Mono is a bitch 

This is a bit of a cautionary tale. I posted at one point in a quick catch up kind of post that back in Feb. I came down with the Epstein Barr virus (or mono) after I had surgery on my finger. I first got sick with pretty intense cold and flu symptoms and a fever, it progressed a week later to a super high fever of 104 with intense back and stomach pain, and a glamorous trip to the Emergency Room.  It took another ten days (so, at this point I had been sick for almost a month ) to find out that what I was battling was mono– I had already gotten EBV when I was In high school with “classic” symptoms then: sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue. 

After lots of doctor visits with my PCP and not getting better– I’m talking horrible headaches, stomach pain, and the worst fatigue you can imagine– even when the wind blew against my skin it hurt. Walking was misery. I was so tired I could barely function. I was so miserable, it was terrible. I got a referral to an infectious disease doctor and her recommendation was to put me on steroids—she felt that my immune system was over reacting to the virus and that I needed to “reset” my immune system. I was desperate so I agreed to try it out.

I have been on steroids for five weeks now. If I try to go off them or reduce my dose, my fever and symptoms come back. On Saturday, I woke up not feeling so great– I felt like the first days of when I got mono. And by Monday the fever was back, the chills, headache, malaise, stomach pain– everything. I could barely deal with being alive. And that sounds so extreme and so crazy, I know, but it’s the truth.

In reality, I have not felt like myself since before I cut my finger on Feb 9. I have been barely functioning, struggling through day to day. I sometimes have no idea how I made it through my first semester of my PhD program because there were times I felt like I was swimming in concrete. I struggled every step of the way– Throw into the mix running my business, being a wife and mom– it’s honestly been awful. And I didn’t realize that I was feeling that much better until I felt so thrown back into the horrible– because I had been feeling like what I called “the new normal:” more tired than normal, a little foggy, but functioning. 

I am sure that the stress of the past two weeks– intense work stress and end of semester stress along with physical exertion– is what has caused this “flare” to happen. I don’t know what to do. My infectious disease doctor says go on a high dose of steroids to knock it back. I am waiting on hearing what the PCP says. Basically I’m in limbo and feel like total and utter crap.

The good thing is that the semester is over and I have two big weekends left of the craziness of work, and then I can slow down and focus on the next stage of life– and that is what I am trying to hold onto. The past five months have been such a total and complete struggle. I think it’s really helped me put into perspective that your health Is so important and you can’t live a life that is always putting your health in jeopardy. I have lived my life from one stressful roller coaster to another for years, and I think I am finally paying the price for that — and that price is too high for me. I would give anything to not be sick, because being sick is miserable. You feel shut out from life, your relationships suffer, and you easily can dip into a depression as you struggle through the day. 

I know this is a sad post and is pretty self pitying but I’m hoping maybe someone else out there will read this and realize that they are not alone. 

I’ll keep you posted on what happens next, and thanks for reading. 

That successful “First Draft!” done feeling

I just finished the first not totally awful draft of my American Literature paper, which, through a series of ups and downs ended up being about publisher influence and authorial choices in the 1850s abolitionist paper The National Era and Putnam’s Monthly Magazine. I looked at Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Melville’s “Benito Cereno” and I feel pretty alright about the final product. It hits right at 20 pages and 5000 words, and while I know I need to go in and do a lot of clean up and work on strengthening my conclusion (right now, it kind of just ENDS), I feel really good about what I said, so I hope it makes some sense to the reader.

I have the remaining 3,000 words on my Narratology essay to write– thankfully, I feel in a good place for that and will devote the next two days when I’m not working my day job to transcribing notes and the things I have written on scraps of paper. I thought I would save what i was most passionate about writing for last, in hopes it may help the process– but now I feel like I’ve run out of time, my brain is mush, and I don’t feel wholly confident that this plan was the most wise.

Either way, I was taking a break from thinking about my papers and thought I would write a blog post where I could think about my papers. How genius is that?

When the semester is all over I’ll do two separate posts on some interesting information I discovered in my research in case you are interested in either of these areas of study.

Staying focused 

I’m taking a break between my two papers and end of term prep (final topics are Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” and the Puntnam Monthly Magazine and the concept of Possible Worlds for narratology. I will post more when I’m closer to (or actually done)– but I do feel good about both. All the research is done, writing is underway, and I’m feeling positive that I’ll actually have two mildly cognizant 4,000 word papers done in a week.

