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Sunny today and a little warmer. Our high was 65˚F.

I hardly slept at all last night. But it was not one of those freakishly productive sleepless night. Just dead time when I did not sleep. It left me sick and confused all day. Physically ill. I did not even try to go into McWane. And I had plans for an entry here that I'm shelving until, maybe, tomorrow.

I want to doze off and open my eyes to discover it's only 1975.

I heard from Subterranean Press that the signature sheets for Bradbury Weather are heading my way. There. That's something sorta of substance.

Even the day's photo is bleak. It's like I somehow took a photo of the inside of my head, that wide carnivorous sky. And yeah, it depresses the hell out of me that there are still people who think John Langan came up with that phrase and I appropriated it from him, instead of the other way around. It should not bother me, all these years later, but it does.

Please look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries. Please buy something. Thank you.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:04 p.m.


Sunny today and warmer. Our high was 63˚F.

I need this to be short. I have exhausted myself the last few days, and the long, angry blog entries have not helped. The angry is burning me away. And it also does not help that my sleeping and work schedule have been thrown into some bizarre turmoil. I woke this morning at 1 a.m., watched half an hour of Doctor Zhivago, drank a Pepsi, then got up and wrote for two hours. I did another 1,113 words on "Crotalus," and then I went back to bed and slept until 7 a.m.

Is this my new normal?

I spoke with Joshi last night about the Lovecraft bust. He hadn't heard. I'll keep you posted.

I am supposed to be at McWane at 11 a.m. tomorrow to get measurements and photographs on a mosasaur skull, and fuck only knows what the night holds in store for me.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

1:36 p.m.
I think it was sunny this morning, but most of the day has been cold and overcast. Our high was only 55˚F. I noted at 7:20 a.m. it was 28˚F. I slept decently last night, the first time in several nights.

No actual writing today. I'm to that point where I'm trying to figure out what comes after what's already happened. I did spent four hours playing GW2, and I got my twenty-sixth character, a Norn fighter named Rune Millasdóttir, level-capped (level 80).

I told Kathryn last night, I spend my days wanting to die, and then I spend my nights afraid I will die.

That brings us to the HPL bust at the Providence Athenaeum. I want to share some photos from the dedication ceremony on August 23, 2013. There are two behind the cut, which originally appeared in this entry. I have more, I just have to find them. It cost $55,000, and was sculpted by Bryan Moore. The money was raised via a Kickstarter campaign that many, many people took part in. A total of $58,023 dollars was raised by 667 backers, including not only fans but many genre luminaries such as Ramsey Campbell and Mike Mignola. And then it was entrusted to the Athenaeum, which wanted it. At that point, in good faith, they became it's caretakers. That year during Necronomicon, there was the aforementioned dedication ceremony. It was a joyous affair. Here, finally, Lovecraft was being honored in his hometown, in the library he loved so much.

August 23, 2013Collapse )

And now the tribute, and a work of art, is lost to the world, and we get the insincere, mealy-mouthed equivalent of "thoughts and prayers" with the library's statement, "We recognize the deeply problematic nature of Lovecraft’s views and writings, and have for some time. We must tell the truth, and use the resources we have to educate ourselves and the public about the past.” So, in only a few years, the Athenaeum went from happily accepting the bust, giving it a place of pride just inside the door (to the left), and then tucking their tail between their legs and hiding it away somewhere. That's not an epiphany. They learned nothing in those intervening years about HPL that they did not already know. This is the actions of a coward being bullied. Anyway, I'm going to find out the current whereabouts of the bust. I'm also going to see if there's any way it can be wrested from the Athenaeum and displayed somewhere else. Or at least returned to the artist. And I'm sure others are already on this.

Honestly, I think I'm too angry to say anything else today. But I mean what I have said here, and I will be following through. I leave you with something nice from Spooky.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

11:01 a.m.
To say the least, not a good day. To start with, I didn't sleep much more than two hours last night. But hey, the sun came back. But hey, it was fucking cold. Win some, lose some, lose some more. Our high was only 46˚F.

I did manage, long before dawn, to write 1,116 words on the new story, which I am presently calling "Crotalus." It will be featured in Sirenia Digest No. 204.


At the Providence Athenaeum, the bust of H.P. Lovecraft donated in 2013 and displayed prominently for many years has been hidden away somewhere. Which means I will never again step foot in the Providence Athenaeum. Which makes me immensely sad.

