Watched INTERSTELLAR over the weekend, and was struck once again by the emotional pitch of our popular arts at the moment. I sometimes wonder if people in the future will look back at what we’ve made over these first fifteen years of the 21st Century and ask, why is everyone crying all the time?
Ryan made the announcement inside a closed-door meeting of his colleagues where they had collected to eat Chik-Fil-A sandwiches and plot a path forward.
I’ve Been Trying Hard Against Unbelievable Odds
I’m writing this while waiting for the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to drop, because that’s just how I roll. Well, that and writing things like “that’s just how I roll” while cringing inside, thinking no, I’m too old and too white and too non-bro to even say that as some kind of arch-joke, what have I become to myself. Suffice to say, my attention may be wandering at times during this one.
(I’m waiting for it for work-related reasons, I should add; otherwise, I’d go off and have a life and watch it later.)
As if my complaints last week that I was getting old wasn’t a sign that I’m getting old, the fact that I woke up on Wednesday morning having somehow pulled a muscle in my foot while asleep, making walking particularly painful and difficult definitely rammed that message home. To this day, I have no idea what actually happened to my foot. Tuesday, it was fine, Wednesday, putting my weight on it was as if someone was trying to crush it under a particularly heavy rock.
The strangest part of the whole experience, though, came on Saturday. By that point, the pain had essentially faded to “occasional twinge when you least expect it, but it’s more or less okay really” status, but I couldn’t stop limping as if it was as painful as ever. It was muscle memory, I guess, but the strangest example of it I’ve ever experienced — in the space of just three days, my right leg had apparently forgotten how to walk normally, and was instead doing this pre-emptively protective thing so that I wouldn’t put my entire weight on my heel entirely unconsciously. I spent the next day or so purposefully thinking and this is how we walk, step, step, step, step every time I had to go somewhere. Chalk this up to the ever-shrinking attention span of today’s generation, etc. etc.
Except, of course, I’m not “today’s generation”; I spent a bunch of time last week thinking about the whole Millennial thing, prompted by writing about the whole millennial pledge kerfuffle for Wired, and ended up in some kind of strange mindset thinking about how generations actually work, anyway. I was surprised to see so many millennials blame boomers for the state of the world on social media, and completely ignore “Generation X,” who — according to the Internet, at least — were born in the mid-60s through the late-80s. Aren’t they (we) the ones who’ve messed things up for the millennials most recently? Shouldn’t we be bearing the brunt of the anger and cynicism and suspicion and all the other bad things from today’s kids? I mean, it’s Generation X that’s in charge now, surely (Maybe Boomers are still owning a bunch of shit and all, but isn’t it more likely to be the 40-and 50-year-olds who’re actually making the bad decisions on a practical level, instead of the 60- and 70-year-olds? Or is the idea that things were already so screwed by the boomers that by the time the Gen X’ers got their hands on stuff, it was already ruined?
I could be wrong, and I’m sure that many would be happy to tell me why I am, given the chance — I love seeing on Twitter when people tell me that I’m stupid and wrong and how could I think that because they’ve thoughtfully tagged me with their disdain, he lied — but I feel like Generation X has (ironically, considering the self-obsession it displayed back in the day) become this oddly forgotten generation that’s being forgiven for all kinds of shit purely because people are too eager to blame even-older folks. Yay…?
Still no Star Wars trailer, for those keeping track at home. (I mean, by the time you’ll read this, you’ll have watched it seven times and gotten all the nostalgia out of your system. Or, considering how masterfully the teasers to date have traded entirely on the “It’s just like it was when you were a kid, honest” appeal, perhaps that should be getting nostalgia into your system. But still.)
Talking of Twitter, as I just was, I have that open right now to give me a head’s up on when the trailer is out, and it’s fascinating to watch the Canadian election results come in with landslide results like this. I’m reminded of the Scottish election results earlier this year when the SNP just decimated their opponents, winning all but three seats in the races they were running in, but without my inherent distrust of the SNP.
(Why do I have such a distrust of the SNP? I can’t really explain it, beyond believing that the line between “patriotism” and “xenophobia” is almost impossibly fine and being really freaked out by the zealotry with which SNP supporters talk about the party. I’m almost jealous of those who do believe in the cause that much, to be honest; I wish I had that much faith in any political party, but I don’t.)
This does feel like a year of “shock” election results, though; the Canadian results, the Scottish results, even Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide win as the leader of the UK Labour party. There’s something in the air, even if I’m not necessarily sure if it’s the kind of leftwing swing that’ll cross over elsewhere — mind you, Bernie Sanders is a lot more popular than anyone expected, so maybe so. It does make me wonder what next year’s US elections are going to be like, though. I expect emotional carnage, if nothing else.
Recent reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. Recent listening: Moondog’s 1969 album Moondog, which remains really amazing. It makes me realize I need to find some more wonderful classical and jazz to listen to when I’m in the mood.
I mean, seriously, you guys.
