along a freezing wintry river, and hiding beneath the water with two other people (no idea who they were). The water was bright and clear, like a lit swimming pool. A fossil whale skull. Something about used books and Bolsheviks. The trees of a dark and threatening forest.

We were still awake well after four ayem, and came very near to leaving the house and driving out to Conanicut Island, to the Beavertail Lighthouse, to watch the sunrise at the sea. Then we saw that the sky was overcast. Sometime after five, I finally slept.

So, funding has been cut for SETI, and the program is going into "hibernation." The United States can spend billions a year on war, trillions over a decade, but science remains too expensive. Taxpayers understand war. It's what keeps Starbucks open. Science eludes them.

Also, if you're a fan of Sirenia Digest, you're going to love Michael Hutter. More over, Harry Clarke and Aubrey Beardsley.

Enough for Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very bad day, yesterday. Which I saw coming when I made yesterday's entry, though, at that point, I was still trying to make with the stiff upper lip and all. By late afternoon, all pretense was shed. And the day was simply shitty. So far, shitty again today. It doesn't help that here we are at the Vernal Equinox, Ostara...and it doesn't mean anything to me at all. And it doesn't help that spring's at least a month off here in Providence. Genuine, true, warm green spring.

---

No, sorry. This isn't the happy blog entry.

---

The feeling that I need to protect the new novel from the world and everyone in it persists. To the point that I spent part of yesterday – seriously – trying to figure out how to make it financially without allowing the book to be published. At least this should stand as evidence that I mean what I say when I say I only write for myself.

---

Didn't leave the house yesterday, and likely won't today.

I finally finished the mammoth tome that is Suzanna Clarke's Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Still forming first impressions. It is, indeed, a very good book, and quite an achievement. I think I may admire it most for insisting so fervently that it is a book. This novel will never be a movie. It's a book. I've read online that in 2005 Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) finished a screenplay, and that the film was supposed to begin production in 2006. But it has no IMDb page, so I'm assuming someone realized the folly of their ways. Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has some marvelous moments, is often very funny, occasionally moving, but doubtless too long. I have nothing at all against very long books. Moby Dick, Ulysses, and The Lord of the Rings all number among my favorites. I think Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell suffered tremendously from hype. Indeed, that's why it took me three years to buy a copy, and five more years to get around to reading it. But, I very much liked the last few pages.

And on the subject of books, we're almost done with Mockingjay, and, at this point, I think if anyone were to ask me about this trilogy, I think I'd say, read The Hunger Games and skip the rest. Which is to say I'm underwhelmed. I suspect the films may actually improve upon the second and third books (this was the case with some of Rowling's books). I suspect there should only have been two books, at most, and that Mockingjay should have been the second. But even this solution doesn't address all the problems. More when I'm completely finished.

See? It's assholes like me that books need protecting from.

--

The moon, the trumpeted perigee-syzygy, was beautiful last night, even through the light pollution of Providence.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Slowly, slowly, spring is coming to Providence. I try not to think how fast it must be coming on in Birmingham, and Atlanta, and Athens. Here, it comes slowly. And I am here, and, in all ways, that's better than my being in Birmingham, or Atlanta, or Athens. But the slow-coming spring, it's still odd and difficult, especially after a winter like the one we just had. The days are averaging 40sF, the nights 30sF or high 20sF, which actually seems warm. We can acclimate to almost anything.

The nice thing about knowing that virtually no one reads this blog is that I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm boring people.

Anyway, yesterday was warm. The official high in Providence was 71˚F, I think. As it was day one of the three-day vacation, we decided to drive to West Cove on Conanicut Island. It was very comfortable when we left the city, but there was a wind advisory, with gusts up to 50 mph. When we got out of the van at West Cove, it felt like the temperature was in the thirties, and I spent the first hour of beach combing shivering and trying to keep my hands from going numb. Then the sun came out, and the afternoon warmed. I was able to remove my gloves and unzip my coat. Yesterday, it will likely go down in the annals of West Cove days as the day I stepped on a dead, rotten, beached skunk. That was surely yesterday's most dramatic moment. I found two specimens of a pelecypod I've never seen in the cove before, Cerastoderma pinnulatum (the Small cockle). I found a few good bird bones, including another cormorant beak. We stayed until late, then headed back to the city.

On the way home, I watched the moon through my Orion 10x42 monocular. Of course, this weekend's moon is Big News, but it really was beautiful. I could identify so many landmarks: mountains, craters, basins, etc., all in reflected silver and shades of grey. We stopped by the market, and were home before dark.

There are photos from yesterday, below the cut (at the end of the entry).

---

I won't write about the post-novel depression, just now, and certainly not the whys of it. It only gets worse when you look directly at it, or speak its name.

There's always an odd sort of embarrassment when I see a review of an anthology, and the reviewer hated most of the book, but really loved my contribution. Case in point, a review of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded at Green Man Reviews. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and the reviewer writes:

It’s a beautiful achievement, this story, a very human, rather squalid life offered for our perusal in terms that are neither sentimental nor cruel, managing an effect at once intimate and remote. Now there’s so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing that I must stress that this tale is depressing, in a quiet sort of way… but that’s not what makes it art. What makes it art is the command of voice and personality Kiernan displays, the things she says and the things she leaves unsaid, and the fact that she can deliver this character-driven gem while still conjuring up a whole world of clanking, steam-driven marvels in the background, almost all through hints and allusions. This story lingers. I hope it gets a good deal of attention; it deserves to.

Okay, aside from the snarky, bizarre "so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing" bit, very nice. I continue to believe "The Steam Dancer (1896)" is, in fact, one of my best stories.

