greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Dreams give us another reality, realities that are, more often than not, terrible or horrific or surreal. But, always, those dream realities are brilliant. The are radiant, even if they radiate darkness and seethe with violence and fear. Then we awake, and we're back here again. Here, where the world is banal, and all is shit, and there is nothing. (A thought more perfectly realized in the instant of its conception, but, like a dream, it began fading as I tried to write it down.)

2. I have been sitting here contemplating measuring the speed of time as a physical constant. If not in this worldline, then in some other. Light's easy, that c we take for granted, a simple 299,792,458 m/second, but what if time moves? How does one state the speed of time without resorting to circular reasoning?

3. Yesterday, I did only one new page on Alabaster, Page Fifteen, because I realized that I'd set the plot on the wrong pivot (so to speak – pivot, fulcrum, whatever), and the first half #3 was the last chance I'd have to set it straight in the first series, and if I didn't set it right then the wrongness would echo down through many issues to come. Writing comics, plot is one of those things that are first and foremost. When I'm writing prose, I almost always let plot worry about itself. Usually, it accretes naturally out of characterization and mood and theme, those things I prefer to write. Actually writing plot is, I find, agonizing. Like picking buckshot out of your own flesh, then putting it back in another way round, but finding that configuration just as "wrong," and starting over and over and over. Life has characters and moods and maybe even themes run through it, but it has no plot. Which is why a plan is only a list of things that never happen. Like my proposals and synopses for unwritten stories. Anyway, I'll still hit my deadline on #3.

4. Apologies for not posting the "Question @ Hand" last night. Tonight, for sure. I'm dithering.

5. Played more of SW:toR last night (though only about a third as on Saturday), and, as promised, I was going to attempt to explain my thoughts on how it might be that video games make lousy movies, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But, [livejournal.com profile] slothman has saved me the trouble:

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

Which is essentially what I was going to say.

I'm going to play again tonight, then summarize my thoughts on the beta tommorow. But I am still loving it mightily, but also allowing myself to see the blemishes. The one that bothers me the most (she jumps the gun!) is that SW:toR takes us three-thousand years into the past, roughly three-thousand years before A New Hope, and...all the technology is essentially the same. The starships, the shuttles, the weaponry, the speeder bikes, the droids, and so on. Now, this would be akin to watching technology on earth having failed to evolve significantly since, say, the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (roughly 1060-664 BC), or...well..pick another culture – China, Persia, the Mesoamericans, etc. – they all work in this analogy. Maybe, if I were a bigger Star Wars geek I'd know some bit of lore to explain the reason for this technological stagnation spanning millennia. As it is, I find the phenomenon baffling. Were the creators too lazy to fashion a genuine history for this galaxy long, long ago and far, far away? Do they fear fan backlash? It can't be that. Not after LucasArts unleashed Jar Jar fucking Binks on an unsuspecting world. Sure, later we get death stars and light sabers fall out of favour and whatnot, but nothing really changes in the course of three-thousand years.

6. I just got the news that Ken Russell has died. Truthfully, I hated almost all of his films, with the only notable exception of Whore (1991). But still...damn. As Russell said, "“Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn’t for most people, but I am not interested. There’s too much of it about.”

7. Part of last night was spent catching up on "television" (id est, streaming via Hulu). Very good episodes of both Fringe and American Horror Story. And I read chapters Five and Six of Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex before sleep, which didn't come until about four ayem. I was in bed at two, but my mind (despite a literal handful of pills) had other plans.

Here For Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
1. Sometimes, I'm wrong. And then there are these times when I'm wrong on a cataclysmic scale. The trick is admitting one's mistakes, and I'm pretty good at that. So, without further ado, I have to admit that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the best games I've ever played. No one's more amazed than me. As you'll recall from earlier posts, I was impressed with neither the cut scenes or gameplay videos I was seeing online. Then, yesterday, my time in the beta finally came around. I did my work (I'll come to that later), and then started playing around four p.m. And...except for a half hour dinner break, I played SWtoR until four a.m. (!!!). And it was an utter delight. I solo leveled a blue Twi'lek slave girl until she was a Level 10 Sith Apprentice to Lord Vash. For a beta, the gameplay was amazingly smooth. The voice acting and writing are very well done, and I wasn't the least bit annoyed by the things that seem to be annoying other players (frequent cut scenes, lots of time spent running, etc.). So, because life is stranger than fiction, I unreservedly suggest others may also love this game. I'll certainly be buying a copy when it's released on December 20th.

