greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The humidity is so high in this house I think the walls are about the begin dripping. I believe I can wring water from my socks.

I was dreaming of a life in a city, a filthy 20th-century city that had grown ancient and mean. Cruel, this city. Staircases that rose and descended forever, towards attics that could never be gained, and basements where no one ever dared go. The city, which was rotting, abutted the sea, which was rotten. I swam in water the color of strong tea, and there was a very large shark that swam past me. I photographed it. Among all those decaying tenements there was a sanitarium, or asylum, that seemed to have grown between and through many of the other buildings like a parasitic organism. My head ached, as if my head had always ached. Paranoia. Climbing and descending stairs. The certainty of being pursued, whether pursuers were in evidence or not. NecroNoir. A whole world in dead shades of brown and grey. The camera with the shark photograph on it lost, and a desperate hunt for it, as, somehow, the proof of my sanity rested with the proof of the shark. Windows looking out over sagging rooftops. Never anything to the sky but clouds.

I wish I could remember more, because there was a lot more. But I'm glad I can't remember more.

There's a shark shaped fin
In the water of my dreams.
Alligator screams from the depths there
I'd swim with you there...


---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,894 words and finished "Figurehead," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #67, which should be out on (or before) the 5th of June. When I was done with the story, I sent it to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who brought up the relevance of passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses (1.125 — 134). I read a lot of Ovid long ago in college, but most of it's only echoes now. Sometimes, in need of inspiration*, I go back to the Metamorphoses (which is likely obvious). Anyway, she pointed me to a passage that was so alike to the theme of "Figurehead" that I felt the unnerving sensation of experiencing inspiration after the fact:

A third generation followed them, of bronze
and more savage by nature, readier with harsh arms,
yet not wicked; of hard iron was the very last.
All at once there broke into the age of baser ore
every wrong — shame and truth and loyalty fled
and in their place came trickery and deceit
and treachery and force and the wicked love of having.
The seaman spread his sails to the winds he did not yet
understand, and what had stood long on high mountains
now tossed as keels on unknown waves...


If you take the digest, you see what I mean. If you don't, you won't.

Last night, we played far too much Rift, fighting an endless series of invasions and rifts outside the Chancel of Labors and Whitefall, as Iron Pine suffered multiple air rifts and invasions by the minions of the dragon Crucia. Then, after Selwyn returned to Meridian, there was some very good rp on the cliffs north of Lakeside, looking out over the sea. Via a very strange turn of events, I find myself, for the first time ever, rping an essentially transgender character. Sort of an Orlando thing going on, only with a Kelari, instead of Tilda Swinton (Selwyn, though, I must say, is at least as hot at Tilda Swinton, even if she's only pixels). It all ended with Selwyn following Celinn across the burning wastes of Droughtlands to the refuge of Lantern Hook...which is essentially a Fremen sietch, straight from the pages of Dune. And I will remind you: We have a guild. Here. And you can play with us. And there's a FREE 7-day trial.

Today, Spooky has to get new tires for the automobile, and I have to write another (this time short) vignette for the digest.

And I leave you with Hubero:

29 May 2011 )


* A short, partial list of other authors I often turn to for inspiration: Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Matthew Arnold, W. B. Yeats, Angela Carter, William Gibson, William Blake, Anne Sexton, Joseph Campbell.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, we did get a dab of snow, but it all quickly melted. So, no harm done.

1. Yesterday was another day of editing. I thought I was done with the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, but then I realized there was, inexplicably, no story for 1998. So...I asked Bill if I could add one, and he kindly consented (all this was in yesterday's entry, I know). So I chose "Salmagundi (New York City, 1981)." Which needed a lot of revision (it was last revised in 2007). And that's what I spent the day doing. Truthfully, it's more complicated than that, but I'll let that stand as my synoptic history, my necessary fiction. Regardless, yesterday was another editing day. But, after dinner, the "final final" ms. went away to subpress, and now it's out of my hands. Cue huge sound of relief.

2. Thanks to the people who donated to the Kickstarter project yesterday! You guys are amazing. One last request regarding "The Tale of Two Ravens" and the birth of Goat Girl Press. We're a mere $35 dollars away from being 200% funded. Anyone want to pony up that last $35? You'd put a big ol' smile on Spooky's face.

3. The Green Man review of "The Steam Dancer (1898)" has been bouncing around in my head. And while it was a very positive review, and I'm grateful for that, something about it began gnawing at me. The reviewer wrote "...I must stress that this tale is depressing..." Only, it's not. Yes, it's set in a world that, I contend, is far more honest and believable than most of those conjured for steampunk. It's a world where the consequences of a reliance on steam power is plainly evident. It's also set in a rough frontier town in the American West. But the story itself, the story of the life of Missouri Banks, is one of triumph and joy. She is raised from squalor and sickness by a man who loves her, who literally puts her back together, and she celebrates her reconstruction in dance. It's not a depressing story. I suspect the more realistic setting - which lacks the deluded shine of so much steampunk - obstructed the reviewers view of the story, though it shouldn't have. Anyway, no...it's emphatically not a depressing story. It's a story (I don't believe I'm about to write this) of the triumph of the human spirit over terrible adversity.

