Down With the Sickness

[Cue David Draiman noises.]

We had a good run, but after somewhere between 22 months and 400 years (the illusion called “time” has meant even less since March 2020), the sickness finally caught up to me and my ol’ lady. We both tested postive for covid on Wednesday evening. Ooh-ah-ah-ah-ah, indeed.

But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I wanna start with an “in memoriam” of sorts for Mrs. Circlepit’s grandmother, who passed away last week at the age of 91. In a way, it’s fitting that we contracted covid while attending events surrounding her death and funeral, as her 90th birthday party in March 2020 marked the first instance of us inexplicably avoiding the virus (other notable situations and events include both of us working in the service industry and the two of us attending Louder Than Life last September). But I’m getting ahead of myself – I was talking about Grandma Circlepit (not her real name).

Both of my grandfathers died when I was pretty young – my maternal “papaw” when I was 2, and my dad’s dad when I was 5 – so for the vast majority of my life, I’ve only had grandmothers. My mom’s mom (aka “Good Grandma”) died in 2001, and my dad’s mom died more recently, but I can’t remember when exactly, because I didn’t like her very much. That might sound mean, but if I’m not gonna be be completely honest here, then what the fuck am I even doing? She was never very nice to me or my siblings, and she never bothered to learn my wife’s name even though she knew her for at least five years before she passed. I say all that to say this: when the missus and I started dating, she had all her grandparents (which was something I didn’t quite understand), while all I had was Bad Grandma.

Mrs. Circlepit’s maternal grandfather passed away less than six months after we started dating, so I didn’t get to know him at all, but all the surviving grandparents were very cool, and I enjoyed visiting with all of them every time we had the opportunity. Eventally, both of her dad’s parents slipped into ill health, suffering combinations of dementia and strokes, and they’ve been at peace for a few years now, which left her (and, by proxy, me) with one grandma, who I’ve apparently decided to call Grandma Circlepit. She was an awesome lady, and she lived and awesome life, and she had a bunch of kids, and they have a bunch of kids, and those kids are having kids now, and a positive side effect of her awesome life is that I have some awesome family in a time where some members of my biological family have decided to not talk to me anymore for various reasons (chief among them, sadly, seems to be my unapologetic disdain for #45 and my inability to keep my mouth shut about things that bother me).

But I was talking about Grandma Circlepit. She was a badass, and she will be missed. Also, attending her visitiation and funeral (and surrounding events and activities) seems to be how covid finally got the best of us, and that’s what brings me here today. We’re somewhere in the midst of quarantine (could be 2 days, could be 13, I’m really not sure), and we’re both feeling mostly okay, but the symptoms seem to come and go depending at least in part on how much sleep we manage to get the previous night. One symptom that hasn’t stopped for me is constant farting, which I fortunately still find to be hilarious…so far. I mentioned my flatulence recently, and the missus said “gastroinestinal distress is one of the symptoms, y’know”, to which I responded “I know that, but I didn’t think about farting being a part of gastrointestinal distress because I don’t find that distressing. It’s hilarious! I just assumed it meant bubbly guts.”

We’ve been drifting in and out of sleep and whatnot, and watching a fair amount of South Park and The Golden Girls and The Office, and we decided a couple of days ago to finally start watching the Star Wars saga in order (live-action movies only), from The Phantom Menace through The Rise of Skywalker (including Rogue One and Solo), an undertaking we first discussed sometime during The Shutdown, while watching The Mandalorian. We hesitantly kicked off Star Wars-a-Thon 2022 in the early afternoon, and within 30 minutes of beginning, we were kinda regretting the decision.

