Monday, May 28, 2007
I had the weirdest reaction to the end of the TV season (about which I babbled endlessly on Friday). I don’t know if it was due to the oversaturation of Very Dramatic Season Finales, but I started watching movies and they were all British and Scandinavian – I needed small and (relatively) restrained as an antidote to all the Drama. It began with a sort of homage to 28 Weeks Later and Hot Fuzz that got released recently – naturally, I had to watch 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead. Then I moved on to The Best Werewolf Movie Ever Made (and despite this not being the first time I’ve watched it, it still scared me witless). In the process, it was confirmed again that I must not watch or read anything scary past 11pm because I’m just too much of a wuss to handle it on my own. Luckily, I had an antidote to the antidote: a tape of the Tinks from 6 months to Christmas-ish made for me by John. Nicest way of cleaning out the dread I’ve ever seen. Once I’d regained my equilibrium (and was no longer twitching at every creak), I popped in Kitchen Stories which, if you’re into Scandinavian humour, is absolutely hysterical. And sweet. And heartbreaking.
Mor and I had lunch with Michele and the boys, one of whom sported a very snazzy cast (and dared to stand below the giant spiderweb):
That’s got to make it a bit less awful, don’t you think? Why didn’t they have snazzy casts when I was a kid? I spent a month in a bodycast when I was 14 and there was nothing but white plaster from just below my arms to my toes (yes, with conveniently located openings in appropriate places – it wasn’t like they expected me to hold it for that long). I think I wouldn’t have minded so much if it could’ve been blue. Or red. Maybe a nice purple.
In the throes of hormonal cravings (the regular hormones – it’s not like I’m knocked up), I did my best to avoid cheese and chocolate. I crave it, yet those few days every month, it gives me migraines – why is that? Why does your body want something that will mess with you? Is there some sort of physiological reason for that? Yesterday alone, I did not eat chocolate 47 times. Which I consider a testament to my willpower (or pain avoidance instincts?), as I have some amazing dark chocolate with orange flavour from Twin Cove Confections – makers of not only nutfree chocolate, but the kind of chocolate I’d buy even if I didn’t have allergies. It’s heaven.
And lastly, I started four books, but never really committed to any of them. Just can’t quite decide what I want to read – nothing is right. I’ve tried Literary, something with dram, as well as decidedly fluffy and none quite do it. I’m attempting to cleanse my reading palate with another Amelia Peabody mystery, but even Amelia is not altogether right. Any suggestions?
Friday, May 25, 2007
Brothers & Sisters. This show does many things well - one of them was the way they dealt with Tommy and Julia’s preemie twins. I hated how close to home this was and I hated it even more when one of the twins died, yet at the same time, I admired the show for doing the hard thing instead of magically making everything alright at the end, as most shows would have done. I also admire them for a season finale that gave us interesting storylines to be continued next year (and that none of them were cliff hangers!), while at the same time providing closure on others. Not to mention a frequently hilarious end-of-season party. A couple of quibbles remain, though: first of all, get rid of the guy that plays Sarah's husband. Rachel Griffith (Sarah) can manufacture chemistry with a potted plant and deserves much better then this wet blanket. And although I initially wished aforementioned Tommy and Julia would go up to the vineyard and never come back, after the birth-of-the-babies episode, I quite like the actress who plays Julia, who did an excellent job of portraying that ultimate of sorrows. Whoever plays Tommy, though (I can't even be bothered looking up his real name)? His acting is so wooden it gives me splinters and I want him off my television, now!
Bones. It is probably getting a bit old the way I rave about Bones every time I do one of these television- obsessed posts, but it really is a fantastically wonderful show. There isn't a single character I don't like and the storylines have been fabulous, both in terms of weird forensic cases and the character development they allowed for the characters. Booth’s shooting of a clown and subsequent therapy was a highlight (how much do we love that shrink?), Zach got his Ph.D., grew up and got sent to Iraq (noooooooo!), Angela and Hodgins’ romance has been wonderfully romantic, yet true to the quirkiness of their personalities, Cam has become an integral part of the team and I even forgot about wanting Dr. Goodman back. And Bones? There is nothing I don't like about Bones - her journey towards finding her father again, having a relationship and ending it (again in a way completely true to the character) and really, I just want to be her.