And, of course, that statue of Christopher Columbus had to come down.

I cannot begin to describe the level of despair I feel over the loss of so many statues. It is genuinely heartbreaking. And everyone is being demonized. No one is safe, no matter how positive their contributions to civilization. I mean...Winston Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Abraham Lincoln. Discounting the Confederate monuments, it is a horrific list.

Here's a very important quote from Douglas Murray's The War on the West (Harper, 2022):

"If what Churchill did in his life doesn't count for anything, then it is hard to see how any human action counts for anything. If Churchill's good points cannot outweigh any bad points, then no one can ever do enough in their lives. In other words, if we cannot get Churchhill right and get him in a proper perspective, then there seems little point in trying to do so with anyone else. Finally, there seems little point in trying to do anything good ourselves. The attacks on Churchill make all human endeavors seem futile, because even if defeating the greatest evil in history will count as nothing and you will not be lauded for it in your own country even half a century after your death, then what good deed could ever count for anything?"*

And also meanwhile...

Putin actually has a missle capable of creating a radioactive megatsunami, a wave 500 meters (1,640 feet) high triggered by a thermonuclear torpedo. And he's threatened to use it against Britian. And no, this is not science fiction. This is an actual weapon. It could really happen.


Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:16 a.m.

* Do not start in with the evils of Churchill. They are demonstrably lies, and I will make a fool of you.
For some reason, I decided it was a good idea to drag myself out into the cold and the rain and the fog today to go to my mother's for the first time in a year, and she only lives half an hour away, just to fucking washing clothes. Yeah, well, that was stupid, though through no fault's of my mom's. I just should have known better. Oh, our high was only 45˚F.

We should be looking at early spring here and we're plunging into winter.

Mom helped we make some notes for the story I'm writing, stuff from her childhood in Dunnavant, atop Sand Mountain (which divides Leeds from Dunnavant). It's the setting for the story.

Last night we finished The Kominsky Method (available on Netflix), truly marvelous, brutal despite the comedy. The best thing, I think, Chuck Lorre has done.

Something I said today, vis-à-vis my remarks yesterday on Twitter and all the people who decided they were heinous enough to stop following me. Increasingly, I disappoint people. Especially those people who believe my politics will be X and discover they are soundly Y. Increasingly, I just don't care.

So this mysterious box that arrived, schwag for some TV show based on an Octavia Butler story, I found out today the show's already been canceled, anyway.

It's so hard driving through Leeds now. In places, so much has changed it's too painful to see. Kathryn drives, so I am free to shut my eyes as we approach the hideous mess that has been erected at the westernmost of the two I-20 exits into town (though both are awful).

And Robin DiAngelo is pure, fucking hypocritical evil, one of the mother's of our current apocalypse.


Dreaming Squid Sundries. Thanks. I leave you with a pohoto of this shitty day.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:30 p.m.

Shrodinger's Prostate (185)

Probably, I should not even be making an entry today.

Foggy all day. No rain. No sun. Just fucking fog. We were supposed to spend the day at my mom's doing laundry, but neither Kathryn and I could summon the motivation to go out into that fog. Oh, our high was only 48˚F.

Shitty weather.

I woke at 2:30 a.m. and got up and wrote for over an hour. I think it's a good beginning. I'll go back to it tomorrow. Anyway, I lay down again and slept until 7 a.m.

The Kominsky Method continues to be brilliant.


A trio of posts I made to Twitter today:

1. Removing books from school libraries is not necessarily the same as "banning books," and yes, parents *should* have a say in the books in their childrens' schools' libraries. This is not new, and it's just common sense.

2. All parents are free to expose children to books *not* offered in school libraries. It isn't hard. It's not like a school deciding not incude the book erases it from existence. This is where parents come in.

3. You want your kids to read those "banned" books, and you can't afford to buy them? Turn to public libraries and, if necessary, interlibrary loan. And if it's not worth the trouble, you didn't actually care to start with.*

A very bad day.


That's all I have for now.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:47 p.m.

* These comments cost me about 15 followers on Twiiter - so far. (2/2/23, 7:26 a.m.)

Fear and Self-Loathing in the West (184)

A day of cloud and fog. No actual rain, just no sunlight. Our high was 58˚F.

After two sleepless night, I lay down last night, passed out about 11:30 p.m. and did not open my eyes until 6 a.m.

I've shelved the story that just wasn't working, and I'm researching a different one. So, yes. I am working. Just no daily work count yet.

