Friday, May 29, 2009

Oh, Spike (a Torchwood update)

I started watching Torchwood for much the same reason that I started watching Angel – because I’d fallen in love with the show from which it had been spun off, and I wanted to make the original show last longer while still feeding my addiction. Torchwood isn’t as good a spin-off as Angel is. I think partly because Angel gets a little cheerier on his own show than he is on Buffy, but Captain Jack – who was cheeringly cheerful on Doctor Who – gets grimmer. And I like cheerful people. Part of the reason I like Doctor Who so much is that Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant are both really, really cheerful. Plus, to be frank, the cast of Torchwood isn’t a terribly good ensemble cast, whereas the cast of Angel is quite, quite superb. Like when they brought on Wesley, and he was a rogue demon hunter? Ah, the good old days. The Torchwood characters are less fully realized.

I only bring this up so that when I refer to Spike it’ll be clear that I’m not likening Torchwood to Buffy and Angel at all. It’s not as good. Sorry. Maybe because Steven Moffat wasn’t involved in Torchwood.

Spike is in love with Captain Jack. And, I mean, why not, right? All the people who meet Captain Jack seem to fall over themselves being in love with him. Something to do with 51st-century pheromones (don’t blame me, I didn’t make it up). There are confusing innuendos about stopwatches. There are gun-shootin’ lessons. There are dances atop invisible spaceships next to Big Ben. But today Spike won the being-in-love-with-Captain-Jack contest, because today Spike urged Captain Jack to sing along with the song that was playing, because (he said) “It’s our song”, and Captain Jack said, “We don’t have a song. And if we did have a song, it wouldn’t be that song.”

Referring to Sarah Brightman’s enduring classic “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper.”

I’ll give you that again. Spike told Captain Jack Harkness that “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper” was their song.

Mm. I guess this is so funny for me because Spike and Jack were already making me laugh by – well, just everything really. I mean Torchwood is drastically not as good as Doctor Who, I only carry on watching it because Welsh accents are funny, but it’s brilliant to have Spike show up and be in love with Jack. Their relationship is not unlike the one Spike and Buffy share. With the Spike liking the object of his affection a lot more than the object of his affection likes him, and with the beating each other up and trying to kill each other in between making out. And then just when I thought that there was no way at all for them to be any funnier, they toss in “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper” and call it their song.

And in case YouTube won’t load for you:

Tell me, Captain Strange, do you feel my devotion
Or are you like a droid, devoid of emotion
Encounters one and two are not enough for me
What my body needs is close encounter three

I lost my heart to a starship trooper
Flashing lights in hyper space
Fighting for the Federation
Hand in hand we’ll conquer space.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another good thing

about Ben Barnes being Dorian Gray in a film of Dorian Gray. I do not need, of course, to say how perfect Ben Barnes is for this part, with his big serious black eyes and everything. Nor do I need to point out to you that films set in Victorian times are already good, even if they do not contain Ben Barnes and Colin Firth (as this one does). And I am optimistically hoping that Colin Firth's presence in the movie will make it flashy and high-profile. All these things can go without saying.

Here is something you may not have considered, but I have, because I'm a dork: If they are making a film based on one of Oscar Wilde's books, and Ben Barnes and Colin Firth have to go around promoting it all over the place, then do you know what that means? It means lots of extra people saying nice things about Oscar Wilde. They will be all like, And of course, Oscar Wilde was a genius. Absolutely unparalleled wit, that Oscar Wilde. They will be like, Now, Colin, you were in a film version of The Importance of Being Earnest - how does that compare? and Colin Firth will be all, Well, the source material is very different, and the interviewer will be like, Oscar Wilde was clever that way, writing different type things like a clever genius.

Because, yes. I light up like a Times Square Christmas tree when someone says something nice about Oscar Wilde. The other day at work I was talking with Carrie about books that are famous that we don't like, and I was pleased because I like trashing classic novels, and then Carrie said she didn't like The Picture of Dorian Gray! I am not even that in love with The Picture of Dorian Gray, but still my face fell and I said, "But - but Oscar Wilde wrote it," like that was going to hold sway over Carrie.

Whereas if you give Oscar Wilde a compliment in my presence, I will beam radiantly and agree with you, and tell you something else nice about Oscar Wilde that you might not have known. I feel very proud of Oscar Wilde when he gets compliments, because I love him so much. It is like I am his mama.

