greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so even though I got up about an hour early, I'm running about an hour late, and I blame you, Johnathan Strahan, and you, Gary K. Wolfe. And this Coode Street Podcast, which will have me smiling for days to come. And, of course, now I'm dying to see Gary's Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One). I was especially pleased with their suspicion that Volume Two is going to be so much better than Volume One (because it will be).

Comments today, kittens! I need them.


Yesterday, after I attended to email (Michael Zulli and I seem to have become regular correspondents, which is just too cool), we left Providence, about 3 p.m.. And drove south to Exeter, in the southwestern quadrant of Rhode Island. Throughout Blood Oranges I've been doing something I never do with novels: I haven't spent much time scouting locales. To keep with the fast-pace of the book, I've relied on my memories. But the climactic scene occurs in Exeter, where I've spent very little time. Now, if you're into the weird of New England, or vampire lore, you know all about the Mercy Brown incident (and the related cases of New England "vampires"). I've read Michael E. Bell's superb book on the subject, Food for the Dead, and used the case in several stories. Yet, I'd never visited the grave. Nor had Spooky, which is even odder. So, yesterday we set out to remedy this.

It could hardly have been a less appropriate day, if you're the sort who wants some appropriately eldritch atmosphere for such an outing. The sun was blazing, and there's virtually no shade in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. The temperature must have been in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with heat indexes close to ninety. But I think Spooky and I were both happy that we weren't making some cliché goth pilgrimage. We followed Ten Rod Road (Route 102) to Exeter and the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church (behind which the cemetery is located). Mercy's grave is a simple marble marker, unassuming, and unlike that of Nellie Vaughn – another tuberculosis victim that superstitious locals feared was an undead, life-draining revenant (oh look, LJ can't spell revenant) – there's no inscription that could be taken the wrong way. Vaughn's grave, in Greenwich (Gren-itch), reads: "I am waiting and watching you." Anyway, there is at least a large cedar that shades Mercy's stone. As with HPL's marker, people had left tokens on the headstone. I left a small black pebble. There are photos behind the cut.

After Exeter, and all the notes carefully recorded in my Moleskine, we headed over to Newbury Comics in Warwick (War-ick) to kill some time until it was cool enough to make the drive down to Moonstone Beach. And we were Bad Kids, and each bought two CDs. Not being utterly destitute after the long monetary drought, these things happen. And they were all used CDs. I got Death Cab For Cutie's Plans and Placebo's Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. Spooky got Einstürzende Neubauten's Strategies Against Architecture, Volume 4 and the Swans' Children of God. We were not utterly awful, though; we only looked at the amazing new Depeche Mode boxed set.

After Warwick, we headed south to Moonstone. And, of this beach's many moods, here was another one. One perched at the edge of a tremendous chaos. Already, the waves were dangerously high, at least 3-5' high, and a big yellow sign had been posted forbidding people from walking on even the lower part of the beach. Walking over the dunes, past Trustom Pond, where a few bird watchers were set up (the birds were all in a lather, as the storm approaches), we spotted a beautiful Green Heron (Butorides virescens), a new species for both of us. It was perfectly still at the edge of the pond, fishing. A tiny Piping Plover kept creeping near it, then dashing away again. But no cormorants anywhere, no gulls in the sky. Flocks of pigeons heading inland. A squawking catbird. A strange and ominous ornithology.

On the beach proper, well...I can't do it justice in words. A painter could have done it justice. I'll post photos over the next few days (assuming we don't lose power). There were a few people. We walked a long way (maybe .40 miles, so .80 altogether) as the sun was setting. The wind was chilly, very wet and misty, quite a change from Exeter. We saw all manner of flotsam and jetsam. We spotted the leathery remains of a skate (Family Rajidae, maybe a Thorny Skate), and another beachcomber told us that a Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was stranded at Moonstone on the 9th of the month. Oh, the wonders I miss by not being nearer the shore! Fuck you, motor boats; the turtle likely died from gash in a front flipper, from a propeller. As the sun was giving way to night, beneath a Maxfield Parish sky, we reluctantly headed back to the van. I wanted to spend the night in the dunes, just feeling the storm coming on.

Back in Providence, we stopped by Eastside Market to grab a last minute pile of supplies, readying to sit out what Irene throws our way (I've heard we're getting 18 hours of continuous tropical storm conditions), and we remain under a Hurricane Warning. Anyway, there was a package from an incredibly kind anonymous individual – a first edition (!!!) of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, sent from The Strand in Manhattan. Whoever did this, a million thanks.


