Monday, February 13, 2012

Lend a Puppet a Hand

So, I may have mentioned once or twice that I have three beautiful, clever, and talented children.  And I may have mentioned that one of them is a puppeteer/filmaker, or possibly a filmaker/puppeteer-it's hard to keep these hyphens straight. That would be Number One Son, Brendan.

Anyway, one weekend not long ago, Brendan got the idea to make a short film for entry into the Virgin Radio Fake Film Festival and he gathered together a few of his friends and shot this:

Requiem for A Dream in 60 Seconds (With Puppets)

This is Darren Aronofsky's disturbing story of drug addiction and it's impact on four interconnected people, compacted into a 60-second highlight clip, featuring puppets instead of the original cast of Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans, Jennifer Conelly, and Ellen Burstyn.  Even if you haven't seen the original film, you can pretty much follow its story in this short video.  If you have seen the original, this is almost more disturbing. And/or hilarious.

Brendan's film has made it into the top 24 and is eligible for the grand prize of $10,000 and the People's Choice prize of $1,000.  It would be awesome if you could take a moment and go to Virgin Radio's website and scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit your vote for Requiem for a Dream.  And, while you're there, take a minute or two (or twenty-three) to watch some of the other films entered, too.

But vote for this one, okay?

'cuz a puppet could use a hand every now and then.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Kraken 2.0

Right after I adjusted to the fact that a Kraken lurks in my shoulder and shared that nugget of information with the world here on the blog, I was notified of a pending Kraken upgrade.

You see, the symptoms that sent me to the doctor in the first place seemed to be getting worse instead of better.  Pain was increasing, mobility decreasing.  So doctor sent me up the Kraken expert ladder.  Turns out this was a mixed blessing.

Doctor 1 had "under-diagnosed" my Kraken.  I would seem that instead of the common Kraken tendinitis, I am being visited by the Great Arctic Kraken, also known as Frozen Shoulderus.  Not only that, but he has brought along his little friend Kraken arthritis.

I did not take this as good news, as Arctic Krakens are notoriously stubborn, requiring 2-3 years of diligent effort to tame on average. No one can explain why Artic Krakens choose to move into a specific territory, though several speculate the they are attracted by repetitive movements in the region.  Others go so far as to suggest that they may be attracted to stress, or women in menopause (Who? Me?).  Everyone agrees, however, that they mean business.

So off I go to the mighty Kraken tamer (commonly referred to as "the physiotherapist"), who takes one look at me and says "Oh dear".  Not terribly reassuring, I'll tell you.  Then he set about torturing the Kraken, or rather, me.  It was not fun, and I have been assured that I will be having this not fun twice a week for a year or so.  Not cool.

I was sent home with a couple of ridiculously simple little exercises.  On paper.  I am diligently practicing these exercises and I am absolutely gobsmacked by how much these idiotically simple little movements hurt all of a sudden.

All of that optimism that I was so adamant I possessed just a few short weeks ago flew out the window.  Being told that you will not raise your arm or sleep without pain for two years will do that to a gal.  I will confess to a day of wallowing in the Sea of Oh Poor Me.  Those waters are warm and deep.

Yet, this morning, that same slightly manic determination that figured out how to knit and spin with one hand in a cast from elbow to finger tip has surfaced again.  All things considered, this is a survivable catastrophe.  It will not be pleasant, and there will, no doubt be setbacks.  But I have support from my lovely family.  I also have two doctors and a physiotherapist working with me, and when she gets back from holidays, my RMT will get in on the Kraken taming.  I have a smorgasboard of Kraken-calming nostrums, ranging from herbal to narcotic.  In fact, the local medical community is treating this more diligently than they did the broken wrist.

Last week, my boss told me that his wife has a mantra: "The Universe is in complete and perfect balance".  Then he laughed and said that she only uses it when things are going terribly wrong.

The Universe is in complete and perfect balance.

And we will survive.

Monday, February 06, 2012

In Which We Meet a Kraken

Just as we are gearing up for the busy, busy spring-into-summer teaching whirl, we encounter...

..the Kraken.

The Kraken lurks in quiet, deep places, but occasionally surfaces to snare the unwary.  It is known to devour entire ships whole, and impair spinning progress on an epic scale.  It especially detests the long draw.

Krakens have a nasty habit of travelling about their territory and ...well...pooping.  They leave piles of nastiness throughout their range, little foul pockets of inflammation that can only be worked out with great care.  The problem with Kraken poop is that once you clean it up in one spot, the beastie deposits some in another.

The worst thing about the Kraken, though, is that it is nocturnal.  It will lie dormant during the day, lulling its victim into complacency, then strike as the victim is drifting into sleep.  These attacks are often sudden, and intense, leaving the victim laying awake for hours, waiting for pain-killers to kick in.

This Kraken has been lurking in these waters for some time, but with increased activity in the region, it has been awakened and is angry.  Steps must be taken to tame the Kraken, or defeat it.

After consulting with experts in the field, I have discovered that this Kraken is actually of the genus Shoulder Impingementus, family Rotator Cuff Tendinitisae.  These particular Krakens are, apparently, fond of people who use their arms in overhead arcing motions, or in front-to-to back swinging motions.  People like tennis players, weavers, and long-draw spinners. (Thank goodness I don't play tennis!) Or people who keep their shoulder in one position for extended periods of time, like computer workers, or worsted spinners.

So the Battle of the Kraken begins.  The Kraken has been x-rayed and identified, and is awaiting an MRI to survey any damage it may have done to its territory (besides the pooping).  Meanwhile, we are poisoning it into submission with anti-inflammatory medication and knocking it out with pain-killers for short periods so its victim can sleep.  Now begins the training of the Kraken, with exercises that I suspect will hurt me far more than they will hurt the Kraken. This same approach has tamed the giant lizard that lived under my kneecap for 6 years, so I am optimistic that I can befriend and tame the Kraken as well...

Awwww...see?  It's just a little guy.

I'm gonna kick its butt!