greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today, we drop the CEM off at the post office, and the deed is fucking done. The corrected CEM for The Drowning Girl has been photocopied (never return a corrected ms. without making a copy, because shit does get lost in the mail). Letters granting me permission to quote songs and stories are included, as well as a copy of Lewis Carroll's "The Lobster Quadrille." I'm thinking the ms. will probably be in NYC by Wednesday. Now, maybe I'll stop smoking again, but I sort of doubt it.

And today is a day off.

And tomorrow I have to get work on the pieces for Sirenia Digest #70. And why aren't you subscribed (I don't actually require an answer, please)? It's quick, easy, cheap, and we have a snazzy new website!

---

Last night, there was more Mad Men. We've almost finished Season Two, and I have very much fallen in love with this series. It's what television ought to be. There was also RP in Insilico, and Grendel lost the first digit of her left pinkie to yubitsume. But it was her fault. After all, she was out of contact with the oyabun for more than twenty-four hours, because she met a woman at the space port (I hate that. No one in this version of the twenty-fourth century would say "space port." At the port, let's say), and it had been a long time between fucks. And you know how that goes.

We also finished reading Stephen King's The Stand (the original, not fucked-up 1978 text), and I have many thoughts. I could make an essay of my thoughts, but I don't want to spend two hours droning on and on and fucking on about the whys and wherefores. Better I summarize. I didn't enjoy the book nearly as well as I did way back in high school and the eighties (I read it four times, I think). King simply isn't a good writer. He is a good storyteller, and he has a way with characters, but there's a lot more to writing than "Storytime with Uncle Stevie." And I think this has been the key to his success.

But I have deeper problems with the text. There's no denying it's sexist. Sure, we have Mother Abigail and the token queer, Dana, who gets sent off to die in Las Vegas (in one of the book's best scenes, by the way). Oh, and Nadine, who remains my favorite character. But that's pretty much it. Women are mostly there to be pregnant, and to fret, and to need men to protect them. And this seems a little much even for 1978. Maybe it would have seemed less out of place in a book written in 1948. And, trust me, I'm not a radfem. This is a very notable objective problem with the text. And, while I'm at it, Captain Trips seemed to have spared Caucasians over all other races. Well, there's Mother Abigail, who comes off as the "Magic Negro."

Another, for me, is that there's almost no getting around the fundamental Christianity of The Stand. It's steeped in it, with hardly room for any other interpretation, and we watch as a wicked god lays down his judgement, and war is waged against the forces of evil. Note: Tolkien did this in LotR without showing any evidence of religion whatsoever. And, like I said, this is a problem I have, the whole Christian fantasy thing, and likely it's not a problem for most people, especially, obviously Christians.

The whole thing after the epidemic just seems so...small. I recall it being epic, and it really isn't. It occurs on a much smaller stage than I remember. Of course, I'm forty-seven now, not, say sixteen, and I've read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which has changed the stakes of postapocalyptic books forever. There is no god. Or God. Or gods. No one's coming to save us when the big fuck up rains down. And it'll be worse than Stephen King dared to imagine in 1978. The human spirit will not triumph, because those left alive will be too busy fighting over whatever happens to be left. So, for me the book also fails in it's incredibly naïve anti-nihilistic approach.

But all of this is not to say that it isn't still enjoyable on some level. And there are still some great scenes (though I was shocked at how flat the climactic Las Vegas scene seemed). Spooky enjoyed it more than me, but then she'd never read it. For my part, I'm not revisiting any more King texts. I'll only be disappointed, and I'd rather remember them as I do, even knowing those memories are, by and large, false.

And we began reading Shirley Jackson's The Sundial. Finally.

And now I go have a day off.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The rain has gone, and left behind a blustery day. I dislike the gusting noise of the wind. For me, it is very near to the sound of insanity.

