greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
C'mon, kittens! Sirenia Digest #70! Comments!

Though I'm trying to get more sleep, it's not really working. I did manage to make myself lie down by 3:30 ayem last night. I fall asleep now almost as soon as I do that (and almost any fucking time I do that). But there is in me, I have discovered—having conqured Monsieur Insomnia—a tremendous reluctance to sleep. We're not talking actual hypnophobia. But, see, there are the dreams (last night, I dreamt of being trapped inside the plot of some weird-ass Aliens 5 thing, which I would post here, if I could make sense of the fragments I remember), and then there's the fact that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and then there's the dread of waking...it's complicated. And I'm rambling. This will be a hodgepodge of an entry, that's what I'm trying to say, because...well, I can't remember. Why. But it will be.

Yesterday was spent in a mad dash to make a time machine out of a DeLorean DMC-12. We're still waiting to see whether or not we were successful. But we may not know until three weeks ago. But yes, lots of work.

Oh, and I sold reprint rights for "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" to Subterranean magazine. Not sure which issue it'll be appearing in just yet. By the way, "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash" almost became part of the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but Peter Straub pulled my head out of my ass, and for that I am grateful. Just because it's a good piece of fiction relevant to the novel doesn't mean it belongs in the novel. At least not until there's a massive limited-edition hardback (for which there are currently no plans).

A wish to congratulate Holly Black ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly), who will be expanding her short story "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," one of the few brilliant vampire stories I've read in ages, into a novel for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. But you can read the whole story on her LJ. Very, very cool. I especially like that it's not just reworking the characters from the short story, but taking another route into that world.

I neglected, yesterday, to say that I think the assassination of President Kennedy was worked into the Mad Men very, very well. Last night, we finished Season Three and began Season Four. Wonderful stuff. Watching the first episode of the fourth season was weird, Thanksgiving 1964, because there's the world when I was about six months old. And it's so much not this world.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK. People! Buy cool stuff!

Oh, and I know I said that Spooky would come along and help me catch all the typos in yesterday's first entry. Only, she was busy and never did, and after all that nonsense with the DeLorean time machine, I was too tired to catch more than a few of them. Apologies. I hate being sloppy. But, I was too distracted, after work and a short nap and dinner, and, besides, I was building my first ever male Second Life avatar. He took me two nights to construct, even with Spooky's avatar foo coming to the rescue. He is Alexander Ishmene, and may, or may not, be the "brother" of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene, which would be a might odd, her being an AI hiding in a cloned body and all.

Also, I will make my official announcement about this month's book of the month tomorrow. But it's Colin Meloy's Wildwood, illustrated by Carson Ellis.

I wish, wish, wish I could be in Manhattan, actually taking part on the Occupy Wall Street protests, but since I can't, I can at least donate pizza money. So can you! Pizza and other much needed supplies. Just go to the Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs webpage for their #occupywallstreet scent, and there are links, pointing to all sorts of ways you can lend your support. Including buying a bottle of #occupywallstreet.

My imaginary children are Carson (daughter) and Winslow (son). Some of us can only afford imaginary children, and are responsible enough not to have children we can't afford to care for and send to college.

Oh, yes! And don't forget to celebrate Columbus Day this weekend by walking into someone's house and telling them you live there. If they won't cooperate, just kill them. In fact, just kill them on general principle. It's worked before.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My morning was going rather shitty (resuming a course begun last night), but then I saw someone refer to Orson Scott Card as a "howling bigoted douchemonkey," and I almost laughed, and now I feel a little better. Also, I've been sleeping like crazy, which is a tad bizarre. Vaults of sleep. Too much wandering in the watery Dreamlands. These days, always do I dream of water. Also, I might be getting a headache.

Yesterday, I did a metric shit-ton of work on those acoustic particle destab...wait. What was I saying? I knew a moment ago, then there was this bright flash before my eyes, and now I have no idea whatsoever. That is so fucking weird. It just keeps happening. But...um...yeah, I did a lot of work yesterday. And I sent "John Four" to S. T. Joshi, who wanted to read it. If he decides to reprint it for a forthcoming anthology, I might decide to expand it a bit (because, you know, spare time spills forth from my asshole). And I emailed Michel Zulli. And I received news from Penguin that the delayed (by a hurricane) CEM for The Drowning Girl should arrive here today. I'm praying it got fucking lost somewhere in Connecticut, and will remain so for at least a week*.

And you know, a leech (Hirudinea) is such an honest organism, even among other oligocheates. No frills, no fussing about with frippery.

This society needs less enthusiasm, less opportunity to express its opinion, and more time spent in quiet reflection.

Oh, last night? Thank you for asking. Perfectly wretched, but, truly, I've no one to blame but myself. I would say there was lousy RP in Insilico last night, but that would imply there was RP in Insilico last night, and there wasn't. Yet, for some psychotic reason, I waited around for more than two hours. Oh, yes. Because there was supposed to be RP. But...whining ooc drama trumps all else in SL, and almost all the good RPers have flung themselves into the abyss of the virtual bureaucracy of sim administration...which means they rarely have time to RP...and really, that was only the tip of how everything kept going crappy last night.

But! All was not lost. I had Valium and Vincent D'Onofrio! And Vincent D'Onofrio makes even the most sour night a little less so. An "actor's actor," I have heard him called, even as I have been called a "writer's writer." These, kittens, are what are known as backhanded compliments, or consolation prizes, or what the fuck ever. But! Just give me ponygirls, a glass dildo, and the brain of Vincent D'Onofrio, and you'll hear not one complaint from me. Oh, and a little Oxycodone. That would sweeten the pot, yes.

Oh, I also read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, W. H. Pugmire's "Some Buried Memory," which was delicious, because Pugmire is brilliant. Alas, there are not many more good stories in this (largely) reprint anthology that I've either not read previously or which I won't deign to read. Here's my thing (as Lara Means would say): Except in extraordinarily rare instances, you either approach the work of Lovecraft with a straight face, or you leave it the hell alone. Bring humor and parody to the table, and usually you'll make a fool of yourself and embarrass others. Bring irony, that's worse still. Do it right, or don't do it, but for fuck's sake, stop with the attempts at too-cool-for-school hipster and/or pseudo-intellectual comedy. There have been exceptions, a tiny handful, such as Neil's "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar." As the Mythbusters say, these exceptions are not something you should try at home. Keep your cuddly Cthulhu slippers and plushie Azathoths to yourselves and far away from me. Anyway, too much of The Book of Cthulhu is given over to the funny which is not funny. There are probably half a dozen good stories I've yet to read, at best. Which is a shame.