Also, I've seen a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others by ST Joshi that I think will be appearing in Dead Reckonings (I think). Also, very flattering. A short excerpt:

Purely on the level of prose, Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists of our field—Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the most recognizable voice in weird fiction. No one is ever likely to mistake a sentence by Caitlín R. Kiernan for a sentence by any other writer.

That ought to cheer me up, right? I know that it should. But...

---

Also, yesterday I read David H. Keller's "The Jelly-Fish" and F. Marion Crawford's "For the Blood is the Life." Neither was very good, but the latter was almost unreadable in its dullness. Also read, from the last JVP, "A new partial skeleton of a cryptocleidoid plesiosaur from the Upper Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming" and "A possible azhdarchid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Qingshan Group of Laiyang, Shandong, China."

Right. I'm not supposed to work today. That's the truth. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do, instead, to busy my restless, fretting mind.

Here are yesterday's photographs:

18 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very, very bad day yesterday. A day that should have been a Day Off, that, instead, became a Lost Day. I did leave the house, but it went very badly. Probably the worst day since this summer. The sky was too blue, too wide, and whatever it is that slams me did so. Fuck, it sounds silly writing about being freaked out by the sky. I know we live in the confessional, transparent age, and we wear our neuroses and infirmities on our sleeves, but I don't think I'll ever do such things with comfort and without shame.

More snow last night.

Today, I go back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I have to try to get Chapter 5 written by the 24th, so I'll have time to switch over and get the digest written. More and more, I feel as if this will be the last book I write for an "adult" audience. Well, the last book I write for me in hopes that it will be read by an "adult" audience. It would be better, I know, to do the best I am permitted to do with the current novel (deadlines and finances permitting), then switch over to novels for young adults. I know now that I can do it. I've found the voice. And, now that I'm reading a fair amount of YA, I suspect that younger readers are more open readers. I am almost ready to say they seem like smarter readers. I'm starting to think that I would encounter less stress writing YA, which is what matters most here. Less stress without sacrificing income.

I would not wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy.

Okay, that's a lie. I have a vicious streak, and most certainly would wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy. It's on the list, right after "festering boils."

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

You know...I just don't think there's any dignified way to end this entry that doesn't involve getting it over with as soon as possible. So, anything else interesting about yesterday? We had takeout from the Palestinian place— lamb, chicken shawarma, baba ghanoush, and the best baklava I've ever tasted (which is to say the only baklava I've ever actually liked). We streamed an unexpectedly good film, Michael J. Bassett's Deathwatch (2002). The title is a little unfortunate, but so is the cover of The Red Tree. Deathwatch is a weird tale set in the trenches of WWI that succeeds by both subtlety and brute force. Definitely recommended. Later WoW, and Shah and Suraa reached Level 84. Liking Deepholm. It's like what Outland might have been, if Outland had been well designed. Later still, reading. I got to sleep sometime after four ayem.

I have one photo from yesterday's abbreviated outing, Ladd Observatory in the snow:

17 January 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
No, really. And I blame you, Holly Black.

Speaking of whom, a great quote from her short story, "Virgin," for all the New Age airy-fairy twits who somehow have it in their head that fairies are all about the "positive healing energy":

"Let me tell you something about unicorns— They're fairies and fairies aren't to be trusted. Read your storybooks. But maybe you can't get past the rainbows and pastel crap. That's your problem."

---

And here's something nifty. "Your Age on Other Worlds." Not sure which I take more comfort from, that on Mars I'm 24.7 years old or that on Jupiter I'm 41,479.3 years old.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 2,035 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And made it through a scene I'd been dreading. With luck, I'll finish Chapter Three this afternoon. This is such a very different book for me, vastly different from everything before The Red Tree, but different, also, from The Red Tree. It might almost be YA. It's the nearest I've ever come to my Shirley Jackson roots, and quite a bit distant from the influence of Lovecraft.

As for the rest of yesterday, there was more Miéville and Susanna Clarke, and at bedtime, we read two stories by [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, "Virgin" (quoted above) and "In Vodka Veritas." Both delightful.

---

I'm sleeping somewhat better, now that I'm taking the Lamictal at noon instead of midnight. Not great, but better.

--

Because my terrifying nerdiness knows no decent bounds, last night Shaharrazad (my blood-elf warlock), earned the title, "the Seeker" in WoW. Which means I've done 3,000 quests. Which took a total of (in game play) 49 days, 19 hours.

---

After dinner last night, I had a grim talk with Spooky about the current state of my career, and my life, in general. Sometimes, we must have grim talks, if only to keep us honest.

It's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Jupiter)
Yesterday was a thing I almost never have. Yesterday was a damn near perfect day. A day that sucked in no perceivable way, and was filled with things that were actually good.

I wrote 1,618 words and found THE END of "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." It's a really fine little vignette, which is to say I'm quite happy with it. Alien life in the tropopause of Jupiter and a Fortean occurrence on a back road in eastern Connecticut. Oh, and it quotes a Ben Bova novel, which is something I never thought I'd do. Today, I'll begin the second piece for Sirenia Digest #59. I know it's about masks, and probably about a mask maker. And I should thank [livejournal.com profile] alvyarin for suggesting I do something with masks in #59.

And yesterday I was gifted with Sylvanas Windrunner by kindly readers, which, alone, probably would have been sufficient to make my day.

Here's the link to PodCastle's adaptation of "The Belated Burial," which went live yesterday. I'm considering doing a podcast of my own, once a month, one short piece of fiction a month, free to everyone. But, like most transgendered people, I loathe my voice, so that's something that's always held me back from doing podcasts. The gulf between the way I sound in my head and the way I sound. It's easy for other people to say they like my voice; it's impossible for me to agree. I may post a poll this evening, to gauge interest.

