greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

Here, it's vaguely, unenthusiastically sunny. That sky could at least have the decency to snow. Then again, for Providence, we've hardly had a winter. Right now, it's 43˚F. Hey, winter! Shit or get off the goddamn pot, already.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,157 words on a new pseudo-vignette, "Camuffare." It's quiet, and easy, and strange. It's not at all what I expected to be writing this month, but maybe it's what I need to be writing – assuming I need to be writing anything at all. Let us make no a priori assumptions. But, so far, I like "Camuffare."

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack asked, Will it benefit you, in terms of your standing with the publisher re sales etc. more if I preorder The Drowning Girl, or if I walk into a shop and buy it within the first week of release? Truthfully? I don't think anyone knows. Publishers are insane about preorders. Publishers are equally insane about the first six weeks of a book's release. It pretty much comes down to that. Unless a book blows the whole world away via preorders or those first six weeks of sales, screw it. It never happened. What's next? Yes, it genuinely is like that. So, to answer your question, I'd say preorder, if only because that's more convenient to you.

Speaking of preorders, it's very important that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart does very, very well. So, please. If you can preorder, do. And thank you. And don't forget what Emerson said. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Anyway, here's the cover (by Lee Moyer), in case you've never followed one of the hundred or so links I've posted (them blue ladies with horns, they gets me every darned time):



It occurs to me that the only drawback to murder is the inevitable post-homicide emotional crash. Oh, and my thanks to everyone who followed the link to Amazon's page for The Drowning Girl and took a second to click like. All 88 of you. If nothing else, I know that 88 people read yesterday's entry. Of course, if you didn't click yesterday, you can always click today.

---

Last night, I swore I wouldn't play SW:toR. The GLBT-friendly RP guild we joined has finally started going to shit. But, you know, two weeks of decent RP before everything begins to come apart in nonsense and drivel is ahead of the curve, right? Anyway...at least it's not my guild. And, anyway, don't grownups do grownup shit? I always imagined it would be that way. I'd grow up, and there'd be 9-5, martinis, bills, vacations, a two-car garage, wild orgies, lawn flamingos, funerals, dinner parties, and 2.5 children. Well, okay, I got the bills, but the rest of it? Nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of playing with all the other grownup children, we streamed movies on the iPad (in 1975, when I was eleven, that sentence would have been science fiction). First, Elliott Lester's very so-so Blitz (2011). Not a great film, but not a bad film, and, what the hell, I'd pay to watch Jason Statham eat a sandwich (I have the same problem with Bruce Willis).

But then...then we came across this film I'd never heard of, even though I should have heard of it. Bless the Child, directed by Chuck Russell (2000). I looked at the cast – Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits (okay, not too interesting so far, but wait for it), Rufus Sewell (see, now we're getting somewhere), Angela fucking Bettis, Christina Ricci, and Ian Holm. And...what a total piece of shit! It might have scraped lows in Xtian horror that few Xtian horror films had previously scraped. The screenplay didn't even manage to be hilariously bad. It was just bad; no ambition. The cinematography had all the artistry of something made for Lifetime. There were some CGI demons that probably would have been interesting to see twelve years ago. There were lots of Evil Goths® and plot holes and pot holes and scary Catholic histrionics and Rufus Sewell trying really, really hard to sound villainous, but you can tell the poor guy's thinking, Yup. This is the end of my career. It's all downhill from here. Oh, wait. Christina Ricci's head falls off. That was pretty cool. And, frankly, the actor who played the Jesus-in-a-dress kid, Holliston Coleman, she carried the whole film on her tiny shoulders, and got all the best lines, and was the cutest little saviour of humanity ever. Gagh. Guys, you have to see this film. It's so bad – in a harmless, stupid, slobbering dog sort of way – you have to see it. Only 3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! 3%! I still don't know how I missed it in theatres.

Oh, and then we played SW:toR, anyway.

And then I finished Chris McGowan's The Dragon Seekers. And that was yesterday.

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (blood)
My head is much better this morning, after being much worse last night, especially after midnight. This morning, though, I'm afraid to move for setting it off again. Today marks Day 9.

Yesterday was, for the most part, another loss. And these are days and days of losses I cannot afford. Yesterday, I signed contracts, answered email, made the last round of corrections to Alabaster #4, and – with Kathryn's help – managed to read the entirety of a truly gargantuan contract, which I then signed. They go back to Writers House today (I hope). There's no way yet to know what will happen today.

The weather is grey and tiresome. I slept until noon. Eight hours sleep, and I'm no less exhausted.

Last night, we made the mistake of watching Álex de la Iglesia's Balada triste de trompeta (2010). Not since House of 1000 Corpses (2003) has a film so made me want to erase all memory of having suffered through it. If there are words to describe the loathsomely, moronic awfulness...oh, never mind. Yeah, it's that bad.

There's a Brown Bird show (with other bands) at the Met tonight, but I'm pretty sure we're gonna set this one out. Which blows.

I'm going to play in the street now.

But every once in a while, it goes the other way too,*
Aunt Beast

* "Wait for the wheel." `~ John Crichton, Farscape
greygirlbeast: (walkenVNV)
0. Not gonna write about SW:toR today. There's too much else. I'll come back to it tomorrow. But, in short, it's the best MMORPG I've ever played, though I will temper that estimation with some minor caveats.

1. I haven't had to mark any days L for a long time (thank you, meds), but yesterday was a lost day. There was very little in me but anger. I managed only a flury of email before having Spooky drive me to the Athenaeum. It was peaceful downstairs in the reading room. The comforting, soothing smell of old, old books. Ghosts beyond counting. I am only sorry I committed a blasphemy by using my iPad amid those shelves (I'm not being sarcastic). I proofed the pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17 through 25, but they were almost perfect, so it wasn't much work.

2. Today is the third anniversary of the day I first saw wintry precipitation in New England. Today, though, it's 52˚F, sunny and windy.

