greygirlbeast: (river3)
Kittens, this is what happens when you break up with a vacation. It exhibits a flare for vindictiveness by seeing to it that, on the eve of New Year's Eve, I catch a mild intestinal bug, just enough to make me utterly miserable for a good twenty-four hours, and see that Spooky catches it just as I start recovering, so another twenty-four hours will be disrupted and more misery will be spread. So, warning: do not interrupt vacations.

But comment. I'll have the iPad with me in bed.

I spent most of yesterday lying on the chaise in the middle parlour, sleeping and moaning, except when I was...no, I'll be discrete, yes? Yes. I did read Laird Barron's "Old Virginia" and Steve Duffy's "The Oram County Whoosit," the latter of which was not only quite good, but rather interesting. In that it covered some of the ground I covered in "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" and "The Colliers' Venus (1893)." Also, it put me in mind, a bit, of Carpenter's The Thing (1982). But I don't mean to say that it felt derivative (though it is a "Mythos tale"). You can find "The Oram County Whoosit" in New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and I recommend it. This was the first story by Duffy I'd read.

Last night, as the crud struck Spooky, we watched Julie Delpy's The Countess (2009). And it really is Delpy's film as she wrote, directed, scored, and played the title role in the film. It's neglect of historicity aside, it's a fine film. Erzebet Bathory's story becomes both a fairy tale and a tragedy about a strong, intelligent (if psychotically, murderously neurotic) woman caught in an age when strong, intelligent women were generally deemed, at best, a nuisance. I especially approve of this latter theme, as it certainly did play a role in the downfall of the real Countess Bathory, between the enormous debt owed her by Hungary's King Matthias and the hatred she engendered from the Roman Catholic Church. Whatever else may or may not be true of her, having researched her life, there can be little doubt she ran afoul of a conspiracy and was an easy target. Anyway, I'd have liked a wilder, more explicit film, but The Countess is impressive, nonetheless (ignore the IMDb rating of 6.2; that's fucking poppycock). See it.

But what really saved the day yesterday was that the mail brought a gift from Neil, a personalized copy of the numbered edition of The Little Golden Book of Ghastly Stuff, from Borderlands Press. Spooky read a bit of it to me and the platypus. I was especially pleased with "Entitlement Issues" (you can read it online, just follow the link), which calls out all those fools who think authors owe them anything at all and who place stock in that "reader/writer contract" crap.

Ah, I'm running out of what little steam I had in me. So, I shall leave you with two things: Firstly, a promise that Sirenia Digest #73 will be out sometime in the next week or so, and, secondly, I leave you with this rare photo of me and the platypus together (we were fading fast):



On the Mend,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.

Yuletide 2011 )


---

Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:



It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

Dreadful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
So, yeah. Yesterday evening, after the blog entry, I was alerted to the fact that Two Worlds and In Between and I were being spoken of reverently in the pages of The New York Times. To whit:

There’s also no shortfall of ghosts, revenants and otherness in Ms. Kiernan’s Two Worlds and In Between. What’s most satisfying, though, in this retrospective — more than 200,000 words covering 1993 to 2004 — is watching Ms. Kiernan progress from competence and promise to become one of our essential writers of dark fiction...Ms. Kiernan is a cartographer of lost worlds..."

(byline, Dana Jennings)

Follow this link to read the full review.

Yeah, it brightened my mood a tiny bit. I think this is the first time I've ever been mentioned in The New York Times. Sure, the whole world can see my name and my prose every day just by going online. But today, from Manhattan to Tokyo, from Munich to Bombay, people will read my name and prose in print. And, especially in this day and age, that makes me smile. Sure, tomorrow, those same papers will be used to wrap fish and line bird cages. But today...damn. I want to buy copies, cut out the review, and make sure it's read by every one of those assholes who swore I'd "never amount to anything." Alas, many of them are mercifully dead now. As my life unfurls and winds down, I understand it's not enough to outlive your detractors. You also have to do something worthwhile during that whole outliving them thing. Anyway, yes, I am allowed to slip out from beneath the black cowl, feel some vague sense of accomplishment, and gloat for a few hours. I'll duck back into the shadows afterwards, don't worry. Truthfully, it didn't feel real until this morning. Spooky's gone out to find copies of the paper (page C4). Seeing it printed with ink on actual paper will make it feel much more real, I'm sure.

The morale of our story? Simple: If you manage not to die long enough, someone will notice. Maybe.

And if you're looking to bring me down today, over this or anything else, take a number. The line starts over there. Don't call me, I'll call you.

Oh, and having reviewed Apple's return policies, I'm fairly certain the iPad will be returned. I just don't need the thing as badly as I need many other things. And I do need what it could take away. I might change my mind. The jelly-bean shiny may carry the day. Nobody's perfect. We'll see. I'm encountering this phenomenon referred to as "buyer's remorse."

Great new episode of Fringe last night ("Subject 9").

Ah, Spooky's back. Must go see. But first this comment [livejournal.com profile] opalblack made to last night's entry:

Do you know there are actually people out there who envy us that tearing, bottomless darkness? Mostly nooage middle-class-white types who run around campfires waving dead things on sticks and calling it shamanism. I would like to slap them. For a lot of things, really.

Oh, I know those people...and antidotes.

Look upon me! I'll show you the life of the mind! I'll show you the life of the mind! — Charlie Meadows, Barton Fink

Surprised,
Aunt beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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