May 19th, 2012

goat girl

"They make me feel I'm falling down."

A great Kid Night last night, which I'll come back to in a moment. And it's a beautiful, sunny, warm, green day out there (wide carnivorous sky or no), and I'm sitting here – we'll come back to that in a moment. I woke this morning at 8:30, after getting to sleep at 3 ayem. I dozed off watching Rodan (1956) on the iPad. And then I woke from a very strange dream, and I knew immediately I wouldn't be getting back to sleep, never mind I'd only managed five and a half hours (lately seven has been the norm). I left the bedroom so as not to wake Spooky, and sat in the middle parlor reading until she got up at 10:30.

Being up alone for two hours afforded far too much time for quiet reflection. I am fairly convinced most humans manage to avoid that these says, even those, like me, who understand its importance. But when I do stop and look, too often I don't like what I see looking back at me. How did I become this? Is this really me? Where does personality and artifice begin and end? I've spent so many years building up various personas, erecting alter egos, tearing them down, rebuilding, and I have to wonder if I'm still in there. Worse still, I have to wonder if I ever was in there? Yeah, getting all existential and shit, but I'm serious. I consider myself with any (inherently doomed attempt) at objectivity, and, more often than not, I'm entirely perplexed at the person I see. Do I even like this woman? Would anyone? Am I far too hard on myself? Am I failing to factor in all the most important known variables? Am I falling into a hundred different winnowing traps created by generations Y and Z, the Echo Boomers and the iGeneration? Am I not everything that is anathema to this new world of obsessive virtual socializing, freely relinquished privacy, and unwarranted optimism? Writing this, it's taking on aspects of a grotesque sort of apparent self parody. Silly Ol' Aunt Beast, that unfeeling, sharp-tongued windbag. Just a sad little goat girl lost in time and space, loony as a fruitcake, tumbling down the abyss of her own navel. Okay – hahahahahah – but enough of this.

I've been told again and again that no one reads long paragraphs if they appear online (actually, I was being told that about print in 1985, when I worked for the college paper). If this is so, I don't have to erase anything I've just said. If it's not...


Today is Andre the Giant's Birthday. He has a posse, and likely always shall.


Yesterday, I spent many hours rebuilding Alabaster: Wolves #5. And it's done, except for one logistical problem, which I only solved an hour after I was done with the last page (I'll fix that today or tomorrow). It's a much darker ending than the original one. It's also vastly less convoluted. I'll send it to my editor on Monday.

Oh, and my comp copy of David Hartwell and Jacob Weisman's The Sword and Sorcery Anthology (Tachyon Press), which reprints my S&S story, "The Sea Troll's Daughter," arrived yesterday. Which I maintain is one of my most underrated and, possibly, misunderstood tales. I am the stealth feminist, gender criminal incognito, she who shatters "genre" conventions well out of sight! Oh, also, Hartwell and Weisman's book is not to be confused with L. Sprague De Camp's 1963 anthology of the same name. It helps avoid confusion that Hartwell and Weisman actually include female authors (well, 4 women to 19 men). Anyway, yes, "The Sea Troll's Daughter," plus Rachel Pollack, Joanna Russ, Jane Yolen, and a bunch of dudes. I'm going to shut up about this book now, before I allow as how there's really no excuse for having included so few female writers. In the early 1960s, De Camp might possibly have fairly made that argument; no one today can.


Pizza from Fellini's on Wickenden Street last night, then two Kid Night movies. Both of which we saw last year in theaters, but both of which I've been wanting to see at least a second time. We started with Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s The Thing (prequel to Carpenter's 1982 film, which was a remake of Christian Nyby and Howard Hawk's 1951 The Thing from Another World, the first of three film adaptations of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s 1938 short story, "Who Goes There"). All in all, there really is a lot to like about this film, but, on the other hand, I think, in the end, if falls flat, and I hate saying that. It makes an enormous blunder right off, by eschewing the unrelenting claustrophobia and sense of isolation, that are two of the elements that made Carpenter's film so powerful, by leaving Antarctica and inserting an unnecessary scene at Columbia University. The director and screenwriter could easily have gotten Dr. Sander Halvorson from New York to Antarctica without dragging the viewer away from the Norwegian camp. For starters, if they'd have done their homework, they'd known that, in 1982, there were paleontologists working on Seymour Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the whole Columbia University digression wasn't even necessary. Anyway...I likely had more praise for this film when I saw it in the theater. And, like I said, there's a lot to like...the creature design, for example. But there's just not enough to like...

Our second feature was the extended version of Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens. I loved it the first time I saw it, and I love it even more now. The tide of critical opinion be damned. It's a wonderful, fun, and surprisingly poignant film. Ford, Craig, Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, and Keith Carradine all deliver fine performances in a "genre" mashup someone should have done this well long before. The design of the spacecraft and its mining technology is better than the creature design, but both are quite good. I'm pretty sure the studio, distributors, theaters, and filmgoers simply had no idea what to make of this film. It straddles categories and really fits nowhere convenient and marketable. Which is a point in its favor. Like this year's John Carter, it might have been a box-office bomb, but that doesn't get in the way of it being a hell of a lot of fun.

So...I think I'm taking today off. It's warm and green. The sun is shining in the sky. There's not a cloud in sight...

Yeah, Quoting ELO (I'm Old, Okay?),
Aunt Beast