3.* Gonna talk shop. The business of publishing that is. Frequently, people ask me for writing advice, and, almost without fail, I refuse to offer it. But here's something. If a magazine, especially a fairly prominent online science-fiction zine, isn't willing to pay more than 0.003¢/word for a reprint in return for (and I quote from the contract) "digital media rights," which said contract defines as "...all non-physical forms including but not limited to html, Kindle, iTune apps, Mobi, ePub, and others" (id est, everything imaginable) then you need to stay far, far away from these sorts of publishers. They have nothing to offer you. No, not even "visibility." But, though I ought to know better, I just signed such a contract, because I have mountains of stories available for reprint, and when I agreed to the arrangement – several months ago – I had no idea what comprehensive electronic rights were expected in return for the paltry $25 I'd agreed to as an advance. I only saw the contract on November 21st (this is for their December issue), though the reprint request was made by them two months earlier. In between, I had to stop them from rewriting portions of the story. Anyway, point being, I don't care what the online publication is, you and your "digital media rights" are worth more than 0.003¢/word. Last I checked, pro rates were still hovering between 3-5¢/word. And, by the way, this emphatically was not Subterranean Magazine or Clarkesworld, both of whom have always paid me very well for online rights. I feel like, more and more, we're working – all of us, not just authors – in an environment that aggressively discourages dissent, then punishes dissenters, those who aren't so happy to get any work that they'll work under any conditions and for any price.

4. Today, I will do my very best to finish Alabaster. That's just five pages of script.

5. Please don't forget Question @ Hand #5!

6. I lay awake night before last, in the arms of Monsieur Insomnia, and watched George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan (1989) for the third or fourth time. What sort of film do you get when you splice Ridley Scott's Alien to John Carpenter's The Thing, then set it at the bottom of the sea? Well, you get Leviathan, a film which shamelessly steals from both those other films in almost every way possible. When I first saw it in theatres, I was furious. Later, on video, it just sort of bored me. But Monday night, watching it, I thought, Well, if I give Alien and The Thing each an A+ for Astounding, then I ought to give Leviathan a C for Could Have Been Worse, or Competent, or maybe for Cause I'm Only Half Awake. As the film has aged, it's easier to forgive the blatant plagiarism. Leviathan has taken on a questionable charm all its own. Peter Weller is truly fun to watch as he swaggers and scowls and uses the performance to bemoan the state of his career as it swirls round and round the drain. I actually love Peter Weller, and here he seems to be giving Cosmatos a well-deserved middle finger. And, too, Meg Foster autopilots her way through the role of the Tri-Oceanic Ice Queen rep giving the crew the shaft. It's those blue-white eyes of hers. But the rest of the cast is boring as dusty zwieback, though the monster/s is/are pretty cool. The whole thing with the sunken Russian ship and the blurry photos from its infirmary, that's nice, too. The tech is amusingly quaint (but not a tenth as convincing as the "used futures" seen in Alien and Blade Runner). As for the ending, it's clear neither the director nor the screenwriters were even trying to make sense. Still. Watch it if you can't sleep.

7. Tomorrow, I'll post the final cover for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. (It's not the one up at Amazon).

8. Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday:

28 November 2011 )


Counting Fractions of Fractions of Pennies,
Aunt Beast

* Postscript (4:47 p.m.): The editor of the unnamed magazine has contacted me and withdrawn his offer to reprint the story for 0.003¢/word. This is really the best outcome. I would have withdrawn it myself, but didn't want them left in a lurch (though they'd hardly treated me with similar considerateness), what with the December issue looming. Now, I only wonder who told them about my post, as I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't read my blog. And I wonder how far the news of my evil treachery will flow through the grapevine, and if I'll be blacklisted by others of this caliber. We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions, if we choose to act.
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: (Pagan1)
Today is Lughnasadh. Unless, of course, you're in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case it's Imbolc. So, may the day be good to you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Oh my fucking dogs. We didn't get to sleep until 4:30 ayem, then woke at 10 ayem. I woke from a hellish dream (thank you, both of you, you who know who you are, you and that fucking day in October 2005) into the mouth of an overheated water buffalo. More on that shortly. The overheated water buffalo, not the hellish dream or heat-induced sleep deprivation. Our heat index is already 97˚F.

Where was I? No, where am I? Oh, here. Great comments yesterday, kittens. Let's keep it up, through another scalding day.

Just sold "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" to Subterranean Press for Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3. Nope, don't know the book's release date yet, but I'm very happy with the sale.

As for yesterday, well...other than a LOT of email, the less said the better. Work that should have been done was not done. However, I have devised a way to recover. It calls for me finishing Blood Oranges at the end of the third week of August, instead of at the end of July. Fortunately, there was wiggle room. Now, I just gotta get back on that goddamn horse by Monday.

If you're reading this, Merrilee, I've not yet acquired a second coolerator. The one we needed was out of stock. AC units are crazy out of stock up here, which is hardly surprising. Our windows really aren't conducive to window units, so we need another (and smaller than Dr. Muñoz) portable unit. So, no longer broke, but still broiling.

---

One thing that has occurred to me is how little the "triggery" people actually know about human psychology. Sure, if you've been attacked by a dog and maimed, you're going to have issues with dogs. Obviously. Well, no. Many, but not all, people will react that way. Let us avoid oversimplification. Anyway, point is, there are going to be hundreds or thousands of other "triggers," most of them working on a subconscious level, that you'll never be able to guard against. Which leads to all the "unexplained" anxiety and panic attacks experienced by people with PTSD. Which brings us back to the problem of oversimplified pop psych. Mostly, I think the "triggery" folk are desperately trying to control their lives, when all our lives are, genuinely, all but completely beyond our control.