Here's what baffles me. We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good? It's the inversion of a truism. In another entry I'll come back to why I think this inversion was possible. But, for now, I'll just say the game I played last night...and this morning...that's the fix I've been waiting for since the summer I saw The Empire Strikes Back twenty times in theatres (1980).

2. Yesterday I wrote pages Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen on Alabaster. Only eight pages left to go, and, like I said, I'm thinking I won't be missing that deadline after all, which is sort of amazing, considering the chaos of late (and the damn fool gaming binge).

3. TONIGHT, kittens, I will be posting the Question @ Hand for Sirenia Digest #72. I want gritty, disturbing replies. The ten I like best will be "printed" anonymously in the digest. If you've been a part of this before, you already know that the answers will be screened, and that no one but me will be able to read your answers (unless it's printed, and then, as I said, anonymity). I have all my polyps crossed that there will be some amazingly unnerving answers.

Oh, and to repeat what I said a couple of days back, we're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

4. If anyone ever says, "You can be a Time Lord or you can be a writer," for Dog's sake, tell them you want to be a Time Lord.

I'm coming platypus....

There Is Only Passion,
Aunty Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
0. Epic entry time. Comment, kittens. Let's have tomorrow all over again, and...

1. ...know you have my grateful thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. That's what I like to see. I do apologize for not responding to all of you. So, now...

2. ...I'm sitting here trying to remember what I was doing yesterday before everything sort of went to hell. Oh, but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Night before last, I slept less than four hours, and as the day wore on it became evident that my body had reached the end of its ability to take abuse. The last few days – all the work, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion – finally took their toll. I managed the journal entry and a lot of email before I realized I was just too fried to do much else. I emailed my editor at Dark Horse to warn her that Alabaster #3 was probably going to be late by a couple of days (the deadline was November 30th). She was very cool about it, so thank you cool comic-book lady. This means that all I have left to do this "month" is:

a) Write Alabaster #3.
b) Go over the pencils for Alabaster #1 as soon as they come in.
c) Write something new for Sirenia Digest #72.

And I have nine days in which to do it. Well, given that the digest comes out on the fifth of each month now, that means I technically have fourteen days (hence the shutter quotes around month). Everything would be going more or less fine had I not wasted three days on an introduction I eventually scrapped. But yeah, fourteen days, two weeks. I can do that blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back, standing on one foot, whistling "Dixie." Of course, then I'll have to immediately write Alabaster #4 and get to Sirenia Digest #73. Oh, and be sure the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is ready to go up (AT A THEATRE NEAR YOU!) at the beginning of January. And, somewhere in all that, the galleys for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will likely rear their ugly head, but...

3. ...come hell or high water, mine and Spooky's genuine vacation begins December 15th and runs until January 3rd. Nineteen days free of work. Well, except for the inevitable, unforseen, this-can't-wait-until-later-because-you're-a-writer emergencies. Anyway...

4. ...as it became clear yesterday that I'd pushed myself just a little too far (about three p.m., I think), I said "Fuck it," and started downloading the software for this coming weekend's Beta of Star Wars: The Old Republic onto the Asus; this despite my comments of November 15th. I always forget how bloody long this shit takes. I think, total, the download took somewhere in the neighborhood of ten hours. And there will still be patches every day, all for a game I have a feeling I'm going to hate. But yeah, that, and...

5. ...I had a hot bath, as the exhaustion was beginning to clamp down hard on my muscles (this is about the time I stopped replying to comments in the blog). I fell asleep in the tub. Spooky woke me. I dressed and crawled away to the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fireplace, but couldn't get back to sleep. For dinner there was leftover chili. Spooky and I decided to watch Cloverfield for the tenth time or so. By then, I was beginning to think maybe it was more than exhaustion, that I might actually have caught something. We were watching the movie, and suddenly, as the monster ripped Manhattan apart, strange booming began outside. I mean, loud booming noises. They sounded remarkably like the booming noises in the film. After some moments of creeped-out confusion, we went downstairs, and, standing in the middle of the street, we could see fireworks going off to the east, near downtown or the the northernmost end of Narragansett Bay. Turns out, yesterday was the 375th anniversary of the City of Providence....and neither of us knew. So, boom, boom, boom. We went back in and finished watching the movie, and I felt worse...and worse...and worse. Now, and a smart...

