greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
On this day, sixty-five years ago, the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short was found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.

Bitterly cold (but no snow) here in Providence. We had single digits last night, and the temperature Outside is currently 15˚F.

Here's a link to the full text of the starred (!) Publishers Weekly review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, my thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) for the very kind things she said about the novel a couple of days ago.

Yesterday, I realized that I'd done a very peculiar thing Friday while working on Albaster #4. I'd written pages five, six, and seven. But...this is going to sound so stupid...with seven I'd jumped ahead to a spot very near to the end of the book, only a few pages from the end. It was strange, yeah. I always write from "beginning" to "end," in a straight line, so it was a very odd thing for me to have done. Anyway, yesterday, I set that seventh page aside (I'll use it at the appropriate time), and wrote a new page seven, along with eight, nine, and ten (manuscript pages 14-19, 1,403 words). I stopped in the year 1864 – November, to be precise. I'll resume there today. Oh, it'll all make sense, trust me.

After the writing, I used the iPad to stream a rather dubious documentary about the Snowball Earth hypothesis. I don't mean to say that the hypothesis itself, though still somewhat controversial, is dubious. It's just that the Discovery Channel (I can't believe they haven't shortened the station's title to Disco) seems incapable of making coherent, accurate documentaries that don't drag everything down to the level of "Bat Boy" and the Weekly World News (By the way, you know you're old when you remember the days when the Weekly World News took itself seriously.). The documentary almost managed to reduce a respectable (and very likely) scientific model to nothing more than the latest Roland Emmerich blockbuster.

Later, we played SW:toR, forgoing RP in favor of leveling. We both reached Level 28. And then we watched Craig Gillespie's remake of Fright Night (2011). Now, given the fact that I'm an admirer of the original (1988) and the fact that I hate 3D, I will admit I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder going in. But I was quickly won over. Yeah, the 3D is gimmicky as fuck, and annoyingly intrusive at times (Oh! Look! Blood spurting at the film! Scream!). But the film is both a lot of fun and filled with genuine menace. Most of the casting is superb – Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (I never would have believed it), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and (drum roll) David Fucking Tennant. The show really belonged to Tenant and Farrell. I do wish a little more care had been taken casting female roles. Imogen Poots? That was supposed to be an in joke, right? And Toni Collette....well, we know she can act, but I guess the fact that she's comatose for the second half of this film meant she didn't have much incentive to try during the first half. I was disappointed that we didn't get some of the wonderful creature effects from the original – the werewolf and the amazingly creepy bat thing – but still, very good and highly recommended. Even with the annoying 3D shots trying to jump out into you lap. Oh, it also scored points for mentioning Farscape.

After the movie, I read Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Silence of the Asonu" (1998), a fine bit of SF anthropology (also collected in Lightspeed: Year One). And then I finally slept.
greygirlbeast: (Max)
Stumbled across this online today, and I thought I'd share...

greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Hallowe'en.

Comments! Please.

This morning, I fully understand what it means to "wake up on the wrong side of the bed." Not my usual state of affairs. In some ways, this is worse than the dreamsickness. I woke about 10:30 ayem, after getting to sleep about 4:30 ayem. My throat was so dry I couldn't swallow and could hardly breathe, so I went to the kitchen to swallow something wet and rehydrate the raisin that slumber had made of my esophagus. And there in the fridge was a baking dish covered in aluminum foil (I always want to type "tin foil"). I stood there, trying to figure out what was hiding under the foil – without actually having to look. And then I realized it was the remaining two turkey drumsticks (id est, tibiotarsi) from the four Spooky baked on Wednesday evening. In the chaos of the weekend and the freak nor'easter, they'd been forgotten. At least one (and maybe two) turkey's had sacrificed their legs, and we couldn't even be bothered to have the decency not to waste them. I stared a moment, went back to bed, laid there a short while, unable to stop thinking about the wasted turkey legs, hungry people, murdered turkeys, and got up again. See, thing is, we don't waste food. Anyway, that seems to have set the tone for the day.

I was thinking a thought, but now I can't recall what it might have been. Thank you, meds. Really, I could stop taking this toxic shit. But then Spooky would murder me. Thank you, dear sweet filthy world.

---

And, I REPEAT: Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret. Feel free, today, to speculate!

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,288 words on "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W." I thought I'd finish it yesterday, but there's more to come. Also, sadly, I'm no nearer to a seeing a human body with lines of latitude and longitude. But...there went my train of thought again. Choo choo. Um. Oh, yeah. Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting something very strange and special this month. Well, unless you hated Silk, in which case you'll just be getting something...very strange.

By the way, I would so totally fuck Tom Waits. True fact.

Meanwhile, it's not too early to preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the other hand, it might very soon be too late order a copy of Two Worlds and In Between. Snoozers are frequently losers. Or they pay too much on eBay. Or settle for crappy Kindle editions.

A great line from The Log of the Sea of Cortez: "An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep." Oh, to ever write a single sentence that sublime.

Also, if you cross the path of Rose Tyler today, do not fucking mistake her for Britney Spears or Christine Aguilera, or lasers will shoot forth from my bloodshot eyes, and those lasers will find you, no matter where you might be hiding. Respect the Companions, or die.

And Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Oh, and here are photos from early, early, early on Sunday, as the nor'easter struck our street (struck, street – cute), and one from the next day (for some reason):

30 October 2011 )


Irascible,
Aunt fucking Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
This by Catherynne M. Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna), reposted with her permission:


If you are a monster, stand up.
If you are a monster, a trickster, a fiend,
If you’ve built a steam-powered wishing machine
If you have a secret, a dark past, a scheme,
If you kidnap maidens or dabble in dreams
Come stand by me.

