Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday morning stuff

And a little rant, up front:

As I was preparing to leave the house this morning, I said to myself, "Enjoy your last day of driving to work in the daylight for a while." Yup, it's "spring" ahead, meaning I will be jetlagged next week and will not feel like eating when I have the time to eat*

But what really got me? The morning weather person, who SHOULD know better, said, "We get another hour of daylight!" NO. FAIL. We get THE SAME AMOUNT OF DAYLIGHT, it is just apportioned differently. And yeah, I get that they're a morning weather person so maybe it seems like more because they don't work in the afternoons - but trust me, as someone who works morning to (sometimes) night, it's the same amount of daylight as the day before.

I think of the old quotation attributed to some Native American guy, that "only a white man would think he could make a blanket longer by cutting a foot off the top of it and sewing it on to the bottom." (I suspect the quote is spurious and was made up by some anonymous wag who disliked DST.)

(*Another little rant: that diet advice, that says, "Don't eat unless you're hungry"? has to be written for people who work in a career when they can knock off WHENEVER for a meal. If I don't eat lunch between noon and 1 pm on lab days, 3 or 4 pm will be my next opportunity to eat. And if I'm not hungry for breakfast before I leave the house - well, that becomes much more complicated because I'd have to carry my breakfast with me. And sad experience has taught me that if I don't eat breakfast at 6:15, I'm really, really hungry by about 8 am, and I can't eat when I'm in class.)


Still no shipping information on my isopod stuffie. Sad trombone. Amazon is still claiming I will have it by 8 pm tonight but one thing adulthood has taught me is that people often promise stuff and it doesn't happen. (I'd at least appreciate an "It's taking longer than expected" e-mail. Often they do that, but I guess third-party sellers aren't as good as regular Amazon is about it. (On the Amazon webpage, it says "Shipping today. Will arrive by 8 pm." Oh, tell me ANOTHER story, Amazon.)


Still working on the Mabel Pines amigurumi - one leg and the hair to go, and then I get to make the face (which is felt/embroidery) and the sweater applique.

However, I am holding out for looking at the already-made appliques at JoAnn's to see if there's anything deeply amusing or wildly appropriate that I could use instead of the version of the "the more you know" star that the pattern calls for. (Mabel wears a variety of decorated sweaters in the show, so there's no "show accurate" version, really).

I also need to make myself a list for tomorrow - I want to stock up on amigurumi yarn (must look for a more appropriate color for Trixie).

 I've been reading a little bit about the closure of Sweet Briar College, which was a small, fairly-exclusive women's college in the south. It makes me a little sad,

Sweet Briar is actually (as I remember) one of the places I applied for a job (I THINK it was them). Gee, I guess I was lucky I didn't get offered it....for a lot of reasons. First off, because I'd now be unemployed.

But also, now from what I've read about campus culture, I think I would so not have fit in there - I'm too Northern, from too much of a middle-class background (apparently the school was aimed at the very wealthy - you could arrange to have your HORSE stabled on campus), and probably too bohemian in some ways to fit in. (I don't know all of the social niceties. I have "good manners" in the sense Donald McCullogh wrote about (where you do things like thank people who helped you because it is acknowledging that they are not your servant, and it is reminding them you see them as a fellow human) but I tend to be a little lost on the 'what fork to use' issue sometimes.)

And I admit - and this is probably purely my stereotype of a college like that - but I'd probably find it crushingly claustrophobic. Those kinds of small, limited circles tend to lead to all kinds of gossip and even cattiness, and I can't deal with that. Especially when I might be a little "weird" to begin with because of having a different background.

(And while I'm sure it wasn't an 'all women' school in the sense of the faculty - well, I NEED male colleagues. I need that different perspective on things. And yes, not all women think the same way, and in fact, I "think differently" than some of the women I know, but still....)


And I admit to having gone, "ooooooh, noooo!" yesterday evening - flipped on one of the news channels and saw the news of Harrison Ford's plane crash (at that time, they didn't have much detail). And I admit, I said, "No. This is too soon after Leonard Nimoy, we can't lose another one."

But it looks like Mr. Ford is going to be okay - and apparently he did the best he could to put the plane down so as not to hurt himself too badly (or hurt others). (Maybe all airports that serve small planes need golf courses with open fairways near the runway approaches....)

(I now think about how my dad, at one time, was working towards a pilot's license - he did all the ground-work but never did the actual flight training. I wonder if my mom - who would have had two young kids at home at the time - was apprehensive about that. I know too many people who had accidents, some of them quite serious, one or two fatal, in small planes. And no, I don't know why he was going for a pilot's license; I assume it was for similar reasons that I am learning to play the piano - absolutely no utility in the career but something that interests)


Still thinking about Guardians of the Galaxy (I may re-watch it this weekend). I was thinking about how maybe things like superhero movies are our Greek plays or our mythology - that they serve an important cultural role, or perhaps even an important emotional role. (I know I was deeply diverted for the couple of hours I watched the movie, and after it was over, I thought, "I need more fun movies like that to make me stop thinking about the stuff that's bugging me for a while").

