Friday, November 15, 2002

Notes & Observations

No Limp Wrists

Here's an amusing little quirk in my physiology that has plagued me this week: I was born left-handed, but taught to write and draw with my right hand... as a result, though all of my agility is in my right hand, all of my strength is in my left (plus, I can't tell right from left without thinking about it). And as a result of that, my right wrist suffers a little from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, for which I occasionally must wear an elaborate-looking and rather sinister (that's a pun... get it?) wrist-brace.

However, unlike many CTS sufferers, my condition isn't caused by the keyboard... it's from writing by hand. Last week at the big meeting (the one where I wanted to eviscerate people, you remember), I was taking notes furiously as I usually do at these meetings, trying to keep up with the chatter and discussion and motions made with overlapping banality, so that JB can compare them to her own notes and draft the meeting minutes. Anyway, whenever I have to write by hand, especially if I have to write fast, my wrist tends to become aggravated.

Normally this isn't enough of an aggravation to require the wrist-brace; however, if I spend the rest of the day playing computer games with a lot of mousing action, and/or if I sleep with my wrist at an odd angle (as I did the night after the meeting, getting my hand tangled under the pillow), the situation deteriorates immediately into CTS-like symptoms.

And then I have to wear this idiotic brace, and I can't wear any bracelets, and I can't operate a mouse properly, and I can't type (so I have to take off the brace to blog), and I can't get my hand into my pocket to retrieve keys or money; and then people ask me what I did to my wrist, then they ask if I've been typing a lot lately (I suppose people must think that I am like other people), and I have to explain that I suffer because of handwriting rather than typing, that I did irreperable damage to myself in college (especially the Late Medieval History course I had to drop because the teacher stuffed far too much information into each lecture and I couldn't keep up with my note-taking), all because I never learned shorthand.

Then people feel obliged to opine about how this brace might be affecting my sex-life, and I have to explain that I use my left hand for that sort of thing (it's stronger, you know, and grip is an important factor), as well as for picking up objects and opening doors and cutting steaks. If I had to wear a brace on my left hand, I would go stark raving mad in a matter of hours.

On top of all that, I can't let my hand flop and hang and curl in its natural effeminate manner, and I just don't know how to walk or talk with rigid wrists. Poor me!

Blog Shots

East/West is finally back among us, having undergone a serious facelift... no longer a mere blog, it is now a Web Magazine! Welcome back, Philo & Choire, I missed you ever so much! Bill at Mermaniac, on the other hand, is sadly sporadic as he now spends all his time pounding Latin into the brains of little girls. I can't wait until Winter Break, when both Bill and my beloved Miss Daisy will be released from their toils in Academe! And I miss hearing from Amanda, though I imagine she's terribly busy, too, with a baby on the hip and another on the way... and a husband. On an overseas military installation, no less.

You may have noticed that I've added a couple of daily-visit blogs in my sidebar, Karen's and Kristin's, as my network of reads expands as I meet new people; I'm thinking about adding Walt and Aaron, too, on the recommendations of so many others, but I haven't made up my mind yet if I want to check on them every day. I mean, I use that sidebar as a portal to my daily reads (instead of keeping them in my "Favorites," so I can access them from any computer), as well as to recommend them to visitors.

I've always enjoyed reading Jhames, and even more so of late with his stories and such, and I wildly admire his ability to churn out so much text in so little time (he must have the literary equivalent of perfect pitch, because I know he can't possibly spend as much time proofreading and fixing as I do, or he wouldn't be able to work his job and walk his dog). I have to wonder, though, where all these people come from who criticize and attack him for his words (sparking fabulously cathartic rants)... I guess that's the price of high web-traffic, but I just don't understand criticizing people on their own blogs... offer a contrary opinion, if you have one worth sharing; say how you feel when you read something if you think your correspondent will learn from it; but you never attack people just because they think differently from yourself (if I did that, I'd never have time to write my own blog, much less eat or sleep or pee).

Before you ever write or communicate a negative word to anyone, you must ponder what effect you wish to achieve with your communitcation; then you have to ponder how likely the desired effect actually is, compared to how likely undesired effects might be; finally, you have to question your own authority in saying such a thing... Ye who are without sin may cast the first stone. Bottom line, if you don't like it, just don't read it!

Book Bin

Speaking of which, I just finished reading Anne Rice's latest opus, Blackwood Farm. I highly recommend it... it was a great read, I enjoyed every word and syllable! The plot was intriguing, the characters sympathetic as well as interesting, and there was even a twist at the end which I had not expected at all! Granted, it does contain a few of Mrs. Rice's more annoying habits, such as giving her characters a favorite twelve-dollar word that they over-use (much like real people, which I suppose lends verisimilitude, but it's still irritating), and her lack of comprehension of the physical urges of young males, and her getting very caught up in tying her two originally-separate Chronicles (the Vampires and the Mayfair Witches) into a single knot. But in general I enjoyed the hell out of the book and hope that this marks a new trend for Rice (whose last few books, like Violin and Vittorio and Merrick and Blood and Gold... in fact, everything since my favorite The Tale of the Body Thief, were a trifle disappointing, to say the least).

I'm now poised to dive into Jane Austen's Persuasion. It's been absolute eons since I've read Austen, since college in fact, which is a shame since she's one of my favorites. I have been reading Stephanie Barron's excellent "Jane Austen Mysteries," which get me mixed up regarding which things in my memory come from these or which come from Austen's own fiction, so I think I'd better refresh myself. It's funny, I don't think I've touched a real piece of classic literature in the last four years, having been almost exclusively fascinated with mystery fiction and other more popular genres... I really need to remedy that.

Movies? Movies?

I can't wait to see the new Harry Potter movie, The Chamber of Secrets, which opens nationwide today. I mean I can and will wait until later next week to actually see it (preferably at a midweek 10 pm showing that will be devoid of children and dating morons), but I am nevertheless very excited about it. And then, soon after, then next "Lord of the Rings" installment, The Two Towers, will be amongst us! Oooh, I can hardly wait! I bought The Fellowship of the Ring on VHS a couple of weeks ago, and got my lovejones for Legolas and Frodo back on track, so I'll be ready and slathering for the release in December.

But, correct me if I'm wrong, has this Autumn been the worst wasteland of bad cinema ever? Last weekend we were looking for a movie to see, and there was absolutely nothing that any of us wanted to watch... well, some of us wanted to see Bowling for Columbine, but others had already seen it. The Ring sounded stupid, none of us were about to plunk down good money to see Adam Sandler or Eminem in anything, and I point-blank refuse to see another romantic comedy as long as I live. And the only movies coming out that I do want to see are serial installments. Nothing on the horizon looks good, either. The Oscars this year are going to be pretty dismal if this crap keeps up.

Oh, well... I've weathered dull movie seasons before, I can do it again. I would just rather not have to.

Good Night, Gracie

That's all I can think of right now. Back into the salt-mines with me!

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