?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
breeden
ursulav

(no subject)

Still in sort of creative shut down mode following the Con. I mean, I can paint, but it's a mechanical process--this is the nuts and bolts, not the mad jag of inspiration. Painting digitally for me is not unlike driving a car now, a sort of hard-wired skill that I only need to be marginally present for. My brain shows up for the turns and the color changes and any tricky bits, but my hand, eye, and hindbrain are fully capable of doing the gruntwork while my forebrain lounges about the skull with the good-natured feebleness of a patient recovering from illness. The Muse is convalescing.

It twitches now and again--there's a rather intriguing gearworld sketch I tossed off a few hours ago--but I am definitely not up to spending the evening painting for another few days, so I picked up a coupla books. And I'm in a mood for science writing.

I've nearly finished reading "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" which was fascinating and extremely funny. I love the fact that bodysnatchers were called "Resurrection Men." Facts like that are like little pearls. (And in ancient Egypt, eyeballs, which tend to more or less dwindle away after death, were replaced with pearl onions to plump out the eye sockets.)

"James!" I said. "Donate my body to science!" (Having learned what exactly will happen to said body, I am not at all deterred, despite the occasionally trivial seeming uses, like practicing cosmetic surgery, that the human body can be put to.)

"Okay," said James.

"Do you want to be donated to science, or cremated?" I persisted.

James got about a syllable and a half into "Surprise me" and stopped. There was a brief pause. "Cremation's probably good," he said. I have no idea what goes on behind his eyes at moments like this, but possibly he was having horrible visions of being made into fertilizer for Purina Wombat Grass or being used to train a legion of attack capybaras to crave flesh. I figured it was probably polite not to ask. James trusts me, but being a wise man, he trusts me to be myself, and this is inherently somewhat unpredictable and prone to strange behavior. "Surprise me" was probably too much of a blank check.

Anyway, good book, recommend it highly. The author is Mary Roach.


  • 1
I wish I could remember the name.

There's this artist whose medium is flayed, half-dissected, elaborately-preserved cadavers. Preserved in an elaborate plastification process I believe he had a hand in inventing, posed and spread in disgusting/fascinating/nasty/beautiful ways.

James might have had visions of that sort of thing. He's seen you experiment maniacally with new media.

If he didn't think of that, and sees this, he's probably going to hate me for pitting the idea in your head...

medium: my late husband's corpse

Gunther von Hagen. His traveling exhibition is called "Body Worlds" http://www.plastination.com/en/pages/home.asp

Yes, that's it! Thank you very much. I saw an article on his work a few months ago in a science magazine that stacks up on a friend's coffee table, and was both squicked and fascinated.

This is actually mentioned in the book. Cool, no?

*grins* James is a wise man. And you've been metaquoted, hope you don't mind! ;)

If you can find it AND if you don't already own it, I recommend Robert Wilkins' "The Fireside Book of Death".

You should probably specify that your instruction to donate your body to science is intended to be implemented later. You will need it for a while yet. ];-)

===|==============/ Level Head

I [liver symbol] my pekingese. That is all I have to say.

You have a Return to Sender LiveJournal Icon.

I am officially in love with you.

I'm donating my body to worms.
I figure if they've been aerating the soil so people could grow what's feeding me now while I'm alive, it's only fair that when I die, they'd get a free meal out of the deal. :-)

Wasn't there also a psychopathic necrophiliac serial killer called Edgar Gain who murdered people and made art and furniture out of their mortal remains?

Edward Gein? Who inspired Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs?

Then there's the case of H.R.Giger's wife.

But just because Ursula paints Gothbat reanimating her goldfish is no cause for alarm, I'd think. Although suddenly I wonder if that's the same goldfish the hooded Donkey is carrying all around?


I think, for once, you haven't outweirded me on something. See, I too thought I would have my body donated to science upon my death, but then I realized it would be a shame to let a nice looking noggin like mine out of the family. So I've let all concerned know that upon my death my skull is to be removed and preserved and kept as a family heirloom - and the rest of my body should be made into a couple of diamonds and placed into the eye sockets.

(One would think I had grown up with the Addams Family.)

Well if you're into sciency books I just finished a very amusing one by Bill Bryson, called The Short History of Nearly Everything. It's full of anecdotes surrounding the discoveries in science including the flutters of excitement the geologists in Iowa felt when they realised the state had a very very big crater.

There was also a story of a man in the 19th century I think who wanted his body to be a specimen for homo sapiens. Apparently no one had thought of it before even though there were specimens for most other named species. Unfortunately after his death it turned out that he had syphilis and his body was quietly discarded. The learned men didn't think he was an appropriate representative of the human species.

I thought I recognized that title. Mary Roach gives me joy. For the longest time the only thing remotely readable in my chiropractor's office was Reader's Digest, and unquestionably the best thing in that was her column.

For the other side of the coin I would suggest you look at Buried Alive even if Jan Bondeson does go into a little too much detail about the history of man's fear of being buried alive.

[Alopex] Could James' hesitation have been something so simple as the realization that it's kind of hard to surprise a corpse, and therefore futile to try?

  • 1