Good RP in Insilico, and some of The Stand last night, as Trashcan reached Las Vegas.


So, we're watching little but the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. Terrifying, this storm, and, as I have said, I am honestly more worried about Manhattan than I am about Providence. Regardless, stay safe. Don't laugh this one off. Not since Katrina has America faced such a threat from a hurricane. We've got mandatory evacuations in coastal and low lying areas here in Rhode Island. But regardless of my fear (and I am afraid of this storm), gods, what a splendid expression of sky and sea, this child of Panthalassa. The sea stands up and walks across the land. This has been happening for billions of years, and we're the ones in the way. This doesn't mean I am without concern. It only means I see both sides.

Concerned and Awed,
Aunt Beast

Anyway, here are the Exeter photos:

26 August, Part 1 )

Addendum: This entry took over two and a half hours to compose.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

My grateful thanks to everyone who donated a little or a lot yesterday. You guys really are wonderful. I've paid my SVP dues, dues for my twenty-eighth year in the Society, and I have a small sum left over to put towards the unexpected doctor's appointment on Friday.

Yesterday, I realized the next scene in the ninth chapter couldn't be written unless I visited a cemetery out on Aquidneck Island. I mean, sure, I could have faked it. But I fucking hate doing that. I can never write a real-world place well unless I've actually been there. So, about 2 p.m., Spooky and I left the house, and left Providence, crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck. The sun was bold and brilliant (as Colin Meloy might say), and the bay shimmered like chrome. Still a lot of snow, and Green End Pond, along 138, was frozen almost solid. The graveyard in question— Four Corners Cemetery —is located in Middletown, a little north of Newport proper. It's not one of the state's most photogenic cemeteries, not by a long shot, but it plays a pivotal role in the The Drowning Girl. There was a huge crow perched on a headstone when we entered, and Spooky tried to get his photo, but he wouldn't be still. We didn't stay long, as there was a funeral service beginning, a military funeral with a bugler and uniforms and everything, and it would have been poor form to hang about doing ghoulish writing stuff.

After Middletown, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place, though her mom was out running errands and her dad's in Ecuador. We still got to visit Spider Cat and the chickens. There are photos behind the cut:

22 February 2011 )

Back home, we proofed "Andromeda Among the Stones" (for Two Worlds and In Between), which I wrote in 2002, nine years ago, but it's still a personal favorite. Last night, well...there was leftover meatloaf, and then there was a WoW marathon, during which I had Shaharrazad finish off the quests in Un'Goro Crater and then moved along and did all of Dustwallow Marsh, and got Loremaster of Kalimdor. Of course, now I have to do all of Outland to get the Loremaster title (I already have Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Cataclysm, and Northrend). Nerd, nerd, geek. Later, we read more of White Cat (which we've almost finished).

Congratulations to [ profile] blackholly and to Uncle Harlan on the occasion of their Nebula Award nominations!

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some portion of yesterday's sour mood (let's say 24.8%) followed from my having thought I'd lost a tiny silver ankh ring that I've worn on the pinkie finger of my left hand since it was given to me by Jada in 1990. That's twenty years or so that this ring has hardly ever been off my hand. And night before last, I realized it was gone, and figured it was gone for good. But Spooky found it at the foot of the bed yesterday, not long after I posted the entry. I rarely find the things I lose, so it was a huge relief.

Today I have to write. My grand plan of doing 1,500 words a day, every day of the month, is a grand failure. The whole thing was thrown off by my inability to write the Mars story, and the glumness that followed. But here it is the 18th, and the writing has to resume. I've got to write "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" for Sirenia Digest #61, then get back to work on The Drowning Girl. I still have 13 days left in the month. That's a lot of words, if only I stop fucking off.

Yesterday, the weather was warmish and blustery, a very beautiful day, and we crossed the river to College Hill. Somehow, we'd both managed never to visit St. John's Churchyard (formerly King's Cemetery, prior to the Revolutionary War). It's a very small graveyard, located between Benefit Street and North Main. Poe visited it on occasion, and Lovecraft mentions it in "The Shunned House":

I have reared a marble urn to his memory in St. John's churchyard— the place that Poe loved —the hidden grove of giant willows on the hill, where tombs and head stones huddle quietly between the hoary bulk of the church and the houses and bank walls of Benefit Street.

