hallways

"But maybe everything that dies someday comes back."

Nice weather today. Mostly sunny. Our high was 84˚F, with heat index at 86˚F. Currently, it's 83˚F.

This morning, I wrote another 1,308 words on The Night Watchers. I am now at that point where I live in fear it will suddenly cut out on me. If I can just make it to 20k words, I think I'll be in the clear.

I know you guys have been waiting on a new novel for a long, long, long damn time. Thank you for not losing interest.

And I talked with Jun at McWane; I'll be there tomorrow afternoon. And I sent an email to the collections manager of the vertebrate paleontology collection at the University of Kansas. And I spoke with Mike P. about one of the mosasaur papers I'm coauthoring with him. All this almost makes me sound social, which of course I'm not. It's just pixels in the void. Oh, and I dig out some extra signature pages I needed to sign for Centipede Press weeks ago, for their edition of The Haunting of Hill House, for which I wrote an introduction (or an afterword). I signed those today (see below), a shamefully long time after they were sent to me.

That was my day, give or take. I got no work done of Mosasaur Paper #1 and no prep work done on Winifred. Oh, I promised to tell the story of what happened yesterday. A day later, it's not all that goddamn interesting. The dental tool I was using sent a tiny bit of sharp glauconite sailing towards my face, and somehow it got around my safety goggles and my safety glasses and landed in my one good eye, the right. I dashed to the bathroom to clean my eye and gashed my left forearm open on a protruding bit of wood, and suddenly I was bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig. I got the glauconite out of my eye, no harm done, and I washed the wound, got it to stop bleeding, and then bandaged it. But I can't help but be amused that this beast that's been dead ~85my can still draw blood. Good for her.

---

More politics? Sure. Why not? I am reading a lot (and I mean a lot) of history about the World Wars these days, and it is impossible me not to listen to the hysteria and hatefulness and name calling being showered upon us by the fascist Trumpian cultists and not hear in their voice the same contempt that Nazis held for intellectuals and scientists, artists and professors, queers and the "anti-socials" and Jews and so forth. Indeed, the way Trumpians spit words like "authority" and "scientist" and "experts," they might as well be Nazis talking about Jews. This is what is happening. This is what is really happening. A war not only against non-European races and women, but a war on science and education, and it will destroy us as surely as any nuclear missile. COVID-19 gave the masses of uneducated and willfully ignorant something they have longed for as long as I can remember, a chance to deny science when the consequences of doing so are life and death. Yeah, I don't know why either. But I see the huge chip on their shoulders. I hear the insecurity in their voice. I see their shame, and how they want to bury in darkness everything that makes them feel less. And kiddos, you ask me, ignorant people are not anything but a chance to educate and make less ignorant people. I have no contempt for the uneducated, unless they seek to elevate ignorance to a virtue. Which is exactly what the Trumpian cultists are busy doing. And if, over the next two years, they win, where does that leave the scientists and the scholars and the artists upon whom civilization depends for its survival? What do you think will become of us and all we have accomplished? And, by the way, I'm not talking about what will happen if the "Republicans" win. Near as I can tell, the actual GOP is all but extinct, and, in no small part, it was a suicide. What I'm talking about is the victory of the Trumpians and all they represent and all they want to see come to pass and all they long to burn to the ground.

It has taken a lot to make me ashamed to be American, but these fools have turned the trick.

---

Please take a gander at the current eBay auctions. The taxman commeth. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast




11:17 a.m.
Bowie3

"I don't give a damn for the same old played-out scenes."

Sunny today. Our high was 84˚F, with a heat index of 87˚F. Currently, it's 82˚F.

This morning (drum roll, fanfare of brass instruments, all that) I wrote the first 1,123 words of what I am fairly certainly is not a false start for The Night Watchers. I figure the first 10k words will prove me right or wrong. I'm aiming to write a minimum of 1k words/per day at least six days a week. At that rate, if all goes well, the book will be done a little after Xmas. I very much like what I wrote this morning and so does Spooky. She said, "It feels like the beginning of a movie that's gonna be quite a ride."

And then I worked on Winifred, and there was an accident that...you know, I'm gonna explain that tomorrow. Right now I'm kinda rushed, and I do not want to shortchange the slapstick value.