If you have been broken, stand up.
If you have been broken, abandoned, alone
If you have been starving, a creature of bone
If you live in a tower, a dungeon, a throne
If you weep for wanting, to be held, to be known,
Come stand by me.

If you are a savage, stand up.
If you are a witch, a dark queen, a black knight,
If you are a mummer, a pixie, a sprite,
If you are a pirate, a tomcat, a wright,
If you swear by the moon and you fight the hard fight,
Come stand by me.

If you are a devil, stand up.
If you are a villain, a madman, a beast,
If you are a strowler, a prowler, a priest,
If you are a dragon come sit at our feast,
For we all have stripes, and we all have horns,
We all have scales, tails, manes, claws and thorns
And here in the dark is where new worlds are born.
Come stand by me.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
The heat is coming again tomorrow. Already, we're making plans for chilly hiding places. But for now, the day is bright and mild, only 72F and breezy.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,277 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," and finished the opening part of the frame that, well, frames the story. An interrogation cell somewhere within the Drancy Transit Camp, just outside Paris, in October 1941. Today, I jump back to May 1935 and New York City.

Late yesterday, on our way to the market, I checked the date on the house that caught fire on Thursday (it's got a historical registry plaque). It was built in 1898. For one hundred and twelve years, that house has weathered fuck knows all, and we can only hope it weathers this fire and is soon restored.

Last night, we reinstated the tradition of Kindernacht. At some point, it sort of fell by the wayside, and lately, we find ourselves missing it. So, last night we had hot dogs and tater-tots, then watched Byron Haskin's Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and Edward Ludwig's The Black Scorpion (1957). As for the former, Spooky fell in love with Mona the Monkey, and I marveled at a film that's exactly as old as me. Anyway, a perfect Kid Night double feature. Oh, and the Black Scorpion disc also included the "prehistoric sequence" from Irwin Allen's 1956 documentary, The Animal World, which I'd never seen before. Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen collaborated on it, to bring to life (via stop-motion animation) several dinosaurs, including Ceratosaurus, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, "Brontosaurus" (i.e., Apatosaurus with a misappropriated camarasaurid skull), Tyrannosaurus, and Triceratops.

Also, a thank you to Barb Moermond, for the marvelous "Ceiling Cthulhu" T-shirt that arrived day before yesterday. The package also contained a chunk of Ordovician limestone, riddled with the fossil remains of gastropods and brachiopods, from her backyard near Madison, Wisconsin. I've been able to determine it came from one of three marines facies, the Galena, Decora, or Platville formations (Middle to Late Ordovician). The rock was deposited in a shallow tropical sea, at a time (roughly 475-445 million years ago) when Wisconsin was part of Laurentia, located a short ways south of the equator. So, thanks, Barb.

Time to spank the platypus.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Warm here in Providence today, warm and sunny. Even warmer in the house than out there.

There was some talk yesterday of heading down to Connecticut, either to Stonington for the old cemetery, or maybe to Mystic for...well, I'm not sure. Instead, I mostly passed the day reading Polly Adler's A House is Not a Home (1953), and doing other bits of research so I can begin writing "The Maltese Unicorn" as soon as possible. Oh, and a thank-you to Steven Lubold for sending me a copy of the Adler book.

Early in the evening, we drove over to College Hill, to the RISD Museum of Art, to see James Crump's Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007). After the film, we exited the museum onto Canal Street (we'd entered from Benefit Street). We bumped into an old friend of Spooky's, Dave James, and then spent a little while at the edge of the Providence River. The tide was out, and the river was low. There was no chill to the evening. A beautiful sunset was reflected in the city skyline, and I was sorry I'd not brought the camera. Back home, we had souvlaki and, later on, halvah. Late, we watched Matthew Robbins' Dragonslayer (1981). I'd not seen it since the original theatrical run, back when I was a junior in high school. But it's held up very well, and Vermithrax Pejorative remains my favorite cinematic dragon right up to the dragons of 2002's Reign of Fire. I got to sleep before three. It was a good, quiet evening.

Today, I need to get to an interview for Clarkesworld that I'm guilty of having put off almost forever. I also need to read through "A Redress for Andromeda" and make whatever changes I want made to it before an upcoming reprint. So, time to pet the platypus.
greygirlbeast: (fisting)
1. There were terrible dreams this morning; I'm trying to let them all go, forget them. The only good thing about today thus far is that I'm having coffee with chicory for the first time in many years. I've been craving it for some time, and Spooky came back from the market on Thursday with a can of French Market. So, yeah, that one thing, at least, is good. Of course, I've only been up for about an hour, so the day may yet improve.

2. There was snow yesterday, but nothing heavy. I sat here at my desk and wrote the scene that I hope will open The Wolf Who Cried Girl, and I watched the snow spiraling down outside. Here in Providence, the ground has been white all year. Anyway, yeah, I did another 1,173 words yesterday. Today, I'll finish the prologue, and try to figure out if it really is how the book begins.

3. Okay, so here's the cool news about the forthcoming Audible.com adaptation of The Red Tree. I was informed on Thursday that it will be a multi-voice production, with different readers for Sharon Halperin (Sarah's editor), Sarah Crowe, and Charles Harvey. Which pleases me enormously, as this is how I want people to hear the novel. No word yet when it will be released. At this point, I'm working with Audible.com on a few very minor changes to the text, things that worked in print that obviously won't work for audio. The footnotes, for example.

