Illness and frustration

I spent the better part of the last three days sick in bed with brief moments of energy. Look at the date and time of the previous post, for example. I was awake and lucid between 2:30 and 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

The cold/flu finally broke last night, but I came down with a migraine around 5:00 p.m. Two Dilaudid took care of the pain eventually, but not the associated nausea or gas. I didn’t get much sleep between the coughing and the gas. Some expulsion or another kept waking me up.

I read a script for Alex Sunday night, but I haven’t felt up to writing my own. Today, I accompanied Child Two’s class to a fun day of skating and tubing at Beaver Lake and now I feel crappy again. Maybe I shouldn’t live up to all my obligations.

I offered to read something for Robert the director by tomorrow. That I will do, but it means even less time for me to write this week.

I don’t want to post to the blog with just a summary of my health, so here’s a crosspost from a post of mine on the WarBirds forum. After solving some equipment problems, I tried WarBirds on Saturday for the first time in months. I am a WarBirds trainer, renowned for my knowledge of air-combat maneuvers and skill in the virtual skies. Here’s what I had to say about my Saturday session:

I really, really suck.

For one reason or another, I haven’t flown very much WB in the past year. I finally fixed my rudder pedals and put them on a non-skid base, so I thought I’d give it a go this weekend.

Turns out I suck.

Really suck.

I can’t master the field-of-view changes to zoom in for shots and I can’t hit anything zoomed out. Yes, it’s mapped to throttle buttons. This is something that has bothered me since I left WB 2. And I lose tracking with these large cockpit frames. I’m still not used to them.

I think I landed a few bullets on targets, but I can’t shoot anything down. That doesn’t matter so much, because I can’t fly.

I used to be decent at this game. I know energy fighting, and I know what the planes are supposed to do. But no matter what I fly, I seem to have the speed of a Zero and the maneuverability of a Jug (ed.: a P-47, a thundering locomotive of an aircraft). Everything in the sky beats me like a rug.

I can’t lag turn, I can’t lag roll, I can’t even follow cons with my views.

The only effective move I made this weekend so far was a hammerhead with a 190 against a Spit IX. But I missed the shot and slammed into the desert floor since my crappy hardware can’t display ground clutter and I had no idea I was so low.

Really, I can’t hit a freaking thing out there.

Except, apparently, the desert floor.

I tried Spits, 109F, 190A, P-40E – I suck in everything.

So if you shoot me down, tell me what I’m doing wrong – and don’t think you’re so Sierra Hotel because I’ve got trainer wings. Because, you see, I suck. You probably just suck a little less than I.

I don’t have the best hardware up there (G4 @ 533 MHz, with a 64MB Geforce 3 and 1 GB RAM), but I’m not going to blame my equipment. Fact is, I suck at this damned game.
Webs, OC 101 “Red” Squadron, Israel
Member, WarBirds Training Staff

Some who responded say it may indeed be my archaic Mac that’s at fault. Big help that is.

Bonus observation on last week’s TV:

Did you notice that both last week’s “House” and last week’s “Grey’s Anatomy” had patients who spontaneously orgasmed? I wonder if that’s coincidence or if both writing rooms look at the same medical journals for inspiration, and both found such a case in the literature.

Regardless, the “Grey’s Anatomy” patient was a sideshow for the doctors. She could be cured with some unspecified offscreen surgery. The “House” patient’s orgasms were an important symptom that led directly to the correct neurological diagnosis. “House” is a medical show. “Grey’s Anatomy” is a soap opera.

A cock and bull story

When Laurence Sterne, a pastor, self-published his “About the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Esq.” in 1759, he became a sensation. He played with the conventions of linear storytelling in a manner 200 years ahead of his time. The story is written as an autobiography that follows Shandy’s life from the womb to, after many tangents, just after birth. The heart of the novel is the digression into other topics.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” is a movie based on the book, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Michael Winterbottom, and directed by the latter. It’s on its way to North American theatres. Boyce wrote “Millions” (directed by Danny Boyle, who did “Trainspotting”), which I recommend, and teamed with Winterbottom to create one of my favourite films, “24 Hour Party People“, which starred Steve Coogan, who is also a lead in “Tristram Shandy”. (I think I would like “Party People” even if I weren’t a fan of New Order and the Manchester sound.)

“Shandy” is a meta-movie, a movie about making a movie. Many of the actors play multiple roles. Coogan plays Tristram Shandy the fetus, Walter Shandy (Tristram’s father), and himself as an actor making the Shandy movie within the “Shandy” movie.

This is where it starts to get weird.

I don’t know Steve Coogan, but I do know that this isn’t the first time he has played himself in a movie. He played himself in Jim Jarmusch’s odd “Coffee and Cigarettes”. It may be more correct to say he played a version of himself – Coogan can’t possibly be that arrogant and off-putting in real life – and, if so, he sure can mock himself. He does a similar thing in “Shandy”.

Coogan honed the arrogant persona on his TV show, “I’m Alan Partridge”, although he played an unambiguously fictional character in that series – sort of. He allegedly based his Alan Partridge on Tony Wilson, the British journalist who covered, nourished, and by the end swamped the Manchester music scene in the 1980s. Wilson co-owned the Hacienda club and Factory Records. Ironically, or not, Coogan would portray Wilson in “Party People”.

So Boyce and Winterbottom hire Coogan for “Shandy”, in which Coogan plays Coogan – a role he’s played before. And who shows up in the movie(s) to interview him? Tony Wilson, playing Tony Wilson. That’s beautiful.

The Web site for “Shandy” continues the theme. It’s a Web site about building a Web site. Look at the deleted e-mail.

Boyce is not mentioned anywhere on the site, and the credited writer is the pseudonym Martin Hardy. Variety tells us Boyce did that to effect an end to the working relationship with Winterbottom.

Bonus note on Andy Serkis:

The pre-Kong, pre-Gollum Andy Serkis plays producer Martin Hannett in “Party People”, although you won’t recognize him in that role, either.

Sick day

I dragged myself out of bed to let you know that I’m sick. It’s probably just a cold, but colds hit me much harder than you’d expect. Not me, though. By now, I expect it.

Concordia’s spring break – humorously called “Reading Week” in either optimism or denial – is underway and I have no sessions to teach next week. I hope to slam “72 Virgins” like a – well, er, uh, something or someone that can be slammed.