Today, I read Robert Aickman's "Never Visit Venice" and "Into the Woods" and finished The Wine-Dark Sea. Not bad, getting all the way through way through The Wine-Dark Sea and Tales of Mystery and Imagination in January. This afternoon, I began reading Douglas Murray's War on the West:

In The War on the West, Douglas Murray shows how many well-meaning people have been fooled by hypocritical and inconsistent anti-West rhetoric. After all, if we must discard the ideas of Kant, Hume, and Mill for their opinions on race, shouldn’t we discard Marx, whose work is peppered with racial slurs and anti-Semitism? Embers of racism remain to be stamped out in America, but what about the raging racist inferno in the Middle East and Asia?

It’s not just dishonest scholars who benefit from this intellectual fraud but hostile nations and human rights abusers hoping to distract from their own ongoing villainy. Dictators who slaughter their own people are happy to jump on the “America is a racist country” bandwagon and mimic the language of antiracism and “pro-justice” movements as PR while making authoritarian conquests.

If the West is to survive, it must be defended. The War on the West is not only an incisive take-down of foolish anti-Western arguments but also a rigorous new apologetic for civilization itself.

And yes, I know I'm going to catch shit.


Cindy Williams died on the 25th, but I only heard last night.

Last night, Kathryn and I began watching The Kominsky Method, which stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin and is freaking hilarious.


A package arrived today from my agent, some sort of press kit/schwag bomb for something called Kindred based on something by Octavia Butler airing on Netflix. No idea why they sent it to me. I feel bad just throwing it away, but I'll be damned if I'd know who to give such a thing to, and I'm not about to pay to send it back to Manhattan.

I went outside today and took the photo below. I am going to try very hard to go outside every single day from here until the move.

Here's the link to Dreaming Squid Sundries. Good stuff.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:11 p.m.

A World Without Sleep (183)

I might have slept three hours. Stomach trouble. Again. I gave up at five a.m. The sun did not rise today. The fog just got brighter. Our high was 64˙F.

I had a 10:15 a.m. doctors appointment. I gave a lot of blood. Afterwards, we went by the pharmacy. We were back home around noon. This is the first day I went outside since January 20th, when I spent a few hours at McWane.

Ten days.

The blink of an eye.

I could try and focus on the positive. Like the very real possibility that TiKTok is going to be banned in the US. It's already banned on many college campuses and on all government and WiFi. Oh, and on state-owned devices in 28 of the 50 US states. Banning it nationwide would take at least one toxic thing from our lives. It is almost unimaginable the damage it has done to young people and children. And it poses an enormous security risk from the Chinese. So, hopefully, I'll soon be doing a happy dance of its idiotic grave.

Today's Robert Aickman was "The Inner Room."

Lisa Loring, who played the original Wednesday Addams in the TV series (1964-1965) has died.

I am so goddamn tired.

There are five more copies of The Variegated Alphabet up at Dreaming Squid Sundries. Yes, it's expensive. But it was not written by AI, and AI did not generate the drawings. It's genuine human-made art. And humans have to pay rent and eat and keep the lights on.

AI. Sure thing You should read Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

11:39 a.m.


There was a rind of sunrise this morning, but then the clouds settled in, and by afternoon the day of rainy. Our high was 53˚F.

I might have slept three hours last night; I was not well, and that kept me awake.

Today's Robert Aickman was "The Fetch." And I watched two documentaries, sticking to yesterday's theme with Peter Kuran's Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie (1995) and something on the Fukushima meltdown.

A can of black-eyed peas and a can of turnip greens for dinner last night.

I note these little things to try and keep the days from being utterly indistinguishable one from the other.

A repost from yesterday: Bill at Subterranean Press has given us the go ahead to offer copies of The Variegated Alphabet at Dreaming Squid Sundries. You may call, the book was pretty much sold out on publication, including the $600 limited edition. Features artwork by John Kenn Mortensen, it a genuinely gorgeous book and has become very collectible. The books were signed by me prior to publication, but I will personalize copies we sell.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

8:06 a.m.


I slept poorly last not, more so than usually, and it has been a groggy day. Mostly sunny, our high was 59˚F, so an improvement over yesterday.

No writing today.

No reading today. I watched two documentaries, both about the development of the atomic bomb, including Robert Stone's Radio Bikini (1988).

As I said on Twitter, I am always surprised, and alarmed, when I encounter young people today who seem not only to think that the danger of nuclear war is a thing of the past, but sometimes even mock the fears of earlier generations.

