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The rain has gone, and left behind a blustery day. I dislike the gusting noise of the wind. For me, it is very near to the sound of insanity.

I am becoming reluctant to continue this journal. I'm not entirely sure why. It's become a valuable (valuable to me) means of keeping up with any number of things, and, also, I've come to rely upon it as a means of communicating news to readers. Partly, I suspect, my desire to end it may arise simply from the slow death that LiveJournal seems to be suffering. I've tried transitioning to Twitter and Facebook. But I've already given up on Twitter, and I strongly dislike Facebook. MySpace was never an option. I cannot understand why people have fled Blogger and LiveJournal for Twitter and Facebook. It's like giving up oranges for gummy bears. That is, there is nothing like a one-to-one correspondence. And Twitter and Facebook are unsuitable for my needs. So, I don't know what's going to happen. If I do eventually stop keeping this journal, I'll also stop posting to Facebook (I only post there now because the LJ is mirrored there). I suppose I will wait and see.

Spooky just called Sméagol "Mr. Muzzle." I do hope it's an appellation that doesn't stick.


Yesterday, we ventured out into the Deluges of March to see Miguel Sapochnik's Repo Men. It was not our first choice. We'd intended to see Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, not realizing it isn't yet in general release. But I was sort of interested in Repo Men. It caused me a great deal of confusion a few weeks ago when I learned of the film. My first assumption, it was a big-budget, non-musical remake of Repo! The Genetic Opera. The premises are, essentially, identical. How could it be anything else? But, of course, I was wrong, as Repo Men is based on Eric Garcia's novel, The Repossession Mambo (2009, apparently based on a short story by Garcia that, he claims, has an origin that can be traced back to 1997). Apparently, the novel was being written while the screenplay for the film was being written by Garcia. This all gets very confusing, and questions of copyright infringement cannot help but arise. Repo! The Genetic Opera was first released on November 7, 2008, and the origins of the play that inspired the film date back to 1996.

Anyway, I tried to go into Repo Men with an open mind. And, well...it's sort of a mess. The first half of the film is a sprawling, unfocused disaster. The pacing's off. The story's a rehash of themes and images from Repo! The Genetic Opera, and the generally excellent cast feels wasted. There's a lot of annoying suburbia/family crap that feels like padding and/or a weak attempt to dishonestly cajole the audience into having sympathy for a character who is, of course, a legal serial killer. Indeed, I think the first half of the film could have been pared down by at least half an hour or so (the film has a 111 minute running time), and it would only have helped matters. However, the second half of the film— which is concerned with a repo man's (Remy, played by Jude Law) attempt to escape having his heart repossessed by his former employer —sort of redeems the first half. I actually enjoyed the second half. It caught my attention and held it. No, the second half of Repo Men is nowhere near as smart or cool or sexy as Repo! The Genetic Opera, but it made for a decent bit of futuristic action film, and the ending didn't take the easy way out. Still, I'd say wait for the DVD, and I'm glad we only paid matinée prices. But it's worth a look. The cast is strong, even if the script is wobbly and the direction uneven. I very much liked Alice Braga, and there are some nice visuals, and the soundtrack is very good. But I'm still waiting to find out exactly how (or if) Universal Pictures has avoided a lawsuit from Lion's Gate or Twisted Pictures (or any other party concerned with the creation of Repo! The Genetic Opera).


I didn't get much work done yesterday. I sat down to proofread a story that I've just sold reprint rights on, something I wrote in 2001. And I couldn't read more than the first couple of pages. I'm afraid I'm going to have to start refusing to permit reprints of anything I wrote before, say, 2003 or 2004. I've simply changed too much as an author, and I'm no longer fond of most of my earlier work (say 1992 to 2001). It's dispiriting to read a story I wrote nine years ago, and not be able to get through it. It's even more dispiriting to think that someone might encounter me for the first time through one of those earlier stories (or novels) and judge the writer I am now by them.

"Smile, folks. It only gets worse," said the Platypus to the clams.


( 35 comments — Have your say! )
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
A good bunch of people who are leaving LJ have gone to Dreamwidth, which is (in my opinion) a far far better place than LJ ever was. The admin are committed to remaining ad-free and have been just downright amazing. They're committed to making sure that the website is accessible to all with disabilities. They actively encourage people to make suggestions and, if people want to, they can help work those suggestions into the system. (Yes, they have tons of average people coding! It's great.) The people seem to be so much more mature and the conversations there are so so wonderful. I can't say how much I adore it there.

It's invite-only, but I have plenty of invites so if you'd like to have one, I'll happily give you one. Just PM me.

Edited at 2010-03-24 05:12 pm (UTC)
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
I've already got a Dreamwidth account. I've had it for about a year now. I created it during the last major panic over whether or not LJ was about to implode, and I transferred a good deal of the journal there (including comments).