Criminal Minds. This is a funny show - not funny ha-ha, given the subject matter, but in the way I feel about it. I very much like many of the characters (I want to hang with Garcia and her and Morgan's flirtation lightens up a very serious hour), but it’s uneven for me. Some weeks, I start thinking about dropping the show, but others have me glued. That level on the unpredictability keeps me tuning in, even though it's hard to watch at times.
Lost. I'm still in shock. Speechless. That season finale seriously messed with my mind and we have to wait 7 months to see the next episode?? Are you kidding me???
CSI. The ongoing storyline about the Miniature Killer brought something new and interesting to the show, although I wasn't fond of the season finale. Haven’t they already done the "CSI Tech abducted by insane serial killer and placed in dangerous situation where they'll die if Grissom and the team doesn't find them" and better? Remember when Nick was buried alive? Remember how insanely good those two hours were? Some of the best, most nailbiting TV I've ever seen and frankly, this Sarah and the Miniature Killer feels a little to much like a retread. That said, it was wonderful to see Lady Heather again (couldn't she become a semiregular? I love watching Grissom and the dominatrix spark off each other). In general, a solid season, I'll definitely continue to watch because I just can't not, but I'm hoping they’ll shake things up a little bit more next year.
Grey’s Anatomy. What is it about the third season? After that disastrous three-episode ferry calamity, this season started to feel like it was a test for the viewers - will you still love Grey's, even though we've gotten lost in a morass of too much of the hook-up, too little of the interning? Will you keep coming back even though Bailey's hardly part of the show anymore? Will you accept the insanely wrong Izzie-George thing? Will you not roll your eyes when we heap tragedy after tragedy on top of Meredith? I'll still be there next year, but please Shonda and other writers, please try to find your groove again. Y'know - the one you had in the first two seasons. Back when there was room for nuanced character development, acceptance of different shapes of people (literally) and plenty of medical things, instead of littering the show with an ever-increasing cast of thin, gorgeous people who're all about the sex and the romance. Yawn. Major yawn.
Numb3rs. Being without Larry and Megan was hard, but I'm very glad they're back. I'm also very glad that they are conflicted about being back and that the other characters on the show are also experience saying growth/growing pains. But I’m happiest about them revealing Colby - a member of the team since the beginning - as a Chinese spy (and not just because he’s always annoyed me). You could have knocked me over with a feather! One of the many reasons why I loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer with an unholy(!) passion was how utterly fearless they were about seriously messing with beloved characters and show structure - you never knew if they would survive. I miss Buffy. Anyway, for Numb3rs to do this - for a little procedural show, placed late Friday evening - to seriously mess with the characters was a surprise and a joy and guarantees that I will be tuning in next year.
Much as I am loving the freedom of not having any appointments to keep with my television, I do have a few plans involving that piece of technology and my summer. One is naturally Big Brother - can't wait for the train wreck and Julie Chen's "but firsts" - and the other is Pirate Master, which starts next Thursday. First, it's Mark Burnett and second, it's pirates! Ahoy, mateys - I'm so there!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
It goes without saying that Mojo’s always cute – it’s her job and she’s good at it. However, lately, she’s been cranking it up to 11.
She starts out the day having a wee rest after breakfast. For some reason, her legs appears to have become longer lately and the white fur looks even more like little tufts of whipped cream
Mojo sits at me. She sits louder than anyone I’ve ever met. In fact, Mojo's ability to communicate her desires through posture, utterly soundlessly and through walls has convinced me of the truth in the theory that pets develop a psychic link with their people. I'll be doing something in the bathroom, in the kitchen (not necessarily food related) and all of a sudden, I get that feeling and I just know she’s sitting at me. A quick peek at one of her regular hangouts will inevitably reveal is that yes indeed, Her Royal Catness wants something. She has become so proficient at this talent that sitting at my attendants will also cause them to cater to her whims. Here, she’d like some water, please. Cold. In the blue glass with the stars on it. Filled up, but only until about 1cm from the rim. Oh, and now would be good.
