All posts tagged annoyed

Another Rant You Won’t Want To Read

Published July 28, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

So I met with a new physician. (The old one retired.) It was not a promising first appointment. Now, my old physician always used to harp on my weight, too, but the way she did so was different, more friendly, more maternal. And she certainly didn’t ever suggest surgery. Seriously, this new physician said something about how I wouldn’t be able to get down to my “ideal” weight without surgery, because all I’d be able to lose would be about 60-80 pounds, with diet, exercise and medication, in 6-8 months, so I should really consider surgery as well.

Um, seriously, wtf?

First of all, losing more than that any faster than that would be freakin’ unhealthy.

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Broken laptop

Published July 18, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Today was supposed to be a “book report” on the book I’ve spent half the summer reading, since I finally fonished it and wanted to share all I learned from it.  (Well, some of the highlights, anyway.)

But then my laptop wouldn’t turn on.

Fortunately, I can still get into my account from my iPad (I tend to rely too heavily on the “remember me” function on most sites) but my iPad’s keyboard is out of battery power, and no way I’m typing anything that long in an on-screen, touch-pad keyboard!  (And y’know how you charge the keyboard?  Yep, by hooking it up to a computer’s USB slot.)

Anyhow, I’ve pre-scheduled the next two Missing Letter Mondays due to, well, serendipity/inspiration, but other than that…this may actually interfere with my plan to complete the full year of daily posts on time.  ‘Cause I’m not sure I’ll always be willing to slog out into this heat to go to the library or my brother’s place to post something every day, and the repair place isn’t even going to look at what’s wrong with my laptop until Thursday, let alone start fixing it.  (And there’s a 50% chance it can’t even be fixed.)

Just, y’know, an FYI, in case I end up not posting tomorrow.

(Also, I apologize if there are spelling errors in this post.  This thing is really annoying to use, and doesn’t seem to do the nifty squiggly line to point out “you made an oopsie!” that I normally detest.)

This Past Thursday

Published May 9, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, I think I’ve recovered enough to talk about it now.

So Thursday starts out–no, let me back up a bit.  The previous Thursday, in class the professor said that “next week will be our last class meeting” but that he wanted to meet with all of us, individually, on Tuesday or Wednesday to talk about our previous papers and our upcoming final papers.  I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday (to get the crowns put in) but Wednesday was wide open, so I was okay with that.

So he starts an e-mail sign-up sheet on Sunday, for us to say what time we want to meet on Tuesday.  I reply by pointing out that Tuesday is off the table for me, but Wednesday is good.  He says he’ll let me know what times he’s open on Wednesday…and eventually–like, Wednesday morning–says that no, he’s not going to be available at all on Wednesday.  I reply and tell him that I have a doctor’s appointment for my arm problem on Thursday at 11:00, and that I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will take to get to campus from the hospital, but that I’d definitely be available right before or right after class.  He says he’ll only be in his office at 11:00 on Thursday, so we’ll have to talk about the paper via e-mail.  I’m like “okay, whatever,” and don’t reply, ’cause it didn’t seem like a reply was needed.

I guess it was.

But more on that later.  So, Thursday morning, I’m on the way to the hospital, and I’m pissed off at the weather, because I was promised thunderstorms, and I’m getting a bright sunny day.  Good for most people, but torturous for me, because my left arm feels hot all the time, and the sunlight streaming down on it through the car window as I’m driving is the worst.  (And no one was available to drive me to the hospital.)  Plus there were lots of crazy people out on the road, as usual.  And it usually feels like I’m the only person in a five million mile radius who obeys the speed limit.  But mostly it was the weather that was the problem.  I spent a lot of time on that drive screaming obscenities at the sky–and sometimes at other drivers–and I definitely cried some, too.  Frustration will do that to me sometimes.

I did more screaming of obscenities in the parking garage at the hospital, because the first decent parking place I found was for “valet parking.”  Who does valet parking at a hospital?  And, more importantly, why would the valet parking have the good parking places?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the furthest out parking places for the valet parking, since the valets are being paid to walk over there and retrieve the cars?

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Sexism or Incompetence?

