Saturday, January 31, 2004
Ugh. I seem to be getting sick. Which is sort of odd, since I've not left the apartment in four days and neither Spooky nor Jennifer are ill. Outside, the temperature is somewhere in the twenties, adding to my misery.
I think Spooky's wrong. Were I one of The Endless I wouldn't be Distraction, I'd be Dilemma.
Last night, we sat through House of the Dead, easily the worst zombie film of the 21st Century. Possibly the worst zombie film of the 21st and 20th centuries. It actually made Resident Evil look good. It's that bad.
I want to lie in bed and read. Shirley Jackson. John Steinbeck. Ernest Hemingway. Harper Lee. That's how I feel.
Maybe I just need to get out of here, even if it is cold enough to raise woolly mammoths out there. Maybe I need to go out amongst the teeming, noisy, dissatisfied press of humanity and stretch my legs. Maybe I'm utterly frelling delirious.
I know you all mean well, bless your hearts, but please, please, please don't send me links to stories about creationists. It'll just make my heart beat funny. Yes, I know what's happening in Georgia. It's nothing new. I used to waste exorbitant amounts of time and energy and passion fighting this sort of willful ignorance. It used to be "my thing," back in the day. But I finally saw the futility of my ways and gave up. If humans want to believe they sprang fully-realized from the mud, the product of some fatherly deity's whim, what the hell. Let them have their silly little fairy tales. Let them cram their superstitions down the throats of their children. Let them reap the benefits of science while denying its most fundamental tenants. They're the ones missing the wonder and the beauty and the sublime grace of the universe. Sure, life would be a little easier for the rest of us if they'd grow up, but they aren't going to, not for a long, long time yet. They're ignorant and that makes them feel safer. The world has left them behind, and will continue to do so. If I could be bothered to give a shit, I'd cry of them. But I can't. I will not fret for them or their children. In the end, I suspect they are irrelevant.
Just don't send me stories about their legislative antics and I'll be fine.
Ryan Obermeyer's doing the cover for The Dry Salvages. I'm happy about that.
There's only about ten and half hours remaining on the "buy it now" and get a little monster drawing offer. Go to our eBay auctions and take advantage of my boundless generosity.
Friday, January 30, 2004
I frelling hate frelling football, and I especially frelling hate the frelling Super Bowl. I hate the game, I hate the commercials, I hate the spectacle of no-brow "culture" that attends the event.
I just had to say that.
You humans have a most curious and annoying idea of fun.
I think I lost yesterday. It slipped between the cracks of Wednesday evening and Friday morning and dissolved like a "Styrofoam" cup in a beaker of acetone, leaving behind only an unsightly film of simpler polymers. I think I washed my hair. Spooky was in a sort of fender bender, but don't worry, she's fine, just pissed off and shaken up. I tried to get some work done on Nebari.Net, but couldn't seem to find the momentum. Last night, we watched two eps of Farscape (3:17 and 3:18, "The Choice" and "Fractures"). Then Spooky dozed and I watched Naked Lunch, which reminded me how much of an influence Junky was on Silk and made me want to read it again (Junky, not Silk).
You only have about thirty-six hours and thirty minutes remaining to take advantage of my offer of one little monster doodle for every "buy it now" purchase on our eBay auctions. Remember: Pulitzer Prize. Sigourney Weaver. No more global warming. Little monster doodles skyrocket in value. It's a sure thing...
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Remarkably, we finished with the copyeditor's marks on the CEM yesterday afternoon. I've never before made it through a CEM in less than a week, and we did this one in two days. Which leaves me a little extra time to look at tweaking. I don't tend to rewrite. It usually comes out the way I want it the first time. But this is a very strange and complex novel and I might need to chisel a little.
All in all, this was the least annoying CEM I've ever had to deal with, I think. Yesterday there were only a few things that made me balk. I refuse the capitalize "internet," because it looks stupid and I don't see it as a proper noun. And if you think that you've ever had coffee from a Styrofoam cup, let me tell you, Dow is out there to set you straight. So, what the frell does one say instead? Foam cup? No one would know what I was talking about. I just changed it to a paper cup. But when you get to the scene wherein Marvin Gale is having a conversation with a San Francisco police detective, and he gets coffee in a paper cup, remember that it really a "Styrofoam" cup, sensu lato, in disguise.
I think my difficulties with this sort of editing can be summed up thusly: Language serves man, not the other way round. Artists must never be held, strictly, to grammatical standards and rules, especially when those rules arise from corporate concerns and when they cannot be demonstrated to be anything but arbitrary, embracing no systematic and internally consistent infrastructure. A distinction needs to be made between that which is written for simple "solid" communication (letters, advertisements, online posts, etc.) and complex "fluid" communication (art and spoken conversation).
There were a lot of phone calls and e-mails yesterday: my editor at Penguin, Ryan Obermeyer, Ted Naifeh, Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. Days like that, my office actually seems like an office, instead of just this big, cold room where I write and keep all my books and action figures.
This cold is driving me nuts. Someone needs to tell the Canadians to shut their backdoor, please.
Make me feel all warm and fuzzy by buying something from our eBay auctions today. It's still not too late to use "buy it now" and get one of my little monster doodles. The offer stands until midnight on Saturday.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Yesterday, Spooky and I made it through the prologue and the first five chapters of the Murder of Angels CEM (258 pp.). The copyeditor was somewhat more merciful this time around and it's going much faster than anticipated. With any luck, we may finish today. So far, it's mostly me insisting that the ms. use "towards" instead of "toward" and stuff like that. There are a few weirdnesses, apparently brought about by the superfluous eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster's. I don't have a copy, because I prefer the OED and figure my Web. 10 is still perfectly sufficient for my ends. It seems, though, that "rest room," which I have long argued ought to be one word, is now one word, "restroom." That's a good thing, I suppose. On the other hand, it now seems that when compound words for colors (blue grey) are used as modifying adjectives (blue-grey sky), no hyphen should be used (blue grey sky). Baloney, says I. The hyphens stay. It took me too goddamn long to learn that the hyphens "should" be there to stop using them now, just because a bunch of language geeks have changed their minds. Anyway, this is the sort of silliness that consumed yesterday and shall consume today.
And speaking of reviews...
It has become clear that the someone/s (I shan't name names, except to say that I don't mean Bill Schafer/Subterranean Press) whose responsibility it was to send out the advance reading copies of Low Red Moon to prospective reviewers did, at best, a half-assed job of things. Puzzled at how few reviews LRM has received, compared to Threshold and Silk, I've been making inquiries and discovering that a lot of people who should have gotten ARCs simply didn't. And now I'm wondering how much damage this has done to the sales of the novel and if it's too late for me to do anything about it. This is, of course, the sort I thing I shouldn't have to worry about, ever, the sort of thing other people get paid a salary to worry about. But this is how publishing works. The author must be hands-on. The author must micromanage. The author must obsess and fret and nag. Or risk this sort of crap.
