Elementary, my dear Watson

20 01 2010

Nowadays, it would seem that everybody’s a critic, and although I do not want to be hasty in my judgement, I must admit that I am unsure whether I ‘approve’ of the new Sherlock Holmes film. Perhaps ‘approve’ isn’t the right word; I think it might be more a case of not being able to decide whether I should see it or not, as I already have mixed emotions about the film (casting wise).

Not that I want to jump onto any bandwagon. As the tales of great Mr Holmes and his dear companion Dr Watson has attracted many readers/ ‘followers’ over the years, creating a sort of mass appeal, I feel like I might be disappointed by the film. From the little one can glean from film trailers, it would seem that all that it’s really about is violence, explosions, and all the other stuff that the fast-paced modern world yearns for. It’s a little too typical for me. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy a good action or suspense film, but in my mind, is this truly how readers the world over envision the private detective they have grown up with?

Things can never be quite as elementary as Holmes would inform Watson. Few things ever are.

Now, the word ‘elementary’ has synonyms such as ‘simple’, ‘straightforward’, ‘uncomplicated’ and ‘plain’. Yet readers know that this is hardly ever the case… which is probably why, for the Modern Moviegoer, elements such as the plot, special effects, and an obscenely abundant amount of explosives (or things of the like) need to be present. What fun would it be if things were uncomplicated? Things that are simple and plain are boring, and too close to Real Life (which is supposedly mundane, monotonous, humdrum…) Still, mayhap it is fitting, since what Holmes finds to be so elementary, so clear as day, is often missed by his associates, and quite often the readers, as well.

I was quite delighted when I got wind of the fact that Robert Downey Jr. was to adopt the role of the great master Holmes in the film version. In the snippets I have seen from the film, he is absolutely brilliant (yes, I know that statement is extremely biased/ prejudiced, but hey, reviewers or critics are actually very personal when it comes to what they do or don’t like, even if they try to deny it, so why should I be any different in my personal blog?) Something that does upset me, however, and which might cause me to delay my visit to the cinema, can be summed up in two words:

Jude Law.

I am not a great Jude Law ‘fan’. I’m not going to say that he isn’t a good actor – I enjoyed his performance in THE HOLIDAY, and I also remember that he wasn’t bad in ROAD TO PERDITION. There’s just something about his face that annoys the blooming daylights out of me. Sincerely.

That, and the fact that Dr John Watson is a respectable gentleman of a more advanced age. In other words, Jude law isn’t old enough. He’s too ‘feisty’ in the film – even if the director is trying to spice things up by having Watson be more active and gung ho, it isn’t working for me. And, I sincerely hope, it won’t for other true fans of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Nevertheless, I shall give the film the benefit of the doubt and spend my money on a ticket to the cinema. After all, as Doyle wrote in THE SIGN OF FOUR (a Sherlock Holmes book): “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” So let me not fall prey to my presuppositions – or suspicions, even – and give Mr J. Law a shot before making any further judgements.


Medical Encumbrance

19 01 2010

I always knew they called it Medical Aid for a reason. Because even though, many times, your medical scheme might not pay out for prescriptions, or not cover all your costs, or even frustrate you to hell and gone when you have to wait for ages to get approval for things – while you’re pay quite a substantial sum of money, too! – if you don’t have it, you’re a bit screwed.

As I have been a student for the last four years, I was lucky enough to stay on my father’s medical aid. They paid for the braces that came on in 11th Grade (2004) and came off in my 2nd year at university (2007); they paid for my glasses at the end of my 2nd year, as well as at the end of my 4th year (2009); and of course, they mostly paid for the prescriptions I received after a visit to the doctor’s office. They also paid for my gynaecologist visit last December… although, technically, if you think about it, my dad is actually paying for it, as medical aid doesn’t come free or cheap.

Now, you may remember that I went to the gynae, and that I have to go for a laparoscopy to determine whether or not I have endometriosis (which the gynae thinks is a given); also, my ovaries are polycystic, so the sooner they can determine what’s what with my reproductive organs, the sooner they can combat the ‘bad stuff’ in me, to help prevent nasty problems such as cancer and infertility (and here I am being Little Miss Worst-Case-Scenario… again…) I wrote a long letter to my father’s medical aid scheme, outlining why I went to the gynae and why I need the op. Luckily, my father hadn’t passed it on yet, something he would have done yesterday morning. He told me over the phone that he had a feeling that he should wait… and there you go: that afternoon in the post, he received a letter (dated 5 January) informing him that as of the end of December – basically meaning 1 January 2010 – I was no longer going to be aided medically; put simply, I had finished my studies, so I got scrapped from the scheme.

