A Scientist’s Take on Big Hero 6

24 Nov

So, I finally saw Big Hero 6 last night with my roommates. It was a pretty cool movie! I laughed. I almost got somewhat teary. I laughed some more, because thanks Disney for the innuendo that you slip in for the adult section of the theatre. All in all, pretty enjoyable! Would watch again. But aside from the aesthetic experience of the movie… well… Guys, I went to one of the Nerd Schools. We were even listed in the credits under the “consultation thank you’s.” And having gone to a Nerd School, I’ve seen a whole lot of science (yeah, science!). I’ve seen whole lot of science labs. I’ve worked in them. And, well, because of that, I had some other thoughts on the movie, too. Let me share.

My reactions while watching movie:

1. Aw, that’s cool, you’ve got such a good lab group atmosphere, how cu- HOLY FUCK HONEY WHY ARE YOU WEARING NO PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT DURING AN EXPLOSION YOU ARE COVERED IN RESIDUE YOU COULD HAVE CAUSTIC BURNS WHY ARE YOU NOT IMMEDIATELY A BIOHAZARD?!?!?! O.O

2. Oh no! Your PI died! That’s so sad! Well, I guess it’s cathartic that you all are just going back to WAIT SHIT YOU HAVE NO PI HOW IS YOUR LAB GOING TO GET FUNDING WHO’S GOING TO TAKE OVER ARE YOU GOING TO GET A NEW PI ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO CHANGE LABS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOUR THESIS HOLY SHIT WHY ARE YOU NOT FREAKING OUT?!?!

3. Oh man! Your PI is alive! Except now he’s an evil man using science for destruction… Yeeeeaaaah, your lab is going to get so many “surprise inspections” now. Have fun having to be ridiiiculously transparent in every single little thing you do. Because you’re going to be under constant scrutiny now. That’s gonna make for a fun scientific career. Enjoy the bureaucratic down-the-neck-breathing!

4. Wait. Shit. Your PI is an EVIL FUCKING VILLAINYOU ARE NEVER GOING TO GET LAB FUNDING EVER AGAIN. WHICH MEANS YOU STILL CAN’T TAKE ON THAT NEW UNDERGRAD GENIUS. WHICH MEANS HIS TUTION WON’T PAY THREE OF YOUR STIPENDS FOR A YEAR. WHY ARE YOU NOT FREAKING OUT? FUUUUUCK.

*and that concludes the Miceala and Her Brain Show for today*

Yeah. I’ve maybe been applying to grad schools. Ahem.

I Am Pro-Shirt

17 Nov

Aaaalrighty, time for me to join this whole internet yelling thing for a bit.

So. I here there’s this shirt. This shirt, to be specific:

Well, before I start talking about this shirt, let’s get some facts straight about me, your writer here.

1. I am a scientist. (Like I have a real degree in it from a major science school and everything.)

2. I am a feminist. (Eh, just go read my other writing for evidence.)

As a scientist, I will whittle things down to their barest of bones for analysis. I will look at the big picture. I will pin down tiny facts with a sharp and pointy needle. I will check my references, try to look for multiple sides of explanations, and figure out a hypothesis that fits best. I will try really fucking hard not to factor in my own biases, or make the data say what I want it to because I’m so fucking desperate to prove my own point. I will be cool. I will be cold. I will be objective. I will be level.

As a feminist, I will scream the bloody guts out of you if you step on my dignity as a woman (i.e. human).

That man, in that shirt up there? Ya wanna know what I would do if I met him?

1. Babble incoherently because I’m standing in front of a super competent scientist who did a fucking amazing thing.

2. Continue to babble incoherently because while I did take quantum mechanics and special relativity, his is still not my particular field of science.

3. Default to commenting on his super cool tattoos.

4. Blush super red because I’m one of those people.

5. Leave feeling awed at the chance to have met him.

You know what I wouldn’t have done? Give a damn about his shirt. Because it’s his. fucking. shirt. And it has done nothing to harm me.

