greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Oh my bloody fucking fuck. I am so fucking over this aging thing. I did something stupid to my hip...my FREAKING fucking hip...yesterday. Probably when I was trying to clean and reorganize part of my office, rearranging bookshelves in the vain attempt to turn that House on Ash Tree Lane trick and create larger spaces within smaller spaces. It didn't work, but I feel like, during my sleep, someone took a sledgehammer to my left hip. Wanna wake up really goddamn fast? Forget fucking coffee. Trying motherfucking hip pain. Tiger balm and two Doan's tablets—yes, motherfucking Doan's tablets—have dulled the pain enough that I'll be able to sit up and write. But FUCK THIS SHIT (to quote Frank Black). This winter, I'm joining a gym and getting this meatbag into some semblance of working order. Last night (not suspecting the hip pain was headed my way), Spooky and I were discussing how we both need to lose some weight. Using Hubero as a standard of weight measurement, it was decided I need to lose 1 Hubero. That's one whole FAT cat I'm carrying around, all day and every day. Again (second verse, same as the first), FUCK THAT SHIT.

Oh, and please. No commiseration, or I feel your pain, or whatever. No stories that go something like: "Well, when I was only fifteen years old I was riding my bicycle and a pit bull grabbed my ankle and dragged me and the bike—by the ankle, mind you—twelve blocks, up hill both ways, before it was shot in the head by a kindly spaceman who called an ambulance that hitched my ankle to its back fender and dragged me twelve miles, up hill both ways, over a dirt road that was mostly potholes, all the way to the hospital—which was closed! Now, you wanna talk hip pain? That's hip pain!" None of those stories. In fact, I want a T-shirt that reads, simply, "Do Not Commiserate."

But at least the Hip Agony does help me not feel so bad that I'm spending the Last Warmest Day of 2011 in Rhode Island (going up to about 85˚F) trying to fix the timeline, instead of "chillaxing" (hold on while I choke myself for using that odious "word," even sarcastically) at the beach, swimming, losing a cat.

Anyway...

Yesterday was mostly me discovering that things were worse than I suspected. That failed time-travel experiment? Well, feel free to blame me for the Eighties. That's right. Blame me for the entire decade. But...Frank the Goat's on it, and there may yet be hope. You may wake up tomorrow and have no idea whatsoever that the Eighties ever occurred, because they won't have. Unless we fail, me and Frank (that's me and Frank the Goat, not me and Frank Black—and I mean Frank Black from Blue Velvet, not Frank Black, née Black Francis, from the Pixies, or the ultra-cool-and-spooky Frank Black from Millennium, and certainly not Frank the Interdimensional Demon Bunny), and that's always a possibility. One must never underestimate the likelihood of failure. John DeLorean, he underestimated his ability to fail...and look how that turned out. And of course I'm right. I'm me.

Next week's shoot for the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir races towards us (five days to go), and...frankly (black), I'm terrified. Will we be ready? I'm gonna roll a 1d4 and hold my breath.

Um...and...what?

Last night, Spooky and I saw last week's episode of Fringe, "One October Night," and..wow. Olivia and Fauxlivia. That was pretty much a slash episode (albeit, without the hot Fauxlivia-on-Olivia sex). And we watched another episode from Season Four of Mad Men. Oh, and something that I can't (or, rather, won't) show you until tomorrow.

And then I looked through the marvelous Dark Horse hardback collection of Bernie Wrightson stuff from the pages of Creepy and Eerie (thank you, Steven Lubold!), then read another story from the Halloween anthology, "Three Doors" by Norman Partridge. The story itself is so-so, but it's narrative technique has moments of sheer brilliance. To whit:

"Doesn't matter to me how you explain it.
I'm not here to draw you a diagram.
I'm just here to tell you a story."

The voice of the narrator (ergo, the author), is a grand "fuck you" to all the morons who want their hands held during story time. In fact, those lines echo rather remarkably Quinn's attitude towards her imagined readers in Blood Oranges: "You can believe this or not. Whatever"

But now, now I must go fix the timeline, so you who are old enough can stop remembering "designer stubble", Guns N' Roses, and the return of shoulder pads.

Accidentally Retro,
Aunt Beast (in pain we trust)
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We're provisioned, high and dry, and watching the charts, the diagrams, the broadcasts. I'm not especially worried about Providence. And the storm will have spent most of its fury before it reaches Boston. We'll get heavy rain and bad wind. And hellacious swells and tides (Why am I not surprised that LJ can't spell "hellacious"?). But it's Manhattan and the other boroughs that worry me the most.