A week!!!

Anyway, a friend posted this and it really resonated with me. It’s a “life hacks” post for maximum productivity. For me, being productive is all about planning and flow. The better I prepare, the better I perform. Some of the recommendations are things I already do, others I am excited to implement. Be sure to check out the comments.

Ten Years Gone: Grey’s Anatomy’s “How to Save a Life”

Ten Years Gone:

Spoiler Alert: The following blog post contains details about the April 23, 2015 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “How to Save a Life.”

ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" - Season Ten

I have watched Grey’s Anatomy  (Imdb Link: since its first brief and dazzling season, instantly captivated by a story that began with boy meets girl. The show started with the story of the man we would come to know as Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) waking up on the floor of a the house belonging to slightly brash and emotionally unstable Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompano). Their (love) story was one of the things that hooked me into the series– that along with the premise of a group of young interns making their way in the medical world. I have watched faithfully for every season that followed, never missing an episode, rolling along with the one-two emotional punches of the series– and there have been many.  I’ve seen some of my favorite characters die or be written off the show, and I’ll admit that each departure wrenched my heart in two. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes has a writing team well-trained in the knowledge of just how to play its audience like a fiddle: Grey’s has always been the kind of series that you watch with a box of tissues nearby. You know going in that there is the possibility that bad things are going to happen to good people. You know that there’s the possibility that George is going to get hit by a bus on the day he’s leaving to join the army– you know it because that’s just what Shonda Rhimes does: she messes with your heart. She takes it out of your chest with a jerking, wrenching sensation that makes you want to go crawl in a hole and hide. And let’s face it, that’s kind of something that you– as a viewer– likes. You like the pain, you like the suffering.


It’s not like it’s all sadness: there’s a lot of happy moments on Grey’s too– babies are saved, cancer is cured, new loves discovered. There’s an ample amount of shocking thrills and unexpected twists and turns– and Grey’s has never avoided “crazy, twisty” storylines with an angle to shock and awe the audience. During season six,  “Sanctuary”: a gunman walks into the hospital and runs on rampage, mowing down doctors and resulting in viewers feeling like they would never be the same:  (see a summary here:

But the April 23, 2015 episode, “How to Save a Life” may have destroyed any magic Grey’s Anatomy has managed to hold onto in its eleven seasons since spring of 2005: that night, Derek Shepherd was killed– tragically and without much finesse– on the series that started with that very same man on the floor of a house of the woman that would become his wife and mother of his children. And his death kind of broke the internet.

A few of the comments that I found from perusing Facebook and Twitter in the hours following the airing of season.

Erin, a fellow Facebook friend, posts on her wall: “Well, ten years of my TV watching life and I believe I am now fully done with Grey’s Anatomy. I hate it when a series goes out on a note I hate, it’s such a let down.” She is not alone in the sentiment. Countless fans on social media are echoing her dismay and anger: after watching the growth of a series– and more importantly, the growth of characters for ten years, they feel cheated– and that has fans feeling bitter. Michelle writes on a Facebook comment thread: “Derek deserved much better than that. It was almost like he said “I want to leave this show” and Shonda said “oh yeah? Well here Ya go”. Crappy.”

On the official Grey’s Anatomy Facebook page, fans posted comments discussing their own disappointment over the death of Derek Shepherd and displeasure with show-runner and episode author Shonda Rhimes.  A few of their comments each depicting the anger rising as each moment and hour passed following the finale. In the first fifteen minutes, there were over 10 thousand individual comments on the four concurrent Facebook posts dealing with the episode, most expressing viewer outrage.

“Seriously?! We wasted how many years watching this show to have you kill off Derek Shepard by having him–a miracle life saving neurosurgeon–be taken to a hospital with a bunch of undereducated medical professionals where the ONLY neurosurgeon takes an hour and a half to show up because he’s out eating dinner?! THATS how you chose to end a decade of his love story with Meredith? Really? Way to give a proper ending to your viewers. You officially suck.”

