Archive for September, 2013

Coulson Lives! (And Shepherd Book and Charles Gunn)

September 24, 2013 Leave a comment

I knew there was an advanced screening of Agents of SHIELD during ComicCon this summer and some of the first reviews were very positive.  That, of course, led to some anticipation on my part for tonight.

So here’s a quick review, which hopefully, will be spoiler-free.

I definitely like seeing a familiar character, like Coulson, given an opportunity in a different role, this time as the “alpha.”  Coulson is leading his own hand-selected team, post-Avengers, as a sort of investigative arm for SHIELD.  Clark Gregg definitely inhabits the role with confidence, especially after reprising it within the Marvel Universe.  However, especially with the set-up at the beginning of the show, the writers have given Coulson a little mystery, which no doubt, will be a recurring theme throughout the series.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel about that.  I wondered if this mystery behind Coulson would be enough for people to invest in the character.  I know I’m going to keep watching to see how they’ll tie up this “loose end,” but I’m curious to see how they’ll keep building on this question throughout the series to keep other viewers interested.  So this question is, Coulson lives, but why?

Overall, I thought the show had a nice premise, especially built off of the success of the Avengers.

But that’s what worries me a bit . . . that it was just . . . nice.

I know the show just started and only taking a single snapshot wouldn’t do it justice, especially being a fan of Whedon’s.  That’s why  I know I’ll keep giving it a shot, just because of Whedon’s track record, especially on TV.  His shows, whether he’s producing or directing, deserve a shot.

I still miss Firefly.  And I think this show does have potential.

Speaking of Firefly, it was nice seeing Ron Glass and then watching J. August Richards (Angel) show up as a “catalyst” for the plot.  It seems interesting to me how often the Whedon crew “goes to the well,” so to speak, for some of the roles they need to cast.  I know Ron Glass will be a recurring character so seeing “Shepherd Book” alive and well put a smile on my face.

Anyway, I’m not exactly on the edge of my seat waiting for the next episode, but I know I’ll definitely tune in.

Now, since I’m missing Firefly, here’s a little video!


Quick Post

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment

A little tired this evening . . . put in a few 12 – 13 hour days at work.  That’s not adding the other hours I’m putting in at home.

Still, it’s getting better 🙂

I’m feeling more at ease and a flow is coming naturally.  I can feel it . . . the class is getting there.  They’re so close it’s somewhat maddening that they’re not there yet.  But that’s okay, I can wait 🙂

Anyway, I just saw this video as well and for some reason, it just made me smile.  I like the philosophy behind it, as well as the optimism that bleeds through as well.  If I ever make it back to New York for a visit, I’m definitely going to get a shoe shine!

Time Marches . . .

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Today was the first day it actually felt like the season was starting to turn.  There was a chill in the evening that seem to herald the coming of Fall, which I definitely welcome.  Of course, if I was feeling that “chill in the evening,” it just meant I was leaving work after a long day.

With the Fall coming nearer, it just means that time marches on.  And things are starting to look better . . .

Earlier in the year, it seemed as if the class were taking “one step forward, two steps back” as I tried to adjust the students to working at a fifth grade level, at least for Room 55.  It was maddening, frustrating and very tiring as I came home very exhausted, collapsing into bed just hours after getting home, just to get enough rest for the next day.

Last week, it seemed as if we had moved on to “two steps forward, two steps back.”

Now, it seems as if we’re in “two steps forward, one step back” mode, at least in terms of our work ethic and behavior.  I just can’t wait until the class gets to “two steps forward . . .”

That’s when they’ll understand the potential they have is only unlocked by how hard and focused they work.  That’s when I’m sure, we’ll all have some fun.  It’s starting to get there now, after 5 weeks of school!

Anyway,  onto some other topics:

1)  I did manage to get away two Saturdays ago.  It wasn’t very far, so the “trip” wasn’t as exciting as I’d hope it’d be.  I actually managed to drive up (for a brief moment) to Nevada City.  Honestly, walking up and down the historical district of Nevada City reminded me of Virginia City . . . just with a different environment.  Not dusty and arid, but lush and vibrant.  One’s not necessarily better than the other, but it was nice to get out of the state for a bit.

Next trip, I’ll take some pictures!

2)  Time marches . . . so new television shows to see, current ones to catch up to, and old television shows to say goodbye.

  • How I Met Your Mother – Their last season so we’re meeting the Mother and watching a wedding.  We’ll see if they can send this show out on a high note.  Might have to write about the first episode . . . maybe.
  • New Girl – I’ve watched this show off and on and every time I’ve watched, I’ve enjoyed it.  I know Season 2 has just been released on Netflix, so maybe I’ll catch up sometime during the Fall.
  • Agents of Shield – Joss Whedon.  I’ll see what happens, just because, well . . . Joss Whedon.
  • Longmire – A friend is constantly recommending this to me so I’ll have to watch it eventually.  I’m sure I’ll get to this sometime during the Fall, or maybe even the Winter.  We’ll see.

3)  Dr. Who 50th.