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

---

Last night, we attended the reopening of the transit room at Ladd Observatory, now that the restoration project is complete. Ladd Observatory was opened in 1891, under the direction of Winslow Upton (1853-1914). To quote the Ladd website, "A regular program of transit observations and timekeeping was started in 1893. Prof. Charles Smiley, famous for his observations of solar eclipses, became director of Ladd Observatory in 1938."

Lovecraft aficionados will recall that, as a boy, HPL was given access to the instruments at the observatory (Upton was a family friend, and HPL was a precocious child). As S.T. Joshi records in Lovecraft: A Life (Necronomicon Press, 1996), HPL wrote, "The late Prof. Upton of Brown...gave me the freedom of the college observatory, & I came and went there at will on my bicycle" (this from an essay written in 1934). Between 1903 and 1907, HPL produced an amateur publication (printed on a hectograph), The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy. This between the ages of 13 and 17; he ceased to visit the observatory shortly after he ceased printing this journal (and there's a long story there, which I'll not go into).

Anyway, last night we were not only able to see the restored transit room. Outside, on the upper observation deck (the roof, essentially), the night was cold and clear. Even through the glare of the waxing gibbous moon and Providence's light pollution, we were given an amazing view of Jupiter and the four Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. With my own eye, I saw Europa! There was a wonderful symmetry to viewing Jupiter only hours after finishing "And the Cloud That Took the Form..." Plus, I got to see it during one of those rare (and as yet mysterious) periods when the lower primary cloud band isn't visible.

Also, while on the roof, we glimpsed Uranus through a Newtonian reflector telescope. A speck of brilliant white* against the blackness, twenty times farther from Earth than the distance between the Earth and Sun (so, about two billion, nine hundred and ninety million kilometers). We also had an unbelievably sharp view of the moon through the huge 12" refracting telescope (with equatorial mounting and mechanical clock drive, made by George N. Saegmüller of Washington D.C). The towering ridges of impact craters glowed starkly against the lunar horizon, with the basalt plains of lunar maria stretching away in their lee. It was awesome, in the truest, original sense of the word.

There are some photographs, though, obviously, a dark observatory transit room isn't the best place to take digital photos without a flash or tripod:

19 October 2010 )


* Light that would have left Uranus two hours and forty-six minutes (give or take a pile of seconds) before I saw it.
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The weather seems to have turned cool again. It was warm enough yesterday in the House that we had to crank up Dr. Muñoz for the first time in weeks.

Almost all of yesterday was spent working on the interview for Weird Tales. How is that possible? Because I have an almost ironclad rule about live interviews, which is simply that I almost never agree to them. Almost. So maybe it's only tinclad. My ability to be articulate has an annoying tendency to wink out when I'm having to answer questions "live." The live interviews I've given over the course of my writing career can likely be counted on one hand. Or two. One, if it has a lot of fingers. There was one I did on the telephone with Publisher's Weekly in, I think, 1996. I was still living in Athens. I did a couple of live radio interviews after Silk came out in 1998, and one to the Birmingham Post-Herald. After that, there's a big gap. In 2007, after much reluctance, I finally agreed to be interviewed for Frank Woodward's documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. But I'm not sure that even counts as live. There were about a bazillion takes, and it took all day to get through it, as I was allowed to get answers just right. In 2008, I gave a live interview to Locus during ReaderCon 19. A month or so later, I gave one to a reporter from the South County Independent about The Red Tree; we met at the Peace Dale Public Library for that one. So, yeah. Not many at all, especially considering I've probably done more than a hundred interviews since 1996 or so.

Today, I go back to work on Sirenia Digest #58. Last night, I saw Vince's first sketch for the illustration he's doing to accompany "John Four," and I loved it.

"Faces in Revolving Souls" will be reprinted in the November 9th issue of Lightspeed. Also, "The Pearl Diver" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of dystopian science fiction, details TBA. "The Melusine (1898)" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of steampunk fiction. Lots of good reprints.

And speaking of my science fiction, I really will be writing The Dinosaurs of Mars, finally, and it's scheduled to be released by Subterranean Press late in 2011. Bob Eggleton is still onboard for the project.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, [livejournal.com profile] catconley, please, please, please contact Spooky about your recent eBay purchases. It's very important.

---

Here's a picture I took of Jupiter and the Moon back on Wednesday night. I've been meaning to post it, and kept forgetting. But here it is. It's all a blur, because our camera sucks for this sort of thing. With my naked eye, the moon was the moon, and Jupiter was clearly a planet. But at least the smudgy lights are pretty. That's the closet Jupiter's been to Earth since 1951, a mere 368 million miles (592 million kilometers) away. It won't be this close again until 2022.

Jupiter and the Moon )


---

No Insilico roleplay last night. Instead, Spooky and I did two Outland dungeons, both in Terokkar: the Mana-Tombs and Auchenai Crypts. It was good to switch off the brain and be Shaharrazad. I know the armory page says she's Shaharrazad the Diplomat, but that's really just a way of catching people off their guard. Last night, she rained fire upon the heads of ornery Dranei necromancers. After WoW, we read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Recording the first 4AD album, vicious dobermans, Liverpudlian sound engineers, preganancy, and Betty Hutton. We're coming to the end of the book, and I'm not wanting it to be THE END.

Anyway. Those doughnuts won't make themselves, and the mothmen are casting a baleful eye my way. Yeah, just one eye. They're sort of stingy. Or maybe they're mocking me.

Mabon 2010

Sep. 22nd, 2010 12:46 pm
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
Yesterday imploded. Or exploded. Doesn't really matter, because when the colloid of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases had cleared, well, there was little left of the day to salvage. Nothing was written. Which makes yesterday a Lost Day. With only eight days remaining until we leave for the HPLFF, there's no time for days like that.