HPL also wrote a poem (an acrostic sonnet), "In a Sequester'd Churchyard Where Poe Once Walk'd." There are graves there dating back long before the Revolution, all sheltered by a gigantic poplar tree, which was still filled with yellow leaves yesterday. There were bright red maple leaves blowing down from a yard above the cemetery. We copied inscriptions and picked up bits of pottery. We found a penny from 1969. An old ivory button. It's a solemn, comforting place, largely hidden from view. The wind was chilly, and the sky was filled with great puffs of cloud, grey-purple below and brilliant white on top. Anyway, there are photos behind the cut, below. It was a good day, and getting out of the House, and going where we went, helped to clear my head.

Last night, with dinner, we had a bottle of Dogfish Head's Pangaea, which I bought back in March just because I couldn't pass up an ale named for the continent of Pangaea. Plus, it's brewed with Antarctic water. Anyway, the bottle got tucked into a cabinet in the pantry and mostly forgotten. But last night, it was finally consumed. Quite good, too.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. There are hungry bears in South County.

Gravely yours,
Aunt Beast

17 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Yesterday, I did a measly 387 words in four hours, but think I've found the beginning of my YA Mars story, which might be titled "XX." 387 words in four hours. I always find that sf comes slower, if only because I must constantly fact-check what I'm writing, but I cannot presently afford to write so slowly when I have so many deadlines looming over me. This isn't about "quality over quantity." It's about, "you get the work done, or you don't get paid."

Not much else to say about yesterday. I said here and tried to find the words, words to describe a fictional society, a fictional place and time, trying to make it real. It was almost dark before I stopped writing. I should have written for more than four hours, but those four hours left me utterly wasted and useless for the remainder of the evening. Still, it's good to be back on Mars.

Spooky made chili. We finished watching Season Two of Weeds.

And here are more photos from Sunday (Stonington Cemetery, CT):

4 October 2009 )

Also, [ profile] sovay asked me to post a link to the Oberon mask. I will be making a headpiece of antlers, as well, as my Oberon must be a rutting Oberon.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I had every intention of spending all day yesterday in this chair, at this desk, writing. But, that's not what happened. Spooky noted that I'd not left the house since last Tuesday, September 29. I'm getting bad like that again, and I don't want to get bad like that again. So...I forced myself to get dressed (and it really was an act of some considerable will) and leave the house.

Oh, I neglected to mention that two of the stories that will be appearing in The Ammonite Violin & Others, stories that originally appeared in Sirenia Digest, will be appearing in the collection under new titles. "Untitled 23" has become "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills," and "Untitled 26" has become “The Hole With a Girl In Its Heart." Now...back to our entry, already in progress.

So, having managed to herd me out the back door, into the hallway, and down the winding stairs to the Outside world, there was some brief discussion of where we would be going. Beavertail was suggested, and Moonstone Beach, and Narragansett, and Shannock (don't ask me why), and Westerly. It was a bright day, the clouds having broken up, bright but not too bright. And warm enough that I was not constantly reminded that it is now autumn. Finally, I proposed we drive to Stonington, in extreme southeastern Connecticut, just across the state line. Stonington happens to be one of my favorite places in the area, but we'd not really visited since moving to Providence last summer. Spooky said Stonington sounded good, so that's where we headed. I think we left the city about 2:30 p.m. On the drive down, I read another story from Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound, Joyce Carol Oates' "Commencement." A so-so story, not bad, but it felt a little too much like a reworking of Shirley Jackson's far more eloquent story, "The Lottery." I read, Spooky drove, and it was about 4 p.m. by the time we reached Stonington.

Mostly, we wanted to spend some time in Stonington Cemetery, as it's one of the most beautiful around. Though not incorporated until 1849, it was a burying ground long before then. I've found markers dating back to 1760, and I'm fairly certain there are older ones to be discovered. You may recall, Murder of Angels opens in this cemetery, which I first visited in 2000. We spent about an hour walking the grounds, peering into crypts, just soaking up the fading day. Spooky took photos (below), while I wrote down names. As I have said before, cemeteries are the best places to find names. No one can fairly accuse you of having "made up" a name like Mary Bloodgood when you can show them a photograph of the tombstone bearing the name. There were dragonflies and butterflies flitting about in the haze.

After the cemetery, we drove down through the village itself, to Stonington Point, which looks out across Fisher Island Sound. From the point, looking back to the southeast, you can see Rhode Island across the sound: Napatree Point, Watch Hill, Westerly. Just east, there's Sandy Point, a small, barren island. There's a granite breakwater to the south, and to the west, Long Island. You may recall, this is another locale I used at the start of Murder of Angels. The tide was coming in, and there were several species of birds fishing among the rocks at the water's edge, including cormorants (Phalacorax auritus), a couple of examples of something that most resembled a Great Egret (Ardea alba), and the usual assortment of gulls, though we did spot a few Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla), which we don't often see. We found half a small pumpkin floating in the surf. There were anvil-shaped thunderheads building to the north.