Still no Star Wars — I honestly believed it was dropping at 5:30, but it’s now almost an hour later and no sign — but I’m going to wrap this up and post it, because I’m approaching 1,000 words and that’s more than enough of me going on, even with some Moondog to keep it light. If anyone is reading this, I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re not, then at least the end of the bad times are in sight.
And There’s A Million Things I Haven’t Done, But Just You Wait, Just You Wait
This isn’t something that happened overnight, of course; it’s not like you wake up in the morning and bang, you’re suddenly old and you have no idea how it happened — unless you’re a character in a high concept comedy from the 1980s, but how often is that the case? — but that’s what it felt like, somehow. It was my birthday last week, my 41st, and there was something about that number that stuck in my head for days before and after the day itself: 41. That felt old, somehow, even older than 40 (well, obviously, although what I mean is “more than just a year older” — substantially older in some existential way I can’t explain). I was 41! It was, some very vocal part of my subconsciousness has decided, all downhill from here.
With my mortality buzzing in the back of my head all week (“I’m making a meatloaf for dinner. That seems like an age appropriate thing to do, right?”), this passage from current reading The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman struck me:
I don’t know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of thing so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of tres and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away. All that we see around us, including our own bodies, is shifting and evaporating and one day will be gone. Where are the one billion people who lived and breathed in the year 1800, only two short centuries ago?
As you can see, I like light, frothy reading. (In my defense, I’m juggling this book with Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age, which feels like it falls somewhere between the two.) But instead of finding the above depressing or more proof that we are all trending towards a sad, tragic end and ultimate meaninglessness, I found myself taking some solace in the passage. It’s an odd thing, but I find it comforting to remind myself how small I am in the grand scheme of things.
If nothing else, 41 is nothing when you start thinking about time on a cosmic scale.
Yes, I’m back writing here. I don’t know if this is a thing or just a one-off. I found myself reading Warren Ellis’ Orbital Operations letter last night and thought, “I’d like to do that kind of personal, meandering writing again,” and suddenly remembered, oh, right; I have a website for that very purpose that I’ve not posted on for months. Things got in the way, as things generally do — personal and professional, such as me writing almost 8,000 words on Friday, which is a lot, but also not unheard of these days, for reasons that perplex me — but I should really try to do more with this site again, somehow. What form that’ll take, I’m unsure, because every time I think I’ve come up with a format, I burn out after awhile and then am left thinking “oh, what now.” So, instead, I’ll leave it up to seeing how I feel for awhile.
Scenes from Portland skies last night.
I like October.
I wasn’t at New York Comic Con this weekend, to the surprise of a great deal of publishers and PR folk, judging by my emails. (I don’t know why; I’ve never actually managed to do that show to date.) At first, I was upset about that — I had hoped to go this year, at one point, and had made quasi plans in my mind that then met realities like “paying for the travel and the accommodation and and and,” with a bunch of things knocking it totally out of consideration about a month or so back. As the tweets and the social medias started buzzing about the show, I had this feeling of jealousy and missing out that lasted exactly as long as it took for the first “There Are Too Many People Here” comments to emerge, and the stories like this one, before I remembered that I hate crowds.
The lack of big news stories to come out of the show made me feel better about not being there, as well; if I’d gone on someone else’s dime — which is pretty much the only way I’ll go to a show like this these days, although I’m thinking that Emerald City Comic Con might be something I’ll do properly next year just for me — I would have wanted to get, if not a scoop, then at least some stories. But NYCC this year, there weren’t really any stories, and that void made me feel oddly relieved that I hadn’t asked someone else to pay for me to get there, if that makes sense.
I would suggest that the show was a dud for the combination of “too busy” and “no big news,” but I’ve seen enough comments from those who attended who really loved their experience to know that that’s not the case — instead, I think it’s one of those things where, literally, you had to be there for it to have any appeal. I’m in two minds about that, because part of me thinks “So, it’s Emperor’s New Clothes conventioneering, then?” while also wondering, isn’t that the best kind of convention, where those who make the effort/pay the money to make it get the best experience from the whole thing?
One of these days, someone is going to work out how to do a virtual comic convention properly, and then it’ll all change again.
For the last week, this has been on constant repeat in my head. No matter what I do, I cannot get it out of there. In case you’re not in the same boat, well, now you can be.
(It’s specifically the Broadway cast version that’s in my head, which I couldn’t find on YouTube, but it’s also had me thinking about musicals and musical arrangements and dynamics and things that make no sense in words, but go along in the weird visual synesthesia of my brain and music.)
Apparently, I should do brain dumps more often. I’m over 1,000 words already? Holy crap. I haven’t even written about my new favorite podcast Pod for America yet, or my thoughts on the new Doctor Who season or being part of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts or anything like that. Well, maybe if I do another one of these sometime. For now, it’s almost 6pm and I’ve been at the computer for far too many hours and there’s dinner to make. Time to shut up and post.