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.

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth: The night before

Well, as of about 4:30 CDT, I went into vacation mode. Work notifications are muted, I had a fairly busy day of getting things done, or assigning tasks to other people for when I get back. Also one of my pals at Carcosa is leaving, so me and my fellow admin took him out to lunch. Busy busy cultist today.

I also woke up about 2 hours early. Since I still had packing to do, this ended up being a good thing. Redid the packing, did some around the house stuff, and went to work an hour early. Came home, watched 'Dagon', did some more packing foo, ate dinner. Thinking I'm going to hit the showers soon, then bed with book and early to sleep. Have to be up earlier than normal tomorrow for the fun and games of airport security. I won't be blogging while I'm gone, like the last couple of trips I'm not bringing a computer (or a tablet, just my phone and kindle). I'll probably ramble on Facebook though, I usually do. Then back from Innsmouth on Sunday.

So wish me safe travels, well stocked bookstores, friendly Deep Ones and fine seas. I'll try to not make the change early and swim down to Y'ha-nthlei...but if they've gotten internet you landlubbers may be out of luck *wink*

Goin’ Down to Innsmouth

Been a while since I posted on an actual blog. Part of the problem is I can't just open a term window and post to wordpress, like I used to do on Livejournal. Those were the good ol days. There are tools, but they're way overpowered, have weird access, and well...I'm just paranoid enough to worry about installing strange php scripts on servers. (Yes, I'm talking about wp-cli).

So what's been going on ? I've had some crazy mood/anxiety issues. I'm fighting it, but I'm very tired of fighting. So I'm trying a kind of Iä Cthulhu play, and taking a short vacation this coming week. Flying up to Boston, and from there driving north to Gloucester. Or as I call it, Innsmouth. Grandpa Theobald based his depiction of Innsmouth on Gloucester and the nearby town of Newburyport. So, I'm going to my city of dreams, see the 'Gilman House' and the 'Esoteric Order of Dagon Hall'. I'm also going sailing around Cape Ann on a schooner, and I'll be spending more than a little time in my old friend, the Atlantic. Will only be up there 4 days, but I hope it will be enough to reboot my brainmeats. And if nothing else, I get to check a few items off the bucket list.

Besides brainmeats and Innsmouth, I've been kind of doing the usual. My reading has kind of narrowed down to almost all history. Part of that is coping with mood problems, it's very hard to develop an emotional connection to things that happened 100/1000/2500 years ago. Which is kind of weird, as I've been binge watching 'Babylon 5' the last week or so, which is full of characters I care about. Oh well, it's still fun, even if it's made me want to cry more than a few times.

Also, I've been playing a lot of chess against the Shining Trapezohedron. I've always wanted to be a good chess player. I'm not one. But lately I've found that I can plan further ahead than before. Not much, but enough that I don't have to play the computer on the utter beginner mode, instead 1 level up for beginner. So far I'm batting .500. Which I'll take, and the small endorphin pulse I get from a win, or for even fighting a solid loss.

So, long post short, I'm struggling. But I have plans, and tools, and I'll keep on trying. Hopefully it won't a month and a half before I post again. Ciao cultists.

Starry Wisdom Retreat: Part 2

On Thursday I rented a car and drove down to Mystic to visit the aquarium and seaport there. Got to feed a stingray, which was one of the oddest feelings I've ever felt, like a muscular vacuum cleaner was grabbing my hand. Saw belugas, seals, petted a small cat shark. It's not a huge aquarium, but it's definitely high quality. Mystic Seaport was a place me and my folks went to when I was a kid, and it's been on my list to revisit for YEARS. Lots of ships, including a visiting Viking longboat that I went on board without knowing it with still offlimits to visitors (oops). Did go on board a 19th century whaling ship, an 20th century full ship rigged training vessel, and a fishing vessel from the early 20th century. Plus there's a number of historical buildings that were part of the Mystic sea trade. Definitely was good to visit, next time I'll go later in the year so more things will be open. Oh yeah, and while I was in Mystic I stopped by Mystic Pizza for a slice (or 3). Not a fan of the movie, but really...why not.

Random stuff. Visit Providence, and you'll eat well. Italian food, Irish pub food, sushi, so much good sushi. Found a little breakfast place that I ate at repeatedly while I was there. Had pizza a few times, quite a bit of variety in New England, some was like NYC, but thicker, others were like Chicago, but not as 'pie' like. The only less than great meals I had where when I had to do chain food, all the local places were top notch. Another oddity, Providence has really good tap water. Probably saved myself a bunch on bottled water bills. Lots of people with dogs on the streets of Providence, but unlike most of the random dogs I run into in Texas, they were well trained and didn't suddenly lunge at me randomly. Well other than one fluffy still mostly puppy, who just radiated 'I want to be friends'. The bus system was decent, a little confusing, but then again I have less experience with mass transit. I ended up walking a lot for that reason, and the occasional Lyft ride.

