greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
I know it's gonna be a goddamn weird day when the first thing I read after crawling (moaning) from bed is an article in The Economist. But, really South Carolina people. Newt Gingrich? Newt fucking Gingrich? That crackpot from the radio? A paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze who's clearly proud of being a paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze. Is anyone actually believing this shit about "open" marriages that he's spouting? But, back to the aforementioned article, I have to quote this bit:

As nuts as it may seem to those of us who belong to smaller, more vulnerable segments of the population, conservatives feel backed into a corner by the broader culture, and they detect in Mr Gingrich's pharisaic diatribes the hopeful will to fight, the promise of punching their way back to uncontested supremacy. That Mr Gingrich is a cartoon of a corrupt demagogue doesn't seem much to matter. Not only do conservatives believe Mr Gingrich feels their pain, they believe he seeks their revenge.

I'm imagining redneck Tea-Partygoers googling pharisaic, because that's a damn fine cup of irony (sorry, Mr. Lynch).

---

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I wrote a measly 491 words on "The Diamond Friendly," and I think I'm about to shelve it a second time. I could try to explain what's gone wrong, but it would probably amount to a treatise. Having lately read so much dull, flavorless sf, I'd really like to write a bit of sf that, at the very least, can be called neither flavorless nor dull. Thing is, so much of that bad sf I've been reading is bad not because, I suspect, the writers in question are necessarily bad writers. I know that some of them aren't. It's because good sf – especially that of the futuristic variety – requires the author to have a firm grasp of sociology, psychology, linguistics, pop culture, economics, history, politics, and never mind the fields of science and technology relevant to the story at hand (besides sociology and psychology, I mean). You have to know, or at least be able to lay your hands on, all these disparate sources of data if you are to imbue your story with the least jot of authenticity, and then you have to start juggling them, and keep it all in the air while you write (I suppose this is done with the toes, since the hands are occupied), snatching the information you need as you need it. Mixing and matching, splicing and melding.

And here I am, in a crush of deadlines, setting out to write what would be an approximately ten thousand word hardcore "biopunk" (can we please, please, please stop punking?) story, spoken by its interauthor in a quasi-fictional argot I'm devising from a hundred sources for use in the mid 2050s...and...yesterday, I realized I had to step back. I started the story last month, then set it aside. I am going to write this dark, dark story about what [livejournal.com profile] corucia has deftly termed "somajakking." But I don't think I can write it now. Maybe I'm wrong, and by the end of the day I'll have figured it out, how to do this and everything else and not break my brain. I just don't know. A writer knows her life has grown peculiar when she begins to feel guilty about taking the time and energy to, you know, write a short story.

---

I don't like to talk about my infirmities in the blog. I just don't. I think, mostly, because I dislike the inevitable commiseration. "I know just how you feel." That sort of thing. I understand how many human beings find comfort in commiseration, but I don't. Anyway, I'm drifting. Point is, I've had this fucking migraine for eight days, as of today, which beats my old record by three days...and I've been trying to persevere. But I'm starting to slip. The formulation of coherent – never mind artistic – thoughts while this railroad spike is being removed and reinserted into random parts of my skull...I think the appropriate word is maddening. There must be a word for people who can remain articulate while in excruciating fucking pain, but, if so, it escapes me. Or I never learned it. Anyway, please do not commiserate. Mostly, I just wanted this down for the record, so I can remember, some day hence, that I once had an eight-day (or longer) headache.

---

I was going to write about playing too much SW:toR. I was going to write about reading The Dragon Seekers, and how it pains me to revisit the life of Gideon Mantell – the man who, among many other amazing achievements, named the second dinosaur* ever described, Iguanodon (1825) – but died poverty ridden in 1852, as do many paleontologists today. Mantell also discovered and described Hylaeosaurus (1833), the third dinosaur to be described. Instead, I wrote about all that other stuff. And now I have to go try to write that which I am paid to write.

When Evening Calls So Hard,
Aunt Beast

* The term dinosaur was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And I begin this...here.

No. Here.

Happy birthday, David Lynch! And Federico Fellini!

The snow finally came last night, and more will come tomorrow. We're about to go forth and do what errands must be done. But first, I'll write this journal entry. Because I wish to remember yesterday, for one thing.

We left Providence a little after one thirty (CaST) and made it to New Haven (CT) by three-thirty (also CaST). There were snow flurries along the highway, from a sky that was as sunny as it was cloudy. But they were the sorts of cloud that drop snow. I read from Lightspeed: Year One while Spooky drove and kept me informed about the flurries and birds and dead racoons. We parked off Whitney, on Sachem Street (saw a bumper sticker at the labs: "Honk If You Understand Punctuated Equilibrium"), and I got about two hours with the dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Mostly, I sat on the wooden benches and stared up at the creatures Marsh named, the legacy of Richard Swan Lull, and George Ostrom, and Rudolph Zallinger's famous The Age of Reptiles mural (1943-1947) bringing it all to life (no matter how inaccurate we may now know it to be; many of our own imaginings will be disproven in due course – and I am not surprised LJ doesn't know how to spell the past participle of disprove; of course, I maybe misusing the past participle, but that doesn't absolve LJ of its ignorance).

And sure, these are the old circa 1930s-40s "tail-dragging" dinosaur mounts. But those are the images of dinosaurs that I grew up with. Back before the Renaissance of the 1970s, before it was understood that most dinosaurs were active, endothermic creatures, not sluggish reptiles. Before it acknowledged that, not only did birds evolve directly from dinosaurs, but that "birds" are surviving theropod dinosaurs, and many Mesozoic theropods had feathers. And so forth. I am comforted by these old visions of blundering, ectothermic monsters.

At some point, I opened my iPad just to see if I could actually get reception in there. It felt a like horrible sacrilege, but I signed into the Yale server as a guest and posted to Facebook: "Writing from inside the dinosaur gallery at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. This is MY church." A testament to the cosmic circle. No beginning. No end. Life, being a transient state of matter, and so here is my church.