---

Last night, we watched Colin and Greg Strause's Skyline (2010). When I saw the trailer in the theatre, I was impressed and hopeful. But bad and lukewarm reviews kept me away. In truth, it's a perfectly enjoyable big bug sort of sci-fi invasion flick. Sure, it needs a script in the worst sort of way, and the acting's pretty off key. And talk about "unsympathetic characters," what a lot of sleazeballs. However, this is irrelevant, as the real stars are the SFX, which is how it works with the Bros. Strause. And the SFX and creature design, that part's exquisite. It's just a shame no one hired screenwriters who could, you know...write. Or directors that could direct people, and not just CGI programmes. But, like I said, it was fun to watch – quite a bit more than Battle Los Angeles. And unlike Battle Los Angeles, it had a pleasantly and more realistically bleak ending.

After the movie, we watched the first three episodes of Steven Speilberg's Falling Skies. Well, the two-part pilot and the first regular episode. Not bad, in that TV non-space opera sf sort of way. Watchable. Some good moments here and there. But it does feel like television. Which is to say that it feels constrained, and I don't believe for a minute all those people would be so clean six months after becoming nomadic refugees from an extraterrestrial invasion. Creature design is so-so. I find this sudden bloom of alien menace films interesting. True, it's a nice break from zombies. But I wonder at the cause. Probably just the usual Hollywood clusterfuck, especially given that both Skyline and Battle Los Angeles flopped at the box office. The only truly good film to emerge from this, of course, is Abrams' superb Super 8 (a joy, all round).

---

Two films I'm very excited about just now – excited about their potential – are Andrew Stanton's John Carter (US release date 9 March 2012) and Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (US release date 14 October 2011). I do worry the latter could go horribly awry, but the trailer looks very promising. As for the former, I think I have faith in Stanton to do it right, and I love the trailer. I was a huge fan of Burroughs, and especially the Mars books, when I was a kid. Anyway, here are both trailers:

John Carter:



The Thing:



---

I'm living in an age
That calls darkness light.
Though my language is dead,
Still the shapes fill my head.
-- Arcade Fire

I have no tribe.

Okay...gotta try to be productive.

Hotter Than Hot,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Comment, kittens.

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

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

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

---

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

---

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

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

To the hilt,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
The heat inside the house has become almost unendurable. This is not a melodramatic affectation. It genuinely is that hot. Spooky just showed me a map of the country, and I see that much of it is gripped by a heatwave. So, we're going to try to find a cooler place to wait for nightfall.

But a few things first.

My grateful thanks for all the comments yesterday. They're much appreciated.

Several of you suggested I write the entries each day, then post them when I get back. This doesn't work. For one, to keep the promise I made to myself, the entries have to be made on the day they were written, otherwise there will be no entries on those dates. This suggestion would sort of work if LJ would let you backdate entries, but it won't. I'll have no blank spots on the archives calendar. But thanks for the suggestion, regardless.

Also, I'm very glad 1990 was good to some of you, but I don't see where pointing that out to me is in any way productive or considerate.

At this moment I find myself "debt poor." When I was a kid, we'd talk about people being "land poor." That is, they owned a lot of land, but had virtually no income, and couldn't afford to live, much less pay land tax. I'm not "land poor," I'm "debt poor." About half a dozen publishers owe me money, collectively totaling thousands of dollars, and the checks are mostly delinquent. Ergo, "debt poor." NOTE: Subterranean Press is not one of these. They pay me on time. Anyway, I suspect this is true of many freelancers. Increasingly, it seems that publishers feel they can pay authors whenever they finally get around to it, after books have been printed and sold. Oh, and anthology editors are often in the same boat as us freelancers. Until they're paid, we can't be paid. And we are all at the bottom of the food chain, so far as many publishers are concerned. Recall, any food chain collapses if it's bottom (say, zooplankton) collapses. Anyway, not gonna name names, but to quote Malcolm Reynolds (ever quotable Mal), "We're close to gone out here."

Oh, hello acid reflux!

Last night, we finished Season Two of Criminal Intent. We were too hot to move, so we also watched Philip Kaufman's Twisted (2004), which was dull and shot like bad television. This is especially sad, given this is the director who brought us the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979), as well as The Right Stuff (1983), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Henry and June (1990), and the brilliant Quills (2000). Anyway, afterwards, we watched Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance (2008), which I will, unreservedly, call terrific. The most wonderful film of it's sort since Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005). Trust me. See it. Oh, be warned, it's mighty darn "triggery."

I have declared war on the putrescent neologism "triggery" and all those simpering shits who whine about anything being "triggery" and how they go on about it being the responsibility of OTHERS to protect them from that which they subjectively deem "triggery." I say to them, "Fuck you. Take some responsibility for yourselves, or fuck off." And as I've said, I say this as someone currently on meds for PTSD.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally passed out on the chaise in the middle parlor, which was only hot, and slept for an hour and a half, comforted by the desperate whir of the sadly ineffectual Dr. Muñoz. We all remember how "Cool Air" ends, right? (A hint: it's "triggery.")
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Spooky just read me a review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn." Actually, no. She didn't read me a review, or even a "review." It was just some dipshit's blog entry. He took issue with the fact that Gregory Frost's "The Dingus" and my story both use the word dingus in different ways, and this confused the blogger. Because, you know, he doesn't own a dictionary or know how to use Google (never mind an obvious unfamiliarity with the works of Daishell Hammett). Honestly, how much longer do I have to endure unabashed human stupidity? It's as if people are PROUD to be morons. Anyway, I just timed myself. I needed only five seconds, using Google, to learn that dingus is:

Used to refer to something whose name the speaker cannot remember, is unsure of, or is humorously or euphemistically omitting - here's a doohickey—and there's the dingus. – and – Dingus –noun, plural -us·es. Informal: a gadget, device, or object whose name is unknown or forgotten.

Five measly seconds! The internet! Use it, motherfuckers! Maybe Google has become like libraries; cool people don't use it.

Meanwhile, in the Great State of Alabama, where so much of my life was squandered, I have the story of Republican state Senator Scott "Top of His Class" Beason, who is unsure why he called blacks "aborigines." Yes, you read that correctly. A brief quote from the article:

In one transcript, Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county's largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

"That's y'all's Indians," one Republican said.

"They're aborigines, but they're not Indians," Beason replied.


