Monday, January 26, 2009

random roundup

1. After a week of hardly typing at all and doing hand exercises all day, I am really behind in work but my hands only hurt when I am typing rather than constantly in a dull with flashes of nerve pain way. Improvement! Sort of. No pain = good, no work = bad. I have a prescription to a hand therapy center in the Big City a long haul away (bus + train + bus), and they're checking my insurance. I have an appointment with the school doctor today to get a diagnosis I already have for a prescription to the school's internal physical therapy services. So all told, probably a week before I get treatment, which should be twice a week for twelve weeks. Dude, it took me forever to get these appointments and prescriptions. I know I'm double-dipping in the health care, but hopefully one of these will work out. I am not excited about taking 2-3 hours twice a week to get therapy, but as TD points out, expense or time should not get in the way of me being able to get back such a necessary life function, and specialists are the way to go. If it doesn't work out though, then hopefully the school's stuff will work out.

2. I think my mom says that those born in the year of the Ox are doomed to a life of toiling away like a beast of burden. In any case, it doesn't look good this year. Then again, we Asian people are superstitious and I was told that if you took pictures in three, the middle person dies.

3. When I studied Art History AP in high school, I really responded to Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. I was only 16 though. My art history teacher said that she thought he was more of an illustrator than an artist, and he never did really fit in with the moderns. But do I reject Wyeth from my own tastes and intuitions, or because I have been told that he does not belong in a class with or in the tradition of Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper? A year later, studying the woodcut prints and landscapes of Winslow Homer, I wondered why Homer is so much more revered by the critics. I myself love Winslow Homer even more, if only because his prints, used for Harper's, are the closest we have to a visual document of his times, and because his landscapes have so much more life and emotional energy than Wyeth's. I respond with even more emotion to Homer. This is perhaps the best image of war and this is the best image of homecoming and this is just too romantic for words. Anyway, the debate over Wyeth that continues after his death (artist or schill?) is related to the ongoing debate about Billy Joel. To which I will say that it is an inapt comparison to say that Billy Joel is the Andrew Wyeth of music. Andrew Wyeth sold an idea of American sentimentality he knew didn't exist as truth; Billy Joel is just plain sentimental and schlocky. But that's ok! If we evaluate Wyeth as a Rockwell type, we can enjoy Wyeth more, particularly his paintings of his neighbors as little processed American singles slices of a bygone Americana. If we evaluate Billy Joel not as a rock singer or artiste but as a pop singer, then we can enjoy "Uptown Girl." I mean people don't take Bruce Springsteen seriously--not even "The River," which broke a young Belle's heart the way Christina's World seemed hopelessly sad and ceaselessly searching to Young Belle. Why would critics or anyone of discerning musical sensibility take "Piano Man" or "New York State of Mind" as a true anthem of the art of the people? Neither Springsteen nor Joel are as good as Bob Dylan or Tom Waits, but that's ok. Bruce Springsteen has virtue as a soundtrack artist and inauguration singer, and Billy Joel is fun and catchy. Little wonder that his music has been used for a ballet musical.

4. On wrestling and catharsis.

5. Obama reverses the stereotype threat effect!

My hands hurt again. Will blog again in a few days, hopefully, in response to Amber and to show you the handsplints I'm getting.