But speaking of paleontology, I said on Twitter today, "Starting to look like 2022 (Toronto) will be my first go at an SVP presentation since '87 (Philly). That was a platform session, this will likely be a poster session. That was mosasur biostratigraphy, this will be mosasaur...well that's a secret. But talk about an unconformity!" and "But FIRST I have to finish The Night Watchers, my next novel, in order to 'earn' that SVP presentation." I can't even imagine at what will be a virtual scientific conference, but I guess that bridge will be crossed when we come to it.

----

It occurs to me (since I can't stop talking politics), that Trump is pretty much just a far dumber Adoplh Hitler for a vastly dumber bunch of assholes. Likewise, QAnon is just far dumber version of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," though of course QAnon does manage to incorporate that hoaxed document in its surreal rabbit-hole ideology. But with alien lizard people and pizzagate and chemtrails and stolen elections and, you know, all that crap.

From Facebook (yesterday): "When you believe that we stand such a crossroads, with America having, at most, another 3 years before the curtain comes crashing down on this democracy, to be replaced by TrumpLand/Far Right fascism and the end of free elections, how does one simply live their life day to day? How do they have the heart remaining to divide their time between such pursuits as fantasy novels and an admittedly "luxury" science? I do not have that heart, and I am too old and tired and ill to fight. I can think only of escape plans. And if I am judged for this by some future generation that might survive, well, that's just how it goes. Fuck 'em."

From Facebook (today): "It just occurred to me that I'm that person in the disaster movie who gets to say 'We're not gonna make it' about twenty seconds before impact. Impact with what? Take your pick. I think I'd rather be the person in the diaster movie who gets to say, 'If you're gonna do something, you better do it right fucking now.'"

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Vielen Danke. These auctions are currently saving mine and Spooky's butts. And she put some new books up today.

Also! My Tater Bean shirt arrived yesterday, from the glorious weirdness that is VanderWild. I'm gonna be living in this shirt for a while. The photo somehow selectively bleeds out the colour. The possum is appropriately psychedelic, but you can hardly tell the shirt itself is pink. But look at the sleeves. Now, go order one for yourself, every one of you. Proceeds go to save critters.

Later Tater Beans (now you know what I mean),
Aunt Beast




12:33 a.m.
Ellen Ripley 2

"I've seen nothing but a spoke in a wheel."

Yeah, so...sunny today. That was good. Our high was 82˚F, with a heat index of 84˚F. Which is our current temperature, at twilight.

I'm not eating again. Stress, fear, anger, overwhelming depression, all that good shit. My appetite evaporates, and then my weight drops even more, and I cannot afford to lose anything more. Someone called me "rail thin" today, and she wasn't wrong. But I cannot seem to figure out how to force myself to eat. And not eating, my cognition, my ability to think, is affected, and everything I do is thought. The novel I'm trying to write. The multiple scientific papers I'm working on. It is all pure thought turned to words and placed on paper, syntax and style and story and morphology and the mathematics of evolution, and without the requisite nutrition to be my very best, I'm screwed.

But you don't want to hear about that shit.

You don't want to hear this, either, but I'm gonna say it. To all those starry-eyed progressives, those disciples of Bernie and Marx and AOC, to those folks, this is not the time for idealism. This is not the time for making things better than they were before Trump became president. This is not a time when you can afford to disapprove of President Biden because he hasn't "defunded" the police or passed "Medicare for all" or what the hell ever. This is the age of holding the line, if we are lucky. This is the age of fixing what Trump broke that can be fixed. We will very likely lose legal abortion very soon, nationwide. That is the reality, and you can gauge what is and is not now possible against that. Then you set your expectations accordingly. We stand to lose a nation. We stand to live out the rest of our lives in the TrumpWorld dystopia that once was America. So, the order of the day is not to try and force Biden out on a limb, but to hold the line. Pray we don't lose big in 2022, that we at least keep the House. Pray Trump (or whoever Trump picks) is not president in 2024, because that person truly might be the last American president. Accept that utopia is not coming, and we will not all be treated equally in your lifetime, and be grateful if we come up with some shy of an utter hellscape.

And do not alienate the moderates. You need us, as we need you.