Spooky was off looking at taxidermied crows and archaeological doodads, but when she returned, we went upstairs together to see live snakes in the children's "Discovery Room." One thing that makes the Yale Peabody so precious to me is that, while acknowledging science education for children, it hasn't turned itself into a theme park, as have so many American museums. Those that have allowed budgetary panic to morph them into nightmares of "edutainment" (Oh, fuck. LJ doesn't know disproven, but it knows the vile portmanteau edutainment. Fuck.). The Peabody is still a place where I can sit in peace with the past. Where there is still a stately air of respect for science and its endeavors. Truth is, the Great Hall at the Peabody calms me more than any of my meds, or any story I will ever write, or any painting I will ever paint.

Here are some photos:

19 January 2012 )


We left about 5:30 CaST, and made it back to Providence around 8 p.m. The snow came in earnest about nine or ten. The sky was creamsicle. I love creamsicle night skies.

Since my last LJ entry, I have – in stray moments – been reading short fiction, all from the aforementioned Lightspeed: Year One. Tananarive Due's "Patient Zero" (2008), Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Observer" (2008), David Tallerman's Jenny's Sick (2010), Anne McCaffrey's "Velvet Fields" (1973), and Eric Gregory's "The Harrowers" (2011). I liked Gregory and Tallerman the best; most of the stories would have benefited by being a bit longer, especially "Velvet Fields," which felt like a synopsis. The McCaffrey piece is little more than an outline, really. The Gregory piece felt short, but mostly that's just because it left me wanting more, which is a good trick for an author to turn and suggests no obligation to actually provide more.

Also, here's a rather good entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna on the fluidity of names, on those of us who cast off our birth names before we become artists. And sexism.

I do mean to write about my feelings on internet piracy and SOPA/PIPA, but there's no time now. Spooky and I have to run errands before ice and more snow arrives, and I have email.

Like dinosaurs, the snow is helping.

Somewhat calmer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just something quick. I have tomorrow off, and we'll be heading off to Connecticut, to the Yale Peabody Museum.

I was somewhat impressed by toady's web protests against SOPA/PIPA, though Goggle's seemed halfhearted, at best. A shame Google, Twitter, and Facebook didn't shutdown. That would have made an impression.

All this said, I want no one, even for a second to think that I support internet piracy. I don't. However, I also don't believe in burning down a house to kill a termite. But...I'm going to explain in more details my feelings on SOPA/PIPA, internet freedom, copyright, and internet piracy in Friday's entry. And yeah, leaving comments disabled until Friday.

Until then...



Fading,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
So far, here in Providence, it's been a shitty, snowless winter. Lots of rain, and days with wide carnivorous blue skies, but fuck all when it comes to snow. Did we piss off the Snow Miser or something?

If you've not seen it already, the ONE AND ONLY auction of an ARC of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has begun, and it began last night. The ARC is only being auctioned because we went a little over budget on the trailer shoot (and still have another day or so of filming coming up at the end of this month). So, please bid if you are able. Own a collectible ARC filled with uncorrected sentences. Oh, and both of Vince's illustrations for the novel do appear in the ARC. Thank you.

I'm not sure there's much point in recounting yesterday. I didn't write, because there was a sort of endless barrage of writing-related emails and phone calls. There was a good conversation with my publicist at Penguin (regarding The Drowning Girl), and I was sent more inked pages from Alabaster #3 (which I need to proof as soon as I finish this entry), and there were the pencils for the fourth Alabaster cover (beautiful), and a whole bunch of stuff for Readercon. I'm not kidding, working on all these books at once has my head spinning. Two hours of work feels like eight. This is a new thing to me. At least I'm sleeping more; otherwise, I'd probably be dead by now.

Rainy, cold Thursdays in January are good days for comments.

I'm not even going to try and explain the Buffalo-chicken calzones we had for dinner, except to say they're as hot coming out as they are going in.

Oh, I have this peculiar meme-thing from [livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012. Okay. I'll play along. So..."The templars strode forward, drawing their swords and advancing on the dogmen, who stood to meet them." Make of that what you will.

Otherwise, yesterday...well, not much else. I read "The forelimb carriage in ceratopsid dinosaurs," and my Sith assassin made it to Tatooine and reached Level 26. Oh, and this morning we learned that Rift's next big patch is going to permit in-game "Ascendent weddings," which, I will admit, is just a few thousand miles beyond the pale for me. The lines between pretend and real begin to blur like that, and we're back to the Great Cesspool of Second Life.

Looking Askance,
Aunt Beast
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: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) 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. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
There are days that are bad. There are days that manage to be worse than bad. And then there was yesterday. And all I will further deign to say on the subject (as discretion may not be the better part of valor, but it can sometimes be the author's best friend) is that there are times when the legal departments of major publishers are capable of demonstrating a degree of bone-headedness rarely exhibited outside the pachycephalosaurid dinosaurs. My great thanks to Merrilee and Anne for getting me through the day, and apologies to Kathryn, who had to endure the full brunt of my righteous indignation at Ground Zero. What the hell am I on about? When a band and a band's manager and a band's legal representation says, in writing, "Caitlín R. Kiernan has permission to quote our song in her forthcoming novel The Drowning Girl," odds are pretty goddamn good that said band and manager and legal representation have the authority to grant said permission. But, all's well that ends well, right? Okay, well my damaged schedule and colon might disagree, and it's not usual that I'm drinking in the afternoon, or that I have more than a single cigarette in a day. But...it was that sort of a day, and then some.

Please, today, comment, kittens. Just be kindly.

I'm lost, and the shadows keep on changing.

