31 March 2004


Here's a useful thing: the Crackpot Index:
10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is 'only a theory', as if this were somehow a point against it.

(Link via The Panda's Thumb.)

30 March 2004

The Cat With Hands

Here's a very creepy, and very very good short movie: The Cat With Hands. (Link via Jenn Manley Lee.)

15 March 2004

Writing: Sea Things

I haven't written it down yet, but a new Vinland story is knocking about in my head. I meant to start working on it yesterday, and then today. Tomorrow will be so full of review-writing that I'll probably be sick of words by the end of it. Which means "Daughters of the Sea King" might not get written until Tuesday. But we shall see.


I'm feeling "stiff as an old boot," as my mother would say, after spending all weekend working out in the yard. But things are coming together out there and, despite the stiffness, I feel better for the exercise.

And I was flipping around channels while trying to decide what to do with the evening, and discovered that Penn and Teller are going to be on While You Were Out next week. Mostly, I watch While You Were Out for this, though sometimes the actual decorating is good, too. But I might even tape an ep with Penn and Teller. And of course this means I need to renew my efforts to learn to juggle. (Almost there . . . )

09 March 2004

Disrobing Aragorn

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on my bed carefully disrobing my new twelve inch Aragorn action figure, when I started to wonder why I was doing it. I'm sure some of you (assuming there is more more than one person reading this) have nasty thoughts just from the title of this post. But, while I am weird and I did once write an editorial about 1/6 scale action figures called "Twelve Inches of Fun," there's nothing lewd about naked plastic Aragorn. Not for me, anyway.

Even if it is the closest I'll ever get to seeing Viggo Mortensen naked.

(Though if recent theories about the universe being infinite and therefore everything that is possible being actual somewhere are true, then there are all kinds of almost-mes answering the door at this very moment to find all kinds of almost-Viggo-Mortensens on the doorstep, eager to disrobe with a sexy little dance. I'm not sure if that is a comforting thought or a depressing one. Or just another example of how I'm a freak.)

So. Taking the clothes off little Aragorn is not a naughty sexual peculiarity. It's something I've done with every action figure, doll or other toy I've ever owned that had removeable clothes. Ever since I was old enough to take the clothes off things, if the clothes came off, I removed them. It does have practical applications. For instance, removing the clothes from an action figure allows one to determine exactly how the figure is articulated, so one does not accidently rip an arm off trying to bend it in a way it wasn't meant to bend. Taking twelve-inch Eowyn's dress off meant I discovered that her arm had been bent backwards in the process (I assume) of putting her dress on in the first place. If I hadn't known that, I might have broken her trying to put her in a suitable pose for display.

Disrobing figures also means one can get the clothes to go on better. At least for the less expensive range of twelve inch figures, the people who put the clothes on in the first place probably don't get paid a whole lot, and probably don't much care how the figure will look once you take it out of the box and put it on the shelf. And hey, I'd never have discovered that Ringwraiths wear shoulder pads if I hadn't unclothed (as far as possible) my Witch-King of Angmar.

But I'm not sure that those practical considerations are the real reason for pulling the clothes off my toys, or at least they're not the main reason. I think it's partly human curiosity--the need to see how things go together, to see how the clothes go on, and if they can come off. It's a deep seated instinct. I won't go so far as to say that every little girl has it, but every little girl I've ever known has (and a lot of little boys, too; I once found a G.I. Joe of my nephew's stripped naked except for a pair of pants around his ankles. He had rubbery legs and I suspect Ryan couldn't get Joe's trousers back on once he'd got them off). The little girl I was had the instinct, and so does the little girl not so deeply hidden inside the woman that I now am. 1/6 scale Blackbeard is next.

(And yes, that was the naked Aragorn post I kept mentioning. Anticlimactic, isn't it?)

05 March 2004

Writing: Skerries, Again

I just finished draft two of "Great Skerry," and it's just over 7200 words, which is a nice fat story, I think. It could well end up shorter once I edit. There are some bits that really, really need reworking. It was fun though, because I discovered some interesting things about two of my favourite male characters.

04 March 2004

A Bit of "Great Skerry"

Just for funsies:

"You all know, I'm sure, of the rocks up Blackstrand way that we call the Skerries? Only one of them boat-hazards can make any claim to be called an island, and that only just. That's Great Skerry, though it's great only in comparison to its brothers. It's there the seals live and, some say, the seal folk, the Selkies who can take the shape of man or seal depending on whether they're walking the land or swimming the sea."

Lir smiled. He had named his boat for that legend.

"Well now, these past months—nobody's sure how long, really, as we don't often sail near there—these past months smoke's been seen rising from Great Skerry. My fisher friend—" The man indicated his silent companion. "—decided to see what's what. Maybe somebody shipwrecked, he thought. But what should he find but a little stone house with an upturned boat for a roof. And a man with a long scroggly beard who wanted to talk of nothing but seals.

"Tried to bring the man back did good master Sigrson, but the hermit would not hear of it. 'Leave me be,' he said. 'Leave me with my seals.' He'd not even say who he was or where he'd come from. Trey Sigrson here thinks the hermit's sweater was Cobbleshore knit, but the wool was so felted it was hard to say for certain."

Archaeological Bits and Pieces

Here are few things I bookmarked along the way to blog, and somehow never got to (so I no longer have any idea where I nicked the links from).

This story is about some very cool, very old artifacts found in the Yukon. The organic artifacts are especially important, as that kind of stuff just doesn't preserve well (especially in that environment).

It kind of bugs me how "they" always talk of people worshipping things, just because those things were important in a sacred context. I mean like the idea that the Celts worshipped trees. Do you suppose they really worshipped the trees? Do you think maybe the trees (or rather, groves) were actually symbols of the gods and spirits? Do Christians worship crucifixes and churches? (Well, maybe some of them do, but I don't think it's a good general statement.) Anyway, despite the "lion-worship" angle, this is a pretty cool story about Egyptian archaeology.

And here's a long article about crackpot archaeology in Australia, which I haven't had a chance to read all the way through yet, so I won't comment.


The first draft of "Great Skerry" is finally done. Actually, it was done on the 17th of February, but I've been lazy about blogging lately (good thing I didn't make that New Year's resolution to blog every day). Today I'm working busily at draft two (which mostly means transcribing it from longhand in my notebook to a word processor on my computer, editing as I go). The real edits will happen once I print out a copy and go at it with a red pen.

And, even better, last night I stayed up too late finishing the first draft of "Raven's Wing" or "Ravenswing Woman" (which will probably be called neither when it's done). But is it really staying up too late when you get a story done? Maybe it's just late enough. I'm not entirely certain the draft really is done, because I wrote the beginning a long time ago, and it's not in my most recent writing notebook. So I have to find it and see how much is missing between what I wrote before and the many pages I wrote last night (cramping hand and sweat-slippery pen and all. I need to get a better writing pen).

Stay tuned for naked Aragorn. Gotta get him out of my brain soon.