What follows are a few notes from my first viewing of Episode 1 in over 20 years:

  • The kid that plays Anakin Skywalker is either a much better actor than I remembered or is at the very least not nearly as bad as I remembered, although that might be due in part to seeing Hayden Christhensen (sp? – I don’t care, fuck him) take a giant shit all over the role twice since the last time I saw The Phantom Menace.
  • George Lucas should never have been allowed to direct another movie after the original Star Wars (aka Episode IV: A New Hope). That’s my favorite of the saga for purely nostalgic purposes, but I’m no dummy – Empire is clearly the superior film, and every Star Wars film that Lucas didn’t direct is better than anything from the prequel trilogy. I know it was his intellectual property at the time, but for the love of whatever you believe in, someone should’ve stopped him, at the very least after Episode 1.
  • Jar-Jar Binks is even worse than I remembered, and if the internet theories about him being an undercover Sith sent to bring the Republic down from the inside are remotely true, then fuck George Lucas even harder for making such a dumbshit character capable of fooling literally everyone, including Obi-Wan Kenobi and Liam Neesons.
  • Those Trade Federation dudes are racist as fuck. If I hadn’t seen the movie before, I would’ve fully expected them to throw in an “ah,so” every now and then, and maybe even a “me so solly” when they’re apprehended at the end. And that’s not even mentioning Jar-Jar and Watto. Did George Lucas black out and think it was 1945 when he was writing this screenplay?
  • That CGI is absolute dogshit. Industrial Light & Magic made amazing practical effects for the orginal trilogy (which Lucas famously urinated on when he re-released them theatrically in the runup to The Phantom Menace, and has continued to projectile shit all over with subsequent home releases), and I just can’t understand how anyone involved in creating that movie could think that shitty CGI looked better than 1977’s parking lot Death Star explosion. I’m sure there are plenty of movies from 1999 that have less realistic effects, but none of those movies had the budget of TPM, nor did they have an in-house studio to create those effects. I’ll just say, thank God for Disney, which is not a phrase you’ll hear or see from me often.

Long story short, we both decided separately during The Phantom Menace to find a summary video on YouTube for Attack of the Clones, because neither of us could bear the thought of wasting another 2 hours of our lives on that cinematic abortion. I saw it twice in the theater, and I fell asleep both times. In my current state, I require very little help falling asleep, so you can understand my concerns. All I could remember was clones, and politics, and that Anakin doesn’t like sand.

The 5-minute summary we watched left out plenty of stuff, but I really couldn’t care less. We watched that while we ate lunch yesterday, then for dessert we had a full serving of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.

I only saw it once before, in the theater, when I lived in Austin, and I remembered it being better than the two films that preceeded it, but let’s be honest, would it take much to be better than Attack of the Clones? Here are my notes on my first viewing of Revenge of the Sith in over 15 years:

  • The CGI is still bad. The long shots of marching troops and whatnot look fine, but all the animals and spaceships look like they’re taken from video game cut scenes. And that lizard-thing that Obi-Wan rides in the 6th hour of the movie, when he tracks down General Greivous…the noise that thing keeps making reminded me so much of an annoying video game sound effect. I even says to the missus, I says, “that thing is exactly like something you’d have to ride in a video game level, and it would be making that noise the whole time, and you’d be like ‘I wish I could turn off the sound on this goddamn thing’, but you wouldnt’ be able to.”
  • Yoda’s dialogue is off. It’s like someone who thought they know how Yoda talks wrote it, like when somebody watches Letterkenny and tries to imitate Squirrley Dan by justs addings ans “s”s tos everys words when that’s clearly not how Squirrley Dan talks.
  • One of the Wookies did a Tarzan yell, and the subtitle actually said “[Tarzan noise]”, and a little part of me died, and it was glad to be dead.
  • Whether or not it was better than The Phantom Menace is for someone else to decide, but I sure as shit enjoyed it more than The Phantom Menace.

Which brings us to today, which I estimate to be day 37 of quarantine. Based on the television lineup, I think it might be Saturday. I awoke today feeling much better overall, only to discover that my senses of taste and smell have gone away. It’s a very surreal experience, to inhale deeply above freshly ground coffee beans and/or a jar of nutritional yeast and smell absolutely nothing. I’m gonna try to use this unfortunate turn to my advantage, and see if I can drop a few pounds while it apparently doesn’t matter what I eat.

I’ll be like this, but not as cute.

We watched River’s Edge earlier, which is still a fantastic movie, and I read a bit of my new book, Devil House by John Darnielle, and we’re gonna continue our Star Wars experiment with Solo very soon, and perhaps I’ll share some notes here afterward. Perhaps you’ll even come back and read them. Until then, thanks for reading. And for serious, try to avoid catching this shit. I can’t imagine how much it would suck if we weren’t vaxxed and boosted.