Saturday's Review of Friday

Saturday, February 13, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

I didn't realize it was a 3 day weekend until i went to bed last night.  That either means im super out of it or that I've gone soft in grad school.  Probably a combination.

I'm gonna jump around this Sat. morning, so try and keep up.

1.  Yesterday was the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I watched them.  They were long.  I can summarize for all of you who didn't have the free time to watch an hour long parade of nations.  It was broken into 4 sections.
     A) Intro--a snowboarder boarded through the Olympic rings.  The 4 native nations said hello (Hello natives!!!--*waves vigorously*).  It actually was touching how much they featured the native peoples of Canada.  Reminded me how much the US would never do that.
     B) The previously mentioned parade-o-countries.
     C) Video/projection/dance/peter-pan high flying act/slam poetry.  This was by far the best part.  The way they synced up the projections with live action really worked, and they could even project pictures on the audience.  It came out really beautifully.  Not much to make fun of here as i even rewinded some parts to see them again (shout out to the Orca's swimming across the stage).  Also in this section was some downright Canadian entertainment.  I talking tap-dancing in flannel (actual sparks flying out of their tap shoes) and fiddlers of course (tons o fiddlers).  IN JEAN JACKETS!!!!  oh Canada--i love you so much right now.  They were one step away from making the torches shaped like hockey sticks--swear.
     D) All hell breaks loose.  After a technologically perfect show, things begin to break down as one of the 4 torch stands which is meant to rise and form one meta-torch stand, doesn't.  The music plays on and everyone's just kinda sitting tight.  Finally the TV commentators say, "truth be told, something's technologically not working correctly."  They then launch into the failure which is Canada and how it's really more like a glorified Maine than its own country.  Ok, I'm exaggerating.  But they did seem to make this malfunction a big deal.  This is a sporting event right?  It's not like Canada needs this ceremony to go off perfectly to please their glorious ruler so that he can make a play for nuclear independence.   It's Canada.
     The announcers then babble on about "we're going to take a break--no we're not--now we are" all while Gretzky, a.k.a. "the great one" (cept for that whole gambling incident) hitches a ride to downtown Vancouver to light the outdoor torch.  My favorite line from the announcers, "It seems like someone must have let slip where the outdoor torch lighting was taking place, because there is a good amount of people collecting."  Um . . . the cauldron is about 3 stories high and looks like a glowing blue snowflake.  I don't think they needed to poster the neighborhood for this secret to creep out.  It was either the Olympic torch or the worst cover for a terrorist attempt ever.

2.  Yesterday a Harvard trained biologist was denied tenure at Alabama University, and proceeded to lose her shit and go on a shooting spree, killing 3 colleagues.  Now, there is no part of this that i condone, obviously, but i think when PhD's start picking up guns because of tenure denial, we get an idea of how broken that academic process really is.   Tenure is the holy grail of the academic.  It is an ephemeral concept that means job security and even a drop or two of carte blanche.  After 5 years of being a prof's bitch (grad school) and then at least 5 more years of nose-to-the-grindstone work to submit your tenure portfolio, you can see how one could be upset by the denial of a decade's worth of one's contribution.   im just trying to give you guys some context.

3.  On Fridays, the Social Psych department at UMass has a speaker series, where psychologists from the  northeast come and give a talk about their research for about an hour.   Yesterday's talk was about the effects of social support in romantic relationships (e.g. if having your partner's support helps you in preparing for the bar exam).  Without getting into it, it turned out that the type of support was an important variable.  Which led to this gem:

Speaker: "One guy in our study said that he actually went on a trip down to Florida for the week leading up to his gf taking the bar in order to give her space to prepare.  Now, of course, this is not the kind of support you would want to give if she had breast cancer."

Way to drive your point home.


  1. Random Commenter.

    I was enjoying the opening ceremonies up until the 'tribute to the prairies' section (which is where my hometown lies) Holy Crapfest. I was pretty much put to sleep with his soaring/running/dancing over the wheat. Because that's basically what we do on the prairies...

  2. What's funny is that that is exactly how i PICTURED "praire peoples." all runnin n' shit. You run, there's some wheat. You run some more, there's s'more wheat.

    Wheat is the new cornfield!