Did I mention Vincent D'Onofrio?

Dry and Humorless,
Aunt Beast

* It's here. Let this fresh hell begin.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny today, Again, I should be in the sea. This is a thing that will not happen, though, because even if it weren't for the writing, I've got a doctor's appointment this evening. Actually, doctor's appointments can be fun, if you go about them the right way. I have found most doctors to be horrified and/or stupefied at the notion that everyone doesn't want every conceivable test for every conceivable symptom which might lead to any conceivable malady.

Doctor: "But you might have X?"

Me: "So what? If I do, I'd rather not know. It's not like I could ever afford the treatments, and, besides, I'm chronically suicidal."

This is not a fiction. I have actually had this exchange. It was lovely. I'm pretty sure it's not a patient response taught at medical schools.

Or! If any cavity probing is involved, only agree to them if the doctor first agrees to say "Good puppy," at regular intervals.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,957 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. The book is moving quickly towards its conclusion. I'm pretty sure an old school bus filled with Swamp Yankee werewolves is involved. Some idiot is going to proclaim this a great "horror" novel. Or say something like, "Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan has figured out how to write great horror." And me, I'll just sit back and laugh. The hardest part about this book is that most of what is perceived as "horror" became self-parody and comedy long ago, but very few people have figured it out. It's hard to parody a parody. So says the world's only triggerpunk, and she ought to know.

Spooky (on the other paw) went to her parents' place, to visit with her sister, Steph, and nephew, Miles, who are up from Brooklyn. Miles is three and a half, and he likes pirates. And he proclaims, "Brothers are sisters. Sisters are brothers." I wish they taught this shit in school. Anyway, Spooky took photos of a cute kid and a frog (behind the cut, below). I cry foul.

---.

This morning, Bruce Sterling tweeted, "Social media does not exist for you. You are the PRODUCT in social media. That's why it's free." Fucking brilliant. I'm going to have a stencil of that quote made and start tagging everything in site.

---

As for whatever else there was of yesterday...nothing that warrants recording, but I'll record it anyway. A little Rift (I'm trying to get the achievement for killing 250 centaurs in the Droughtlands; see, and you thought I was all like smart and shit). We read more of The Stand (1978 text, accept no substitute). There was some Second Life RP. Oh, furries are annoyingly little shit (just in case you didn't know). "It's not a fetish! It's a lifestyle! Do you think I chose to want to have sex in a fursuit!? I'm a Loony Toon trapped in a human body!" Milk and Cheese! Milk and Cheese!

Sorry. That wasn't nice, was it? I'm channeling Siobahn Quinn.

As for Ridley Scott directing and producing a Blade Runner sequel or prequel...I'm not sure how to react to that.

Hesitantly,
Aunt Beast

17 August 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay. I admit it. It feels like summer here in Providence. Which is weird, because it's currently only 77˚ Fahrenheit.

I've been free of Second Life for almost three months. And what always happens when I finally pull myself free of that quagmire is happening again. Someone I know from Second Life starts talking about Second Life. When this happens, he or she does not have to say, "Oh, please come back." Not at all. He or she need merely make me think about SL, and the addiction starts sparking. My brain cells begin to crave, and I have to start fighting back or else succumb. I'm usually assured that it's better now. Better than this most recent time I quit "for good." Which is like saying, hey, leprosy's better now. You should try it again!

Spooky says if we had a front porch we could lounge around on it like a couple of hobos. Spooky has an obsession with hobos.

Yesterday...um. Still waiting to hear from my agent on Blood Oranges. But I did print out all there currently is of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which is, incidentally, 318 pages, or 97,365 words, or 438,668 characters (no spaces), or 536,036 characters (with spaces), or 1,451 paragraphs, or 7,069 lines of text. My drooling idiot of an HP printer required a cartridge and a half of black ink to do the job. So, yes. I did that. And I proofed the first story, "The Wolf Who Cried Girl." I also looked at a few marvelous photographs [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy took on Sunday (in the cold of June) of Sara Murphy, Our Eva Canning. Mostly underwater. But that's all a secret, and I can't show you. You'll thank me, later. They always do. I sweated some. I fantasized about places I wasn't.

Last night, we finished reading William Burroughs' Junky, including the "lost" 28th chapter of the manuscript. Yeah, well. It happens. Junkies lose stuff. Which is different than hobos, who can't even be bothered to remember they have stuff.

I should go. Please pre-order Two Worlds and In Between, if you've not already. And leave some stale bread out for the hobos. And, it just occurred to me how much time some writers spend trying to convince themselves The World Really Loves Them Always And Forever (And Is Their BFF And Will Never Forget Them), when in fact, mostly, the world couldn't give a horse's fanny about any of us.

Ta,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Sunny and cold. Same old same old.

S.T. Joshi loves The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and that makes me smile:

"The Drowning Girl features all those elements of Caitlín R. Kiernan's writing that readers have come to expect – a prose style of wondrous luminosity, an atmosphere of languorous melancholy, and an inexplicable mixture of aching beauty and clutching terror. It is a ghost story, but also a book about the writing of ghost stories. It is about falling in love, falling out of love, and wondering whether madness is a gift or a curse. It is one of those very few novels that one wishes would never end."

Yesterday, I wrote 2,593 words. Quite respectable, indeed. Especially when you take into account I was pretty wiped out from the seizure the night before and the pills. I'm sort of loving "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash," and sort of not wanting it to end.

If you haven't ordered yet, Herr Platypus reminds you that Mondays are a fine day for reserving your copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Subpress now has the full ms. and all the artwork. It's gone off to grow up into a book.

---

Lo mein and dumplings last night. Also, a great episode of Fringe, "Bloodline." Anna Torv continues to rock my socks, and she gave good Fauxlivia last night. And yes, I'm hugely relieved that the series was renewed for another season.

Extremely good rp last night. The last three or four nights have restored my faith in rp as a storytelling device, a means of creating improvisational theater that is cathartic, smart, sexy, and simply fun. I'd pretty much given up. I think I may have mentioned this in an earlier entry, that I'd been so battered by the idiocy of SL and etc. that, lately, I simply haven't been able to take joy in any sort of rp. I thought it might be a permanent state of disillusionment. But, I'm glad to say I was wrong. Thank you, B. More than ever, I believe the secret is to keep any rp small. Two or, at the most, three people. Oh, and I did have a major culling of my SL friend's list last night. I'm removing anyone who stirs even an inkling of bad association.

Later, Spooky read more of The Book Thief to me, and, eventually, there was sleep.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold out there. Cold and sunny. I think spring's decided to skip this year.

