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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in teenybuffalo's LiveJournal:

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Friday, October 21st, 2016
3:49 pm
Oh, shut up, Louis!
I watched Interview with the Vampire on a big screen last night. I used to think of that movie as having no plot. Now, it strikes me that it's the tale of Louis fleeing one abusive relationship successfully, only to blunder right into another one. Truly, it takes a long time to learn how to avoid getting involved with terrible people.

Thoughts in no real order:

What a beautiful movie. Every frame, well, not exactly a painting, it's too crowded and cluttered for that, but an orgy of color. Tom Cruise as Lestat is as pretty and pastel and frilly as one of those big fancy flowered ice cream cakes from Toscanini's.

You know whose story I want now? Louis's enslaved housekeeper, who must be an exceptionally kind young woman not to have fled far away as soon as she started finding drained rats all over the floor and realized that Louis didn't care about plantation security anymore. She deserves better than to be an incidental death in the first act. RIP Kindly Slave-Housekeeper Lady.

There's a ton of room in the world for stories about slave uprisings against vampire overlords. I've never seen anyone talk about Louis being a slave-owner, but with his passive, self-loathing, self-pity, he's permitting Lestat the idle aristocrat to literally suck the blood of the workers. I think horror/spec fic tends to replace the victimized groups with monsters and supernatural beings (because so many of us are on the side of the monsters and magical beings) so we never have to examine the love of power and ease as being a monstrous thing that comes at the expense of vulnerable humans. (And has anyone written about the Romany families who serve Dracula and who get used in sub-Dracula fiction as "the Count's gypsies"?)

What with the pedophilia, how the hell did this book become a bestseller without more backlash? They soft-pedaled those elements for the film; I recall Claudia is like five in the book, as opposed to Kirsten Dunst's eleven or twelve. (And I think this is one of the best child actor performances I've ever seen. She convinces me that she's an adult in the body of a child, while still being unable to avoid the childish voice and mannerisms because she's been using them in a manipulative way as her hunting strategy for years.) Armand is a teenager in the book, but it still works to have a great big adult Antonio Banderas in the role. (Though they did keep it creepy there: Armand has a small human boy with bite marks all over his arms, and he offers little tastes of him to guests.)

In the book, I recall Louis and Lestat sharing a coffin (and how transgressive and liberating it seemed at the time), whereas in the film Louis is put in a single, separate coffin by the smirking Lestat as an initiation ritual of fear.

Thank goodness they didn't retain some of the worse elements of the transformation in the movie. When you're made a vampire you get the runs. I'm serious. Every time a character was vamped in the books, you'd get a loving description of their agony over the course of some hours, where they shook with chills and fever, poured with sweat, and then vomited and passed urine and feces until their body was empty of normal human stuff like food remnants and intestinal flora. It did give the transformation weight as a terrible, irreversible thing, where you have to suffer through the pain and physical disgust of death before you can become immortal.

That one older woman with the yappy dogs was so happy for a while. She thought she and her boy-toy were going to have group sex with the pretty young men. I do wish they could have shown her a good time before they killed her. RIP Yappy Dog Woman.

In his quiet way, Armand is the nastiest manipulator in the movie. Lestat is nothing to Armand, who uses his gang to murder his new crush's family so his new crush will have a lot of free time and need consoling, then uses his crush to kill his gang, because he's sick of them. *dust hands* Come to my arms, mon amour!

I've seen it observed by cleolinda among others that the Anne Rice vampires are like the X-Men, in that they tend to have varied secondary powers. The friends who I went to the movie with observed that Lestat's power is orgasming people to death, Louis' is brooding so hard he sinks into the ground, Claudia's is stamping her foot and getting her way, Santiago's is reading minds (mostly for the purpose of doing Harpo Marx routines), and Armand's is having long luscious hair.

Every time Louis and Armand whispered with their noses close together, I reached up and pretended to smush their heads against each other and mouthed, "NOW KISS." I guess it's true: the public will lap up sexual tension between men as long as they can pretend it's not real. Vampires are both an excuse to show same-sex eroticism and a convenient cover story in case the moral guardians show up. "No! They love blood! BLOOD!"