Here's a very fine and thoughtful review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One), and it might surprise you how much I agree with it. Well, except the reviewer's feelings about narrative structure and the conventional endings of stories. But, yes, good review. Also, I think I shall be canonized as "Aunt Beast," which suits me fine. At least, this month it does.

So, yesterday was devoured by nonsensical bullshit. I've established that, yes. When it began, Kathryn and I were making another effort to complete the line edits to Blood Oranges. We will finish that today, or all the world be damned. There's only 20 pages remaining, for fuck's sake, maybe half an hour of work. And I will not be dissuaded by clueless lawyers!

Not sucky things about yesterday! They deserve mention. I received a copy of Michael Zulli's on beyond sublime book The Fracture of the Universal Boy (six years in the writing and drawing, and another Kickstarter success story!). You must own this beautiful book. What else didn't suck? Well, Vince Locke's illustration for "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." (Sirenia Digest #71). Yesterday, I discovered Unwoman, and that totally didn't suck. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark came over, and that didn't suck at all. Our conversation about "sport fucking," that totally fucking rocked, and might be the seed for my next SF story. And my HUGE box of comp copies of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) arrived via UPS.

Oh, and you need to see Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, in director Mike Newell's forthcoming adaptation of Great Expectations. Beautimous.

Anyway, I'm running dreadfully late today, thanks to yesterday, and the fact that I had a very early and long talk with my Dark Horse editor this ayem, and still have a modest hillock of email to answer beore Spooky and I can be done with Blood Oranges and get it off to my agent before day's end. But! I will leave you with two more astounding stills courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, from the October shoot for The Drowning Girl. These are especially excellent, and, I daresay, they almost show too much of what's to come:

Imp, Eva, and Abalyn )
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A rainy day here in Providence. It's nice.

Kyle and I have been hammering out specifics on the still photography/book trailer project for The Drowning Girl, and it's a stressful affair. Well, if you're me. I can make stress out of thin air. Anyway, the Kickstarter is going extraordinarily well (166%)...and...Michael Zulli has just come on board to do the actual painting, The Drowning Girl, which, in the novel, was painted in 1898 by an artist named Phillip George Saltonstall. Zulli has become our Saltonstall, which is beyond amazing.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,480 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and talking through with Kathryn what remains of the story, blocking it (a term I use instead of "plotting," as blocking is much looser), I begin to see that it's not a ten-chapter book, or a nine-chapter book. Probably, it's an eight-chapter book. Otherwise, this becomes gratuitous. And I'll not have that. Regardless, the word count will be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words.

Some news regarding Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). The limited edition will include an extra volume (probably trade paperback), containing The Yellow Alphabet and 10,000 words of new fiction (likely in the form of two new stories). And I'll be working with Lee Moyer again on the cover.

---

A thought last night. Actually, a storm of thoughts whirling into a vortex. But, I'll play nice and call it a thought. Singular and calm. And it was just this: In today's subgenre-obsessed market, Harlan Ellison would be tagged a "horror writer." No, really. Go back and read the bulk of his fiction. Usually, he's writing "horrific sf" (as a disparaging Locus reviewer said of The Dry Salvages, "This is what happens when a horror writer tries to write SF"). Ellison's greatest achievements are almost all, at their roots, horrific. They're not about the sailing off into the stars, or the future, or the possibilities of technology, and finding a better world for mankind. Look at, for example, "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" (1967), or "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (1968), or "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" (1973), or even "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (1967). Though hailed as one of the most important SF writers of the 20th Century (I'd simply say one of the most important writers, period, and dispense with your fucking qualifying adjectives), if time were scrambled and he emerged into today's literary marketplace, a new writer, Harlan would be pegged a "horror writer." Probably, he would never receive all those Nebulas and Hugos. Being labeled "a horror writer" would define him in the eyes of NYC editors, and this would absolutely have a great influence on what he could and could not sell and see published. And this would be a crime of the first fucking order.

Stop thinking inside the genre paradigm, people. By doing so, you destroy art and opportunity. It's fiction, all of it. It's all literature. We need no other words to accurately define it. We need no reductionist baloney.

---

I don't feel right any longer saying, "Last night I watched television," when, in fact, I streamed video files across the internet from Netflix or Hulu. Anyway, last night Spooky and I gave AMC's Mad Men a try, beginning with the first two episodes. And were very impressed. Then we finished Season One of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and began Season Two. At some point I'll maybe be able to summarize my thoughts on all this L&O stuff. After hundreds more episodes. I also read "New unadorned hardrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America" (very cool beast, is Acristavus gagslarsoni) in JVP. And we read more of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I read more of Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. We're trying to get our bedtimes back to something sane. Maybe 2:30 ayem, instead of 5 ayem. Last night, I was asleep by four, I think. Baby steps.

Giving Genre the Massachusetts State Bird,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yeah, so. Somehow, we didn't wake up until almost one o'clock today. I swear to dog. This is what happens when I'm not broke and desperate. I get lazy. I relax. I let things slide. I oversleep. It's fucking stupid. There's an unspeakable amount of work to be done, and I'm suddenly going all juvenile delinquent on myself.

We even played hookey yesterday! Bad kids!

I've wolfed down breakfast, and am trying to, as they say, marshal my thoughts. Likely, that won't be possible until about two hours from now. I have this fantasy of being awake by 11 ayem every morning, but this is what's happening, instead.

FIRST! To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese, it's launched!" That is, the Kickstarter page for The Drowning Girl: Stills from a Film That Never Existed. The page is pretty much self-explanatory. This is going to be so cool. It already is cool. Thank you, Kyle!

On Tuesday I only wrote 608 words on Blood Oranges, but that's all that was required to reach the end of Chapter Five. And I might have gone straight into Chapter Six yesterday, but I didn't really know "what happens next" (in the parlance of the Idiot Gods of Plot) until about 2 ayem this morning. Today, I'll begin Chapter Six. Though there is a great deal of "action" in this novel, I am doing everything possible to sabotage every semblance of action. Yes, on purpose; it distracts.