Regardless, it'll be a rough weekend on the Eastern Seaboard. I'd thought maybe I could get to Moonstone Beach late this evening and get in one last swim before the storm hits. But the surf report for the day is looking less than optimum. By the time I could reach the shore, late this afternoon, the surf will be 3+ feet (waist to stomach height), with swells at 2-3 feet. The swells really are not bad for swimming, given that the water should be semi-glassy/semi-bumpy. But my legs are still weak enough that getting in and out of that surf could be dangerous (I can still be knocked down by a 2-foot wave, if it catches me off guard). So, I imagine we'll drive down and watch the sea, but stay dry (I'll get photos and post them). The temptation is just so...strong. But the surfers are excited. They'll be out in force at Point Judith by tomorrow. Surfers know no fear (which, in this case, may equate to having little in the way of instincts for self-preservation*).

But things get scary on Sunday, when we'll have 10-15 foot waves, with 15-26+ ft. swells. And, of course, the new moon is bringing our highest tides of the month. Here in Providence, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier will protect downtown (which is only 8-12 feet above mean sea level). I doubt there will even be an evacuation order for Conanicut, Aquidneck, and Block islands. But we shall see.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on Chapter Eight of Blood Oranges. I am so, so near the ending. But today, I need to go down to Exeter, about 15 miles from here, to do some last minute research for the final scene. We'll stop by the Chestnut Hill Cemetery and see the grave of Mercy Brown, which I've never done. Oddly.

They can no longer move.
I can no longer be still.
-- Throwing Muses

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has begun a new LJ, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, for the outtakes and progress with The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed and the book trailer (not sure why this isn't being done via Kickstarter, but there you go). Kyle and I will both be making upates. There are already some great stills (Sarah [Eva] and Kyle, and one of the plague doctors) up on the blog.

Oh, the deadlines I am facing in the next three weeks. Fuck me twice on Sunday. Wish me luck. If I survive them, well...maybe then I'll be able to survive the two months that follow those three weeks. The matter was discussed yesterday with my editor at Penguin.

Well, enough for now. If you're in Irene's path, do the smart thing. Be safe. But I cannot help but marvel (and herein lies conflict) at the beautiful ferocity of this beast, Panthalassa's rough, watery beast slouching towards Nova Scotia.

Awed,
Aunt Beast

* This isn't meant to be value-laden, loaded language. Frankly, I admire anyone who takes on that wild water. If I were younger and/or stronger, I would be out there.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay. I am awake. No, really. Just ask the platypus inserting bamboo splinters beneath my toenails.

First, stuff from Friday:

I wrote 1,308 words of Chapter Six of Blood Oranges, in which a new troll – Otis – makes an appearance. I really do not know what to make of this strange, strange book. It is what it is.

Also on Friday, there was a Telephone Conversation of Great Importance, which I am not free to discuss (and let me tell you, these things I can't talk about are driving me fucking nuts).

I received a package from Stephen Lubold containing, among many other wonderful things, two Penguin Classics collections – Algernon Blackwood's Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories (and LJ can't spell the plural of sorcery) and Lord Dunsany's In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales (both edited by S. T. Joshi) – and Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American Hitsory (2002). I immediately began reading the latter, as the Peshtigo Firestorm (and associated fires on the night of October 8, 1871) have long been an obsession of mine, but I haven't read this book. So, thank you again, Stephen!

The package also included a copy of Huan Vu's (German, 2010) film Die Farbe, which I now know is the most faithful adaptation of HPL's "The Colour Out of Space" that anyone has made thus far. I did not even know of this film's existence. It moves the events of the story from New England to pre-WWII Germany – which works far better than it has a right to work – and the climax to WWII itself (which really doesn't work). That is, the narrator's story is cut in two, and framed by an American searching for his lost father. As strange as all this sounds, and despite what must have been an almost nonexistent budget, most of it works very well. The move to film in black and white was smart (I've always said I'd do "Colour" in b&w), with a very judicious use of a color effect, that was smart. The acting is decent, the casting good, the cinematography so-so, the SFX uneven, but sometimes very impressive. The sound was awful. I don't know if it was a bad transfer to the DVD, or trouble with sound editing. But...if you're a fan of HPL or the story, it should be seen. It is at least a one-hundred percent improvement over the two previous attempts at filming the story – the laughable Die, Monster, Die (1965) and the unspeakably laughable The Curse (1987).

Oh, I'm also adding a photograph of the "pregnant plesiosaur" to yesterday's entry, for posterity (because it's an amazing fossil, and sometimes links go poof). And thank you, [livejournal.com profile] corucia for sending me the full paper from Science.