4. I promised, back at the end of December, to post the cover art for The Ammonite Violin & Others, and then it slipped my mind. But, better late than never. Richard Kirk has, of course, done something brilliant. I'm placing it behind a cut, as the jpg is rather large:

The Ammonite Violin )


5. I'm very pleased to announce that "The Steam Dancer (1896)" will be reprinted in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's forthcoming anthology, Steampunk Reloaded.

6. I'm surprised that there haven't been more responses to last night's "If I were a summonable monster" poll, given that there have been about fifty replies to the "If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours..." poll. I actually thought last night's question was far more fun. Anyway, I'll keep reading for both right up until time to begin production on Sirenia Digest #50, so there's still plenty of time.

7. My great thanks to Steven Lubold of Phoenix Comics in Fairfax, Virginia, who sent Spooky and me a number of very fine books from our Amazon wishlists. The distractions are very much appreciated!
greygirlbeast: (cleav2)
So, last Wednesday, I posed this question to my readers: If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do? And the answers have been interesting enough that I think a number of them will be featured (anonymously) in Sirenia Digest #50 (for which I am trying to think up fun and special things). Yesterday, Catherynne Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, from whom I appropriated the question), posted another such query, and I'm stealing that one, too. Same deal as before. The answers I like the best will appear in #50.

Here it is: If I were a summonable monster, how would you summon me? (Include items to lure monster-me and method for said fell ritual.) Oh, and please describe this monstrous incarnation of me.

Same rules as last Wednesday's question: All comments are screened.* That means, no one but me can read them. That's an extra incentive for you to leave the inhibitions behind. Only I will read these. Then, if I want to use a comment for next month's Digest, I'll contact you and ask permission before doing so. Have fun.

* If you're reading this via Facebook, obviously I cannot screen your comments, unless you post them to LJ.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
I slept almost nine hours last night. Given how bad the insomnia has been of late (and mostly I'm just suffering through it without Ambien), that seems miraculous. Here in Providence, the day is overcast and wet, and also chilly (currently 43F, but the windchill has it feeling like 38F out there). We've had a mild autumn, compared to last year.

Yesterday, I struggled with the anger all day. When it gets that bad, it threatens to shut me down and make work impossible. But, still, I pretty much finished with the "Sanderlings" chapbook, which I now have to send to Bill Schafer. I think it will make a fine companion piece to The Ammonite Violin & Others (though it only comes with the numbered state of the book, not the trade hardback). I also spoke with the editor about the excessively copyedited ms., but didn't actually get any work done on it. I answered a number of emails (I'm getting tired of explaining to editors that I do not write "paranormal romance"). Anyway, that was work yesterday. I need to dispense with all this necessary not-writing, and go back to writing.

Last night, we watched Cloverfield for the third or fourth time. It still impresses me.

Consider what a fine Yule/Solstice gift The Red Tree would make (the platypus told me to say that). Also, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. There are copies of Alabaster, The Dry Salvages, The Little Damned Book of Days, and Mercury, all currently out of print.

I have this note, sent to me via Facebook (so I suppose I can't call it "email"):

One of your stories has fallen through a black hole in my collection. I thought it was "Onion," but I was wrong. This story concerns a young couple, the young lady is suffering some serious mental anguish and attending an odd support group. And story ends with an outrageous scene in the bathroom of her flat. Very cool, very memorable, and very missing. I hate gaps. And forgetting. Please help?

The only story I can recall having written that comes near fitting that exact description is, in fact, "Onion." So...I'm at a loss.

Okay, now the platypus says I must go forth and get some work done. I am a monotreme's slave. Oh, but I have more photographs from Thursday's trip to the shore (behind the cut), and even a short piece of video I took of the waves at Harbor of Refuge (taken on the eastern side of the jetty, view to the south):

Waves from Kathryn Pollnac on Vimeo.



3 December 2009, Part 2 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Yesterday, I managed to write 1,068 words on "Galápagos." They were grueling pages. When it was done, Spooky and I read back over it all, all of it thus far, and then I sent it off to a few readers, all of whom liked it a lot, despite my expectations. I think the worst part is that it really wants to be a novella, or at least a novelette, and I just cannot allow it to go on that long. Oh, and it's a given that it will be disliked by the sf readers and reviewers who dislike my sf because it's a bit dystopian, and has extraterrestrial life, and isn't obsessed with the Singularity, and possesses a sort of gee-whiz element, and can be read without an engineering or a computer science degree and few dozen tech manuals on hand.

Okay, yeah. I'm ranting. I'm half fucking delirious. Bad insomnia last night. I was up until about 4:30 a.m., so, thank you, Insomnia, for those six hours sleep. I finally took an extra Ambien and worked on Shaharrazad's mining skills while I waited for it to knock me out. I needed thorium, and northing but thorium, and went from Shattrath to Orgrimmar to Ferales to Silithus to Un'Goro Crater. To bed.

---

Last night somehow turned into a sort of impromptu horror-movie festival. Mostly, I was too tired to read (or even play WoW). Isn't it odd that after spending six hours writing, I feel guilty for not spending the evening reading? I find it odd. Anyway, here are three very quick reviews:

Masters of Horror: Imprint (2007), directed by Takashi Miike. First off, I'd loathed everything I'd previously seen from this series of short films. But I was very impressed with Miike's short "Box." I was not as impressed with Imprint, which lacked much of the atmosphere and subtlety of "Box." For all I know, Imprint is truer to his usual style than was "Box," but if so, that's a shame. Some nice visuals, and sort of a neat story, but it was all overwhelmed by the gore and some stiff acting. There are many (maybe most) horror films where less gore would be more, and this is one of them. There were hints of the Carteresque fairy-tale quality that makes "Box" work, but the whole falls flat.

