Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

April 7, 2012 -- 7:56 p.m.

The good news is that I found out what was making me sick. The bad news is that I didn't figure it out soon enough. I got so far behind on homework, I felt like I couldn't make it up and decided that I wasn't happy anyway so I dropped out of my program. I'm too emotionally stressed right now to deal with school.

So what was making me throw up and giving me horrible rashes? It turns out that the oil cap on my engine had come off and soaked everything in oil. Those fumes have been burning intto my car vents and my sinuses every semester. So every time I drove anywhere: to school, to the doctor's, to anywhere, I was making myself sicker without realizing it. It wasn't until I went from fine to throwing up after five minutes on the road that I put two and two together and realized I was only getting sick in my car.

So why didn't I smell the burning fumes? F*** if I know.

It took me longer than it should have to figure it out because I had the flu beforehand, and I managed to skip a period and so when the next one hit, I was swept away in a monthlong tidal wave of blood, stomach cramps, and bits of chunky flesh being puked out of my sensitive areas. So it's not as if I was particularly healthy even outside of the car.

At any rate, I seem to be fine now, and without school, I now have more time to devote on my writing. Which I've naturally frittered away on playing computer games, reading tons of books, and catching up on my podcasts. I saw Hunger Games and thought it was very well done, although they screwed up the bittersweetness of the ending. Woody Harrelson made an excellent Haymitch, and Jennifer Lawrence did with her face what it took Suzanne Collins pages of words to do. Hunger Games is going through the traditional internet joy curve where a bunch of people talk about how awesome it is and then wave two of critics say, "nah, it's not that awesome." But I think it was just about as good as can be expected of any translation from book to screen. And for the people complaining it's not violent enough, I wonder: what movie did you see? Blood spurting everywhere a la HBO's Game of Thrones is much less disturbing than the suggestiveness of the camerawork, which leaves the grisly details up to your imagination.

I would feel better at condemning the idiots who were annoyed at Rue's race if I didn't recognize my own weakness in that area. I didn't catch that Rue was black until the second read through. I'm not sure how much of that can be attributed to 1) the book's tendency to rip you through at thriller speed and not linger on any detail for very long, 2) My own internal tendency to think of every fictional character is like me (white and blonde) unless otherwise noted, 3) Collins' repeated mentions that Rue = Prim, and since Prim = blonde/white, Rue = blonde/white. But I thought the actress playing her was freaking adorable. I wanted to pull her out of the screen and play with her hair. (In a sisterly way! Not in the weird I-wanna-touch-black-people-without-permission way that NK Jeminisin reports some people seem to do at sci-fi conventions)

The other Hunger Games-related kerfuffle is the documentary "Bully" R-rating compared to Hunger Game's PG-13 (how they will be able to keep that rating for books two and three, I don't know). Apparently killing kids is okay, but swearing means "mature only."

Granted, movie ratings have always been on the arbitrary side, but you got to admire Bully's marketers. If they'd bleeped a couple of words and released the movie as it was, it probably would have gone the same way as most documentaries--largely unwatched. But by generating a controversy, they get articles on it everywhere, politicians speak up about it, and it probably ends up with an enlarged audience share. Free publicity is always good.

Am I cynical? Yes. Am I right? Probably.