However, I'm personally very happy with LJ. I dislike the way people online flit from one service to the next. I need stability. I've heard the same claims that TypePad is vastly better than LJ. To me, it all balances out. And getting everyone who (supposedly) reads the LJ here to read it at Dreamwidth (which has yet to prove its staying power) is too great a hassle to even consider.

But thanks, regardless.

Edited at 2010-03-24 05:15 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - amethyst_clan - Mar. 24th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Repo v. Repo
According to Darren Bousmann and Terrence Zdunich, they were advised that, though the core ideas were quite similar, the actual execution of the two films were different enough that a lawsuit was a nonstarter. There's more on the repo-opera.com site, I think.
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Repo v. Repo
Re: Repo v. Repo - greygirlbeast - Mar. 24th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Curious as to why you see LJ struggling? I think I may have missed something. I sincerely hope, like you, that the masses remain and we can maintain some foundation. LJ is a foundation for my daily journaling and I use FB and Twitter to communicate with a totally different audience. In fact, it was the use of FB and Twitter that drove me right back to LJ even stronger.

I know what you mean about writings from a decade or more ago. I shudder to think anyone would read them. I half-heartedly think I should have some midsummer bonfire for them, but another part of me keeps them to show I have more work to do and revel in the progress I have made.

That said, I have enjoyed all your work.
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)

Curious as to why you see LJ struggling?

Multiple reasons, much of which has been documented in the press. LJ's popularity has taken a major plunge over the last couple of years. And partly, my comments follow from the that fact the number of comments I receive has fallen off rather dramatically, as have the daily hits for the journal. Also, I look at my friends list, which use to get so many posts I could keep up with them. Now there are only a handful each day (and often those consist of obnoxious relays from Twitter, not actual journal entries).
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I hope you continue to journal in some form. It's been fascinating to me to read your perspective on writing. It's very much as I imagined; so I'm glad to see proof that great writing is possible in spite of how damn hard it is. Of maybe because of. Not that I'm an aspiring writer. I'm just someone who is always intrigued by process. Plus, I really like your photographs.
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I don't see this as Livejournal's slow death, but a refinement. Speaking for myself, all the brainfarts I have in a day end up on twitter, and most of my online socialising takes place on farceborg, leaving my Livejournal more or less a thing of content and thought. More and more I only post to Livejournal if I have something considered to say. It's not really a social tool for me any more, but a reflective one.
Your mileage may vary. I do read your posts, but I seldom believe I have anything worth saying in reply (except glowing tentacle dildos).
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: OT

Ah..neat. Thanks. I'd not seen this announcement yet.
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I can't stand facebook, I stopped using it after a month. I still sort of used twitter, though it's new RT feature drives me up the wall and I'm not particularly enthralled by the service any more.

Aside LJ being slow and having technical problems all the time, I find it's still my home. Perhaps the fact that it's no longer popular is what I like.

Of course, I'm not trying to use it any sort of business sense, so there's that.

I hope you stay.
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)

I hope you stay.

I hope there's something to stay for.
(no subject) - bellarabesques - Mar. 24th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Mar. 24th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chris_walsh - Mar. 25th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fusijui - Mar. 24th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Mar. 24th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fusijui - Mar. 24th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
The dubious joys of looking at older writing...
I just sent off my dissertation to get copy-edited for "publication" - a process which has moved in fits and starts for about two years now (and which I really have to finally get done now).

But I just looked at a page again that I hated when I wrote it, and I still hate. I am going to have to change it because I cannot contemplate it being published as is without physically shuddering it is so bad.

The other day somebody asked me for a copy of something I wrote my first year of grad school. I've looked at it a handful of times since then and every time it just looks more and more like crap (both style and content).

I like to tell myself I wasn't a bad writer before grad school - but I'd be lying to myself. That said, I'm not certain that grad school itself diodn't instill a certain number of bad habits as well.

Take care.
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Re: The dubious joys of looking at older writing...

But I just looked at a page again that I hated when I wrote it, and I still hate.

My problem is I look at things I rather liked when I wrote them, only to discover that now I hate them. Silk and Threshold, for example.
Mar. 24th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Repo Men with an open mind

in reality, with organ transplants, you end up hostage to the drug companies for the medications so you wont reject the organs.
Mar. 24th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)

We are all hostages, to at least one thing or another.
(no subject) - martianmooncrab - Mar. 24th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
It may seem like LiveJournal is dying but it isn't. It's just that the people who posted one-line blurbs here and had nothing to add to the conversation have hied themselves to the places where they feel more comfortable, and that is no insult to any platform. There are more options, which means interactions have decreased here as supply and demand for means of online expression changed. For a long time, long-form blogging and Usenet were the only games in town and when new things come along, numbers change. That doesn't equal death, I think.