4. Today, I have to find a story for Sirenia Digest #64. I've not had time to think about the digest, between finishing and editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and editing Two Worlds and In Between. By the way, everyone who keeps congratulating me on finishing the aforementioned books and saying that now I have breathing room...no. There is no breathing room. There's only writing, if the bills are to be paid and the deadlines are not to be missed. I wish there was breathing room. The air is getting awfully close in here.

5. My great thanks for all the YA suggestions. But I should be clear that, from here on, I've only got time, just now, to read books set in the 20th Century, and, preferably, the first half of the 20th Century. Maybe I can get to the others later.

6. Yesterday morning we read more of Margo Lanagan's superb and brutal Tender Morsels, and last night we read more of Markus Zusak's very wonderful The Book Thief.

And now, kittens, I go forth to whip the word troll into submission...

In Perplexity,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (4:20 p.m.): I don't usually do this. But. If anyone has an idea, or anything remotely approaching an idea, for a vignette for Sirenia Digest #64, feel free to post it. Think of this as me taking requests. Well, at least considering requests.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Here in Providence, the temperature's supposed to soar to 52˚F today, the warmest day since...maybe November. The snow is very slowly melting, and it might be gone by the end of March, barring new storms. I ought to work today, but Spooky and I absolutely cannot spend a quasi-warm day cooped up in the house with the wonderful (relative to recent) weather. Instead, we are going to West Cove to birdwatch and gather sea glass.

2) Yesterday, we made it through the third and fourth chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Well, actually, Spooky read it all aloud to me, while I made notes. So, she read pages 88-193 aloud to me yesterday. We're making a lot of continuity fixes, mostly because Imp started out thirty years old, then turned twenty-four. Though, she's telling a story about something that happened to her when she was twenty-two (instead of twenty-eight). So...it gets confusing. And we're fixing misspellings, grammatical errors, adding and taking away a word here and there. About as close as I ever come to rewriting. Tomorrow, we'll make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters. Eight is still unfinished, and I'll pick up there on Saturday. Near as I can tell, the book will have ten chapters. Oh, and there was a metric shit-ton of email yesterday.

3) This month, Sirenia Digest #63 will continue the sneak preview of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, with the second chapter. But after that, you're going to have to wait until the book is released a year from now. Also, the issue will include my favorite responses to the latest Question @ Hand (and there have been some wonderful ones so far; the question will remain open for about another week) and "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ghoul," which seems to fit nicely with the aforementioned question. Vince will be doing the cover, another illustration for the novel. I promise that #64 will return to our usual format. The demands of writing the new novel and editing Two Worlds and In Between have made things really fucking crazy around here.

4) Speaking of Two Worlds and In Between, tomorrow you get in-progress images of the wonderful Lee Moyer's cover painting. A good bit of yesterday's email was me and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy working out the photoshoot he's going to do with me at the beginning of April (for the collection's dust jacket). I think we'll either be shooting at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology or the Boston Arboretum. At some point yesterday, our conversation deteriorated into a discourse on the perils of being a werewolf trying to get through airport security...

5) Last night, in WoW, I continued my race towards Loremaster. I made it through all 55 Felwood quests, then did half the ones for Winterspring (about 20). Spooky played the beautiful, beautiful, oh I am so fucking jealous Rift beta. She's been reading me bits of Rift chat. I wrote this one down: "WoW is a pretty good game, if you turn off chat and never talk to the player base."

6) And look! Ebay auctions!

7) I took a somewhat random series of photographs yesterday while Spooky was reading:

16 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Illyria)
Thunderstorms last night. Lightning reflecting off the snow. This morning, the sun's out, it's 41˚F, and the melting seems to have begun in earnest. I feel like we've been locked in a hard freeze for a solid month or longer. Of course, now there's the ugliness of the melt, because humans and snow are a bad mix, and there's the threat of flooding.

Spooky's been down with some sort of crud much of the past week, and yesterday it finally grabbed hold of me. Right now, I feel pretty crappy. But there's work, and I have to try to keep moving.

All of yesterday was spent pulling Sirenia Digest #62 together. It went out to subscribers last night, and hopefully everyone has it who should have it. I'd very much like to hear feedback on the first chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, if you're not a subscriber and would like a sneak preview of the novel in progress, subscribe and you'll get #62.

