Friday, March 25, 2016

Armchair Traveling, Modern Freak Shows, Benedict Samuel, and What I Don't Like About George Simon

1. Went to do my morning ritual of reading an old post.

Today I reached my 2012 pretend trip to Australia.

This was where I consoled myself with a postponed trip to Australia by creating a fake one.

I'm kind of impressed. The first post seemed very realistic. I won't give myself too much credit, though, because it takes place in Sydney. We had already been there twice, so it probably wasn't hard to create pretend days there. The same might not be said for the posts when I wrote about places we've never been.

I sort of regret not finishing the project. I quit midway through.  I don't think it was a workload issue—more of a self-esteem one. I didn't get much positive feedback, and I imagined readers were bored or that they thought the project was stupid.

Then I made one mistake about a toilet. Someone commented to correct me—in a very kind way.  But it made me feel overwhelmed and maybe...vulnerable? I had wanted to think that I could get all the information I needed from the Internet—that I didn't have to go to Australia to know what I wanted to know. But the toilet thing proved otherwise.

Maybe I worried that if one thing was wrong, many things were wrong, and people were snickering about it behind my back.

2. Looked for the comment about the toilet, and couldn't find it.

I started to think that certain family members, who respond to my anger by lying and denying that whatever is bothering me never happened, might be right. Maybe my brain IS totally inventing false memories.

But then I looked through my emails. It was there. So I was only wrong about it being in comments.

There's one thing I DID get wrong—or it's just a matter of perception. When I was looking for the toilet comment, I saw that I did get a fair amount of comments about my pretend trip. There were more than I remembered.

I also saw something else that I think contributed to me deciding to quit.  In real life, we had taken Jack to the doctor for a bad stomachache. Then I used the experience for inspiration in a pretend-trip-to-Australia post. I think maybe I worried that I was exploiting a bad situation?  Now it seems kind of silly. I'm sure a lot of fiction writers use their family's real life health situations for insight and inspiration.

Or maybe it's because I wrote it so soon after the experience?  It's like, Thanks, Jack for having horrible pain in your stomach! Now you've given me a great idea for what I can write today! Maybe tomorrow Tim can break a bone, and I can use that!

3. Thought it would be different if months or years after a medical drama one uses the experience for inspiration and insight when writing a story.

When you use it in a story that you're posting that day, or within a few days, it does kind of smell like exploitation.

4. Thought of it in another way.

Writing about it could have been therapeutic in a way. The experience was scary and stressful for me.  I think that's probably WHY I put it in the story—because I wanted to talk about it. But maybe after I did it, it made me feel conflicted about things.

5. Concluded that there were multiple reasons why I quit the project, but they were all related to self-doubt and other emotional difficulties I was having at the time.

6. Wondered if my fiction writing is better or worse when I'm having emotional problems. Or does it not make much of a difference?

Maybe it would depend on the reader...since it's all a matter of perspective, anyway.

7. Started watching an episode of Home and Away.

8. Heard Leah (Ada Nicodemou) call Alf (Ray Meagher) dad.

He's her father?

I did not know that.

9. Consulted Lord Wiki and the Back to the Bay website.

So far, I'm not seeing anything about Leah and Alf. Maybe I misheard. OR maybe Leah is confused, because of her brain aneurysm.

10. Saw in a later scene that it WAS a mistake, and Alf is taking it as a sign that Leah's health is in major jeopardy.

11. Felt bad for Leah and her family.

The family, and the doctor, wants Leah to get surgery for her aneurysm.  She doesn't want it.

I can see both sides.

I definitely feel for the family. Leah's acting stressed and unhinged. On top of that, the aneurysm can burst at any time and kill her.

Leah's afraid of the surgery. She worries it will kill her or leave her permanently disabled. And that is possible. I'm not sure of the risks, though.

I think mostly Leah's decision is due to her faulty brain. If her brain was working better, I think she'd get the surgery. I think she's being irrational, because she has brain problems.

The whole thing makes me think of mental illness treatment. I'm not a big fan of psychiatric drugs, but I do accept that they're a lifesaver in some circumstances. I just think they're too readily described.

It seems to me that basically Leah's suffering from a mental illness brought on by the brain injury. In her case, I think she needs medical intervention.

I guess what I'm imagining is if I was in a situation where my family wanted me treated, and I didn't want it. What if I'm right, and they're wrong?  Some members of my family seem quite supportive of psychiatric drugs. What if they force or push me to be on treatment when I feel this is the wrong thing to do. On the other hand, what if being put on drugs is the right thing to do, but my mind is so messed up, I'm not thinking clearly enough to realize that?

12. Figured there are many families facing this very dilemma.

13. Started watching more of Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo.

14. Saw that 1970's Cleo had a feature about lesbian mothers.

For those days, that seems pretty progressive to me.

Then again, I think Cleo was pretty progressive for its time.