As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Actually, the comment "That's y'all's Indians" might be the worst of it.

---

Kittens, there's no such thing as salvation. But if there were, it would be anger.

---

Anyway, yesterday I wrote something, but I can't yet tell you what I wrote, because it's related directly to that NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, but that I can't yet announce. I emailed the first half of Blood Oranges to my agent. And then I spent a couple more hours editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And that was work yesterday.

Oh, and, as it happens, my contributor's copies of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir arrived, and this is an awesome book, which you must own. The beady eyes of the platypus, they compel you! Also, all modesty aside, "The Maltese Unicorn" is one of the best short stories I've written in years. Dingus!!!!!

---


Late last night, we watched a movie. Now, here's the problem with Hal Hartley. On the one hand, he can make a brilliant film like No Such Thing (2001), and on the other hand he makes turds like The Girl from Monday (2005) and (the film we saw last night) The Book of Life (1998). Imagine a film devoid of acting, a script, art direction, cinematography, direction, sets, all production values...well, most that stuff you find in movies. Instead, it's just a garbled story about Jesus deciding the end of the world is a really bad idea, and you have The Book of Life. Now, the good news is threefold: 1) Polly Jean Harvey plays Mary Magdalene, and she at last tries to act in one scene, and is cool to look at the rest of the time; 2) William S. Burroughs adds a voice-over as a hellfire-and-brimstone radio preacher; and 3) the film is, mercifully, only 63 minutes long. Honestly, kittens. Not worth your time or the cost of a rental. Watch Henry Fool or No Such Thing again if you need a Hartley fix.

Fuck. I have to work today. Throw comments at me. Maybe something will stick.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Yesterday, I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, that I may very possibly explode before I'm permitted to spill the beans. I think, when I do, a lot of my readers will be very happy. Like, "Oh, fuck!" happy. Maybe in another few weeks. I hope. Otherwise...you know, the exploding-writer problem. Scanners and all that shit.

I needed a whole Good Worker Bee Pill to get to sleep this morning, and I feel like whatever comes after a zombie. Five and a half or six hours sleep, and a few hours from now this shit might be out of my system. Meanwhile, whatever comes after zombie. I think this entry's going to be a breach birth. My thoughts are sideways. And crookedy.

We sweltered all day yesterday. We basted in our own bodily juices. About an hour after sunset we left the house and drove over the river to India Point Park. There was a hint of a cool breeze coming off the harbor. The black water was washed with a shimmering industrial Christmas-tree glow from the lights along Allens Avenue – red, white, yellow, blue – half a mile, a mile to the west and southwest. We sat a while on a stone wall at the park before heading home to the oven again. I've begun this, this entry, the wrong way round, of course.

Yesterday, I did only 626 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges, and then there were phone calls, and I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL it sort of disrupted my ability to write fiction for the remainder of the afternoon. Instead, I wrote an introduction I've been meaning to write, the one that will come before the illustrations in the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. Spooky and I went through all the issues of The Dreaming and found the names of all the many artists I worked with between 1996 and 2002. So, all told (sans blog entry), I wrote 1,090 words.

I'm in a rock-opera state of mind.

The Big Dam eBay Sale continues. Please have a look, and thanks. Also, visit Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

So, last night again. Back to last night. After the drive, returning to the oven, even with Dr. Muñoz blowing in the middle parlor, my office was unbearable, so we retreated to the bedroom and streamed The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (Patrick Lussier, 2000). I am constantly amazed at my ability to underestimate just how bad a bad movie will be. Sure, dumb direct-to-video angelic horror, but for fuck's sake, Vincent Spano turned in what is likely the worst performance as an angel ever in the history of film. On the other hand, Christopher Walken was predictably entertaining. I'm pretty sure he must have said "Fuck this shitty movie. I'll just say some funny-ass shit, cash my check, and go home." Too little Brad Dourif, who would have improved things immensely had there been more of him. If he'd have had Vincent Spano's role, for instance.

Afterwards, we began streaming a very good documentary on William S. Burroughs, but at 12:30 the internet went away (space weather!). We did nothing in particular for the next hour, and were thinking about trying to sleep when a hellacious thunderstorm swept across the city. We'd heard thunder and seen distant flashes of lightning all night, even back at India Point. But I hadn't expected anything to come of it, and I certainly didn't expect what did come of it. A fifteen or twenty minute barrage of hail, straight-line winds from 50-70mph, rain to drown a fish. It hit, stripped leaves from trees and broke branches, and then was gone. Truly, I've been through tornadoes and hurricanes, and still this was impressive. The lights flickered, but didn't go out. Many people in Providence are still without power. Today we are expecting very, very bad weather. Anyway, after the storm, Spooky read to me from Water for Elephants while I sketched yellow umbrella ladies.

If this is boring you, I apologize. I'm trying to yammer myself awake. Spooky just brought me a Red Bull, and maybe that will act as an antidote to the Necessary Evil slogging through my bloodstream. Fight one Necessary Evil with another Necessary Evil, I always say.

---

A tiny number of people who follow me (like 5-6 out of almost 1,800) are upset that I shut off the comment feature. Some wonder why I allow comments here, and not on Facebook. The answer is simple. It's rare that comments to my LJ are contentious or argumentative, whereas on Facebook I often make a remark that spawns a tiny flame war (that's probably a dated term). And I don't need that shit. Sometimes, I just want to say something, without soliciting good advices and dissention. I don't need that shit. And now it won't happen.

Time to make the doughnuts.

