greygirlbeast: (river3)
Don't forget, kittens, today is Krampus Day. Behave accordingly.

Bodies, can't you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you'll be happy.
~ St. Vincent, "Cruel"

Yesterday, I wrote 1,241 words and so began "Another Tale of Two Cities" for Sirenia Digest. I'm hoping very much that it will be finished on the evening of the 7th, at the latest. It might be called science fiction, but I'd rather just call it weird erotica. And speaking of the evening of the 7th, I'm very much hoping to see more replies to the Question @ Hand #5 by then.

Last week, I stopped myself from buying an iPhone, though I seem to need one. In part, I stopped myself out of fear of another wave of "buyer's remorse," such as experienced recently, immediately after purchasing Kermit the iPad. Which I seemed to need for work. Since that purchase, by the way, I have found about fifty wonderful uses for Kermit the iPad...but not a single one of them has been work related*. Sure, endless mobile Japanese porn – no denying that rocks – but not exactly what my editors mean when they speak of "increased connectivity." In the Elder Days, by the way, we just said "easier to contact." Anyway, I didn't buy the iPhone, because (even though my cellphone is a pile of bantha dung), near as I can tell the iPhone and the iPad do exactly the same thing. Only, the iPhone has a vastly smaller screen and keys (and the virtual keys on my iPad are already too small for my admittedly large fingers), and I'll be damned if I can figure out a single useful thing the iPhone does that Kermit the iPad doesn't already do. Well, except make phone calls. And I hate making, and receiving, phone calls. Besides, technically, the iPad does permit video calls, all Jetson-like, using either FaceTime or Skype. Of course, the thought of a video call terrifies me beyond words. It's bad enough that callers can hear me. Let them see me, too? Anyway, point is, other than the fact that the iPhone is much smaller, and therefore even more mobile...why bother? And, by the way, you know, I hope, that all this increased connectivity nonsense, it's nothing but a) a means for the CIA, NSA, BTFA, DHS, and aliens from Planet X to keep track of you, and b) is being sold to us so that we never have a moment free of the grinding machine of capitalism (yes, excessive socialization aids and abets the agenda of the New World Order).

Damn, that's a long paragraph.

Probably, I ought to stop now. Only, I'll first point out that – following this thread – ebooks do the same thing as books, only not as well, and the ones you buy today will PROBABLY be inaccessible in a few years, and you can't donate them to libraries, or leave them to anyone. Meanwhile, my hard copies might well be accessible five hundred years from now, and can be bequeathed to loved ones. However, "we" are increasingly a selfish and short-sighted species (this makes my life easier = this is good), now more than ever before, so none of this is relevant. But I'm beating a dead horse. Whack, whack, whack.

Staring at Kermit,
Aunt Beast

* Spooky says this is not true, as all of Blood Oranges was proofed on the iPad. I will qualify, and say that actually she only used it to read along while I read the hard-copy ms. aloud and made marks on it. Still, I suppose she has a point.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky says, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has tweeted "Rhode Island. It's not an island. Not even close. I have discovered this." He is a wise man. Oh, and he also just tweeted, "They really should change the name of that to A-Squid-Neck Island*. In honor of Lovecraft. Obviously. Fo shizzle." I think he's high.

Today, Hubero's name is Bill Murray. Just until midnight. This began when Spooky posted the following to Facebook: It's that kind of morning... discussing how funny it would be to change Hubero's name to Bill Murray. "Get down off that counter Bill Murary!" "Dust bunnies will kill you, Bill Murray!" Yeah, that one was for the Jim Jarmusch aficionados. Shit. Hold on. Bill Murray is eating coffee grounds out of the garbage.

Um...back now.

Yesterday, I worked. On, you know, The Secret.

And then I went to the Apple Store and bought an iPad. Yes, this may well mean the end of Western Civilization, and I am ashamed to the core of my being, and I apologize. But I'm going to need it for work soon, and it's tax deductible. Now, time was, writers didn't need Star Trek gadgetry to...write. They needed fingers and ink and paper and a quill. Later shit got fancy with pens and typewriters. Luxuries? Those were whiskey and cigarettes. This was the life of the writer, and they roamed the plains in vast and wordy herds. But now, writers must have gadgets. Yes, they must! Or the other writers make fun of them. Gonna have to get an iPhone soon, too...but that's gonna wait a few more months. Meanwhile, I will endure the peer pressure and limp along with my sad little 2009 cellphone. Anyway, yes. An iPad. And man, you wanna know how Sirenia Digest was meant to be seen? Look at #70 on an iPad. I had no bloody idea! Anyway, lest anyone gets too worried, no. I WILL NOT READ EBOOKS ON MY iPAD. Except magazines and newspapers and comics, because that's different. Why? Because I say so. Also, my basement is filled with cardboard boxes of National Geographic that a) weigh a ton, b) will never again be opened in my lifetime, and c) I can't bear to throw out.

My iPad's name is Kermit. First time I have ever given a computer a male name.

My thanks to Josh Cruz ([livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap) for sending me the new Ladytron album, Gravity the Seducer. And to Melissa, for reminding me that I've fallen in love with St. Vincent. Sometimes, I forget my nouveaux amoureux (and that I don't actually speak French).

Anything else? Bill Murray, you are not helping.

Oh! I know. Since when did publishing start thinking that anyone who has a blog, seems to be able to read, and can write halfway coherent sentences qualifies as an actual "book reviewer"? You know, those people who write "book reviews." Once, we had real book reviewers, who wrote actual book reviews for newspapers and magazines. In fact, we still do. Not as many as we used to, and, sure, few of the reviewers can match the Golden Days of Reviewers, the likes of Dorothy Parker's "Constant Reader" in the pages of The Atlantic. But, every goofball with a WordPress or TypePad account? Really? Fine, call me arrogant. I don't care. Call me meritocratic. I can live with that just fine. I can't live with BookVoreLady's "review" of The Red Tree being quoted by my publisher (I made up "BookVoreLady," but you get the idea), and I diligently have those "reviews" removed when they turn up in the opening, promotional pages of my books. Maybe this is the wave of the future, an age when merely being able to read and write automatically grants one the status of being a bona-fide book reviewer. But I don't have to like it or go along with it. Reviews have always been a questionable affair, but at least when the reviewer has a name and a face and you know their educational and professional pedigree, intelligent decisions based upon their opinions can be made. I may disagree vociferously with reviewers, but I do at least tend to respect the opinions of the learn'd and experienced.**

But what do I know? I bought an iPad and named it Kermit.

