Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie Musings: "What The Fuck Have You Done Lately?"

***This blog post and its links contain spoilers for the movie Wanted
(in case you cared).***

The movie Wanted is a 2008 action movie starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman. It's loud, messy, and violent as all action movies are. I thought a reviewer described it best:
"Wanted may be the most absolutely stone bonkers, crazy-good movie of the century. Or it may be a gargantuan piece of trash. Chances are it's a combination of the two. But man, does it rock." - Tom Long, Detroit News, 2008-06-27 (reference noted in the link above).
After a couple of years I think the movie veers more towards the "piece of trash" reference but the movie does boast some impressive action sequences such as the opening sequence and the death of super assassin Mr. X, the red car chase scene with Jolie and McAvoy, and the scene where McAvoy goes on a shooting rampage through a textile mill. There's also the novelties of "curving" bullets by using a particular technique while firing them out of a handgun (impossible, if you didn't know that already), and Morgan Freeman saying the word "fuck." There's McAvoy rebelling against his bitchy boss and slamming his keyboard in his best friend's face. His best friend is screwing his girlfriend. That's a great scene, by the way, for anyone who's ever dreamed standing up to the people who really piss us off but we can't really do anything about. It's childish but this is only a movie.

For me, and the point of this post, the best part of the movie is the end. McAvoy's character, Wesley, who has been a passive nerd for most of his life, has been trained to be a super assassin and has stood up against those people who are using him for their own ends. During the ending sequence, he blasts through the fourth wall and lists his accomplishments. He ends by looking at the audience and asking:

What The Fuck Have You Done Lately?

After more than two years, watching this ending still gives me the chills. After more than two years, I still ask myself this question. I used to carry a 3x5 card around where I could see it with this sentence written on it. I've done the electronic equivalent by writing it down on a large post-it, photographing it, and turning it into my wallpaper on my Droid phone. When my marriage was falling apart a very good friend of mine gave me a new mantra. She said my new mantra was "Fuck It." This is just an extension of that mantra and much more useful.

I'm not trying to offend anyone here by asking this question. This is a question I ask myself. This question makes me think about what I've done lately and if it's in line with what I want my life to be like. It's too easy to get complacent. It's too easy to keep doing the same shit day in and day out. There are other mantras, nicer sounding ones certainly, but this one makes me want to grit my teeth and grab life by the balls. This one makes me actually want to do something with myself. It's an ongoing battle to stay alert and focused on what's important. If part of that process involves watching McAvoy's character glare at me and ask that question then I'm all for it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Writing Life: Deciding What To Post

A friend and I were talking about blogging and she asked me how I decide what to post. She said it seems I post whatever I feel like writing about at the time. This is true though I've been trying to steer this blog a little more lately. She asked me what makes a good blog post and it was difficult to explain. I wanted to try to write down the elements just to clarify in own my mind what makes a good post:
  • The post has to be a complete piece of writing in itself, able to stand on its own. This seems obvious but I've written drafts where I didn't know where they were going or the ending was really weak and have chosen not to post them. I realize I probably do put up blog posts like this from time to time but the ones I decide not to use are really bad.
  • I still write for myself but I've become more relaxed about writing for my readers over the years and I usually try to think of what will be interesting for them. On the other hand, certain posts like my conversations with my brother and the Mr. Gryphon posts are just for me. I get a huge kick out of writing out conversations with my brother and posting them even if they are strange. Mr. Gryphon posts are a way for me to keep in touch with that aspect of my personality that he and the weird world I've created represent.
  • The post has to be interesting to me. I've started posts and then abandoned them simply because I realized I wasn't interested in the subject matter after all and noticed my writing had gone down the tubes during the drafting stage.
  • There's a particular mindset necessary for me to get into while writing for this blog otherwise the post won't work. One thing I've noticed is the more I write, the easier it is to get into that mindset even if it's late at night and I'm tired or in a bad mood or have no idea what to write. The act of sitting down at the computer and opening up a "New Post" screen is usually enough to get me there.
  • I try to keep the posts balanced, thinking of what I haven't written about in a while. This can be tricky because I lose track what I've written in the past, a sort of blog post tunnel vision.
  • The post either has to move me or give me a little zing when I read it even if it's one of my "Junk Mail" posts. One thing I love to do is read my blog posts (and stories) out loud. It gives me an enormous pleasure to hear my own words spoken. If I don't feel that pleasure then I don't post.
I realized just now that the previous list doesn't really explain much. Blog posting for me is such a subjective process and it's very difficult to explain why something works and something else doesn't. I will say that I do post most of what I write. There are relatively few entries that don't go up.

