Tags: terror

Western Interior Seaway

Tomatoes from Mexico

Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) died today. So, there's the day's measure of fresh sadness.

Another mostly hot and sunny day. We did get some clouds, and some parts of the city got rain. Downtown got rain, but not much. But the heat index only reached 97˚F today. Currently, it's 82˚F, with the heat index at 85˚F.

A long, long, long day today, and I'm really too tired to be making this entry. I was awake a six a.m. and up at seven. There was breakfast from Jack's, a trip to the bank, trips to the pharmacy and Target. I had to be at McWane at one p.m., and...you know, I'll come back to MacWane on Friday, because I have another day there tomorrow, and I'm almost too tired and sore to make sense. Oh, and Friday I have ton go back to being a writer again.

Yesterday, we saw It Chapter Two, and...I wish I could say I wasn't disappointed, because I loved the first film so much, but the farther I get from having seen the second film, the less I like it. And mostly, it comes down to this: it was unnecessary. The first film was damn near perfect, and it had a good ending, and that should have been that. Sure, all of King's bloated novel wasn't there, but all the good parts were. I should say again that It (1986) was the novel when I finally began losing interest in King (The Tommyknockers came along and finished what It began). So I was amazed when I loved the first film, and I had hoped to love the second, but I just don't think the director could have pulled it off. The cards were stacked against him. And yet, the cast was uniformly good, and Bill Skarsgård was still excellent, and the creature effects were mostly still amazing, and they tossed out most of King's absurd cosmogony. But the just went on and on and on and on and on, meandering and circling back and losing track of itself until it descended into a trite, sentimental parody of the first film. So, that's what I think. You may not agree. Make up your own minds, as always. But in summation: It's not a bad film. I wouldn't walk out or want my money back. It was just unnecessary.

We're watching Bosch, because we needed a show and there are five seasons and I love Titus Welliver. And no, Bosch isn't terribly good TV, but it is very watchable. And Titus Welliver.

Please, check out the eBay auctions and Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop. Thank you.

And as for the day's measure of lingering sadness, it seems almost impossible that 18 years have passed since 9/11/01, the most terrifying day I have ever lived through, a day that changed America forever. I have not forgotten any of it. I never will.

But hey. Tomatoes from Mexico. Because Alabama tomatoes just ain't good enough. Or maybe they all go to Mexico. Anyway, I got John Wick 3 – Parabellum waiting for me, so...


4:37 p.m. (Hadrodus hewletti, RMM 1950; see Bell, G.L. 1986)

"Secrets locked up and loaded on my back."

Overcast and rain, and currently it's 51˚F, with the windchill at 46˚F.

Day before yesterday, I answered a series of questions about Black Helicopters from a copyeditor at Tor.com. By the way, you can now preorder the book on Amazon. The release date in May 1.

These grey days are the ugliest side of winter.

On Facebook yesterday I wrote, Right now, Donald Trump is a small, small terror compared to the terror I feel at this latest round of writer's block. I've written nothing substantial since sometime in November. I can't think of anything that instills in me more self loathing than an inability to work.

Yesterday, Kathryn went to the post office in Olneyville, to mail the signature sheets for Black Wings VI to Lynne Jamneck in New Zealand. I asked her to please take a photo for me of the most desolate thing she saw. So, I have this photograph of the Woonasquatucket River, which is, in fact, at best, only a creek.

Aunt Beast

2:53 p.m.
Roy Batty

Two and a Half Minutes

Mostly cloudy today. Currently, it's 36˚F. Last night's low was 30˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,406 words and finished "King Laugh." It will be featured in Sirenia Digest No. 142, which I hope will go out to subscribers tonight or tomorrow. The "all ghoul" issue has been delay until No. 143. It'll happen when it happens.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock is now set at two and a half minutes until midnight – the closest we've been to nuclear war since 1953 (and the second closest we've ever been). Yesterday, I told Kathryn Pollnac I simply cannot write fiction and live with this level of constant anxiety and dread and terror. I have no idea how to move forward – and I don't want to hear that bullshit about how our science fiction and fantasy authors matter now more than ever, because it's a damn lie.

The world does not need any more darkness foisted upon it, and I cannot write light.

This morning I made a rare post to Twitter: Frankly, the Doomsday Clock now stands at 2.5 minutes until midnight, and I have no time or energy to worry about anything else. All other human concerns pale in comparison.

We finished the rewatch of Season Six of RuPaul's Drag Race last night. I have now seen some of those episodes four times. Right now, the world needs drag queens a whole lot more than it needs me (or anyone) writing more darkness.

Aunt Beast

7:01 p.m.

Howard Hughes Goes Dark

Fuck you, October. Once upon a time, I did not hate October. I hated autumn, in general, since I was a kid, but October got a pass, because of Halloween. My enthusiasm for Halloween waned years ago, and now October 1 marks the beginning of autumn on my head calendar, and so I fucking hate it. Add to that the much cooler weather in New England. Yesterday was a dismal, wet last day of September. Currently, it's 58˚F and sunny.

