Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Louisville weather

After I finished reading for the day (a personal best of 15.5 folders today-- 25 essays each), I walked over to a store that someone said had cheap t-shirts (it was a lie-- no t-shirts). On the way back, the sky was starting to look ominous. When I got back to the hotel room, this is the view I found.

There have been tornado warnings on TV this afternoon/evening, I guess. Is this what a tornado sky looks like?

Maybe I'll sleep in the tub.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

What's Louisville famous for, anyway?

Lot's of things, it turns out. Colonel Sanders, the Derby (cleverest t-shirt so far: "Talk Derby to Me"), Mohammed Ali...

And this bat. THE bat that Babe Ruth used to hit 60 home runs in a single season. See the notches? I got to see it up close and personal!

And how's the AP reading going, you ask? I've read more than 500 essays. Actually, closer to 700... so far. My eyes and my brain are bleeding.

G'night all.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Land of the Kentucky Derby

There's a clever connection between the name (and/or reputation) of the city I'm writing from and what I'm doing here (reading AP exams), but I'm much too tired after a day of travel (that began WAY too early) to think of it. My luggage hasn't arrived yet, so I face the prospect of attending the first day of reading in the same clothes I traveled in. (sigh) Not my idea of fun.

Louisville is a pretty city, though... what I've seen of it so far. The landscape we flew over as we came in to land was lush and green and tree-filled.

Last year I didn't take my nice camera to Daytona Beach and I kind of regretted it. If I can carve out some time to do so, I hope to take (and post) some pics of this fair city.

More soon, I hope.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Life of Pi

I was in Costco yesterday getting milk, break, and eggs. And believe it or not, I really did buy just those three items. I passed through the media aisle, of course, to look at DVDs and Blu-ray movies, etc. They had a sale on Blu-ray discs. Regular price $12 and a $4 instant "rebate"-- not a bad deal for a Blu-ray movie. They didn't have any titles that I really wanted, however, so I passed on through and came on home. Keri would say that is amazing.

One of the titles they had on sale was The Sixth Sense. I had just started teaching college when that movie came out. I mentioned that I hadn't seen it yet to one of my classes, and of course they screeched, "No way! You HAVE to see it. It's SOOOO freaky!" So I saw it, and was pretty freaked out by it ... for awhile.

The thing is, that's a movie you can only see once, really (thus even a low price on a Blu-ray didn't tempt me all that much). Any subsequent viewings are going to be quite a different experience because you know the ending.

Life of Pi is like that. Once you get to the end and have to deal with the questions that Martel raises, both the implied and the explicit, you can't read the rest of the book through any other lens--not easily. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. I make a good part of my living encouraging people to deal with uncertainty, mixed messages, and different codes of interpretation in texts. But lots of the expectations set up by the first two parts of the book... let's call them "ocean" and "pre-ocean"... are only partly, or perhaps poorly, dealt with in the third part..."post-ocean." If you are the type that is okay with ambiguity and working out your own ideas about what things "mean," then Life of Pi is likely to be an acceptable read for you. If you take Martel at his word and assume that the meaning he most heavily hints at in the ending is the meaning of the book, then you'll probably be okay with it too.

If, however, you want all the loose threads from parts one and two to weave together in a satisfying and useful way, then Life of Pi might not be worth your time. And, by the way, by "satisfying" and "useful" I don't mean facile or simple or dogmatic. I just mean that the parts should line up in some way that makes sense to the reader and gives him/her something to chew on. For me, after spending all that time afloat and at sea (feeling like all the metaphors and narrative fun really were going to be useful and satisfying), the third part was mostly gristle and grit. It just didn't work. Piscine Molitor Patel never really got home, if you ask me.

So... do you read it or not? (or did you already?) What do you think?
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Environmental impact

Joshua's sixth grade class went to the Hagerman fish hatchery a couple of weeks ago. The state department of something or other provided fishing poles. Once the guides said that the best fishing was from the bridge area, the above was the result. It was pretty good fishing there, too. Something like half the kids caught fish in that spot. Josh, unfortunately, did not.

A friend from the college has a private fish hatchery and invited us to fish there. We may go in the next week or so. Fewer poles, more fish for the boys, hopefully.

I'm not really a fisherman, but I'm willing to go. The truck I bought recently has a bumper sticker on it... "Work is for people who don't know how to fish." I've been thinking of changing it. What would you change that last word to? "Work is for people who don't know how to _________."
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The tall, gangly things..

What did you call this game? You know... the one where you try to drag your opponent off their grip with your legs? Jacob (L) and Josh were playing this game for a second yesterday, but it didn't last long because they are both tall enough that they basically drag the ground anyway. The more amazing thing is that they actually allowed me to take a picture. Their usual tactic is to dodge out of the frame and run away.

Here's a picture of all five of our brood. L to R: Cate, Jake, Cole, Josh, and Cam.

Our Memorial Day was EXTREMELY relaxed. I don't think the house even stirred until around 9:30AM. We wandered over to the store around 1PM, then prepared a leisurely lunch (very late lunch) around 4PM. We ate on the deck (no need for shade--the cool cloud cover was sweet), and then drifted over to Thomsen Park around 5:30. After a couple of hours of hanging out and tossing a baseball around, we met up with the Arringtons who shared their FHE treat with us (delicious S'mores bars). Finally, after shooing Cameron out of the creek, we came home for a water fight and root beer floats. Sounds like a pretty nice day to me.

Bonus points if you know the movie my title comes from.
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