Saturday, August 09, 2008

Summer Heat....


Friday, August 08, 2008

Summer Films

Okay, so there have been a few films of interest out in the summer months and it would be remiss of me, as something of a film fan/addict, to have not seen some of them. Suffice to say, i've been a few times to the cinema of late and have a few thoughts on some of the films i've seen - both blockbusters and otherwise. SO here they are - reasonably succinctly.

Prince Caspian - an improvement on TL, TW and TW (which was average IMHO) but doesn't have a patch on recent fantasy like TLOTR trilogy. Is strikingly violent for a 'childrens' film

Indiana Jones 4 - Both fun and nostalgic, but not really a patch on the earlier trilogy of films. There are some fun moments to be had, but a few ludicrous ones as well.

Sex and the City - if you're a fan of the series, you'll love this. Otherwise you may not find much to raise a smile.

Mongol - a gem of a movie about Gengis Khan. Stunningly shot, with an epic scope. Gripping from start to finish.

WALL*E - further evidence that Pixar are one of the best studios turning out movies. This is pure joy to watch - even if the pesky humans do detract from the main character. The opening (dialogue free) 20-30 mins are stunning.

Mamma Mia - entertaining and very funny, particularly if you like ABBA. A lot of froth and little substance, but i don't think you'd expect that from a film like this. Meryl Streep can sing, Pierce Brosnan tries.

The Dark Knight - perhaps THE film of the summer. This is how blockbusters should be done. A dark, brooding, crime saga with a knockout performance from Heath Ledger as the Joker. This is how comic book films should be done!

So, that's my two cents worth of thoughts. Feel free to agree or disagree. I'm sure there are a couple of films that i've forgotten to mention as well. Overall, summer wasn't as hit and miss as previous years (Pirates 3 and Spider-man 3 last year for example). Let's hope that the momentum keeps going as we head in to the 'awards' films of the fall.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coming up on Three (updated FINALLY)

Okay, so this was intending to be a post on how the three year anniversary of my arrival in Charleston was approaching, and how i was going to be celebrating it with my annual cocktail party (with three parties in a row - this is officially a 'trend' in scientific parlance). Anyways, as you've probably guessed if you've been checking the site out from time to time, i've been extremely lax in updating my blog of late. This is not through lack of want, nor of lack of interesting things happening to me. Nor, surprisingly, is this because i've been over run with work (okay, so i have had work to do, a fair amount, but still, it's not all been that). No, this is that typical confluence of events where small amount of lots of things add up to a great big amount of stuff going on, or rather, a great little amount of free time and/or energy where i actually want to spend time thinking about what i'm going to write. Anyways, profuse apologies all round. I will hopefully do better of late.

So, the "Three years on" party went well - much drink was had, as was much fun - especially that involving the plastic camel. Yep, a plastic camel. It's something of a tale, but suffice to say it's entirely the fault of my boyfriend Mark. However, given it's popularity at my party, i have been subtly trying to make him think that actually, it was my idea all along and it was he that took some convincing. I don't think it's working though - and if he's reading this now, well, i'm definitely screwed. So, i plan on following this with a couple of quick posts to fill you in on some of the things going on right now (promise!) and with any luck, i'll get things up and running again soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

El Presidente

With the establishing of the MUSC postdoctoral association last May, i had volunteered my services as an executive officer (secretary officially) to try and help get the association on its feet and start things slowly moving. As you can imagine, this is often an uphill goal - a lot of postdocs want things to be done for them without putting in effort whereas others feel that it diverts time away from the lab which is where they should be (in some ways, a point of view i can agree with). With the first year all but over and done with, the time came for elections to be held and some shuffling in the 'cabinet' as it were. Some of us decided we were happy to stay on for the next year (as we'd actually be here) and the voting was done pretty quickly (a smaller group of people means that things do get done decisively for a change).

