greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
I didn't forget this morning's dreams. And more's the pity. I dreamed that the Eastern Seaboard had been destroyed in a nuclear war by the Japanese (????), and I was a child in Jacksonville, Fla. and all was soot and ruin, and I watched a television broadcast of a firestorm raging across Texas. A million little details in my head.

This is why I generally hope to forget my dreams. Also, just now, right this very fucking minute, I'm having to refrain from one of those "You kids these days! Get off my lawn!" tirades, this time about how much I hate the way that the abbreviations of the states were dumbed down (i.e., simplified) back in the 1980s or when the hell ever. Florida is not FL; Florida is Fla. Massachusetts is not MA, it's Mass. Michigan is not MI, but Mich. West Virginia isn't WV, it's W. Va. Yeah, okay. I'll stop now. But I haven't lost all the battles. For example, the Girl Scouts of America, at least in the state of Colorado, are now trans friendly. I still marvel at the emerging phenomenon of transgendered children being permitted to express and explore their gender identities as children. Sure, it's still not even close to being included in this society's "normative state," but its become ever more common in the US. Kids these days...

Yesterday, we made it through chapters Five and Six of Blood Oranges. Assuming the MiBs leave me alone today, we'll get through Seven and Eight, and all that will be left to be done to the manuscript is actually making the marked corrections (there are a bazillion, so it'll take at least one long day). And since tomorrow will definitely belong to the spooks, It'll likely be Sunday before those corrections can be made.

And here we come to a note regarding Sirenia Digest. I am very, very sorry, but #71 is going to be late, and by late I mean maybe as late as the 10th of November (whereas it's "due" out on the 5th). October was a monster, and here I am with four days of it left, and I've not had a moment to put towards the digest. But it will come as soon as I can pull it together, and I apologize profusely. I'll do my best to never be this late again.

Last night, Spooky made astoundingly yummy turkey legs (toss in mushrooms, apples, onions, garlic, etc.) with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts (a cultivar of the wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea). I had a hot bath. Oh, wait. The bath was right after I made my blog entry, which means I had to wake up twice, because warmth makes me sleepy. Anyway, after dinner, Rift, and after Rift I finished reading Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky. So much is quotable, but I'll settle for one. On religion and Ricketts, Steinbeck writes:

He has no religion in the sense of creed or dogma. In fact he distrusted all formal religions, suspecting them of having been fouled with economics and power and politics. He did not believe in any God as recognized by any group or cult. Probably his God could have been expressed by the mathematical symbol for an expanding universe. Surely he did not believe in an after life in any sense other than chemical. He was suspicious of promises of an after life, believing them to be sops to our fear or hope artificially supplied.

I love those words. And now, four more stills (by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy) from the October 15th shoot at Rolling Dam (Blackstone, MA) and Thundermist Falls (Woonsocket, RI):

Beast on Location )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We seem to be dodging the bullet of Hurricane Earl. A weather front has nudged it a wee bit eastward, and its been downgraded to a Category One. Mostly, we're looking at heavy rain and some wind, and breathing a sigh of relief. The surfers are happy, even though the Governor of Rhode Island ordered all the state beaches closed yesterday. I'd love to go down to Point Judith or Beavertail and see the waves, but it's unlikely we could get anywhere near the shore.

Meanwhile, Sirenia Digest #57 is still stuck in a holding pattern. Which has me very, very antsy and unable to move on to whatever needs doing next. Today, I may seek an alternate path to the PDF, as someone has volunteered. My thanks to everyone for being so patient.

Not much work yesterday, and what there was consisted, in the main, of email. I had a short interview for Lightspeed, about "Faces in Revolving Souls," which is being reprinted there in November. They'll also be running an author's spotlight on me that month, so I had questions regarding germline bioengineering and retroviruses to answer. Also, "The Belated Burial" is being adapted for podcast by PodCastle. I'll let you know when it's scheduled.

The rest of the day we mostly spent wandering about Providence making preparations against the storm— nonperishable food, jugs of water, candles, and so forth. Stuff we likely won't need now, not this weekend, but which we'll eventually put to good use. I called my mother, back in Alabama. Yesterday was the first anniversary of my stepfather's death, and so it was a hard day for her. We talked for twenty or thirty minutes, about everything from hurricanes to possums.

If anyone out there is feeling charitable, I'd really like to be able to update my OS from OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). If I'd ever updated to Leopard, it wouldn't be a big deal, just $29.00. But because I didn't, I appear to need this software bundle for the update. Just saying, if anyone's feeling generous with some disposable cash that isn't doing anything, I wouldn't say no. *

Last night, we watched the third and final film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1983. The third film, directed by Anand Tucker, is much more like the first, stylistically and structurally. It was beautiful, deeply unsettling, and sublime. I'd say it's a film about redemption, even at the cost of one's life and sanity (which is true, to a lesser degree, of the first film). Tucker's use of flashbacks, nonlinear narrative, and fairy-tale hints is marvelous. Mark Addy's performance as John Piggott is one of the best in all three films. So yes, I recommend these films very strongly. Right now, all three can be streamed from Netflix.