I forgot to mention that, night before last, I heard a coyote very near the house. I heard it several times, an oddly eerie sound. I'm still trying to get used to the idea of urban coyotes.

Today is Mabon.

The brightest spot to yesterday, the most silver lining (there were few of either) was the arrival of my author's copies of Haunted Legends, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. It contains my story "As Red As Red," which I wrote in March and April of 2009. The anthology was released simultaneously in three formats: trade paperback, hardback, and a Kindle edition (though how anyone can read anything on a Kindle is beyond me*). This is a story I'm very happy with— sort of a footnote to The Red Tree —and I hope you'll pick up the collection, which includes a bevy of fine authors.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. They end today and tonight. Still no bid on The Wrong Things (2001), my collaborative collection with [livejournal.com profile] docbrite. These have become very rare, and I have only a handful of copies.

The rumours are true. The 2010 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival is the last HPLFF, at least for the foreseeable future, as the director, Andrew Migliore, is retiring. You can't blame him; he's been doing this for fifteen years. Aaron Vanek has started a satellite festival in LA, so there will be that. So, yeah. Alas. The end is, indeed, nigh.

Last night, I watched the moon and Jupiter again.

To try to scrape something good from yesterday, late in the afternoon we drove to Warwick and got the new Swans CD, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, at Newbury Comics. This is the Swans minus Jarboe, but still. And we went to the market. And coming back home the sun was starting to set, and the clouds were on fire, and I wished I'd brought the camera.

The day ended when I took a Seroquel, that tiny reddish drab of numb, and fell asleep watching Avatar. It's becoming one of my comfort films, because it's beautiful, and it's heart is always in the right place— even when it stumbles —and in the end the humans lose and have to go back to their dying world. A bedtime story for panenatheists (I think I just made that word up).

---

The whole money thing is wearing me ragged again. Of course, at this point, I imagine it's wearing almost everyone ragged. The lifeboat is overcrowded, and we have the teabaggers wanting to punch a hole in the hull. Day before yesterday, I found this animated map— "The Decline: The Geography of a Recession" —based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and other local unemployment statistics). It chronicles unemployment in the US from January 2007 (4.6%) to June 2010 (9.7%). It's sort of horrifying.

Anyway, yeah. I've reached the point where I'm considering asking my agent if she can get me another novelization deal. Frankly, I'd rather eat dog shit than go through that special hell again, but the money was good. Of course, there's no guarantee the money would be good again, and it would derail my actual, for-real, trying-not-to-suck writing.

Now, I need to make an end to this entry, then go find THE END to "John Four."

* Nothing personal, Kindle. I hate all "eReaders" and "ebooks" equally on principle.
greygirlbeast: (Mars in space.)
This is very, very cool and funny (and I'm not just saying that because I think she's hot and we happen to be in the same WoW guild):



Of course, Felicia fails to point out what makes worrying about the Milky Way colliding with Andromeda in three billion years truly silly. Homo sapiens will have long-since become extinct, if not by our own hand, simply through the inexorable cycles of biological and planetary evolution. We will be long, long, long gone. To put this in perspective, the oldest ancient fossil microbe-like objects are dated to be 3.5 billion years old, just a few hundred million years younger than Earth itself. That's the timescale we're working with here.

Of course, there are the grotesquely optimistic idiots who imagine all the galaxy as our future suburban sprawl...
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
So, I'm still processing the news of the discovery of hard evidence of an enormous lake that existed in the Martian Shalbatana Vallis region some 3.4 billion years ago, when I get word of an exciting new herbivorous Chinese ceratosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis. So, it's been of of those "will wonders never cease" sort of days.




Artist's life restoration of Limusaurus inextricabilis.



Photograph and line drawing of holotype specimen of Limusaurus inextricabilis (scale bar = 5 cm). This specimen is believed to be a juvenile, about five years old.



For lots more, visit one of my favorite science blogs, Pharyngula.

Wow...I know, not as exciting as my endless complaints about the term "Mary Sue," but...wow.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
I just got word from Penguin that the corrected galleys for The Red Tree have not yet arrived in Manhattan, though they were mailed out from Providence on May 5th. They were in Bethpage, NY on Friday. And the word has come down from production that if the galleys don't make it in today, "we're in trouble." So...I will be sitting here fretting about this all damn day. Worse case scenario, I fax 100+ pages to my editor, but I'm hoping very much that it doesn't come to that. Every time I send something like this through the USPS, I make photocopies, and send it insured, with delivery conformation, because this sort of thing has happened too many times now. If I do have to fax them, I will have been better off making the drive from Providence last week and hand-delivering them.

Anyway...

Oftentimes, I'll begin a story, or a vignette, get a thousand or so words written, then hit a wall. When this happens, the pieces are shelved, and I always mean to get back to them. It just usually never happens. Yesterday, I dusted off a vignette I began on June 10, 2006, almost three years ago, and went back to work on it. It's called "Fish Wife," and I added 1,035 words to it yesterday. I'd actually intended to finish it for Sirenia Digest #41, last month, but then other tales occurred to me, instead. Now, it will appear in #42. On June 11, 2006, I wrote of the story:

"Yesterday, there were words and a very brief hope that I'd found the next vignette. I began something called "Fish Wife," but 1,012 words in, it told me it was a short story, not a vignette, and that it would not be perverted into something it was never meant to be. Which is to say, yes, I wrote yesterday, but what I wrote was of no particular help whatsoever. Which puts me back where I began. 27...no, 28 ideas presently unavailable. Think of something else. Think of something else. Now."

And here it is, wanting to be a very short piece, after all. Surprise.

