The week too young, the day too old.

This Saturday, in Toronto, there is going to be a release party for Future Lovecraft. I was really hoping to go–I like Innsmouth Free Press, I like trips, I like anthologies and the Mythos, I highly approve of the Merril Collection, and three of the book authors were going to be there.

Sadly, between the cost of travel and the small fact that I’ve spent the last two mornings coughing up muck, I don’t think I’m gonna make it. 🙁

That said, since I do have one more book that I am letting myself buy this year, I think it will be Future Lovecraft. It’s still on pre-sale, and hey, it’ll be here in time for Christmas. It’s got a Nick Mamatas story, and one by Molly Tanzer–she wrote the Ivybridge Twins story from Historical Lovecraft, which is quite seriously awesome–and between the table of contents and the sample story I am quite looking forward to it.

Meantime… well. It’s almost December, and I’m tired. I think it’s about time to turn in.

World can’t drag you down if you start so low.

Notes on the latest Walking Dead;

I despise Shane.  I deeply, truly, honestly detest him in a way… well, honestly, I’m sick and I’m tired and I’m thinking a bit fuzzily.  But I can’t remember the last time I saw so little about a character in a TV show that I could like.  He walks over to talk to Laurie and the clearest thought in my head was “Oh, good, at least she’s got a knife.”  Not “I hope this doesn’t go too badly,” not “I can see where he’s coming from,” just a general attitude of “here comes the shitstorm, head down and shoulders up and let’s get through it.”

I can see where he’s coming from.  But it’s not a place I can feel for.

I’m glad he’s there as a character, but it’s in the same sort of way that I’m glad there are zombies.  This is a story with a threat that isn’t empathic in the slightest, that wants but doesn’t care, not now.  Everyone knows that the zombies are like that.  No-one seems to have fully internalized that Shane is.  (Well.  One person might be doing it; I refrain from saying who since I’m nearly done and am too wiped for talking around the spoilers.)

What else?  Still liking Glenn.  Watching the Daryl/Carol relationship, and liking how understated it is, since the bit about the Cherokee Rose.  Loved the ending,which is not to say I found it at all happy. Want to smack Andrea, but unlike my reaction to Shane I want to smack her in a way that’s like wanting to yell at a dumb human who could learn better.

Annoying Horror Story.

Alright.  Caught episodes 7 and 8 of American Horror story a couple of days ago, and taken together I’m actually really annoyed with the way the story is going.  My reasons are split up into a couple of posts, just because the rant about one particular issue was getting a bit long. Continue reading “Annoying Horror Story.”

Strange indeed.

Was over at my in-laws for dinner.  One of them is an amateur genealogist (do you get professional genealogists? I suppose you could…), and he plugged my dad’s name and birth date into the program he uses.  From what I have garnered, it is a loose cloud of information floating somewhere in the internether.  You build your family tree there, other people build theirs, if the two of you happen to have a common point then the data which you’ve chosen to make public can overlap.

Someone else had already created an entry for someone who could have been my dad–a couple of data points met–and it included a picture, so I got called over to take a look at it.

It was him.

It was taken in the mid-late 40s, I guess; the scan of it online[1] is greyscale and not very big.  You can make out four candles on the cake balanced on his knees (birthday picture, is the guess), but he’s clearly way more than four.  I looked at it for a second, and I couldn’t say one way or the other if it was dad, and then there was this realization that I’d seen that expression on his face before, that exact expression, and I felt… nothing as strong as stunned.  Taken aback, maybe, or pleasantly surprised, or something.

Part of it was understanding that someone else knew about him; someone I’d never had reason to imagine existed found a picture of him and figured out or was told who he was.  Part of it was that he looked happy.

Also I have now learnt my paternal grandmother’s names, and picked up a smidgen of detail about the trip she took to come over from Italy.

[1] I had a moment of thinking “Am I sure it was a scan?” and then being slightly disconcerted to realize that yes, of course I am sure.  Digital pictures were so not an option at that point, after all.

That time of the month. –no, not *that* time.

There’s this thing I do sometimes–towards the end of the month, usually.  I mean, not every month, but the end of the month is when it’s most likely to happen.  Needing to buy something expensive can do it.  Putting money in the bank can do it, especially if I’m anxious and paying attention to how much the amount goes up by.

Anyway.  This thing is the thing where you start figuring out exactly how much money you have and how long you could manage for if there was absolutely no more income.  I had to go pick up my meds and I spent a dozen minutes wandering around the groceries section of the drug store[1] figuring how much I could get in the way of groceries if I cashed in all my rewards points.  (The chain has a pretty standard spend-money-get-points-redeem-points thing going.)

I have no idea why I was doing this math.  Things are fine, I know this, and even when I’m thinking about it I’m not worrying.  It’s more just a very very absorbing problem, like a Sudoku with addition.

[1] Always makes me think of the description of the drug superstore in Stephen King’s “The Sun Dog”.  Household goods and widgets and toiletries and food and cleaning supplies and toys and candy and way at the back, the pharmacy.  Because it is still technically a drug store.

Happy endings.

Tired, and busy–work is done in seven days (work days), and the crunch is really coming down.  But I found some happy things, and thought I would share.