I think we headed home sometime after 6 p.m., and I read another story from Lovecraft Unbound, Gemma Files' "Marya Nox," which was actually very, very impressive. Back in Providence, we stopped for Chinese takeout. The Harvest Moon rose huge and red just as we were heading back home.

A few photos from yesterday, though Spooky took so many photos I expect I'll be posting them for days to come:

4 October 2009 )


And that was yesterday, pretty much. I did get a very nice email from someone who's reading The Red Tree for the fifth time. Julie Skaggs asks:

I had a question - which you may choose instead to address in the blog for the benefit of all your readers— as I was struck with a similarity in regards to not only the metafictional elements of Sarah and Amanda's relationship in The Red Tree as compared to any of your own, but also of Francis Bacon and George Dyer. And I wondered if Bacon was not only an artistic touchstone for the novel in terms of his actual work as a reference for that of Constance/Bettina, but also elements of his life. If you have the time and (more importantly) the inclination to answer this inquiry I'd be most appreciative, but I know the wheel ever turns and I do not mean to be intrusive, only so very curious in regards to this particular world you've created in the narrative.

I do love astute readers. Guilty as charged, as regards both Bacon and Dyer. Bacon has been a very important influence, and I read a lot of biography, and find odd parallels (or maybe they're not odd at all), and these things inevitably bleed together.

Oh, and, on Etsy, I've found the perfect mask to wear for the dramatic reading of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (I'm to play Oberon) at next year's ReaderCon 21.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
And here we are again. On this day in 1890, 74 years before my own birth, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born. Think of him today, warts and all. Myself, I would be planning on visiting his grave this evening, were it not for my run in on this day one year ago with the Nazis who are Swan Point Cemetery security. Not really up for that again. Instead, I'll remember him in other ways. Maybe I'll read "The Colour Out of Space" for the thousandth time.

The promised rain did not materialize, and we're still baking here in Providence. Spooky and I are hiding in my office with Dr. Muñoz, who can just manage to keep this room and the adjoining bathroom bearable. I have to get some work done. No more running from the heat. Between one thing and another, August has been a grand distraction and hurdle, and I must get back to writing, and do it today.

Yesterday, we got out of the House as early as we could. First, we stopped by Jerry's Artarama (formerly Art Supply Warehouse), because they had moleskine notebooks on sale absurdly cheap. Then, we drove down to Peace Dale, and I spent the day in the library there, reading and making notes for the next novel, the one to come after The Red Tree, which currently has the working title Blood Oranges. That title may or may not change when I actually begin writing the book in September.

After the library, we stopped by Spooky's parents' place in Saunderstown, and picked apples and blueberries. It was late enough that the sun was setting, and the day was finally cooling off. We also got yellow squash and eggs and a cucumber, and Spooky's dad commented that this weather feels more like the Philippines than Rhode Island (he's spent time in the Philippines, studying fisheries there, so I figure he ought to know). On the way home, we stopped at Stanley's (since 1932) for burgers, because my red-meat craving continues. I think we were home by about 8 p.m.

There are photos. Usually, I find myself photographing Nature. So, yesterday, I decided to concentrate, instead, on man-made things:

19 August 2009 )

Last night, we finished watching Space: Above and Beyond. Not great TV, but pretty good TV, by the last few episodes. I just can't help but dig space opera.

Also, please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. And I haven't forgotten about the tree photo/art contest. I've just been too hot and distracted to go through the 250+ entries and choose my favourite. I promise I'll try to do that tonight.

We get Duncan Jones' Moon at the Avon on Saturday or Sunday night, and while it looks like Hurricane Bill will be veering out to sea and pose no threat to New England, I am looking forward to the 18-25 foot waves that we're expecting this weekend.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Which is to say, have a blessed feast of St. Patrick. As I've said before, this is about as close as I come to celebrating anything like an Xtian holiday, and for me (like most, I think), it's really more an Irish Pride thing. I hung the flag out last night. I'll fix a huge meal this evening, corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, soda bread, and so forth, that we'll likely be eating for days. And here, one of my favorite St. Patrick's Day links: "Why Ireland Has No Snakes" (courtesy the Smithsonian Institution). Suffice to say, the explanation has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian interlopers converting Celtic Pagans.

