greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (white)
Today, the meteorological violence of the past two days is gone. The sky is overcast, and the air is cool, presently only 77F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,738 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges. Now, there's a troll in the book.

Much of the day was spent bracing for a storm that I'm pretty sure actually came the night before. But the weathermen freak out when something gets past them, so they were overcompensating, going so far as to warn people to stock up on food and water and suchlike...for a thunderstorm. Spooky did go out to the market, and there were trees down – some of them quite large – from the storm that hit us early on Wednesday morning. Some buildings in our neighborhood took damage from that storm, from the wind and hail. Anyway, here's how things looked about 5:30 p.m. yesterday:



About 6 p.m., as we were eating dinner, the red band swept over us, and it was a kitten compared with the night before.

---

Yesterday, something happened that I've been expecting ever since Colgate-Palmolive bought a controlling interest in Tom's of Maine back in 2006 – I opened a box of toothpaste and discovered that the old metal tube had been replaced with a squishy plastic one. And who the hell really knows which is "greener" than the other, metal or plastic. Point is, toothpaste ought come in metal fucking tubes.

---

I slept last night, at least. About seven and a half hours. But the Good Worker Bee Pills are making me fat, a side effect that is known and common, so it's not as if I wasn't warned.

---

Last night, though the air cooled dramatically after the storms, my office was still too stuffy for Rift, so we finished watching the Burroughs documentary (dir. Yony Leyser, 2010). It was very, very well done. Afterwards, though, we watched William Cameron Menzies' The Maze (1953). Menzies is credited with inventing the role of the film production designer and was involved in the creation of many wonderful films. The Maze is not one of them. It didn't help that it was shot for 3-D, during one of those other times Hollywood fell for that gimmick. Very likely one of the dullest films I've ever slept through. Okay, I only slept through about ten minutes, and apparently I didn't miss anything. It was almost worth eduring the whole silly, wretched mess for two lines:

Kitty Murray (played by Veronica Hurst): Look, there's a strand of seaweed!

Edith Murray (played by Katherine Emery): And a bowl of tomatoes (pronounced toe-MAH-toes).

Anyway, then we watched Christopher McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun (2000), which I love, even though it sort of destroyed the man's career. It shouldn't have. Spooky had never seen it. Yeah, that's a lot of watching. I wasn't in the mood for much else.

---

Rhetorical Question: How am I not to conclude that, in the end, I am, at best, a forgotten experiment and no one is watching?

Same As It Ever Was,
Aunt Beast

* From Wikipedia: "A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply. Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to think about what the (often obvious) answer to the question must be. When a speaker states, "How much longer must our people endure this injustice?", no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something. (e.g.: "Why me?") While amusing and often humorous, rhetorical questions are rarely meant for pure, comedic effect. A carefully crafted question can, if delivered well, persuade an audience to believe in the position(s) of the speaker."
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: (Kraken)
Yesterday, I wrote only 654 words, but appear to have unexpectedly found THE END of "Sanderlings." It's very odd when that happens. But then, it's a very odd story. It's just under 5,000 words long. I'd thought it would be for Sirenia Digest #48, but now I'm thinking I may send it along the Bill Schafer at subpress for the chapbook that will accompany the numbered state of The Ammonite Violin & Others. Which means I'll need write something else for SD #48, over the next week.

This whole Thanksgiving thing came up yesterday. That is, the fact that I do not observe this whole Thanksgiving thing. And various people (including my mother) were like, oh come on, you have a lot of things to be thankful for. To which I can only reply that, in this instance, thankfulness implies that there is someone or something out there to thank. I would say that yes, sure, I am appreciative of many things in my life— Spooky, my mom, Spooky's mom and dad, Rhode Island, being able to mostly pay my bills, the sea, and so forth. But being appreciative does not entail being thankful, in the sense that is generally meant when people speak of Thanksgiving. I am not thankful, not in the Thanksgiving sense, which implies gratitude towards some "higher power," even when you've completely stripped the holiday of its Christian roots and made it just "Turkey Day." I can appreciate turkey any day. I don't need a special day to eat turkey, or cranberries, or that disgusting stuff made of sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top. And there's no one for me to "give thanks," other than myself, and Spooky, and my readers, and maybe half a dozen other people. So, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I just don't do Thanksgiving. I try to make sure the people in my life to whom I am grateful for this or that know that I am grateful for their kindness and concern. I don't need to set aside a special day for it. To some, it may seem like I'm worrying over semantics and only mincing words. But that's what I do. All day, almost every day. I mince words, in an effort to get to what I genuinely mean. Usually, I choose my words with obsessive care.

