Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lost Days.

Is it already Saturday? How time flies when you have electricity. I remarked to Lana during the “Lost Days” as we refer to them, how slow time seemed to move when we had no computers, no telephone, no internet, no TV, and when we couldn’t even get out of our own yard. I read during those days, read and sweltered and occasionally grilled something on the barbecue. I wouldn’t mind a little bit of that slower pace sometimes, but only if it can come with AC at the same time.

Lana is still uploading videos from the Lost Days so I won’t steal that thunder. I’ll post here when they’re ready. The process is slow.

In other items, I finally managed to respond to my Google Reader feeds yesterday. When I got back online I found 198 posts waiting for me, and in a moment of “Oh my God, I can’t do this,” I hit “mark all as read.” Sorry about that, and about the great posts I'm sure I missed. But sanity required it. I’m still behind but I’ll start getting caught up today, and will resume making individual responses to comments on my own posts.

I’ve got to get started quickly, however, on three new reference articles for a book on mental health. I’ve got new pieces to do on the topics of “fear” and “transvestism,” and have to update an entry on Neuropsychology. I sent in a list of ten topics I’d be willing to work on, chosen from their master list of topics, saying that I only wanted three assignments total. This is the three.

The “fear” one is a natural for me since I’m interested in horror fiction and have given presentations on fear and horror before. And since I’m a biological psychologist, the neuropsych one is straightforward. I threw the transvestism topic in as a possibility because it’s something I don’t know much about, but I find it interesting as a disorder since the act of cross-dressing is so prevalent in our society. It seems like every TV sitcom has had some episode where a guy dresses as a woman and everyone laughs. I’m not quite sure why. I don’t know if they still do it, but there used to be a group of male Washington Redskin fans who dressed as really “ugly” women for the games. My tiny hometown of Charleston, Arkansas even has a “womanless beauty contest.” And, of course, in New Orleans there is Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, both of which involve extensive costuming and cross-dressing.

I’ve already learned that the term “transvestism” was coined by Magnus Hirschfeld in 1910 in Germany. Hirschfeld had several things working against him during the later Nazi period and had to flee the country. He was Jewish, gay, a cross-dresser, and a foot fetishist. Worst of all, he was a medical doctor.

Finally, one book I read during the Lost Days deserves special mention. This is Nightblood by T. Chris Martindale. What an excellent action horror novel. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Great characters and action mixed with atmospheric horror and vicious vampires. I’ve read one other horror novel by Martindale, Where the Chill Waits, and it was even better. I’m reading a third one by Martindale now, and have a fourth one ready. That’s apparently all he wrote. One rather odd thing I’ve noticed about Martindale is that he, more than any other writer I’ve ever read, reminds me of my own writing style. I’m talking about the style I used in Cold in the Light particularly.

All right, time to make the Google Reader rounds.


Middle Ditch said...

Hey Charles, for once I'm first.

I'm glad that you survived that storm and I know what you mean that time goes very slow.

We had a hurricane (very unusual and the weatherman made the mistake of calling it to be a bit windy the day before) in the eighties and were without electricity for five days. I loved it. The kids (small then) hated it but I have wonderful memories of baking potatoes in the ashes of our then open fire and playing loads of games by candle light.

Take care .. lol

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, oh, how I understand hitting that "mark all as read" button in Google Reader.

Sometimes sanity demands it.


Barrie said...

The Lost Days? Sounds like the title for a great short story!

Cath said...

So good to have you back up and running. And I am enjoying having a blog roll that tells me when a new post goes up. It takes some keeping up with though!
I would mark 198 emails as read too. ;0)

Please do not visit my current post. I whinge about rain in it. I did not nor will I ever (in Britain as far as I know) live through what you just did. So ignore my whining.Wait till tonight when Critters are up instead. :0)

Cath said...

Now what did I say? Didn't I tell you?
Dang it. I visit here, go back to mine and you just been. Dang.

Charles Gramlich said...

Middle ditch, a particularly good episode this time. There were certainly some good elements about being without power. I think if it hadn't been for the awful heat we would have enjoyed it.

Don, indeed. I think Sanity requires it when you start getting over 80 posts to follow. Maybe 50.

Barrie, I'm considering it. I do like it as a title.

Crazycath, I already checked out your rain post. It's clouding up here for more even as I type. Lol, now I see your post here.

Anndi said...

Glad you're back and safe!

How did I miss you being a biological psychologist? I'm currently reading a book about called: "This Is Your Brain On Music - The Science Of A Human Obsession" by Daniel Levitin. It's fascinating!

Now you know how I felt when I looked at my reader after two weeks away fom the net.

Lisa said...

When we lost electricity for a whole day, it was really kind of nice. It was cold that day, instead of hot and I wouldn't have been too happy had it gone on overnight or for multiple days, I don't think. I'm seriously considering having a "let's pretend we have no electricity" vacation from technology every once in a while. I'm glad to hear that despite the discomfort of the heat and the other inconveniences, you and Lana made it through okay. It's not so bad when you're hanging out with someone you really like :)

Travis Cody said...

