Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m

I don't know why I am up at this ungodly hour. . I am miserable that my pain seems to have got worse after a period of improvement, so much worse that I'm thinking about returning to the doctor and talking about other pain relief options. Unfortunately my GP is half way up Everest just now and it's not so very bad I can be bothered to explain my life history to another doctor only for them to suggest something truly ridiculous.

I have just realised that it is actually Tuesday Morning, 3 a.m but that isn't in a song.

On a more cheerful note, we now have
seventy bloggers Blogging against Disablism on next Monday. And we got a second mention on BBC Ouch, hoorah!

Blogger was playing tricks on me all yesterday, so while I was waiting for it to sort itself out I started fiddling with my template and produced my ever-so-slightly new look. What do you think? Don't all shout at once. Yeah, that was what I was thinking; I'll try putting it right later.

I finally began reading The Da Vinci Code after much maternal badgering and a certain friend's reassurance that it was "highly readable nonsense". I was a touch apprehensive as I have heard a lot of silly things said about it. Of course people either love or hate something when it becomes so popular and I sensed a lot of snobbishness being expressed about it, perhaps because it is a best-selling novel, it is about some fairly big ideas and yet it is perfectly accessible to the great unwashed.

When I'm done I will write a review for Blogging Bookworms but it has already wound me up. It isn't snobbishness; I have my moments, but this is more the fact that as a member of the great unwashed, I resent being patronised. It's not the religious stuff that bothers me, but the assumption that Mr Brown's readers know absolutely nothing about absolutely anything.

For example, during a rather cheesy flashback, the protagnoist has his Harvard students gasping to learn about phi (the golden ratio or Divine Proportion as Brown prefers) and the Fibonacci sequence. As you'll remember, phi is 1.618 (well approx. one plus the square route of five, divided by two) and like the Fibonacci sequence is all over the place in nature, in all sorts of physical and numeric proportions
. Now I fell ill and left school at fifteen, but we'd covered that already. And we didn't gasp or gape or suddenly develop a crush on our teacher (whose strong jaw and grey highlights didn't add anything to their bookish appeal).

I realise it may be wrong to assume that that everyone knows this. However, I don't think it is ridiculous to assume that those people at Harvard had a far superior education to my own. I could give many such examples. I mean, it is fine to recap on any relevant subject matter, but I'm half expecting a passage coming up;
"I have no idea how big this circle is," said Sophie, her big green eyes welling with feminine tears.

Langdon thoughtfully scratched his handsomely dimpled chin. "If only we knew the radius we could work it out."

"Ooh la la!" said Sophie in German. "You surely do not mean that there is a way of telling how big a circle is from how long the radius is."

"That's right," said Langdon, raising a scholarly eyebrow "Using a thing called pi."

"Pie? Like in the song by your Don Maclean?"

"No, pi is just a bit over three," Langdon explained, "If you times the square of the radius by just a bit over three, you should get the area."

Sophie began to faint but Langdon caught her in his manly arms. "My God, Robert!" she cried, "I have a doctorate in Mathematics and I never knew such a thing!"
No sorry, the trouble is I haven't read any books in ages and I have been editing the novel which makes me highly critical if not downright pinickety. It isn't nearly as bad as I make out. My own novel is currently much much worse. I am just transferring my own literary frustrations onto one of the best selling books in the entire world. This is the agony of my art and all that, so do forgive me if you love the book. I'm not yet half way through and I do want to find out what happens next. And I am in pain.

Right, perhaps I'll have another go at sleep.


dotandcarryone said...

I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well, Goldfish.

Some authors appear to be frustrated teachers. I enjoyed Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, for example, but I had to skip the genetics codes sequences as they left me bewildered.

The Goldfish said...

I know what you mean, Dot. I think that it is difficult for an author who has a great interest in some specialist area to know where to aim. George Orwell said something about aiming above people's heads and they'll rise to it, but I think there is a delicate balance to be struck.

BloggingMone said...

Sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. Hope there was improvement since. I have read The DaVinci Code and share your oppinion. But I think that the whole story is so unusual that the author (like many authors) felt he had to come up with scientific proove and lots of explainations to proove he had done proper research. Just a theory... But I must admit I skipped the parts in which he sounded too much like a teacher. But what has really annoyed me was the style of the dialogues. I just felt that people do not talk that way. As I have read the English version, I first thought it may that this style is common to use and that I just did not know about and wasn't familiar with it. But my husband was reading the German edition and the style of German dialogues was equally strange. Anyway, go on reading as the story is improving towards the end.

Radio said...

Erm, i have a startling admission of ignorance to make. I dont think ive ever heard of phi. At least, it sounds like i might have heard of it, but if youd asked me i wouldnt have been able to say what it was. What makes this ignorance startling is the small matter of my maths degred....Maybe i should buy a copy of the Da Vinci Code and complete my mathematical education!

Penny L. Richards said...

You might like to read Carolyn Anne Anderson's disability-focused review of the DaVinci Code, at this site:


Sally said...

Goldfish, you are precious, and you can blog about how bad it is anytime, without apologising; that is partly what we are here for, to share it.

We know its the wee small hours that are often the worst and if blogging about it gives a sense that there are others out there, as well as the sleeping lump in your bed, that's fine.

Living with acute pain is NOT like living with a small baby, who screams all night, but a tip from how I survived that time might help - take it in turns who gets up !

Next time you need your TENS machine on, let AJ move to the spare bed or the sofa so if you fell asleep his 'bits' are not at risk.

Following my previous comment on chaining AJ to the door frame, please don't think I am anti-AJ or partners as a species, its just that asking for our needs to be met is always frought with the feeling "am I entitled to ask this ?"

Yes..... usually.

The Goldfish said...

Mone - I think you're right about the unusual idea and I guess that's the big selling point. I really do believe that I would have a much more sympathetic attitude towards the style if it wasn't so massively popular.

Flip - I am sure there are better sources than the Da Vinci Code... A quick google produce this site which appears dedicated to all things phi.

Penny - thanks ever so much for that link, I have already been irritated by the portrayal of albinism (I'm not an expert, but learning to read from the small-print of magazines seems most unlikely). I shall read the review in full later on.

Sally - thanks for your kind words. AJ is very good and it's not he who has banned me from using the TENS in bed or anything like that, I just don't want to risk waking him up with a shock. ;-) I know what you mean about asking for our needs. Not entirely convinced about taking it in turns when it means waking someone up when they are already asleep, but thanks for the suggestion. :-)