The weather this morning was just awful, a wall of humidity that didn’t really let up until the afternoon when the sky exploded with rain. Luckily that let up before it was time for me to leave. The rain is supposed to keep up, off and on, until the weekend, but I’ll take that over mugginess that weighs on you like a heavy chain.

Meanwhile, it seems increasingly likely that the Long Island Railroad will go on strike starting next week. Talks between the MTA and the union have reportedly collapsed, and as early as Sunday service may be shut down completely. That will make getting to work mighty difficult for me, since the New York subway only goes as far as Queens, not where I live. If I can get a ride there in the morning, say to Jamaica, I can hopefully catch the subway then into Manhattan. That’ll likely add a chunk of time to my daily commute — and god knows how many other people will be trying to do the same thing — but it would be better than trying to take a bus to Jamaica from somewhere closer to home. (Just for kicks, I looked into that, how long a bus ride plus subway would take me, and it looks like the answer is about two to three hours, each way. So, you know, no thanks.)

I hope I won’t have to do that, or at least not much. There’s still a small chance the strike won’t happen, and my boss is okay with me working from home most days if I need to. (That’s basically the best the MTA can suggest commuters do right now.) I may have to go into the office on Tuesday, thanks to a couple of face-to-face meetings, but that might be the most of it. Right now, I’m just waiting to see.

It’s not like I haven’t survived terrible commutes in the past. After Hurricane Sandy, it took a long time for the LIRR to get back on its (never entirely stable) feet. So we’ll see what happens.

Not having to venture out into wall of humidity each day might not be the worst thing that could happen.

Monster Movie Mayhem (or, Suddenly It’s Sunday)

Yesterday morning, I decided to get a haircut and then catch the very early matinee of the new Godzilla movie. Thanks to time being fleeting and not infinite — seriously, who do I need to talk to about that? — I wound up only doing the second of those two things. Which why right now I’m still in real need of a haircut but I did get to see a giant lizard smash through giant buildings.

And you know, Godzilla is kind of an odd movie. I’d watched the original only a week ago, for the first time, and while I hadn’t loved that movie, it also hadn’t dimmed my interest in seeing the remake. (Interest that was sparked, really, by what I still think is a well done trailer.) But ask me about the movie now I think I can only tell you this: Godzilla’s very good in it. He’s probably the best actor. And that’s not even really a joke.

The giant lizard is definitely the most compelling presence in the film — a very shouty Bryan Cranston and not-even-a-little-shouty Ken Watanabe notwithstanding. But it’s altogether possible that that’s by choice. David Ehrlich of the Dissolve argues that the movie is ”
the first post-human blockbuster,” and I have to say, he makes a fairly convincing argument:

The film’s evocative closing shot serves as a resonant reminder that just because we’re the planet’s predominant storytellers doesn’t mean that the story is necessarily about us.

Then again, even if you don’t buy the argument, or you don’t think it’s enough to account for (or overcome) the blandness of some of the characters, I’m not joking when I saw Godzilla is very good in the movie. If nothing else, it’s some pretty terrific CGI.

I can definitely not say the same for the next couple of movies I watched yesterday.

Heather has already written up yesterday’s “Bad Movie Night,” wherein a bunch of us willingly subjected ourselves to Storage 24 and the improbably named Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark and joked about them both over Twitter. I’m tempted to just direct you to her write-up, as she’s accumulated a lot of the best tweets from last night’s double-header. I’ll say this: neither movie was especially good, but both were wonderful fun to watch and laugh at. And, seriously, this happened. No movie in which that happens can be all bad, however hard it may try.

And besides, it’s less about the movies themselves — which by design are terrible — and more the great fun of watching them with friends.

Today, with my writing group friend Maurice, I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was decent enough summer fare, enjoyable, but not remarkable. I do like the way the AV Club’s review describes it:

It’s a loose adaptation of one of the all-time great Marvel storylines, with Professor X and Magneto using Shadowcat’s powers to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to 1973 so that he can help their past selves set aside their differences and avert a dystopian, Sentinel-run future by preventing Mystique from assassinating Bolivar Trask. Readers who are confused by any or all parts of the preceding sentence should take it as a warning.