Thoughts about the types of posts:
  • Pictures. Pictures are important and I dare say I've become a much better photographer while taking pictures for this blog. There should be plenty of pictures, particularly about San Francisco and the Bay Area. I had the idea that people enjoy coming here to see the City from my viewpoint and I'm planning on adding more San Francisco posts in the future.
  • I like to write about my interests here though I don't write about all of them. I don't see this blog as a showcase for whatever project I'm working on unless it's about the writing but it's fun to throw in posts about my other interests here and there.
  • Emotional stuff. I'm always worried about whining too much and so have been trying to pull back on those posts lately. My friend pointed out that ranting and raving posts are good sometimes and I shouldn't leave them out altogether because they likely resonant with others.
  • Surreal Shit. This is the only place where I write anything surreal. They are always about something in particular and I have a lot of fun with them. They're important to do every now and then as a writing exercise.
  • The Writing Life. These posts are very important to me and I use them as signposts for my own writing progress, ideas, and attitudes as they're evolving. Whether anyone else finds them interesting and/or useful is completely beside the point though I'm happy if people like reading them.
  • I really enjoy using this blog as a chronicle for my major trips. I still haven't finished all my posts for this year's trip to Europe.
I haven't posted on my other blog, Fainting in Coils, in a while since I finished "FailSafe." I'm going to write another long story sometime in the beginning of next year and will post it there. Though I don't post there regularly it's very important for me to keep that blog up because it's only forum for these stories.

I do wish I could draw. I'd be creating illustrations for my stories for sure and I would enjoy posting pictures for you but I'm a lousy artist. I'm pretty good at copying/sketching other works but can't create something of my own.

I sometimes ponder the differences between posting here and FaceBook. I used to include surreal notes there but don't anymore. FaceBook is all about skimming through statuses and posting your own. Plus, I know everyone on FaceBook. Many of my friends on FaceBook don't even know I have these blogs and I'm reluctant to share that information for some reason. I think it has something to do with worrying about what those people would think of me if they read this stuff.

Thanks for reading and I hope you are all enjoying your Holidays.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sick, Rancid, Grotesque...

When the remarkable becomes bizarre, reason turns rancid.

- Cheshire Cat (idle), American' McGee's Alice.

An image from the sequel, Alice: Madness Returns.
These games are considered part of the action-horror genre.

American McGee's Alice is a third person shooter video game released in 2000. I haven't played many games in my life but this is my favorite game of all time. Not only is the music amazing and the environments riveting, it's also insane, dark, twisted, and extremely violent. Alice's family has perished in a fire and she's gone mad, locked away in an asylum. She goes back to Wonderland to confront the broken, horrific mess it's become. The game does a fine job at referencing the source material and is so far up my alley I used to think I dreamed it up myself. Apparently, the long awaited sequel will be released in the Spring next year. Yippee!

Alice collects a host of weapons including the Vorpal Blade, Ice Wand, Croquet Mallet, Demon Dice, and Jack Bomb, among many others. My personal favorite weapons are the Vorpal Blade, Ice Wand, and Croquet Mallet, with the Croquet Mallet being the most satisfying of all ("Here's a riddle: When is a croquet mallet like a billy club? I'll tell you: whenever you want it to be." - Cheshire Cat). Alice's enemies are relentless, powerful, and ruthless and you really have to fight for your life. Even my two best characters, Mock Turtle and Gryphon, make an appearance. Thankfully, they're on Alice's side.

