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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



All Shook Up…

July 28th, 2007 by Caroline Spector

carolinesbrain4.jpg

Though I don’t have adorable kitty pictures this week, (not that I couldn’t have adorable kitty pictures at the drop of a hat, mind you) I do have a collection of random stuff that’s been floating in the ether at Casa Spector. (I know. I should really clean the freaking ether up here.) 

*   *   * 

I had to give up drinking coffee a couple of years ago.  For the most part, I was successful at this, though I have been known to poach coffee from The Dude at Saturday breakfast.  (Saturday breakfast is a tradition Sven Knudson started about twenty years ago.  A fluctuating group of malcontents show up at various restaurants to consume vast quantities of food – and to bitch.) 

Anyway, I met a friend at Starbucks the other day.  I haven’t been in Starbucks since I quit drinking coffee.  Not unlike the alcoholic who should stay away from bars, I found just being in a place so redolent of brewing Sweet Nectar of the Gods was more of a temptation than I could stand for the first year or so. 

My friend arrives and gets an iced coffee.  Being the shameless mooch I am, I ask if I can have a sip of her enticing cold beverage.  (Mmmmm, caffeine.)  She graciously obliged.   

I take a sip. And then I have that moment we’ve all had, (girls more so than guys I suspect) the, “Do I spit or swallow?” dilemma.  Because what I have in my mouth is not Sweet Nectar of the Gods, but rather Satan’s Piss.   

You know: The Devil’s Urine.  Beelzebub’s tee tee.  Lucifer’s pee.  Mephistopheles’s piddle.   This stuff is so foul I’m pretty sure they must have an EPA permit to sell it. 

And I realize why Starbucks sells all those Vente, Grande, Mocha Swirl with a Half-gainer concoctions.  Because if anyone actually tasted the coffee in them, they would be convinced, as I am now, that Starbucks is actually in league with The Dark Lord (no, not Voldemort) to corrupt the taste buds of an entire generation.

And speaking of Voldemort, I finished the final Harry Potter book this week.  If you haven’t read the book – stop reading now.  There are “spoilers” ahead.

I hadn’t noticed it before reading this book, but Rowling cannot be called a feminist.  It struck me as I was reading that all the female characters are either 1) a Mom/housewife (Hi, Mrs. Weasley!) 2) a Spinster (Hey there, Professor McGonagall!) or 3) a villainous bitch (Too many to be named here).  (And, no, you don’t get to count Hermione, who turns out be pretty much useless in the final book.  Except for hooking up with . . . well, I won’t “spoil” it.) 

Take Fleur, for instance.  In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fleur is the representative from Beauxbatons to the Triwizard competition.  So, she’s supposed to be no mean shakes in the wizarding department, right?  And what does Rowling have Fleur doing in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?  Well, she’s married Bill Weasley and they’ve settled into a little cottage by the seaside where she’s . . . a housewife.  Ye gods.   (Oh yeah, she does get to be the flustered bride at her wedding to Bill in the first part of the book.)

Three years after competing in the Triwizard competition, I guess her ovaries have dropped and she’s now only good for magical sweeping and dishwashing. And Mrs. Weasley finally gets to use magic for a purpose not housefrau-ish, during the final battle at Hogwarts.  But is she fighting Voldemort?  No.  She goes after Bellatrix Lestrange in a burst of motherly fury.  Damn you, Estrogen!

Anyway, here’s a fun Potter link.  Because I haven’t geeked enough in this post already. 

And the lovely image on this post is a shot of my brain. (Thanks for the scanning, Brad!) I had an MRI on Friday.  Woo hoo!  As tests go, MRIs are better than, say, having a needle biopsy of your spine.  But for those of us with claustrophobia, it’s really not a picnic.

I had a different kind of MRI this time ‘round.  Last time, they just put me on the sliding bed, and just popped me into the machine.  This time, they lowered what looked like a cross between the muzzle for Hannibal Lector and the mask from The Man in the Iron Mask over my head.   I spent about an hour trying not to move.  This was so much more difficult than I remember it being last time.

The MRI machine is really noisy.  Even when it’s just idling, it sounds like the Tardis warming up.  They took hundreds of images.  When I was trying to pick out my favorite images for this blog post, I got to watch the images fly by starting from the top of my brain going down, sideways, and from the bottom up.   Once you’ve seen your own sinuses, it’s really difficult to think you’re all that and a big bowl of spicy guacamole anymore. 

And finally, I saw this over at Best Week Ever and it was just so damn odd I had to post it here.

Posted in Caroline, Daily Life, Fantasy, Food, Medicine, The Dude | 13 Comments »

13 Responses

  1. Maureen McQ Says:

    Once you’ve seen your own sinuses, it’s really difficult to think you’re all that and a big bowl of spicy guacamole anymore. I want this embroidered on a pillow for my couch.