A can of alphabet soup for dinner last night. We watched the last three episodes of John Hillcoatt's George and Tammy, and it is truly a brilliant miniseries. See it.

Bill at Subterranean Press has given us the go ahead to offer copies of The Variegated Alphabet at Dreaming Squid Sundries. You may call, the book was pretty much sold out on publication, including the $600 limited edition. Features artwork by John Kenn Mortensen, it a genuinely gorgeous book and has become very collectible. The books were signed by me prior to publication, but I will personalize copies we sell.

And I think that's all I have for now.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:03 a.m.

"You're waiting for a train." (180)

Mostly sunny today. Our high was 52˚F.

I did a little more on the thing that wants to be a story, but not enough to even bother with a word count.

The day's Robert Aickman was "Growing Boys." The afternoon's movie was Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010).

Last night we watched a couple of episodes of the second season of Your Honor, then went back to John Hillcoat's George and Tammy.

I'm having a lot of trouble with anger. I am angry at the world, at the cacophony, at the fact that a friend can be dead for almost seven months before I find out.

I'm extremely anxious about the coming move.

I signed a copy of Murder of Angels and a copy of Daughter of Hounds that people had bought from Dreaming Squid Sundries.

I want to be back in Rhode Island. I do not want to leave Alabama.

A rock and a hard place. I leave you with random apples, courtesy Spooky.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

10:48 a.m.
Sunny today. Our high was only 47˚F, but the weather about to begin warming up again.

This morning I managed a little more than a thousand words on something, as yet unnamed, that I hope will, and I got some paleo' reading done.

I am slowly getting back to my feet. Slowly.

The day's Robert Aickman was "The Wine-Dark Sea" and "The Trains." And the day's movie was Robert Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Last night we began Season Two of The Mayor of Kingstown, at least as good as Season One.

Too much of today's energy was spent in anger and wasted railing against stupidity.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop at Big Cartel. This has become an important source of income and Kathryn and I over the last year, and as well gear up for the move back to Rhode Island it is ever more important.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:56 p.m.
A rainy night, a cloudy day. Our high, 56˚F, was just after dawn. Our saw the sun for maybe thirty seconds. The temperature's been dropping all day.

This is, I have told myself and others, if the last day I mope. Tomorrow, I go back to work.

There is only the work. Neil said that to me about twenty-five years ago.

Today's Poe was "Silence – A Fable," "Berenice," "William Wilson," and "The Purloined Letter." And that finished Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Next, I'm going to reread Robert Aickman's The Wine-Dark Sea; it's been a very long time. Oh, and today's movie was Ridley Scott's The Martian (2015).

That was the year of great and misplaced hope, 2015.

Last night we finished The North Water, and it really was very good. Colin Farrell was excellent. I may track down the novel that inspired it.

Remember when I'd been looking at old Usenet stuff and asked if anyone remembered the Skrikes? Thanks to Fred Cleveland for this link.

Please have a look at Dreaming Squid Sundries.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

1:30 p.m.

"Then let me speak Klingon." (177)

A sunny day that became a cloudy day. We are in this cool spell. Our high was 56˚F.

There ought to be a name for the process of constructing an alternate version of yourself who lived and died before you were born. I'm thinking 1890-1960. That could change slightly.

Sal Piro died, which made me sorta sad. Or wistful. Or something.

The afternoon's film was J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). The day's Poe was "The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar" and "The Black Cat."

We watched more on 1923 last night, then started something called The North Water, with Colin Farrell. It's very good.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. And remember, that sample chapter of Sirenia Digest (No. 203) ain't gonna be up forever.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

2:57 p.m.
A sunny day. The sky too blue, but it's better than clouds. Our high was only 50˚F.

I tried not to think about Geoffrey today, but thought of little else. A line from our last email exchange:

So I wish I were healthy and wealthy, because then I’d come find you, because I’m probably lost with you, but I’m definitely lost without you.

The world subtracts the people we care about, and it leaves behind holes.


Today's Poe was "The Gold Bug." The afternoon's movie was J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009).

Last night we watched the first two episodes of The Last of Us, and, honestly, I'm sick of the Zombie Apocalypse. There is such tremendous laziness, coughing this same exhausted story up over and over and over, thinking that tweaking this or that amounts to any difference that matters. It's was nice seeing Anna Torv, but now her character's dead, I was annoyed by the especially lousy science, and I can find better things to watch. On the other hand, we saw the first episode of 1923, and I liked it quite a lot. Also, I see there's a new season of Mayor of Kingstown out; I loved Season One.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. Thank you.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:47 p.m.