Splinter (2008), directed by Toby Wilkins. We went into this one expecting very little. But the line in the description about a "splinter virus" intrigued, and we decided to give it a shot. And were glad we did. This is one of those gems, like The Descent (2005), Feast (also 2005), and Slither (2006) that sets out to be nothing much more than a great creature feature and succeeds admirably. Surprisingly believable acting, superb (and truly chilling) creatures fx, and just enough levity to punctuate the horror without reducing it to camp. It harked back to Carpenter's The Thing (1982), that brand of biological horror, and I strongly recommend it. Also, very oddly quotable. Here's a trailer:



Piranha (1995), directed by Scott P. Levy. We should have stopped at Splinter, we really should have. But we didn't, and after watching this piece of crap, I'm left with two questions. First, why would anyone bother to remake Joe Dante's Piranha (1978), almost scene for scene, and not bother to at least make it as interesting as the original (which isn't saying an awful lot, admittedly). Secondly, why wasn't the remake a musical? It could have been brilliant. Oh, the cast included Soleil Moon Frye (aka "Punky Brewster"), and at least we got to see her devoured (along with a lot of other annoying people) by stock footage from the Dante film. Really, really bad.

And since I seem to have a theme going here, I'll leave you with the trailer to Jennifer Lynch's forthcoming Hisss, which has me excited in more ways than one:

greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Most of yesterday was spent sitting here, not writing, simply trying to find the piece I need to have finished a week ago for Sirenia Digest #40. I have to find it today. I also looked over the CEM for The Red Tree with Spooky, and the copy-editors' marks are light, indeed, just as Anne (my editor) said. Which is a huge relief, time constraints and exhaustion being what they are.

I'm also pleased to see that there have already been two bids on the long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture.

Late yesterday afternoon, or early yesterday evening...whichever...Spooky pried me away from the computer, where I was not writing, where my fingers were not moving across the keyboard, where the MS Word "page" was still fucking blank, and took me to Warwick to see Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon's Monsters vs. Aliens. It was actually a lot of fun, despite what Roger Ebert says. Of course, we were smart and avoided the 3D nonsense. I thought it was big, goofy fun. Insectosaurus made me smile, as did Stephen Colbert's President Hathaway.

---

Turns out, after a lot of complaints, Magnolia Entertainment/Magnet are releasing a second version of Låt den rätte komma in, with the theatrical-release English subtitles restored. But, they refuse to offer exchanges to those of us who bought the butchered version of the DVD.

---

I have very mixed feelings about this whole Earth Hour thing. Yes, Spooky and I will be shutting off the lights (and other electrical appliances) between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. But I can't help but feel that this whole affair is little more than an empty gesture. If governments began requiring nightly blackouts, especially as regards nonessential lighting, it would be a very small step in the right direction, and we might begin to see a difference. Mostly, this is the sort of thing that strikes me as belonging in the "too little, too late" bin, no matter how many warm fuzzies it might inspire, or how many cramping consciences it might alleviate.

Anyway, time to think wicked thoughts...in the most artistic manner possible, of course.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I've been working on "As Red as Red" since...frankly, I'm not certain. Sometime before March 13th, when I actually thought of the title. A fucking long time, for a short story that looks like it's going to come in at about 6,000 words. Yesterday, I seized it by the nape of its scruffy neck, determined that I will finish the piece this afternoon. Spooky and I began the day yesterday by reading over everything that's been written thus far. And then we did something I almost never do. We plotted. That is, talked through specifically what will happen in the final two thousand words of the story. Then I sat down and wrote 1,039 words.

In the end, yesterday felt like I'd finally achieved the requisite momentum to escape some terrible gravity well. I think I can easily manage the end of the story today, which is good, because I have Sirenia Digest #40 to write, and the CEM for The Red Tree was overnighted to me from Manhattan yesterday, so it should be landing on the doorstep with an audible thud at almost any moment (though as I said, Spooky's mostly handling it). So, yes, today I finish "As Red as Red," which has elements of both vampire and werewolf stories, though, in the end, it's more a ghost story. Which I should have seen coming, as in the New England vampire tradition, (incidents ranging from 1793-1898), vampires are essentially incorporeal anthropohagic phantoms. The writing yesterday was assisted enormously, by the way, by a P. J. Harvey song, "Liverpool Tide," that Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) kindly sent my way. And big thank-yous to Spooky and also to Donovan Wilcox, who both did a lot of research for me yesterday, stuff that will make things go far, far smoother today. You guys rock.

---

When the writing was done, we drove down to Warwick, to Newbury Comics, and scored a copy of the new Decemberists album wicked cheap. Just $7.99. We listened to the whole disc maybe five times last night (there are 17 tracks). And at first, my reaction was sort of, "Well, this is different." An hour or so later, I was thinking, "This is fucking brilliant." By midnight or so, I'd decided The Hazards of Love is my favourite Decemberists album thus far. Borrowing liberally from "Tam Lin" and other ballads, it's a thunderous, angry, vicious, poignant, lilting, beautiful song cycle. A folk-rock/acid-rock opera, and, really, I don't think I've heard anything else quite like it. I suspect this is an album Colin Meloy has been wanting to make for years, and, in hindsight, The Crane Wife feels like it was a warm up for The Hazards of Love. At the moment, I'm most fond of "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid" and "The Rake's Song," though it's really not possible to pull out individual songs. It all fits too snuggly together. I am especially taken with Shara Worden's (of My Brightest Diamond) vocals. The woman sings like someone possessed by the ghost of Janis Joplin. Honestly, you simply have to hear this CD to understand. I can talk about the second coming of Fairport Convention (backed by Jimi Hendrix) all day long, and it won't make any sense until you hear it. Oh, and Robyn Hitchcock pitches in, too.