So, without further ado, eight more "making of" photos (chosen at random!) from the past weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer. These were taken by Ryan Anas, who was Kyle's PA for those three days. Ryan rocks the casbah, by the way. I'm not labeling any of these photos. You can all make a grand parlour game of guessing their provenance. Or not. Your call. Speaking of calls, Ryan took these with his phone, which sort of looked like an elephant had stepped on it, so he gets extra points for moxie. And speaking of moxie...

Hey! Bill Murray! Get away from the microwave! (This is why we can't have nice things.)

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part One )


*Aquidneck Island

** No, this is not–most emphatically not–any sort of condemnation of those of us (as I am included) who write about books, perhaps in great detail, in our blogs or what have you. But I've never yet written anything in my blog I'd dare have the hubris to call an actual review. The world, I think, needs a hubris extractor.
greygirlbeast: (apple)
The first computer I ever used wasn't an Apple. This was June 1986, and the computer was something or another manufactured by the Kaypro Corporation. Looked like it had been yanked from a control panel on the Nostromo, that eighty-column, nine-inch green phosphor screen, 64 KB of RAM, the 2.5 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor, and so on and so forth. Drives for 91 kb 5¼ inch floppy disks. Remember those? Floppy disks? Anyway, I'd moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to school, and I was typing a paper for a conference—the umpteenth draft, dabbed with liquid paper—and James Kirkland (the first friend I made at UC; he was finishing his PhD) walked in and was like, "Jesus, you're still using an electric typewriter? You've gotta be kidding me. Come over here. Let me show you something." So, he introduced me to the Kaypro (in its all metal chassis) and a horrid, deafening little Okidata dot matrix printer. And it was a weird sort of love at first sight. I was using a computer. Just like on, you know, fucking Star Trek. I was fucking Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, writing about extinct marine reptiles! It was fucking cool.

Then, later that same year, I met the Apple IIe, with it's large screen and amber letters. It didn't look half so science-fiction, but was some how less annoying to work with. And then, in 1987, I met the Mac SE with its big grey screen, and diskettes, and a MOUSE (!!), and it was all modular and sexy and friendly and intuitive, and I fell instantly, utterly in love. It the thing broke, even I could usually get it up and running again. The computer lab became a glorious place to be. I made up excuses just to be there. Need someone to input all your data on the relative dimensions of the ammonite phragmocone, with possible relevance to sexual dimorphism? Sure, I'll do it free, and, besides, it's a chance to skip an organic chem lecture.

But it wasn't until 1993, back in Birmingham, Ala. that I got a special Apple student loan to buy my own machine, an Apple Color Classic. Of my very own. That I could take home! And here was that lovely 10″ Sony Trinitron color monitor, 512×384 pixel resolution, and sure, it only had 4 megs of memory, but later I was able to bump that up to 10 megs. I named her Pandora. And everything from "Persephone" to "Apokatastasis" on that lovely machine. I used AOL and Usenet and played SimEarth. I took it to Athens, Ga with me (1994), then back to Birmingham (1997), then to Atlanta (2001) and right back to Birmingham the same year.

But while I was in Atlanta, in October 2001, I bought a reconditioned Mac iBook, and slowly transitioned from Pandora to that machine, which I named Victoria Regina. I used this laptop until April 2007, when I took part of the advance from my shitty little Beowulf tie-in "novel" and bought the iMac I've been using ever since. She's named Arwen, and memory is measured in gigs, and there's over two hundred thousand colors on her huge LCD screen. That's only three Macs in twenty-five years, with virtually no crashes or trips to the service guys or anything. So don't tell me Macs aren't wonderful machines. Don't tell me they don't work for shit. Because I have the experience to know otherwise, a quarter century of it.

Oh, and I've also had two iPods (Moya and, then, Inara) I'd still be on my first, but it had a run in with an unfortunate very powerful magnet on the trip to Oregon a year ago). Pandora needs work on her screen, and Victoria still runs just fine, and I expect to be using Arwen for many years to come. The only reason I don't have an iPad or iPhone is that I cannot present afford either on my freelancers income.

And yesterday Steve Jobs died. It's messed with my head in ways I can't articulate. He was my Tesla. Something like that. He spawned wonders that changed the world, for better or worse. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, who I hope won't mind being quoted: [Jobs took] those thing that Apple had -- the weird idea that you'd want to have a sort of electronic Rolodex you'd carry around, that you can take notes on, that would schedule your appointments, the idea that you'd want to be able to talk to your computer and have it do things, the idea that a computer didn't sit on your desk, but that it belonged in your pocket, the idea that you could read a book on your computer and it could have sound and it could have video -- he took those things and he made them work.

It is very safe to say I never would have had a writing career without Apple. I can't even begin to fathom the Microsoft boxes and their unintuitive Windows interface (a creation stolen from Jobs and Wozniak by that ferret Bill Gates, then mutated into something nightmarish). I never would have had the patience to learn to use PCs, and my style of writing, I fear, isn't conducive to typewriters. Am I member of the so-called "Cult of Apple"? Maybe. I really don't care. But I would have liked to see Jobs get a little more time, and I am grateful for his work. It's safe to say I'm going to be mourning the loss of him for a while.

----

I can't tell you what I worked on yesterday, or what I'll work on today. But it's a crazy-lot of work, and it's going to be awesome beyond belief. Oh, and Sirenia Digest #70 went out late last night.

Late, I read Thomas Ligotti's "Conversations in a Dead Language" (1989), which I'd managed somehow never to read, and which I found oddly disappointing. I all but worship Ligotti, and hardly expected the disappointment. Most of the tale is fine, and I loved the twins in their gender-reversed wedding attire, but then the whole thing is spoiled by a silly "horror" story ending.