Honestly, though, there’s not a whole lot more to say about the movie. It does a pretty decent job of marrying the earlier X-Men movies, prequel and all, and is probably the only comic book movie we’re likely to see for awhile set largely in the early 1970s. But it’s not often very distinctive or inventive, even if it is decent enough fun.

In between all this movie watching, I finished reading and responding to all of my Kaleidotrope submissions. Which is a lovely feeling. I still have two issues to edit before the end of this year, but for the next seven months I won’t have to read another story I don’t want to accept. I didn’t run the actual stats for this past reading period, but I’d say out of roughly 250-300 submissions, I accepted maybe ten. Which, actually, seems maybe a little high.

I also wrote this:

They’d made planetfall in winter, the team leader said, which explained the hardiness of the local population but also the scarcity of diverse genetic stock. Only ten dozen of the original settlers had survived that first season, and through the next fifty years, intermarriage had left them fit for the harsh conditions on the planet’s surface but prone to illness, especially when traveling outside the valleys in Icarus’ (relatively) more temperate zones.

“Why Icarus?” one of the geo-engineers, Burke, asked. “In the myth, didn’t Icarus fly too close to the sun?”

“As near as we can tell, that’s local irony,” the team leader said. She glanced again at the planet’s specs and her notes, which were not extensive. “The settler’s original ship was thrown off course after miscalculating the gravitation of the smaller of the system’s binary stars. A joke,” she added, “though obviously not a great one.”

“Isn’t this like the third Icarus we’ve been called in on in as many months?” asked the pilot. Grace Wong didn’t always attend these preliminary meetings, but team leader was glad to see her nevertheless. “Don’t these people have any imagination?”

“In all fairness to this planet, they crashed before either Icarus Prime or Icarus II were colonized.”

“And we’re pulling them out anyway,” said Burke, “right?”

“Right,” the team leader said. “The Ic — the planet has become untenable. The system’s primary sun isn’t dying, exactly, but they’ll be outside a shrinking habitable zone in less than another generation.”

“Wait,” said Wong. “What does ’isn’t dying, exactly,’ mean? Is it going nova or not?”

“Not exactly,” the team leader said. She’d been worried about this, but better to get it out in the open now before they ported to system. “Command has reason to believe that whatever’s happening with the sun is artificial, neither a natural nor man-made process.”

“Command?” said Burke. “Since when did we start taking orders from — wait are you saying Alterians?”

“We have reason to suspect their involvement, yes.”

“And you’re just telling us this now?” said Wong. “You want me to fly us into beastie-controlled territory and you didn’t even tell us til now?”

“It’s a little more complicated that,” the team leader said. “And there’s another reason why we have to evacuate Icarus.”

I can’t say I much like it, but sometimes you just go where the prompt takes you. (Even if, in this case, I didn’t get the prompt itself in at all.)

I plan tomorrow mostly reading, maybe writing some. It’s a three-day weekend, which is nice, and hopefully today’s nice weather will last a little while longer.

Wet Wednesday

It was a pretty good day, the cold and rainy weather notwithstanding. It doesn’t feel like the end of April, but maybe now that I’m completing projects at work that, in a better world, would have been finished in March, the seasons will start to catch up.

Well, “completing” is probably being generous, but I’m still hopeful.

The week that it was

April is a cruel-ish month. Remember when winter was a thing that ended?

It snowed on Wednesday, or maybe it was Tuesday night. We woke to find a very light dusting on the front lawn and the cars, and the train station platforms had turned to a thin but nasty sheet of ice. It was an unexpected cold snap that’s lasted all week, never again with the same kind of dramatics, with snow and ice, but it’s been a lot colder than I think any of us expected for mid-to-late April. Last Saturday, I was hanging out in the backyard in short sleeves. This morning I could see my breath and wondering if maybe I hadn’t better get a warmer jacket.

It’s been an okay kind of week otherwise. I’m finally getting accomplished things that were supposed to have been accomplished a month ago at work, so that’s good. There are still at least a couple of very big potential headaches that I’ll need to tackle again next week, but I can’t tell you how much relief I had this week when I finally handed over one of my books to production. So much relief, really, that I hope to repeat the experience again next week.

I know in some parts of the civilized world today — and even Monday — is a holiday. Not so much here, though the trains were maybe a little emptier than usual this evening. (Just a little.) I have no big plans for the Easter weekend, other than to try and enjoy it and hope the weather warms up a little.