Archive for September, 2011

odds and ends

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

At a certain point, a person outgrows enjoying things ironically. You may know what I’m talking about; if not, the sentiment is expressed wonderfully in this Onion/AV Club article by Sean O’Neal.

I’m fairly sure most of my own sarcastic and ironic reactions to popular culture can be traced back to my teenage years. Drawing a line in the sand and proclaiming “I love this band!” or “This movie is the greatest ever made!” was always a daunting proposition for me as a teen. Saying you liked something meant that you endorsed it… which in turn could open you up to ridicule.

Much safer was to hold the world at arm’s length, commenting wryly on frivolous things from the sidelines. Enjoying pop culture ironically was and is a safe way to prove your mettle; you can “enjoy” something without fully getting behind it. This is something I did when I was a teen and see in teenagers I work with today. A blase shrug of the shoulders is your best defense.

In the recent past, I was a fan of the reality show America’s Next Top Model. My best friends’ and I would spend hours laughing over the inherent silliness of the concept and overblown execution of Top Model. We would gather together to watch America’s Next Top Model and compete to lob the best/worst insults and observations about Tyra Banks’ ego and the contestants subjected to her whims. I have had (and I am not kidding when I say this) relationships with women which began, in part, over a shared love of the outsized ridiculousness of ANTM.

I truly enjoyed the show… but I also recognized its’ place as a bottom feeding mess of reality TV.

When I moved to Ohio, our cable provider did not include The CW for about two years. I lost the thread on the show and moved on with other pursuits. When I read that Top Model was going to be doing an “All Star” season, I thought, “What a great opportunity to get back into the show!” Our cable company now proudly carries The CW, and Tyra was bringing back models from the previous “cycles” (Tyra-speak for “season”) when I was an avid watcher. Ellen and I tuned in, excited to kick back and snark all over the show like we had in years’ past… and I couldn’t do it.

Whatever small part of myself I reserved for massive enjoyment for ANTM has shriveled away, leaving me blank-faced for most of the premiere episode. Things I would have found hilarious a few years ago (Nigel’s hair! The judge with the stupid straw hat! The Christian model who wouldn’t wear skimpy lingerie but opted for an even skimpier bathing suit!) flashed past me and I registered neither enjoyment nor disgust. Enjoying America’s Next Top Model, both ironically and sincerely, has passed me by.

Now, to be fair, I’ve looked at some TV review sites and it’s generally accepted that the first episode of this cycle of ANTM was a mess, and the second episode rebounded somewhat. I will also fully cop to the fact that I probably should never have been watching the show to begin with.

Even with that knowledge, I felt a weird sadness at the loss of a part of myself. I mentioned my lack of enthusiasm for the show after it aired and a friend said “Oh no! We lost you to the grown ups!”

There’s nothing wrong with growing up. I’m a FAR better human being now than I was in 2005 or whichever time I’m being nostalgic for. I wouldn’t trade the person I am now for anything…  but I’m going to miss parts of who I used to be.

2011-2012 school year: 59 words

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags on September 29, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I wasn’t thrilled with yesterday’s comic; I was worried (unreasonably, I’ve been assured by the missus) that the strip read as though I was making sport of a wrong answer.

I hope I’ve at least balanced the scale today by showing what an abject moron I am in front of the classroom sometimes!

2011-2012 school year: the nine parts of speech

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags on September 28, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I’m a little on the fence about this strip; I think I constructed it poorly and I may not come off great in it. I’ll try harder tomorrow. “Proverb” is a good shot in the dark though!

2011-2012 school year: copying is war

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags on September 27, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

That third panel is hardly exaggeration. I did a lot of copying on my own dime during my tenure in NYC public schools. During my final year of teaching in New York City, my school finally purchased/received a copier within easy reach of the faculty. Teachers were assigned copy codes consisting of our zip codes and assigned a limit on how many copies we could make a quarter.

Unfortunately, these copy codes were easy for the less scrupulous staff members to puzzle out, whereby they used and abused everyone else’s copies! It was at that point I sort of threw up my hands about any and all things having to do with the Xerox machine.