“I am not one to post on social media pages but here goes — It’s not about him leaving the show. Nor is it about killing him off (which this show is so fond of doing). But the manner in which you presented his death was absolutely insulting to someone who has been watching this show since the very beginning…now culminating to the point that I will not be watching the next episode to somehow preserve the memories I have of this show and the joy it has given me over the years. Portraying him as a hero does not justify the triviality of his death – I can’t even look at the photos posted on this page in the last hour…we as fans who have been following since 2005 deserve a hell of a lot more. Christina’s exit was dignified and absolutely beautiful but this was just disgraceful. I’m sure the tribute next week will apply some meager attempt to make up for this but it will be inconsequential in the grand scheme of remembering this as my favorite show. Every Thursday evening, I looked forward to watching Grey’s. Despite all of the grief it seems to inflict – the story lines truly emanate real life experiences (although obviously exaggerated as a primetime television drama). I’ve grown to love these character[s], and while many may say it is just a tv show – it has become an integrated part of my life as I grew up with it. Yes, in some ways, the episode “brilliantly” demonstrated Meredith’s strength, resilience, and poise (this at the very least you got right) but Derek is everyone’s knight in shining armor and I am astounded by his 10 minute death in the presence of imbeciles. Anyways, thank you for an amazing 10 years; I can safely say that my journey with Grey’s Anatomy ends here.”

“Officially hate this show. I have watched every episode from the beginning and this season has been awful. First Christina leaves and now this. Just cancel the show already.”

A few hours before the episode aired, the leaked reveal of Derek’s impending death spread throughout social media thanks to a picture of an Entertainment Weekly article on Instagram by a subscriber receving her copy a day early. Entertainment Weekly posted an apology, but the damage had been done: the news spread like wildfire. Subsequent stories, written  by Lynette Rice, launched at the same time, detailing the star’s post-mortem following his demise. Rice writes  “His character’s death wasn’t exactly a surprise: the past two episodes of the ABC drama have foreshadowed the possibility of a Derek departure, prompting legions of fans to warn ABC and creator Shonda Rhimes that they’re playing with fire by even teasing such a mammoth development. “


“How to Save a Life,” begins the last morning of Derek Shepherd’s life, happy, in love with his wife and family and embarking on a trip to Washington that will be his last. After a season that was Dempsey-light (additional rumors of his departure (not death) from the series had run rampant on the internet for months, with speculation that the series regular would not be returning after the end of the season, despite signing a contract through the end of the 2016 season), the past few had been heavy with Meredith and Derek coming to the understanding that while he’d been tempted to transgress in Washington, the one thing that he most wanted was to live his life with wife and with his family.

On his way to catch his plane, he witnesses a car accident where he helps to stabilize the accident victims and his patients— a little girl who’d become his sidekick and her mother with a dislocated leg, a teenage boy with a head injury,  and a girl with a stomach laceration that the ‘hero-mode” Shepherd tells her is “just a tiny cut on her tummy.” He’s killing it at the doctor in the woods thing, and endearing the audience to McDreamy all the more– out in the middle of nowhere, no cars around, no cell service to speak of, he’s saving lives and being generally amazing, dropping his catch-phrase that it’s “A beautiful day to save lives.” One of my favorite moments of the episode is when the little girl says “what was that?” and he answers, self-consciously, “it’s just something I say.”(The official Facebook page would use this to create a type of in-memoriam graphic shown below as a post thread to generate fan response).

beautiful day ABC Greys Anatomy

The race car the teenagers were riding in catches fire and explodes, creating a kind of smoke-signal to emergency personnel that show up soon after the backwoods doctoring session. A paramedic tells the good doctor to go home and have a drink, after all, he deserves it after being pretty much a superhero. And then Derek gets in his car drives it into the middle of the street that has been silent and car-free for hours, suddenly distracted by his buzzing cell phone that had absolutely no service hours before.  Maybe there was a booster on the firetruck?

And then, a semi-truck comes around the corner and smashes into the side of his vehicle. In most narratives, that would probably be the end of things. Nope, not for Derek Shepherd. Instead we are treated to a half hour of his narrating his own injuries and eventual death as he’s killed by being in a rural hospital with no trauma services that didn’t do a CT scan before they took him into surgery.

In a review for USA today, Robert Bianco writes of the moments following Derek’s accident, and the “well-chosen narrative device: [of] letting us hear an unable-to-speak Derek’s thoughts as he realized he was not getting the treatment he needed: “I’m going to die because there people aren’t properly trained.” I would argue that the device wasn’t altogether effective– the voiceover felt slightly clunky and forced, and downright awkward at times.