Windblown,
Aunt Beast

Oh, grainy photos from last night:

8 June 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, last night Mister Insomnia, he makes a house call. Which really didn't surprise me, as he'd made a house call the night before. But, last night, I resolve to kill the sorry motherfucker. I triple the usual dosage of the Good-Worker-Bee Pill. Ol' Mister Insomnia, he just laughed. I didn't even feel the pills. Sometime after dawn, Mister Insomnia grew bored, tossed me aside the way King Kong tosses aside all those blondes who aren't Naomi Watts, and he went off to torture someone else. Some day-sleeper, I suppose. And finally the pills kicked in, and I slept the sleep of the wicked and dead until Spooky woke me about noon. I needed help to walk to the kitchen table, pretty much. Now, I'm sitting up straight, but the pills are still going strong. I might be conscious and cognizant by three p.m. This is sort of like waking with a really bad hangover, and you lie still – hurting and ill – aware that you're about to puke, but unable to remember why. Then you do remember why, and you realize that at least you feel this shitty because there was fun beforehand. This is like that. Only I finally realized there was no fun beforehand.

Okay. Stop talking about that. It's not going to help.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,109 words on a new vignette, "Figurehead," for Sirenia Digest #67. The plan was to finish it today and tomorrow. Only, today I'm...this. So, instead, I might hope I can at least get through the line edits for "Fake Plastic Trees" (which sold to Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's After, in case I forgot to mention that).

Last night, we watched the saddest car wreck of a werewolf film. Scottish werewolves. I used to think Dog Soldiers would always be the worst Scottish werewolf film of all time. Au contraire, mon frère...au contraire. Because last night we watched Craig Strachan's Wild Country (2005), in which five Scottish teenagers – who, I swear to gods, had accents so heavy we needed fucking subtitles – are pursued through the Highlands by people in bear suits. Badly sewn bear suits. So, don't watch this movie, okay? Don't cause my suffering to have been in vain.

Oh, look. An eye booger.

Clearly, I should not be blogging at this particular moment.

P.S. – The moral of our story: Do not try to poison Insomnia, because he will fuck you up.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

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

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Please do comment; I'll be here all damn day.

It seems that all my family and friends in Birmingham are safe. I know a few people in Tuscaloosa, mostly at the University, and I've heard nothing from that end. But the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes is horrific, and I've had to make myself stop looking at the photographs of familiar places reduced to unfamiliar places. Tornadoes are a part of living in the South that I do not miss.

---

Dream images from last night are mostly lost, and those that remain are faint and almost indistinguishable from the background clutter of my mind. There was a beautiful mastodon skeleton weathering from a river bank. There was frozen Stalingrad during World War II.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine.
Smolyensk and Viyasma soon fell.
By autumn, we stood with our backs to the town of Orel.


No, the mastodon skeleton wasn't in Stalingrad.

---

Work was an odd and scatterbrained affair yesterday. Lots of loose ends and such, and today I have to begin a new piece for Sirenia Digest, because I am woefully fucking late getting to it. Oh, by the way, the snazzy new Sirenia Digest website will go live this weekend or early next week.

I mentioned that the ARCs for Two Worlds and In Between arrived on Tuesday. They include Lee Moyer's cover art, but brightness and contrast are way off, rendering the cover muddy and dark. And it's not the actual layout we're going with, so if you happen to see one of the ARCs, this is not what the final book will actually look like. I spent part of yesterday making corrections to the text, because no matter how many times you proofread a thing, or how many people len their eyes to the proofreading, it will still be filled with fucking errors. The manuscript is 210,209 words long, which breaks down to 965,432 individual characters, all of which have to be checked again and again. Also, it seems that the release date on the book has been moved from January 2012 to September 30, 2011. I had no idea.

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday on the cover for "The Crimson Alphabet," the chapbook that will accompany Two Worlds and In Between. I'd already done a cover, but decided I hated it and started over. The end result is very, very simple.

---

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has announced the casting call for two projects related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. You can see his announcement here, but I'll also post his entry here in its entirety later. A book trailer and a still photography project. It's all fairly fucking awesome.

---

Last night, I left the house with Spooky, and we drove to College Hill. Spring is now in full bloom, and the temperatures have been warm enough that I am hereby declaring Cold Spring to have ended and Spring Proper to have begun. We stopped by Acme Video (complimentary Atomic Fireballs!), then Eastside Market, then got cheese burgers from Five Guys in Seekonk, Mass. I'm not used to driving out of state for burgers. That's going to take some time (and it's not something we'll make a habit of doing, either).

Back home, we watched Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (2009). And I honestly wasn't impressed. If nothing else, the film needs at least 45 minutes trimmed away (running time, a whopping 161 minutes). This film manages to belabor pretty much everything it touches upon. In the hands of a skillful editor, it's possible that something worthwhile could be salvaged. If Lars von Trier and David Lynch had never heard of editing, they might make movies like Enter the Void. Also, it doesn't help that Nathaniel Brown, who plays the protagonist, has all the acting ability of a stalk of broccoli. There are plenty of arresting visuals, and some brutal, beautiful scenes, but even I can only watch psychedelic Tokyo sex scenes, shot from an overhead boom and lit with seizure-inducing, flickering shades of red, for just so long before the yawning begins. I hoped I would feel better about the film this morning, but, in fact, I find that I sort of loathe it; I suppose that's something.

---

I have about a hundred other things in my head, wanting to be spoken of in this blog today. Maybe later.

Disoriented,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,289 words on the story for Dark Horse. So, a good writing day. I'll certainly finish the story by tomorrow evening, and possibly this evening. So, I'm ahead of schedule for a change. And there was lots of email. And, in the evening, I talked with Peter and Neil, on the actual telephone. I gotta be careful, or I'm going to blow this whole reclusive mystique.

Actually, that's one of the things Neil and I talked about, how I need to let go of my trepidation stroke indifference towards the Outside, now that the crisis that triggered the worst of it has passed.

Today is a good day for comments. It's going to be a long, long day.

I have another Question @ Hand, one for Sirenia Digst #65, and I'll post it this evening, with the comments screened for complete anonymity.