Mojo firmly believes that everything in my home belongs to her, on occasional loan to me and this includes food. Normally, she's fairly well-mannered about the begging, positioning herself on the floor next to my chair, gazing up at me with eyes as big as saucers. When that doesn't work (much), she moves to the other side of the chair, just in case I hadn't seen her, but eventually she wanders off. However, not when it comes to any variety of ham. I haven't had ham in a really long time, but recently started eating it again, at which point I discovered that the polite was just an act. That if she cannot sit insistently near/on my plate (because I have moved my sandwich into my lap and backed away from the table in order to keep my food to myself), she will perch in the hunting position on the edge of my table, in an attempt to intimidate me into sharing the Food of the Gods.
I may have mentioned that the fluffball has an abiding love of anything remotely resembling a box or a bag. Her latest favourite game involves placing her front end in her most recent bag and go absolutely nuts while I move the mousie around on the bag so it makes crinkle noises (pardon the quality of the photo - I was trying to accomplish the picture without growing an extra arm).
And then, at the end of a busy day, she sleeps and in the process, becomes longer that any other cat I know.
Friday, May 18, 2007
I've read three interesting stories worthy of disability activism lately. Well, to be fair, I've read more than three, but these are the ones that kept me thinking. First, disability has apparently become an unfair advantage when it comes to participating in the Olympics. Second, in Afghanistan, an estimated 90% of suicide bombers are people with disabilities - it's a way for the useless and shamed to find some meaning. And lastly, via Disability Studies at Temple University, I found out that Disability Rights Washington performed an investigation of the "Ashley treatment" that I ranted about a couple of months ago. The report found that a number of safeguards and ethical procedures had been ignored during the process of treating Ashley and apparently, the hospital has acknowledged that they violated the law. Shall I say that again? They VIOLATED THE LAW! However, as far as I can tell, as long as they establish new procedures - and granted, some of these will be a huge improvement over what was in place not only in Seattle, but at many other hospitals - no one will be held accountable for doing something illegal. By which I mean that apparently, no one will be charged. I could rant some more, but I'm sure you can anticipate what I'd be saying.
Blinky the tree frog found a 50-year-old guide to becoming a woman, full of interesting and useful tips.
HBO has a new series/film/miniseries called "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". Based on a book by Dee Brown, published over 30 years ago - a nonfiction book - it documents the events and years leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek. I read about this in an article in the New York Times (reg.req.), an article which talks specifically about the flourishes that evolved as the book was adapted for film (which, in my opinionated point of view means that you can no longer pretend that your adaptation is faithful to the book as seems to be indicated on the HBO web site). An HBO executive was quoted in the article as saying "[w]hen we look at historical accuracy, we look at history as it plays in the service of a narrative". Uh-huh.
Also from the New York Times, the wisdom scorecard! If you've ever wondered how wise you are, check this out.
A brilliant quote by Herman Melville: "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed".
And lastly, I'll leave you with a link to the second-place Ukrainian entry in Eurovision 2007. I was speechless, yet compelled to bop along. Why can't we see this in North America??
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Twice in the past year, two separate doctors have told me that if I got arthritis today, I likely wouldn't end up in a wheelchair. Given that on both occasions, I was crying because everything had gotten to me and I’d run out of hope, I'm pretty sure they meant it as a sort of comfort. It seemed that way at the time, but that’s not the point of today’s post.
I keep forgetting that using a wheelchair is a fate worse than death.
I could go on for pages and pages about how able-bodied people view the seated life, but the phrases "wheelchair-bound" and "confined to a wheelchair" pretty much say it all. More than once, I have heard people say they would kill themselves if they ever lost the use of their legs, which tends to be my cue for Educational Seminar #57(a).
I haven't always adored using a wheelchair instead of walking. There are many things that I’d love to do, but will have to wait until my next life - riding horses, scuba diving, sitting on the grass, reaching the top shelf, skydiving, initiating hugs. The main issues I have with my disability relates to when it stops me from doing things and after having used the chair for as long as I have, I've become okay with not skydiving.