---

And now...yesterday.

Whoa, David Bowie flashback. No, I'm better now.

More hookey. Inexcusable, I know. No, it truly is. But, and still, Spooky and I went to Moonstone, because how many more days of summer are left? Not many, that's how many. And it rained all June, and we didn't have a car in July, and...anyway, we went to Moonstone. The air temperature was around 80˚F and the water somewhere in the 60sF. I swam. A lot. I've regained so much strength so quickly that I'm sort of astounded. I floated and dove in deep green water. The sky above me was blue with the white brush stokes of cirrus clouds and contrails and with gulls. There is utter peace, only fifty yards offshore. There were virtually no swells, the water was so calm (except when some asshole in a motorboat roared past). The only slightly spooky moment was when I found myself in a riptide that moved me twenty or thirty feet south in just a few seconds. But I stayed calm, swam to the east, and was immediately out of the current. Back on shore, we saw another osprey fishing. Likely the same one we saw back on July 30th.

I so need an underwater camera.

As we were leaving, I spotted the blackened and sun-shriveled remains of a very young dolphin or porpoise – possibly a newborn calf. The dorsal fin had an orange plastic tag that had been attached by researchers from the Mystic Aquarium, and, oddly, what remained of the carcass was tied to a tiny raft made of driftwood. The aquarium's tag noted it had been dead when tagged...which could have been weeks ago, based on the degree of decomposition. The skull, flippers, and tail fluke were missing (not surprising, as these tend to be taken quickly by scavengers). I wanted to take the whole thing away with me for what was left of the skeleton (in excellent shape), but I took only a single anterior thoracic rib. Anyway, there are photographs from yesterday behind the cut:

13 August 2011 )


Also, some decent RP in Insilico last night, as Grendel enters the yakuza.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's warmer than expected today, maybe one of the last genuinely warm days of summer. I want to swim, not sit here and write.

Sirenia Digest #68 will be going out to subscribers sometime today. I only just got Vince's illustration. It's one I like quite a lot. Vince's illustration, I mean. But the issue's not so bad, either.

And yesterday was actually very fucking, amazingly, astoundingly wonderful. I am not at liberty to say why, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. You may recall way back on June 9th, when I wrote in the blog "I received NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, that I may very possibly explode before I'm permitted to spill the beans." Well, yesterday that fabled green light shone down upon all those involved, and it would be difficult for me to explain how pleased I am at this turn of events. It is far beyond awesome. But no, I can't tell you what I'm talking about. There will be an announcement – though it may yet be a month or two away – but it won't be made here, and it won't be made by me. When it happens, someone will surely see or hear it before me. But you'll all know, soon. And trust me, I hate keeping secrets worse than you hate having them kept from you.

I spent the day tweaking #68. That sounds like a line from an SF story, doesn't it?

I can also say, with enormous relief, that the long impoverished period that Spooky and I have spent the last year and a half struggling through has ended. Things will be better now. I won't stop worrying about money, because I never stop worrying about money (and this is a thing I hate more than words can say). But my thanks to everyone who has helped us through that long rough patch, in all the many ways that you have helped.

Relieved,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
Today is Lughnasadh. Unless, of course, you're in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case it's Imbolc. So, may the day be good to you.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,465 words, and finished "The Granting Cabinet," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #68. The story was sent away to Vince Locke to be illustrated. Today, I'll begin laying out the issue. As soon as I have Vince's illustration, I'll get the issue out to subscribers.

In the meanwhile, I'll get back to work on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges.

I have discovered that the ubiquitous "In a world..." has been replaced in the realm of movie synopses by "...begins to suspect that..." Well, at least so far as Netflix synopses are concerned.

And here's a story I found...interesting: "Married Lesbian Couple Rescued 40 Teens from Norway Massacre". What matters here is not that these two women are a married couple, but that their efforts have almost certainly been ignored by the press because they are a lesbian couple. Anyway, I especially liked this paragraph:

The mainstream U.S. media, which loves a hero story almost as much as a tragedy, has been uniformly silent about the lesbian superstars. Instead, you get a gay man, Bruce Bawer, in his self-serving WSJ piece saying how shocked he is to discover his extremist anti-Islam writings are quoted in the extremist anti-Islam writings of a killer.

Yesterday, I read another paper from the May Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "New occurrences of dinosaur skin of two types (Sauropoda? and Dinosauria indet.) from the Late Jurassic of North America (Mygatt-Moore Quarry, Morrison Formation)."