I am becoming reluctant to continue this journal. I'm not entirely sure why. It's become a valuable (valuable to me) means of keeping up with any number of things, and, also, I've come to rely upon it as a means of communicating news to readers. Partly, I suspect, my desire to end it may arise simply from the slow death that LiveJournal seems to be suffering. I've tried transitioning to Twitter and Facebook. But I've already given up on Twitter, and I strongly dislike Facebook. MySpace was never an option. I cannot understand why people have fled Blogger and LiveJournal for Twitter and Facebook. It's like giving up oranges for gummy bears. That is, there is nothing like a one-to-one correspondence. And Twitter and Facebook are unsuitable for my needs. So, I don't know what's going to happen. If I do eventually stop keeping this journal, I'll also stop posting to Facebook (I only post there now because the LJ is mirrored there). I suppose I will wait and see.

Spooky just called Sméagol "Mr. Muzzle." I do hope it's an appellation that doesn't stick.

---

Yesterday, we ventured out into the Deluges of March to see Miguel Sapochnik's Repo Men. It was not our first choice. We'd intended to see Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, not realizing it isn't yet in general release. But I was sort of interested in Repo Men. It caused me a great deal of confusion a few weeks ago when I learned of the film. My first assumption, it was a big-budget, non-musical remake of Repo! The Genetic Opera. The premises are, essentially, identical. How could it be anything else? But, of course, I was wrong, as Repo Men is based on Eric Garcia's novel, The Repossession Mambo (2009, apparently based on a short story by Garcia that, he claims, has an origin that can be traced back to 1997). Apparently, the novel was being written while the screenplay for the film was being written by Garcia. This all gets very confusing, and questions of copyright infringement cannot help but arise. Repo! The Genetic Opera was first released on November 7, 2008, and the origins of the play that inspired the film date back to 1996.

Anyway, I tried to go into Repo Men with an open mind. And, well...it's sort of a mess. The first half of the film is a sprawling, unfocused disaster. The pacing's off. The story's a rehash of themes and images from Repo! The Genetic Opera, and the generally excellent cast feels wasted. There's a lot of annoying suburbia/family crap that feels like padding and/or a weak attempt to dishonestly cajole the audience into having sympathy for a character who is, of course, a legal serial killer. Indeed, I think the first half of the film could have been pared down by at least half an hour or so (the film has a 111 minute running time), and it would only have helped matters. However, the second half of the film— which is concerned with a repo man's (Remy, played by Jude Law) attempt to escape having his heart repossessed by his former employer —sort of redeems the first half. I actually enjoyed the second half. It caught my attention and held it. No, the second half of Repo Men is nowhere near as smart or cool or sexy as Repo! The Genetic Opera, but it made for a decent bit of futuristic action film, and the ending didn't take the easy way out. Still, I'd say wait for the DVD, and I'm glad we only paid matinée prices. But it's worth a look. The cast is strong, even if the script is wobbly and the direction uneven. I very much liked Alice Braga, and there are some nice visuals, and the soundtrack is very good. But I'm still waiting to find out exactly how (or if) Universal Pictures has avoided a lawsuit from Lion's Gate or Twisted Pictures (or any other party concerned with the creation of Repo! The Genetic Opera).

---

I didn't get much work done yesterday. I sat down to proofread a story that I've just sold reprint rights on, something I wrote in 2001. And I couldn't read more than the first couple of pages. I'm afraid I'm going to have to start refusing to permit reprints of anything I wrote before, say, 2003 or 2004. I've simply changed too much as an author, and I'm no longer fond of most of my earlier work (say 1992 to 2001). It's dispiriting to read a story I wrote nine years ago, and not be able to get through it. It's even more dispiriting to think that someone might encounter me for the first time through one of those earlier stories (or novels) and judge the writer I am now by them.

"Smile, folks. It only gets worse," said the Platypus to the clams.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
Much, much too late to be posting anything. But here I am. A couple of people on my friends list have linked to this Salon.com article, "An open apology to boomers everywhere," by Heather Havrilesky. And I wanted to post the link, as well.

"We ate Happy Meals while watching the space shuttle blow into tiny bits."

