Roy Batty

Bat Country

Rain. Rain. Torrential rain. Thank you, Delta.

Another mostly unremarkable day. No afternoon comfort film. GW2, instead. I only get comfort films on weekdays.

Part of the day was spent studying the lithological and chemical signatures of low-oxygen and anoxic conditions in marine and esturine environments.

I left the house for the first time since September 11th. And hyperventilated the whole time.

We're blowing through The Big Bang Theory.

Aunt Beast

11:49 a.m.

Howard Hughes and the Berlin Wall

Overcast and ugly all day, the weather, so thank you, Delta.

This day was really not worthy a blog entry. This is purely obligatory.

My afternoon comfort movie was David Leitch's Atomic Blonde (2017), a feast of 80s music and Cold War Berlin ambiance and some of the most beautifully choreographed violence I have ever set eyes on. Add Charlize Theron, and for me this is some of the best porn out there.

I spent part of the afternoon studying the molecular structure of glauconite and the depositional conditions necessary for its formation.

Aunt Beast

5:50 p.m.
house of leaves

Fifty Synonyms for Anger

Mostly sunny today. We reached 84˚F.

I began reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Lord, the 20th century is comforting.

My afternoon comfort film was one of my very favorite sf films ever, Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007). Warts and all, it's a beautiful, beautiful film. Yes, there's a horrible mess in the "third act," using the captain of the first Icarus mission as a monster when then only villains anyone ever needed in that film were the sun and their own minds. But it's such a wonderful piece of movie-making that, in my opinion, even this admittedly major stumble does minor damage. Here's what I wrote the day after I first saw the film, on July 28, 2007:

Yesterday evening, we saw Danny Boyle's Sunshine. I loved it. No, it's not the sort of hard sf that comes across like someone's astrophysics dissertation with a plot. This is a story primarily concerned with psychology, not physics or astronomy, and it should be viewed as such. Even if it fell flat emotionally — which it doesn't — Sunshine would be superb eye- and ear-candy. This is a film about awe, about the mind's struggle to cope with the vastness of space and time and consciousness, about loss and mortality and isolation. A lot of what I was trying to do in The Dry Salvages can be found in Sunshine. But if you go into it grousing about the absurdity of the premise or the fact that we never find out how the Icaraus II generates its gravity or that the bomb's far to small or anything else of the sort, you might as well save your money and stay at home. Because you've missed the point. This is a "wonder tale," not too far afield from the best of, say, Bradbury. Indeed, it's impossible not to think of one of Bradbury's most "outlandish" (and satisfying) tales, "The Golden Apples of the Sun." I found this a beautiful and deeply moving film. Not as good as the remake of Solaris, though it treads much of the same ground, but quite marvelous, nonetheless. The cast is superb. I'm not sure I could point to one particular actor and say she or he was the best of the lot. The visual effects alone are worth the ticket price. When the crew gathers to watch the black silhouette of Mercury crossing the face of the sun, for example. The soundtrack is exquisite. I strongly recommend this film, but only with the caveat stated above, because a lot of what's wrong with contemporary sf is right with Sunshine.

I skipped dinner again.

That was today.

Later, Aunt Beast

4:11 p.m.

Fifty Words for Anger

A shit day that will likely get shittier before midnight. But at least there was sun, and we reached 86˚F.

Jun came by at 9 a.m. and we swapped out the matrix samples.

I finished reading Angela Carter's Wise Children. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but I didn't. There's a single chapter, Chapter Three, that works as a good short story, but the rest is just tarted-up noise. The only one of Carter's novels that has ever struck me as possessing any of the genius of her short fiction is The Magic Toyshop.

My afternoon comfort film was Damien Chazelle's brilliant First Man (2018).

I forced myself to eat dinner.

Aunt Beast

11:56 a.m.

"And no one thinks they are to blame..."

Sunny and still warmer than yesterday. We reached 84˚F.

But Delta is on its way, and there will be day after day after day of chill and rain.