I'm not appreciative of the doctor's appointment that's going to eat up all of tomorrow, and expose me to fuck knows what germs.

And now, here's the last set of photos from our trip to Green Hill last Wednesday:

18 November 2009, Part 5 )
greygirlbeast: (Western Interior Seaway)
And yesterday was the sort of "day off" that I dread, the usual sort. Truthfully, I should have had the good sense to leave the house, go to Fernbank or the Zoo in Grant Park or maybe the Botanical Gardens...anywhere. In fact, I didn't step outside the house all damn day. I thought I had a plan, but it spiraled into something else, which, as I have said, is the usual way of things. I could neither rest nor keep my mind occupied, and the frustration mounted, the frustration and the boredom.

High points of yesterday: I read Chapter 9 of Chris Beard's book on anthropoid origins (Chapter 9, "Resurrecting the Ghost"). The chapter was mainly concerned with Beard's fieldwork in the Eocene beds along the banks of China's Yellow River (Huáng Hé), between 1994-1997, before the strata were flooded by construction of one of the nation's many idiotically short-sighted hydroelectric dam projects. I packed only two boxes.

And speaking of the packing of the second box, I shall now offer another unsolicited testimony to the durability of Apple computers. Somehow, I tangled my ankle in the power cord of my seven-year-old iBook last night, pulled it off the desk, and it fell three feet to a hardwood floor. And besides a bent jack on the yo-yo power adapter thingy — which is not truly a part of the actual computer — no apparent damage was done. It's only my secondary computer at this point, as I now work on the iMac, but it was still a moment of sheer fucking horror, watching it crash to the floor. I assumed the worst. I was amazed. Thank you, Apple.

Oh, but that was not a high point. Uhm. There must have been others. We watched two more episodes from Season One of Millennium ("Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions" and "Broken World"). I built a sort of homage to Dr. Suess' McElligot's Pool behind my Abney Park Laboratory (in Second Life). To quote the message I posted to the New Babbage forum (written, of course, as Prof. Nishi):

"The Abney Park Well:

While trying to recalibrate a portion of the lateral array of my temporal-spatial teleportation beam, I confess that I accidentally confused the X and Z axes, and, thereby, vaporized a vertical shaft of masonry and bedrock just behind the laboratory. The width of the vacated area is approximately 4.2 metres in diameter, with a depth of some 100 metres. The accident has unexpectedly tapped into some subterranean extension of the Mare Verne, creating an Artesian well (though the salinity of the water renders it unpotable). However, initial investigations indicate that the pool is inhabited by a number of species of marine life, including fish of various sorts. All those curious are invited to visit the pool (which, for the sake of public safety, I have walled in) and fish there. I have named the pool in honour of that great, lately deceased New Babbage ichthyologist, Dr. Theodor Geisel McElligot. No swimming, please. Study of this new hydrological feature will continue..."

Spooky (Artemisia) did most of the actual work. I did the design. And yes, you can really fish there, and really catch fish. I also made a few new LJ icons, inspired by what I'd written about Panthalassa yesterday. The one that I'm using today is, of course, a view of North America during the Late Creaceous, with the Mississippi Embayment and the Western Interior Seaway very prominent. I also did one of Pangaea, and one of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and a William Stout painting of a trilobite. I did a little work on the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage, adding another of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins paintings and two lithographs of Archaeopteryx. That was the best of yesterday.

Today, we make corrections to the manuscript of A is for Alien, which came back to me from [livejournal.com profile] sovay and Massachusetts on Friday.

And here, a mere 21 days remain until Birthday No. -04. Shudder. Belatedly, I'm taking a cue from [livejournal.com profile] docbrite and [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale, and declaring the whole month of May to be my Royal Birthday Month. So, if you are given to such things, here's my Amazon wish list. Thank you. You wouldn't think a world could get this much more messed up in only -04 years, but you'd be wrong.