I also need to send the proofread .rtf of The Yellow Alphabet to Subterranean Press (it will be the chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart). And...other stuff.

Yesterday evening, I previewed the new website for Sirenia Digest, which was created over the past several months by [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest. He has done a wonderful job. Anyway, eventually the pages will be relocated at my own website, but, technically, the site is live and functional as it stands. We're hoping for a few new subscribers. Certainly can't say we're not fishing with a pretty lure (and this does give people a clear indication of what the digest is about).

---

So, yeah. Yesterday there was hookey. Spooky's been wanting to see Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Personally, I've never had much interest in the "franchise" (*shudder...sorry, I loathe reducing films, books, whatever to "franchises"), though I was taken to see the original version of Planet of the Apes in April 1968. At a drive-in. I wasn't even four years old! Anyway...Wyatt's film is actually terrific, and cleans up after Tim Burton's 2001 fiasco. Hell, the film's worth ticket price for the scene on the Golden Gate Bridge alone. The one very notable flaw is the human actors. As in, they don't. Act. I'm seeing this a lot in live-action films wherein the most important characters are created via CGI motion capture. It's as though the director just can't be bothered to direct anyone else, he's so freaked at getting his paws on all this tech. Sure, Andy Serkis does marvelous things – as always – but James Franco is about as interesting as a bowl of cold oatmeal. John Lithgow is the only "human" actor who rises to the occasion (Tom Felton included). So, yes. I do recommend the film. Spooky cried a lot. It's that sort of film. It's triggery!

Oh, and after the movie we stopped at Target for a new tea kettle. And at Newbury Comics, where Spooky bought me the remastered special two-disc edition of R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant (1986) as a belated birthday gift. Now, I have to find one for her.

Oh, and Tuesday, I read "New poraspids (Agnatha, Heterostraci) from the Devonian of the western United States" and "Evidence for sexual dimorphism in the stegosaurian dinosaur Kentrosaurus aethiopicus from the Upper Jurassic of Tanzania," both in the May JVP. Time for July.

And time to get to fucking work! Comment, kittens! I'll be here all damn day.

Belatedly,
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)
Sunday. Sunday means nothing whatsoever around these parts. Here in deepest, darkest Rhode Island. The hinterlands of Federal Hill.

"You'll forgive her," said the platypus. "The heat's been at her. And she's not been sleeping well. She's jumping at shadows." And the dodo, she concurred.

---

I'm trying to get myself ready to go back to work on Blood Oranges tomorrow. Yesterday, we read Chapter Three. And I still like it. It's not in the same ballpark as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but it was never meant to be. It's in this other ballpark, over here. This book will, I think, be finished, and if it is finished, it certainly will be published. But, back to baseball analogies, it's got a couple of strikes against it. And I can't even explain them all here, because I'd have to bring in People Who Are Not Me. Which is poor form (I am the last good-mannered beast). In June, I had amazing enthusiasm for this odd little side project, this diversion from the course of my writing career. Now, I'm struggling just to be able to write the second half. Nothing whatsoever has changed about the story. This is all about changes in the marketplace that occur so suddenly they can hit you in the middle of a book that you're writing in the absurdly short span of only two months. But I will finish it, because I can't leave a story half told, and it will be published. And the little paycheck will be the small consolation that all paychecks are.

Today, we'll read Chapter Four.

---

The heat continues to batter all in this house, though relief is on the way in the form of cooler weather, and the new window-unit AC has helped a little. Last night, the high humidity made 84˚F feel like 94˚F. I think Spooky and I are both going deaf from the constant whir of fans and the drone of AC units. I've not yet named the new AC unit. Or I did, but forgot the name. Threw away the key. And so it goes. Yesterday, I actually made a little chart in my Moleskinne notebook, the temperature in the middle parlour for each hour. I'm still making entries. I may plot the whole thing on a bar graph once the heat breaks. Cooking doesn't help, by the way, but I was tired of cold food.

---

Last night, we watched the third episode of Falling Skies. It's hard watching something and knowing it would have been so much better had it not catered to – or been forced to cater to – the sensibilities of a low-brow audience. Last night, during the saccharine-sweet scene where the good little Xtian girl who hasn't lost faith – even at the end of human civilization – leads the others in saying grace, I very almost puked. I settled for laughing, instead. But Fallen Skies was playing it safe, playing it dumb, playing to middle America. Middle, in this case, being synonymous with mediocre, and pause to consider the etymology of that word (yeah, I'm on an etymological kick):

"Mediocre: [via French from Latin mediocris moderate, literally: halfway up the mountain, from medius middle + ocris stony mountain]"*

You play to the middle, to mediocrity, odds are somewhat more in your favour that you will, in fact, succeed. And, of course, lots of producers and TV execs are still terrified of playing to any other demographic but the mediocre. Mediocre fiction for mediocre people. No, not people. Consumers. I'd love to see what this series could have been on Showtime.

---

Yesterday, I read two articles in the May JVP: "A new basal ornithopod dinosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia" and "First occurrence of the long-snouted crocodyliform Terminonaris (Pholidosauridae) from the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian) of Texas."

---

Last night was the first night since...whenever...that it's been cool enough to sit in the office (where we usually game) and play Rift. There was some fine rp at Kelari Refuge, and then at Meridian. We are essentially rewriting Our Story Thus Far, since the guild moved from the Shadefallen shard to Faeblight (where people actually rp!), so things are a little hinky, but it was fine rp, all the same. Oh, and the offer still stands. To quote yesterday's entry:

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

Come on. I know there are gamers among my readers, among my readers who read this journal via LJ, Facebook, and Twitter. And this is the best MMORPG I've ever played. And it's never going to get any cheaper than this offer. Don't be too cool for school.