The following comment was posted to the blog mirror at MySpace, regarding my comments on the difficulty of writing "lost world" stories in this day and age:

I humbly disagree, there are many places left in this world to hide. The deep sea is a mystery as are the caverns of earth...And as far as space, we only look at tiny, tiny pieces at a time, it really would not be hard for something to "slip by" especially if it didn't fit our limited specification of being "life."

I should have made myself clearer. I was speaking strictly of stories involving undiscovered or forgotten terran landmasses above sea level. Yes, of course, deep space is wide open, but hardly the same. As for the deep sea, while much of it remains unexplored, it has been very well mapped. I'm sure very many strange things await discovery beneath the waves, but not things on the order of "lost continents." As for caverns, the best you can hope for there are microenviroments. These can also make for great story fodder, but also weren't what I was speaking of when I spoke of lost worlds. In the time of high-resolution satellite cartography, it's hard to hide so much as a boulder, much less anything even as meager as an island.

And my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for linking to this story, which I'd missed: "Venetia Phair Dies at 90; as a Girl, She Named Pluto."

---

On Saturday night, we watched a trio of short Asian horror films collectively titled Sam gang yi (2004; marketed in the US as Three Extremes). It includes Fruit Chan's "Dumplings," Chan-wook Park's "Cut," and Takashi Miike's "The Box." Though I enjoyed all three, I was especially impressed by "The Box," a grim sort of adult fairy tale, like something that might have come from Angela Carter's travels in Japan. It left me wanting to see more of Miike's work. Then, last night, we watched the decidedly bland Rise, directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, and starring the usually far more interesting Lucy Lui (and also Michael Chiklis, who's never really interested me). Ace reporter gets vampirized and goes on a suicidal, vengeful vamp-killing spree. How many times have we been treated to this fundamental scenario now, in one permutation or another? Regardless, it really could have been a lot better, even working from such hackneyed material. There were moments, here and there, but nowhere near enough to save the whole.

---

Yesterday, Spooky drove down to her parent's farm in Saunderstown, and she took some very encouraging photographs of spring, including apple and blueberry blossoms, wild flowers, and Spider cat:

May 10, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Honestly, it was not my intention to offend anyone yesterday with my comments about WoW. Truly. But, that said, those are my honest observations, and I stand by them until such time (if any) as the game shows me that I'm wrong. And, for whatever it's worth, despite what I said, I came home yesterday and spent hours getting my blood elf warlock to Level 35, when I should have just gone to bed. As I said yesterday on Facebook, the machines will win by time suckage alone. And, please, guys. Remember, it's just a game.

A glorious day yesterday. We left the house about 1:30 p.m. (CaST), and drove north and east out of Providence and into southeastern Massachusetts, through New Bedford and Fairhaven, heading towards the Cape on 195. It was a brilliant, beautiful day, warm, and just enough clouds that I had something to hang onto. I still have not adjusted to how much farther south the sun seems from Rhode Island (as compared with Atlanta). The light changes so quickly, and it looks like late afternoon when morning is hardly finished. We left 195 near Buzzard's Bay, switching to Route 6, and crossed the Sagamore Bridge (c. 1933-1935) over the canal and onto Cape Cod. There were vast bogs filled with floating cranberries the color of dried blood. We took Route 6 across the upper and mid portions of the Cape, past Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, and so forth. It's hardly the scenic route. In fact, I refer to it as the Massachusetts Turnpike. But, we left so late, we had to make good time to reach Newcomb Hollow before sunset. We didn't leave the highway until the outer Cape, at Eastham, where we turned east towards the sea, down to Ocean View Drive, which carried us past White Crest Beach and Calhoun Hollow Beach. Newcomb Hollow Beach lies at the dead end of Ocean View Drive, east of Wellfleet. The land is all dunes and stunted confiers of a species I don't recognize, limbs contorted by the weather into fantastic configurations. We parked in the mostly empty lot at Newcomb Hollow, and walked down to the beach.

The sea was wild, and the day was slipping away fast. There are tall cliffs here, so the beach was already shielded from the light, but was catching on the waves farther out. As soon as we were on the sand, I realized that I didn't know whether the shipwreck lay to the north or the south of us. But there were high bluffs to the south, and I recalled Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) mentioning bluffs. So, we took our chances and went in that direction. And won the slightly educated coin toss. We found the remains of the schooner maybe 200 yards from the parking lot (that distance is really a guess). It was washed ashore last January (the 28th, 2008). The tide was going out, and the waterline was just below the wreck (it was an hour past high tide), which was mostly buried by sand. Which is to say, there wasn't much exposed for us to see, and because of our timing, we're lucky to have seen anything at all. Follow this link to someone's photos of the wreck (taken just after it appeared) at Flickr, and you'll get a much better idea of the schooner than what our photos (below) show. Worth the drive, nonetheless.

However, I was distracted from the ship almost at once, by great exposures of a blue-grey clay in the cliff behind us. Studded with all manner of clasts, and capped with the dune sand, I guessed the clay must be of Pleistocene age, though, my knowledge of New England geology is still rudimentary. I spent some time poking around in the clay, guessing diligent prospecting might reveal fossil bones. Indeed, when I got home and looked about online, it turns out that these clays have yielded remains of mammoths, bison, and other "Ice Age" mammals. After a while, we headed back towards the parking lot and just sat in the sand and watched the waves. The wind was cold, but it hardly seemed to matter. We were greeted, at some point, by a very enthusiastic little mutt of a dog, who dashed up, bounced over us, and then dashed away again. I didn't want to leave. I never want to leave, of course. But I might have a new favorite beach. The air was so amazingly clear and smelled so clean. Someone had stuck a single red rose into the sand. I stared out at the horizon, thinking of Africa and Europe on the other side of the Atlantic (almost 3,000 nautical miles away).