Clouds all day, a little rain. The high was only 50˚F.

This morning, before I was even awake and quite by accident, I learned that Geoffrey died on June 15th, of a heart attack. No one fucking told me. And more than anything I'm numb. He and I were close from about 2009 until we began to drift apart in 2014 or so, and the last time I spoke with him was in 2017 (I think). I know the last time I saw him face-to-face was May 2017. But for a while, he was a frequent visitor in Providence, and one of the few people alive I enjoyed talking to on a regular basis. We'd stay up almost until dawn talking. But after his accident, his back wouldn't permit him to drive to Providence, and we just never made the drive up to Boston. So, we drifted. Maybe the sadness will come tomorrow. It's hard to imagine that we'll never talk again. And I am deeply ashamed I didn't try harder to keep in contact. I feel as though I'm losing people faster than I can keep up.

Today's Poe was "Ligeia," "The Pit and the Pendulum," and "King Pest."

This afternoon, I watched a documentary on the amphibious assault at La Pointe du Hoc and another on landslides.

Please have a look at Dreaming Squid Sundries. Thank you,

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:15 a.m.


Cloudy at dawn. Then a more or less sunny day, until clouds arrived late. Our high was only 54˚F.

An anxious, depressed, and angry morning.


I got no work done today, not really, other than a few long overdue emails.

Lots of Poe, though: "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "Ms. Found in a Bottle," and "The Masque of the Red Death."

I deeply desire to have been born in 1890. After many years contemplation, that is year I'd choose. Yes, I thought of that, and I took that into account. Yes, that, too.

Cause for celebration: My weight is up to 169.6lbs. It had dipped almost below 160lb (76.9kg), My weight before COVID-19 began, before the pandemic, was about 180. It's averaged 185-180 my whole adult life. But during the pandemic I began losing weight. I am hoping to be back to 175 soon.

This afternoon, a documentary about the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915 and another about Heinrich Himmler's occult beliefs.

Tonight we'll finish Season Seven and our rewatch of Mad Men.

Spooky's gotten several new books and Sirenia Digest #203 up in the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. It will be up for two weeks, and then it comes down. Non-subscribers can pick up this sample issue for the same price it costs subscribers.

Photo by Spooky. She still leaves the house.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast (who still has not paid her SVP dues)

11:52 a.m.
A sunny day. The sky was too blue and empty, though. Wide and carnivorous. We don't get that so much in Alabama. The high was 56˚F.

I spent the morning reading paleo', and then had McWane later. Kathryn and I photographed every relevant element of every bone in the skull of one of the mosasaurs in the next study – from every important angle.

The afternoon movie was Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (2015).

It wasn't a bad day.

Today's Poe was "The Tell-Tale Heart."

Spooky's gotten several new books and Sirenia Digest #203 up in the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. It will be up for two weeks, and then it comes down. Non-subscribers can pick up this sample issue for the same price it costs subscribers. Speaking of, the first issue of the digest was released in November 2005, and the price has remained the same ($10/month) ever since, despite my costs of living having doubled during that time.

We watched all ten episodes of Season One of That 90s Show last night. Thoughts to come. Mother and I are still collating.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

11:58 a.m.

"Only rumors." (172)

Sunny today. Our high was 68˚F. There's a stretch of cooler weather coming; not cold, just cooler.

But spring is not far off.

Mostly this was a day off. I needed it after the tussle with "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." And, also, I didn't get up until 8 a.m., which is late for me, and that sorta threw things off.

The day's Poe was "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

The afternoon's movie was Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds ((2009).

Spooky's gotten several new books and Sirenia Digest #203 up in the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. It will be up for two weeks, and then it comes down. Non-subscribers can pick up this sample issue for the same price it costs subscribers. Speaking of, the first issue of the digest was released in November 2005, and the price has remained the same ($10/month) ever since, despite my costs of living having doubled during that time.

The plan is to be at McWane tomorrow. Oh, and tonight, That 90s Show!

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

4:15 p.m.

"That's what they tell me." (171)

A foggy night, and then a morning so foggy I couldn't see the other side of the road from my office window. And then a sunny afternoon, and now clouds. Our high was 66˚F.

