greygirlbeast: (Default)
I just needed this again...

greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck5)
One of the things about being a freelancer – and here I mean the sort with nothing resembling a regular gig, the sort who lives hand to mouth, short story to novel to short story and so forth – is that there's a lot of waking-up time. You might have to worry about paying the bills, but you can take three hours to chase the sleep away. But now, because of The Secret, I'm another sort of writer, and I'm having to get used to rolling out of bed and hitting the floor running, frosty, eyes wide, bright and shiny, Cap'n. I'm getting very good at faking awake and articulate.

I actually slept eight and a half hours last night.

Yesterday, I worked. A lot.

I just got word of the Decemberists EP that comes out on November 1, and there's the new Tom Waits next week. Music madness!

This morning, Spooky kindly made me eggs and bacon for breakfast. These days, left to my own devices, my usual breakfast is a can of Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup. And now I have my sugar-free Red Bull, so all is right and Ceiling Cat is in his clouds, rubbing shoulders with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I wish I had a good Hallowe'en party to attend this year, But, likely I shall not. Likely, we shall attend the Molten Masquerade, the annual iron pour at The Steel Yard, where over 500 pounds of liquid steel will flow beneath the night skies of Providence. It's hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain. I mean, hard to think of a better way to welcome Samhain that doesn't involve nudity. And a sacrificial Scientologist.

A favor, please. If you've received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One), please leave a comment to that effect (and your location, if you don't mind). I just like watching my new books spread, like a pandemic.

Last night, after work, after Spooky went to the farmer's market, after meatloaf, we played RIFT for...a while. And then we read more of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis' Wildwood. While Spooky read aloud, I used astronomy "apps" on Kermit to explore Mars and then the Moon. Ah, and yesterday I also managed to read four (!!!!) papers in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "A new Barremian (Early Cretaceous) ichthyosaur from western Russia," "A Carboniferous emblomere tail with supraneural radials," "The first temnospondyl amphibian from Japan," and "New evidence of large Permo-Triassic dicynodonts (Synapsida) from Australia."

And that was the best of yesterday. And now I will leave you with five more randomly chosen "behind the scenes" photos taken by Ryan Anas during last weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir trailer. However, these are so random, I think I'll add captions:

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Perhaps we've entered the cool descent to autumn. It's too early yet to tell, but the highs have dropped into the upper 70sF. Cloudy today.

Yesterday was entirely consumed by email and putting together the text for the Kickstarter project to help fund the trailer/photo shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And I think this is only happening because [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy did the number crunching. I certainty don't have the patience for it at the moment.

I'm hoping that Sirenia Digest #68 will go out before midnight. I just need to get Vince's illustration for "The Granting Cabinet" and have the whole thing PDF'd.

I think my triggerpunk proposal went over well yesterday. The only potential problem I foresee are readers who think they're buying books about guns. Because, you know. Readers think things. But consumers...consumers think the worst things of all, much worse than the things readers think. I have often marveled that people who are comfortable being called consumers (or who so name themselves) are able to think at all.

Oh, and may I just say: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman? Mrrroow....

---

Last night we saw Jim Mickle's Stake Land (2010), and as it was yet another entry in the parade of post-apocalyptic vampire films, I went in with lower than zero expectations. And...surprise. It's, I shit you not, fucking brilliant. Imagine The Road crossed with I Am Legend, and that's not right, and sort of demeaning (reducing everything to the Hollywood pitch), but it puts you in the neighborhood. The vampires are terrifying, but Mickle presents an Aryan Christian doomsday cult as an even greater threat, and his cinematographers use the landscape through which the characters wander to create the most quietly terrible menace of all. It is, in fact, a marvelously quiet film, punctuated by sudden bursts of violence. Very good film score. The vampires are the absolute antithesis of the "sparkly" foolishness. For that matter, they're the antithesis of any image of the vampire as a romantic figure. This film highlights the very thin line between vampires and zombies. Remember, kittens: George Romero was inspired to make Night of the Living Dead (1968) by Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, a novel about a vampire plague, not a zombie plague. Actually, Romero said "I had written a short story, which I basically had ripped off from a Richard Matheson novel...", and "I couldn't use vampires because he did."

