greygirlbeast: (Default)
Phase One seems to have left no one burned, mangled, and/or bleeding. So, tomorrow, I have to finally turn my attention to the blasted CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Always I have found dealing with CEMs a distasteful, and, often, infuriating experience. And I expect I always will. I even recognize that my reaction to CEMs is not always rational. But I hate the things. I especially hate the things when copyeditors try to rewrite my prose; I can only hope that has not happened this time. I'm not in the mood for pyrotechnics.

Truth be told, I only want to be at the sea today. There is nothing else I want. There is nothing else I need, but that one thing I almost certainly will not get.

Summer is almost over.

Day before yesterday, I received contributor's copies of the limited and slip-cased edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3, which reprints my SF story, "Hydraguros," possibly my best SF story to date. The limited is sold out, but the trade edition is still available.

My thanks to Maria Gerspacher for a marvelous package, which reached me day before yesterday. Somehow, yesterday, when writing my blog entry, I apparently forgot any mail arrived the day before.

Last night, I read "A revision of the Lari (Aves, Charadriiformes) from the early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Allier, France)" and "New materials of Argentoconodon fariasorum (Mammaliaformes, Triconodontidae) from the Jurassic of Argentina" in the July JVP. The first article was of especial significance, as I'm trying to begin to puzzle out the morphology of some of the local seabirds, many of which belong to this group (most notably, gulls).

I should clarify something: The second entry that showed up in this LJ yesterday wasn't written by me. It said, right at the top of the post, "Originally posted by [ profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By" Now, we can't be much clearer than that, can we? It wasn't my idea, but LJ posts can now be "shared," reposted in one's own LJ, and, in this case, I thought Cat was speaking very articulately on a subject that desperately needs addressing. But a number of people seem to think I wrote the post, and I didn't, and that was always plain as day. Pay attention, please.

And no, I will not write a story for your shitty little self-published anthology, and no, not even at the princely sum of 1¢ a word.

I want to write about how I've seen readership of the LJ falling off dramatically, and how I think a lot of that's to blame on the DDOS attacks against LJ (hence, the hackers win). I want to write about how LJ was already in decline before the DDOS attacks, because of Facebook and Twitter, and I want to write about how I believe this is because most people want instant gratification and so gravitate towards those more immediate and transient "social media," because, you know, blogging requires actual words, thoughtfulness, and the effort of reading. I want to write about how I've watched comments decline, and how I used to look at this journal as a means of communicating to my readers – that's why it exists – but how it's becoming something I write for myself, as fewer and fewer of my readers come to it, and even fewer comment. I wanted to ask that people please not comment just to tell me why they rarely comment because they think I'll think that by doing so I'll think they're being either fannish or behaving like stalkers. But I'm tired, and it's going to be a long day.

There are more important things to write about.

Whatever Comes Next,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday was almost, and perhaps actually, a total loss, so far as writing is concerned. I managed only 285 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics," and then I just...locked up. I couldn't tell if what I was writing was good enough. I was suddenly no longer certain if any part of the story was anything but trite, hollow...and so I locked up. I sat here another hour or so, angry and baffled and aware that it might all have stemmed from my having used Ambien to get to sleep Tuesday morning. Finally, Spooky said I should get up, that we should get out of the house. And so we did.

Though it was late in the day when we left, we headed across town to the Bell Gallery (Brown University) at 64 College Street, which is currently featuring Rachel Berwick's installation "Zugunruhe." Berick's work generally concerns species that have recently become extinct, or were thought to be extinct until recently, or may soon be extinct— the Tasmanian tiger, the Galapagos tortoise, the coelacanth, etc. "Zugunruhe" is devoted to the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a bird that once inhabited North America in almost unimaginable numbers, but was wiped out during the 1800's by hunting and deforestation. The species was effectively extinct in the wild by the early 20th Century. The last captive specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914 (the last authenticated sighting in the wild was made in Pike County, Ohio, on March 22, 1900).

