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: (imapact1)
Today, I have to number:

1. Two Worlds and In Between has been chosen by Publisher's Weekly as one of 2011's one hundred best books, and also as one of the six best fantasy and science-fiction books of 2011. Spooky gave me the news yesterday. I'm still sort of stunned. So, to review:

a) The book has SOLD OUT.
b) It was a Publisher's Weekly "pick of the week" (appearing on the ToC page).
c) The book got a great write up in The New York Times.
d) Gary Wolfe at Locus loved it.
e) And PW has named it one of the six best spec-fic titles of 2011.

Can I please get a "That'll do, Beast. That'll do."?

2. Tomorrow, the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. I will be occupied with preparations for this a good bit of today.

3. If you have not yet already voted, please go the poll. Another 26* votes (I asked for 100 "yes" votes), and you just might get another studio project from me, the first since 1999. And yeah, the idea is that the songs would be available via as many services as possible, but definitely iTunes and Bandcamp. This would NOT be a Kickstarter project. All songs WOULD be covers, no originals.

4. Yesterday, I stared down the iMac screen, and the words finally began to flow. I wrote 1,127 words on a new short story, or novelette, or short novella called "Ex Libris." This is for the chapbook to accompany the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I hope to be finished on or near the 16th of the month. Then there's the next Dark Horse script to begin.

5. Last night, Kathryn and I began watching Series Four of Torchwood, and...wow. I, for one, am very pleased.

6. Subterrean Press says to me, "We've been down to only one full-time shipper in the warehouse for the past month -- our usual complement is three -- so copies of TWO WORLDS are still shipping. Please advise folks not to despair. Our second full-timer started yesterday, and should be able to quicken the shipping on the BEST OF YOU. (We also have a third shipper on board in December, thank goodness.)" So, sit tight, those who do not yet have their copies.

I think that's all for now. I have email, phone calls, an annoying Siamese cat, and a story to deal with. When do I get a full-time "oh shit!" girl?

Rather pleased,
Aunt Beast

Update: *8 votes
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
Yesterday was all editing, which is what today will be again. I have to finish with Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder today (with Spooky's help), because day after tomorrow, I have to go to frelling Birmingham to be poked by my doctor (Tuesday) and prodded by my dentist (Wednesday) in hopes of figuring out what this TMJ-like agony in my face is all about. And I cannot afford to lose those two days, but there you go. Tomorrow will be a day off, as I will have been working for eleven consecutive days without a break (and there's been only one day off in the last twenty one). And having to go to stupid frelling Birmingham for medical discomfort hardly counts as downtime.

But, yes, editing yesterday. I read through most of the chapbook, mostly "the orphink" — also known as "And Prayers for Rain" — and that weird little bit from 1993, "Monochrome and Jasmine." Then Spooky and I worked together on "Little Conversations," the original short version of "Salammbô Redux." So, today, I have about a gazillion edits marked on pages that I actually have to make on the iMac. Then send this beast of a chapbook away to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. And, by the way, there is only one means of acquiring this lengthy chapbook. It comes FREE when you order a copy of the new 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

Ah, and here's a reminder that "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection" is now up at Subterranean Online, where you may read it for FREE. This story first appeared in Sirenia Digest #20, back in July. Here at Platypus Central, we're gearing up for a Sirenia Digest membership drive to help offset the forthcoming dental/medical bills, and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Ressurrection" will give you some idea what's going on in the digest. Also, you might have a look at this interview on the subject of the digest, from a year ago.

I assume everyone has received Sirenia Digest #24 by now. My thanks to those who have commented. I'd love to hear more thoughts on the issue today.

When the work was done yesterday, I got in some Second Life, as I had a town-hall meeting in New Babbage at 5 p.m. Afterwards, as the Professor labored in her Abney Park laboratory, she was set upon by three Daaleks. My thanks to Miss Kaylee Frye, who blasted the last of them to smithereens with her Tesla rifle. Later, in FL, Byron showed up, bearing the gift of spicy hot chicken wings, and we watched the last two episodes of the first season of Torchwood. Just when I was getting slightly disenchanted with the series, these two episodes seized me by the ear lobes and dragged me back in. Marvelous. Funny, smart, queer-friendly, and just damned delightful. Afterwards, it was back to SL, where the Professor's "daughter," Elenore, finally emerged from her egg sac and was introduced to the smoky skies of New Babbage. Of all the many characters I've played on SL, spending two hours as a six-year-old girl may have been the most liberating thus far. An admittedly bratty six-year-old girl, but still. I'm not the one who let her have cupcakes and snickerdoodles. She has a stuffed patchwork rabbit named Mr. Simmons, though she's convinced that he's a cat (but then she seems to think anything with fur is a cat), and is inordinately interested in odors.