Anyway, the day's bleeding away and I've got corrections to uncorrect. Blah, blah, blah.
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Want to see something unbelievably asinine? Check out what an anonymous Kirkus reviewer wrote in response to Poppy's very polite letter correcting factual errors in his review. I don't know what's worse, that the editors of Kirkus don't take more care with what they publish, that they publish anonymous reviews, or that they actually forwarded this hysterical, illiterate crackpot's letter to Poppy. Someone has a very large chip on his or her shoulder.
Reading the reviewer's reply to Poppy, it occurred to me how paradoxical is our concern for what's published about our work in magazines like Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus. Sure, on occasion, a reviewer might have something insightful to say, and that's cool, but the truth is that our readers scarcely even know that these publications exist. How many of you have ever read a single issue of Kirkus? How many of you choose your book purchases based on the opinions of its reviewers? Of the thousands of you who read this blog, a tiny handful, at best. Sadly, though, libraries do make decisions about which books to buy based, in part, on these reviews and library sales are very important. And publishers quote the positive reviews on the covers of our books. Otherwise, we'd be free to disregard them completely.
I think the worse thing about dealing with CEMs is that they force me to consider grammar. English grammar is such a contradictory and sloppy affair that it hardly warrants any consideration beyond the most superficial sort. One's time would be better spent watching grass grow. I have a big stack of grammar texts, all perfectly respectable, and they contradict each other with alarming regularity. Beyond the OED, which really has little to do with grammar, I see very little evidence that standardized grammar is actually standard. But, regardless, I have to do this thing, undoing most of the ce's "corrections," because I might not be William Faulkner but at least I have the sense to know that The Chicago Manual of Style has nothing to do with writing fiction.
The vacation is officially over. Truthfully, it ended with the "lull." It was only a false lull.
Yesterday, Spooky and I braved the cold and fog and misting rain to drive up to the Fernbank Science Center (the sister institution to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History). It's a quaint little museum, somewhat reminiscent of the old Red Mountain Museum. A bit of a hodgepodge, taxidermied examples of the local fauna, a cast of Barnum Brown's Tyrannosaurus rex skull, the Apollo 6 capsule, lots of meteorites, a globe of Mars, a few interactive physics exhibits. There's also a planetarium and observatory, which I believe we will start frequenting. The coolest thing, though, is that they have one of Paul Jonas' life-sized Struthiomimus sculptures, from Sinclair's Dinoland exhibit at the 1964-1965 World's Fair. The big stegosaur sculpture at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History is another of Jonas' Dinoland creations. I'm heartened to see that they survived all these decades.
Oh. I didn't go to Alabama, but I suppose that's obvious. I just didn't feel like making a blogger entry yesterday. I may go to Alabama tomorrow evening. The weather was just too yucky to frell around with I-20.
Sunday, January 25, 2004
I think using this blogger to record writing-free days most likely constitutes an abuse of intent.
Yesterday was an oddly good day. I redecorated the office a little (never mind the impending move made necessary by the condiminiumization — I think I'm in denial). Then Spooky and I went for a long walk in Piedmont Park and marveled at freakishly small dogs. Afterwards, we dropped by Oxford Comics for the newest Gloomcookie and other geeky stuff, then went to the video game store at Lenox. We swung by home, picked up Jennifer, and had dinner at The Vortex at L5P, where I got very slightly, pleasantly tipsy. Back home, we watched the third episode of Firefly, which, I say again, really is very good. Then we watched an episode of Bewitched, which was a bit bizzare because a) I was nuts about the show as a kid (though not as nuts about it as was my kid sister) and b) I'd not watched it since at least the late '70s. The episode we saw was one of the late ones, with Dick Sargent instead of Dick York (The real Darren), originally having aired February 4, 1971. Finally, we played Ratchet and Clank into the wee hours.
Not a bad excuse for a day.
Supposedly, I'm heading for the wilds of Alabama in a few hours. If so, I may not get back to the Blogger until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. But I might post from my mother's. That would be weird. We shall see.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Addendum: Spooky has just declared that, were I one of the Endless, I would be Distraction. I'm not sure whether or not to be flattered...
Spirit is alive and calling out across the gulf.
Here on Earth, I can't help but wonder if a Galactic Federation of some sort hasn't placed us in planetary quarantine, pending final decision on whether or not humans are the sort of people you'd want moving in next door or dating your daughter. I might suggest they look to the cetaceans, instead.
Or maybe they're just fattening us up.
Yesterday, with the signature sheets and the poem and various other sorts of business out of the way, I had an attack of housecleaning that may continue today. Spooky and I are probably leaving town tomorrow to visit my mother, and it's always better to come to a clean house. I think I may take the Murder of Angels CEM with me to my mother's, and that way we can get through it without the phone ringing and all those other distractions.
Last night, Spooky figured out that, in the past week, I've played 16.5 hours of Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando. Which is kind of appalling, I'll admit, given all the things I might have done instead. But it is a fun game. I continue to be impressed at how much better some games are being scripted these days. Even my old favorites, like the original Tomb Raider, had perfectly awful dialogue. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando is truly funny. All in all, I think games are finally reaching a point where they can be effective interactive fiction.
Last night, we watched the pilot and second episode of Joss Whedon's Firefly on DVD. I was simultaneously pleased, that the show was quite good, much better than I'd expected, and saddened that it's brief run was such a travesty and that it wa cancelled. Televsion is no fit place for good sf, it seems. Instead, we get Tremors: The Series and Stargate: SG1. I love the look and feel of Firefly. I was afraid the western-in-space thing would be too hokey, campy, formulaic for my tastes, but it doesn't come off that way at all. Whedon (who still can't handle humor very well) has basically retooled the crew of the Betty (Alien: Resurrection), which is actually a good thing. I watched it and couldn't help but think, Why the hell doesn't Enterprise look even half this good? The good news, of course, is that a theatrical film version of Firefly is now in production, so, like Farscape, this story will not end with the cancellation.
Doesn't she ever read? It seems like all she ever does is watch television and go to movies and play video games and talk about CDs and hang out online. Isn't that strange for a writer? Shouldn't writers be obessive readers?
Hey, just yesterday I read the latest National Geographic and the December 2003 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Bear with me.