The Cheshire Cat acts as a kind of guide to the game and often makes cryptic, disturbing comments but he's a friend and sometime companion. There are four levels: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Nightmare. I've played all four levels many, many times with Nightmare being my favorite. I even have a version of the game for my Mac which is apparently difficult to find. I haven't played the game in years but the comfort of recognition and the glory of reveling in all that darkness really relaxes me.

Here's a link to the trailer if you want to get a sense for how dark this game is.

When I was coming up with a name and persona for this blog, I initially considered becoming Cheshire Cat since he was my favorite Alice character while I was growing up but I was moved by the quote in the blog header and how they used it at the end of the 1985 film Dreamchild starring Ian Holm as The Rev. Charles L. Dodgson AKA Lewis Carroll, a sort of background film about the writing of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Wonderland characters in Dreamchild were created by Jim Henson's Muppet Shop, and they were huge, gross, and nightmarish. It was the first time I'd ever thought of Alice has being a little scary and it was really cool!

The Mock Turtle persona really suits me. I think I've grown into it well. Writing this post makes me wonder when the other Wonderland characters will show up in my weird little world. None of them are there now and I think they deserve a place. Or at least a few of them do. Hmm. I'll have to ponder that idea.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This Huge Banquet

The wind blows rain against my window. The window rattles, cheap thing that it is. On some nights it rattles so hard I worry it will break or crack. Gray sky. It's a beautiful day.

I've been thinking lately about gender roles and shifts. It seems the longer I live here the more fluid these ideas become. It feels good, free even, to entertain ideas about how humans can and want to relate to each other.

I'm not relating to anyone at the moment. Not in a shifting, intertwining, curling capacity, that's for sure. I think about it a lot, and I'm surprised at what floats my boat. I think that's a good sign. It's better to be surprised, especially with yourself. You never know what you're capable of and what really fires you up unless you maintain an aura of openness and a commitment to exploration. Are we all destined to follow the same path? Can't there be some variations or even a lot of variations? Why restrict ourselves anyway? It's almost like putting yourself in jail when there's a wild party going on outside.

This huge banquet that's life is just sitting here waiting to be savored. Trying to break out of my own preconceived notions and ideas of what I will and won't do, what I want and don't want is the key to letting myself sit down and enjoy the feast. The first step is to get closer to the table and see what's there to try. Abundance is the rule not the exception.

Happy Feasting, Everyone. I hope you're all enjoying your Holiday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid-December Junk Mail

Here's what going on with me lately:
  • You all know a lot of what's going on with me since I've been trying to post more regularly. I've been making a conscious effort to "engage" more in general. This means checking and posting on FaceBook more often, contacting my friends more, stuff like that. When I started version one of this blog (I shut it down after a while and then restarted it again), I used to post almost every day. Over the years it becomes more difficult to post regularly but I noticed my readership is up and the best way to continue that is to keep posting on an almost daily basis. It's also a good way of staying grounded with the writing. Posting on this blog is a great way to balance out the intense fiction writing.
  • I'm still looking for a job but it looks like a good one might be in the works. We'll see. I probably won't hear about that one until after December. I heard from another recruiter today about another job so that's good.
  • I've also been making an effort to have a plan for my days, a schedule. This is difficult for me because I get distracted easily. It's been an interesting exercise. Right now, I feel like I'm just slavishly following a schedule, it almost feels like everything I'm accomplishing right now is secondary to the "schedule." I've had this feeling before and really don't like it but have decided to stick with it for a while to see if that feeling changes over time. I keep wondering what that feeling will change to.
  • As part of my recent Christmas Tree breakthrough I also bought some "icicle lights" because I've always wanted a strand or two. I strung them up in my bedroom and...they're almost seizure inducing with the way they flash on and off. I feel like I'm in the middle of some kind strobe light situation with them on. Not good.
  • I have all of next week off. I'm so looking forward to it!!!
  • I've been seeing quite a bit of theater recently (since early November): West Side Story, Equus (amazing!), The Story of My Life, Coraline, a stage reading of Amadeus, and I saw the jazz trio The Bad Plus. Next week I'm going to Playground at Berkeley Rep Theatre where they do stage readings of new plays by new playwrights.
  • I just finished listening to this great audio learning course from the Teaching Company entitled "Social Deviance." Though the course was recorded in 1994, Professor Wolpe does a great job with this fascinating subject and I even found some of the ideas he presented in this course useful for the current NaNoWriMo novel I'm drafting. All of the lectures were great but the ones I found the most mind-blowing were the ones on "Labeling Theory" and "Conflict and Constructionism." I'm looking forward to listening to it again.
  • I'm done with: Christmas shopping, button-down shirts that don't fit, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, cleaning out all my email boxes, watching movies in the theater (with few exceptions until I get more income coming in).
  • I started: a playlist for my post-apocalyptic novel, another bizarre story theory for "Sherlock," "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Ecco, "A Study in Scarlett" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (reading on my Droid with the free Kindle app), re-learning how to use my sewing machine.
  • Three things I'm grateful for other than the super important things like family, friends, living here in SF, and good health: 1) my pea coat is part cashmere and part merino wool (been chilly here), 2) the penguins still know me, and 3) Lipton tea.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing Life: The NaNoWriMo Novel Progress