Published March 30, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

So, I had to take my car back to the dealership today.  The door over the gas tank lid had fallen off, and they hadn’t had one in stock, and had had to order one.  (I think I may have said this part before?)  Anyway, the part was in, I made the appointment, I went in to have the part put on the car so that I could finally not drive around looking like a freakin’ moron with my gas tank’s cap exposed like that.  (My car already looks pathetic enough without that.)

And so I get into the office, wait while they pull my car around into the service-receiving-bay (or whatever they call it) and then get helped at the counter by this man who is either a complete misogynist or utterly incompetent.  (I’ll let you judge.)

I give him the card that the dealership sent me to let me know the part was in stock, and he spends a ridiculous amount of time inputting the very tiny amount of data into the computer.  Then he says he’s going to go out and look at the car, and is gone before I can even process the absurdity of that.  Normally, it’s not that odd for the person at the counter to want to look at the situation.  But normally one is not dealing with something so simple, nor is it usually a return visit.  Anyway, he gets to the end of the car, looks at the gas cap, and I can hear him, clear as day, saying “yes, it’s missing.”

The car was in for service like two weeks ago.  I’m sure it said on the file in the computer that there was no door over the gas tank, hence the reason to order one.  Not to mention did he think I had ordered a new one just because I like them?!  Is he just stupid, or does he think that, since I’m a woman, I don’t know enough to realize that the door is open, not missing?

So, anyway, he tells me to have a seat, because the process shouldn’t take long.  (It took, btw, about an hour.  That got me from the tail end of the Peloponnesian War to the build-up to the arrival of Philip II of Macedon.)

I haven’t been waiting all that long, though, when this same guy comes up to me and says “I have good news and bad news.  The good news is, we have it in stock.  The bad news is, it hasn’t been painted.”

What I should have said is “That isn’t news of any sort; it can only be news if I’m not already aware of that.  The part was special ordered for me, and I already showed you the card telling me it had come in, so obviously I already knew that it was in stock.  And they told me at the time it was ordered that it wouldn’t be painted, so that isn’t in any way, shape or form ‘news’ either!”

That, of course, is not what I said.

What I actually said was “That’s all right,” followed by assurances that I could paint it myself if I thought it really needed painting.  He seemed shocked and appalled by the very idea of putting in on the car unpainted.


This car is a domestic, relatively inexpensive, lightweight model.  Which means, of course, that as much of the car as was physically possible is made out of industrial-weight plastic.  So it’s not like the part is going to rust or something.

Furthermore, the car is silver, and the part that came in is pale gray.  Even in bright sunlight, the main difference between the door and the rest of the car is that the door isn’t shiny.  It is about a thousand times less noticeable than the missing door had been.

And yet this guy was astonished that I didn’t want to wait (and pay through the nose) for them to paint the piece before it went on the car.  No doubt because now it doesn’t match; it isn’t properly pretty.  (FYI, this car could not be pretty no matter what you do to it.  It’s functional, not decorative.)

It’s not like I was projecting the image of the average vapid housewife, here.  (If there is, in fact, such a thing as an “average housewife” these days.  I suspect there isn’t, but…the concept lingers on, regardless of the fact that the real thing has deservedly vanished into the ether.)  I was not sitting there chatting on my cell phone, nor was I doing whatever it is that everyone else does while they’re sitting around staring at their “smart” phones for hours at a time.  (I don’t even have one of the fool things.  My phone’s a flip phone, and that’s plenty good enough for me:  it does the one thing I need it to do, in that it makes phone calls.)  I was sitting there reading a book.  Not some flimsy fashion mag, not a parenting-for-dummies handbook, but a history book.  Admittedly, it was a fairly general survey, but there’s no way he could tell that.  (Nor, I suspect, would that have made any impact on his reaction to the book.)

So, really, the question is, was this guy treating me in that condescending manner because I’m female, or does he treat everyone like that?

I don’t have an answer to that question, naturally.  But it seemed worth asking.

This is why I don’t like the big stores.

Published February 2, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

I know I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t want my hobbies to intrude on this blog, but this took up most of my day (even though I was supposed to be writing the paper that’s due Thursday) and I’m still quite irate about it, so I really don’t have much else to say, so I’m going to be bitching about why today’s experiences reinforced my hatred of Best Buy.

