Rain Rain Go Away!

At least just pass by for a few days so I can mow my lawn! Dodged another tornado today. There was pea- to marble-sized hail at the office. No visible damage to my car. No wind damage on the way home. Even the section of road that usually floods was mostly clear. Of course, we're not out of the woods yet. There is another line of storms headed this way. Sounds like a perfect night for curling up with a good book and/or some good knitting!

Things To Do, Things To Do....
Job responsibilities at work are going to be shifting around a bit. One of the staff is moving to a different position. I'll have a good chunk of the moving staff person's job now, which is good. There will, of course, be a learning curve but hopefully I'll catch on fairly quickly. I did apparently worry people today when I asked as part of today's exercise debriefing when they would have wanted aggregated/summary data produced. I was told that it was really hard to say when that is necessary as a general guide. I understand that. What I wanted to know is when *today* they might have wanted it, since at no point was it mentioned and we had >30 patients in the exercise. The boss asked what my responsibility would be in a real world situation and the answer was "write the report". I can do that, but that's after everything is over. I'm thinking I might have responsibilities during the situation too. I've asked that question before too and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer, though it does seem to worry people that I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I'm apparently supposed to draw on my experience to know what to do, but I haven't really had any experience from which to figure that out, so I ask those around me who do have experience and might know what needs to be done that I might be able to assist with. It's quite a conundrum. I shall have to ponder this more. It may be that I just jump in and do stuff and hope folks tell me more once I'm in the pool swimming where I'm supposed to be headed. I just don't want to fail to meet expectations or screw something up. I also don't want to get into trouble for going off and doing something without asking permission first.

Guilty Pleasures....
Every summer NPR does a segment about summer reading. Frequently this results in list of "guilty pleasure" reading material--stuff that would never be classified as literature or even high quality writing. The recommendations aren't quite as trivial as romance novels, but are more along the lines of pulp fiction. I've never felt guilty about reading mindless books, though I have felt guilty about buying fine literature and failing to read it. Examples of the latter include the copies of Bleak House, The Republic, Sister Carrie, Anna Karenina and The Mill on the Floss, among others, which currently reside on my bookshelves. I purchased these books for less than $1 per title when the local adult literacy program closed and held a book sale. I figured they were books that I "should" read one of these days. That was over a year ago. I have read exactly one of them--Silas Marner.

To me, no book is a complete waste of time. I can always learn something from it, even if I cannot stand the writing long enough to finish it. From those books, I learn what I do not like about an author's style or about a particular book. I also learn what I don't want to do if I ever write a book myself. Since I started thinking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I have started looking for the structure of a book when I read and have tried to identify what things define an author's style. Composers write variations on themes from other composers. I speculate about what a book by Charles Dickens might be like if it were written by Debbie Macomber or Neal Stephenson. Or what if Stephen King or Dean Koontz re-wrote one of Jane Austen's novels? By considering how others write, I begin to figure out what I like to read and how I like to write.

While I don't have guilty reading pleasures, I do have guilty movie pleasures. These are largely low(er) budget fantasy/science fiction or action movies, often from the 1980s. They're low on plot and high on fights and cheap special effects. At the moment I'm watching Highlander on American Movie Classics. (How it qualifies as a "classic", I do not know.) Plotwise, this movie is completely unbelievable, but it does feature a Frenchman playing a Scotsman (in a kilt, no less) and a Scotsman (none other than Sean Connery) playing an Egyptian working for a Spanish king. The acting is fairly wooden and predictable. There are some decent swordfights, a rocking soundtrack by Queen, plus just enough of a romantic storyline to keep the chicks in the audience interested and some naked breasts to keep the guys watching. I would never have expected this movie to spawn two sequels and a television series, but it did. I never watched much of the TV series. The movie sequels, especially Highlander 2: The Quickening, were nearly too awful to be watchable and would never qualify as guilty pleasures to me.

Other guilty pleasure movies? Dirty Harry movies, the Conan the Barbarian movies, the occasional Nightmare on Elm Street flick, Stephen King horror movies (perhaps with the exception of The Shining), and the Vincent Price versions of Edgar Allan Poe movies.

And on that note, I'm signing off to workout, then knit.


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