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I've been thinking a bit about the meaning of the word "sick." I am 99% certain that I'm not actually sick in the technical sense - there is no virus or bacteria or whatnot running rampant through my system. But I got a bit of congestion from somewhere (went to the doctor; he thinks probably just allergies) that hit with a passion right as my system was coming back from the strep. Which led to ... not actual sickness, but probably TMI-ish symptoms you usually go through when you're sick.

Suffice it to say this weekend has not been a pleasant one. I'm finally feeling better, but for two days I wasn't able to keep down anything beyond water and am still aching in muscle groups I didn't know I had. But I suppose the fact that I can think about the philosophy of illness is an encouraging sign(!). Can you be sick if you just have the symptoms of it, without any underlying illness? Philosophically, I'm not so sure. Personally, though? I'm hard-pressed to come up with a better word.

The doc thinks this is as much psychological as physical. Stress-related. I've had a pretty miserable July, mostly due to the fact that the anniversary of a relative's death (from years ago but we were very close) comes right on the heels of my birthday. And for some reason it hit me very hard this year. I've not been sleeping well and dealing with regular nightmares, stressed out about finding a job, and even more stressed about the complete and utter lack of progress on two stories I've been sitting on beta comments over, just because I've been so shaken up with the RL stuff. And apparently that stuff can take a real physical toll after a while, and so one little thing like a bout with bad allergies will snowball into something bigger because you're body's too worn down to really handle it. The doc's prescription was some OTC decongestants and anti-nausea drugs to knock out the lingering effects of the congestion, but also a bit of fun when I'm back on my feet. I actually have a note on an Rx pad for one ticket to Guardians of the Galaxy, to be filled next weekend. What can I say, the man knows me.

Because I've basically been stuck in bed and not able to think properly, I've listened to the Swordspoint audiobook, which was really lovely. Even if you've read the book, it's a sight (or sound, I suppose) to behold, really excellent on its own. Also watched the fourth and fifth episode of Torchwood, which was decidedly less lovely. I'm a pacifist, and one of the things I loved about Who was this idea that he had a screwdriver rather than a gun. I grit my teeth a bit when there was that scene with Jack and Gwen learning how to shoot, that almost fetishized weapons. The cyberwoman episode seemed to carry that trend further. There seems to be less cleverness and spunk, and more guns blazing, than I'm comfortable with even outside the Who universe. I'll give it maybe another episode or two, but if it doesn't change, I'm fairly sure I won't be continuing. Which is a bit sad because I love love love Barrowman in Doctor Who. At least I still have the originals to rewatch.

I also reread Doyle's "The Five Orange Pips," which I quite liked in a lot of ways. Taken as a story, it has its faults; the characterization of Holmes seems a bit all over the map with him withdrawn in parts and all but jumping in the client's face the next. But the case is an interesting one, and more than that Holmes comes across as utterly human here. He's separated from Watson (this is set during John and Mary's marriage) and there are some really touching moments toward the beginning. And there's a sense throughout it all of things too big, too grand for Holmes to control through an act of will on his part. It's actually a very spiritual story in its way, and while I wouldn't expect Holmes to warm a pew on Sunday morning, there's a sense that he believes (or at least is aware of) in something bigger than himself. It's a nice counterpoint to "Devil's Foot," where he's so disdainful toward the supernatural. Which makes sense. He's not keen to accept people using God or religion as a cop-out, as a way of basically saying "there's no explanation for this event," and it's not a reality he finds comfortable or useless; but that doesn't mean he completely disbelieves, it's more that it's not something he finds useful or worth dwelling on.

Or maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there. As a religious person who likes thinking and talking about religion suddenly drawn to that hyper-rationalist Sherlock Holmes... well, I won't say I don't have my biases. I'm sick (or feel sickly, whatever) and so what's comfortable and interesting to me seems "right" just now. I may want to write an essay on that when I find my sea-legs again. Unfortunately, the list of "things I really should be writing" is getting a bit long at the moment.

On the Tolkien front, there's an interesting Silmarillion readalong going on over at Tumblr. Only instead of just discussing the chapter in a thread or post on that site, people are encouraged to reate fanworks. Some people do discussions on their own site related to the chapter. but there's also fanart, cosplay, all kinds of things. Check it out on Tumblr or via RSS if you're interested.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Aug. 4th, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad to hear that you're feeling better. A good friend of mine has been stress-related sick, with one symptom after another, for two years. She retired on Friday, and is anxious to see if everything abates now.
fractalwolf
Aug. 4th, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC)
My sympathies on being sick! And IMO mental stress can definitely contribute to physical stress/vulnerability, and vise-versa.

As for Torchwood - there's a lot of times that a gun solves the problem, and even more times some other form of death does it. There's also several instances of mercy killing/assisted suicide. We enjoyed the series overall, and we love Jack, but we haven't bought the DVDs because about half the episodes were so icky to us in some way that we'd never want to see them again.

#6 (Countrycide) is very possibly the first counter-argument that comes up when we think about buying the DVDs. It's just that ugly and grotesque. #7 involves major emotional manipulation, which is a big ick for me. #9 however, Random Shoes, is really kind of sweet, and I recommend it. It's not much tied in to the continuity, so you could watch it on its own.

If you're a Marsters fan (Spike from Buffy) it's worth watching the first episode of the 2nd season just to see him & Jack interact (including an awesome kiss). To the Last Man is sweet and sad. Something Borrowed is also sweet, and rather funny.

Season 3 (Children of the Earth) was... stupid. And angsty. And stupid. And very gun-focused. We are generally not the sorts of people that yell "You've got to be kidding me! They couldn't come up with anything better than that??" at the TV (we're much more likely to just laugh at gaping plot holes), but the sheer stupidity got to us at several points during that season, especially at the end of the season finale.

I honestly figured that the reason CotE was so gun-focused was because they were ramping up to the switch to America for the 4th season, Miracle Day. We didn't watch it for a long time because we thought it would be non-stop shooting and explosions, based on extrapolation from season 3. But it was actually much better. When you make everyone immortal, suddenly guns aren't the best solution anymore. Which is not to say there aren't guns, and there aren't definite gross bits, but overall it was much more a return to the Captain Jack we all know and love from Dr. Who.

Dunno if this babble will help with the decision! If you're looking for a more light-hearted "investigating supernatural events" you might try Warehouse 13. There's fun characters (although the character development promise they show early on never gets fulfilled), and there's basically no guns. Sometimes a real gun will get waved around, but what they actually shoot are steampunkish stun guns. The lack of character development caused us to wander off sometime during the 2nd season, but if I was ever long-term sick and fuzzy-headed and looking for something to watch, that'd be near the top of the list.
donutgirl
Aug. 4th, 2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
Or maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there. As a religious person who likes thinking and talking about religion suddenly drawn to that hyper-rationalist Sherlock Holmes...

I've always found it fascinating that the most logical, rationalist character in fiction was written by a man famous for his faith in the supernatural. I guess the majority of the SH stories were written before ACD developed his fascination with spiritualism, but still -- it makes for such an interesting psychological portrait.
lindahoyland
Aug. 4th, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
Sending hugs and get well wishes. I think allergies are pretty bad this year, at least they are in the UK. Could it be a sinus issue? That makes one feel queasy, aching, drained and depressed.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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