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Night of the Mutant Wombat

Late last night...well, early this morning, actually, about 1:50 a.m., I was in the living room, getting ready to go to bed. I switched on a lamp, switched off a space heater, then turned so that I was facing the windows. And a fat little animal came trundling out of our yard, over the curb, and into the street, where it was plainly visible beneath the streetlights. At first, I thought it must be a cat. There are so many on this street, but then the details of its morphology began to sink into my sleepy brain, the way it moved, and I saw it was clearly not a cat. Nor was it a dog, of any sort. I have chosen to believe it must have been a raccoon, or perhaps even a posssum, which had somehow lost its tail. Because I will not believe that I saw a wombat crossing the street. I have enough to worry about without rogue wombats wandering about Atlanta in the dead of night. I only saw a wombat, which is not to say there was ever a wombat there to see. I shouted for Spooky immediately, as it crossed the street. She was in my office, doing something online, and by the time she made it to the window the womb...er, I mean the tailless raccoon or possum had vanished beneath a white SUV parked across the way. I think she thought I'd lost my mind good and proper, as I was babbling on and on about this strange-looking animal, the odd way it moved, its stocky build, the angle of its forelimbs relative to its body, and she dragged me out onto the front porch, but there was no sign of the beast anywhere. It was not a woodchuck. It was not a skunk. And it most certainly was not a frelling wombat. I said, "It looked like a tiny bear," and Spooky rolled her eyes and told me to go to bed before I hurt myself or she decided to do it for me. I said, "I choose to believe that I saw a raccoon or a possum, without a tail," and "Fine," she said and rolled her eyes. "Now go to bed." No, I was actually sober, and it helps not in the least that there was only about ten feet between me and it, or that the street light was quite bright. I do so dislike that sensation of having seen something I feel I wasn't meant to see, even if it is only a possum or raccoon. Now, I know what Charles Fort would have to say about nixars who say they've seen tailless possums or raccoons when they've plainly seen a wombat at 1:50 a.m. almost 10,0000 miles from where wombats have any business being. Charles Fort had much to say about displaced (or misplaced) things and animals and people. But, thankfully, I only have to answer to Spooky.

Anyway...

A good writing day yesterday. 694 words. Quite unexpectedly, I began a new story — "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4") — which I suppose will be appearing in Sirenia Digest 11 late this month. The last few days, a ballad, "The Twa Sisters" (recorded by Loreena McKennitt as "The Bonny Swans"), has been going round and round in my head, wanting to be retold as a short story. I think this is it, though there's not a swan in sight. I am unaccustomed to having so many stories in my head at once. Right now, there's "The Ammonite Violin," and there's also Joey LaFaye, and there's also The Dinosaurs of Mars. I'm used to one story at a time, so my head is story stew. Anyway, expect "The Ammonite Violin" to be paired with grandmofhelsing's interview with Vince, and perhaps also with "Lafayette." A lot of you may not have read "Lafayette," and it's an old favourite from Tales of Pain and Wonder, which I've begun to think of as "Murder Ballad #2."

It pleases me that the drop-down menus on LJ use entry instead of post.

Byron came by last night, halfway through Heroes, and stayed for Dr. Who. He would not, however, stay for Battlestar Galactica. Because, said he, he has yet to "drink the purple Kool-Aid." Which is to say, Byron has managed to hold his grudge against the Sci Fi Channel much more faithfully than have I, and even now, four years later, he's not forgiven them for cancelling Farscape. Truth is, I haven't forgiven them, as the act in question was unforgivable. I just decided, reluctantly, I wasn't going to be stubborn and miss Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica over so negligible a matter as mere principle or integrity. But Byron's better with such things than I am, inconvenient things like principle and integrity. Not quite so much better that he'll miss Dr. Who, but betterer enough that he refuses to watch Battlestar Galactica, which he knows he would love. I think he figures that Dr. Who is merely being shown on the SFC, while Battlestar Galactica was created by the SFC and took Farscape's place. But, anyway, I'm going to experiment with two-word TV reviews:

Heroes: still optimistic.

Dr. Who: brilliant, delightful.

Battlestar Galactica: wow, again.

Eh. Next week, I think I shall allow myself four words for each review. Also, I finally sat down and listened to the new disc from the Decemberists, The Crane Wife. Exquisite, says I. Quite different from Picaresque. There are fewer of the flights of fancy we saw in, say, "The Infanta" or "The Mariner's Revenge Song." It seems a more grounded and solemn album. There are murder ballads (there's that phrase again), in "The Landlord's Daughter" and "You'll Not Feel the Drowning." There's reference to the Civil War ("Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Again)") and the seige of Leningrad ("When the War Comes," and how can I not love an album with an ode to Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov?). But there's still some whimsy, particularly in the "The Crane Wife," parts 1, 2, and 3, though it's a sad sort of whimsy. Only one song seems suited to the 20th Century, "The Perfect Crime #2," and then only just barely. I think my favourite track is "Come and See," though the last song, "Sons and Daughters," is awfully good, as well. Anyway, no sour notes here. Check it out. I do wish that Petra Haden were here, though.

Oh, yeah. After Battlestar Galactica, I finished Drakengard 2. Well, one of three possible endings. I won't risk any spoilers, only say that I loved the game, Manah's still hot, and it was quite difficult (I played it set on "challenge"), but I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. I'm not usually like that. I tend to treat the ends of stories like history. Which is to say, that's what happened, regardless of who dies or is betrayed or gets away unscathed. I figure, the author knows what is to come, what happens, the history of the story sheheit is telling, and the reader is merely watching. This is what I believe. Just so long as it rings true. But I did not find that the end of this game rang true. It seemed an eleventh-hour plot twist, put there to stun and take aback. I'm going to have a break from gaming, at least until Final Fantasy XII comes out at the end of the month, as there's so much writing and reading to get done. But I will come back to Drakengard 2 one day and find those other endings, hoping that one of them rings more true.

