greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
Note that I will make a post just after midnight (CaST), probably just a few words, and then this journal will "go black" as a protest against SOPA/PIPA. The blackout will end at midnight (CaST) on the 19th. No, I don't think it will change a thing. The whole internet going black won't change a thing. That's not the point. Sometimes we tilt at windmills because it's the right thing to do. We have also been assured that President Obama will block the legislation, and there's word Congress is already preparing to shelve it. By the way, my book sales are being seriously harmed by internet piracy, and I still oppose SOPA/PIPA. You do not burn down a fucking house to kill a termite.

And, more good news. Believed lost for some 165 years, hundreds of paleobotanical thin sections, once owned by Charles Darwin, have been rediscovered in the archives of the British Geological Survey.

If I do not leave the house today, it will have been eleven days since last I left the house. This is becoming serious. Again. And I have to face it and get out of here.

When we went to bed about 3:30 a.m., there was a very light dusting of snow on the ground, already beginning to melt.

I had a dream, this morning, that one of my molars fell out. This isn't unusual. I frequently have dreams of breaking and shattering teeth. I have bad teeth, and, moreover, many psychoanalysts believe this a sign that someone – whichever dreamer in question - feels they have lost, or are losing control of...well, whatever. In this case, I point to Alabaster #4. As I near the end of the next to last issue of the first series, I am terrified I am making missteps, that I was never cut out to write comics. And I cannot fail in this. Every single word matters, and, in many ways, this is a far, far more difficult undertaking than writing a novel. Yesterday, I wrote three more pages, 16-18 (manuscript pages 27-29, 951 words), which is probably more than I should have written yesterday. Likely, I will finish the three remaining pages today.

Please be reminded of the auction of ARC of the The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. By the way, if you haven't seen Publishers Weekly's STARRED review of the novel, you ought. Sure, too much time is wasted on synopsis, but too many reviewers these days don't know the difference between a review and book report.

Oh, and here's a photograph Spooky took day before yesterday, when I was washing my hair. All my life, I've known I had a birthmark on the back of my neck, just at and under the hairline. This is the first time I've ever seen it (behind the cut).

Birthmark )


After the writing, I curled up on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire place (it only sounds a tenth as cozy as it actually is), with the iPad and finished watching the National Geographic pterosaur documentary. It only got worse. Aside from Kevin Padian and David Unwin, actual experts on pterosaur paleontology were generally ignored (where was Peter Wellnhofer, for example, or Chris Bennett, or Dave Martill?). The science went from slipshod to fanciful. In short, whoever wrote this thing just started making shit up. Assemblages of animals were shown coexisting in the same environment, even though we know they belonged to different faunas separated by tens of millions of years. At least a third (and maybe half) of the documentary was wasted on an attempt to build a mechanical scale model of a pterosaur that would fly as a pterosaur flew. But it didn't work, even though the designers cheated right and left on the design (adding an elaborate "rudder" to an anhanguerine, for example, a group that all but lacked a tail, and certainly didn't use them for stabilization during flight). No, no, no. Bad science. This is National Geographic? My advice, stay away from this one.

Later, before sleep, I read Bruce Sterling's "Maneki Neko" (1998), a somewhat dull bit of cyberpunk. Near as I could tell, it was hellbent on showing that just as there's truth to the "ugly American" stereotype, there's also the "ugly Japanese." No shock there. The story's most interesting aspect is it's view of what the internet would become, but, in the ensuing fourteen years, has failed to do so.

And it's getting late. And I should scoot.

Scooting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [livejournal.com profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [livejournal.com profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.

---

Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Throbbing,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
I better number this one. Well, after I mention an extraordinarily weird dream I had last night involving a secret society of women who were capable of accomplishing mind transference, and so, once a year, traded bodies. And I was being asked to join. But it wasn't this me, it was some other version of me. The the whole affair was far more sinister than it sounds.

1. On this day in 2001 I began keeping a "blog." I'd long kept a private, handwritten journal, and I found the whole idea of a public journal oxymoronic. You know, "public privacy." America had not yet completely decided that "transparency" in all things was such a hot idea. Well, I still haven't (in fact, I know just the opposite), but I digress. It's been ten years since Neil persuaded me to give this blogging thing a try. And...ten years later, here I am. Offhand, I can think of no other author besides Neil whose blogged longer, and he's been nowhere near as fanatical about it as I've been. I started at Blogger, then at LJ beginning in April 2004, then stopped updating to Blogger in 2006. I suspect I've made an entry for 90% of all the days since that first entry. So, wow. Sure, blogging isn't cool anymore, but who gives a shit about what the interwebs deem cool?