Here I sit, with my sour stomach and shakey hands and ringing ears, and the day ahead of me. And there's really not a lot to say about yesterday.

I spent the entire day looking for a story for Sirenia Digest #64, and I think I found something called "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash." Today I have to begin making a story from the idea, stone and mortar and what have you.

It could be an awfully prophetic title. I didn't see that yesterday.

I think I might have drawn the cover for the Crimson Alphabet chapbook yesterday.

---

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In 1998, I wrote about the fire in The Dreaming #28, "Dreams the Burning Dream." This afternoon, Spooky and I will be ringing a bell at 4:45 p.m. EST, the exact time the first alarm bells were sounded a century ago. I'm a little disheartened that there's no official observance being held in Rhode Island, despite its history of textile mills, etc.

But it's not as if the dead hear bells the living ring. It's not as if the dead hear anything at all.

---

Huge thanks to Geoffrey who seems to have secured permission for me to quote Radiohead's "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)" in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm still waiting to hear from R.E.M.'s management.*

---

Some unexpectedly good rp in SL last night. I really don't do SL anymore. And, for that matter, I think SL all but destroyed any desire I ever had to rp anywhere. You can only be fucked over so many times before you simply cease to care. Anyway, thank you Blair, because last night was awesome.

---

Thanks to all the people who donated to the the Kickstarter project yesterday. We have 12 hours to go, and the project is 207% funded. I'm amazed. I was worried we wouldn't meet our goal, much less meet it more than twice over.

Gonna go write now.

* Actually, I just did.
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Very, very cold here in Providence (25F, feels like 14F) with an overcast sky.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,858 words on Chapter Three (3) of The Drowning Girl. As it stands, I'm 20,970 words into the manuscript, which means I'm probably somewhere between one third and one quarter of my way to THE END, if upon this book's completion it's going to look like I think it will— which, of course, it might not.

And I got some work done for Two Worlds And In Between.

And then we had Spooky's "Five Legged Stew" for dinner, and watched Michael Winterbottom's Jude (1996). It's a breathtaking, devastating film. But, then, I've always had a thing for Thomas Hardy. And, of course, the casting of Christopher Eccleston in the title role doesn't hurt.

Yesterday morning, there was the beginning of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and just before dinner, more of China Miéville's The Kraken (a book I desperately wish I'd written, but, if I had, it would have had none of The Kraken's wonderful humour).

There was a little WoW. I meant to mention yesterday another thing about the Cataclysm expansion that has disappointed me. Silvermoon, the Eversong Woods, and Tranquillien seem to be stuck back at the Burning Crusade expansion. Near as I can tell, time's standing still there, and no one's even heard of all the late unpleasantness with Arthas, much less the sundering of the world by that pesky Neltharion. I suspect the same may be true of the Draenei starting area...and I think I even see why, but it seems a shame, when almost all the world has been revamped and updated, Silvermoon is still mired where it is.

I've slipped back into the Insilico rp the last couple of nights. Part of me needs it, but I'm not yet sure I have the requisite energy to sustain it, what with so much writing to be done. I don't think of rp as writing, not exactly. It's more what I've called improvisational theatre, but it requires much of the same talents and can make you weary pretty much the same way, if you're doing it right. SL isn't any better than it ever was, a technological marvel that will never realize one tenth its true potential. But as long as I interact with a very small number of people (right now, only two others), I can ignore the rabble. The white noise. The goofiness. Grendel's still pregnant (three months now). Molly's going back to work for the Big Bad. Et cetera. Our little cyberpunk soap opera.

Before sleep, Spooky read to me from Angela Carter. I'm sleeping a little better. No sleeping pills for three nights now.
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The not-sleeping is quickly, once again, reaching a crisis state. It's not even one thing, but a combination of things. My wretched insomnia, and the sleeping pills (I know we're supposed to say "sleep aids" now, but fuck it) that really don't work so well (name one, I've taken it). The morning construction noise from the house next door, the one that had a fire this time last year, and they're only just now getting it refurbished. Our noisy upstairs neighbors, who stomp like bloody elephants and test smoke alarms in the morning. The cats. And on and on and on. I don't think I've had a stretch of decent sleep in about three months now, excepting the days in Portland, and it's starting to show.

Three months. And I don't know, maybe it's been longer. The way I feel right now, you could ask me my name and I'd probably get it wrong.

I spent yesterday working on the prolegomenon for #60. Spooky went down to her parents place in South County. I wrote the prolegomenon. Which is the longest it's ever been for any issue of Sirenia Digest. Over two thousand words. So, I wrote two thousand words yesterday, it just wasn't fiction. It was an odd sort of mystery. All will be revealed— to subscribers (which you could be, if you subscribed) —in the fullness of time.

I've learned a surprising amount of Slovak, Croatian, and Hungarian the last week or so.

I'm behind on almost everything. For example, I was supposed to hand in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between at the end of November, and that's not going to happen. And then there are things I need to send to people. I have a list. I actually do. The poem I need to send out to everyone who donated for Spooky's birthday present, way back in June. A copy of Silk to the person who won it on the seventeenth anniversary of the day I began the novel. Now, I need to get the blog PDF out the everyone who's asked (hopefully today). I have a painting I began a month ago.

I squander so much of my evenings on MMORPGs because the days writing without having slept leave me too tired to do anything constructive with the nights.

The problem of time displacement enter into the equations.

I just need to sleep.

---

Last night, two movies, both surprisingly, unexpectedly good. First, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Gamer (2009), which I think really only works if you've subjected yourself to the idiotic hell of Second Life or the Sims. This is the third time now that I've seen sf, in film, address the SL thing. First in Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates (2009), then in Caprica, and now in Gamer. The latter adds a sort of Death Race edge. But there's no mistaking Castle's "Society" as anything but the SL mainland. Unless, of course, you've been smart enough or lucky enough to have never "visited" the SL mainland. Or SL in general. And, of course, the film had Micheal C. Hall, which never hurts. I will also note that all three— Gamer, Caprica, and Surrogates — fared poorly at the box office/ratings, and I suspect, in truth, this is because the number of people who've experienced what's being criticized is so very tiny. Not sure if I'd recommend Gamer to just anyone, as mileage will vary greatly. But if you're a recovering SL addict (like me), I think it's a must see.

The second film, Don McKellar's Last Night (1998), is a quiet little Canadian affair about the last night before the end of the world, as everyone in Toronto counts down to midnight and the end. Exactly what fate is befalling mankind is never named, which doesn't matter in the least, because this is a film about the characters, not the disaster. The disaster (which can pretty much be puzzled out, if you're paying attention) is only the catalyst. I'd never even heard of the film before last night, which is odd. Also, it had David Cronenberg. I definitely recommend it, unless you're more interested in special effects than characterization. Last Night has virtually no special effects, which makes it all the more effective.

