greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just something quick. I have tomorrow off, and we'll be heading off to Connecticut, to the Yale Peabody Museum.

I was somewhat impressed by toady's web protests against SOPA/PIPA, though Goggle's seemed halfhearted, at best. A shame Google, Twitter, and Facebook didn't shutdown. That would have made an impression.

All this said, I want no one, even for a second to think that I support internet piracy. I don't. However, I also don't believe in burning down a house to kill a termite. But...I'm going to explain in more details my feelings on SOPA/PIPA, internet freedom, copyright, and internet piracy in Friday's entry. And yeah, leaving comments disabled until Friday.

Until then...



Fading,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Tuojiangosaurus)
This morning (technically, this afternoon), I'm a little taken aback at otherwise sensible people who are feeling sorry for the disappointed, depressed, and down-at-heel followers of Harold Camping. As kids these days are wont to "say," o.0.

Here we have these cowardly fuckers who were hoping to be yanked away to some heavenly playground where they could wallow in eternal bliss, while 97.1% of humanity endured unspeakable horrors and fire and everlasting torment. And I'm supposed to feel empathy or sympathy or whatever for the idiot cult of Harold Camping, because they didn't get their wish? Hah! I admit that I have no especial love of humanity, and I've often thought total annihilation might not be such a bad thing, BUT at least I include myself among the annihilated. My doomsday is utterly indifferent and doesn't discriminate. I don't imagine some Old Man in the Sky who passes judgment. Who picks and chooses, and is willing and eager to spare you infinite agony if you'll get down on your knees and kiss "his" feet and stroke "his" ego and tell "him" you love no other god but "him."

So, no. The followers of Camping will get no sympathy from me. Let them weep. Let them gnash their teeth and feel the weight of the godless universe upon their cowards' shoulders.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. And Spooky had trouble reading it, because she kept having to stop to laugh. She tells me that's a good thing, and I hope she's right. This is strange new territory for me.

The day is overcast, and it's only 54˚F out there. Hello, pretender to the throne of May.

Spooky has listed a new necklace in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Esty shop. You should buy it. Spooky's necklaces are grand.

Last night, I revisited Gregory Hoblit's Fallen (1998), which I think is somewhat underrated. Spooky had never seen it before. And we played Rift. And read Under the Poppy, which I hope you're reading, too. Also, I read two articles in the January issue of JVP: "New information Wumengosaurus delicatomandibularis Jiang et al., 2008 (Diapsida: Sauropterygia), with a revision of the osteology and phylogeny of the taxon" and "A small alvarezsaurid from the eastern Gobi Desert offers insight into evolutionary patterns in the Alvarezsauroidea."

Proudly Unraptured,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and dinosaur (etc.) photographs:

May 17-18, Part Three )
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
Whatever this entry might have been, it's going to be this entry, instead. And you can thank Monsieur Insomnie for that, for keeping me up all night and into the day with his deviant shenanigans. I said deviant, not devious.

Um...

Trip recounting Part Two. Yeah, well that's not really going to happen. Or it's not going to happen the way it would have, had I slept. Insomnia's sort of like time travel. Shit still happens, but it happens differently than it would have, because the worldline's been altered.

Day Two. We went to the American Museum of Natural History. I have many fond memories of the AMNH. The last time I'd been there was May 2001, and I was there as a paleontologist researching mosasaurs. I sat in the dusty attic, filled with cabinets of fossils and labels written in Cope's own spidery hand, and worked on a project that I was never able to finish. The museum's changed a bit in the last ten years. Mostly not for the better. And these are the two things that cycled through my mind repeatedly while we were there on Wednesday.

In the Hall of Biodiversity, I sat down and made some notes about how natural history museums are - partly by necessity, partly by way of wrongheaded educators - going the way of the dinosaurs they display. Funding continues to dry up, and museums have to find ways to stay afloat. So, they become more and more like theme parks. It's called "infotainment," which requires "interactive" gimmicks, instead of hands-off exhibits with, you know, words and stuff. Add to this a maze of gift shops. I gag on that sickly portmanteau, "infotainment." Anyway, in my little black notebook, I wrote:

More and more, the old museum has been lost to the ravages of "infotainment." And to that add hundreds upon hundreds of screeching children*. The sense of sanctuary has been lost, that secular Cathedral to Science and Nature that was once the hallmark of good museums. The quiet dignity. I watch the people, and they file past, hardly even pausing to actually look at anything. Video monitors everywhere, sensory overload. Very sad seeing this.

Okay, I feel bad enough without harping on the Death of Museums right now. I'll come back to it some other time.

