CAMP YESTERDAY, VAMPIRE TODAY. DO I SENSE A TREND? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Vampire

Yesterday, we discussed camp and today it is vampires? I feel a trend coming on! Shall we move on to robots tomorrow? If so, can we do the ones from Douglas Adams’ books? The ones who really wanted the wicket?

Anne Rice, having recovered from her fit of Christian evangelicalism, went back to writing vampire stories and I was delighted. I’d barely survived her Christian saga. Since the new one was about Lestat (who else?) again, I figured I was in for a hot (sort of) read.

But what was hot and sexy in 1972 wasn’t so hot and sexy in 2011. It was page after page of lecturing about … well … I’m not even sure what, exactly. It didn’t work for me and I abandoned the book more or less in the middle. I couldn’t get interested in the characters and Lestat seemed old. He might not have looked his age, but he was cranky and into the vampiric version of, “Get off my lawn, you twerp!”

I think maybe it’s a trend which came and went. Unless someone manages to give it a new burst of life, which is always possible. I live in hope.

I was disappointed on a number of levels. I had liked her writing for a long time. Granted it was unique in its original day but it didn’t age well. Or maybe she had lost her touch.

What had been fun and breezy seemed kind of leaden and tired.

I’m pretty sure the last two I tried to read was “Memnoch the Devil” and “The Vampire Lestat.” It was like being in a really dull literature class. Now that you bring it up maybe I’ll try it again and see if the past five years have changed my viewpoint.

ALL of her books carry five-star ratings, but all of her books are definitely not five stars of reading.

On a more philosophical view, I’ve always wondered whether eternal life was a blessing or a curse. To not know when you can die — human on some level or other, rather like the very long-lived people in Robert Heinlein’s stories — in one thing. But to know you will never die? That sounds almost as depressing as knowing you have two weeks to live.

Vegan witches

I’m not the first person to ponder this anomaly, either. Eternal life — especially lived in eternal darkness — doesn’t sound delightful. And the whole sucking blood thing? I’m not even sure how I feel about bacon, much less sucking the blood of living people.

Can one be a Vegan Vampire?

IT’S THE LITTLE STUFF THAT GETS ME – Marilyn Armstrong

EVEN WORDPRESS CAN’T BE THAT BAD, CAN THEY?
Even my computer is part of the plot against us! It's Alienware!

Even my computer is part of the plot against us! It’s Alienware!

I definitely have a few bones to pick and I’m going to start picking right now. You see, I have these questions. Important questions. And there are, as far as I can tell, no answers to them.

1. Why does WordPress allow us to approve or disapprove comments, but anyone can follow us? Doesn’t that seem wrong to you? I leafed through my thousands of “followers” the other day and exactly as expected, most of the recent ones are spambots. Short of using Captcha, which I consider cruel and unusual punishment, there doesn’t seem to be any way to prevent the spammers from following. I can get rid of their comments, but I can’t get rid of them.

2. No matter what you do, every pingback has to be personally moderated … yet if you allow reblogs — and most of us do — these do NOT need to be moderated, not even for those who have never commented and are essentially anonymous. Thus my posts have been reblogged on all kinds of horrible sites where I would never go, much less see my work posted. Forgive me if the logic of this eludes me.

3. Object linking has become the function that powers our internet experience. For those of you who don’t know much about programming and computer development, a “link” is really an embedded address. Thus a pingback is actually an object “pointer.” It takes the address of a website or some other thing on the internet (it could also be an email address or a picture … or a part number in a database), embeds it in a graphic or text so that when someone clicks on it, it takes them to that place. Like the transporter on the Enterprise.

Bonnie guarding my computer

It’s the computer equivalent of “Scottie, beam me up.” The other day, all my links went wacko. If I clicked on a notification from a follower, I got sent to the Reader … but not to that blogger or that post. Just the top of the Reader. Sometimes, I got the message that the address didn’t exist.

I panicked, contacted WordPress. Who said they would check it out. Yet, before they even had a chance to look at it, it fixed itself and the problem disappeared. That was when I got a notice that other people had begun to have the same problem.

Is our technology beginning to fail because chaos reigns and magic is loose in the world?

4. When my links went berserk, my knee jerk reaction was to get mad. After all the goofy “upgrades” WordPress has been making to their user interface (in my world, it is known as the GUI, pronounced Gooey, or graphical user interface), anything is possible.

I assumed this was another bizarre piece of programming they were foisting on me. Eventually, I realized even WordPress could not possibly consider this acceptable. Not unless they were all taking some heavy hallucinogenic drugs up in the office.

So there you have it, my contentious bone picking of the day.


Watch your links. Keep watching your links.
Aliens are invading the servers.

 

BLUE ON WOOD – Marilyn Armstrong

BLUE DOOR ON A HOUSE WITH A BRIGHT AUTUMN TREE

Every autumn, I go and take pictures of this little house because it sits next to a large maple tree that turns bright red or orange every fall. So I have a series of pictures of this house on subsequent autumn afternoons. Some autumn color changes are better than other years, but the little house always has its blue door.

I believe it used to be a carriage house for a larger home that is gone now.

WHEN IS MY BEST TIME TO THINK? – Marilyn Armstrong

There’s a fine line between thinking, worrying, brooding and obsessing. Since I do all of these at some point, I should ponder this.

When I lay in bed in the morning, occasionally reviewing the miscellaneous injustices of life, the friends who’ve fallen out of touch, adding in the bills in my head, contemplating my failures and shortcomings with a brief period of beating myself up followed by a short yet poignant foray into self-pity, followed by a rush of optimism because somehow, I always work things out even if I have no idea how I do it … what is that?

How do I define that? Is it worrying, brooding, thinking, planning, or obsessing? All of the above?

When I stare at a laptop that isn’t working and I can’t (apparently) fix … the one on which I’m planning to reinstall the OS while wondering if it will totally trash the machine? Is that thinking? Worrying? Obsessing? Does it matter?

Creative thinking, the stuff that produces something new, has no particular time. It can be the offshoot of a conversation with my husband or online. Frequently, something I read in a book turns on the light bulb in the brain. Often I discover what I want to write about on my site while commenting on someone else’s.

I’m not sure my brain ever sleeps. I have weird dreams that can be difficult to shake even after I wake. Even though I don’t always remember the dreams, I wake up already engulfed in them. Dreams trigger waking emotions, though sometimes I’m not sure how.

What is the best thinking? I don’t know. Worrying and obsessing may not be the most healthy processes, but they can be surprisingly productive despite their bad reputation. Because while I’m worrying and obsessing, I’m also planning, looking for exits, looking for a new way to deal with the problems. Usually, I find something. That’s what the sudden explosion of optimism is — it’s me knowing there’s a way out even if I’m not sure what it is. Yet.

I guess this means I have no idea when or where my best thinking gets done. If I were to take a guess, I’d say it’s while I sleep.

I know when my best writing gets done. That’s easy. I have creative spurts in the morning after I pour my first cup of coffee and again after dinner, around eight or nine at night. I may get an idea anytime, but I’m most likely to write it down early in the day or when I’ve got my feet up at night.

So much for a simple answer to a straightforward question.