Wednesday, June 26, 2013

James Bond's pants and the nature of suffering

I feel less bad for my inadvertent shoe hoard when I discover things like a blog devoted to James Bond's clothing. Which James Bond? Well, all of them of course. Including "Literary Bond". Ah, the Internet. Something for everybody.

Now, I'm not a huge James Bond fan. I of the Pierce Brosnan ones. I don't even know which one. There was a brunette, and a red car I think. I watched some of the Sean Connery ones when they were on TV in the summer while I was in high school, but I don't remember which ones. In all honesty, I probably just had the TV on while I was busy writing my tremendously bad fantasy novel.

I do like the Daniel Craig Bond films. I haven't seen Skyfall yet (NO SPOILERS) but I watched the others on DVD in the comfort of my home. I think I even own Quantum of Solace for some reason. I haven't read any of the Bond novels yet, though I did read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was by Ian Fleming as well. The movie's casting has a bit of an in-joke, actually, as three James Bond movie actors were in it as well, confirmed by IMDB: Desmond Llwelyn, who played Q, Gert Fröbe who was Goldfinger, and Anna Quayle who was in the original Casino Royale.

The Bond stories are fairly compelling, though. Suave hero guy gets the girl (mostly), kicks some ass, and solves......well, whatever it is he's solving. My main detraction for the Craig ones is that there are. So. Many. Chase. Scenes. In cars. On Goddamn boats. On foot. People are fleeing James Bond, and he is after them, like one of the Queen's hunting hounds. I mean, I assume she has hounds, in addition to Corgis that bark all the time. Coincidentally, our across the street neighbors sometimes have a Corgi that barks all the time, causing Elka to bark as well. It's a grand time.

I will that that the foot chase at the beginning of Quantum of Solace with its parkour was pretty neat, and I had the added bonus of Bear Grylls telling me, while I was watching Man vs. Wild that British Special Forces uses it, prior to him running across a bunch of rocks and stuff. Bear Grylls makes me think of James Bond sometimes, given that they're both British, and also seem to have a stoic need to suffer. Bear Grylls' suffering is poignant, typically enacted when he's eating something horrible for the benefit of the camera. James Bond's is a bit more...visceral (that scene at the end of Casino Royale with the chair and the rope, anyone?)

Now, even though I haven't watched much Bond, as a child, I watched Danger Mouse. Religiously. I even remember the marathon that Nickelodeon had when it was going off the air. I remember watching episodes with my dad, and he didn't watch children's programming just to humor me, he definitely had to be able to stand it. It contains many of the same elements (it's supposed to), and I in fact got the complete collection on DVD from Woot! at some point last year. I haven't rewatched them yet; I'm not sure if they've stood the test of time for me (I know Dinosaurs sure hasn't, boy howdy).

What is it about suffering that makes characters more compelling for us? Fiction is rife with orphaned children, damaged war veterans, rape victims, and widows. So is real life, granted, but even when these things haven't happened to you personally, they seem to perform some strange function wherein they gain the audience's attention and relax the tight grip which we hold on our sympathies. Suffering and what a character does to overcome it seems to make them all the more real to us, evne if they're tux wearing sociopaths in Her Majesty's Service.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just one more thing

I frequently have trouble going to bed. Want to do "just one more thing". Corollary, I'm sure, to the morning ritual of "five more minutes". I end up emailing or texting myself story or blog post ideas (like this one), dog groaning to sleep next to me, phone too close to my face in the dark because I've taken out my contacts.

I discovered, quite by accident, that while my phone has a miniature version of Word on it, there is no way to, using the Word app, send the file to myself. There is, however, a way to have my phone read it to me, which was startling to find out in the dark one evening. Text to voice programs tend to be fun, when one uses them voluntarily. Listening to the little robo voices can lend interesting perspective. And they are unforgiving if your sentences are crap.

Funny thing, though. In those dim days a few years back when Limewire was still legal, I got a copy of Ginsberg reading "Howl" at some university or another. It was amazing, because "Howl" is always amazing, but it was also interesting because he sounded somewhat like a text to voice program.  Obviously, there was a depth of feeling in Ginsberg's voice that I have yet to hear one of those canned voices replicate. I'm still wrapping my head around "Howl", even all these years later (though I can recite the beginning of it from memory), and I hesitate to declare what emotions I think those were necessarily. A certain defiance, but also a certain level of wistfulness. It's a unifying poem at times, particularly in the third part, with the "I'm with you in Rockland" refrain (which I've seen, on the Internet, make a neat tattoo).

