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.

Starry Wisdom Pilgrimage: 2019

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, gender and 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 the list.

  • 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 Providence...

    I took a total of 5 drinks while there *wink*

  • Starry Wisdom Pilgrimage 2019 edition

    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.
    Vulpine

    Almost time to visit Providence

    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!

    Merry Shortest Night of the Year (Northern Hemisphere edition)

    It's finally going to start to get darker again. Thank Cthulhu. Sadly, it won't get any cooler for 3 months. Darn it. Been a mixed week. Some good stuff at work, some soso stuff. After a lot of thinking, and a discussion with my fellow admin, I decided that I'll be in the office 3 out of 5 days most weeks, vs the single day. I'm pretty non-social as it is, and not leaving the house on that regular a basis would probably be a bit much. Of course I regret it every night coming home, between the heat and the traffic it runs me over.

    On a happier note, I have a plan for a 2020 trip. Thinking about visiting LA for a long weekend. The HP Lovecraft Historical Society (which I'm a card carrying member of) is based in LA, and I'd like to see the HQ building and see the gang in their native habitat. Plus there are a few bookstores I'm told I need to visit, some Jack Parsons related places to visit (JPL tops the list, I know Dad would have wanted to go as well). I'm also thinking of staying a night onboard The Queen Mary not to be a wannabe ghost hunter, but for the history (ok, a little for the ghosts). Plus there's plenty of historical foo out there. I'm not going to do the big tourist things, no Empire of the Mouse or Hollywood blvd or such for me, even if I want a lightsaber on occasion *wink*. No real plans for when the trip will happen. I was thinking after the new year at some point, but with moving around that time we'll see, with PTO and fundage. But should be fun.

    So, that's about it for right now. I'll catch you all later.

    Independent Bookstore Day

    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 Ch√Ęteau 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)
  • The Dark Side - Guy de Maupassani

  • The Vulpine Visits the Black Lagoon

    Well I got to have a long weekend and a road trip. Took half of Thursday and Friday off to jaunt on down to Austin to see a screening of 'Creature From the Black Lagoon' and meet Mallory O'Meara/ who wrote a book on the creator of the Creature's costume, Milicent Patrick. And while I was down there, I'd do so book hunting. So I rented a car (I have horrible luck with driving between DFW and Austin), and headed down. Drive was fine, the voice in my phone took me on a long loop to avoid I-35 downtown traffic (which is forever a nightmare.) Stayed in my first AirBnB, one of a little cluster of cabins. Nice, cozy, with an attached kitchenette and bathroom. Got settled in, then went out to find some dinner, then to the Alamo Drafthouse for the screening.

    First time I've seen 'Creature' on the big screen, and in 3D. I had a less than perfect seat, but that's what I get for waiting til the last minute. Got a bit of a headache from the angle, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Then Mallory and the guy from 'Birth, Movies, Death' talked about to book, the creature, and Milicent. Along with more general movie making stuff, and women in filmmaking. Then Q&A, including my question about dream remake casting/directing. Then it was time for book signing. Mallory recognized me, nothing like having someone you're a fan of yell out 'Chris, you made it!' Talked about the screening for a few minutes, got my book signed, and walked off grinning. I highly recommend supporting your fellow fanpeople when they're writing a book. It's good karma all around.

    Went back to the AirBnB, read for a bit and crashed. Woke up Friday, got stuff organized and myself ready for a day of bookhunting. Raided a bunch of used bookstores, along with visiting Book People. It's been almost 15 years since I visited it, but nothing had really changed. All my usually sections were in the same places, and the 2nd floor smelled like incense. Did some major damage to the bank account, but boy I came home with some goodies. Finally left the Austin area around 1500, drove back up to DFW. No really bad traffic, a few spots of slowdown, but I timed it well. Was home a little after 1900.

    So a quick, but fun trip to meet a fellow monster/horror geek, see a classic movie, and add to my book addiction. If that's not a good way to spend a couple of days, I don't know what is.

    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.