Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flies in the face of reality

I love where I live, especially in the summer!  But there is one undeniable cross we have to bear in order to enjoy summers in Canada's abundant forest lands.  I hate to even admit it, but here goes...THE BUGS!!  They are such a holy terror!  Some years it is not as bad, usually the black flies are not so bothersome if you don't go too far away from the water into the thick bush.  But the mosquitoes will come out at dawn and sunset and sometimes even between those times.  Early summer has the "no-see-ums"  (because you really can't see them -- they can even get through the wider mesh screens!) also called sand flies. These have been particularly bad this year.  Then just when you think it's safe by the water, along come the horse flies (or deer flies as we call them where I live).  They just love their meat slightly damp and their bites hurt like the dickens! 

The Black Fly Song / by Wade Hemsworth (animation by the National Film Board of Canada)

All this talk about flies reminds me of that frightening sci-fi movie The Fly directed by David Cronenberg starring the always exceptional Jeff Goldblum.  It's about a science experiment gone wrong where Goldblum's genes get mixed up with those of a housefly when it inadvertently enters his teleportation machine during a test run.
This shot where Goldblum is starting to notice his gradual transformation is one of the less disgusting pictures I could have shown you.  Of course this was a remake of the original movie starring horror movie great Vincent Price.  The original version is a classic, but only true film buffs would really enjoy it. Modern audiences are used to much better special effects than were available when it was made in 1958.  
Cronenberg's version is a compelling story, which is well acted and riveting from beginning to end.  The special effects (those of Goldblum's transformation from human to fly/human) are very believable.  Perhaps too much so, for those without a strong stomach!

actor Sharlto Copley in District 9
Recently, my son introduced me to a newer film with a "bug" theme.  It was not a film I would have chosen otherwise, but I'll watch almost anything with company.  I found District 9 to be a very disturbing but insightful vision of the way human society treats those who are different from themselves.   The story is that an alien spaceship was stranded right above the city of Johannesburg, South Africa and the rescued aliens (bug-like creatures called "Prawns") were collected in a cordoned off area of the city.  The treatment of the Prawns reminds us of apartheid which is still a very recent memory and also the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII.  Eventually, as the population of aliens has grown over time, the company that manages them (like prison guards) decides the population must be moved.  The leader of this group, is a very unlikeable person and we cannot admire how he treats the Prawns. His character changes radically, when he is infected by a fluid the aliens have been developing to fix their spaceship.  This infection begins to change him from a human into a Prawn.  Once again, the special effects are very good (and gross!), but the real star of this movie is the story itself.  It leaves much to think about long after the film is over.
Trivia tidbits:
1. Fans of The Hobbit will be interested to know that in Cronenberg's The Fly (1986) -- the musical score was composed by Howard Shore who also composed music for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and is now working on the music for The Hobbit.
2. Peter Jackson was the producer for the movie District 9 (2009).

I shouldn't say I hate all flies. There are a few types that have the Phylly's Faves stamp of approval.  I love Dragonflies, for instance.  Indeed, they seem to like me too.  I'll never forget one time I was fishing on the lake and a dragonfly zoomed in front of my face and hovered there for several seconds.  We stared at each other in startled surprise, me at it's bug eyes and who knows what so fascinated it about me.  I finally brushed it away, but it came back to hover again just millimeters from my nose to the hilarity of my boat mates!  Perhaps we knew each other in a past life?  Heaven knows!  But since then I've felt more spiritually connected to these insectile creatures.  Then there was the summer (not long ago) when very few bugs were around.  We sat on the deck after a long leisurely supper, savouring a glass of wine and awaiting a glorious sunset.  When it occurred to me that at this time of day, we would usually be inundated with hordes of flying, biting nuisances and we were not, I took a look around and noticed instead there were quite a few dragonflies buzzing past the deck.  Then I stood up and there in the grass, as far as I could see, were legions of dragonflies, awaiting the signal for takeoff or perhaps dozing, their fairy wings twinkling in the rays of the late afternoon sun.  It was simply magical!  It was a summer to remember -- the summer of the dragonflies!