---

I suppose I should go drink my coffee— which has gotten cold —and try to salvage the day.
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Cold and gloomy Outside. I've not left the apartment since October 30th. When I finish Chapter One (1) of The Drowning Girl, then I can leave the House, and bathe, and whatnot.

Yesterday, I rallied, and wrote 1,770 words on The Drowning Girl, the scene in which Imp (India Morgan Phillips) meets her girlfriend, Alexis. I suspect the chapter has only one scene remaining, which I should be able to manage today and tomorrow. Then I might allow myself one day off before I set the novel aside for three weeks. I don't want to do that— set the novel aside —but it's necessary. This is, by the way, not the novel as I originally conceived of it late last summer, when it was titled Blood Oranges. It's not exactly the novel as I reworked it back in the winter, when it was called The Wolf Who Cried Girl, though it's still close to that incarnation. This novel, it seems, has something of a sense of humor, which is something I've never done before. It also has a first-person narrator who's pretty much incapable of linear storytelling, which I'm sure is going to piss off all sorts of people. I don't care. It no longer matters. This is the book I'm writing. Too much time was wasted trying to figure out how to write a book people would want to read, when I don't even actually care what people want to read.

Sometimes, it shocks or annoys me that I'm so utterly out of touch with the world as it currently exists. Then, other times, I'm relieved. For example, I have no goddamn idea who the Kardashian sisters are, nor do I care. Not even enough to Google. It helps knowing that pop culture is only about as deep as a wading pool, and if I ever need to catch up again, all I'd have to do is spend an afternoon reading magazines that are mostly advertising.

Has anyone else noticed how most software updates have nothing to do with making things better, just different?

Last night, we watched Fringe, and I had some extra amazing rp in CoX. My rp there has very little to do with the whole superhero thing, by the way, in part because I'm pretty much forgoing actual gameplay. I just wish that I could have found CoX three years ago, and not wasted so much time and energy trying to wring good rp out of the moronic cesspool that is Second Life. Later, we read more Kelly Link, "The Cinderella Game," "Surfer," and "The Wrong Grave." The last of those three was especially wonderful, one of my favorites so far. And that was yesterday.

There are still a couple of ongoing eBay auctions. Please have a look.

That seems to be everything for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. A blustery day after a rainy night, just like A.A. Milne might have ordered. But there's more rain on the way. At the moment, it's 55F and the wind's 19mph, gusting to 30 mph. There is a wind advisory in effect.

2. Please note that a number of the current eBay auctions will be ending this afternoon (one or two probably before I post this entry). Most notably, the "napovel" auction ends in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Thanks to everyone who has bid and might yet.

3. I spent yesterday working on "There Will Be Kisses For Us All." I wrote a measly 151 words, over several hours, and finally, again, admitted defeat and shelved the story. This makes twice for this particular story. Last time, two years ago, I couldn't quite find the story in the story. This time, I found the story, but was overwhelmed by everything that needed to go into the story to make it authentic, a hundred details I've been sorting through. And, as Spooky noted, it was threatening to become a full-blown short story, when I only have time to write two vignettes for Sirenia Digest #59. So, with much regret, I put this story away again, and will come back to it at some future date (I promise).

There was a suggestion from a reader yesterday, regarding the possible identity of the Englishman in "Dracula's Guest," who is usually assumed to be Johnathan Harker. [livejournal.com profile] papersteven writes: Am I mistaken that, in the novel, Renfield, before his stay in the sanatorium, had traveled to Castle Dracula? I may be thinking only of the back-story provided in Herzog's remake of Nosferatu, but I always thought it plausible that the Englishman in "Dracula's Guest" was Renfield.

Doesn't work. Renfield as an estate agent was an element introduced in various stage and screen adaptations of the stories. Tod Browning (1931) has Renfield go to Transylvania instead of Harker, for example, and Francis Ford Coppola (1992) presents Renfield as the agent who went to Castle Dracula prior to Harker, and returned insane. But in the novel, Renfield is a patient in Seward's sanitarium, first mentioned in a May 25th diary entry, and not an estate agent.

4. Also, [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney asked of "Pickman's Other Model": Was that in an older Digest? I'm assuming so, as it has a VL illustraion. I keep thinking about that story... When you first wrote it, was it ever a potential novel-length project? I can see that, somehow.

Yes. "Pickman's Other Model" first appeared in Sirenia Digest #28 (March 2008). Can I see it as a novel? Yes, I could. Easily. Will I ever write that longer story it could be? Maybe, who knows. The problem is, of course, that I have very many short stories that could be novels (and vignettes that could be short stories, for that matter).

5. Yesterday, my new keyboard arrived. It was a gift from Jada, so thank you, Jada! Since April 2007, I've been writing on the keyboard that came with my iMac. But it was a bad design, always had sticky keys (that had become very, very sticky), and, because of the design (set into a clear plastic tray) it easily became filthy and was hard as hell to clean. The new keyboard, also an Apple keyboard, is a sleek brushed aluminum affair, and the keys require the application of only the lightest touch. The old keyboard, with which I wrote many, many stories, as well as The Red Tree (and Beowulf, too, but I'm trying to forget that ever happened), will be packed away now.

6. [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived about 7:15 last night, and we got sandwiches from Fellini's, and spent the evening in conversation, about this and that and everything else. I can't begin to remember it all. I read him my introduction for Two Worlds and In Between, about which I was becoming very skittish, and he assured me it's fine (as Spooky had done). At some point, Kathryn called us to her laptop, to see a Second Life Innsmouth sim. There's not much good left that one can say about Second Life. It has become a stagnant backwater. But this sim is a beautiful, beautiful build. You can pose in the arms of a deep one out on Devil's Reef. I recommend you see it before it goes away (all good things on SL go away fairly quickly). The sim is named Innsmouth, so it's easy to find. She'd also downloaded the free Lord of the Rings Online trial (née Middle Earth Online), and we were all rather disgusted with it. Lousy graphics. I mean, sure, it would have looked good in 2002 or 2003. Now...it hardly looks as good as Morrowind looked. All in all, it feels like a WoW knockoff, but with graphics far inferior to WoW. I was very disappointed (though I never would have played anyway, since there's never going to be a Mac version). This is frakkin' Tolkien, people, and you get it right or you leave it the hell alone. Anyway, Geoffrey left a little after 2 a.m., and headed back to Massachusetts and Framingham.