---

Last night, while listening to The Hazards of Love, I WoWed (new stupid verb for a twittering world), mostly running errands for the orcs in Orgrimmar, way out in Feralas. And I accidentally leveled Shaharrazad up to 63 (really, it just suddenly happened; I wasn't trying). I also got my first "achievement" since February 21st. I even have a screenshot (behind the cut) of Shah astride her felsteed in Northern Ferales, at the falls above the Forgotten Coast.

Shaharrazad in Feralas )


---

This morning I was surprised to discover there's actually a CRK Facebook group thingy, which is cool, I do suppose.

---

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, Spooky discovered an unfinished Monster Doodle sculpture hiding in one of her drawers. How it got there and why it was never completed has been a source of much lively debate. Regardless, she's now painted it (I sculpted it), and we're putting it up on eBay this week. This is the first we've offered since sometime early in 2006, I think, and I have no immediate plans to make more. So, if you're into Monster Doodle sculptures, you might want to have a look-see. I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it begins.

---

Anyway, Platypus and Dodo are arguing over who gets to wear the spurs today, so I guess that means it's time for me to wrap this up. Here we go again.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Trying desperately (and with mixed results) to simultaneously stop taking the Ambien and catch up on my sleep. And stay hydrated.

Today, Spooky has to drive down to Wakefield to have the car inspected. They do that in Rhode Island, have mandatory safety inspections. Anyway, she's going to Wakefield, instead of doing it here in Providence, because she wants to see Wakefield in the snow.

I spent all of yesterday trying to find the Next Story. Or, rather, trying to find my way into it. No actual words were written. It's the worst sort of Writing Day, being really only an Almost-Writing Day. I did learn that in the UK "As of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008*, it is also illegal to possess physical depictions of necrophilia, electronic or otherwise. Necrophilia-pornography falls under the governmental description of extreme pornography, of which, possession is classed as illegal under the aforementioned act." However, here in the US, there are no Federal laws against necrophilia, and only nineteen out of fifty states have anti-necrophilia laws. Rhode Island is not one of them.

Anyway, quite apart from actual acts of necrophilia, the UK legislation seems a bit excessive, as it would not only affect "extreme pornography," but all manner of non-pornographic art, some of it quite old. And, of course, I have to wonder if anyone's realized this would apply to vampires. Vampirism, that socially acceptable incarnation of necrophilia. "Well, yeah...sure..he's dead, I know...and he sucks the blood of unwilling victims...and he sleeps in a coffin filled with moldering earth. But, jeez, he's sooooooo dreamy."

So, today, I try again to find my way into the new story.

Last night, we watched Matt Reeves' Cloverfield for the first time since we saw it in theatres. And I still think it's one of the most brilliant monster movies ever filmed.

I'm listening to Elvis Costello's The Juliet Letters, recorded with the Brodsky Quartet. It's one of my favourite albums from the early '90s, but it's been ages since I listened to it. Yesterday, I remembered it. Oh, and Spooky brought me a sheet of Edgar Allan Poe stamps from the PO.

The platypus and the dodo concur that any Tuesday in the year 2009 is a very fine time to order your copy of A is for Alien. Me, I've learned to listen to the wisdom of peculiar beasts.

I am utterly in awe of the news that Neil has won the Newbery Award for The Graveyard Book.

And now....I should go write something that's illegal to read in the UK. For the greater good....

* [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi reports that a review of the text of the Act reveals it does not apply to prose.

Postscript (3:23 p.m.): John Updike has died.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I eased back into work. I think at this point, the worst of the extraction recovery is not being able to eat much of anything that isn't liquid or only semi-solid. Mushy food. Protein shakes and vitamins are keeping actual malnutrition at bay, but my mind is convinced this is a famine.

So, yesterday, I sat on the sofa in the sun in the front parlour and did the nine Monster Doodle drawings (for the recent eBay auctions). Spooky was off at the DMV in Pawtucket with her mom, attending to annoying automotive things that needed attending to (new driver's license, plates, etc.). What with one thing and another, I've not driven since, I think, December 2002. I last had a driver's license in 1993. Which is a shame, as I actually used to love driving. But yes, I did the drawings, fought with the cats, and exchanged email with my agent and my editor at Penguin.

The editorial letter for The Red Tree came yesterday. As soon as I'm done with this entry and another coffee, I have to sit down and begin puzzling it out. It signals the beginning of a month-and-a-half marathon of work that lies ahead of me, during which time I have to write the novel's still unwritten epilogue, deal with all the editing to it that has to be done, and produce two issues of Sirenia Digest. The corrected manuscript for The Red Tree is due in mid February, so I figure I can come up for air the first week of March.

Since people always ask, I will say, right now, if you want to know how you can most help out, what's presently most important to keeping this working writer working, I will direct you to A is for Alien, my first sf collection, due out next month from Subterranean Press. Please, if you have not yet ordered the book, it would be greatly appreciated. It contains some of my best short-story work to date, which means it contains some of my best work to date. And it's going to be a beautiful volume:



The other thing would be subscribing to Sirenia Digest, which has pretty much become the "bread and butter" of my income. So, if you want to help, there you go, and I thank you ahead of time. If you've already done both these things, you rock.

Anyway, this book isn't going to edit itself, so...let's wrap this up. Spooky says to mention to those who purchased books in the recent eBay auctions that the books will be going into the mail in the next couple of days. It would have been sooner, if not for the Extracted Tooth.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Well, the whole verse would be:

When the world is a monster,
Bad to swallow you whole,
Kick the clay that holds the teeth in,
Throw your troubles out the door.