The "I'm with you in Rockland" part makes me think of other...mental hospital? Sanitorium? poems. "Flee on your Donkey" and "The Music Swims Back to Me", both by Anne Sexton, both just as wistful. There's also a disarming level of frankness in Ginsberg's work, and Sexton's, that can at times make you check to see if anybody's watching you read. Or make you check to see if your fly is done or whatever.

Poetry, even if I don't like it so much, is so very naked at times. It lays you bare, past the clothing, flays you right down to the bone.Fiction, though I dearly love it and feel actually comfortable writing it, still leaves you a shirt at least. Most of the time. I think because it's longer it gives you time to catch your breath, adjust your mask.

This isn't to say there aren't fictional pieces like poetry. Sometimes the language a writer uses is just so. You savor it, rolling the words over in your mind like a smooth stone, or a new vintage at a wine tasting. You explore what they evoke. It's hard to maintain that paragraph after paragraph, page after page.

Monday, June 17, 2013

You could Google that. Or maybe you shouldn't.

I was going to include a different picture but I was afraid to Google it.  Oh, the times I wish I'd had such foresight!

Let's see. There's the time I found out "Asian Cowgirl" was a sexual position (see, I just figured that because there were Asians in the Wild West, at least one of them had to have been a cowgirl as well. Didn't even think twice and then....a .gif. Yeah.)

Plus, as we know, Rule 34 means there's porn of it. Is rule 35 that there's an infographic of it? Because I found an infographic of global porn searches, linked by Popular Science no less (NSFW, natch). It isn't actually what I know to be an infographic, and is rather more interactive than that. But it's what they're calling it, and who am I to argue with PornMD? I'm kind of weirded out now and feel like I need to wash.

Then of course there's the "couch diagnosis" Googling; the pictures from things of that nature can be harrowing. And I've had conversations with people (I haven't done this myself) who have done things like see if the rash (or whatever) they have matches up with the Google Image Search.

On the other hand, there is the joy of discovery in random Google searches. There's the Wikipedia freefall, which I feel applies to web browsing in general, not just Wikipedia. Or Cracked, for that matter. It's the "web" for a reason, I suppose.

Plus there's this lovely number. I'm not even sure what I Googled in the first place to find it. But I take it out once in awhile to look at.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tell the Truth

I follow The Worst Things for Sale blog. It goes without saying that there are many horrible things for sale, and I'm surprised there's only one blog on the topic (though I'm sure there are more. Perhaps even a Tumblr.)

Sometimes the object in question is.....well, I won't say "good". I'll say.....fascinating? Obliquely delightful? Like the USB polygraph. Now, I am not an officer of the law. Nor am I even a Private Investigator. I'm unlikely to be any of these things, ever (I have a distinct aversion to things like push ups and getting shot at), but can you imagine being out in the field with your laptop, and having a suspect make one of those "You can polygraph me any time you want! I'll take one of your lie detector tests!" and just...throwing down? Like, "Touché, sir, here it is and here you are. Buckle up!"

As The Worst Things for Sale says, though, "Official court opinions (including those of the Supreme Court) have been issued stating that polygraph results cannot be used as evidence due to their inaccuracy."  This is interesting, because 1. most people know at this point how to "beat" the polygraph (it was discussed in at least one of my college psychology classes, probably more) and 2. a local newspaper article on a murder and the fact that the suspect's girlfriend is "standing by him" has mentioned how she's taken a polygraph.

(again, I am not an officer of the law, but for the defense lawyer to say the dude's girlfriend is an "honest person of integrity", even though she was sleeping with the married man who is suspected of killing his wife who was, incidentally, her friend? Yeah, no. That one will not be a slam dunk for the defense.)