I’ve hated them for years.  It started when their sales clerks (or the managers of same) decided that it was good policy to hassle customers in the most simple, self-service departments (especially DVD), and was then driven to boycott levels when they handed out flyers for “ladies’ night” which was all about “teaching” female customers how to use technology to stay in touch with their friends and also featured free make-overs and other such horse dung.  The only way to describe that flyer was “corporate misogyny” and it made me decide I would never shop there again.

Once in a while, I’ve had no other options, but usually I avoid the place like the plague.  (And that corporate misogyny thing was like five years ago or so, I should point out.  And may well have been an example of localized corporate misogyny for all I know.  I already hated the place anyway, so it hardly mattered.)

Now, fast-forward to the present.  One of the greatest graphic adventure games of all times, Grim Fandango, just got an HD overhaul and saw re-release last week on PC, PS4 and PSVita.  I don’t game on the PC anymore.  Trying to keep up with equipment requirements is too expensive, especially since I don’t have a good place to set up a desktop, and therefore have to use a laptop.  So it had to be the console version.  But I didn’t have either console.  But the quality RPGSs have been going handheld lately anyway, so I figured a Vita was eventually inevitable, so I thought “fine, this’ll be the game the makes me buy one.”  But they’re pretty pricey.  (Though slightly under half the cost of a PS4.)  So I wanted a way to cut costs.  And trading in my PSP wasn’t happening, ’cause there’s too many games for it in my collection, and of course the Vita isn’t backwards compatible.  (Well, okay, it is, technically, backwards compatible in that it can play games that were programmed for the PSP, but they have to be downloaded from the Playstation Store.  The Vita takes little cartridges or something, rather than the UMB disks that the PSP took…so anything I’ve already bought can’t be played on it.)  But after thinking about it a while, I realized that I might be able to get a big chunk taken off the cost by trading in a cell phone.

Let me explain about my cell phone.  It’s a flip phone that I’ve been using since 2008, and I have no intention of trading it in for another one any time soon.  Because I only use it for making phone calls, and then usually only in emergency situations.  I’m on a pay-as-you-go carrier, and they have a thing called a “service preserver” that lets you maintain your phone service for a year by paying $90 in one lump.  So long as you don’t use up the $90, anyway.  And I have never used up that $90 in a year.  My cash balance on that sucker was so high that I literally wasn’t going to be able to pay this year’s $90, because it would have gone over the maximum cash balance amount.  (And yet, catch-22 style, I still would have been required to pay it to keep the phone active.)  So I went to the carrier’s store, and looked at what phones I could buy with that balance.  Seeing the most expensive smart phone I could buy from them with the money I already gave them and would never be able to use, I went to GameStop’s website and checked how much I could get from them for trading that phone in.  It said I could get $100…but it listed the phones’ values by carrier, and didn’t list my carrier.  I went into the store and asked them, and they said they didn’t accept phones from my carrier.  Asking around a while, I found that the only place that did take them was Best Buy.

I didn’t like that any, but I figured $100 off the price of the Vita was worth it, so I went ahead and ordered the phone to trade in.  (I know it sounds stupid to buy a phone just to trade it in, but what else was I going to do with that cash balance?  I could never talk on the cell phone enough to use up that money; I don’t have enough to say.  And it’s not like I had any way of getting the money refunded.  Once the company has it, they’ll never give it back.)

So today was the day I set out to trade in the unused “used” cell phone to get the PSVita.  The guy at Best Buy puts the phone’s information into his computer, and…

…tells me I can get $40 for it.


For a $200 phone.

If anyone else would have taken the phone, I would have said “no deal” and taken the thing elsewhere.  But no one would have, because the carrier’s not one of the big deal carriers.

As a result, when you add in the 2 year warranty (which seems important on a handheld system) I still ended up paying more than I would have for a used one, assuming I could have found a used one.

My hatred is renewed and recharged.