6. ...person would have packed it in and tried to go to sleep. Instead, I asked Spooky to read to me from House of Leaves. And after that, I dragged myself back into the office to see that the Asus was still downloading the main assest for SWTOR. So, I paused it and we played some Rift. Turns out, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was on, so there was guild chatter. Where are you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus! And don't tell me CoX. We need more players to get the RP going again. At any rate, Spooky and I were in the middle of our Iron Pine dailies, when suddenly I felt like a mac truck hit me. I managed the quest from Exile's Den, and really did crawl away to bed. Moaning and slightly feverish. I was, by this time, 95% sure I was dying (yeah, drama queen). I lay in the snarl of comforters, reading a biography of Barnum Brown, titled Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. Finally, I gave up, as the pages weren't making much sense. I set the iPad to stream Andrew Marton's Crack in the World (1965), and finally, mercifully, found sleep, and didn't awaken until 11:30 this ayem, after almost eight hours of sleep. Oh, I almost forgot to...

7. ...mention that Trion has finally succumbed to the holidays. I thought we were safe. Unlike WoW, which senselessly includes pretty much every Western holiday, hardly even thinly disguised, Rift has been blessedly free of such bullshit. But no. Last night we were hit with "Fae Yule." As kids these days are won't to say, >.>, right? Right. Now, I'm pretty sure the baby Jesus never made it to Telara, but here was all this Xmas bullshit, only faintly made to seem like a response to the invasion of the dragon of air, Crucia. Oh, and never mind how angry it makes me that these games keep stealing the names of pagan celebrations to mask Xtian celebrations. After all, that's been going on forever in the "real" world. Anyway, yeah, do the holiday quests, get enough "special snowflakes" to buy a fucking Corgi dog with fucking antlers and a red fucking Rudolph nose. I shit you not, kiddos. Trion, you have let me down. Fuck you.

Epilogue: Don't mean to be picking on anyone, but ereaders do not contain books. They contain nothing more than computer code, just artless zeroes and ones.

PS: My niece rocks.

I've Felt Better,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (mandarin)
Okay, well. So far this morning, I've had my iMac pull some crazy-ass "Colonel Panic" crash on me, while half the goddamn internet was telling me that I needed to call Harlan. "Calm" has not, thus far, been le mot du jour. But I foresee smoother sailing ahead. And, by the way, I have discovered that during computer crises I have learned to channel Hoban Washburne. Just stay in my seat, flip switches, and tell Spooky, my voice treading that fine line between amused, terrified, and extraordinarily polite, that if we don't get some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through this landing is gonna get pretty interesting. Though, I've learned it's best off not to define "interesting."

I am a leaf on the motherfucking wind. The wind just happens to be a hurricane.

Yesterday I wrote a fairly impressive 2,104 words on "Ex Libris." The story's word count presently stands at 9,118 (~10k words were requested), so I'll finish today. One way or the other, with or without that primary buffer panel, and those entry couplings that should have been replaced six months ago be damned. All is bright and shiny. Anyway, yes, I wrote, and Spooky continued the mind-numbing task of rereading The Drowning Girl. Well, mind-numbing is my adjective. She says that she's seen things about the book she never saw before – good things, mind you, mostly structural aspects, that apparent chaos is only apparent, and so forth – because she's having to read the ms. in this tedious fashion. Which is cool. But I couldn't have done it. My solution involved taking a train to Manhattan and...never mind. Anyway, Spooky is finishing that up even as I write, and will likely be finished by the time I complete this entry. 'Cause she rocks.

I have in mind to post a list of all the things I want to do before I die, even though I expect I won't be able to do one third of them (money and time are the most common obstacles). Problem is, I have to write out the list, then whittle it down to, say, ten.

I sincerely hope no one was offended at what I wrote yesterday regarding why the "Tale of the Ravens" project is coming along so slowly, that it's because Kathryn's been having to do so much work for me. In truth, only a single person (out of our seventy-two Kickstarter backers) has said peep. It's just that we're both very frustrated about the project. And...

WHOA

...Spooky just finished the horrid proofreading. Well, her part. I still have to go over it the way one usually goes over galley pages. But, most of the work is done, and she is free to return to the ravens. Tiddley fucking pom.

I should begin wrapping this up.