And now I gotta so. Many, many words before I can rest. Oh, there are typos in this, I'm sure. Spooky, she'll help me fix them later.

Goodbye, Mr. Jobs,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
And (whatever the calendar says) today is the first day of summer in Providence. Plus! For a limited time and at no added bonus, a massive solar flare is barreling towards Earth at some 1,400 kilometres per second! Whee! In the house, it's 85F and climbing! Outside, 88F and also climbing. Whee!

In Rhode Island, we don't have seasons. The climate has moods.

Lately, I'm realizing (and I should have realized this sooner) that, as an author, I am being expected to be a lot more computer savvy than I am. Not only that, I'm seemingly expected to be able to afford the software and gadgets. Publishers and editors assume I have iPhones and iPads, that I can use Adobe and edit in MS Word. Surprise! Nope. And I really don't see this changing anytime soon. I'm too poor and too stubborn and too disinterested. If anything, I'm perversely tempted to respond to the techno-pressure by composing my next novel on the 1941 Royal typewriter sitting on my mantle. Works just fine. I can get ribbons. It breaks, I fix it myself. Might have to use a screwdriver, worst-case scenario, I'll type it all out, the manuscript, saving electricity and making carbon copies as I go (remember those?), then send four hundred and fifty actual pages by parcel post to my editor. Oh, by the way. Books would, for the most part, get shorter again, and far fewer books would be written, if every one had to work in the Realm of Analog. This would be a good thing.

Writers need to be writing, not learning to use software and the latest bullshit app.

That's not the end of a rant. I'll come back to it, by and by. All my life, I expect I'll be coming back to it. Oh! On a related note, yesterday while shutting off Facebook's scary facial-recognition software (they don't ask if you wanna opt in; you have to opt out), I discovered how to shut off comments on FB. I don't care if it's a social network; I'm repurposing the bitch to my own ends.

A package from S. T. Joshi just arrived. Inside was a copy of Wilum Pugmire's The Tangled Muse (Centipede Press, 2010). Gods, this might be the most beautiful book I've ever held. Certainly, in the top ten. More astounding still, this is from the first printing of only six copies, after which, due to a dispute with an artist involved, the book had to be reset. Wow. Thank you S. T., and thank you, Wilum.

Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, and I rather loved it. Some might pick nits, but I won't. It was too fun to ruin by nit picking. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were very good, and Jennifer Lawrence made a great Mystique. I loved Nicholas Hoult's Beast. Hell, even Kevin Bacon didn't annoy me. Anyway, yes. Wonderful.

Ashes and diamonds,
Foe and friend.
We were all equal in the end.
(Pink Floyd)

One day, I'll tell the story of how, in 2005, I almost wrote an X-Men mini-series. It's a sordid tale.

Fuck all, it's hot in here.

Before I forget, the Big Damn eBay Sale is off to a good start. Please have look, please. Also, just as helpful and worthwhile, see Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

Today, I go back to work on Blood Oranges, and later I'll be talking with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy (Talking, yes! On the phone!) about the trailer and other promotional goodies we're working on to aid in the promotion of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. That's likely the whole of my coming day.

Rift last night. Selwyn and Missya made Level 46, and were sent from Iron Pine Peak to dread Stillmoor, where once was the great Mathosian Empire, and now the eye of Regulos holds sway over the cratered land. Late, there was some truly grand and very grim rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. Thank you, Sirrah.

Okay. I go forth to broil...I leave you with wonderful new images of my favorite world.

Warmly (haha),
Aunt Beast

Data Loss

May. 20th, 2011 10:13 pm
greygirlbeast: (Eocene)
It's easy to imagine some of the questions that scholars* might want to ask when they look back on the story of our times. When did the last ice sheets melt away? At what point did the oceans finish acidifying? How rapidly were national boundaries reshuffled in response to sea-level rise? Some of these questions will be answered by written documents, but not necessarily as many as we might think.

Much of today's recorded history will eventually be lost simply because so many of its documents are electronic. The devices and codes that create and decipher them change so often in the interest of big business that they become useless within decades or less. Not to mention centuries. The effects of this are already apparent in my own home. I'm still saving some old-fashioned floppy disks that used to feed data into my TRS-80 computer back in the 1980s even though I'll never be able to read them again.


from Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth by Curt Stager

* Assuming there are any remaining.
greygirlbeast: (white)
New version of Firefox, you suck. Just so you know.

And yesterday was a very weird day. But here I am, on the other side of it.

Yesterday, I wrote the journal entry and answered email. I edited the FAQ for the soon-to-go-live new Sirenia Digest website. And I did a little more work on "Fake Plastic Trees," adding about 200 words to clarify something the editors had requested I clarify. It was a point I admitted was a little vague, and now the editors are happier with the story, and so am I. Afterwards, I wrote 1,540 words on the first chapter of Blood Oranges, which is the thing that was conceived as a spoof of ParaRom, but seems to have grown into an actual novel. Its still a "werepire" novel, and it looks askance at and skewers everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight, from True Blood to Anne Rice. It's a strange beast, about strange beasts. And I'm not going to say anything more about it until I write another 1,500 words, because it's just too strange.

I have set a goal for myself: I will write two more novels (Blood Oranges and Blue Canary), two new short stories, and produce nine more issues of Sirenia Digest by the end of January 2012. And not die in the process. Then, in 2012 I'd write Dark Adapted, the sequel to Blood Oranges, along with the sequel to Blue Canary.

So, yes. A lot of work yesterday. And the same today. And tomorrow. And that's what my summer looks like. Mostly. I get a few days off for good behavior.

There are days I could just sit and listen to R.E.M. all day long.

Yesterday, a very young humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was found beached at Little Compton.

I made a really terribly good salsa fresca (half the juice of one lime, two tomatoes, about a fifth of a red onion, half a large jalapeño, one serrano, a handful of fresh cilantro, a clove of garlic, and a dash of salt) for Cinco de Mayo, which we had with the pork quesadillas Spooky made. I wanted tequila and Sol beer, but the meds say no.

Then I took a short nap.