Better still (or rather, even worse), after I plug in the system, sit through the bizarre “first time you turn it on” movie, and then wait and wait and wait for the system update, I go into the store and buy Grim Fandango.  Only to be told that I can’t download it, because the system’s internal memory can’t hold the game.  Now, I knew it needed memory sticks like the PSP did, but Best Buy didn’t sell them, and the box made it sound like the internal memory could hold quite a bit more than it actually can.  (Or rather, when it said that “some” of the internal memory was dedicated to the OS, it actually meant “95%” of it was.)  So I had to go to GameStop and buy a memory stick, too.

Oh, and Amazon raised the price on this doll I really wanted, too.  After the price had been dropping for days, to the point where it was almost affordable, it shot right back up to where it was last week.  This day has been suck.

Except that Suikoden II, one of the greatest games ever, has been made available in the Playstation Store.  That, at least, was something good.  But everything else has been suck.

And yes, I’m aware that it’s grammatically garbage to say that the day “has been suck.”  I don’t care about grammar just at the moment.

And I still have to write that stupid paper.


Still have writer’s block

Published January 16, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

I just can’t figure out how to continue book 2 of the trilogy I started with this year’s NaNo novel.  I mean, I know what needs to happen in the scene, and the following scenes, and I’m looking forward to much of what’s to come later on, particularly the scenes between Sondra and Eddie (aka Cassandra and Odysseus), but somehow I just can’t find the way to get that one scene moving.

I think there are two reasons I can’t get it to move:

1) I don’t really know the characters very well.  Their mythological counterparts (Agamemnon and Iphigenia) haven’t really played much of a role in any of my directly myth-based fiction.  (Well, technically they have, but indirectly in Agamemnon’s case, and in Iphigenia’s case…she was a very different character then.)

2) The type of scene–behind the scenes power play as a minor battle is taking place on the front lines–is one that I’m particularly alien to, not only in my writing, but even in reading and watching.

There’s not much I can do about reason two, but I think maybe if I work on reason one, I can jump-start the process.

Tomorrow, or maybe later tonight, I’ll try writing a short story about these two characters, not the original myth versions, but these new versions.  Something before the book started, to delve into their relationship with each other, and with the other characters in the book.  Maybe once I know them better, I’ll have less trouble with the scene.

Hmm, not much of a post, is it?

Well, I’ll go ahead and say a little about the book I’m working on, since I’m not sure how much I’ve said in previous posts that touch on the subject.  Originally, the book was going to be called “Helen of Space,” but that was before I realized it was merely part one of three.  That title is probably going to be the title of the third book, but I’m not sure what to call the first two now.  The series title is something like “The Ganymede War,” since it takes place on the moon of Ganymede.   Well, with some of the first book being on space stations in orbit around Jupiter, and probably at least half of the third book being in space around Ganymede and/or Jupiter in one way or another.

It’s very anime-inspired, particularly by shows like Gundam and Macross, so it involves–among other things–giant robots, though they’ve played a surprisingly small role so far, and will be all but absent from book two entirely, due to the structure of the story.  But most importantly, it’s not actually a re-telling of the Trojan War in space, though the original title might make you think so.  The characters are in fact the reincarnations of the various figures from the Trojan War, and over the five thousand years since the original war, they’ve been reincarnated repeatedly, and each time the war has played out essentially the same way over and over again.  Minor variations due to events outside the characters’ control (like the eruption of Vesuvius) and of course massive changes due to different historical circumstances, weapons technology, cultural conventions, et ceterea.  But always it’s started because Alexander/Paris seduces/abducts Helen, and the same people always die at the hands of the same foes.  (With a few variations.)  This time, however, Alexander/Paris is killed before he can meet Helen, so it looks like the war is off, until it’s stirred up for other reasons.

Naturally, no one remembers their past lives.  Except Cassandra.  But she’s still treated as insane, in part because she sometimes slips into other languages when she’s talking.

At first, I had hoped to make it unclear as to whether Sondra was really insane or not, to make it a point of mystery about whether or not the whole reincarnation thing was really going on, but as I started writing, I realized that there was no way of making Sondra seem insane to the reader.  One of the ways she sounds crazy to other people in her world is that she’s always referencing their past lives, things that are long forgotten two thousand(ish) years from now, but well known to us.  (For example, Sarpedon and Glaucos are named Sullivan and Gilbert this time around…so when Sondra meets up with both of them together, she starts cracking jokes about The Pirates of Penzance.  Modern people get that, but those around her don’t…and that makes it clear to the reader that she’s not actually insane.)

