Monthly Archives: February 2015

Busy Week Ahead

My week is going to be filled with appointments with doctors, volunteering for directors, and cooking a pot luck dish for the denizens. That last bit was kind of weak, but I needed to end on a “D” to obey the rule of three.

Tomorrow I will be eschewing the alphabetical system that some social function has put in place, by bringing what I might consider to be an appetizer and others may consider to be a four course meal. Then I have to show up to get my volunteer t-shirt and passes for the Salem Film Festival for 2015 and the very next day I have an appointment with a psych to get an updated diagnosis that will impress the masses and hopefully open some doors.

So far, one or two films catch my eye, but I’m not sure what I have my heart set on. We’ll see soon enough, but in the meantime, I have one definite shift lined up. Essentially, all I’m doing is standing there and telling people where to go. It’s going to be fun. Oh, also, free food.

On the Final Episode of Grantchester (Spoiler Warning)

Having just stolen a glance at the TVtropes entry for Grantchester, I have discovered that the series I have recently taken an interest in first aired in 2014 on ITV. That means the other half of the world is a year ahead of me, which is fine because we get the newest Anne Rice novel before them, so nyah.

Grantchester follows the life of World War Two veteran turned priest Sidney Chambers, who routinely assists Inspector Geordie with murder investigations in the titular shire. This is explained by the fact that witnesses are more apt to open up to a priest. Sidney is a progressive thinker for a 1950’s Anglican (Special thanks to Ivelinemarie @1ofSevenSisters  for correcting me on that one) priest and his assistance to Geordie is born out of love and compassion to the men and women of his congregation.

In the final episode, Geordie gets shot while he and Sydney are investigating the factory where a the potential victim of a murder suspect may be currently working. In the following scene at the hospital, Geordie’s wife is angry that there wasn’t a second inspector with Geordie, and she, along with the other police gathered at the hospital, chastise Sidney for meddling.

My only problem with their logic is this: Sidney was in another part of the building at Geordie’s request, reading notices on a bulletin board to search for names of possible suspects as well as other clues. Geordie only got shot because he stumbled onto the murder of the factory owner and the killer got a lucky shot off before he ran. Presumably, the imaginary second inspector/policeman who would have been there in the place of Sidney, would not have had the power to teleport and would presumably have been doing the same task of searching for evidence while Geordie divided and conquered.

Still, as Sidney defies police warnings to investigate the two murders and bring Geordie’s assailant to justice, it gave me an idea for another role reversal.

Suppose Sidney got blind drunk one Sunday and could not fulfill his vicarly duties. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Geordie were inexplicably forced to take confessions in the place of Sydney and as a result, a murder plot was dropped into his lap at the confession booth?

That may not happen of course, but I think the idea is golden.

The Castle Has Heat Again

The Castle Has Heat Again

Raging Heat is the latest installment of the Nikki Heat series by author Richard Castle. As soon as I saw it in the library three days ago, I checked it out and read it like it was the first edition of the Ten Commandments.

For those who don’t know, Castle is a long running series in the genre of programs that I like to call “Consultant to the Cops”. Not a law enforcement officer, or a private detective, but someone who for whatever narrative purpose assists (or hinders) a police investigation through some narrative contrivance. The most recent example of this would be Grantchester. A World War Two veteran and hot young priest Sydney Chambers routinely assists Detective Inspector Geordy on murder investigations in the shire of Cambridge, mainly because more people will open up to a priest than a detective. In the case of Castle, a murderer stages homicides based on the scenes in the titular crime novelist’s earliest works and after helping NYPD solve the case, Richard Castle makes an arrangement through the mayor to tag along with Detective Beckett and her homicide unit to find inspiration for the main character of his newest series, Nikki Heat.

Just like you can find the novels written by Angela Lansbury’s character in Murder, She Wrote on the shelves of your local library, ABC has also released the series of Richard Castle novels in both print and electronic format. As I once said before of an earlier title Heat Rises, this is a TV tie-in novel done right. Something that draws the reader into the world of their beloved television series without challenging the purist who takes umbrage when an author takes liberties with the story or characters.

Among the common features in the Nikki Heat series are the Firefly Easter eggs. This, of course, is because of Nathan Fillion who plays Castle. At first the references were subtle and cute and then in Frozen Heat, they amped up the references to a near obscene amount, even going so far as to having Nikki Heat pull two detectives from burglary to assist in one of her hardest cases. Their names? Detectives Malcolm and Reynolds. Raging Heat dialed it down to one reference and then never mentions it again, which, as much of a Brown Coat as I consider myself, I am quite happy with.

The one thing I am not happy with is the amount of editing mistakes found in the book. It would be one thing if there were one or two hiccups here and there, like a line of dialogue missing a quotation mark, or a double typed word. I’m not out to grind any axes, because over all it was a great story and I do hope there will be more to come. I haven’t seen much of Castle past Season Two, so maybe in the season when the character was writing this novel, there was a good in-story reason why the book had these glaring editing mistakes. Please tell me if this is the case, but otherwise, I think for the asking price of 26.99 American and Canadian, we can expect a little more from the ghostwriter than what we were presented with in terms of a final product.

Now before you hit the comments section, understand that yes, I borrowed this from the library. But there is also demographic of people out there who like to own books. Between now and the next traditional gift giving holiday, there are a ton of birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions, and creepy stalkers leaving gifts on doorsteps. Some of those recipients may be die-hard Castle fans and similarly love the books. So is it fair to them to release a book that looked like it was edited by a high school freshman working a summer job?

It’s especially grating when you read the final pages and the male protagonist Rook Jameson refers to himself as the “Comma King”.

