Monday, July 24, 2017

Head, it is spinning

Within 24 hours we went from a heat wave to "It is October now, right?" Waiting for a bus back from Rumford I realized the t-shirt, sweatshirt, and light summer jacket I was wearing weren't cutting it, and if I went out again I'd have to wear my heavier autumn jacket. Not necessarily the weather I'd choose for July, but it will be easier to sleep tonight.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What else is new?

At breakfast the radio was on. A lady, the radio personality, spoke. There'd been a question earlier. Name something you remember that kids today wouldn't understand.

A listener had written in, responding that she remembered when telephones had long cords attached that kept them in place, unable to go further afield than the length of the cord. And when you had to make a private phone call, you also needed to take the telephone as far as it could go and shut the door.

To me, it seems like young people today can understand the existence of corded telephones, whether or not they previously knew such a thing existed. What they might have trouble getting their minds around is the concept of a "private phone call." In few places nowadays does such a thing exist.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The fan

In a room where a ceiling fan is going, running at top speed because of the heat, it can sound like the wind. Air, after all, is air. Of course it's too regular to be the wind, and the sound is only inside. It is the next best thing, however.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Inn trouble

Currently watching - watching, not binging, because I go to work in the morning - the fifth season of American Horror Story. AKA "Hotel", noted for bringing Lady Gaga into the franchise. You can tell she's not a really seasoned actress, but she makes an impression.

This is the second iteration of the show that I've seen, and there are a few constants:

* It's really campy. The actors do a lot of nighttime soap emoting, regardless of how overqualified they are. (The gay associations with camp are certainly there too. Most men in the cast either are gay or could be really successful if they tried their hand at it.)

* There are a lot of shock tactics, sometimes sexual in nature and sometimes not, which have the effect of making the show less scary rather than more.

* Once you get past those there's actually a twisty and interesting story.

The story here has elements of The Shining, The Hunger, and Seven. There's a hotel that was basically built as a giant instrument of torture. There are vampires who hunt to throbbing goth rock music. And a serial killer is trying to make his punishments biblically appropriate.

An LAPD detective played by Wes Bentley ties the three stories together. He alternates between wooden determination and blind panic. His estranged wife is played by Chloe Sevigny, and she might be giving the best performance. She's the control in the experiment, the most "normal" character, a grieving mother and dedicated pediatrician. But normalcy is an illusion and you know things are going to go bad for her/in her.

In all, entertaining, which includes giving you something to goof on.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ruinations

I'm close to finishing Edgar Pangborn's Davy now. It was a fairly big deal when it came out in 1964, nominated for the Hugo award. It's a post-apocalyptic novel, picaresque, about coming of age in rebellion against a rigidly backward community. In premise it seems very similar to Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker. Pangborn even includes American city-states that bear corrupt variants of their pre-apocalypse names, as Hoban would later do with English cities. (Both authors were American, though.)

Pangborn's novel came first. But while it's easier to penetrate, I don't think it's as successful as Hoban's later would be. Riddley Walker is mythic, and reads like it could be produced by a primitive society of the future. Davy sounds a little too much like the product of a council of Hume scholars.

In other news related to science fiction, I approve. I don't really know Whittaker's work very well, but I suppose I have time to learn.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Nabes

I just watched Good Neighbor Sam, a movie where an ad man pretends to be his wife's best friend's husband so she can inherit 15 million dollars. All the while they have to dodge a PI hired by her grandfather's relatives to prove they aren't really man and wife. And at work he needs his image as a wholesome choirboy to keep an account with a showily moral client.Jack Lemmon is in the lead, and with him are Dorothy Provine, Romy Schneider, and a memorable turn by Edward G Robinson as the client.

The 60s were weird. I don't mean the counterculture. Just the straight world, with its oddly ambitious "shot like a suburb" movies.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Now the waiting starts

I finished a short story recently, or at least it seems finished or what passes for it right now. Tonight I was planning to send it off to an ezine that seemed like it might be a receptive market. Had everything all formatted and ready to go. Then I noticed the announcement saying they were close to submissions and wouldn't be open again until September.

There's another ezine I just found out about. After weighing my options I sent the story to them. Largely because I didn't want to just sit on it for another two months. Still, the first one still seems like an interesting outfit, so I plan to submit something else to them, not sure what or when.

Also I transplanted a ladybug from the indoors to the outdoors tonight. They're cute enough so I'm not quick to squash them, but I'm not keen on having a lot of bugs living under my roof.