I was also thinking about the concept of the Comic Hero, from many-years-gone (nearly 30 now) Great Books classes - I think the Comic Hero topic was covered when we were reading Aristophanes? Or maybe it was second-semester, when we were reading Boccacio. (Boccacio seems a better fit, actually - the Decameron was full of lovable rogues).

Anyway, the lecturer used Bugs Bunny as a modern example - that he is flippant, unfazed by danger (Elmer Fudd pointing a shotgun at him), he thinks quickly on his feet, and of course, he comes out on top at the end.

This site (which I went to to make sure I was using the term correctly) suggests Huck Finn as another example.

And you know? I think, at least in the movie*, Star-Lord (Peter Quill) is another good example of the comic hero - he succeeds against unbelievable odds. And he does it with a wink and a nod. And he does have those "rogue" characteristics - the scene where the "mug shots" are being taken, and he has a rather creative way of flipping the bird at his captors (and the expression he makes when he "realizes" what he has just done. So funny). And the dance-off scene near the very end, where he (and his crew, and the whole planet for that matter) are in danger for their lives - and yet, he tries to challenge the big baddie to a dance-off. (And there are other ways in which he is a rogue, that are implied in such a way they'd hopefully fly over the heads of the younger viewers - his crack about how shining a black light inside his ship would make it look like a Pollack painting - suggesting many, many "romantic" exploits)

(*Fake Geek Girl confession: I've never read the comics; the movie was my first introduction to the characters. Real geeks may now direct a Five-Minute Hate in my direction, which will cheerfully be ignored)

I often like to read reviews after the fact of movies I've seen. I read one that was published on Salon, and if the writer was trolling everyone, he did it sufficiently subtly that I missed the trolling. (Perhaps I liked Drax' character because he and I share a few traits, literal-mindedness being the main one). Anyway, the argument was made that "Oh, hundreds of alien characters DIED in that movie, and yet, it's painted as a lighthearted romp" (And you know? I cringed harder at the scene of Quill kicking the lizard things - near the opening - than at the alien baddies being taken down. Because, you know they were alien BADDIES.)

And it went on, in that vein. Like I said, it might have been trolling - there was a distinct sense of "you should feel bad if you liked this movie" which is like every parody version of a hipster ever speaking about something that is popular.

And this is where I tend to part company with some of the super-serious arty reviewer types: A lot of movies that people like, they like because the movies represent an escape. Movies that are popular don't have to be high art - and after all, the ancient Greek plays had "catharsis" (effectively, letting people get out their feelings of wanting revenge, of wanting to see the bad guys get punished and the good guys do well) as a feature. And Shakespeare was popular during his day. (And honestly, I can see why: he touches on some very universal themes and while our language has changed to the point where now his plays are seen by many as "challenging," if they were written in today's language, they'd probably make wildly popular movies.)

(And I admit it: about some things I am not very high-brow. I like "farce" type comedies - provided they're not too gross, a lot of the modern Farrelly brothers type stuff loses me with all the bodily function jokes - the best. The old screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s are my favorite. I do also like satirical comedies, but only if they don't get TOO dark - some of Tarantino's stuff, for example, I just can't watch it.

And I just like SILLY things. Or things that are incongruous. Things like that llama video I posted the other's like the Benny Hill show brought into real life. That kind of thing makes me laugh. Dumb puns make me laugh.)

I don't know. There's also the idea of what was "popular" in many years past coming to be seen as "high culture" (Shakespeare, of course, and also to an extent Dickens - who I admit at times I find a bit overblown but he was writing to work on people's emotions). And while I'm not wild about the idea of substituting a course on, say, comic books for a course on the literature that forms the underpinnings of our culture (and of course, comics and other modern forms DRAW on that literature - and you get more of the jokes and allusions if you know your Bible and some of your Greek and Roman and early European literature), still, I don't think they're a totally ridiculous thing to be looked into for deeper themes and such. (And I wonder, what of the stuff produced by OUR culture will be seen as worthy of study 500 years hence - if humans even still exist then. I'd LIKE to think it's the superhero epics, or the grand space stories, rather than stuff like 50 Shades of Grey. But you never know....)


purlewe said...

Finally watched Guardians of the Galaxy last night and I too thoroughly enjoyed it. I think about what will be considered "important" work in the future.. and the truth is that I think the stuff that everyone reads (say Stephen King, JK Rowling) means that there will still be their stuff floating around years from now. There is a Doctor Who ep where the Doctor pulls out his copy of Agatha Christie and it is still being printed in the year 5 million. I like to think that will be true.

OOH wiki has a page of List of best selling fiction novelists. NICE!

Nicole said...

"I need more fun movies like that to make me stop thinking about the stuff that's bugging me for a while"

That's exactly what I thought after walking out of the theater. It made me feel happy and lighter, at least for a bit. Despite all the alien deaths and whatnot. :)