For some damn reason, I get sick and my head fills with random thoughts. Usually, with random, unpleasant thoughts. It's as if a troll with a bucket of nails has been turned loose in my head. Nails and snot.

For example, never, ever, ever call me "hon." I get this on Second Life constantly, and on WoW, and other places, and it makes me want to wretch. Or, here's another moderately random thing: Yesterday, I read that the average American household includes thirty "always on" appliances. Stuff that never gets shut off. Thirty. Spooky and I sat and counted up our "always on" crap, and we could only come up with eight things*. So, how the hell do people manage thirty "always on" electronic (non-battery operated) appliances? Beats the hell out of me.

When I was done with the digest yesterday, once it had been sent away to be PDFed, I spent some time on Two Worlds and In Between. Mostly, I tried not to think about getting sick, or how it might affect my ability to get all this work done. Later, there was rp in Insilico...which was very good...and comic books, and cookies, and more Krilanovich, the thunderstorm and snuggling with Hubero. And here's a question, while I'm being all random and shit: Why do so many comic-book readers get annoyed at "funny books" when "comic books" means pretty much exactly the same damn thing? I grew up reading funny books, and I usually still think of them as funny books— even after having worked for DC/Vertigo all those years —and I just don't get it.

Ugh.

The platypus says stop here, and I think maybe that's not such a bad idea. Comments welcome, because Sundays suck even when I'm well.

In Phlegm,
Aunt Beast

* fridge, stove, microwave, an alarm clock, coffeemaker, water heater, modem, and router.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1) I seem to have figured out that the absolute minimum amount of sleep I need to not feel like shit the next day is six hours. Seven is far better, but I can get by on six. Last night, I didn't get six hours. I went to bed at when-the-hell-ever...about 2:30 a.m., I think...but was up again by 3:30, and didn't get to sleep until about 4:45. I puttered about on WoW, waiting for pills to kick in. Not really playing, just puttering (as playing is counterproductive to getting sleepy). I was glad the see all the "Winter's Veil" crap finally taken down. Shah rode her talbuck from Undercity to Shadowfang Keep. Then she traveled to Dalaran, which I was finally able to explore without nightmarish lag...now that all the goddamn sheeple have moved back to Orgrimmar ("The NEW Lag Capital of Azeroth!"®).

2) Sirenia Digest #61 went out to subscribers late last night. A special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest for wrestling with the PDF for this one. I'd love to hear feedback.

3) All of yesterday was spent proofing and laying out #61, so not much to report, workwise. Rather, not much that isn't dull as dirt. Dull dirt.

Last night, after Night Three of the black-eyed peas I made on New Year's Day, we watched Arnold Laven's deliriously absurd The Monster That Challenged the World (1957). We also watched an episode of No Reservations.

4) There was a moderate seizure last night, the first since September 11th. I've only had two since late August, so I know the meds are doing their job. Before them, I was having two or more a week.

5) And now:



Anyway, today really is a day off. A real day off. Of course, it's cold as a Christian's tit out there. The cold is staring in the window at me, even as I type.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
And already it's the third day of the year...

1) I awoke to the news that Pete Postlethwaite had died. An actor I adored, and who never failed to impress. The world is poorer.

2) Got up about eight this ayem (seven EST) and, half asleep, cracked my head rather hard against the edge of a door frame. Hurt like fuck all, but I appear to be okay. Not even a lump. Just a very sore forehead. I need curb feelers or something. Whiskers might do.

3) Yesterday tried to be a day off, but failed rather miserably. We left the house about 2:30 p.m. It was fairly warm, but overcast, with dirty snow still heaped everywhere. A most disheartening landscape, Providence with snow scabs. First, we drove from the train depot on Gaspee to the Ladd Observatory on Hope Street, because it's a route that my protagonist in "—30—" walks and I needed to know the mileage (about two miles). Then we made a trip to the market and the pharmacy. We'd had some notion of doing something more interesting. Anything more interesting. But it began to rain, and so we went home, instead. I went back to work on "—30—". I had Spooky read the whole story aloud to me and was relieved that it works quite well. I made a lot of line edits, and expanded a section near the end. So, the day off turned into a work day.

For dinner, the second night of black-eyed peas (like I said, I made enough for an army). We watched Andrey Konchalovskiy's Runaway Train (1985; inspired by an Akira Kurosawa screenplay). I'd not seen it since it was new, and Spooky had never seen it. Watching The Taking of Pelham 123 got me thinking about it, the night before. It holds up very well. Only the score, which reeks of the the eighties (and not in a good way), made me wince. We followed it with Gregor Jordan's Unthinkable (2010), a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss that I'd not even heard about. Turns out, it was a direct-to-DVD release (I don't know any of the specifics as to why). It's a peculiar mess of a movie, and I'm inclined to agree with Sean Axmaker, who called Unthinkable "a clumsy polemic that bounces between the boundaries of stage-play debate and torture porn spectacle." Later, we began reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which I'm liking quite a lot so far (despite a cover blurb from Sherrilyn Kenyon). Hopefully, the promise of its first three chapters will be realized.