Subscribers to Sirenia Digest should have 203 sometime this evening. I'm just waiting on the PDF, and then Spooky will send it out. I spent another five hours on the issue this morning, and I finally fixed the issues with "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." I was going to spend the day at McWane, but I woke this morning with the solution in my head, so I stayed home and finished it.

I've belated started at January of Poe reading of Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Today I read "A Descent into the Maelström." No, I'm not reading the stories in order.

The afternoon's movie was Taratino's Once Upon a Time Ago...in Hollywood (2019).

We're wanting to boost Sirenia Digest subscriptions, so 203 will be available for one week in the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop (plus Spooky's adding new books!), at the same price subscribers pay. Then it'll come down. It'll go up tomorrow, most likely. Also, yes, I sign and personalize books bought from the Dreaming Squid shop.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

3:58 p.m.

"You need to work on your German." (170)

Rain this morning, and a mostly cloudy day. But the sun came out this afternoon. Our high was 66˚F.

An utterly miserable day.

It rarely happens, but sometimes I write a story and something gets severely fucked up. Usually it's towards the end. It's almost never right at the beginning. However, "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea" has very rare screw ups. And trying to fix it is taking time. So...that's why you didn't get Sirenia Digest 203 today.

I finished reading The Coddling of the American Mind.

The afternoon's film was David Leitch's Atomic Blonde (2017).

Inspired by all those old posts on alt.books.caitrkiernan, I've created a Discord server for my readers. It's not public yet. But it will be soon.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop. Kathryn is working to get new items up.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

1:10 p.m.

"Vous avez lu l'histoire..." (169)

Some sun today, some clouds. Our high was 65˚F.

Alas, I will not be sending Sirenia Digest 203 out today. I started proofreading "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea" and discovered some unexpectedly rough patches at the start of the story. Kathryn and I spent a chunk of the day reading and marking up the whole story. It's not bad, but then I'm biased, right?

I picked The Coddling of the American Mind up again and made it through another chapter.

The afternoon's film was Denis Villeneuve's Sicario (2015).

This morning I discovered how to read ancient Usenet posts and lost two hours wading through old posts to alt.books.caitrkiernan. My god. Remember the Shrikes? Tape swaps? The Salmagundi newsletter? Where has all the time and all those people gone? I had no idea you could still see that stuff.

Please have a look at Dreaming Squid Sundries. Danke.

I'm out of photos from McWane, and I'm told today is "Appreciate a Dragon Day," so I leave you with shot of one of the Komodo dragons that lives on the bookcase behind my desk.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

8:23 a.m.

Curve of the Cumulative (168)

Warmer today and sunny. Our high was 58˚F.

This morning I wrote 1,449 words and finished "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." Before line edits, the total word count is 7,033 words. And later I finished reading Jim Foster's Cambrian Ocean World: Ancient Sea Life of North America.

The afternoon's documentaries included one on the history of the "lie detector" and another on the discover of the holes in the ozone layer and the successful campaigns to ban the CFCs and HFCs that caused them.

So, it really was a decent sort of a day.

I'll do my best to get Sirenia Digest 203 out tomorrow afternoon.

And Spooky's beginning to put some new things up at the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop.

I leave you with a view of part of the paleo' lab at McWane.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:43 p.m.

Psycho Cambrian (167)

A sunny day today, even if it wasn't very warm. It will be warmer tomorrow, and warmer still the next day. Our high was 45˚F.

This morning I did a very respectable 1,751 words on "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea," which is likely the most fiction I've written at a single setting since at least last May when I was writing Living a Boy's Adventure Tale. It took three hours, but I did it. I'll finish the story tomorrow, and Sirenia Digest 203 will go out to subscribers on Monday or Tuesday.

And then I have to figure out what's next.

This afternoon, a documentary on the March 1982 Alpine Meadows avalanche. I was still, just barely, in high school at the time.

Please visit Dreaming Squid Sundries, which has definitely been helping us pay the bills as we prepare for this move back to Rhode Island.

And yes, I keep using photographs from McWane, but they're vastly more interesting than anything else I have on hand.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:43 p.m.

Curtain Call for the Olenellids (166)

Yeah, this is going to be another short one. Yesterday's storm brought a wave of cold air, which will be with us until Sunday. And it's been twilight all day. Our high was only 40˚F.


This morning, despite sleeping an hour later than I'd intended, I did another 1,350 words on "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea." It was a good day's work.