Anyway, with Night of the Living Dead, Matheson reinvented the zombie, just as writers like Anne Rice would go on to reinvent the vampire. In Stake Land, Mickle yanks vampires violently, splendidly, with beautiful horror, back towards their roots. And if anyone dare complain this feels more like a zombie movie, that's only because they've never read I Am Legend and/or don't know of the origin of Night of the Living Dead. Truly, Stake Land is the first vampire movie in a long time*** that made me a little less ashamed of my fascination (nigh unto fetish) for bloodsuckers. But, a caveat: if you're the sort whose put off by artistic triggerpunk – and we are talking major fucking "triggery" shit here – then you may want to sit this one out. Stake Land is art, and it is beauty, and it is hideous, and it is trauma. It's despair, almost, almost eclipsing any hope. Unless you can simultaneously embrace all these things, it's not a film for you. But I fucking loved it.

So come to me.
Come to me now.
Lay your arms around me.
And this is why,
This is why,
We fight.
Come Hell.
Come Hell.
Come Hell.
Come Hell.
–– The Decemberists

Needing Red Bull,
Aunt Beast

*** The last, of course, was Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in (2008).
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're in one of those dry spells between checks.

2) Now, before I forget again, the latest StarShipSofa includes a reading of "Galápagos." It's a pretty good reading. Merrick comes off a little too perky for a woman whose been through the hell she's been through, but the reader gets many words in many languages right, and that wins very big points with me.

3) The wind is a wild thing today. The wind is always a wild thing, but today it's throwing a wild rumpus out there. Speeds at 25mph, but gusting to 55mph. The house keeps moving, swaying. These old walls are reinforced with steel bands for protection against hurricanes, and days like this I'm grateful. Much of the snow has melted, though it's cold again, currently 35˚F (but feels like 21˚F). I shall be staying in today, thank you very much.

4) Yesterday, we actually did manage to make it all the way through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Go, Spooky! She read all 24,765 words of that aloud, and had to contend with my constantly asking her to stop for this or that line edit. It all holds together much better than I thought, and now I have the confidence, I hope, to proceed with the eighth chapter and then the ninth.

5) I'm reasonably certain that I'll be writing my YA books as Kathleen Tierney. That has mostly been my decision. I'll continue to write short fiction, novellas, etc. as Caitlín R. Kiernan.

6) People do not mean to set me off. Well, at least sometimes it's clear they don't. Case in point: Last night, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh posted a link to a review of the Decemberists' The King is Dead (in the comments to my blog), a review written by someone named Ezra Ace Caraeff and published in The Portland Mercury (February 17, 2011). It was not, I know, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh's wish to set me off, but the very first paragraph got me so angry I spent much of the night bitching about it (much to Spooky's chagrin). The review begins by slamming The Hazards of Love as a "turgid rock opera." But then it gets really stupid. I quote:

Their determined song cycle put the story before the music, and its confusing plotline (with its forest creatures, fauns, and fairies, Hazards might as well have come pre-packaged with 12-sided dice and a wizard's cloak) distracted from both the band's melodic craft and frontman Colin Meloy's penchant for creating lyrics that have left many a weak-kneed listener and dog-eared thesaurus in their wake.

As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Or something like that. The Hazards of Love is one of the most amazing musical accomplishments of the last decade, and it pains me to see how little vision there is in the world. Also, when will we learn to stop letting doofus hipsters write indie music reviews? Of course, then no one would write them. Of course...that would be a good thing, right? Yes, The King is Dead is excellent, but it's nowhere near the marvel the band achieved with The Hazards of Love (though, I admit, I love my dodecahedral dice). Regardless, I do not blame you, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh.

