I finally finished the 65-page Talent Search proposal (full draft #1). I have to submit it next week. A grant of this size is like a marathon, but where you sprint because you really don’t have enough time. So I’m not really done; I’m just at the water stand, sloppily grabbing a cup that I will promptly dump on myself.

The agony of developing this proposal made me think of the scene from The Princess Bride where Count Rugen is testing his torture contraption on Wesley. I swear the program officers must have felt inspired by it:

Count Rugen: [admiring his torture contraption] Beautiful isn’t it? It took me half a lifetime to invent it. I’m sure you’ve discovered my deep and abiding interest in pain. Presently I’m writing the definitive work on the subject, so I want you to be totally honest with me on how the machine makes you feel. This being our first try, I’ll use the lowest setting.

[Count Rugen activates the water powered torture machine. Wesley writhes in great pain]

Count Rugen: [calmly] As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that’s all this is except that instead of sucking water, I’m sucking life. I’ve just sucked one year of your life away. I might one day go as high as five, but I really don’t know what that would do to you. So, let’s just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so be honest. How do you feel?

[Wesley cries and moans in pain]

Count Rugen: Interesting.


Happy Friday.


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