Anyway....

My picture today is a poster ("Sauropsids of the Niobrara Formation") by Gabriel Ugueto, a Miami-based paleoartist who is just astoundingly talented. He did a painting that will appear in one of the Cretaceous turtle papers I've done with Drew Gentry and Jim Parham. I got this poster in May, but only just hung it yesterday.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast




10:29 a.m.
Roy Batty

Entry No. 6.278

Watch the world burn.

Sunny today, thank fuck all. Our high was 83˚F, with the heat index at 84˚F. It is now 80˚F, at twilight.

Last night, I heard our owls, and I also heard coyotes. When we leave next year, likely for some urban shithole, I will miss the wildlife. And the trees.

Posts I made to Facebook today: "When you believe that we stand such a crossroads, with America having, at most, another 3 years before the curtain comes crashing down on this democracy, to be replaced by TrumpLand/Far Right fascism and the end of free elections, how does one simply live their life day to day? How do they have the heart remaining to divide their time between such pursuits as fantasy novels and an admittedly 'luxury' science? I do not have that heart, and I am too old and tired and ill to fight. I can think only of escape plans. And if I am judged for this by some future generation that might survive, well, that's just how it goes. Fuck 'em."

~ and ~

"But the best friends of fascism are ignorance, greed, superstition, and our innate tribalism/xenophobia. We simply cannot seen to overcome these things, not at the level of populations. Very few of us even try...or even recognize them as problems. But if we are to survive another century on the planet, well...there's where it gets depressing."

Oh, and one from Twitter: "Can someone remind me why living in 'sexual anarchy' would be a BAD thing? It sounds kinda win-win to me. In fact, it's about the only sorta anarchy I would endorse."

It amuses me mightily how devotees of Twitter think the great evil is Facebook and maybe Instagram, and how Facebook folks look down their virtual noses at Twitter. Though, most everyone older than twelve seems to agree TikTok is evil incarnate. They're not wrong.

Also, I wish I'd stop being asked to appear on "diversity panels," even if they are Zoom. I'm pretty sure no one wants to hear what I have to say, no matter which pronouns I use (they/them/their, and fuck you, Ursula K. Le Guin).

One grain of sand at a time.

Anyway, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Danke.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast




4:42 p.m.
Bowie3

"Show me yours and I'll show you mine. Meet me in the woods tonight." (Redux)

Mostly sunny today, with a little bit of clouds. But it was a wild, stormy night. There were times the lightning was so constant it seemed as if the night was trapped beneath a flickering sun. There was flooding in some nearby areas. Our high today was 83˚F. It is currently 81˚F.

A bad day. A very bad day, though I slept well enough.

I cannot overcome my own escape velocity.

This, from Facebook (deleted almost as soon as I posted it): "Biden's failure, and the return of TrumpWorld, was written in stone as soon as the January 6th coup failed. But Trump and his cohorts are the people we, collectively, as a nation, deserve – perpetual trolling, tearing down, blind ignorance and arrogance, pettiness, disregard of history. The age of optimism, enlightenment, and struggle for a better world has ended."

I believe this statement to be no more controversial than the proposition that men have walked on the moon.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Before they begin burning books.

Thank you.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast (just a little black rain cloud)




12:49 a.m.
hallways

" Don't you know that I could make a dream that's barely half-awake come true?"

Oh, by the way...

Some sun today, some rain. Our high was 79˚F, and it is now 71. We still have a flash flood watch.

I was awake at 6 a.m., out out of bed half an hour later, when it was clear there would be no more sleep. I did a little paleo'. I made some notes for The Night Watchers. I am toying with this book being, in part, sort of in the background of the novel, in its hind brain, what fascist America will be like. Note, I do not say what it would be like. I say what it will. Because, barring a miracle, 2024 is the end of American democracy as we know it. Or hey, maybe I'm just a loon. Or both.

But we are now in a world where those who do not think like us, or look like us, or see the same solutions, or...whatever, have become The Other, and the only way to deal with The Other, as so many monster movies and horror novels have taught us, is to destroy it utterly.