I’m not sure if I want to go ahead and ever get inside her head, though.  Well, okay, technically I’ve done that already; I wrote a short story that started out with the 20th century go-round of the war (where it was much smaller, needless to say, just a blood feud) and then had her waking up later in book 2 than I’ve gotten.  I could work it into the book itself, but…I dunno.  Doesn’t feel right.  It’s more about the relationship of that version of Patroclos and Achilles anyway.  (I’d come up with their story–more tragic than the usual Achilles-gets-his-friend/lover-killed-via-his-own-selfish-actions version–and wanted an excuse to write down at least part of it.)

The real question that I don’t have an answer for is whether or not Helen remembers.  Her name is always Helen, even when they’ve lived in places where that’s an impossibly weird name (Japan, China, Inca Peru), and Cassandra is so convinced that Helen remembers that for centuries she was sure that Helen was actually immortal, and kept re-starting the war intentionally.  She probably doesn’t fully remember, but has glimmers and glimpses of her previous lives.  Probably.

That’s something I can worry about later.

Right now I gotta find a way to get the story moving again.  This time last year I was writing up a storm.  It’s annoying that I’ve been spending far more time gaming and customizing dolls lately than I have spent writing.

Bad time at the movies

Published January 15, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Not that the movie was bad, mind you.  I quite enjoyed it.  It was just the experience of going to see it that was bad.

It started out bad in the embarrassing way, in that a woman of my years should not be attending the cinema in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday accompanied by her parents and brother.  It’s just pathetic.  But I’m used to that, unfortunately.

So setting that aside, there are my special health considerations in going to a movie.  They’re not the usual kind a person might have.  The easier to deal with (and to explain) is that I have problem knees.  They don’t like being motionless for any length of time, and they dislike even more the idea of being bent for long periods of time.  This makes sitting in a movie theater for a whole movie potentially disastrous, especially for a movie as long as that one.  Fortunately, the theaters around here all have the special areas for wheelchairs, which have nice bars behind them, so I can sit behind the wheelchair area and put my feet up.  Probably impolite, possibly even against some kind of regulation and/or etiquette, but at least I’ve never done that when someone actually had their wheelchair in front of those bars.  (In fact, I’ve rarely seen anyone in a wheelchair at the movies around here.  Possibly because I rarely go at peak hours, preferring weekday afternoons, when there aren’t many people.)

Okay, so that’s the easy one.  The hard one has to do with my left arm.  It has a strange condition, leading it to feel hot almost all the time.  If there’s a name for that condition, I don’t know what it is.  (I’ve spoken to a couple of doctors about it, and neither has had any clue what it is or what’s causing it, and one of them quite clearly thought I was making it up “for the attention.”  (He was one of those “old-school” doctors, in the sense that he probably should have retired twenty years ago.))  I’ve had this condition for years now, so apart from the fact that it makes it very hard to sleep, and driving can be unspeakable (given that the sun beating through the window on my arm can cause extreme anguish in the summer, and even through my heavy winter coat it still causes discomfort), I’ve mostly learned to live with it.  But one of the most annoying things about it is that the proximity of another human body to my left arm can exacerbate the condition badly.

Meaning that at movies, I have to sit with either an empty seat by my left arm, or with my left arm on the aisle.  My family knows about this condition, and so we always sit with me on the end, so my left arm isn’t discomfited further.

Today’s big mistake was letting my parents go in first to get seats while my brother and I dealt with the concession stand.  Because I get into the theater, and they’re sitting there, with an empty seat to my father’s left…and a man sitting in the seat beyond that.

Because that other man was sitting directly in the center of the row, he had to have been there before my parents got there.  So they purposefully picked seats where I absolutely could not sit in the seat they had left open for me.

After spending about thirty seconds trying to hold my arm across my body and thus keep it away from outside body heat, I had to get up and move to the other side of the theater, sitting alone next to the aisle.  They did not follow me over.

And my father acted like I was being unreasonable.

Trying to sit in any of the seats available where they were was literally causing me physical pain.  And I was the one being unreasonable?

