greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [livejournal.com profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [livejournal.com profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.

---

Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Throbbing,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Until fifteen minutes ago I'd never even heard of QR Code, but I just read an article about how it's probably on its way out. This is life inside our tiny house, mostly insulated from the baffling and pointless press of current events and so-called innovations. We have always lived in the castle.

Speaking of techie stuff (right, LJ can spell "techie"), I remain entirely unimpressed by the clips I've seen from Skyrim. Looks to me like the game is suffering from the same fundamental problem it had way back with Morrowind, when I complained endlessly about how stiff the characters looked, how few "points of articulation" they seemed to possess. There is very little fluidity to the animation of Skyrim, in part because it's trying to be photorealistic (but LJ can't spell "photorealistic") and, in so doing, has entered that Uncanny Valley where animated films directed by Robert Zemeckis go to die. I saw a clip of mammoths. No, I don't know why fantasy games are so fond of mammoths...or yetis...but that's not the point. These mammoths were so almost-but-not-quite-real it hurt to look at them. And their fur looked like they used far too much product in those shaggy manes. WoW avoids the Uncanny Valley problem by wisely opting to steer far, far away from photorealism, and Rift treads a fine line. Rift looks fantastic, but one step nearer photorealism, and the illusion would collapse. Those poor Skyrim mammoths, I just want to wash their fur, and don't even get me started on how silly the first-person mode looks (I actually "laughed out loud"). And the Skyrim animation is almost as jerky as the old Morrowind animation, ten years back.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,602 words on "Ex Libris." It should surprise no one this is a story about malign books. No. That's wrong. About how women and men shape, wield, and bend books for malign purposes. Meanwhile, Spooky read, line by line (x2) the galleys of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, finding the mysterious changes to the text. It would drive me to stab myself in the face with a fork, what Spooky's doing; she's made it through the first three chapters (out of ten). She may be finished by Monday evening. Late yesterday, I picked the cover layout that will be used on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and talked with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press about the cover design for The Yellow Book hardback. I have to find just the right shade of yellow. I wanted to begin the introduction I'm writing for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I'm calling "Sexing the Weird," and which I've actually outlined (unlike fiction, nonfiction is amenable to outlines). But I was too tired from all that writing. Instead, I had a hot bath, a fifteen minute nap, Chinese takeout, and a cup of coffee.

---

Last night, we watched the last three episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. When I first said that we were watching it, there were people who warned me it started off great, but fell apart somewhere in the middle. But I saw nothing of the sort. Quite the contrary. Every episode grew stronger, and Miracle Day is definitely the best Torchwood we've seen so far, in every way. Gwen truly has come into her own. I recall the first episode of the show, back in 2006, how much I hated her. Now, I adore her. That mousey little policewoman has become a bloody force of nature. I'd love to see her paired with the Ninth Doctor. Could do without the dopey husband, but I figure if she sees something in him, I ought give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, yes. I highly recommend Torchwood: Miracle Day – great storytelling, characterization, visuals (thank you, better production values), and so forth. I cheered. I cringed. I laughed. I almost cried. It was very, very fine.

By the way, I am beginning to believe that the old episodic nature of a lot of "television" series is changing. I tried to imagine having to watch Torchwood: Miracle Day broken up into episodes, one every week or two, broadcast over an hour and subdivided by insufferable commercials. We watched the series over three nights, all ten episodes. It's hard to believe the punch wouldn't have been lost if we'd been forced to watch it over the two-month span of its original broadcast. It makes me think that maybe some "television" producers and directors are getting wise to how many people wait for the DVDs, Hulu, or Netflix, then watch the whole thing at once.

Wake up. Time to write.

Burning with the Fires of Orc,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I shall not allow the fact that I am not awake dissuade me from making this blog entry.

Yesterday was, as I said, a day off. And it was not a bad day off, but I fear my head was not cleared out during the course of the day, as I'd hoped it would be. So, I move ahead with a cluttered head.

I've done A-E of "The Yellow Alphabet." Today, F-H.

Watching The Runaways night before last, and pretty much any time I see something made before the advent of the personal computer, the cellphone, the iPod, videogames, the world wide web, and so forth...I am left with the disquieting feeling that the world is becoming increasingly less real. No, I cannot yet quantify that. I'm still working on some way to explain precisely what I mean. Just a sense that things were more real than they are now, and that we continue losing the integrity of reality as we accept more and more techno-distraction into our lives. And sure, this likely goes back to radio and motion pictures, television and telephones. Maybe it even goes back to the invention of the printing press. But the latter was invented in 1440 or so, and it was only at the end of the 19th Century that the explosion of communication and entertainment media via electronic delivery devices really began. Sure, I sound like a Luddite. I probably am a Luddite, albeit a Luddite who spends most of her life online, who uses Twitter and Facebook and LiveJournal and Gmail. Who has an iBook (from 2000, but still), an iPod (from 2005, but still) and a cellphone (from 2004, but still). Mostly, I'm just thinking aloud here. I think the world is becoming less real, and the rate of disintegration may be exponential. Maybe this is what all those transhumanist H+ wonks mean by the "Singularity."

---

I think that my various new meds have my body a little off kilter. Specifically, my blood pressure. When I went to the doctor last Monday, my blood pressure was high. But mostly, the Prazosin is causing my blood pressure to drop. In the mornings, I am woozy and weak. My pulse tends to race. But the alternative to the meds is unacceptable, so...I'm dealing with it.

---

So, yesterday we saw Phillip Noyce's Salt. The first half was slow, but it picked up steam and the second half was quite enjoyable, as long as you didn't expect the plot to make much sense. As long you're satisfied by watching Angelina Jolie kick butt. Which I was. The ending is more of a "just stopping," so I assume this is the beginning of a series, unless this film tanks. But yeah, big dumb fun, leave your brain at the door.

Which brings me to the fact that we finished Season Two of 24 last night. It's a strange, strange show. It's really not very good. It is, in fact, often perfectly ridiculous. And yet we keep watching it. I think it's mostly Kiefer Sutherland, and the violent absurdity of it all, that keeps us coming back. But I can't imagine anyone watching this one week at a time, one episode a week, with commercials. It's certainly not that compelling. And, setting aside all the silliness, the plot devices and stuff the writers just pull out of their butts because it looks cool and Jack's such a badass that physics don't apply and the like, my main annoyance with the series is it's insistence on irrelevant subplots. In this respect, Season Two was both better and worse than Season One. All that business about Kim and the murdered wife and the murdering husband...it was just a huge distraction. I suspect studio execs insisted there be something to "appeal to the female demographic." But none of it had anything whatsoever to do with the actual story until the very, very end, and then only as a too-convenient device to distract Jack during a crucial minute or so, which was hardly enough to justify its existence. But yeah, we made it through two seasons. Not sure if we'll keep going (especially given that what happens after the Season Two cliffhanger was put into a frakking videogame).

Also, I'm not usually opposed to American remakes of foreign films, not by default. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't. But I am horrified at what's been done by Matt Reeves to Låt den rätte komma in. It's one thing to move the film to America. It's a far, far worse thing to remove Eli's gender issues. That, essentially, guts the film of one of its driving forces. This is not just a story about a budding serial killer and vampirism, but about sexual violation and gender ambiguity, and by striving to make the story more "accessible" (Reeves' own choice of words), he's destroyed it. There's a reason Tomas Alfredson's movie was pretty much limited to the art-film circuit. It was smart and subtle and dealt with complex issues, and dumbing it down for the mass American consumer is an abominable notion. Even if it's a notion that makes money.

We have eBay auctions ending this afternoon. Please have a look.

Anyway...I should get to work.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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