We did Kid Night last night. It's sort of slipped out of vogue, mine and Spooky's Kid Night tradition. Mostly, I blame MMORPGs. But we pulled it out last night and dusted it off. First there were hot dogs and fries, then we watched Seiji Chiba's Alien vs. Ninja (2010), an incredibly awful Japanese flick about, well, ninja's fighting aliens. Okay, not real ninjas, and the aliens were just guys in utterly unconvincing monster suits. But two or three of the ninjas were very sexy. Otherwise, not much good I can say about Alien vs. Ninja. Except that we streamed it free. It's like in Ghost World, when Enid says, "This is so bad, it's gone past good and back to bad again." That's Alien vs. Ninja. We almost followed it with something called Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, but then we watched the trailer and thought better of it. And we ate cookies and jelly beans and drank Pepsi Throwback. So, yeah. Total Kid Night. Teeth were rotted. Brain cells died.

After the movie, we played Rift (which, in a sane world, would count as a kidly pastime). I was Nilleshna, my Kelari cleric (most of her points are in Cabalism), and Spooky played one of her clerics, a Kelari named Miisya (also a cabalist). I made Level 22. We're out in the rocky wastes of Stonefield, fighting trolls and troglodytes and giants and all that shit that comes pouring out of rifts (because Regulos obviously can't keep his legs together). So, you betcha. Magical elf chicks in chain mail. Later still, I read to Spooky from Harlan Ellison's Stalking the Nightmare (1982) and "Shattered Like A Glass Goblin," from Deathbird Stories (1975). A perfect evening for nerdy kids.

Chilly outside. Not cold, but not genuinely warm, either. It might go as high as sixty. I'd risk West Cove, if I didn't need to be writing.

Speaking of which, so far the Dark Horse story has been written entirely to Fever Ray's "If I Had a Heart." It's on repeat, and has played 52 times so far, as I hunt and peck my way through the tale. And here's the video, for those who have not been introduced to the brilliance of Fever Ray (Swedish brother and sister duo, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, who usually perform together as the Knife):

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Chilly. Sort of sunny. Sort of cloudy. We're being promised low sixties in the days to come, and I sit impatiently with fingers crossed. Toes. Fingers and toes crossed. All the toes that I can manage to cross. My toes used to be much more nimble.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,313 words on the story for Dark Horse. I'll give you the details as soon as I can. Meanwhile, revel in the mystique of cloak-and-dagger innuendo. But yeah, a good writing day, despite one of my very rare headaches, one so bad it kept me in bed most of the evening.

There was a lot of email yesterday. I've got a mountain of reprints forthcoming in various anthologies. I ought to post a list of them. But not today.

"I just like watching women with bows. It's sexy. No, the horsehair sort. Not the ones with arrows."

Sometimes, context only bogs us down.

I saw a great deal more photos yesterday from the Harvard shoot last Saturday. Amazing to see so many photos of me an like...no, love...more than half of them. Plus there are a couple of me and Spooky together that I'm going to ask [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy if I can post here. Through some odd trick of happenstance, there are virtually no photographs of Kathryn and I together, and certainly none this good.

We have a Rift guild now, finally. If you're interested in joining, we're on the Shadefallen shard, and the guilds is Eyes of the Faceless Man. Defiant, of course. Just send me a tell (try Selwyn, Nilleshna, or Indus), and I'll add you to the roster. We have no guild vault yet, because Rift guilds do not yet have vaults. Concerns over security that have yet to be ironed out. It's become apparent that the game is essentially in live beta. But it still rocks my socks, especially with the graphics set to ultra. Anyway, we're going to be a sort of rp guild (Shadefallen is an rp shard), with rp that concentrates more on the characters and their lives in Telara, than trying to work in the questing and rifts and stuff. That you do on your own.

From the bed last night, bored and in agony, I watched a panoply of weird eighties shit. First, Demi Moore in The Seventh Sign (1988), an awful, awful turd of a biblical horror movie. I'd actually thought we were watching The First Power (1990), but realized about halfway through there was no Lou Diamond Phillips anywhere to be found. Of course, The First Power is also awful, but in a more enjoyable sort of way, and, besides, I've always had a thing for Jeff Kober. Anyway, we followed the movie with the 1987 pilot for Beauty and the Beast. You know, the television series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton? I'm so pleased to have lived to see a future where technology allows us to torture ourselves like this. Anyway, I'd never seen Beauty and the Beast. But it's gods awful. The only saving grace is Ron Perlman's makeup. The rest, pure shit. Though, I think maybe I've found where at least some of this PR nonsense began.

Also, why are novels today generally and on average so very much longer than older novels? One word: computers. More is "written," because it's so much easier with a word-processing program than a typewriter.** Easier for writers, editors, publishers, everyone. And the reader gets the illusion of getting more for their money (id est, thicker books). This trend will only get worse with ebooks.

The March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived yesterday.

And I really have nothing else to say. I think I'm killing time. Which is silly, as it dies so well all on is own.

Awake and Regretting It,
Aunt Beast

**Harlan Ellison told me this, over breakfast, in 1995, but I was a moron and didn't believe him. I had to learn for myself, apparently.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and windy here in Providence.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, Spooky has some very cool Halloween goodies up in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries, and they're only available until November 1st. C'mon, guys. How can you resist the pumpkinhead hangy ghosts? A hand-made Jack O' Lantern figurine? You can't, that's how! Finally and also, recall I've donated two items to the KGB Reading raffle, a very good cause, and raffle tickets are only $1 each.

Yesterday, I wrote a measly 614 words on "At the Reef." But they were good words. Gods, I miss the time, pre-2002, when my daily writing word limit was a mere 500 words. At some point, it got jacked up to 1,000 per day, though, truthfully, I feel guilty if I do less than 1,200. Anyway, I'll be able to finish the vignette on Saturday. Think Innsmouth, with sex. Okay, Innsmouth with overt sex. I established sometime back that "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is pretty much a story about interspecific sexual shenanigans.

Today, Ursula K. LeGuin is 81 years old.

