Friday, June 21, 2013

A Game of Thrones...and Confusion.

There are many people out there who may be shocked to read this, but A Game of Thrones was actually a novel (well, the first from a series of novels called A Song of Ice and Fire) written by George R.R. Martin, well before it was a smash hit television series on HBO. The first novel was published back in 1996 and the series has been nominated and won numerous awards. However, what will not shock anyone is the fact that novels are always WAY better than the television or movie version of a story.

The only exception I have ever found to this rule is The Notebook which was a dreadful and boring novel but a romantic and heartbreaking movie which makes me sob like only one or two other movies can accomplish (Philadelphia and What Dreams May Come).

I watched the first 2 seasons of Game of Thrones and while yes, I did enjoy it, I never felt the desire to continue watching the show when season 2 came to an end. In terms of factors such as costumes, set design, fight scenes and acting, the show is fantastic and remarkable. The battle between the families and the politics involved in the show are great to watch...but for me, there was just something missing. I was never revved up and waiting on pins and needles every week to see what was going to happen.

At first I didn't want to admit the problem. It made me feel a bit stupid when I figured out why I wasn't enjoying about the show. But now I can freely admit that for me, I just couldn't keep the names of all of the characters, families and lands separated enough to keep track of what was going on and why buddy wanted to kill this guy and why everyone hated each other so much. Too many people with too many names and too many lands to keep track of was taking away the story line. Am I a complete moron for this? Shouldn't I be able to follow the story line of a TV show without being twisted in confusing?

 Now that I have openly confessed my confusion about the show, every single person who also watches the show has admitted that they have the same problem and that the story line is hard to follow a lot of the time because of all of the names. Seven kingdoms are a lot of kingdoms and people to keep your brain wrapped around. Overall, it felt good knowing that I was not alone in my struggle for understanding or following a TV story line.

But the thing is, is that I liked the story line and wanted to get to know it more personally. And there is only one way to do that: Read the books! My dad and sister both read the series many years ago (well before the TV show came out) and when they finished them, dad was always telling me to read them because he knew how much I would like them. Unfortunately I was up to elbows in school work around  that time and my pesky desire to get a university degree was getting in the way of my leisure reading. So last week when I went home to visit the family, dad handed me the first 4 novels and told me to get started.

I am now 138 pages into the first book and I can honestly say that I understand the characters and politics of the story way better after reading only 138 pages then after watching 2 seasons of the show. Like, unbelievable better. The thing about reading the books is that it is way easier to keep track of characters because of the dialogue that occurs in books. On TV, there is no, "Bob said" or "Tom replied" so unless someone verbally says, "Oh Bob, I can't believe you would say such a thing!" it can be easy to lose track of the characters. Novels have the advantage of being able to go into depth and detail about everything whereas if you try to do that on TV, then people just get bored. You can actually get into the heads of the characters; know what they know, feel what they feel and understand their points of view in a way that TV can never offer. What I am also loving about the book is that I find that I cannot skim or skip lines when reading it because there is so much information packed into the pages that if you skim a line, then you might miss something fairly important which leaves you to have to go back and reread what you missed. I am finding that I really have to devote my brain and attention to the novel which is a very refreshing feeling to have again.

So to all of those who are looking to actually figure out and fully comprehend what they just watched for the past 3 seasons on Game of Thrones, I recommend picking up a copy of the (at least the first) novel and get sucked into the fantasy that George R.R. Martin cleverly created for the world to enjoy. So much better than TV.

Besides, what else do you have to do with your time? Winter is Coming after all.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Torture of Back Pain

About 6 years ago I “irked” my back doing…well frankly I have no idea what happened to my back or what I could have done to avoid it…and every so often it kicks out and tries to kill me with pain. Yes, I should have done something about it immediately after the pain began, but I was working 2 jobs at the time and was saving up for university, so dishing out cash for a chiropractor or physiotherapist was way on the bottom of my To-Do list. Plus I had never had back pain before and figured it would just go away on its own and leave me be.

So like I said, every so often I will do something that tweaks it ever so slightly which in turn leaves me with a stabbing pain deep within my spine that takes my breath away with every twist, turn and bend. If I take it easy and don’t do anything stupid, I am lucky that the pain subsides a few days later and I get to resume my normal life.

Did I really just say the word “lucky” when referring to back pain?

Unfortunately, I feel like my luck may be running out. A few weeks ago my back was hurt after I was lifting some bags of potting soil from the trunk of my car. As usual, I rested and took it easy until the pain backed off then went on with my merry life. Then on Friday while at the gym, I lifted a barbell from the rack and my back went, “IRK!” and my brain went, “UH OH!”

I felt like a woman who was going into premature labour. “No not yet! It’s too early! I need more time before this happens!” Usually I have months or even a good year before the back acts up again. It appears clearly to me now that my back troubles stem from lifting items from waist height. Ugh.

So I have spent the past 4 days in agony. Sunday afternoon was the worst. I spent a good 3 hours on the living room floor, twitching in pain while watching bad Sunday afternoon TV and allowing the hot and sunny day to mockingly pass me by. Every time I moved even a tiny bit, I would be overwhelmed with a sharp stab of white pain which left me feeling nauseous and completely helpless. Back pain is horrible! I cannot fathom how people with chronic back pain get through each and every day without either being incredibly high on pain meds or incoherently inebriated to the point in which the pain is just simply numb from hard liquor.

It’s the little things that we do each day that the people with no back pain take for granted (myself included when I’m not hurting), such as: walking downhill. Walking down a hill or stepping off of a curb basically takes zero thought and not much coordination to the general public. But if you have any kind of pain in your back, that descent is a highly thought out, carefully calculated and coordinated ordeal involving some holding of breath and several twisted and grimacing facial features. Another one is shaving your legs. Yes shaving your legs is never all that much fun to begin with and is a pain in the ass when you’re in a hurry; but try doing it without the ability to bend over! They need to invent a razor that swings from some sort of rope that you can toss down your leg and pull back up without gashing your Achilles. And don’t even get me started on applying lotion afterwards. I would have given my left ear to have a bottle of that new spray-on body lotion.

So now I have to start considering finding a chiropractor or physiotherapist around here who can get me properly mobile again. It took every ounce of my will-power to not dope myself up with pain killers and jump on my bike this weekend! The weather was so incredible and I couldn’t do anything about it but lay on the floor in my own self pity. Basically the only thing that kept me from saying “Screw it!” and going for a ride was knowing that I am heading to Trail next week for a visit (YAY!) and I need to be able to make that drive without weeping openly in pain. Sitting in a car for 10 hours would be complete and utter hell. 

However, I do work in a hospital…perhaps someone could pull some strings for me. Maybe I could get a morphine drip to help me through the drive?