2. [Interlude] Jethro Tull season has begun!

3. Here I will slightly amend a bit from the entry I made on the 24th of November 2009: On this day in 1859, 152 years ago, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was first published (by British publishing house, John Murray). If any single book charted the course of my life, this is likely it. So, 152 years ago Darwin proposed a theory of evolution to explain the fact of evolution, and, of course, the theory is still evolving, which is the nature of science. And the creationists still don't get it. Maybe in another 152 years...well...let's not go there. My inner pessimist always wins. It's enough to marvel that so many years have passed, and we've made countless discoveries that would have dazzled, delighted, and humbled Mr. Darwin.

4. I just looked at my friends list (where fewer and fewer entries appear), and Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) has written (regarding the subjectivity of time in a narrative):

And thus, maybe a kiss deserves an entire paragraph in one circumstance... and in another, a battle no more than a sentence. It all depends on the subjective way that time dilates and contracts around your viewpoint characters.

And this is well said, but it set me to thinking – as these things always do – that subjectivity renders these sorts of observations all but useless. On the surface, I agree with the sentiment expressed here. Things get messy, though, when the author pauses to realize exactly how incredibly subjective readers' reactions are to...well...everything. What is too little detail for Reader A is too much for Reader B is just right for Reader C, or almost just right for Reader D, or...almost too much for Reader E. And so forth. There really are no happy mediums here. We can only write our voices, and what seems to suit us, and see how it all falls out in the end. That is, in my case, how many readers will feel as I do regarding detail and how long I've lingered on any given subject or event in any given scene. And, then, of course, I ignore the consensus and continue on my way.

5. Oh! Good news re: Rift. Trion appears to have responded to the outrage of many of its players as concerns the "Fae Yule" foolishness. An enormous amount of the Xmas trees, wrapped presents, and crap vanished yesterday with the latest hotfix to patch 1.6. Now, I can mostly avoid it by simply avoiding low-level areas and Meridian (the Defiant capital city) in Freemarch. Trion, it appears you done at least half good, after all. Oh, and gods, I got a glimpse (I quickly averted my eyes) of one of the Xmas themed rifts, complete with fucking snowman. To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese." Pure cocksucking kitsch.

So, this evening, as the day winds down, this day on which we celebrate obesity and colonialism and the genocide of Native Americans, at the end of this day I can play Rift and pretty much be not be reminded of that which I wish to forget, namely the world's Xtian minority. By the way, last night Spooky and I played Indus (my Eth warrior) and Emris (her Kelari cleric) out in Stonefield. Emris is the only male character either of us plays (though, my main, Selwynn, a Kelari mage, is a strange sort of hermaphrodite). [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was with us (her Kelari rogue, Harlakai), but then suddenly vanished, and didn't reappear. Ah, but Spooky's talking to her now, so mystery solv'd.

By the way, as I wrote here (as a postscript) in 2008: Postscript: ...just in case anyone has forgotten since the last time i pointed this out, "Endeavor to be inoffensive to all who might have their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat" is not in my job description. In fact, I think it says something rather to the contrary.

6. Yesterday, I rehydrated, took it slow and steady, avoided caffeine, fought back the exhaustion, and wrote the first three pages of script for Alabaster #3. It's a good beginning. And Steve Lieber is hard at work on making my words into pictures. Cool stuff.

7. Back to the shuggoths! And later, William S. Burroughs.

Rolling along,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The cool weather is still with us. A mere 71F Outside at the moment. It's cool enough inside that I can actually wear pants. But the heat's supposed to make a comeback in the next day or two, I think.

All of yesterday was spent on the editorial pages for "The Maltese Unicorn." But I saved all the really hard stuff for today. And today is the very last day I have to work on the story, so it's going to be a long, long afternoon. Speaking of long, did I mention this is probably my longest short story since "Bainbridge" back in December 2005?