Last night was gallery night at the RISD Museum, and we went to hear Brown University planetary geologist Carle Pieters and artist Tristin Lowe discuss the moon in front of Lowe's Lunacy, a huge white felt version of the satellite, currently on view. And we stayed for student films, which were mostly wretched. Or whatever is worse than wretched. There were two or three good animated pieces ("The All-Mighty Bearfish!"), but mostly, if you're making a student film...please...think about cinematography and sound, imagery, the basics...don't try to make the Next Great Supernatural Thriller or a Gut-Wrenching Melodrama About Pressing Social Issues Starring All Your Friends Who Can't Act. Because you'll fail horribly, and fail to impress. But, yeah, the Bearfish ruled.

---

Last night, we played WoW, and did the Magister's Terrace mission, defeating Kael'thas Sunstrider at Quel'danas. It was a right bitch, even with two level 80s, and I have resolved to make our guild, Eyes of Sylvanas, a genuine guild. It's always just been me and Spooky. We started the guild to have extra storage space, and because we wanted a cool name and tabard. Last night, I got so pissed that I resolved to add a number of players to the guild. So...if you have a Horde toon on the Cenarion Circle server (or want to move an existing toon to Cenarion Circle) we'd love to have you. You even get a cool tabard. We're especially interested in players Level 65-80, but we'll accept lower levels, and will probably even help you level from time to time. If you are interested, please send Spooky an email at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, letting us know your toon's name. And please comment here, so I'll know you're interested.

And, yeah, I'm still rping on CoX. But mostly, only rping.

---

By the way, people are dumb. No, seriously. This is not an Onion story. This is for real:

Plane Crashes After Crocodile Escapes, Causes Panic

The panicking fight attendant. The passengers who went ape-shit and freaked out over a small and mostly harmless croc. The moron who smuggled a crocodile onto an airplane in a carry-on bag. The asshole who killed the croc (the reptile was one of two survivors) with a machete after the crash. It's a proper fucking parade of idiots.

Speaking of which, Gustavo Bondoni is also a fucking idiot and an asshole. That's two for one.

On that note, I should probably go. I've got an interview to finish...
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Another rough night last night. Is this becoming the insomnia journal? It has been before, so shall it be again. Spooky's calling my doctor in a bit to see if we can double the Prazosin tonight. Tiddley pom. Dreams I won't get into. I lay in bed until sometime after three, then took an Ambien (insuring I'd be a zombie this ayem), got up, and listened to the Audible.com version of Daughter of Hounds until almost four.

Yesterday (which followed a good night's sleep) was unproductive. I have a story due in at the beginning of July that must be both supernatural and noir. Which should be easy as pie for me. I've certainly done it before. But I'm having trouble finding the subject matter of this particular story, trying to avoid lame, done-to-death plots, like hard-boiled, world-weary male detective falls in love with femme fatale who, it turns out, really is a femme fatale (i.e., vampire, siren, succubus, werewolf, etc.). I am looking for the artful solution to this problem, one that won't make me yawn. Because I love the marriage of noir and dark fantasy, when it's done well. Last night, trying to sleep, thinking about potential stories, the title "The Maltese Unicorn" popped into my head. Gagh. No, I will not be writing a story called "The Maltese Unicorn." I wanted to punch myself in the face just for thinking of it.

My thanks to everyone who bid in the lastest round of eBay auctions. Another round will begin soon. Meanwhile, have a look at Spooky's sea-glass jewelery at Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

Last night we watched Olatunde Osunsanmi's The Fourth Kind, a film so stupid that not even Milla Jovovich could redeem it. And that's saying something. I actually enjoyed the most recent Resident Evil film, almost entirely because of the presence of Milla Jovovich. Don't get me wrong, I (obviously) love the "faked documentary" approach, when it's done well. Here, it's not. Never is it even halfway convincing. And don't get me started on the Sumerian ancient astronaut nonsense. Not a good movie, at all.

Anyway, enough for one morning. Comment if you dare. Lately, the number of those who dare has fallen off rather dramatically.
greygirlbeast: (Amano)
This question from day before yesterday, asked by [livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap:

On an unrelated note, Wikipedia has Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart listed as another 2010 short fiction release, please tell me its true we get TWO collections from you this year!

Originally, that was the plan. However, it was a rough winter, and has, in some ways, become a rougher spring. I've not even really gotten the next novel started (and it's supposedly due in September). I'm only just barely managing to keep up with Sirenia Digest. I have two short stories due soon, one in late May, the other in July (I think). So, likely, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be a 2011 book. At this rate, maybe late 2011. By the way, it will be the third (and probably last) of the small format erotica volumes, and will make a nice little triptych wiith Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus. So, someone who does Wikipedia should probably amend that listing.

Day before yesterday, I managed to write only 788 words. Yesterday, a mere 473. However, yesterday's 473 got me to THE END of "Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow," which will be included in Sirenia Digest #53. It's a quiet piece, a soft-spoken bit of the inexplicable. Also, yesterday I printed out the galley pages for "As Red as Red," which will soon be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' Haunted Legends, which I now need to proofread. I think the day seemed much more productive than it actually was.

And here's a reminder that Subterranean Press is still taking preorders for The Ammonite Violin & Others. Also, Spooky's beach-glass pendants have been selling briskly. You can see them at her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

---

Last night, after the new episode of Fringe, we watched Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity (2007). I went into it expecting nothing much at all, and was still disappointed. Yes, it has a few effective moments here and there, but in the end is a bit of a mess with nothing to make up for the general amateurishness of the effort. Neither Katie Featherston nor Micah Sloat have the acting chops required for their parts. Far too much is shown, things that should only be suggested. Indeed, the film's greatest flaw is probably its explicit disclosure, revelations that would have been better left unrevealed. All the lessons this film might have learned from The Blair Witch Project (which I continue to adore) were obviously ignored. So, yeah, I love the concept behind Paranormal Activity, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The Coen Bros.' A Serious Man is actually a better piece of weird fiction.

---

Rumour has it I will be in Boston tonight, for the Faith and the Muse show.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Sunny, but chilly here in Providence. At the moment, it's 64F, with a north wind at 17mph, gusting to 25mph. Rain is on it's way, and another dose of cold air.

