Viva Pinata game…is…crack.

It’s like SimLife, only cute and not so impossibly hard. And with pinatas.

You have to breed the pinatas together–they do a “romance dance,” very cute, all fairly tame. At least, so I thought, until James started a game, and suddenly it turned into “Pinatas of Gor” in there…

So! Christmasness.

Spent it with my folks, who are, as I’ve said before, very cool. Got kid brother a PS2 and some games. Corruption of youth proceeds apace.

Some very nice gifts. James got me a lovely necklace and a copy of “Viva Pinata!” and my father sent me one of those bird feeders that spin squirrels off into the abyss, and my mother got me a slew of odd things, including a giant pop-up book of hideous nightmares and some brightly colored fluffy socks, which I plan to wear in public and alarm people.

Other than that, nothin’ much. Family dog is on the way out, but did not die over Christmas, despite best efforts. (At nearly eighteen, and a decrepit eighteen, the dog is certifiably undead.)

I am, at long last, inspired to make art. I knew visiting my folks would help. I have two diametrically opposed notions–one set of physical paintings, and one freakish digital photo-collage-and-paint hey-if-McKean-can-do-it idea. We’ll see if either one takes hold long enough to come to light…

Cats did not kill one another in our absence. Victory!

Also, had a hideous convention anxiety dream last night. Very odd, since I have no cons planned for months, and did not need to frantically wander a strange city trying to find ink and paper and plastic bags for half the night.

Back from the wilds of Pennsylvania!

I have very little to report, except the following thoughts on the director’s cut of LOTR.

1. It had more Faramir. I approve of this greatly, as I would not kick him out of bed for failing to hold Osgiliath.
2. Aragorn still charges a platoon of light elven archers into a much larger force of orc pikemen. I still think that’s a bad idea.
3. I want a Fellbeast. I will hug him and love him and feed him and take him for walks every day.
4. I still want to hug Elrond and tell him that everything will be okay.
4a. I still want to kick Frodo down a flight of stairs.
5. I cannot believe they cut the bit with the eagles at the end from the theatre version.
6. The hobbit homoeroticism is even worse in this version. I realize that they’re hobbits and it’s entirely platonic and all that crap, but there are only so many soulful looks you can give each other before even the most diehard Tolkien fan starts to cough and fidget uncomfortably in their chair.
7. Goddamn, Mordor takes forever to cross.

Okay, gang, off for the holidays. If you need anything…err…well, call 911 if it won’t wait, and if it will, I’ll talk to ya later this week!

And a merry Die Natalis Solis Invicti to all!

Simple Pleasures

Calf length black velvet skirt — $29

Running out to get more ink and paper — $79

Expression on husband’s face as he checks out ass on way out the door — priceless.

Generally I assume people love me for my brain, but every now and then, a smidge of evidence to the contrary doesn’t go amiss…

Man, the last “Doctor Who” was a downer.

Realizing that this will drop my geek cred several notches, I did not actually watch “Doctor Who” as a child, and so had little interest in the remake. It wasn’t until a coupla months ago that James roped me in, aided by the fact that the second season Doctor is all kinds of seriously painful geek hotness. Plus of course the show itself is good, and he yells so many of the things that people should yell, but never seem to, like “Outside of time? What does that even mean?!” I approve of this as well. Still…geek hotness. I am shallow, but there you go.

I confess, I’m kinda bummed they swap the actor out every season for that reason alone…

So James picked up the new Tom Waits album.

It’s not bad. It has its moments. Even Tom Waits that I’m not overwhelmed by is a damn sight better than 99% of the rest of the music out there, god knows. And, yeah, it has its moments.

Unfortunately, Tom Waits had this one moment, way back on Bone Machine, and I’ve been buying every album since hoping to hear that sound again. The song was “Black Wings” and it stands as one of his best, so far as I’m concerned, up there with “Gun Street Girl.”. And Waits never did anything like it again. Frankly, I liked Rain Dogs and Bone Machine better than any of his more recent stuff, but eh, I’m unsophisticated–the old kind of freakshow Americana thing totally worked for me. He still hits it occasionally, but not so much.

Thing is…there’s this sound. It’s a kind of…mmm…apocalyptic folk rock. Three of my all-time favorite songs–the aforementioned “Black Wings”, Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand,” and Firewater’s “Dark Days Indeed,” has that sound. I don’t know how to explain it any more clearly.

Problem is, nobody I’ve found does that particular sound consistently, with the sole exception of Nick Cave, back when he was doing all the drugs and hadn’t found religion yet. Henry’s Dream and Murder Ballads had a lot of that, and I love it desperately.

So I implore you, O readership–Does anybody else you know sound like that?

I have been stressed and burned out and wracked with guilt for not painting for days and days and days.

On the one hand, filling the Christmas rush print orders, which is work that needs to be done but still…not painting.

On the other hand, in the last month, I have written over 100K worth on a coupla different projects. Actually, if you count the fan fic that morphed and twisted and will now probably never see the light of day, nearly 120K.  Any way you slice it, that’s a lotta words. No wonder I’ve got no juice for painting.

The problem is that words don’t currently pay the bills.

I…you know, I’m starting to think I wanna be a writer. Like, for a living. Which is just entirely typical–I finally start to claw a living out of art, and my brain goes “Hey, let’s switch gears!”

As far as I can tell, I am skidding down the ladder of profitability. I went into art, now I want to go into writing–possibly if I ever turn a significant profit on writing, I will be forced to turn my sights on the next lowest rung, which I believe is freelance philosophy. You’ll find me roaming the streets wearing a crown of laurel leaves, drinking a hemlock martini, expousing the virtues of enlightened hedonism. Just follow the trail of discarded manifestos.

Or I could just be fretting because I haven’t painted in so long. Hopefully spending Christmas with my folks will ramp up the art juices. It’s usually pretty inspiring up there.

Eh, we’ll see. Like all things in life–this, too, shall pass.

Spent yesterday Christmas shopping. James’s nieces and nephew are the killer–the one niece loves…god help me…Lisa Frank. The less said about the time I spent trying to pick out Sparkly Glitter Stationary, the better. A piece of me died in that store aisle.

I long for the days of Hello Kitty.

In writing news, Scarn keeps on surprising me by doing these things that work, but which are not very nice at all. I often have heroes surprise me–in case anybody’s read “Black Dogs” (not spoilering) the Big Reveal at the end came as a helluva shock for me–but generally not over and over. I think he may be the most purely ruthless hero I’ve ever tried to write. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, exactly, but he’s very, very practical and in his world, there are no innocent bystanders and no such thing as collateral damage and absolutely everything is justified.  He engages in no soul-searching whatsoever. It’s a sort of moral feedback loop–“I have total confidence that I am right, therefore anything I do must be right and justified, because it’s me doing it.”

It dovetails nicely with Rail, who is quite sure some of what she does is reprehensible, but believes firmly that her ends justify the means, because after all, it’s her doing it.

As I learned long ago with Sev, self-confident characters with only partially functional moral compasses are really a lot of fun. ‘Course, I had to re-introduce Father Maxwell just to get a genuinely decent character into the mix, otherwise my protagonists would probably have talked themselves into a terrorist spree and started burning down buildings out of their own sense of self-justification. Hell, they still might…

My father makes his own bio-diesel, as I’ve mentioned, out of used cooking oil. In case you’ve ever wanted another reason not eat at fast food joints, I recommend his post on the subject…