July 6th, 2008

talks to wolves

"Embrace the void even closer still..."

It would seem that the local pyromaniacs shot their wad (so to speak) Friday night and Saturday morning, as last night was quiet. Thank gods. My nerves were not up to Night #2 of the rockets' red glare.

As for yesterday, no library, because they were all closed. So I made do with the internet, which was barely making do at all. However, there was a significant plot breakthrough, the sort of thing that never occurs to me when I'm actually writing. Also, Spooky had unearthed a rather dubious nugget regarding Lovecraft's paternal grandfather (and the man who was, essentially, the closest thing HPL ever had to an actual father), Whipple Van Buren Phillips (1833-1904). There was a bit of something posted to a UFO-related website, describing WVBP as "a notorious New England occultist." While intriguing and grist for the novel, this seemed, to me, just a bit unlikely, and I emailed Joshi about it. He agrees there's nothing to it, that it may all stem from a tongue-in-cheek introduction that Colin Wilson wrote for George Hay's Necronomicon (1977) hoax. Yes, Phillips was a Freemason, but then so were half the men in my family (okay, that's an exaggeration). Yes, Phillips fostered HPL's childhood fascination with the Weird, but my mother did the same with me, and she's a fairly conservative Xtian. In other words, dead end. However, HPL does have ties to the Moosup Valley region of Rhode Island which I may play off of in The Red Tree. Spooky and I went through a great deal of Rhode Island history yesterday, the Colonial Era through the 18th Century, and then she read me everything that has so far been written on Chapter Two, which, maybe, I'll be able to finish today. The more I learn of Rhode Island's early history, the more I think the state motto should be "Biggest Little Troublemaker."

Not much else to yesterday that's fit for public consumption. I did get some pretty good SL roleplay late last night (thanks to Joah, Cerdwin, and Bellatrix), and yes, that call that went out to the nascent "Sirenia Players" group is still good. Come to Toxia and play a rabid lunatic devotee to Labyrinth. IM me for details, or just show up, because confusion is appropriate when answering the call of Eris Discordia. blu_muse got some nice screencaps from last night, which you may see here. Labyrinth's new exoskeleton is coming along nicely....

Something I've not done in a while, which I'll do now, is post links to all those books of mine currently in print, the particular editions that need to sell for my publishers to continue to publish books by me. Please grab one or two (or three). And, no, sadly buying "used" copies doesn't help. Thanks:

Daughter of Hounds

Silk

Threshold

Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

And, of course, there's always Sirenia Digest.

One more thing for now, apparently some very kind and generous individual purchased the complete Angel DVD collection for Spooky, from her Amazon wish list (it vanished from the list), but it has yet to appear, and she's worried that this kindly, generous someone might have spent their money for naught, if the package has been lost in the mail. So, if you're reading this, and you were the giver, you might want to look into it. She says thanks.

Postscript (5:23 p.m.): I have just learned from ellen_datlow of Thomas M. Disch's suicide on the 4th. She writes, "I'm shocked, saddened, but not very surprised. Tom had been depressed for several years and was especially hit by the death of his longtime partner Charles Naylor. He also was very worried about being evicted from the rent controlled apartment he lived in for decades."
Middle Triassic

Addendum: Crabbing Gulls

Yet another odd and wonderful thing we witnessed during our most recent trip to Beavertail (7/03) was an example of tool use by two Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus). It was getting dark, and we were seated on the foundation of the old 1753 lighthouse. The wind was becoming truly bone-chilling, and we were just getting ready to head back to the car, when two gulls climbing about on the rocks just a few feet below us caught our attention. While we watched, one grasped a twig in its beak, and the other a dried cluster of Irish moss. They proceeded to lurk about the ledges, sticking their heads into the crevices, and Spooky suggested that they might be "fishing." This seemed absurd to me, as I knew of no instance of gulls of any species using tools. And, I pointed out (pedantically), they would have to be crabbing, not fishing. We sat and watched, and though we never actually saw them catch anything, it began to seem very plausible to us that they were, in fact, poking about in the spaces between rocks trying to get a crab to seize the lure, at which point they could drag it into the open. Turns out, Herring Gulls do, in fact, use tools in precisely this way*, and that's what we were seeing, after all. There are two photos, behind the cut:

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*See, for example, Pierre-Yves Henry and Jean-Christophe Aznar, 2006. "Tool-use in Charadrii: Active Bait-Fishing by a Herring Gull," Waterbirds The International Journal of Waterbird Biology (Volume 29, Issue 2 [June 2006]).
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