The power of books

After having an okay but exhausting week, followed by a pretty sucky night of sleep on Friday, I wanted to do absolutely nothing today. Nothing except get lost in a damn good book. Thankfully, Divergent by Vernoica Roth did just that for me. This isn’t just a book review. It’s also a word about books in general, and how glad I am to be a freakish bookworm. I obsess over books. Their characters always stay with me longer than the book’s end (especially when done right), and it’s just a good feeling to get away from things for once. I love getting invested in a completely different world and characters that are flawed and creative and messy. Books are beautiful things.

At the end of this particular book, I literally felt breathless. I looked at my roommates and said, “I feel like I just ran a marathon!” And not because I started reading the book this morning. But everything that happened, everything that was built up, just came out in the last few chapters and I felt like I was off and running with the characters in the chaos. This book, like many others, provided a great reprieve from a stress-filled week. While I spent the day reading and not doing much else, I’m entirely okay with that. I think it was a much-needed break that helped me blow off steam by not thinking about my problems today. I’m very much a proponent of knowing when to take a break, if your mind or body (or both) needs it. So I spent my day reading, and it was totally worth it.

I’d been hearing and reading about Divergent for a few months now, and had left it on my Kindle wish list for a while before finally giving in this morning. I’m so glad I did. Veronica Roth is freakishly talented (and apparently, only a year older than me. PRO!) She has built a divided world full of tension and political struggles that are highlighted by a young girl’s confusion and desire to find her true place in a divided society. The five “factions” are well-described, and the people we meet from each both fit into and yet defy the social conventions set by their factions. But Roth excels at showing the differences between these people and the protagonist, Tris. The other thing I love is that the boy, Tris’ love interest (easiest way to describe him), is also well-developed. He is complex, and yes, mysterious, but not in an annoying way. He has a past that has truly shaped who he is, and his story is quite sad. But I love the chemistry and camaraderie that develops between these two. For me, the side love story can make or break a book, if not done correctly. Thankfully, it’s done well here, and contributes to the overall plot really nicely. The last thing I want to say is, it’s never over. This book had me screaming in the last few pages; the build-up to this crazy last few chapters was really well-done. And it was easy to see how things, once set in motion, seriously screwed up the norm. It was also an excellent way to set up the next book, Insurgent (coming out in MAY 2012 HOORAY!). I really look forward to seeing these characters again, and how they deal with new challenges.

I love reading fantastic books like this, because they keep me satisfied for a while (and keep me from going *click* on Amazon and buying more books). Especially after having read Even more so, the characters create vivid images in my head that tend to continue for a while after the book is over. Since I have to wait for the sequel, my mind sort of goes on a tangent about what might happen.

Another book that had a similar effect on me was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (yep, another YA. I love the genre). That one does not have a sequel (please don’t do it) because it ends so beautifully and perfectly…I can’t even. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better ending. That book, by far, is one of my favorites ever. That book also had wonderfully drawn characters that stayed with me for a while – I didn’t want to read any books for a while after that one. I was just extremely content with reading pieces of that book all over again (especially now that I knew the ending and could breathe again). Divergent had a similar effect on me. I feel like I can attack my work tomorrow, since I gave myself today to get lost for a little while.

Thank goodness for all these wonderful imaginations out there. Without them and the brave authors who actually write down these wonderful thoughts, we’d have nothing. My worn-out brain really appreciates good books. It’s literally food for thought, if the food was always chocolate and ice cream. 😉

Oscar wishes and woes

So the Academy Award nominations came out earlier this week, and while I do agree with some, I have a serious bone to pick with others.

I’m skipping Best Picture because there’s 10 movies and let’s be honest, The Artist will probably win. And it probably should (haven’t seen it yet but it’s on my list!). And I’m okay with that.

Moving to Best Actor: HALLELUJAH FOR GARY OLDMAN. The man totally deserves it.

BUT WHERE THE HELL IS MICHAEL FASSBENDER?! I don’t know what could have possibly possessed the Academy to leave out Fassbender. He has had a bunch of good movies out this year, so he’s on the radar (way above the radar in my opinion), and he’s SO. DAMN. TALENTED. From everything I saw and read, his performance is raw, riveting, and incredible. I just don’t understand how something like this got missed. I hope he eventually gets his due, but COME. ON.

And I’m pretty sure Brad Pitt got nominated because he’s Brad Pitt. Moneyball? Really? I could be wrong. I’m probably still bitter about Jen Aniston.

Also, why is there no love for Ryan Gosling?? Come on. There were two AWESOME movies to choose from. I’m sure they could have found something. Actually, where is DRIVE!? Good lord.

For Best Actress: I would really like Viola Davis to win, because she’s Viola Davis and classy and hardworking and wonderful. Rooney Mara – I’m sure she was good, but I’m not sure about Oscar-worthy. Yet. Nice to see her nominated, though. Meryl – just stop. You have enough.