Yesterday, we left Providence about 12:45 p.m. (we did try to get away earlier), and drove south and east. We crossed the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island, past Jamestown and Beavertail, and continued on, crossing the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Before going to the library, we stopped at the Common Burying Ground, a cemetery we'd not visited since the summer of 2004. Though founded about 1640, the oldest grave we located yesterday was from 1678. I am accustomed to Deep Time. I can think on a scale of hundreds of millions, or even billions of years, and not bat an eye. But, standing in the presence of monuments marking the coming and going of so much historical time, it makes me a bit dizzy. The sun was still out, and there was a little warmth in the air, despite the wind. I copied inscriptions and names. Cemeteries are the best places to find character names, and I have, over the years, rather shamelessly mined them to that end. Spooky took lots of photos (some are behind the cut). Newport's Common Burying Ground may well be my favourite cemetery in Rhode Island. Spooky's favourite grave here is one which holds the bodies of two children and their mother's amputated arm, though we were unable to find it yesterday.

Afterwards, we continued into town (steering clear of the waterfront and the tourists), to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum near Washington Square. An astoundingly beautiful library. And it still uses an extensive card catalog. The books still have those cards in the back where the due-back date gets stamped. In fact, I located only one computer in the library (though, I'm sure there are others, but not within easy sight). I sat in the Rovensky Reading Room until about 4 p.m., making notes. Both the library and the cemetery will figure prominently in "As Red as Red." And then we headed back to Providence. There was a trip to the market, and it was sometime after six before we were home again.

A quick reminder. If you haven't already, please pick up a copy of Daughter of Hounds, or A is for Alien (copies of the trade hardback are still available), or the forthcoming trade paperback of Alabaster. Thanks! Oh, and Spooky had started a new round of eBay auctions.

We're working our way through Season Three of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer again. Season Three is hard for me. On the one hand, I feel like the series is just starting to find itself. On the other, there's the silly evil-mayor story arc that I can hardly abide.

The new "Land of Nor"/Alpha Institute rp in Second Life is starting to pick up steam, and is looking very promising. We're settling into the old library and laboratory by the sea, at the northwest corner of Ethereal. Story is happening. The plot already has subplots. I thought I'd repost the information I posted a few days ago, for any Howard's End or "Sirenia Players" folks who might want to join us. To wit:

I am now running a roleplay faction in the SL NoR sims. No, it's not as ambitious as what I'd planned for Howard's End, but, in terms of theme, it's still in the ballpark. Contemporary urban dark fantasy rp. Vampires, angels, demons, werewolves, ghosts, and just about anything else you can imagine. Unlike HE, there's combat (though, technically, we're a non-combat faction), and a gaming meter/HUD (WARPS). I've founded a group called the Alpha Institute, an occult research organization that very roughly parallels my plans for the Roanoke Society in the stillborn HE sim. Throw in a bit of the Talamasca, a bit of Angel Investigations/Wolfram and Hart, etc. We're off to a very good start. And there's not a mountain of background reading, as there was with HE, and I don't need complex character profiles. Plus, since we're already playing, there's no annoying waiting period. So, if you're interested, just say so, or email me (greygirlbeast (at) gmail (dot) com), or IM me in SL (Nareth Nishi), and I'll send you an invitation. Be sure to provide me with your SL user name.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts. But first, photos (we took so many, I think I have enough for the next two days, as well):

16 March 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Yeah, so...despite what people might think, whatever preconceived ideas might have been nurtured by the sort of erotica I write, it is only very rarely that I have sex dreams. That is, dreams with sexual content, much less dreams wherein I actually get any. This morning, however, I had what can only be described as a Buffy slash fic dream. Me and Willow (Alyson Hannigan). Only she was older, and was dressed very like Stevie Nicks (some might say this is a Wiccan's worst nightmare). And I was a werewolf. And just as things were getting interesting, Spooky (who'd been there all along, watching from the sidelines), told us we should both put our clothes back on. And we did. And then the dream headed off elsewhere. Spooky claims that I cannot hold her responsible for things she did in my dreams. I mean, to her credit, in her defence, it was my dream. But...I'm suspicious.

