Life Log #01: My Back Isn’t Broken and Media Consumed

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Currently Reading:  IT by Stephen King (pg. 380 of 1184)
Currently Watching:  Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 1)
Mood:  Pleasantly Unperturbed

I had an appointment with a physical therapist today — the first of two. For the past two weeks, I’ve been out of commission from some sort of exercise-induced back injury. Nothing serious. Just a little localized pain and noticeable tightness. Rather than ignore it, I used the free healthcare options I have on hand to get expert advice on what is going on. And the verdict? My back isn’t broken, my spine is in working order, and all I’ve done is sprained the lower back muscles. This is partly due to general weakness in the core, back, and thigh regions. That means I need to do more focused exercises to build those areas up so they aren’t being pulled about by all the other bits. Or something like that.

So that’s the good news. I can ease myself back into exercise (thank goodness) and get back on my feet. Tomorrow, I get to have my first ever massage, and I go back to another doctor on Friday for a bit of extra advice for the back and for my foot nonsense (plantar fasciitis, methinks).

All of this is a welcome relief. Not being able to go to the gym and feeling constantly like I’m falling apart has had me in a bit of a mental funk. I’ve been trying to get in better shape for years, and every time I do so, I seem to get set back by some kind of injury. Most of this is my fault. I waited for years to get my brain in fitness mode, so my body is used to the less active lifestyle. And I have a tendency to push myself too hard, which leads to strained muscles and other nonsense. The good news:  I’m not dead yet!

Beyond that, I am still attempting to read Stephen King’s IT in response to having seen the recent adaptation (a fantastic movie). To be frank, it’s a tough read. For one, I am a slow reader with a very low patience level, so a book of 1100+ pages is already a daunting mountain for me to climb. The other problem is the book itself:  IT is just a bloated mess. King is a grossly underrated writer in so many ways — and IT has its share of compelling King flourishes — but there are times when the man needs to be pulled back from the brink of verbose lunacy. IT is a book that is at least 300 pages too long, and that makes trying to push my way through it all the more difficult:  I could read three or four other novels in the time it’ll take me to read this one book I’m not enjoying “enough.”

I haven’t decided if I’m going to drop the book for a while. Taking a break to read something else might not be a bad idea. We shall see. I feel like reading old obscure space operas for a while…

Lastly, I’ve been working my way through a re-watch of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is generally one of the few gifts the post-prequels era has given us. The 1st season is a bit rough, if only because so much of Lucas’ “bad touches” are present in many of the episodes. The weirdest thing is the treatment of Amidala:  an aggressive, capable, and powerful leader who is constantly hampered by nonsense.

One obvious example of this is the episode entitled “Bombad Jedi.” As the title suggests, it involves a Gungan — in this case, the most infamous Gungan in all of Star Wars history, Jar Jar Binks. For reasons I don’t understand, he has accompanied Amidala on a secret diplomatic mission to Rodia. He is grossly unqualified as a diplomat, yet somehow he keeps getting to play diplomat while ruining everyone else’s lives. Upon arriving on Rodia, Amidala discovers that Onaconda Far, Rodia’s senator, has made an agreement with the Separatists to turn her over to Nute Gunray in exchange for much needed food. Naturally, this doesn’t go according to anyone’s plans.

I find this episode nearly impossible to watch primarily because Jar Jar has absolutely no business being in these adventures, both because we all know he’s an accident-prone buffoon and because his only saving grace seems to be “getting the Naboo and the Gungans to be friends by accident.” In “Bombad Jedi,” he’s at his worse, perhaps because the episode condenses his narrative of idiocy into 23 minutes. Over and over again, Amidala is hindered (or inadvertently aided) by Jar Jar’s antics — dressing up like a Jedi, knocking things over, getting his foot caught in things, etc. He’s essentially C-3PO on steroids. And rather than let Amidala be the hero we all know she can be, she’s instead saved by Jar Jar or by other people by sheer luck. Amidala doesn’t get to be the capable hero; she just gets glimmers. I just want her to be the hero without needing to be saved or without being part of a series of unfortunate events created by a caricature. Oh well…

Thus far, this is the only episode I’d call “terrible” in the first season. Seeing as this is a re-watch, that might change (probably not).

Alright, that’s it from me. Signing off with an awkward ending…and scene…


About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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