So imagine my surprise when i was nominated, seconded and voted in as president for the next year before i could even catch my breath. Looks like i've got a busy year ahead of me. Still, one has to have a positive outlook on things - if i can use this year to make a difference at MUSC, even if only a small one, then i guess it will be something. I've also lined up a meeting or two with my other executives in the next week or so to try and establish solid goals to work with for the next year. I guess we'll just have to watch this space. Now if only the 2008 Presidential election could be decided this quickly, then we'd have a lot to be thankful for!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gassing about Gas

Of course, things in the world being the way they are right now, it comes as no real surprise that one of the major topics of conversation both on the news, around the watercooler and, frankly, anywhere is the rising cost of petrol over here in the US. Now, i'm sure i've commented before on how the price of petrol over here seem to fluctuate wildly and sometimes on a daily basis. I'm sure i've also covered how i often point out to my American colleagues on how much petrol is costing back home in England right now (of the order of $10 a gallon, i think) and let them know that we do have it lucky over here in that sense. However, the problem lies elsewhere in that the cars have generally bad gas mileage over here compared to other places in the world. And also that people like to have the big cars that squash pedestrians as soon as look as them which doesn't help. They haven't quite got the economic sensibilities yet.

However, the main gripe to bear over this (and keep in mind that i walk to and from work every day so it's not that much of an issue for me) is that fact that the oil companies are walking away with record profits - that are set to keep on increasing it seems. How could it be such that in the volatile world environment that is pretty much with economies teetering on the brink of recession, can the oil companies be getting away with this? You would've thought that someone high up there would maybe suggest cutting some of us down here a little slack, but then i guess if there pockets are so well lined that they can afford their own prices, then they don't really care. And it's not just the gas prices that are the problem - of course, everything is going to slowly creep up in price. At work, we're trying to minimize orders to cut down on shipping costs. And the response is to try and increase production (of oil). Great in the short term but sooner of later it's going to run out. We need to start preparing now for that day and at this rate, it'll be here far sooner than they think.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Logic, May I Introduce You To This Window

With the Democratic Presidential candidate finally decided (and congratulations to Barack Obama), i guess the only thing left for us to do is settle in for the long, hard race to November. Already the sniping has begun (admittedly on both sides) and the battle lines are being drawn. With such a political atmosphere at the moment, it's perhaps no surprise that virtually everyone is talking about it in some way, shape or form. Despite my best efforts to, frankly, ignore it all, i finally admitted defeat and began to listen to other peoples opinions. Suffice to say, i was rather surprised by some of the attitudes out there.

Take, for example, the gentleman (Republican supporter, naturally) who said he could never vote for Obama because his name just SOUNDED arab. When coupled with the SC church who had the sign 'Osama and Obama. Coincidence?' outside and the mind boggles. But not only are the Republicans bitching about the candidate. I was talking to a couple of self-proclaimed 'life long Democrats' who were going to vote Republican at the next election, because Clinton didn't get the nomination (their preferred candidate). When i challenged them about this, whether Senator McCain was more in line with their beliefs, they outright said no, but they would rather vote for him than Obama. When pushed further, they could give no convincing reason, other than the fact that Clinton didn't win the vote. It was at this point that i told them they had no further right to discuss politics or anything with me, if they threw a hissy fit like that. Never mind the fact that Clinton, herself, is throwing her support behind the party candidate. Honestly, with voters like that, is it anyway wonder that the last administration stayed there for 8 years? Answers on a postcard.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Identity Crisis

A (somewhat random) thought occurred to me the other day, as is often the case. As i was laying on my bed half asleep, waiting for my eyes to eventually close, i was busy stroking my cat Jasper as he paraded back and forth in front of the bed. As i stroked him, he meowed at me, so i scratched behind his ears and then his back. I was somewhat surprised to find that when i stopped, he meowed at me until i started again. This, coupled with the fact that i used to play fetch with him when he was a little younger bought me to the conclusion that Jasper is having an identity crisis and thinks he's a dog. Now, perhaps it was the drowsiness talking, but it seemed like a perfectly logical thing to think. Of course, the main thing now is how to make him think more like a cat again. Any suggestions? Write them on a postcard and send them my way!