I love those slow, lazy times. But I can only take so much of it otherwise I slide into a funk and have a hard trouble getting back up to speed.

SQT said...

Your comments on transvestites reminds me of the "powder puff" football games the girls played in high school. The girls would play flag football and the football players would dress up as cheerleaders to cheer us on. Good times.

Steve Malley said...

Transvestitism is an odd one, especially in that so many cross-dressers are straight. I always wonder a bit at it being classified a disorder (to me it seems more a case of 'different strokes'), but I suppose it does subvert masculine roles.

Here in NZ, masculine behavior is *very* rigidly defined. In this 'blokey' culture, wearing a pink shirt is seen as something like the first step on a slippery slope to lip-synching Cher songs in a drag show....

Rick said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Charles. I'll pick up a copy of "Nightblood." I've never read anything by Martindale, but I'm always excited to find another first rate horror author to read.

By the way, what are "Google Reader feeds?"

laughingwolf said...

sounds like fun stuff, the articles

not heard of martindale, so thx for that

glad you have power back... look fwd to lana's flicks

lost days of talera, next? lol

Anonymous said...

You really do need to go and check out mine and Heff's posts from Monday though when you get the time. They are classics and you need to be up to speed on the big event!

The Trailer Of Love

Charles Gramlich said...

Anndi, I can hardly imagine two weeks worth of posts.

Lisa, a let's pretend no electricity vacation would be kind of cool, as long as there's AC and heat, though. It would be great to get a break from all the other hassels of modern life.

Travis, I know. I'm feeling that funk already.

SQT, I didn't even think of that. I actually coached our powderpuff team when I was a senior in high school. And we won.

Steve Malley, I've thought the same way. Not sure why it's a disorder, because also transvestites don't seem likely to cause harm to others. Part of the reason I want to investigate it further.

VWriter, if you goggle "google reader" you can find them. What it is is a free program that checks all the blogs whose addresses you enter, and then tells you when a new post has been made. It really helped me out because my list was very long but not everyone posted every day.

Laughingwolf, well I was living pretty much Talera like for those days, without the witches trying to kill me of course.

Wil, I'll do that. Especially for the hint of the "big event."

Josephine Damian said...

Charles: I'm about to feel your pain when Ike stops by here on his way to you.

Not sure if it was Gustav, or residual trouble from Fay or what, but I was without Internet at home for four days. I hit the library and a my computer fix-it guys place, but still. Of course I had AC. Got a lot done though, not having Internet at home.

Glad you and Lana came through it.

BTW: 60 pages of my thesis are done, 15 more to go- could be slow going if I lose power this week.

writtenwyrdd said...

I recall reading someplace recently about how our internal clock runs on some physical function (which I conveniently forget the name and particulars of). Charles, do you suppose that our constant mental stimulus as members of this high=tech society has altered our perception of time? Or perhaps it is that we are merely habituated to the mental chatter and, like adrenaline junkies, feel a withdrawal as with any addiction?

Hmmm...Might be a story in there, someplace... Castaway on the land of No Wireless or something.

Lana Gramlich said...

You know, a lot of people spend a lot of money flying to some exotic island somewhere to have similar "lost days" they call "vacations." (That's not to say that A/C isn't the best thing ever invented by humankind, of course.)

Donnetta said...

Did you read your book by lamplight?

Always interested in the neuropsych stuff. Tell me more.

Hopefully, you guys are drying out and cooling off! I'm very spoiled on A/C. Have to have it. I like my ceiling fans, too. And fridge, and dishwasher, and washer/dryer, and...well, you get the idea!

Take care, Donnetta

Greg said...

pretty sure the Redskin fans still do the dress-up thing... the camera usually makes a point of finding them during televised games.

if Martindale writes like you did for Cold in the Light, I'll definitely have to check out his books.

ivan said...

Seems I wrote my best stuff when scorpions were crawling up and down the walls, no power, no inside toilet, in Mexico.
Small wonder Malcolm Lowry wrote his Under the Volcano there.

Trouble is, the guy did not think like you or I. Genius.

The rest of us can only be a rooting section.

But Lowry liked log cabins and unserviced places.
He also drank.
Hey, I can do something as well as Lowry!

Charles Gramlich said...

Josephine, hope your power stays up so you can get that thesis done. It's a big load off when it is. I'm hoping Ike won't hit us too.

Writtenwyrd, there are actually a number of internal biological clocks, many of which run at different speeds and time different things. Our primary circadian clocks are reset buy light. there is definitely a subjective element to time that is affected by activity, though.

Lana, yes, as I said, civilization has it's perks.

Donnetta, read by candlelight at night, or on the deck during the day. I'll post more about the neuropsych stuff as I get to that piece.

Greg, I figured they probably did. If you do read Martindale I'd be interested to see if you notice any similarity.

Merisi said...

Being powerless for days is the pits! Unless, of course, you live in a home that still has an oldfashioned woodstove which not only allows you to cook, but also heats the bathwater (in a summer kitchen, away from your house, of course *g*), is built like a Victorian with lots of cross ventilation, has a screened-in sleeping porche upstairs and a wide shades veranda on the first floor, where you can hang out in a rocking chair, sipping a mint julep with ice which you keep buried in straw, in one of those mysterious underground ice cellars. *grin* Of course, you are on vacation, or have no work to do.