So, that was yesterday.

4) Today will be spent putting together Sirenia Digest #61, which will hopefully go out to subscribers either late this evening or early tomorrow.

5) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks!

6) I want to link to this again today, because it's just so wonderful: "For the children I will never have: The facts of life". Thinking about it yesterday, a thought occurred to me that occurs to me every so often. Given I will never have a child, I sometimes imagine sitting down and writing an account of the life of the child that I will never have. A might have been, as it were. It wouldn't be anything romanticized. I'd at least try to write it honestly.

7) It's sunny today, and there's still snow. We had rain last night, so at least the snow is cleaner than it was. Yesterday's warmth is gone. Here in Providence, it's currently 33F, with a wind from the northwest, 17mph gusting to 25mph, making it feel like 22F. A good day to stay inside and work. I might open my curtain and let the sun in...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'd thought today would be a day off. I've not left the house since last Sunday, and I'd planed to go to the shore today. But there are clouds, which there weren't supposed to be.

And inertia reminds me how it would be so much easier to sit in this chair and edit "—30—" than to bundle up and burn the expensive and detrimental hydrocarbons necessary to reach any suitable destination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on "—30—", and found THE END. At the moment, the story comes to 6,547 words, which makes this another example of me writing an actual short story for Sirenia Digest, when all I'd meant to write was a vignette. Ironically, given this is a story about a store that sells endings to authors who can't find them, I had trouble yesterday finding THE END. If I don't go out today, I'll likely spend the day dithering with the last few pages of the story (which might be as simple as adding a few additional lines of dialogue). Gods, that's fucking depressing. Sitting here all day, I mean.

Yeah, I know. Lately, I'm back to being Little Miss Sunshine, pissing pink cotton candy and farting double fucking rainbows. This mood will pass. For better or worse, the meds will see that it passes.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which have just resumed. Money is good. Writers need money. Books are good. Readers need books. Check out the eBay auctions, and we could both come away winners.

I made a veritable mountain of food last night. Someday, I've got to learn how to cook for two people instead of fifteen.

Last night, we watched Tony Scott's The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), a remake of Joseph Sargent's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). I was very pleased with Scott's version. He even manages to get a good performance out of John Travolta, likely his best since Pulp Fiction (1994). And then we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Ironside, which I loved. I only wish there were more to the story. I can console myself by moving along to The White Cat (though I think I'll be reading Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen first).

I've got to convince myself to leave the house. If not the sea, some other destination. There's an erotic toy shop on Wickenden Street I haven't visited....

Fuck you, clouds.

Addendum (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] opalblack): For the children I will never have: The facts of life. This is brilliant.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Elizabeth would have been forty today. I can hardly even begin to wrap my head around the weirdness of that fact.

1) Bear with me. I'm more awake that yesterday, and not in half as much pain, but this is still gonna be a bumpy ride.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,533 words on "—30—", which I'm liking, and which I think Spooky is liking more than I do. It will appear in Sirenia Digest #61. A reminder to subscribers (if you were one, I could be reminding you, as well) that the digest now goes out on the fifth day of the month. So, expect #61 on January 5th.

3) Some time back— like a year or two or something, I don't know exactly —I began making a concerted effort not to reply to the idiotic things that idiots are apt to say online during or after reading one of my books. And, mostly, I've made good on that. Not because I think it's wrong or unseemly for an author to reply to her critics, but just because it gets fucking tiresome, for me and for the people reading this blog (I don't know who convinced so many writers they shouldn't ever reply to their critics, but it's a bit of conventional wisdom that baffles me, and I suspect a reviewer is to blame). Just two days ago I complained about Mr./Mrs./Miss Threw In An Ending over on Amazon. Which ought to be my quota for the month.

But no. From Goodreads, via Twitter, another gem was brought to my attention this morning. Someone who's reading Daughter of Hounds. I won't give her name, but I will note she is a she. It's relevant:

Not liking the angry woman in the story; angry women are not cool.

I shit you not. How does one even reply to anything so utterly, perniciously...wrongheaded? Seriously, I have no idea what to say in response. Everything I think of seems too obvious. Some statements are so perfectly, sublimely stupid— and prima facie so —that they successfully resist any articulate rebuttal.

4) Last night was meatloaf (Spooky does amazing things with meatloaf), and we watched the end of Season Six of Deadliest Catch, and played WoW, and I had a hot bath, and we started Holly Black's Ironside.