15. Thought about how the article might not have been very progressive. It might have been more like a freak show kind of thing.

It's like sustained breastfeeding is sometimes in the news, but not as a positive and/or healthy thing. It's usually presented as a really strange and negative thing.

16. Had an image of how these articles and features work. I don't think they come right out and say something is gross or wrong. The story is presented as being objective. But they interview people who are not easily relatable, who takes things to the extremes, and who don't have the most appealing persona.

On top of that, with the right questions and the right editing, they can make the interviewees even more unlikeable.

Then they also have professionals give their opinion about why what the interviewees are doing is wrong. Since they're professionals, their opinions are taken as fact, even though they might not have research to back themselves up.

17. Hoped that the Cleo feature on lesbian mothers wasn't like this.

18. Saw an actor, in Paper Giants, that looks vaguely familar. But I have no idea how to find him on IMDb without knowing his character name.  I hope someone says it at sometime.

19. Saw that the character's name might be Michael.

Michael died of an overdose, but I'm not sure if Michael is the guy I'm thinking about.

Well, it probably is. Because when Leslie (Jessica Tovey) heard that Michael was dead, there was a brief flashback of the actor that looks familar to me.

20. Saw that the actor's name is Benedict Samuel. And I can see from the IMDb photo, that it's the right actor.

21. Wondered if Benedict Samuel is related to the other actor with the last name Samuel. I forgot his first name.

22. Googled and found the name is Xavier Samuel.

I'm betting they're related. The names fit together.  I can imagine parents who name their kid Xavier would be the same type to name their kids Benedict.

23. Saw on Benedict Samuel's IMDb bio that he's in, or is going to be in, The Walking Dead.

And yeah. He's the younger brother of Xavier Samuel.

24. Saw That Benedict Samuel was in The Walking Dead last year!  I can't believe there was an Australian on the show, and I didn't know about it. A lot of times I sit there and check the cast for Australians. Or maybe I did it less in those days.

Also, it's not like I look at every single cast member.  That would get too time-consuming.

25. Saw that Samuel was in the last episode of season five.  I was probably too busy with the excitement and shock of the episode to go searching for Australians.

He's been in four episodes of the current season. We haven't started watching that yet.

26. Wondered if Alpha Wolf, Benedict Samuel's character, has been eaten yet.

Is he still alive?

27. Googled and saw that Alpha Wolf is an antagonist.

28. Learned from Lord Wiki's cousin that Alpha Wolf is the leader of a group called The Wolves.

So, Benedict Samuel probably has a pretty substantial part.

29. Guessed that The Wolves were in the comics, and I probably read about them.

I don't remember it, though.

I think I remember less about the second compilation book of comics than I do the first.

I don't remember much about what happens after Alexandria; though maybe the book ended soon after that?

30. Looked at the book and just got confused.

It all kind of looks alike—lots of zombies and lots of people looking terrified.

31. Thought that the version of Kerry Packer that's in Paper Giants is the opposite of the manipulative-type person I've talked about lately.

Packer's bark is worse than his bite. With my manipulative person, his bite is worse than his bark.

I think I read a little bit about people like Packer on the psychology site.  Well, I kind of skimmed it, because I was more interested in the manipulative stuff. But I think it's a matter of overt aggression vs. covert aggression.

Packer is gruff and intimidating. He has a very visible reputation. If someone comes out of his office crying, the other people standing around aren't going to be surprised.

32. Looked back at the psychology website.

There's a personality described called the channeled-Aggressive.

George Simon's description reminds me of the Packer I'm seeing in the miniseries.

They don’t mind it if others fear them or loathe them. They want everyone to know that they are a power to be reckoned with and have little regard for those whom they perceive to be less tenacious. They might even regard it as a perverted indication of respect if others cower in their presence. They are proud of their tenacity and lack of apprehension when it comes to taking on the challenges of life, and they ascribe to the firm belief that the spoils of life’s conflicts rightfully belong to those willing to do what it takes to be victorious.

33. Tried to think if I know anyone like this.

I don't think so.

Maybe in the past?

I HAVE probably seen that type of person on TV and in movies...but I can't think of any examples right now.

34. Saw that George Simon describes this type of person as heartless.

This is what I don't like about George Simon, and it's a pretty big thing.

I think it's very wrong to label someone as heartless.

I don't think you can judge someone's soul and/or mind based on their behavior.  Well, maybe you can judge one person.  I mean we all can make guesses. But that's different from making a sweeping generalization about all the people whose behavior fits into his little boxes.

What I DO like about his work is the boxes. I think Simon does a brilliant job of describing different types of aggressive people. But I disagree with his conclusions.

35. Saw that George Simon describes these aggressive people as defective.

Well, yeah. They ARE definitely defective, but so are we all.

We're all defective in our own little ways...or big or medium ways.

35. Finished watching Paper Giants for now.

I'll watch more sometime this weekend, probably.