Keep in mind, this was not a crowded theater.  Apart from that one man sitting in the middle of the freakin’ row, there were two, maybe three other people in the whole room.  There was no reason for my family to be clumped up right next to that guy.

To top all that off, the theater was so cold that I had to use my coat as a blanket to keep warm (though I carefully didn’t drape it over that arm, which helped a bit), the staff forgot to close the door that led back out to the lobby, so I had to go out and do it myself, because the excessively loud dialog from the neighboring film was drowning out the movie we were seeing, and I had had a very light lunch in expectation of popcorn, meaning I was excessively hungry by the time the movie let out, since the popcorn had stayed with my parents.

My arm is now acting up so badly that when I put my coat back on again after the film, I had to take it right back off again, because it felt so hot that it was like sticking my arm into a fire.  It settled down briefly during my bath, but now it’s screaming at me again.  I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep tonight.

Why me?

Published December 7, 2014 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m constantly plagued by little things.  The worst part about that is it makes me feel shallow and selfish for complaining, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying having to put up with it all.

Today, during my bath, my space heater packed it in.  I only got it last month.  (Or was it October?  Well, close enough, either way.)  And because the store didn’t have price tags on the shelf, I ended up paying a lot for it, about twice what I had expected to.  (But I couldn’t bring myself to tell the cashier that I hadn’t realized it was that expensive and wanted to put it back.)  So unless it miraculously starts working again, I’ll have to take it back tomorrow.  (It has a year’s warranty on it, thank goodness.)

But it’s not like I can do without a space heater in the bathroom.  It’s on the back of the house, and it’s got one of those windows with thick glass bricks around an openable window with a screen.  The glass bricks probably do a pretty good job of keeping out the cold, but the central part that can be opened is just a thin bit of plate glass, and it lets in a lot of cold air in the winter.  Fortunately, the glass doors to the shower/tub keep the worst of that out of the toilet area, but if I didn’t have a space heater, taking a bath would be frigid, no matter how hot the water.

Sigh.  Like I said, constant plague of little things.

Just hang up the phone and live already!

Published October 15, 2014 by Iphis of Scyros

There’s this type of person out there who apparently cannot function unless they’re talking on a cell phone.

Driving their cars, waiting in line in a store, going to the restroom, walking down the street, no matter what they’re doing, they’re yammering away into their cell phone.

I always know when my mail’s about to be delivered, because I can hear the mail carrier coming, because of the loud cell phone conversation.

When I was trying to return some cat food that I got overcharged for, the woman in front of me in line was having an involved conversation on her phone while her return was being processed.

As I was leaving the store, the woman putting stuff in the back of her SUV (sparkling clean, and therefore almost certainly not needed) was talking away on her cell phone, despite that she had someone else in the car with her!

Those are the ones that I really don’t get.  They’re sitting there in a car with someone, or walking down the street (or through a store) with someone, but instead of talking to the living, breathing person beside them, they’re talking to their phone instead.  Now, yes, I know there is presumably a living, breathing person on the other end of the phone call (unless they’ve reached Miku), but that doesn’t make it any less rude to the person they’re actually with.

When I see these people who can’t start their car without starting a phone call first, I wonder what kind of life they lead.

I mean, do they routinely say things like “Hold on, I have to brush my teeth”?  Or do they kiss their phones goodnight?

I’d say they have a better relationship with their phones than some people ever have with their spouses, but these are probably the same people who are always lining up at the Apple store to get the newest version of the iPhone.  (Or at whatever other store to get the latest Android phone.  Same mentality; different operating system.)

I seriously doubt they have anything they need to say that’s so urgent that they have to discuss it all the time.  I’m sure it could wait until they get home.

The last time I heard someone on the phone in the ladies’ room (admittedly, this was about four or five years ago) the conversation she was having the entire time she was in there didn’t sound like it was of any importance.  Barely above gossip level, in fact.  So why did she feel the need to be shouting it down her cell phone while on the toilet?

Bigger question.

How did these people live before there were cell phones?  Some of them, yes, are so young that it may not really be an issue.  But I’ve seen women older than I am who seem to have their phones superglued to their hands.   So what did they do before there were cell phones?

