Penny fore you’re naught

“Do you believe the past can return?”

I’m not sure, Ms. Ives.  I’m just not sure.

I know I’m not alone thinking I spend more time waiting around for television shows than I do watching.

I’m also willing to concede that quality can’t be rushed.

The problem for me is that I will just move on.

The emotional entanglement created by a good bit of televised drama is not a permanent spell.  It dissipates.

And so I stumble upon a first look at Penny Dreadful Season 2.

Season 1 ended in June of last year.  Season 2 is slated for late April.

I’m not sure how to feel.  I recall getting into that show.  The memory of those long ago nights is fuzzy.

Our heroine had come to grips with herself.  Sort of.  The tall, hairy American hadn’t.  Not really.  Though we no longer had to wait for his less obvious fangs to come out.  The esteemed gentlemen revealed his weaknesses, but hardened himself and did what must be done.  The vampire satan thing ran away into the night without a bride.  The doctor was fretting over a bride of his own creation.  The creepy painting remained creepy.  The whore with consumption was finally consumed.

A lot of stuff happened, but it felt comfortable.  Even the uncomfortable bits.

Now, I liked the gritty atmosphere of the show’s London.  Eva Green is fun to watch.  Timothy Dalton is smooth to listen to.  Josh Hartnett is the squinting, confused drunk hiding his dark secrets that I am early Saturday morning waiting for a cab home.  We both have the same sketchy looking facial hair and a tendency to growl when irritated.

However, I fear one of two things in April.

The first being that the show will recognize that we forgot about it and shacked up with another while it was doing a year abroad.  To this end, the season will start slowly.  Trying to draw us back in.  Enticing us with sweets, but refusing to deliver.  Wearing on our patience.

The second is a cannonball into the frozen pond.  An attempt to shock our love back into being.

I’m not sure which is worse.  I could rewatch the first season to get in the swing of things. I won’t.  Probably.  The marathon showings that precede a new season are like quicksand.  Beware, lest you lose an entire day to the infinite void.  I’ve heard that some people never find the way back.

Maybe it will just be fun and I’ll fall back into the show like I never left.  I doubt it.  I’m not that person.

But the call is strong.  After all, nothing is on.  Nothing is ever on.  The Netflix menu is the best thing on lately.

Any port in a storm.

Hell, I’ll likely forget about all of this wordsmithing by April 2nd and be pleasantly surprised to find Penny Dreadful is about to start a new season.  Surely I can find something else to rant about between now and then.

The trailer certainly tried to pull me into its embrace.  I should go take a warm Bathory.



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Choose wisely

I finally found a use for Twitter besides ranting about sports.

Some fellow by the name of Terence Eden created a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story using Twitter.  It starts here.

Run or hide? What ever will you do?

Good luck, you’ll need it.

I’ve already died in a number of gruesome ways.  I’m sure I will die of dysentery any click now.

The creator wrote about the mechanics of creating such a thing.

I feel like I should do something like this.  You should too.

Sadly, I’m quite busy not finishing a short story I am in the middle of and watching Naked & Afraid.  If there are two things I love, it’s procrastination and watching egotistical jackasses argue about the proper way to erect a shelter out of leaves while the sun sets and the storm clouds roll in.

The only thing that would make Naked & Afraid better would be more dysentery.



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Rising, setting, been trying to get into the sun

Noel Keating has been trying to get this shot.  He finally did.

It’s short, but cool.  It was worth it, Noel.

He had this to say about it (via EarthSky)

As the plane got closer to the sun, I couldn’t see it any more so I just viewed it through the Camera LCD display … boy, was I happy when it passed by the solar disc with all the sunspots in clear view.

Chemtrails have never been so exciting!

OK, settle down, I’m just kidding.  They told me not to make jokes about that anymore – or else.

Just let it go.  Relax.  Take a ride on the railroad.

Things are changing for the better, now I’m not afraid…



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Terror and Wonder at The British Library

I don’t think I’ll make it over to London by January 20th, but this looks pretty cool if you happen to be nearby.

Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre – See more

From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films – and even a vampire-slaying kit – experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.

I love gothic lit.  I’ve been reading M.R. James lately and was reading some of Brian Lumley‘s Titus Crow work last week.  People have panned Lumley’s Crow for the pace and writing style.  That is exactly how it entertained me.

The history of Gothic style in genre work is extensive and worth getting a taste of.  Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and H.R. Haggard’s “She” can be good to you, if you let them…



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Chernobyl – surviving in the glowing stone age

Voices from Chernobyl in The Paris Review.  Good words; check it out.

Really interesting personal accounts.  Various perspectives; all human.


English: Pripyat, Ukraine abandoned city near ...

English: Pripyat, Ukraine abandoned city near Chernobyl. Italiano: Uno scorcio di Pripyat, città abbandonata in Ucraina vicino a Chernobyl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)









There’s this abandoned house. It’s closed. There’s a cat on the windowsill. I think: Must be a clay cat. I come over, and it’s a real cat. He ate all the flowers in the house. Geraniums. How’d he get in? Or did they leave him there?

