Friday, February 07, 2014

In Motion, at Last

A half-dozen random observations upon a sunny, albeit still chilly February Friday:

In Colorado the temperature sometimes rises at night. Last night it was all of 1 degree Fahrenheit at 8 p.m. At 8:30 it rose to 3 degrees. It dropped back again to 1 by 9 p.m. Then it rose to 2. Then to 7. It was 15 degrees after midnight.

That’s a minus sign next to the 6. Yes, it
went there—and beyond, in many places—
less than 48 hours ago.
It’s 40 degrees at noon on one of the high bluffs north of Colorado Springs today and it feels like a miracle. Remember when I was saying something like “it’s the dead of winter but at least its not in the teens and single digits?” In keeping with tradition for the first week of February, it went there. Oh, God, did it ever “went” there. (Guess that’s why they call it “winter!” Hyuck!) This is the kind of cold that will actually make you stupid if you stand outside in it long enough. You’ll find yourself getting disoriented and forgetting what the hell you came out for. Dragging the trash bin through the snow to the curb in zero degrees was a regular goddamned Jack London adventure. 

Getting drunk and shouting at the weather proves a timeless pursuit.
Given the extra-vicious nature of the weather this time of year it occurs to me we should have some kind of festival to brighten our dead of winter blues. Two hundred years ago they had the Frost Fair in London, by way of celebrating the freezing of the Thames River, which no longer happens. Judging by the tweets I was reading on @1814now, it was quite the party. There were fatalities, what with chunks of ice breaking off and carrying people away on the tide, people falling through, etc. Of course, sensitive, coddling pussies we are today, that couldn’t be allowed to happen. The somewhat less sapient apes of the 21st century treasure their idiots.

If we can’t sustain a Second Christmas (boy, would retailers love that!) why not revive the Feast of St. Bridgid, which was scheduled for the pagan festival of Imbolc, now better known as Groundhog Day? The Super Bowl that normally falls around this time of year seems so inadequate in terms of lifting our spirits to get us through the hardest part of winter. Hell, for most people I imagine it’s just a four-hour party that leaves people with more to be depressed about.

Yeah, and you just know they were overcharging for the grog, too. Fuck it. Never mind.

Random observation #2: So how long until becomes a ghost site? I check up on it every now and then. It used to be fun to click by and catch the latest creepy antics of Overly Attached Girlfriend or sneer at First World Problems or laugh at the wordplay of Philosoraptor. A few months back some genius decided the single panel gags were too simple—or, given the saccharine nature of the endless strips of fumetti that’s replaced them, maybe just too darn mean. It’s apparent this site wants to be another Upworthy when we already have that and Tumblr and God knows what else.

The posts used to come fast and furious throughout the day. Now they’re down to maybe two or three per week. Who’s reading this treacly crap? I really wish whoever was behind this would either put things back the way they were (and make the memes downloadable this time, assholes!) or just shut it down altogether. These are not memes we’re looking at here, and they sure as hell ain’t quick. These strips often go for pages of scrolling, often turning the momentarily cute into infuriating banality.

He’s prosperous, but he won’t live long.
Random observation #3: In case we aren’t depressed enough, as of this week we learn the next original Star Trek cast member to die will be Mr. Spock himself. Leonard Nimoy has COPD. He’ll leave us forever either this year or the next.

In my Internet travels I’ve seen much made of the fact that Nimoy quit smoking 30 years ago, yet contracted COPD anyway, because that’s what happens to smokers, no matter how long ago they quit. So quit smoking!

That I have to explain, let alone point out the break in logic there says it all for our current stage of the Idiocracy. I remember one of the selling points of quitting smoking was that the healing of lung tissue was almost immediate. Guess it doesn’t heal enough for some people, huh? Or anyone, really. 

Random observation #4: I had to quit tobacco nearly 20 years ago (though I still like the occasional ciggie) because I simply couldn’t afford the addiction. Thank the dark gods my wife was in the Navy, and I had access to resources to help me quit; it took two separate courses of custom-order extra-large nicotine patches and Zyban to do it. That said, fuck Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was wealthy enough to die in an apartment in Manhattan, and no doubt wealthy enough to afford the most luxurious boutique rehab clinic to help pry the smack monkey off his back. (Who gets addicted to heroin these days, anyway? Jesus, what is this, 1970?) But he didn’t. 

So Hoffman was one the greatest actors of this generation? If you say so. The hell of it is, I’ve been brooding on writing a post in which I talk about how little modern cinema interests me. Yeah, I saw Capote. It was okay. Didn’t blow my socks off. As much as I respect Eileen Jones’ viewpoint regarding film and its actors, I don’t see myself making time to see any of the films Hoffman reportedly really excelled in. Movies simply require too much of my time. It’s bad enough I don’t read as much as I should, and that deficiency needs to be addressed before anything else.

Random observation #5: It would seem counterintuitive to read Holocaust lit in the dead of winter—and I’ll note it certainly doesn’t help—but Night, by Elie Wiesel, looked like a quick read. And, like Primo Levi’s Auschwitz memoir, If This Is a Man, which I read last month, it was. I might yet commit social suicide writing a compare-and-contrast review of these two.

This post is getting depressing. Overly Attached Girlfriend
to the rescue! Oh, how I’ve missed you, darling!
For we know that no matter how poorly written it is, one must never criticize a survivor’s memoir. Especially if they are Jewish, and especially if we’re talking about the Holocaust, because we know no one in history was as mean as the Germans and no one suffered like the Jews. Fuck you and your Trail of Tears, Great Whining Elk! So what about Wounded Knee and the children slaughtered in their mothers’ arms, with Leonard Peltier still rotting away in prison on manufactured charges! They treated us like we were nothing in those camps!

[It’s a good thing no one reads this blog or I’d be crucified for that last graf already. So sad it’s come to this.]

Random observation #6: Fear not, gentle Internet pilgrims, I’m taking us out on a high note. What inspires this flood of verbiage is my euphoria at finally having finished writing Chapter 21 of Grace Among the Dead. 

I’ve been fighting with the string of chapters 18 through 21 since before Thanksgiving. Last night the long struggle paid off. I’ve set up a nigh-perfect Boss Fight #1/Darkest Hour, thrown in some more pressure points on the hero, fleshed out his love interest, and begun setting up the elements of conflict I’ll be dealing with in the last book of the trilogy. I’m now on my way to the Final Boss Fight, and have cleared away 10,000 words of text in the book I was rewriting so I can finish this thing clean, without struggling to integrate scenes. 

I could talk more but I need to take a long overdue walk while the weather’s still nice before throwing myself into Chapters 22 and beyond. Meanwhile, Part 1 of The Saga of the Dead Silencer  is available for those in need of a good read. 

Warmer weather is on the way. Hang in there people. So I tell the voices in my head every day....