Thursday, December 20, 2007

November 2007

Books Read:
Halloweenland By: Al Sarrantonio
Now and Forever By: Ray Bradbury
Split Screen By: Brent Hartinger
The Mist By: Stephen King
CliffsNotes on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales By: James L. Roberts
The Psychology of Survivor Ed: Richard J. Gerring
*Superman: Kal By: Dave Gibbons & Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Movies Viewed For the First Time:
The Mist
The Running Man
No Country for Old Men

*Denotes a graphic novel.

November provided me a little more time to read because of Thanksgiving. I went through a wide variety of material. If you enjoy Ray Bradbury's writing, you might want to check out Now and Forever. It's a collection of two novellas that have appeared in various different forms over the past forty years. I'm a pretty big fan of Stephen King and am a huge fan of the directorial talents of Frank Darabont, so I had to read The Mist before watching it in theatres. More on that later. I'm also a big fan of Survivor and really enjoyed reading the collection of psychological essays about the show in The Psychology of Survivor. I picked up a few tips that might even come in handy on future auditions. Lastly, Superman: Kal is a graphic novel telling the story of Superman if it was set in the Middle Ages.

As for movies, I highly recommend The Mist and No Country for Old Men. Be forewarned, however, that both films are incredibly bleak. I was really excited about The Mist. It was adapted, directed, and co-produced by Frank Darabont, aka the guy who brought to screen The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Darabont made the movie on a budget of around $10 million, a feat unheard of in Hollywood. I was, however, diappointed a bit by the ending. Stephen King's original tale is very dark, but literally ends with hope. Darabont's adaptation does not and ends in nihilism. Other than that, it's a great film.

No Country for Old Men is the latest film from the Coen Brothers. I love the Coen Brothers. All of their movies are witty and quirky and highly entertaining. Sometimes they are even thought provoking. No Country for Old Men is an excellent film, full of subtlety and meaningful messages. At the same time, I was so depressed by the end of the movie I was on the verge of crying.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cultural Deprivation and Depravation of Youth

Yesterday about 75% of the students at school were gone for the day on an "honors" trip. It's two days until exams and for most of the classes we watched the first part of THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL. I thought it would be a nice way to spend the day, yet also have a connection to a famous piece of English literature. I didn't expect many students to know anything about Charles Dickens. However, I though many of the students would at least have known who the Muppets were. I was wrong. Almost all of the students I had in class had never heard of the Muppets. I thought the Muppets were a group of characters that were a part of American pop culture, like Charlie Brown and the Simpsons. The Muppets are a part of Americana, but most of the students I teach have never even heard of them. How depressing is that?

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I saw the movie ENCHANTED yesterday. There are a lot of reasons to see the film. However, the best reason is Amy Adams.

Ah, Amy Adams.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Grammar Wanted

Last week I had something happen to me that I thought would never happen to me as an English teacher. I actually had one student say to me, "Why do we have to read these stories and do all these presentations? Can't we just do a bunch of grammar worksheets and stuff?" I almost fainted. I would never have believed I would ever have a student pleading with me to do more grammar work. Of course, if I give them the grammar stuff that the student requested, that same student will be complaining about all the boring worksheets and editing they will be doing.