Saturday, July 26, 2014

silly humans

1. a species of orthorexics

Yesterday morning a I read a New Yorker article about the Paleo lifestyle—while eating a big bowl of cereal, naturally—and for a second I contemplated trying it. But being a pseudo-vegan Paleo person would mean I could pretty much only eat avocados and things derived from coconuts. Not the worst sentence in the world, but still limiting.

Then the article—in its charming New Yorker wisdom—pointed out that Paleo, while healthy, is not really designed for a world with six billion people in it, because oats can feed more humans than mastodons can, and what is really appealing about this diet is the rules. Food rules exist in every culture and are at least as old as agriculture itself, meaning we’re hardwired to be hunter-gatherers, but also to be neurotics.

I was like, Touché, New Yorker.

Rise of the Planet of the Office Drones.
I could feel myself looking around for some food rules to jump start my sagging-if-still-mostly-healthy non-Paleo lifestyle. Coffee is my very favorite food with the possible exception of bread pudding, and it’s not really acceptable to order bread pudding with breakfast and take a quick bread pudding break in the middle of a work day. But, as with bread pudding, I think I need to cut back on coffee. It creates a mini bipolar cycle that revs me up for a while, then causes a dip that makes me feel like 1) I’m going to get more cancer and never have a baby, 2) I most certainly cannot write this grant report right now and/or 3) I’m too tired not to eat this bread pudding.

So, starting today, world, I’m going to save coffee for the following occasions:

1) writing
2) late night road trips
3) emergencies when I really need to have a better personality than I naturally do

I’m weaning off with black tea this morning, and this afternoon I hope to do some writing, so there’s an almond milk latte in my near future. How’s that for restraint?

2. gang activity

Speaking of the weird things civilization does, last night AK and I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, in which a virus-decimated tribe of humans camps out in San Francisco and a drug-strengthened tribe of super-apes builds beautiful tree houses in the East Bay.

I hope someone writes a dissertation on California class divisions/gentrification/racial fears as portrayed in DOTPOTA.

I could not get enough of this baby chimp.
But setting that aside, it’s ultimately a movie against tribalism, as both the human leader and Caesar, the ape leader, contemplate the definition of family. A lesser movie would have stuck with a human protagonist and let him have an awakening upon befriending a human-ish ape. This movie makes its point by having dual protagonists, beginning with the ape’s POV and not showing us a human until several scenes in. It’s probably telling that I can’t even remember the main human’s name right now.

Caesar and that guy.
Watching the movie, AK thought about Israel and Palestine. I thought about gangs. The movie has a very Father Greg-ish message, although it ends on a sad, this-war-is-too-big-for-us-to-stop note. It’s either acknowledging the reality of war (there is a point of no return) or the reality of being a prequel (we all know there will be a war), or the reality of Hollywood (war is more fun to film than peace).

As for the latter, though, part of what makes DOTPOTA great is that there is so much tension and so few battle scenes. The special effects are used more for nuanced facial expressions and eerily beautiful shots of apes swinging across the Golden Gate Bridge than for fight scenes. As I told AK, it’s the sort of screenplay I could never write, because it’s all story, minimal dialogue. Whereas my motto is, Why say in three words what you could say in seven hundred?

This blog post just reached 638.

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