Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kill To Live

This entry is about to go into some dark gray territory. Just warning everyone in advance in case you get squeamish.

I've been loving this show Criminal Minds on CBS. It's a weekly crime show (like we don't have enough of those) that focuses on a group of profilers that work in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. They basically are called on to find killers (who they term on the show as "unsubs" - unknown subjects) before they kill again. They do this by analyzing the clues and helping the local police narrow down a suspect via what they call a profile. This profile goes over the unsubs likely personality traits, such as did they grow up in an abusive home, are they attention seekers, etc., etc. By narrowing down the suspects, they eventually hone in on an unsub or two that fits the profile.

The show's angle of focusing on the profiling team's job actually is what makes the show unique from all the other crime shows (CSI 1, CSI 2, CSI 3...*LOL*) out there. Of course it doesn't hurt that they have a fairly attractive cast, including Mr Caliente himself Shemar Moore.

I didn't find out about the show until it's 3rd season, which it's currently in and thanks to the writer's strike ending (YAY!) should soon resume. The episode that hooked me in focused on a couple of disturbed unsubs (like they all aren't...*LOL*) who killed whole families in their homes by using the "I hit this cat and need to use your phone" ruse. They targeted families in restaurants that may have been having a minor spat. They would watch their routine for a while and then strike. First they would remove the porch light so that the victims couldn't see who was at the door. Then they would use a cell phone jammer to kill all communication on phones. The killers would poison the kids first and then torture and kill the parents. One of the killers worked at an animal shelter, which gave him access to the poor kitties. It ended up the unsubs were killing the kids to spare them from what they perceived as "child abuse" and torture and kill the tormenters. Of course both unsubs came from an abusive foster parent, who the team ended up having to save since the unsubs ultimately targeted that parent.

That episode disturbed me on so many levels. On the lowest level, I had no idea that cell phone jammers even existed. I'll admit there are some folks that can be annoying while on their phones that I wouldn't mind having their signal jammed. But it's scary if those jammers fall into the wrong hands as it did in this episode since your phone (it affected the house phones as well) would be useless and you wouldn't be able to call for help. On a higher level, it was crazy seeing how anyone could be in danger of being targeted by an unsub simply by getting into a routine. It also was scary how even being with a group of people doesn't guarantee your safety.

The show freaked me out but nonetheless that particular episode got me hooked. Thanks to Blockbuster Online, I was able to rent Seasons 1 and 2 to watch past episodes. I'm currently working my way through Season 2.

This leads me to my latest entry. I watched this episode last night where basically the unsub of the week kidnapped three teenage girls from this small town where football is king. The girls were trapped in the unsubs cellar and weren't given any food or water for days. Basically the unsub gave the girls an ultimatum. They had to choose who among them would die so that the other two could live. At first none of the girls considered it but as the days went by, eventually they started turning against each other. "Vocal Girl" wanted to sacrifice "Sick Girl" because she was sick. "Quiet Girl" didn't want to kill anyone and questioned if the unsub would really let them go if they killed one of their own. "Sick Girl" mulled with "Quiet Girl" that she knew "Vocal Girl" wanted to kill her. When "Vocal Girl" finally shouted to the unsub that they made a choice, he threw down a couple of hammers. Yep...if the two girls wanted to live, they had to kill the third girl themselves. And yup, one girl did get killed by another. Then the unsub did as promised and released the other two (after psychologically scarring them).

So Hemingway that episode made me imagine myself being in that situation with two close friends. Would I conspire to kill one of them in order to live? Hell would I wind up being the one getting killed. Ultimately would one of us sacrifice themselves so that the others live? It's a tough situation that I definitely hope not to find myself in.

No way could I do a profiler job. But it's intriguing enough to watch on TV.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Shiftless Work

At the beginning of the month, my work group officially relocated to a new office further north. Since my commute was determined to be among the highest, I joined the few that were given the option to work from home a few days a week.

I have to admit so far the arrangement has been pretty good. My commute time to the new office on the days I have to go is just over an hour. It sucks, of course. Plus I'm not a big fan of the new seating arrangement. Basically the height of the cubes is about the length of our chairs and unfortunately we seem more squeezed together. But the new building is pretty nice. The cafeteria's larger, the fitness center is larger, a Starbuck's provider is in the building, as is a post office center. I'm treating it like I'm at a new job, except it's not.

The days I get to work from home are great as well. I do find that I get more work done and not only that but I can work from my bedroom if I wanted to thanks to the wireless router I installed. I get to lounge around a bit more too though I definitely have to make sure things still get done. The company even made us sign contracts that they can revoke the work from home privilege at any time and require us to work full time in office.

So I know I can't get comfortable. The company has continued to lay off more employees and the latest round that was announced last week affected two people in our group, including Ling. Luckily for her, though, she's being transferred to another group. The other person affected has another couple weeks to find a new position within the company, though in talking today, it seems like he may already be gone. I'll know for sure tomorrow in a weekly status meeting for a new project we're both in.

Shockingly enough I wound up getting a small 3% raise and a larger bonus last week. But as mentioned with everything happening, I'm not deluding myself into a false sense of security.