I've been alerted (thanks, John Glover et al.) to the fact that Amazon.com is now saying that The Ammonite Violin & Others won't be shipping for 1-2 months. No, I don't know why. But I have just emailed Bill Schafer to see if he knows, and I'll pass the news along as soon as I have it.

---

There's an announcement I need to make, and I see no point in putting it off any longer. This will likely be the last year I do conventions. I have Readercon 21, and then another con this autumn, and I don't expect to do any more after that. They're just too expensive, require too much time and energy and time away from work, and my health isn't what it once was. And, truthfully, I've only rarely enjoyed doing conventions. Dragon*Con was fun those years I costumed, and Readercon is nice, because it's laid back and feels a little more like an academic conference than a sf/f con. But yeah, consider this my last year for cons.

---

What else about yesterday? I watched an episode of American Experience about the Donner Party, via PBS online. And later, Spooky and I marked the 150th anniversary of Thomas Huxley's 1860 debate with Samuel Wilberforce by watching Jon Amiel's Creation (2009; based on Randal Keynes' 2000 novel Annie's Box).

It's a beautiful, marvelous film. Yeah, it has its share of fictionalized and synoptic history, but it very effectively communicates Darwin's struggles with his own loss of faith, his health problems, the death of a daughter, and the tensions between him and his wife, all leading up to the composition of On the Origin of Species. Both Paul Bettany (Charles Darwin) and Jennifer Connelly (Emma Darwin) are superb in their roles. And Toby Jones was an inspired choice for Thomas Huxley. The film captures all the wonder, confusion, and terror that must have attended Darwin's protracted epiphany. Excellent cinematography, which often makes great use of bright splashes of color against drab canvases. I very strongly recommend this film.

You may recall the kerfuffle that preceded Creation's US release (it was eventually picked up by Newmarket Films; the US was one of the last countries where it found a distributor). To quote producer Jeremy Thomas, "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that he [God] made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules." It is, indeed, unbelievable, and a tragedy that anyone would try to prevent this powerful and powerfully humane film from being shown anywhere. It is unthinkable to me that 151 years after the publication of Darwin's great book, Americans have yet to come to terms with the fact of evolution, and that so many of them cling to the absurdities of Biblical literalism, and, in doing so, contribute significantly to scientific illiteracy in this country. Darwin wasn't wrong in fearing the storm he would ignite, but I don't think even he imagined that we'd still be weathering it this far along.

Now, the mothmen, the platypus, and the dodo are telling me there's a unicorn with my name on it.
greygirlbeast: (white)
On this day in 1859, 150 years ago, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was first published (by British publishing house, John Murray). If any single book charted the course of my life, this is likely it. So, 150 years ago Darwin proposed a theory of evolution to explain the fact of evolution, and, of course, the theory is still evolving, which is the nature of science. And the creationists still don't get it. Maybe in another 150 years...well...let's not go there. My inner pessimist always wins. It's enough to marvel that so many years have passed, and we've made countless discoveries that would have dazzled, delighted, and humbled Mr. Darwin.

Also on this date, in 2001, a mere eight years ago, I began this blog. It was over at Blogger at the time. So, here I have eight years worth of online journal. When it began, I was living in Birmingham and just getting started on Low Red Moon. And I thought I knew how my life would go. I could never have imagined all the things that the coming eight years held in store.

So, there you go. Two anniversaries in one.

Yesterday was mostly spent tweaking "Sanderlings." I also made notes for a new vignette, for Sirenia Digest #48, and that hardly ever happens. Oh, and my contributor's copy of Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown arrived a few days back, and I spent part of yesterday watching the extended interviews.

Last night, Spooky and I were trying to get Shaharrazad and Surra through Dire Maul, but there was some sort of cataclysmic server breakdown. I think at least a third of the WoW servers crashed all at the same time. So, we were forced to stop killing ogres and seek intellectual stimulation elsewhere. So, we watched Peter Askin's documentary, Trumbo (2007), which was very good and almost made me glad for the server crash. I spend far too much time on that damned silly game.

I will not be writing today, because I have a doctor's appointment.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The copy of The Five of Cups that we're offering is the lettered edition, filled with extras. Also, Spooky has sold all of her non-winged Cthulhu ornaments (Cephalopodmas is just around the corner!), and only has the winged version remaining (the one I happen to prefer). Five of those remain. You can see them in her Dreaming Squid shop.