7. And here's another set of photographs from the Portland/HPLFF trip. I hope no one's growing weary of this visual travelogue. I just want to get a goodly portion of it down in the journal, to look back upon in years to come. These are photos taken on our last day in Portland (Monday, October 4th), and in the air, and at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport before we learned the flight to Providence had been canceled:

H.P. Lovecraft, Part 8 )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
The insomnia hit me hard last night. I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., and then only with the help of Ambien, that nasty fucking shit. I had this plan, you see, heading into this long trip and the HPLFF. But...on the subject of plans:

I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen. (Parker, The Way of the Gun)

What you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar. (Jayne Cobb, Serenity)

So, I'm left wondering if the airline's going to consider these bags under the bags under my eyes as carry-on luggage. Because, as Thom Yorke reminds us, "...gravity always wins." And anyway, when the fuck did airlines start charging for any and all checked bags? At twenty-five bucks a pop. Granted, I haven't flown since 2004, but this is ridiculous.

---

All of yesterday was spent on the layout for Sirenia Digest #58, and in writing it's prolegomenon, which ended up being 737 words long. I think it turned into a sort of rough draft for the keynote speech I'm supposed to give the first night of the HPLFF. How I found Lovecraft abandoned on a school bus in 1981.

---

How is it that so many (note, I did not fucking say all) Xtians are so goddamn opposed to charity? I mean, isn't that like a scientist being opposed to observation and experimentation, or a Mormon being opposed to bicycles? Or a Scientologist being opposed to lousy science fiction movies starring John Travolta? Oh, okay. The teabaggers would say, we're not opposed to charity. We're opposed to enforced charity, compulsory charity. Which means, we're opposed to our tax dollars going to help people of color, and poor people, and people who aren't Xtians, and researchers who've proven that high-fructose corn syrup increases the rate of obesity and diabetes, and also no tax dollars to bums and junkies (liberals call them "homeless people"), or evolutionists, or environmentalists, or people without health insurance (because they're irresponsible), or people what don't think like we do. But...hey, it's totally okay if our money goes to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever else America wants to fuck up the rectum with a broken bottle, to getting all those American soldiers killed in the name of Coca-Cola, and getting all those Iraqi and Afghan soldiers killed in the name of Big Oil, and all those Iraqi and Afghan and Pakistani civilians killed in the name of Spongebob Sqaurepants. Yeah, that's okay. Because Jesus, we know he had a hard on for war. And he hated poor people who weren't responsible enough not to be poor. And he also hated brown people, even though he was one.

You fucking people make me sick. No, not you. You.

---

It occurs to me that I should post my itinerary for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, just in case anyone wants to show up to marvel at the Woman Who Cannot Sleep. But first I have to download it and read it. Hold on.

Well, that took ten minutes, and oh look, it's a spreadsheet. I suppose that's appropriate, spreadsheets being all about forbidden knowledge and wrong geometry and driving people insane. Anyway, it's something like this:

October 1st, Friday 3:30 p.m. Dark Horse reception for Lovecraft Unbound (Hollywood Wine & Espresso; across from where the festival takes place)
Friday night (main screening room): festival opening ceremony, keynote address.

October 2nd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. "Riffing on Lovecraft" (no idea what that means)
2:30-3:30 p.m. "The Cosmic Horror Movement"
4:30-5:30 p.m. "Brief Readings from Lovecraft Unbound"

October 3rd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. My reading.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, please, so I can buy more sleeping pills, please.

---

Four hours or so of astounding roleplay in Insilico last night. Just Grendel and Molly. Four hours of emotionally grueling rp. In which Grendel's pregnant human body finally gave up the ghost, and Molly removed her AI and put it back into the Xiang Prime shell (returned to them by Fifth a couple of nights ago). And then really bad stuff happened.* I don't know whether or not we've gone as far into the middle of this sf story as we'll be able to go. I'm just glad to have had the bumpy ride this far. This is what roleplay was meant to be. Catharsis. Gut-wrenching, mind-bending, self-searching catharsis. I couldn't care less for ideas of SL community and "rp events" and suchlike. I'm there for these beautiful, horrible little stories, that are only little if you're on the Outside looking in.

Gotta go now.

* This develop was almost immediately redacted, and the scene described above was treated as a dream sequence.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A sunny, warm day in Providence. I want to be Outside, but there's so much work to do. Only ten days left until the trip to Oregon for the HPLFF, and there's so much to get done twixt now and then. Still, if I finish with the writing early, I may try to persuade Spooky to take me to the sea.

Tomorrow is Mabon.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,039 words on a very strange new piece for Sirenia Digest. Sort of a post-apocalyptic vignette, wherein the apocalypse seems to have been the coming of Nyarlathotep and Azathoth to earth. Or, more accurately, earth tumbling into Azathoth. I felt like doing something explicitly Lovecraftian just before the Festival in Portland, and this seems to be it. Also, I'm thinking #58 will be devoted entirely to my explicitly Lovecraftian tales (which are fewer and farther between than some may think), the new piece plus several of the old ones. By the way, I am adopting the term that Joshi sets forth in The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos. Which is to say, I have never written Cthulhu Mythos stories, which are stories arising from August Derleth's bastardization of Lovecraft's vision into an inane struggle between good and evil. Instead, I do occasionally write stories that fit into the Lovecraft Mythos (if one must put a label on these things).

This morning I got word that the Jeff and Ann are very pleased with "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key," which was good news to wake to, as it is also a very strange story.

Spooky made the front page of Etsy this morning, with one of her Pumpkinhead Ghosts, between noon and one. You can see the rest of her Etsy shop here. And please have a look at the current eBay auctions (unless you intend to immediately resell on Amazon for a profit).

Anyway, the good writing day gave way to a very frustrating evening. I was supposed to do a bit of rp in Insilico. We started it and took a dinner break. And then I couldn't log back in, though I spent about an hour trying before I gave up. I have no idea what was going on (I was able to log on just fine this morning). So, instead, Spooky and I did some WoW, the Warsong Gulch Battle three times (because it was Call to Arms this weekend); Horde won twice, so not bad. But then we tried to do one of the Outland dungeons, the Steam Vault, and the boss kicked our blood-elf butts five times. And he's only some dumb ass fucking naga! So...yeah, a night of geeky frustrations.

In the wake of a week of illness, I'm now on a diet of Utterly Fucking Bland Food. Chicken and rice. Bananas. Potatoes. Bland, mushy, pale food. But at least maybe I'll be able to get back to digesting what I eat. Oh, and once you're past -05, you're are allowed to talk publicly about gross shit like this. Look it up.

