Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, September 26, 2005

Failure of the Day: Media Consumption Update

I seem to be getting worse and worse at updating here. I've finally begun having normal workdays again and can walk away from my computer after 8 hours or so, and after the last month, there’s very little I want to do more than walk away from my computer. But that tends to put the kibosh on things like blogging, novelling, and emailing, all of which I have been neglecting because my wrists are all like…wow. Ouch. So instead of creating, I consume.

TV: There’s a terrifying backlog on the DVR right now. NUMB3RS, Invasion, the mermaid baby documentary on Discovery Health…we just haven’t had time for any of them yet. But you better believe we made time for the season finale of Battlestar Galactica. The second season lost not a single molecule off its edge from the first season, and the finale was harrowing. There’s not much else on TV that gets all up in your face about things like the definition of humanity and whether all creatures—human or not, your potential murderer or not—are entitled to certain standards of decency. Battlestar Galactica kicked my ass this season because while I am no stranger to philosophical musings, it’s one thing to think about those things and quite another to have to look at it. FYI: season 1 just came out on DVD. We got ours; go get yours.

Movies: We’ve seen only one movie since coming down south, and that was The Constant Gardener. I liked it—it’s hard to displease me when the villain is the pharmaceutical industry—and between that and Ralph Fiennes remarkable bone structure, I was quite rapt.

Music: Sorry, it’s still only the Mountain Goats that are doing it for me. I lost my entire Itunes folder in the move and had to re-buy all the music that I didn’t have on disk, but I couldn’t do it until after the aforementioned Net+30 period, and that meant no Mountain Goats for weeks and weeks. When I finally re-bought the CDs and put them on in the car on the way home from Tower, I burst into tears at the first note. That’s how much.

Books: The Cripple and His Talismans is a nancyland dream come true. Deeply lyrical, relentlessly beautiful, and about a man who loses his arm and goes looking for it. I’m siphoning off almost every other sentence and infusing it directly into my own anemic prose.

Performance: The Haunting of Winchester was, uh, lets just say it failed to overcome the limitations of the form. It was bad. It might have been less bad if it weren’t required to sacrifice dialogue for hackneyed end rhymes set to the same music I hear in every other musical (and I mean the very same; Chris, whose ear for these things is impeccable, pointed put that two of the songs were so noticeably similar to numbers from South Pacific and West Side Story that they are in danger of a copyright lawsuit). But even if they hadn’t sang everything, the love story between Sarah Winchester and one of the ghosts would still have been very, very ill-advised. The oxygen-tank crowd loved it; we ran for the exits and expressed our opinion appropriately enough in song...from the John Merrick musical Elephant!: "Somewhere/ Up in Heaven/ There's an Angel/ With Big/ Eaaaaars!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Failure of the Day: The Good, the Bad, the More or Less Recent

Ho-lee Majoley, what a nutty couple of weeks. You know, when I signed two freelancing contracts, I knew that the possibility existed that there would be times when both clients needed 40 hours of work done in a given week. Being a fundamentally lazy person by nature, though, I don’t think I really…conceptualized what an 80 hour work week was like.

It sucks.

It sucks more because due to that godforsaken convention of Net+ 30, I didn’t get a single paycheck during the whole month of August. We knew it would be like that and had prepared for it, and we made it through quite comfortably, but nothing feels quite as crappy as working like a motherfucker and then turning blue waiting for the check to come.

Now, the 30 days are finally up and I’m actually getting paid on a regular basis, but boy, am I pooped. I was almost too tired to buy a beeeeee-autiful new frock for Jeff and Edi's wedding...almost. But then, you know, not. Still, though Chris, who works harder than me and for longer hours, looked upon me piteously and surprised me with a copy of the new Vonnegut—I didn’t even know there was one coming out, so the halls are still echoing with my squeal.

And listen to me: Turn off the computer and go but this book right now. It has what you need. It's just great. I’ve not been overwhelmed with the last couple KV offerings—juvenilia and quirky essays, meh—but this is a whole other thing. This is a beautiful collection that smoothes over you like cream, solves nothing, and still manages to make you feel all better. Trust me. You want it.