But, somehow, having put that quote down, it looks far more positive than I feel, and, more importantly, it implies that I myself am anything but monstrous. And look, I haven't even started the entry, and already I'm digressing. It's a quality that Sarah Crowe —— the protagonist of The Red Tree —— and I share in common. We both digress, endlessly. And speaking of The Red Tree, yesterday I wrote 1,718 words —— a very respectable writing day —— and finished Chapter Seven. That means I have only one chapter to go to reach THE END. At this point, the ms. stands at 78,732 words. And I can see that the book was begun April 15th, but almost all of it has been written since July. And I can see THE END from here, and I only hope that I am doing this the way that I need to do it. There is no "right way" to write a book. There is only the way that the author needs it to be written, because the novel serves the author, even as the author serves the story, and failure is the act of failing to pull off that trick. I will begin Chapter Eight today, because, you know, no rest for the wicked.

---

Please have a look at the current round of eBay auctions, which began just yesterday. Thanks.

---

I'm still not in a position to say exactly what happened on Thursday that sent me into such a funk that I seriously, seriously considered shelving The Red Tree indefinitely. It might be, in the days that come, that I decide I overreacted, and it might be that I don't. Regardless, on Thursday I was too angry to even consider work, and it seemed like a good idea to get out of the house. We headed south and west, for Stonington in Connecticut. We did actually make it to Stonington Cemetery, but, I'd underestimated the effect of the blue-white sky bearing down on me, and how raw all that sun would leave my eyes. We did not linger, but boomeranged right around and headed home. It was a day wasted on an ugly road, beneath a merciless autumn sky. A few clouds might have saved the day.

On Friday, again there was no work on The Red Tree, as I was still laboring under the resolve that I would leave it uncompleted. Instead, we went to the movies. But I'll get back to the movies. There have been a lot of movies the past four days. We didn't make the mistake of another road trip. The grip of autumn is too absolute, and my agoraphobia-like dread of all that blue emptiness above me had done enough damage the day before. I learn my lesson, if only for a little while. On Saturday, after speaking with my agent, Merrilee, I went back to work on The Red Tree. Nothing had changed, except that indignation began to take on the characteristics of resignation. So, on Saturday, as I've already said, I wrote 1,412 words.

---

In all this mess, I neglected to wish [livejournal.com profile] sovay a happy birthday, though her birthday was on Thursday. So, here it is, belatedly. Also, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for the T-shirts. Spooky adores her steampunk DJ, and my cephalopods are very fitting.

---

Yes, there have been a lot of movies, helping to keep me from breaking things. Thursday night there was Matt Damon in The Bourne Monotony or whatever it is they called the third film. A murksome mess that proceeds with all the inspired pacing of a television commercial. Though, I will admit, the last half hour or so are almost engaging. And then, on Friday, we made a matinée of John Erick Dowdle's Quarantine, which we both liked quite a lot. Of course, this film's going to be judged as a zombie film, even though it isn't. It did get me to thinking how the "zombie film" has edged away from the collective human loathing of their own dead to a fear of contagion and the damage that unrestrained nature can do. Like Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), Quarantine is a film about a genetically engineered rabies-like plague, not the living dead. But, somehow, the two things have been run together in the minds of moviegoers. Maybe it's the shared element of cannibalism. Maybe what humans fear most of all is not death or the dead or even plague, but being eaten alive by their own. Or things that used to be their own. Anyway, Friday night we watched Tarsem Singh's The Cell (2000) again, because I wanted another look at it after seeing The Fall. It's truly a gorgeous film (and, if you're me, a damned sexy one), but the script is slipshod and Jennifer Lopez is a walking disaster, whispering her way from line to line as though that will disguise the fact that she simply cannot act. Then on Saturday night, we got stoned and watched Julie Taymor's Across the Universe again, and it's still amazing. Finally, last night, we watched Fred M. Wilcox's Forbidden Planet (1956), because it's one of those films that soothes the monsters of my id.

---

I didn't really get much reading done. Mainly, from the September 2008 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "New information on Stokesosaurus, a tyrannosauroid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from North America and the United Kingdom." It's clear now that this lineage of theropods reaches back at least to the Late Jurassic, and that the smaller, more gracile predecessors of Tyrannosaurus lived alongside such classically Jurassic theropods as Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus.

---

Finally, there has been a good deal of World of Warcraft, which has proven itself a great "pressure valve," as the consequences of slaughtering virtual beings are far less worrisome that doing the same thing in the here and now. Mithwen, the night-elf warrior, is now at Lvl 28, and running missions out of Menethil in the Wetlands. She was rather shocked to learn that humans are so tiny, and the Sin'dorei even smaller. Honestly, I cannot fathom why anyone plays a human. But I digress (again). Shaharrazad, the blood-elf warlock, has made Lvl 21, and has been enjoying the company of her minions. She's mostly keeping to the Ghostlands and Undercity for the time being. There'a third character now, and you can blame Spooky for that —— a Draenei, a Lvl 10 huntress named Voimakas. That's Finnish for "strong" or "powerful," "fierce" or "intense," in keeping with our impression that Draenei words look Finnish, and Finnish has always seemed a very alien language to me. Frankly, I think the Draenei are possibly the best designed and executed part of the game I've seen. And the interjection of such an explicitly sf element into the faux-Tolkien stew is much appreciated. So far, Voimakas has made it only as far as the Bloodmyst Isle.

