Being a teacher at a university has its perks. I have the entire week off for Thanksgiving break, not just the two days afforded to most under-graduate or elementary school teachers in the state of Connecticut. I also did something that I’ve never done before – I’m having my students send me drafts of their final papers much later in the week. This is letting me catch up on some things I normally wouldn’t be able to do during a break, like sleeping and sitting still. And blogging!
I’ve been trapped in the cycle known as GRADE ALL THE THINGS in the past two weeks; 38 final drafts of Paper #2, as well as several revisions of said paper, and plugging in midterm grades and writing up final project assessments and all of that fun stuff. So some things had to get put on the backburner, like blogging and cleaning and eating vegetables. But now I’m on break, I’ve had a green smoothie for breakfast – yes I’m one of those – and catching up on some things that needed to be addressed. I’m also currently digging a few things that I thought you guys might like to hear about, so I’m going to to hopefully make this a recurring series of blogs about things I’m currently into.
Currently Watching: Catching Fire.
The newest installment of the Hunger Games series – the book is a trilogy, the film is a proposed quadrology – came out on Friday, and the boyfriend and I saw it on Saturday after a stellar Friendsgiving dinner at my bestie Shelley’s house. It kicked. My. Ass. (both the dinner and the movie!) Catching Fire did everything right. It had the pathos the first film lacked – except for when Rue died, that was heartwrenching – and the director, Francis Lawrence, is much more skilled at action sequences than Gary Ross. He also knows how to employ closeups with a wide angle lens, a technique that doesn’t wreck the viewers’ perception of space. Therefore, the movie looked better than the first film in the series. The performances are richer; I don’t even have to go into how obsessed I am with Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks in this movie, do I? The stakes are higher. The political commentary is more incisive. Also, read this: Why Peeta Mellark is Katniss’s Movie Girlfriend. What a great commentary on the gender schema present in the film and the books.
Also – the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. I don’t watch a ton of Doctor Who although I am a big fan, but the episodes I’ve seen I’ve highly enjoyed. The Special aired while the boyfriend and I were at the Friendsgiving, so we made sure to stay away from social media during that time.
Currently Reading: The Divergent Trilogy.
I must be honest; a few pages into the first book in this series, I was convinced it was nothing more than a retread of Hunger Games. But it’s got enough changes to keep things interesting. The city that was once Chicago is now divided into several factions: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intelligence), Candor (honesty), and Amity (kindness). At sixteen, the members of the factions take a test to determine which faction they are best suited for, and then they make the choice as to which faction they will go to. Tris Prior, an Abnegation, is tested, but she comes out as testing positively for three factions: Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation. This multiple result makes Tris a Divergent. From there, mayhem ensues. The book is incredibly involving from an emotional perspective, which is a lot different than HG because that book is all about trauma that divests one of emotion. Here, emotion is powerful and it ricochets throughout the narrative. Also, I feel the relationships formed by Tris are handled in a way that is more involving than Hunger Games, but that’s something that comes from the narrative being about relationships in a way that The Hunger Games is about a wider commentary on political and cultural norms. Basically, it’s crack, and you should get on it. They just released the final book in the trilogy, Allegiant, which I’ve already bought off Amazon even though I’m only halfway through Insurgent, the second book. It’s that good.
I do read things that are not YA dystopian fiction. This is just more fun to talk about than the other book I’m reading dealing with the culpability of German women during the Holocaust.
Currently Listening: The Last Podcast On The Left.
This podcast is not for people who are sensitive. I will say that much. It’s a group of comedians – Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zembrowski – who sit around and talk about their research on all things macabre and weird. They cover everything from serial killers to ley lines to alien abductions to cults. They’re a bunch of goofballs, but the best part of it is that they are tremendously organized and researched, so you laugh while learning something. It’s incredibly offensive, but that is my jam. My current favorite episodes deal with serial killers; they’re starting a new series called Big Hitters that cover the most infamous killers of all time, and they just opened the series with two episodes on Ted Bundy. It’s what I looked forward to after teaching all day on Wednesday, and they never disappoint.
Currently Eating: Pink Lady apples, Brussels sprouts, buffalo tofu.
Not all at the same time. I’m just saying that these things make me happy.
Currently Dealing With: Stupid People on Facebook, PhD anxiety.
First, if I see one more uninformed person talk about gun rights or the Affordable Care Act or other things that are rage-inducing I am going to scream. UNSUBSCRIBE. My new thing is just to ignore those who don’t know what they’re talking about, and just trust that I’m doing the best I can do to educate those who want to learn and grow. It makes my life easier.
Second, I am all done sending out my PhD applications, and because of that, I just have to wait the agonizing three months it will take before I hear anything (usually applications take until mid-January to make it to anyone’s desk because of the winter break, and then it takes them a ton of time to read the applications and send them off to their respective committees, and THEN they have to send out waitlistings and other such nonsense. So, all I can do is wait. And it is driving me insane.
I’ll probably write something later on this week about Thanksgiving, but don’t hold me to it. It’s hard to write when you’re snuggling your nephews, passing out on the couch from tryptophan, and diving face first into sweet potato pie.