This is going to be a fairly short post, compared to my usual trip postmortems. I'm low on word foo lately, and it's harder to put my thoughts
into text worth a darn. But it's been 2 weeks, and if I don't do it now,
I'll probably not. So here we go.
This trip was shorter than my usual, I flew in Thursday evening, and
flew out Sunday morning. So I only had Friday night and Saturday for
fest fun and games. But I did manage to cram a lot into then. The Fest
started for me with an Innsmouth Art Show by a local art collective called
Dark Arbor Lodge. Sculpture, set pieces, masks and other art, all based
around Innsmouth. Needless to say, I was in heaven (or Y'ha-nthlei).
Have some great ideas for Château Innsmouth 2.0 decoration. If I'd been
local, I'd have tried to bring one of the pieces home with me. *grin*
After the show, and some dinner, I got in line for the fest. My plan was
simple, get in, get a seat in the big theater for the Opening, the first
block of shorts, then the big thing...Richard Stanley's 'Color Out of Space'.
The shorts were good, a couple I'd seen at 'Necronomicon', but there were
other goods ones, and the final one was 'The Last Incantation', which I'd
helped back on Kickstarter, and this was my first time to see it. Probably
the best Clark Ashton Smith adaptation yet. Then it was time for the Colour.
Not going to go into detail, or spoilers, but if anyone had their doubts
about the combo of Richard Stanley and Nicolas Cage adapting a Lovecraft
story, don't. Cage doing Cage fits in the story, given that things go
crazy when a Colour from space infects your farm. It's glorious and nuts
and very very Lovecraftian. And if you play 'spot the reference' you'll
have a field day. Per the director, it should have a wide release in Jan
2020. Go see it, I know I will again.
Saturday was much more laid back. Hung out with authors in the morning,
went to see a Russian feature flick, but it honestly bored me out of my
mind, gorgeous visuals, but it just...dragged. So I left early. Then
the fest turned into more of an M.R. James fest. Saw a couple of British
BBC adaptations, talked British ghost stories, listened to Robert Parry and
Richard Stanley read M.R. James stories. Yeah, I know it's a HPL Film Fest,
but I've been on a huge Jamesian and related authors kick this last year,
so it was a nice fix to get. Back to the Lovecraft, the Saturday night
feature was 'The Haunted Palace', the first Lovecraft adaptation, starring
Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman (Mr. Corman was at the fest, along
with Price's daughter Victoria). I've seen it a number of times, but it was
great seeing it on the big screen at the Hollywood Theatre. And I've been
on a Price kick since I got home.
Besides the fest, I did my usual Powell's Books raids, this time visiting
some of the other locations. I ate some really good food as usual. Just
wish I'd had more time in Portland. It's one of my favorite cities. And
the festival is...my home away from home. There isn't anywhere quite like
being in that beautiful theatre, surrounded by a horde of your fellow
cultists that you may not know, but you all share a love for this weirdness.
(and it's amazing how many friends I do know there now). It truly is
'The only convention that understands.' (Not to knock Necronomicon,
but this is my fave)
So that's my trip. Already got the 2020 one on the calendar (Oct 2-4th,
2020) and on a countdown. It's the 25th anniversary, so there's no way
I'm going to miss it.
It's definitely been a Lovecraftian year. Tons of new books, audio and art.
Cage/Stanley adaptation of 'The Colour Out of Space', and not 1 but 2
Lovecraftian conventions for me. Yep, I've decided to go to Portland for
the HP Lovecraft Film Festival
this year. I managed a decent costing flight, and a cheap hotel stay
for a Thurs-Sunday visit. So I get to see my Innsmouth West pals, visit
certain favorite bookstores, and get a second dose of Mythos Community.
It shall be glorious.
Besides the Portland trip, the local film festival is doing a showing
of Re-Animator as well,
which I may attend. Plus there's my spawning day in a little over a
month, which should count as pretty Lovecraftian. Plus, I have some
friends who've mostly convinced me that I want to go camping in later October.