---

"Fake Plastic Trees" has sold to Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling for their post-apocalyptic YA anthology, After. I suppose, at this point, everything that postdates tomorrow is post-apocalyptic.

Also, while I have decided to write Blood Oranges before Blue Canary, it's not what I actually want to do. Many factors come into play. Blood Oranges is a peculiar lark of a book. Blue Canary is my future (I hope). By the way, with my agent's blessings, I'll be writing the latter as Kathleen Rory Tierney. Or Kathleen R. Tierney. But the R will stand for Rory, whether people know it or not. Someday, I may write another novel like The Drowning Girl or The Red Tree. We shall see. Time will tell. Regardless, all this is a change of direction of my choosing.

Yesterday...um...yesterday, I signed 600+ signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between (which required two hours and forty-five minutes). I emailed stories to two editors for two anthologies. I answered email. The REAL mail came, and there was a chunk of granite (brick red with grey phenocrysts) from Ryan Obermeyer, which he picked up on the shore of the Red Sea, at Hurghada, during his recent trip to Egypt. Actually, the stone came from out of the water of the Red Sea.

My foot hurts like hell. If hell hurts, and they tell us it will.

Last night, good rp in Rift. The guild grows, and its story begins to unfold.

And I'm going to hit myself in the face now.

Deliriously,
Aunt Beast

P.S. -- My birthday soon. Please give me stuff.

* Once, when I was young, children actually knew how to behave in museums. Now, the teachers chaperoning field trips have probably been bullied by helicopter parents to the point that they're afraid of telling kids to keep it down, for fear of lawsuits charging them with stifling self-expression or some bullshit. So, we get these fucking brats with a sense of entitlement.

May 17-18, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Oh dear Monsieur Insomnia, fuck you.

I hate waking to important email, which is what happened this morning. The whole weekend has been email and stress and worse. But the good news is that everything seems to be working out for the better. It's not that I worry over nothing. It's that unless I worried so fiercely, everything would go to crap.

It's almost going to be warm today, but I'm trapped here inside the house. There must be work.

But! I have some very good news, even though I can't say what it is until Friday.

Yesterday, I took a day off. Pretty much. Aside from having to deal with email all day and night, and aside from being unable to stop obsessing over The Drowning Girl, I took the day off. It was cloudy and chilly, and all I did was ride along with Spooky while she did errands, but at least I wasn't stuck at this fucking desk. We went to PetCo for cat food, and I found a baby Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) that I don't know how I got out if the store without buying. We took Les pacte des loup back to Acme Video on Brook Street, and rented three more movies: Das Boot (I haven't seen it in ages), Basquiat, and the third Ginger Snaps film. It was surely one of the oddest assortments the clerk had rung up all day. Then, East Side Market to get chili fixings. Then home again. And I packed some boxes for storage. The office is about to undergo a complete overhaul to make it more functional, and there's just not room for everything.

If you own so much shit, you have to rent a storage unit to hold some of your shit, you own too much shit. This is probably one of those distinctly American problems. Fucking absurd.

Oh, I also added a few words of text to The Drowning Girl, to which I can't seem to stop adding little bits. Truthfully, I need six more months with the ms.. I'm just not going to get it.

---

The latest Question @ Hand has been posted. You may see it and answer here. All replies (unless you post them to Facebook) are screened and confidential. The ones I like best will appear anonymously in Sirenia Digest #65. I have some really good responses so far. Let's see more!

---

Last night, we watched Daniel Alfredson's Luftslottet som sprängdes (2009). It's a very different film from the other two in the trilogy, essentially a political thriller and court-room drama. But very good. Still, I think my favorite is the first film. And we played Rift. I played Indus, my Eth warrior (reaver and beastmaster), and she reached Level 19. I'm not sure why I'm running three characters simultaneously, but I am learning how different races and classes work. We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, and I read another article from the new JVP: "A new pachypleurosaur (Reptilia; Sauropterygia) from the lower Middle Triassic of southwestern China and the phylogenetic relationships of Chinese pachypleurosaurs." Then...I didn't sleep. Well, not until sometime after five ayem.

And now, more photos by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy from the shoot Saturday before last, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (including very, very rare shots of me and Kathryn together; my favorite is the last):

In the Museum )
greygirlbeast: (redeye)
Sunny out, and we're hoping for a windy 53˚F for a high. Yesterday, walking about Boston, clumps of snow hiding here and there, it was hard to imagine spring's anywhere nearby. I look at the weather forecast for Atlanta, and see the highs are up around 80˚F, and I think shit, I want to be there, but then I remember...