Last night, we watched Dominic Sena's Season of the Witch. And...this would have been a perfectly enjoyable, fun B-movie if only someone hadn't convinced Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman that men in the 14th Century were incapable of emoting. Otherwise, the cast is fine. Claire Foy is quite good, in fact. Tippet Studio's climactic demon sequence is disappointing, but serviceable. Again, Season of the Witch is almost a fine little B-movie, and I think we need to acknowledge that there is a place for B movies. Anyway...later, I did two short RP scenes in Rift, one with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and one with [livejournal.com profile] r_darkstorm, and also got our Guardian-side sister Guild, the Hidden Variable, up and running (as a prop, it plays an important roll in the story arc of Watchers of the Unseen, but also provides the advantages of a guild for our Guardian-side characters).

And that was yesterday. And here's the photographic beach porn I promised yesterday:

30 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have got to start going to bed earlier. Or later, but before "almost dawn."

Yesterday became an unexpected day off. Before returning to work on "The Granting Cabinet" for Sirenia Digest #68, I needed to clear my head. So we headed down to Moonstone, for a late afternoon of swimming. The temperatures were hovering just below 90˚F. The shadows below the trees along the South County back roads were cool. Yesterday, was the annual "blessing of the fleet," a nightmare of drunken tourists, but we managed to skirt all that. When we reached the beach, sometime just after 5 p.m., there were people crabbing off the bridge between Trustom and Card ponds. White buckets filled with restless blue crabs.

This time, we came dressed to swim, and I was in the water almost at once. The farthest I swam out was about a hundred yards. The water gets deep fast in Block Island Sound off Moonstone Beach, but I have no way of knowing how deep it was beneath me. I managed to find bottom at about ten feet, but I swam quite a bit farther out after that. Spooky swam out farther than before, than our last visit. I never feel half so free as I feel when I'm in the water, salt or fresh. Water the color of the brine inside a jar of olives buoyed me up and down again, long, slow swells that were breaking against the shore in waves that were two or three feet high. Ochre-colored water, filled with bits of silt, detritus, and seaweed. I almost got wrapped in a huge strand of kelp. The water was clear enough I had no trouble keeping my feet in sight. The air was also clear, thanks to low humidity, and Block Island stood out against the southern horizon. We watched an osprey dive in just offshore, and pull out a sizable fish. It flew away to the east, towards Narragansett, with the fish wriggling in its talons.

Spooky checked the water temperature before leaving home; it was 69˚F. But after the initial shock, I was fine. I floated and stared at the sky. Weightless. Nothing above, and nothing below (no matter how false that statement might be). I only wish we could have stayed a couple of hours longer. We left about 7 p.m., and, on the way home, stopped to see Spooky's parents. Her dad, International Man of Mystery, has just returned from Newcastle, UK. We stayed just a little while, too tired from swimming and half starved, before heading home. On the way back to the van though, we spotted another frog by the koi pond. If I'd had my meds with me, we'd have stayed all night. We'd have laid out beneath the stars (which are still visible from South County), listening to crickets and katydids. Anyway, for those with the stomach for beach porn, there are photos below, behind the cut.

---

Back home, after dinner, after showers, there was a little Rift. No RP, just leveling Otamisia (Spooky's Kelari mage) and Nilleshna (my Kelari cleric).

Afterwards, we watched Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch. I'm still trying to figure out what I thought of this film. No doubt, it's dazzling. The steampunk WWI battle scene was amazing. If I were only rating it on it's value as eye candy, Sucker Punch would score a 10 out of 10. What I can't quite decide is how I felt about the rest of the film. This quote from a Salon review by Andrew O'Hehir seems true enough (cribbed from the film's Wikipedia entry), "If you want to understand Snyder's central narrative gambit, it's right there in the title. He gives us what we want (or what we think we want, or what he thinks we think we want): Absurdly fetishized women in teeny little skirts, gloriously repetitious fight sequences loaded with plot coupons, pseudo-feminist fantasies of escape and revenge. Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball." But I'm still sorting out various aspects of the film, and trying to decide if it's even the sort of film that merits so much thought. I enjoyed it, undoubtedly, but something keeps nagging at me. Still, I think it got a bad shake from critics, and should be seen by more people than it has. It can't be dismissed as outright mysogyny, anymore than it can fairly be praised as an empowering piece of girl-power propaganda (though it's been called both).

And that was pretty much yesterday.

I forgot, yesterday, to mention Friday night's eight-episode Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge, the beginning of Season Four.

MTV is about to turn thirty years old. How weird is that? August 1, 1981. I was about to begin my last year of high school. The Empire Strikes Back was in theaters. And MTV showed nothing but...you know...music videos. You younger sorts might have heard of those.