Despite what I know (or think I know) about the polygraph, it hadn't occurred to me to wonder if they were in fact still admissible in court. I am also, however, not a lawyer, so I think I'll just let this one lie. But, if you're interested, there is an American Polygraph Association. Can you imagine what their conferences must be like?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Demon, Out

They say the pope performed an exorcism on some guy from Mexico. Just out there, in front of God and everyone (heh), whilst walking through St. Peter's Square. I don't think he did.

Not because I don't believe in exorcisms, mind you. But because I believe if the pope is in fact an exorcist, he would not be so irresponsible as to carry one out off the cuff in public, without any level of preparation. I'm fairly confident in saying that no exorcist worth his salt would do such a thing. 

 Also, evidently, the man who the pope prayed for says he's still possessed, and will be so long as abortion is legal in Mexico City.

Now, far be it for me to think I know more about demonic possession than the guy who's demonically possessed, but if you say you're possessed by demons because God wants to send the world a message about sinners passing an abortion law......well, yeah. I mean sure, it's possible to really read into the book of Job and think of Satan as doing God's works (I guess he has to be, if God made him in the first place), or you're probably actually say, schizophrenic or some other mental illness. "I have a message that only God says I can give, with X condition".

This is actually an important facet of modern exorcism (to the Catholic church, anyway): it is necessary to determine that the patient is not, in fact, simply mentally ill. This is one reason (I think) people in movies and things always have such a terrible time getting the Church to help them. If just anybody who was all "lol, possession" could get an exorcism, it diminishes the weight of the matter. The Bart Simpsons of the world would amuse themselves by filling out the web form and getting priests to come to their house. It's also an unfortunate facet of some peoples' mental illness that they think God is punishing them, or the Devil is speaking to them, or has done something to their children.

People of other religious affiliation are apparently not so fastidious, as we hear tales of autistic children dying at the hands of misbegotten exorcists. These are not, I will hasten to point out, Catholic exorcisms, but rather Born Again flavored instead. This isn't to say that there has never been a death in a Catholic exorcism; the case of Anneliese Michel comes to mind. The movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on her case, and really what got me interested in the niceties of all this to begin with. See, I am Catholic, but grew up in the 80's. Mass was not in Latin, and Sunday School was, regrettably, a little more like Catholic Arts and Crafts other than the years where we were taking a sacrament. They didn't tell us a whole lot of the "good stuff" (not unlike history class in school, really). I can make a nice rosary, at least.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What is that called, anyway?

So, I got an email from CampNaNoWriMo that they're "cleaning out the cabins" or whatever in anticipation of the July session. I groaned a little, thinking a number of things. Isn't this camp motif being taken a bit too far? (I, being the antisocial person I am, opted out of cabins) Isn't July too soon? Do I really want to do this again?

Then I thought, well, I could write my memoir, but fictionalized. I don't mean with like, added superpowers or anything; just filling in blanks and telling a story that isn't entirely mine, but with some of my details. I've actually had people (well, my grandmother) tell me that I've had an interesting life. I dunno. It's my life. Obviously I'm enamored of it, but that's not necessarily a commercially reliable thing. I like a lot of things that were not commercially successful, like     and the movie Push (which you should watch if you haven't).

Then I thought, wait, what the hell is that called? It's not properly a memoir. Nor is it properly a novel. There's the "autobiographical novel", which sounds all well and literary, but not really waht I'm talking about. Here's a list of Top 10 Infamous Fake Memoirs, but it's really kind of boring and doesn't really get juicy until #8 (A Million Little Pieces which, working at a library, I saw some of the fallout of that "reveal". Including a woman in her 70's who slide it across the counter with a disgraced moue, saying "I am so disappointed." I then had to read it, of course. So, lady, disappointed? In what, that he wasn't actually a degenerate junkie scumbag? This is another one of those books I'm a bit shocked and perhaps appalled that my grandmother has read, like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and #9 (Love and Consequences, which I had never heard of before and sounds hilarious). I actually keep waiting to hear that Dave Pelzer actually made all of his shit up. People steal A Child Called It all of the time, and I'm unclear as to why. Pointers? Rolling papers? It certainly isn't "inspirational", though I suppose perhaps it's intended to be.

But, I digress.