Then a house down the street erupted into flame. This makes the third serious fire on our street since November 2009. The second was in May 2010. And now this. When I first made it down to the street, and within maybe a hundred feet of the house, I thought they were going to lose the thing, and the wind was so bad I began to fear for surrounding houses. But at least five fire trucks responded (it was listed as a two alarm). Everyone got out. But now another beautiful old Victorian house on the street is scarred. All this would be very suspicious, and it's obviously statistically improbable. But the first fire was started by a faulty lamp cord, and the second by a cat knocking over a candle. Nothing suspicious there. Last night's fire was fucking terrifying. The cause remains undetermined. Spooky took three photos, which are behind the cut:

Fire Three, May 5 2011 )


Note to potential stalkers: I've said enough over the years that anyone who really means to can find my house, but you show up on my doorstep or lurking about, annoying me and mine, getting in my shit, and I will fucking kill you. End of story. So think twice, and then think again.

Later, when things had finally calmed down, we played a small bit of Rift. We watched the last four episodes of Season Six of Weeds. I must admit, the season recovers towards the end, and the last episode is very good. Later, we read more of Under the Poppy. That was yesterday, kittens.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Checks are coming in very slowly, and every little bit helps. Thanks. Also, Spooky's added a new necklace to her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop. She made a beautiful one for me (finally), which I'll post photos of soon, then made one more. It's awesome. Buy it.

And now I go to write about a werewolf attack.

Beastly Yours,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Somewhat hungover this ayem, and suffering the effects of insomnia (which don't mix well with the hangover, by the way). It's sort of like being twenty-five on the morning after a binge, except every time I move some portion of my skeleton creaks or pops.

I probably ought not even be making a blog entry. Surely, I have nothing good to say. Not really.

Um...yesterday. Well, yesterday was spent on email, and copyediting, and line edits, and lots of tedious stuff that writers have to do that isn't writing.

Well, there were at least two pieces of good news. The one I can't tell you until Friday, and then learning that my editor at Dark Horse very much likes the story I wrote for her (which I can't say more about until later). These are my bright spots.

---

Last night, we watched the restored director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981), which is undoubtedly on my list of the 100 Best Movies Ever Made in Any Language. Rarely has anyone conveyed the ultimate futility of struggle more beautifully than Petersen does in this film.

---

We had about an hour of rp in Rift last night, after which I decided that, for now, our guild's going to concern itself much less with rp, at least for the time being. After creating fiction all day, or suffering the consequences of having created fiction, the last thing I want to do at night is...create fiction. Also, rping in Rift, like rping in any MMORPG or any world created by someone besides the rpers, presents a unique set of problems. Most importantly, it's almost impossible for everyone to be on the same page, especially given that the lore (which weighs us down; though, unlike WoW, it isn't absurd) is often very vague on very important points. With Rift, the worst of this concerns the nature of the Defiant Ascendents' fundamental psychology and metaphysics. Anyway, yes. The guild is there. We'll do stuff that guilds do. But, for now, no rp. Later, probably. Maybe, eventually, we can come up with some sort of canonical interpretation, even if we can't confirm it's what Trion has in mind (which is probably irrelevant).

---

So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime. Oh, and there's a photograph!



---

Cold and cloudy and rainy here in Providence. I have decided that in Rhode Island we have five seasons, not four. We have summer (late June-late August), Autumn (early September through late November), WINTER (late November-March), Cold Spring (late March though early May), and Spring (May and most of June). Someday, I'm going to acclimate. Understanding is the first step, and it's taken me three years to figure out the existence of Cold Spring.

---

I gave some of my dinosaurs a bath yesterday, trying to start to clear my office of a dreadful layer of dust. Maybe a third of my dinosaurs, if you don't count the ones in storage. And I took photos. Hey, it's whimsical, and lots more fun than email and waking up in the morning! Plus, no one likes a dirty dinosaur. Or plesiosaur. Or wooly mammoth.

Washing the Extinct! )


Lastly, for those who will never understand why I'm a socialist. "The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated. The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The sun's shining in a too-blue sky, but it's chilly.

Sirenia Digest #64 went out to subscribers last night, and everyone should have it by now.

Apologies for not including a link for The Book Thief yesterday.

---

If there's any more abominable phrase than "online social networking," I'm unaware of it. It reduces the concepts of friendship and acquaintance to a software-enhanced array of dendritic fingers, desperately probing the void for connections, aggressively seeking to supplant (or act as surrogate to) actual, face-to-face contact between human beings.

Or maybe I'm the only one who sees it that way. Or at least, it may be I'm in the minority. To quote Anaïs Nin, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” (Thank you, E. Harrington.) Regardless, there's no place for me on either Facebook or Twitter, and I'm going to write that on a piece of paper in big black letters and tack it to the office wall. Because, apparently, I keep forgetting. I've no interest in "online social networking." I find it as strange and toxic as plastic soda bottles.

I began this journal to record the process of writing, what that process is like for me (which, of course, is not the way it will be for much of anyone else). And, obviously, to promote my work. Then MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter came along, and I allowed myself to be seduced into believing that these sites would be as useful to me as has been LiveJournal, and before that, Blogger. But they're not. I cut MySpace loose a long time ago. As for Twitter, it just seems...harmlessly ephemeral. Too much so to serve any actual purpose I need it to serve. And as for Facebook, I can't take the assholes who think I'm there to be engaged in what they mistake as witty reporté. Not since the Bad Old Days of Usenet have I had to contend with as much rudeness and idiocy on the net as I've had to contend with on Facebook. Yes, granted, the troublemakers are a small fraction of the people who follow me there. But it only takes one or two or three persistently asinine individuals.

Those people are not "my tribe." I had a tribe once, but that was long ago.

No one is entitled to anything, and we all suffer alone, and, if we are honest, we all suffer.

These are bad days and nights, and I'm not well enough to get the writing done that I have to get done, much less banter with people who actually seem to believe there's nobility of purpose in lolspeak.

I need to be writing, and I need to be Outside, and everything else is irrelevant. Or worse.

---

The greatest compliment I can ever pay a band or musician is to say, "This is my new suicide album." At the moment, my suicide album is Radiohead's The King of Limbs.

---

People say, "You're so unhappy," and they clearly mean it as an insult. Or they think my unhappiness is an affront to what they believe is their happiness.