Between the ages of 11 and 16, I spent most of my time in hospital, starting to use crutches and a wheelchair at about 13 and from 14-16, I was in bed. Back then, there was really no effective way of suppressing arthritis – except steroids and I’d worked hard to get off Prednisone after it saved my life at 13 – and when the arthritis went wiggy at puberty, every joint fused, including my hips. So I lay in a bed for 2 years, waiting for specially made hip replacements. In the last 6 months of 1978, I had a hip replacement, a surgery on my left knee and in early December, they replaced the other hip. Then I got an electric wheelchair and a month later, in January of 1979, I went home.
My wheelchair set me free. Without it, I'd be confined to bed. With it, I finished highschool, moved to Canada, went to university, worked, travelled, danced, live in my own apartment and buy my own groceries.
I've come to realized that I was lucky to start using a chair so young and under those circumstances. My entire adult life has been seated - it is my normal. I no longer have a muscle memory of walking and don't miss it. Usually, only when I am reminded of how dire a fate I suffer (or get a flat tire) does it occur to me that the wheelchair limits me. There have been times in the past when I struggled with what I didn't have, but these days, when I dream of being "healed", I dream of adequate pain control and a body that is less fragile, not of walking.
One woman’s prison is another woman’s wings.
Monday, May 14, 2007
They say it's got something to do with Space Crystallization, transforming the space to interact with the observer's consciousness. That's what they say.
But really. Isn't it clear that somewhere, a giant intelligent spider is lurking, waiting for lunch to come wandering by?
p.s. Happy birthday to Michele - excellent friend, mother, adopted sister and aunt!
Friday, May 11, 2007
As you may have figured by now, there hasn't been much going on here at Casa de Looneytunes. Basically, it's been all about angst, medication, pain, hiding from the worry and reality shows. Reality shows really are a blessing for those times when your mental acuity is significantly lower than normal. And speaking of the angst, I'm sick to death of thinking about it and writing about it, but unfortunately, that means the options for an interesting post are thin on the ground. Which means what? You guessed it! Reality shows. I know, I know - not the most intriguing of topics (well, for some), but I'm sure if we try hard, we can work up a good head of steam about complete strangers and their inane shenanigans. And so, in alphabetical order, let's get opinionated about the remaining contestants.
American Idol. So, let me get this straight - you travel around a huge country, audition thousands of people and yet somehow, manage to end up with a disproportionate number of finalists who essentially can't carry a tune? What is wrong with you? When you look at the final 12 - hell, even the final 24 - there were a nice bunch of women who could sing, but the guys? Ridiculous. Yet, somehow I’ve managed to spend every Tuesday evening in their company. Which I consider even more ridiculous. However, there have been a few moments that made me glad I did and one of them was Blake's version of You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi. Innovative (in the context of AI) and electrifying (also within same context). The so-called controversy about his use of a computer program to put together his beat boxing is pissing me off. Aside from the fact that this type of music naturally lends itself to that, the argument that it’s not “authentic artistry” is crap – it’s not like he lets the computer do all the work. Besides, I use a photoediting program for my pictures – does that mean I’m cheating? I’m using not one, but two computer programs to write (Word and Dragon) – does that mean my “artistry” isn’t “authetic”? Anyway, I’m pretty sure it’ll be Blake and Jordin in the finals, but ya never know with this show.
The Bachelor. And I call myself a feminist? I tuned in for the trainwreck (and boy, there’ve been some doozies), managed to get someone else hooked on it - although I will leave it to them to out themselves or not in the comment box, I will quote her surprised statement that “it’s very relaxing!” - and was charmed by watching two people actually start to fall for each other and I guess that’s the moment you hope for on this show. I’m willing to bet anything that Tessa will be the one with the ring at the end and oddly, am kind of invested. I’d prefer the mocking to be minimal, thank you, as you won’t be saying anything I haven’t said to myself.