There is a victory of sorts for Louis, going to the filthy house in the Garden Quarter where Lestat is huddling under a shock blanket trying to ignore the modern world. I liked The Vampire Lestat as much as anyone (and I love Tom Cruise's gesture at the very end of the movie, foppishly tugging his filthy lace cuffs out of his jacket sleeves), but Lestat works better as an antagonist, by me. Most of the time Louis is such a bundle of misery that it feels great to let him have that one moment of "What the hell did I ever see in you?" No matter what Louis does with the rest of his immortality, at least he doesn't have to spend it with Lestat.

What a come-down that is from Lestat's introduction, where he literally sweeps Louis off his feet and flies above the Mississippi River as Louis swoons and cuddles him. I'd had no idea Brad Pitt could look so submissive or so aroused. Bless him and the other actors -- I get the feeling everyone who worked on this film is vaguely embarrassed by it now, but they did give it their all, and I appreciate it.
Thursday, October 13th, 2016
11:31 pm
I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
A wiki walk this evening took me to buildings like Wat Rong Khun, which is technically a privately funded and owned art exhibit and sculpture garden. Even so, it's known as the White Temple. The work of sculptor Chalermchai Kositpipat, it's full of surprises like this puddle of clawing hands and screaming faces which symbolize unrestrained desire, and this buff dragon man erupting from the moat. (Is he a Naga? Not sure.)

A chance reference in that article took me to meet the Kinnara and Kinnari, benevolent mystical beings from southeast Asian Buddhist and Hindu tradition. Depending on who you ask, the kinnaras (or kinnaree, in Thailand, where they're mostly depicted as female) are either half-bird, half human, a human upper torso growing out of the bottom of an ostrich with a long plume of tail sticking out the back, or the kinnaras (male) are a human upper body plus a horse's ass and hind legs, while the kinnaris have bird butts and wings sexily jutting out of each hip. "In Hindu mythology, Kinnara is described as half man, half-horse, and half-bird," says Wikipedia. That clears that up.

For sure, they're beautiful and endearing. Not angels, not harpies, just cute, loving bird people. It's nice having non-scary bird people around. My knowledge of the Mahabhrata is nil, but there's a quote in that wiki page about how the Kinnara represent total romantic and sexual devotion, constantly wrapped up in each other, with no room for anybody else; just gazing into each other's eyes eternally and, I assume, going at it without pause. If kinnaras have a fault, it's probably just that they're the kind of couple who are so in love they neglect their friends sometimes.

And speaking of art, please behold Sala Keoku, a sculptural garden near Nong Khai, Thailand, full of huge concrete Buddhist sculptures and symbols. The seven-headed naga is awe-inspiring, but the real standout of this collection is the giant naga, or possibly a deity I haven't identified yet. It fills me with admiration and HOLY SHIT WHAT IS WRONG WITH ITS FINGERS LIKE DOES IT HAVE WHOLE SNAKES FOR FINGERS OR DID THE ARTIST HATE SCULPTING HANDS OR DID THE CONCRETE MELT OR WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH ITS FINGERS AAAAAAAHHHHHH~

Just so I don't confine my love of unsettling sculptures to Southeast Asia, check out the Park of the Monsters, a 16th-century sculpture garden near the castle of Orsini, in Lazio, Italy. I had never heard of the place before tonight, but now it's on my life list of destinations.
Thursday, October 6th, 2016
1:00 pm
Audio: "Luella Miller," by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
"Luella Miller," by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, read by April Grant. Happy October!

I've also started a Tumblr for my audio work: The Moon Dial. Updates will be irregular but heartfelt, and continue beyond October. As I said there--

Our first story of the season: all about good neighbors being kind and helpful.

The Moon Dial is taking requests now. Do you want me to read a creepy story aloud? Let’s hear about it.

Here are our constraints: it must be horror/weird/supernatural fiction, it must be by a female author, and it must be in the public domain. Within those guidelines, the sky’s the limit and I would be delighted to take requests. (I will consider all arguments as to the definition of “supernatural fiction.”) Ask away!
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
10:49 am
And a very good time it was too
Cross-posting from Facebook; apologies to those seeing this twice:

I started watching "Once Upon A Time." Hoo boy... I like it. Sweet Mother of Mary Shelley, what's come over me?! Usually I'm too much of a folklore snob for this sort of thing.