Did they have to (gasp!) pay attention to what was in front of them?

Did they (horror of horrors!) have to talk to the people around them?

Did they (say it ain’t so!) have to acknowledge that the rest of the world exists?

And here’s the kicker!

What would these people do if cell phone service went out?

Cell phones–to my limited understanding of them–function via satellites.  So what if the satellites go down?  What if some meteor shower (or what have you) takes out the cell phone satellites?

Normal people should still be able to function just fine.  But these people who need to talk on their cell phones all the time, what about them?  Are they going to start dying of “cell phone withdrawal”?

I’m not sure if it’s more pathetic or galling.

What I am sure of is that every time I see one of them doing a terrible job of driving because they’re so busy talking on their cell phone, I want to use telekinesis to make their phone implode.  (Sadly, I don’t have telekinesis…)

You’re killin’ me, Will!

Published September 19, 2014 by Iphis of Scyros

I know it was foolish of me, but I tried to finish reading “Troilus and Cressida” last night.

I managed to get to the end of Act 1.

So I had left off immediately after learning that for some reason Shakespeare had combined Aias and Teukros, right?  Well, as soon as I started reading again, then there’s another horrible bombshell, because he starts describing the man’s personality, and accuses him of literally having every possible vice and character flaw.  (Seriously:  the line reads that there is “no attaint but he carries some stain of it.”)

As I am quite the fan of Aias–he’s my second favorite (lol, that’s appropriate) after Patroclos (well, that part’s new)–that already ticked me off.  Yes, he’s always described as speaking slowly, but slow of speech is not the same thing as slow of wit!  And one of the most common epithets used to describe Aias is “great-hearted” because he’s so gentle of spirit, kind of heart, and generally awesome!  When Helen is on the wall identifying all the Greeks for Priam, Aias is singled out as being the most handsome man there, and in ancient Greece, “handsome” encompassed all mental virtues as well as physical ones.  (Literally.  They used the same word for “good” as for “handsome” and about half a dozen other positive traits…which is probably both why Athene wanted the golden apple, because the word for beautiful was also the word for “good” in a number of other contexts.  Also why they thought Alexander/Paris was a good choice to be the judge, because they mistook his fair face for a fair mind.)

Anyway, I struggled on past the egregious assault on Aias’ character, and kept going, and apart from balking at the idea that Troilos managed to live to the age of 23, I mostly had no other problems with the rest of that scene.

But then the Trojans left the stage and the Greeks came out.

Oh.  My.  God.

It’s hard to describe what that did to me.  It’s one thing to see Hollywood abusing Greek myths, because Hollywood is generally abusive to source material unless the creator is alive and present and ready to sue them for screwing it up.  (Okay, that was slightly unfair, I admit.)  But William Shakespeare, revered as one of the greatest writers of all time, many of whose plays I dearly love….seeing him mutilate this source material that’s so dear to my heart…!

Actually, it brings up the very good question of why the heck I would put myself through this agony, and I don’t really have an answer.

(Unless I do end up doing my thesis on how the portrayal of myths have changed across time, because if I do, and if I focus on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclos, then both Chaucer and Shakespeare would be important steps.  (Though I don’t know, off-hand, if Patroclos is in Chaucer’s version.  But even if he isn’t, that in itself is relevant.))

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There was actually one moment after the Greeks came out that I liked, which I’ll get to below.  But…only the one.

Because we quickly got to what I presume will be the Greek sub-plot of the play.  Odysseus explained that there was a morale problem among the troops, and that it was because of Achilles, who stays in his tent all day with Patroclos.  That would be fine and dandy if this was the tenth year, and the reason was because Agamemnon had taken Briseis away.  That is, after all, how the story goes.  But no, this is only the seventh year of the war, and Briseis isn’t even listed on the dramatis personae at the front.  (The annoying thing about it being the seventh year is that I won’t get to see Pandaros die.  He was totally freakin’ annoying me.  But at least I can savor his death in the Iliad, which is a fairly nasty one, too, a fact I can enjoy since it’s him.  He was, after all, always hateful.)  Anyway, no, the reason–according to Shakespeare’s “Ulysses”, who I hope is pulling an Athenian stage Odysseus and lying through his teeth for his own nefarious reasons–that Achilles is hanging out in his tent all day is because Patroclos is performing insulting imitations of the elder kings to amuse him.

