SLAC layoff 15% … the film “Juno”

An email written on Jan. 8, 20
I told you about our considerable salary increase but then because of the budget cut, other things can’t be done.  My travel for my invited talk in Moriond (one of the 2 important conference series each year) was disapproved.  Probably it’s not the end of the world compared to the following …
Don’t remember exactly how many miles you’re away from SLAC, but awfully close, compared to folks like me.  Following Fermilab’s annoucement of 10% (~200) layoff (though they haven’t executed), SLAC tops that by their 15% — 225 (which meant that their original size was ~1500, just a bit smaller than Fermilab’s original ~1900-2000).  125 was after the budget cut whereas 100 was already going on to shift from high energy physics to their new LCLS (light source program — we have another light source program here at BNL).  You may read the long story :
Sorry/miserable souls seem everywhere … which makes me remember the Chinese term 哀鴻遍野.  So, me, not being able to go to Moriond is probably not the worst…. 
In the weekend, I went to watch a film called "Juno".  It’s definitely NOT one of those big Hollywood films. It’s about a 16-year-old who gets pregnant.  In many other films/TV’s, it’d be a very serious subject or tragedy of some sorts, but in this film, it almost has a comedian attitude towards this issue (though not exactly).  The most interesting part is that this pregnant girl is so mature that she could handle everything herself and her parents’ help was almost like redundant.
When I watched this film, there were two levels in my mind.  One, the 16-year-old girl in the film just unbelivably knew what she was doing.  Though her vocabularies were like kids (and I often seemed to be on the verge of not understanding the kids’ languages), her decision-making and her firmness and easiness in her actions seemed better than many adults like me.  Maybe, it’s also due to her simple-mindedness that she has a simple solution to every problem.
The other level in my mind is that this 16-year-old actress has the sort of the best acting skill that you almost didn’t feel that she’s acting.   She’s just so real and convincing.  She made the famous Jennifer Garner look pretentious or trying very hard to act … I say this even I like Jennifer, too. Though the whole film was mostly about this 16-year-old,  the supporting casts include Jason Bateman, Allison Janney — "C. J." in West Wing et. al.   But this young actress seems to stand out even among all the veterans.  Checking her info. online, she’s Ellen Page and ~20 years old.  And she’s actually been acting for ~10 years already!  Ah … no wonder … but she’s just amazing … and she’s got some nominations in the category of "best actress" including "Golden Globe" and even awards already from this role.
Another interesting thing is that her parents were just very supportive and didn’t give her any sort of hard time.  In a Chinese family, probably the family would very likely make you feel that you were a disgrace to the family.  I also can’t imagine that every 16-year-old American is so independent … 
Near the end, her father in the film said about lovers/partners : "The best you can do is finding a person who loves you for exactly what you are."   I agree with this "golden rule" …
Seeing how this 16-year-old dealt with all the troubles, I can’t help telling myself not to be squeamish or feel depressed whenever there are problems … as my problems were most of the time almost nothing compared to hers.   And yes, probably I should just try to look for opportunities in the crisis …


About kinyip

An experimental particle physicist ...
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