December 24th, 2013

good mris pic

Dog story that didn't crosspost

When lj was messed up yesterday, this didn't crosspost from my blog. So:


So yesterday afternoon Ista was worrying at her right front leg, and when we looked at it, we saw that she had scraped it on something in the back yard severely enough that there was a triangular flap of skin torn back. And she was not leaving it alone. Not a source of great worry, but also not something that could just be left. So Mark and I bundled ourselves into the car and went off to the emergency vet with her.

People. The emergency vet is not where you want to be late in the afternoon the Sunday before Christmas. I mean, really, the emergency vet is no fun in general. No one is there to get routine shots for their perfectly healthy puppy. The general take-home lesson of the emergency vet the Sunday before Christmas is: for the love of Pete keep your dog away from the chocolate. The place was quite full, mostly with dogs who had eaten lots of chocolate when their humans were out shoveling or otherwise occupied.

We waited for an hour and a half before we got into a room. In that time, we saw a family–mother and dad and little girl–whose dog did not make it. That was pretty horrible. Anyway, they got us roomed, and another half-hour later, Mark and I got sent off to get dinner while they waited for a chance to sew her up. No general needed, just a local. But we called to make sure that they were done, and sure enough, they weren’t, so…all in all, Ista spent four hours at the vet yesterday, Mark and I about two and a half.

It’s amazing how people who can talk for hours under other circumstances have a much, much harder time of it in a vet ER with a stressed and injured dog.

Ista’s bandage is off, though the sutures will stay in 10-14 days. She is worrying at them, so we have her in the cone of shame. Oh the displeased poodle. Oh the injured dignity. She’s already managed to get it off twice, so when we don’t have another focus I think we’re going to have to try to sit with her and get her used to the sutures and not licking/biting them, because the cone is not seeming like it’s going to work as a sole solution to this problem.

So. Not the blog post I’d intended to make–stay tuned for character expectations and competences–and not the Sunday evening I’d intended to have, but we’re all fine. Even if one of us is also pretty annoyed with the cone.

Update from later: she got the cone off some more, again, so we got her a soft protective collar that looks like a travel pillow for one's neck, and she doesn't love it, but she's willing to keep it on and do things while wearing it. Win.
nowreally

Competence porn, character expectations, and the Houses of Cards

Spoilers for the first season of House of Cards in UK and US versions. I don’t know how to do a cut-tag on my wordpress journal if in fact such a thing is possible. So seriously. Spoilers. If you care, back away from the post.


Francis Urquhart and Frank Underwood have some key things in common, due to the one series being based on the other. The main thing is that they are both consummate backroom politicians–wheeler-dealers, hip-deep in machinations, people who use the secrets and foibles and relationships of others to achieve their own ends. This is sometimes horrible and generally fun to watch, in no small part because they are so good at it. It’s a form of competence porn: it’s very satisfying to watch people do difficult things they’re good at.


And then. And then partway through each version’s first season, the main character FU kills someone who is being inconvenient.


And gets away with it.


When I was talking about this with Timprov, the metaphor he came up with was that it was as though you had set up Sherlock Holmes and suddenly had him torture a confession out of a suspect. It’s not what makes Sherlock Holmes interesting–in fact, it’s the opposite of it. In some fundamental sense it’s not what Sherlock Holmes is for. It’s a crude solution from someone whose entire point is subtlety, and as such it’s terribly unsatisfying. If you want me to watch someone kill people, and wince and marvel, give me Omar, give me Brother Mouzone, but do not give me Sherlock Holmes with a baseball bat, and do not give me Francis Urquhart or Frank Underwood. The early episodes of each show us that FU is someone who exploits other people’s weaknesses, and the victims in question each have plenty of weaknesses. So having FU just decide to kill them is an annoying waste of the character’s skills, which are what I like to watch in the first place, in favor of a skillset neither FU has ever demonstrated in the first place.


I’ve started watching the second series (what we would call the second season) of the British version, and it has some lovely moments, but generally the killing thing is totally unsatisfactory to me, and the handling of it has not improved. Timprov pointed out that the show may not have been made as competence porn at all, it may have been made mostly as a poke at the Tories, and I can see that–it’s visible from space–but it’s a great deal less interesting to me, and I think would be even if it was poking at politicians in my own country and my own timeline. Schemers are fascinating. Unsubtle digs and implausible deaths less so.




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux