October 2nd, 2008

"...one spark and the sky's on fire."

white
One day off turned into two days off. One day Outside became two days Outside, and I didn't argue. So, this will be a long catching-up sort of entry. But, first, I want to mention the current eBay auctions, which end tomorrow, and which seem to have drawn far less attention than usual. Please do have a look. Bid if your are interested and so disposed. It will be greatly appreciated. Also, a quick explanation regarding Sirenia Digest #34. Rather, a quick explanation regarding that second copy that went out yesterday. There were a number of very minor errors in the first PDF, and, all day on Tuesday, while I was trying not to think about work, they bugged me. That "Untitled #33" should have been "Untitled 33." That the captions for Karl Persson's paintings were in Courier, when the font should have been Times New Roman. Stuff that I doubt anyone but me would have ever noticed, but...anyway...thingunderthest kindly produced a new and corrected PDF. And that's why you got two. The second is the keeper.

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Tuesday: We didn't manage to get out of the house until after 2 p.m., because I had to dither over this and dither over that. I squeezed in a little work-like activity, such as begging off a review for Publisher's Weekly, the first book in a fantasy trilogy, and as I told my editor, I was entirely wrong for that. And then, when we left, we couldn't go very far, not as far as any of the beaches, because the windshield wipers still have not been fixed (we're waiting on the part) and the sky was threatening rain. But, first, we drove over to check the p.o. box, which I'd not done in a while. There was a contributor's copy of Not One of Us #40, which reprints "Flotsam." Then we headed back towards the river and the Old North Burial Ground (estab. 1700). We wandered among the tombstones, marveling, especially, at the slate markers from the 18th century. The maples had gone bright red, ringing in October, and there were truly enormous, ancient European beeches (Fagus sylvatica). It's a beautiful cemetery, and none of the groundskeepers or security even seemed to look at us twice, much less harass and threaten us the way the Swan Point asshole did (oh, and turns out, when Frank Woodward was there filming for Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, he got crap from the Swan Point security, even though he had permission to film). Anyway, it was very pleasant, there among the dead, and we read inscriptions and took photos. The trees were filled with noisy grackles. The air smelled like rain, and the sky was dark.

Afterwards, we drove towards downtown and parked on Point Street and walked out over the bridge across the Providence River. There was a little mist, but no actual rain. Beneath the bridge are the rotting wooden pilings of some manner of old dock or pier, which seems to have been left in place for the multitude of cormorants and gulls that congregate there. The water itself is a little dispiriting. The color of a ripe avocado skin, and with a slightly oily sheen. There were an alarming number of dead fish near the banks (and trash, including Dunkin" Donuts cups and a rusting, half-submerged bicycle). Still, this river must have been much worse off back in the 70s and 80s, before Rhode Island got serious about cleaning up its waterways. After the bridge, we headed back towards home, stopping for a while at White Electric Coffee on Westminster (where they always seem to be playing Patti Smith, whenever I drop by). Having secured our caffeine fix, we checked out a nearby abandoned building that Spooky had been wanting to photograph, the burnt-out ruins of the What Cheer Laundry (or Loutit Laundry) building (ca 1906 and vacant since 1987, partly demolished by a fire in 1991) on the north side of Cranston Street. The entrance surround is comprised of pilasters supporting a broken arched pediment with a panel bearing the words: “What Cheer Laundry” and depicting Roger Williams meeting Native Americans. The air was turning chilly, the day growing late, and afterwards we headed home.

Tuesday night, we watched Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) again. I don't think either of us had seen it since we saw it at the Fox in Atlanta in the summer of 2003. Still a beautiful, sublime epic. It had seemed like a good film to follow Miller's Crossing, and left me wanting to go back to Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale (1983). And I think that covers Tuesday fairly well. We took a lot of photographs, and I'll get some up later this week. Oh, and I read, in the June JVP, "The vertebrate fauna of the Upper Permian of Niger. IV. First evidence of a gorgonopsian theraspid."

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Wednesday: Not nearly as interesting as Tuesday, but Spooky made sure I spent most of it out of the house. We wandered about points south of Providence — Warwick, West Warwick, East Greenwich, and Wakefield. We did locate a wonderful little witchcraft shop in West Warwick —— The Bella Earth —— and I got a new pentagram pendant to replace the one I broke a couple of month's back. Unlike, say, The Grateful Heart in Wickford, The Bella Earth isn't a mess of trendy, fluffy bunny, New Agey junk, but is mostly devoted to Wicca.

Last night, we watched the director's cut of Tarantino's Death Proof (2007), which is even cooler than the theatrical cut. Zoe Bell rocks our socks, and the last half hour or so is pure, vengeful fun. Later, I pulled the plug on the Howards End sim in Second life. This decision was hard, and I'm going to write about it in detail in another entry, maybe this evening. I do appreciate all the effort that various people put into it, but, in the end, I'm just too busy, too unwell, too fed up with SL, and...well, like I said, there will be an entry specifically devoted to the termination of the sim project. It was not an easy choice to make. Also, I played a few hours of WoW. Mithwen, my night-elf hunter is at Lvl 23, and is now running missions out of Astranaar in Ashenvale. Meanwhile, Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, has reached Lvl 12, and was just invited to join a guild ("The Flaming Fist"), which includes a couple of Lvl 70 warlocks. Got to bed about three last night, and there was a very brief absence seizure yesterday, but it was hardly a blip. Oh, and I read, again in the June JVP, "Hyaenodon chunkhtensis and the hyaenodontid fauna of the Upper Eocene Ergilin Dzo Formation of Mongolia."

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One last thing before I wrap this up. Spooky stumbled across the trailer and website for Darren Lynn Bousman's forthcoming Repo! The Genetic Opera, and it looks astounding. I have been pretty much unimpressed by Bousman's Saw series (in fact, I saw only the first one, I was so unimpressed, and can't even imagine there are four of the things). But I am greatly intrigued by Repo!. Yeah, sure, you have to ignore the fact of Paris Hilton, but we get to hear Anthony Stewart Head sing again (!!!), and there's Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Poe, Sarah Brightman, Joan Jett, and the whole thing just looks gorgeous. So, we shall see.

Okay. Today, it's back to The Red Tree....