5) One year ago today, I asked the readers of this blog a question: If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do? The answers were screened, to encourage explicit, honest, imaginative responses, and I promised I'd include the answers I liked best in an upcoming issue of the digest. And there were some very good replies, but, for some reason, I didn't keep my promise. I think it's time that I did so, and the best of the lot will be appearing in #61.

Yours in Anger,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Here we are, snowed in. Like autumn sunlight, and late afternoon sunlight, snow is kind to Providence. The city is rendered more majestic, and a lot of the ugliness of urban modernity is smoothed away. Until the melting begins, and then it's worse than it was to start with. A wild night last night, but peaceful this morning.

I got to sleep sometime after 4:30 ayem, I believe. Hard to be sure. The facts in the case at hand are fluid. There is more fluidity to the past than most suppose.

It wasn't my intention to have that little blogging hiatus. Sonya and Geoffrey visited on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then, on Thursday and Friday, I got very, very bogged down editing Two Worlds and In Between. And then, on Friday, Xmas Eve, I fell into a sort of funk over the holiday. The last few years, I've done quite a good job of ignoring Xmas, for the most part, but this year it somehow jabbed me in the face with a pointy stick. I did my best to preserve our tradition of anti-Xmas, and I made a huge lasagna, and we watched Badder Santa, and brought out LSD Penguin, and...well, the usual...but Xmas bugged me, anyway. Then the weather went to fuck. We were up and out yesterday morning, far too early, to lay in supplies for the snowy siege.

I should have spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday working on Sirenia Digest #61. It was idiotic of me to do otherwise.

---

A couple of quick announcements regarding Subterranean Press:

1) Bill Schafer at subpress wrote "...your backlist will be available in all the major e-reader formats, not just for the Kindle." So, correction. All those books I announced as coming to only Kindle in 2011, will actually be coming to pretty much all e-readers. And, since all my novels except Silk are already available for Kindle, I suppose I've entered the Age of Ebooks (even if I came kicking and screaming).

2) I should note that many of the stories being reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between will never again be reprinted anywhere else. At least, not in my lifetime. Mostly, the stories written from 1992 though 2001, probably 14 of the 23 (the majority, actually). So, think of that as an added incentive to pick up a copy of the collection. Also, I have thoughts on how my stories function as comprehensive snapshots of who I was at the time I wrote them, but I'll save those for another entry. Much too much work to do today.

Also also, slow death to anyone who steals electronic copies of anything I write via BitTorrent, etc. Need it free? Use the goddamn library. And interlibrary loan actually does work.

---

During the storm, Spooky and I read [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Tithe (2002), and enjoyed it quite a lot. We've begun Valiant (2005), which is even better. It's always good to see a writer's growth from one book to the next. Mostly, I can't believe I waited so long to start reading Holly's stuff. She does Fairie right. She gives good fay.

Behind the cut, photos of the snow. Two Spooky snapped last night, and one from this morning. We haven't yet ventured out post-blizzard. Maybe later. Maybe Spooky and not me.

I wish I were at the sea.

Yours in White,
Aunt Beast

The Blizzard of 2010, Part 1 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,840 words on Chapter Two of The Drowning Girl. I think I am amazed at how this narrative is unfolding. Amazed and unnerved. It's a calculated tumult. And, too, the prose in my novels continues to grow airier, looser, more open, more conversational. That began with Daughter of Hounds. It's occurred to me that readers who liked the denser prose of my earlier novels might not be so enthused by the "new" direction, but it's not like I'm going to purposefully stall what seems to be a natural progression.

Very cold here in Providence (32F, 20F with the windchill). Cold and sunny.

Sirenia Digest #60 went out to subscribers late last night. I'd love to hear feedback on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats."

Today is Goblin Day in WoW. Well, if you're a Horde player. Which is to say the Cataclysm expansion goes live today. We've got a team of five lined up to play goblins, leveling more or less together, which is something I've never done before, playing with so many other people.

Not much to Monday except the writing. We listened to more of Madeline L'Engle reading A Wrinkle in Time. Spooky made a trip to the post office. I've lost track of how long it's been since I last left the House.* I read about Devonian tetrapods, and had a short nap in front of the fireplace. There was chili for dinner. We leveled our orcs to 40, which was my target level before switching to goblins, but I hadn't thought I'd make it. I read another of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's stories to Spooky, "The Coat of Stars." It a wonderful, wonderful story. That was yesterday, pretty much.