Either way, it’s a depressing way to end up, as Meredith says, “alive, but not alive” and on life support. The scenes that follow are tragic and some of the hardest I’ve ever watched on television. In the moments that lead up to Derek’s death– with his wife taking her husband and lover of off life support, their two children just outside the room with a stranger, a social worker, I felt myself starting to bawl. I gave into the moment. It was a nasty, heartbreaking kind of cry. The kind that you makes you go through a box of tissues, the kind where you think maybe you’ll eat that possibly Listeria-ridden Blue Bell ice cream in your freezer anyway, because Derek Shepherd is dead.

In an exclusive  Entertainment Weekly article posted on, Dempsey talks about the end of his character,” I think it will be very shocking, the way it happens. It’s really going to be powerful. But life is like that. I think any time an original cast member has left, there’s always a void that will never be filled. Shepherd is a beloved character. People don’t want to lose him. He’s been in their lives for over 10 years. But it goes on, and it will evolve.” And responding to the death of Shepherd and the departure of Dempsey, Shonda Rimes gave this exclusive statement to “ ‘Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character—for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’ Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example—happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true—of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey’s Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning.’ “

The problem is, the audience– at least those that engage on social media, don’t seem to think that they can watch a show that kills off such a pivotal character playing a role that shaped the direction of the series. The current season has averaged a 2.3 rating (source: and a little over eight million viewers. Despite the promise of a two hour “special” episode next week, it looks like the show will see a decline in viewership based on the current fan backlash– and really, who would be surprised? That very vehicle of narrative delight, of enjoying the series for the emotional rollercoaster, of our hearts in our chest and the tissue box nearby that had been so successful for eleven seasons, may have died along with Derek Shepherd on this very night.

Works Cited

Bianco, Robert. “Review: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Accidental Death. USA Today. Gannett.  23 Apr.2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.


“Grey’s Anatomy: Season Eleven Ratings.” TV Series 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 Apr.2015.


Oldenberg, Ann. “‘ Grey’s Anatomy Kills off Major Character’.” USA 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.


Rice, Lynette. “Grey’s Anatomy” Star Patrick Dempsey on Tonight’s Shocking Twist– Exclusive.  23 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.


Rice, Lynette. “Shonda Rhimes Gives Statement on Killing off Grey’s Anatomy Star.” 23 Aprr 2015. Web.  23 Apr. 2015.


Reflections (and a little of New Orleans) 

The problem with the end of the semester (and the craziness that is the start of the spring wedding season) is that I feel like I am facing this strange polar opposite/vortex/soul-sucking craziness that is threatening to rip me in two. 

A few weeks ago, I was in New Orleans for PCA, and had a great time attending the conference and exploring just a bit of the city. The conference really recharged my intellectual batteries and inspired ideas for new research. I felt a real kinship with the city, with the settings and surroundings, almost like it was a second home. I was only there for two days, but I really loved the experience and can’t wait to go back. 

A few photos from my stay, including the view from my hotel window.

The only real things I had as agenda were to go to Cafe du Monde and to get a psychic reading. I thought I would be remiss to not get a reading in one of the most spiritual towns you can visit. Note: I did want to go on a ghost tour, too, and do a lot of other things touristy, but I was trying to limit my experiences so that I could go back and visit again with my husband and Emmaline. 

So, kind of by accident I got 3 readings from different people– not really because I was looking for different answers, but because I was just so interested in the entire process and I really wanted to deepen the experience. It was super cool– I got some wonderful insights and I have been meaning to write them down since I got them.

The one unifying message from all the psychics ( and I do believe that they all are gifted in the art of perception): that I need to slow down. That stress is going to consume me and eat me alive if I don’t recognize how to simplify.

That message resonates with me because I feel like I have spent the past year coming to terms with the reality of those words. This time last year, I was looking at my life and wondering what I needed to change to have my life be the most fulfilling, the most genuine, the most authentic. What did I want my legacy to be? And was I proud of the way I built that legacy? 

All of the people I spoke with brought up that I was at a crossroads in my life. That I was very much so passionate about life long learning, and of experiencing life an a student and scholar, and it didn’t matter if it was In an actual classroom or an environment I made for myself for learning.  I love to learn and it shows, I guess. They all also brought up my love for teaching, that I was creative and liked to work with my hands. 