(yes, you can start gasping in surprise now...) And while camping isn't
what I'd call directly Lovecraftian, you all know I'll make it at least a
little Mythos-y. Maybe I should go look for a Cthulhu flag or banner?
After that the year winds down
into Cthulhumas, then 2020 starts with hopefully a nice upgrade to the cult
lair/library. I'm kind of thinking I won't be doing much traveling next
year. The move and furnishing upgrades I'm thinking will eat a good
chuck of funds, as well as PTO. But we'll see, for all I know I'll swing
a good bonus again and that will cover the move, but I'm not counting on it
til it's in my hot little tentacles. And who knows what else may come
up. I'm a nut for planning and plotting in advance, but other than moving
I have to leave 2020 as a series of question marks, at least for now.
So that's my thoughts on the subject. As with everything, this is subject to
change. For now, I'm trying to avoid the siren song of book hunting, and/or
the urge to order in a carb heavy pizza or Chinese food. Two doctor visits
this week, one for my diabetes/blood pressure meds, and one with my
hematologist to discuss the quality of my blood. Should be fine, if a
little stressful. Catch you all later.
Got back from Providence on Tuesday. I had an amazing time. There were
some hiccups (avoid LaGuardia like the plague, and ye gods was the weather
warmer than I'd have hoped, and humid), but besides that pretty much
everything else was aces.
First non-travel day was driving from Queens to New Haven for a museum
exhibition on Mesopotamia. Added bonus, free museum day when I got there.
So I got my cuneiform on. Then I drove a little further to Niantic, home
of 'The Book Barn', a bookstore with 3 locations in this one small town.
Sunday I continued on to Rhode Island, first stopping at Point Judith which
is the furthest south you can get on Rhode Island, and where I visited last
year in the winter. This time I got to go into the ocean. Not just up to
my knees like I did in Gloucester, but full immersion. It felt so damn good.
This Innsmouth boy definitely needs to get his carcass into the ocean on a
regular basis. I did manage to make it back down to the same beach later
in the week due to severe salt water cravings. *grin*
After the beach I headed up to Providence, where I stayed
at the Old Court Bed and Breakfast, a 19th century building on College
Hill, I'd found it last visit while walking around. So this year I stayed
there for the first half of my time in Providence. Snazzy period room,
pretty comfy. Other than it's a 3rd floor walk up...well I've needed more
exercise. *laugh* I spent 3 nights there, while wandering around
Providence and nearby.
Went down to Newport by ferry, then took an
Unplanned Schooner Sail, which reminded me how much I like being on the
water. Weird day on the water, big fog bank rolled in and it seemed like
we were in the plot of a horror movie. Also was a more "active" cruise,
than the one in Gloucester last year, not sure if it was a stronger wind, or
the bay was rougher or *shrug* Was fun, especially when the ship heeled
over while running with the wind, that was a rush! After the cruise, I
managed to walk to the Newport Tower, a local 'mystery'. It's one of
those things that comes up as proof that the Irish or Templars or whatever
made it to America prior to Columbus. It looks pretty surreal to be
in the middle of a New England park, something that looks like it's from
the medieval era. But it's probably just some kind of folly or mundane
structure. Or it's used by cultists to conjure Yog-Sothoth...who knows.
Wednesday I switched hotels, going to the Providence Biltmore (it's been
renamed to The Graduate Providence, but no one seems to want to use that name). One of the two hotels that the 'con was going to be at. The 'con started
for me on Thursday, with a secret event that I am unable to speak of *wink*.
Friday-Sunday was a few panels, some more interesting than others, a few
readings which were much more interesting. I also spent a lot of time in
the vendors area, because there was probably a dozen folks or
more in there I knew
either from the HPL Film Festival, or from online. Bought a bunch of nifty
things, and had to convince myself to not try to come home with everything
that caught my eye. I went to the Art Show at the Providence Art Club on
Saturday, which was probably very wise of me, as there were several pieces
of art on the wall I would have come home with. Hopefully I can find prints
of them vs the originals.
