Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: 2012

The wife and I went out to see 2012 on Saturday morning. It was an early show, and so the tickets were cheap. I can sum up how I feel about it in one sentence:

It was so remarkably stupid, but definitely entertaining.

The special effects were second to none (despite recycling some of the effects from The Day After Tomorrow), and the visuals were breathtaking. The acting was horrendous, the dialogue had such fine witticisms as 'no more Pull-Ups for me!', the science was completely nonsensical, and the overbearing social do-gooder agenda is enough to make even the most gooey liberal cringe and desire for all the people to die. But hey, at least Roland Emmerich didn't use a Dick Cheney look alike this time for the villain!

Honestly, we were laughing through some of the scenes that are *ostensibly* dramatic - such as when they are driving the limousine through downtown LA as everything is falling over and when St. Peter's crumbled to the ground and seeing the 'U.S.S. John F. Kennedy' fall on the White House and Danny Glover, who was 'too old for this sh*t!'

All we had to do was listen to the Mayans! Actually, no...but I covered that in a blog post about 2 months ago. Amazing how people will buy into nonsense like that. Anyway, if you want to spend 3 hours watching stuff blow up and chow down on some popcorn, this is the movie for you. If you think this is a realistic way of the world ending...pass. I mean really, earth crust displacement??

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Brave New World

I had a physical last week. I had blood work done just as a precautionary measure. I got the results this morning.

I am a Type II Diabetic.

I was stunned. I figured at some point in my life I would be diagnosed as such; I just didn't think it would be at age 27. I do know that it was self-inflicted - too much junk, too much sugar, too much soda. That is going to have to change in a big damn hurry. I have sort of gone through all the stages of mourning in the past 3 hours - I have cried, punched walls, lashed out, become contemplative, and even joked about it. But the fact remains the same - life will never be the same ever again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Live Blog Tonight

I have decided not to live-blog the game between the Eagles and the Bears tonight. Mostly because I am a wimp and am not sure whether I will be able to stay awake for the entirety of the game. Use the comment thread on this post to say anything about the game. I may update this post occasionally to say something about the game. Enjoy.

UPDATE #1 - I am truly concerned with the Eagles, and I wonder if they will even win tonight. Ergo, I will refrain from actually predicting the final score. Oh what the hell - Eagles 17, Bears 9. Don't know why I keep torturing myself. Maybe it's just because I am a fan. Here comes Faith Hill right now!

UPDATE #2 - It's halftime and this game SUUUUUUCCCCKSSSS. Eagles 10, Bears, 9.

UPDATE #3 - This game makes me want to snoooooze. Night all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Loyalty

I am an extremely strong believer in loyalty, especially when it comes to friends. Ultimately, you only have four things you can really count on in life - God, family, friends, and honor. If one of the latter three things fail you, then life isn't going to be as happy or good as you would like it.

The thing that infuriates me the most is when people who I thought were my friends began acting as they were too good/cool to even acknowledge my (and others') existence. A particular instance of this happened last night. My feeling is - if we have stuck with you through all the good and bad times, then at least we are owed a simple 'hi, how are you?' To blithely blow off people who were your friends when a) no one else would do so and b) you were at your most idiotic phase in life is to say 'I was just using you for that time, and you are of no use to me anymore'.

I say to those - go to hell, you are dead to me now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Educators and Teaching

I recently encountered a guy who used the typical trope about teachers – ‘those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach’. It infuriated me to no end. People who have never stood before a classroom full of teenage boys for 45 minutes have no clue whatsoever about what it takes to teach. My grandfather, while he was alive, would wonder why I was so tired when I came home from school after a day in which I taught six classes and had a duty and a substitution. ‘All you do is stand up there and talk’ is what he would say. I wanted to retort, but I was just too damn tired to do so.

I am now in my sixth year of teaching, and I love what I do. Is it tough? Yeah. Is it tiring? Absolutely. Can the kids be a pain in the ass? You betcha. And yet, it is a job I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. So why is there such a misconception about what we do? The short answer is: I haven’t the faintest idea.

Consider this – I get up at 5:30 AM every morning and drive 40-50 minutes to get to school. School starts at 7:45 AM and runs until 2:45 PM. In between those hours, I teach six classes, prepare lesson plans, grade papers, substitute for other teachers, meet with students, return calls and emails from parents, engage in disciplinary action, play amateur psychologist constantly, and then return home where there are more lesson plans to be made and grading to be done. Tests and quizzes need to be made, PowerPoint presentations need to be edited, ideas need to fleshed out so that they both make sense and are relevant to a bunch of 15 and 16 year old boys who would rather be somewhere else during that particular time period. Most people can leave their work at the office; teachers mostly can do no such thing. On Mondays, I work with the Academic Quiz Bowl team until 4:00 PM – which means it is closer to 5:00 PM when I get home. And I love doing this!