7) My editor at Penguin wrote me yesterday about the recycled cover fiasco. In the end, it was pretty anticlimactic, as I'd expected it would be. I was told "It’s actually not that uncommon, as we only buy the rights to use the art on our books in the territories we have. The artist owns the work itself. So sometimes artists will sell the same painting or a similar painting to a foreign publisher for a different book, or sell the image for a greeting card or a calendar or something. I know it’s disconcerting to come across, though. I’m double-checking with our art director that the artist sold this legitimately, but I haven’t heard back yet." Of course, Penguin buys just about every territory on earth. But not Romania. By the way, the artist in question is Gene Mollica, and I'm told he has a website out there somewhere, though I have no wish to see it. It's all business as usual, and business as usual is pretty much always a slipshod, disheartening affair. Regardless, I don't blame my editor for this. She didn't make those rules.

8) Last night, after I plowed through all 55 quests in Azshara and started in on Desolace (still determined to get the title Loremaster before leaving WoW), I signed up for the Rift beta, and Spooky gave me a few minutes on her laptop. I rolled a Kelari mage named Selwyn and a Bahmi cleric named Shaharrazad (the name lives on! Arrakis, Azeroth, and now Telara). And I played a couple of levels. And...damn. The game is astounding. Everything I saw about this game is astounding. And beautiful. The best character generator I have ever seen, bar none. It was hard to go back to the candy-colored, cartoon silliness of WoW, with all its poo jokes and puns. But...I'll just soldier on and keep my sights on the spring. Of course, Rift isn't idiot proof. No MMORPG ever will be. For example, there was some Kelari woman named Mayonnaise in the starting area with me last night. I'm sure her typist though she or he was being terribly clever.

9) Yesterday, while we were reading, the door to the front stairwell mysteriously opened. We're pretty sure Hubero used his brain to make it open. And, of course, he was out in a flash, and Spooky had to chase him up and down the stairs. I came out and pulled the door shut behind me. And it locked. Fortunately, the guy downstairs is good at picking locks, so we were back inside in only about five minutes. Screw you, Houdini cat!

And now....doughnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I've just been told that Twitter has taken credit for the Russian Revolution.

Today is Darwin Day.

Here in Providence, the smallest fraction of snow has melted. The cold hangs in the air, thick as soup. In the the house, the house I do not leave, I suspect the humidity is in the single digits. The air is crisp, and it crackles when I walk through a room. A migraine came to visit yesterday, and I'm better this morning, but it's still very close.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,281 words on the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, despite the headache. Later, perhaps because of the headache, the final fifth of the novel occurred to me with almost perfect clarity, pieces falling into place, blindsided by revelation. Solutions to problems, problems I was not even sure existed. And this is why I detest proposals and outlines. This is how I discover a story, by writing it. I never could have imagined the end of the novel, because to learn that end I had to blindly travel the road of the book.

After the writing, we proofed "Night Story 1973," for Two Worlds and In Between. I wrote the story with [livejournal.com profile] docbrite back in 2000.

Answers to the current Question @ Hand— If you were to make of me— of my actual, physical body —a work of art, what would it be? —have almost all involved my death, a procession of postmortem art crimes. And that's entirely cool. But I'm beginning to wonder if I left readers with the impression that my death was a necessary part of their answers. It's not. You may actually work with the living flesh. Go ahead. I won't bite...

Last night, we watched Antti-Jussi Annila's Sauna (2008), and oh my fucking dog what a brilliant fucking film. I has been a long time since I've been genuinely disturbed by a film on the level that Sauna unnerved me. It's an exploration of the Wrong Thing, of the limits of human comprehension when faced with the unknowable. That which hides behind the back of God, to paraphrase the film. The cinematography is exquisite. There are five-second shots that communicate more dread and awe than most "horror" films manage in their entirety. Every frame of film is invested with quiet tension. Seriously, see this. If I made movies, it's the sort of film I'd be trying to make.