This is the Start of a Beautiful Friendship

I saw Casablanca for the first time last night. What’s funny is that if you’ve watched television in the United States anytime in the last fifty years, or if you have partaken in any other form of entertainment such as comics, literature, or film, you have very likely the classic Bogart lines in one form or another, usually quoted out of context for comedic effect. So here I was, finally getting the chance to see the movie in it’s entirety. Upon recognizing the set ups, I had to resist the urge to squeal like a school girl whenever I heard something like, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Something very similar happened when I first saw A Field of Dreams. Having seen Wayne’s World 2 a number of times in my youth, it raised my hackles to finally see the original scene so expertly parodied in the Mike Meyer’s film.

What all three films have in common is that they were around before the Internet was commercially accessible. So you didn’t have Youtube comments or forums where you could go and run memorable quotes or popular film references into the ground until your brain shut down in an attempt to block out the trauma.

In 2005, it wasn’t uncommon to hear people wish that “I could quit you”. Ten years later, an original film about forbidden love in an equally forbidding time and place may as well have been an obscure SNL sketch for as often as anyone references Brokeback Mountain. And I wonder how much longer it will be before people are no longer as concerned with the number of serpentine creatures inhabiting the aviation vehicle.

The Date Has Been Set

On March 4th, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist appointed by Mass Rehab, who will give me the evaluation and hopefully an updated diagnosis that will eventually impress the social security office.

It sounds so simple, so why am I so unnerved?

Because it seems like the message I keep getting is that if I were just perfectly willing to quietly accept the emotional abuse from my coworkers and employers, than I would be much better off. I would be perfectly able to hold down a job if I quietly allowed my coworkers to dick around while I work like a fucking dog, and just accept that the supervisors and management will continue to remain oblivious to my doing 99% of the work.

The people I am trying to seek help from have a highly idealistic view of how the world works, but I am suffering because the reality is not the same and I can’t make them see or live through what I have actually experienced. I feel like the proverbial dog that gets kicked and mistreated by his owners, only to be put down as a dangerous animal when it finally has enough and bites back.

All I know is that I can no longer survive in the normal workplace.

Salvaging Confidence

This morning was a study in salvaging confidence. Too often, my problems begin when I set out to solve a problem and someone speaks out of turn. Have they been told to do this? Are they following a script? Or are they exhausting the little bit of imaginary power they have? Or are they genuinely trying to be the kind of helpful person that annoys me so much?

“Good morning. Could I speak to someone from financial aid?” I asked the receptionist after being on hold for five minutes.

“Of course. May I ask what this is pertaining to?”

“I’m trying to determine if I can get any financial aid for a few non-credited courses.”

“No,” the receptionist said, firmly. “There is no financial aid available for non-credited courses.”

“Oh, okay.” There was no room for discussion apparently.

So there I was, hanging up the phone, just trying to be polite. The sad thing is, my back-up plan was to ask someone in a position of authority if I could post a link to my GoFundMe campaign, which I am still hoping will be useful in raising the money for the courses I wish to take. But no, the safe course of action was to hang up the phone and not ask another question.

Why wasn’t I just happy knowing that I had been put in my place? Because it seemed unusual that a receptionist, or switch board operator, would take the liberty of answering a question that was meant for the financial aid department. Yet here I was, with a fresh bruise on my already tender stomach from where so many other people had kicked me in an effort to shut me up.

The morning got progressively more frustrating. After I had some toast, I though, I should put some protein in my system. I was using the butter from a previous trip to the Cheesecake Factory and I had half a package left. John owns one of those little green omelet pans that are so handy and I figured that would be more than enough butter for greasing.

Only one burner works on the oven, so I had to do a bit of juggling as I moved a stack of pans to the front burner. I was doing this with one hand since the other was holding the little packet of butter. But I managed to move everything without a huge disaster and soon I had the green pan in place. But when the burner was on, I noticed that somewhere between the improvisational juggling act and the ignition, the remaining butter had fallen from the foil wrapping.

After a short search to see if I could clean up the butter before the dog lapped it up, I shrugged, figuring it was made from animal fat and it wouldn’t kill the dog anyway, and went to the fridge to get another small packet of butter and a jumbo egg. Everything appeared to be going smoothly. I had started to grease the pan then, a tiny flame leaped from the burner.

The butter from the first packet had fallen into the burner where I couldn’t see it and now I was very likely going to burn the place down if I didn’t’ turn the heat off. I threw the pan in the sink because I couldn’t clean the butter out of the burner until it had cooled down, and I very nearly gave up on having the egg that morning. But as I was putting it back in the carton in the fridge, apparently I had placed it there a little more aggressively than intended and the egg was cracked.

So there I was with a cracked egg in my hand. Throw it away, I’ve wasted an egg. The burner is still cooling down and I can’t just leave the egg to the elements while I clean everything up, so the bottom line is frying the egg is not an option.

Then my eyes fell on the boxes of macaroni cheese and my hot water kettle. My lovely hot water kettle that has been my most loyal appliance for the better part of two years. And I remembered who I was in that moment. I was someone who never apologizes about boiling macaroni and poaching an egg in the same water. And if macaroni isn’t a breakfast food than fuck it, I will have macaroni and a poached egg and call it brunch.

After I was finished with the best damned macaroni, reprocessed cheese, and poached egg with chives that I have ever tasted, I called North Shore Community College back and got the same receptionist.

“Good morning, could I speak to someone from Financial Aid.”

“Of course. What is this pertaining to?”

“This is pertaining to questions that are relevant to the financial aid department,” I replied. There’s nothing like the pause of shock from someone who has gotten so used to overstepping their bounds that they didn’t expect anyone to put them in their place.

“Okay, one moment please.”

Finally, I got the voice mail of the financial aid department. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Maybe when they learn of my campaign, they will find a way to work with me. But that will be their decision, not the power tripping switch board operator.