Yesterday was really very, very wonderful. Spooky and I took forever to get out of the house. It was pretty much noon by the time we were on the road, so it was a little before two when we reached the Harvard Museum of Natural History (née Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology). Spooky waited downstairs for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and company. I sat upstairs in the Romer gallery, with all the fossil dinosaurs, fish, and reptiles, trying to stay calm. As soon as the photographers arrived, which wasn't long, we went to the Great Mammal Hall and got to work. It went very well. Kyle was great, and I very quickly loosened up. I think he took about five hundred photos. No, really. Anyway, I'll post a few once Kyle sends them my way. I'm dreading the task of choosing the photograph from all those. [livejournal.com profile] sovay arrived at the Museum while we were shooting, and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark would have, but there was apparently catastrophic car trouble. But yes, the day was a great success, and I'm very grateful to Kyle, Anna, and David for all their hard work yesterday. All I had to do was wear a top hat and make funny faces. In between clicky photo barrages, I tried to entertain the photographers with impromptu mini-lectures on this or that aspect of Natural History.

I think the most amusing part was watching and listening to all the people in the Museum (it was unusually crowded) trying to figure out who I was. The general consensus seemed to be that I was some manner of rock star. Which just keeps being funny.

I'll post a few shots here tomorrow.

Oh, and Spooky photographed a raven and other beasties as reference for Tale of the Ravens.

We made it back home by seven p.m., and I was utterly, utterly, exhausted. Oh! I forgot to mention that I hardly slept night before last, so I headed off to Boston on nothing like enough sleep. Okay, well, yeah. That happened, which is why I was so tired by the time we got back to Providence again. I wasn't up to anything more strenuous than lying in bed and watching television. There wasn't a new episode of Fringe, so we watched random episodes of The X-Files, then switched over to re-watching Season One of Californication (which is sort of like switching from Coca-Cola to tequila).

---

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the last living Martian.

---

Sirenia Digest #64 should be out by the fifth of the month, which is Tuesday. I'm waiting on Vince's illustration for "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," and I still need to write the prolegomenon. I like this new story a lot, if it is a story, in the strictest sense (it's so much easier to write sensu stricto...). It came to almost 10,000 words in length, so subscribers are getting a big issue this month (and why aren't you a subscriber?). #64 will also reprint – for the first time, anywhere – "Rat's Star," a novella fragment which has previously appeared only in the limited edition of From Weird and Distant Shores.

In some ways, "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is a story that I set out to write a couple of years ago, which I stopped and started several times. No, that's not entirely true. "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is actually what happened instead of that story, after the theft of that story's title by another author (sounds snarky, but, still, it's true).

Okay. Days not getting any younger, and neither am I. Platypus says jump.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have this quote from yesterday, from Aleister Crowley's autobiography (1929):

As long as sexual relations are complicated by religious, social, and financial considerations, so long will they cause all kinds of cowardly, dishonourable, and disgusting behaviour.

---

Happy 50th birthday to Neil, and I'm really sorry I couldn't make it down to New Orleans for the party to end all parties, but I'm there in spirit, as they say. My spirit will get shitfaced and roam Bourbon Street looking for trouble. At least my body won't have to feel the hangover. Today is also Holly Black's birthday, so have a good one, Holly.

---

Cold and cloudy here in Providence, just like yesterday, and the day before.

But, I did finally leave the House yesterday. So, that's only nine days indoors (my record, set this past winter, is fourteen). Yesterday, I went to the Athenaeum to read and think about the story I need to begin today. But first we went to the Bell Gallery at Brown University, to see the Pictures from the Hay exhibit, a display of books celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Hay Library at Brown University. The exhibit is a veritable orgy for book sluts. I read Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" written in Whitman's own hand (from 1887). I saw needlepoint from 1802, and a Brown diploma from 1769. There was an amazing accordion book by Angela Lorenz (1999)— etching, watercolor, letterpress, and mica —titled The Theater of Nature, or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet. I saw an original Arthur Rackham illustration, "Where is Peaseblossom," from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare (1889) and thought of [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving. There was a schematic from a book on fireworks dating to 1635, detailing "How to represent St. George fighting the dragon." I saw Crimean War photos from 1855, a clay Iraqi cuneiform tablet from Uruk (now Warka) dating back to 1850-1800 BCE, and French editions of Poe from the 1920s. Paper dolls from 1811, titled The Protean Figure and Metamorphic Costumes. Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), plates from Mark Catesby's The Bahama Islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants (1729-1747). So much amazement in a single room. Does anyone seriously believe that three hundred years from now people will marvel at Kindles and the layout and typography of eBooks? Books have almost (but not quite) ceased to be objects of art in and of themselves, and merely become shoddy information and entertainment delivery devices. Their artistic and archival importance is all but lost.