The afternoon's movie was Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

I seem to have stalled out about halfway through The Coddling of the American Mind. I am simply too overwhelmed at this Orwellian nightmare.

Today's photo, well...you've seen this beast featured here before. RMM 070, discovered in 1977, reconstructed by Dr. Gorden L. Bell (retired) and Others. Billed by the Red Mountain Museum (sadly defunct since the early 1990s) as "the Greene County Mosasaur." There was even a green neon sign and t-shirts. These days, you can see the GCM at the McWane Science Center, of course, along with other mosasaur fossils from the state (some collected and prepared by me). The GCM really is a gem, though. Identified as Clidastes "moorevillensis," the specimen's been mentioned in numerous publications, but never adequately described. If you ever get the chance, stop by and say hello.

Please have a look at the Big Cartel shop. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:41 p.m.

Five Eyes and a Proboscis (165)

Rainy today, all day. Some bad storms, some tornadoes in the state. Our high was 65˚F.

This is going to be short. I'm just not in that place that drives me to continue to keep this journal.

This morning I wrote another 1,279 words on "Build Your Houses With Their Backs To the Sea." And the afternoon's movie was Denis Villeneuve's (first half of) Dune (2021), which I'm pretty sure is as close to a perfect science-fiction film as anyone has ever made.

It's gotten very hard to tell one day from another, or even one year from the last.

Please check out the Dreaming Squid Sundries shop at Big Cartel. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:28 p.m.

The Creeping Stomach (164)

Mostly cloudy today. I think there was some rain. I never looked out. Grey days, I keep the blinds drawn. Our high was 66˚F.

I was up by 5 a.m., but at least I began a new short story this morning. I did the first 1,202 words of "Build Your Houses With Their Backs To the Sea." I like what there is so far. It'll be the first time in a while I've really done Lovecraft.

I finished reading the very long chapter in Cambrian Ocean World on the Burgess Shale fauna, Chapter 6. And this afternoon's film was Ridley's Scott's Alien: Covenant (2017). It's such a frustrating film. It has it's moments, but they're mostly moments salvaged from the film that Scott had wanted to make, Alien: Paradise Lost, before he caved to pressure, gave up, and gave the world another lazy "blow it out the airlock" monster movie. But I watch it, now and then, for those few moments.

It has occurred to me that I need to scale back, in this journal, the degree to which I go on about very personal matters and, also, the politics. I used to try to stay away from both, years ago, but the this broken world has made me sloppy. I need to try harder. I gain nothing by being off putting. And anyway, that stuff, going on like that just leaves me feeling even more sick and exhausted.

And Jeff Beck has died.

Please have a look at the...you know. Because...you know. Thanks.

Have some pretty gastropods...

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:29 p.m.

"Elsewhere the Stars" (163)

A sunny day. Our high was 61˚F.

Not a good day. Not quite a bad day, either. The bad day is coming tomorrow. Still, I'm not much in the mood to talk about today. I worked. I read (nonfiction). I wished I were at McWane or in the field or even back in Providence.

I only slept about four hours last night, waking at 3:30 a.m., and before dawn I'd typed up all my notes thus far on the NMP.

I'm hoping to make it back into McWane Thursday or Friday. I got the news of my Seattle friend's illness while I was working there on Monday, and there was no hope of concentrating after that. But...it may be next week before I can make it back.

I spoke with Drew today via email. He's in far away Mobile now, where he teaches at a very cool STEM-focused high school. More turtle shenanigans are being plotted.

Please have a look at the Dreaming Squid Sundries Big Cartel shop. Thank you.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:16 p.m.
Mostly cloudy today, though it was not supposed to be. Our high was 56˚F. It is possible that winter, any real cold weather, is over for Alabama this year. We'll see.

I had hoped to spend all of today at McWane. I only managed to get in three hours. I just could not remain focused. I managed to get two mosasaurs for this next studied mostly inventoried. That is, I wrote up an account of all the bones present and the condition of some of them. It was better than nothing at all, even if it was far less than what I'd hoped to accomplish. And at least, for a while, I was in the sanctuary of the collection.