Anyway, gotta scoot. Catch you on the flipside, kittens.

Until That Day,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This morning might almost be mistaken for June. Sunny. Warm, if you ignore the breeze. 74F.

Speaking as someone who has (and continues) to cope with addiction, I remain forever...how shall I say this nicely? I remain forever at odds with NA and AA. I've seen so many sane, decent, rational, likeable drunks and addicts turned into unbearable, self-righteous zombies obsessed with abandoning personal responsibility and shifting it to their so-called Higher fucking Powers. Once upon a time, back in the late 1980s, I had a therapist in Birmingham. I can't even recall her name. But she tried to get me on the twelve-step bandwagon. There was a day she grew (no shit) absolutely livid because I refused to "surrender" to any "Higher Power." She accused me of "not even trying" and threatened to stop seeing me. "Can't you at last pretend?!" Hell, let us here note the success rates of these programs are crap. And here's the thing, it's not that I don't recognize that the universe is filled to overflowing with that which is more powerful than the one little organism of me. I do recognize that. Humpback whales. Hurricanes. Volcanoes. Plate tectonics. The sun. Whatever. I'm just one little bug. But I refuse to make up – or buy into other people's made up – sentient "Higher Powers." Trading one drug for another, in effect, one dependency for another. Though, in retrospect, maybe I should have claimed my Higher Power was a female Black Lectroid leader named John Emdall (from Planet 10, natch). Sorry. Rant ends here.

---

Workwise, yesterday was a bit of a nightmare. As I was about to begin the next section of Chapter Four, I realized there was a huge continuity error, and that its roots lay far back in a conversation I'd written in Chapter Two. I refused to rewrite the conversation, and sat here until I found a way to progress, resolve the continuity problem, and keep the conversation. All that led to a somewhat lowered word count, "only" 1,034 words.

There's something about Blood Oranges that I hope people will understand. This book is "just for fun." Spooky calls it a "popcorn book." Which is fairly accurate. It is in no way meant to be received the way I hope people have received The Red Tree and will receive The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. This one's just for shits and giggles.

Anyway...

I've felt so lousy the last few days (much better this ayem), we splurged last night and went to the 6:30 screening of Terrence Malick's Tree of Life at the Avon on Thayer Street (I half made up for it by have PB&J for dinner). Malick is in the tiny handful of directors who can, in my opinion, pretty much do no wrong. I'd love to write a review expounding just how amazing and beautiful and brilliant Tree of Life is, but, as I've said many times, I have no talent for reviews. But...you have to see this if you can. A film that manages to place the everyday life of a Waco, Texas family in the 1950s within a universal context, within the context of deep time. From the formation of the galaxy to the prebiotic earth to a Cretaceous forest...to the emptiness of an architect's life decades after his brothers death...to the nova of our star and, then, earth as a burnt out cinder. Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are both perfect. Indeed, this is about as close to perfect as film ever comes. There's not much I can think of that's comparable to Tree of Life, except Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Only Tree of Life is a better film. No film has impressed me this much since Synecdoche, New York (2008). Tree of Life goes on my "Top 50 Films Ever" list. Not sure what gets bumped off.

---

Later, back home, I played Rift. A lot of Rift, while Spooky played the new American Mcgee Alice game (which is gorgeous). My thanks to Tracy T. for a combination of superb rp and helping me survive two enormous fire-rift events in the Droughtlands. Ah, Maelforge, chaos incarnate, dragon ruler of the Plane of Fire, you are a right bastard.

Then Spooky and I finished reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants (this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club - hint, hint). A marvelous novel, though I actually think the film may be ever so slightly better. That actually does happen from time to time, the creation of a film that bests its source material. Oh, our mathematician's dice came yesterday! And I read "Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia" from the January JVP.

Oh, and I think I've decided that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be dedicated to Henry Darger.

Also, all of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has ended except this.

Okay. Must write now, and must not wish (too hard) that I were at the sea.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
We are being told the temperatures will rise as high as the mid eighties today, so we may have some semblance of summer. It was decently warm yesterday, May warm. I was able to leave the window in my office open long after midnight.

Today, kittens, whats about some comments? Show me LiveJournal might be on life support, but she ain't quite dead yet.

Good sleep last night, and, by all accounts, a good day yesterday, even if it was non-stop work from the minute I got out of bed (literally) until about 9 p.m. But I'm plagued by some ill disposition. When I woke this morning, it was only anxiety, but now I think it might be anger. And I know the meds are working. Sometimes, our anger is a sane reaction. Oft times, actually. Over breakfast, Spooky and I were discussing the subjective, culturally defined nature of evil. Me, I don't actually believe evil exists. At least, not Evil. Not Big E. Everything we see that might be labeled "evil" is, increasingly, accounted for by psychology, neurology, cultural anthropology, economics, and so forth. Evil is what men and women say it is. Likewise, "good" is no more than that which women and men should happen to deem good from this or that perspective, sane or insane. This isn't nihilism. And I only point this out because there are idiots who might say that it is, not understanding. Humans are best at not understanding. They excel in the realm of not understanding. A million or so years from now, if the last humans get a headstone, it should read "Homo sapiens sapiens, They Couldn't Understand." Yeah, irony intentional. Also, I hope the plaque is placed on Mars, where it'd likely last many hundreds of millions of years, free of the dangers of tectonism, etc.

The first Australian remains (a single vertebra) of a spinosaurid theropod have been discovered near southern Victoria's Cape Otway lighthouse.

Yesterday, the first part of it was spent working on the illustrations section for Two Worlds and In Between, and there were emails from my agent. And then I finally started writing and did the first 2,206 words on Chapter Four of Blood Oranges ("Walking Spanish"). Afterwards, I did a little work on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and decided to subtitle the collection (which I hope will be out next year, but nothing is official yet) 25 Tales of Weird Romance. Still trying to decide whether or not that works. It's cheesy, yes. But I might be aiming for the Cheese of Irony. The cheese of showing ParaRom the Massachusetts State Bird. Anyway, Lee Moyer is interested in doing the cover, and we briefly spoke about it. After dinner, Spooky and I did the very last of the proofreading on the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between. Then she had to photocopy all the pages we'd corrected, before we send them back (because the mail is even better at losing shit than they are at delivering shit). One must always have a Plan B.