So that's the Cliff Notes version of my trip to Providence. I really had a good time, and I'll be back, probably for NecronomiCon 2019. I'm really fond of how the city looked, and how it felt to wander around. Definitely glad I decided to go. Thanks to Grandpa Theobald for inspiring me to go, and to all the nifty people I met while I was there. Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Starry Wisdom Retreat: Part 1

I had an amazing time in Providence. Not everything went according to plan, but my plans were made to be flexible, and with the understand that this would probably not be my only trip there. So while I didn't get to visit all the museums I wanted to, or the zoo, I did get to explore Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds, see lots of nifty old building, and eat some amazing food.

I'm not going to do a day by day, action by action post...I'd be writing for hours. I'll ping the high notes and interesting bits as I think of them. Start with my hotel. The Dean is a small 'boutique' hotel a few blocks from the Providence Biltmore, where StokerCon was being held. I later found out from a friend that it used to be one of the more notorious strip clubs in Providence, with the rooms being rented by the hour. Was a fun place, staff were friendly and the room was nicely sized and mostly comfy. There's a leather reading chair I wanted to steal somehow. Recommended if you're in town and like smaller hotesl.

Now lets move on to Lovecraft. I visited 3 of the places he lived, though only one house is still around (and moved from it's location when he lived there). I also visited the house he used as the setting for the story 'The Shunned House', the Fleur de Lys building which is mentioned in 'The Call of Cthulhu', and where the Church of the Starry Wisdom was in 'The Haunter of the Dark' (though the church was torn down and made into a park.) I also wandered around Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, on College Hill. Lots of climbing that hill. I visited the John Hay Library, but I didn't request to view the Lovecraft collection, I felt funny about it. I also didn't go see his grave marker at Swan Point cemetery. I found walking in his footsteps more interesting that visiting a grave.

Now lets talk books. Oh lord, is Providence a city for me. 3 used/indie bookstores in downtown (including the amazing Lovecraft Arts and Sciences), and 2 more a bit east around where HPL's birthplace was. I spent a lot on books, oh so many books. I ended up shipping a decent sized box of books home...then I went to StokerCon for more. Cthulhu books, history books, esoterica, stuff on Providence, things that just looked cool. At StokerCon I bought a few books based on author's elevator pitches, or from authors I've been talking to online. So many books...my bookshelves are groaning in pain.

StokerCon itself was fairly low key. It's mostly a 'con for writers to network and talk ideas and techniques. But there were some panels that were less focused, like panels on pulp and weird fiction, or Stoker's writing habits, or Hammer & Universal movies. I also listened to long time favorite authors Ramsey Campbell and Caitlin Kiernan do readings. Every one was really friendly, even the bigger names in the business, and had one author correct me when I said I was 'just a reader'. Also, the above mentioned Lovecraft Arts and Sciences hosted a poetry reading by a number of weird poets, including Donald Sidney-Fryer, who blew me away with how he read. Definitely worth braving the Nor'easterner that hit Friday. The whole con was fun, relaxed and well organized. Definitely recommend. The next one will be in Grand Rapids, MI. See details at stokercon2019.org.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I discuss stingrays, food and friggin' in the riggin'.

Off to Providence

Well I'm heading to Providence in the AM. (my trip plans got rearranged a bit due to an attack of real life). I'm anxious about the trip, dealing with airports and getting from Boston to Providence in one sane piece. My flight leaves at 7 tomorrow, so I'm going to head to bed in a little while so I can be awake at 0 dark 30 to deal with all the crazy of travel. I won't be blogging from my travels, but I'll take notes for posted when I get back. Catch you all when I get back from Lovecraft Country.

Been a while

Haven't had the ...whatever powers blogposts in a while. Part of it is the less than great headspace I've been in. Work is somewhat stressful, with us being short an admin, and the different groups I am matrix managed by are pulling in various ways. Brainmeats are pretty annoying too, with all my usual issues showing themselves, usually when I could really use a break.

Took a long weekend from work, off Friday through Monday, back on Tuesday. Probably one of my better decisions. I've caught up on sleep, caught up on laundry and chores and managed to rearrange bookshelves to make room for... more books. *chuckle* I expect to come back from my trip to Providence with a bunch of books, so I'm trying to make room for them. I've also spent yesterday and today updating the VM horde. New versions of Fedora, OpenSuSE and LinuxMint, so I've been busy. It's also therapeutic, I find patching to relax me.

Speaking of Providence, I leave in less than 3 weeks. Half a week of wandering Providence and nearby environs, and the StokerCon fun and games. My plans are kind of nebulous, I really should sit down and get my list of stuff down on paper (virtual). Museums and history sites, bookstores, and of course all things Lovecraft, plus whatever insanity I get up to at StokerCon. Should be a lot of fun, and I'm finally getting to go visit Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds.

I'm about to call it a day, turn off the movies and spend the rest of the night in a book. Or several. Books that is. Hopefully tonight is restful and full of good reading, and tomorrow I get a final day of time off before back to the crazy. Wish me luck.