Yesterday? Exquisite. We left Providence sometime between 12:30 and 1 p.m. (CaST), and took 95 south and then west out of Rhode Island and into Connecticut. It was cold, but there were clouds to hide the sky. I'd brought Lovecraft along, just in case I needed something to read, to keep my eyes off the blue sky. But the clouds were there to keep it at bay. We reached New Haven about 2:30 p.m. (CaST). Upon reaching the Yale campus, our first destination was the Grove Street Cemetery (organized in 1796, incorporated October 1797). We parked on Hillhouse Avenue, then walked west to Prospect, then turned west again on Grove Street. Anyway, the Grove Street Cememtery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever seen, with lots of Egyptian Revival architecture. There were exceptionally fat, fuzzy grey squirrels everywhere, and great hordes of pigeons. Well, flocks, I suppose, not hordes. We soon located the gravestone of Othniel Charles Marsh (October 29, 1831 – March 18, 1899), one half of the "Great Bone War." I'm sort of ashamed that I managed to visit Marsh's grave before Edward Drinker Cope's, seeing as how I always had a much greater admiration for Cope (and someday I'll tell you the story of my incredibly tiny role in the history of the Cope/Marsh feud). I laid a dime on the pink granite monument, despite my misgivings about Marsh. Buried next to him is another Yale paleontologist, Charles Schuchert (July 3, 1858-November 20 1942), who coined the term paleobiology in 1904. Anyway, regardless of his pomposity and dirty dealings, Marsh named such dinosaurs as Torosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Allosaurus, as well as the Cretaceous toothed birds, Hesperornis and Ichthyornis.

Oh, there was a stop before Grove Street. We ducked into a computer science building on Prospect to find a restroom. It was enormous and deserted, and quickly searching the empty hallways for a toilet, I felt a little like Sarah Connor. Yeah. I'm a nerd. And has anyone else ever been amused by the fact that the psychology department at Yale is located on Hillhouse Avenue? Anyway, after the cemetery (where I will be returning to steal names), and after I stopped to tie my shoe on the steps of Woolsey Hall, we headed back to the van, and then on to the Peabody Museum of Natural History (estab. 1917, though the original building was destroyed and the museum moved to its current location in 1925). I will spare you all the gory details. I'd not been to the Peabody since June or July of 2000. Eight years. We spent a good deal of time with the dinosaurs, but also took time to see the rest of the museum (which I'd never done before). By about 5:30 (CaST), my senses were on overload. All the paleontology, anthropology, archaeology, botany, evolutionary biology, ornithology, and so on and on and on. I spent a long time squinting at Rudolph Zallinger's mural, The Age of Reptiles (1947). I bought a small dodo bird in the gift shop, and the cashier remarked how sad it was that there is not even so much as a single photograph of a dodo. Now the dodo has taken its place on my desk, next to the platypus. If I have "totem animals," I suppose they are the platypus and dodo. Anyway...we left Yale just after dark. I slept all the way back to Providence. A grand day, indeed. There are photos below, behind the cut.

After Chinese food, we ate Turkish Delight and watched Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest (2007), and it was great getting more Martha Jones. The look of the animation was beautiful, and the script was good, even if the character animation was stiff. After that, we watched (for the second time) "Partners in Crime," wherein the good doctor gets stuck with a bland, annoying woman as his companion. No, I cannot seem to warm to Catherine Tate. We've only seen the first four eps of Season 4, so we're getting them from Netflix now. Afterwards, we drank pomegranate martinis and played WoW. My disenchantment grows. And please, please, please...I know you mean well, but I need people to stop suggesting that I might enjoy text-based rp. I did. In 1995. Now, I need a visual interface. Otherwise, the rp is just writing, which I'm sorry. I'm just like that. We got to bed very, very late.

And, as I said, there are photos behind the cut:

Thursday, December 4, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf)
Yeah, that's a big long subject line, but it just seemed right somehow.

Yesterday, I did 1,416 words on Chapter Seven of The Red Tree. This finished the bit I was excerpting from Dr. Harvey's typescript regarding the serial killer Joseph Fearing Olney (1888-1926) and his murder spree (1922-1925). What I have to do today, the next part of the book, is, by comparison, a breeze. A significant factor in determining whether or not this novel will "work" depends upon whether or not its readers are bright enough to understand that when people sit down and write private journals, they do not, given the nature of private journals, include everything that a reader would "need" to know to understand it, or "want" to know to find the reading experience satisfactory. Or whatever. By definition, Sarah Crowe is writing something that she means no one else to ever read, and I cannot bring myself to cheat, on behalf of my audience, and have her toss in a bunch of exposition that would fill in the gaps all neat and tidy, but destroy the illusion that this is, in fact, an actual journal not meant to be read by anyone other than Sarah herself. Here's one of those places where I point to the fallacy of the "reader-writer contract." The story is my goddess (well, one of many). I serve the story and her needs. The readers are nice and all. Hell, I can't live without them. But they have to look out for themselves, because, as I said, I serve the story, not my readers.

