Tuesday, November 17, 1998

Movie Review: The Siege

I went to see this yesterday afternoon at a theater by my apartment. It was a warm day, compared to the 45 degree days I had been dealing with for the past week or so, so I walked the 20 minutes to the theater. After forking over $8.75 (no bargain matinées on Sundays), I grabbed some popcorn and a Coke and got a good seat (center/center). It was a pretty decent theater - United Artists, I think - with one of those wide, slightly concave screens. Digital stereo sound, too. Sat through some silly previews; I don't even remember what they were for. Then the movie started.

I have to admit, I wasn't sure I expected all that much. The only hint I had that this wasn't going to be some run-of-the-mill action movie was that it was directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Courage Under Fire). To be sure, The Siege was no run-of-the-mill action movie. It's a clever political/action thriller, more along the lines of Clear and Present Danger and Hunt for Red October than, say, Air Force One or Executive Decision. It addresses issues like holy wars, racism, constitutional rights, military occupation, CIA interrogation methods, etc., plus there are a few ass kicking moments to boot. The bombings are extraordinarily well-done and shocked even me, a desensitized lout. Denzel Washington plays an FBI agent who works with and sometimes against Annette Bening's CIA agent. Bruce Willis' pivotal role as the general in charge of the siege was not fleshed out enough, I think, and was a bit one-dimensional, though they did try.

Overall, I was very surprised and would see it again in a second. Even for $8.75.

I think I'm going to see Meet Joe Black on Tuesday, but just because of the Star Wars prequel preview they're showing before and after the flick. I'll let you know.

Monday, June 15, 1998

How to Stay Stressed

Although the Health Professionals long have been an advocate of stress management, stress, tension, and burnout are still common complaints of students, faculty, and staff alike. On account of this, we have come to the following conclusion: YOU ALL WANT TO STAY STRESSED! The following provides you with a few reasons why.

STRESS HELPS YOU SEEM IMPORTANT.
Anyone as stressed as you must be working very hard and, therefore, is probably doing something very crucial.

IT HELPS YOU TO MAINTAIN PERSONAL DISTANCE AND AVOID INTIMACY.
Anyone as busy as you are certainly can't be expected to form emotional attachments to anyone. And let's face it, you're not much fun to be around anyway.

IT HELPS YOU AVOID RESPONSIBILITIES.
Obviously you're too stressed to be given any more work. This gets you off the hook for all the mundane chores; let someone else take care of them.

IT GIVES YOU A CHEMICAL RUSH.
Stress might be considered a cheap thrill, and you can give yourself a "hit" anytime you choose. But be careful, you might get addicted to your own adrenaline.

IT HELPS YOU AVOID SUCCESS.
Why risk being "successful" when by simply staying stressed you can avoid all of that? Stress can keep your performance level low enough that success won't ever be a threat.

STRESS ALSO LETS YOU KEEP YOUR AUTHORITARIAN MANAGEMENT STYLE.
The authoritarian style of "Just do what I say!" is generally permissible under crisis conditions. If you maintain a permanently stressed crisis atmosphere, you can justify an authoritarian style all the time.

Are you worried now about how to stay stressed? You'll have no trouble if you practice the following clinically proven methods:

NEVER EXERCISE.
Exercise wastes a lot of time that could be spent worrying.

EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT.
Hey, if cigarette smoke can't cleanse your system, a balanced diet isn't likely to.

GAIN WEIGHT.
Work hard at staying at least 25 pounds over your recommended weight.

TAKE PLENTY OF STIMULANTS.
The old standards of caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and cola will continue to do the job just fine.

AVOID "WOO-WOO" PRACTICES.
Ignore the evidence suggesting that meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and/or mental imaging help to reduce stress. The Protestant work ethic is good for everyone, Protestant or not.

GET RID OF YOUR SOCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM. Let the few friends who are willing to tolerate you know that you concern yourself with friendships only if you have time, and you never have time. If a few people persist in trying to be your friend, avoid them.

PERSONALIZE ALL CRITICISM.
Anyone who criticizes any aspect of your work, family, dog, house, or car is mounting a personal attack. Don't take time to listen--be offended, then return the attack!

THROW OUT YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR.
Staying stressed is no laughing matter, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

MALES AND FEMALES ALIKE - BE MACHO.
Never ever ask for help, and if you want it done right, do it yourself!

BECOME A WORKAHOLIC.
Put work before everything else, and be sure to take work home evenings and weekends. Keep reminding yourself that vacations are for sissies.

DISCARD GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
Schedule in more activities every day than you can possibly get done and then worry about it all whenever you get a chance.

PROCRASTINATE.
Putting things off to the last second always produces a marvelous amount of stress.

WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CAN'T CONTROL.
Worry about the stock market, earthquakes, the approaching Ice Age, you know, all the big issues.

BECOME NOT ONLY A PERFECTIONIST BUT SET IMPOSSIBLY HIGH STANDARDS...
...and either beat yourself up, or feel guilty, depressed, discouraged, and/or inadequate when you don't meet them.