19 April 2007

Beyond freaked out because of the Departed

Finished watching The Departed, delivered to my mailbox courtesy of Netflix. Seriously, that is one sick movie - fucking sick as can be. Scorsese deserved the Oscar, no arguments here (he also deserved the Oscar for several other of his movies) - the script was great, cast excellent, cinematography was good. But it's really creeping me out. I think because the movie really didn't end, at least not the way I wanted it to end. I personally would have liked to see Leo's character get together with the shrink and Matt Damon's snaky little rat get sent to the federal pen. Instead, all the cops get shot in the head (including Leo) and Matt gets off scott free as the hero until he gets wasted by Mark Wahlburg (and he was soooooo good in this movie, like scary good) who then walks off. And the end. Maybe that's why the movie is so good. No one gets what they want. Still, violent and creepy.

And Alec Baldwin is hilarious as the lead investigator. And then there's Jack - I have never felt like needing a bath after one of his movies. Now I do.

Current book-in-progress: Native Son by Richard Wright, Temple of Texts by William Gass
Current knitted item: Eeyores.

17 April 2007

Today, we are all Hokies

After reading the growing media coverage of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, I waited nervously all day. Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry fraternity - of which I'm a District Counselor, has a large chapter at VT. Gamma Iota chapter hosted our 2004 Biennial Conclave and we had a marvelous time on VT's beautiful, peaceful campus. Thankfully, we heard from the chapter's president and none of our brothers are among the deceased or injured (and my friends Katharine and Beth, whose cousin attends VT, also heard he was unharmed). My heart breaks for all the families, friends, emergency workers, alumni, and administrators of VT. I pray to whichever God is listening right now that the entire VT community find peace and solace in one another as they heal. So many lives lost - none for any better reason than they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And now, some callous idiot has posted on the Barnes and Noble Book Clubs board that we should all buy a certain novel about gun-toting nuns in Wal-mart because the VT tragedy illustrates perfectly why the US should have gun laws. The post is as follows:

Yesterday's mortifying events in Blacksburgh Virginia underscore the importance of finding a way to stop the production and distribution of handguns. Only a few days ago I posted a message recommending xxxx's newly released novel "XXXX" and calling for EVERYONE interested in the subject of violence committed with pistols to read.Did you see? and if you did, did you care?If you did, and you didnt, you are part of the problem.xxxx'snovel is not available from Walmart online. Why? because in the story Nuns terrorize a WalMart gun department and destroy all the handguns present.WalMart refuses to publish it. How is this free speech in action? WalMart will say "We decide what free speech is".Fortunately, none of the other vendors agree. XXXX is not a political tract. It's a delightful novel filled with wonderful characters and at the base of it all is the question: why, when people can have all the rifles they want cause the constitution grants permission, do we need to allow handguns too?Look, don't listen to me. I'm only a schmuck who stumbled on a book far above his head and got kicked in the mind by it. I think the ISBN of XXXX is ISBN-10: ##########. I'm tellin' ya. This is a great read.

Did you notice a few things are missing? I took out the author, title, and ISBN - I don't want anyone, not a single person to buy this book. I even submitted a complaint to the BNBC admins; I'm a pretty tolerant person but this pretty much stretches my limits. The poster is part of a circle of authors with TERRIBLE self-published novels and they all push each others' novels. Promotion is one thing; the unfeeling use of a heinous act of violence with no regard for victims and survivors to sell a completely unrelated novel (which is crap, by the way) is completely ... I don't know. I don't even have a word for it - I need one which encompasses this jerk's callousness, self-aggrandizement, and my sentiment that he be electrocuted by his computer next time he's near it.

I shed many tears yesterday for thousands of people I will never meet and I shed more now in memory of the victims and their families. Nikki Giovanni spoke at the convocation and I close this post with her words:

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on. We are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech ...
-- Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor, poet, activist

10 April 2007

Work is just a synonym for HEARTBURN

Last week I pulled serious overtime on my research job (I quit counting at 50 hours on Thursday) and it pretty much sucked because I was tired, stressed, consumed far too many Tums, and since I'm salaried I don't get overtime pay. Activity #1 was helping the boss get the very large CDC grant finished - if we get this I get a raise, if we don't get this....well, the boss will be difficult to live with for quite some time. Activity #2 involved getting some numbers out of a study one of the ID people started and another RA analyzed - let me just say that it was completely set up wrong and I managed to get something useful out of it by Friday morning. Activity #3 occured Wednesday and Thursday because our clinical monitor from 3M came to close out our clinical trial - she bought us some seriously nice lunch at Atlas downtown to thank us (ps, Connie-the-monitor is very nice to work with, too). Basically, I worked like crazy and didn't do shit for my class last Monday evening - faked an entire evening of Faulkner discussion (bad, bad, bad). And I'm pretty sure that none of the other three RAs that work for the group did anything even remotely stressful. I hate being dependable.

To remedy the overworked attitude, I took yesterday off to read about 200 pages of the class assignment for Monday. Yup. And I finished Bound to Please and Reading Like a Writer. Go me.

Current book-in-progress: Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night (only 100 pages left now) and The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Literature (oy - but good).
Current knitted item: Eyores. I eyeballed my sock yarn, too.