I'm so sorry that you had that experience We had a similar one about 6 months ago during a proposed photoshoot for my boyfriend's goth/steampunk band (The Dirge Carolers). Within 5 minutes we realized that we where under surveillance, as the same man you mentioned was in a car following us and keeping track of us with a pair of optics. We where nothing but respectful of both the place and the graves, however he saw our dress to be "suspiciously offensive" as we where in late Victorian-era clothing. He made contact with us and ordered us out, quite rudely stating that photography was Verbotten because we risked "Stealing the souls of the dead" on film. When I asked him exactly WHAT culture exactly believed that a soul could be stolen after death by a digital photo he just radioed the gate and drove quickly away. As we moved to our cars a small pickup truck sped towards us and blocked us in while the first man in the squad car flanked us. Both of the men got out of the car in a very aggravated manner and proceeded to demand to see our camera and delete our photos. They then went on to scroll through around 50 family photos taken at Easter until they eventually got to the 5 or 6 we had taken that day. We told them that we where unaware of any rules regarding photography and they pointed to that small sign near the gate. All in all these men where ignorant and rude, quite drunk on their own sense of power and purpose. Even for all my love of Howard I have vowed never to return there until those fascist gatekeepers have been removed.
So, yes. Swan Point's finest are, in point of fact, only fighting to defend the deceased from soul-theft via camera. Makes me wonder what deleterious necromantic effects those satellite photos on Google Earth have had? This whole thing seems to grow more absurd by the day. Oh, also my thanks to Cory Doctrow and Matt Staggs for putting the story up on Boing Boing. Anyway, for the record, people, unless you are being threatened with imminent bodily harm that you wish to avoid, never surrender a camera to a security guard. That sort of thing isn't even called for under the Draconian edicts of the Patriot Act, and rent-a-cops are exceeding their authority in doing so. If they delete your photos, they are breaking the law. My thanks to wordswoman for pointing me to attorney Bert P. Krages II's website and a downloadable PDF of "The Photographer's Right." And as for the few people at "Boing Boing" who find it "creepy" that I visit the graves of dead writers I admire, I am only left to wonder (and say that I have never been, and never will be, "a tourist at a funeral")...
Yesterday, while I was trying to wake up, Spooky and I were joking around about my asking Quentin Taratino to bankroll a grindhouse film to be called Werewolf vs. Vampire, and which would be scored entirely with ABBA music. The more we talked about it, describing the fight choreography of various scenes, the funnier it got. And by the time we were done it had me rethinking a piece I first conceived of last month, a zombie story for Sirenia Digest. So, yesterday afternoon I wrote 1,006 words on something called "The Z Word," while listening to nothing but ABBA. Surreal. I'm still listening to ABBA this morning, trying to figure out if it's a good idea to continue with the vignette, hoping it will be suitable for Sirenia Digest #33, or come to my senses and write something else.
We also made the 4:30 matinée of Paul W.S. Anderson's delightfully destructive Deathrace. We enjoyed it enormously, and this is by far Anderson's best film to date. Like Neil Marshall's Doomsday, it harks back to the early films of people like John Carpenter and George Miller, to a time when sf/action films were not burdened with the baggage of blockbustereqsue formulas. Deathrace is, unapologetically, what it is and nothing more. Technically, it's sort of a remake of Paul Bartel's Death Race 2000 (1975; from Ib Melchior's short story "The Racer"), but I think it does a fine job of being its own film. I have a single caveat, involving the final scene, which I would bet green folding money was tacked on at the insistance of studio execs based on test audience comments. The film should end on Ian McShane's line, "I love this game." The screen even goes to black before that silly epilogue. Anyway, yeah, huge fun. See it. Jason Statham could almost make a heterosexual woman of me (but only after Vin Diesel gets to try).
The post brought my contributor's copy of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, which includes two reprints by me, "Ode to Edvard Munch" and "Untitled 12." I must admit I was surprised when the anthology's editor invited me to contribute, as she was clearly in the market for the sort of "paranormal romance" I definitely do not write and that whose readers definitely are not the sort who are likely to enjoy the...thrust...of my sort of erotica, which is rarely, if ever, romantic, and certainly not for the squeamish. But then she surprised me by taking not one, but two of my stories. They are, indeed, like nothing else in the book, and I appreciate whatever imp of the perverse led her to include my pieces.
Anyway, please preorder A is for Alien, if you have not already done so, and the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. It'll put a smile on the ol' platypus' face...er, bill...or beak...or whatever.