For Supporting Actor: I’m so amazed that Warrior even made it into the Oscars at all, so this was a nice surprise. I’m not that invested in this category otherwise BECAUSE ALBERT FREAKING BROOKS DIDN’T GET NOMINATED.

For Supporting Actress: It’s gotta be Octavia Spencer (despite my major girl-crush on Jessica Chastain).

Animated Film: WHAT IS GOING ON. Look. Puss in Boots? Are you shitting me? I finally saw Rango the other night, and that’s the only one I can see even deserving of the nomination. I really, really liked it, even though it should not have been billed as a kids’ movie, by far. I can’t not like Kung Fu Panda, so I guess that’s okay, too. But I’ll be honest, I don’t know the other two – they could be awesome. I’m still reeling over Puss in Boots, though.

Directing: I cannot believe Terrence Malick made it into the race. Out of everyone in this category, I think Alexander Payne should win – although I can see The Artist’s director, Michel Hazanavicius, winning also. I’m just biased because I haven’t seen The Artist yet. But I loved The Descendants so much. And Midnight in Paris was so much FUN,  it was a kick to see Woody Allen in here.

I LOVE Midnight in Paris. Partly (largely) because of Tom Hiddleston. I’m done now.

I have a couple more opinions on music & screenplay, but the life of a student calls once more (aka I have class). Let the countdown begin!

Deja vu

I’m still kind of in shock. I knew the day would come when the Patriots would get a chance to exact their revenge on the Giants for ruining Super Bowl XLII and a perfect season, but I had no idea it would come this soon. Yet here we are, two weeks away from Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, where the Patriots and Giants will face off once more, this time in Indianapolis (the hometown of Eli Manning’s older brother Peyton).

Suffice it to say, I didn’t see this coming. At all. In fact, it didn’t hit me that the potential of a rematch was even possible until I got to class on Tuesday last week and was talking about the weekend’s games. A friend of mine said, “I was rooting for the Giants to win over the Packers.” After seeing my death glare, he quickly added, “I want a rematch! I want revenge!” And then I realized: fuck. We really were one game away from potentially having a rematch Super Bowl. And I don’t know if I’m ready for it.

Thank the lord we only have basic cable, so I don’t have to see ESPN and every other sports channel recount the painful Sunday in 2008 over and over again, for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. Because that’s all they will be doing. That Super Bowl was in my senior year of high school, and should have been a crowing moment. Instead, I was devastated. My mother and I were convinced it was because we left the Christmas  lights out longer than usual that year, hoping to celebrate the Patriots’ win. Ever since, those lights and the tree come down when January hits. We don’t take any more chances.

Earlier this year, the Pats had the chance to get some revenge, if not a lot. But they screwed up, despite being in Foxborough, and lost that game, too. Stupid penalties and bad defense cost them that game. I worry about their defense now, too, even with all its improvements over the postseason. But I’d like to believe they’re a different team than before. Actually, I know they are. I just don’t know if different still translates to champions. The Giants are the same scrappy Giants that came to town in 2008, and I for one want them taken down properly. I don’t know if that’ll happen. But I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought of wonderful scenarios involving just that.

I don’t really care if people don’t like the Patriots. That’s their own damn problem. We’re a happy, devoted Pats nation. And how beautiful would it be to win the Super Bowl this season for Myra Kraft. I would love that. What a testament and honor to her and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

So here I am during my senior year, yet again, this time in college, awaiting this matchup once more. And as I sit here in my Welker jersey, I can only dream of what might happen this time.

Horribly belated thoughts on the Golden Globes

One of my favorite moments of the night, with adorable Felicity Huffman & William H. Macy's song.

Just a random jumble/collection of my thoughts whilst watching the Globes! Slightly (okay, entirely) inspired by ravingmadscientists LiveBlog! 🙂 I totally recommend reading it!  I apologize in advance for how many times I say “I love ___” a person/couple/thing. Although it might make for a good drinking game. Anyways. On with the show!

-WTF NBC – major audio malfunction? That person’s gonna get fired.

-whoa Ricky Gervais’s red suit.

-love Charlize Theron’s dress/hairband. Greek-goddess-y. Until I saw the huge bow at her waist. eeehhh…

-Zooey pulls of the crazy dress somehow; can’t help but like it

-Rob Lowe is always hot…and overly tanned.

-Still want to see The Help! Octavia Spencer looks so classy. I’m pulling for her to win.

-WOW Salma Hayek’s metallic dress is crazy. But she’s Salma Hayek so she can do what she wants.

-Whenever I see Morgan Freeman I always think how appropriate it was that he was God in Bruce Almighty…I mean his voice is godly.

