No trip

 

 

I couldn’t quite believe I would not go on our planned trip to Iceland when my back was playing up. I thought the back would get under control before we left and could I look after it well while we were away. But no, once we got into the “no withdrawal/no refund” period of two weeks the bloody thing got worse.

So I had a CT scan and X-rays which showed that the disc between L5 and S1 (in the small of the back, where it curves towards the stomach), was bulging out in a big lump that would not fit back through the space leading to where it belonged. I decided to get some physio to relieve it but finally gave in and had a cortisone injection into the nerve root. I screamed a little but did not lose my cool. The radiologist was quite surprised I held so still he got it in first go! So now I can sit here comfortably and blog in contrast to my constant twitching, and getting up and down, beforehand.

Iceland would have been brilliant. Steve wants to do it in a few years’ time by car on our own while I still want an organised tour to take me to places I normally couldn’t go. A movie funded via Kickstarter was on Netflix the other night and showed the main tourist attactions very nicely but I’d like to see the bird colonies and geological hotspots. Named “Bokeh”, keen photographers will know what it means and labeled as “sci-fi”, younger viewers may be perplexed to find something slow and uncomplicated.

With full-on gorgeous cinematography you could believe was directed by the Iceland Department of Tourism, I didn’t have to worry about the characters and plot. Although they weren’t bad at all! There  were scenes of the hot lakes in the snow where you can swim until your hair goes all stiff with mineral salts, of gigantic waterfalls you can walk behind and view the world through a curtain of crystalline water, and geysers that whoosh up boiling water into the air at regular intervals. The two characters gallivant about on devastated black-sand beaches and over ancient lava flows covered in lichens, having picnics in the grass and swimming in a variety of settings. Very picturesque, both the young actors and the scenery.

The typical Icelandic golden horses appeared in the movie, abundant and friendly as reputed in our tourist brochure. It was a shame the movie didn’t permit a glimpse of the abundant nightlife in Reykjavik, but the plot didn’t allow for crowd scenes. If you are intrigued, there is a review at Screen Anarchy and I’m sure you’re perfectly capable of finding alternatives.

Meanwhile, I can cruise among the photos on Flickr and do some armchair travel while my various structural problems resolve. Look at this!

I took this in Adelaide, years ago and thought it looked a bit Icelandic:

Adelaide could be Iceland...I don't think so!

For the real Iceland, you’ll have to go to Flickr and enjoy the amazing pix taken by people who’ve been there (lucky sods).

Here’s a link to the tour we had booked:

https://www.odysseytraveller.com/tours/iceland-cultural-and-wilderness-tour-for-groups/

 

 

Chunks of Pi

My friends and I have been rather tardy in going to see The Life of Pi at the local cinema, but we managed it last Sunday night. I thought that the book was un-filmable, even without modern CGI effects and animatronics, but the movie was an enthralling adaptation of the book in startling 3D [we wore Clark Kent glasses].

Scene from the movie

Pi & Richard Parker

We were all very happy with it and I felt rather inspired by what I saw, which is unusual for me. For the very few who might not have read the book by Yann Martel [Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize] nor seen the recent movie, it is about a boy who finds himself alone in a lifeboat with a tiger after a ship sinks containing his fathers entire zoo exhibits.

When I first read the novel, which is quite short, I liked it OK although I didn’t think it was great. The writer seemed to go well for the first third of the book and then hit the doldrums, just like the boy in the lifeboat! To my mind the symbolic and philosophical themes didn’t seem to progress for a long interval and I was tempted to abandon ship/book. However, I knew there had to be some sort of resolution, so I went along for the ride. I was rewarded in the end and concluded that the book was an allegory of nature, growth, life and death, where the elements could each mean a number of things, depending on the mindset of the reader. I didn’t relate the themes to my life at the time, but seeing the interpretation of the book by Ang Lee (of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame- is he getting stuck on tigers??), I felt quite touched. As said by reviewer Gary Krist in the New York Times Review of Books;

Pi understands that his own survival depends on keeping his ferocious opponent alive and well — ”because if he died I would be left alone with despair, a foe even more formidable than a tiger. If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker.”

Pi to multi decimal places

Pi, as Pi writes it on the blackboard

The film said to me “Get your tasks of necessity over with and just enjoy doing your own thing. Life won’t come back and give you another go.” That’s quite revolutionary to me at this stage of my life. For years I have been wanting to get my Masters degree and find a job in Public Health, preferably in Policy and Research because I am so drawn to them in many waking moments. However, no one has been very encouraging and I haven’t gained any jobs or scholarships to study further yet, having arrived at a sort of “fallback” position of trying for a PhD for lack of a job. I figured I could still immerse myself in the subject area even if I couldn’t work in it. With the stimulus of Pi I may be shifting my thinking to accepting I have finished my working life and settle for enjoying the crafts and hobbies I can still do with my disabled hands and wrists.

I will still need to learn to value myself and accept I am worth Spotrick supporting financially as my childhood background has almost brainwashed me into thinking I must always have an independent income. At least now I have been unemployed for many years I have somewhat forgotten what it’s like to have my own money to spend the way I wish [while keeping up my household contribution, of course]. It’s still fairly sad for me to see friends going away on holidays to places I had planned to visit before the end of my life, but I am trying to experience those things vicariously now. I have been asking my friends to take lots of photographs when they go away – photos of the places, rather than the standard touristy pix of “me in front of the Tower of London” sort! My friends are beginning to co operate, but they take a bit of flogging [you know who you are, LOL!]. I still get tears in my eyes regularly when I see places on my Bucket List on the internet, but I’m improving.

Scottish loch

Scottish loch

 

So this week could be quite influential for me and I haven’t changed my mind yet in the light of a week’s distance or reality biting.

Does this sound like a good thing? Have I missed something that’s going to wreck it all?

Comments welcome.

Here are some reviews of the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/life-of-pi/

Acknowledgements: Pi poster with multi decimal places http://hoffnermath.files.wordpress.com/2009/

Movie poster: http://theawesomer.com

 

Variety Reviews – A Kiss Before Dying – Film Reviews – – Review by Variety Staff

Variety Reviews – A Kiss Before Dying – Film Reviews – – Review by Variety Staff.

This review dates from 1955, when the movie first emerged, so it’s rather quaint. It’s interesting to see how it relates to my opinion on seeing this old movie today! I was amazed that Mary Astor played the murderer’s mother- thought she went out with button-up boots!