The instillation is startling in its simplicity. First, we are greeted by an enormous copy of Audubon's 1840 Birds of America (five feet wide when opened), displaying his life-sized illustration of the passenger pigeon. And then there are grey walls on which have been recorded excerpts from the writings of 19th Century naturalists and hunters, describing the almost unbelievable size of Ectopistes migratorius flocks. On a pedestal stands a glass bell jar or globe, inside of which is an odd contraption with a large brass needle which rotates erratically, almost compass like, both recalling migratory instincts and pointing to the quotes on the walls. The final part of the instillation is a great heptagonal glass case in a darkened room. The case contains a tree, and the branches of the tree are festooned with hundreds of passenger pigeons cast in orange copal (a million or so years old, an immature form of amber).

By the way, "zugunruhe" is a an obscure German ornithological term for the nighttime restlessness displayed by migratory birds.


Leaving the gallery, just as the bells at Brown were tolling four p.m. (EST), I had a minor absence seizure. Which may explain the trouble I'd been having with the story, as work often becomes difficult before a seizure. We stopped by the market before heading home. There was Chinese takeout for dinner, as no one felt like cooking. We streamed a truly dreadful film from Netflix, Thora Birch and some other people in Sean McConville's Deadline (2009). This has to be one of the dullest films of the year, and I'm not sure why we didn't shut it off after the first twenty minutes. I will say, the ghost story is one of the most difficult supernatural tales to pull off effectively, especially in film, and one does not manage that trick by regurgitating every tiresome gimmick from the last decade of American and Japanese cinema (most of which never worked to begin with). Avoid this film. And you might also want to avoid WoW until after the "holidays," as its been infested with inappropriate Xmas idiocy again. We quested a bit in remote parts of the Howling Fjord and reached Level 71. There was a genuinely creepy encounter with the Lich King inside a sepulcher at the Vrykul city of Gjalerbron. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew the Vrykul queen Angerboda as she was attempting to resurrect King Ymiron. But the Lich King made a brief appearance and spirited the two giants away.

And that was yesterday. But there are photos:

15 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Eocene)
Here I've made no entry since April 3rd, and I have to try to play catch up. Generally, it's a sign that a vacation is going well, if I can stay away from the blog.

Friday and Saturday are a bit of a smudge. I did little but read on either day. Read and sleep. Lots of naps the last few days, which are helping enormously in this bid to restore me. But, anyway...reading. On Friday, I picked up Burleson's Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe, only to be disappointed to learn that it's primarily a dry attempt to subject HPL's work to the rusty razors of deconstruction and post-structuralist literary theory. I made it through "Pre-lude: The Manner of Reading" before the yawning was getting the better of me. I don't think anyone can fairly accuse me of being anti-intellectual, but I can live without Jacques Derrida, thank you very much. Joshi is quoted as saying that this text is "The most challenging book ever written on Lovecraft." It's certainly the most tedious. So, anyway, I tossed Burleson aside, and picked up Goldner and Turner's The Making of King Kong. Much better. I read about half the book on Friday, and finished it late yesterday. Also, on Saturday, at the suggestion of a reader, I went back to The Children of Cthulhu and read the three stories that had been suggested: Tim Lebbon's "The Stuff of Stars, Leaking," Alan Dean Foster's "A Fatal Exception has Occurred at...," and Brian Hodge's "The Firebrand Symphony." The first wasn't bad, a little skimpy, but not bad. I thought it worked primarily as a mood piece, but didn't quite live up to the images evoked by its title. The second, the Foster story, was both dull and ridiculous. And someone should have told the author that earthquakes are not at all unusual in Denver, since he made such a big point of them never occurring there. But I rather liked the Brian Hodge story.