-I love Diane Lane and Josh Brolin!! One of a few Hollywood couples still together *knock on wood*

-I LOVE AMY POEHLER & WILL ARNETT!!!

-Viola Davis is the epitome of class.

-Mila Kunis is SO BEAUTIFUL. Not fair.

-NATALIE PORTMAN!

-I’m so happy Matt LeBlanc is nominated. Friends got me through so much. I will always love him.

-I want Tina Fey’s dress!! And earrings. And makeup.

-oh George Clooney. Sigh. ❤

-“fashion sex” with Bryan Cranston? Wtf? Awkward interview 38947948754.

-Eric Stonestreet! He just makes me want Jesse Tyler Ferguson to show up even more.

-Wow Ricky Gervais is just not backing down. So many people do not look amused. Wow.

-Christopher Plummer calling Ewan McGregor “a scene-stealing swine.” Doesn’t get much better than that. Oh wait, 43 years of marriage?! Jaysus.

-“as just the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen” – Ashton Kutcher describing Zooey Deschanel.

-I love Tina Fey creeping on Amy Poehler’s shot.

-Wow teleprompter issues? NBC your broadcast needs help.

-I freaking LOVE KATE WINSLET. I don’t care if Mildred Pierce was overdone. I LOVE HER.

-Major crush on Paula Patton. I loved MI4. Don’t care. Beautiful dress & color too.

-ADAM LEVINE AND JIMMY FALLON!!! I love Jimmy so freakin’ much.

-JGL SIGHTING JGL SIGHTING!! 😀 😀 everyone in the room screamed. So much love for him here 🙂

-Kate Beckinsale is beautifulllllllll. Yes, Seth Rogen, of course you have a boner next to her.

-Michele Williams so deserves it.

-PETER DINKLAGE!! “GAMES of Thrones?!” thank goodness he won. I love how angry Dustin Hoffman looks for some reason.

-“the cloon-meister general, George Clooney.” –Ricky Gervais; hahahah

-I love William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman!!!! GOD BLESS THEM. A-FREAKIN’-DORABLE.

-Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy are freakin cute. And ALSO still together *double knock on wood*

-I LOVE EMILY BLUNT! (where’s John Krasinski!?)

-JOEY WON A GOLDEN GLOBE!!! 😀

-Octavia Spencer won!! Good for her.

-SIDNEY POITIER! As my roommate squealed “He’s still standing?!” And my other friend yelled “Martin Scorsese is crying!”

-I really loved Hugo…

-I so want to see the Artist & The Ides of March.

-YAY The Descendants! I really liked that movie. I’m glad it won (and not War Horse).

Snow day!

It feels like eons since my last post. And because I am so tired from this week, I’m afraid this one will be quite short also. But after a long, fun night last night where I finally felt like a college student again (thanks to some delicious wine & other beverages), and not like an adult with a million and one things to do, I awoke this morning to the sound of snow falling. And sure enough, when I crawled out of bed an hour later, we had snow on the ground. *cue hallelujahs*

Obviously, it didn’t look like this, because we live in the depths of a city. But, in my head, snow is snow and everything looks like this when it snows 😀 So it made me very, very happy. It was a reward for making it to the end of the week, and some motivation to start all this work I have piled up. I have a lot of writing to do this weekend – personal statement, more short answers for my post-bac application, two nonfiction pieces for class. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Oh right, that pesky little bitch cover letter so I can find a job and get paid. Soon.

I don’t know if these will make me want to blog more or less, but we’ll find out soon enough. One thing’s for sure: I am happy enough to stay in my apartment, bundled in a hoodie, sweats & fuzzy socks, under a warm throw, and do my writing instead of having to run errands outside. Although once we get enough snow, a snowball fight will be called for. Oh, and I’ll have to go dig my car out at some point, before it gets worse than this (not that this is so bad, but if it freezes…):

As a side note, I’d like to hope that my reward for making it through this college (well, I’m almost there) involves a Pats-Giants rematch. I want revenge for 2007. So that would be really nice. Just saying. But the snow is a great start.

Happy Snow Day! this puppy has the right idea.

My last first week

What a whirlwind week! It was my first week of my last term of undergrad, and it was a doozy. So many things happened and will be happening. I can’t wait. Since I don’t think I can coherently organize my thoughts, I think bullets will be perfect for this post.