I'm still working on my National Novel Writing month novel. I'm up to about 59,000 words and first draft still isn't finished. I just completed the most harrowing section of the story this evening at my writing group and am going back to my two characters who fell off the balcony overlooking Battery Park in the Financial District in NYC. I'll finally find out what happens next with them.

As for the harrowing section, I've been dragging my feet and resisting this part because it's so intense. I thought I would feel a little better, even lighter, after getting through this section but now I have a new problem: my character is in the very worst kind of personal Hell and I don't know how to get him out, or even if he's going to get out. It's an emotionally tiring problem to carry around so I need to get through this part pretty quickly.

I'm working on what I'd consider the last quarter of the novel but it's probably the most difficult. After this first draft is finished I'll put it away for a while and work on my other novel, the historical mystery.

There were only three of us at my writing group this evening but we had a wonderful discussion about writing and the creative process. We talked about the importance of getting out and about and letting yourself "wander" whether physically wandering or internet wandering or mentally wandering as a way to make interesting connections that inspire your work. We also talked about how the creative process seems to come through you, that it seems to be coming from somewhere other than yourself. I've already written about these ideas in my Beginning Tips for Writers posts but it was fun to hear my fellow writers' ideas on these subjects.

Christ, I'm tired. I was supposed to do some more organizing this evening but I think I'm going to watch "Sherlock" instead. I need a break tonight.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

City Life: Ocean Beach Sunset

Ocean Beach is about 3.5 miles from where I live and one of my favorite places. Yesterday a friend suggested we go for a walk at sunset. It's usually cold and foggy down there but it was so warm, maybe in the mid-60s, and barely any breeze. I left my jacket in the car.

My friend looking out at the waves.

The Pacific Ocean.

We drove through Golden Gate Park on the way there, stopping at the Bison Paddock. The Bison were already in their Paddock, stoic and silent as always. The far western edge of the Park is across the street from the Beach. The Great Highway runs parallel to the water.

Another self-portrait of Miss Turtle.

It was very clear and the light was wonderful. And there were plenty of surfers. Ocean Beach is one of the top Bay Area spots for serious surfers because of the strong currents and intense waves. I've been on the beach when the wind was so strong that sheets of sand were blowing only a couple of inches above the ground.

A shot of the golden light on the water.

Serious nuclear-looking sunset.

My friend and I talked and took a bunch of pictures. I took a little over a 100 photos. I was trying to capture the color I see with the camera but everything kept coming out too orange. I like the above sunset but would have preferred it if there was a little more blue in the waves. I really should take a photographer class so I can learn to use my camera controls instead of just pointing and shooting all the time.

Post-sunset clouds.

Love this picture my friend took of me!

I definitely don't spend enough time here and it's so close. I should be coming here most days with my dog. She loves running around on the beach even if she doesn't like the water.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miss Turtle's 2010 Holiday Post

First Christmas Tree in Seven Years
Yes, it's real!

