Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Maria Came From Nashville"

We've made it through the first month of school. Michelle's settled into the reading position pretty well. In a way, it seems like it's what she was always supposed to do. She also knows she'll be teaching at the school at least a year past the time it takes her to earn her degree, so there's an element of job security there which is nice.

We've been celebrating her new position by updating our wardrobe. I hadn't really bought new clothes since...well, basically since I moved out here. I'd purchased a few shirts and a couple pairs of jeans, but that was three years ago. New clothes were in order for both of us, and I think we look pretty spiffy. Michelle has decided that this is the Year of the Cardigan, and to that end she's purchased a few that are very versatile and look really nice. As for me, I picked up a blazer jacket thing that's a little more casual than a sports coat or suit jacket. I basically wore it all last week, regardless of what shirt I had on underneath. Each outfit had approval from Michelle, but I secretly think she was sending me out of the house looking like a reject from Beverley Hills 90210 on occasion. I do have an inordinate love for the jacket, though.

The weather's starting to turn, and I for one couldn't be happier. Late fall and winter are always my favorite time of the year, even if it does mean occasionally having to scrape ice off the windshield. Plus, it gives me an excuse to wear that new jacket all the more often.

I've been digging a band called The Gaslight Anthem lately. They've got a Hold Steady/Bruce Springsteen vibe that's great, and the energy in their music just grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. I heartily recommend their latest, the 59 Sound, to anyone looking for exciting new music.


Song of the Moment: The Gaslight Anthem, "High and Lonesome"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Hungry Like The Wolf"

I have only become more of a geek as I've aged. I mean, I wasn't really sure it was possible, but compare me ten years ago to me now, and it's pretty clear that the geek quotient has risen considerably.

Me Ten Years Ago
Played Magic: The Gathering (25 Geek Points)
Watched anime, including Dragonball Z (50 Geek Points)
Owned all the Star Wars films on VHS (10 Geek Points)
Read sci-fi/fantasy books for pleasure (20 Geek Points)
Read roughly 50 webcomics on a regular basis (50 Geek Points)
Total Geek Points: 155

Me Today
Play/Game Master a Star Wars Role Playing Game at school (40 Geek Points)
Own an entire bookshelf of Comic Book Trade Paper Backs (50 Geek Points)
Own all of the Star Wars films on DVD (20 Geek Points, 'cause I re-bought them)
Watch the DC Animated Universe shows (Batman, Superman, Justice League, etc.) (25 Geek Points)
Read roughly 20 webcomics on a regular basis (20 Geek Points)
Watch Doctor Who (25 Geek Points)
Total Geek Points: 180

Okay, so maybe not as wide a gulf as I thought, but it's still there. And I traded in some lower geek interests (Magic) for some higher ones (comic books).

Speaking of comic books, I've started following a few titles in their actual monthly issue format rather than waiting for trades. I'm trying to keep the number of titles I follow to a minimum, 'cause I feel that paying $3 for a 26 page comic is a bit expensive. But here's what I've been reading...

Wonder Woman: Mostly 'cause Gail Simone is writing, and I love her stuff. The first story arc she wrote was great, the second one was okay, but the third one left me a little cold. It was too scattered and disjointed, and I felt that, while Simone's got a great grasp on the character of Wonder Woman, she's not really sure what story she wants to tell with the character yet. This month's issue, though, with her boyfriend Nemesis meeting her mother, was pretty great. The second half of the story with the movie thing and all was pretty cool, too. This is the sort of story I was expecting out of Simone.

Secret Six: Speaking of Gail Simone comics, I'm also digging Secret Six. The first issue just came out, and it maintains the spirit of the original six-issue miniseries pretty well. The relationships of the main characters, while pretty screwed up, make a whole lot of sense in the context of their world. I'm really excited to see where this series is going.

Final Crisis: The only reason I'm reading this is that I have great faith in Grant Morrison. I'm not following any of the spinoffs, nor do I have any desire to. Our Lord and Savior Grant is enough for me.

Invincible Iron Man: This is a great title. I've just started getting into Matt Fraction's work (his run with co-writer Ed Brubaker and artist David Aja on Immortal Iron Fist was awesome), and this book is absolutely great. The tone and story are excellent, the characters are spot-on, and it's significantly more interesting than any of the other Iron Man titles currently available (I'm looking at you, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.). The only thing that bugs me is the art. You can tell that, especially in certain places, it's all based on photo references. The people feel too stiff. And the digital coloring doesn't help much. Everyone kinda looks...fake, I guess, but not cartoony. Like plastic people, I guess. When it's Tony Stark in the Iron Man suit, though, it's just fine (though there was an image in issue #1 where he was flying against a cloud background, and the background just looked like a photograph, while Iron Man looked like a drawing. It really bugged me).

So yes, my geekiness knows no bounds, it's true. But I'm content with it.


Song of the Moment: The Walkmen, "Four Provinces"

Saturday, September 06, 2008

"We Wouldn't Have To Eat Kraft Dinners"

Another school year has started. I'm pretty content with my classes this year. I've got U.S. History and World History II (as usual), and I'm teaching Civics and Humanities again. I haven't taught Humanities since the 2006-2007 school year, and I haven't taught Civics since my first year (2005-2006, for those keeping score). I'm also doing a Geography independent study for three students. It's the same period as Civics, but it only lasts for a semester (then someone else will have to deal with the three darling children).

We've got a new Director, and it seems like she'll be a decent fit with the school. I dunno, it's hard to make a judgment call on it since she's only been there for two weeks (and only had students for one of those weeks). I guess we'll see if she's a good match the first time there's a crisis or major issue.

Well, speaking of a crisis, we still don't have a reading teacher. For a school full of kids who have reading issues, that's a problem. We'd found someone right before the school year started, but they had to give 30 days' notice to their previous employer before they could join us. That means we've got at least two weeks before we'd have her with us, assuming that she actually decided to come join the school (we haven't been able to get ahold of her since we technically hired her two weeks ago, so that's a problem). The Director's solution? Ask my wife, Michelle, to be the new reading teacher. Michelle doesn't know if that's something she's really ready for or even wants to do. She's going to try it for a week and see what happens. There are a lot of logistical problems associated with her taking that position, but we desperately need someone there. Michelle may be just what we need.

Our friend Lauren is visiting this evening. She brought with her a variety of sausages and wines and all sorts of other crazy crap. Together with the macaroni and cheese I bought earlier this afternoon, they combine to form an evening of entertainment and excitement! Honestly.


Song of the Moment: The Gaslight Anthem, "The 59 Sound"