If I have a "superpower," it's the power to always make my situation worse, no matter how bad it may be.

Yesterday, I waded back into Black Helicopters and tried to pick up where I left off on a scene I last worked on in late July. I didn't get very far. I'll try harder today. I need to plow through this Black Helicopters stuff in the next few days.

A nightmare this morning, and I won't go into the details, but someone I used to admire, a former mentor, said, "I honestly expected more of you." And he also said, "We're starting not to miss you." Right.

Though I'd hardly recovered from the masterful final episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, last night, Kathryn and I finally watched Trey Edward Shults' It Comes at Night. I suppose that it's a very effective post-apocalyptic/psychological thriller. But I just cannot watch "horror" films anymore. post-November, I no longer have what it takes. The message of It Comes at Night seems to be "When terrified and desperate, human beings will do unspeakable things to one another. Even good people will do this." But we know that. I no longer see any need to keep repeating that particular truth. And we know that humans don't have to be scared and desperate to commit atrocities. It's a given. A hard, cold fact. No need to say it again. This is why, for example, I stopped watching The Walking Dead at the beginning of the last season. I just can't do it anymore. My nerves are shot. My constitution not longer permits "terror and horror as anything remotely resembling entertainment." And given my vocation, this puts me in a very difficult situation.

I'm very tired.

Aunt Beast

10:45 a.m., today
The Red Tree

"There's no future, there's no past. In the present, nothing lasts."

He only did what any of us would have done, surely. He only checked his Facebook to see if he were being noticed.

It's supposed to be a little cooler today. I think we made the mid eighties yesterday. The middle parlor made it to 82˚F, but fans cooled things down nicely by bedtime, around 2 a.m.

Yesterday, a trip to the Providence Public Library, research for The Starkeeper, vintage books on UFOs (1970s), Immanuel Velikovsky, abduction paranoia, and so forth. We saw the library's current art exhibition, "Portals: The History of the Future." A Sony Walkman, unrealized utopias, wax cylinder recordings, "Hiroshima U.S.A." There was a quick trip to the East Side for groceries and beer, then back home, and I spent most of the evening reading.

Leftover pasta salad, an avocado.

And today, the new Radiohead on vinyl, plus (!) CaseLangViers.

Aunt Beast

The Red Tree

"But you know she'll never ask you please again."

I awoke to the news of the Bruxelles attacks.

It's sunny and 40˚F here, though it only feels like 33˚F.

Yesterday was lost to a headache of extraordinary severity. But at least the snow had all melted away by mid afternoon. It was really an amazing melt. I can now go back to watching the slow march of Cold Spring.

I was in bed by 1 ayem, after passing out in the front parlour. I never get to bed that early. I was awakened at 5:30 by a car alarm and didn't get back to sleep until after 6:30, after sunrise, but, all told, I slept at least 7 hours. More than usual. But it was an odd, feverish sleep. At one point, I was dreaming of a farm that had a license to sell human infants as food. A lot of ten was referred to as a Grand Tequila.

Don't ask me.

Aunt Beast
The Red Tree

"Close up on temptation, just don't let me taste you."

Despite this warm weather, they say we have a significant amount of snow headed our way, for tonight and Friday. At the moment, it's 52˚F. Overcast.

And I'm not well. I didn't make it out of the house yesterday. I'm going to try and spend a couple of hours at the library this afternoon, proofreading, but I have a feeling after that I"ll be off my feet for two or three days.

I was very pleased with the season finale of The Expanse. The death of Julia Mao was handled very well. Beauty, terror, awe, and horror in just the right proportions. Several people have said the scene reminded them of something I'd have written. I don't disagree.

Aunt Beast

Ten Years Ago Today

The last few days, I've been thinking, What am I going to write? What am I going to say? On that day, which is this day. And looking back, I don't think there's much more, for me, to say than what I said a year ago, which is (modified):

Ten years have come and gone. And we have our memories of the horror of that day. And we have the legacy of that day, which is not only our memories of the horror of that day, and our memories of those who died.

We have war in Afghanistan. We have war in Iraq. We have the Patriot Act. We have Islamophobia. We have torture at Gitmo. We have injured and traumatized war veterans returning to a country that will not care for them. We have TSA's "guilty until proven innocent" behavior. We have new memorials, to those who were heroic, and to those who were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of nothing,
And nothing has changed.
Everything has changed.
For in truth, it's the beginning of an end,
And nothing has changed.
And everything has changed. -- (David Bowie, "Sunday")

And my mind reels at the knowledge that children born that day are turning ten years old today, and they never knew the world before.