All also brought up my husband (all good things and that he was my soul mate) and my daughter (Apple didnt fall far from the tree– I have been warned that she is stubborn, and will be willful, but has much charisma and talents yet to be discovered).  

But two talked to me about where I was going if I didn’t learn how to listen to myself and slow down. “You used to be good at burning the candle at both ends,” one woman told me, her hands warm in mine. “But sweetheart, lately, all you are doing is getting burned.” I remember nodding, and feeling very emotional in that moment. She squeezed my hands “you know what you are letting go of. You already made the choice. The hard part now is walking through the fire to get to the other side.”

Those words stick with me tonight. I’m definitely in the walk through the flames part of the journey. It’s the ending and beginning of two very important chapters in my life, and it’s exhilarating and scary at the same time. As the blaze rages around me, I struggle with finding– and achieving– the perfect balance.

I know I’ll get there. And I know the next few weeks will be some of the hardest of my life. Il going to look back on New Orleans and the message in the palm reading that told me to stay focused, stay strong, and get through the opposite side alive.

Sometimes, it’s just about surviving the best you can.  

The house of Voodoo– best fun   
I took a photo because of my daughter   
Bourbon street at night     

Only in New Orleans  

My final Cafe au Lait before flying off

4.19.15: Endings Blog on Justified

For me, part of the challenge of regular writing is that I always want to stop and edit, to correct in nitpicky fashion every thing that I am writing and saying, and that just results in me not ever pushing “publish”. This week I have set the goal to post at a least three entires– more if I can, to talk about the work and research that I’m doing for my end of semester projects.

One of those assignments I am working on is in my Narratology course, where we are contributing to a class-blog set up for the study of endings. This is a broad concept as an ending can be almost anything– the end of an episode of television, a book, a poem, et cetera. I am working on an entry for the series ender of Justified.  Here’s some of the resources that I am using for the blog post:

Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Walton Groggins (Boyd Crowder)

6 Reasons We’ll Miss Justified from the Huffington Post:

Screen Rant Review: Recap of “The Promise”


Go here to read the post when it’s done

Saying Goodbye to Justified: The Justified Series Finale

This blog post was originally posted on 4.19.15 for the “Endings” Class blog in my graduate level Studies in Narratology course, taught by Dr. David Lavery. See the Course homepage here here, and view other “Endlings” blog posts here:
While discussing our expectations for the series finale of FX’s Justified, my husband admitted that he thought the series could only end in one way: with the demise of Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), preferably in a bloody shoot out with Boyd Crowder. I didn’t know how I wanted Raylan’s story to end– either in carnage or riding off into the sunset, but I did know I had high hopes for the story to end with a bang.
(Here’s a You Tube promo video for the episode:
I wasn’t disappointed,though the series concluded in a way I never could have anticipated but not in a way I would ever change. With “The Promise,” the world of Justified ended after six solid seasons of Raylan fighting it out with the bad guys of Harlan county– most notably– Boyd (Walter Goggins)  the perpetual n’er do well, explosion loving criminal that was supposed to be killed off at the end of the first episode.  It was a nicely paced episode, resolving the season-based storyline while wrapping up the rest of the narrative.
I think that one of the audience’s biggest questions– especially as the series played out– was the one surrounding the genuine nature of Raylan’s goodness. Was Raylan a good man? Or did he get to play out his desire for criminal action– desire that maybe was genetic from a no-good, criminal father from a no-good criminal town– behind the protection of a badge. If the viewer questioned his morality, the season finale gave an answer– in a way– to what kind of man Raylan Givens really was and that the answer was that he is a good man, even if he was willing to lie and break the law to protect Eva at all costs.
In an article with, Goggins details some of the storyboarding that happened in preparation for the finale along with his ideas about what worked and what didn’t. Graham Yost, finale co-writer and this season’s primary show-runner following the death of Elmore Leonard, wanted to keep Boyd and Raylan alive. Leonard never liked cliffhanger or dramatic endings, and in the end, the series was about friendship— friendship between two men that, while enemies at times, shared a bond that came from digging coal and growing up as the boys of Harlan, Kentucky.
Discussing the final scene between Raylan and Boyd, Goggins says “[W]hat Raylan gives him is what he’s always wanted, which is an acknowledgement that Boyd did love [Eva], and that their relationship, his relationship with Raylan, was more than just adversarial, that they dug coal together, and that is a metaphor for the fact that they lived this violent life together.”(Source)
With the discovery of Ava and Boyd’s son by Raylan, the audience gets to see how much these two men are linked. Raylan’s daughter brings him out of the violent world Harlan to a milder beat in Florida, where he learns to be a loving father while letting go of the idea of ever being with Winona, because ultimately that relationship could never work. Boyd and Ava couldn’t work either– as witnessed by the last two episodes, when Ava shoots Boyd for the money and confesses that she did what she did because she put herself in Boyd’s shoes. Neither man could make the relationship they most desperately wanted happen because of their own inherent and perpetual flaws. And while having a child changes Raylan, he doesn’t want the same knowledge to change and effect Boyd– he keeps his son a secret, and lies and says that Eva had been killed in a car accident while she had been on the lam.
Here’s what Goggins had to say about Raylan’s reveal of Eva’s death and the meaning behind it “For me, the reason why Raylan lies to Boyd isn’t because he’s fearful of what Boyd might do someday, but rather he is taking it upon himself to end the circle of violence with Boyd’s son. Even the possibility that this boy might enter the same circle, and run the same lap that I ran and my that my father ran, that was something too previous for Raylan, and he did it for my son and for all the other son’s that have been caught up in the circle of violence” (Source)
I couldn’t agree more with that statement. As the screen went black, I wiped away a tear and the feeling of total and complete satisfaction with the resolution of the series. It was perfect in every way that it could be, and I do believe that Leonard Elmore would be most proud.
For more fun reading on the finale of Justified, check out this compilation of reviews from Rotten Tomatoes:


I have a new goal: set aside time to write (if possible) daily. This may be mundane journal type entries, but especially as I near the end of the semester, things are quite hectic and I think that maybe if I take some time to write daily– however briefly, it may offer me occasion to reflect and decompress.

I am working on a presentation on “Possible Worlds” in my narratology class, as well as a paper analyzing the narrative in an episode of a televison series. I selected the episode “Fight” from Masters of Sex. From the moment I saw the episode last summer I knew that i wanted to write about it, so I am excited to get to do so.

In American literature, our final paper looms with only three weeks away. I am doing some preliminary research there as I continue to hammer down the focus of my paper and the argument. More on that in another post.

Work is very hectic, so I won’t get into that except to say that i am very excited about these final celebrations. Each one is very special to me and I cannot wait to share in the joy with the brides and grooms i have the pleasure to work with. I couldn’t ask for a better “final chapter.”

This morning, I read Dickinson as the rain fell out my window. It later prompted me to pen my own poem (something about reading poetry always makes me want to write it.) It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll probably share it eventually.

In the interim, what I read this morning that really struck me, reposted from

IF you were coming in the fall,
I ’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,         5
I ’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I ’d count them on my hand,         10
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.
If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I ’d toss it yonder like a rind,         15
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.         20

Update (or, the blog post helping me avoid responsibility)

So, I had all these goals of writing regularly, but then life decided to come in and mess all of that up. About a week into the semester, I accidentally cut my index finger on my right hand. The cut was so deep that I ended up needing surgery a week after that, and then had limited hand use for 4 weeks. This, I admit, was pretty tragic at first. I was in a lot of pain, it was awful not being able to use my hand, and I just generally struggled. I felt pretty sorry for myself. It was not a good time.

Then, I got sick. Like, really, really sick. I ended up in the emergency room with a 103.8 degree fever and feeling like I was dying. I had no idea what was wrong with me– and neither did the doctors. After a lot of back and forth and many, many tests, we discovered that i had a very nasty case of recurring mono/epstein barr virus (EBV). I have been sick for about 7 weeks.

I’ll admit that having EBV and a bum finger did NOT make for the best start of my first semester back in graduate school. It’s been a challenge in an already challenging environment. But, I’m adapting, and I’m getting better, and I’m feeling like maybe– just maybe– I can handle this. Check in with me in a few weeks to see if that’s really the case, but for right now– I feel like maybe I’ll survive this crazy season.

At the present moment, I have two big papers due on the horizon, a looming comprehensive Exam in my literature class, multiple weddings and work events, and just general craziness. I need to go work on those things, but hey, writing this works too, right?

