Monthly Archives: October 2020

Lessons on Mortality

For every person who is afraid of death and dying, there are those who are not scared to die, don’t need to live forever, but who may not fully embrace the reality of dying because it can be painful and lonely.  Death is a part of life.  For the morbidly curious, thinking, talking, and learning about death is as fulfilling as thinking, talking, and learning about furthering the species (any and all species). 

In pursuit of knowledge, true crime, archeology, and (cultural) anthropology enthusiasts will be familiar with the fundamentals of decomposition much like students of biology and medicine.  Mourning, grieving, and funeral rituals vary between cultures and legislation.  If you have even the slightest interest gaining a better understanding of the biological and cultural ramifications of mortality, let me introduce you to Caitlin Doughty and her books Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, From Here to Eternity, and Will My Cats Eat My Eyeballs? 

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True crime and forensic pathology have been non-fiction interests of mine for many years, thanks to the proliferation of its depiction in film and television in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Doughty’s first book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes was an easy choice a few years ago when I needed a break from reading fiction.  Between it and her two other books, my appreciation for carers of the dead and disdain for the profit-driven corporatizing of the funeral industry grew in ways I hadn’t anticipated. 

The writing style of her books is similar to the tone of her YouTube videos.  She’s made many of them over the years and they’re educational and entertaining.  I recommend the following for starters:

And no, your cat will not eat your eyeballs.  If your body hasn’t been discovered for a period of time, though, then they will seek “the parts that are soft and exposed, like the face and neck, with special focus on the mouth and nose.  Don’t rule out some chomps on the eyeballs—but [your cat] is more likely to go for the softer, easier-access choices. Think: eyelids, lips, or tongue” (1). 

 

I’m going Haywire

When I can’t get a song out of my head, I write a parody of it.  I can like the song very much and even love it but not when it plays on a loop in my mind’s loudspeakers.  Today’s post is thus brought to you by a reinterpretation of “Haywire” by the 90s band Dog’s Eye View.   It’s through the first chorus:

We used an olive so dry
We used the wine and cornish hen
Now you must cork the vase
I must pay for bread

Screamin’ about new kitchen tongs
Screamin’ about fryin’
Oh no I can’t, won’t touch the tongs
Because I must pound filets

Hell, ice cream from ladles
I’m sewing up the knave like every crumbling chef has
You go, I baked the game pie crusts
And I baked the game pancakes as every chef has

I’m sewing gray tires
I’m sewing gray tires

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If you were at least a fourth or fifth-grader in 1995, you’ll probably remember their first single “Everything Falls Apart.”  The lyrics are all coming back to you aren’t they? 

Don’t look now, things just got worse
I’m drunk again, I swear
This crescent is just a curse…

It pairs well with the cynical tone of Toad the Wet Sprocket‘s “Something’s Always Wrong,” doesn’t it?

Dog’s Eye View’s first album, Happy Nowhere, was released October of 1995 and became one of my favorite albums during my teenage years.  I didn’t then and still don’t like all of the songs, but “Small Wonders,” “Haywire,” and “Would You Be Willing” grabbed my psyche and wouldn’t let go. 

The Interception for a Touchdown that Wasn’t

Cause it didn’t happen. 

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The Arizona Cardinals still won against the Seattle Seahawks, 37 to 34, but out of all the potential touchdown plays that one could stop, an interception for a TD would be it.  The satisfaction of keeping your opponent from scoring, especially when your team was so close to their end zone, could even be more intense than executing a hail mary pass to score.  Watch it happen here.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

 

 

Waiting for the End in Mandarin

I received my 20th Anniversary edition of “Hybrid Theory” cd today.  After listening to both of the discs included, it dawned on me that Linkin Park‘s music is meditatively rousing.  It inspires a scream-along in many of the songs across discography, but is ultimately more calming than the “grrr-argh” of Korn, The Used, and My Chemical Romance.  I appreciate the difference in the therapeutic application of these musical styles.

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I’ve translated many Chinese pop/rock songs before and today, when I was listening to Linkin Park’s “Waiting for the End,” I was motivated to translate it into Chinese.  If you need a refresher of the song:

Here are the English lyrics with the Chinese beneath each stanza.  Some of the words could be a bit more poetic or profound, but it’s a first attempt.

