Saturday, September 27, 2008


As you may have noticed, Paul Newman died.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Slap Shot, Road to Perdition, and so on and so forth. Go ahead, try and pick just one as your favorite

Instead of trying to write some sort of memorial that will just sound flat, I'll leave that to better writers on such subjects. I will state that he could play tough, funny, asshole, and sensitive all at the same time and make you believe it and in him.

Time to bump The Long, Hot Summer to the top of my Netflix list.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I really am out of shape

We had the anniversary party. It was decent. Students showed up in decent numbers for the food at least, though well short of every student.

As for me, I got banged up racing a student through the obstacle course bouncy castle. And lost badly as I predicted. I feel like tomorrow I will have trouble getting out of bed.

Still, I'm pretty sure I had the best time for my age group.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The obligatory election post

So at some point every blogger needs to put something up about the upcoming presidential election. I think it's in the fine print when you accept the terms and conditions of getting your blog.

I'm going to go in a different direction though. Because I teach media classes I often resort to using examples from commercials and such to illustrate points in class. Like the equal time rule that governs commercial rates and times and ensures fairness with regard to broadcasting. And I try relatively hard to be nonpartisan during such times. I try to qualify when one party does something particularly heinous that the other party isn't any better. All that sort of lip service.

Thing is I bet my students think I'm a Democrat and an Obama supporter. But they never actually ask.

Technically speaking I define myself as a Social Democrat. That's a socialist that wants to change the system through education rather than violence. I hold out hope that we can create a better society. Probably just deluding myself. But come on, Sweden and Norway can make it work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There will be cinema

So I recited my little reworked monologue.

There was some laughter and not all of it was just polite. And a few students mumbled things indicating they recognized the source. Most just sat looking confused. Which is what I more or less expected. At least I was amused by it.

And then later during class I found out that around 90 percent of them had not seen The Usual Suspects. And I wept inside a little.

"I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The new scooter

Notice the nice cast on Wife. No, it is not a result of a riding accident. Yes, she is not wearing a helmet but we are only riding 2 blocks and my top speed was 15 mph.

It is capable of going much faster.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Working conditions

School year is going okay so far. We lost one of our professors to another University and there is a sense of loss. He left some big shoes to fill, figuratively speaking. The odd thing is how much it feels like I'm stepping up to deal with it. I mean I've only been here a year but already I'm being asked and expected to take on a pretty decent amount of responsibility. You see we've started a new academic track within our major. When I interviewed I was told this other professor would mostly be responsible for it and I would heavily support him. Now with him gone, it's become my baby to really shape and direct.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't been important or needed at other schools I've taught at. But not like here. And it's not like I can put my finger on anything concrete. I think it's just a side effect of the personalities and circumstances of the mix of professors we have. Somebody needs to step up and help out. Might as well be me.

I never thought this would be where I'd make myself useful though. I always foresaw my career as being one where I teach some classes that no one else really wants to teach and that is what makes me valuable. Instead, I'm valuable because I bring value. Pretty nice to feel needed. I highly recommend it.

Now I just need to talk them into letting me teach a class on Film Noir. Getting paid to show Sunset Blvd. or Night of the Hunter would once again prove that I have a cooler job than you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

You know what sucks?

Spending an hour or so updating your MP3 player and then the next day your battery dies during the first song. So not good times.

On a positive note, I finally have Helmet on CD. I had forgotten just how heavy they were.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I am a huge nerd

I prepared this for my first day of Principles of Cinema but I didn't finish re-editing it in time for the first class. I'm not sure if I have the guts to actually recite it but maybe, just maybe....

Ladies and gentlemen? Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for attending with us this morning. Now, I've traveled across half our campus to be here and to see about this class. Now, I daresay some of you might have heard some of the more extravagant rumors about what my plans are; I just thought you'd like to hear it from me. This is the face. There's no great mystery. I'm a Media Professor, ladies and gentlemen. I have numerous classes spread across this campus. I have many classes flowing at many credit hours per day. I like to think of myself as a Media Professor. As a Media Professor, I hope that you'll forgive just good old fashioned plain-speaking.

Now, this work that we do is very much a family enterprise- I work side by side with my wonderful students - I think one or two of you might have met me already. And I encourage my students to bring their questions, as well. Of course it makes for an ever so much more rewarding life for them. Questions means answers. Answers means education. So wherever we set up class, education is a necessity, and we're just so happy to take care of that. So let's build a wonderful class in St Augustine. Those answers are the future that we strive for and so they should have the very best of things. Now something else, and please don't be insulted if I speak about this - cinema. Let's talk about cinema. Now to my mind, its an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon going to the movies as a luxury.

We're going to study mise en scene here. Mise en scene means composition, composition means choices. We're going to analyze subtext here where before it just simply was impossible. You're going to have more subtext than you'll know what to do with. Cinema will be coming right out of your ears, ma'am. New ideas. Theory. Employment, education. These are just a few of the things we can offer you, and I assure you ladies and gentlemen, that if we do find meaning here, and I think there's a very good chance that we will, this class of yours' will not only pass, it will flourish.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just letting you know

Classes start tomorrow. I don't have any wacky stories or snarky comments to make yet. Just letting you know that those sort of things will be coming soon. Because it is just a matter or time till some student says or does something too amusing or shocking to not share.

In other news, Wife goes in for another surgery on her ankle tomorrow bright and early. So I have to have her there about 4 hours before my classes start. Thank goodness first day is mostly about reading the syllabus and setting the ground floor for what comes in the next class. Because I will NOT be at my best tomorrow. Let's just hope that this surgery finally finishes the work on her ankle. Now they think she might have a cyst where she just had surgery. It will be nice to see what goes wrong next.

I also have a long post about buying and selling scooters this summer. It was a saga and deserves full treatment.

So provided Hannah doesn't wash us away, (or Ike. Or Josephine.) then there should be some level of increase in my posting. Hopefully. Got to love those news reports though. "This storm could kill everyone, including the unborn. Or maybe it will miss us. Or maybe just rain overnight. But if this storm doesn't kill you, the next one will. Or your neighbors."