As twilight came on, we headed, reluctantly, back to the car, and decided to drive up towards Provincetown, to go very near the northernmost end of the Cape. We made it past Provincetown, north to Herring Cove Beach, on the western side of the Cape. It was dark by the time we parked, and there was a truly ferocious and freezing gale off the bay. In the sky, we could see perfectly the alignment of the waxing crescent moon, Venus, and Jupiter. This alignment won't come back around for another 44 years. We made it out to the beach proper, and Spooky even somehow managed to find a shard of beach glass in the dark. We have to head back to Herring Cove in daylight, because it seems perfect for beachcombing, in the winter, when the tourists aren't about. I played Sigur Rós and Portishead on the long drive back to Providence, and I dozed a little, and really, it was just such a perfect day. I have seen few finer places to stand in the presence of Panthalassa than Cape Cod.

Okay. This has gotten long, and I should go. Though it's another day off, I do have some writing-related email to answer. Then...I don't know. Nothing. Nothing sounds pretty good to me. There are photos, behind the cut:

December 1, 2008 )


All photographs Copyright © 2008 by Kathryn A. Pollnac and Caitlín R. Kiernan
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Not a bad writing day yesterday, not bad at all. I did 1,153 words and got Chapter Four of The Red Tree started. So, back in the saddle. I also got an email from Peter, informing me that not only does the Arthur Machen introduction not stink —— as I'd feared —— it's quite good. And that was a great relief, as I genuinely don't have time to start over.

I sent the first 135 pages (or so) of The Red Tree away to my editor in NYC, mainly because they need to go ahead and get the cover in production and need to get a feel for the story. It freaks me out through, knowing I'll likely see the novel's cover long before I'm done writing it.

If you have not yet ordered a copy of the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds or a copy of my forthcoming sf collection, A is for Alien, fret not. Today is a fine day to do both. There's also Sirenia Digest, of course.

I'm a little bummed because the sky was overcast last night, and will be so again this evening, so we're missing out on the peak of this year's Perseid meteor shower. Also, I didn't get to see the carcass of the fifteen-foot, one-ton juvenile Northern Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) that washed ashore last week at Matunuck, and now it's been towed away and buried in the dunes. Le sigh. I can has no big science fun. Speaking of which, has Beakman's World been released on DVD?

After the writing yesterday...well, not much. Spooky made spaghetti for dinner, to make me happy (she hates spaghetti, which is just weird). She also made a batch of blueberry muffins with the blueberries we picked last week. I began "A Catastrophic Finale?", the twelfth and final chapter of Fraser's Triassic book. I feel I should have talked more about Chapter Eleven, what with the Deerfield and Hartford basins (Newark Supergroup) so nearby in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and having myself prospected in the Pekin Formation (Deep River Basin) of North Carolina back in 1996. These deposits document a fascinating period, when deep rift valleys were opening in what is now North America and Africa, as the supercontinent of Pangea at last began to break apart. I am hoping this autumn to have a day or two to devote to a grand tour of exposures of the Newark Supergroup in western New England. Oh, and yesterday, the mail brought my "Platypus of Death" shirt.

We also watched Robert Luketic's 21, which we both enjoyed quite a lot. Good film, but it doesn't hurt that Kate Bosworth is such a babe. Later, I was on Second Life, back in Corvinus with my Ravnos atritribu character...strange meetings in the cathedral and then the graveyard. Oh, and I actually finished my V:tM character sheet (yeah, we use those in Corvinus), and was pleased to see my "humanity" score a lowly 3/10. Truly, this Nareth is a monster, unburdened by conscience or delusions of morality (I think I'm paraphrasing Ash without meaning to do so).

Things are coming together fast with our plans for the Howard's End sim. Spooky spent much of last night talking to some of the very talented folks who will be on our build team. We've told them the point is to get it right, make it pretty as we can, make it look and feel like the Providence of Daughter of Hounds, and we can open when we open. I'm thinking it will likely be two or three months from now. There's terraforming to be done, tunnels and a necropolis to be dug, trees to be planted, zillions of textures to create, many buildings/landmarks to recreate, including the Athenaeum, Ladd Observatory, Swan Point Cemetery, and the old train tunnel beneath College Hill.

More thoughts on how this thing's gonna work (and my thanks to everyone who has expressed interest so far). For one thing, NO FACE LIGHTS WILL BE PERMITTED, under normal circumstances. Jesus fuck, but I'm sick of being in the middle of some dark, tense scene when suddenly some bozo with a facelight comes walking past, shattering the suspense and spoiling everything. Because, you know, heads need to glow like halogen high-beams. Because, you know, you really are special and everyone needs to be looking at you. Anyway, yeah, no facelights. And no goddamn bling. None. Zilch. Nada. Nein. Note that it will be a "mature" sim, in that we are adults acting out these stories, but that doesn't mean there will be a strong BDSM/sexual element to the sim. Oh, there may be occasional scenes, as the story warrants. But I am also going to be allowing child avatars, so that we can have the changeling kiddos in the tunnels, so these things will have to be kept strictly apart (there will be no violation of the Linden Labs ToS permitted, and doing so will be grounds for immediate and permanent ejection from Howard's End). No lolspeak or emoticons in roleplay. That's another zero-tolerance matter. People will speak in English, or French, or Italian, or Portuguese, or whatever —— with punctuation and everything. And something important to explain upfront is that not everyone can always be involved in the main storyline (which is why we will have little stories off to the side, and why I will strongly encourage players to autogenerate their own rp). Fiction is not a democracy and is not egalitarian. I've watched so many great stories go down the tubes because they could not accommodate "all factions" in a given sim. Fuck that shit, as the great Frank Booth would say. If a given "chapter" is primarily about the as-yet-unnamed occult research team, then the Hounds and the Changelings will have to amuse themselves, and vice versa. The story is our goddess. The players serve the story. This is another of those non-negotiable issues. Anyway, yes, very excited, and we expect to place our order for the sim later this week. Oh, and Spooky also began work on the Bailiff avatar last night, which will be based on Sid Haig (and the Soldier av will be based on Katee Sackoff — casting rocks).
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
I've long since lost track of the times that some sf reader, usually someone in SL, has told me how much hesheit loves the work of Orson Scott Card, and then I've had to explain that, regardless of whatever talent Card may (or may not) possess as an author, I cannot see past his religion-based bigotry to even try to enjoy his work. And, usually, the hesheit in question has no idea what I'm talking about, despite the fact that Card won't stop shooting his mouth off about the evils of homosexuality, the sanctity of marriage, the holiness of het procreation, and so forth. For example, his article for the July 24th issue of mormontimes.com, in which, among many other dim-witted and hateful things, Card says:

If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn't require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?

Superstition aside, much of Card's hysteria seems to center on some sort of imagined threat to the human population's ability to continue to crowd out all other lifeforms on the planet, should gay and lesbian marriages be recognized. It would be funny, if it didn't piss me off so much. Let's look at the world population clock. As of right this very fucking second, there are 6,713,684,976 humans on the face of Earth (most living in horrid poverty). That's 6.7 billion, Mr. Card, already far above the planet's carrying capacity for humanity. So, please, shut up and fuck the hell off. May your poor shriveled Mormon wang desire the anus of another man.

Er...but moving along to things that don't make me want to adorn my face with the tines of rusty forks, how about confirmation that there really are vast hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. One has now been named —— Ontario Lacus —— a 7,800 square mile lake of ethane, methane, nitrogen, and other simple hydrocarbons.

Also, my great thanks to Anita Dalton for sending me this link to her analysis of "Caitlín R. Kiernan’s use of child characters in Daughter of Hounds." Reading the article yesterday, I realized that I'd forgotten how much I love that book, how much I love those characters. Truly, it's by far my best novel-length work of fiction, and, you know, as much as no one wants to admit it, authors need to have their egos stroked every now and then if they are to continue authoring (especially us midlist waifs). So, thanks Anita, from the bottom of my wicked heart, because for every reader like you who "gets it," there are a thousand more I leave wondering why they didn't read some tripe by Larell K. Hamilton or Robert Jordan, instead. I think, Anita, that your article has made me resolve to return to Emmie and Soldier as soon as The Red Tree is done (Emmie will be about 12 or 13). Meanwhile, once again, I remind folks to please preorder the new mmp edition of Daughter of Hounds, so I'll have a chance to write such a novel.

Four and a half hours sleep last night, at best. Insomnia keeps me up, then the face pain (from the seizure-cracked molar) wakes me. And today I have a mountain of tedious work ahead of me, whipping Sirenia Digest #32 into shape before it goes out to subscribers this evening. Jesus fuck, I can't even think in curlicues right now. And yet, somehow, I must cross this day productively. Coffee and Red Bull. Anyway, yesterday I wrote 535 words, and found THE END of "Derma Sutra (1891)." Wow, what an angry, sexy, fuck-you sort of story, all wrapped in Lovecraftiana, steampunk, and the sort of coitus that keeps shitwits like Orson Scott Card awake at night. I am rather proud, I must admit. But, the well of anger is deep, and when i was done with the story, it was unexhausted, so Spooky dragged me away from the keyboard about 6 p.m. (there was genuine dragging involved), away to Beavertail and the calming sea.

Usually, we stick to the northeastern side of the point, above the lighthouse, but south of Lionshead. Yesterday, we took a tartan picnic blanket that [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse sent us from a trip to Scotland and spread it out on the boulders on the northwestern side of the point. There are beautiful sheltered coves back there, the water all the shades of beach glass. As the sun set, I lay with my head in her lap, just listening, smelling, tasting, feeling the mist against my skin, letting Panthalassa pull me slowly back from the brink. There were cormorants, gulls, rabbits, ladybugs (ladybug sex, even), ripe red hips on the beach roses, beautiful green-white thickets of Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota). The floats from lobster pots bobbed not far offshore. We stayed almost until dark. I didn't want to come back to Providence. I just wanted to lie there by the roaring, sighing bay until the stars came out. I wanted to swim in the cold water. I wanted to be nothing more substantial that the foghorn calling out across the waves. But, that's not the way it goes.

Back home (about 9 p.m.), Spooky made dinner (corn and Annie's "creamy tuna spirals"; we usually avoid processed foods these days, but Annie's is an occasional weakness), and I read more of Fraser's book on the Triassic. Then we read all the way through "Derma Sutra (1891)" (it comes in at 5,254 words total). Later, I managed a few hours of Second Life. Even though the "Kingdom of Sand" sim is turning out to be less wonderful than I'd hoped, it did give me a good scene last night (thank you, Sev, Artemsisia, and Lina). And I finally said good-bye to Toxia once and for fucking all. I dropped in, thinking I might miss the place, but after only five minutes I was so pummeled by lousy rp and utter, mindscathing stupidity that I left and left for good. I'll take away some good memories of that sim, but only a few. There is simply no overcoming the moron factor, and wishing don't make it so. Basically, I desperately aspire to hide out in the Palace in "Kingdom of Sand" as Shahrazad al-Anwar until we can make my own sim a reality. Because I'm tired of hopping from one world to the next, one character to the next, only to be greeted with idiots and stories that'll never be finished. Spooky and I have even chosen a name for the sim (from a rather long list), which will be the Providence of Daughter of Hounds —— "Howard's End" (thank you, E. M. Forster) —— assuming no one takes the name before we can raise the money.