Funny thing is, I actually hate coffee.

Adrift in the White Noise,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I suppose I ought to start a journal entry now, having spent the last half hour instigating fights on Twitter and Facebook (but mostly on Twitter, from which I aspire to be banned for championing the English language, or any language, over that ZOMGWTFLOL shit). No, "lolspeak" isn't The End of the World®, but it does make you look like a moron.

Um...yesterday. Well, I'm still trying to get Sirenia Digest #64 out. By late this evening, for sure.

I wrote and edited, edited and wrote, formatted, wash, rinse, repeat.

There were very many wonderful comments, and I might have blushed a time or two. I think Martians blush, but I've lost the user's manual, so I'm not entirely sure. More wonderful [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy photos to come.

Anyway...here we are on Tuesday, April 5th in the year 2011, and it's time to announce the next book in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club thingy. This month, it's Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). I'm not going to go on about how very good it is. But it is. Even though we're not finished reading it yet. It's a good, and true, and important book, and there are too few of those. So yes, the official selection of the month:



READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK

---

I look at the few wind turbines we have here in Rhode Island, and I can't help but be amazed at how humanity has a sky full of wind and sunlight. But, instead, we drill holes in the ground for hydrocarbons and build nuclear reactors that release isotopes that will still be deadly hundreds or thousands of years from now. Instead, we dam rivers and destroy habitats.

---

paranormal (par·a·nor·mal): Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.

paranormal ≠ PR ("paranormal romance"), exclusive of all other applications of the word, no matter what "teh internets" might imply. For example, "reviews" on Amazon declaring that, say, Turn of the Screw isn't paranormal, because it isn't part of the current shitwit PR craze (even though it is, in fact, a novel exploring both paranormal and romantic themes).

---

Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four-figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24-hour-a-day access to kiddie porn. People…they don’t write anymore - they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people in a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.
— Hank Moody

Sad thing is, not many even blog anymore. Blogging takes too much time and energy, so there's Facebook and Twitter. You know, for kids.

Yeah, well. As Quentin Crisp said, "It'll get worse." And it has. And it will again.

Think Only Happy Thoughts,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Ah, the weather. I should be taking photographs. I seem to post many fewer photos than I used to. I think it's because loading OS 10.6.3 meant losing Photoshop 7, and now Spooky has to edit all my photos, because Gimp is a piece of shit. Anyway, the high today will only be 23˚F, with a low tonight of 8˚F. Of course, if you look at tomorrow night's forecast low of -5˚F (with a -20˚F windchill), that doesn't look so bad. Everywhere out there is white, and the sun is so bright I keep the curtains pulled shut.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,896 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but still didn't find the end of a long conversation. Hopefully, I will today.

I had a very, very encouraging conversation with my agent yesterday. Which was sorely needed, the way things have been the last few weeks, or months, or whatever. Perhaps things are looking up. I think I was most pleased to hear her say "Silk was way ahead of its time." At some point, I'll get this time travel thing right, and my books will appear in the optimum years.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #62 will consist of an advance (very advance) look at The Drowning Girl: A Memoir— all of Chapter 1 —along with a couple of extras. There will be an illustration by Vince for the chapter. Does that work for everyone? I was going to hold off and include the excerpt in #63, but my schedule will suffer less disruption if I move it forward to the January issue. The novel's eating time like mad. In the last month, I've had to bow out of three anthologies, and turn down a number of others. Turning down paychecks, even small ones, drives me nuts. Oh, and if you're not a subscriber you can get an idea (for free) of what subscribers get each month by reading "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31 and is now reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years. Speaking of eBay, during the last round, a bidder in Tasmania won a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder. This will be one of the farthest south book shipments we've ever made (rivaled only by a shipment to the south island of New Zealand).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing a collaborative project between Spooky and I that's been so very secret this is the first you're hearing of it, even though its been in the works for about two or three months. You'll see.

Last night, lots and lots of WoW. Shah and Suraa finished Deepholm and moved along to Uldum. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite Azeroth regions ever. And we read. And, eventually, we slept.

Now. Doughnuts.

Yours in Providence, Bitterly Cold,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
I was just taking a bath, before dinner, and I started to think about how few gadgets have entered my life in this age that seems increasingly gadget-centric. And, also, I tend to hang onto any given electronic device pretty much as long as it has a spark of life.

I've had the same television since 1995. We haven't had cable since we came to Providence in 2008.

My iPod died back in early October, and I haven't yet replaced it. It dated back to early 2005.

My current computer is an iMac, which I got in April 2007, when I thought the screen on my iBook (purchased in 2001), was about to blow. Four years later, the iBook is still going strong; I use it to play DVDs while I sleep. Before the iBook, I had a Macintosh Color Classic that I bought in July 1993. The Color Classic worked until it was dropped by a mover in December 2004, after which it grew fritzy. So, over the course of eighteen years, I've had only three computers (a testimony to the durability of the Mac).

I don't have an iPhone, or Blackberry, or anything of the sort. My cellphone was purchased in January 2003, and it still works for the only thing we use it for, making phone calls (no landline). I've never sent a text message via any sort of phone. I've never used Skype, etc.

I use Twitter and Facebook, but only from the iMac.

I don't have a Kindle or any other sort of ebook reader (and have no desire to own one).

I don't have an iPad. I might like to own an iPad, if there wasn't the monthly fee.* Though, I suspect the iPads produced a couple of years from now will be far more impressive than these earliest models.

We have two digital cameras, a Canon PowerShot A75 we got in 2004, and it still works fine. We also have a Canon PowerShot A1100IS that Spooky was given as a birthday present in June 2009. No, our cellphone doesn't take photos.

Our car lacks GPS and it doesn't talk to you, unless you count the radio.

We use the PlayStation 3 as a DVD player, and to stream movies via Netflix. We had an XBox (from 2004), but it croaked a couple of years ago. My old PlayStation 2 still works fine.

I have a perfectly functional VHS player I got in 2000, when the one I'd had since 1990 died.

Oh, and there's the Hello Kitty boombox we've had since 2005. And my big-ass Sony stereo, which I got way the hell back in 1988 (Sony and Mac have the best track record, so far as me and electronics are concerned).

