greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (Chi and Aeryn)
I am truly kicking myself about not going to the VNV Nation show in Boston, and to the after party, and...never mind. Sweaty, bald, Irish men who write brilliant lyrics. I have weak spots.

Today, we're heading out to an early matinée of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Because I'm on vacation! I can do shit like that!

Right now, I'm going to sit here and listen to "Darkangel" and cry into my Red Bull. More later.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
Cold and windy here in Providence. Gusts up to 42 mph.

Today is the ninth anniversary of the inception of my online journal (whether we call it a blog, LJ, whatever). That's nine years, which sort of makes my head spin. It began at Blogger (where the first three years are still archived), then moved to LJ sometime in 2004. Nine years. That means if you're twenty (and I have trouble believing anyone's that young), you were only eleven when I made the first entry. I've probably made entries for 90% of the days in the last nine years. Off the top of my head, the only blogging author who's been at this longer than me is Neil. If I say that my writing career began in 1992— which is usually where I start, with the writing of The Five of Cups —my career records the second of that eighteen years.

---

I've not been well the last few days, and I think most of it can be attributed to the insomnia, which is about as bad as it's ever been. I'm lucky to get six hours a night. And yet, on Sunday I wrote 1,040 words on "The Prayer on Ninety Cats," and on Monday I did another 1,224 words on the story. Yesterday, I took the day off, because I was feeling very bad and hadn't gone Outside since November 17th. I may be able to find The End today, or it may be tomorrow. Either way, it's an odd and ambitious and I hope very effective story. It's part loose biography (Elizabeth Bathory), part paean to old movie theatres, part screenplay, part dreamquest. And it's sort of written in second person, as per [livejournal.com profile] sovay's request. It will either be a feather in my cap or an impressive failure. The story will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #60.

---

Yesterday, we took in a matinée of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One. And what do I think? Having slept on it, I'd say that it's the pretty decent first half of what will probably be a pretty decent movie made from an utterly wretched novel (I say that as a Harry Potter fan). I think the filmmakers should have tried just a little harder to make the first half more like a complete film. It suffers the same way that The Matrix Reloaded suffered. Unlike a lot of geeks, I'm a geek who actually likes the last two installments of The Matrix, but only when they are watched back to back, because each one is half of the same film. Anyway, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One is beautifully filmed, well acted, and as scary and sad as it ought to be. I was mostly relieved that, unlike the book, Hermione doesn't spend the whole time sobbing.

---

I haven't done much reading the last couple of days, but I did finish the second Farscape graphic novel, Scorpius: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, and "The Structure and Evolution of the Sauropod Tooth Battery," which is mostly concerned with Nigersaurus taqueti, one of the oddest-known sauropod dinosaurs (and one of my favorites).

I have been catching up on "television." Do we still call it that? Mostly, Spooky and I watch "television" on her laptop, on DVDs or streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and PBS. Anyway, the BBC Sherlock Holmes is fucking brilliant, and big props to Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and the team of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. Awesome. And a very sexy Holmes.

The latest episode of Frank Darabont's The Walking Dead was an improvement over the third episode, which was just a little too "soap opera" for my taste. The episode's climactic zombie attack was nicely handled.

We're working our way through the latest season of Doctor Who. The transitions to new doctors are always hard on me, but I'm liking Matt Smith quite a lot. To me, Doctor Nine (Christopher Eccelston, and still my favorite), was the Angry Doctor. David Tenant was the Ecstatic Doctor. And now I'm thinking of Matt Smith as the Befuddled Doctor. Also, very much liking Amelia Pond (Karen Gillan).

---

Hammer Horror "scream queen" Ingrid Pitt is dead at age 73. She wrote the introduction to The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women (2001), which included my story, "So Runs the World Away."

---

And now, on the subject of the Cataclysm WoW expansion. The big 4.0.3 patch went live last night, which means we are now in the age after the sundering of the world by the dragon Deathwing (yeah, they really could have found a better name, like maybe "Deathwing" in Latin, at least). But, mostly, I think what we've seen of the expansion so far is pretty damn awesome. The rebuilt Orgimmar is a vast improvement, and the destruction wrought upon the world is impressive. They've even made the goblins look better, so I will definitely be rolling "Punkmuffin" as soon as I may.

I do have a couple of complaints. First, Blizzard should have specified how much time has passed since the cataclysm. Looking at the reconstruction of Orgrimmar alone (and there are many other factors I could cite), a minimum of ten years has to have passed, and maybe as long as twenty years. I know most WoW players do not think in terms of story, because most WoW players are not roleplayers. Most WoW players think rp is silly and beneath them. But I am a roleplayer, and this is important to me. Also, because so many quests were dumped and so many added, I've gone from being about seventy quests from getting Loremaster of Kalimdor to being many hundreds of quests from getting Loremaster of Kalimdor. That means the equivalent of maybe 200 hours of game play simply...lost. This could have been handled much, much better. But, these things aside, so far, this is a very fine expansion, far more impressive than Wrath of the Lich King.

Also, Eyes of Sylvanas (my Horde guild on the Cenarion Circle server) is still seeking members. And if you don't play WoW— and want to invite a giant time suck into your life —now's a great time to start. You can get the first two games for $5 each, and Lich King for another $10.

---

Okay, time to make the doughnuts. Comments welcome, just so I am reminded people are still reading (after nine years)...
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Today, Elizabeth would have been 39.