It was a blustery late autumn day on Benefit Street, not too cold if you were dressed for it. Bradbury weather. We left the Athenaeum about five p.m. (CaST, = EDT + 1 hour), stopped by Eastside Market, then headed back across the river and home again.

---

We have almost everything we need to assemble the Dancy Box. This is a box that Dancy carried with her from the cabin in Shrove Wood to the sanitarium in Tallahassee, where it was confiscated. She never got it back. At least, that's how it seems right now. It'll be going up on eBay as soon as we're done, along with one of the lettered editions of the book, an edition that was not offered to the public (they were split between Bill Shafer and myself). This has gone from a lark to a pretty obsessive piece of...what? It's an artifact from a fiction, a prop from a movie that will never be made, a multi-media sculpture.

---

There's not much to say about Monday. After seven consecutive days of writing like a fiend, and the insomnia on top of that, I ended up spending much of Monday in bed. We watched the second episode of The Walking Dead (still promising) and also Daniel Alfredson's Flickan som lekte med elden (2009). Last night, we saw Paul Scheuring's The Experiment (2010), with Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. I've been reading Richard Kaczynski's biography of Aleister Crowley. The rp in CoX has taken a turn for the very weird, with Erzsébetta's future self (become more faerie than vampire) traveling back from 258 years in the future to try to stop Something Awful, something that's her fault. Sekhmet has deemed her "...the worst thing that ever happened to the world." The rp has been especially cathartic, and it's sort of wonderful acting it out in an absurdist milieu of supervillains, because nothing's too ridiculous to ring true.

Today...I have to try again to write "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," a story I tried to write last fall and shelved. But I want to do it. It's a story I need to do. So, we'll see.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

9 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's already 78F in the House. Outside, it's 82F. The high for today is forecast at 88F, so we can expect the House to warm to the high eighties. There's work that needs doing, but we may flee to some place cool today.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my doctor. It went well. I was released on my own recognizance. Or something like that. No long-term effects from Bonkus on the Konkus. But it did sort of eat up the day, the doctor's appointment.

Afterwards, we went to Gallery Night at the RISD Museum, to see a documentary about Alice Neel. I've always admired Neel for pursuing portraiture in an age when representative art was deemed irrelevant, when everyone was chasing after Abstract Expressionism, when it was claimed the camera had "freed" the painter from the "tyranny of realism." Last night was also the opening of the the Art League of Rhode Island's 10th Anniversary Show at RISD, and there were some excellent pieces on display by local artists. I was also taken with the two pieces that comprise Tristin Lowe's "Under the Influence" exhibition, Lunacy and Visither 1.

We left the Museum to discover it had rained. Fortunately, we'd remembered to close all the windows in the House before leaving. Benefit Street was dark and cool, the brick sidewalks damp, the night smelling damply of summer. We followed yellow pools of streetlight past the Athenaeum.

I was suffering from my second night of insomnia, and the whole day is a bit blurry about the edges. But last night I slept, and I'm much better today. Late last night, Spooky began reading me Angela Carter's Wise Children (1991).

There are photos from last night:

17 June 2010 )


---

On June 15th, Jim Quon ("Scarbuck"), the leader of our WoW guild ("Knights of Good"), suffered a massive and unexpected stroke. He is currently in a coma, in critical condition, at Los Alamitos Medical Center. Like so many of us, Jim has no health insurance, and members of the guild have begun taking donations to help out with the thousands of dollars per day that Jim's treatment is costing his family. Towards that end, I'll be listing a copy of the third edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder (Subterranean Press, 2008) on eBay. Spooky is also doing a painting, also to be auctioned. All proceeds from both auctions will go to help with Jim's hospital bill. I'll post an announcement when the auctions start, and we ask that you please bid, if you are able. Thanks. Also, a Facebook page has been set up, with information on how to donate directly via PayPal.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Thanks to the new (very expensive) medications, my insomnia is vastly better than it's been for years. But last night, I was awake until sometime after four, and then only got to sleep because I'd taken Ambien (which I dislike doing). Then I woke from a nightmare at eight, to construction noise from next door. And that was it. No getting back to sleep for me. I got up so the tossing and turning wouldn't wake Kathryn. So...now I have to manage to stay awake until tonight.

Yesterday, I did as little work as possible. But I did do a small bit of last minute editing on "The Maltese Unicorn" and sent it away to the anthology's editor. But mostly it was a "day off," after the insanity of Sunday and the big push to finish editing the short story.