Well, OK, I know what got me started. (a) I need a fluffy distraction show right now, and (b) I like Robert Carlyle and his strange little fox face. "Ravenous" was apparently my gateway drug to watching everything he's ever done. Actor crushes take you to some weird places.
Monday, September 19th, 2016
3:14 pm
It's lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends.
I got to show Ravenous (1999) to kestrell and alexx_kay yesterday. It was delightful. Zelda, you were one hundred per cent correct about me and this movie. I keep coming back to it. It has all sorts of things I love, and the way it unites them is beautiful. For a movie about human flesh, this is damn good-looking. Blood pouring down window glass with the light behind it is a gorgeous color, of course, but I also like the contrast between attractive human bodies and devastated corpses, bleak snow or acres of mud versus gorgeous clothing, fine horses, stark mountains, bright blue skies, the sun through branches. (This movie has a fucked-up reason to show you the sun through evergreen branches. Of course it would.)

Alexx and Kestrell wondered how I took the cannibalism, since I'm a vegetarian. I was less bothered than you might think by the human flesh--by the time the camera lingers on the act of eating, the flesh has been made into a delicious-looking stew with chunks of carrots, potatoes, and onions. (I feel the urge to make something similar, using seitan.) The disturbing part for me was the coercion--either tricking a person into eating human flesh, or placing them in a position where they have no choice but to eat or die. There are circumstances where cannibalism isn't necessarily evil, e.g., if you're starving to death in extreme circumstances and you have access to a human body which you didn't personally murder. But one person coercing another to eat something vile... that makes me angry. Antonia Bird dug down to a deep nerve in my morality.

This time around, I noticed how fond I am of Colonel Hart. Of course I like him. He's a burned-out old guy who still tries to be a decent person and look after the poor jerks assigned to Fort Spencer; he retains a sense of humor even as he drinks and desponds. He's played by Jeffrey Jones, who looks like a big sad fox and does a good Dad Voice. The movie does well at giving you the sense that all the characters would turn out to be complex people if the story had a reason to find out about them, which it doesn't. Total, ruinous spoilers from here on in. I'm going to spoiler cut a post about a seventeen-year-old film because, if there's someone out there who hasn't watched it and wants to, trust me, it'll be more fun to go in without knowing the twists.Collapse )
Friday, September 16th, 2016
11:57 am
*muffled scream*
This is just to say that:


RIGHT HERE: "Employment."


Of course the question was me fretting about the job hunt. Of course he realized I was looking for moral support more than advice, and said some very cheering things. I feel very lucky right now.

If you've never watched this series, here's the YouTube intro, with a good welcome speech. And here's the Patreon for the series, which offers a lot of goodies such as poems read aloud by the show characters.

The premise is exactly what it sounds like. H.P. Lovecraft has been resurrected from essential saltes and is an advice blogger. He is prissy, cute, and avuncular, and alternates between giving legitimate good advice which is helpful, and terrible advice which is cathartic to ignore. He has a doppelganger or something, we're not sure what, called P.H. Lovecraft, who has a Southern accent and the personality of the fox from Pinocchio, and who may be an actual demon but who also calls HPL out on his racist bullshit and is the moral compass in the family. Carl Sagan also makes appearances, just because.

They all apparently live in the basement or walk-in closets at the home of one Leeman Kessler, who started all this because he played Lovecraft in a (much more serious) play, beginning some years ago, and wanted to keep the character around. (I saw the play last year at Necronomicon; it's based on HPL and Sonia Greene's marriage, so you know it's going to be a chuckle. By the time I saw it it was titled Monstrous Invisible, though that may have changed. It was all right, but I'm just here for the comedy factor, which allows Kessler to talk about some pretty rough stuff while we're laughing about it.) He's wildly prolific--the show's been running for years with at least one short video per week, usually more, and I find them consistently high in quality and as addictive as salt-and-vinegar potato chips.
Friday, September 2nd, 2016
12:33 am
remembering something complex as treacle is quite a common bad habit
I enjoyed this article in Strange Horizons: Boucher, Backbone, and Blake - the legacy of Blakes 7, by Erin Horakova. I've never watched Blakes 7; I like the article for a variety of reasons. It's written in a funny and observant style, the sort of thing I'm aiming for and never feel I quite achieve in my movie and theater reviews on here. It's about the story the writer(s), cast and crew were telling, and the sometimes different story the fandom heard.

