Monday, November 16, 2009

Bailing Water

My tweets last night;

Radishes hold a lot of good substance.
I'm exhausted from maintaining stasis.
Lobster suits might get you into the dance.
Perhaps every boat must have its Eustace.

Feeling really shitty to-day. Yesterday, too. The worst thing's been the breaking of my concentration--mostly the world and my body aren't giving me time to focus on anything for more than five to fifteen minutes before sending me off into some new errand. And to-day the fire alarm in the house started going off every twenty minutes or so for no reason, which is part of the reason I got almost no sleep. Meanwhile, my car insurance is calling me and it looks like the other guy's insurance will cover the damage. I just so don't feel up to handling it. I wish I had an assistant.

I watched the Rifftrax of Titanic last night because it was something I could enjoy without watching it in sustained segments. I think my favourite line, when Jack and Rose were wandering through the flooded corridors, came from Kevin Murphy, who said something like, "You know, if they were wearing, I don't know, lobster costumes, this would make a pretty good Japanese game show." But the whole thing was good. I noticed again what an oddly cheap looking movie Titanic is, particular considering how much it supposedly cost. There are only two parts that really feel alive to me--the implausible action suspense bits, and I feel bad for all those people dying. I don't think I can really give Cameron credit for the latter. The effectiveness of the former mainly just highlights Cameron's identity crisis evident in the rest of the film.

There is a notoriously long list of historical inaccuracies in the movie, some made knowingly for the purpose of dramatic licence. But frequently the script uncomfortably displays it's modern and, well, dim perspective. I should say, it too often reveals Cameron's perspective, as the modern commentary style of young Rose making a reference to Freud's idea of male preoccupation with size and the awkward, TV movie dialogue Bill Paxton and his crew mates have are united mainly in the sense of a writer who can't really imagine perspectives of different characters without making them limp caricatures. Mike Nelson really nicely mocked Molly Brown's artificial and over the top colloquial dialect, and Billy Zane and David Warner are villains created by someone who doesn't understand villains anymore. Roger Ebert says in his review of The Thief of Bagdad, "The most compelling character, as he should be, is the villain Jaffar, played by the German emigre Conrad Veidt with hypnotic eyes and a cruel laugh." In Titanic, Billy Zane is just a mindless asshole. In eyeliner, for some reason.

It's interesting because the villains in Aliens and the Terminator films are actually very effective, though mostly they lack apparently human personality and seem almost anthropomorphised natural catastrophes, with the exception of Paul Reiser. Maybe a lot of Cameron's problem now simply stems from the fact that fear doesn't seem real to him anymore.

I also watched the last hour and ten minutes of the extended Fellowship of the Ring, a movie I'd managed to hold off watching for a couple years. I started watching it Friday to calm my nerves and have been nursing it through the weekend, but ultimately I think I've watched it too many times. I may need to wait ten years before I try it again, but I was still able to appreciate what a rare movie it is, and see the fundamental components its imitators lack, chief of which is character perspective, real, often tactile impressions of their environments and situations. The Golden Compass movie and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe movie both at their beginnings gave us characters in crisis without providing other dimensions to them. Considering the large number of characters in Lord of the Rings, it is impressive Jackson managed to render them so effectively.

Well, I'd like to get something done to-day. I don't know what, but just fighting to stay in a normal state isn't cutting it for me anymore. I'll probably work on the project for the winner of Moira's auction.

My thanks again to those who've donated to me--I called San Diego County Medical Services to-day for financial aid and wasn't able to get an appointment until December 15. I haven't gotten my bill yet, and I've been advised to inform the hospital that I'm seeking financial aid. If the donations prove to be unnecessary, I will refund them. As it is, I think I'll try to have faith things will work out and start working again on Venia's Travels once I've finished with this cycle of antibiotics--I've got more story to tell.

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