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If I were to translate Chester Bennington’s parts back into English, they’d be:

Waiting for the end to appear
I hope I have the strength to stand
This isn’t my plan
I can’t control it

Flying at the speed of light
Thoughts spin around in the ocean of my mind
Many unspoken words
Letting you go is hard

I know how to continue
I know the feeling of lying
I just want to trade this life
for new experiences
Holding tightly to that which isn’t mine

Sitting in an empty room
I keep wanting to forget the past
Everything will end
I wish it weren’t like this

I know how to continue
I know the feeling of lying
I just want to trade this life
for new experiences
Holding tightly to that which isn’t mine

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Likely Scenarios

Marguerite was ten steps away from the locker room when she realized she forgot to check if she had locked her car doors.  It had only been a habit to check and double check the car doors for a few weeks, but Marguerite couldn’t do anything without checking…and sometimes vlogging herself doing it so that if she forgot, she could just look at her private social image-sharing account.  She used to boast to anyone who would listen, and sometimes to those who happened to be within earshot, of her impeccable memory.  Locker combinations, class schedules, menu items, board of directors, starting rosters of her favorite sports teams — all she had to do was study those printed lists for three to five minutes and it was filed away in her brain.

Something changed when she was a junior in college, though, because it took more than five minutes to commit to memory the names of the rookies on the volleyball team.  She was on the team captain; if anyone should know their names, it would be the team captain.  There were only six names to remember and she could only recall four of them easily, because they were short and rhymed.  Lori, Glory, and Zoe.  Marguerite didn’t want to alarm the coaches unnecessarily, so she didn’t tell anyone.  She didn’t even worry about it initially — she figured it was just stress.  Being a junior meant she had to pick classes strategically not only to fulfill the requirements of her applied statistics and data science major but also the general education requirements.  

If only the names of her new teammates were the only instance, but the memory lapses continued.  She couldn’t always remember if she’d brushed her teeth before going to bed or if she’d swapped out her dirty practice clothes for clean ones.  Routine activities that she’d previously hardly had to think about were suddenly consistently in the spotlight of her mental checklist.  It had been a couple of months since her memory began to fizzle, and while Marguerite still wasn’t alarmed, she was becoming increasingly frustrated.  Forgetting to check if she’d locked her car doors when she was so close to the locker room was the first likely scenario among many subsequent ones that could offer a modicum of rationality for the strange events that befell Marguerite over the next several months.

She resisted the urge to go back to her car.  She trusted that she’d locked the doors even if she couldn’t remember if she’d done so.  The idea of walking down two flights of stairs and crossing a courtyard to student parking wasn’t appealing either.  Marguerite proceeded into the locker room and changed into her practice uniform.  Midge, her co-captain, was supposed to meet her to go over some pancake maneuvers, but she wasn’t in the locker room or in the gym.  Obnoxiously punctual Midge was late.  Marguerite reached for her phone to make sure she had the time and date right but couldn’t find any record of it in the calendar app.  She sent Midge a text.

So Midge, are we practicing today or what?

Um, what?

I thought we were going to go over pancakes.

But we already did…two days ago ’cause you said you and Patrick had to finish a project together tonight.

Right, that’s right. hahah.

Marguerite opened the calendar again and there it was: Patrick project. Library. 8pm. 

She undressed and redressed back into her normal clothes as fast as she could and braked hard at the opening of the roundabout at the center of the campus.  There were four libraries and her calendar didn’t indicate which one she was to meet Patrick.  She texted him, hoping that he wasn’t already at one of them otherwise it’d be quite likely that the message wouldn’t reach him in a timely fashion.  Marguerite’s eyes flitted between her phone and her rearview mirror as she waited at the mouth of the roundabout and thinking about what Midge had texted her.  She had no memory of practice two days ago. 

A car approached from behind, prompting Marguerite to drive a lap around the roundabout and then pull into the guest parking spots in front of the food hall.  She pulled her dark brown hair into a low ponytail and checked her phone.  No word from Patrick.  Right as she was about to start calling the libraries to ask if a lanky, bronze-skinned male with a tattoo of a snake around the back of his bald head was waiting impatiently by the circulation desk, she saw him walking towards her car.  She honked and he slowed to a stop.  She opened the door and waved him over.

“Hi.”

“Hey, Patrick,” she said noticing the unlocked passenger side door.  “Get in.”

Patrick slid in and Marguerite pressed the power lock button.

“So, which library is it?”

Patrick’s jacket pocket started to play a lullaby.  He took out his phone, looked at the screen, and then turned his attention back to Marguerite.

“You forgot again.”

“I guess so,” Marguerite said more confused than ever.

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