Also, I discovered last night that I care more about Oscar Wilde than about myself. I was taking a shower and trying to think whether, if I could go back in time to meet Oscar Wilde, I would go back in time to before his trials & disgrace, or after. Before the trials, he would be cheerier and funnier and cooler to hang out with, and he wouldn't make us both feel awkward by asking us for money. On the other hand if I went to meet him after the trials, I could tell him that I was from the future, and show him pennies, and tell him that in the future, everyone thinks he's brilliant and totally likes him and uses him as the gold standard for clever people, and I could tell him that his trial and downfall is considered by some to be a watershed in the construction of sexuality (well, I might leave that bit out and just tell him how everyone likes him in the future).

And although I would rather made cheerful fun cool Oscar Wilde, his happiness is more important than mine (I discovered). I would definitely go to after the trials. I would buy him tea and tell him flattering things, and that would cheer him up, poor thing.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Here is how my morning went: My alarm clock went off right as the protagonist of my dream had learned a valuable life lesson and was shifting an old-fashioned phone back into its normal position, with a wry smile. This phone-and-wry-smile business was very crucial to the fairly elaborate plot of my dream, and although credits were about to roll anyway, I felt frustrated with my alarm clock for breaking in with talk about fixing arthritis right at this vital moment. I got up and switched off my alarm clock and found that I could not remember whether I had dreamed that bit about arthritis relief. I turned the radio back on, and a song was playing, nothing about arthritis at all, so I still have no idea whether the arthritis was in my imagination.

As I was brushing my teeth, I suddenly became seized with unhappiness because I had gotten to work two hours late and failed to finish this award nomination thing I’m doing, and been sent home in disgrace. I spat out my toothpaste disconsolately, worrying about getting fired, and then remembered that, no, that being sent home in disgrace thing didn’t actually happen in real life, it was only seven o’clock and there hadn’t been time for me to get there late and get sent home. I tried to remember whether I had had a dream where that happened, which, yes, I had, and that brought the dream all flooding back, along with a vague memory about needing to drive out to Bluebonnet for some reason later on today. I knew that wasn’t true – what’s out on Bluebonnet anyway?

I put in my contact lenses, got dressed, went downstairs, realized I’d forgotten my Julian of Norwich necklace, and went back upstairs for it. I couldn’t find it and couldn’t find it, and I was getting really upset, and then I realized that it was on my neck already. And then I remembered that I’d had a dream where I forgot my necklace and spent the whole day reaching for it, to play with the chain, and finding nothing there. And then I remembered that I do have to go out to Bluebonnet today, to deliver something important for work to an important Bluebonnet office.

I went back downstairs properly, and as I was getting my cereal, I discovered that my lovely roommate had made me yummy birthday chocolate stuff with “Happy Birthday” on it in icing. This was of course very pleasing, and because I did not want it to become infested with fruit flies (grrrr), I Saran-wrapped it and stuck it in the fridge. I went to pour my cereal, and as I was pouring it, I thought what a nice dream it had been to find that Megan had made me chocolate-iced brownies. No wait. That was real. No it wasn’t. I had to check the refrigerator because I couldn’t figure out whether it was real or not. (Yes, it was. Megan is nice.)

Oh, yes, and then when I got to work, I sat down at my desk, remembered something vague about two of my coworkers not coming in that day, remembered that it was a dream, and felt relieved because its being a dream meant that I wouldn’t have to answer phones by myself all morning. And then I checked my email and discovered it wasn’t a dream at all.

I find all this very confusing. I always have difficulty with dreams and real life, but not usually so much difficulty in one single morning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poor door.

There’s this old (or middle-aged maybe? I haven’t looked at her that closely) lady with a poodle in town, and she’s always taking her poodle for walks around campus. When I’m driving near the lakes, I often see her and her poodle out walking, and because the lady is I guess really reluctant to get wet, she always brings an umbrella on her walks, and the poodle has to carry the umbrella in its mouth. The poodle never looks any too thrilled about this. When they are stopped, waiting to cross a road, the poodle puts it down on the ground, and it always seems reluctant to pick it up again when they start walking. I feel sorry for the poodle.

Because I am sometimes sad, I have been assigned to stop noticing that I’m sad, when I’m sad, and instead pay close attention to things that are happening around me. This is a good strategy for not being sad at work, but it does give me other things to worry about. For instance, today I noticed that the lock on the bathroom stalls is bolted in with two bolts that look like eyes, and then a wide piece of metal that looks slightly like an animal face; and now when the door is bolted, if I tilt my head sideways, it looks like a sad-eyed creature is holding the door closed with its mouth. And I keep thinking of the poor poodle with the umbrella and how sorry I am for it, so I feel like I have to pee really really fast in order to minimize its suffering.

