Saturday, March 18, 2006

Spring Break Thoughts, Happenings, and Other Random Stuff

Well, my Spring Break is over. "What?!?" you might ask. "Aren't you too old to be on Spring Break?" you might also ask. Understandable reactions, but the benefit of teaching is that you do get this free week of vacation in the midst of the Spring that the average working adult doesn't get. Ahhhh.... the perks of helping to mold young minds.

Of course, those of you who know me well might be of the opinion that the thought of me teaching elementary school children somewhat creepy and disturbing. Rest assured, I'm fairly good with kids -- they like me and I like them. It's a great gig actually.

Embarrassing Admission -- I spent the better part of the week playing a great video game -- Dragon Quest 8. To be totally honest with my readers, I've logged 100 hours on this game since Christmas Day, when I received it as a present from my brother. Yeah yeah yeah.... That's a lot. I'll admit it. I know how such an admission sets in stone my status as King Nerd-Boy. Whatever -- at least I had a great Spring Break, though I didn't get to SXSW to see Morrissey due to a lack of funds (the downside to being a teacher).

I've limited my options concerning seminary down to Biblical Seminary, just north of Philly, PA. This is mostly because I have received a great offer from The Harvest to begin training as a Speciality/Support Teacher, focusing on music, one-on-one attention with kids, and possibly/eventually theater. The crazy thing about this offer is that it came the day after God and I had a rather intense evening talking about seminary and my future, discussing many of the thoughts that I wrote about in my recent post about brutal honesty. Was this offer some sort of answer? I am taking this offer really seriously, as in, I'm taking The Harvest at its word and beginning to apply to summer training classes for Waldorf teachers. Yes -- this does mean that I'm applying to seminary AND teacher training at the same time. Unrealistic? Idealistic? Maybe so, but it's what I have to do, I feel...

Anyway, here are this week's media influences:

Broken Social Scene: Broken Social Scene -- This band is ridiculously talented, though if you're not a fan of slightly avant-garde, left-of-center music, you'll not understand my affection for BSS. 7/4 (Shoreline) is by far my favorite song.

U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb -- One of my fave 3 U2 albums of all time, rivalling only Achtung, Baby and War in lyrical depth and creativity. I cry everytime I listen to "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" because I relate greatly with Bono's own struggles with having personality conflicts with his father. And, oh yeah, "Love and Peace or Else" is the greatest, yet most bombastic track on the album. I think that's why I like it for some reason.

R.E.M.: New Adventures in Hi-Fi -- My belief that this is the most mis-understood (yes, even more than Monster) album in the band's discography makes it also my second favorite, behind only most critic's choice of Automatic for the People. The questions, existential perusals, and thoughfulness of Stipe's lyrics make this a stand-out album, on an album that really doesn't have any "hits" ("E-Bow the Letter, nonwithstanding).

Jets to Brazil: Orange Rhyming Dictionary -- Without a doubt, this is one of my Top 20 favorite albums of all time and probably one of the least recognized albums in the pantheon of indie rock. Blake's lyrics throughout the course of these 11 songs sound like they've poured from my journal at some point. The standout lines come from the same song (Song 10) -- "They're playing love songs on your radio tonight. I don't get those songs on mine!" Sounds too emo for you? These guys are hardly emo -- if the band you came from is Jawbreaker, you greatly pre-date the lyrical cheese that trendy emo spawned.

Ranier Maria Rilke: Duino Elegies -- Simply put, Rilke is my favorite poet. Go read The Book of Hours and prepare to be overwhelmed with awe and reverence.

My Genesis commentary blog

Secretary: Maggie Gyllenhaal & James Spader -- This movie LOOKS a whole lot dirtier than it really is and could have been MUCH dirtier than it really is. The fact that they leave much of their sexual relationship to your mind's eye is brilliant and disavows any chance for becoming soft-core porn. But it's kinda creepy, nonetheless....

V for Vendetta: Natalie Portman & Hugo Weaving -- Produced and adapted by the Wachowski brothers (creators of The Matrix Trilogy) from the Alan Moore graphic novel of the same time, this movie portrays life in totalitarian Britain, akin to Orwell's 1984. The twist is that, instead of the reader/viewer pitying and bemoaning Winston Smith's ineptitude and eventual acquiesence in 1984, Portman & Weaving's characters are equally flawed, and yet believable, to the extent that the obvious satire of contemporary global political powers isn't overbearing and pompous in its criticisms. I think that the key phrase in the movie comes from Portman's character's recollections of a statement her activist/writer father made (paraphrasing): "Artists use lies to expose the truth; politicians use lies to hide the truth." While it might not be for everyone, I really enjoyed this film and hope to see it again soon.



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