There was only so much we could do when it became clear that Hurricane Irene was a really, really big deal, and that it would be sweeping up the East Coast and into the New York/New Jersey area on the 27th — which was, of course, the day toward which we’d worked and planned for the better part of the previous year. Everything was booked, the contracts set, the non-refundable deposits shelled out. Our immediate families had already started making their way to N.Y. for the rehearsal dinner. The venue was going to stay open barring an evacuation call by local authorities; the officiant and caterers were still in, too.
We knew for sure that our wedding was going to happen, but we also knew that it was going to be a very different day than the one we’d planned. The only question, then, was how many of the 150 or so* RSVP-ed guests would actually wind up making it**.
I’m thinking about resurrecting this abandoned tumblog in order to serve as a medium for more writing. This may seem completely unrelated to Dan’s beautiful post, but it’s not; his Irenniversary piece yesterday was one of a few that I’ve read as of late that are giving me the itch to write more. So thanks, Dan, for that. And thanks to you too, Ramzy. Let’s do some writing.
The sky this morning when I left the house cast down a sense of gloom, gray clouds rolling in from the west, choking off the small stretch of open sky to the east. I headed out to run as confused and scared as everyone else. About a mile and a half into the run, I came to the Capitol, where the flag stands at half-mast in honor of those killed and injured in Boston yesterday.
I nearly stopped to cry, and all I wanted to do was turn around and go home. The stark image of mourning—official mourning—framed by a dark, looming sky was nearly too much for me.
The politics of self-identity can lead to great things. They can uplift and unite. They also can drive wedges between neighbors, turn sons against fathers, and cause unimaginable pain and suffering. It is for these latter reasons that I have found myself fighting the natural urge to self-label myself as anything, really—whether that is as a runner, or a scientist, or as a Buckeye—as foolish as that may sound.
Now though, I find my line of thinking to be exactly that: foolish. What we all have undoubtedly seen from yesterday is horrific, but it is also fantastically uplifting. Just as in New York, where runners ran through the city and helped people sort through their homes, there was an immediate outpouring of help and assistance in Boston. A surgeon who had just finished the race immediately went to the triage tent and worked with doctors there.
Runners do amazing things, and whoever did this couldn’t have picked a worse group to target. You’d be hard-pressed to find a kinder, more resolute group of people on the planet.
The 26 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street is our spiritual journey, our Hajj. Nothing will change that. Ever since I failed to qualify in 2009, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I have the resolve needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I know now, and the answer is yes—because I am a runner.
Runners’ retribution will not involve helicopters or toppled statues or international summits. Our retribution will be toeing the line, side by side with our brethren, heads high and smiling. It will involve handing out paper cups filled with Gatorade and handing out medals at a finish line.
It will involve celebration.
I headed out on my run this morning looking for some sort of answer, for some catharsis or anything, really to make sense of the world. I went out and forced a set of conditions on my run that made it impossible to do so, and so I ended up at the Capitol steps with tears in my eyes wondering if I should just go home and cut six miles down to three.
I didn’t. And so I continued westward, towards the dreary clouds lining the National Mall. When I got to the Washington Monument I turned around, and there was the answer that I had been looking for: an eastern sky filled with every pastel color you can imagine–yellows, purples, pinks, and oranges. The sun came up today and it filled the world with beauty, at least for a few minutes. And that will keep happening, regardless of how hard cowards try to take everything away.
Political choices can be made after the evidence is presented, but the evidence should stand for what it is. If the evidence itself is rejected by politicians — as is currently going on — then the ignorance of the political class should indeed be exposed, and all threats resisted.
This should be the case regardless of where across the political spectrum the ignorance is coming from. This might seem to be a diatribe against conservatives. But really this criticism is aimed at all unscientific thinking.
”—Puneet Opal, “The Danger of Making Science Political”
There have been a lot of very good Internet Chemistry posts about mental health and graduate school over the past week or so, sort of dovetailing off of the initial conversation held between Chemjobber and Vinylogous Aldol, which is well-worth a read if chemistry is your sort of thing (for most of you who read this regularly, it is not). Considering the fact that my most-visited post here is the Schlenk line setup deal that I posted two years ago, I thought I’d discuss the difficulties that I had in graduate school — which maybe were not all that bad in comparison to others’ struggles.
I started graduate school three months after getting my undergraduate degree, during which I spent two years working for a brand new assistant professor. I also took a few graduate-level organic chemistry courses as an undergrad, which prepped me very well for my graduate coursework; on paper I was an excellent chemist.
In selecting a research group, I joined the lab that I had planned to join when selecting my graduate school; I had met with a few other groups, but was pretty dead-set on joining this particular group, and then advisor very much wanted me to join. What I didn’t consider enough (though it’s damn near impossible for any twenty-two year old to consider enough) was the group dynamics and the advisor-student interactions.
The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?” But the film The Blues Brothers became a nightmare for Universal Pictures, wildly off schedule and over budget, its fate hanging on the amount of cocaine Belushi consumed. From the 1973 meeting of two young comic geniuses in a Toronto bar through the careening, madcap production of John Landis’s 1980 movie, Ned Zeman chronicles the triumph of an obsession.
On the first page, you learn that composer Howard Shore came up with the name “Blues Brothers,” so if you’re writing insane questions for trivia night somewhere, you must read the article.
When I watch this movie with friends, the rule is that singing along is encouraged, but reciting the lines along with the characters is definitely not.
Wow. Rather than making me hate weddings, I now want to have like five weddings that are better than this one, just to scrub this from my brain.
Also a boob-grab wedding picture? For real?
(via foldysox) My favorite moment: When we exchanged rings, Matt said “You’re the queen and I’m the king,” and I replied with “Nothing else means anything.” (It’s a lyric from the Nine Inch Nails song “We’re In This Together.”) My funniest moment: We surprised everyone by whipping out a meat/coconut cleaver and using it to cut the cake. After making the cut, I licked the cleaver clean!
Oh my god you had the dream wedding of every 16 yo goth kid. But you’re like 30.
Oh. My. Stars. I cannot look away from this wreck.
WAIT. HOLD UP.
“For instance, we played Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative, and H.I.M. songs to highlight strategic moments of the ceremony (entrance and exit) and reception (entrance, first dance, cake cutting, etc.).”
YOU’RE QUIRKY AS FUCK. WE GET IT. The reason your family chose not to attend your wedding, you “offbeat bride,” you, is not because it was non-traditional or child-free. It’s because you’re an aggressively pretentious smug pain in the ass, and I’m willing to bet they all made a pact that they didn’t have to suffer through what sounds like an obnoxious and painful wedding, good only for causing secondhand embarrassment and copious eye-rolling on the part of your guests.
I hate the whole schtick that goes with this, but her dress is quite lovely and I dig the rings. The rest of it is just comical though. How very “offbeat” to have your wedding at a ‘historical loft’—pullease.