It's also got smart things to say about the "extreme communal cognitive dissonance" where a fandom collectively decides to foist an oversimplified misinterpretation on a character. Not only that, but the same oversimplified misinterpretation. To take a minor example, no one person ever stood up and said to the Patrick O'Brian novel fandom, "About face, everybody, from now on Stephen Maturin is a sex god who is confident in bed and has good hygiene and is way more stable than Jack Aubrey!" but it happened nonetheless.
Sunday, August 21st, 2016
10:11 pm
It's Deep Ones that we must appease
Oh, and speaking of Providence: the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's performing wing, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, is offering a free download of their radio play of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." It'll be free only till the end of August 21, so if you happen to see this post before midnight, and like weird radio theater, jump on board.

(And it can be your gateway drug and you can join me in this tiny fandom. I need more people to fangirl with. Admittedly their recordings don't come cheap, so it's not like I can go, "Join ussss! It's easy and free!" but sometimes there are freebies and this is a particularly good show.)
9:01 pm
How unlike the home life of our own dear Queen
Went to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival (Providence, RI). Excellent weekend: met a lot of interesting people, had good conversations, and bought books.
We watched a lot of films. "Feed The Light" was certainly one of them. If Heaven is merciful, it will someday efface from my consciousness the scene where
Collapse )
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
6:40 pm
Cities from above
Via arrogantemu on Tumblr: excellent aerial photos of LA and New York taken by Jeffrey Milstein. They're like abstract paintings; they have the charm and symmetry of model railroad cities, but without the desolate quality because these are the real thing, full of people's lives and experiences. My favorite is the one that's just multicolored shipping containers, in a dockyard, somewhere in the sunlight.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
8:46 pm
Reach me down my Tycho Brahe
"The Old Astronomer to his Pupil," by Sarah Williams. I've only heard the last two lines before; I like them even more in context.
Saturday, August 6th, 2016
5:28 pm
He wrote for so long and with such intensity that when he stopped he felt quite sick.
I accidentally a story. No, scratch that, I laboriously and intentionally a story. See subject line. I feel ill, but it was worth it. I am so happy to have finished this story, you have no idea. I haven't managed to finish prose fiction of any length for years.

I'm out of touch with short story markets, because see above. Anybody want to recommend places to send a short spec fic story that will probably be about 6000 words after rewrites? I know the real answer is that I need to do my own damn research, but I'm up for suggestions too.

It's a story about two giant radioactive cockroaches in the far future who are friends and go on a hike together. The tone is upbeat, the style is light and chatty, and gruesome but exciting events happen. I'm not sure whether to call it horror, SF or fantasy. Probably the last one, because "fantasy" is what you call things when you're not sure what else to do with them.
12:20 pm
Song: "The Creepy Little Girl"
I found this in my neglected word documents when I was looking for something else the other day. It needs a tune, and then a rewrite based on how singable it turns out to be.

Lost track of the date I wrote this, but I'm pretty sure it's from last summer at about this time, after I attended NecronomiCon, bought a bronze hand pendant from Hibernacula, and thought it looked like something Wednesday Addams would wear in her college hippie phase. I was also thinking of Thora Birch's performance as Dani Dennison in Hocus Pocus. They arrive at the same kind of power by different routes. Wednesday Addams was born weird, and she instinctively knows how to carry herself in horrifying situations. That becomes useful when she's confronted with seemingly normal events--a relative getting married, a summer at camp--and sees the horror in them before anybody else does. Dani is a sweet and irritating little "normal" horror protagonist, but she adapts to her story so well that before long she's declaring herself a witch for self-preservation, falling in love with a ghost catboy, and adopting a zombie like it's her big dorky son.