LJ is harder than FB and Twitter. There is a depth required here that demands time and energy that some do not have or desire to have online. It requires more real content and therefore, people with kids eating their every second, people without much to say, people seeking mindless entertainment like Farmville, and people who never evolved from rooting for the high school home team have gone elsewhere. The water level has sunk a bit in places like this but the fish left at the bottom are more palatable. Those of us who are left reading you are also blogging and if you do leave, as people like you leave, that really is a nail in the coffin of true blogging.

Be aware that many people read without commenting mainly because our f-lists have grown to the point that commenting on all entries is impossible. However, blogging on this level may demand interaction and if so, I will do my part to start commenting here and in other journals, but it may help to occasionally check your stats to get a real idea of what is going on. It was astonishing to me the number of people who read my blog regularly without commenting or even "friending" me. People read without commenting and while I wish they would comment, simply reading me is a form of interaction, I think. Just different from how it was in 2002.

Also, almost everyone who has friended me on my LJ lately is young. Way young. Like I could be their mom post-college. It's weird but heartening because even though there are fewer of them, there are plenty of people who want this and want to read you, me and everyone else who still sees the benefit in this place.
Mar. 24th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
"I've simply changed too much as an author, and I'm no longer fond of most of my earlier work..."

I wonder sometimes about bands and how they muster up the energy to play the same hit songs that they wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago - especially if their sound has really changed - say U2's album "Boy" compared to "Pop." It's got to be tough if you've changed a lot musically and/or emotionally since writing that hit album or single, but that's all anyone wants to hear, even if it was written ages ago. It's got to be kind of surreal to have the "you" that wrote that stuff preserved in that album or single even if you're not really that person anymore - like some kind of shadow-self. A sort of Horcrux I guess. I don't know if I'm making sense, but that's what your post brought to mind.

Here's hoping for better weather and better days...
Mar. 24th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)

I wonder sometimes about bands and how they muster up the energy to play the same hit songs that they wrote 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago - especially if their sound has really changed

I think about this, too.
Mar. 25th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
Please do not stop journaling. It sounds silly, but as a reader of your work it really enhances what I've read of yours. And not to be platypus, but I wouldn't have even known about The Ammonite Violin, or ordered the superlative advance copy, if not for your journal. The fact that I can post questions about your work and you're open to reply still boggles my mind. But it's awesome.

Again, excluding personal value as you're the best judge of that, the comments and conversations sparked by your journaling alone have built quite a community...if you feel like you need to migrate, as a webperson I wanted to make sure you knew that you can move everything, including comments, to Wordpress, for example. That would preserve the signal, and reduce loss to noise. So you do have options, if the lights go out.

Mar. 25th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)

And not to be platypus, but I wouldn't have even known about The Ammonite Violin, or ordered the superlative advance copy

This ability to get the word out, couple with force of habit, is what has kept me from stopping. I just need LJ to continue to be useful at getting the word out.

if you feel like you need to migrate, as a webperson I wanted to make sure you knew that you can move everything, including comments, to Wordpress, for example. That would preserve the signal, and reduce loss to noise. So you do have options, if the lights go out.

I have no desire to migrate. I want to stay right here. However, if migration were to become a necessity, thanks. It's good to know.
Mar. 25th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
I don't see LJ as struggling, but it definitely hasn't made many advances in the last eight or so years I've been using it. It's had basically the same format while other blogging sites have made a lot of useful, more current features available.

I've become a big fan of Tumblr; if you can get past the trendiness of it all it really is a great way to share your thoughts and interests.
Mar. 25th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)

It's had basically the same format while other blogging sites have made a lot of useful, more current features available.

I only need LiveJournal to perform a single function, which it does. Screw the "apps."
Mar. 25th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Greybeast, I do sincerely hope you do not stop this journal, although I understand your concerns and objections. For those of us who read it, and cherish it, there is simply no substitute, and doubt you'd ever find yourself entirely without readers. You might migrate to your own website; I've considered doing that on my own, but in truth I publish so little of my own journal that it hasn't mattered yet.

Again, please know we're here, bright-eyed in the dark, ears perked for what ever slightest laugh of sigh you toss our way; you are the fire at cavern's entrance.
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
The old works
I know I'm far behind with this comment, because I read the journal in fits and starts. But though I understand how you feel about your older stuff being cringe-worthy to you, because you've evolved, I think, from a reader's standpoint, you're being tough on your old stuff. I'm personally very glad that I managed to track down a copy of From Weird and Distant Shores, and plan to keep those older collections for a lifetime of re-reading.

However, I do get it. Old work is, old work. If you had it to write over again, you wouldn't do it the same way, if at all. This is just a shout out to say that most of us readers still probably like all that, Silk and Threshold included. It's nice to cover a writer's body of work and watch the evolution, while still remembering what drew us to them in the first place.
( 35 comments — Have your say! )