Okay. That's more than enough for now. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Middle Triassic)
Last night we went to bed at a respectable hour —— 2:30 ayem or so —— and I was utterly exhausted. Spooky feel asleep immediately, but, despite an Ambien, I was awake for another hour, tossing, turning, not sleeping. About 3:30, I gave up and took a second Ambien. It put me to sleep, but I'm paying for it this morning. I figure I may wake up in two or three hours. Maybe.

Yesterday went pretty much as predicted. Spooky's mom drove up to Providence, and we moved at least 25 boxes (manuscripts, corrected galley pages, boxes of stock for eBay sale, VHS tapes) to our storage unit. The last serious bit of box moving associated with this move, so it was cause for celebration. Our storage place is up in Pawtucket, on the banks of the Blackstone River (which, for those of you who've read Daughter of Hounds), wends and winds its way northwards to dread Woonsocket. I even took some incredibly exciting photos of said storage unit, because I cannot resist this urge to share, and you can see them behind the cut. Behold the mighty mounds of STUFF that will not fit in our house!

Another Long Hall )


Anyway, it took two trips, but getting those boxes out of here made a great deal of difference. It looks like people live here, finally! Oh, and a few things went down to our basement, which Pickman would envy (another set of photos at some future date). The weather was cold and rainy, but good weather for moving damned boxes.

Afterwards, we had to do some grocery shopping, so we drove over to the east side of Providence. Back home again, more unpacking, then dinner (leftover spaghetti). I unpacked another display case, hung a few things on walls, etc. We watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica online ("Sine Que Non"), trying to catch up. We'll watch "The Hub" tonight. Then I read more of Nicholas Fraser's book on the Triassic, then we watched Nathan H. Juran's 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), because sometimes only Ray Harryhausen will do, and 20 Million Miles to Earth is one of my favourites. Certainly, the Ymir is one of Harryhausen's most personable monsters. If you're not cheering for that poor sod right from the start, you've a cold, cold heart. Colder even than mine.

Let's see. What else? Well, once again it's Bloomsday, and once again I'm not in Dublin. But I am about 1,100 miles closer to Dublin than I was last Bloomsday. So, that's something. Also, do please have a look at the "cephaloflap" and "doodleflap" auctions, and bid if you are able. Danke. And it's still not too late to make Spooky smile on her birthday. Just hit the big button below. Remember, guys, she's the one who keeps me going, day to day:

My Amazon.com Wish List
.

Me, I'll be working on Sirenia Digest today, tidying it up and writing the prolegomena. Not a great deal of substance to this enty, but you did get gratuitous storage photos.

Postscript (4:19 pm) —— Fuck me. Stan Winston has died. I mean...damn.
greygirlbeast: (white3)
Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,531 words, finishing "The Melusine (1889)," which weighs in at a total word count of 5,099 words. Together with "Unter den Augen des Mondes," this means that Sirenia Digest subscribers will be getting over 7,500 words-worth of new fiction from me this issue, plus the new "weird artist" of the month profile feature by Geoffrey Goodwin. It was a long writing day yesterday, and the story took a slightly unexpected and, for me, unusual, turn. It rather knocked the wind from me, I think. When "The Melusine (1889)" was done, I was left with that depression that completing a piece usually brings — though that mood usually has the decency to wait until at least the next day to hit me. It was compounded by the fact that it seemed I'd played an even crueler trick than usual upon the story's protagonist, Cala Mornroe Weatherall. It's a brick wall, the end of that story, and you hit it at fifty miles an hour. If I believed in gods who passed judgment on "sinners," I'd envision a special hell for authors, for the lifetimes we spend breaking the lives and minds of our characters, trapped there in their sooty little universes.

When I was done, I just wanted to lie down and cry or something, but Spooky made me get dressed, instead. She took me down to Narragansett, to Iggy's, for dinner. We got our food, then went to the Point Judith lighthouse to eat. The wind was cold, but bracing and filled with the smells of the sea. On the way down, we saw a doe grazing. And a crow pursued by an angry mockingbird. I ate far too much — fried cod and chips, clam cakes, Manhattan-style clam chowder, cole slaw, root beer — and afterwards we sat by the sea and watched the lights on passing boats, the low waves crashing against the rocks. And I began to come back to myself.

Back home, unpacking, always with the unpacking. The big display case is mostly sorted out, and I got the altar set up again. I need to go to a shop over in Tiverton and get a new athame. There's one there I like. An athame, I mean. Later still, I had a date on Second Life for rp with the Omegans, and my thanks to Larissa, Abigel, Pontifex, Bellatrix, Joah, Merma, Omega, and Denny for a great scene (or, rather, series of interconnected scenes). It was late before I got to bed, just before 4 ayem. The damned birds had started singing.

Spooky's looking at local Pagan gatherings associated with the Solstice. Part of me wants to become involved with a nearby coven or circle — I've never liked the solitary practitioner thing — and part of me knows it would just be asking for trouble. All this foolish nattering about "dispelling negative energy." Whatever happened to paganism as a road to balance? Never mind that the word "energy" should be forever stricken from the pagan lexicon, for the perpetual abuse and complete lack of definition it endures. One reason I came to Providence was to find like-minded pagans, hopefully Wiccans, but I fear they'll all think I'm some spooky left-pather, a bête noire to be avoided lest my "negative energies" taint their rituals "of light and purification." Pfft. Sometimes, it seems to me so many American Wiccans are devolving into happy-crappy, pseudo-Xtianity, afraid of their own shadows, struggling to recreate the religion that drove them to paganism to start with. But I rant. Don't fear the darkness, kiddos. It's one half of the equation. Without it, there can be no balance. And balance, I believe, is the key, here.