It's looking like it may be another day or three before I'll be able to make the promised announcement concerning The Red Tree. Perhaps tomorrow morning. Savor the anticipation. And no, it's not news of a film adaptation.

Yesterday, I typed up all the corrections to the galley pages of the mass-market paperback of The Red Tree, and revised the acknowledgments in the "Author's Note." And sent it all off to Penguin. And I let the subpress design person know which author's photo to use for the dust jacket of The Ammonite Violin & Others. There wasn't much more than that, so far as work is concerned.

We left the House sometime around 2:30 p.m., heading for Moonstone Beach. We'd not been since the autumn. We drove through Wakefield, to window shop at Pow! Science! There was a FEMA trailer set up in the parking lot of the Wakefield Mall. There are reminders of the flood everywhere as you head into South County. Flooded pastures and houses. Matunuck Schoolhouse Road is still closed. I think we made it to Moonstone about four. The sun was amazingly bright, and the air as clear as I've ever seen it. The blue-grey silhouette of Block Island stood out on the southern horizon, ten miles across the sound. The sand was littered with the tiny corpses of dead lady bugs. We tried to look for beach glass, but there was a bitterly cold wind blowing off the sea, and I'd not had the good sense to dress for the cold (it was a comfortable 65F back in Providence).

We didn't stay long on the beach, though we lingered a bit behind the dunes. I sat on the bridge over the culvert connecting Trustom and Card ponds, and listened to doves and gulls, blackbirds and ducks and crows. On the road, Spooky found what appears to be part of a fossilized bone, from some sort of mammal. I scooped up all the fragments and brought them home. I suspect they came from Pleistocene-aged glacial till that was used to pave the road. Anyway, after Moonstone, we headed father west, to Charlestown Beach. The wind wasn't quite as bad there, but it was still too cold to stay very long. Giving up on the beaches, we drove back east to Narragansett and had dinner at our favorite clam shack/chowder house, Iggy's. I think we made it home about seven or seven-thirty p.m.

---

Last night, we watched Pearry Reginald Teo's The Gene Generation (2007; based on Dennis Greenhill's graphic novel, The DNA Hacker Chronicles). It wasn't a good film, but it was almost not a bad film. There was promise, but the absence of a decent script and better production values held it back. Among the pluses, Ronan Harris (VNV Nation) and a number of other futurepop folks were responsible for the music. Also, there was Bai Ling, and tentacles, and lots of Gigeresque set design...so at least there was eye candy, even if the "story" was a mess. It felt a bit like someone had spliced together all the cut scenes from a videogame. And yet, it did keep our interest for 96 minutes.

---

There are a dozen photos from yesterday...

14 April 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
1. Yes, I'm still using the somewhat pathetic crutch of numbered items in my entry. The platypus has given hisherits permission, so it's cool. One day soon— or so I'm told by the voices that speak to me in the dead of night when sleep won't come —my mind will be clear again and I can dispense with these numbers.

2. I am much, much better. However, Spooky contracted the Dread Bug from me, and now she's sick as the proverbial dog.

3. On Friday, thinking I was "well," and feeling a bit of cabin fever, I unwisely convinced Spooky to take me to a matinée screening of Scott Stewart's Legion. Unwise for three reasons: 1) I was actually still sick, and Spooky was just getting sick; 2) It was cold as a midwinter night on Hoth out there; and 3) Scott Stewart's Legion is the lousiest excuse for a movie I've paid to see in a very, very long time. As we were leaving the theatre, I wanted to say, "That's the worst movie about angels I've ever seen." Sadly, that's probably not true, so I didn't say it. I cannot recall an instance of noisy teenagers making fun of a movie I was trying to watch not pissing me off, but there were three who kept cracking wise during Legion, and that's probably the only thing that got me through the film. Spooky almost fell asleep, repeatedly. I'm assuming that Paul Bettany played the archangel Micheal because Vin Diesel was busy with a game of AD&D. Regardless, Bettany delivers what has to stand as one of the most wooden performances in the history of bad movies about angels. The guy that played Gabriel was even worse. Pissed-off angels should not make one chortle. Someone needed to have taken Kevin Durand aside and shown him Tilda Swinton's portrayal of Gabriel, as an example of a creepy, threatful Gabriel done well. Or, hey, they could have shown Durand a bit of Christopher Walken. Or both. In the entire cast, only Charles S. Dutton and Dennis Quaid even tried to act. I think The End of the World, With Red Necks would have made a better title. All in all, it's really a shame, because I was rather intrigued by the film's premise. But instead of taking that premise anywhere worth going, we get rednecks (I mentioned that), the redneck Baby Jesus Mark II, a redneck truck stop, a nonsensical and inconsistent plot, and angels that seemed a lot more like a cross between death knights and gladiators than angels of any stripe. Maybe that's how rednecks imagine angels. I don't know. Like, okay...you're a fucking angel, right? You're fucking Gabriel, to be precise. You do not need some huge-ass Klingon dagger to kill a lousy human. I think that's actually in the Old Testament somewhere. And never mind the machine guns. Just skip this one. Don't even wait for the DVD, unless you're going to zap it in the microwave. Mr. Stewart, if you are reading this, please drop the theological claptrap and go back to doing visual effects for movies that don't suck, made by actual directors.

4. I should be writing about what a wonderful novel is Peter Straub's A Dark Matter, but I refuse to speak at length about such a fine book in the same entry that I speak at length of a shit stain of a movie like Legion, so that's going to have to wait until tomorrow.

5. I have to try to write today, or these deadlines are going to chew me up and shit me out.

6. To my great pleasure, I actually found some very, very good Second Life roleplay last night. My thanks to "Hibiki Ochs" and "Omika Pearl" and whoever built the Insilico sim, because I was just about the ditch SL for the fifteenth time.* Also, Insilico brought a bright spot to an otherwise terribly bad day.

Okay...I let my coffee get cold. Crap.

*The love affair was short lived, Insilico quickly proving to be as disappointing as the rest of SL, despite the shiny candy coating.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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