Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day...Hmm...

I've heard it before, but this year it seems to be showing up more frequently.

"Happy Turkey Day."

It was kind of amusing at first, but over time and with an increase of it's use, the phrase has started to bother me. Thanksgiving should be for just that: giving thanks. It's a small thing, but with the "Turkey Day" references on the rise, I worry about the holiday. It has been a favorite of mine, in fact probably the favorite, so it pains me to have this happening. I know that there won't be a total sweep across the nation, but where most people don't look to the bright side of things and struggle to be appreciative of anything, I hate seeing the term "Thanksgiving" fade.

Also, I have felt that Thanksgiving has been one of the least commercialized holiday we have. And though I think that will still be the case (as Christmas dominates the last quarter of the year), I don't want the day to be more about food and (I hate the name) Black Friday.

So slay the turkey talk and move on to loving what's around you. For me it's

A fire in the fireplace
My cat half-sleeping, half-purring in my lap
My in-laws in my house (because mine are awesome)
My job and the students that make me laugh
Movies that conjure memories and fantasy (Big Fish especially)
My friends that I see almost every week that I never get tired of
A guitar that makes me live despite my ability to fully utilize it
My Bible in which I love to find new things that make me feel like God is smiling at me

And these are just some things that are recent obsessions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weird Conversations

To hear a strange phrase or three come from my class is no rarity, and I realized that the vast majority of those phrases come from my face. Today, though, the oddities of class discussion were generously provided by some of my theater students as they discussed a recent one-act competition.

"Did you see Jesus? He was so hot."

And no, they weren't talking about a Latino. Apparently, one of the plays was The Bible in 30 Minutes or something to that effect. I can't even imagine just how irreverent it had to have been, and even if it were classy, the casting choice for Jesus was obviously inspiring something not-so-Biblical.

"Wasn't he Christian?"

This wouldn't have been so amusing. But what I gathered is that "Christian" was the actor's name. I would have thought that the conversation could not have become much more entertaining, but another guy piped up.

"He wasn't Christian, he was Jewish."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Week of a Thousand Time Units

I don't mean to gripe, but then again...I really do.

Every week during November has flown by at an alarming rate, which is awesome. This week, though, the shortest work week of the month is dragging like the knuckles of a Neanderthal.

Gripe, gripe, gripe.

Anyhow, on Thursday, Amy's family is coming into town for five days, so that will be awesome, and it will make this week worthwhile. I really don't have much to say.

I'm tired...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Once was Lost...

Life in general has been excellent lately. I've revamped some of my classes and made them a lot more interesting (though a lot harder to prepare for), and I had a really fun (and tiring) weekend. I'll talk about the school stuff another time.

Saturday night was an adventure and a half. Some friends were house-sitting and wanted to have everybody over to hang out and enjoy life well outside the city limits. It was awesome and worth all the wanderings and frustrations that it took to get there.

First, I learned something: even if it is rude and annoying to be a backseat driver, it's not always a bad thing. I didn't drive to the house, and my wife didn't either. Instead, our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Smith drove. We started out and expected a half-hour drive, so we went for quite a while before realizing that the directions were not matching up with our surroundings. If my wife had been driving, I would have probably been a real pain in the tail and hollered
from the back seat, and if I had been behind the wheel, she'd have done the same. But we didn't want to be rude. So when we found that we were on the wrong highway, on the wrong side of town, heading in the wrong direction entirely, nothing was said. Honest mistakes...they happen. As my wife and I talked later, we found that we had inklings that may have led us in the right direction before this point, but we didn't want to be annoying backseat drivers.

Later, I started feeling a bit squeamish. I think it was the heater that did it, but it may have been Arby's--who knows, really? It was in this unfortunate condition, and 20-30 minutes later that we realized that, again, our surroundings and directions were not lining up. We called the hosts of our eventual get-together and were informed that though we were on the correct highway, we were heading in the wrong direction.

To wrap this up, an hour later we rolled up to the house, two and a half hours late, almost out of gas, and with a very apologetic driver. We had a great time over all with some Wall-E and some Killer Bunnies. And the night is already filed as a ridiculous romp through the Nebraskan wilderness that was a good time for all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And We Keep Getting Closer

I watched Idiocracy last night...again. This is at least the third time I've sat and let my mind be reduced to mush while, at the same time, let it rise to become it to a critical thinking and analytical machine.

Like other Mike Judge works, the film is simultaneously brilliant and dumber than a box of hair. It's his art-showing us how things are or how they will be while allowing us to see the ever-so-obvious flaws of our society.

During last night's viewing, I had a new wave of terror as I watched Judge's future. It has frightened me before to see just how stupid people can be (and it has changed the way I see most of my students), but one character stood out to me last night. He stood, holding his pants (or package, it's difficult to say which because they were at the same level) and spoke with a drawl spiked with inner-city slang-type inflection.

I have that exact student.

In fact, not only did the character sound like this students, the content was something that the student would say, and has said. Tis frightening really, that with each new film, stand-up routine, music video, or morning radio show, I see the dawn of the Idiocratic Era.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Colonel Pickering and the X-Men

Over the weekend, I went to Colorado to see my youngest brother perform in My Fair Lady. It was awesome. He not only did a great job, but did all he could to steal the show. And steal it he did. The thing that threw me off was that a lot of his antics were not cleared with the play's director. Gutsy. But for this show, it worked well. The best part, is that he dedicated his performance to my other brothers and me.

However, the good times were slowed as I was battling a cold for most of the weekend. Grr. It's still hanging on, but I hope to be rid of it by tomorrow. If not, then life will be quite irritating.

Wrath of the Lich King looks awesome, but I have yet to really play it. I got on last night expecting more people online, but was all alone. So I dropped it and moved on to my newest obsession: X-Men the animated series. This gem of the mid-nineties has been great entertainment and fed my nerd-hunger for many hours last night. So good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do Not Feed the Bears

As Yogi and schemed up a plethora of ideas to steal food from people who are just trying to enjoy a break from life, I think the Ranger Smith should have maybe just shot him. Nothing else seemed to work, so why not?

Maybe somebody spent many month's worth of wages on a vacation to Jelloystone Park, worked tirelessly to have a great feast in nature, convinced the ex to bring the kids out and enjoy one last family get-together. But right when things seemed to be going well, a goofus in a neck-tie and hat swings down and lifts that food right from the table. What if that was the only food they had for that day and the children had to go hungry? What if a marriage split because it magnified a weakness in one of the people? I can see a crushed soul on a rock, his head flopped into his hands as he wails, "I can't even plan a picnic for my family that I love with all my heart. I'm a failure and don't want to live."

And yet, Ranger Smith never managed to end this menace to society. Furthermore, nobody seemed to acknowledge the negative repercussions of the show. It taught people that it was acceptable to be conniving, rude, and selfish when it came to satisfying your own personal desires. People wander about taking whatever they like if they feel like they could used and blow off the consequences. You could have ruined somebodies life. Don't you care? Huh?

So cruel...

Hanna-Barbera, you've no idea what you've done!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Techno-futile World?

Yesterday I went to a meeting that was all about using more technology in the classroom. I heard about this kind of stuff in college. "Always use technology!" But at my college, we had no technology, so I had no clue what this could really mean.

In the meeting, we talked about using blogs, wikis, and podcasts as means for students to respond and work. Though I know little to nothing about podcasts, I am creating a wiki for students doing a research project, and I'm thinking of having students post essays on a blog. It's a little thing, I know, but I'm getting all white and nerdy over it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I started reading Jude today, and it didn't take long before it became depressing.

"Although I was eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." v.3

It's sad that the best news and most thrilling part of Christianity has to be put aside because people have to fight for the truth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Friendly Times

This weekend, my wife and I went to Missouri to see a what I can only call a friend of the highest quality. She's awesome. And I think what makes it great is that we don't stay in touch, but when we come together, we have endless amounts of material to discuss and laugh about. Life was good.

Every year, she has a get together call "The Singe" during which a bonfire is made that scorches your soul. I had never seen such a thing. The wood stack was taller than me before we lit it, and flames licked over twenty feet in the air.

In general, fire is awesome. With this fire, I loved it even more as I could see the purple chasing the orange through the wood until the orange jumped into sparks and embers. I was in a trance for a greater part of the evening.

When getting home, I logged on to WoW to see if my brothers were on. Zach was, of course, and he asked if I wanted to run around with his guild after the expansion comes out on Thursday. I said it sounded great. Then he told me that it would be a "time commitment." I have no trouble with commitment, but I had to ask how severe this would be. Four nights a week from 7-11. Yipes. Since I've been trying to cut back on my gaming in general, this seemed like a bad idea. And now, I'm convinced it is. Not looking forward to telling him, "Love to, but I'm trying to live."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's Been One of These Kind of Days

Rant. Rant. Rant.

That'll do me as much good as anything. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Voting: Not So Thrilling

I guess nobody has ever said that doing your duty as a responsible citizen is exciting, but I was kind of hoping it would be. Living in Nebraska, I found that my vote really did count for almost nothing. I looked at the paper today and saw that only one county voted for Obama. One. Out of the entire state, one (and I think it was Lancaster, where I live) that had a majority for the democratic nominee. Even though the guy I voted for won, I feel like I lost because those in my more immediate vicinity were not really with me.

I don't take sides with politics, at least not when it comes to party lines, and over all, I hate even talking about it. I blame my parents. They are both die-hard republicans that get all of their political news from Fox-News. They talk about O'Reilly tells them, and have little time for anything else. Over the years, this has driven me further from even wanting to listen to the republican side of things. I fear doing the same democratically. Though a registered independent, it is kind of hard to look at the lines and not sway more one way than another.

This is most exemplified by an amendment that I voted on yesterday. Democrats seem to usually talk a lot about leveling the playing fields, helping those less fortunate. An amendment yesterday focused on prohibiting discrimination of any kind in any situation. It did not pass. Somewhere, an idea of equal rights got ingrained into Nebraska thinking.

I know that republicans don't all think that people should be denied rights based on sex, religion, and race. But honestly, how can you look at something like that and say, "Nah, I like making sure that people don't have equal opportunities. I like make people work harder and get less."

I don't know how to end this...


Monday, November 3, 2008

Hit the Ground...and It Hurt.

Class is back in session. the week off was amazing, and I didn't want to it end (no surprise there). My lack of planning often comes to bite in unpleasant places, and this week is not much of an exception. I started planning my week yesterday. It seemed like it was far enough in advance, and on a school day, it may have been. I made my plans, then looked at what I would need for copies, and that's when the nibbling started.

I have 120+ students, and I never know if they will all be around or not, so I have to have copies for all. This wouldn't be such a big deal, except that out copier has a tendency of dying...a lot. I already jammed it once, and I fear trying again. So I'm half frantic, half indifferent (hence the blogging).

In other news, everybody should check out It will change your life. The people responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000 have continued their work on more well-known works. This weekend, we downloaded their commentary for Jurassic Park and it was the best four bucks I ever spent. Seriously, if you have movies that you want to spice up, or if you've been curious about one but you're afraid it will suck, look into this. It makes everything better.