And my operation was supposed to be next Tuesday!

Needless to say, I had to phone the gynaecologist’s office this morning to cancel my operation. Not one of the most fun activities I have ever partaken in, but luckily it was short, and the receptionist was friendly. Somehow, that made it worse for me. I’ve been stressing myself into a coronary, or a conniption, or something of the like – worrying about the operation, recovery, all that happy crappy. Although I am relieved by the prospect of not having to endure pain likened to sword-stabbing in my shoulder or other excruciating feelings of unease around my abdominal area, now I have something else to worry about: when will I be able to live a more ‘normal’ life?

My Significant Other is currently busy setting up his medical aid; signed the papers last night, in fact. But even if it goes through immediately, and it becomes active at the beginning of February, I might have to wait three months before I can go for the operation. Who knows what could happen in three months’ time??!

So, at the moment, I need a para-medic. Not a paramedic, where ‘para’ means ‘resembling’ or ‘similar to’ and ‘medic’ a doctor. In my sense, the medic part still refers to a doctor, and yet I would rather employ another meaning for ‘para’, like the ‘para’ in ‘paranormal’, meaning ‘beyond’. I need someone who is beyond a doctor (if there is such a person), someone who can help me out of this depression and defeatist slur that prickles my skin like (a) the first icy drops from the showerhead when turned on, or (b) that pins-and-needles sensation you get when you’ve been sitting a certain way for too long (even though, each time, you tell yourself you’ll never do it again), and the itch scratches through the numbness. By the way this year is going, my prospects don’t look too great (understatement); I don’t see any rainbows or butterflies or happy little bunnies bouncing along on the rosy garden path to have a picnic with their forest friends. No sir – I see those bunnies being eaten, perhaps slowly simmered in a stench of gruel-like stew.

Still, things could be worse. Things can always be worse, as people love telling us… Just as long as the ‘para’ doesn’t have another one of its meanings in para-medic: incorrect or abnormal. Coz then I’d really be in hot water.

[Am I the only one who feels like I’ve been rambling pathetically today…?]

Terms of Endearment

14 01 2010

So I think I have finally found out why I do not like myself.

Part of the problem with me is that I have a type-A personality, and that my perfectionistic ways tend to make me feel anxious and claustrophobic at times. Also, the actual problem is two other things: the fact that I am a binge thinker, and that I am (*sharp intake of breath*) a hypocrite. I don’t like hypocrites, I’ve been pointed out to being one myself, ergo, as I am a hypocrite, I don’t like myself. It all makes sense.

Recently, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about terms of endearment, and the different things it could possibly mean. There will always be somebody somewhere who is in love, and in such a case, endearments will be used: kind words and sweet nothings, in other words, sweet little nonsensical and lovey-dovey sentiments that can be nice, yes, but on the other side of the scale can be a real pain in the metaphorical arse. As such, I like to think of ‘terms’, in this case, as three different things.

First, they could be words and sayings used in an affectionate way so as to express your love, devotion, bliss, or even state of ecstasy and rapture to the object of your amour. It could refer to a time period which something lasts, in this case the life expectancy/ lifespan or even ‘expiry date’ of the endearments – a period after which kind words and sweet nothings turn into harsh words and bitter (sobbing) ruminations that make you feel like everything is wrong, that nothing now matters. It’s like limits have been set, and there is no way you can change it. How lovely… The third meaning for ‘terms’, and one which I quite enjoy, is one that makes the endearment sound like a sort of business contract – a negotiation, if you will. Basically, it’s all about conditions. I think here it would be appropriate to see terms as “conditions or stipulations limiting what is proposed to be granted or done”, as Dictionary.com puts it. It makes love sound less lovely than one imagines it is (or ought to be), doesn’t it? Like any of us reeeaaalllllly need to be told that…

Still, that description is my favourite, as it seems a bit poetic (is that the word I’m looking for?) in my mind. It’s as though the parties in question sat down and had an earnest, intense discussion about endearment/affection, when it should be shown, how it should be shown, what kinds of mushy-gushy coochy-woochy utterings are allowed to be verbalized, et cetera. It’s like saying, ‘All right, I’m fine if you call me Sweetheart, but I draw the line at Hunnie-bunch and Snugly Bunnykins Heart’, or some such rubbish. There are just some things that should never be said in public. Ever. Especially not if it is, for example, your Facebook status or a message you left on that person’s Facebook wall – it lands up on the Live (news) Feed all your friends see on their Facebook accounts, and really, it’s a little too much.

