Thursday, February 24, 2005

I said hallelujah to the sixteen loyal fans

For the few that read the comments on this blog, you'll note that I am full of bull. And for the few that read this blog, you'll note that the above number is likely a large stretch of poetic license.

Mer has been on a quest for the holy PhD's of all PhD's for years now. Her PhD adventures have gone in fits and starts, unlike mine, which went in fits and then a quick no thanks, I'll take a master's for $500, Alex. I didn't know this, but apparently, in order to get some time at the Stanford synchotron labs, you have to reserve your spot farther in advance than if you were trying to get a table at the French Laundry. All for a chance to spend some time with a laser to characterize a protein... or something. Mer finally got her hot date, and drove 7 hours to get up to Palo Alto today. Why does this matter? Two reasons- 1) it matters to me, because it means I get to see her. This is something unfortunate I've realized about adulthood. Friendship becomes not so much about making time to visit each other, taking that time to make that trip especially for someone. The realities of life prevent that. They instead become about seizing opportunities, making the effort when presented with a chance.

Oh yeah, and the other reason- it gives me an excuse to rant about a movie that I loathe- The Medicine Man. Let me count the ways I hate thee:
  • Oh I know, we'll make a movie about how science is ruining the rainforest, and the "natives" can be a cuddly, humorous backdrop.
  • Melfi, er, Lorraine Bracco shoots a syringe of a mish-mosh of material into what she calls a portable gas chromatograph, and the output is distinguishable peaks of various different compounds, AND a computer that is able to determine which of the compounds are already known to man, and can analyze the one unknown substance to determine the chemical structure of the molecule. WTF?!? Thanks for boiling down an effing life's worth of natural products' chemistry and the art of structure elucidation into a five-minute computerized assay. Can Hollywood please send that technology over to me? Because you've got the looks, I've got the brains, let's make lots of money (sorry, got a little carried away there).
  • The same HAL9000 tells us that the compound can't be synthesized by man. Again, let me repeat, WTF?!? Can't be synthesized by man?? Do you know that there are organic chemistry professors who scour obscure journals for oddly structured molecules, just so they can prove they can make them? OH, but I guess that would be a problematic plothole considering you plan to position the evil drug companies as wanting to hack away the rainforest for harvesting purposes. Dude, drug companies are evil in so many better ways than this.
  • Sean Connery. In a ponytail. As a scientist. ????????
I haven't actually seen the movie in years, or this list could have gone on for much longer, I'm sure. I'm offended on behalf of my friend Mer, who's been patiently waiting for months for a spot at the Synchotron, when all she really needed was a bimbo from the Bronx with a portable PhD-generator.

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