Monday, September 07, 2015

The Draw of Saturday-afternoon TV

I know it's a holiday, but I tend to treat Labor Day like a second New Year's Day, a kind of fresh start in a new year, even though I'm not in school, and so I don't want to wait to dive into all those new things I want to accomplish. I'm also trying to stay a little bit more in a regular schedule so that I don't suffer too badly from the "what day is it?" confusion.

I've mostly had a quiet weekend. Saturday I spent more time in front of the TV than I planned, but I got sucked into a marathon of a series called "Secrets" on the Smithsonian channel. They take some artifact with a lot of legend around it and use modern science to analyze it. There was one on the "Spear of Destiny" that's in an Austrian museum and is said to be the lance that pierced the side of Christ at the crucifixion. That was debunked by spectrum analysis that showed the metal was from well after that time and was medieval rather than Roman. It was probably never used as a functional spear, but did seem to have been used to carry a banner. However, the other legend that it contains a nail from the cross wasn't entirely debunked. There did seem to have been something inserted, and markings on it indicate that it was believed to be significant to Christians. That doesn't necessarily mean it really was a nail from the actual cross, just that people believed it was. They can't get to any nail that's in there without taking it all apart, so that's not happening. But in analyzing the piece and records relating to it, it seems that the power of the spear was originally just supposed to be the nail, and it probably was carried into battle with a banner on it as something to rally around that gave people a psychological boost. It was a later king who took that legend and added to it, claiming it was the spear at the crucifixion and wrapping it in gold with an engraving to that effect. Then there was an episode about Blackbeard's ship and whether a wreck they found might have been it, based on the analysis of artifacts found and a comparison to records. They were using large-scale X-ray, MRI, etc. I was really fascinated by an episode about what was purported to be a Norse map of North America from before Columbus. The map itself appears to have been an expert forgery (though there is room for doubt), but the information it contains is actually supported by archeological evidence of Norse settlements in North America. So it's a fake that represents truth that probably wasn't written down.

I really should do more reading/research into Norse history and mythology because with my name it would have built-in branding. And Norse mythology goes way beyond the standard Odin/Thor/Loki stuff. Most Norse-based fantasy seems to stop there.

In between all these, I also got sucked into a Hallmark Channel movie. I have that bizarre addiction to those kinds of Christmas movies, but it turns out they make them all year long, and since they don't seem to be making romantic comedies for the big screen that aren't gross-out, raunchy stuff, this is about the only place to scratch that itch. I caught one that was apparently part of their wave of Valentine's Day movies (who knew?) called I Do, I Do, I Do, and it had the rather brilliant premise of being a Groundhog Day story about a woman reliving her wedding day over and over again. I'm a sucker for Groundhog Day stories, so I gave it a shot. It wasn't bad as those things go, though it was one of those "the wrong guy for the wrong reasons" premises, and it's hard to pull that off without the heroine looking like a jerk or a twit. Jilting a guy at the altar is a bad move, so they have to make the guy look pretty awful to justify it, but then if he's that awful, she looks like a twit for not realizing how awful he is until they're at the altar. In this case, they tried to give her a backstory that explained her choice, that she saw him as a "safe" option without risk -- but considering he more or less steamrollered her into getting married, let his mother plan the entire wedding without even consulting her, then chided her about hurting his mother's feelings when she dared to suggest that maybe she should get some say in her own wedding, there were so many red flags that he didn't seem at all like a safe option. Still, it was a cute movie with some fun moments that made a good backdrop for ironing and folding laundry.

This made me once again think that I could totally write one of these and do a better job.

But now I need to dive into my "new year" so I can let myself play this afternoon and evening.

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