Silent All These, Um, Days

18 March 2001

Today on the cold front: I can produce audible sounds from time to time, but if I use this precious gift it goes away, so I save it. And read, and play Solitaire. I watched a movie with Mark this afternoon, and we may flip on the Fox Sunday lineup even if it is a bunch of repeats. Malcolm in the Middle has annoyed me several weeks running and has still managed to be entertaining. Two weeks ago, my problem was that if there's one thing that show is realistic about, it's been the reactions of a gifted kid. I could name acquaintances who are grown-up versions of all of Malcolm's geek sidekicks except for Stevie. And yet when the freaky girlgeek goes around inviting people to a party with invitations that say, "Be my friend!" and no social skills whatever, the party turns out to be a popular kid's dream. The message is that Malcolm's attitude has limited him.

Yeah, whatever. Like the only problem geeks have in school is that their attitudes are no good, and if only they'd open up, people would realize how cool they are, and they'd be the life of the party. Bull.

Anyway, so then last week, the whole episode centers around the implicit attitude that Malcolm owes his idiot brother Reese because Malcolm is the smart one. And that Malcolm will get along okay because he's the smart one, so it doesn't matter how much he gets screwed over. The climax scene was hysterically funny and well-done, but I've heard the same things done in all seriousness one too many times to have a warm and fuzzy feeling about it. Any time there's less funding, the gifted programs are first on the list to go, and people invariably claim that smart kids can fend for themselves. Like being smart means that knowledge wafts in out of the ether to live in your brain.

But enough about that. So far today I've read Robert Charles Wilson's The Divide, Chinese Americans: History and Perspectives, and The Land of Laughs. I'd say only the last of those three was really worth a recommendation. But it was really good. A little depressing, sure, but I think part of Tim's problem with it was the day he read it. Not a cheery book on any day, certainly. Still very well done, and I'm going to look for more Jonathan Carroll soon. Last night I read Sean Stewart's Nobody's Son, and I hate to say it, but: this book was bad. I have loved Sean Stewart's stuff in the past. But this was just wretched. It was only Stewart's second book, though, and instead of his usual quirky modern fantasy sorts of stuff, he was aiming for medieval stuff. And missing. Quite badly. I'd recommend Mockingbird or Galveston or even Passion Play or various others, but definitely, definitely not Nobody's Son.

And Mark got The Man in the Iron Mask at the video store, so I watched that out of the corner of my eye. That movie could have been so much better than it was. They had great material to work with (I am an unabashed Dumas fan) and some of the casting was not bad. To be specific, I didn't have a major problem with any of the four Musketeers, although Kiefer Sutherland is still a much better Athos than Malkovich. Whoever this Peter Sarsgaard is, it was absolute brilliance to cast him as Malkovich's son. The voice thing was perfect. Of course, the jarring choices for the women's roles and the inescapable presence of Leonardo di Caprio made me shudder. And such things can be helped.

But enough of Marissa's Reviews. I'm a little troubled. I mentioned on Friday that it was my Great Grandma Lingen's birthday. Turns out my daddy talked to my great-aunt today and found out that Great Grandma has not been taking her medicine at all consistently. (Also, she's decided she's not diabetic. But we knew that.) I have very strong feelings about the overuse of nursing homes in our country. I think it is just plain wrong to assume that people of different ages have nothing to contribute to each other's lives, and shoving the elderly into Old People Boxes so that we don't have to deal with the inconvenience is one of my least favorite reflections of this problem. However. Sometimes nursing care is needed beyond what the family can provide. I'm just glad that in this round, I'm out of the decision making circle. My great aunts will duke it out between them, and one way or the other something will get decided.

I have been so lucky. I do know that. My grandparents are pretty young, and they're still very active. We ran around Hawaii with them last fall, and I think my favorite picture is of Grandma standing in the Pacific Ocean, holding the bottoms of her dampened shorts and going "Ooh!" But this thing with Great Grandma is scary. Very scary. And I don't even like to think of what I'd do if I was my aunts.

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