There’s a note on the door: Dear kind person, please don’t look for valuables here. We never had any. Use whatever you want, but don’t trash the place. We’ll be back. I saw signs on other houses in different colors—Dear house, forgive us! People said goodbye to their homes like they were people. Or they’d written: We’re leaving in the morning, or, We’re leaving at night, and they’d put the date and even the time. There were notes written on school notebook paper: Don’t beat the cat. Otherwise the rats will eat everything. And then in a child’s handwriting: Don’t kill our Zhulka. She’s a good cat.

⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛

This one reporter said we didn’t just return home, we went back a hundred years. We use a hammer for reaping, and a sickle for mowing. We flail wheat right on the asphalt.

⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛

We turned off the radio right away. We don’t know any of the news, but life is peaceful. We don’t get upset. People come, they tell us the stories—there’s war everywhere. And like that, socialism is finished and we live under capitalism. And the czar is coming back. Is that true?




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Of Hell and High Water – Cthulhu, with a side of Mariana

We’ve got to go deeper.

University of Aberdeen scientists have discovered a fish deeper than ever before (a snailfish at 8,145 meters deep).  Five hundred meters deeper than the deepest previously observed fish, which was also their discovery back in 2008.

Along with the snailfish, we get to see a few supergiant amphipods.  Supergiant amphipods are surely denizens in the suburbs of R’lyeh.  You can’t convince me otherwise.  I read a book about it once.

Do you think Hadal Ecosystems Studies Program is called HADES by accident?

For the University of Aberdeen, this has been a major success. This trip was their 14th expedition to the deep trenches where they managed to amass the greatest volume of video ever taken at these depths, 105 hours in total. Aside from the new deepest fish record and supergiant observations, they filmed many other species of fish, setting new depth records for three other fish families.

They also successfully reached the bottom of the Sirena deep at 10,545m, solidifying their deep-sea lander, known as the ‘Hadal-Lander’ as the UKs deepest diving vehicle.

I’m sure there was footage of mermen in there, but until they sign the proper forms – in triplicate, the footage of mermen riding megalodons and walking their amphipods in the kelp forest park will remain unseen.

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Grýla Killa

What’s red and dances all around?❄

The answer is not Grýla, but she would surely take an interest.

Krampus came and went, but that doesn’t mean we are safe from Christmas related devilry.

Grýla is another one of those awesome bits of Yule time folklore.  She comes to us from Iceland, where children in the long long ago were told of this mythical giantess (I wouldn’t call her an ogre to her face) who lived in the mountains.

180 px

180 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cave-dwelling Grýla didn’t realize how her special skills fit with Christmas until the 17th century.  By that time, she had birthed a bunch of brats called the Yule Lads.  The Yule Lads are a group of Icelandic Santas.  There are thirteen official Yule Lads.  I gather you get to be official when you’ve been so annoying at one thing you get a reputation for it.  Individual Yule Lads are each known for their preferred perversion – harassing sheep, snatching sausages, an affinity for that special yogurt stuff called skyr, slamming doors – real sick stuff.

What else would we expect from the sons of Grýla.  Her main talent is the ability to detect misbehaving children, which turns out to be her favorite snack.  She never passes up a good naughty kid stew.

With that kind of diet, it’s no wonder she’s been married three times.  Or perhaps it’s her 15 tails.  Or three heads.  She is, by all accounts, a hideous beast of a mother.

She is said to have eaten her first husband, had a few spawn with her second (reports of his demise are unconfirmed) and now lives in a cave with her third, Leppalúði, with whom she had 20 offspring and a Yule Cat.  I suspect those 7 other kids may have gotten eaten.  The Ombudsman for Children’s Rights in Iceland may want to check into that.

If you don’t wear that new Christmas sweater, the Yule Cat will most likely eat you.  Don’t risk it.  The Yule Cat is deadly serious about new outfits.

So, put on your new outfit, go take a photo with the gruesome couple and start marinating your children.  You and I both know they are hellions and Grýla is coming for them.

❄ A baby on a bbq!

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It’s cold as hell

I met up with a friend for a few cocktails Wednesday night.

My cab driver was a real nice fellow.  What else would you expect from the Dark Lord?

Car 666 at your service, Sir!

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I was hung over on Thursday and my heater stopped working.

Me being me, I didn’t even notice the heat had stopped working.  It seemed a bit cold, but it was 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside, so that was to be expected.  I usually keep the house around 66 degrees because whateva, I do wot I want!

It’s 45 degrees in my house right now and I had to dig out long underwear and a sweatshirt.  I’m actually wearing socks for once.

Shiverfit – the newest exercise craze!  Arctic blast the fat away!  Brought to you by Ol’ Man Winter and your friendly neighborhood Frigid Wind.

