June 5th, 2004


Do-gooder books

Because I neglected to decline the selection, I recently received two books from QPB that I knew nothing about. One is True Notebooks, about a writer who teaches a writing class in juvenile hall, to the worst offenders. The one I am reading now, Mountains Beyond Mountains, is about a doctor who spends his life trying to improve the conditions in Haiti. These summaries don't do justice to the subjects of these stories, true stories about do-gooders. True Notebooks is written by the writer and focuses on the students. Mountains Beyond Mountains is written by a friend of the doctor, and focuses on the doc.

The doctor, Paul Farmer, makes fun of "WLs", "white liberals", while at the same time is deeply grateful to them. His definition of a WL is a person who sends money. Doesn't get uncomfortable. He contrasts the WLs with persons like the nuns who work on the ground, tirelessly, doing without themselves so they can help others.

Farmer, in this biography by Tracy Kidder, goes well beyond providing his tireless attention to the poorest people in the western hemisphere. He understands the politics and is happy to share his understanding. He sounds like a unique, fascinating person, one who happened to be in the right place at the right time, with the right kind of passion. In addition to treating the sick, giving each one his whole attention, he develops programs to fix the core problems, he teaches other doctors, and he writes. You ask, when does he sleep? and the answer is, he doesn't.

I will never be this type person, the one who gives up physical comfort so easily. But I can do more than I do now. I'm open to suggestions.

(no subject)

I've had a hard disk failure on my desktop computer. I am not unduly alarmed, because I have this laptop and most of what I need is right here. There are no doubt lots of files I'd like to have from that computer but if I have lost them all the world won't end. I am thinking I'll get one of those packages that I can insert a hard drive into, to make it like an external drive. Then I can look at what is or isn't on those drives.

I used the four boot disks required for Win 2000 and at the end they told me there were no drives there...heheheheh...you'd think they might have picked up that bit of info earlier in the process.

I was worried about these drives. The computer had been making noise for a long time and I know that leaving it on only increases the wear on the hard drives, and Paul has been using it and leaving it on all the time. Occasionally I just shut it down, regardless of what he was in the middle of doing, because he pretty much never closes things. Still, I knew it was near the end. This wasn't unexpected. Just inconvenient.

Guilty pleasures??

I am watching a LifeTime movie right now. Called Desire and Deception. Paul calls such things cheetos entertainment and that about sums it up. Fake cheetos, even. This one is so very bad that I am laughing. In the first ten minutes there were three love scenes, and now, about five minutes later, yet another. In each one they go at it "like rabbits", as they say, thin women with enhanced breasts, men who are older by at least fifteen years (or had fewer face lifts?). The scenes verge on soft porn. Maybe not "verge", but are. I think they all could exchange heads and nobody would know the difference.

I can imagine the composer of this fine music sitting at his keyboard, tapping it out, horns here, a little rhythm...ease off here...

The writing! Unreal, it's so bad. And the delivery, even worse. I can see a first-year acting class trying this and doing it better. In between howls of laughter.

I don't normally watch these things when Paul is around. I don't want him getting the idea that I find this stuff titillating. It's more that the simplicity of it all provides relief from my usual fare. Although the truth is that I find it hard to focus on a lot of television. Always thinking of other things.

(no subject)

Oh no, now there's a threesome...

I am beginning to think maybe this *isn't* a lifetime movie. It really is porn. I just saw it on the list and hit "record". The fact that it played at two in the morning...maybe I should have thought about that...