7 months at Dunwich Abbey: A State of the Fox post

Ugg, I've been productive today, and now I'm having what's becoming a Tsathoggua Tsathurday tradition, slowly building anxiety and an inability to focus on anything"fun". But, at least I've noticed it, so maybe I can get it under control.

Oh, for the curious, I managed to get the books I keep on my desk reorganized, using a "spice rack" shelving unit to add more room, looks a little weird, but it works. I also finally got the printer I bought months ago setup, plugged in, and configured. Lexmark color laser thingie. (People who know me know I dislike working with printers because they are...quirky, especially with linux). Simple config, seems to just work. Oh, and got packages, spicy Latin phrases, pins from a Kickstarter I'd forgotten about, and the bi-yearly journal foo from the Friends of Arthur Machen. (aka amazing levels of book nerdery).

As the subject says, today is 7 months since I moved in, and it's a little past 5 months since I basically went para-hermit. My plans for this place have slowed glacially, but bit by bit things are coming together. The library is just about setup, though nothing is terribly organized. But that will probably take forever, given how easily it is for me to slip into vapor lock right now.

Which will be my segue into the brainmeats. Not much has changed, Same executive dysfunction, distraction, doomscrolling news/social media. But I might be seeing an uptick. I've actually gotten some reading done lately, gotten back into DuoLingo: Latin edition, and even worked on some non work computer geek stuff. I still get the sads at the drop of a hat, and anxiety is everywhere. But I have meds, I'm putting various coping skills to use. One day at a time, one tentacle in front of another.

Other than that...oh yeah, any travel plans I had for this year are gone. The one last thing I wanted to travel for was the HPLFF in Portland. But the folks that run it made the logical/common sense call to make it all online, both festivals. So next weekend is a short fest, to replace the one that would be playing in Providence, and first weekend of October will be the big festival. I'm sad I don't get to be with my fellow Lovecraftians in person, which honestly is the best part of the 'fest. But I'll get my movie fixes, and hopefully we can use technology to get some socializing at a distance done. I'm also taking an little extra PTO for both, so I can be extra chill.

Ok, I got distracted from this post...so I'll go ahead and call it a post. And yeah, I know...two posts in one day. Don't get too excited.

The HP Lovecraft Film Fest 2019

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.

A Year of Lovecraft

It's definitely been a Lovecraftian year. Tons of new books, audio and art. Also the 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.

The HP Lovecraft Film Festival

It's taken a while to write this, I think this is rewrite #3. Going for the short form this time. Had a really good time at the Film Festival. Portland as usual is the kind of city I enjoy. Good food, interesting buildings, a metro system that works, and a distinct lack of mountain cedar. Did my usual wandering, raided Powell's City of Books (Oh, my credit card bill). I also went over to the Oregon Maritime Museum and Movie Madness Video. Then, Friday night was time for the Fest...

As usual it was mostly feature films for me. So after saying hi to people I know, I found a seat for 'Necronomicon: The Book of Hell'. A flick from Argentina, that I've been wanting to see since I first heard about it. Movie about one of the copies of the Necronomicon that HPL said was kept at the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires. Creepy book tale (which themed to be a theme for me this year). Lots of fun, low budget but it worked well for me. Then again, crazed book folks hit a special note with me. Hoping it gets an international release. Next flick was 'The Rules of Ruin', another forbidden tome book, this one from Mexico. Also creepy, it didn't hang together quite as well as Necronomicon, but it was enjoyable. Again, hoping for a wider release (and a physical copy for me).

Saturday started with 'Carbload for Cthulhu' a signing event, with bagels and Voodoo donuts. (I had a quarter of 1 donut due to the evil diabetes, was good but not worth sugar coma). Met some more friends, met a number of new authors and bought a bunch of books. Then was the HPLHS presentation of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' as a radio play. As a card carrying member, I had to get a front row seat. Then was dinner, sushi with pals, then back to see 'Hammer of the Gods', a Canadian wilderness horror flick. The same people did 'Black Mountain Side' a few years ago, which blew me away. This was different, jarring spikes of horror, mixed with general 'oh crap this will end badly'. Really enjoyed it, will be staying out of the Canadian wilderness. Last flick for Saturday was a Japanese adaptation of 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'. Was enjoyable, if a little slow. But it's one of those things I'd probably never get to see again, so glad I went.

Sunday started with more wandering and talking. Some folks had their wedding at the HPLFF, and they opened it to anyone who wanted to attend. Cody Goodfellow presided, I highly recommend getting married by a crazy Cthulhu cultist if you are of the inclination.

Movies were Clark Ashton Smith adaptations, one from 'Night Gallery' and two by Richard Stanley, 'Mother of Toads' (which I've seen a few times) and 'The Sea of Perdition', which isn't a direct adaptation, just using some themes and going off a really cool landscape he found in Iceland. Richard Stanley did a Q/A which was really interesting, he's a very quirky dude. I then hit my one shorts block, the NSFW set. Definitely was not safe for work, or sanity. Will never look at lobsters or mirrors the same way again. *wink* Final flick was 'Corpse' based on the King in Yellow mythos of Robert Chambers. Very psychedelic, multiple timelines that were kind of hard to keep up with, and IMHO needed a bit of editing, but it really got the creeping insanity of Carcosa (not Carcosa Corp). And with that, my fest came to a close.

*looks up* Yeah, this is the short form. I can get wordy really bloody easily. As I said, I had a blast. Saw a number of friends, made a bunch of new ones. Was already wishing it was time for the next fest before I got to the airport the next day. Many Thanks to Gwen and Brian Callahan, along with their eldritch minions for putting on one hell of a fest.

Back from Innsmouth West

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.

Pilgrimage to Innsmouth West

Heading out to Portland in a few hours, for the HP Lovecraft Film Festival. Very much looking forward to it, hoping for an easy trip (I have a sinus infection, and that's making me a tad nervous about flying). Lovecraftian movies and people, book raid on Powell's City of Books, and some rather good food. So wish me luck, and I'll post again after I get back, and fill you all in on the eldritch details.

Sunday: running low on tentacles.

I tried to sleep in, kind of suceeded. Headed back to the Hollywood Theatre. Wandered around, talked to people, including a bookbinder who does custom books. I've wanted a custom edition of 'Shadow Over Innsmouth' so I asked him a few questions, and got details of what I need and what it would cost. Something I'll be doing later this year. Went to a audio play version of 'The Hound', again by Stuart Gordon. Again, fun in a audience. I also went to the screening of 'The Asphrx'. Old Hammer style horror flick, with some vague nods to a couple of HPL's stories. I've seen it before, many years ago I rented it back in high school. Was fun, in that Hammer style that I love.

After the flicks I went to get some dinner. Per a friend's recommendations I had the fish and chips, and it was wonderful. But after that I was really tired, so I said my goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to eat cookies and chill out. Slept well, got up and made it to the airport, and back home in one piece. Thus was my adventures at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival.

Saturday Cultist was soaked to the bone

Got up early, gathered books to be signed, and headed back out for the 'Carbload for Cthulhu'. Free donuts and bagels and authors to sign stuff. Scott Jones, Kenneth Hite, Cody Goodfellow, S.T. Joshi, Wendy N. Wagner and more. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, it became a thing, people finding out it was my first fest and being glad I finally made it. *cheer* Bought more books, and ran back to the hotel to drop them off and come back for the flicks.

Saturday's first flick was 'Bad Ass Monster Killers'. Imagine if HP Lovecraft lived until the 70's and became a huge fan of Fred Williamson and Shaft movies. This would have been the screenplay he wrote. Cheese grande, hysterical and glorious. I bought a copy of the DVD, and another flick by the group that did it to inflict on my friends. Speaking of friends, I randomly joined into conversations and met people. *waves at Anders*

Hung around, wandered around the vendors. Met a number of people I'd only talked to online. Ann Koi, Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from the HPLHS, other people that we have friends in common. Everyone was as friendly as before. Spent monies on cool things, and shockingly...books. *wink* Then I got a front row seat for the HPLHS live performance of 'Dagon: War of Worlds'. Was fun to watch/listen to, always good to support the HPLHS. Afterwards I went for sushi, a place I'd walked by and made note of. New tasty fishy for me, mackerel. Strong flavor, but enjoyable. I seem to like my sushi to have a strong flavor more often than not.

Then I watched the re-release of 'From Beyond' with Stuart Gordon. I'd never seen it with an audience beyond that of a few friends, and it was great. Need to see more classic movies in the theaters. Afterwards I was part of a small panel with Stuart Gordon, discussing movies and stories with him. Yes, I got to chitchat with one of my favorite directors twice during the fest. Also got my copy of 'Dagon' signed, because yes, I am a fanboy.

Afterwards I headed back to the hotel in the rain. Books made it safe, though I was a tad soaked. Crashed out and slept pretty good.

Friday night: The Creature Below and Downhill

Saw two movies Friday night. The first one was 'The Creature Below'. A British monster flick with Lovecraftian bits. I'd been looking forward to seeing it since before I decided to go to the fest. So when they announced it was showing I did some happy dancing. The movie was good, not as good as I'd expected, but still good. Tentacles everywhere. And the love between a girl and her adopted octopus. 4 out of 5 tentacles.