Check out our eBay auctions. We're heading into the last few days when every "Buy it now" purchase will earn you one little monster sketch by moi. Every monster is unique, guarranteed, even if I'm not sure how to spell "guaranteed." After I win the Pulitzer Prize and Siguorney Weaver wins an Oscar for her portrayal of Caitlin R. Kiernan, after I've ended global warming, urban sprawl, and McWorldism, after I'm the one the aliens choose to talk to first, well, just think what that little doodle will be worth.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Addendum: Captain Kangaroo is dead. He's one of my earliest memories. Mr. Moose, Dancing Bear, and Bunny Rabbit were very important to me as a small child, before the coming of The Muppets.
Sometimes my mornings are just too goddamn surreal. Until only a moment ago, Spooky was sitting here joyfully singing "H. R. Death-N-Stuff." I don't know what inspired that.
Last night, we watched Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, which documents painter and archaeologist Tobias Schneebaum's return to the jungles of Peru and New Guinea, 45 years after he visited them as a young man. Watching 78-year old Tobias Schneebaum, at peace with himself and the world after a long, full life, I felt more hollow than I've felt in a long time (which is saying something). The greatest weaknesses of my life will be an absence of the ability to disregard the uninvited opinions of others and a deficit of genuine courage.
And, in that regard, I am quite ordinary. These are weaknesses which afflict most women and men, I suspect.
The wayward bookshelf is still empty, except for the Muppet Labs and Alien vs. Predator actions figures sitting on top of it. I haven't been in the mood to shuffle books about.
The CEM for Murder of Angels is lying on the living room floor. It growls at me whenever I come too near. I have until February 10th to return it to my publisher. I figure I need at least a week to work on it, so I can't ignore it very long. But every time I see it, every time it growls at me, I know it's only a stomach ache waiting to happen.
I'd rather be drawing little monster doodles for those who use the "buy it now" feature on our eBay auctions.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Addendum 2: Have I mentioned I hate signing signature pages? I finished the pages for Low Red Moon last night. Signing my name over and over like that puts me too much in mind of a couple of months I once spent working in a machine shop, running a drill press. Performing the exact same mindless action, again and again, all day long, every day. No thank you.
Addendum: Really, she's not such an unpleasant woman, once you get past the teeth and claws and that disposition, not unlike a predatory reptile's. Trust me.
The CEM of Murder of Angels arrived, because I have an extra nice UPS dude. We slept through his first attempt to deliver the package, but he understands these things and made a second attempt. Spooky and I flipped through the ms. I seem to have the same ce I had for Low Red Moon, so I shall be careful what I say online, as she has been known to read my blog. But. This is precious and I have to quote it: "Do not inflict grammar upon Au's style. Grammar/punctuation extremely inconsistent and irregular." Indeed. Also, I wrote a poem which will appear on a Low Red Moon "broadsheet" that Subterranean Press is publishing. It's a bit like a poster or print, this broadsheet affair, reproducing the beautiful illustration which Ryan Obermeyer did for the book's endpapers. Here's the illustration:
The poem is something that Narcissa Snow wrote, as a child, in her mother's journal, and doing it made me miss Narcissa and want to do a whole book of her childhood/teenage poetry. She's one of those characters, like Deacon and Sadie and Spyder, who seems to blend too well with my own being, and I easily lose track of where she begins and I end, or vice versa. Anyway, the poem's been going through my head for days and I finally wrote it down this afternoon.
Spirit has fallen silent. If I knew a prayer for robots stranded on Mars, I might whisper it for Spirit, despite my agnostic ways.
I will today begin with a couple of quotes, which may stand as preface. The first is from Bill, who wisely purchased a copy of Low Red Moon from our eBay auctions:
I've been reading your journal for a while now. When I get home from my dead end job and wish I could live the glamourous life of a writer, I only have to read a few entries to realize there is no perfect job out there!
The next is from Poppy's livejournal:
Sometimes I wish I had an honest job. Instead I sit at my desk like an aging, cranky spider in a poorly constructed web, waiting to hear from at least four different people about various crucial aspects of my career, and in the meantime, I'm expected to continue doing work that requires a clear mind and a tranquil outlook.
Sometimes, though, a preface might say everything that needs saying, upstaging whatever else is to come.
A clear mind and a tranquil outlook. Yes, these things are aboslutely necessary for good writing, and yet, there's the paradox that most writers must exist in the almost total absence of both, as publishing robs us of them at every turn. Speaking strictly for myself, I've had neither in at least a decade, and, indeed, the more popular my work becomes, the more demands are placed upon me as a writer, the more elusive clarity and tranquility become.
Depression. Fear. Doubt. Anxiety. Regret. Bitterness. Sorrow. These emotions seem more intent on keeping my constant company, and shaping my writing, than do any vestige of tranquility and clarity of mind. And that's not some sort of hand-staple-forehead bullshit goth pretension. It's just the sorry truth. If you don't want the truth, go read something else.
If the truth makes you wince, the world is happy to oblige.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Yesterday, I received an fan letter — an actual written on paper letter, in an envelope with a stamp and everything — from a mortician in Chicago, who did his Master Thesis on Lovecraft. It heartens me to have such readers.
The vacation? The lull continues. I've been working on odds and ends all morning long, not actual writing, only that nagging peripheralia that is spawned by being an author, and the day may go on like that. And with the arrival of the CEM imminent, and considering it's going to need to be back in NYC in early February, the vacation may be over, whether I'm ready or not. The next day or two will tell.
Outside, the day is so bright, despite the cold, I don't want to waste it sitting at the iBook.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Addendum: I've just uploaded "UFN," the fourth chapter of the Nar'eth manga, to Nebari.Net. Check it out, as they say.
It's been an odd and oddly significant day. The bookshelf is assembled (more space for action figures). The signature sheets for the Subterranean Press edition of Low Red Moon arrived via UPS about 5 p.m. and tonight I signed the first 500 or so (I think there are about a thousand). I had a Very Long Conversation with Neil about a whole bunch of things, including Alan Moore's "March of the Sinister Ducks" (he sang a verse for me), the pitfalls of Hollywood, and how to be funny without telling jokes. My editor at Penguin called to tell me that on Thursday I'll be receiving the CEM (copyedited manuscript) of Murder of Angels. There was a neat little write up on Argosy #1 in the Village Voice, with a mention of "Riding the White Bull," the first time (to my knowledge) that my name has appeared in the Voice. Someone in Waycross, Georgia e-mailed to ask if "Waycross" has anything to do with Waycross. It was that sort of a day.
Is the vacation over?
Or is this merely, as I said, a lull?
We'll see. Right now, I'm going to play Ratchet and Clank...