I mean, maybe the Hawaiian shirt-style colors are a little garish on the eyes, but that’s a different matter entirely.

But seriously, how the fuck did we go from lauding this man as an emblem of scientific progress to tar-and-feathering him as the epitome of misogyny? Has he even done anything misogynistic? Because so far, I’ve not heard any reports of that… I have heard of him making a public apology for wearing a shirt that apparently offended people, which honestly goes up and beyond the dictates of good character. So… why aren’t we telling him that he’s a good guy?

Oh, yeah, the shirt.

Well, let’s pause. What’s so offensive about this shirt again? Did it have hateful words on it? No. Did it depict violence towards women? No. Did it depict a woman being coerced to do something she didn’t want to do? No.

The only thing this shirt did (again, beyond the garish color scheme) was depict a confident-looking woman posing confidently in the clothes that this hypothetical art-woman presumably chose to wear because she liked them. And this scientist-man, Dr. Matt Taylor, saw this shirt of a woman being confident enough to flaunt for the presumed hypothetical camera and thought hey, this is a cool thing. An attractive thing. I’d like to wear a shirt that broadcasts that kind of existence for a woman.

(Well, presumably some sort of thought train like that. I obviously can’t know exactly what he thought. It very likely could also just have been, “Ah, cool shirt brah! Imma wear this!”)

But seriously, why are we yelling about this shirt? Because a woman is being sexy on it? WOMEN ARE BEING SEXY ON EVERYTHING. Coca cola cans, internet window advertising side bars, stripper poles, art work, the streets because remember how it’s supposed to be okay for a woman to dress however she wants and not be judged for it? Well, a hypothetical not even real woman was dressing how she wanted on a shirt. Consensually. And a man wore it. Woooo male support of feminism. Right?

As someone who’s also done a fair amount of vocalizing on the eating disorder awareness front, I could see how some people might start yelling about how the woman on the shirt is thin, thus perpetuating unrealistic expectations and suppressing the idea that other body shapes are beautiful and blah blah blah. I’m pretty sure Dr. Taylor didn’t pick up this shirt and go, “Oh hey, I could perpetuate thin culture with this. Yeah, Imma do that.” And even if he did have a thought train along the line of, “Oh, skinny woman. Skinny woman pretty. Yes wear.” WHATEVER. THAT’S HIS FUCKING PREROGATIVE. He’s allowed to have aesthetic preferences. That’s okay. Besides, he’s kinda busy doing cool science shit. The battle against fat shaming is not his responsibility. And again, it’s not like his shirt specifically says “only skinny women are pretty.” It doesn’t. It doesn’t.

So, what do we have about all of this? A scientist wore a garishly colored but otherwise non-content-offensive shirt. And then the world yelled at him, because apparently the world likes to make assumptions and project thought processes instead of slowing down to actually get facts and analyze.

Seriously, guys. It’s just a shirt. I went to a university with more males than females. All of us were scientists. You wanna know what we wore? Our pajamas. Actually. I have a friend who almost never wore anything other than his pajamas. Yes, he even wore them to job interviews. I have never seen this man in a suit. Except for the people who were adding a second business major to their science one, the people at my school, if you saw us in fancy clothes, it’s because it was laundry day and we’d run out of everything else.

And furthermore, I do not joke: World, this is a male scientist not working in a wet lab. Stop giving a shit about the not-actually-offensive shirt, and just be gratefully he was wearing pants.

Peppermint

12 Nov

Dear Krystina,

it’s that time of year again, when walking into Starbucks always leaves me feeling a little bit sucker-punched. The walls are draped in that peppermint color, red and white striping everything from the pastry wrappers to the boxes for sale of instant coffee.

It’s those twelve-packs of instant Christmas blend that get me most. Those were your favorite, the only instant coffee acceptable enough for consumption by your standards – though whole-bean roasts were always preferred. I remember those weeks where we bought bag after bag, made affordable only because you worked at Starbucks, had been before it all happened and then were transitioning back again, all those early morning shifts that would turn out to last you all day. I’d miss you when you were gone. I don’t know if I ever told you that.