We also read the first six chapters of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat. Actually, some time back, Spooky listened to the audiobook, read by Jessie Eisenberg, so she's already "read" it, but it's new to me. Very good so far.

A much appreciated package from Steven Lubold yesterday, which included a biography of Mary Anning, the most recent Mouse Guard hardback, and the new Decemberists album, The King is Dead. I already have a favorite track— "Don't Carry It All" –though I expect that by tomorrow I'll have a new favorite track off the disc. A box can brighten a day. Thank you, Steven.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just something quick before dinner. We spent the next to last day of the vacation up at Salem and Marblehead, and I'll say more about that tomorrow, most likely. Just wanted to repost the links for:

Emma the Beltane Bunneh

and

the current eBay auctions.

Spooky says that she'll be summoning Great Bunthulhu next. You've been warned.

Oh, and here's something...


greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I've been working on "As Red as Red" since...frankly, I'm not certain. Sometime before March 13th, when I actually thought of the title. A fucking long time, for a short story that looks like it's going to come in at about 6,000 words. Yesterday, I seized it by the nape of its scruffy neck, determined that I will finish the piece this afternoon. Spooky and I began the day yesterday by reading over everything that's been written thus far. And then we did something I almost never do. We plotted. That is, talked through specifically what will happen in the final two thousand words of the story. Then I sat down and wrote 1,039 words.

In the end, yesterday felt like I'd finally achieved the requisite momentum to escape some terrible gravity well. I think I can easily manage the end of the story today, which is good, because I have Sirenia Digest #40 to write, and the CEM for The Red Tree was overnighted to me from Manhattan yesterday, so it should be landing on the doorstep with an audible thud at almost any moment (though as I said, Spooky's mostly handling it). So, yes, today I finish "As Red as Red," which has elements of both vampire and werewolf stories, though, in the end, it's more a ghost story. Which I should have seen coming, as in the New England vampire tradition, (incidents ranging from 1793-1898), vampires are essentially incorporeal anthropohagic phantoms. The writing yesterday was assisted enormously, by the way, by a P. J. Harvey song, "Liverpool Tide," that Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) kindly sent my way. And big thank-yous to Spooky and also to Donovan Wilcox, who both did a lot of research for me yesterday, stuff that will make things go far, far smoother today. You guys rock.

---

When the writing was done, we drove down to Warwick, to Newbury Comics, and scored a copy of the new Decemberists album wicked cheap. Just $7.99. We listened to the whole disc maybe five times last night (there are 17 tracks). And at first, my reaction was sort of, "Well, this is different." An hour or so later, I was thinking, "This is fucking brilliant." By midnight or so, I'd decided The Hazards of Love is my favourite Decemberists album thus far. Borrowing liberally from "Tam Lin" and other ballads, it's a thunderous, angry, vicious, poignant, lilting, beautiful song cycle. A folk-rock/acid-rock opera, and, really, I don't think I've heard anything else quite like it. I suspect this is an album Colin Meloy has been wanting to make for years, and, in hindsight, The Crane Wife feels like it was a warm up for The Hazards of Love. At the moment, I'm most fond of "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid" and "The Rake's Song," though it's really not possible to pull out individual songs. It all fits too snuggly together. I am especially taken with Shara Worden's (of My Brightest Diamond) vocals. The woman sings like someone possessed by the ghost of Janis Joplin. Honestly, you simply have to hear this CD to understand. I can talk about the second coming of Fairport Convention (backed by Jimi Hendrix) all day long, and it won't make any sense until you hear it. Oh, and Robyn Hitchcock pitches in, too.

---

Last night, while listening to The Hazards of Love, I WoWed (new stupid verb for a twittering world), mostly running errands for the orcs in Orgrimmar, way out in Feralas. And I accidentally leveled Shaharrazad up to 63 (really, it just suddenly happened; I wasn't trying). I also got my first "achievement" since February 21st. I even have a screenshot (behind the cut) of Shah astride her felsteed in Northern Ferales, at the falls above the Forgotten Coast.