And I think that's about it. I don't believe I'm a Luddite, exactly. I'm not even immune to gadget lust. Mostly, there just always seems to be something I'd rather spend the money on, or something I need more than I need another gadget. I think I'm most impressed by my 1941 Royal typewriter, that still works like a charm. I want to see a Blackberry that's still chugging along in 2081...

* [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi has informed me that iPads do not require a monthly fee...which shows how gadget savy I am. So, what kind soul wants to give me one?
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Hard rain last night, rainy today.

Yesterday is the day I've feared. After three fantastic writing days, yesterday The Drowning Girl sputtered and hit a speed bump. I did only 595 words. Even emptying the Word Bank, I was still 234 words short for yesterday. Today, I have to do much better and get back on track. I'm giving myself until the 7th (instead of until the 6th) to finish Chapter One (which, in the book, is just 1).

Spooky had to go out to get her new glasses (which look great), and when she got back home I was pretty panicked and flustered. But there was much good mail, which rather helped my spirits. Best of the lot was a Lovecraft pin, sent to me by my editor, Anne Sowards. The administrators of the World Fantasy Awards present each nominee with one of these pins, which are miniatures of the actual award (designed by Gahan Wilson). It made me very happy, and helps me feel better about The Red Tree, and now I shall always wear it on my lapel, whenever I have a lapel on which to wear it. There's is a photo behind the cut (yeah, my nail polish is looking rough):

Because I Done Good )


My thanks to everyone who bid on Study #2 for Yelllow, and to the winner of the auction. Likely, as mentioned already, it'll be at least a couple of months before I offer another painting. There's a large canvas I want to do next, and I don't intend to sell it.

Other good mail yesterday included my Shaharrazad mousepad. I've used the same mousepad since...forever. It's an Emily Strange mousepad I got when I was still living in Athens, round about 1996 or '97. And finally it had worn smooth and needed replacing. But getting thirteen or fourteen years out of a mousepad is surely to be counted as a good deal. Also, thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent us a copy of Current 93's Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, which I'm listening to at this very minute. The mail also included my contributor's copy of Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)."

Last night, after dinner, we began the annual November reading of House of Leaves. This will be reading #5 or #6, I suppose. We also read Kelly Link's hilarious and charming "The Fairy Handbag" and her absolutely brilliant "Pretty Monsters." I cannot stress how much I adore "Pretty Monsters." The structure of the narrative is a trick I wish I'd thought of first, and the characters are so perfectly executed (make of that verb, executed, what you will). And these lines, from near the end, are wonderful:

Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it. Whether you are a wolf or a girl. A girl or a monster or both. Not everyone in a story gets a happy ending. Not everyone who reads a story feels the same way about how it ends. And if you go back to the beginning and read it again, you may discover it isn't the same story you thought you'd read. Stories shift their shape.

I also got some very, very good rp in CoX (thank you Sekhmet and Enth'lye). I've just about decided to cut all the Lovecraftian out of Erzébetta's backstory, and just avoid bastardized HPL whenever it crops up in the game. This is not the sort of thing about which I can compromise. I'm not even willing to try. Do it right, or do not bother, because doing it wrong is an insult to the source material. Oh, also, [livejournal.com profile] darkarmadillo managed, in yesterday's comments, in only three words, to perfectly summarize the essence of Lovecraft's cosmicism:

Nobody saves nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now...well, we'll see.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There will be no photos today, because Spooky has been editing and uploading them for me, because, as I mentioned, Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey balls. And, by the way, while I know that Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, it's still a very poor choice for a software programme, especially one that only limps, at best.

No photos today. Photos from Portland will resume tomorrow. Today, I write, and Spooky goes to her parents to see her brother, whom she's not seen in eight years (he's a biologist living in Bozeman, Montana).

---

What did I do yesterday, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I spent almost all of it trying to write the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Which, it turns out, is a crazy-hard thing to do. Although I really want to do this myself, right about now I'm sort of wishing I'd asked someone else. But I did calculate yesterday, in the course of struggling with the introduction, that since 1992, I've written, sold, and published about one hundred and eighty-two short stories, novellas, novelettes, and vignettes, along with nine novels (including one movie novelization and a ghost-written novel), fifty comic-book scripts (all for DC/Vertigo), and various and sundry chapbooks and non-fiction odds and ends. Somehow, that's terrifying. So, just don't ever dare say I ought to write more.

I also continued trying to restore my office to some semblance of organized. I'm boxing up books that are going to be donated to a local library. We cannot keep all the books we have forever, not in such close living spaces.

Spooky is reading to me about Condylura cristata, the star-nosed mole. Amazing beasts. Spooky saw one at her parents in 2006, wresting in dead leaves with a huge millipede. It made a deep impression upon her.

Where was I? Oh, the office. So far, most of the books I'm jettisoning are by Stephen King (I'm keeping the ones I really like). I'm also boxing up some toys and doodads, because I have too many, and they are threatening to tumble down upon my skull and squish me.

Oh, and it occurred to me that there are a couple of people I should thank, people who did kind things at the HPLFF but whom I neglected to thank in the madness of last week. For example, Edward Martin III, who writes flash fiction, and who, during the HPLFF, wrote a story about me called "Maturation." It involves medical experiments and nanites. I may include it in a future issue of Sirenia Digest. Also, thanks also to Taylor Haywood and his girlfriend (I've forgotten her name, dammit), who gave me all sorts of cool stuff and a very sweet card.

---

I think today will be Talk Like Hugo Weaving Day, Mister Anderson.

----

If you were very sad about missing out on The Ammonite Violin & Others, you may cease to despair. Subterranean Press still has copies, after all. It was a false alarm, the sell out. And there are also still copies of A is for Alien, which you need, no matter what your opinion of science fiction. Yes, you do, too. Do not argue with the crazy writer lady.

Yesterday, Spooky began an eBay auction for my one and only "napovel" (napkin + novel; it is an odious portmanteau, and I apologize). To my knowledge, it is the first and only napovel in existence. An entire novel written upon a napkin, with the aid of Caribou Coffee. It's one of the many things I did to occupy my mind while we were trapped and sleepless at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport for those twelve long hours last week. Truly, this is a part of history. Actually, I'm amazed it already has bids. My napovel is either deeply Kafkaesque or just "emo." Or maybe Kafka was emo. All proceeds go to help me pay my income taxes this year. Oh, and there are other ongoing auctions, as well. For normal books.