So I say to those who get snotty about my chosen profession – let’s trade jobs for a week, whether it is an NFL player who complains that $7 million dollars isn’t enough or the radio host who thinks that preparation for his show every day outweighs the preparation that I have to do each and every day. Try to do all those things above and deal with 120 teenage boys who are just itching to find a slip in the crack so they can jump on you. One of the most underappreciated aspects of teaching is the necessity of having to be sharp day after day, minute after minute. If you are not, the students can tell and they will call you out on it. Kids have a BS detector like you wouldn’t believe and if you are trying to pull a fast one, they’ll figure it out.

Let me add a further caveat to this discussion – I teach theology for a living, which means I am held to a higher standard than other teachers are. As the ‘religion teacher’, I could never get away with some of the things that science, math, history, and English teachers do. Not bad things, mind you, but there are certain things that elicit ‘shock’ and ‘disturbances’ from the viewing public, including my students, colleagues, and parents because ‘religion teachers aren’t supposed to think/talk this way’ – whatever the hell that means!

So, just talking isn’t enough – management, procurer, referee, disciplinarian, magician, and psychologist all become part of the job description. Going back to the statement at the beginning about doing and teaching – hopefully you don’t fall into the same nonsense. It is extremely ironic that a lot of the people who think this way want the school systems to act in loco parentis. They have no problem shipping off their kids to a place for 8-10 hours a day, but then get haughty about the chosen profession of the educators. Not everyone can do it. I have seen my share of colleagues wash out and burn out. High school boys are a tough crowd – getting into the game may be a big mistake, but it may also turn out to be one of the most gratifying experiences around.

Whenever I have an encounter like the one at the beginning of this post, I watch this video below. It is a nice reminder that teachers make a difference in the lives of their students, no matter what other people may say, or the stupid comments that they make. The person speaking in the video is slam poet Taylor Mali – a former teacher himself. Enjoy…


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Accident

Yesterday, 10 years ago, I, along with two friends were hit by a car as we were walking in the parking lot of our church during a youth group event. It was a painful experience that I don't wish on people nor do I wish to ever happen to me again. Nevertheless, to commemorate this auspicious occasion, I had a Corona. Happy times indeed!

Stupid Commercials

Working 30 miles away from my residence in a crowded metropolitan area lends itself to much time spent in the car. When I commute daily, I prefer to listen to some variation of talk radio - whether it is sports, politics, or the like. In the past few months, it has struck me that on a hourly basis, advertising seems to get more time than actual talk.

On ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning, they have at least five hard breaks of five minutes each, and then factoring in the Sportscenter updates and their stupid voice-over intros, you have about 25-27 minutes each hour of actual talk, which just honestly isn't worth it.

During the morning commute, I either listen to the aforementioned Mike and Mike or to the local DC morning show on 630 WMAL - The Grandy and Andy Morning Show; whose hosts are Fred Grandy, of Love Boat (he played Gopher) and congressional fame, and Andy Parks, a longtime veteran of the DC radio scene.

They have a decent format - 20 minutes of commercial-free stuff to start the hour, and then basically peppered segments with lots of commercials from :20 to :40, then calls are taken from :40 to :50, then a financial segment with some more commercials before it starts all over again.

The problem that I have is not commercials, per se, but the stupid commercials and what they say drive me nuts. For example, there is an ad for Washington Hospital Center and their cardiac unit. At the end, the commercial says 'call and make an appointment with an excellent doctor.'

As opposed to what? A crappy doctor? Hey, call Washington Hospital Center and make an appointment with a mediocre doctor!

The 'Go Green' commercials from Siemens and Chevron also make me crazy, but for different reasons, and those will be covered in a different post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Game Six Tonight...

I am a complete nervous wreck today. Hopefully the Phillies don't have these kinds of nerves when they play tonight. While in the classroom and teaching, I don't have any problems; it's when I stop to think about the consequences of tonight, then I feel the butterflies in my stomach and I feel like retching. I don't think I have ever felt this way before a Phillies game. Win tonight and then it is one game for all the marble where anything can happen. Lose tonight and it is all over...curtains.
Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win.

Let's go Phillies!!

Let's go all the way!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Phillies Make Me Sick

I must say that I am feeling completely ill this morning after witnessing last night's debacle. On my Twitter, I had said that 1983 is creeping up, but I want to go back - it feels more like 1993. I think the Phillies win tonight, but going back to the Bronx for Game 6 on Wednesday night does not bode well. Nauseous, I am.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Down, But Not Out

To say the least, last night's loss by the Phillies was disappointing. C0le Hamels allowed the wheels to come off yet again and the bullpen effectively allowed the game to get away. Despite all of this, the Phillies have a good chance to even the series tonight and get things back on track.

Why?

They are a team that fights and claws and hangs onto dear life. The Yankees are going with the three man rotation to try and put the Phillies away and so CC Sabathia is going tonight - and I feel this plays right into the Phillies' hands. Joe 'Cookies' Blanton is going tonight, and if nothing else, he will throw strikes - he doesn't get cute when pitching unlike Hamels was doing last night with that hanging curve ball. The bats need to come alive, especially the lefties. While this isn't quite desperation level, something big needs to happen tonight. These Phillies may be well down, but they are never out. Not yet.

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