I just about rage-quit the play then and there.

Because Patroclos is the nicest guy in the entire war!  He’s even nicer than Hector!  He’d never say or do anything to offend the old or the powerful or the inoffensive!  (He would, I think, insult Thersites, because who wouldn’t?)  Yes, he mocks his enemies in battle, but trash talking is normal and they all do it.  (And some of Hector’s trash talking had a much nastier edge to it than Patroclos’.  Uh, assuming he didn’t realize that last victim of his was Hector’s half-brother.  Then saying that stuff about him was rather cruel, considering he was, essentially, saying it to Hector.)  In fact, I doubt it’s an accident that the two nicest of the young warriors in the Iliad are also the two whose deaths form the emotional crux of the story.  Though that does say rather terrible things about Greece in the Archaic Age…

Really, the only reason I intend to eventually go back and finish the rest of the play is that there were a couple of places where the language Odysseus–sorry, “Ulysses”–used implied that Shakespeare knew that Achilles and Patroclos were lovers, so I want to see how that plays out, if it ever goes beyond the subtext level, et cetera.

Okay, so moving past my whiny complaints, let me get to the part that I liked.  As soon as the Greeks come out, Agamemnon and Nestor begin talking about how they’re having so much trouble in the war.  Then we get the following speech from Odysseus:


Thou great commander, nerve and bone of Greece,

Heart of our numbers, soul and only spirit

In whom the tempers and the minds of all

Should be shut up, hear what Ulysses speaks.

Besides th’applause and approbation

The which most mighty for thy place and sway,

And thou most reverend for thy stretched-out life,

I give to both your speeches, which were such

As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece

Should hold up high in brass, and such again

As venerable Nestor, hatched in silver,

Should, with a bond of air strong as the axle-tree

On which heaven rides, knit all the Greekish ears

To his experienced tongue, yet let it please both

Thou great, and wise, to hear Ulysses speak.

So we get through that whole lengthy speech, and he’s just saying “let me talk now,” right?  Followed by Agamemnon somewhat snippily telling him to speak, with the implication of “did you think I asked you out here without wanting your advice?”  That made me crack up for a rather surprising reason:  I had Odysseus do something similar in my novel.  Of course, my Odysseus doesn’t have such beautiful poetic diction, because I’m not a very good writer.  (At least I’m honest, right?)  But there was just something about the notion that I had unwittingly done something that Shakespeare had done centuries ago that made me feel good.  But then, as Marlon said, “Happy feelings gone!”

Anyway, just to be doing, I want to quote myself, too.  The context is the hoplon krisis, the debate over who will receive the armor of Achilles, and the chapter is in first-person narration by Aias.  (The whole novel is like that; every chapter has a different narrator.  It’s kind of more a long sequence of vignettes than a proper novel.)

“It is a most difficult task to guess what man will be of most use to these combined forces in our desperate effort to regain Helen, fair Queen of Lacedaemon, from the Trojan barbarians,” Odysseus begins, “and I do not envy those who will be asked to make this decision.  But if I may humbly state my case, I hope I will be given leave to speak.”

All that was just the introduction?

“He just asked you to,” Diomedes says.  He’s angry.  He must want the armor, too.  But he doesn’t want to compete with both of us.  Or just one of us.

Odysseus is favored by Athene.  I have no divine patron.  Am I doomed to lose for that?

So, essentially, as soon as I got to the last line of “Ulysses”‘ speech in the play, I found myself quoting myself and saying “All that was just the introduction?”  Arrogant, I know, but….sometimes a girl just can’t help herself.

(In defense of my novel, let me hasten to point out two things.  One, it’s not always in the present tense.  It just depends on the events of the chapter, and the fate of the narrator at the end.  Two, the staccato sentence structure in the narration is peculiar to Aias.  No one else’s narration is like that.  But since the ancient authors all say he speaks slowly, I wanted to indicate that somehow, and giving him short, simple sentences seemed to make more sense than just repeating that he speaks slowly.)

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