November 13, 2007

Mixed Messages

"At some point in all our lives, someone you love or know will be affected by diabetes."

.'all our lives, someone you know or love': pronoun agreement would seem to require 'we'.

.'someone you love or know': are the two, as this seems to imply, really mutually exclusive? The philosophical implications are staggering.

The poster for which this phrase is a cutline advertises a fundraising--wait for it--bake sale. Cakes, pies, cookies, doughnuts, cupcakes, brownies, the whole nine yards. Nice compacting of effects: help create the condition at the same time as you're raising funds for its cure. Me? I want to start a new career handling the bar concessions for Islamic fundraisers.



You learn something new every day. There's a new product called
'White Light': you pull back your lips and press this gizmo against
your teeth, and besides emitting an eerie white glow it gives you a
dazzling smile until it wears off and you need another pressing. How
many of these before you get gold?

What happens if you smile too broadly and expose the yellow at
opposing sides of the mouth where the light doesn't reach? Or
does its irradiation spread across the whole span of the teeth
and in that case, how does it know to stop before bleaching the
tonsils and adenoids the same glist'ning white? Does it bleach
the gums or only turn them a sickly pink? Are these the colours
of the future so far as the innards of the mouth are concerned?

How long before 'Yellow Light' comes on the market, for that
distinctive villain or lowlife look in Hollywood action
pictures and crime drama on tv? Instant and iconic visible
identifiers are required in drama whose heroes and villains
increasingly subscribe to the same code of ethics (or absence
of same). Yellow teeth might work as well as black hats once
did. The more visible idiosyncracies you supply villains
with the more viewers will subtly lean in their direction

That's why it's best to keep the weird inflections, gimpy legs
and such for your repertoire of endearingly hopeless sidekick
types. Then again yellow teeth, like scruffy unkempt facial
growth, might go from being the signifier of a villain, to the
signifier of a rebel against social customs, to a universal
symbol of male sensitivity, virility and lawfully constituted
authority. But a change like that would hardly
happen overnight--it could take months.

I don't know whether the most popular Egyptian tooth
cleansing agent--urine--would be much use in obtaining
this now-fashionable stain. There are disadvantages
which the most powerful mouthwash, even aided by cologne
or aftershave, would be hard put to remedy.

Almost inevitably the next phase would be an indisputably
high-class social marker--one with the stamp of history on
it. 'Black light' could give authority and the upper classes
the same polish it gave Japanese Lords and Ladies in the late
Middle Ages. White teeth--even those slightly yellowed for
rebel effect--would be shunned as what ordinary plebeian
brushing could produce.

But why stop at black if artificial colour's what you want?
Why not red, green, blue, violet--why not all the colours at
once? Be the first on your block with a smile like a rainbow.
There's no trick to it, or if there is--it's only a trick of
the light.

C Martin Heavisides 2006


Aeolian. Byzantine. Copacetic. Duodenum. Elysium. Feldspar.*
Gelignite. Hymeneal. Iridescent. Jongleur. Kittenwood. Laproscope.
Marmoset. Necrophilia. Omphalos. Peripetaiea. Quirile. Rhodomontade.
Sequipedalian. Tarantella. Ucalyptus.* Vituperate. Widdershins.
Yellowjacket. Zamboni.

*Bet you thought I was going to say 'Firebreak'.
*All right, have it your way--Ukase.

November 6, 2007

Blood Clot

I've been having problems with an infected leg for a while, which as you can imagine is a special challenge if you're a walking courier. Monday I had to go to emergency because it wasn't responding to treatment. At emergency an ultrasound was taken to see if it mightn't be a blood clot instead of an infection. Which it turns out it is, for which reason I have an unexpected week off while I'm treated with daily needle injections of blood thinners. After a week of that I should be on tablets and able to work again, taking some precautions.

I'm going to make use of the time. Read through a few thick books on my shelf. Refamiliarize myself with the art books we have a solid row or two of. See what I can do about putting work up in files and submitting the files I already have up to as many markets as I can. (That'll depend on the ballooning in my leg not getting appreciably worse if I spend an hour with it not elevated--the treatment is lessening that effect though, so I think I'll be able to spend an hour or two a day on concentrated work.)

There's an interesting time paradox to my case. The nurse I saw this morning for my second round of injections wanted to know when exactly I'd come in, because according to the file she had in front of her, I'd come in on November 7, which is tomorrow. If I wasn't waiting six hours yesterday in emergency while I got through the ultrasound, awaited the results, had the results and awaited the needle--my wife went in at one point when I'd been waiting more than an hour after bloodwork, and found out they'd mislaid my case; the doctor came by when I was getting my injection and told us we could go, since I'd already had it--my leg turning a little more zeppelin each hour, if I didn't go through that yesterday as I say, it was certainly an unusually vivid and unpleasant hallucination. Don't look forward to going through it tomorrow.