Friday, April 27, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

I saw The Cabin in the Woods earlier this week with a couple of friends. I had no idea what to expect and will just echo what everyone else is saying about it: the less you know going in, the better. And it's awesome. This blog post (by Joe Reid--from my favorite podcast, extrahotgreat) says a lot of what I might say about it (and better than I could!).

Surprising facts I've learned from grading exams...

1) T.S. Eliot wrote "The Love Song of Alfred Hitchcock."
2) The woman in the "The Yellow Wall-paper" might have suffered from post-mortem depression.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"The Garage Sale as a Spiritual Exercise"

Thanks to the "Poetry Off the Shelf" podcast, I recently discovered the work of Tom Disch. This terrific little poem has stuck with me:

"The Garage Sale as a Spiritual Exercise"

Once someone loved this piece of junk
If only for a moment at the mall
With its wrappings intact
And its price so much reduced.
You need me, it whispered,
And he couldn't disagree.
So he bought it, the way he bought
Everything he'd ever been sold,
In the belief that it would do the job.
And it did, for the longest time,
And never broke down or wore out
And in fact has outlasted him,
Because here it is, a sickly blue,
In the basement of the Methodist Church,
And now it means to have you.
You sneer at it and think: No way.
You can see only its tackiness,
The virus invisible back at the mall
Which now blots out all its viable features
Like triumphant acne. You don't see
The years of loving drudgery,
The promises fulfilled.
It needs you now, don't turn away.
Take it to the lady and ask what it costs.
Don't be proud. Remember the Beatitudes
And who gets the kingdom of heaven.

I really love this one, too.

Bad Blogger

After trying to post just about every day, I've been neglecting my blogging lately. Sorry about that. These last couple of weeks have been crazy: end-of-the-semester grading, other work-related craziness, and some emergency dental surgery threw me for a heck of a loop. But things are calming down now. In fact, I am almost done with the semester. Given the hectic nature of the past 15 days or so, the end actually snuck up on me.

Anyway, I'll do my best to do better. For now, though, I thought I'd share some pictures from a visit I took to Longwood Gardens with my friend Vogel just before the craziness began. We had been there a couple of years ago, too, and I was just in love with the beauty of the tulips. In the past couple of weeks, when things were at their worst, I would go back in my mind to these pictures.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caine's Arcade

Invest eleven minutes in watching this. It will make your day. What an amazing kid. And what cool people!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yay for Ashley Judd!

Yeah, you want to read this.

My favorite part:

"That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women."

I've been trying to make this point to my ENGL 360 class all semester. Some of them get it (or say that they get it), but it's surprising how hard it is to convince everyone. And it's hard to believe how often we can find ourselves reproducing harmful patterns even when we know we shouldn't.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three deadlines met...

I had three big April 1 deadlines: 2 article revisions and 1 book review. As of Saturday, I met all three.

Big sigh of relief!

Saving money... one of my favorite things. And I just did it again.

Got my monthly cable/internet bill, noticed it had gone up by $35, figured that the promotion I had had finally ended. Called Comcast. Heard that I would have to wait 20-30 minutes. Figured, "What the heck" and got some multitasking done while I waited. Got transferred three times but finally got connected to someone who gave me a better package (again, for 12 months) for $40 less and credited my account for the bigger payment I just made. This is (I think) the third time I've done this when a promotion has ended. I know people complain about Comcast, but this makes me very happy!