After all the writing, there was more leftover chili (living large at La casa de Kiernan), and I dozed, and watched an episode of Nova on Kīlauea, and we played a LOT of Rift (the guild is moving back towards RP mode, by the way, so, if you're interested...), then watched the premiere of Season Seven of Deadliest Catch, then played a little more Rift, and I fell asleep watching James Stewart in Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), a comfort film. And that was yesterday.

Oh, except, I also I had a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, at game-play video and cut scenes and whatnot. I even signed up for the Beta, because it does sound interesting, that universe set three thousand years before the "first" gawdsawful movie. BUT! Jesus, the graphics are awful. I mean, Bioware seems to be trying to make the crappy graphics in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look good. This valley ain't just uncanny; it's downright butt ugly. Now, if we are to believe that $135 million was spent making this game, more than has ever been spent creating any video game, I'm left asking, "Where the hell did all that money go?" Was it spent on cheese doodles and Mountain Dew? Maybe it went up someone's nose, because it sure didn't go into the game's graphic design. I expect I'll play a bit, regardless. because, like I said, I love the idea.

The platypus says visiting hours are up, and we do not argue with the monotremes.

Shiny. Let's be badguys,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny and mild today. Yesterday's storms have gone, and they seem to have taken yesterday's heat with them. The temperature inside the House reached 85F yesterday.

And I only managed to write 558 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," over the course several hours. I swear, if this story were a film, and I were the director, at this point I'd be fired and they'd hire someone like Francis Ford Coppola to come in and try to clean up the mess. I am definitely over budget. And yet, the story now has a solid beginning, and today I can get back to the middle. I have about 5,000 words left to finish things up, and it's going to be a bit of a squeeze. I hope to be done by Friday, at the latest. And let me say again, for me this is such a strange and counter-intuitive way to write, pulling things apart, writing bits out of sequence, and so forth, and I sincerely hope not to be resorting to this method again anytime soon.

If you've not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions, especially the Dreaming mobile, since we may never offer another of those. As ultra rare items related to my work go, the Dreaming mobile is about as rare as it gets. All proceeds from these auctions go to help offset the not inconsiderable expense of attending Readercon 21 next month.

So, yes, yesterday I wrote, and edited, and rewrote, and moved scenes around. Spooky painted. I wrote. I would make her stop so I could read her a few paragraphs, a single sentence, or a series of pages. Outside, storm clouds soared by and the wind blew wildly. The House was stifling. Finally, as I was reading her a scene for the fifth or sixth time, I said fuck it, it's too hot, and we went for a walk. It didn't seem a whole lot cooler out there, but at least there was a strong wind. We walked as far as the Dexter Training Ground and the Armory. Then I came home and went back to work. There are a few photos behind the cut:

6 June 2010 )


What else of yesterday that's worth writing down? Spooky's mom sent us a link to an adorable photo she'd taken of a four-foot-long Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor) she'd had to relocate from the strawberry patch. Spooky's dad's in the Philippines again, doing field work, by the way. I read a paper on the discovery of Paleocene-aged pantodont footprints in a coal mine in Norway. I watched an episode of Nova devoted to the causes of the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster. After dinner, we watched Philipp Stölzl's Nordwand (2008), which is a genuinely breathtaking, horrific film; highly recommended. Later, we played too much WoW, leveling Gnomenclature and Klausgnomi to 24. Oh, and I had an argument in guild chat about Han Solo and Greedo (Han shot first, you fools!), which is about as low as a nerd can sink. Though, what was more disturbing was that the person I was having the conversation with was born in 1990! I think that revelation actually made me dizzy. Anyway, that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
On this day thirty years ago, Star Wars opened in US theaters. I was twelve, which was probably the perfect age for Star Wars. I think what I find most amazing now is that is was made for a mere $11 million dollars, whereas the last of the six films was made for $113 million dollars. Also on this day, but forty years ago, [livejournal.com profile] docbrite was born. Normally, I would not reveal an age like that, but I know it's something Poppy's exceedingly happy about, reaching the the big four-oh. For my part, I'd gladly go back to 1994 and the gentle age of 29, thank you and please. Anyway, Happy frelling goddamn birthday, Poppy and Star Wars.*

I think eBay has finally managed to make of itself more of a hindrance than Spooky and I can tolerate. The final straw was this new business about requiring you to use their photo-uploading/hosting thingy, and charging 15¢ for every photo beyond the first one. Likely, we will hold one last auction sometime next week, the hand-corrected and "illuminated" copy of the Gauntlet hardback of Silk (which we've been meaning to auction since early March), and then part ways with eBay for good. I don't yet know what we'll be using instead. Spooky's taken with Etsy, but I'm not (and they don't seem to allow auctions, at any rate). Alas, eBay, we hardly knew ye.