Something I almost posted to Twitter today, but only almost: "We have sunk so far that it is futile to say (esp. on social media) that our survival as a nation depends entirely on stepping back from the precipice of Them vs. Us, that the keystone of democracy is now & always has been compromise. And yet...I am saying it again."

Also from Twitter, ""Now that you're a paleontologists again, are you still a writer?" Two part answer: 1) I was never NOT a paleontologist and 2) YES. Short fiction aside, I am currently at work on my next novel, The Night Watchers, which I hope will be out late in 2022. How? I never sleep."

~ and ~

"Someone asked if, at some point, my storytelling will return to Rhode Island. I honestly don't know. After 3 novels & maybe 150 short stories set in New England, I begin to feel I can exhaust a locale. The Night Watchers is set primarily in Alabama, where I grew up."

...but anything I could have said I felt somehow that you already knew.

I stopped working – then writing/paleo' work – and did something that I've been needing to do for a couple of weeks. I cleaned the nook of this room devoted to the preparation of Winifred the Tylosaur. Jesus, the chalk dust. Photo below. I spent about an hour and a half on that. It's not a perfect job, but it is now much better than it was, and we put new paper down on the table, as the old paper had turned brown and crispy.

You know, they call it bipolar for a good reason. Late morning, I was almost ecstatic, giddy, almost joyful, for no particular reason. By 3 p.m., I wanted to cut my throat. For no particular reason. And yes, I am very medicated for this. But the medication is far from perfect.

Here's this stuff again, and please have a look. Thank you: Are you one of those old timers who remembers my "monster doodles"? On and off, I have offered them via eBay, drawn them in people's books, and so forth, going way back into the 1990s. Well, Spooky got the idea of rounding up some of the best of the hundreds lying about, and she's taken my black and white doodles and put them into living color. Soon, they will be available in her Red Bubble shop on everything from stickers to T-shirts. For example, "The Ugliest Cat in the World," which I drew waaaaaaay back in 2004 and which was sold to Robin Hazen, who is kindly allowing us to use it for this. Here's a link to the monster doodle collection thus far, ink by me, color by Spooky. Also, in Spooky's Etsy shop, the last remaining eight copies of the sold-out trade edition of The Variegated Alphabet, if you should be so inclined.

And there's the usual eBay auctions. Thanks, because the taxman cometh.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast




10:20 a.m.
Narcissa

"This one's a rager..."

A rainy day with a few merciful periods of sunlight. Our high was 77˙F, and it is now 70˚F. We have a flash flood watch, still.

Today is the 106th anniversary of Henry Fairfield Osborn's description of Tyrannosaurus rex. Happy birthday, Tyrant King.

Some stuff I posted to Twitter the past couple of days:

yesterday, re: the Facebook/Instagram outage: "My only concern about FB and Instagram going down is that they will eventually come back up, and that they didn't take TikTok with them. As for Twitter, well, yeah. I'd only miss it for a week or so."

And today: "It isn't just that Facebook is toxic to the process of democracy, that the damage outweighs any potential good, it's that social media is toxic to democracy, and there's no way to fix that."

~ and ~

"Jumping back and forth between writing fiction and describing the finer points mosasaur cranial morphology...well, I think my eyes have begun to bulge ever so slightly."

As for the latter, even as I try to pull together The Night Watchers for Subterranean Press, I had a great two and a half talk with Mike Polcyn this afternoon on the intricacies of plioplatecarpine evolution. Honestly, my long talks with Mike are one of the best things in my life these days.

From yesterday, a repost: Are you one of those old timers who remembers my "monster doodles"? On and off, I have offered them via eBay, drawn them in people's books, and so forth, going way back into the 1990s. Well, Spooky got the idea of rounding up some of the best of the hundreds lying about, and she's taken my black and white doodles and put them into living color. Soon, they will be available in her Red Bubble shop on everything from stickers to T-shirts. For example, "The Ugliest Cat in the World," which I drew waaaaaaay back in 2004 and which was sold to Robin Hazen, who is kindly allowing us to use it for this. Here's a link to the monster doodle collection thus far, ink by me, color by Spooky. Also, in Spooky's Etsy shop, the last remaining eight copies of the sold-out trade edition of The Variegated Alphabet, if you should be so inclined.

And now I'm gonna go do some RP on SL, because I am not immune to the wickedness of the web. And time must be passed and endured.

