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Beset by electromechanical gremlins today. I woke up late, which came as a surprise since I have literally never slept through an alarm, not once in 36 years on earth. I didn't have much time to ponder how odd it was because thanks to the late wakeup, I had to get to work immediately. No time for breakfast or looking like a human. Then, my work computer wouldn't start properly. (It sometimes boots up but runs very slow, and this can only be fixed by turning it off, waiting about a minute, and turning it on again. But this takes a while because since it's slow it takes ages to start up the first wrong time and then ages to shut down.)

Once I finally got the computer going and was able to log into chat programs, I found out that a coworker had been trying to call me the whole time to find out what was going on, but my phone (the one that is also my alarm) didn't put the call through. My phone looked like it was on but was in fact not performing a single one of its functions -- phone, internet, alarm, or otherwise. Off and then on again with the phone. Working again.

Took a shower during my lunchbreak since the late wakeup made this impossible in the morning, but the shampoo dispenser plunger didn't work until (you guessed it) I took it off and put it on again.

--

On the subject of malfunction, Ciro and I watched High Rise last night, and it was disappointing although fun and pretty. Some really admirable performances, which were all the more admirable considering the script gave the actors approximately nothing to work with. I was completely on board for the first half, but after the midpoint's dramatic tertiary character death (vague for spolier's sake), the wheels came off. Basically, the movie opens by showing you a postapocalyptic landscape and the voiceover promises to tell you how the high rise devolved to that point. Then it flashes back to just before things go wrong. At the midpoint, things are still not really going wrong but there's a premonition that they might. Then, after the tertiary character death, there's a stylish montage that takes you right into postapocalyptic conditions without making any connection to what motivated the change, even though the answer to this question is the entire driving force of the movie. Then everything after that is sort of surrealist nonsense, a bit like the end of The Prisoner.

Ciro and I did our best to make sense of it, or more accurately to figure out what on earth made it seem like a good idea to the filmmakers. Ciro has read other J.G. Ballard books, although not this one, so he theorizes that the plot of High Rise is hamstrung by pre-feminist critiques of capitalism, which tended toward Nietzscheanism, such that a heroic anti-capitalist man expresses his uncontrollable natural uncivilized/uncorrupted virility by raping a bunch of women admirably, and also by having a bunch of children and then deliberately not providing for them so that they are free to follow their own aims. (It's all very noble. You can see that immediately.) At the same time, Ciro is leery about putting all of the blame on Ballard (who he likes) because he points out that a previous film by director Mark Romanek, Never Let Me Go, also an adaptation, had similar under-writing problems and thought gaps that became terminal in the last half. [Edit: Ciro misremembered the director of High Rise, who is Ben Wheatley. See comments for further clarification.]

(I haven't seen Never Let Me Go, even though one of my good friends and frequent collaborators was in the camera department. I'm not usually a stickler for reading the book before I see a film, but in this case the book is by Kazuo Ishiguro, one of my favorite authors, and the screenplay is by Alex Garland, who makes me crazy with his third act problems.)

--

Have had a low-grade sinus headache constantly the last few days. Thanks to Good Morning America, I am worried this means I have an aneurysm and could drop dead any moment. (I almost certainly don't. It's not a bad enough headache, plus aneurysms aren't contagious and my symptoms are shared by people in my immediate surroundings.) Daytime television is the worst.

Made apple pie, because it is pie season.

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