Today, I feel only half so morose about my writing (career) as I did yesterday. I'll wish a plague of chihuahuas on my worst enemy, instead.
I think today's going to be a lull in the vacation (now 470 hrs. and 53 minutes old), which is almost over anyway. There are people I should have called a week ago, biographies to send to conventions, a formerly wayward bookshelf that has to be assembled, and so forth. I'm resisting the urge to flee back to Jacksonville or St. Augustine. This cold seems to have no frelling end. My office is an Antarctic waste. The doorway is the South Shetland Islands. Over by the window is the South Pole. I can see the Vinson Massif from my chair. The new loft, the loft we've yet to find, the loft made necessary by the impending condominiumization of this place, will have no cryospheres. But I'm getting off the subject. The lull. The semblance of work. And so forth.
This morning, my iBook completed its 100th SETI@Home data unit. For some reason, that seems like more of a milestone to me than did finishing my last novel.
And Dean came in third in Iowa, and I'm trying to decide if I can bring myself to shift my support to John Kerry, who looks way too much like a game-show host for comfort. It's that damned plastic hair of his. I may stick with Dean through New Hampshire. In the end, for me, it all comes down to a question of who has the best chance of beating George W. Bush. I've always hated such reductive politics, but I think things are bad enough that until we've undone the damage that the Bush Administration continues to do, all the rest is of diminished importance.
Yesterday, Spooky and I went to a matinee of Monster, which is one of the most moving and disturbing films I've seen in some time. Charlize Theron's transformation into Aileen Wuornos is both amazing and chilling (the make-up people deserve an Oscar for the dental prosthetics alone). Patty Jenkins' script and direction are tight. Indeed, they are superb. As usual, Christina Ricci can do no wrong. Monster is one of those films that leaves me wishing I could ever come close, in my own writing, to such utter perfection. This is surely one of the best films of the year. See it, if you haven't already.
The eBay auctions continue. Remember: "Buy it now" and I have to draw you a little beastie.
Hold on. There are penguins beneath my desk...
Monday, January 19, 2004
This is one of those days when I'd like to wish my career as a writer on my worst enemy. I think I've actually developed a nervous tick in my right eye.
So, I won't frelling think about it. Not today. I'll do like Scarlet O'Hara did (and you won't see me say that very often).
I will comment, belatedly, on George W. Bush's attempt to court the black vote by crashing Thursday's Atlanta observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 75th birthday. And on his recent proposals to scrap the space shuttle and replace it with a moonbase and a manned mission to Mars.
It's not bad enough that our president is a facist and an idiot, he doesn't even have the good sense to know when and where he isn't wanted.
Sunday, January 18, 2004
I just looked at the weather for the week. Clearly, Spooky and I should have stayed in frelling Florida. Night after night well below freezing. Gagh.
It's looking like the first part of this year will be consumed by short fiction, which is a good thing. I've got a story to do for a subculture anthology (edited by Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick), 20K-words of short fiction (probably two stories) for Cemetery Dance's forthcoming Thrillers anthology, a chapbook for Subterranean Press (to accompany "The Dry Salvages"), and another subpress novella. Plus, we have to begin getting To Charles Fort, With Love together, and I've promised Bill a very long new story for that collection. It's good to know that this year I'll have a chance to devote more time to short fiction. I feel like I did so little of it last year. The last two years have been a blur of constant novelizing.
This morning, after breakfast, Spooky and I watched an episode of Farscape ("Avenging Angel") and now I'm thinking we should spend the rest of the day, or a bit of it, at least, out of doors. The high today is forcast at 58F, and it's already 59F. It's likely the best we'll get for at least a week. I may go to the Emory library and look for a few books. I might go to the Fernbank and sit with the dinosaurs and write in my other journal. We'll see. It's tempting to sit in front of the television all day, playing Ratchet and Clank (that's what Spooky's doing right now).
The vacation is now 422 hours and 51 minutes old (my count yesterday was way off, for some reason).
If you still haven't picked up a copy of Low Red Moon (shame on you), you may do so right this very minute, via our eBay auctions. And remember, only if you use the "buy it now" feature will you get one of my ever-popular monster drawings.
The cryosphere is chewing hungrily at my toes, which is what I get for not wearing socks. Ah, well. I shall go find some warmer way to pass the remainder of the day. Ena sn'ial. That's Nebari. It's translates, loosely, as "Until the cold passes," or "Until warmer days," and is spoken upon parting company during the winter months. Not that the cold ever really passes on Nebari Prime, and not like I won't be writing countless more entries before spring, but you get the idea. I hope.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
The trip still has me disoriented. I keep expecting to wake up in a hotel room. I have now endured 447 hours of this vacation. I may not be up for much more. I know that on Monday I have to speak with editors and such, vacation or no. And later next week, I have to go to Alabama to visit my familiy, but, after that, I do believe that I will be returning to work. Idleness is a peculiar place to visit, and I'd never frelling live there.
Work is the salvation from the noise inside my head.
Very few other things seem to help at all.
Way back in '92, I began The Five of Cups to muffle the goddamn noise, and discovered that writing worked better than any of the other drugs I'd ever been prescribed or found on my own. For me, it isn't art, though I hope something artful comes of it. And it isn't a burning desire to write, for the sake of writing. It's therapy. It's soundproofing. It's a pressure valve.
Strike a key. Flip a switch. Fill the syringe.
So, all this not writing, which, I'll admit, some difficult part of me needed, is creating a sort of emotional constipation (not the prettiest analogy, but there you go). Day before yesterday, as we were sitting in a restaurant in San Augustine, my right eye began to twitch and it has continued to do so intermittently since then. That means that it's time to write again. Because now I've gone 447 hours (and twelve minutes) without a fix.
Okay, that's a lie. The first week of the vacation I freaked out and spent two nights writing the first chapter of The Girl Who Sold the World for Nebari.Net. Not much more than 2,000 words, but I felt very guilty about it, nonetheless. That seems like ages ago now.
I can only hope I have "re-charged," as Christa might say. I don't feel particularly re-charged, but maybe it doesn't work that way. Maybe one is not conscious of the end of exhaustion. Maybe perpetual exhaustion is merely the price of the drug. As long as it keeps the noise at bay, it's a small enough price.