The Creepy Little Girl

She is so pale
Watching all night and then going to school in the day.
So small and frail,
Anyone flying could grab her and bear her away.
Wide are her eyes:
She's too young to know of the evil that people may do.
She is so wise,
She knows it regardless and wishes that she never knew.

Don't call her, for God's sake,
The creepy little girl;
Bad nights and lies make
The creepy little girl.

She'll stare you down:
Worse things than you are awaiting her later by dark.
Hard is her frown,
Hoping she won't have to dig one more grave in the park.
Young though she's old,
We all look like kids to her, maybe we're worthy to save,
Her hands are cold:
She's reached to a dead man and drawn him up out of his grave.

You won't hear her deeds,
The creepy little girl;
Yet humanity needs
The creepy little girl.

Mary Janes and dress in black,
Pigtails, kneesocks, old knapsack.
This is Sarah my pet snake,
This knife's real and this knife's fake.
Life is never dull or tame.
What is real? Let's play a game.
It's called, "Is There A God?"

Shiver at seeing
The creepy little girl;
Thank her for being
The creepy little girl.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
7:54 pm
Da da la da
Marlon Webb: Band of the Bold. Don't ask questions, just watch this video. It will refresh your spirits, clear your head, heal your ingrown toenails, and make you realize there is still some good in the world. Also it is the highest and best possible use of that song by The Proclaimers.
Sunday, July 17th, 2016
9:05 am
confined to fast in fires
Well, that was disturbing. I dreamed--just now, a few minutes ago I woke up and am still close enough to this dream to reach back and touch the feelings of dread that it gave me--that I was at a huge gathering of people in a country club or convention center or huge private home. I could not tell which. If it was a public function building it was unusually fancy and comfortable, with big windows and fireplaces, and lots of books and soft furnishings.

I was with people doing touchy-feely stuff like yoga, and they all seemed overwrought, with the sense of false intimacy that you get when doing something difficult together. There was a handsome woman of about forty and a lean gray man of about seventy who kept getting close to me. The man was creepy and kept staring at me, but when we were flung together by an exercise we were doing, he didn't try anything nasty, just leaned his arms on my shoulders in a circle with several other people while we did stretches together. They kept making extravagant promises that we'd never part and be friends all our lives.

Then I was summoned to another part of the building by an old man whom I knew and liked--possibly my uncle or an old employer, in the dream. I had to go outside on a well-lighted verandah, at night. It was a carriageway, with cars constantly arriving and people getting out, and well-dressed men running to and fro with baggage. There were other people with me who hated the place.

At that point, I heard people singing a song, or else I saw it written over the door of the building like "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." I'm not sure which. It was terrible. I remember thinking even at the time that it was something I'd heard in an inappropriately-gruesome "kids movie" that was only appropriate for adults. It sounded like something that should be sung by the cursed men from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, starving and parching endlessly yet unable to die or be healed. There was a lot more to it than this, and I had the whole thing in my head only a few minutes ago, but I only remember that it sneered at some past promise made to the speaker as being a big lie, and then went on,

I've labored here for a thousand years
And I'm still no nearer the throne of God.

...to a jaunty tune.

I went to help my uncle in the big theater attached to the building. He was a cheery old man in evening attire, making sure the caterers brought coffee and the corsages/buttonholes of flowers were handed out to the people pouring into the theater. I tore up a sugar packet in my fingers but didn't really provide much help to my uncle. The corsages were of poppies. Of course they damn well would be. And then I woke up.

I think I just dreamed myself into either Purgatory or the fairy realm. I'm not sure which, and either one has problems. The fear that came over me when I heard that song, or saw it on the wall, is difficult to convey. I want to run screaming, but I'm not sure from what.
Saturday, July 16th, 2016
7:50 pm
I'll set my foot on board of a ship and sail all over the sea
First seen on Tumblr earlier today: Utsuro-bune, the urban legend/folktale of a "hollow ship" that washed ashore in 1803 on the coast of Hitachi province in Japan. Illustrations here. There are several different versions reported by historians and ethnologists of the 1800s; the details that remain constant are these.