Okay. All those ugly red marks are waiting for me. C'mon platypus, the breach awaits us...
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Another marginally productive day yesterday. But I still do not know what the next piece for Sirenia Digest #23 will be, nor have I begun the prologue for Joey Lafaye.

I did get my list done for Del Howison, Amy Wallace and Scott Bradley's The Horror Book of Lists (due out from HarperCollins in 2008). I chose "Thirteen of the Top Ten "Lovecraftian" Films Not Actually Based (or Only Loosely Based) on the Works of H.P. Lovecraft."Here's the list. You'll have to actually wait for the book to read my annotations for each film:

1. Alien (dir. Ridley Scott, 1979)

2. The Thing (dir. John Carpenter, 1982)

3. The Creature from the Black Lagoon (dir. Jack Arnold, 1954)

4. Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (dir. Richard Blackburn, 1975)

5. Dark Waters (dir. Mariano Baino, 1994)

6. Ghostbusters (dir. Ivan Reitman, 1984)

7. Event Horizon (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997)

8. King Kong (dir. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933)

9. Solaris (dir. Steven Soderbergh, 2002)

10. Smilla's Sense of Snow (dir. Bille August, 1997)

11. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (dir. Tony Randel, 1988)

12. Hellboy (dir. Guillermo del Toro, 2004)

13. The Blob (dir. Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958)

I actually managed to write 631 words, because of the list, so I tried to pretend that was "work." But I'm a lousy liar when it comes to crap like that.

The last time I left the house was...when we had dinner with Byron Friday night. At any rate, Spooky says I have to go outside today. Blah, blah, blah.

Oh, good Torchwood last night. The episode took me completely by surprise. Nice chill in the ending — "They make me happy."
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
And here, already, it is Mabon. Too, too soon. Even after this dreadful summer, part of me dreads the approach of winter. Those blue skies. My aching feet. Ah, whatever. Here's wishing you a joyful Mabon, or Aban Efed, or Feast of the Ingathering, or simply a pleasant Autumnal Equinox.

As predicted, yesterday was all housecleaning, and now this place is a fair sight less cluttered and dusty. So, today we can return to work on Tales of Pain and Wonder — the last couple hundred line edits — and hopefully, tonight, I'll not be so fried I can't get back to work on the screenplay for "Onion."

Yesterday at dusk, we went out for our evening walk, and heard the screech owl (Megascops asio) that we've been hearing on our street for a couple of months now. Last night, though, we were fortunate enough to catch sight of her or him, perched on a branch near the road and crying out with the distinctive "whinny" of a screech owl, sort of like the sound an Hyracotherium might have made (assuming palaeotheriids whinnied, and they likely did not). It's an eerie, beautiful sound. We walked west almost as far as Inman Park, and returned to find Byron seated on our porch steps. We watched the "new" Torchwood, part of The Graham Norton Show, and then Mike Judge's Idiocracy. On the one hand, I'll admit the movie was funny, sort of like Futurama turned inside out. But on the other, Spooky and I agreed afterwards that its portrayal of a future human population where everyone is an slack-jawed, consumerized idiot to be not so very different from how we perceive the bulk of the present human populace, and in that regard the film is more annoying and creepifying than anything. I note the film has a 6.4 at IMDb, and a 67% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Since I started Second Life back in May, I've seen a certain statistic bandied about, something to the effect of "53% of all Second Life women are really men." This morning, I was determined to track down the source of the number, but have so far had no luck. Though I'm quite certain that the number of men using female avatars is indeed extremely high, I also know that there's no reliable way of calculating the actual percentage, if only because most of them aren't going to admit that they're not really female. And I'm wondering, too, does this count as transvestitism...but that's a different kettle of fish. Anyway, the search led me to several articles wherein people were worrying about the possibility of Second Life cracking down on its (very large) furry population, by deeming sex with or between furries to be bestiality and therefore a violation of "community standards." Which got me to thinking where that would leave Nareth Nishi (at this point, she's 100% Nebari) or Miss Paine (25% Neko), as neither of us are genuinely human. And what about Klingon avs, and Vulcan avs, and Elvish avs, and Twi'lek avs, and so on and so forth. Sure, they're all humanoid, but they aren't any more human than a humanoid raccoon or horse or skunk. In fact, from a strictly biological standpoint, the sexual deviation involved in having sex with a humanoid skunk is far, far less than that involving congress with any humanoid alien race, as humans and skunks at least share a common genetic history and, somewhere back there, a shared common ancestor. Not so with humans and Nebari, or humans and Twi'lek, or whatever. Anyway, if anyone can actually find the source of the "53% of all Second Life women are really men" thing, please let me know. You'll get a cookie or something.

Yeah, so the day isn't getting any younger, and this typescript isn't getting any less menacing, so I suppose I should wrap this up.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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