Oh, and thanks for letting me use your employee number to get discounts on my own personal stash of Christmas blend instant, hidden in the dresser middle drawer between my nicer clothes, out of sight of potential surprise inspections at the house. No, we kept our dutifully decaf coffee on display in the cabinets for those.

You know you were the one who taught me how to make proper drip coffee, right?

Requiem for a Dream was your favorite movie.

You always managed to pull off that leather jacket more than you knew.

You had mad eye-liner skills.

The only thing I have left of you is a single goddamn piece of paper. I was leaving treatment that day, going back out into the world of real people and real triggers and real chance of relapse. But you told me you believed in me. Scrolled a single-line note on that piece of paper. Signed it with “<3 K.”

That’s the only thing I have left of you.

A single goddamn piece of wrinkled paper. That’s not enough for your memory.

I believed in you too.

“<3 K”

I hope the syringe didn’t hurt too much. I hope you didn’t hurt at all, in the end. God and all his damned angels know you spent too much time paying debts that weren’t yours with pain that was, while you were here.

The Starbucks are looking like peppermint, Krystina. Guess it’s time to buy a bag of Christmas blend again.

Show Girl

9 Nov

Show Girl

Once upon a time there was a show girl.

Show girl.

Show girl show me woncha show me watcha got

said life

said strife,

the pot boiling hot.

But what you find in hot water

is not learning how to swim

but that climbing for your life

is the only way to win.

So the show girl, she showed she

had what all she got

and learned that when you show your stuff

it’s a gallop,

not a trot

’cause you’re flying the hell away from here

in your lipstick wings and eyelash tickets,

run run and they won’t find you

in a character, they can miss it.

So you smile and you wave

and you keep your spirits up

or at least that’s what your pretty glitter says

(you know they call it make up?)

and if you’re showing off

and showing up

then they can’t fault your act

and as long as your always never yourself

then there’s no wrong

that’ll get you smacked.

Smile, pretty show girl,

woncha show ‘em whatcha got

said life

said strife

and their boiling, roiling pot.

So show girl, she pretty smiled

and said if it gotta burn,

best be hot.

Scroll

2 Nov

Scroll

Scroll.

Scroll past the horrors

and the laughing

and the tawdry chaos that is

the two entwined

in our click-click world.

Scroll past the flinches

and the caught launching

and the revved-up pain

of past insult

in those little typed letters

thrown atcha on the screen.

Scroll.

Scroll past the reminders

and the forgotten

and the once-favorited yesterdays

that are too stale now to trend

or teach you anything new.

What was that again?

Scroll.

Keep scrolling.

Old and Greats

11 Oct

Old and Greats

They tell you to just bleed on the page,

all those old and greats,

as if we still had the time to dig at our wrists

with their sharp-cut fountain pens,

as if we still had ink like that.

But we don’t patch our trousers anymore

or wear scuffed shoes

because our shoes aren’t made

of that kind of material anymore;

we hide our wear and tear now.

Rhetoric isn’t an art like it used to be,

and we spend too much time hiding our bruises

to remember how to properly wrap a wound

once we have let it bleed

and bleed

and bleed

all over that godforsaken fucking blood-soaked paper

that all those old and greats

told us would be our salvation.

They all went crazy, you know.

Wonder we are too.

One More Month

9 Oct

I went to the desert and did not see a Blood Moon,

only the end of an eclipse, subtle as my waning sanity

with both of them blowing over dust.

Sand and detritus, that’s all they shine light on,

and some hills in the distance

that I know I’m going to have to drive through again.

Once you go over you have to come back,

that’s the only way to have gotten somewhere.

Make it back to town again

and the full orb’s back to full bright,

just like nothing ever happened

‘cept for one more month gone by.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 191 other followers