Oh, thanks to my having gotten so behind this month (heat, convention, insane fucking car, etc.), Sirenia subscribers will, this month, get the new story, "The Granting Cabinet," plus Chapter Two of Blood Oranges, "Songs For My Funeral" (Yeah, like the Snakefarm album). I do hope you will enjoy.

And now, the photos! (Wait, my webhosting service is doing something really fucking weird. I'll get the photos up tomorrow...I hope. Apologies.)
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Put on your comment caps, kittens.

The heat in Providence continues to worsen. We have an "Excessive Heat Watch," and on Friday we're supposed to reach 96˚F, with a heat index of 105˚F. Might not sound too scary if you're used to the heat in Arizona or Alabama, but that's just short of a natural disaster in Rhode Island. We're planning to not be in the house that day. A theatre. Something. Anything dark and cool.

Trying to sort my thoughts.

Well, my first thought is that I'm at least two weeks behind schedule. Of course, being a freelance, the schedule is of my own devising. Of course, while that makes it more flexible, a flexible schedule is no less important to adhere to – flexibility – if one is at least to earn checks that might, in theory, one day arrive to keep you going until the next Maybe Check. Um...lost my train of thought again. Oh yes, behind fucking schedule. Blood Oranges was supposed to be finished by the end of the month. It was very important that it be written by then, written and out of the way. Now, having lost most of July to crap and a convention and heat and editing, the best I can hope for is to finish it by mid-August. Which...might work. Possibly. The Great Reluctance to Move Forward that I spoke of on July 7th hasn't actually removed itself from my path. I have to climb over that motherfucker to get back to Quinn and Bad Mr. B and the Bride of Quiet. So, I get farther and farther behind, and lose sight of how to get ahead again. Or just caught up. Caught up would be bloody wonderful.

---

You know, I am aware that if this blog were more – what's the word? Political? Controversial? Confrontational? None of those are the right words. Let's say, more like [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's. If it were more like that, there would likely be many more comments. Well, perhaps. And were I a much younger beast, I might still have the energy to write those sorts of entries. But I'm not, and I don't. More's the pity, I suppose. It's not that I don't have a lot to say on subjects like gender bias in speculative fiction or the problem of "racefail" or the mounting absurdities of copyright law in America. But I can only speak of these things in small bits, small bits at a time. My writing energy, my brainmeats, they have to be reserved, mostly, for the fiction. Sorry, just a stray thought.

---

No writing yesterday, but we did finally finish going over the galley pages for Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, (Volume One). The text is probably as error-free as I can make it, given subpress' publishing schedule (there's that word again). And then we sent the corrections off to Yanni Kuznia, who will pass them along to Gail Cross (who does subpress' design and layout). I also need to send the signature pages back. I've had them here forever.

After I answered the day's emails, Spooky and I fled for Moonstone Beach. I'm getting to a point where I just can't stay away from the sea anymore, and now that we have the van back, it's only a question of gas money and time (not much of either on hand). Well, those two things, plus the guilt of enlarging our carbon footprint by driving so much. We headed south to the beach, it was already 4:30 p.m. or so, and we arrived about 5:30. Perfect day for that spot. There were people crabbing on the little bridge that crosses the connection between Trustom and Card Ponds. There were red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, cormorants, piping plovers, and all the gulls. I could no longer resist the water. I waded in wearing baggy cargo shorts and a grey tank top. For a short time, I only splashed about in the surf, letting the breakers knock me about. And then a couple of BIG waves (4+ ft.) pretty much took my loose clothes off. There was almost no one on the beach, so I stripped and swam out about 10-15 yards***. The water was marvelously cold and buoyant. I floated, hearing only the sea, seeing only sky above me. This is as close as I come to peace. I dove down eight feet, ten feet, and then I was too far out to find bottom (which drops away fast). Spooky (decently clothed) followed me maybe halfway. She never went so far she couldn't feel the bottom beneath her. I can honestly say I'd not been that happy in years. We left about the time the sun began to set over the dog roses and the silvery surface of Trustom Pond, once the air temperature began to drop, about 7:30 p.m. There are photos behind the cut. No, none of me skinny-dipping (by the way, bathing suits are stupid, even if they keep the sand out of places sand ought never go):

19 July 2011 )


Movin’ through rough waters motel boy,
And swimming in your sleep.
How could I be so blind, mis-sighted,
Not to see there’s something wounded deep.
-- R.E.M.

Longing for the Sea,
Aunt Beast

***Moonstone Beach was a nude beach, before it became a piping plover sanctuary.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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