Okay. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we go with the higgledy-piggledy again. It's a coolish day here in Providence, but sunny. After the anticlimax of Hurricane Earl, summer collapsed like a leaky balloon. Now it's sweater weather again.

I love that William Gibson tweeted "Johnette Napolitano is my Anne Rice. Seriously. Wonderful writer."

Yesterday, I finished writing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, though it still doesn't have a title. Which, I suppose, means that, technically, it's still not finished. I wrote 1,171 words yesterday. This story has been tedious to write, but I like the end result. It has required the constant consulting of texts, on subjects as diverse as pop culture, bog mummies, Arabian mythology, Irish and French geography, owls, early 20th-Century occultism, X-ray microtomography, the chemical composition of claw sheaths, weird fiction in the 1980s, rogue taxidermy, social constructionism, and Parisian ossuaries.

My new passport came yesterday, so no more worries about photo ID. This new passport is oddly high tech. I know it's being used to track me by satellite. It won't have to be renewed again until I'm fifty-six, and I imagine by then the world will hardly be recognizable.

---

Still reading Kristin Hersh's memoir, Rat Girl. There's a bit I want to quote. She's writing about writing music, but it applies (for me) equally to writing prose:

Music's making me do things, live stories so I can write them into songs. It pushes my brain and my days around. A parasite that kills its host, it doesn't give a shit about what happens to a little rat girl as long as it gets some song bodies out of it. It's a hungry ghost, desperate for physicality.

I'm not writing songs anymore; they're writing
me.

♋ close your eyes

i'm sliding really fast
my hands are full of snow

i don't understand
i don't understand puzzles

And every time a song is done, you can go now...you aren't needed anymore.
-- Kristin Hersh

I like to lie about writing being like this for me. I've often declared that writing fiction is, for me, nothing like this.

---

Still reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. And I'm also still thinking about the problem posed by A is for Alien, how it didn't do as well as all my other subpress books (i.e., it hasn't sold out). And between the reading and the pondering, something has occurred to me, and maybe it should have occurred to me before. Stephenson's book is, undoubtedly, marvelous. The worldbuilding is first rate, from the tech to the sociology (even though I think he's slightly too optimistic). And he truly has written a post-cyberpunk pastiche of a Charles Dickens novel. But, I find the book oddly lacking in emotional content and depth. The characters aren't precisely flat. But there's very little insight into how they feel about the world about them or about each other or about themselves. At times, they seem to exist in order to show us the book's technology and history and so forth. They're almost no more than plot and setting delivery devices. I feel like they're all living out a tragedy they're never allowed to recognize as such.

I have often heard it said that science fiction is the literature of ideas. Fair enough. But I don't think it ought to be the literature of ideas to the exclusion of exploring pathos, delight, fear, and so forth. And it certainly didn't used to be. But I haven't read much sf after the cyberpunks of the '80s. So maybe things have changed. Or maybe I'm placing too much weight on a single data point (though that matter of "mundane sf" rears its head). Anyway, my sf is primarily concerned with human emotion, with the characters, and only secondarily concerned with science and technology. Often, the science it is most concerned with is psychology, and I'm just wondering if that's part of what I'm trying to make sense of here. I recognize I may be barking up the wrong tree; but I need to check all of them, all these trees.

---

Good rp in Insilico last night. And an interesting ooc conversation right before I logged of SL, a conversation with Blair (the person I'm mostly rping with these days) about living vicariously through our roleplay characters. We both acknowledge that's what we're doing. Me, I'm exploring various issues of identity by having an android pass through various incarnations, becoming progressively human. Anyway, it's mostly interesting because I've known a lot of people who are very resistant to the idea that rp involves this sort of therapeutic vicariousness. But I think it's where the true value of rp lies, in allowing us to explore secret parts of ourselves. Now, admittedly, it can also allow us to view the world through alien eyes, through minds not our own, and try to become people we aren't. But the best we can ever manage in those situations it to try, because all our characters will always only be splinters of us.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Um...yeah. Yesterday is an absolute and utter blur. And it probably would be even if I hadn't slept like ass last night. I have no idea why I slept like ass. I actually got to sleep about 3:30 a.m., and slept for an hour. Then I woke and was awake until sometime after five, when I finally got back to sleep. But from there on, sleep was a fitful fever dream. The dreams were like fireworks going off behind my eyes (a purple analogy, but apt). And now I feel, well, the opposite of good, the opposite of rested.

As for yesterday, that brings me back to the absolute and utter blur. It began with me writing a short piece on H.P. Lovecraft for a Suvudu article by Matt Staggs, and then there was the blog entry, and then I had to get my bio and photo off to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, which I should have done days and days ago. For them what missed the news earlier, I will be Guest of Honor at this year's HPLFF and CthulhuCon in Portland Oregon (October 1-3). Anyway, then I had to answer email, and after that, about two p.m., I got back to work on "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest 57. I wrote 1,184 words, and did Q-S (S is for Shibari was especially challenging). And after that I had to finish proofing the galley pages of "The Bone's Prayer," which is being reprinted in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (edited by Paula Guran). And...then I stopped for the day.

After a power nap, and dinner (leftover chili), and a bath, I went back to Insilico, and began what would prove to be about six straight hours of roleplay. In which...crazy cyberpunk shit happened. Lots of crazy cyberpunk shit. I'm at one of those zenith points in rp. They happen every now and then. The world of the sim begins to feel more real than the real world. The face of the avatar becomes more substantial and immediate than my own face. It ought to be disturbing, I suppose, but it isn't. Oh, and after rp, another episode from Season 4 of Dexter.

And that was yesterday. Oh, and the auctions ended, and Study 1 for Yellow went for a truly respectable sum. My thanks to everyone who bid; this round helped greatly with the unexpected vet bills and such. Spooky will be getting another round of auctions started very soon.

There's a long entry about my science fiction, and why it's not as popular as my dark fantasy, but I don't have the time or the energy for it just now. Later. Now, I do T-V.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday was a loss, so far as work goes. Yesterday earns an L, so far as work goes. I was too hot, and hadn't left the House in over a week. So, about three p.m., we departed for the beaches along South County. Yesterday was not a loss, so far as just being alive goes.

I'd never been to East Beach, which lies along the narrow string of barrier dunes between Block Island Sound and Ninigret Pond. This is about six miles southeast of Moonstone Beach. Ninigret Pond, like many along the southern cost of Rhode Island, was formed during the retreat of glaciers at the end of the last "ice age," some ten to eleven thousand years ago. Past the dunes, studded with conifers and dog roses, poison ivy and various grasses, the beach is wide. When we arrived, the sun was still high and hot, but it felt good on my skin. I've wasted far too much of this summer indoors.