Here is another summer insect that doesn't "bug" me
Fireflies / by Owlcity

Here is Rick Ocasek of The Cars being a bug in the music video for their song "You Might Think".

Other than that one scene this video isn't really about insects, but the singer's stalkerish behavior in this video is more than merely annoying.  However, at the time it was made, this was just a light-hearted musical romp!

You Might Think / The Cars

I can only hope that Richard Armitage's army of fans don't start to "bug" him.  A fellow blogger Bccmee brilliantly captured this sound byte from his movie Frozen, I really hope he doesn't want to say this to us:
Get a life audio only by bccmee
What a nice way of saying -- BUG OFF!

I would hope that his fans would be more like dragonflies to keep the real pests at bay, or fireflies who might shed light in the darkest night.  But perhaps I am a real pest for showing you one last image.  Because I do like heros and also dragonflies and Mr. Armitage, this can't help but appeal to me!


bccmee said...

Even in New York City, we are pestered by bugs. Sometimes I wake up with mosquito bites, possibly because I live across the street from a park.

As for fans of a certain actor, I like to think most of us are fairly well-behaved!

phylly3 said...

Mosquitoes in NYC? Well that is surprising! If they are anything like the ones in Toronto, we laugh at those. They are so fragile we can kill them with one finger. Northern mosquitoes are much more vicious I assure you!
Yep. It's come to that -- we are proud of our pests! :o

Anonymous said...

A pox on those horse/deer flies! They always get me - I never spot them until it's too late!!! We are getting our cottage rebuilt (it was falling apart - a health hazard apparently) and we are getting balconies off the two main bedrooms with screens (that we can keep on or take off). Finally, a way to be out at dusk without being eaten alive.... :D Bliss!
And nice tie-in with Richard...I sure hope we don't bug him too. :D

phylly3 said...

Yes, I take great offense to bugs that annoy me in the lake too! A pox on them, indeed! :D
Hurray for screens! I always think it is marvelous when I visit a warm place where they have no need of screens. That truly is paradise!
Good luck with your renovations!

Ragtag said...

Hi Phylly, have you ever swallowed one?
It's something you hear happens *shudder*

I saw District 9 as well, very moving.

phylly3 said...

Oh yeah! I have certainly breathed them in, more often by inhaling them. Wide smiles are dangerous if you are moving too fast with no windscreen or caught in a bug infested area. That Blackfly video is only slightly exaggerated, but it is certainly how we all feel!

JaneGS said...

What a great summer post--I especially liked you dragonfly stories and The Cars song :)

Never saw The Fly--didn't want to traumatize myself to that degree!

Enjoyed the Black Fly song, and the animation was great.

Thanks for making me smile!

phylly3 said...

@JaneGS-- Thank you so much for the compliments! :) I sing that Black Fly song quite regularly in the summer!

Anonymous said...

@Ragtag - nightmare scenario that, swallowing a bug. (do we want our protein that way? giggle).
When we lived in Jakarta for a couple of years, it was the ubiquitous 3-inch cockroaches in the house. One went up my pants leg. No more need be said. Except, glad I was wearing pants, rather than a skirt at the time...

The dragonfly experience was so lovely, Phylly. Always we look for that balance in nature. The cockroaches were balanced by the pretty little lizards who roosted on the walls of the bungalow, and caught flies. :D


phylly3 said...

@fitzg-- Cockroaches! *shudders* I would like to see a "pretty" little lizard! lol In Hawaii I saw the teeniest lizard (or something) on our rental car in a baking hot parking lot. It was barely as big as a dragonfly. I was afraid of hurting it, but I had to get it off the car!

Traxy said...

District 9 is a brilliant movie, very memorable. Also like the Owl City song ... but not as much as I love the TV series Firefly! :)

phylly3 said...

@Traxy-- I didn't know about that series. Looks very good! I like some sci-fi stuff especially about space travel. I don't know why I had never even heard of it!
I am now addicted to that song though!