There's also been an awful lot of "television." I use the quotation marks because, these days, we pretty much stick to DVDs and what we can stream from Hulu or Netflix, and watch it all on Spooky's laptop. Lots more of Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And someone somewhere was saying all of us who'd abandoned Dollhouse early on should give the latest episode a try, since it felt much more like Joss Whedon. They did caution that it wasn't any good, just that it at least felt much more like Joss Whedon. I would amend that to say that the latest episode of Dollhouse felt like a parody of Joss Whedon, made by someone looking for the "secret formula." Eliza Dushku simply can't act (and here, the main problem is that she has no range, in a role demanding great range), and the show's about as interesting as...well, actually, it's not interesting at all. I did rather like the most recent episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, though. One of the best of the series so far. Also, we've started watching Season Two of Heroes. It's about what I recall from Season One. Bland, frequently silly, but oddly watchable.

Yesterday, we'd planned to drive up to Boston and spend the day at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. But the weather was so sunny and warm (high about 60F, though with winds gusting to 24 mph), after three or four consecutive days of rain and cold, that we decided, instead, to head out to Conanicut Island. The sky was a brilliant blue, and there were more glimpses of spring in the woods, along the streams and in the bogs. The fields are all brilliant green, and the trees have gone red with a wash of buds. We reached Beavertail, meaning to explore a favorite cove on the western side of the point (about .15 miles northwest of the lighthouse), but the wind was a bit harsh. Also, we kept stumbling upon clusters of small jellyfish (so far unidentified) washed up on the rocks. So, after just a little while, we crossed over to the more sheltered eastern shore. I found a comfortable spot (about .44 miles northeast of the lighthouse) among the tilted beds of Cambrian-aged phyllite and slate, and I just lay there in the sun, listening to the sea and watching the birds. It was marvelous. There were some unfamiliar birds floating on the water, birds that were neither cormorants nor gulls. They might have been either murres or eider ducks; we didn't have the binoculars, so we're not sure. Might have been a few of both, or none of either. I think I dozed a little, right at the edge of the surf, as the tide roared in.

Later, we made it over to Fort Weatherill, south of Jamestown (still on Conanicut Island, but about 2.82 miles, as the gull flies, northeast of Beavertail Lighthouse), to our favorite place to hunt for beach glass. We found lots, including some very old pieces, and one largish shard emblazoned with the word "ASK." Well, I'm sure it's actually a fragment of a longer word, but...still. We also found an assortment of gull bones, including a nice tarsometatarsus, a cervical vertebra, and a dorsal vertebra, along with what appears to be the synsacrum and incomplete pelvis of a cormorant. The usual assortment of crustacean remains, including Carcinus maenas, Cancer irroratus, and Callinectes sapidus. The water, both at Beavertail and Fort Weatherill, was so amazingly clear, and so many countless shades of green and blue. There were a couple of scuba divers at Fort Weatherill, and I envied them. We made it home about six p.m., I think. My face got a bit sunburned.

Okay. This has gone on longer than I meant it to. I have a few emails I have to answer...and then I'm just going to read, I think. Here are some photographs from yesterday:

April 5, 2009 )
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 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 )
greygirlbeast: (blood)
Yesterday was the sort of day that can only earn an L, and the sort that it's best not to speak of at length. It's not superstition, just the act of moving along. I think the only thing good I can say about yesterday was we had a decent walk just after sunset, and there were bats everywhere, flitting to and fro. One chased a mockingbird, which I assume it mistook for a rather large insect. Just after the mockingbird incident, we heard a screech owl just across the street. A marvelously eerie sound.

Also, I wanted to point out that the current eBay auctions end tomorrow. So far, there's been no bid on the copy of La Soglia (the Italian edition of Threshold). Please have a look. Bid if you're so inclined, or buy it now, whichever.

Yes, I have heard the news of the Farscape "revival," that the SFC has order 10 short films or "webisodes" for SCI FI PULSE. But honestly, I don't know if this is a good thing. Aside from the final forty five minutes or so, I was not particularly thrilled with the mini-series in October 2004, and I don't yet know what to make of the news.

Ah, and I have this, because you can't do much better than She Wants Revenge, Shirley Manson, and Harvey Keitel, all in a single video::


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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