There was rp in Insilco after the movie. I think we got to bed about three, maybe later. Spooky and I are both a week or so behind on our sleep.

Update: Turns out, Apple lies (as do we all). The bundle isn't needed, and I can update directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard, so all I need is the 29.00 thingy. Baaaaad Apple marketing!

Update 2 (4:51 p.m.): One trip to the Apple Store and a 45-minute install later, and Arwen is now running OS X 10.6.3. And yes, I named my iMac Arwen.
greygirlbeast: (simearth)
In case you haven't already heard, Subterranean Press has begun taking preorders for Alabaster. I do strongly recommend preordering, especially if you want a copy of the limited edition. Lately, my limiteds have been selling out before or shortly after printing. I think this is going to be an absolutely beautiful collection, thanks in large part to Ted Naifeh. It'll include all the Dancy stories, except, of course, Threshold. The only one of these short stories that's been widely available is "Waycross," which appeared first as a subpress chapbook (2003) and was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 15. Also, "The Well of Stars and Shadow" has never before appeared in print (it was originally featured on Gothic.net). Same with the full text of "Alabaster" (which appeared in an issue of the subpress e-newsletter). And then there's "Bainbridge." So, if you're wondering why you've never read most of this book, that's why. But you can read it now. Note that the contents of the published book may vary slightly from what's listed on the subpress ordering page. I may or may not write an introduction (I may write an afterword, instead, or Anita may). I may or may not include "On the Road to Jefferson" as the afterword or as an appendix (previously, this piece has only appeared as a chapbook, long out of print). But that is the final line-up of stories. I'll post an approximate release date ASAP.

Last night, looking for something to occupy my restless mind, I turned on my old Mac Color Classic, Pandora, for the first time in ages. I got her in the summer of 1993, a few months after finishing The Five of Cups and just before I began The Merewife. Last year, when we moved from Kirkwood, she got jostled and developed a monitor problem, which comes and goes. If you let her warm up, she usually runs just fine. Last night, I switched her on and spent a couple of very calming hours playing SimEarth: The Living Planet. Once upon a time, SimEarth was pretty much the only game I played, and I played it a lot. For those not in the know, it was released by Maxis in 1990, shortly after the success of the original SimCity. It prefaced the release of a whole wave of sims — SimCity 2000, SimAnt, SimLife, SimIsland, SimTower, etc. Ultimately, The Sims came along, and its success eclipsed most all the sims that came before it (proving that most people have very little interest in anything but, well, people). Anyway, I got SimEarth in 1992 and played it constantly until 1996 or so. After that, as I began to get into PlayStation, I played it less and less. My last game before last night was dated September 2000, I believe. Based in part on James Lovelock's The Ages of Gaia (1988), SimEarth allows you to create a planet and follow it from its infancy as a molten ball, blasted by meteors, through billions of years of time, to the eventual evolution of life, then the evolution of intelligent life, then the evolution of technology, and, if you play long enough and are lucky, the evolution of a lifeform that achieves a level of tech that allows it to venture into the stars. At that point, the game returns you to an evolutionary timescale. In theory, any game of SimEarth is infinite. And once the sim is running, you must constantly monitor and adjust an enormous number of environmental factors. How much CO2 is present? What's the rate of core formation? What about atmospheric nitrogen? Should I increase the cloud albedo? What about reproduction rates? Mutation rates? The biosphere's tolerance for solar radiation? And on and on and on. It's a wonderful tool for teaching the interconnectedness of Nature, and it's a shame that it wasn't more popular. I have a diskette labeled "CaitWorlds" which contains hundreds of planets I created over the years. Some of them never evolved intelligent life (which may evolve from just about anything — cephalopods, cetaceans, primates, dinosaurs, etc.). Some of them are balls of ice. Some are so hot and dry only a few microbes exist, but they were great for watching plate tectonics in action, or for cometary impacts. SimEarth also allows you to attempt to terraform Mars and Venus. In short, it just frelling rocks. It is the perfect biology/astronomy/geology geek game.

By now, most or all subscribers to Sirenia Digest will have received an e-mail from Spooky letting them know that I'm running dreadfully late with Number Two. My sincere, sincere apologies. You'll have it as soon as I can get it finished, I promise, and I'll try not to get this behind ever again. It wouldn't have happened if "Bainbridge" had only gone to 10K words instead of plunging on ahead to 16K. Also, my congratulations and thanks to the winner of letter X of Frog Toes and Tentacles. We'll begin the letter Z auction just as soon as Spooky's finished the letter Z cozy.

Er...that's probably it for today. At least for now. Time to make the doughnuts. Time to pimp the platypus. Time to smack my head against the desk until it bleeds words.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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