Hi Everyone,

I wasn't sure if I would be able to get a tree this year. Each year I'd drive/walk past the Christmas tree lot down the street and think "This year I'll do it for sure," and each year I'd fail. Much like how my writing constantly surprises me, I've managed to surprise myself with my own actions. I've taken back my Christmas Holiday I left behind all those years ago. This is my Christmas now...No, that's not right:

This is our Christmas! I wish all of you the very best during this Holiday Season and a wonderful, lovely New Year

Thanks for reading and thanks so much for your support.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Conversations With My Brother: Sherlock Walk

Intro: One of the many cool things about my brother is he tends to notice interesting details, more so than me. As you've seen sometimes I take his random wonderings and run with them. This is another example involving an observation he had about the BBC show "Sherlock."

Him: If you watch the last scene in Study in Pink. Sherlock's walk is more one foot after another than John's.

Me: I'll check it out. By the way do you have any Primus (n.1)?

A later reply from me.

Me: He looks like he's doing a sort of model walk in that last scene. One foot directly in front of the other. If you watch him walk in the scene where they go back to their flat after all that running he doesn't walk foot directly in front of the other, it's a more natural gait. I read a blurb about model walks and putting one foot in front of the other (having to land first on the balls of your feet) is supposed to make your walk more elegant, kind of like a ballerina walking on her tip-toes. At the same time you're supposed to lift your leg a little more. Both actions combined are supposed to make your walk longer and more commanding. And it gives you that characteristic model swing of the hips.

Why would he do that when he's already tall and commanding esp. when compared to our Martin (n.2)? Because it makes his coat swing and swish (n.3) while at the same time giving him a more commanding presence. Because he's wearing his coat we can't tell that he's swishing his hips a bit more so he doesn't look like he's doing a "model walk." With his coat swishing and swinging, he looks more heroic in the same way that running while wearing a long coat with volume also makes you look heroic. Since this is the last shot of the first episode it creates a compelling image that they want viewers to remember.

I tried it with one of my own long coats and it does indeed swing more when doing a model walk, even in my socks.

There! How's that for an explanation? I'll bet if we watch Benedict's walk in other scenes in the series, I'm certain he isn't walking with one foot in front of the other most of the time.

Him: It brings to mind a comment by Neil G. (n.4) about Paterson Joseph (n.5) not being that tall but "acting" tall.

Subsequent In-Person Conversation: My brother pointed out the other night that Martin's stride in this last scene seemed to have him walking with slightly wider steps. He mused this could be because his character John is a military man and would be used to carrying something on his back thus the wider steps.


(n.1) My brother has a music server. Not a music hard drive, a server with something like 500 CDs loaded onto it. Yes, he bought them all.

(n.2) We have our own conversational conventions. He tends to refer to the actors in "Sherlock" by their character names whereas I refer to them by their real names. I also have a convention of putting "our" in front of certain actors' names as in "our Martin" (for Martin Freeman who plays Dr. John Watson), or using the more generic "our boy." My brother and I sometimes discover shows and movies which aren't in the mainstream (or haven't appeared in the mainstream yet) and I have a tendency to think of them as belonging to us, hence the "our." I use this convention most often while discussing Korean actors with him.

(n.3) We're quite taken with Sherlock's fashion and his clothes seem to be popular in the U.K. Here's a U.K. GQ article if you want to see Benedict in his lovely coat.

(n.4) My brother, not surprising, is a huge Neil Gaiman fan and we are big fans of Gaiman's series "Neverwhere" which aired on the BBC in 1996.

(n.5) Paterson Joseph played the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere. He's quite dashing and has a lovely long coat as well. You can see an introduction to the character here. Gaiman has said on the DVD extras for Neverwhere that Puss in Boots was the inspiration for the Marquis.

Friday, December 10, 2010

City Life: Inner Sunset Fog

A staircase on my street

Today's beauty was all about fog and water. The City was wrapped in filmy droplets. Though not thick enough to obscure completely nor drippy enough to cause a drizzle, fog whirled and dipped low in my neighborhood. The streets were wet and shiny, the fog brought along scents of moss, juniper, Douglas Fir, and a floral here and there (I live up the street from a community garden and a Christmas Tree lot). I hadn't realized how scent likes to catch a ride on fog until this afternoon.