Gods, it's already 11:53. Almost afternoon. Just a few more things. For one, my thanks to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for this image. I have no idea what's even being advertised or why anyone would pay $19 for it, but now you can see the horror I wake to every day:



Please have a look at the current ebay auctions. And now, yesterday's six Beavertail photos (behind the cut). Not the best we ever took, but ambient light was low:

Beavertail, July 30th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Marvelous news from the Phoenix lander. To quote to NASA website, "Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it." Read more here. Be sure to select "Play animation" on the right side of the screen.

"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

And now the "word cloud," or "wordle," which I was able to create thanks to a link posted by [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving:



It began as two paragraphs near the end of Chapter One of The Red Tree. Make of it what you will. Ignore the stray hyphens. I could only link to the thumbnail, without creating some sort of account or another, so screw that. Click the image to see it BIG. Or don't. But..there are words. From the book. And like cut-up poetry, this fascinates me...
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
Here's how it works. On your birthday, any icon is appropriate. And here it is -04. Ten hours and three minutes into -04. The good news is that the mounting chaos of the move means I've hardly had time to lament my birthday or the passing of time or age or my own mortality. The bad news is I have thirteen hours and fifty-six minutes until it is no longer my birthday. I want to thank everyone who has been kind enough to send a present, but, sigh, I packed the list. I only have one of the names. The rest will have to wait until I unpack the list (which is actually not a list, but a bundle of Amazon.com receipt thingies). But I can thank William G. Matthews for the incredibly generous gift of the gorgeous Collector's Edition of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, a 7-disc set full of outtakes and rarities. I have been in love with Wayne's album since its initial release in June 1978 (that number keeps coming up lately). So, thank you William, and thanks to all the others whom I cannot properly thank until I unpack your names.

Just got an email from my mother, in reference to my entry last night about the Phoenix and Apollo 11, and all it reads is, "Actually, it was the middle of the night when they landed, and I made you stay up and watch it." And I suppose she's not just trying to mess with my head, because, in fact, Neil Armstrong made his descent to the lunar surface at 2:56 UTC. But I do not recall that part, being up so late. Memory, especially across the gulf of 39 years, is, at best, an approximation. Never mind that I was a sleepy five-year-old at the time.

Meanwhile, I awoke this morning with a headache, to the latest round of moving drama. Though United Van Lines is ferrying most of our things up to Providence, Spooky will also be driving a second truck with more precious "overload" we don't trust to the movers (and Byron will be driving her car). This morning, U-Haul called to say that we'd "received a free upgrade, at no extra cost," and that our reservation of a 10'-foot truck had been "upgraded" to a 14'-foot truck. But. We do not need a 14'-foot truck, and Spooky doubted she could drive it. As they refused to "downgrade" us again (this is, naturally, all doublespeak meant to conceal the fact they overbook), she canceled the reservation, and now we've reserved a 12-foot truck from Penske. Fuck you, U-Haul.

Last night there was panic, as we realized that we had about three days of hard packing left and only two days to do it (since we have to go back to Birmingham tomorrow and can't actually be packing while the movers are loading on Thursday). We still have lamps and electronics and more framed pictures, most of the kitchen and the glass display-case shelves (10 of them) and most of our clothes. We have today and Wednesday to do all this. Spooky's heading to Staples or Office Depot or somewhere like that shortly to get more boxes. I'm just sick of this whole affair. Moving is, in fact, worse than writing. And I don't mean to sound like an old lady (really, really, I don't), but...as of this morning, my face hurts (tooth/ear), I'm trying to deal with my damn, screwed-up feet (the neuromas), this headache, sleep deprivation, and the fact that I hurt my back yesterday. At least I took the last of the damned doxycycline yesterday about one pm, so screw you, Miss Tick.

Late last night, trying to wind down and too tired to pack more, we watched Menno Meyjes' Martian Child (2007), which had come in from Netflix and seemed appropriate. A sweet, smart, and thoroughly engaging film. A great cast. I think I can actually picture John Cusack as Deacon in Daughter of Hounds, which just seems odd, but works in my head. So, since I know you're reading this, John, please have your people call my people at UTA. They'll fly me out, and we'll do lunch, or what the hell ever, and get the ball rolling. Throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Set the wheels in motion. Give Deke a few more lines. See if Elle Fanning's available for Emmie. I'm sure we can lure del Toro away from The Hobbit for this. Sure. You bet'cha.

And no, Sirenia Digest #30 has not gone out yet. Today, most likely.

You know, if Julien calls from UTA today to tell me that John Cusack's on the line, my brain will explode....
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Packing and exhaustion from packing aside, it's been an exciting night, Mars-wise. And I'm hugely relieved that Phoenix is down and transmitting from 68.22°N 234.3°W on the lowlands of the Vastitas Borealis. There are already photographs from the Martian arctic — a distinctly different Martian environment than we've seen before from surface images — just check the NASA Phoenix mission homepage.

I still have very clear memories from July 20th, 1969, sitting on the floor, watching the black and white images being transmitted back from the Apollo 11 mission. I was only five, and my mother made me stop whatever I was doing and watch as Neil Armstrong descend to the lunar surface. "This is something you'll always want to remember," she said. And here I am, almost 39 years later, and I do remember, and tonight I waited while Phoenix rushed towards the surface of Mars. 1969. 2008. The Moon. Mars. Wow.

There are many, many things that humans do which are not worthy of praise. And then there are things like the Moon, and Mars, the exploration of the solar system beyond Earth. Not because I personally think it's very likely human beings will ever live on those other moons and planets in significant numbers. But just to see, just to learn, just to know. Just to wonder at the vasty Cosmos. Wow.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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