Shaharrazad in Feralas )


---

This morning I was surprised to discover there's actually a CRK Facebook group thingy, which is cool, I do suppose.

---

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, Spooky discovered an unfinished Monster Doodle sculpture hiding in one of her drawers. How it got there and why it was never completed has been a source of much lively debate. Regardless, she's now painted it (I sculpted it), and we're putting it up on eBay this week. This is the first we've offered since sometime early in 2006, I think, and I have no immediate plans to make more. So, if you're into Monster Doodle sculptures, you might want to have a look-see. I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it begins.

---

Anyway, Platypus and Dodo are arguing over who gets to wear the spurs today, so I guess that means it's time for me to wrap this up. Here we go again.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
There's an island hidden in the sound
Lapping currents lay your boat aground
Affix your barb and bayonet
The curlews carve their arabesques
And sorrow fills the silence all around
Come and see

There's a harbour lost within the reeds
A jetty caught in overhanging trees
Among the bones of cormorants
No boot-mark here nor fingerprint
The rivers roll down to a soundless sea
Come and see
Come and see

The tides will come and go witnessed by no waking eye
The willows mark the wind
And all we know for sure amidst this fading light
We'll not go home again
Come and see
Come and see

In the lowlands, nestled in the heath
A briar-cradle rocks it's babe to sleep
Its contents watched by Sycorax and Patagon in parrallax
A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep
Come and see
Come and see

The tides will come and go witnessed by no waking eye
The willows mark the wind
And all we know for sure amidst this fading light
We'll not go home again
Come and see
Come and see
Come and see


— The Decemberists, "Come and See" (The Crane Wife)
greygirlbeast: (grey)
Late last night...well, early this morning, actually, about 1:50 a.m., I was in the living room, getting ready to go to bed. I switched on a lamp, switched off a space heater, then turned so that I was facing the windows. And a fat little animal came trundling out of our yard, over the curb, and into the street, where it was plainly visible beneath the streetlights. At first, I thought it must be a cat. There are so many on this street, but then the details of its morphology began to sink into my sleepy brain, the way it moved, and I saw it was clearly not a cat. Nor was it a dog, of any sort. I have chosen to believe it must have been a raccoon, or perhaps even a posssum, which had somehow lost its tail. Because I will not believe that I saw a wombat crossing the street. I have enough to worry about without rogue wombats wandering about Atlanta in the dead of night. I only saw a wombat, which is not to say there was ever a wombat there to see. I shouted for Spooky immediately, as it crossed the street. She was in my office, doing something online, and by the time she made it to the window the womb...er, I mean the tailless raccoon or possum had vanished beneath a white SUV parked across the way. I think she thought I'd lost my mind good and proper, as I was babbling on and on about this strange-looking animal, the odd way it moved, its stocky build, the angle of its forelimbs relative to its body, and she dragged me out onto the front porch, but there was no sign of the beast anywhere. It was not a woodchuck. It was not a skunk. And it most certainly was not a frelling wombat. I said, "It looked like a tiny bear," and Spooky rolled her eyes and told me to go to bed before I hurt myself or she decided to do it for me. I said, "I choose to believe that I saw a raccoon or a possum, without a tail," and "Fine," she said and rolled her eyes. "Now go to bed." No, I was actually sober, and it helps not in the least that there was only about ten feet between me and it, or that the street light was quite bright. I do so dislike that sensation of having seen something I feel I wasn't meant to see, even if it is only a possum or raccoon. Now, I know what Charles Fort would have to say about nixars who say they've seen tailless possums or raccoons when they've plainly seen a wombat at 1:50 a.m. almost 10,0000 miles from where wombats have any business being. Charles Fort had much to say about displaced (or misplaced) things and animals and people. But, thankfully, I only have to answer to Spooky.

Anyway...

