Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Revenge of the Nerds (Redux)

Another long stretch of time has passed, obviously, and I've no real idea where it went. It's just gone. I looked up and it's nearly November...and freezing.

More of the usual at school. Heads really down in the books, trying to keep up with everything. I'm past the half point, now; coming out of the woods instead of going into them. I'm constantly overwhelmed and lacking time to think straight.

Here's an interesting non-science tidbit: Apparently "Revenge of the Nerds" is being remade with a cast of people I don't recognize. The only reason I know this is that for the last two weeks, campus has been turned into a movie set. To put it politely, it's been more than annoying. I alternate between scratching my head, muttering about how Hollywood really has run out of ideas if they're remaking this one, and trying to understand how this movie was filmed on this campus.

Seriously, a remake of this movie? Really? Is it warranted? C'mon, the nerds won. Remember the software boom of the 80's and 90's? The name "Bill Gates" ring a bell? It's over; the nerds have had their revenge. Hell, if anything, a "Revenge of the Jocks" movie would make a little more sense at his point.

Also, the remake was filmed at a private, liberal, women's college full of bright, young, enlightened ladies. How the hell did this movie get made here of all places? Did nobody on the faculty and staff see the original movie? Being the oldest of my classmates, nobody really remembers it. I've tried, with limited success, to explain it to them. As I give them the synopsis, their jaws gape in disbelief.

Do you remember this one? Really, it was little more than tits and ass and gross out jokes pitting stereotypical horny nerds against stereotypical womanizing jocks. That's all; the end. Admittedly, I thought the movie, at the time (1984), was hysterical. (The full-frontal female nudity was a big plus, in my opinion.) If you've seen the movie, it probably changed your vocabulary a little bit. What one line or two do you recall from the film? Hmmm. Think about it. Having trouble? Peruse this list of "memorable quotes."

How about the pivotal scene? Remember when the nerd leader beds the alpha jock's super-hot gal? Remember how this happens? Halloween carnival. Smoke machine. Haunted house or something. Anywho, the nerd wearing a Darth Vader mask has sex with the hottie. She, on the other hand, thinks it's her boyfriend who's giving her the business. After everything is done, he takes off the mask for the big surprise: the revelation of his true identity! At the time, it pretty awesome: it gave us nerds hope that one day, we could seduce beautiful women. Reflecting on it now, I'm pretty sure that what occurs in that scene would be considered rape.

Can you believe that this gem of the silver screen is proudly being remade here at my private, liberal women's college? Evidently, a little over $100,000 will make you overlook these things.

Here's the best thing: As a little wrap party, the campus is providing pizza and inviting all the students to a screening of the original movie. !!! I'm almost certain that the person who came up with this idea has seen the movie a few times on television after heavy editing for content and will be in for a huge surprise when showing the original.

I'm definitely going to be there for the fireworks.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Soooo Much Better Than a Space Pen

Okay, perhaps I've been putting in entirely too much time with the books. I may as well be chained to my desk here at the house. I feel like I'm truly missing the fall, my favorite time of the year. Courtesy of this ridiculous schedule I've thrown myself into, I've missed the mornings becoming crisper, walks with my dog, grabbing coffee with my wife, most college football games (although UGA isn't playing that well), and most playoff baseball games (although the Bosox faded in September).

This weekend, I did allow myself to watch a couple of baseball games and pledged to promptly get a TiVo. How hot are the Tigers? I'm liking them to win it all; they're en fuego. (Now, your turn to make some "racially insensitive" jokes and get fired.) Seriously, how great was Magg's walk-off homer to win the series? It was fate, wasn't it? Didn't you just know he was going to crush it? That is October. And baseball. And all things good about life.

On the plus side of studying so much, I've started having nutty dreams again. Here's what made me wake up laughing this morning:
In my dream, I was about to buy a pen that recycled feces into ink. The advertisements remarked that it would never run dry because it ran on biofuel. As I really, really hate running out of ink and consume my daily recommended amount of fiber, I suppose I was the ideal customer. Basically, you drop a deuce, collect it, put it into you pen, and you're ready to write. How simple is that?

The pen itself was larger than a jumbo tube of toothpaste with an enormous opening at end, presumably for loading. It was a bright shiny red, almost like a color you'd see on an expensive sportscar. It came in standard size and a limited edition, "supermodel" version which had a much, much smaller fuel capacity. It was a size difference on the order of putting a giant, novelty cigar next to a Virginia Slims cigarette.

I should get one of these things. Then, everything I wrote really would be crap. I've a sneaking suspicion, though, that the reality wouldn't be nearly as impressive. It would, however, break me of chewing on my pen.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Boys and Girls (and Tainted Hummus) in America

Back in July, I wrote that J3K, Rob, and I had formed a band, Tainted Hummus (24 July post). Anywho, we'd set 04 OCT as the date that we'd play at the EARL. Things were looking pretty grim that we'd actually meet the date. In addition to not practicing, we didn't get any sort of billing for the night's show at the EARL featuring The Hold Steady. It seemed a that Tainted Hummus would not be performing.

Walking up to the EARL, I mentioned to my wife and Rob that I had a good feeling about the show. I thought that we'd meet the band or something. Once inside, we parked it right in front of the stage about three feet from the microphone and held our ground. The Hold Steady came on and just ripped the roof off the place. They wowed me back in February and far surpassed themselves with this show. What a fantastic band. At one point, Craig Finn, the lead singer, says "I feel sorry for all you people who have to go to work tomorrow; we're going to have a good time tonight." Man, he was right.