  • I saw a live surgery! Two, in fact. Thanks to my wonderful roommate, I was able to contact the orthopaedics department at a nearby pediatric hospital, and the wonderful secretary of a very busy surgeon gave me clearance to come in to observe a couple times. I got to do the whole shebang – had a scrub badge, wear scrubs (nothing has ever felt so right) and put on my hat & mask. My hands were legit trembling as I tied the mask back. I didn’t know what to do with myself. But dear lord was it amazing. I saw the end of a prosthesis surgery and the beginnings of an ACL reconstruction (mostly the pre-surgical probing). But it was AMAZING STUPENDOUS FANTASTIC EVERYAWESOMEADJECTIVEYOUCANTHINKOF. And I get to do it again this Wednesday 😀
  • I started new classes! One of my favorites is, surprisingly, Microbiology. I’m really enjoying the class, largely due to the instructor and her passion for it. Lectures are super interesting and the lab is also a lot of fun, thanks to an equally awesome & fabulous TA. Genetics will be great just because I love the subject. That is my shit (along with anatomy). I’m excited to get to stuff beyond our review.
  • THREE DAY WEEKEND! Well, it’s true. And it’s the only one we’ll get all term. So I’m going to enjoy it.
  • So much English/Writing, thanks to classes & my post-bac application (I’ll get there next). I love English teachers. I really freaking do. They are just so knowledgeable and eloquent and can talk about literature in such beautiful ways. This class will be a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it. My writing class should be interesting – it’s a lot of nonfiction writing, but creatively, which is something I haven’t done a lot of. So that’ll be a fun experiment.
  • My post-bac application. UGH. So many things for that. Thankfully my writer’s block finally cleared enough last night (after a couple glasses of wine ;)) to let me actually write SOMETHING down. And I got about two pages of stuff written. Which is a nice change from the blank page that’s been staring at me for weeks. Hopefully it’s the start of something good.
  • JOB SEARCH. Need I say more? It’s a pain, especially since it’s only for a 6-month gap between graduation in April and the (hopefully) start of my post-bac in Sept. Thankfully I have a lot of intelligent & practical professors to give me advice.
  • Awards season is upon us!! Golden Globes, Grammys, Oscars, and every guild award show as well. I love awards season. I am so obsessed with TV shows/movies and the entire awards drama. It’s just so much fun. And it only happens like once a year, so I always make sure to enjoy it.
  • The playoffs are here! There are so many awesome teams (not counting the Giants. never counting them) in the playoffs this year, and this weekend is no exception. The big game for me tonight is the Broncos vs. Patriots, but I am SO interested to see how the NFC plays out. There are some freakishly good teams there, and I’m sooooo curious to see how that turns out. I’d love to see the SF 49ers make it past the Saints or Packers, just because I like rooting for the underdog and I love the way they play (aka have a defense). Although, Drew Brees is a beast so I’d be okay with either one of them. It’s such a good time for football 😀
  • I get to start a pre-med program soon at the hospital where I volunteer! We’re getting more details as the first day gets closer, so I know I’ll have more to share on that later. But I’m stoked.
  • WINTER IS HERE. It is 19 degrees outside. No snow yet 😦 but here’s hoping the next month or two will change that!
  • Game of Thrones premieres April 1!!

 

Overall, a great if crazy week that set the stage for a very interesting last term.

Writer first, student second

“For the hour, I want you guys to be writers first, students second.” That’s what my writing professor said earlier today during our first class of the term. He was describing our class, a creative non-fiction writing workshop. It was a really great way to explain what he wanted for the class to be about. It was a simple but nice phrase to hear. And it got me thinking about how much writing has become such a huge part of my life. With an English minor, it might seem obvious, but I didn’t realize how much I really associate myself with being a writer. Having spent several years investing myself in journalism work in addition to science, I think I usually separated journalism from normal essay writing, simply because they seemed like two very different processes to me. But I realize now that both types of writing, while different, have overlapped and influenced each other, in good ways.

When I spoke with a professor earlier today regarding my (temporary) job search, I was surprised when she referred to me as a writer and even suggested I look for writing/communication jobs. It was an avenue I really hadn’t considered at all, having been focused on lab work for a while, but it was really nice to realize I had more opportunities available to me. I was also really happy to feel confident in my writing abilities and experience, enough that I could consider looking for writing jobs. It was a great feeling to realize that others thought of me as a writer, in addition to being a scientist/pre-med/student.

I suppose it came as more of a surprise because I haven’t been writing as much as I usually do. I’m not usually a list-maker, planner-keeper or journal writer, by any means, but this blog is the closest I’ve come to having any type of regular writing. I’ve been pretty good in keeping up with it, but even that seems to have dropped slightly. I’ve been  working on my post-bac application, which requires several short answer essays, as well as the big kahuna: the personal statement. I think i’ve been so stressed and nervous thinking about those lately that it’s just stopping me from writing anything, good or bad. Hopefully I’ll be able to freewrite on these soon and get some of these banged out.

My English & writing classes this term seem determined to get me writing, and fast, which might not be a bad thing. Sometimes I just need to get out of my own way 🙂 So it was nice to have some reminders today of how much I love writing, so I can get back to doing it sooner rather than later.