Mostly, I sat on the blanket and made notes, watched the waves and listened to the surf, while Spooky looked for bits of this and that in the sand. There were a few people fishing. A man near us hooked a sea robin (Family Triglidae), and promptly got stabbed by one of the spines as he tried to get it off his line. He bled, and wrapped his hand in a towel. We saw gulls, cormorants, piping plovers, and what we're pretty sure was a female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Small fish (four or five inches long) jumped from the waves, and those that weren't eaten by the gulls we scooped up and returned to the water.

A little after seven, we headed back to the car, but walked through the trees to the edge of Ninigret Pond before leaving. It's wide and flat, that water, and warm. There were countless small jellyfish washed up along the edge. I assume the species was not espcially toxic, as a small, naked child playing in the water nearby was picking them up. "Say goodbye to the jellyfish," her mother told her, and she did, and dropped it back into the pond.

On the way home, Spooky got a call from Best Buy, that her laptop was back from repairs. It had been the motherboard again. HP has acknowledged that this model has a flawed motherboard, but will only replace them with the same motherboards. At least it was still under warranty. We got home late, and had tuna sandwiches for dinner. It was in the high 80sF in the House. We hid in my office with Dr. Muñoz. I created a new avatar for Insilico rp, and Spooky played WoW (her night-elf driud, Syllhar). My insomnia's come back, and I didn't get to sleep until about five a.m.

That was yesterday.

Today, I have to try to finish up with the preliminary table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I've ironed out some details with Bill Schafer at subpress, which will make doing this much easier. Also, the lettered state of the book will include a special section with illustrations by various artists I've worked with over the years, which I think is very, very cool. The book will be subtitled Volume One, as I felt very weird doing a "Best of" at age -6. I'll do Volume Two -46 years from now...or maybe I'll do it sixteen years from now. The latter seems more prudent.

Okay...time to make the doughnuts. Here are photos from yesterday:

10 August 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
It would seem I shut Sméagol in my office at about four-thirty a.m.. The insomnia's come back, and I was up alone, playing WoW, and apparently he crept quietly into the office without me noticing. But he's fine, and the office is fine, so no harm done. No apparent kitty trauma.

Very hot here in Providence again, and I think I'm going to get just a little work done, and then we'll head south to the shore. I've not left the House since last Monday (a full week inside), and my ankle's much better, so...yeah. Time to go Outside.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I read over several stories. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" didn't make the cut, but "Stoker's Mistress" did (though I'm removing all evidence it was originally written for a "Vampire: The Masquerade" anthology). I decided I'm only including one story from the Dandridge Cycle, so I cut "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea (1957)" and "A Redress for Andromeda." I'll be using "Andromeda Among the Stones," the best (and longest) of the three tales. But I got hung up on whether to use "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" or "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)." And "The Road of Pins" or "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." Hence, last evening's poll. The results are interesting, and will definitely be factored into my final decision. If you have an opinion and have not yet voted, please do. I am having some weird trouble determining precisely when some of the earlier stories were written, those from the nineties, before I began dating the hell out of everything, but we'll sort that out. With any luck, I'll be able to post a preliminary ToC sometime in the next couple of days.

It's strange. This feels like I'm editing an anthology, not compiling a collection of my own work.

Last night, after egg salad for dinner, we watched three or four more episodes from Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It's kind of fascinating how pretty much everyone in the show but Christian has turned into a total douchebag. I spent a sizable chunk of the evening on rp in Insilico. It was good rp, not like that mealy stuff you get at Wal-Mart for $4.99 (plus tax). It's weird to be so immersed in that world again, but, for now, it's a good weird. And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On this day last year, The Red Tree was released. And here I am, a year later, with no Next New Novel finished. Indeed, it's only barely begun. Of course, I know I have perfectly valid reasons for this. But the little voice in my head, the one that keeps me awake nights, keeps telling me I'm a bum, and there's no excuse, and anyone can write a book in a year...and so forth. But I can only do what I can do. I suspect the little voice believes I have it within me to be a factory. I wish it were right. However, I know I don't. But there's not much point in bemoaning this long, slow composition. It comes when it comes, and all the threats and deadlines on earth can't make it come sooner. This is the best I can do, but I still have to try to do better, and hope for patience from my editor.

Mornings and most of the afternoon, for weeks now, I've been struggling with very low blood pressure. I spend half the day sick, and only start feeling okay towards sunset. Turns out, it was because two of my meds cause low blood pressure, and I've been taking both at bedtime. Last night, I only took one, and I woke up feeling fine this morning. I'll take the second drug around 2 p.m., and hopefully the problem will be solved.

We begin to grow old. We talk about medication in our blogs.

Yesterday was an oddly productive day for someone who was supposedly taking a day off. After the journal entry, I answered email. After that, I went back to work on the painting I've been trying to finish. And then I spent about an hour on the Table of Contents for the "Best of CRK" volume. Turns out, my very tentative ToC is already up to 181,203 words (out of a target word count of 200k). So, I'm going to have to shuffle, and choose carefully from here on. Then I went back to work on the painting. Then the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived. I read for a while and almost fell asleep. I went back to work on the painting, and feared I'd made a horrible mess of it. I stopped and took a bath and washed my hair. I went back to the painting again, and fixed what I'd hated (I dither as much while painting as while writing).

After dinner, I overindulged in rp in Insilico. But there were two great scenes, and my thanks to Nina, Hibiki, and Dr. Ang Faith (and Jake the hovering robot). Before bed, we watched two more episodes of Nip/Tuck. This show confounds me. Every time I think I'm fed up with rich white people whining about their problems, Nip/Tuck gets amazing again. I got to bed about 3 a.m., and dozed off to Blade Runner.

And that was yesterday.

---

The new JVP (Vol. 30, No. 4) includes the paper "Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): synonymy through ontogeny" by John Scannella and Jack Horner. Unlike most papers in JVP, this one's been getting a lot of press, and like most science that gets a lot of press, the story has often been misinterpreted by the media. Late last night, William Gibson tweeted, "No, Virginia, there never was a Triceratops." And I found myself correcting him, which was surreal, indeed.

Two things about this paper (since it seems to have caused such a fuss). First off, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, by which all biologists (neobiologists and paleobiologists) have to comply, dictates that whenever a situation like this one arises— one where a single animal has been given two or more names —the first proposed name has priority over all later names. Later names become junior synonyms. The object of this is to preserve taxonomic stability and avoid confusion in the scientific literature. So, in this case, the name Triceratops, erected in 1889, is conserved, and the name Torosaurus, erected in 1891, is abandoned. Which is to say, "No, Virginia, there never was a Torosaurus." Only, this isn't really an accurate way of looking at the problem.