I read Chapter Four of Gaining Ground by Jenny Clack ("Setting the Stage: The Devonian World"). I read the first part of Tales of the Slayers (Dark Horse), and especially liked "Righteous" by Joss Whedon and Tim Sale. Spooky made chili for dinner. Afterwards, we watched two short films by Nacho Cerdà, who directed The Abandoned (2006)— Genesis (1998) and Aftermath (1994). Both were very well done, though I was far more impressed by Genesis. Then we played WoW, leveling Gnomnclature and Klausgnomi to 30, before switching back to our main toons, Shaharrazad and Suraa, who we left stranded in Icecrown a couple of months back. That was yesterday. Oh, and the toilet broke. No, wait. That was day before. Night before last. Whichever.

Spooky got the new Rasputina CD yesterday, Sister Kinderhook, though I've yet to listen to it.

I know it's the future, and the world sucks extra hard now and all, but...my life would be at least 3% less annoying if the internet were not plagued by idiotic emoticons. Right now, I think the worst offender is— XD —though, I have to admit— o.0 —is a close fucking second. Oh, and— <.<, >.>, and >.< —are also nigh unto unbearable. These emoticons pretty much brand the user a total moron, even if the user is, say, Stephen Hawking. I actually sort of miss the days of ;-P and :-) and :-(. Things were so much simpler back then.

There are people on Earth, right now, who honestly believe all sentences should end with "lol."

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which end this afternoon. Thanks.

Er...and I have a few photographs from the Museum of Comparative Zoology, before the day went to crap:

13 June 2010 )
greygirlbeast: ("Dracorex")
A third consecutive sunny day in Providence, warm enough that I can believe spring isn't too far away. The willows are greening. There are a few flowers here and there. My office window is open again (it was open last night until I went to bed about 2 a.m.), and the temperature out there is a not unpleasantly mild 66F. We made it into the low 70s yesterday.

And as for yesterday, a marvelous day. Well, once we finally escaped Providence and made it to Boston. Greer ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) and I had resolved, on Wednesday, to meet up in Cambridge for a sort of impromptu mini-Triptree Award winner/honoree celebration. So, Spooky and I drove to Boston and met Greer and Sonya at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, which I'd not visited since July or August of 2006.

We didn't make it to the museum until a little after three, and it closes at five, so there wasn't much time to wander the galleries. We're planning to go back again one day soon, a day when we can arrive in the morning and spend the whole day just sketching and making notes. But even a short visit at the MCZ is grand. And we found Greer and Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), and wandered the galleries, admiring fossils and taxidermy, formalin-filled jars of sea creatures and the iridescent shells of beetles. The MCZ is itself a sort of time capsule, consisting in large part of the cabinet of Louis Agassiz, who founded the museum in 1859. It is a monument to the way that Victorians sought to understand natural history, and the seemingly chaotic halls are likely to give those with more modern sensibilities all sorts of discomfiting sensations. It's one of the last museums of its kind, and is, itself, as valuable an artifact as the artifacts it houses.

Oh, and Sonya gifted me with an enormous plush octopus from the MCZ gift shop, which I have christened Nemo. Unless I change my mind and start calling it Scylla. I suppose that depends on puzzling out its gender. Sexing the octopus....

Despite my aching, rotten feet, after we left the Museum we walked to Raven Books, a wonderful, wonderful place situated in a basement below street level. I'd promised I would be good on this trip and not come home with a metric shit-ton of books. But Greer and Sonya kept finding things and showing them to me. Oh, and Chris Ewen (he of Future Bible Heroes) met us at Raven Books. We had dinner next door at a fine Thai restaurant called Nine Tastes. I had the beef larb, tart as tart could be and with just the right level of heat (hot enough to eventually shut down my taste buds). And after that, after dinner, we walked up to the Harvard Bookstore, and then back to a comic shop called Million Year Picnic, where Spooky used to buy her funny books back in the day. By this point, it was well after dark and my feet were screaming, so we said our good-byes to Chris and headed back to the van. We drove Greer home (and left Sonya to fend for herself or fall to the wolves...or seek public transit, or something). I think Spooky and I made it back to Providence about 10 p.m.

So, yes...a much needed day out and among other people and among the sorts of things that make me smile. And, by the time all was said and done, it was a bit of a book-buying orgy. I lost track of what everyone else got (and everyone bought books), but I came away with:

1. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire (2008)
2. The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York by Matthew Goodman (2008)
3. The Lyrics of Tom Waits: The Early Years (1971-1982) (2007)
4. The Library of America Philip K. Dick volume, Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s
5. Wise Children by Angela Carter (1991)
6. Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman (original 1991 edition, which Greer signed to me last night)
7. A Neil Jordan Reader (1993)
8. Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America by Eric Jay Dolin (2007)

So, yeah...books. There are sixteen photos behind the cut. Now, I must go decide which of two stories I will begin for Sirenia Digest #52.

