Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering Lost, and Reflections on Characters

Lost ended last week. I feel kind of empty now, unable to look forward to crazy cliffhangers and waiting eight months for a new season. The finale left me feeling good about everything overall, and in typical Lost style, they left unanswered questions that people will probably be arguing about on forums for years. That doesn't bother me. I just don't know what people were expecting. If it was some shocking, ground-breaking twist, it wouldn't be the series finale, just another cliffhanger. Didn't you people want closure? I mean, the Losties created the sideways world in "death" so that they could find each other again and pass on into heaven together. People seemed to want to cling onto the sci-fi elements with the electromagnetism and Dharma stations and whatnot, but I liked the closure. And I loved Vincent running back in at the end, because that's the first thing Jack saw when he opened his eye in the pilot. And the shoe hanging from the tree. If I ever have a yellow lab someday, I'll name it Vincent. Partly after Vincent from Lost, and partly after Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy 7, because he's kickass.

Naturally I bawled my eyes out when it was ending. And then, even worse, my mother called me bawling HER eyes out. Definitely not what I needed to hear, because if anything upsets me, it's my mother crying. So I bawled more. And then Stephen and I watched Kimmel. And then we went to bed, but I laid there for hours contemplating the show. Not really all the mysteries and questions, but just the characters in general. I mean, as a fiction writer, I adore characters. I haven't really been working on anything big in awhile, but back in the day I was absolutely in love with my characters. I still think of them and smile. They become so real. I can't hear Matthew Fox's voice and not think of Jack. Jack! What a guy. I feel like I know him. I feel like I could walk into a hospital and see him. I'll miss these people so they're my family. I'll miss Hurley and Charlie and Sawyer and Locke...not Kate though. She can go away. I loved Daniel Faraday. His voice alone was perfect. He was the perfect person to have around to try to explain time travel. Aw man, and Desmond! The journey of this show has been such a wonderful ride. It feels sort of like Harry Potter to me, because as the years went by and I found out more of the story, I grew and changed just like the characters did. I think I also loved it so much because it was an epic. The mythology of the Island was so deep and strange and mysterious. Stories of its inhabitants went back hundreds of years. And I'll totally miss formulating theories about Richard Alpert's eyeliner and whether he was once an Egyptian pharoah. And that pesky statue. And the smoke monster! And seeing the promos and ads a million times with Jack and his crazy beard maniacally shouting "WE HAVE TO GO BACK!"

Ah, those were the days. I'll really miss you, Lost. I hope I see pop culture references to you for years to come. And I hope they make that awesome Dharma alarm clock someday, because I would pay at least $100 for it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting Used to this "No School Ever Again" Thing

It's been nearly a month since I graduated. Since then, the job-hunt has been at full-throttle. Well, maybe at three-quarters-throttle. Getting out of school for good has left me feeling incredibly lazy. I've told myself that I only get a month of that, though. I'm gearing up for this stuff. I've been researching Pittsburgh publishing houses, hoping for a low position or an internship or something, and feeling like my chances are good since most of them are small and independent. Those are usually more fun, anyway. More personality, less people. I've also been stewing over some new writing ideas, which is something else I'm going to really be diving into in June. I feel like I want to write something short, which is good for submitting to magazines, but I don't want to do any normal story. Of course I bet every writer says that. But in my senior seminar class, we read a story entitled "Sagittarius" and I can't remember the author, but it was something that I'd like to write. It was grounded in a world that we can easily envision, but had a real fantasy element to it that was really believable. I loved that. A classmate wrote a story like that a couple semesters earlier, as well. I think that if I have to write short stories in order to get anywhere, those are the kind I'll write.