After the reading, I had a nap while Spooky got Chinese takeaway. Then I had a hot bath. Then I edited a bunch of the photos from Monday's outing (behind the cut, below; more to come). Spooky baked an apple pie, and I filled a bottle with beach glass. Yesterday's reading was all scientifical: From Science (11 July 2008), "A Positive Test of East Antarctica-Laurentia Juxtaposition With the Rodina Supercontinent," and from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (which I could finally get to, having finished the June issue), "New protocetid whales from Alabama and Mississippi, and a new Cetacean clan, Pelagiceti." For the second straight day, I did not leave the house.

And lots of World of Warcraft last night. Mithwen, the night-elf warrior, is now at Level 25, and Shaharrazad, the blood-elf warlock, is at Level 15. I've mostly been teaming up with Spooky (Syllahr, a Level 23 night-elf druid) for quests, and we're doing fine. But thinking of adding a third person, someone of a comparable level. I'll likely start a guild, just because. Maybe I'll call it "Wrath of the Goddess," or "Defenders of Elune," unless, of course, those names are taken. Last night, Mithwen and Syllahr (sisters, by the way) reached the Stonetalon Mountains via the Talondeep Path. Discovering the depredations of the Venture Company (all humans, goblins, and trolls, near as I could tell), we slaughtered loggers with merciless abandon. I am the Lorax, motherfuckers!

Later, we watched Tim Fywell's 2008 film adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel, Affinity. Victorian lesbians, spirit mediums, and con women. A gorgeous and moving, if ultimately flawed, film.

Anyway, here in Providence it's overcast and chilly. I think, however, that this is, ironically, the first warm office I've had since...since I left the first Liberty House loft in 2001. It doesn't look like I shall freeze this winter. And now, those photographs, because I must get to the words....

Tuesday, 30 September 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
One day off turned into two days off. One day Outside became two days Outside, and I didn't argue. So, this will be a long catching-up sort of entry. But, first, I want to mention the current eBay auctions, which end tomorrow, and which seem to have drawn far less attention than usual. Please do have a look. Bid if your are interested and so disposed. It will be greatly appreciated. Also, a quick explanation regarding Sirenia Digest #34. Rather, a quick explanation regarding that second copy that went out yesterday. There were a number of very minor errors in the first PDF, and, all day on Tuesday, while I was trying not to think about work, they bugged me. That "Untitled #33" should have been "Untitled 33." That the captions for Karl Persson's paintings were in Courier, when the font should have been Times New Roman. Stuff that I doubt anyone but me would have ever noticed, but...anyway...[ profile] thingunderthest kindly produced a new and corrected PDF. And that's why you got two. The second is the keeper.


Tuesday: We didn't manage to get out of the house until after 2 p.m., because I had to dither over this and dither over that. I squeezed in a little work-like activity, such as begging off a review for Publisher's Weekly, the first book in a fantasy trilogy, and as I told my editor, I was entirely wrong for that. And then, when we left, we couldn't go very far, not as far as any of the beaches, because the windshield wipers still have not been fixed (we're waiting on the part) and the sky was threatening rain. But, first, we drove over to check the p.o. box, which I'd not done in a while. There was a contributor's copy of Not One of Us #40, which reprints "Flotsam." Then we headed back towards the river and the Old North Burial Ground (estab. 1700). We wandered among the tombstones, marveling, especially, at the slate markers from the 18th century. The maples had gone bright red, ringing in October, and there were truly enormous, ancient European beeches (Fagus sylvatica). It's a beautiful cemetery, and none of the groundskeepers or security even seemed to look at us twice, much less harass and threaten us the way the Swan Point asshole did (oh, and turns out, when Frank Woodward was there filming for Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, he got crap from the Swan Point security, even though he had permission to film). Anyway, it was very pleasant, there among the dead, and we read inscriptions and took photos. The trees were filled with noisy grackles. The air smelled like rain, and the sky was dark.

