Monday, June 20, 2011

Adrenaline Surges

I survived my first "special music" performance in church. I've sung solos as part of a choir anthem, and I've sung a duet in a concert, but this was the first time I've sung apart from the choir in a service. It was scary because of my freaky musical stage fright issues, but I got through it. I don't think it was the best I could do, but it was still pretty good and I've got a good feeling about it, so maybe the next time will be less scary. It gave me a huge adrenaline surge, though. I had to sing for two services, and after the second one, the combination of adrenaline and relief had me really wired. I could have run laps around the church, but I had to go back into the choir loft. I was so fidgety during the sermon that if I'd been sitting with my mom, I'd have probably gotten the dreaded "behave yourself" pinch. But then when I got home, I was utterly drained. I spent most of the day on the sofa, when I wasn't napping.

Then I got another one of those adrenaline surges when I checked the mail this morning. I had a big, scary envelope from the IRS. I could barely open it, my hands were shaking so badly. But then it turned out to be a notice that they owed me money. I guess I made an error in my tax return, but they didn't say what the error was. Funny, but even when they owe me money, the tone in the letter made it sound like I'd done something terribly wrong. I had to read the letter a couple of times before I figured out what it was really about because it seemed to be a form letter for "you made a mistake" that's used both for times you owe them and for times they owe you, with only the little box with the amount on the side showing which it is. I don't think I can use this as an excuse not to work because I'm so drained from the fight or flight response. I'm back to the previous project for another round that I think will focus on voice and tone.

I had a pretty busy weekend, so there wasn't any movie watching. I was out most of the day on Saturday and then Sunday afternoon's couch time mostly involved the History Channel. They had a couple of good WWII documentary type things, but then there was one I only caught part of that seemed to be promoting the theory that the Nazis were using alien technology or may even have been aliens themselves. They claimed that the German rocket program was based on alien technology, which means the US space program was based on alien technology. The former journalist in me was screaming about the total lack of balance in this program. Their "experts" were all UFO nut types. They didn't interview or quote a single actual rocket scientist, so it was all very one-sided, which means there's zero credibility involved. But what do you expect from a network whose idea of "history" programming is mostly shows about pawn shops or driving trucks on ice?

But on Sunday night, with a complete lack of anything on TV or any OnDemand HBO movies I cared to watch, I finally started watching the A Game of Thrones series OnDemand. I got an advance copy of the first book in that series ages ago, made a stab at reading it but couldn't get into it (I must not have tried very hard because my bookmark was at page 26, though it's possible I'd skipped ahead a little and didn't find anything to encourage me to keep reading). I think my main problem was that each chapter is from the perspective of a different character, and there were a lot of short chapters, so I didn't really attach to anyone. I hadn't managed to fall in love with a character, which meant I didn't get into the book. However, I got into the TV show pretty easily, thanks to the visuals and actors I liked. I still don't have any particular character I've attached to, but the plot is intriguing me.

I found myself doing what I often do when watching a Shakespeare production on TV. I got out the book and started following along. The TV production seems to be pretty faithful to the book. Some of the scenes and dialogue are directly from the book. This doesn't seem to me to be a case where I could choose book vs. movie or where I look at them as taking place in different universes. This seems to me to be a case of the book and TV series being companions, where it's difficult for me to enjoy one without the other. I picked up the book mostly because I was having trouble keeping track of the characters. I wasn't picking up on the names, so when a character was talking about someone who wasn't there, I had no idea who they were talking about. The book helped me keep the characters straight while the TV series brought the world to life. I watched the first two episodes and will probably be catching up in marathon form. Then I may really read the book.

My main complaint is that it's very much an HBO production, which means the attitude that nudity+cursing=quality television. I don't recall the "you can't say this on broadcast television" cursing being quite as prominent in the book. There is nudity and sex in the book, but what's weird is that in those scenes in the TV series, the characters aren't nude, and then in scenes where the book specifically mentions clothes, that's where the nudity on TV comes in. So they took out the author's plot-related nudity while adding gratuitous nudity elsewhere. It's funny how people seem to be having sex fully clothed, and yet they like to walk around their rooms totally naked and take five minutes to very, very gradually ease themselves into a bathtub. I know HBO is using their main differentiator from broadcast television and basic cable networks, but sometimes it comes across as doing it just because they can. I don't have a problem with the nudity in general, but it's almost never done in a natural way, where someone happens to be removing clothes for a purpose. It's always filmed with long, lingering shots that are sure to give viewers a real eyeful, and it's almost always female nudity. With this series, you could probably put together a pretty good drinking game, and I find myself rolling my eyes a lot because it's just so blatant.

Still, this should keep me occupied during the wait for the Sci Fi summer series to start, and it may give me a new epic fantasy series to read without having to wait years between books.

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