Archive for January, 2008

Kudos to the University

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Whenever I mention the University of Montana, I’m probably in rant mode. But this time, I’d like to take a moment to give them some mad props. What’s the opposite of a rant? That’s what this is.

First, a little history. I’m starting my twelfth semester here at UM, and for ten of those semesters, I’ve had trouble with the financial aid office. Now, sometimes the trouble has turned out to be my fault: late FAFSA, reaching my credit cap, and s on. But most other times, something’s gone wrong on the University’s end. I don’t know how it works, but each explanation in those instances has sound unnecessary to me.

But this year, they got it right. By the spring ’06 semester, I had learned to be a hardass about getting my financial aid done — including visiting the line and asking if everything was going okay. No exception this year. My RTA room award, Pell grant, and SMART grant left me with a refund coming. I even finalized in December, way ahead of time. But when I checked my account around the new year, CyberBear told me (surprise, surprise) that I owed the full amount.

I guess it turns out that once you finalize your bill, all the financial aid on it disappears until the money really comes in. This is strange behavior and bad design, but I’m really trying to be appreciative here so I’ll avoid pressing the issue further. So I hit up financial aid, and they explained it. I got a little worried because I was told that the aid would come in after the deadline for payment, but they reassured me that I had finalized so my classes were locked in. This is my last semester (and I’m taking some low-level requirements like Technical Writing), so I need all the classes I’ve registered for. The day rolled around, and my registration stuck.

Then I worried about the aforementioned refund. I’m not complaining about my financial state by any means, but I’ve definately been scraping by since New Year’s Day. Once the financial aid appeared (just yesterday), I clicked the ‘request a refund’ link, only to be rudely told that I can’t request one. So I called the cashier and they told me that it would be handled automatically. Suffering from the ‘fool me once, shame on you…’ mindset, I worried. But today I checked my account and it was at a $0 balance, with the refund check listed as a ‘charge.’ It might even get here on time on Friday, so I can have some popcorn while watching Cloverfield. All in all, a good alternative to the usual drama I must deal with to continue for another semester here.

So I did a lot of poking and prodding, but it was all needless. Everything went off without a hitch this semester, and I’m glad, because now I’m leaving the school on a high note. This definitely makes me feel better about maybe taking Grad School here someday.

Why Cloverfield Will Suck

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to see it, I’m excited as hell, and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna show the monster in all its glory — but I know the movie’s going to suck. Here’s why:

  1. There will be no buildup. My guess is that it starts out at the party, and goes from there. How about five minutes of strange incidents from around the globe, √† la the viral videos already released? I don’t want to come into the movie and miss half of it because I’m too lazy to waste time clicking through tie-in websites that pretend to give you vital clues to the plot.
  2. There won’t be a plausible reason for the monster to attack NYC. Perhaps some suspension of disbelief is in order, but the fact that the film is a ‘realistic’ documentary will not play into the plot. Obviously, a gigantic creature that lives underwater will head to NYC, with a million buildings in the way and irritating explosions, to spawn/have fun/feed. I’m pretty sure there’s more food available in the ocean — including that tantalizing Slusho ingredient!
  3. We won’t get more info than what’s on the ‘recovered’ tapes. I love back story, and the shit we’re spoon-fed on the viral marketing websites won’t explain anything about the monster. So we’ll never know if it’s an alien, or a mutation caused by man, or something else. Some will say that this enhances the ‘mystery’, but I’ve had enough uninformed fan speculation from the lead-up to the movie. I want some goddamn answers, not more fanboy theory. I want to know A) what it is, B) why’s it’s pissed, and C) how they stopped it.
  4. There will be an epilogue, but it will leave more questions than answers. This is, after all, the product of J.J. “Lost” Abrams.
  5. They’re gonna waste time on the ‘parasites.’ You know, the little creatures the main monster exudes? The ones that are probably taking a bite out of that chick’s neck outside the medical tent from the 2:00 trailer? I don’t want an Aliens-style crawlspace suspense terror-fest — I want a Godzilla-style smash-the-buildings monster movie.
  6. Is anything more clich√© than “I’m going into the city, I don’t care about the 100 story-tall freakazoid, but she’s there and I have to save her?” Stupid romantic subplot detracts from awesome Statue of Liberty-munchin’.

I guess I’m just being pre-irritated by all the hype. I could be wrong; I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.