I'm coming up with my own name for "fictionalized memoir" or "autobiographical novel". And that, my friends, is "moirvel". Say it with me. It's a bit like "marvel", which every life is, of course (*cue the rising music*). I wondered about novoir, which sounded like it should have to do with noir, which my writing only has when I wrote some short stories for my coworker. Memnov sounds like a Russian chess player or perhaps nuclear scientist (or both!)

Nope. Moirvel. I'll make the tshirts if you want 'em. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Excuse me, is your brain fluid leaking? Well hadn't you ought to stop it?

In recent years, I've seen not one, but two! instances of somebody whose leaky nose turned out to be brain fluid. I don't think it's unreasonable to be alarmed about such a thing.  I mean, really, brain juice should stay in your brain. This is one of those incontrovertible personal truths, like preferring your blood to also stay on the inside. Apparently, your cereobrospinal fluid can also leak out of your ear. Isn't this delightful?

I mean really, in this most recent incident of SCSFLS (spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak syndrome, because everything needs an acronym), the man's nose had been running for eighteen months. I guess intermittently, one would think. Perhaps temporarily cleared by blowing his nose? I have no idea. It freaks me out. Especially because in the most recent incident, the patient also ended up with meningitis, perhaps because whatever it is that normally keeps one's brain juice in had been compromised, allowing for the entrance of bacteria.

In the prior incident I read about, the woman had only let it go on for four months, rather than eighteen. Her leak seemed worse, granted, but I wonder if this kind of thing is also representative of who is willing to say, pick things up that got knocked on the floor, and who just hopes those things will go away or get taken care of by somebody else?

But, I digress. There are other symptoms that go with SCSFLS like tinnitis and vertigo (and, y'know, a disproportionate amount of not-snot coming out of your nose). It's apparently a rare thing, but it's alarming enough to make me wish there was a test kit you could get at Walgreens. You know they have a section by the pharmacy where you can buy paternity test kits and drug test kits? The pregnancy tests, though, they leave those by the condoms. Which are also in the sock aisle. Again, I'll let you draw your own conclusion regarding the significance of that detail. But would it be a bad idea, to have a cerebrospinal fluid test kit? I think it would be worth the peace of mind, if you don't have a cold, don't have allergies, and you're on week three of nasal weeping with no health insurance in sight.

I wondered about the treatment of SCSFLS and spent a moment starting to Google that. Then, in this abstract here, I noticed one of the methods mentioned was "Gelfoam" and that made me think of the Fix a Flat stuff that you inflate/seal your flat tire with long enough to get to a gas station or whatever. And I figured I was about done.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Teddy Fucking Ruxpin

Housemate: I made a bad choice. I just brushed my teeth and tried to eat this. I'm going to put it back in the fridge until I can chew it properly and not feel horrible about myself.

Fiancé, catching sight of Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls on the coffee table: What the hell are you reading?

Mahria: You know what I get a lot? "Why do you know that?"
Me: Me too! And "What is wrong with you?!"
Mahria: Yeah, that too. Sometimes people say "Why are you so nice?"
Me: No, people never say that to me. 

Me: Val Kilmer was amazing in Tombstone.
Coworker: Aw, come on, Top Gun?
Me: He was a dick in Top Gun.
Coworker: He was a good dick.
Me: You're a married woman!

Fiancé: What are you so happy about?
Me: Teddy Ruxpin, and Grubby, and the airship tape. $19.95
Tim: What? Where?
Me: Ebay.
Fiancé: You're not bringing that into the house
Me and Mahria: It's Teddy Fucking Ruxpin. And Grubby!
Bryan: What's Grubby? A dirty bear?
Me: No. His friend who was a grub. Duh.
Fiancé: I never understood why he had a friend who was a grub eiher
Me: You know, I think I still have the airship tape
Fiancé: I'm going to work now.
Me: I might also still have a Hugga Bunch tape.
Door closes.

Housemate: And now I'm typing only in symbols. You must understand what I'm saying. Goddammit fingers. I mean really, it's /?>

Coworker: I've heard about that selling your eggs thing, but I don't know what's involved.
Me: Oh, well you take medications so your cycle lines up with the woman who will be implanted or whatever, and then when you ovulate, they go in and take it. I guess it's kind of like a crane game.
Coworker: What is wrong with you?