Friday, September 12, 2008

Think Happy Thoughts

I recently got tagged by a good friend. “Tagged? Is she a correctional facilities officer?” No, She blogged on ten things that make her happy, and then tagged ten people to do the same (after being tagged herself I believe). I was the only boy she tagged, meaning she sees me as manly or effeminate.

The rules are thus: If you get tagged, you have to list 10 things that make you happy. What are the things that tickle your fancy, make you smile or still give you that butterfly sensation? What things do you seek out and truly enjoy? The only rule is that you can't say your kids or your's too easy (you’ll note I’ve steered clear of that one).

I do like getting a good idea, jotting it down, playing with the rhythms and having someone else like it. Notice I don’t say blogging though. I tried to blog regularly about daily happenings but a) I don’t have the time and b) I just can’t write like that. I’m most comfortable writing in essay format about specific topics, so that’s what I do. I can’t accept a first draft. Everything I write is rewritten at least twice, left for a day (or in the case of this essay months), until I ‘feel’ it’s right.

To see from above how the land looks like generations before me couldn’t. I love seeing traffic get smaller and slower after take off. I like the obscure signs of man seen in remote places; looking down over deserted areas and seeing dusty roads that lead through hilly areas to a lone building with a large antenna, or a going over mountains and suddenly seeing one with its top missing, its sides stepped, and digging equipment everywhere. And I like the solitary feeling in the plane.

But first, the news.
I have huge issues with US news media which I think does a great disservice to the people. That’s just my opinion, but seeing as US TV news thrives on opinion rather than actual news they might take more notice, or more likely, offence. BBC news however—Oh yes please. (NPR does a not too shabby job Stateside).
Then, drama. Lots of girls I know believe you can’t have too many adaptations of a Jane Austen story and the BBC certainly delivers there (almost monthly it seems). Not for me though. I had a few friends watch the first episode of Life on Mars. First the BBC one then the rough cut of the ABC one (obtained two months before its broadcast from “friends” with connections). Everyone agreed that Auntie Beeb’s version was great and ABC’s version was unlikely to get past episode three before being cancelled (though it has been reshot and recast apparently). So we can all agree that BBC do that well.
The comedy. Have I Got News For You—clever, funny, scathingly satirical, and would not get near being shown on a US network for their fear of alienating a sponsor.

(This doesn’t mean I don’t like US TV – House is great, as was BSG up to season three)

So, BBC news, comedy, drama, does that count as three things?

Thunder storms
England has, in my opinion, too much rain. On the other hand, Los Angeles has too little. I long for a good rolling of static power above my head, the wind whining between buildings, and rain. Then I love the walking in it, sometimes with hat and coat, sometimes without, but I’m not allowed in until I feel the wetness seeping through seams or trickling onto my scalp. Then it’s back inside for a warm-up shower and a cozy blanket while falling asleep to the sound of the rain hitting the windows. Native Angelinos are seriously disturbed by this behavior. They are raised thinking precipitation is evil, and if it touches them they rush to the cosmetic surgeon to buy new skin and/or to their priest to buy absolution. Why do I live in a non-rain zone? My body is not awake if there’s no sunlight around.

Things I don't like
I love things I don’t like. First off it's so much easier to whine. Here I am halfway through a list of ten things that make me happy, and already I find I have to stop and put effort into thinking of things that make me happy, while, with no effort at all, I am suddenly reminded how annoyed I get when at the end of some TV show it completely gives away what's going to happen the next week leaving me no surprise or enjoyment. I hate that. But of course things I don’t like allows me to write stuff (see item one); network news, buying tickets online, gum wrappings etc. So having a good whine about something that makes me mad, makes me happy. Pysch majors, have at it.

Green arrows at busy intersections (when its me turning).
When driving on those wide multi-lane roads, and you need to turn across the oncoming lanes its annoying to have to stop at the light and wait for the green arrow. But, when the turn arrow comes and you’re the only car turning…several lanes full of cars have to wait while you and you alone get to continue your journey. Do it slowly and savor the moment.

Youtube – the ultimate clipping service
Clips of shows I watched when I was a child,
clips of shows I can’t get in the US.
Clips of things I was actually at.
Clips of things I wish I could have been at.
I love clips I’m the first to find among my friends (so I look cool).
I love clips they send me that I had no idea existed until they arrive (making them look cool).
Commercials from long ago, and/or far away; clever music videos, rare footage, Cool things, the list goes on.

Speculative fiction
Which comes in many subgenres, but sci-fi, some fantasy, and I’m quite liking the recent uprising of superhero films. Isaac Asimov is a hero in the short story area, batman and X-men rule the superhero world. Combining fantasy and humor is rare so one could argue that Terry Pratchett has no real competition. One could also argue he’s the only one that could pull it off and deserves credit for forging his own genre, anyway Discworld books I like. I’d also recommend Good Omens.

How many to go, two? Two. Well then I like the number

Two is great and makes me happy. Who doesn’t love two? Do you like two as well? (I say as well because if I added too to two, it would be three 2's in a row which is, of course, six, and that's just confusing).

And finally, please don’t expect a drum role, this list is not exhaustive or in any order…think…think…lemon cake! Yes. Oranges for eating and smelling, lemon for flavoring. When it comes to fruit I don’t do berries or whatever family plums fall into. I do do a lot of apples and melons. But when it comes to cake and especially icing, lemon is the favorite. And not any of this ‘hint of lemon’ stuff, give me lemon curd so strong it melts your taste buds and sends a sharp lemony sting round your mouth, through your cheeks, down you leg and across the road to the bus stop.

And that’s it. I now tag ten people. Some who will thrill to do this, some who have no time for such shenanigans, and some should really be in touch more than they are. DB, SL, KP, LC, RL, SE, EC, JC, MP, MH, give it up.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Six word memoir

Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking its readers for their own six-word memoirs.

loads to be read on their site (you can submit your own too), or in the book.

Here's mine - more of a biography but still.

Inhaled, perspired, acquired. Exhaled, retired, expired.