I took photos all day long, for another "Day in the Life" sort of thing. Only, this time I restricted myself to macro shots. Here are the results:

6 December 2010 )


* Just checked. Last went Outside on November 23rd, which makes thirteen days. I've almost broken my record of fourteen days without even realizing it.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very good writing day yesterday. I began Chapter Two of The Drowning Girl, and wrote 1,709 words. The greater part of getting this book written seems to involve not second guessing the needs and expectations of the Reader (monolithic, abstracted, hypothetical, yet an unknown quantity, and therefore capitalized). The narrative is the jumble of a disordered mind. Not so bad as, say, Benjy Compson in The Sound and the Fury, but disordered, all the same. This is a schizophrenic's narrative. She's a medicated schizophrenic, and she's making some effort to write a coherent narrative. But, at the same time, she's not writing it to be read, but only for her own private purposes. And my loyalty is to her, to Imp, and not to any potential audience.

Sirenia Digest #60 will go out to subscribers this evening. And again, I apologize for the lateness. And, again, #61 will be sent out on January 5th.

The Dancy Box/Alabaster letter X auction is almost over. Whoever wins, I thank you ahead of time.

---

Spooky and I are listening, together, to Madeline L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. And it's wonderful, hearing the story in the author's own voice, because she knew it in a way, with an intimacy, that no one else ever will. Hearing her read the novel is a privilege. And yet...the book's page at Audible.com is littered with comments written by people who were so annoyed at her narration they couldn't enjoy the book. For example, this two-star "review":

If I were rating this on story alone it would definitely be a 5 star rating. Unfortunately the fact that the author is narrating the book is in this case not a plus.

I feel awful saying this, but Madeline L'Engle often speaks as though she has a mouthful of marbles and has a tendency to run through a paragraph without stopping for a breath. I end up having to repeat everything in my head at a more conversational speed in order to understand what was said. It's hard to keep track of which character is speaking and she sometimes has a very sing-song way of reading which I think would annoy even my 2 year old niece over a five hour period. Like I said at the beginning— I love this book —I'm 32 years old, have read it myself many times in earlier years and thought, "I'd love to hear this one again and in the authors intended tone." But in this case I'm wishing I'd just bought the paperback. Sorry, Madeline.


How can this not piss me off? How can people be so petty, so shallow? Sure, it's true— L'Engle sounds like her dentures don't fit. So what? For fuck's sake, this is the author reading the story to you, the story she wrote, between 1959 and 1960. How can that not be so amazing that all else falls by the wayside? These are her inflections, the way she heard the characters in her head, and so on. This is magic. How is it even possible that someone can't set aside their need to be coddled just long enough to appreciate how amazing this is?

Whatever. Fuck them. I would be a much healthier, happier person if only I could allow myself to say that with more regularity. Whatever. Fuck them.

---

Let's see, the last couple of days, there's been reading, mostly [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's very wonderful stories in The Poison Eaters. Saturday and Sunday nights, we read "The Land of Heart's Desire," "The Night Market," and "The Dog King." I especially loved the latter.

And there have been movies. Saturday night, we watched Neil Marshall's Centurion, which is one of his best film's to date (not quite as good as The Descent [2005] or Doomsday [2008], but very close). Last night, we watched Anne Fontaine's Coco before Chanel (Coco avant Chanel; 2009), with Audrey Tautou. An amazing and beautiful film.

And now...time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we are at Day Four of the Dancy Box/Alabaster letter X auction.

I was up much too late last night, this morning, even for me. But the conversation was worth it. [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark just headed back to Framingham, Mass.

I apologize for the lateness of Sirenia Digest #60. I should have Vince's illustration for "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" by tomorrow afternoon, and the issue will go out immediately. Well, as soon as it's PDFed. The fact that I've been several days late for the past three months has led me to decide that, from here on, new issues will go out on the 5th of each month. For example, December '10 will go out on January 5th, '11. And hopefully this is a new schedule that will actually work.

Right now, I have a migraine, and I think I'm going to crawl under the bed.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
The Dancy Box went up yesterday at 2:23 p.m. CaST. It is going...well, it's amazing how well it's going. My thanks to the bidders. Also I should note that the proceeds will be going for an eye exam and new glasses I've needed for years. Also, there are a couple of other items up on eBay, and I would feel remiss not mentioning them.

Yesterday was a pretty fine day, in almost every way that it could be (except I didn't go to the sea or have lasagna). I finished up the layout of Sirenia Digest #60, and did a little last minute tweaking on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." I reworked the Table of Contents for Two Worlds and In Between, the "best of CRK" collection (this is the fifth version, by the way). I have decided that the book will now be limited to stories written between 1994-2004. If Volume One does well, Volume Two will cover the years 2005-2015. Which means I'm halfway there. I also located a new cover artist for the book. I also also spoke with my editor at Dark Horse, and that's what I'll be working on today. Spooky and I read all the way through Chapter One of The Drowning Girl, and I'm extremely pleased with it. I'll be starting Chapter Two at some point in the next few days.