As for my personal memories of that day. I watched on CNN, unable to believe what I was seeing, terrified, crying because that was fucking New York City. It would be a week before I learned if everyone I knew in Manhattan was safe. I was living in Atlanta at the time. Kathryn was at a job interview, which was interrupted by the news. That afternoon, with fears of additional attacks and the nearness of the CDC, an obvious and especially terrifying target, we left Atlanta for Birmingham. The flashing traffic signs on the strangely deserted interstate that usually warned of accidents ahead were all reading "National State of Emergency Declared." I remember, most of all and for the first time in my life, seeing a night sky without airplanes.

(Also, you should read this post by kambriel.)


Everyone needs to read this article, "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents," unless you already know how bad the schools in America are, and how much of that damage is being done by parents. When I was in elementary school, many – if not most – of my teachers had been teaching (I shit you not) for thirty or forty years. Many had taught my mother. "Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years..." And "we" wonder.


Good work yesterday.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter for The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. We finished with 301% of the funding we were seeking. I promise you, we'll make the best book trailer in the short and sordid history of book trailers.

In Memoriam,
Aunt Beast

Pictures That Move, and Pictures That Have Ceased Moving

I awoke this ayem, sometime before dawn, to my first real New England snow. When I woke again, about an hour ago, it was still snowing. It's still snowing now. The world is white, and all the sharp edges are smoothed away. There is no carnivorous blue sky. There is, rather, a comforting lack of distinction between earth and sky. The rooftops are covered, and the trees, and the lawns. White.

The only really important thing about yesterday is that we finally got to see Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in (2008). And wow. A reviewer in one of our local papers wrote, "Who would have predicted that the finest horror picture in years, reminiscent of Val Lewton classics of 1940s Hollywood, would come from Sweden." Well, I might have. Sweden is sort of creepy when you think about it, all those fjords and ABBA and 7th-Century standing stones and what have you. Bang on with the Val Lewton comparison, though. One of the most striking things about this film, which is filled with striking elements, is it's voice. It is so wonderfully soft-spoken. It is a long whisper, punctuated with screams that have meaning because of the whisper. In short, it lived up to my expectation, and I was very pleased with the unexpected gender issues raised in the film. Lina Leandersson, who plays the vampire child, Eli, is especially effective, in her gentle childhood vulnerability and her oddly ancient moments and those scenes where she slips into a feral frenzy. I am pleased with the film's restraint, and by its refusal to submit to either formula or easy morality. And it's just so beautiful. I keep coming back —— in my head, and also when Spooky and I talk about Låt den rätte komma in —— to it's snowy landscapes, its black nights, the smothering cold, and the silence. It's easy to think of many instances when the silence is shattered, but those instances only seem to underscore the totality of the silence, the stillness, the winter that may as well be unending. And, of course, this story permits the vampire to be a vampire. Not a watered-down daemon lover that sparkles by daylight, not necrophilia dressed up as bloodless romance for necrophiles who would rather not admit what gets them hot and bothered (though, it should also be noted that, if Eli is to be believed, she's not actually dead). There is innocence here, and profound corruption. In the end, what Eli truly is remains, at least in part, a secret, one that the film wisely leaves us to sort out for ourselves. Yes, I loved it. I encourage you to see it in the theatre if you can, and, if not, track down the DVD as soon as it's available. Definitely one of the four or five best films I've seen this year. I'm posting the trailer again:

Otherwise, yesterday was just me resting, wishing this part of the semi-vacation did not have to end next week. There was warmed-over chili for dinner (after the movie). I read, first "The aquatic sloth Thalassocnus (Mammalia, Xenarthra) from the Late Miocene of North-Central Chile: biogeographic and ecological implications," and then went back to the long-neglected Victorians and the Prehistoric: Tracks to a Lost World. Late, we read more of The Fellowship of the Ring. Well, Spooky read aloud to me and Hubero. There were pomegranate martinis. We played WoW for two or three hours, and Shaharrazad and Suraa (my blood elf warlock and Spooky's blood elf paladin, respectively) both reached Level 36. I think that if we are to continue playing WoW, we'll be concentrating on our Horde characters and letting the Alliance ones go. The Alliance was sort of icking us both out, anyway. I'll only play Shaharrazad and my blood elf paladin, Hanifah (who happens to be Shaharrazad's kid sister). And that was yesterday, for the most part. It was bitterly cold when we went out last night, the coldest night I've felt since the trip to Manhattan in November.

The snow has stopped, I think. At least for now.

Behind the cut are two screencaps from WoW, because I've never posted screencaps from WoW:

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Addendum: Lisa reminder

Because I am such a very forgetful nixar, I neglected to mention in this morning's entry that Spooky's very first doll auction, the one that will determine the ownership of Lisa, ends tomorrow. It now has about 19 hrs. remaining. Have a look. Really, guys. I want this one out of the house. She's started whispering things to me in the dead of night. Not-nice things...

Click here to save me from the dollish evil.