---

We saw the new episode of Fringe last night, which I thought was especially excellent. Part of me wishes this series could go on forever, the selfish, greedy part of me that keeps eating long after she is full. But the other part of me, the reasonable and prudent part, recognizes that it has, at most, another good season in it, and the creators should wrap it up while the show is still this marvelous, terrible, funny, beautiful thing. Please, finish before cancellation makes necessary a godsawful movie to wrap up all the loose ends (Farscape: The Peacekeeper War comes to mind).

Later, I played far too much City of Heroes and Villains. Erzsebétta has either fallen in love or been seduced by a hot demon chick named Begin, and Sekhmet is not happy. Also, sort of brushed shoulders ingame with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, which was cool. I was up until 4:30 a.m., like I was a geek of only twenty-five or so. Stupid me. I'm paying for it this morning/afternoon.

Ah! The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology just arrived. Okay. Time to make the doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
First things first. Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey ass. Really, I spent half of yesterday fighting with it, trying to finish up the layout on Sirenia Digest #58. Not a speck of intuitive design anywhere in the goddamn programme. Not a whit. I so miss Photoshop 7 (which, you will recall, was rendered useless when I updated to OS X 10.6.3).

So, I'll likely be buying the dumbed-down version of Photoshop, as soon as I am able.

Anyway...on the subject of Sirenia Digest, thanks to Gordon Duke for helping me get it out last night. I swear this issue was cursed. But, by now, all subscribers should have it. Comments would be lovely. Thanks.

Yesterday is a veritable blur. Something very, very cool happened. Potentially very cool. But right now it's a Secret. There was a very cool phone call, and I'll talk about it whenever I am able. There was also a lot of email. No, more than that. A lot a lot. The phone call and all the emails and fighting Gimp to get the digest out. That was pretty much yesterday.

Oh, and did I mention I had a great meeting with an editor from Dark Horse during the HPLFF? Well, I did. More on that as it develops.

I did also pause to take stock of how many short stories I've been commissioned to write between now and the end of 2011. I'm going to be very busy, but very busy is good. And I have to get the Next Novel written. I've asked that the deadline be extended again. I think this is the third extension. I'm losing track, and I'm losing patience. Fortunately, my agent and editor seem a little more patient with me than I am. So, the deadline for Whatever The Next Novel Will Be Called is now March 1, 2011, which means the earliest you can expect it in bookshops is probably late autumn 2011. We call this optimism, the mothmen and I.

I was going to write more about Portland, but it's getting late, so that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully, the impressions won't fade. And there are more photos below, behind the cut.

Oh, and a big thank you to Steven Lubold for another wonderful package, which included a copy of Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (Harvard University Press). Which I intend to read as soon as I finish China Miéville's The Kraken. Which I am loving, by the way.

---

We watched the new episode of Glee last night, and, well, it was troubling. These guys have probably said it all better than I will, but here I go anyway. The series has always teetered on the edge of smarm. Somehow, that's usually part of its wonky appeal. But last night, not only did it cease to teeter and plunge head first into insipid greeting-card sentimentality, it also spent an hour hassling atheists. Or, as the Brits say, god bothering. I love that term. Finn sees Jesus in a grilled cheese, and embarks on a journey into magical thinking. And, somehow, this is a set up for an episode that does it's best to convince us that we should all believe in "god" because it makes life easier than it is when you don't believe in god. Yes, it was that stupid. Also, I have to point out that— despite the fact that Ryan Murphy is gay, and one reason I love the show is that it's so queer friendly —there's something disturbing about the episode's choice of atheists. Kurt, a gay character. And Sue Sylvester, who's played by an openly lesbian actress. Now, I'm almost certain the creators of the show didn't intend to send the message that gays are godless infidels who need to be prayed for and saved and all that crap, but that's still the message that the episode sends. That, and how religious harassment is acceptable, and the separation of Church and State is repressive, and it's okay for school councilors to preach to students, and...well, lots of this sort of shit. The episode stopped just short of forcing Kurt to recant his atheism, but, for fuck's sake, that horrid scene between Sue and her older sister. It was superficial and nauseatingly insincere. Also, while Glee usually bends over backwards to be multi-cultural, only Judeo-Xtianity seems to be acceptable brands of spiritualism. There was a Sikh woman, the acupuncturist treating Kurt's dad, but she was sort of treated as a quack.

It could have been an interesting episode dealing with belief and the lack thereof. It could have looked at both intelligently without condemning or proselytizing. It failed miserably on both accounts. I love this show, but last night's episode was almost enough to make me stop watching.

---

And to end this entry on a less sour note, here are more HPLFF photos, shots of the Hollywood Theater and of some of the slides that appeared before the films. Oh, and one from my keynote speech. By the way, clips from Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown were shown each night, and it's weird as hell seeing myself projected twenty-feet high:

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 2 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Too much to say in this entry, or not much of anything at all. The net result is the same.

Yesterday, we read all the way through "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key," my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. It's an odd piece, but I am especially fond of it. It was a relief to read the whole thing, and discover that it works.

I did some line editing on it, afterwards, and sent it away to the book's editors.

It was more work than it sounds like.

Stories for Sirenia Digest #58 is next on the list. I have to manage to get this issue of the digest out without Photoshop. The cover will, by necessity, have a new look, which is unfortunate, as I was just getting happy with the look of the covers.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. The late check got lost on its way from Manhattan to Providence, and taxes have to be paid, and Oregon's coming up fast.

Also, I have to say, I'm less than pleased with anyone who buys a book from us on eBay, then turns around a month or so later and tries to sell it on Amazon at twice what they paid us for it. I will not name names, this time. Next time, I will.

Maybe I'll be coherent tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Congratulations to all the Hugo Award winners. I just saw the list. I am especially pleased to see the novel tie between Miéville and Bacigalupi, and also the wins by Peter Watts, Ellen Datlow, Clarkesworld, the screenplay for Moon, and Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. Well done.