Yesterday, the mail brought my contributor's copies of The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 (edited by Paula Guran), which reprints "The Bone's Prayer." Opening the box, I almost stabbed myself in the right leg. Which I take as a hint that my hands are now trembling too much (meds side effect) to continue using my old butterfly knife as a letter/box opener.

Last night, we watched Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman's 2009 documentary, Cropsey, which should stand as an example of how not to make a documentary. Bad, stupid film. Afterwards, we leveled our orcs— Garóna and Margdah —to Level 27. I've got this goofy idea of getting Garóna to Level 40 before our guild's Goblin-a-thon, which will begin on December 7th. By the way, if you're a guildless player planning to roll a goblin toon, we'd love to have you on Cenarion Circle. In particular, we're currently seeking a goblin who will tank. By the way, post patch 4.0.3a, the Horde is so much...Hordier. It seems that the days of unlikely alliances are gone, which makes things much more interesting.

Afterwards, we read more of Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest.

Tuesday night, Spooky and I watched the extended cut of Cameron's Avatar, which adds sixteen minutes to the film's running time. Often, I find that "director's cuts" or "extended cuts" do little in the way of bettering a film. Other times, I'm amazed the shorter version was released. The extended cut of Avatar falls into the latter category. Not only does the film open on Earth, which provides much needed contrast for what is to come, there's some crucial characterization in these extra sixteen minutes. For that matter, there's a whole subplot that was absent from the theatrical release. I'm speaking of the story of what happened at Dr. Augustine's school and to Neyteri's sister, Sylwanin (a character who isn't even mentioned in the shorter cut). These scenes inform much of both Augustine and Neyteri's actions (and happen to include Sigourney Weaver's best lines). Also, we get Tsu'tey's death scene, which is handled very nicely, and, again, adds depth to the film. So, highly recommended. The extended release only made me love the film that much more. Four out of four stars. It's a beautiful film, an earnest film, and a good film (which, of course, makes it an easy film to mock and deride).

Very cold and sunny here in Providence, and it looks like that's our forecast for the next few days. I've begun looking forward to snow.

I learned this morning that [livejournal.com profile] dragau, who frequently posted to the LJ, died on September 22nd. The news came via [livejournal.com profile] xjenavivex. People stop by here, and they says things. Only very rarely do I know when one of them dies. And it's a strange feeling. And I don't know what to say, except we all make ripples in the fabric of the world and the lives of those around us. There are big ripples, and little ripples, but no ripple is any more or less significant than any other.

Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. This morning will require numerals. This morning, I need to itemize. So, thing the first, it's chilly here in Providence, and cloudy, and windy. The sort of day that depresses Hubero and me both. However, I have had three consecutive nights of relatively good sleep.

2. Vince needs more time on the illustration for "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," so subscribers should expect Sirenia Digest #60 to arrive in their inboxes either late on Thursday or sometime on Friday. Sorry for the delay. Such are the wages of Turkey Murder Day. And if you aren't a subscriber, all you have to do is follow the link above.

3. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, the Dancy box is officially finished, and will go up on eBay sometime today.

4. I'm simultaneously working on too many things at once. It's starting to look like the "best of" volume won't have a cover by Zdzisław Beksiński. I'm having difficulty communincating with the museum in Częstochowa that holds the copyrights to all his work. It may be the fact that their English is not so great, and my Polish is nonexistent. Regardless, they seem to be of the opinion that the painting in question does not exist, though, if it did, they wouldn't have a high-resolution scan. Or something like that. Anyway, on to Plan B (TBA).

5. Speaking of covers, how can I not make fun of this? With very few exceptions, it's the same crappy art over and over and over. I didn't even know there was a best tramp-stamp award. It's rather telling that there's an award for "Most Unique" (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] criada for pointing that out). The good news, the cover for The Red Tree wasn't nominated. I can only hope that by 2015, this "UF/PR" plague will have burnt itself to a torrid cinder.

6. Finished the first Matt Smith season of Doctor Who last night. I wasn't terribly happy with the first half of the season, but the last few episodes rallied and won me over. The last two were very good, and after another season, I might stop missing David Tenant. Also, saw the season finalé of The Walking Dead, which was also very good.

7. As for reading, it's been more Armitage stories by Joan Aiken and more of Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest (even though I meant to be reading The Sun Dial).

And now, though there's more, it'll have to wait until later. A long day ahead...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
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.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,731 words, and I found THE END of "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." The story is presently 9,918 words long, but I suspect it'll be well over 10k after the polish I'll be giving it tomorrow. Structurally, it's something I've not done before, in that it's second person and partly written as a screenplay. I think it's a story I've been trying to write for a very long time. I'm sort of amazed that I finally did it. The effort has left me a bit off balance. As soon as I'm done tweaking it, and Sirenia Digest has gone out to subscribers, I'll be getting back to work on The Drowning Girl.