Last night, Spooky and I watched Mamoru Oshii's Avalon and the special-edition DVD of Escape from New York. Avalon was much better than I'd expected (I wasn't terribly impressed by Ghost in the Shell), and not nearly so derivative of The Matrix as I'd feared. In some ways, it actually reminded us more of The City of Lost Children and Michael Radford's brilliant production of Nineteen Eighty-Four. No doubt, much of this followed from the bleak Polish locales and the art direction and costume design. As for Escape from New York, I admit I found the stuff with the terrorist crashing a plane into a building just east of the World Trade Center disarmingly prescient. I'd not seen the film since before 9/11. I haven't yet begun investigating all the extras on the disc. After the movies, we played Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando until just after 4 a.m.
Remember. Buy it now on eBay and you get a little monster doodle.
Friday, January 16, 2004
Addendum: To defer to costs of the Floridian excursion, we're beginning a new round of eBay. This time, all those who use the "Buy It Now" feature will get a little monster doodle, one per purchase. Offer good for the next two weeks. Oh, and they're not up yet, but we'll be adding hardbacks of Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold and Waycross.
Also, I've relisted the issue of Aberrations which includes the first publication of "Persephone" and marks my first fiction publication anywhere, with a new, lower reserve.
Bid or buy, please.
I honestly can't say the trip did me much good. It was nice to be warm for a few days, but I think that's about the extent of it.
We got into Jacksonville about 3 a.m. Monday morning.
I've never been very good at travelogues, so I'm not going to make much of an effort at one here. It was very strange being back in Jacksonville after almost three decades. I visited all of the places I lived as a child there. To my amazement, they were all still standing and pretty much unchanged. I stood outside my old elementary school (Brookview Elementary) and watched the kids getting out for the day. Sadly, much of Jacksonville has changed. It has the same mass-produced, pre-fab, cookie-cutter feel as most other places these days. Consumeria. Starbucks. Blockbuster. Pizza Hut. Wal-Mart. Home Depot. Ad nauseum. We found a nice diner (Third Street Diner) run by two Greek brothers that didn't feel at all pre-fab, and a decent Thai restaurant (Thai Garden).
The best part about Jacksonville Beach was collecting fossils at low tide. There's a late Tertiary or Quarternary deposit somewhere just offshore (perhaps the Pliocene-aged Cypresshead Formation) that gives up bits and pieces of the vanished megafauna to those who know what they're looking for. Spooky and I walked miles and miles, picking up shells and taunting seagulls, dodging stranded jellyfish and finding fossils. We collected three species of starfish and a mermaid's purse. As for the fossils, I found a couple of beautiful molars from extinct horse species (?Equus sp.), a sizable chunk of either mastodon (?Mammut) or gomphothere tooth, a couple of pieces of mammoth tooth (Mammuthus ?columbi), a manatee rib, two incomplete whale inner ear bones (Mysticeti incertae sedis), a nice alligator vertebra, shark teeth (Odontaspis cuspidata, Hemipristis serra, and Negaprion brevirostris), an eagle ray tooth (Myliobatidae), a ?dolphin tooth, an assortment of bony fish, tortoise, and turtle bones, large chunks of indeterminate mammal bone (mostly elephant and whale, I suspect), and a few other odds and ends. The mammoth and mastodon bits were the real prizes, though.
There was a gorgeous moonrise Monday night, and a spectacular sunrise on Tuesday morning. I marveled at the diversity of birdlife and thought of Poppy. We found two dead pelicans, both of them young, and Spooky took many photographs of them both.
We left Jacksonville on Wednesday afternoon and drove south to Saint Augustine. As the day ended, we visited the Castillo de San Marcos, the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and had dinner at a Mexican place on Avenida Menendez. After dark, we crossed the Bridge of Lions and drove out to the Lighthouse, marveling at the beam sweeping across the starry sky. Spooky had never been to Florida before, and I think the subtropical botanics and warm January temperatures were freaking her out just a little.
On Thursday morning, we drove down to Marineland, because I was craving an oceanarium, only to find that, this time of year, it's only open Friday-Monday. So, we drove on, almost as far as Daytona, then circled back to Saint Augustine. We had lunch at The Pizza Garden on the corner of Hypolita and St. George, mushroom and meatball. It was definitely the best pizza I've had south of New York City. Afterwards, we wandered down to the Lightner Museum, growing increasingly annoyed with the tourists (I'm never a tourist, merely a visitor) and the damned sight-seeing trolleys. About 3:30, we headed home and got back into Atlanta about 9:30 p.m.
So there you go. In a nutshell, there's the trip. And now I'm back here, and wishing it had done me more good.
But my head is full of frustration and anger that the sea air could not dispell. Publishers who won't promote my books, sloppy, idiotic reviewers, deadlines, and so on. All the crap that make's writing for a living the unending, glass-chewing joy that it is. Now I have to go deal with some of that dren. It piles up, and might smother me soon.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
I can bear this cold weather no longer. Spooky and I are heading to Jacksonville, hoping for slightly warmer temps. How old is the vacation? 258 hrs., 45 mins. Tick-tock.
Anyway, I'll probably make a couple of posts from the road. Later.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
I awoke this morning to a light dusting of snow.
The cold, and other things of which I shall not speak, has my mood in a black place.
Spooky and I have been trying to get out of Atlanta for a few days in Jacksonville, Florida and points south. I spent part of my childhood in Jacksonville and wanted to revisit a few places. See how much things have changed in twenty-five years. I just heard, yesterday or the day before, that the old pier at Jacksonville Beach went down in Hurricane Floyd. I learned to play pool on that pier. Anyway, this vile weather has made the thought of travel even more unappealing than usual. It's not much warmer in Jacksonville than it is here.
Spooky and I binged on John Hughes films last night. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. And we read the new Courtney Crumrin, which was very fine, as expected.
I did something yesterday that I very rarely do. I hardly ever read one of my stories in printed form, but yesterday I sat down and read through "Riding the White Bull" in Argosy. I guess my aversion to reading myself in print is sort of like actors who won't watch themselves on the screen. But I read all the way through the story. Argosy really is a very fine and unusual magazine and I strongly recommend it
This entry is almost as blah as the weather.
Friday, January 09, 2004
Yesterday? Another loss. Write it off and move along. There was sleet. And the wayward bookshelf finally showed up. I also received contributer's copies of Argosy No. 1, which includes my short story, "Riding the White Bull," which one of the editors describes as "part film noir a la Raymond Chandler, part The Thing from Another World, with a touch of Samuel Taylor Coleridge thrown in." That's a fair estimation. Anyway, I urge you to pick up a copy ($12.95 US). It's a very, very attractive little, digest-sized magazine, slipcased, printed on high-quality paper. It's the sort of fiction magazine that we need many, many more of, stylish and smart, artful and ambitious. I'll be doing a novella for them later this year.
More marvels from Spirit. Alien stones. An alien sky. The wide and alien horizon.