Afterwards, we drove towards downtown and parked on Point Street and walked out over the bridge across the Providence River. There was a little mist, but no actual rain. Beneath the bridge are the rotting wooden pilings of some manner of old dock or pier, which seems to have been left in place for the multitude of cormorants and gulls that congregate there. The water itself is a little dispiriting. The color of a ripe avocado skin, and with a slightly oily sheen. There were an alarming number of dead fish near the banks (and trash, including Dunkin" Donuts cups and a rusting, half-submerged bicycle). Still, this river must have been much worse off back in the 70s and 80s, before Rhode Island got serious about cleaning up its waterways. After the bridge, we headed back towards home, stopping for a while at White Electric Coffee on Westminster (where they always seem to be playing Patti Smith, whenever I drop by). Having secured our caffeine fix, we checked out a nearby abandoned building that Spooky had been wanting to photograph, the burnt-out ruins of the What Cheer Laundry (or Loutit Laundry) building (ca 1906 and vacant since 1987, partly demolished by a fire in 1991) on the north side of Cranston Street. The entrance surround is comprised of pilasters supporting a broken arched pediment with a panel bearing the words: “What Cheer Laundry” and depicting Roger Williams meeting Native Americans. The air was turning chilly, the day growing late, and afterwards we headed home.

Tuesday night, we watched Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) again. I don't think either of us had seen it since we saw it at the Fox in Atlanta in the summer of 2003. Still a beautiful, sublime epic. It had seemed like a good film to follow Miller's Crossing, and left me wanting to go back to Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale (1983). And I think that covers Tuesday fairly well. We took a lot of photographs, and I'll get some up later this week. Oh, and I read, in the June JVP, "The vertebrate fauna of the Upper Permian of Niger. IV. First evidence of a gorgonopsian theraspid."


Wednesday: Not nearly as interesting as Tuesday, but Spooky made sure I spent most of it out of the house. We wandered about points south of Providence — Warwick, West Warwick, East Greenwich, and Wakefield. We did locate a wonderful little witchcraft shop in West Warwick —— The Bella Earth —— and I got a new pentagram pendant to replace the one I broke a couple of month's back. Unlike, say, The Grateful Heart in Wickford, The Bella Earth isn't a mess of trendy, fluffy bunny, New Agey junk, but is mostly devoted to Wicca.

Last night, we watched the director's cut of Tarantino's Death Proof (2007), which is even cooler than the theatrical cut. Zoe Bell rocks our socks, and the last half hour or so is pure, vengeful fun. Later, I pulled the plug on the Howards End sim in Second life. This decision was hard, and I'm going to write about it in detail in another entry, maybe this evening. I do appreciate all the effort that various people put into it, but, in the end, I'm just too busy, too unwell, too fed up with SL, and...well, like I said, there will be an entry specifically devoted to the termination of the sim project. It was not an easy choice to make. Also, I played a few hours of WoW. Mithwen, my night-elf hunter is at Lvl 23, and is now running missions out of Astranaar in Ashenvale. Meanwhile, Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, has reached Lvl 12, and was just invited to join a guild ("The Flaming Fist"), which includes a couple of Lvl 70 warlocks. Got to bed about three last night, and there was a very brief absence seizure yesterday, but it was hardly a blip. Oh, and I read, again in the June JVP, "Hyaenodon chunkhtensis and the hyaenodontid fauna of the Upper Eocene Ergilin Dzo Formation of Mongolia."


One last thing before I wrap this up. Spooky stumbled across the trailer and website for Darren Lynn Bousman's forthcoming Repo! The Genetic Opera, and it looks astounding. I have been pretty much unimpressed by Bousman's Saw series (in fact, I saw only the first one, I was so unimpressed, and can't even imagine there are four of the things). But I am greatly intrigued by Repo!. Yeah, sure, you have to ignore the fact of Paris Hilton, but we get to hear Anthony Stewart Head sing again (!!!), and there's Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Poe, Sarah Brightman, Joan Jett, and the whole thing just looks gorgeous. So, we shall see.

Okay. Today, it's back to The Red Tree....
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
We didn't spend a lot of time in cemeteries this month. Our last trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, back in '04, it seemed we spent half our time in cemeteries. But then Daughter of Hounds is much concerned with graveyards, and I suspect Joey LaFaye will have little to say on the subject. One of the few we visited this time was Riverbend Cemetery in Westerly, on Pawcatuck River (RI/CT line), off Beach Street, before it meets up with East Avenue and becomes Watch Hill Road. Most of the graves are 19th Century or younger. We stopped by on July 30th, during the heat wave, and it was really too hot to be out beneath the sun, with hardly a bit of shade in sight. But I have some photos (behind the cut). The interior mausoleum shots were taken by holding the camera through iron grates set into the doors; the stained glass was beautifully backlit by the sun.

7/30/06 )

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include the first copy of the leather-bound, traycased edition of Low Red Moon which we've ever offered, as well as copies of The Dry Salvages and The Five of Cups. Thanks!

All photographs copyright © 2006 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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