Anyway, a consequence of our having finished with the galleys is that, by special arrangement with Subterranean Press, we are offering a copy of the Two Worlds and In Between ARC as part of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. In fact, this is the very copy we used while editing the ARC, and some of the pages have corrections in my hand. You can go directly to the ARC auction by following this link.

I do hope there are people reading this month's selection from Aunt Beast's Book Club, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants:



Because it's fucking awesome, even without spaceships, aliens, elder gods, or vampires.

And now...that's enough damage for the time being.
greygirlbeast: (Tuojiangosaurus)
This morning (technically, this afternoon), I'm a little taken aback at otherwise sensible people who are feeling sorry for the disappointed, depressed, and down-at-heel followers of Harold Camping. As kids these days are wont to "say," o.0.

Here we have these cowardly fuckers who were hoping to be yanked away to some heavenly playground where they could wallow in eternal bliss, while 97.1% of humanity endured unspeakable horrors and fire and everlasting torment. And I'm supposed to feel empathy or sympathy or whatever for the idiot cult of Harold Camping, because they didn't get their wish? Hah! I admit that I have no especial love of humanity, and I've often thought total annihilation might not be such a bad thing, BUT at least I include myself among the annihilated. My doomsday is utterly indifferent and doesn't discriminate. I don't imagine some Old Man in the Sky who passes judgment. Who picks and chooses, and is willing and eager to spare you infinite agony if you'll get down on your knees and kiss "his" feet and stroke "his" ego and tell "him" you love no other god but "him."

So, no. The followers of Camping will get no sympathy from me. Let them weep. Let them gnash their teeth and feel the weight of the godless universe upon their cowards' shoulders.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,529 words on Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. And Spooky had trouble reading it, because she kept having to stop to laugh. She tells me that's a good thing, and I hope she's right. This is strange new territory for me.

The day is overcast, and it's only 54˚F out there. Hello, pretender to the throne of May.

Spooky has listed a new necklace in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Esty shop. You should buy it. Spooky's necklaces are grand.

Last night, I revisited Gregory Hoblit's Fallen (1998), which I think is somewhat underrated. Spooky had never seen it before. And we played Rift. And read Under the Poppy, which I hope you're reading, too. Also, I read two articles in the January issue of JVP: "New information Wumengosaurus delicatomandibularis Jiang et al., 2008 (Diapsida: Sauropterygia), with a revision of the osteology and phylogeny of the taxon" and "A small alvarezsaurid from the eastern Gobi Desert offers insight into evolutionary patterns in the Alvarezsauroidea."

Proudly Unraptured,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and dinosaur (etc.) photographs:

May 17-18, Part Three )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold Spring continues. Colder tonight, but at least there's sun today. For now. The pollen's flying, but that's okay. Seagulls over Providence. The tree outside my office window has buds, but not yet any sign of green.

Yesterday, I didn't get back to work on "Fake Plastic Trees." My agent called and we talked and talked and talked, and plans were made. I virtually never plan. I just let shit happen. Which is one reason I've had such a peculiar career so far. Planning always felt so...common. But yesterday we planned. I'm going to write a chapter and synopsis of the "werepire" novel and pitch it to my editor at Penguin, then start Blue Canary. I'll probably write all of Blue Canary before I get back to the "werepires," which would likely be in the autumn. Unless I realize this is all too entirely fucking insane, I may have two new novels written by the end of the 2011. I might call the "werepire" thingy Adapted Dark. I sort of want to see if I can write a decent book in, say, two months. Or if my head will go boom, instead.

Have I mentioned there will be at least one, and probably three, Vince Locke illustrations in The Drowning Girl?

---

My life is a constellation of prescriptions. That's a lousy fucking bit of phraseology, but there you go. A sky dotted with pills. And yesterday a new one was added to the sky maps, and it sort of unexpectedly knocked me for a loop. I went out to the market with Spooky, but by the time we got home, I could hardly sit up. So, I lay down on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire, and dozed for half an hour or so. Then she woke me, and it was a long groggy evening. We watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 again, mostly so I could moon over Uma's feet and Gogo...and because the climactic fight scene never gets old. I read a paper on the braincase anatomy of the theropod Carnotaurus. But I never really shook off the grogginess. I did some rp with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl, but I just wasn't there, and finally apologized and hit the pause button. However, when I went to bed at three, I was asleep as soon as the light went out, and didn't wake until eleven. I wasn't prescribed this drug as a sleep aid, only warned it might make me drowsy. So...damn. Tonight, I don't take it until bedtime.

Oh, and boot money fell, like a Fortean event, from the heavens. Thank you, Jada. You're the bestest.

People have asked for photos of the new piercings, so there are some ears behind the cut (just the ears, but I'll do the labret later):

Holes )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Somewhat hungover this ayem, and suffering the effects of insomnia (which don't mix well with the hangover, by the way). It's sort of like being twenty-five on the morning after a binge, except every time I move some portion of my skeleton creaks or pops.

I probably ought not even be making a blog entry. Surely, I have nothing good to say. Not really.

Um...yesterday. Well, yesterday was spent on email, and copyediting, and line edits, and lots of tedious stuff that writers have to do that isn't writing.

Well, there were at least two pieces of good news. The one I can't tell you until Friday, and then learning that my editor at Dark Horse very much likes the story I wrote for her (which I can't say more about until later). These are my bright spots.