I did have some anxiety/stress/lack of tentacle moments. But like the HPLFF
it was no big thing for me to sit down and people watch/read, or go back
to my room for a recharge. But I didn't do it as much as I thought I would.
I even managed to go to an after hours event that was multiple levels of
anxiety inducing. (A. hugely crowded, B. Claustrophobic, C. Performing
in public). Specifically, being part of the Innsmouth Sea Shanty Sing
Along. And since I knew most of the songs already, I sang loudly so
people could hear/learn the lyrics. I think the last time I sang out loud,
leading other people was a pagan event in 2000-2001. Luckily sea shanties
don't require a lot of vocal talent, just volume. I was joking after the
event that I expected my limbic system to spontaneously combust when it
realized what I'd been doing.
I got a few new signatures in my copy of 'Shadow Over Innsmouth', met a
bunch of folks. One of the high points was getting to meet Pete Rawlik,
who I've been online pals with for years. Great guy and author, and a really
personable guy. Who is a fount of Lovecraftian/weird/pulp/etc trivia.
I caught part of his trivia contest before the sing along, and out of
the 6-7 questions I heard, I got two right. So if you ever think 'Boy
Vulpine knows a lot of Lovecraft' I but an acolyte. (And the guy who
has won the thing 3 Necronomicons in a row is even more eldritch, Pete
at least has his library when he's writing these things, the winner had
the answers in his brain case). I also got to see two Dark Adventure
Radio Theatre performances by the HPLHS, which as a card carrying member I
of course had to lend my support (and ears). Special parts, I'd never
heard one of the plays (the latest one 'Mad Science), and that they only
had 3 guys doing the voices, where usually at live shows they have 6-7
and someone working sound effects. Watching them switch voice, accent,
mannerisms back and forth to cover all the voices was astounding.
The 'con ended Sunday. I didn't fly out til Tuesday, I spent Monday day
shipping out the 25 pounds or so of books I bought that I felt I could
let out of my hands. Then I mostly just hermitted and read. Then
it was time to fly back. Which was...a mess. Weather and timing caused my
flight to be delayed 3 times. Luckily Logan airport is fairly comfortable.
Speaking of books, I managed to read 15 during my 11 day vacation. Pretty
good, especially since I didn't just spend all my time reading. Here's
Smoke and Dagger - Douglas Wynne
Killer Lake - David Eventon
The Lost Husband - Willie Meikle
24 Hours in Ancient Egypt - Donald P Ryan
Secret Bloody London - John Pullen
Starry Wisdom - Peter Levenda
Library of the Lost: In Search of Forgotten Authors - Roger Dobson
The Weird of Hali: Red Hook - John Michael Greer
From Hell - Greig Beck Author
The Cold - Rich Hawkins
The Copycat Murders - Willie Meikle
Dark Wisdom - Gary Myers
Grey Magic - Gary Myers
Corpsepaint - David Peak
Demiurge - Michael Shea
So now I'm back in DFW, and I want to go back to Providence already. Good
food, really nice people, history on the half shell, and books everywhere.
In fact, there's a fountain outside the Providence Athenaeum, which legend
has that if you drink from the fountain you are destined to return to
A little over 400 minutes til I head off to Lovecraft country. Bags are packed, work away messages are setup to go into place as I leave for the airport. I'm probably over packed, but I've only got one carryon and one bag to check. Then I get to New York around midnight, and the fun really begins.
I'll probably be rambling on Facebook for the trip, as usually I'm not bringing any electronics besides my phone, my Kindle, and a bluetooth speaker. No laptop or tablet, so any writing I do will via phone, plus I'm trying to disconnect.
So here's to the magic of vacations, to visiting favorite parts of the country, to seeing my tentacled peeps, to getting in some ocean time, and exploring history. *clinks virtual glass* I'll be back in a week and change, don't break the internets without me.
Yog-Sothoth Neblod Zin, Nephren-Ka nai Hadoth.