It's getting harder and harder to work somewhere that doesn't give raises for promotions, especially when the new job requires tons more responsibility and care. Even worse, the supervising position doesn't get a raise either. I don't understand where my motivation is to do this job well. I mean, I will, because that's just how I work, but I really wish there was more motivation. I really had no idea it was like this in such places. I mean, not from an inside perspective at least. It makes me want to get inside of Wal-Mart and see what's going on there. It's really repulsive, and I'm actually mulling over writing a letter to these people. I mean, this company is making so much more money thanks to recent promotions, and coworkers are telling me that none of it is translating to us peons, and that things are actually going to get much worse in a month or two. I go in tonight at 6:30, and I think I'm going to ask some questions and get some more information. It's really sad how much shit these people have to deal with on a daily basis with very few incentives to keep doing what they're doing. And you know what? The people I work with now are literally some of the nicest coworkers I've ever had, who are helpful and patient and, for some reason, extremely loyal to the company. Maybe there's just something I haven't figured out yet. Either way, I'll definitely be asking some questions tonight.

As a random tidbit, I'm going to be downgrading my cell phone very soon in order to save cash. If any of you have any idea what kind of person I am, you know that losing my Blackberry and all its smartphone capabilities will be a total blow to my geek lifestyle. No more tweeting, no more searching for how long the Hot Dog Shoppe is open, no more foursquare, no more obsessively checking the doppler radar as soon as a cloud floats across the sky. But I'm a firm believer in taking one for the team, nowadays. I may just have a dinky little texting phone for a little while, but as a result we'll be closer to saving money for a vacation and other necessary things. And I'll take a vacation over the doppler radar any day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

HAZ DIPLOMA!!! And the Devil's Pepperoncini

Well it turns out my fears were based on the usual sort of panic that sets in at the end of every semester and never comes to fruition. Not that that's a bad thing. My GPA is actually the best it's been since I started Pitt. But screw Pitt. I'm out of that bitch faster than Stephen's father's dog can slaughter six bunnies.

And father bought me an iPad. Gaze upon it in all its newfangled glory. And ignore my distorted face. But on second thought, look at my teeth. I have really straight teeth.

Graduation, however, may have been one of the worst experiences I've ever had, even in light of the whole getting-the-eff-out-of-Pitt thing. It was rainy, humid, we had to stand in this confined area for like two hours before we even went into the ceremony, and then we sat there for 2.5 hours listening to Pitt's largest donor (who, surprise, got an honorary degree, then spoke for about 30 minutes about war and other political crap) and watching the nerdy doctoral students hug all of the deans. My friend and I spent most of this time flipping through the program that they gave us, which was considerably larger than the one they gave to the friends and family crowd. My theory is that they did this so that we'd have something to do so as not to fall out of our chairs in utter boredom. I read all of the titles of the doctoral students' theses. They were kind of ridiculous. I wish there had been a sudoku or something.

The last half hour was actually stuff that was relevant to us, the several thousand people wearing vinyl gowns that let no heat escape and dorky hats that itched our foreheads. And then it was over, and some confetti shot out, and nobody threw their hats, and we all got up and left. I came away from it in a very sour mood from having to sit there while rich people shared their political beliefs with us. I was also swimming in my own sweat, as everyone else was, because we might as well have been wearing saran wrap. But we escaped unscathed, and proceeded to go to Olive Garden for dinner.

I had been craving their salad for weeks. As anyone who goes there knows, they put two pepperoncinis in each salad. I eat them all, because even though they're slightly too hot to be comfortable, I just freaking love them and I can't help it. Well, somebody must have planted the Devil's Pepperoncini in this salad. I bit off the whole thing, instantly knew something was wrong, and spent the next fifteen minutes feeling like my tongue was going to fall out in dried-up flakes. Bread actually made it worse. Water helped immensely, until I stopped drinking it. It was quite possibly the hottest pepper I've ever eaten in my life; at least five times hotter than any jalapeno I've ever had. So of course the Devil's Pepperoncini stayed with me for the next 24 hours, burning holes in my stomach lining and intestines. The sad part is I'll still eat pepperoncinis. I mean, they're so good, how can I resist?

Now, I'm itching to go water my new plant outside and perhaps repot a couple of the others, so I'm basically just going to post this picture of our new kitty, Sophie, and let you gaze at her gorgeousness without much explanation from me. She's a sweetheart. We adore her, even when she plays with Stephen's feet at 2 AM and talks to herself all night.