18 March 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
1. At least seven and half hours sleep last night, which is a definite improvement, even if it was necessary to take a larger dose of Ambien (which I'm trying not to take) to achieve those results. I feel more rested than I have in days, which is not to say I feel precisely rested. Just better.

2. Yesterday, I managed to get through backed-up email. And I signed the signature sheets for the limited edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others. I had a hot bath. About 4:30 p.m., despite the foul weather (slate skies spitting snow and sleet and rain), we headed down to Narragansett for opening day at Iggy's, our favorite clam shack. Fish and chips, clam cakes, Manhattan-style clam chowder, and doughboys. Oh, and root beer. Afterwards, we drove on down to Point Judith and Harbor of Refuge. The wind was gusting to something like 40mph, I think, and the windchill was vicious. I only got out of the car for a few minutes. The wind and rain lashed a peridot sea, and the only sign of life we spotted was a lone eider duck bobbing in the surf well away from shore. I took a few photos, that I'll post tomorrow.

3. I am pleased to announce that "Hydrarguros" has sold to Subterranean Press, and will appear either in Subterranean magazine or a forthcoming anthology.

4. I've had a longstanding policy regarding the reading of unpublished, unsolicited fiction. That is, manuscripts sent to me by readers. It's a simple rule. I don't do it. I never have, which makes it a fairly longstanding policy, indeed. Lately, though, I've been getting a veritable flood of unsolicited manuscripts from people I do not know. These will not be read, and, for the most part, I won't respond. I also will not be held accountable if something in them should show up in a story or novel of mine in the future. But the potential for accusations of plagiarism is only one of the reasons I've made a rule of not reading unpublished mss. Anyway, I'm going to alter the longstanding rule, somewhat. From now on, I will read unsolicited mss.. However, all authors must first sign a waiver absolving me of any future allegations of copyright infringement that may appear to arise from my having seen unpublished works. I will charge (a very reasonable) $50/page, for which authors will receive copyedits and a generalized critique. My name and quotations from the critique may not be used to "blurb" or otherwise attempt to sell the manuscript. Payment must be made in advance of my reading the work, and is non-refundable— no exceptions. I will respond to authors within 90 days of receipt of their manuscripts. By these rules, and only under these rules, will I disregard my longstanding policy regarding the reading of unpublished, unsolicited fiction. Yes, I'm very serious. If you are actually interested in this service, you should contact me by email, greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com, prior to submission. If you think all of this somehow does not apply to you, I would wager you are wrong.

5. Last night, Spooky and I saw Lars von Trier's Antichrist (2009). I found it brilliant, in all possible ways a film may be brilliant. Both Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg gave superb performances. I'll say a lot more about this film after I've had a while to think on it. Actually, I'm still in that place where I'm only allowing myself to have emotional reactions to it, and trying to save any intellectual reactions for later. But, yes, brilliant, beautiful, and certainly the most terrifying film I've seen in a long time.

6. Yesterday I promised to post some of my photos from the RISD Museum of Art, so here they are:

2 March 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. This is turning into one of those spells of insomnia. As best I can recall, I've had one good night's sleep in the last week, on the "morning" of the 27th of February. Last night, this morning, I got about six hours. I suspect there are many reasons I'm not sleeping, none of which I should go into here. But it has me ill. I spent most of Sunday and Monday in bed— not sleeping, just too exhausted to get up and fucking do anything. Yesterday, Spooky and I were supposed to go to Boston to meet Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Greer ([livejournal.com profile] ninweaving) for a day at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. But, on Monday, I postponed the trip, knowing what lousy company I would have made, being sleepless and zombified and all.

2. Today, the sky is grey again and spitting snow. I suppose that's to make up for our having gotten a sunny day yesterday, one in a week. But, we did take advantage of yesterday. If I couldn't have Harvard, I could at least have Benefit Street. Spooky made me get dressed and shooed me out the door into the faint warmth of the early March sunshine. We parked near the John Brown House and walked to the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum. I'd never been, and Spooky had not visited the museum in many years. The collection is small, but exquisite. Just inside the entrance I was greeted with the work of some of my favorite painters, including Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. There was an amazing Art Nouveau fireplace surround by Hugnet Frères (1900), and two galleries of impressionist paintings and sculpture, including work by Monet, Degas, Manet, Gaugin, Renoir, and Pissarro. There was a fabulous chandelier by Dale Chihuly, that looked like something dredged up from the bottom of the Mariana Trench. And so much more. After the museum, we spent some time across the street at the Providence Athenaeum, just reading and Not Being in the House. It wasn't the Tuesday Out that I'd hoped for, but it was a good day, regardless. I'll post photos in two sets, one today and one tomorrow. Today's are of Benefit Street, and tomorrow's will be photos I took inside the museum:

2 March 2010, part 1 )


3. Sunday and Monday, too weary to read or be read to, I watched stuff. There was a charming little film about demons, Travis Betz' Lo (2009), which was sort of like discovering a lost or forgotten stand-alone episode of Angel. I recommend it highly.

