The Becca Papers

I’ve known and adored Becca since the late 1990’s. She’s one of the warmest people I know, and one of the hardest-working, among many other excellent qualities. And John, her husband, is one of the most alive people I’ve ever met.

But Becca has one serious, nearly unforgivable, flaw. It is this:

She’s probably smarter than I am.

Which, unfortunately, means that she’s definitely smarter than you are.

I know… I know…. This is tough to deal with. We’re all used to always being able to convince ourselves that we’re the smartest person in the room. It took me three or four years to cope. Eventually, you’ll be okay about it, too, as I am. It’s not really her fault, and she tries to slow down for the rest of us, but you can tell that it’s sometimes a strain for her.

She’s in her second year of med school at UTMB, and is doing quite well, thank you very much. Because it’s a foregone conclusion, we already call her Doctor Becca, though she hates that .

She’s given me permission to post a couple of pages from her journal, on the subject of cadavers. I find some of the advanced medical terms used by her and her colleagues to be a bit over my head, but I’m going to look the words up soon. The good thing is that it gives me even more faith in the professionalism and deep stores of arcane knowledge possessed by our doctors.

I’ve placed it below the cut because of the extreme graphic nature of her descriptions.

And now, without further ado, the Becca Papers –

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Guest Blog: Crispin Glover walk with me, or taking my pants off for the Wizard of Gore

When I was 17, we had righteous midnight movies. About 900 kids would pile into the theatre to watch “Woodstock” or “Quadrophenia” or “Gimme Shelter,” although the movie was a secondary detail. The party was the primary draw. In 1982, you could load up your macramé mega-purse with contraband and walk right into the theater. No one cared. The movie people basically sold out the show, shut the doors and looked the other way.

Everyone drank: flasks of blackberry brandy and Southern Comfort, quarts of Bud. The smoke was eye-watering. Three-foot tall bong? No problem.

“Hey, man, you want to do one of these?” said He as he held up a shiny candy-like capsule in front of Her.

“Sure, man,” answered She, an array of feathered roach-clips dangling from Her bandana headband.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not an exaggeration!

The light from the projection booth shone eerily through the haze of pot and cigarette smoke, but Roger Daltry’s image always survived, ten feet tall and bellowing. We won’t get fooled again and with a little help from my friends and just another brick in the wall.

“Cool, man.”

Occasionally, a horror-fest usurped Mick Jagger and co., which brings me to “The Wizard of Gore.” Filmed in 1968 by gore-fest master Herschell Gordon Lewis and released in 1970, it is one of the campiest cult films of all time.

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Guest Post: Laura J. Mixon on Jack Williamson’s Memorial Service

front_jack_williamson.jpgSteve and I went to Jack Williamson’s memorial in Portales yesterday. There are supposed to be two Locus issues coming that will be devoted to remembrances of him, and there have been tributes in the NY Times, LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Letters have flooded in from all over the world. In addition to his influence and vision, which molded the field of SF, he was just an amazingly kind, decent, modest, and loving man. He touched so many lives, including mine.

I’ve always thought it was so cool that he was a native New Mexican, too (Well, he moved here when he was eight or so, but given that he’s still got almost twice as many years here as I do, I figure he more than qualifies…) In the booklet prepared for his memorial, they printed some words of his, including what it felt like to grow up in a small New Mexican town. I could see my own childhood in his words, and in the slide show they gave, of him and his family and friends, who stood on front porches a lot like my own.

He grew up in Portales. I spent the first couple years of my life only a stone’s throw away in Roswell, and the rest in Albuquerque, a few hours to the west. Like me, he ran barefoot in summer among honeysuckle blossoms, goatheads, ants, and desert brush. At night, he too watched the meteors (and in more recent years, the satellites) track across the huge starry sky. Like me, he could always look across the hilly desert plains at the mountains on the horizon, with their thunderstorms and their verga, or he could lie back in the grass and stare up into that startling indigo-blue sky. Like me, he lived near space and military research centers and ancient Indian villages, with green chili stew and Hispanic music and churches — amid teachers and shop owners and artists and ranchers and other people eeking out a living in a poor state.

Our childhoods were separated in time, but not so very far in space, and he fell in love with the vast array of possibilities that science and technology promised, too. Not a blind love — he was concerned about its abuses — but he also saw its potential.

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