That probably makes me sound like the most awful, insensitive, love intolerant grumbler on the face of this planet – perhaps even within our solar system, for that matter. The thing is, it’s beautiful when people are in love, and that they express their love so openly, sharing their feelings with the world; it’s not like I expect people to hide their emotions. I love my Significant Other, too, and yes, I have mentioned in my Facebook status updates that I love him, and yes, I have said that he is “My life, my love, my Everything”, and for some people, that’s all ready too much. I said that if people want to be too explicit or mushy-gushy, dry-heave inducing lovebirds on the net, then send your beloved a text message, or a message to their Facebook inbox. It’s hard to miss seeing what they tell one another within the Facebook feed thingy, and how am I supposed to know what not to read? I’m interested in my friends’ lives, which is why I read the feed in the first place. And now that I have made the comment that overdone adoration statements should be redirected to another location of reception, I’ve been told that I’m just as guilty, that I do it quite often, that nobody forces me to read it, that people should be able to say whatever they want on their status updates, et cetera. My wrist has been slapped justly, and thus I apologize for coming across as a great big hypocrite.

On the 8th of February, my Significant Other and I will be celebrating our two year anniversary – and I promise that I won’t over-term my endearment, no matter how special a day it is. I’ll simply say, “Thank you for the two years you have been in my life”. Nothing soppy, nothing sentimental, and nothing that will make me sound like a hypocrite.

Although, since I don’t like myself already, why worry about it that much?


11 01 2010

It’s still early in the morning, and I suppose I should already explain myself (as one often has to, on a daily basis) by starting with the title for this blog entry. I could have typed it out Novel[ties] instead of Novel-ties, which would have made more sense to the readers, as the current heading would have you reading it as “novel ties” instead of “novelties”… which is actually what I was going for, be it in a rather roundabout way (or not – am I making sense to you? Cause I’m sure not to me).

In any case, all I wanted to talk about today is the books I am currently reading, each one a novelty – and, of course, a novel – in their own way. Now, a novelty can be something new and unusual, an innovation; it can be something newfangled, unique and ‘fresh’, something different from anything you have seen before; and it can also refer to baubles and trinkets and knickknacks and many other whatchamacallit hoo-hah bits, what dictionary.com sites as “an article of trade whose value is chiefly decorative, comic, or the like and whose appeal is often transitory”. I suppose that I am implying all of the above in relation to these novels, even if the third option seems unclear in relation to a novel. Yet within a novel, and around it, you find many trimmings and frills and decorations, things to capture the readers, to make them laugh, to add to their reading experience and what they take from the novel at the end of the day (which, hopefully, is a sense of pure satisfaction).

All that said, it is interesting to note that synonyms for “novelty” include: strangeness, permutation, weird, oddball, objet d’art, gimmick, mutation, surprise, unfamiliarity, and (as my favourites) crazy and weird. I think I like these descriptions best, as I am sure most writers would. It brings a kind of humble quality and feeling to the writer and his/her writings, while in a sense portraying that inner craziness all writers are said to harbour within them. If there is any place to go crazy and unleash all your oddball mutations and airy-fairy stars moon night-time black sky notions, then why not via the pages you love so much?

Again, as ever in this blog, I’m moving far south of the mark I set my course upon, which is basically just saying something mundane and arbitrary: what I am currently reading, one of life’s simple little activities. But reading is more than that – it’s not just simple humdrum, and any reader will tell you that. As I have already discussed the merits I found in reading, I shall not lecture you on why reading is important or any such thing. All I can say is that all the works I have read thus far comes to play in on the notion of “novel ties” – the way that each novel and story collection has become tied and interlinked in the strong, solidifying chains that has ‘bound’ me into who I am today, into what kind of ideas (and ideals) I have, as well as how I function, fantasize, live, and love in this crazy, never-mundane-yet-seemingly-so world.