Now I'm going to finish my coffee.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
First off, let me direct your attention to the auction that is being held to benefit the Shirley Jackson Awards. Appropriately, it is being called a "lottery." A lot of great stuff, and I've donated a complete, signed set of my novels: Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, and Daughter of Hounds. Tickets are only one dollar each, and the lottery ends on February 23rd. Check it out.

Yesterday, after attending to the morning's email, I decided that I could spare one day away from the keyboard, in honour of Darwin Day and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, and also to take some time to simply enjoy the release of A is for Alien. We toyed with the idea of going either to Boston, to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, or to New Haven, to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; either of which would have been perfect. However, Spooky didn't really feel like driving back from Massachusetts, and I really didn't feel like riding to Connecticut. So, we settled for a trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo here in Providence (established 1872).

The day was cold, and cloudy, and the zoo had an odd air of desolation. Mud and melting snow everywhere, bare limbs, ponds still frozen solid, and many of the animals inside their winter quarters. But we still managed to see a great many living wonders of evolution, which seemed a very fitting way to commemorate Darwin's contributions to biology. Animals I can remember seeing: African elephants, Masai giraffes, dromedaries, Cape hunting dogs, a snow leopard, moon bears, a red panda, flamingos, grey-crowned cranes, a two-toed sloth, a Brazilian prehensile-tailed porcupine, harbour seals, Humboldt penguins, kangaroos, emus, a red wolf, emerald tree boas, some beautiful examples of Australian snake-necked turtles, a crested quail dove, elegant crested tinamou, gibbons, carpet pythons and green tree pythons, Barbary sheep, a babirusa, fruit bats, a giant anteater...and, well, various others. But those are all I recall offhand. It's not a large zoo, compared with the Atlanta Zoo, and the interstate is annoyingly near (almost directly on top of the elephants). I think I will like it better during the spring and summer. We were especially taken with the "Tropical America" exhibit, housed in an ivy-covered Victorian building. It was swelteringly hot inside, and the air was filled with the screams of monkeys and tropical birds. Two docents very eagerly pointed out to us that the two-toed sloth was lounging about outside her den, out in the open, which they said she very rarely does. She was only a couple of feet from us, with no glass or plastic or bars in between. Beautiful. So, yes, Darwin Day hooky at the zoo.

When we got home, another box of A is for Alien and B is for Beginnings was waiting for me on the doorstep. I opened it, and admired the books all over again.

Last night, we both reached Level 61 in WoW, but it was a rather dull, frustrating night of gaming. The Valentine's Day stuff is a bit much. And I'm growing weary of not being able to make it through dungeons until we're far past the level where we can get points for the kills in the dungeons. I cannot understand this attempt at forced socialization. Blizzard could easily have designed a solo mode for the games "instances" (I loathe the sterile misappropriation of that word for the dungeons). I won't play with strangers, generally speaking, and everyone we know who plays WoW is on other servers or much lower or higher than we are. It's a really baffling oversight on the part of Blizzard. But, yeah, Level 61.

And now, the work I should have done yesterday. Here are six photos from the zoo:

Darwin Day 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Trilobite)
Today is not only Darwin Day, it marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, who was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on February 12th, 1809. Viva la Evolución!

Yesterday, my comp copies of A is for Alien arrived, along with copies of the chapbook, B is for Beginning. I was a little overwhelmed; I still am. A is for Alien is a very handsome volume, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I sat down and tallied up all the books I've done with subpress since I first began working with Bill Schafer late in 2001. I've done twelve hardbacks (not counting hardback states of chapbooks) and something like fifteen chapbooks. In only about eight years. And here is this latest one, and I just want to take the day off and do something I pretty much never do when a new book comes out: bask in the satisfaction of having done a good job. But, no, too much work to be done, too many deadlines. My thanks to everyone who's ordered a copy, and to Bill for taking the book on, and a special thanks to Vince Locke. Also, my thanks to Elizabeth Bear and Jacek Yerka. Like I said already, I'm a litle overwhelmed at this one. My next release from Subterranean Press will be the new trade-paperback edition of Alabaster in April (by the way, I love that on a search for the word "alabaster" on Google, out of 4,880,000 hits, this book comes in at sixth place).