I did not write today. I signed signature sheets for Borderlands 7, which will include my story "The Lady and the Tiger Redux." There are 400+ pages to be signed, and I did not finish. Once upon a time I could have done them in a flash, but a few years back I suddenly found there to be something that struck my mind as inherently loathsome about signing one's name hundreds of time over.

I finished the Lisbon matrix sample, and tomorrow morning Jun will swing by and swap it for a matrix sample from a Pleistocene-age cave deposit from north Alabama. More on that later.

My afternoon comfort film was Andrew Stanton's John Carter (2012), the very best adaptation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel ever and one of the most underappreciated films of the last decade. It is a delight, from one end to the other.

I skipped dinner, which I do with alarming regularity these days.

Aunt Beast

12:48 p.m.
Cordon C3

"I won't let you smother it. I won't let you murder it."

Warmer today. Sunny. We made it all the way to 80˚F.

Again, I did not write.

I am almost finished with the Point A Dam matrix (see photo below; there are at least two hundred teeth in that tiny vial). Jun will be coming by Wednesday morning to swap it for another matrix sample that needs sorting. And I got back to work on Winnie today, dealing with a troublesome cervical rib exposed on the very edge of the block.

My afternoon comfort movie was Inglorious Basterds.

More episodes of The Big Bang Theory. More RP in Second Life. And Spooky warmed up the Chinese leftovers for dinner.

Aunt Beast

10:48 p.m.

Knights of Cydonia Redux

Sunny and blah, blah, blah. Our high was 78˚F.

I did not write. Again.

I picked tiny shark and fish teeth and bones from sand and gravel.

Spooky got Chinese takeout, which is the first takeout of any sort we've had since March, when our Covid sheltering thing began. Wonton soup, steamed dumplings, and chicken fried rice. Soft stuff my teeth can handle. The whole endeavor may have been slightly irresponsible, but Spooky says people are not getting sick from takeout, so...there you go.

Lots of television, including a new episode of Archer and the first episode of Raised by Wolves. The latter has potential, and Travis Kimmel is always a plus.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

12:15 a.m.

"Oh gravity, thou art a heartless bitch."

Sunny today. The high was 75˚F.

No writing today.

I did make significant progress on the Point A Dam sample. I'll finish it by Tuesday, at the latest.

We've reached Season 5 of The Big Bang Theory, and I love it more with every episode. On that note, I leave you with one of Winifred's cervical vertebrae, in ventral view.

Aunt Beast

10:10 a.m.

"Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr."

Sunny and warmish today. An autumnal wide carnivorous sky held at bay by the twin bulwarks of Red and Shades mountains. Our high was 71˚F.

I wrote about 1,000 words today. I still have no idea if they are actually leading me anywhere.

Spooky made tuna casserole and green peas for dinner.

What has that chunk of missing time, that gap in the blog, been like? Here's a hint: I haven't not left the house for more than one brief expedition of about 30 seconds since September 11.

Along with the ongoing preparation of Winifred the tylosaur, one of the several paleontology projects I'm currently working on involves picking astounding tiny fish and shark teeth and bones our of a processed matrix concentrate from the "Point A Dam" locality in Covington County, Alabama, northwest of Andalusia. Some of the teeth are only 0.5-2 mm across at the base, so everything has to be done under a binocular microscope. I have been spending about three hours a day on this project. The teeth are derived from a bone bed at the base of the Lisbon Formation, a Middle Eocene age lag deposit that likely originated within an estuary. The site was initially described by Dr. Angela Ann Clayton in her 2011 doctoral dissertation (Wright State University).

I have been reading, too. I made it half way through Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, a book I adore utterly, then got too sad and set it aside and read William Gibson's The Peripheral and Agency, and I am now halfway through Angela Carter's Wise Children.

And nights are mostly SL roleplay.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

10:14 p.m.
Cordon C3

STILL Still Here

Just another little "checking in" post. Maybe I'll manage something more substantial.

Fill in some of the blanks about that missing time in September.

Please have a look at our current eBay auctions, including a RARE copy of Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). Right now, this is a very important source of supplemental income for Spooky and I, so, please, have a look. Winning bidders can have books signed and personalized.

Today, I wrote 1,098 words.

Aunt Beast'

4:56 p.m.