Anyway, the "Cephaloflap" and "Doodleflap" auctions are off to a grand start. Keep in mind, these are the first monster doodles I've offered in something like two or three years, and they're the largest I have ever offered. And they're part of HISTORY, my Grand Transmigration from the South. All proceeds will likely go towards a birthday present for Spooky. Speaking of which:

My Amazon.com Wish List


Anyway, I've declared today an unpacking and hygiene day, because I'm sick of these boxes, and writers must bathe, too. And after "The Melusine (1898)," I need a day away from making words. I need a day away from unpacking, too, but that's not going to happen for at least another week or so.
greygirlbeast: (Eocene)
Some mornings, like this one, I find myself with far too much about which I wish to "blog." To write, I mean. I dread the day that "blog," as a verb, enters the dictionaries. Of course, that may have already happened, and I just didn't notice, in which case the dread is retroactive. Anyway, yeah, too many things. Yesterday, I wrote 1,049 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. The last section of Chapter One has become problematic. It does not seem to want to end, and I need to find its conclusion today. I still have Sirenia Digest #30 to get out next week, and I'd hoped to have three or four days to do a vignette for #31 before I abandon work on the 22nd (resuming work once my office is reassembled in Providence).

After the writing, there was packing, packing, packing. The last of the books in my office went into boxes. I am now working in a mostly book-free room, which is about as unnatural as it gets. Ah, but before the packing, after Spooky got home from the vet with Hubero (whose fine, of course), we needed more packing supplies, and so I made the sojourn with her into Big-Box Hell off Ponce. Actually, we went to PetSmart first, to get Mr. H. a good, solid plastic-and-metal carrier for the long trip to Rhode Island. We saw an utterly delightful Black-headed caique (Pionites melanocephalus). We have these spells where we want a smart, smart bird, but, fortunately, these spells pass. Anyway, after PetSmart, it was Staples, where we had to get packing tape, bubblewrap, biodegradable packing peanuts, air in a can, and wipes with which to clean Mac screens. Those stores, all those people, they drive me nuts. Anyway, Spooky went back out to get Dusty's BBQ for dinner. And then we watched two episodes of Millennium, "Luminary" and "The Mikado." And speaking of that second episode...

I did not actually see Gregory Hoblit's recent release, Untraceable, but, near as I can tell from having had to sit through the trailer a few dozen times, it's a pretty blatant rip-off of Micheal R. Perry's teleplay for "The Mikado." I just checked IMDb to be absolutely certain that Perry was not given story credit. He was not. Untraceable is credited to Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker (screenplay and story), and Allison Burnett (screenplay). I would be willing to bet there's a lawsuit here, and a cut-and-dried case of plagiarism, if the matter were brought to the attention the the WGA. But, anyway, there was a bit I wanted to quote (from "Luminary"):

We are meant to be here. We step from one piece of holy ground to the next under stars that ask, "Imagine, for one second, you could drop in on a past life. What would you like to find yourself doing there? What would charm you? Make you proud?" Ask yourself that. And the question what to do in this life becomes so simple it's terrifying. Just to do that thing that would charm you. It would make you say: "Yes, it's the real me." Do that, and you're alive.

After Millennium, I slipped into Second Life for the first genuine rp I've done in days. Thank you Pontifex and Omega. Oh, and since most of my now-very-limited SL time is being spent in New Babbage, behind the cut is a screencap of Artemesia Paine and the Professor in the vacant room above Miss Paine's pie shop (and I really need to ask [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse to show me how to take good SL screencaps).

The Professor's Return )


What else? After Second Life, Spooky read me a bit more of House of Leaves, and then I read myself a bit more of the Osborn biography, and finally got to sleep around 2:30 ayem. And that, kiddos, was yesterday.

Looking back over the comments to yesterday's entry about the silly Yahoo list, "The Good, the Bad, and the Slimy: 20 Great Movie Creatures," I have resolved to make a list of my own. But it will have a well-defined set of criteria for inclusion, which I will state at the outset. It may take me several days to compile the list. I may not get it up until early June, after the move. It will include fifty creatures, not twenty. Oh, and a few people were confused by the term "Pull of the Recent." It was coined in 1979 by University of Chicago paleontologist David Raup*, and it states, simply, that "the level of biodiversity is inflated in younger fossil deposits because sampling of the modern world is so much more complete than in the geologic past." That is, the farther one goes back in the fossil record, the rarer fossils become, since they have had a greater period of time to be destroyed by various geological processes (erosion, metamorphism, orogenic events, volcanism, plate tectonics, etc.). Also, Raup posits a collecting bias favouring more recent strata. This generally creates an overall fossil record that, in terms of biodiversity, looks a bit like an inverted pyramid**. Which is also what the list on Yahoo looked like, with 50% of its sample coming from films made since 2002 (though it also included creatures from as far back as 1933 and 1939). And before anyone asks, today's icon shows much of Europe, north and central Africa, the Middle East, and western India during the Eocene Epoch, some 55.8 ± 0.2 — 33.9 ± 0.1 million years ago.

*Raup, D. M. 1979. "Size of the Permo-Triassic bottleneck and its evolutionary implications." Science Vol. 206.

** It should be noted that a number of more recent studies indicate that the "pull of the recent" may be less an artefact of the fossil record than an actual increasing rate of biodiversity over geologic time. See, for example, David Jablonski et al., "The Impact of the Pull of the Recent on the History of Marine Diversity" Science (Vol. 300. no. 5,622; 16 May 2003). For now, though, I stand by Raup.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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