---

Last night, we watched the restored director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981), which is undoubtedly on my list of the 100 Best Movies Ever Made in Any Language. Rarely has anyone conveyed the ultimate futility of struggle more beautifully than Petersen does in this film.

---

We had about an hour of rp in Rift last night, after which I decided that, for now, our guild's going to concern itself much less with rp, at least for the time being. After creating fiction all day, or suffering the consequences of having created fiction, the last thing I want to do at night is...create fiction. Also, rping in Rift, like rping in any MMORPG or any world created by someone besides the rpers, presents a unique set of problems. Most importantly, it's almost impossible for everyone to be on the same page, especially given that the lore (which weighs us down; though, unlike WoW, it isn't absurd) is often very vague on very important points. With Rift, the worst of this concerns the nature of the Defiant Ascendents' fundamental psychology and metaphysics. Anyway, yes. The guild is there. We'll do stuff that guilds do. But, for now, no rp. Later, probably. Maybe, eventually, we can come up with some sort of canonical interpretation, even if we can't confirm it's what Trion has in mind (which is probably irrelevant).

---

So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime. Oh, and there's a photograph!



---

Cold and cloudy and rainy here in Providence. I have decided that in Rhode Island we have five seasons, not four. We have summer (late June-late August), Autumn (early September through late November), WINTER (late November-March), Cold Spring (late March though early May), and Spring (May and most of June). Someday, I'm going to acclimate. Understanding is the first step, and it's taken me three years to figure out the existence of Cold Spring.

---

I gave some of my dinosaurs a bath yesterday, trying to start to clear my office of a dreadful layer of dust. Maybe a third of my dinosaurs, if you don't count the ones in storage. And I took photos. Hey, it's whimsical, and lots more fun than email and waking up in the morning! Plus, no one likes a dirty dinosaur. Or plesiosaur. Or wooly mammoth.

Washing the Extinct! )


Lastly, for those who will never understand why I'm a socialist. "The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A wonderful hard rain yesterday, wonderful even though I had to go Out into it. Much of the snow has been melted and washed away.

Comments would be good today. I know it's Saturday, but it feels like Sunday, and Sundays suck.

Well, the medical appointment yesterday wasn't nearly as bad as expected. I have a new doctor, and it's an infinitely better match than the last. So, no more Evil Nasty Clinic filled with rude homophobic assholes who get freaked out by pentagrams. Also, new doctor has an aquarium built into the waiting room wall, which scores all sorts of points with me.

After we got home yesterday, Spooky saw a raven perched on the house across the street. They don't usually range this far south, but this winter they're turning up in Rhode Island. Normally, we only get crows and fish crows. Sadly, I didn't see it. We're both getting somewhat serious about birding, and I take that as a sign of our advancing years. Then again, bird watching ain't nothing but dinosaur watching misspelled.

I got a copy of [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney's (Karen Mahoney) first novel, The Iron Witch, in the mail. Thank you, Kaz! And congratulations.

Late in the day, we proofed "By Turns" for To Worlds and In Between, so some work was done.

I loaded a lot of Dead Can Dance onto the iPod yesterday.

I've made an interesting decision as regards The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It occurred to me, yesterday, that I read novels about heterosexual characters, and the word heterosexual, or even straight, never appears, unless it's used to set the characters apart from queers. So. I'm removing every instance of the word lesbian from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Sure, there's lesbian relationships, lesbo sex, a hot tranny dyke, a sapphic siren/wolf girl, and so forth. But nowhere in the book will I actually use the word lesbian. Because I wouldn't use het, probably not even once, were Imp straight. And I figure, not only is it the right thing to do, but it will somehow annoy the bigots even more.

---

How frakkin' good is Rift? So damn good that Spooky and I are currently trading her laptop back and forth so that we can both play, that's how good. So far, no disappointments. Quite exactly the opposite. Telara grows more amazing the more I see. Right now, I'm in love with the creature design. Yesterday, Selwyn, my Kelari mage, made Level 12. Her minion is a human skeleton named Jude. Spooky's Kelari cleric, Miisya, made Level 10. She'll catch up today. Oh, and players cooperate, and come to the rescue of others, and stuff like that. Who'd have thought it? Yes, there are a few jerks. But infinitely (well, not literally) less than in WoW, and they're easy to ignore, especially if, like me, you keep general chat off.

In WoW, I'm still grinding away in Outland, trying to get Loremaster with Shaharrazad before I exit stage left. But it's starting to look as if that may never happen. Loremaster, I mean. There are just too many broken, forgotten quests out there. And I'll need every one of them to make the title. On the upside, WoW is a hell of a lot more fun playing in regions where there are absolutely no other players. By the way, third worst WoW quest ever is to be found in Shadowmoon Valley: "I was a lot of things..."

---

Vince is currently working on the illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and it'll go out to subscribers ASAP. What? You're not a subscriber??? Fix that now! The platypus compels you with his venomous spurs.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Warmish again today, fifties Fahrenheit, but the cold is about to come round again. At last a good bit of the snow has melted. The sun is bright today. Die, snow. Die.

2) I've decided to delay the "sneak preview" of Lee Moyer's cover-in-progress for Two Worlds and In Between. More people read the blog on Mondays.

3) A good trip out to Conanicut Island yesterday. There was sun, on and off. It was much warmer than our visit on Sunday, and much of the snow had melted away. Jamestown didn't get nearly as much snow as Providence (it's always worse inland), and much of it's gone now. On the way down, I read David Petersen's Legends of the Guard and listened to the new Decemberists CD on the iPod. By the way, if you do not yet know, David Petersen is one of the coolest dudes working in comics today. He's brilliant. Anyway...this time we went directly to West Cove— which I have officially rechristened Shuggoth Cove —to search for beach glass and bones and what-have-you. The tide was very low, but there wasn't much to be found, which is unusual. Spooky found most of the good stuff, including the largest piece of lavender glass we've ever found, and a pale green shard with the number 7 on it. I mostly go for the bones of birds and other things you commonly find washed up at the Cove, but pickings were slim yesterday. My theory is that the hard winter has reduced the quantity of beached bones as hungry non-hibernating critters— coons, weasels, skunks, foxes, coyotes, etc. —haul away every scrap for whatever nourishment it may offer. Speaking of skunks, one made its presence known yesterday, and we gave it a very wide berth.