I had one drunk kid to my right who couldn't stand up. After he continued to fall up against me, I just started to step out of his way and let him land on the floor. He looked a little puzzled, bent down to tie his shoes, and assured me that he'd just "put double knots in them" so he wouldn't be falling down anymore. The next time he fell on his ass, I suggested that he should probably look into triple or quadruple knots.

After what was an utterly amazing show, the band came out for a couple of encores. To our surprise, we got called up on stage along with several other folks in the front row to help close out the final song of the second encore. Amazing! Technically, Tainted Hummus joined The Hold Steady on-stage for their encore. We did, in fact, keep our promise to play on that night although only 2/3 of the band was there. Pretty good, I'd say. I got home about 1:30am and went to bed happy and with ringing ears.

As fate would have it, though, 2/3 of the band joined The Hold Steady on stage at the end of the second encore to help them close out the show. Technically, we did perform on the date we'd selected. I love keeping my word.

If you get the chance, do whatever it takes to see them. Do not miss their show. Wear earplugs and take the next day off. You'll be happy you did.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


In the kitchen, I find a little plastic bag that my wife has brought home from the dentist. It, no doubt, was the goodie bag she got after her visit. I guess after harvesting the freebies (toothbrush, mini-roll of floss, red plaque tablets, lollipop) she put the bag in the "doggie-bag" area. These miscellaneous bags are the life-blood of dog owners. Mostly, they are plastic grocery bags used to pick up the enormous, steaming turds that our dog, Dylan, only seems to deposit when we take him on walks. Anywho, the dog owner's lament is picking up hot, stinky crap and portering it to the nearest trashcan. This bag will change everything.

For some reason, using this bag for poop will really make me laugh.

Obviously, I've not been getting much sleep lately.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kudos Pitchfork; Sorry "Jet"

Every day I check out Pitchfork for reviews, news and such about the independent music scene. Many times I think the writing staff puts together some great reviews that mix humor, a wide breadth of musical knowledge, and an analytic approach. Other times, they come off as pretentious, music-snob asses with a grudge.

Today, I may have stumbled onto one of the best reviews I've seen in many years of reading their site. It's stunning in its simplicity yet it perfectly describes the reviewer's thoughts and feelings about the record.

Normally, albums receive a score on a scale of 10. If you're ranking 7.5 or up, you've garnered a good review. Well, the gang over at Pitchfork didn't feel compelled to give the new Jet album, "Shine On," a score. Check the review here. It's a modern classic. (I'm referring to the review; stay the hell away from the album.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

That Hurt a Little

Last couple of weeks have had me on the ropes. Seriously, if I just had about 8 more hours each day, I think I'd be just fine. I'm starting to settle into things but getting nowhere near comfortable. Here's a brief recap of notable events in the last couple of weeks:

My Family Tree Is Losing All Its Leaves
My Aunt Ruth, my grandmother's sister, died some days ago. She was 92 or 93 and had lived quite a full life but died rather suddenly and unexpectedly. Because of exams and such, I couldn't attend the funeral. Because Aunt Ruth had always lived in a different city, I never got to know her terribly well but I really liked her. She had a ridiculously adventurous spirit and was a feisty lady.

It was always fun and funny to see the two old sisters together. My grandmother, who everyone called 'Bamba,' was the younger sister. Ruth was the older sister that everyone sort of saw as the risque, fun-loving, free-spirited one. Put them together and you had fireworks.

A year or two before Bamba died, Aunt Ruth came for a visit. This was right around the time I proposed to my wife. Luckily, we had gone to visit everyone and share the good news. This was after Bamba's stroke, so she spoke in a gentle but hoarse whisper. Aunt Ruth, on the other hand, had not problem speaking loudly. Unfortunately, she was nearly deaf. So, you put them in the room and let them go. One could hear but not talk; the other couldn't hear a thing unless you were yelling but spoke quite loudly. After a few minutes, the two sisters were just laughing hysterically at the absurdity of it all.

When Bamba died a few years back, I gave the eulogy at her funeral. I consider what I said on that day to be one of my life's achievements. Afterward, Aunt Ruth found me at the grave site and thanked me for my words. As sad as I was in that moment, I felt even sadder for Ruth: she was the sole survivor among her siblings. I'm compelled to believe that, now, however, they're all reunited: laughing until they cry, getting louder and louder.

Exams and More Exams
Obviously, the exams of the last couple of weeks were paramount to almost everything. Seems everyone in the program is a little shell-shocked from it all. I'm reconsidering whether four simultaneous lab classes was really the best idea. Anywho, seems a little silly to bitch and complain about it. I'm trying to just think of it as a precursor to the strain of medical school. Yeah! That way, instead of thinking about it as "only several more weeks to the semester," I can really expand it to "only several more years of this shit." It really makes all the difference.

Fetal Pig Dissection
We started the fetal pig dissection a couple of weeks ago. The fact that I never had an anatomy class or did a thorough dissection makes this pretty cool. Our pig is a huge, well-developed, hairy female that my partner and I named "Butters." Honestly, dissection is pretty damned cool but awfully violent. It really takes a sort of detachment to step back from the object as a living thing and try to approach it scientifically. We've dissected several systems by now: digestive, reproductive, circulatory, respiratory, and excretory. The body is absolutely amazing. Considering how everything fits together and works is absolutely enthralling. I just wish that the damned preservative chemicals weren't so unpleasantly fragrant; they stick with you for hours. Butters really stinks.

One way to really alienate everyone in your lab class (including the instructor): announce that for Halloween, you're going to wear an apron made of fetal pigs. The reaction is classic.