By this time next week I'll be in Rhode Island. Friday is flying up to
NYC, Saturday will be commute and various Connecticut adventures. Then
Providence will be my base of operations for the next 10 days. Much
like my last visit, will be a mix of book hunting, historical foo, and a
convention full of quirky folks, specifically NecronomiCon. This is the big event of the cultist
calendar this year, and the thing I've been looking forward to all year.
But I'm just a little worried, it's been a really rough month mood wise.
Not going to go into details, trying to not dwell too much on what my
brain meats are throwing at me. But yeah, worried about a major crash
while out of town, like what happened during the Alaska Cruise a few
years ago. We'll see, this is different. Even if I do crash out, I can
hermit in my hotel with books and take out. I'm intentionally not bringing
a bunch of electronics, so I'll have some degree of disconnect. Plus,
Providence is well, Providence. Weather will be cooler than Texas,
fresh seafood, and a very nice bookstore to distance ratio. So while I
may have issues, I won't have volumes.
So a little over 125 hours til I'm winging my way north. I still have to
pack and plan stuff, deal with a work week, and the other mundanities of
life. Work especially will be challenging, but I just have to keep in
mind that Cthulhu has my back, and in short order I'll have time away.
Come on Friday!
It's been a while, haven't had much to talk about in detail. But since
it's Independent Bookstore
Day I have stuff to talk about. Specifically going to one of the
biggest bookstores I've ever been to.
So this morning, once I got free from work foo, I headed out to King Tut's
for lunch/bookhunting fuel. Had my usual lamb gyro and fries, then
about 1pm I headed to the northwest to visit Booked Up. This is the bookstore that Larry McMurtry of
"Lonesome Dove" fame runs. It's about 2 hours from Château Innsmouth,
out in farm country. It's huge, and they're in the midst of expanding.
So I drove, and drove, and drove some more. Saw a lot of cows, a few cops,
and a number of small towns that I couldn't image living in. Then, finally
made it to Archer City and to my destination. It didn't look all that big
from the outside. Headed in, the staff said hi and gave me the quick rundown
of how things were laided out. First area looked like a cross between a
classic Texas ranch house and a library. Store has a cat, a pretty
black kitty who was pretty sphinx like (the monument, not the yoda-cat look).
So after looking around at books and art related to the history of the lace
and Mr McMurtry (who wasn't there), I went in to the next room...
And it's a warehouse. Shelves you need a 6' tall ladder to get to the
top of (they have a few of the stair ladders around). Figure out quick
there are two layouts, organized books by genre/subject, and the unorganized,
"there could be damn near anything there" sections. Which actually kind of
broke my brain. One of my secret bookhunting skills is that I can quickly
scan shelves looking for keywords/names/etc. Generally I can read the
spines as fast as my eyes can move, then if something trips the keyword
search, bingo, book I can look at more detail. This _does not work_ when
you're dealing with 12' shelves. So the unorganized parts pretty much just
made my head spin. (I don't know if this is normal, or if it's part of
the reorg and the new space across the street). But I was able to find my
usual favorite haunts. Horror wasn't super packed, but I found two
Ramsey Campbell hardbacks, a collection he did the forward to, and a pair of
novels that screamed late 70's occult horror. There were a couple of
Lovecraft books, but they were recent editions. Btw, if you like
mysteries or thrillers, there were about 5 times as many of those as horror.
History was good, but nothing screamed to be taken home. Then I found the
esoterica section...which given how far I was out in farm country, well
I expected it to be a shelf or two. Again, wasn't packed, but there was
something for most anyone. Found a study from SUNY's series on Western
Esoterica, and a book by Colin Wilson on people who have claimed to be a
messiah. Which I didn't know existed at all. So they got added to the pile.
Wandered a while longer, came back up front, left my pile at checkout and
went across the street to check the new space. It's a mix of organized
and disorganized, like they're trying to get stuff on shelves, and then
will get like with like. Found some good things, but I was already pushing
my budget limit and they weren't things I absolutely had to have. So after
getting lost in the stacks, I headed back across the street and checked out.