Also, we watched the first six episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Now, as most know, I am a longtime admirer of good and/or entertaining pornography. Which is pretty much what Spartacus: Blood and Sand amounts to, a moderately entertaining pornography of sex, blood, and violence. Sure, its look is an uneven fusion of 300 and Gladiator (I found entire lines of dialogue lifted from the latter). Someone commenting about the show at Netflix wrote, "Fantastically terrible, but somehow I can't stop watching it...full of horrible dialogue and gimmicky effects, but if you embrace and accept the cheese-factor, it's kind of rad." Which just about says it all. Well, except for the pornography part, but I already said that. Do people actually still say "rad"?

Late last night, we watched Andrew Leman's 2005 "silent film" adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu again. I still say that this is, by far, the best film adaptation of any of Lovecraft's fiction to date.

4. I've pretty much been away from WoW for the better part of two months. Night before last, I went back in as my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad, and did the retaking of Undercity thing with Thrall and Sylvanus. It was fun, though not nearly as cool as I'd hoped it would be. Last night, Shah made Level 76. I'd like to get her to 80 before the release of Catacylsm, and before the events leading up to it begin this coming summer.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 4, 2008 )

Daybreak

Aug. 19th, 2006 11:39 am
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
We hardly slept last night. I think Spooky slept even less that I did, which is a reversal of the usual state of things. I might have had five hours. And there were dreams — dreams too odd to even try to tell.

Today, this next to last day we have here in Rhode Island, would best be spent at Newport's National Museum of American Illustration, which has for one weekend set aside its usual policy of visit by reservation only. The collection of the NMAI includes the work of such artists as Maxfield Parish, N. C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and J. C. Leyendecker, and I've wanted to visit it since my first trip through Newport in 2004. Right now, the museum even has Parish's Daybreak on loan. To quote an NMAI press release:

The National Museum of American Illustration announces today that Maxfield Parrish’s record-setting masterpiece, DAYBREAK, will be on loan to the Museum this summer for a period of seven weeks. This announcement comes on the heels of DAYBREAK’S May 25, 2006 auction at Christie’s, in which its sale set a new record for a work by Maxfield Parrish of $7.6 million dollars. Now privately owned, the loan of DAYBREAK to the NMAI presents the only opportunity available to the public to view this masterpiece before it enters a closed collection. DAYBREAK will be on exhibit July 12 - August 25, 2006.

The catch? Admission is $25 per person. It would be $50 for the two of us to visit, not counting the cost of gas (locally averaging $3.10/gallon). Long have I lamented the escalating cost of museum admissions. On the one hand, I do sympathize with the plight of American museums, which are almost universally underfunded, to the point that many of the oldest and most important are facing closure or the selling off of portions of their collections to avoid closure. We do not live in an age which values museums. Regardless, I suspect the National Museum of American Illustrators is better off than most, and while I'm sure the monied sort who live in and frequent Newport wouldn't bat an eye at a $25 admission, I cannot help but find it exorbitant. Treasures should not be held ransom for the wealthy few, the "have-mores" as President Asshole has fondly called them, anymore than Parish's Daybreak should vanish into a private collection. Anyway...

Over the last few weeks, we've worked at finding things to do that don't cost us an arm and a leg. One of my favourite has been driving out to Point Judith late at night, after the horde of sun-loving tourists has fled back to their summer houses and motel rooms. The best of these night trips was undoubtedly this past Monday (14th), when we reached Point Judith about ten p.m. We watched a low red moon, waning and bloody, rise above the Sound. There was a strong, almost intoxicating wind from the SSW, and the light pollution was confined to the northern horizon, where we could make out Narragansett and the Newport Bridge. We spotted Perseids #10 and #11 streaking by overhead. One was spectacularly bright, arcing down towards the sea. The wind had whipped up large waves (there was a surf advisory), which crashed against the rocky shore of the point. Towards midnight, we drove from the parking lot just north of the lighthouse to the sandy place at the eastern jetty marking the southern edge of the point, at Harbor of Refuge. To the south, we could just make out the glow of Block Island. At the jetty, the wind was even stronger and the waves higher, throwing great sheets of white spray as they slammed into the granite boulders. I watched a fishing boat pass between the Point and Block Island. Over the wind and the breakers, we heard or only imagined we heard a persistent sort of barking coming from the rocky shore, an eerie sound rising occasionally above the gale. Most likely, it was only water rushing around some nook or cranny. We were alone, save for a Winnebago and whoever was camping inside it. These are the sorts of things I will miss so badly when we're back in Atlanta.