Dancing With the Stars. This show still makes me happier than anything else on television, although compared to the past three seasons, number 4 hasn't been as great (the music choices are ridiculously inappropriate). I thoroughly enjoyed Billy Ray Cyrus – he has been, as Bruno said earlier this week, “deliciously awful”, but it was time for the “bear in the swamp” (another Bruno classic) to go home. Ian Ziering… I really want to like him more – he tries so hard, is technically good and has been stuck with a very cold Cheryl, which has to affect performance in what’s very much a team sport, but I tend to forget his dances. Although he can be very entertaining and dances very well, Joey Fatone irritates me - his antics often leaves me wishing for a tranquilizer gun. My two favourites are Laila and Apolo. Laila Ali is astonishingly wonderful – a good dancer who gives everything she has and the difference between her ferocity in boxing and the style and elegance in dancing? Wow. I especially love watching her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy with her – he’s always been so intense and… well, Russian, but having a strong partner who’s his equal has brought out his goofy side. I never knew he had such a sense of humour and have become quite taken with him. Apolo also brings the athlete’s commitment and intensity to the competition and he’s fantastic. His professional partner Julianne Hough blows me away – she’s 18 years old! – and her choreography is incredible (my favourite is their samba). As usual, the judges add immeasurably to the show – for a perfect example of why I love these guys, check at about 4min at this clip. Now, that’s passion! And p.s. some idiot gave them Jessie’s Girl for a tango. What can you do with that? Alas, I miss Louis, who’s only doing exhibition dances on the results show. Dude’s got the fastest legs in the known universe and is always a joy to watch.
Survivor. A boring season that picked up to become great, then simmered to good. I am madly in love with Yau-Man – a middle-aged, skinny weakling and proud nerd who kicks arse by using his head better than all of the young studs combined. Who knew that someone like that would become a power player (did you see his brilliant strategic moves last night??)? Earl is pretty damn cool, too, although he’s starting to become a smidge arrogant about his dominance – not a good move, Earl! Dreamz is… erm, odd? Completely random, can’t keep his mouth shut, changes his game based on what the last person said to him, usually easily manipulated, occasionally shows flashes of brilliance (his takedown of Lisi at Tribal Council, followed by “I’m ready to vote, Jeff!” was awesome). Stacey never got over her sense of entitlement, Boo appears to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, then every now and again is really smart – it’s very confusing, but mainly, I just like to look at him. He’s cute in a caveman sort of way. And Cassandra? Ninja! Quietly operating in stealthmode, she’s gone from sharkbait to might-just-take-it-all purely by playing the social game like a master. But still… Yau to the end!
The Amazing Race. Got another staunch anti-reality show fanatic hooked! My work here is so done… I’ve had my issues with this season – among them who won; I loathed Eric and Dani, whose boobs, I swear, grew every episode and which she flaunted in all kinds of countries that have different standards of modesty. Could you be more offensive, woman? – um… where was I? Oh, yes! The Beauty Queens won me over with their skill and good attitude, loved Cha Cha Cha again – I want them to move to Toronto so we can hang – and much as Mirna pissed me off, towards the end, I started to realize that underneath all her sanctimonious bullshit, she might be a very funny person (who knew the accents were on purpose?). It’s all in the editing. Charla provided classic television (a faceplant in a suit of armour – does it get any better than that?), yet showed a determination and sports(wo)manship unparalled in reality TV. Sure, the challenges were incredibly easy compared to previous seasons (c’mon! These are the All-Stars! Challenge them!!), but overall, I had a good time. Until Eric and Dani won.
Feel free to obsess in the comment box.
Monday, May 07, 2007
and it’s not like there were pictures of when they were in the NICU and Morgan was on a ventilator and they were both so tiny and… I simply cannot be relied on to maintain my composure when exposed to things like this and I have no idea how John manages to be one of the hosts and not blubber helplessly throughout. On camera. No idea.