    Medicine in general is sort of like that. And thanks for bringing your films to breakfast! They were tres cool.

  2. Morgan J. Locke Says:

    Hmmm. Not sure it’s cricket, excluding Hermione. I rank her as a seriously good female role model. Just because book 7 isn’t her book to shine in doesn’t mean she doesn’t kick ass in many of the others. Also, there is Luna, who is a space cadet but very much her own person.

    I think in general the g’rups in HP, other than Snape, Black, and in HP7, Dumbledore, tend to be rather stereotypical. It’s the kids who are the realest in the books.

    Just mho, natch.

    Re MRIs, isn’t it weird, how much room our sinuses take up in our heads? I couldn’t believe it, the one time I had one.

  3. Ken Houghton Says:

    Starbucks straight, from a Starbuck’s, tastes burned. Even Consumer Reports figured that out. (We addicts buy it as a caffeine delivery device, and because Timothy’s is mostly out of business and Peet’s doesn’t have stores all around.)

    That “housewife,” I remind you, has been holding together a family of seven kids, an overworked father, and various guests in the face of nasty relatives and vicious accusations and innuendo. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that.

    Also, she (ROT13) xvyyrq Oryyngevk Yrfgenatr in the final book, which is the second most significant of those acts. (All right, Neville’s is hotter).

    And Hermione does exactly what she always does: fur xrrcf Uneel sebz trggvat xvyyrq naq freirf nf gur Ibvpr bs Ernfba guebhtubhg gur obbx.

    (I don’t have to defend Luna here, since Morgan did. But she goes out of her way to make everything as good as possible for Harry, rira vs fur qbrf zneel Arivyyr, juvpu jbhyq znxr uvz gur svefg zneevrq grnpure ng Ubtjnegf, ab?)

  4. Caroline Spector Says:

    Morgan, I agree that up until book seven Hermione is a great role model. But, to make her a great role model then treat her as if she’s an afterthought in this book is just appalling. (And having her mope after Ron for the last half of the book is just embarassing (sp?).)

    I’ve always thought Rowling’s greatest strength is that she takes the society of children seriously. It’s what gives the Potter books their weight, imho.

    Maureen, if only I knew someone who did embroidery…

  5. Steven Gould Says:

    Did you notice your birthday was on the mri scan, Caroline?

  6. Rory Harper Says:

    Best wishes on the outcome for your MRI, Caroline.

    Rach and I just finished the last 100 pages of ‘HP and the DH’ this evening. On the whole an excellent book, IMHO, though Rowling could have cut a couple of hundred pages of angsty moping and I would have liked it more.

    I see where you’re coming from on the non-feminism thing regarding the books. But I want to adopt Luna. She’s absolutely wonderful.

    One of Rach’s oldest friends reminds me tremendously of Luna, in her manner and brightness and deep, casual fascinating weirdness. Her name, believe it or not, is Selene.

  7. Caroline Spector Says:

    Ken,

    I do not denigrate any of the myriad tasks which Mrs. Weasley dispatches with humor and love in the course of the HP series. Being a housewife myself, I understand what an often thankless job it is. (And you never did address the Fleur issue.)

    But my problem with HP and the DH is how the female characters were being treated. I felt that they were being pigeon-holed. And wouldn’t it have been nice in one of the previous books if we’d had some foreshadowing of Mrs. Wealsey’s kick-ass wand capabilities? As for Hermione, yes, she has always been a “support” character, but she’s also been more proactive in past books. At the climax of the series, I expected more from her.

    Steve,

    No, I didn’t realize my birth date was on that image. But I’m still just as old as I remember being . . .

    Rory,

    I’m with you about the extra pages of angsty moping, but the characters are teenagers, and that’s how many of us spent our teenage years. So, when are those going to end?

    I decided to re-read the entire HP series again. I’m about half-way through the first book. There are so many great things Rowling does in HP and the SS. But the greatest of these is her skillful use of wish fulfillment. (I’m really a famous wizard with tons of money in the goblin bank? Cool! And I’m naturally fabulous at a sport I didn’t even know existed? Double cool! Despite living under the stairs for the last eleven years, now I’m transported and living in a castle with hundreds of other wizardly people. All of whom know who I am and think I’m wonderful! Except for Snape… ) HP is an updated Cinderella tale. With Dudley as the evil stepsister and the Dursleys as the evil step-mother.

  8. Steven Gould Says:

    A woman I know said the most unbelievable thing was three seventeen year-olds out in the woods for months and nobody got laid.

  9. Caroline Spector Says:

    Steve,

    Now that’s funny!

  10. Sara Says:

    Yes, well, do we really know what “snogging” is?

  11. Caroline Spector Says:

    “snogging” is kissing in English slang.

  12. Steven Gould Says:

    Yeah, definitely kissing. Shagging, though…

  13. Caroline Spector Says:

    Yeah, baby, yeah!

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