Yesterday, I wrote 690 words, adding a short scene to Chapter Eight of The Red Tree, at my editor's request. Unlike the new scene I wrote on Monday (and ditched on Tuesday), yesterday's scene doesn't feel dropped in. It blends smoothly with the whole, and creates no unsightly ripples. Today, I need to substantially revise the preface, primarily because I wrote the preface before the novel, and, thereafter, The Red Tree became a somewhat different book than I thought it would be when I began. So, the preface no longer quite works with the rest.

More books up on eBay, so please have a look at the auctions.

Much of the snow has finally melted. The temperature was in the high fifties (F) yesterday, and I was even able to open my office window and let some fresh air into the room.

A very busy virtual life last night. To start with, I'm in the process of tearing down the Abney Park Laboratory in the Second Life steampunk sim, New Babbage. It will be replaced by an Arabian Nights-themed "Ladies Social and Arts Club" (with a steampunk edge, of course), which is a nice way of saying an Arabian/NeoVic lesbian bordello. I finally got bored with the whole "mad scientist" thing, so, in Babbage, Nareth Nishi will be replaced by my new alt (created just last night), Scheherazade Muramabhad. Construction of the place will begin as soon as the laboratory is leveled. Nareth will continue to rp in Toxian City, but not in Babbage. And then, later, Shaharrazad and Suraa discovered that is is possible to rp in WoW. While questing in the Eastern Plaguelands, we happened upon a bloof-elf paladin named Sularyn, and together we took the four towers in the region back from the Alliance and held them. Shah and Suraa didn't make it to Level 61, but it was a good night, all the same. Well, except for the utter apocalypse of hearts and flowers and Valentine's Day bullshit that is making it impossible to move in Undercity.

The platypus and the dodo are pretty mellow today. Darwin Day, and the bicentennial of Darwin's birth, seems to have made them both somewhat less grumpy.
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
Well, truthfully, this year's Jethro Tull Season began at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, but everyone knows I'm a big fat liar. So, there you go. Screw St. Nick and shopping malls and all those damn dead turkeys! Break out the heavy horses and the locomotives and the dirty old homeless men with pneumonia! Yes, this is how Caitlín copes with winter. Jethro Tull.

Thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala, a fellow Tullite), I wasted over an hour this morning destroying most of the earth's population with a viral pandemic. I failed, though I did manage to wipe out the entire populations of Russia (where it began), North America, Europe, India, Greenland, much of South America, China, and most of Africa, before the disease finally burned itself out. I even bested the attempt to create a vaccine. Every day should begin so triumphantly (even though I failed).

Also, 149 years ago today, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published. 149 years later, we are still beleaguered by creationist numbnuts.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)," and I almost found THE END. There will be one last short scene today. It's an odd story, another of my Cherry Creek steampunk tales (this will be the fourth), revisiting much of the territory covered by "In the Waterworks (1889)" and Threshold. After the writing, and a dinner of chili, we read and proofed Chapter Six of The Red Tree. I am pleased to say I like this novel even more now than when I "finished" it last month.

We lit the fireplace last night, for the first time this year. I haven't lived anywhere with a functional fireplace since 1982.

After the reading, we watched Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War, which I found extremely effective and chilling. A study in unforeseen consequences. The more things change, the more things keep getting worse. Meet the new boss, same as the old. You know the score. Tom Hanks was good, but Philip Seymour Hoffman was brilliant. Julia Roberts was just scary. And then, after the movie, there was WoW.