The HVAC repair dude can’t get here soon enough.

How many mugs of hot tea does it take to keep me from becoming a snow man?

I’ll let you know.

Contemplating the mysteries of the frozen galaxy in a cup of tea.

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Happy freakin’ Halloween

It’s that great time of year.  Every entertainment outlet, neighborhood joint and Internet hangout is giving in to the spooks.  And I don’t mean the NSA – that would be truly frightening. (Just kidding NSA, we love you!  In a platonic sort of way.  Like how we love the IRS, but with less consent)

The 2009 Halloween II is playing on Syfy opposite the 1981 version on AMC.  I’m going with 2009 because it starts first and I like to make you people squirm in revulsion.  How could I do such I thing?  I have no soul, that’s how.

Later, I’m going to watch the Chicago Bulls and the ghost of Derrick Rose.  That’s Halloween spirit.

Here in Chicago, it was snowing this morning.  The wind is blowing fiercely and the howling sound is a fitting background song for the day.  The trees are knocking insistently at the windows.  Is there any being out there that isn’t expecting free candy from my house?

The dog, the pumpkin crew and I are lurking in wait for the  upcoming assault on our fortress by all manner of tiny creatures.  They will surely be slowed down by trying to stuff a winter jacket under a Princess Darth Vader outfit.  Nevertheless, they will come.  We are ready.



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Did you hear that? Summer vacation version.

Did you not see the moon?  I heard there was some sort of eclipse or blood moon or blood moon eclipse.  I didn’t see it.  The sky was full of clouds.  Rain seems to be the go to thing for Chicago these days.  It even followed me to Florida, though it at least had the decency to do it late afternoon and night.

Speaking of things I didn’t see, I didn’t see a bunch while roadtripping the eastern U.S. The first evening started off fairly well.  I managed to get a tent up before dark and went on a half-mile hike.

A six-mile long half-mile hike.  I zigged when I should have zagged.  I didn’t bring water or a flashlight.  It was dark by the time dog and I got back to the tent.  I was sweating profusely and parched.  On the plus side, the exercise was good and I hoped it would bring sleep early.

It didn’t happen that way.

There I was, laying in a tent in southern Ohio.  Awake. Lying there not sleeping on rock hard ground, thinking about how it isn’t really that cold as long as no part of my body escapes the confines of my sleeping bag sarcophagus and that I’ll probably fall asleep at some point.  Probably.

In fact, I did.  If only briefly.  I was wakened by noises around half past midnight.  Strange snuffling noises.  Noises I am not used to.  Nevertheless, I could identify the sound as feral pigs rooting.  A bunch of them.  I listened for a while.  Naturally, I had left all the camera equipment in the car, so I didn’t bother getting up to peek.  I just listened until the sounds dissipated and I tried to let sleep take me once more.

Before that could happen, I heard a horrendous cry in the night.  I was disoriented, in that not-awake and not yet asleep head space.  The immediate impression I had was that of a drunk monkey, taken by surprise in the worst kind of way (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).  It was indignant and clearly unhappy.

The noise echoed silently.  The sound repeating only in my head as I worried over the poor, drunken monkey assaulted in the woods by a group of Ohio Grassmen with banjo accompaniment.

Upon reflection, I would have to guess it was the  hoarse scream of a Black-Crowned Night Heron.  A sound I am intimately familiar with from my picture taking along the Chicago River for the tumblr blog.  Nevertheless, out of context, it is enough to make you question your sanity.

Birds can make quite a few heavy metal screeches.  Winged demons bring the forest to life after the sun sets.  For instance, the screech of a Northern Hawk Owl, the high intensity alarm of a Long-Eared Owl, the screech and chuckle of an Eastern Screech Owl, the bark of a Great Horned Owl, the female rasps of the Nighthawk or the fledgling call of the Barred Owl. has a really good catalogue of bird sounds.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

It was almost comforting when the coyotes began to howl.  A band of them giving voice to the despoiled monkey’s physical and emotional sorrows.  It was 3 AM at this point.  You know what they say about three in the morning.  A bunch of nonsense, that’s what.  Don’t listen to them.

Four in the morning is so much worse.  Four is too close to sunrise.  When you are disturbed at 4 AM, you can never recover.  The accusatory hooting of a Barred Owl made sure of that. I did try to regain oblivion, but I finally gave up at 4:30 AM, packed up the tent in the dark and headed out.

Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” was on the radio when I fired up the car.  The Hocking Hills were shrouded in soup thick fog and I drove on edge until the sun burned it off.

It would have made the worst episode of Supernatural ever written. Season 13, episode 6 “The Hills Have Ears…Because Nobody Can See A Damn Thing in this Freakin’ Fog”

I hope that’s not Sheriff Bullard.

Not suspicious at all.

Looks kinda dark…

You think it’ll be fine?

Is this on the map?

The light is fading fast!

This might have been a mistake.

I really hope this is the right way.

Are there pirates in that fog?


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