Ugh, allergies are kicking my butt. But I will not let them keep me from writing this post.
First, I am writing this while I attempt to make waffles on my new waffle maker. I am not off to a good start as I misread the waffle directions because the numbers were blurry. (I though it said 1 1/2 cups for both the mix and the milk, but it said 1 1/3 cup and 1 1/4 cup, respectively.) Does this mean I have to start wearing reading glasses? I think this is definitely a writing on the wall situation.
Okay, maybe not Pacey’s writing on the wall to Joey situation, but still.
Second, TV has been very good to me this past few weeks.
I just got back from seeing A Wrinkle in Time, which I enjoyed very much. Or as Mrs. Who would say:
Daaaaaang. — Tyler, American
Before I get into my mini-review and to keep this slice of life-y, I had an adventure at the kiosk when I got to the movies. First, the one machine’s touchscreen was all wonky and I could tap some things but not others. Then, the next two machines were out of printer paper. Plus, when I swiped my MoviePass, it didn’t work. After I had finally given up and gotten into the regular line, I remembered that I hadn’t checked into the theater, and that’s why my pass wasn’t working. So I checked in, went to a working kiosk, and finally got my tickets and right on time for the show.
(I normally would go through the regular line because I do not believe in self check-outs. However, since I hadn’t been to that theater with my MoviePass before, I wanted to swipe it on my own first to see what would happen. This is just who I am.)
I’m feeling a little out of it today (maybe I need some protein?) so I’m going to keep this week’s update pretty short.
1. I hope everyone had a merry Christmas yesterday (or a happy Monday). As previously mentioned, my daughter and I are at my friend’s house for the break, so it’s nice spending time with both of them (and my friend’s family). We opened presents and napped and cooked and ate and then played games.
This was a good weekend. I went to a wedding, which…I love weddings. I don’t ever want to have a wedding (at least not in the traditional sense), but they are a delight. Anyway, the couple was super cute and happy even if there was a slight rain delay. (It’s been bone dry for weeks so of course it finally rains on the day of their wedding. Of course.)
Anyway, some slight changes had to be made to accommodate the weather, but everything after that was two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.
Then, on Sunday, my daughter and I went to my parents’ to spend Mother’s Day with my mom, and we taught my daughter how to play Spades. She’s almost ready for college for real now.
We also watched Miss India America, which is really cute and fun and a great example of a compelling, though mostly unlikable protagonist. It’s also streaming on Netflix. Ahem.
No, I’m not ready. Before the break, my boss called me to tell me she had to change one of my classes because she was afraid it wasn’t going to make. Turns out she was right: the class she switched me to had eight people in it after two days, and it’s currently full. Meanwhile, one of my other classes still has fewer than ten people so I feel like I may get another surprise switch tomorrow. It’s cool, though. I am prepped for the other possibility. It’s just a matter of getting everything in the LMS before classes start. (Did I mention they start Wednesday?)
So Christmas was good here. It was very low-key. My daughter is home this year (she usually goes away), and we exchanged gifts around midday. (I had to wake her up–also par for the course with that one). I also spent most of the day cooking. Here’s something interesting: apparently, I *can* cook when I *want* to.
I made ham, macaroni and cheese, collard greens (using this recipe), and sweet potatoes. For dessert, I made an apple cake using my grandmother’s recipe, which I haven’t made in a long time. To make things interesting, I iced it using this caramel sauce. Everything turned out awesome. My daughter (who, as a general rule, hates everything I cook) loved everything, and my dad made sure to get some collard greens for the road. That was nice, especially since I was most worried about how they would turn out.
No, seriously. I still have ten left in the stack that I want to get to before the move, and I don’t think it’s going to happen. Also, reading them is starting to feel like work now–probably because I am trying to read them in a specific order. It might be time to start jumping around the stack.
The best stories were the title piece, the first story, and “Chocolate Pudding.” But these are all honest, real, and raw and, as someone who will likely be a spinster, I appreciated the last story a lot.
I forgot to mention that I went to see Love & Friendship, which is based on the novella Lady Susan by Jane Austen. I am not a huge fan of Austen’s books, but I think they translate really well to screen. I should state up front that I’m also not super into period pieces. However, I liked the humor in this, and I loved how Lady Susan was always ten steps ahead of everyone else. This movie is very talky-talky, so if you don’t go in much for that, you might not like it. I am generally a fan of talking movies, though, so this worked for me.
Also, I haven’t read the book but the movie kind of makes me want to and, as I said, I’m not a huge fan of Austen’s books, so it definitely has that going for it.
I do have to say that I don’t get the title at all. It didn’t seem to match the movie. Maybe I’m missing something, though. I think Lady Susan would have worked just fine. I mean, it is all about her and her machinations after all and not really all that much about friendship and Love & Friendship is so darn generic (I kept mistakenly calling the movie Love & Acceptance, for example). Ugh. Anybody else who saw it have an opinion on the title? (ETA: Duh, the title is meant to be ironic. But still, generic and bland, especially given the rest of the movie.)
As of today, I’m reading:
I was feeling kind of slumpy (and it’s almost time for The Cursed Child), so I decided to reread Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (I mean, it’s only been a little over a year since my last reread of Prisoner of Azkaban, so. It might be time is what I’m saying.) I’m about 1/3 of the way through, and I can tell you right now that the beginning of the book needed way less Quidditch. Also, there’s a lot of great foreshadowing and framing in all of the opening scenes when they head to the World Cup and before they get to Hogwarts. You know, minus the Quidditch match descriptions.
My plan was also to sign up for the Potterhead July Blog Festival, but I (a) totally missed the sign up AND (b) will be moving in July so it’s probably not the best time to commit to anything. I am looking forward to reading the posts, though.
Daniel José Older is one of my favorite people on Twitter, and my colleague highly recommended his book, so I finally decided to read Shadowshaper. I’m listening to the audiobook, and Anika Noni Rose narrates. I’m digging it so far.
I’m participating in a blog tour for Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins at the beginning of July. I’ll be starting this one later today.
How do academics show how much they love stuff? They either write papers/articles about the things they love or create assignments about the things they love. One of my best assignments is probably my Mulan definition argument essay. It is brilliant, if I do say so myself.
Get it? Because I bow down to Mulan but the assignment is so brilliant the world bows down to me?
Anyway, the assignment was perfect for a summer class. Basically, I had my students watch the movie, and then they wrote an essay arguing that Mulan deserved a soldier’s pension even though she broke the law.
I’m putting the assignment overview and guidelines below. To prep for the assignment, we read a definition argument in their textbook and MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and talked a lot a lot a lot about addressing a hostile audience, which is why King’s letter is so crucial.
Your assignment, then, is to take on the persona of one of the soldiers and argue that Fa Mulan fits the definition of a soldier because she exhibited the characteristics of a man suited for the rage of war as put forth by the Chinese army and deserves the bonus and the lifetime pension.
Your audience for the paper is the Emperor’s council, and your paper must explain how Mulan fits all of the criteria for being a soldier because she proved herself to be a man suited for the rage of war. You must provide examples of how she fits each criterion outlined on the previous page as well as anticipate and refute any objections the council may have. In order to be successful, you have to establish your credibility and authority to determine whether or not Mulan is qualified to be considered a soldier and use a tone appropriate for the audience. The council must be thoroughly convinced that Mulan deserves the bonus plus lifetime pension.
If anyone wants more details or the full assignment, please email me: theenglishist[at]gmail.com.
For the A to Z challenge, I’m blogging about fannish pursuits (aka things I’m a fan of or have strong feelings about). Tune in tomorrow to see what I picked for N!