The second movie was 'Downhill'' It tried very hard, but it wasn't sure if it was an infection horror, a chased by crazies horror, or a cultists in the woods horror. Very well shot, and Chile is gorgeous, but it didn't hold that well together. 2 out of 5 cultists to Shubby. That being said, I'd probably watch it again. Maybe it would hold together better on repeat viewing, and like I said it's a very pretty movie.

AFter the two flicks I called it a night. All 3 nights there were after parties at local places, but consistently was out of tentacles by the time they rolled around, and hotel and bed seemed more appealing.

Last night

When last we spoke I'd been on the roof of the Gilman House. I decided to head out to get some dinner. And went the wrong way, repeatedly. Walked the wrong way, got on the wrong bus, finally gave up and hoofed it to a pub of some variety that had interesting looking cheeseburgers. I'm really starting to like Tillamook cheddar. Burger was good, nothing spectacular but just what I was in the mood for. Headed back to the hotel, missed my stop, got turned around and back. Oh, that physical compass I bought...it's possessed. Utterly unhelpful. Oh well.

Hung out in my room for a while to decompress. Then got dressed up for the VIP party at the nearby Chinese Gardens. I didn't get this dressed up for my last job interview. I even wore a tie (regular tie, not a fancy tentacle tie like I'd thought to do...ran out of time). Headed on out, the gardens were just a block away. Got checked in, got my badge for the weekend, then got taken on a tour of the Portland Shanghai tunnels. If you're interested in crazy history, true crime, or the not so fun life of a sailor, read up on this place. Those who know me, know I dislike closed in places, especially if there's no air moving. This was only a few degrees off what I'd consider hell, if I had to be stuck there. I pity anyone over my 5' 7", as I was ducking under pipes and low arches. And critiquing the ethernet cable runs I saw. (real businesses still use the tunnels for piping and wiring). It's rumored to be haunted, but I didn't see or feel anything too weird, besides thinking that someone could use the tunnels to film an awesome adaptation of 'Pickman's Model'. Tour lasted about an hour, our tour guide could really spin some good yarns. Need to look up some material on the archeology of the tunnels, my history geek was letting itself be known.

After the tunnel was the reception back at the gardens. One of the organizers recognized me from Facebook, we'd actually met years ago at Texas Frightmare Weekend, she sold me one of my first EoD shirts. But other than that, I knew no one. So I meandered, trying to fight the urge to wallflower...then I saw Ross, the editor of Word Horde, who I've been online pals with for years. So I centered my courage and said hello. The miracle of the interwebs, we chatted for a bit about the Fest and how it was my first one, and I got told that I was in for a great time. Which became the theme for the night. They started with some readings of HPL's poetry, which got me talking to a random gentleman, who used to live in Texas, and I was assured I would have a blast. Then I met one of the original founders of the Fest, who wanted to know how I'd found this fest, and made me feel really welcome. Oh yes, and I'd have a blast. Wanted around some more, found the tea house in the gardens, where 4-5 people were sitting around talking movies. I joined it, no self consciousness, just yay fellow geeks. The other in joke was I kept meeting people who'd lived in Texas. One was from Austin, and another had lived in San Angelo as a kid (poor guy). The one lady was from the Seattle area, no Texas links. All were repeat attenders, and we talked geek, and movies, and Vikings, and Dr Who. Then we started discussing Stuart Gordon's movies, and well...speak of the director and he shall appear...

Yes gang, Stuart Gordon, of Reanimator, From Beyond and DAGON!!! fame, walked in. And sat down with us and we talked movies and theater stuff. Mostly I just listened, somewhat star struck, and somewhat just wanting to hear his opinions. (I now need to do a rewatch of early Cronenberg stuff, and I'm told that the recent kids movie BFG has some creep moments, may give that a look.) I did tell him about showing From Beyond to some friends, and how I got the 'Dear gods Vulpine, what the hell was that ?' from said friends. Got a good laugh on that. Things finally ended about 11, so I said my goodbyes, wandered the gardens thinking I might be lost...found the exit, headed back to the Gilman House and crashed. I will freely admit to walking on air on the way back, I'd not only been social with people I didn't know, and talked somewhat sanely to one of my favorite directors, but I never really felt anxious. At most I felt unsure of what to do. Major difference.

And with that I'm going to call this a post. Going to head over to where the Theater is for the offical start of the Fest. Time to get my movies on :)