greygirlbeast: (Default)
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.

Yuletide 2011 )


Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:

It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)

greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Very, very not awake this morning, and stricken with dreamsickness. It's become an issue again. I wonder if Sarah Crowe is to blame. Of course, if she is, that means I'm to blame.

I suppose I'm over the hump as regards my self-imposed "catching-up" trick of doing at least 2k words per day for three consecutive days. Yesterday, I did 2,190 words on Chapter Eight. I'm thinking, at this point, I am no more than six thousand words from the end of the book. That's probably 4-5 days, which will just leave me enough time to get Sirenia Digest #35 done. Maybe in November I can take a very short breather. But, more likely, not until December. I have to get all the final corrections to A is for Alien off to Subterranean Press sometime in the next two or three days, because the book goes to the printer late in November. The time just melts around me.


Theres a problem; feathers, iron,
Bargain buildings, weights, and pulleys.
Feathers hit the ground before the weight can leave the air.
Buy the sky, and sell the sky, and tell the sky, and tell the sky.


I think I failed to make myself clear when I made the addendum entry yesterday regarding time displacement. For one thing, I wasn't saying that this is a new phenomenon. And, looking back at the bit I took from Wikipedia, I think that's fairly clear (though the wiki article only carries it back to television, really). I would say this is, obviously, a process that has been at work for millennia (Why the hell does LJ not know how to spell millennia?), so long as human beings have been devising ways to employ technology to fritter away "spare" time and alleviate boredom. Before the internet, television. Before television, telephones, movies and radio, before movies and radio, mass-printing books, and so forth. But, to me, it seems as though there has also been a process of acceleration at work, and that the problem is not so much one of kind as one of degree. The Culture of Distraction has been with us for ages. However, it is, I think, experiencing a sort of exponential growth now. The internet, I suspect, changed the rules a bit. And I was certainly not pointing any fingers yesterday, unless I was pointing one at me.

I do not wish to live my life in mass media, or on the web, taking social interaction via virtual contact. I wish to live it in the world. However, the world is very, very hard for me (and we need not go into all the whys), and here is this great seduction, making it so easy for me not to make the huge effort required to step out into the real, external world. And, for that matter, not to buy clothes that aren't rags, or get enough sleep. This is my journal, and here I am speaking most emphatically to me. I spend far too much time online, hiding from the world. I am striving to do better, because I would like to see myself consciously work against time displacement in my own life. I do not see it as an acceptable alternative. It is nothing I desire. For my part, I'll take beaches and city streets, libraries, forests, crowded bars, and comfortable parlors filled with genuine conversation between people I actually know. Those are the things I have to find my way back to, and those are the things that this computer so successfully serves to substitute. But, in my eyes, it is no fit substitute. It's a tool that needs to be treated as a tool, and as an occasional source of entertainment.

As for others, as regards time displacement, I am not here to either validate or invalidate how other people choose to live their lives. Maybe I should be, but I'm not.

And that's what I meant to say.


We have eBay auctions ending today. Please, please take a look. Thanks!


Postscript (1:40 p.m.): I was pleased, by the way, to learn of Colin Powell's strong support of Obama's bid for presidency. I was also pleased by this bit I just read in [ profile] curt_holman's blog: Colin Powell seemed particularly angry about the accusation, stoked by some McCain supporters, that Obama is a Muslim--and not only because it's inaccurate: "The correct answer is 'He's not a Muslim. He's a Christian.' ... But the really right answer is, 'What if he is?' Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is 'no.' That's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she can be president?" Booya!
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Good thing I can type in my sleep. Because this is only a simulacrum of wakefulness. And not a very convincing one. Last night, we managed to get into bed by 2 ayem, and I was awake at 9 ayem (though not out of bed until 9:30), because we are scrambling for more daylight, as the winter rushes towards us like an angry bull yak.

Yesterday, I really needed to go to the sea. I needed to go in the worst way. But I wasn't done with the writing until 4:30 p.m., and sunset was about 6:30. By the time we reached Moonstone or Point Judith, or just about anywhere else worth reaching, it would have been twilight, and very cold. I probably should have gone anyway, but I was so tired and spacey. Maybe this evening.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,261 words on Chapter Eight of The Red Tree. A scene of great importance. An epiphanic moment for Sarah Crowe. And when I was done, and after Spooky had read it back to me, I was terrified that I'd not even come close to saying what I'd tried to say, even after borrowing a few lines from Joseph Conrad and Henry David Thoreau. How do you hope to describe the effect that seeing the "face of a god," any "god" or "goddess" or "divine" or "infernal" androgyne? And, in this case, it's a very, very terrible god-thing, awful in the original sense of the word. How do you tell another person what it has done to your perception of the universe? How do you even tell yourself?

So, I was left fearing I'd not even come close to accomplishing what I'd set out to do.