A hollow vessel washes ashore. It's not like a ship; it's variously compared to a rice pot or an incense burner. It seems to be watertight, made of strange materials, and banded with "fine iron" (possibly steel?). When people investigate, they find that inside is a young woman, under five feet tall, clothed in an unknown style of garments made of fine fabric, with long hair of a red or blonde color, possibly shading to white at the ends or extended with white fur or fibers. She has some water and provisions with her. She also has a box, which she will not open or set down. No one gets a chance to see what's inside. She speaks a language no one understands, and after some time and repeated failures at communication, she goes away in the hollow ship again.

I like everything about this. It's like a UFO story with a ship instead of a flying saucer. Everything is unanswered. What's in the box, to coin a phrase? The most elaborate story version has an elder speculate that it's the head of the man she loved, who was executed for her sake. Then again, there's a similar story about a Wake-hime ("Princess Wake") who brought the silkworm from China in a hollow ship all by herself, so maybe it's silkworm caterpillars. What do her clothes look like? Is she wearing powdered white hair like Marie Antoinette, or has she bleached her hair white, or braided it with animal fur? Where the hell is she from, and what language is she trying to speak, and who made that damn hollow ship and why was she inside it? And why would she ever get back into it?

In one version the people who find her put her back into the hollow ship and push her out to sea again, because they think it is her fate. In another, her fate is not revealed. The wiki article has a line about the Wake-hime version, where she stays, gets married, and becomes the founder of the Kawano dynasty. That one's the most upbeat, but it also has explanations and justifications and is much less eerie as a result.

I love finding stories like this that I've never heard before! It doesn't fit neatly into any category--you can't exactly call it a folktale, a historic incident or an urban legend. Mostly, I just want her to be okay and get where she is going safely.

Maybe all our ideas about her being a Danae-like victim of a terrible punishment are off base. Maybe she's a daredevil like Reza Baluchi, whose story I located by Googling "floating hamster wheel guy." Back in 1803 there wasn't really a Coast Guard to pull her over and yell at her, so she could have bobbed around in her absurd little floating incense burner boat to her heart's content.
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
9:57 pm
I'm perfectly clam
17th-century-and-earlier revenge tragedy rewrites of famous narratives are becoming A Thing on Tumblr. Why should they have all the fun? Here is my current favorite, a summary of the deeply gruesome and nihilistic "The Madman's Tragedy" with discussion questions.
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
11:41 pm
Song: "The Concrete Frog Murder" (co-authored with arrogantemu)
Back about a month ago, arrogantemu and I wrote this song while on a camping trip, in a burst of mutual inspiration, and I've finally had a chance to type up the words. It was such a collaborative effort that I can't even remember who wrote which line, but we contributed equally. The tune is "Five Nights Drunk." It's based on a true story: Leigh Anne Sabine's murder of her husband John Sabine, which happened sometime in 1997 but which only recently hit the news after Ms. Sabine's own death.

The Concrete Frog Murder

Words: teenybuffalo and arrogantemu
Tune: traditional

While strolling out one evening
All to the church bazaar,
To see our friends and neighbors
And ask them how they are,
We met with Mrs. Johnson
A-sitting in the sun,
She said, "I've killed my husband,"
We said, "Pull the other one."

"Oh no, you must believe me,
My husband Frank is dead,
I hit him with a concrete frog
And put him in the shed."

When I went down the stylist's
For a shampoo and set,
My hairdresser said to me,
"Have you heard the gossip yet?
Mrs. Johnson's husband left her,
He must have gone away."
"Well, that explains the tasteless joke
She made the other day."


Mrs. Johnson lived all lonely
As the years went rolling on,
If you ask my opinion
She seemed glad that he was gone.
If Frank was ever mentioned
Down the pub on Friday night,
She'd always make the same sick joke--
We laughed to be polite.


Now amateur dramatics
Are a longtime love of mine,
I said, "I'm directing Hamlet,"
Mrs. Johnson said, "That's fine,
I've got a skull that you can use,
It's in the garden shed,
It belonged to my dead husband,"
"Not this again," I said.


Now Mrs. Johnson passed away
Quite peacefully in bed,
We called a cleaning service
To clear out her garden shed,
They found a body in a tarp
All rolled up like a log,
And in the forehead was a dent
Shaped like a concrete frog.