As Iowa approaches, the mudslinging intensifies, reminding me why politics leaves me feeling ill and disgusted. A right-wing corporate interest group, The Club for Growth, is running television spots in Iowa in which an elderly white couple opines "I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont - where it belongs."
Well, I eat sushi, and I love a good latte, and I'm into piercing. I have two Hollywood agents. I'm left-wing. And I'd drive a Volvo if someone would be nice and give me one (though I'd prefer a PT Cruiser). I read The New York Times, but only online. I'm unquestionably a freak. I've never been to Vermont, but my lesbian lover has. So, all in all, I suppose, as a Dean supporter, I'm The Club for Growth's silly nightmare made manifest. They got me dead to rights. Frell.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Here in Atlanta, and apparently across much of the country, it's cold as fuck. Which has thrown a large wrench into this whole vacation fiasco. Maybe I should save the rest of it for May. If I wanted this sort of weather, I'd move to Chicago. The air is a liquid, never mind what the humidity levels supposedly are at the moment. I can feel it flowing around me, all these atmospheres become an upstart gas with aspirations to solidity. I wonder what a plane ticket to Belize would set me back? Well, if I could fly, but I can't, because as soon as one of those airport security gleets asked me take off my boots I'd say no thank you, I keep all my explosives at home, not in the heels of my shoes, and they'd get pushy and I'd punch someone and go to jail. My gods, it's cold in here. I think my brain is freezing as frigid air drawn in through my nostrils meets my sinus cavities. In the winter, the South is very ugly.
Though not as ugly as Detroit in the summer.
I feel so unlikely today. If you charted my life, with May 26, 19-- being point A and today being point B, no one would believe it. It wouldn't sell in the bookstores and the movie reviewers would balk. Such a forced plot. How could anyone be asked to believe such ridiculous twists and turns? I'd want my money back. None of that ever happened. The real world doesn't work like that.
I feel very unlikely today.
So, I think that I shall believe in all absurdities today, as a tribute to myself. Today I shall accept that the world is only ten thousand years old and the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah's Flood. I shall believe that dumb children are actually hyperintelligent alien hybrids. That Elvis is alive and well in Biloxi, Mississippi. That the earth is hollow and the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery. The Holocaust was a hoax masterminded by communist lemmings bent on global domination and a total monopoly of the jackboot market. I will, for the next twenty-four hours, accept the obvious truths of flatearthism and Von Danikenism and Velikovskyism and Orgonomic Functionalism. I will believe that modern pharmeceuticals could have saved Anne Sexton. That America is the home of the free and George Bush didn't steal the White House. That UFOs routinely buzz Gulf Breeze and Atlantis sits at the bottom of Bermuda Triangle, zapping planes from the sky with a malfunctioning prehistoric heat ray. I will buy into any scam that comes my way, any flim-flam, any come-on. Humanity is humane. God is love. I shall see as reasonable the teachings of Wayne Dyer and Carlos Castaneda. I'll believe in jackalopes and unicorns and well-meaning Republicans. That meat is murder and Ralph Nader can ever be anything but a joke and a nuisance. I'll even consider the possibility that crap Windows boxes are superior to Macs, that's how far I'm willing to go with this.
Only unlikely things ever occur, because everything is equally unlikely, given an assumption of infinity.
Meanwhile, nothing happened yesterday. A day I lost somewhere. That's all.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
The vacation is now 159 hours and 10 minutes old. I have made the very pleasant discovery that time seems to be moving slower than it does when I'm working. The past week seems at least two weeks long. So, I've found a way to buy myself time. Just don't work.
Last night, we came home from dinner and discovered a notice that our loft, and all those in the old school house, are going condo. They're offering us a "special" price (ha, ha, ha), but this is not where I want to spend the rest of my life, sooooo...we shall be moving when the lease is up at the end of November '04. It was a bit of a shock. I so loathe moving. Mostly I loathe packing and unpacking and hanging all the frelling pictures again. And I really loathe looking at apartments.
The wayward bookshelf has yet to arrive. Spooky called Office Depot this morning and discovered that the gleets have been trying to deliver it to my old Birmingham address. Yes, really. They had that on file and, somehow, although the new address was repeatedly confirmed when the order was placed, they sent the damned thing to Birmingham. So maybe tomorrow. But I shan't hold my breath.
Yesterday, we spent a big chunk of the day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, looking at poison arrow frogs and orchids and pitcher plants, a gluttony of diversity. The Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory's vast tropical garden was my favorite, perhaps a cure for my hatred of winter. I stood in the center of a wet, warm summer day, listening to the birds and frogs and geckos, the mist all about me, waterfalls trickling. Wonderful. It would have been more wonderful if I didn't know so many facts and figures on tropical deforestation and impending manmade mass extinction events. I kept thinking of those greenhouse pods in Silent Running, that, very likely, someday soon all we'll have left of terran biodiversity will be held in such conservatories. The High Elevation House was very cool, and we marveled at more species and subspecies of orchids than I might have suspected to exist (and now I have a much clearer picture of what Nebari genitalia look like). We found a large patch of wormwood growing in the Fragrance Courtyard, near the fountain of Pan. We sat awhile in a sunny spot in the Japanese Gardens, out of the wind. We left pleasantly tired from hiking about the grounds and filled with images of greenery to help carry us through the cold days ahead. Afterwards, we stopped for coffee at San Francisco Coffee. Back home, I read two articles in the new JVP: "Vermiform bones and the evolution of gigantism in Megalania - How a reptilian fox becomes a lion" and "A new specimen of Excalibosaurus from the English Lower Jurassic." Then I dozed until dinner. Spooky and Jennifer and I went to Ostaria, an Italian restaurant on Highland. The food was quite good, but the chef needs to lay off the olive oil just a smidge. And then we came home, and there was a notice on the door, and this is where we started.
Here in Atlanta, it's bitter cold. Even Spooky acknowledged that this constitutes genuine cold.
I need to make a trip to the market, but I just don't think I'm up to braving the elephants...er, elements.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Somewhere out there, there's an Office Depot delivery person who owes me one day of vacation.
We spent much of yesterday waiting on the delivery of a bookcase that never came. All day, a customer service recording told us we were number three of some large number of deliveries, and that the driver was currently on his first stop. All day. So, we sat here and watched it rain. Today, I'm going to the botanical gardens and the bookshelf be damned. Maybe it'll show up someday. I suppose this is why so many Americans drive gigantic, gas-guzzling, eco-devastating vehicles. So they can pick up their own frelling bookcases.