I wish I'd have known that updating my OS to 10.6.3 renders Photoshop 7 useless. But I didn't, and there's no use crying over spilled pig intestines. So, I just have to root out a cheap replacement for Photoshop, and quickly. Spooky's pointing me to several possibilities.

A huge thanks to Joah for sweeping in and getting the PDF for Sirenia Digest #57 done yesterday afternoon. Sorry the issue was delayed. This morning, everyone who's a subscriber ought to have it in hisherits inbox. If I do say so myself, I think #57 is an especially strong issue. Comments welcome.

---

Yesterday was just shy of a perfect day. About 3 p.m., we left Providence and drove to Conanicut Island, where we spent the late afternoon. We bypassed Beavertail, figuring there would be too many people, and went instead to Fort Wetherill at the southeast corner of the island. We hiked out to the great granite bluff that affords a spectacular view of the lower bay, and to the west Beavertail, and to the east Aquidneck Island and Newport.

The sun was a white ball of fire, and the sky was the bluest blue imaginable. The sky would have shut me down, so carnivorous was it, had the sea not been there to keep me grounded. The wind up there was a fury, buffeting us, blowing so hard that the gulls could make precious little headway against it. Below those granite bluffs, not far from the ruins of the old fort, the sea hammers at the rock as it has hammered for tens of thousands of years. It roils and shatters itself. It's the color of green-white milk glass. The drop's about seventy feet down to the water. If those bluffs have a name, I cannot find it on any map, so I've named them, and the tumbling sea below, the Crucible. I watched an enormous tanker pass the bluffs on its way out to the open Atlantic.

The rocks here are a porphyritic granite of uncertain Late Proterozoic age. This granite was formed by an intrusion of magma, which cooled very slowly, allowing some crystals— the phenocrysts —to grow larger than the groundmass. The granite is shot through with veins of white calcite, some five or six inches wide, and here and there are layers of the older native shale that the magma pushed aside and partially melted. The granite is razor sharp in places, and you must pick your way across it with great caution. The cliffs are clothed in scruffy green, great thickets of bayberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and too many others to name.

Later, we headed farther east, to the beach at West Cove where we usually collect glass. But the tide was so high in the wake of Hurricane Earl that the beach was entirely submerged. From there we went further east still, to the area once known as Dumpling Rock. In 1798, a fort was constructed here, which was occupied during the Revolutionary War, in turn, by the American, British-Hessian, and French forces. The fort sat abandoned until 1899, when it was renamed Fort Wetherill and fitted with long-range. breach-loading rifled artillery. Sadly, Fort Dumpling's earthworks were entirely obliterated in the first few years of the 20th Century, during the construction of a more modern fortress. Fort Wetherill was active during both the First and Second World Wars, then abandoned by the US military in 1946. Since then, it has sat empty, cement bunkers tagged by graffiti, overgrown, crumbling, concrete burrows for raccoons and foxes, skunks and coyotes. The northern edge of the fort houses a marine research station and a marina, and a couple of the old buildings are still intact. We sat there a while, watching anglers as the sun began to sink. We saw a man land an enormous flounder.

During the drive down and back, I read a great deal of Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, mostly the chapter about August Derleth's "...heroic task of literary misconstrual...." I think we made it back home about 7 p.m. We didn't get to sleep until after four a.m., after reading much of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Too much sun, but it was a fine day, all the same. There are a few photos:

4 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We seem to be dodging the bullet of Hurricane Earl. A weather front has nudged it a wee bit eastward, and its been downgraded to a Category One. Mostly, we're looking at heavy rain and some wind, and breathing a sigh of relief. The surfers are happy, even though the Governor of Rhode Island ordered all the state beaches closed yesterday. I'd love to go down to Point Judith or Beavertail and see the waves, but it's unlikely we could get anywhere near the shore.

Meanwhile, Sirenia Digest #57 is still stuck in a holding pattern. Which has me very, very antsy and unable to move on to whatever needs doing next. Today, I may seek an alternate path to the PDF, as someone has volunteered. My thanks to everyone for being so patient.

Not much work yesterday, and what there was consisted, in the main, of email. I had a short interview for Lightspeed, about "Faces in Revolving Souls," which is being reprinted there in November. They'll also be running an author's spotlight on me that month, so I had questions regarding germline bioengineering and retroviruses to answer. Also, "The Belated Burial" is being adapted for podcast by PodCastle. I'll let you know when it's scheduled.

The rest of the day we mostly spent wandering about Providence making preparations against the storm— nonperishable food, jugs of water, candles, and so forth. Stuff we likely won't need now, not this weekend, but which we'll eventually put to good use. I called my mother, back in Alabama. Yesterday was the first anniversary of my stepfather's death, and so it was a hard day for her. We talked for twenty or thirty minutes, about everything from hurricanes to possums.

If anyone out there is feeling charitable, I'd really like to be able to update my OS from OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). If I'd ever updated to Leopard, it wouldn't be a big deal, just $29.00. But because I didn't, I appear to need this software bundle for the update. Just saying, if anyone's feeling generous with some disposable cash that isn't doing anything, I wouldn't say no. *

Last night, we watched the third and final film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1983. The third film, directed by Anand Tucker, is much more like the first, stylistically and structurally. It was beautiful, deeply unsettling, and sublime. I'd say it's a film about redemption, even at the cost of one's life and sanity (which is true, to a lesser degree, of the first film). Tucker's use of flashbacks, nonlinear narrative, and fairy-tale hints is marvelous. Mark Addy's performance as John Piggott is one of the best in all three films. So yes, I recommend these films very strongly. Right now, all three can be streamed from Netflix.

There was rp in Insilco after the movie. I think we got to bed about three, maybe later. Spooky and I are both a week or so behind on our sleep.

Update: Turns out, Apple lies (as do we all). The bundle isn't needed, and I can update directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard, so all I need is the 29.00 thingy. Baaaaad Apple marketing!

Update 2 (4:51 p.m.): One trip to the Apple Store and a 45-minute install later, and Arwen is now running OS X 10.6.3. And yes, I named my iMac Arwen.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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