The usual black outlines of bare trees, power poles, and telephone lines stood in muted dark gray down the block. Stands of trees fencing the steep hill behind my apartment swirled with romantic mists, caressing tree bark and leaf alike. Water dripped. It's cool but mild, a delicate humidity. A warm day by a resident's standards.

I drove out of the City in the evening and watched as headlights from oncoming cars played tricks against the concrete freeway divider. It looked like the commuting cars were belching and coughing smoke but it was merely a visual trick of headlights, fog, and the occasional tree.

No rain today.

It's suitably quiet outside even with the random motorcycle rider roaring far away and the 36 bus. The window is open and I smell the fog, the wet, the green, traces of earth, even hints of the ocean as I sit here in my apartment. The dog wants to go out for her evening walk. The night beckons gently.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Matt Smith's Interview with Craig Ferguson

So uh, yeah. As many of you know my brother and I are huge Doctor Who fans. I've been watching the show with him since I was 15 years old. I did miss one or two doctors in the middle there after I sort of grew up and got married but now I'm back where I belong...after having been hijacked by all that adult marriage bullshit. Adult marriage bullshit can't be all that it's cracked up to be if it takes you AWAY FROM THE DOCTOR!!!

Whew! That felt good to say.

I'm posting this embedded youtube video here on my blog because my brother couldn't access the link when I sent it to him via email for some reason so this post is really just for him.

Note to My Brother: I love the cut of his suit, the socks, and the shoes.

City Life: The Ceilings At San Francisco Centre Shopping Mall

The big dome in the newer part of the mall.

Yep, that's Nordstrom's up there.

San Francisco Centre is a mall located on Market Street near the area known as Union Square. The Square is renowned as a shopping area, particularly for tourists. Though I say I don't like malls I do come here more often than I'd like to admit, usually because I'm stopping at the bookstore on the way home.

The mall is divided into two connected sections. The Nordstrom's side is the oldest. The side with the big dome is the newest section and comes complete with a Bloomingdale's.

The food court in the basement on the Bloomingdale's side is the best food court I've ever seen. All manner of good eateries are here; not one place could be called "bad mall food." I usually get Fish & Chips at Catch Isle located in the middle of the Court.

The mall was busy today but not what I'd call a mad house. Still, Holiday shopping is in full swing.

I Must Have This Book

I swooned when I saw this on the shelf. I gently removed it, carefully opened the pages, read entries for copulate and helter-skelter, looked at the price, tenderly fingered the paper, and slowly slid it back into place being careful not to rumple the dust jacket. Exhale, sigh of longing. Later, love. More later...
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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Completely Awesome Food

Well, this came about because I went to the Ferry Building today when I was hungry. Always a bad move. The Ferry Building houses very upscale food shops, some nice restaurants, and hosts what has to be the most impressive (and expensive) Farmer's Market in the City.

It started with the cheese. I just love Cowgirl Creamery and always visit whenever I'm in the building. Today's selections (clockwise from upper left): Appalachian - a semi-soft cow's milk with a mild buttery flavor and more than a hint of earthy mushroom. Redhawk - a triple cream soft cow's milk with a strong smell and an earthy, slightly tangy flavor. Landa - a mild, semi-firm buttery cow's milk cheese inspired by Caerphilly.

Next, house mixed olives, blanched almonds, and Medjool dates.

Round it out with my favorite crackers and some Safeway Salami I had laying around.

I popped open a lovely bottle of Syrah: blackberry, blueberry, dark cocoa powder, with a hint of bright raspberry in the medium length velvety finish. Gorgeous nose: sweet blueberry, like pie filling. I already had this in my wine fridge and so was able to cut down on the cost.

Last but not least: a few pieces of Recchiuti Dark Milk Chocolate. Not as good as fresh chocolate from Bruges but more than adequate.

All this should last me through the weekend. I hope.

Sudden Increase In The Number Of Stars

"You've been impossible to get a hold of."