Last night, once the recording had been changed to say that the delivery would come today (now we're scheduled as 31 of 44 - sounds like a Borg name), we had burgers at Johnny Rocket's and then caught a 7:15 showing of Paycheck. I knew it was getting bad and lukewarm reviews, but I went anyway. And, well, it was entertainment for a couple of hours, but not much more. It was sort of a big, slobbering dog of a movie. I could almost forgive all the handwaving necessary to dismiss the assbackwards science, if so much of it hadn't felt formulaic. This is John Woo's fault, far as I can tell, not Philp K. Dick's. Ben Affleck doesn't help matters (Harrison Ford would have been far better in the role of Jennings). Mostly, I kept thinking what a better (or at least more interested) director could have done with a better draft of the script, one that focused on the film's mystery instead of the box-office appeal of obligatory action scenes. What Hitchcock could have done with this film, or M. Night Shyamalan. The usually delightful Uma Thurman sleepwalks through her role. And it has a perfectly dopey "happy ending" epilogue. Paycheck is a bit like eating too much cotton candy. Sweet while it lasts, maybe even too sweet, but as soon as it's over you wish you'd had a candy apple instead. Not so bad I'd want my money back, but were I you, I'd wait for the DVD. It's a shame that Dick's work doesn't fare better in Hollywood. I mean, if Hollywood's going to frell about with it, they might try just a little harder. Sure, Blade Runner great, and Minority Report was pretty good, but Total Recall sucked ass, Imposter was, at best, indifferent, and now there's Paycheck.
And thanks to Leh'agvoi, who not only draws a mean Nebari, but may have cued me into to my Low Red Moon is getting a somewhat cooler reception from "horror" readers and reviewers than did Threshold. To quote a post he made to my online phorum, "There is a definite difference in flavour between the two books. I found Threshold to be more sinister and Low Red Moon to be more sorrowful. There's sinister and sorrow in both books, but they seem more dominant in that way to me. Threshold had a stronger sense of chaos, a greater feeling of the natural order of things being ripped asunder, while Low Red Moon was about the natural order of things exacting its toll on the players. Low Red Moon had a greater feeling of sorrow because some, like Narcissa, were caught and didn't know it and some, like Starling Jane, were caught and knew it. The heartbreaking thing was the irrelevancy of delusions." I think that hits the nail on the head. Blam. Blam. Blam. I suspect that horror readers are much happier with "sinister" than "sorrowful," though they are of at least equal importance to the composition of that emotion we call horror. As I said on the phorum, where does the greater portion of horror lie? In the murderous details of a serial killer's actions? Or in the loss of the woman you love more than your own life?
If forced to take my pick, I'd choose to suffer the merely sinister over sorrow any day of the week.
There's not much else to be said for yesterday, except that the December '03 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived.. The vacation is 132 hrs., 23 minutes old. This counting of hours has replaced my usual word count.
Have you read Chapter One of The Girl Who Sold the World (just click Chronicles)?
Good news. How often do I say that? Not only did Spirit survive its descent to the Martian surface, but sperm counts have dropped by almost a third in 10 years. At least, they've dropped in England. I'm sure Americans wouldn't fare much better. At least I hope Americans wouldn't fare better. At this rate, in a century or so there might be some faint hope of getting the population under control. And by the way, I'm not one of those shrill childfree sorts that Poppy's been complaining about in her livejournal. I think kids are wonderful, in moderation. But humanity doesn't do very well with moderation. Whatever they can do, they do until the frelling wheel's fall off. In this case, the case of reproduction, until the world is clogged with their stinking, consuming bodies, pushing the planet ever closer to a monospecific biosphere (at least in terms of megafaunal elements).
Yep. Happy is my middle name.
Monday, January 05, 2004
Addendum: I almost forgot to mention this. Derek cf. Pegritz and the Nyarlathotep crew are now hard at work on the "soundtrack" CD that will accompany the Subterranean Press edition of Low Red Moon. It will include a cover of Belly's "Low Red Moon," on which I shall sing. The CD will also include a video for "Low Red Moon," which will be a collaborative effort between the Nyarlathotep folks and Spooky.
Congratulations to The Dresden Dolls, who made one Rolling Stones reviewer's best 10 albums of the year list. I don't think a lot of Rolling Stone, but this is dead-on, and hopefully it will mean good things for the band. And if you still don't have The Dresden Dolls, you really need to remedy the situation.
Yesterday almost made up for Saturday. Spooky and I didn't make the mountains, but we walked about 2.5 miles, around and across Piedmont Park, which includes some fairly decent hills. It was a cloudy day, but warm, and the breeze had only a hint of cold to it. The dogwood trees are budding. Of course, the lows for tomorrow night are forecast in the low twenties. That's winter in the South. Spooky hates it and says we don't really have winter, just a sloppy sort of autumn that eventually turns into spring. That's fine by me, as I loathe winter and always have. We watched dogs and trees and people and the sky, and eventually wound up at San Francisco Coffee. It had been recommended by a friend who doesn't like coffee, so I thought we'd give it a try. Delicious. I had the Foglifter (two shots of espresso, a shot of coffee, caramel syrup, and steamed milk - a very smooth caffeine blast). Afterwards, we checked out Belly, a funky "general store" on Highland, then walked a while (probably giving me a daily total of at least 3 miles) before an early dinner at Thai Bowl (I had a noodle bowl with asparagus, Nappa cabbage, shitake mushrooms, udon noodles, and pork loin in a beef and mushroom broth. Very nice. Then we headed home.
We would have gone to the botanical gardens today, but they're closed on Monday.
Last night, Spooky and I played War of the Monsters on PS2 and I spent a couple of hours working on Nebari.Net. Check out the updates, which include the first chapter of The Girl Who Sold the World (my first foray into "fan fic," unless you count most of the stories in From Weird and Distant Shores and all my Lovecraftian fiction and my work on The Dreaming; the only real difference is that I was paid to do those things, and that difference isn't very real at all) and our first Nebari.Net pinup. Bleary from html, I watched The Crow for the first time in about a year and then went to bed about 3 a.m.
Which is to say, the vacation continues. 111 hours and ten minutes and counting.
It amazes me that there's this whole world out there, which has days and nights, and I've spent so much of my life unaware of it's comings and goings, sitting in curtained rooms, telling my stories to myself.
The best part of yesterday was news that Spirit is alive and well on Mars, operating from its landing site inside the Gusev Crater, which lies at the mouth of the Ma'adim Vallis, and the lander has begun transmitting photos, some of which you can see in the CNN.com article.
Anyway, now I need to go do an interview, which I will pretend is not work.