2011-2012 school year: phantom bell

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags , , on September 26, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I believe the new principal coined the phrase “phantom bell” to describe this phenomenon… which of course, lead to this doodle:

I hope this drawing is what people remember me by.

chalkboard photo posts: the all marvel comics edition

Posted in chalkboard drawings with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I’ve done a better Wolverine in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever drawn him with his mask on.

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thrifty special edition: cincinnati comic expo swag

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I thought I’d take a small break from Thrift Store Finds this week to talk about going to the Cincinnati Comic Expo last weekend. I’ve never been a big convention-goer, besides a couple when I was growing up. The crowds get to me and honestly… I don’t begrudge anyone their fun, but I’ve always been sort of weirded out by the “cos-play” crowd. If you want to dress as a an overweight Stormtrooper or pimply She-Hulk, go with God. I just feel strange about watching it happen.

Putting aside my own biases, I went to and enjoyed last year’s CCE, which was also the first year of its’ existence. This year, the event organizers moved things to downtown Cincinnati, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. It was a very nice venue and to my eyes, went off with very few problems. I did some shopping, met some people, sat in on a panel, and generally had a good time. If you live in the greater Cincinnati area, I highly recommend checking CCE out next year.

Anyhow, here’s some of the swag I got.

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odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I must be honest and tell you folks this has not been the most illuminating week of teaching I’ve ever executed. I spent three of the last five work days administering a standardized test… and the last two days were my classes playing catch up. I don’t hold out great hope for next week either, which features a day given to taking the 9th grade for hearing and vision screenings, to say nothing of the craziness of Homecoming. Hopefully I can squeeze in a lesson or two at some point before October.

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I thought this was interesting. FOX is trying to figure out a way to make an all Simpsons cable channel, somewhere down the line.

I don’t know if something like this is likely, or just an idea that FOX executives are kicking around. I will say it make me think about the current state of Simpsons syndication, which absolutely annoys the hell out of me. I don’t know what the syndication package looks like when it’s offered around, but there are over 400 episodes of The Simpsons right now. That’s more than enough to air one Simpsons episode a night for a year and never have any repeats. Yet, for some reason, our local FOX affiliate seems dedicated to airing only episodes from the last two or three seasons.

I understand the reasons why this might be done… the older episodes probably don’t look as good on HD TVs, they’ve already been aired a million times, DVD sales and whatnot… I get all that. Still, it seems like SUCH a wasted opportunity… especially going into October. At this point, you could air almost a full MONTH of Treehouse of Horror episodes for Halloween!

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I was excited to read that Hard Case Crime, the beautifully presented crime paperback series, will be returning to stores this week with four new books. HCC’s book designs are top shelf, featuring  all the hyperbolic copy and lurid artwork that defined the genre for many years.

Although crime fiction has gone somewhat upscale, these books are fondly fashioned to resemble the genre’s paperback heyday. I was a little concerned when I began to see some of the Hard Case paperbacks show up remaindered in our local Big Lots, but it looks as though this was just a temporary setback on the part of publisher Charles Ardai.

I am guessing the most popular (or at least, the most well known) Hard Case Crime paperback was a one-off that Stephen King did called The Colorado Kid.

I wasn’t a tremendous fan of that book, but Hard Case has gone out of its’ way to publish a ton of new authors as well as some genuine classics from Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, and Mickey Spillaine. If I had to pick a favorite book out of the series though… if I had to pick just one of these for you to sample… I would choose The Last Quarry by Max Allan Collins.

Quarry (the protagonist’s nom de plume) is sort of a blue collar hitman. Collins fashions him as a no-nonsense guy who just wants to do his job and get paid… and in The Last Quarry, he doesn’t even really want to do that. He’s semi-retired. I imagine that the Quarry series found some new life through Hard Case Crime; Collins had penned several stories featuring the character over the years, but did several full-length books through HCC with the character, working backwards from The Last Quarry to The First Quarry onto Quarry in the Middle… and now HCC’s releasing Quarry’s Ex this month!

Worth reading. They’re great, trashy fun.

2011-2012 school year: zone success

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags , , , on September 22, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

You can go back and see some of the earlier “zone” comics I’ve done this year, if you like.

 

 

 

 

2011-2012 school year: looking for taylor

Posted in 2011-2012 school year with tags , , on September 21, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Yes, I do highly recommend Looking for Alaska… and I’m working on getting a couple more of John Green’s books for my classroom.