I want to write more about Panthalassa — particularly about how one can simultaneously be an atheist and a polytheist, and how one of the things that, increasingly, disturbs me about "orthodox" Wicca ("Gardnerian") is that it is drifting ever nearer a default monotheism, a sort of surrogate Xtianity where the tripartite goddess stands in for Jesus/"God"/the Holy Spirit (maybe chuck the Virgin Mary in there as a "female" mask), and any number of Panthalassa-related issues. But this is getting long. I'll save it for tomorrow, instead.
greygirlbeast: (bluenareth)
So, yesterday I'm slogging through Núrn, just editing and cursing and minding my own bloody business on the fourth day of this goddamn Mordorian Death March thing, when suddenly I'm set upon by a pack of goblin assholes, and who should I find holding their reins? Hmm? A certain nefarious [livejournal.com profile] setsuled, that's who. And I'd thought he was still busy down there in Khand. What's more, after relieving me of my paltry few provisions and weapons, he hands me over to the gorramn orcs for "entertainment"! But what can one expect from anyone who keeps company with Easterlings and goblinfolk? Fortunately, I had secreted upon my person an extremely sharp flake of obsidian I'd picked up in the foothills of the Ered Glamoth a few days back. When the first goblin came for me, I opened its throat from ear to ear, then gutted the pair who rushed to its defence. In the commotion that ensued, I was able to slip away, only a little worse for the experience. I think my pride was wounded more than anything. I should have anticipated such an ambush, but hoped not to encounter this sort of trouble until I'd reached the northern shores of the inland sea, at least. Wrong. I did manage the wrest from one of the goblin bastards a decent short sword, better than the dagger this [livejournal.com profile] setsuled rogue took from me. So...now I have lost precious time, am likely being stalked, and must make all haste to reach the Gurthrant, which I would have gained before sunset yesterday, if not for the savage attack.

On a brighter note, I found a title for "Untitled 27," which is now "Outside the Gates of Eden." Also, the sf anthology that printed the Czech translation of "Riding the White Bull," Trochu divné kusy 2, has been awarded "best anthology of the year" by the Czech Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. I should have gone with Czechoslovakia for my death march, clearly.

Yesterday was frustrating enough without the orc attack, thank you very much. I've reached a point where I can edit no more until my editor returns from vacation tomorrow and talks to people at Paramount and certain problems are resolved. Which means that today will be spent on the 100-word Norse/Anglo-Saxon lexicon. Oh, and thanks to Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) for coming to the rescue with Latin translations yesterday. If only she'd been around to help me fight off those gobllins. Have you ever seen an orc penis? Well, it's not something one can soon forget, I'll tell you that for nothing.

A long walk with Spooky yesterday to the market to get stuff for dinner, and that was nice, as this part of Atlanta is a fair bit kinder on the eyes and the feet than the plains of Núrn. Later, we watched Heroes, and I wished the whole season had been as good as last night's episode. George Takei frelling rules. And I fear I may have a crush on Sylar. I think it's those eyebrows. And the fact that he looks a great deal like Burt (on Sesame Street). David called about 10:30 to say he was back from Connecticut. Later, we read more of The Children of Húrin, chapters XI and XII ("The Fall of Nargothrond" and "The Return of Túrin to Dor-lómin"), and then I stayed up too late reading another chapter of the Steinbeck biography.

---

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] extatika for this link, an article at RichardDawkins.net by Dan Gardner about the "backlash" against all us mouthy-ass uppity atheists. This quote:

In the past, I've tried to avoid talking about religion in such sharp terms. It's not that I fear giving offence (which would be something of a limitation in my line of work). Rather, I know, as all humans do, that it's scary knowing you're going to die. And if belief in angels on high eases the existential fears of some, I won't begrudge them. Whatever gets you through the night, as a long-haired prophet once said.

But a series of books doing quite well on bestseller lists — by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and, soon, Christopher Hitchens — argues it's time to be a lot less deferential to faith, and I have to say I find it hard to disagree. After all, we live in a time when blowing children to bits is an increasingly popular form of worship, the most powerful man on earth thinks he's got a hotline to God, and much of the electorate who gave that man his power would never consider replacing him with someone who does not believe the son of a carpenter who died 2,000 years ago sits in heaven advising presidents, fixing football games, and waiting for the day he will return to the Earth to brutally murder all unbelievers and erect a worldwide dictatorship.

Private, quiet faith is one thing. But when the guy holding the launch codes believes the end of the world could come any day and that's a good thing, those who believe lives are limited to one per customer have a problem.


Anyway, now I must away to explain about Odin and Loki and scops and thanes and the World Serpent and what have you. And I must keep my eyes peeled for my pursuers, if they have not given up the chase. I hope to have reached the Thaur Road by sunset...

Postscript (2:08 p.m.): Speaking of fundamentalist assholes, I just heard the news that Jerry Falwell is dead. This should be a day of rejoicing.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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