Just kidding! Glad to have you back and the A/C running . :-)

Erik Donald France said...


glad you're electirc again, though (except for the heat) it sounds not so terrible -- sort of like pueblo living only with more humidity.

What did you do for drinking water?

Bernita said...

Candles do not have much to recommends them as a light source for reading, I've found, especially when there's darkness at noon.

the walking man said...

What's Google reader?

I know psychology is your profession Charles but, honestly, to me at times it sounds that the variety of reality subject matter is infinitely more fascinating than fiction.

BernardL said...

I've never understood the humor in a man dressing as a woman. When I see men do this on a TV show, I can't help but wonder if they have children. When I was a kid, I saw a cigar chomping Milton Berle prancing around on a TV show in a dress, and I remember looking back at my Dad thinking I'm sure glad my Father doesn't do that.

Jennifer Macaire said...

Horror and transvestism. I was wondering how those two fit together, lol.
I once knew a guy who always dressed as a woman for the 'end of the year' shows at the club. He just had to put on a ball dress, a pink tutu or a Spanish dancer outfit. Made you kind of wonder....

Middle Ditch said...

How do you do it?????????????

Yesterday I was here first and now there are 28 comments.

Yesterday I posted episode 19 and I have only 6.

I demand to know your secret.

Charles Gramlich said...

Merisi, I was thinking during our Lost Days about how the old timers
used to build for lack of AC, but we take it so for granted it's changed the way we construct our houses. If we had one of the shotgun houses here we'd have been in better shape.

Erik, we filled about 12 jugs with water before the storm hit so we had plenty to last us out some days.

Bernita, no, I read much less by candle light than by day. Old eyes don't handle them as well as I used to.

Mark, Google reader is a free program offered by Google that will check all the blogs that you load into it for new content. That way I only need to check a blog when I know something new is there. There's definitely a lot of fascinating non-fiction, but I find fiction critical to my state of health. It also helps me recognize that increasingly these days, what is ladled to us as non-fiction is in fact fiction.

Bernardl, I know, its one of those things I just don't get. It wasn't funny when Milty did it, or when Tom Hanks did it in Bosom buddies. At least to me.

Jennifer, I helped some gay friends of mine move once and they always attended Southern decadence here, and we moved a whole closet full of ball gowns and high heel shoes. It was funny.

Middle ditch, part of it may be that I'm fresh back from a hurricane. I don't know what else I might be doing differently than you. I tend to post a lot of comments on other folks blogs too so I get reciprocal traffic from that.

writtenwyrdd said...

Hey, thanks for answering that, Charles! I have a close friend who is a PhD neuropsychologist, but he's so busy I never ask him questions about the field. It's very fascinating but so far over my head!

Barbara Martin said...

"The Lost Days"...that conjures up all sorts of ideas for a story.

laughingwolf said...

i'm sure ;)

sent you a diy you may wanna try...

Shauna Roberts said...

I was glad to miss the hurricane, but would have enjoyed some Lost Days.

Are there female transvestites?

Britta Coleman said...

Glad you made it through the storm. Thanks for the tip on the book--sounds like a terrific read.

cs harris said...

For me, the worst thing about being without power all those days was the food. Most of what I eat comes out of the refrigerator, and even with ice chests, it went off quickly. Fortunately, the breezes off the lake kept the house cool, so we didn't suffer too much without the AC.

X. Dell said...

(1) We were without power for almost a week here. It's really weird to have an outage in the city, if for no other reason than the darkness of the sky at night.

I think I could have gotten more into the spirit of things if the weather weren't so hot. I missed my fans.

(2) Interesting. I'd be interested in reading what you'll come up with, regarding the transvestism. You'd reckon I'd know a lot more about the subject since I've known quite a few, mostly drag queens.

Charles Gramlich said...

Writtenwyrd, it's really a fascinating field to me too.

Barbara Martin, yes, I'm thinking of ideas for that title now.

Laughingwolf, I'll check it out.

Shauna, the Psych diagnostic manual lists the disorder of transvestic fetish, and only males can suffer from it. However, in general use the term can allow for men or women transvestites.

Britta, it was definitely a good read. I'm working on a third by him now which is also good.

Candy, we grilled a lot of stuff and ended up with a fair amount left over that may have to get thrown out, but at least we ate the best part of the stuff while it was still fresh.

X-dell, I've only known one drag queen and didn't know him all that well. But I bet I'll find out some interesting stuff.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

So glad you're back in black! I know what you mean about Lost Days, time that slows down because of no access to the things that usually make time go so fast. Glad you got to read, sad there was no ac! As for cross-dressing, it's really interesting. I don't know why something considered so awful by some when done in earnest is such a laugh riot to others when done "as a joke." There are so many misconceptions about cross-dressing -- most of them are straight and most know that they will never "pass" as women even as they try and enjoy getting ready for a night out. Thanks for the origin of the word -- such interesting details in history, I think!