Okay, no more mouthful; on to the books. While I was ill, I read the introduction to and the first few pages of THE GREAT GATSBY, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a novel I’ve been meaning to read for ages, as both my sisters read it in high school (and I did not, as we have another prescribed text that year). It’s a classic, and I love the classics, especially BLEAK HOUSE, although I don’t believe that I am Dickensian. I haven’t continued reading the novel, because when I was ill, I could only focus on a maximum of ten pages at a time, which means that Mr Gatsby now lays waiting patiently on a pile collecting dust… well, actually, no, he isn’t – I’m a clean freak, OCD and all that, so let’s just say that metaphorically he’s collecting dust.

Last night, while waiting to go out to dinner with one of my Significant Other’s ‘business associates’ (he actually comes from the UK), I started reading THE POST-BIRTHDAY WORLD, by Lionel Shriver. I’m only 35 pages into the book, and I must say that I absolutely love the style, the descriptions, the characters’ nuances… I’m sure there will be a character or two I come to despise, and also moments when I either want to recoil on the inside on behalf of the main character, or slam her forehead against a Formica kitchen counter because of her decisions and such, so this book is definitely going to be a pleasure. But the book I am most excited about, and which I only put down long enough to type this entry, is definitely one of the best things that has happened to me this year (which probably isn’t saying much, since it’s only the 11th, but whose counting, right?!)

My Significant Other’s friend bought me a copy of HAUNTED HEART – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF STEPHEN KING, and brought it along with him to last night’s dinner get together!! First UNDER THE DOME, a truly epic novel, and now a book looking in-depth at the man himself – not his works, but what hides in the haunted corridors and rooms of his Hotel California heart and soul. Yip, this is definitely going to be a gooood year.

Scattered Brainings

8 01 2010

Because it just sounds so much more fun than “Random Thoughts”! 😉

* Today, I have been in a relationship for 23 months. I’m turning 23 in April; when I was much, much younger, I used to view people who were 23 and up as adults. Number 23 is one of my favourite films (crazy, mind-boggling stuff). I look at licence plate numbers and try to find 23, since watching the film (by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing). Next thing you know, I’ll be doing a new activity every 23 minutes. What does this year hold in store for me?

* When I get upset, I get heart palpitations and struggle to breathe, and it’s only been like that for a year of two now. Why is that?

* I cannot remember the last time I had McDonalds, as I am NOT a fast food lover, yet today, my mother bought me a Happy Meal with a junior chicken burger, fries, and apple juice. Oh, and an Avatar toy. It truly made me feel like a kiddy (especially now that my hair is cropped).

* Thanks to aforementioned Happy Meal, it feels like I’m having heartburn, and a serious case of indigestion – leaving me feeling quite un-Happy. Can I ask for my (mother’s) money back…?

* Now that we have all kinds of 3D movies coming out, how cool would it be to be able to watch all the Harry Potter films like that? Imagine the fright you’d get during the Quidditch scenes!

* As I’ve been ill since the 1st of January, my system has undergone a bit of a detox (probably also because I haven’t had coffee in three weeks). As that is the case, I find that I no longer find snack food or treats very tempting. It actually makes me queasy just thinking about consuming them; my stomach literally rolled over – and almost played dead – when my Significant Other suggested we should buy ice-cream two days ago… And yet, now I’ve eaten McDonalds, a truly big no-no for my detoxed self. Think I just explained the heartburn to myself…

* My younger sister says she always knows when I’m home… by the Fall Out Boy tunes emitting from my room. Is it my fault she always wanders by or comes into my room at the exact time that one of their songs is on? I think not.

* I love Scooby-Doo. I’m sure you all (ought to) know this. Because of that, as well as the fact that my hair is now short and that I do have glasses, I’m really thinking of getting myself a Velma outfit. Sure, everyone thinks she’s nerdy, but she’s intelligent, and she really doesn’t look bad – they just make her wear that baggy turtleneck in the series as part of the cliché. Freddy’s the jock, Daphne’s the glam doll teen queen, and Shaggy’s the random, clumsy/ goofy yet loveable and funny guy. Scooby’s like the mascot *laugh* Hey, if Linda Cardellini could be Velma in the ‘real’ films (and she rocked it!), then so can I. Watch this space!