People are used to looking at species as static entities. But biologists work with species (and all other taxonomic units— the case of Triceratops is a genus-level problem) as hypotheses. And any given hypothesis may be discarded by future discoveries. That is, the name Triceratops is a hypothesis seeking to explain a collection of seemingly related fossils of a Late Cretaceous horned dinosaur. The hypothesis says that all specimens of Triceratops are more closely related to one another than they are they are to any other genus of chasmosaurine dinosaur. But, like all hypotheses, it can be falsified in light of future discoveries. In this case, the discovery of new fossils giving us a more complete picture of Triceratops as a living population of animals, and allowing us to realize that the morph we used to call "Torosaurus" is actually only the very mature form of Triceratops. As an hypothesis, "Torosaurus" appears to have been falsified. Now, it's possible that Scannella and Horner are wrong, and that future discoveries and/or research of old discoveries will show that Triceratops and "Torosaurus" really are two taxa (though I've read the paper, and this seems unlikely). All hypotheses are provisional. Nothing is ever certain. Never. The best argument may be in error. That's how science works, even if the press seems unable to grasp this.

And it's time I get to work. The platypus is growling, and the mothmen are livid. Here are a few more photos from Monday, taken at Spooky's parents' farm:

2 August 2010, Part Two )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
An oddly long and full day yesterday. Which is good. Generally, I like my days to seem long, and I prefer them full.

I wrote 1,560 words on "The Yellow Alphabet" (for Sirenia Digest #56), making my way from F through H. Today, there's I through K to contend with. They are not the worst of the lot. That's usually Q. And X. But they are among the worst. Alphabetical thugs, if you will.

I wrote until sometime after five p.m., at which point Spooky ordered me to get dressed, and informed me that we were going to the shore. The summer's been weird, what with one thing and another, and I know it's not been going quite right when there's not sand upon the bedroom floor or in the bed. So, we drove down to South County. After leaving the highway, we followed Succotash Road, past the vast salt marshes bordering Point Judith Pond, down to East Matunuck Beach. The area's more touristy than we usually go for, but it was nearing sunset when we arrived and most of the tourists had left the beach for dinner. And it is a fine beach. You don't get many long sandy beaches in Rhode Island. I watched the waves and gulls, listened to the inhalation and exhalations of the rising tide, felt the chilly wind all about. Spooky waded in the surf, and then sat on the sand and made an effigy of Great Sandthulu. We watched the Block Island Ferry depart from Galilee, headed south, bound for the island. We stayed almost until dark, about 8 p.m. I wanted to stay longer, but the wind was growing cold enough our ears were beginning to ache. There are photos below, behind the cut.

We grabbed a quick dinner from the Subway on Westminster.

Back home, I did something I've not done since April 14th. I went into Second Life and roleplayed in Insilico. My thanks to Hibiki for encouraging me to come back, and my thanks to Fifth, Molly, Aemeth, and Dr. Faith (and Jake) for some very excellent rp last night. It looks like the Xiangs (or at least 1.5) may be back for a spell. It was something I've been needing.

And here are the photos from yesterday. I should wrap this up. The mothmen are getting antsy:

28 July 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A bright morning here in Providence. The sun came back yesterday afternoon, and today it's much warmer. A high of 67F is forecast. Hubero is camped out on my desk watching birds.

The first part of yesterday was spent searching for the photograph I'd planned to use on the dust jacket of The Ammonite Violin & Others (please preorder!). That meant pulling out the HUGE BOX O' PHOTOS and combing through the decades. But the print was missing. We found the negative, but not the print. So, I began to consider whether to go with this image— which would meaning having a new print made, which would mean driving to Greenwich (pronounced "Gren-itch," not Green-witch," please) —or just picking a different photo. Finally I settled for the latter option. And I chose an image subpress' design person already has on file, which made everything much simpler.

I exchanged emails with an editorial assistant at Penguin, regarding corrections to the mass-market paperback of The Red Tree. Oh, by the way, tomorrow I'll be announcing the "wonderful bit of news" regarding The Red Tree that I mentioned back on the 8th. Anyway, I answered various other emails.

And then, later in the day, Spooky and I headed to the post office in Olneyville (getting the signature sheets for Swords and Dark Magic back in the mail, two short story contracts, etc.), then back to Benefit Street and the Athenaeum. She finished up with the galley pages for The Red Tree while I lurked amongst the shelves (and bumped my head twice on the same low-hung lampshade). I was especially pleased to come across a first edition of William Beebe's Half Mile Down (1934; Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York), which I noted was entered into the Athenaeum's catalog on November 11, 1934. On the way out, I had the pleasure to meet [livejournal.com profile] aliceoddcabinet, the circulation clerk responsible for getting The Red Tree into the Athenaeum. The library was soothing, and Benefit Street seemed even greener than it did on Monday.

My thanks to everyone for kind words and reassurances regarding my decision to shelve The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Right now, my plan is to get through Sirenia Digest #s 53-55 (April, May, June) and write two short stories that have spring and early summer delivery dates, and then come back to the book near the beginning of July.

---

I have resolved— for the thirtieth or so time, surely —that I'm truly done with Second Life roleplay, except for a few one-on-one scenes now and then with people who've proven themselves very good at rp. Last night in Insilico, I did an excellent scene (thank you, Blair). But that somehow led into a group scene, which was anything but excellent. It was, instead, messy, confused, and, for the most part, silly. I used to disdain rp classes, thinking surely this is something that everyone can do, something we learn to do as children, and that the proper rp etiquette is pretty much a given. Nope. I was wrong. I am finally admitting I was wrong. Because people can't stay in character, and they can't avoid wrecking scenes with out-of-character chatter and jokes (which are still disruptive, even if you put them in parentheses). Some of it I write off to ignorance of good rp, but there's also a sense that people cannot bear any sort of suspense, and that they fear (or are uncomfortable with) being taken seriously, so must constantly sabotage a scene. Or they think it makes them look cool, breaking character. I don't know. In the end, it really doesn't matter why these things happen, only that they do. And that they are disrespectful of other players and destroy interactive, collaborative storytelling. At least for me they do. And given that rp is the only thing I've ever wanted from SL...well, there you go. I cannot continue to expend so much energy for such meager returns. I've been going back to SL, seeking rp, for almost three years now (since May 2007), and things have only gotten steadily worse. It's hard to give up on something that has so much potential (which is why I've gone back so many times), but there comes a point. I think I have reached that point. I hope I have reached that point.

---

I have some photographs from yesterday in the Athenaeum:

13 April 2010 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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