greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
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: (chidown)
It has been at least two years since I've been anything near this ill. Probably nearer four years. I fear I no longer have the hang of it. I'm out of practice. But this germ, it means to teach me a thing or two, to remind me, as it were.

Ah, whatever.

So, yes. The Democrats have taken the House, and likely the Senate. We have a woman as Speaker of the House. Rumsfeld has finally left the building. And I suppose, to some degree I must be glad of these things. But there's not half so much gladness as I would have felt once upon a time. I can't help but recall how elated I was the night America elected Clinton (I was 28). Bush the First was gone. The long shadow of Reagan would be swept aside. We were going to have national health care and gay rights. We got, instead, Monica Gate, an impeachment trial, "don't ask, don't tell," war in Yugoslavia, and etc. and etc. Ultimately, we got President Asshole, Bush the Second, and a new Vietnam in Iraq. Which is to say, yes, good news, but we've been in a much better position, not so very long ago, and it only led us to...well, here. I hate cynicism, but I feel it in my bones. As I said before, yesterday or the day before, I'm better off leaving these politics to them what still calls themselves humans, as these are human politics. More and more, I feel like I'm just along for the ride, driven before the flood, drowned with the rest.

Here in Georgia, we're stuck with Sonny Perdue and the same ol' bunch of gun-totin', Jesus-lovin' rednecks we had before the election. I suppose it would have been nice to have some Democratic rednecks, just for a bit of lip service.

As I was saying.

I did manage to write yesterday. Just a smidge. 700 or so words for an afterword and bio to accompany the Czech reprint of "Riding the White Bull." I am so behind at this point I only see the back of my head whenever I look in the mirror.

Last night we watched Monster House (the movie, not the reality show). What an odd film. I felt like it should have worked, but it seemed rushed, and I got the impression pieces were missing. The character design was creepy (not in a good way), like a bunch of living bobble-heads. I chalk this creepinesss up to Dr. Masahiro Mori's "uncanny valley":

...if an entity is sufficiently non-humanlike, then the humanlike characters will tend to stand out and be noticed easily, generating empathy. On the other hand, if the entity is "almost human", then the non-human characteristics will be the ones that stand out, leading to a feeling of "strangeness" in the human viewer.

I've never had that problem before. For instance, I had no trouble with the CGI characters in The Lord of the Rings or Peter Jackson's King Kong. I know The Polar Express bugged a lot of people for this very reason (I haven't seen it). Also, I was annoyed at the peculiar blending of small-town 50s Suburbia with Now. Beaver Cleaver for the 21st Century. The film's sterile landscape was like some neocon yuppie dream of Heaven. Like I said, an odd film.

Whoops. Okay. Time to lie down again...

Postscript: Personally, I remain a great admirer of President Clinton's, even if my admiration is sorely tainted by disillusion.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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