Subscribers should have received Sirenia Digest #18 yesterday evening. Comments welcome.

I don't think I have the stomach for butchery today. Yesterday, I cut and hacked and spliced. Today, I may take a bath and wait for Byron, who's joining us for a Toho Kid Night. I do not often abuse the so-called "privilege" of being "my own boss," but today, I believe I shall make an exception. I'm tired of intentionally breaking things I worked so hard to build. It can wait until tomorrow or Sunday, this unwriting business. Spinning gold to straw. Well, no, not gold. Not even silver. I'm not quite that much of an egomaniac. But you get the picture.

---

I did not awaken until the sun was setting. Suregait was near, but there was no sign of Radagast. A dry wind was blowing through our rocky eyrie here at the southeastern end of the Mithrim Spur, and at first I did not recall the dreams that haunted my sleep. Would that they had never come back to me. I rose and started a small fire, and as I was brewing tea, Radagast returned, quickly shedding his hawk form and taking a seat across the fire from me. The news he brings is almost as dire as were my dreams. The man [livejournal.com profile] setsuled has gone to Seregost, and there are rumours among the grim folk of this land that he has sent word of my coming to the orc tribes encamped on Gorgoroth. Radagast believes that a bounty has been laid upon my head and that it would be suicide to try to reach the plateau. The orcs are hungry and easily bought. But there are darker tidings still. Radagast has been told by a raven that a call has gone out from Seregost to Khamûl, the Black Easterling, the last of the Nine, and that even now he stirs from out some secret pit. The elves of East Lórien believed such powers history, and that I would face only goblins and Uruks and such men as struggle to survive in these lands.

"The shadow has not entirely passed from our midst," Radagast said and frowned at the fire. "Perhaps it never shall."

He wants me to abandon the quest, Inwë. He says we can not proceed to Gorgoroth nor again try to make the pass below Seregost. All roads are watched now, and he does not imagine that I could ever reach those dread plains south of the Ash Mountains — not even with his aid. He wants to call Gwaihir, King of Birds, to bear me safely to the old capital at Osgiliath. He has volunteered to travel with Suregait, but I do not know. How do I turn back now? What the elves have done, might they now undo? This thing has been made a part of me, until I deliver it down into the Fen of Worms. If I turn back, another would only be forced to return in my stead, and the Black Easterling will surely begin to marshal an army, even if he has not guessed my purpose.

I have told Radagast my dreams, and they only made him more determined I should return to Gondor. But I do not know, Inwë. I do not know what course I must now take.

---

There was a Silk question from [livejournal.com profile] reverendcrofoot, who asks: I am re-reading Silk and I noticed something a character by the name Jen Dare I do believe. Is there anything else with this character? Is she a left over? Is there something up with her?

I never meant Jenny Dare for anything more than that one scene, a "ghost" to get Niki's attention. The character was, of course, inspired by Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in the Americas. She vanished with the rest of the "Lost Colony" at Roanoke. But really, I never meant to do more with her and never have.

* Han shot first.
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
See, I can totally live with being 71% Leia Organa. But how the frell can anyone be 62% Darth Vader, 61% Jar Jar frelling Binks (gagh), and (ahem) 59% Han Solo, simultaneously. That just messes with my head...

Your results:
You are Princess Leia
Princess Leia
71%
Luke Skywalker
67%
Padme
62%
C-3PO
62%
Darth Vader
61%
Jar Jar Binks
59%
Han Solo
59%
Mace Windu
55%
Boba Fett
54%
Obi-Wan Kenobi
52%
You are an excellent friend
and an unselfish person,
yet you like to spend a lot of
time on your hair and fashion.
You spend most of your time
with guys that are too cocky,
too hairy, or too related.


(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)


Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Quiz



Um...yeah. Well, underwater volcanic eruptions are drad, even if this link doesn't quite redeem me for having impure autoerotic thoughts about myself as Princess Leia...

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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