Today, I need to write the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #9 (August '06). This month, the digest will include my vignette "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ghoul" and Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) very wonderful new sf story, "The Boy Who Learned How to Shudder." You can subscribe to the digest this very afternoon. Just click here, read the FAQ, etc.

Okay. I should get to it.
greygirlbeast: (earth)
Here we are on Thursday, and we head back to Atlanta on Monday. This long, long trip is almost done. The last couple of days have been rather full, and since we're spending today and tomorrow winding down and getting rested for the arduous drive back, I thought I'd spend part of this afternoon on a couple of entries, trying to catch up with myself.

Though we got a much later start than planned, yesterday afternoon Spooky and I made it back up to Boston, to Cambridge, where we met Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) for my first look at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Over the last twenty years or so, as a working paleontologist or a visitor, I've seen most of America's major natural history museum's (and many of the minor ones). But I'd never made it to the MCZ. What a marvelous place it is. It stands today as one of the world's last remaining Victorian natural history cabinets, more or less as it was arranged upon its founding in 1859. It's holdings are gigantic, including the collections of famed naturalist and MCZ founder Louis Agassiz, and what can be viewed on display is merely the tip of the iceberg.

We didn't reach Cambridge until almost three p.m., so we had only two hours to look at a museum that needs many days to do it justice. I took in as much as I could and saw many specimens I've known from photographs and written descriptions for much of my life, such as the enormous Australian pliosaur Kronosaurus, the generic holotype skull of Triceratops, the holotype of Pterodactylus "elegans", and the type specimen of the enormous extinct turtle Stupendemys. The vertebrate paleontology halls alone would have kept me occupied for at least a day, though the real centerpiece of the MCZ is its great gallery of recent mammals. Complete skeletons of several species of cetaceans hang from the ceilings — sperm whale, right whale, narwhal, pygmy sperm whale, etc. The gallery is a glorious maze of antique glass cabinets, occupied by hundreds of taxidermied specimens and skeletons — giraffe, okapi, monkeys, bats, rhinoceri, and on and on and on. There is a glorious clutter to this place, many of the zoological specimens placed in no particular or consistent order, whether taxonomic or geographic, and, for me, that clutter, complete with dust and trays of mothballs, reflects something genuine in the diversity of life on Earth.

Indeed, the MCZ is itself as much an artefact as the millions of specimens held in its collections, a chance to wander through a time capsule, a sort of museum that is fast vanishing from the world. So it saddens me to hear talk of updating the exhibits and the possibility that the displays may be moved from Agassiz's great and musty cabinet to a new campus across the Charles River. It will surely be the loss of a historical treasure, and I only hope that I have the chance for a much longer visit before any such renovations or relocations occur. In an age of garish "infotainment" and interactivity, when museums become ever more like theme parks and are increasingly dumbed down, the Museum of Comparative Zoology is a much-needed breath of stale air. It is a veritable cathedral of evolution, alive with all the romance and mystery that attracted me to science and my love of the natural world. If you can possibly visit it, I urge you to do so.

After the museum, Sonya led us to a very good sushi restaurant in Arlington, where we talked writing and books and many more things than I can now recall. I think I had the best cucumber/avocado roll I've ever yet tasted. Also, I should thank her for the drad little Japanese octopus bead and a copy of her poetry collection, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, which I hope to begin reading this very evening. After dinner, we gave her a drive home, then headed back to Rhode Island. On I-95, Spooky spotted Perseid meteor #11. I think we got home right at ten p.m. A shame we didn't have more time in Boston. Cambridge was beautiful, from what I saw of it.

The 30th-anniversary edition of Spider Baby (1964) on DVD was waiting for us in the mailbox, courtesy Netflix, so we got a big goofy dose of cannibalism, arachnids, and a very young Sid Haig before bed. Which was, somehow, a perfect end to the day. More to come...

Ah, and there are (big) photos behind the cut:

16 August 2006 )


Photos copyright © 2006 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.
Ellapsed time: 12:42 p.m.—3:27 p.m.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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