Endings Review: “Better Call Saul: Season One”

This blog post was originally posted on 4.11.15 for the “Endings” Class blog in my graduate level Studies in Narratology course, taught by Dr. David Lavery. See the Course homepage here here, and view other “Endlings” blog posts here:

The relatively short first season of AMC’s Better Call Saul ended with its tenth episode,”Marco,” on Monday, April6 , 2015. The season finale wasn’t one filled with explosions or cliffhanger endings, but was one that really captured the spirit and intensity ofthe spin-off series while creating fertile future storytelling opportunities. The series focuses on the evolution of Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman—the Saul we know (and either love or hate) from Breaking Bad.  Set in 2002, it looks at the down-on-his-luck Jimmy McGill, a barely B-grade lawyer with a mail-order law degree in reformation from his past as a manipulative, con-artist grifter. It’s fascinating for the viewer to watch Jimmy become Saul, and a brilliant choice of narrative for showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

 In the season finale, Jimmy is at a crossroads. His brother, Chuck, whom he has been actively caring for after a nervous breakdown and bizarre development of an “electronic allergy” (it’s clearly psychotic in nature), has betrayed him and revealed that he thinks Jimmy is (still) nothing but a loser. Chuck’s betrayal results in Jimmy’s own breakdown. After starting the season (and series) at zero, working the courthouse circuit for any and every case to earn the smallest paychecks, he’s started to develop a name for himself as an Elder Law attorney and discovered a massive scam at the retirement home where most of his clients reside.  He’s also worked to take the moral high ground on several occasions, resisting the urge to fall back into the persona of “Slippin’ Jimmy”– including an opportunity to pocket 1.6 Million dollars from a pair of embezzlers, the Kettleman’s.
One of the most powerful scenes in the episode is where Jimmy is reading out the Bingo numbers at the senior’s hall (dressed in his best replica Matlock suit) and keeps getting the “B” balls — the anecdotes he attributes to the letter get progressively more deranged until he recalls the story of how he once got busted for doing a “Chicago Sunroof” (that, in case you were wondering– is when you defecate through an open sunroof) in front of 2 juveniles. He’d been justified, he claims– first of all– the tint couldn’t have been legal, it was so dark– and besides, who leaves two kids in the car, alone, when you run into the local Dairy Queen? Secondly, Jimmy had been acting in retaliation against the guy who slept with his ex-wife, so that kind of warranted the action. Chuck worked some magic to bail Jimmy out of a trumped up sexual offender charge to public indecency. That charge– and Chuck’s getting him off the hook– proved the catalyst for everything to follow in Jimmy’s life. Fast-forward to the Bingo hall, and Jimmy starts to crack. Spiraling out of control, he decides to leave New Mexico and to go home to his old stomping grounds in Chicago.
 What is remarkable about the season finale is that it doesn’t play into the traditional season finale tropes. There’s no cliffhanger ending. No explosions. No will-they or won’t they drama. What there is is a slightly trippy road trip where “Slippin’ Jimmy” goes home to Chicago to drink and con with his former best bud (and partner in crime) Marco, on a week-long crime spree that ends with Marco biting it in an alley after having “the best week of his life” running scams alongside Jimmy.
Marco’s death and all the other moments leading up to that moment cause Jimmy to come back home a changed person. He thinks that he is going to go to a high-profile meeting with a powerful law firm about a possible partner option (thanks to  Chuck’s firm, HHM passing Jimmy’s case to a larger law firm that better handle it), but as he strides across the parking lot rehearsing his own introduction, he pauses. His life is basically at a crossroads. Where to go from here? High profile law firm, partner track, tackling a multi-million dollar lawsuit? Or, is it worth all the effort going the straight and narrow?
Ultimately, we get the sense that no– he’s not going to go the straight and narrow. As he departs the courthouse parking lot, he asks parking attendant (and for hire baddie) Mike what stopped him from taking the 1.6 million dollars from the Kettlemans when piles of money sat on his desk.  Mike tells him he was hired for a job, the money wasn’t his, pure and simple. Jimmy, after a pause, says, “I know what stopped me. And you know what, it’s never stopping me again.”
As his little yellow car drives away, the audience gets a sense that things are going to be changing for Jimmy McGill– things that will eventually lead us to the character we know from Breaking Bad, but my, what a ride awaits.