A good writing day yesterday. 694 words. Quite unexpectedly, I began a new story — "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4") — which I suppose will be appearing in Sirenia Digest 11 late this month. The last few days, a ballad, "The Twa Sisters" (recorded by Loreena McKennitt as "The Bonny Swans"), has been going round and round in my head, wanting to be retold as a short story. I think this is it, though there's not a swan in sight. I am unaccustomed to having so many stories in my head at once. Right now, there's "The Ammonite Violin," and there's also Joey LaFaye, and there's also The Dinosaurs of Mars. I'm used to one story at a time, so my head is story stew. Anyway, expect "The Ammonite Violin" to be paired with [livejournal.com profile] grandmofhelsing's interview with Vince, and perhaps also with "Lafayette." A lot of you may not have read "Lafayette," and it's an old favourite from Tales of Pain and Wonder, which I've begun to think of as "Murder Ballad #2."

It pleases me that the drop-down menus on LJ use entry instead of post.

Byron came by last night, halfway through Heroes, and stayed for Dr. Who. He would not, however, stay for Battlestar Galactica. Because, said he, he has yet to "drink the purple Kool-Aid." Which is to say, Byron has managed to hold his grudge against the Sci Fi Channel much more faithfully than have I, and even now, four years later, he's not forgiven them for cancelling Farscape. Truth is, I haven't forgiven them, as the act in question was unforgivable. I just decided, reluctantly, I wasn't going to be stubborn and miss Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica over so negligible a matter as mere principle or integrity. But Byron's better with such things than I am, inconvenient things like principle and integrity. Not quite so much better that he'll miss Dr. Who, but betterer enough that he refuses to watch Battlestar Galactica, which he knows he would love. I think he figures that Dr. Who is merely being shown on the SFC, while Battlestar Galactica was created by the SFC and took Farscape's place. But, anyway, I'm going to experiment with two-word TV reviews:

Heroes: still optimistic.

Dr. Who: brilliant, delightful.

Battlestar Galactica: wow, again.

Eh. Next week, I think I shall allow myself four words for each review. Also, I finally sat down and listened to the new disc from the Decemberists, The Crane Wife. Exquisite, says I. Quite different from Picaresque. There are fewer of the flights of fancy we saw in, say, "The Infanta" or "The Mariner's Revenge Song." It seems a more grounded and solemn album. There are murder ballads (there's that phrase again), in "The Landlord's Daughter" and "You'll Not Feel the Drowning." There's reference to the Civil War ("Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Again)") and the seige of Leningrad ("When the War Comes," and how can I not love an album with an ode to Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov?). But there's still some whimsy, particularly in the "The Crane Wife," parts 1, 2, and 3, though it's a sad sort of whimsy. Only one song seems suited to the 20th Century, "The Perfect Crime #2," and then only just barely. I think my favourite track is "Come and See," though the last song, "Sons and Daughters," is awfully good, as well. Anyway, no sour notes here. Check it out. I do wish that Petra Haden were here, though.

Oh, yeah. After Battlestar Galactica, I finished Drakengard 2. Well, one of three possible endings. I won't risk any spoilers, only say that I loved the game, Manah's still hot, and it was quite difficult (I played it set on "challenge"), but I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. I'm not usually like that. I tend to treat the ends of stories like history. Which is to say, that's what happened, regardless of who dies or is betrayed or gets away unscathed. I figure, the author knows what is to come, what happens, the history of the story sheheit is telling, and the reader is merely watching. This is what I believe. Just so long as it rings true. But I did not find that the end of this game rang true. It seemed an eleventh-hour plot twist, put there to stun and take aback. I'm going to have a break from gaming, at least until Final Fantasy XII comes out at the end of the month, as there's so much writing and reading to get done. But I will come back to Drakengard 2 one day and find those other endings, hoping that one of them rings more true.

Okay. I got behind on e-mail yesterday and must catch up. And then, well, you know.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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