Bones or no, it was a beautiful day. It was good just to lay on the sand and gravel and hear the waves and see the blue sky. The sky which still seems too wide, but not so carnivorous beside the sea. We saw a gull or two and heard a few crows. I halfheartedly picked up an assortment of shells, including Crepidula fornicata (Common slipper shell), Mytolus edulis (Blue mussels), Modiolus modiolus (Horse mussels), Anomia simplex (jingle shells), Aquipecten irradius (Bay scallop), three species of periwinkle— Littorina littotrea (Common periwinkle), L. saxalis (Rough periwinkle), and L. obtusata (Smooth periwinkle) — along with Thais lapillus (dogwinkles), and two genera of crabs, Cancer irroratus (Rock crab) and Carcinus maenus (Green crab, an invasive species from Britain and northern Europe). We watched enormous freighters crossing Narragansett Bay, headed out to sea, bound for almost anywhere at all. A scuba diver went into the water, and was still under when we left the Cove just before five p.m. (CaST). As always, I didn't want to leave. We made it back to Providence before sunset. On the way home, we saw that the salt marsh was no longer frozen. On the way back, we listened to Sigur Rós, our official going-home-from-the-sea band.

4) Back home, Spooky helped me assemble a three-foot long scale model of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (thank you, Steven!). It has now taken a teetery place of pride atop a shelf in my office.

5) Last night, Neil called and we talked a long time, about many things, which we used to do a lot, but hardly ever do anymore. We both promised to make more of an effort to stay in touch. Later, well...too much WoW again as I try to wrest Loremaster from the game before my last six weeks (or seven, or so) are up. I finished Winterspring and made it about halfway through Azshara. Spooky played Rift until I thought her eyes would pop out, and it's just beautiful. She's loving it, even with all the inconveniences of a beta (mostly, at this point, server crashes). Still later, we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat (which I'm loving).

6) Ebay! Please have a gander. Money is our crinkly green friend (for better or worse).

7) Today we try to make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Tomorrow, with luck, I go back to work on the eighth chapter. I'm trying to obtain permission to quote a Radiohead song ("There, There [The Bony King of Nowhere]") and a PJ Harvey song ("Who Will Love Me Now")* at the beginning of the book, and we've also gotten the ball rolling on that. Amanda Palmer's assistant, Beth Hommel, is putting us in touch with Radiohead's management (thank you, Beth!), but I'm on my own with Harvey. Which ought to be an adventure in red tape.

Now, comment!

There are photos from yesterday:

17 February 2011 )


* Turns out, Harvey didn't write "Who Will Love Me Now." It was co-written by Philip Ridley and Nick Bicat for Ridley's film, The Passion of Darkly Noon, and performed by Harvey. So, now I have to contact Philip Ridley....who also made one of the Best. Vampire. Films. Ever. The Reflecting Skin (still, shamefully, not available on DVD).
greygirlbeast: (blackswan)
More snow, falling since a few hours before sunrise. All the world out there looks soft and fluffy and oddly inviting, though, in truth, it's a few inches of fresh snow covering sheets of ice and enormous banks and mounds of old snow frozen solid as basalt. No safe place out there to put your feet. Currently, 28˚F, but the windchill means it feels like 17˚F.

Days that begin with film-rights nibbles are inevitably weird (no, I can't tell you anything, sorry). Those days unfurl like a ringing in the ears.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,446 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript is currently at 50,816 words, which means I'm probably a little less than halfway finished. As I told my agent yesterday, this novel is as different from The Red Tree, in tone and structure, as The Red Tree is from all the novels that came before it. I'm behind, but I'm still trying to finish Chapter 5 by the 24th. Lots of email yesterday. Another phone conversation with Lee Moyer about the cover for Two Worlds and In Between.

Despite the cold and the inclement weather, Spooky and I left the house for Gallery Night at the RISD Museum. Mostly, I needed to do a little more research for the novel, but hardly anyone came out last night, so the museum was quiet and peaceful. We also had to stop at two art supply places looking for violet gels. We finally settled for sheets of red and blue acetate (I'll maybe explain all this later). Anyway, then we stopped by Eastside Market for dinner and enough supplies that we wouldn't have to risk the ice for a couple of days. At the p.o. box, a copy of Emma Bull and Kyle Cassidy's wonderful The Strange Case of the Dead Bird on the Nightstand was waiting for us.

Crossing the Providence River on the way back, the water was black and still as ink.

We saw Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's Despicable Me (2010) last night, and loved it. Really, a hilarious and almost painfully charming film. Steve Carell was perfect. I laughed untiil I hurt, and we've been quoting the movie all morning. I fear this is one we may have to own. Later, there was WoW, Shah and Suraa working through Level 84 towards 85, picking their way through Deepholm. And while I do think it's a beautifully designed region, I have to say that Therazane it one of the most poorly designed creatures in the history of the game. Before sleep, we read more Kit Whitfield, and I read a great article in the new issue of National Geographic about the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs. There's a wonderful opening paragraph I want to quote:

Most of us will never get to see nature's greatest marvels in person. We won't get to glimpse a colossal squid's eye, as big as a basketball. The closest we'll get to a narwhal's unicornlike tusk is a photograph. But there is one natural wonder that just about all of us can see, simply by stepping outside: dinosaurs using their feathers to fly. (Carl Zimmer)

Okay. Gotta wrap this up. But keep the comments coming in, if you would, please. Time to make the doughnuts.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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