Fortunately, there was a wonderful, long review by S.T. Joshi of the third edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder waiting for me afterwards. Truly, it may be one of the two or three best reviews I've ever received. It will eventually appear in Dead Reckonings (Hippocampus Press), but I have been told I can quote a few lines here:

Kiernan has inexorably ascended the echelon of supernatural horror with an array of distinguished novels and story collections that have already led some critics to rank her with such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. The comparison with Campbell seems to me particularly apt, for there are few writers in the entire history of supernatural fiction who have simultaneously mastered both the short story and the novel and who have combined such copious productivity with such a high level of meticulous craftsmanship.


This fusion of the cosmic and the personal is also a keynote of Kiernan’s work. It is not sufficient to say that she adopts the visionary horror of Machen, Blackwood, and Lovecraft; especially in contrast to the last-named, Kiernan’s work features an intense focus on the shifting and at times contradictory emotions of her characters, and their ability or inability to deal with domestic, social, and sexual——particularly sexual——traumas.


Tales of Pain and the cornerstone of Kiernan’s work in short fiction, and as such may be a seminal and landmark volume in the history of the genre. Kiernan’s career currently spans scarcely more than a decade, but there is hardly a doubt that she deserves a place, and perhaps a lofty place, in the canon of horror literature.

So, yeah, it helped to take the edge off that sense of futility.

Otherwise, yesterday, well...we made it to Eastside Market, and we checked the p.o. box. There was a wonderful "care package" from [ profile] txtriffidranch, which, among many other things, included the Dimetrodon figure from the British Museum's set of prehistoric animals. I began collecting these in 1984, and only the very rare Dimetrodon has eluded me. I got close once, in a gift shop in the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, back in February 1996. But the clerk was mistaken and they'd sold out. Anyway, now, twenty two years after I scored the Elasmosaurus and Pteranodon, my set is truly complete. Oh, and there was also a platypus in the package, which now has a place of pride on my desk, watching over me that I do not stray too far from the path. So, thank you, [ profile] txtriffidranch. You rock. With carnivorous plants, even.

Later, after round two of the wonderful chicken stew, we watched Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Walter Lang's Desk Set (1957), which was as delightful as I remembered. Unfortunately, afterwards, we watched an episode of Fringe. Yikes. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be The X-Files, but I had no idea it would be unwatchable. The acting was flat. There was no chemistry between any of the characters. I couldn't decide if the show was serious or going for some sort of deadpan black comedy. The script was...well, I'm assuming there was a script. Anyway, yikes. No more, please. Still later, Spooky read me Poe's "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833), just before sleep, which got most of the taste of Fringe out of my brain.

Oh, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so disposed. Thank you. Now, I go down to the platypus....

Postscript (3:07 p.m.): Let me just take a moment to be appalled that the spell checker for MS Word knows any number of trademarked neologisms, but doesn't know "highjack." Then again, I see that neither does LiveJournal's spell checker.....
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
This past week I saved every scrap of plastic that I used. In the end, it came to about a pound. Even though I try to avoid processed food, don't drink a lot of soft drinks, purchase glass containers whenever I can, etc. & ad nauseum, still it came to about a pound of plastic, most of which is non-recyclable. A pound. For just one week. Over the last couple of years, my plastic consumption has dropped dramatically, so I can only wonder in horror at how much waste plastic I've produced in my -1 years on Earth. Let's be absurdist and kind and say a bare minimum of 2,310 pounds (1 lb. x 2,310 weeks). The truth is probably twenty or thirty times that. All by myself. Just me. 2,310 pounds of plastic. And most of it's still out there somewhere, and most of it will still be out there, slowly decaying, releasing toxins into the soil and water and air, decades and centuries after my death. It's appalling. Imagine that absurdly low sum multiplied times the population of America (presently 300 million ), the population of the world (currently 6.5 billion ). Consider: Plastic water bottles may take 1,000 years to degrade. And 9 out of every 10 water bottles end up as garbage or litter. 30 million per day. Over a year. 1.65 billion plastic water bottles. And a thousand years. And that's just the plastic water bottles. Okay, enough of that.

Yesterday, I had the rather nasty realization that I have only three weeks remaining to get all the editing and rewrites done on Daughter of Hounds in order to meet my May 15th deadline. And I haven't even begun. Between the digest and the trouble with the cover copy and proofreading Alabaster and getting the "Highway 97" chapbook done, I've let three weeks slip past. Half that time I had to get this thing done. The next three weeks are going to be brutal, especially given that I need to get the next issue of the digest written and out in that same period of time.

Last night, we watched Hubert Sauper's Darwin's Nightmare (2004) on Sundance, which documents the devastation of Lake Tanzania following the introduction of a single exotic species, the Nile Perch (Lates niloticus). Sauper's film focuses primarily on the effect the disaster has had on the human inhabitants of Tanzania, and it is horrifying, and it should be seen.

Okay. I have to make this day productive, one way or another.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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