Two weeks ago, I cried my way through Idol Gives Back – at the faces if the orphans in the African refugee camp, at the ridiculously low cost of providing mosquito netting and malaria medication, at a 12-year-old boy raising his sister, at the starvation, at the insanely terrible conditions, at crowded hospital wards, babies dying from malaria, young women dying of AIDS, leaving orphaned HIV-positive children behind. I teared up at the kids in the U.S. who were also the recipients of donations – kids who don’t get adequate nutrition because good food costs money, at kids still living in FEMA trailers two years after Katrina, at huge food banks dispensing essentials to poor families. What is with us that we allow children to live in poverty in wealthy countries? And I not just bashing the U.S. here – I include Canada. It’s bleeding shameful, it is. How about we get a grip and switch our priorities to what’s really important instead of… well. You get the drift.
Yesterday and two weeks ago, I had to fight the urge to distribute my rent money to these worthy causes, Ken's Ride for Heart, plus several others near and dear to my heart. In the end, I decided that making myself homeless wasn’t the solution. However, given that I’d just had a small accident at Audible (the bastards had a sale) – as Stephanie says, I fell and accidentally swiped my credit card on the way down – I decided to give the same amount I’d spent on luxury items (books may feel like necessities, but really, they aren’t) to a place where it’d do some good.
I keep worrying about my lack of money, but I haven’t gone a day without good food, the rent for my nice apartment is paid and I have money for books. Perspective. It’s a good thing.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Back in the days of my misspent youth – which admittedly could’ve been a lot more misspent and I plan to make up for that in my next life – I was a hare. A sprinter of sorts. Someone who approached life with an all or nothing kind of attitude. I wrote 99.99% of my essays the night before they were due and really, do you need to know more than that? I told myself I worked best under pressure and since I never worked in any other way, it became true.
Before I started Enbrel, I'd had other priorities (like sitting still) for quite some time and the tasks and junk of my life had accumulated in immense piles. After I started Enbrel, it took a while for my strength to build up, then I was busy doing other things – like say, living - and then things got bad again. And the piles grew. Every now and again, I'd work through one or two, sometimes more if I could get someone to help me, but when you own so much stuff that you cannot put things away anywhere and you can’t reach any of the places where ‘away’ is located, the piles just… swell. It was hopeless. Neverending. Every time I got a little bit ahead, a couple of weeks would pass and the mess would encroach again. I felt like I was besieged by stuff, in a war of attrition with piles of paper and they were winning.
Sometime this year, I finally clued in to the fact that I would have to change my approach. I remembered a pain management course I took almost 20 years ago where they talked about setting attainable goals - instead of e.g., plan to spend five hours digging up the garden, spent one hour weeding every couple of days. Doing it that way means your chances of success are much greater and we all know that success breeds success. As well, it also means that you have enough energy left over to live, instead of tiring yourself out completely and then spiralling downwards in a cycle of self-loathing and depression.
My attainable goal was to everyday do one thing from my list and throw one thing out. It didn't matter how small or how big a thing, but I had to do one thing. Easily attainable - laughingly easily attainable - and I often found myself doing more, but on bad days there was a huge relief in attaining my stated goal, I felt productive, while avoiding wrecking my body. Not only did it help stave off the depression and self-loathing party, but the added benefit is that this slow and steady approach actually accomplishes something - after a couple weeks of doing this, there was an obvious impact and I began to see that doing a little every day gets me way further than the big dash at the end. Of course, when I started feeling a little bit better for a couple of weeks, that approach went out the window and it was quite lovely to be significantly effective on a daily basis.
It's clear that I have to get back on the "One Thing" train. In the past two months, the piles have grown again and my list is so long that I no longer remember what's on it and merely thinking about it makes me want to curl up in a fetal position, whimpering, because it's going to take me months to catch up. It's taking some time to readjust my expectations of myself to something that more accurately reflects my current abilities but I'm starting to realize that focusing too much on the "but I used to be able to do..." is not only a waste of time, but also requires rather a lot of energy.
So, after four decades of doing things one way, I'm back to learning a new trick. I am becoming a tortoise. A marathon runner instead of a sprinter. And, much to my slightly annoyed chagrin, I've been reminded that slow and steady really does win the race. Or at least keep you in it long enough to get something done, instead of flaming out in a glorious fireball halfway through.