"Yes, I know. I've been neglecting everything. You know you could set off the alarm or something if there was an emergency," I say, "Wait, was there a problem I don't know about?"

He glances at me but keeps walking. Mr. Gryphon and I are strolling through the Forest of My Imagination. It's nighttime and in keeping with tradition it's the same temperature here as it is right now in my beloved City which means it's uncomfortably cold outside.

"You haven't answered my question," I say looking at him. He's right, of course. It's been far too long since we've had a conscious chat.

"And you haven't been around," he stops walking. The moon is out and the air is hard, cold, sparkling. The dirt path we're walking on is only a little moist. My toes are cold. The trees, the leaves, everything is just slightly damp.

He faces me and his wings flutter for a moment like they might open. At least his claws aren't showing. "Miss Turtle, let's get a few things straight. I'm not a piece of furniture or some picture you add to your blog page for fun. I'm not Benedict and I'm most certainly NOT your Sherlock."

"Well, you sound somewhat like him and you're tall enough. Or rather he's tall enough." I smile. I know it pisses him off but I can't help it. I love the idea of him being my Sherlock, running around in a wool trench that costs a thousand pounds wearing a narrowly cut beautifully tailored suit but it's only a temporary personal indulgence like everything on this blog.

"I'm serious. Very series," he says. His ears twitch and he frowns. He looks closely at me. "Why aren't you wearing your gloves?"

"I forgot them. In my backpack." I can see the vapor from my breath. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets. He approaches, looking grim, and then opens his arms. I go to him and he opens his wings, wrapping them around me. He's warm, furry, and feathery.

"We need to get back and have some tea," he mumbles. He strokes my hair.

"I've hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. I've gotten so much writing done but I haven't been around lately. It's been longer than lately, hasn't it?"

"Yes," he says. He sighs. "There are no problems here. Everything is fine. We've just been missing you. I most of all."

"I haven't cleaned my apartment or done my laundry in ages either. I have so much catching up to do. So much more to write. Mr. Gryphon, how the hell did I get anything done with I was working regularly?"

He doesn't answer. While he's with me all time, he's right. I've been neglecting him and this world of mine. Everything keeps going on, of course. My characters all have their own adventures I'm just not thinking about them consciously. Even he has adventures but he can only do so much when I'm not there. Gryphon and Mock Turtle are always together but when I'm not paying attention, he's usually waiting around for me.

"I'd tell you not to wait so much but I know it won't do you any good. I hope you know I'm serious," I say.

"I know you are. I've made your point by posting this here on SF Life and not on Fainting in Coils," he says. He stiffens. Something is walking through the forest behind me. He relaxes. "One of the frogs." I nod. There's a trio of frogs wearing waistcoats and tails who stroll around playing two violins and a cello. They play when we have picnics, in the reading room of the Library, in the dining room, whenever they feel like it. The frog walks by, wrapped deeply in a warm winter wool. He smiles and waves then goes off towards the Library.

"I'm going to revise 'FailSafe' and add some more side stories. Mr. Gryphon how I wish I could draw. I would love to illustrate it!" I say this so he knows I really have been thinking about him lately.

"Your drawings of me are just fine."

"Yes, but those are sketches, mere copies of other works. I can't figure out how to do my own characterizations."

He squeezes gently. If he hugged me too tightly, he would hurt me. We stand there in the forest at 2:00 a.m. It's time to go back to the Library for tea but we don't move. The night is so cold but it feels magical.

"Something's going to happen tomorrow," he says.

"Yes. I wonder if it's going to be as important as they say it will be," I say. I look up at him. "I really do love the idea of you being Benedict."

He snorts. "I'm much better than him. Certainly more elegant."

"Yes, you are, Mr. Gryphon, indeed you are. Much more elegant than any mere human being could be."

There's a sudden burst in the starry skies above us, an impromptu meteor shower. We both look up. What with stuff happening tomorrow, the gross underestimation of the number of stars in the night sky, and the sheer number of brilliant gifts in the Universe, it's no wonder I'm feeling blessed and lucky.