On Facebook this afternoon, someone said to me (I'm not going to use their name, simply because I cannot know if he would mind), "You are so angry. Never thought that about you. But...it's real." And my initial reaction was, "Really?" I mean, how can someone have followed me for any time at all, whether we're talking social media (gag), my blog, or my fiction, and not come away that the primary emotion motivating me is anger. Sorrow is a close second, regret the third (and sometimes they're all tied). It did not upset me that this reader had this revelation. It only surprised me that anyone could have missed it, when I've never made the least effort to hide it. Yes, I am angry. I have been angry since I was a teenager. It waxes and wanes, but it never goes away. I have learned to control it, usually, instead of allowing it to control me, as once it did. I even have a special medication that specifically helps me manage my anger. But, having said that, I want to stress that I view my anger as imminently sane. By any measure, it is an entirely rational reaction, whether we're talking about biographical particulars of my life or about the course of history. And I would say my anger tends to fall into one of those two camps (though there is, obviously, overlap): biography and history. And something I said on FB, in response to this person's comment, be extremely careful about equating anger with hatred. They are distinctly different things. Though, certainly, one can lead to the other. I guard against that constantly. I do not view anger as negative; I do hatred as negative. My anger has often, literally (in the actual meaning of the word), kept me alive. It's the only reason I have a writing career. And I think that's enough about that for now.

I learned this afternoon from Jada that someone who was once a very close friend of mine, and whom I still care about very deeply, is quite ill. And that was sledgehammer to my gut (figuratively). Many, many years ago, he moved away to Seattle. When I met him in early 1989, we both lived in Birmingham. Then we both lived in Athens, Georgia, at more or less the same time. And then he moved away to Seattle, and I don't think I've actually seen him in person since 1996, something like twenty-seven year ago. If I prayed, I would be praying for him.

I don't actually seem to have pissed off that many people by saying that I refuse to stop using the "okay" hand gesture following the 4chan troll hoax that led to actual racists adopting it. The reaction wasn't nearly as negative when, recently, I pointed out Karl Marx's racism. There was this one very, very shrill girl on Twitter than, regrettably, I had to block. Some people said they'd reluctantly stopped using the gesture, and this seems to especially upset older people, giving it up. But, again, I won't. When faced with this sort of 2lst Century Orwellian stupidity, I will, from here on, always push back. Let's make that my new "motto": push back. And just because you feel something, doesn't make it real (to paraphrase Radiohead).

I'm very tired, very worried, and I think that's more than enough for now.

The Big Cartel shop is there, and I ask that you look at it. Thanks. One day I will write another novel, and this sort of thing might not be so important. For now, it is.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

12:15 p.m.


Rainy and miserable today. The high was 58˚F.

Happy birthday to Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Alfred Russell Wallace, and Stephen Hawking.

I spent the morning working on Sirenia Digest 202, and it has gone out to subscribers. Hopefully, No. 203 will be ready in a couple of weeks. I'm just trying not to get any farther behind.

And at some point today I got stuck on the whole "okay symbol" hoax, which is really best explained in this article at the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) website. And on Twitter I said:

I've spent my life using a particular hand gesture to mean "okay," as have many generations before me, & just because a bunch of Reddit idiots got together and decided to "own the libs," I'm not going to stop. It's absurd, not racist, & I won't be manipulated that way.

~ and ~

When you set out to see a monster hiding in every shadow, when the toxic internet culture of perpetual outrage has prepared you see monsters in every shadow, odds are you will. That does not make them real.

~ and ~

What about giving someone the thumbs up? The international hand sign for "stop"? The peace sign? A fist bump? A heart made w/two hands? The ASL sign for "I love you"? The "okay sign" is as innocuous as any of these, and any of these others could be targeted the same way.

~ and ~

Here's the thing: I'm 58 yrs. old. The mess w/the "okay" sign hoax dates from 2017. So for 53 years of my life, utterly harmless meaning. Now, if you see me using it, & you mistakenly assume I'm a racist (because of THAT), it's on you & displays some amazingly uncritical thought.

I begin to wonder if I can use my fiction to vent about this shit (there's a hint in "Discord in Anthracite"), though I've always hated people who built political tirades into their books. Come to think of, I surely did that, when I was much younger. Go, me.

Mostly, I think I"m just very much tired of being alive.

And no one who loves the country should have had to live to see what has happened to America. Hell, to the whole human race. Thank you, social media. Take a bow.

There's the Big Cartel shop. Thanks.

Oh, and only somewhat unrelated:

"From time to time in the years to come I hope that you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don't take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failures of others is not completely deserved, either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you'll be ignored, so you'll know the importance of listening to others. And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they're going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortune." ~ John Roberts, US Chief Justice, June 2017

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast

11:58 a.m. (Wednesday)

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