Fine, then, human tendency to anthropomorphize! YOU WIN THIS ROUND, but I WILL BE BACK. And I hope you noticed that I DIDN’T CARE AT ALL when my friend fed baby birds to her snakes but in fact thought it was a TOTALLY EXCELLENT STORY. So THERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Many different thoughts to think

So this weekend was slightly depressing. I got food poisoning or something, and I spent all day Sunday dealing with that (v. v. yucky) and trying to figure out how to cheer myself up from food poisoning, a difficult proposition as you will know if you have ever been food poisoned. Eventually I hit upon the ABC sitcom Better Off Ted, and that worked brilliantly for a while. But there are only seven episodes, and I had soon watched them all, and then I washed YouTube videos of Portia de Rossi being awesome, and then I finished doing that and I lay around on the couch for a while moaning miserably. Not much fun if you have ever done it. And then I decided to go to the library.

I love the library.

The library was mostly a success. I got some books about book publishing, about which I always want to know more things, and I got some books about books, which is fun. I decided which ones to get by looking at their indexes for authors I liked, and then quickly reading what they had to say about authors I liked. And if they said things like “Have His Carcase was tedious and awful, and Gaudy Night was pretentious”, or “The Horse and His Boy was racist and sexist and stupid”, or “Oscar Wilde was not a good writer and nobody really likes him”, I put them back immediately and stuck my tongue out at them. Whereas if they didn’t say anything like that, I checked them out.

(Oscar Wilde was a good writer, and everybody liked him.)

Anyway, on the way home, I was driving, driving, driving, and for the first time ever I was glad they put up that stop sign by the golf course. I had pulled to a stop at the stop sign, and a raccoon crossed in front of my car and trembled and waddled towards my front wheels. And it was a baby raccoon. It waddled so adorably. It had a little sweet face. It looked up at me beseechingly like it was saying, Please, Jenny, please do not kill me. I am too young to die. I have not yet begun to live. I have rooted in very few garbage cans. Please spare me.

Of course I could not drive forward with a teeny weeny little baby raccoon staring up at me with “Please spare me” eyes. The car behind me honked, and I quickly decided how it would go if the raccoon didn’t move, and didn’t move, and the car behind me got very angry. I would get out of my car and shoo the baby raccoon away. And perhaps that would not work, and the car behind me’s owner would get out and yell mean things like “CRAZY WOMAN DRIVER” and I would say “You know not whereof you speak! In front of my car is a tiny little baby raccoon! Its life has hardly begun! I cannot kill this tiny raccoon, and you shall not force my car to go forward to kill this teensy sweet baby animal!” It would be very dramatic and exciting. I would stick to my guns and not allow the raccoon to be destroyed. I would say “Shoot if you must this old grey head / but spare this raccoon from being dead”, except I would come up with a better rhyme at the end.

In the event, the raccoon waddled adorably away before the car behind me could honk any more. Phew.

Oh, and then? When I got home? I read a story on my friend’s Facebook wall that was the perfect counterpart to my raccoon event. See, apparently she went outside one day recently and found a bunch of baby birds that had fallen out of their nest and were chirping unhappily at her. If it had been me, I would not have known what to do with them, because I would have worried that I would mess up everything and do things totally wrong; but fortunately she was the one to find them, and she used to work for a veterinarian, so instead of freaking out and standing there staring at them in chagrin before eventually deciding to leave them alone and hope that the mama bird found them and everything worked out okay, she FED THEM TO HER SNAKES. Waste not, want not.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I bought art!

I'm very excited about it. It's the first piece of original art I have ever bought all by myself. It is extremely beautiful. If you saw it you would be extremely impressed. It is by a local Turkish artist (yes, I know - he's Turkish, but he lives and works here), and he does some excessively beautiful metal sculptures. I liked all of them, but I liked one of them the very best, so after some hemming and hawing I eventually decided to get it.

Here is his website, Cetin Ates.

I a lot liked the one called "I want my life back" - with the man climbing up the key to get to the keyhole. It's very Dave McKeany. But the one I got is the second one down on the Gallery page, called "Busy Mind". I love it. I feel guilty for buying it because the artist said it was his favorite one too, and he said he wasn't going to sell it until his wife told him that it didn't make sense not to sell it. The picture doesn't do it justice. He has a keyhole in his chest, which I completely love.

Here are more of his sculptures also. Find the "Don Quixote" one. It's beautiful. But not as good as my one.