Friday, July 27, 2012

Life, don't talk to me about life

Last night I took G to see Hot Chelle Rae. It was her first real concert and she loved it - she turned to me afterward and said "I'm hoarse from all that screaming and singing," and I said "That's the sign of a good show." I actually kind of like HCR even though I'm clearly at least 15 years older than the target demographic (doesn't hurt that the lead singer is hot), and I knew a few of their songs well enough to sing along, so it was fun for me too. Cold, though - one day I'll learn that even in July, it's chilly outdoors at 10 pm.

On a slightly related note, I've been thinking lately about what people mean when they talk about "having a life." To me, there are all sorts of different lives, all equally valid. If you spend your time going to your kids' soccer games and ballet lessons, that's a life. If you're a musician in a band and you tour 10 months out of every year, that's a life. If you dress up as a cartoon pony and go to conventions, that's a life. If you wander through museums alone and sit under a tree in the park to eat your lunch, that's a life. If you attend snooty parties and disparage the wine, that's a life. Whether you're married or single, have kids or no kids, cook fries at McDonalds or teach law at Harvard, that is your life, and no one but you should get to decide whether it "qualifies" as one according to any external standard.

As you may have guessed, this is on my mind because I get a fair amount of judgment concern from people who think I don't have a life. This baffles me because as far as I'm concerned, I do have one. I work and look after our home and pets. I take G to school and activities. I go to movies and plays and concerts. I shop, read, listen to music. When I can afford to, I travel. It sounds like a life to me, but maybe people don't recognize it as a "real" one because most of it only includes me and G, or because I don't fit the typical suburban social mold, or because I don't do things like camping and barbecuing that other people love (nothing wrong with those things, they're just not for me). And it's not that I need anyone's approval to like what I like and do as I please, but it would be  nice not to get the thinly veiled pity from people who think my life is defective or nonexistent because it isn't enough like theirs. Or almost as annoying, the overly hearty approval when I do happen to do something they deem valuable. "Oh you did X? Good for you! I'm so glad you got out." Uh...I wasn't paroled from federal prison, I just met some friends for breakfast, but thanks.

Anyway, it's Friday night, so I suppose I should go and do something people with no life do, like watch Star Trek and knit sweaters for my cats*...except even Star Trek-watching, sweater-knitting cat ladies have lives**, goddammit!

*Actually I'm going to watch The Bourne Supremacy and maybe bake some cookies.
**I bet there's a Star Trek Cat Sweater meetup group out there somewhere.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


G and I have both been sick for days with a virus I've dubbed the Venusian Swamp Plague. It starts with a sore throat, then rapidly evolves into all sorts of other nastiness, including sneezing, coughing, dripping, congestion, and a fever that lingers on and on. She's about a day behind me in the course of the disease, but we were both too ill on Sunday and Monday to do anything but huddle in my bed together, drink hot beverages, and watch Netflix.

By Tuesday, I was still weak, and I sounded like a whole pond full of frogs every time I opened my mouth, but was well enough to do a few hours of work. G spent the time nursing her cough, watching more Netflix, and feeling bitter that our tickets for the midnight Spider-Man premiere had gone to waste the night before. (We went to the first IMAX showing today, and I think that mostly made up for the disappointment.) This sort of thing should not be allowed in the summertime.

In other news, I've been in the mood to read time-travel stories for some reason. Right before I came down with the Swamp Plague, I read The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, which started out strong but ended up being not so great, with virtually no character development and a plot that was alternately rushed and snail-slow. After that I read Robert Heinlein's The Door Into Summer, which was much better in every way, but had a happy-ending romance that I found deeply creepy. Then just for nostalgia, I read Heinlein's Have Space Suit, Will Travel, which has nothing to do with time travel, but which I remembered reading and enjoying when I was around 10 or 11. Next up I have Replay, and after that I'm wide open, so hit me with your time-travel fiction recs if you've got 'em.

I've also been working my way through the original Sherlock Holmes stories - just finished A Study in Scarlet and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and started The Sign of Four, featuring the introduction of good old Mary Morstan. I quite like Mary in the Guy Ritchie films; not so sure how I feel about her here, but we'll see as I get further into it. I'm on vacation until next Monday, so I should have plenty of time for reading.