There was a seizure late yesterday afternoon, the worst in months, so if this entry is a little off, that's what you blame. I still feel as though I'm thinking through a film of cheesecloth dipped in Vaseline. Fortunately, all I have to do today is attend to line edits.

Monday (12/28/09)— We drove to Attleboro, Massachusetts late in the day. I was looking for a CD, which I didn't find. As a consolation, we stopped at Yankee Spirits, or as I prefer to think of it, the Boozery (on Washington St./Rt. 1). We came away with French absinthe, Russian lager, and a bottle of Dogfish Head's Pangaea. The place really is a marvel. On the way home, the sun was setting, and the sky was like the last moments before apocalypse. I took photos, because lately I seem obsessed with the sky. In Atlanta and Birmingham, the sky is an entirely different beast. The photos are behind the cut, below. There was rain Monday morning, and a few slushy snow flakes as we were leaving Providence.

Monday evening, Spooky baked kielbasa with apples, red potatoes, red onions, garlic, and bay. We drank the Russian lager with it (Baltica No. 4, which [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow introduced me to last November, in NYC). I read more of the Rapetosaurus paper, and more of Alan Weisman's The World Without Us (a Solstice gift from David Szydloski). The latter is a brilliant book. It's almost enough to inspire in me some weak spark of hope. We watched an episode of Fringe. There was WoW, and we both made Level 75.

Tuesday (12/29/09)— A windy and very cold day. Maybe the coldest day I've felt since coming to Rhode Island. There was a vicious wind. We saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, and I thought it was delightful. When we got back home, a package was waiting for me, the ARCs for The Ammonite Violin & Others, which is now that much closer to being an actual book. Also, I discovered a very nice review of The Red Tree at SFFWorld.

There was Chinese takeout for dinner. I read more of Weisman's book, and we watched three more episodes of Fringe (which we're watching entirely out of order, and I think that's making it more interesting).

Tomorrow I will post my "Top Ten" list of fantasy and science-fiction films from 2009.

Today will be a day of line edits. But I said that already. Final corrections to The Ammonite Violin & Others, and "Untitled 34," and "Pickman's Other Model" (on the last one, actually, all I need to do is to copy the list of line edits into an email to send to Joshi). It should be easy. I just have to keep squinting through the cheesecloth and Vaseline. And here are the photos from Monday:

28 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie5)
So, yesterday we walk out the back door and down the back-porch steps, only meaning to have a short walk, maybe over to Inman Park. But we were immediately greeted by an unfamiliar orange girl cat, and we stopped in the driveway to pet her and say hi, as she was very friendly and vocal. Then, suddenly, she turned and pounced something in the grass. Moments later, she had a small snake in her mouth. When she dropped it, we shooed her away. It was a young DeKay's brown snake (Storeria dekayi). Worried that the cat had seriously injured it (the snake had flipped over into the "playing dead" position as soon as she dropped it), I scooped it up and brought it inside the house. It seemed fine and very active. DeKay's are the only common snake in our neighborhood; indeed, the only other squamate I've ever seen hereabouts was an Eastern ringnecked snake back in '05. Anyway, we've been talking about keeping one as a pet this year, as they are reported to be extremely low-maintenance herps. So, instead of our walk, we put the snake somewhere safe from Hubero and drove over to Pet Smart on Ponce to get a small tank and a heating pad (where some dork tried to convince us we were in imminent peril, handling a wild snake, and I didn't have the heart to tell him I've worked as a herpetologist; he seemed the sort who lives vicariously through a World of Warcraft character, poor soul). So, for now, we have pet #3, a young Storeria, which shall either be named Edward Drinker Cope (Drinker, for short) or Severus Snake. We haven't yet decided. We're waiting to see if it's going to feed as readily as Dekay's usually eat in captivity (snails, slugs, worms, etc.). If not, we will release it and hope that the cats and crows don't make a meal of the wee beastie. Here are photos, behind the cut (all photos by Spooky):

Drinker or Severus )


Because of all the ophidian distraction, it was after 3 p.m. (CaST) before I finally sat down to write, and then there were constant interruptions relating to the busyness of writing. Some very good back and forth with my lit agent, but it didn't help the word count. I did only 893 words on "In View of Nothing," which was the entirety of the section labeled "06. The Train." Also, the bit to be written yesterday required research into guns and maglev and metallurgy, as well as Greek and Turkish geography, all of which slowed me down. I hope to do 1,500 words today. I really need to finish this piece by Monday (the 12th), and I'm losing tomorrow, as we've promised to have a movie day with Byron.

As for last night, Spooky and I set out to have the nerdiest evening possible, playing two games of Scrabble while simultaneously watching four Sherlock Holmes films on TCM: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943), The Woman in Green (1945), Terror by Night (1946), and Dressed to Kill (1946). The last of the four is my favourite of the bunch — mostly because Patricia Morison makes such a delightful femme fatale — though none of them are in the same class as Rathbone and Bruce's first two Holmes/Watson outings, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939). It also occurred to me that Basil Rathbone has a certain resemblance to Christopher Eccleston, and I got to thinking how wonderful it would be to see Eccleston play Holmes.

Okay, If I am to get a walk in today, I must sign off. Is that a gorgeous little snake or what?

LJ Postscript (1:41 p.m.) — Robert Thompson of "Fantasy Book Critic" has posted a very positive new review of Daughter of Hounds over at [livejournal.com profile] species_of_one. Have a look.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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