Got my books, gave over my Innsmouth gold, made a comment that for my next
visit I was probably going to stay over in town so I could have more time.
Seems I'm not the only one to think, or do that. *grin* Got back in the
car, and drove the two hours home. (Thank Cthulhu for an audiobook of
'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward').
So, my thoughts about Booked Up? It's huge, it's random as heck, and if
there was a bookstore you might stumble upon the Necronomicon, it's this
one. Downside is, it's an old Texas building, so little airflow and it
was pretty warm (got to about 90 today, not sure I want to go there in
August). It's also out in the middle of nowhere. The randomness wasn't
my thing either, but I only had a small window to view. They're open
Thurs-Saturday from 1 to 5pm, so you're limited to the damage you can do.
But it's a nice, friendly place with a quirky vibe and oh so many books. So
if you're in the North Texas/Oklahoma region, look it up.
And, and the books I got are.
Rogue Messiahs - Colin Wilson
Trithemius and Magical Theology - Noel L. Braun
The Sorcerer - Eric Ericson
The Woman Who Slept with Demons - Eric Ericson
Ancient Images - Ramsey Campbell
Night of the Claw - Ramsey Campbell (under the pseudonym Jay Ramsey)
Flew back in today. My brain has been reduced to something akin to tapioca, early wake up, flying, having my bag searched because of eldritch objects, and a screaming child two seats away. But that's just the return journey, the rest of the trip was gloriously fun. Movies, books, friends, good food, things with tentacles. Friends with tentacles. I'll write up a more detailed post probably this weekend. For now though, I'll try to regrow some tentacles for returning to Carcosa Corp tomorrow, and probably go to bad way early.
Friday dawned early. I'd left the balcony door open, and the curtains pulled,
and my room faced directly to the east. Not that there was much of a dawn,
it was a gray, overcast day. But still enough to wake me up early. Got
up, got ready and headed back into Innsmouth proper. I'd looked up parking
online, and found a place kind of center. Seemed a better idea to pay for
a day's parking vs trying to find parking as I moved around, plus more
fun to walk through the old streets and houses. So I did.
There was no plan as I went. I wanted to go to the harbor, and I had some
landmarks, and stores I wanted to visit, but I just went as the mood and
feet took me. Had breakfast at a crowded little diner called 'Sugar
Magnolia'. Omelet (big chunks of tomato and bacon in it), potatoes and
toast. Went from there to 'The Bookstore of Gloucester', which was a small
but nice little shop with new books. As it my habit, I picked up a book
about local history, and some postcards/art cards. Also met the store
pup, Finn. A little snow white...something. Cute guy, gave me a sniff,
got his pettings, then took his human out to pee (he peed, not the human...
I think). I then walked to the harbor, stared out at the water for a long
while (I did that a lot this trip). Saw the memorial to all the fishermen
who'd died over the years. All the names that are known are written down,
going back centuries, up until the 2000s. It's humbling.
On a lighter note, the various kinds of gulls around were yelling at each
other, different calls. Really sounded like they were cursing each other out.
After the harbor, I walked up though the town going towards one of the
landmarks, the Esoteric Order of Dagon Hall (or American Legion Post #3, if
you believe in such things). I would say of what I learned there, but I am
bound by the Second Oath. Oddly, there's also a statue of Joan of Arc across
the street, a memorial to those who fought in WWI. What's funny, I only
just realized it was Joan of Arc. I was distracted I guess. From there
I went The Sargent House, one of the original fancy homes in town. Old
Georgian mansion, which is always a good excuse to get out of the drizzle.
The house was built for a Judith Sargent Stevens Murray in 1782, she one
was of the early feminists. I showed up just as a tour was starting, so
I joined in. Beautiful house, lots of portraits on the walls, very cool
furniture, and my fellow tour takers were big art and history nerds from
NJ, so they asked tons of questions I didn't think to ask. Some books on
display, including a family bible that was epic in size. Of course, it
could have also been the Necronomicon, but I wasn't willing to risk it.