I shall plan my cousin’s escape from that Canton madhouse, and together we shall go to marvel–shadowed Innsmouth. We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many–columned Y’ha–nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever.
– H.P. Lovecraft, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”

There were faces at the window and words written in blood; deep in the crypt a lonely ghoul crunched on something that might once have been alive; forked lightning slashed the ebony night; the faceless were walking; all was right with the world.
– Neil Gaiman, “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire”

For now, they had simpler concerns. Keeping the children from the roofs at night; the bereaved from crying out too loud; the young in summer from falling in love with the human.
It was a life.
– Clive Barker, Cabal

Well.  Endings that make me happy to read, at any rate.  Good stuff.

Like one who on a lonesome road/Doth walk in fear and dread

Moving into what I guess is close to the last stretch of Fallout: New Vegas – I’ve finished the first three DLCs, and while there’re probably still a ton of quests I am really wanting to see the Battle of Hoover Dam.  (With the Boomers.  I’m actually trying to figure out if I can set the game up to play the final scenes on our TV.)  And after 250 hours, well, I do want to see the end of the game.

So anyway.  I started on the Lonesome Road[1] this weekend.  It’s actually probably my least favourite of all the DLC–I think it might be my least favourite part of New Vegas as a whole–and I finally realized why.

The Mojave of F:NV is a gently rounded post-apocalyptic chunk of the south-western-ish US; generally this means a lot of visual brown, a bottlecap-based economy, a Mad Max fashion sense, and settlements that are mostly still-standing remnants of what went before.  Two hundred years smooths a lot of the jagged edges off, after all.

The Divide may have been like this as well.  But then the bombs went off, and they did that in your lifetime.  Probably no more than twenty years ago at most, and myself I’m getting more of a “maybe seven or eight” feeling.  It’s a hectic, jagged, clashing sort of place–grim and dark and smokey, with you picking your way through jagged gouges in the earth and hurrying through the patches of radiation, hoping not to get shot at, blown up, or chewed on.  It has one of what I think is only two timed events in the game, and the one it has is by far the more dangerous.  Everything’s tilted and falling sideways and off-balance and occasionally chunks of the surroundings fall on you.  It’s a distinctly uncomfortable place to be.  Everything is jarred and shattered.

It’s not a fun environment to play in–really, without ED-E’s story I’m not sure I wouldn’t have headed back out of the DLC–and after a while, I concluded that this is okay.  The fragmented feel makes sense, and I’ll treat it as deliberate, because this is what it’d be like right after.  The Fallout games haven’t ever dealt with this; the earliest one took place over a century after the bombs fell.

It’s interesting.  It really echoes the begin again/but learn how to let go theme that all the DLC have been running with.  And it adds something to the rest of the setting; that tired or miserable as the Mojave can be, holy hell people have come a long way to building things back up.

[1] Naming your DLC with excerpts from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is cheating, in terms of marketing, and I am a sucker for it.

Settling on Sundays.

I want to say it’s been a long day, but it really hasn’t.  It’s been mostly a very pleasant day.  I’m just tired drained.  I’m anxious about work, and hoping it’ll be done soon.  And I ache, and I don’t know why I’m still hungy.  I made a decent dinner, even if it ended up taking nearly two hours from start to finish, and I was getting upset at trying to juggle everything.

I just want a day to stay home and sleep.  Instead I’m going to turn in early enough for a full night’s rest, show up cheerful and enthusiastic about the job tomorrow, and quietly count down the days until I’m done.  I believe this is called being a grown-up, or something, and is closely tied to finding work and making people not curse your presence.

(Meantime, the friend I’m writing a story with has been busy lately (which is fine!) and so have I, but from the time we’ve had to talk I can’t help but feel that while being busy she’s getting more actually done.)

Despite coordinating schedules, I am actually too worn to pay attention to American Horror Story or Walking Dead, so we’re catching up on Supernatural.  It’s nice to sit back and watch characters deal with a monster of the week, and I like the openly fake psychic who is pleasant and reasonable about her job.  It’s still clever rather than creepy, though, and I can’t remember when it last managed to be creepy–

(That said, the meta-commentary about brothers working together made me laugh.)

I suppose it’s hard to sustain tension, which is an essential element of creepy, when you know characters are either going to survive (Winchesters, Bobby) or else can’t be expected to be there for longer than an episode (everyone else).  Should keep that in mind when writing, I suppose.

I’m rambling, I know.  I think I’m about due to turn in.

Contemplating the gentle pillow of the keyboard.

I am tired.  Or possibly sleepy.  Headed out for dinner and there was a milkshake… I think it was a milkshake the size of the meal itself.  Which is sort of scary.  On top of a mostly empty stomach, I am feeling like I’m heading for a food coma.


Uhm, right.  Focussing.  Focussing through the yawning.  There was some geeking about Fallout: New Vegas at dinner, and acknowledgment of the generally wonderful storyline of Vault 11–wonderful in the sense of institutionalized ritual sacrifice, unnecessary murder, horror, and social experimentation.  Currently the favourite in terms of non-necessary main-game stories, but since it’s Fallout: New Vegas, there might be something else we’ve forgotten about.  I mean, I’m up past 240 hours and I don’t think I’ve visited half the places on the map yet…

It occurred to me, just now, that I first played a Fallout game in the late 90s.  Not quite half my life ago, but edging up there.  And I’m still interested in it; in the world, in the in-game history, in the characters (oh, lord, the characters) and factions, in the little background ties and references between games.  In how someone–several someones–managed to make a world so incredibly rich and then stand back and not explain it all.  I mean, I’m sure of several things, but I don’t think I’ll ever get proof, and…

Dammit, if I came up with something that neat, I’d want to tell people about it.  How do the designers manage to not?