Okay. I got behind on e-mail yesterday and must catch up. And then, well, you know.

Comments

( 19 comments — Have your say! )
cause_catyljan
Oct. 14th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
Nice to hear someone else still has Olan moments...
laudre
Oct. 14th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
It might be a nutria. They're apparently spreading northward, and they do look a bit like wombats.
docbrite
Oct. 15th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)
They do have tails, though. Louisiana pays a bounty of $5/tail because the little fuckers are so destructive.
laudre
Oct. 15th, 2006 04:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know, but their tails are a little small, so I figured it might just have been a matter of angle or what-have-you. Mel had the same thought, and even voiced it before I did.

I hear they're good eatin', too.
docbrite
Oct. 15th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
Several years ago, local chefs made an effort to get diners interested in eating nutria by renaming it "ragondin" -- a vain attempt to keep people from thinking of those rodenty faces and big orange teeth, I guess. The "ragondin" sausage and jambalaya I tried were pretty good, but the trend failed to catch on and you never see it on menus now.
laudre
Oct. 15th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
And a quick Google confirms that "ragondin" is just the French name of the overgrown rat-thing. My curiousity about the etymology of the French word will be set aside for a later date, but their choice of name seems to say something about the culinary world; what, exactly, I'm not sure.

Mel says she'd try it. And it's a relative of the rabbit, so it can't be all that bad in my book, either. I'd try that sausage.
styggian
Oct. 14th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
There is always so much to say about your entries..lol
Isn't there a zoo in Atlanta?
It's possible isn't it?
Also, I was wondering about Drakengard because I thought the first one was only moderately enjoyable and got repetitive pretty fast.
FFXII comes out at the end of this month doesn't it?
sovay
Oct. 14th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Quite unexpectedly, I began a new story — "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4") — which I suppose will be appearing in Sirenia Digest 11 late this month. The last few days, a ballad, "The Twa Sisters" (recorded by Loreena McKennitt as "The Bonny Swans"), has been going round and round in my head, wanting to be retold as a short story. I think this is it, though there's not a swan in sight.

I am looking forward very much to this.
activistgirl
Oct. 14th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
There was a tailless squirrel by my grandma's house we called "Stubby" when I was a kid-it was sad when he stopped showing up.

I've been meaning to tell you that I finally got my hands on a copy of Threshold and obviously it was brilliant but I wanted you to know that since I was reading it while listening to The Crane Wife practically on repeat the two are now linked in my head-esp."Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Again)"(which is my current favorite). It's cool how some of the imagery is similar (wolves and weevils chewing on bones and whatnot...).
You totally scared the peewater out of me since I somehow managed to be home alone with the TV and lights off when I was reading chapter thirteen.
greygirlbeast
Oct. 15th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
since I was reading it while listening to The Crane Wife practically on repeat the two are now linked in my head-esp."Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Again)"(which is my current favorite). It's cool how some of the imagery is similar (wolves and weevils chewing on bones and whatnot...).

As I was reading this comment, "Yankee Bayonet" was playing. So, there you go. :-)
activistgirl
Oct. 15th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
My next mission is to find a copy of Low Red Moon to re-read. It was the first of your books that I read (and thusly, you'll be pleased to know, "out of order"). For some reason I was certain it was among the six books and one chapbook that I had and I was amped to re-read it after Alabaster and Threshold but found my collection lacking. I should take suggestions for music to accompany that one when I get it!
lunablack
Oct. 15th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
Possibly a nutria. Yeah, they're up in the US now. Saw one at a gas station and it was a bit freaky.
tesseractive
Oct. 15th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
At least you didn't make a tummy cake in your sleep: The Ambien Cookbook</s>

(My guess would be a nutria too.)
shadowmeursault
Oct. 15th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
bwah! i loved The Ambien Cookbook!
um, but that's not what i meant to say.
i'm going to third (or fourth) the nutria bit, as they are common in swamp areas around Mississippi and Louisiana.
also wanted to say that i finally got off my eema and preordered "Daughter of Hounds" today. can't wait.
any suggestions on how one might go about obtaining a copy of "From Weird and Distant Shores" without a small bank loan? ;)
lm
Oct. 15th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC)
I found From Weird and Distant Shores at a used bookstore for $14. The key is to lie in wait and then POUNCE the minute you find it for a reasonable price.
eldritch00
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
How fortunate! To Charles Fort, with Love is the only collection I have, and while Tales of Pain and Wonder is still in print, I've heard really bad things about the Meisha Merlin edition. I think I will eventually get it though.

Anyway, I was struck by this:

It pleases me that the drop-down menus on LJ use entry instead of post.

I have a strange dislike also for referring to "my LJ post."
lm
Oct. 15th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
My family used to stay at a cabin near the Lake Tahoe area and all the raccoons there were mutants--they had rat-tails instead of bushy tails. Of course since I was a kid my dad's friend told me that there was a psychotic ranger that lived up there and skinned all their tales. But I've decided that was just a story.
dantree
Oct. 15th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
I am now really considering Drakengard 2 once I am done with Dragon Quest VIII, although I have not played the first Drakengard so I am not sure if I should pick that up first ot not. What have been some of your favorite games? I have been interested in knowing.
sisyphusiren
Oct. 16th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
I saw a peacock walking along the side of the road on the main street in my town (I live in South Jersey); I know it happened because I was stuck in traffic for 20 minutes while every redneck in a pickup truck for two miles in front of me stopped to gawk. A friend called animal control and was told: "Oh, they live around here."

So I say, go ahead and say you saw a wombat.
( 19 comments — Have your say! )