Songs stuck in my head

7 01 2010

So there’s nothing much creative going on with yours truly today. Today, I’m just plain. Blandly, mundanely so – from the plain toast I had for breakfast and the way I am just sitting behind my laptop playing solitaire, to my slightly dishevelled (yet lank and straight) hair and bare feet. The prospects for the rest of the day aren’t very much exciting, either, and it’s only just gone 11:00…

As such, I find myself aimlessly browsing through my music collection, clicking on songs that strike my fancy or seem to pop randomly into my head… which is why I thought I might as well share them with you. Perhaps we can find some kind of link or pattern in them…?

* Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson

* Thinking of You – Katy Perry

* Headfirst Slide into Cooperville on a Bad Bet – Fall Out Boy

* Always and Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi

* Hate that I love you – Rihanna

* Making a Memory – Plain White T’s

* Halo – Pussycat Dolls (Hush Hush is also a great song)

* Tattoo – Jordin Sparks

* Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler

* Earthquake – The Used (my favourite out of the lot)

Child’s Play

6 01 2010

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I believe I just might have found the way to a man’s heart. Or, perhaps the ‘modern’, technological man’s heart. Let’s call him Mr New Age.

When it comes to women, there are the clichés such as giving her flowers and chocolates, and that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. When it comes to men, we are told that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But, as I have debated that a way to a woman’s heart is through her favourite cartoon show(s), I have come to believe that the actual way to a man’s heart… is through toys and gadgets (perhaps one reason why men in general seem to be so good with children…?)

How surprised were you to hear that? Probably not much.

Mr New Age is all about technology. He wants the latest, the greatest, the most fantabulous super-duper wow factor thingies there are (yes, I just used the word ‘thingies’). And if it has buttons, all the better. I’ll use my Significant Other as a case in point.

When Christmas came along last year, I was in my usual obsessive compulsive mode to get my shopping done early in order to avoid the mad rush at shopping malls *shudder* At this time, I was lucky enough to find a nifty little massager that fits nicely into the palm of one’s hand, and when you switch it on, the three little ‘feet’ it has – well, the whole thing, actually – starts to vibrate. This massager can be used all over one’s body, and because it fits so snugly onto one’s shoulder, I knew it would be ideal for my Significant Other, as he has constant shoulder and upper back pain. Now, not only does this little massager vibrate, it also has little red lights that turn on when you use it. Not that I was aware of this fact, yet it is needless to say that my Significant Other found it to be an added bonus. Go figure.

I also bought him (expensive) Almond Oil Hand Rescue Treatment… and, as an afterthought, something he was far more excited about than the two gifts I knew he needed and would appreciate. I should have known.

It was a small, solar powered sunflower that bobs its head and leaves when placed in the light.

The sunflower can also bob its bits when you lightly tick its head to one side, but that’s not the point. Point is, it was solar powered – something which seemed to amaze and amuse my Significant Other far more than it did me. And I bought this gift as an afterthought. I saw it in one of those little Chinese shops when I visited one with my mum, and it cost me very little. Not that the cost of a gift matters, but it really astounds me that something so simple, so childish, actually, could bring a grown man so much delight.

That’s nothing, though, compared to what I got him for his birthday.

My Significant Other, a true Mr New Age (plus he works in the computer industry, so what do you expect?) not only loves gadgets, but beautiful (expensive *cough*) cars. He dreams of owning a Lamborghini, preferably a Gallardo (Superleggera)… so I bought him a car for his birthday… A model car, that is. A downscaled version of his dream vehicle, sure, but he truly ‘freaked out’ when he tore the wrapping paper off of the box. The doors can open, the steering wheel moves, and you can open the boot – I swear, I thought he was going to kiss my feet, if I gave him the chance. I know a lot of detail goes into make these novelty toys, and that it looks like the genuine thing, only downscaled (severely), so that’s another point for me on the Keep Mr New Age / My Significant Other Happy meter.

Only thing now is, our two year anniversary is coming up in about a month’s time – what should I get him? What kind of toy or gadget could he possibly “need” now?

No wonder Pink Floyd sings: “Crazy… toys in the attic, I am crazy…”