Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Maybe it's supposed to be funny?



I was never a fanatic about Star Trek: The Next Generation. I've been watching it recently because I only get five channels and it's better than Family Guy and usually it's funnier than Family Guy too.

In the intro Picard announces his intention "to go where no one has gone before" (boldly!). That's when the intro shifts from the contemplation of the majesty of space to bold action. Watch as the Enterprise zips by from the left! Now from the right! The names of the cast members appear suddenly as though formed from the engine's wake. This is a great way to advertise the show's font. It's a very action-packed font. The words slant forwards. They are in motion. Do they want to be in the future so badly that they lean towards it from the present moment? No. They just want to get the hell away from this lame intro. They're not even allowed to be in the same frame as something cool like a planet or a nebula.

Or even the Enterprise itself. It wants to get out of this intro so bad, it's actually making whooshing sounds in the vacuum of space! Its urge to flee is so great not even the laws of physics shall remain standing!

In space, no one can hear you yawn. But apparently everyone can hear you redline your impulse engines to escape the humiliation of being a shakespearean actor getting a late-career renaissance in the vacuum of syndication.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Swine Flutopia


All my koosh are belong to swine. [Photo credit: Erin Williamson]

I wanted to get sick because I want my immune system to get stronger and better, but now that I am sick I am not really enjoying myself as much as I thought I would. I really imagined it as some kind of vacation. I am not the kind of person who takes vacations or who enjoys them, but I expected this to be a biologically-necessitated period of cookie-ingestion and daytime-television-consumption. It turns out having the flu actually sucks, and that ice cream doesn’t cure it, no matter how many pints of “H1-PeCan” you eat.

My fever—101.5˚ at the moment—burns from the inside out like it does when Lindsay Lohan pees. I pee about 3 times an hour because of all the water I am drinking. I call it my take-a-sip-leave-a-sip policy. I’m peeing so often there isn’t even water in it anymore, I only pee the sound of peeing. It echoes up out of the bowl to mock me. But with my fever I am more popular with the cat. She seems to like sleeping on me a whole lot more. And every time I line up some Tylenol to try to bring my temp down, the cat knocks them off the table with what looks like glee.

I was worried about getting sick during the school year though because now I’m a teacher and I have students and I have this sense that they need me. This is a delusion brought on by my fever or perhaps by my profession. University professors and their graduate mentees are often delusional. It’s a proud tradition. It’s what gives us the idea that we should be telling people who are nothing like us that they should live their lives exactly like we do. Although my girlfriend told me she needs me. She’s having cramps and she wants me to lay across her belly. She said it’s greener than using the electric heating pad.

I read that if I get a flu this season, it’s probably the swine flu. I have my doubts, though. Sure, I didn’t get vaccinated—who has?—but I do ride public transit. That’s vaccine enough. It’s like giving your lymph system a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” I for one credit the bus system with vaccinating me against ever quitting flossing.

I still remember how in April, the news started to report on the “deadly” swine flu. Then the study came out that told us that up to 117% of the population was going to get the virus. Now I get emails from the university telling me not to go to the doctor if I have flu-like symptoms and not to get the vaccine because I have no serious health complications. It’s probably better that I not try to get the vaccine, because there’s almost none of it to be had. It’s a chicken-egg problem. Because American companies make the virus for the vaccine by growing it in chicken eggs. According to pharmaceutical companies, newer technologies to make the vaccine faster are not profitable for companies, and it would take government leadership from the highest levels to transform flu-virus production. Which came first? Lack of action on innovations in vaccine-production technology, or lack of governmental leadership?

While companies struggle to produce the seasonal flu vaccine alongside its porcine counterpart, we’ve known about the actually-deadly avian flu for at least 6 years and, as of February of this year, we only had about 26 million doses stockpiled. I can’t wait to see the lines that form when even the people who are afraid of Guillain-BarrĂ© and Autism are desperate enough to get the shot.

Not wanting to wait for the CDC to determine if I have swine flu, and being told that a good citizen does not burden the healthcare system by an unnecessary doctor’s visit, I went on WebMD to do some research on swine flu. I learned that one of the most common sex mistakes women make is not initiating sex with their partner. Sorry, I got distracted by an article called, “6 sex mistakes women make.” Sex mistake number 7: initiating sex with me. Especially in my current condition. Though if you see someone walking the vaccine lines outside of health clinics offering the women “swine jobs,” don’t let on that you know me. I really need the money.