lunedì, settembre 17, 2012

Old Man River, he just keeps rolling along, in between nap breaks

Slowly, slowly, with big breaks in between, things are getting done. Administrative things, physical things. Today I got a start on baby laundry. I know that's a little crazy given it's possibly two whole months pre-emptive (they won't let me go past 40 weeks, my midwife thinks, given my blood pressure) but my energy levels are so uneven that I can only do things as I have the energy for, in short bursts, and in between naps and just sitting here enjoying feeling Ren moving around and being two weeks too big for his/her age.

And there are so many cloth diapers to wash. We have a bigger range of gifted cloth diapers than I had any idea existed eight months ago. I reckon we've got one of everything - enough to start a museum. I already have a pretty good idea which kind is going to be my favourite - we'll see if I'm right. And indeed, we'll see if we can keep our balls together to keep using them instead of switching to disposables. The money difference is just so huge (especially given that we didn't pay for any of the diapers in the first place) that I'll feel like a bit of a shitheel if we don't.

Among the administrative things getting done, I found someone who would insure me at a reasonable price - the same big old bank we have our mortgage, etc. with. It turns out the two other places I'd applied to were too fly-by-night to actually have a consultative nurse in on the process who could work out exemptions (that is, the F-word and the baby won't get a payout if I kick the bucket from something related to my high blood pressure, which is rather a shame, as it's certainly the most dangerous thing on my horizon, besides the dumbcunt way Australians drive), so it was easier for them to just say no.

Seriously. That's Australia. Somehow, it's better business for a company to employ a bunch of phone jockeys to decide the whole process by asking people a bunch of yes or no questions than it is to pick up extra clients by outsourcing some to a consultative nurse. They're too lazy to go to the trouble of taking your money here. One really does get a feeling, sometimes, of a country full of people just weighed down with all the cash in their pockets, looking for some fucking relief from having to carry it all. Anyways, I doubt it's just Australia. It's just this is the first place I've had to go through these sorts of processes.

Anyways again, I really would like to get as much done, even ridiculously pre-emptively, as I can in the next week and a half. Before my brain turns to utter mush and during a week of work downtime for the Chinese national holiday, I want to take care of two assignments for my uni class in Chinese politics. The exam I've deferred for half a year or so - can't do that with the assignments. And I think they'll be fun. Certainly more fun than pre-washing three or four dozen diapers.

Anyways a third time, this pretty much describes my mental and working rhythm at the moment:

domenica, settembre 16, 2012

Kinshasa . . . shit.

This weekend was nice. We had lots of social time, which (although I probably would have physically preferred to sleep through it) I made myself enjoy on the principle that it will be hard to have it and enjoy it before two months are up. But the highlight was watching Apocalypse Now at a local cinema that has a one-a-month classic movie night.

Apocalypse Now has the distinction of being the only film adaptation that I like of a book I love. It also has the related distinction of being my favourite war movie. I've complained in the past was coherently as I'm able about how I'm fucking sick of being subjected to the narrative of the loser as pertains to the Vietnam War, and even mentioned Apocalypse Now in that regard. Good God, Vietnam movies where the war is treated as some sort of American coming-of-age story are a whole fuckin' sub-genre. They got their asses kicked despite killing about a kabillion people in three different countries and engaging in an incredibly expensive military strategy - what I'm interested in is how the winners managed that, not in how that made the losers feel. Maybe if there'd been a better social focus on that in the years since the war, Americans would be better at wars these days. Or at least better at picking'em. (Here's an interesting doco more along those lines.)

And don't give me that shit about how the Americans lost in Vietnam, rather than the Vietnamese having won there, because the war was unpopular in America. Just about all wars are won or lost depending on how popular they are back at home, and if they "end" while they're still popular enough, they haven't really ended (see World War II and the whole fuckin' Middle East). Americans and Vietnam aren't some magical unicorn exception to that. 

Nonetheless I love Apocalypse Now as a war movie above all others because it captures the utter chaos and ridiculousness of anonymous organized conflict and how people die in the same way Heart of Darkness captured the utter chaos and ridiculousness of how people died in the organized exploitation of the Congo under Leopold The Fuckwitted Cunt of a Belgian (see elsewhere for me going on and on about that). For me it isn't a movie about Vietnam so much as a movie about the chaos and ridiculousness of unchained brutality overseen by an administration - about how administration, how the professional maintenance of some sort of predictable status quo, doesn't equate with less brutality and inhumanity. This shared illustration, more than the plot, is what makes it a successful adaptation of Heart of Darkness.