I’m trying to figure out how to watch this.  Honestly, I haven’t really looked into the options so I’ll start within the next few days to see what I can do.  Obviously, I’m excited by the announced cast already, though I guess there’s still a few “possibilities” open for casting.

All I know is that the 10th and 11th Doctors are in.  Definitely curious to see the dynamic play between David Tennant and Matt Smith.  Both Doctors, I felt, were superb and Matt definitely grew on me as a Doctor, like Tennant did after Eccleston.  I’m also curious, as everyone else is, with John Hurt and the “Doctor” he’s playing.

Oh, so much to write about!

Anyway . . . a video, as always 🙂  For some reason, this scene has been sticking constantly in my mind.

A Quick Post on Dr. Who

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

“Doctor Who has never pretended to be hard science fiction…At best Doctor Who is a fairy tale, with fairy tale logic about this wonderful man in this big blue box who at the beginning of every story lands somewhere where there is a problem.”

– Neil Gaiman

I just found this quote by Neil Gaiman about Dr. Who and I thought it summed up the series perfectly.  It makes sense why I love this series, because the logic of the series is a fairy tale.  It also shows why Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors as well, since he’s very smart about the ways of the world and the stories he can tell.

That’s why I latched on so tightly to the “mythology” behind Dr. Who.  I’ve always loved hearing the stories of creation or the stories of origin, attempting to explain the “logic” of the world.

Lord knows I can’t make sense of it most of the time . . .

I could definitely write more on this later 🙂

For now, here’s another video I found.  Very fun one at that!

Categories: Dr. Who Tags: , ,

Slow and Steady

September 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Things are progressing in the classroom, albeit at a “slow and steady” pace.  For the most part, this week has been a vast improvement in terms of focus and behavior, even though they’ve got a long journey ahead to meet with the expectation I have of them.

Still, I was able to laugh, joke, smile, and teach “with a flow” for this week (for the most part).  That, my friends, is a definite victory.

It also brought up a few questions.  It made me think whether starting earlier threw everyone for a loop, teachers and students alike, especially being the first year that we’ve started at the beginning of August instead of at the end.  I’m not sure if we could quantify this with hard data, but as far anecdotal evidence, the behaviors did seem to pick up a bit during those first three weeks (I certainly noticed an uptick for the first few weeks!).

At least now, things are starting to fall into place, and we’re not even close to implementing everything we usually do in Room 55.  It’s with that thought that I know this class will get there.  Once everything is in place, I have no doubt the school year is going to fly and those students will find a way to excel.  That’s always the hope at least.

So, some positives:

  • I always like the little victories.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting used to the students or maybe I just forced myself to look for those “positives,” but I saw more of those “little victories” this week than I had in the prior three.  I saw students take it upon themselves (no prompting from me) to help a classmate in math.  I saw another student hold a tether ball until everyone was clear of the playground, just to make sure no one would get in trouble.  I saw students who didn’t seem engaged with prior lessons, give an honest effort to stay with the class as we learned.   In our class, we call those “Level 5” behaviors (yes, based on Kohlberg but mainly taken from Rafe Esquith).
  • This, in turn, led me back to how I usually teach, which to me, is having a chance to be myself.  Not just a teacher, but being me.  I feel I can make a connection when I’m honestly expressing who I am, when I can spout off random jokes about observations I’ve made, mainly about myself and all self-deprecating, but nonetheless, very fun.
  • Today I felt that first pang of emotion when thinking about my class.  It’s that “pang” that motivates you to work harder for your students.  I definitely felt that today, after this week.

Obviously, we’ve still got work to do, but now, the fire is definitely back.  It’s just a matter of keeping the fire now . . .

Now. . . don’t think I would leave this post without adding a video.  I’m switching this up a bit and publishing one of my favorite Scrubs clips 🙂

An Idea . . .

September 3, 2013 Leave a comment

A little Matt Smith Doctor to introduce this post 🙂

So . . . after finishing the Sixth Series of Doctor Who on Netflix, I’m now left with the question . . . what to do with my time?

I know I’ll go back to some drawing and writing (definitely the drawing/painting . . . there have been requests from friends!), but after the influx of the Doctor, I feel like traveling.

So an idea popped into my head . . . traveling.

This idea, of course, has a lot to do with my viewing of the Doctor for the past few weeks.  Aside from writing about how incredibly smart this series is, I will say it’s ability to inspire (at least myself) people to action is extraordinary.

So, for this weekend, I am going to try and document some sort of journey.  Whether it’s somewhere in town (even something as simple as a new restaurant or bar), or maybe a day-trip to somewhere near, I’m going to start writing about that as well.  Seeing the world . . . that sounds fine to me.

And for some of the extended breaks we have during the school year, I do believe I’ll take some extended trips as well.

I just want to travel . . . see the world 🙂

I also want to find out how I can watch the next few Matt Smith series before the 50th Anniversary Special airs!  Anyone with suggestions?

And yes, I warmed to Matt Smith’s Doctor as well.  And Karen Gillan’s Amy.  I’m finding it hard not to like any of the Doctors or the Companions . . . at least not yet.  I think that’s a good thing!

And now to finish off with some Tennant 🙂

Categories: Dr. Who Tags: ,
Elan Mudrow


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