As someone born in 1964, at the very tail-end of the Baby Boom —— and as someone who then wound up spending most of her life with Gen Xers for friends (and who has, oddly, often been referred to as a Gen X author) —— this pleased me a bit. For years I have publicly lamented to so-called "Age of Irony," the knee-jerk cynicism, the default indifference, the automatic disdain, the eye-rolling, the inability to fathom earnestness. So, this is refreshing, even if I strongly suspect it'll take a whole lot more than the election of Barack Obama to wash away to stain. It's something I've never truly understood, but, then, I was almost an adult when Reagan was elected.

Meanwhile, I have learned that the greatest percentage of idiocy (loathsome chat, stupid names, etc.) in WoW seems to be associated with human cities. No idea why. Of course, I also have no idea why, in a game where you can play orcs, night elves, blood elves, trolls, Taurans (basically, minotaurs), gnomes, dwarves, undead, and Draenei (an alien race), anyone would choose to play a...human. Especially since Blizzard seems to have reserved the absolute worst voice-acting for the human NPCs. They all sound like Ned Flanders. And they're all built like quarterbacks. Even the women. Ah, well. it takes all sorts. Mithwen, my night elf, made Lvl 32 tonight. She now rides an enormous saber-toothed cat, which she has named Bounder. Mithwen has taken a few too many blows to the head, and, much to the chagrin of her sister, a Druid named Syllhar, is just a little simple. But she makes a hell of a tank. We've been slaughtering werewolves and zombies in Duskwood, south of Stormwind (hence my greater exposure to humans).

Okay, Caitlín, please go to bed.
greygirlbeast: (chidown)
It has been at least two years since I've been anything near this ill. Probably nearer four years. I fear I no longer have the hang of it. I'm out of practice. But this germ, it means to teach me a thing or two, to remind me, as it were.

Ah, whatever.

So, yes. The Democrats have taken the House, and likely the Senate. We have a woman as Speaker of the House. Rumsfeld has finally left the building. And I suppose, to some degree I must be glad of these things. But there's not half so much gladness as I would have felt once upon a time. I can't help but recall how elated I was the night America elected Clinton (I was 28). Bush the First was gone. The long shadow of Reagan would be swept aside. We were going to have national health care and gay rights. We got, instead, Monica Gate, an impeachment trial, "don't ask, don't tell," war in Yugoslavia, and etc. and etc. Ultimately, we got President Asshole, Bush the Second, and a new Vietnam in Iraq. Which is to say, yes, good news, but we've been in a much better position, not so very long ago, and it only led us to...well, here. I hate cynicism, but I feel it in my bones. As I said before, yesterday or the day before, I'm better off leaving these politics to them what still calls themselves humans, as these are human politics. More and more, I feel like I'm just along for the ride, driven before the flood, drowned with the rest.

Here in Georgia, we're stuck with Sonny Perdue and the same ol' bunch of gun-totin', Jesus-lovin' rednecks we had before the election. I suppose it would have been nice to have some Democratic rednecks, just for a bit of lip service.

As I was saying.

I did manage to write yesterday. Just a smidge. 700 or so words for an afterword and bio to accompany the Czech reprint of "Riding the White Bull." I am so behind at this point I only see the back of my head whenever I look in the mirror.

Last night we watched Monster House (the movie, not the reality show). What an odd film. I felt like it should have worked, but it seemed rushed, and I got the impression pieces were missing. The character design was creepy (not in a good way), like a bunch of living bobble-heads. I chalk this creepinesss up to Dr. Masahiro Mori's "uncanny valley":

...if an entity is sufficiently non-humanlike, then the humanlike characters will tend to stand out and be noticed easily, generating empathy. On the other hand, if the entity is "almost human", then the non-human characteristics will be the ones that stand out, leading to a feeling of "strangeness" in the human viewer.

I've never had that problem before. For instance, I had no trouble with the CGI characters in The Lord of the Rings or Peter Jackson's King Kong. I know The Polar Express bugged a lot of people for this very reason (I haven't seen it). Also, I was annoyed at the peculiar blending of small-town 50s Suburbia with Now. Beaver Cleaver for the 21st Century. The film's sterile landscape was like some neocon yuppie dream of Heaven. Like I said, an odd film.

Whoops. Okay. Time to lie down again...

Postscript: Personally, I remain a great admirer of President Clinton's, even if my admiration is sorely tainted by disillusion.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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