Historians will have your arm off for offenses like that. If you're in
the area, I highly recommend visiting. The tour takes about an hour, and
it's worth it. I wonder if the local bus driver comes here a lot...
I'm cutting Friday off here because I've been writing for almost 2 hours, and
I'm running out of tentacles. Tune in next time for stories of me
semi-randomly going to another Innsmouth, wandering around Essex environs, and
maybe actually finding where my port of dreams is...
I headed back to the hotel, stopping by a local grocery store (Not, sadly
of the First National Chain), and picked up snacks. My hotel room had a
kitchenette with a fridge, so I got some fruit and cheese along with soda and
chips and cookies. I read for a while til dusk set it, then I went for a
walk along the private (to hotel guests and people living in the houses in
the immediate area.) Sandy beach, like what I grew up with, but with a lot
of small/mid sized rocks, well water worn. I'm not sure if that's fill,
or that's what was original there and they brought in sand, or what. After
a while, I stopped, picked a memorable spot to stow my socks and shoes. got
rid of them, and walked down to the surf.
Ye gods and little fishies, it was COLD. I grew up swimming in the Atlantic, but that was a few hundred miles south, and usually later in the year...and oh yeah, not in the evening *laugh* Still, wow. But once the initial shock wore off, and my bones stopped trying to shrink around the pin in my ankle, it felt
good. First 1/3rd of my life was spent within easy distance of the ocean,
and I miss it. And it felt like I'd come home. I've been to the Atlantic a
few times since I moved to Texas, twice in the last few years. But this is
the first time I let myself to be in the water, even if it was only up to
my calves. Oh, part of me wanted to go swimming. But the wiser part of me
remembers that I'm not a great swimmer, that the water was bloody cold, and
that swimming at night can be dangerous. Especially if you don't know
the water. So ignored the siren call and just stood there. Well, not just
stood. I was reminded that even in shallow water like I was in, the Atlantic
will move you around. Water flowing over feet will pull sand from under you,
and suddenly you're in a hole with an unexpected swelling knocking you over.
So think of it as half trancing out to the sound of waves and the feel of
water, and half Irish step dancing as you try to keep balance. I could
feel all the negative feelings I'd had the last few months drain out.
Stress, sadness, anger...all pulled out. I don't care what you believe
or don't believe, in moments like that you realize why people have always
loved, worshiped and feared the ocean, often all at once. Been a long
time since I felt that peaceful about anything.
Stayed out there for a while, eventually decided that the cold was winning
out, so I came back on land (with some regrets), listened to the waves
for a while longer, then decided the mosquitoes that ignored me in the
surf, decided I was fair game on land. So I beat a retreat for for hotel
room, where I hid behind a mesh screen and read, finally going to bed
with the ocean singing to me live, instead of from the white noise generator
playing a recording of the ocean.
I don't recall if I dreamed (any of the nights I was in Innsmouth), but
I haven't slept that soundly in forever.
Innsmouth is a town of wide extent and dense construction…(Ok, yes I know
it’s Gloucester, but this is my blog, and from here on out it’s getting called
Innsmouth). Lots of older homes and buildings, some new stuff that fits in,
and some stuff that just plain looks weird. The main streets are like
most any street USA, but if go down the side streets it gets kind of…
cramped. Especially since parking is at a premium, so everyone parks at
the curb if possible. Got turned around a bunch, (a common theme) but
finally made it to The Pilot House, which is a strange but cool mix of
American bar food, and Chinese and Japanese Food. I went for the sushi,
my usuals, plus a appetizer that was a mix of spicy tuna, avocado, and rice
with eel sauce, deep fried, with more eel sauce on top. (I’m a huge fan
of the sauce they put on freshwater eel sushi, so this was just heaven)
The waitress was
very friendly and attentive (and pretty darn cute too, nice big eyes), and the food was great. Lots of locals came in to grab take out orders, also a good
sign. I left with leftovers and a very contented stomach.