There's been too much news lately. Too much news pollution. North Korea. A projected date for the extinction of tigers in the wild— 2020 (which pretty much is the same thing as a projected date for the extinction of tigers). The American police state and the TSA*. Fantastic strides in medicine that will only ever be available to the wealthy. Black Friday.

I mostly try to avoid the news. Mostly.

After the writing yesterday, and after dinner, we watched three more episodes of Doctor Who, up through "Vincent and the Doctor." I thought I would hate the latter, and it turned out to be one of my favorite episodes ever.

We also watched an episode of American Masters, "LennoNYC," which was very, very good.

Sleep wouldn't come, and finally I broke down and took a pill, and read this Aleister Crowley biography I've been reading. I dozed off sometime after four-thirty ayem, and slept fitfully until eleven this morning. Something like six and a half hours.

Turns out the Julie Taymor adaptation of The Tempest is only being released in Minneapolis and LA on December 10th. Whether or not it will ever see wider distribution is anyone's guess.

I have a list of the people who've asked for a PDF of the blog, November 2001/April 2004, and I'll see those go out next week.

Today, I'm changing my Twitter username from @greygirlbeast to @auntbeast. Yes, I still hate Twitter.

And today I'll be working on the layout for Sirenia Digest #60. I need a little space between me and "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to get back to it.

Time to make the doughnuts,

More or Less Yours,
Aunt Beast

*Until such time as the TSA backs the fuck off, I'll not be traveling anywhere I cannot reach by train, automobile, bus, or boat.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm not going to talk about the insomnia this morning.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,024 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" and still didn't find The End. But this happens sometimes. I sit down to write a vignette, and it insists on becoming a short story...sometimes a long short story. This one may reach 9,000 words, which means Sirenia Digest subscribers are, quite literally, getting more this month than they bargained for. I do like the story, and I'm glad things went this way, though I suspect it will require a day of vigorous polishing.

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, who, by her own initiative, compiled all my blog entries between November 21st, 2001 and April 16th, 2004, all the time from the blog's beginning until I began mirroring it at LiveJournal. This actually comes as a great relief, as I worry constantly about all those entries over at Blogger (I stopped posting the journal to Blogger in late 2006). Anyway, the portion compiled by [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, as a PDF, comes to 920 pages, about 320,000 words. Which leads me to suspect that I've written quite a bit more than a million words of blog since I began in 2001. All my novels combined likely come to half that. Anyway, thanks again, and if anyone wants to do that with the LJ half, I wouldn't complain. Also, I will freely supply copies of the 2001-2004 PDF to anyone who wants one.

Cold and grey Outside. Chilly and cat-bedeviled inside the House.

Three more episodes of Doctor Who last night, so we're now at "The Hungry Earth." I begin to detect a theme (and that was a damned sexy reptile woman).
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote only 810 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," but I spent hours and hours picking though words from the Great Nothing. The story is, at this point, 6,145 words long, so I'm guessing it'll go to 7,000+ words. This month, Sirenia Digest subscribers, you get no mere vignette, but a full-fledged short story.

Great talk with my editor at Dark Horse yesterday. Details as soon as I may.

No Thanksgiving here today, and if you want to know why I do not observe Thanksgiving, well I wrote this last year, on November 23rd:

This whole Thanksgiving thing came up yesterday. That is, the fact that I do not observe this whole Thanksgiving thing. And various people (including my mother) were like, oh come on, you have a lot of things to be thankful for. To which I can only reply that, in this instance, thankfulness implies that there is someone or something out there to thank. I would say that yes, sure, I am appreciative of many things in my life— Spooky, my mom, Spooky's mom and dad, Rhode Island, being able to mostly pay my bills, the sea, and so forth. But being appreciative does not entail being thankful, in the sense that is generally meant when people speak of Thanksgiving. I am not thankful, not in the Thanksgiving sense, which implies gratitude towards some "higher power," even when you've completely stripped the holiday of its Christian roots and made it just "Turkey Day." I can appreciate turkey any day. I don't need a special day to eat turkey, or cranberries, or that disgusting stuff made of sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top. And there's no one for me to "give thanks," other than myself, and Spooky, and my readers, and maybe half a dozen other people. So, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I just don't do Thanksgiving. I try to make sure the people in my life to whom I am grateful for this or that know that I am grateful for their kindness and concern. I don't need to set aside a special day for it. To some, it may seem like I'm worrying over semantics and only mincing words. But that's what I do. All day, almost every day. I mince words, in an effort to get to what I genuinely mean. Usually, I choose my words with obsessive care.

That said, as I was too busy and tired to properly observe either Mabon or Samhain, we'll be having a huge autumnal meal to retroactively celebrate both. I am told there will be Brussels sprouts.
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)...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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