Later Tater Beans,
Aunt Beast (Queen of the Plioplatecarpinae)




6:34 p.m.
Cordon C3

"Deep in your veins, I will not lie."

Yeah, so...I honestly did not mean to skip two days. In fact, until just now I thought I'd only skipped one. And yet...two.

Rainy today and overcast. Currently, it's only 79˚F. Our high was 82˚F. We have a flash flood watch.

I really am gonna talk about the writing soon. Both the book I'm trying to start and how I feel about Echo (from The Dreaming) thirty years after I created her. Both those topics are up for discussion. As soon as I spare that much precious focus for the blog (which I know so few people read, so I have to ration the attention it gets).

What else? Well, we saw The Many Saints of Newark last night, and my only criticism is that I want MORE. That was an awful lot to try to accomplish in two hours. And we are now all caught up on Billions, through Season Five. I was sorta sorry to hear that Damian Lewis had left the series, but it is a thoroughly understandable move. The most fascinating thing about the undeniably addictive and compulsively watchable show is how uniformly loathsome are the characters (and the younger, the more loathsome), and yet...I sorta love it. There is an unapologetic truthfulness, free of tiresome moralizing. This is smart descriptive writing, not prescriptive writing. And that is what I myself strive for. Also, we have begun watching The Counterpart, which Chris described to me as "Fringe meets John le Carré," so I had to watch, and of course I got hooked. Frankly, in some ways, it's better than Fringe ever was, more sophisticated, less campy. Lots of TV.

Are you one of those old timers who remembers my "monster doodles"? On and off, I have offered them via eBay, drawn them in people's books, and so forth, going way back into the 1990s. Well, Spooky got the idea of rounding up some of the best of the hundreds lying about, and she's taken my black and white doodles and put them into living color. Soon, they will be available in her Red Bubble shop on everything from stickers to T-shirts. For example, "The Ugliest Cat in the World," which I drew waaaaaaay back in 2004 and which was sold to Robin Hazen, who is kindly allowing us to use it for this. Here's a link to the monster doodle collection thus far, ink by me, color by Spooky. Also, in Spooky's Etsy shop, the last remaining eight copies of the sold-out trade edition of The Variegated Alphabet, if you should be so inclined.

Part of yesterday was spent digging through my old notebooks, going back to 1992, looking at all the old doodles.

And there's the usual eBay auctions. Thanks, because the taxman cometh.

And I think that's all I have for you now. I'll be back tomorrow.

Later Taters Beans,
Aunt Beast




11:59 a.m. (yesterday)
hallways

"You're waiting for a train."

Hello, October.

Mostly sunny today. Our high was 86˚F. Currently, it's 85˚F.

Nothing at all, really, that can be said for today.

The afternoon's movie was Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). There. That's something.

Please, have a look at the current eBay auctions.

Later,
Aunt Beast




9:15 a.m.
Roy Batty

"Witness me."

A cloudy, muggy day, but at least there was no rain. Our high was 84˚F, with a heat index of 87˚F.

Here's something to make us all glad we lived to see 2021: "Death’s come knocking a last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species: The U.S. government on Wednesday declared them extinct." (AP)

Twenty-three birds, two fish species, a bat, eight molluscs, and one plant, all of which had been on the US Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species list. And as horrible as it is to finally give up hope on these thirty-four species, in truth, this is not even the tiniest tip of the current anthropogenic mass extinction event. It's hard to be sure precisely how many species we are losing per year, between habitat destruction, pollution, poaching, climate change, and...so forth. But it is most likely...you know what? Fuck it. I do not feel like writing this shit down AGAIN. Just look up "Holocene Mass Extinction" on Wikipedia. It's all there.

Meanwhile, the UN estimates that around 385,000 babies are born each day around the world (140 million a year). The last thing this planet needs is even one additional human.

Anyway...

The afternoon's movie was Mad Max: Fury Road. There was leftover stoup for dinner. And a handwritten letter in the mail, which I have not yet read. But thank you, Cristine. I will read it, by and by.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Later,
Aunt Beast




2:45 p.m. (day before yesterday; I'm gonna miss that place so bad when we flee Alabama next spring)