After much deliberation, I think I have decided that I will be supporting Howard Dean in the 2004 Presidential election. I think he's our best chance to oust the banana republic of Dubya and this election, I believe, is going to be about best chances being taken.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
Yesterday was sort of the emotional opposite of Friday, because I didn't have enough sense to get dressed and get out of the apartment until the evening (dinner at The Angel). When one's office is in one's home, and one's business telephone is also one's private telephone, getting away from work, even during widely advertised vacations, isn't easy. Mostly, the iBook is always here, calling me to write. Today, Spooky and I may drive north, until we escape the Piedmont and reach mountains. At any rate, we shall take our leave of this place for a while.
We shall vacate, making this vacation good and proper.
Saturday, January 03, 2004
85 hours, 47 minutes, and counting. The vacation is holding, for now.
Yesterday, we went to The Fernbank to see the Etruscan exhibit. We wandered through the maze of ancient pottery and brass relics, copper and gold, past tiny animal statues sculpted 2,600 years ago as offerings, past skillful images of griffons and satyrs and maenads, past rings and spear tips, all the refuse of a long-forgotten people. At some point, I said to Spooky that trying to get an accurate image of what the Etruscans were like by looking over the assembled artefacts was not unlike trying, a couple millennia from now, to form a coherent image of "Americans" by examining the jumbled refuse of our cemeteries, from Colonial Times down to the Present. Archaeologists and anthropologists know this, of course, but my own experience as a paleontologist has taught me that the museum-going public has precious little comprehension of either time or cultural evolution. After the Etruscans, we saw an Imax film about lions in the Kalihari, then spent a while with the Gigonotosaurus and Argentinosaurus (see Low Red Moon, pp. 34-41), who are starting to feel like old friends I haven't known for very long. But really, my very favorite thing about The Fernbank is that the floors and much of the outside walkways are paved with Solnhofen Limestone.
The Solnhofen is an amazing German lagerstätte (a word that means "lode place," used by palentologists to denote geological formations especially rich in well-preserved fossils), deposited in a sub-tropical lagoon near the end of the Jurassic Period. These beds are most famous for yielding remains of the proto-bird Archaeopteryx. Anyway, one can spend hours scanning the floors of the museum of fossils, sliced and polished neatly in vertical or horizontal cross-section. The pens (internal skeletons) of squid-like cephalopods known as belemnites (Hibolites hastatus), alongside the beautifully spiraled shells of nautiloids and ammonites (Glochiceras, Hybonoticeras, etc.). Remains of sponges (Tremadictyon and Ammonella) are especially easy to spot, along with bryozoans, bivalves, and other invertebrates. Yesterday, Spooky noticed a very small shrimp (probably Aeger).
After the museum, we had spinich and mushroom pizza at Fellini's, then stopped by the market before heading home. The evening was spent on rented DVDs, catching up on a couple of films we'd missed at the theatre. First, The Order, which, I thought, was thoroughly charming, in a Buffy, The Vampire Slayer does The Vatican kind of way. I especially liked Benno Fürmann's performance as the sineater William Eden. Gary Oldman could have done it better, but that's true of a lot things. Rosalinda Celentano's Faraway Eyes Girl added something nice to the scenery and the two demon-spawn children were particularly creepy. I was amazed to learn that sin looks a lot like a jellyfish. Next, we watched Joel Schumacher's Phone Booth, which has to be one of the most underrated films of the year. Colin Farrell is grand as one the sleaziest protagonists you love despite himself since Ralph Fiennes' Lenny Nero in Strange Days (another very underrated film). Kiefer Sutherland is adequate as the caller, though Michael Wincott could have done it better (but that's true of a lot of things). But the three hookers really steal the show. Afterwards, I put in The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms, because it's pleasant to sleep to, and because I'd been thinking of Ray Bradbury's "The Fog Horn" earlier in the day.
All in all, a pleasant enough day that it's difficult for even me to complain. We'll see how today goes...
Friday, January 02, 2004
I think vacations are for people who get paid to take them, a class of people that pretty much excludes writers. Here we are, a mere 60 hours and 56 minutes into the vacation and already I'm losing the fight not to go back to work.
Just look at that dren I passed off for a journal entry yesterday. As if I'm not a hypocrite. As if I've never been an idiot. As if I actually care what Dubya bans and what Americans consume. As if. It was a post born more out of thumb-twiddling anxiety and the longing to touch the keys than from any actual ire. Oh, sure, stupid shit pisses me off (especially when I'm the one responsible), and the ephedra ban is certainly stupid shit, but it's not my problem and there I am acting all sanctimonious over something I honestly couldn't care a hill of beans about, just so I'd have something to write.
It's not that I want to be writing. It's just that writing's what I do and when I'm not doing it, I'm at a loss as to what else to do with myself, at a loss for ways to occupy my aching brain.
I walked over a mile yesterday, something I've not done in a long time, all the way around Candler Park and the golf course. As we passed the putting range, Spooky and I were flirted with by a couple of aging hippies with, apparently, a thing for goth girls. I think they were still too stoned from New Year's Eve to do more than putt. We crossed a little bridge over a creek that would have been very pretty if not for the trash floating in the water. The day was bright and clear and warm, the sort of winter's day that makes me miss childhood. The energy I had then. The ability to float on time, instead of drowning in it. The joy at simply living. I know that sounds smarmy. You had to be there, inside my head.
It's clear and bright again today. There's a crow outside my window.
Thursday, January 01, 2004
2004. Proof positive Santa Claus hates me. All I asked for was 1898. And hell, I'd have settled for 1899. Oh, well. How bad can it be...?
The criminalization of ephedra. Yeah, that's an intelligent solution. There's evidence of 155 deaths (total) linked to ephedra use. In 2002 alone, alcohol was responsible for 17,970 deaths in the U.S., and that's only deaths from automobile accidents involving alcohol use. The actual total number of people who died in 2002 because of alcohol is much higher. Then there's tobacco. Between 1990 and 1997, approximately 430,700 people died each year from smoking (approx. 3.5 million). But alcohol flows like water and tobacco farmers get government subsidies, while ephedra gets a ban. This makes sense? I suspect we could tie more deaths to Twinkie abuse than to ephedra. And, because we can't be trusted to take care of ourselves, a warning label would be insufficient. I don't even use ephedra, but the stupidity and hypocrisy inherent in the Bush Administration's criminalizing of the drug pisses me off, because stupidity and hypocrisy always pisses me off. 155 deaths = illegal. 3.5 million deaths (1990-1997 only) = government subsidies. Maybe ephedra just wasn't killing enough people.
See? If I'm not writing, I have to resort to bitching about stuff like this.