Whoever would have thought it?
She never even said!
That sweet old lady frogged poor Frank
And put him in the shed.
Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
3:02 pm
"We regret that we cannot prepare poached eggs."
Well, I was looking up addresses for [part-time job], and in trying to confirm the address of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, I found:

--It's in the theater district, aka the Tenderloin, known to me as the Wretched Hive, the petty-crime-and-drug neighborhood of downtown San Francisco, right around the corner from the street where I stayed in the youth hostel on my trip this past winter. It was a fun but nervous-making time.

--It's next door to the Pinecrest Restaurant, a 24-hour diner which looked lovably big and seedy and old-fashioned to me. I wanted to eat there, but they were always packed with a line down the sidewalk on the days I had time to go there.

--The Pinecrest was the site of a freak crime in 1997 that is the stuff of legend in San Francisco. It's worth of a Tim Powers novel in its down-to-earth details and random nature suggesting deeper meanings.

Here's the full story. To sum up: on July 24, 1997, a woman, whose name is unknown to me but who is invariably described as an "attractive woman" by the later reports, sat down in the Pinecrest Diner at the counter and ordered poached eggs. The chef, Hashem Zayed, made them for her despite their not being on the menu. Helen Menicou, whose position is given as "waitress" in the news but who had been daytime manager of the Pinecrest for years, yelled at Zayed and told him not to make poached eggs. This much is known to multiple witnesses because the Pinecrest has an open-plan kitchen and food prep takes place in full view of the customers. It is unclear whether the Attractive Woman got her food.

Following this, Zayed went on an all-night gambling binge, during which he lost thousands of dollars, including money Menicou had lent him. At what point she lent it to him is unclear, but she lent him gambling money regularly and might have given him money during/after the shift where they fought about the eggs. The next morning, he came to work with a .380 semiautomatic handgun, announced he would shoot Helen Menicou, and shot her five times. She died in the hospital half an hour later. Zayed went to prison, where he died of a brain tumor three years later, without ever having offered an explanation about why he had gone so far as to murder his co-worker as a response to her yelling at him.

If I'd known all this, I would have made the Pinecrest a priority during my visit, because I am ghoulish and want to see where it happened. I also find this a very scary story because massive overreactions are fearsome. Like the fear of a co-worker going postal or one of your fellow students showing up to school with a gun: work together for twenty-plus years in relative ease, and then one day your co-worker responds to your yelling at him by taking a gun and shooting you to death.

I think people read about this and want to make a complex or supernatural explanation for the murder. You could make the Attractive Woman an active factor in the murder. Maybe she shows up and looks you in the eye and strips away all your inhibitions, and you lose the repression that makes you able to function in human society. She's like the Santa Ana in "Red Wind" by Raymond Chandler. Or maybe Hashem Zayed and Helen Menicou were secretly lovers (unglamorous middle-aged food-service-industry lovers, but still), and this was a Frankie and Johnny crime of passion. Or maybe this was Hashem Zayed's initiation into the bad-guy club, and the Attractive Woman was there with a message from Bad Horse saying that if he was so evil, he had to murder his co-worker within twenty-four hours.

But it's also true that people who spend a lot of time together are capable of nasty, deep, stewing rage and hate, and 90% of accidents happen in the home, so I'd write this off as a domestic-violence-level murder.
Sunday, May 8th, 2016
3:12 pm
New-England bore you
I found this among my papers from a few months ago, as I was tidying up just now. I recall I was trying to create the most generic weird horror protagonist/Call of Cthulhu PC ever.

Name: Lloyd Freeborn
Age: 35
Vital stats: 5' 5 1/2", br/bl, receding hairline
Residence: 12 Acorn Street #3, Boston, MA
Occupation: independently wealthy poet-manque
Club: St. Botolph's
Family: deceased
Personal life: repressed
Hobbies: biblophily, swooning, table tennis, nighttime city walks
Personal aesthetic: subpar J.C. Leydendecker
Health issues: migraines, depression, anxiety, insomnia
Pets: 1 cat ("Lydia Languish," tabby)
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