Exhibit 13.20

I winterized the apartment so now all of the windows are covered in taut, shiny plastic. I feel like a G.I. Joe or a person infected with Outbreak or a G.I. Joe infected with Outbreak.

(3 thoughts on the movie Outbreak I have even though I haven’t seen it since a rained-out recess in the seventh grade [in other words, some of this could be misremembered so I may not be giving the Renee Russo/Cuba Gooding Jr./Donald Sutherland thriller a fair shake]:

1. So the government–which seems to have Outbreak pretty well quarantined–decides to blow up the infected town, ostensibly because they need to cover up Outbreak. Now, it’s been a long time since I was in my Government Murder of Citizens Versus Letting Their Deaths Occur Naturally seminar, but I’m thinking the government nuking a town is going to get a bit of attention. If option one is letting the people die, telling a worried citizenry that it’s under control for now, and then figuring out a cure while option two is bombing a town, not telling the now revolting citizenry why you nuked town, and then shrugging shoulders–and you choose option two–I’m not sure if you should be reelected. Sorry, Lee Terry.

2. It’s weird that Patrick Dempsey is a sex symbol now because to me he’ll always be the stonery guy named Jimbo who was the first to die from Outbreak because the monkey he stole bit him. Okay, I guess that is a little sexy.

3. I’m not, despite what I may have told you personally, a helicopter expert. However, even at 13 I’m pretty sure I knew enough to know that if you’re in a helicopter chase, it’s not going to work to just shoot some missiles into the ground and then hope that the helicopter following behind you mistakes the missiles for a crash and goes home as opposed to, you know, scanning the horizon and seeing your slowly fleeing helicopter less than a 1/4 mile away).

Well, turns out I’ve got nothing else after that long parenthetical. I guess you could say this whole thing was just a ruse to get you to read my thoughts about 1995’s 24th-highest grossing movie. I guess you could say I probably deserve the Outbreak.

Still, we all have learned so much:
1. I can’t spell missiles correctly on the first go around
2. Winterizing is good for the environment and bad for sanity
3. Knowing is half the battle

1 Comment / Posted in Joes, Movies, Sick

Exhibit 13.12

Love in the Time of Cholera

As I mentioned previously, I bought this book a few years back (and since the receipt was in the book I actually know exactly when: June 13, 2003, one month after I moved to Lincoln. Apparently I graduated from college, moved to Lincoln, bought plates and silverware for the first time, and then decided I needed Love in the Time of Cholera to finish my transition from undergraduate to adult jerknozzle).

The two or three times I picked it up with the intention of reading it always ended with me giving up at about page 15 for more interesting books and, even after finishing it, even after enjoying it mostly, I don’t think I was wrong. It’s not at all bad, but I can’t help but read it as a bit of a victory lap after the incredible One Hundred Years of Solitude (and, probably more pertinent to Marquez himself, the Nobel Prize he’d already won). Every page seems to have been written with the intention of doing something epic, but despite the staggering depth of our knowledge of the two lovers, in the end it’s hard for me to see anything except the fairly shallow story of a love triangle only seen as such by one corner.

The plot–a boy decides to never stop loving his young crush yet doesn’t get a chance to win her heart until they are both elderly–is pretty genius and every one of Marquez’s sentences is packed to the nouns with remarkable insight and detail, but it’s all treated with the same seriousness and scope as his Macondo. It’s possible I’m just cynical, but it’s not clear anything Marquez has to say about love (it can be a sickness like cholera! it changes over time! it can corrupt and pervert!) needed to have been treated with such seriousness. It’s a book that, despite its clear merits, that ends up quite a bit less alive than his earlier work. The one twist, such as it is, seems to be that the dedicated lover Florentino isn’t really a figure we’re supposed to revere though Marquez does his best not to judge the character’s clear deficiencies (not least of which is his seduction of a 12-year-old girl he’s charged with looking after).

It’s also possible I’m just too naive to have really been sucked in by the lengthy section of the book between the silly passion of their youthful love and the amazing quiet of their geriatric love. The majority of the book deals with the vagaries of marriage and when I liked the book the least I imagined that I was experiencing a highbrow, literary version of a sitcom like, say, According to Jim called Marriage Is Weird or maybe What’s the Deal with Love? That’s not nearly fair, but there is a certain upperclass domesticity to everything that happens in the middle of the book which is where the lifelessness seems to be seeping in. During these pages the most interesting characters (e.g. the heroine’s criminal but upwardly mobile father, a black woman who guides Florentino’s career) disappear so that we can go into the details of each small fight inside of marriage and each affair conducted outside of it. Like I said, marriage is weird. Also, this love thing seems to have some kind of, I don’t know, deal.

The book as a whole is much greater than its most sentimental and middle-aged moments, and, in the end, from any other author it would probably be a defining work. Marquez just so happens to be capable of much greater magic in both prose and intention that it’s a bit of a tepid achievement for me. Still, it’s a great title and, if nothing else, we can all take pleasure in the fact that this year is the 20th anniversary of people who want to impress a date listing this as their favorite book in order to seem like soft-hearted romantics. The book’s take on love seems to contradict this usage, but who am I to argue with John Cusack?

On a completely unrelated note, my favorite television show is Love, What the Eff, Yo?

Comment / Posted in Books, Fiction, Sick

Exhibit 10.22

Stock Photography Review

They say you can judge a society by how it treats its worst citizens, and there’s no reason to think this isn’t a good way to judge stock photography as well. Here are some examples of how stock photography handles the sick among us because they are anonymous consumers of products too.

You can’t really get much worse off than this lady, who appears to have caught all the diseases. As she uses her non-branded computer to check the Internet for possible cures to Headache/Stomachache/Pregnancy, she swallows pill after pill, no longer caring if she ends up like her cousin:

Oh, poor Tiffany. If only they hadn’t made her pills in the same color scheme as her favorite variety of Good & Plenty…

By the way, that photo is pretty much perfect if you’re trying to sell…

A) Nothing
B) A Way Out
C) Durable Brown Plastic Pill Bottles

Gerry wasn’t sure how to immortalize Grandpa until he saw a newspaper ad seeking models for stock photos…

I’d like to think that whoever took this photo was really excited about cornering the market on corpse photos.

There’s nothing really remarkable about this one except for the fact Tiny Head here was probably actually sick the day they taught fake coughing in his San Bernardino Community College acting class. It was his one chance to get an ‘A’ which would have saved him from a life spent acting, poorly, like he was actually sick.

Of course, then there are the lucky models like this kid:

Somehow he lucked into his own series of stock photos taking place in a dystopian future where tracking done by forehead barcodes has replaced traditional parenting.

That’s like the Star Wars of the stock photography world.

My god, these two look horrible. What happened to them?

Ah, of course.

1 Comment / Posted in Future, Sick, Stock Photography