I think that I am finally beginning to become disenchanted with World of Warcraft. That makes what? Almost three months? It's just starting to feel far too much like a game (which, of course, is what it is), and I am too entirely disappointed by its utter failure as rp. I'm going to try and stick with it longer by scaling back the number of characters I'm playing, so there's not so much repetition (part of the undesired "gaminess"). I hate games. I want a simulation. I want roleplay, not gameplay. I want full immersion. I want to lose myself in alternate realities. And, so, I suspect it's time to forsake the visual interface and start reading more again. Reading, at least I am not bombarded by REAL LIVE idiots and by stats and leveling and all those other things that only serve to destroy suspension of disbelief. Last night, Mithwen reached Lvl 35. Scaling back, I'll most likely confine myself to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, and her little sister, Hanifah (a paladin). Spooky's talking about concentrating on her Tauren shaman, Usiku. Total, I presently have six characters, which looks pretty bad, until you consider that Blizzard permits you to have fifty. Anyway, I will continue to hope that at some point within the next few years a genuine rp "simulation" will emerge from the chaos of SL and mmorpgs and whatnot.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
A day of relief and some small bit of rejoicing yesterday, as we learned that we got the apartment near the Armory district in Providence that we were hoping we'd get. It is very, very good to know, again, where we will be sleeping two months from now. We plan to leave Atlanta, probably, on Friday, May 30th, and arrive at the new place on June 1st, just about the time the movers arrive with our furniture. It's a wonderful apartment, in a building dating back to 1875. This is the move I wanted to make in 2002, when we landed in Atlanta, instead, so it feels like some long-delayed goal has been achieved. Our five (going on six) years in Atlanta have not been a total waste, just awfully close to a total waste, and I'll be glad to be shed of this city. Of course, now we have less than six weeks remaining to pack everything.

Byron will be driving up with us, to drive Spooky's car while she drives the van that will transport more fragile belongings (fossils, computers, Hubero, framed pictures, etc.) that we don't trust to the movers. It's good to know we won't be on the road alone. He'll take a plane back (though we have hopes that Providence will seduce him, as well).

A decent writing day yesterday, though it took me forever, or so it felt, to get started. I did 1,131 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. As for the footnotes vs. endnotes thing, I think I have (after many comments from readers) come down on the side of footnotes. We'll see how it goes when I finish this chapter and backtrack to add them in, see if footnotes look and feel right.

Email yesterday from Frank Woodward of Wyrd Co., to let me know that the editing on the documentary, H. P. Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, is finished, and wanting to know if I'd like to be one of the first to see it. Of course, I said yes. And I cannot recall, offhand, who it was, back during the medical/dental crisis of February who bought letter "L" of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (plus Beanie platypus #4), and for whom I promised a letter "L" limerick, but I apologize for not having gotten around to it yet. Yesterday, Spooky shoved the Beanie platypus at me and threatened death if I did not take care of this. So. It's on the list for this weekend, promise, and I thank you for your patience. Spooky has decided, by the way, that there shall be no more eBay until after the move.

Last night, Byron came over for the premiere of Series Four of Doctor Who, and I thought it was a very excellent episode, indeed (of course, UK folks saw it about three weeks ago, I guess). A good start, though I would so have loved Astrid to have become the new companion, if we can't have Sally Sparrow or Martha Jones. I was not, however, impressed with the The Sarah Jane Adventures. Maybe if I were twelve. But the new episode of Battlestar Galactica was also quite good, with a nice tummy punch there at the end. Byron did not stay for BSG, as he still holds a grudge against the SFC for canceling Farcscape, and says that Doctor Who is one thing, since it's actually produced by the BBC, but BSG is another. I hold the grudge, as well, but fell in love with BSG on DVD and couldn't help myself. Later in the night, some good rp in Second Life.

Someone got me thinking that today was Darwin Day, when, in fact, Darwin Day was February 12th (his birthday). Today is actually the date of his death in 1882. However, since I missed Darwin day this year, I shall recognise it today:



I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.

—— Charles Darwin, from Autobiography (1958, edited by Darwin's granddaughter, Emma Barlow)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, yes, here we are once more at Darwin Day, and I just wanted to take a moment here to mark the 198th anniversary of the birth of one of the individuals most responsible for shaping our current understanding of life on Earth. It is also a very fine day to reflect upon the power of the scientific method as a tool for unlocking the mysteries of the natural world.

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
— Charles Robert Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1st ed., 1859).

the man himself )


Also, I would like to remind all interested parties that the Raven Red auction ends in less that two and a half hours. Please take a look. And, as I said this ayem, should you bid, I thank you, Spooky thanks you, Hubero P. Wu thanks you, and Herr Platypus certainly thanks you.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
The secrets of evolution are death and time — the deaths of enormous numbers of lifeforms that were imperfectly adapted to the enviroment; and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable mutations. Part of the resistance to Darwin and Wallace derives from our difficulty in imagining the passage of the millennia, much less the aeons. What does seventy million years mean to beings who live only one-millionth as long? We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it forever. — Carl Sagan


Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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