odds and ends

Well, I’m coming off a very light week, work wise. As anyone involved in teaching at the high school level in Ohio knows (there’s a narrow demographic for ya!), this past week we administered the Ohio Graduation Test to our sophomores. Five grueling days of standardized tests where, by the end of the week, most students’ brains are toast.

Administration of the OGT presents a real problem when it comes to having regular classes; since it takes about two hours to give students the test, we run on a two-hour delay schedule during the OGTs. Most of my students, I saw for a grand total of two hours and twenty minutes over these past five days. Not an ideal way to run a classroom. I was lucky enough to have the computer lab signed out for Thursday and Friday, but the first three days of the school week were a total wash.

…maybe not a total wash, since I personally got a lot of grading done. I also got a head of my self-imposed comic deadlines. Those are both good things. All things considered however, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things next week.

…………………..

I suppose this would be the place to mention: I am not a huge fan of Monday and Wednesday’s comics this week. Monday’s comic MIGHT have worked if I had posted it last week… but here? It just seemed disconnected and weird to me. Wednesday’s comic is a classic example of “show, don’t tell.” If I had just posted Tuesday and Thursday’s comic, I think those two comics would have made for a stronger connection to the start of our investigative journalism project than the four comics together did.

Sometimes explaining things is necessary. Next week, I’ve got a comic where, for all intents and purposes, I’m just laying out what exactly I’m asking my students to do in their investigative journalism project. Monday and Wednesday’s comics were NOT a necessary case of this.

I don’t know if this is an apology or just a tacit recognition of the problem… but there it is. Hey, at least I’m thinking about my craft a little bit.

………………….

Continuing to get around to the 2011 Academy Award nominated movies, Ellen and I watched The Help this weekend.

Ellen read and enjoyed the book, so she was looking forward to the flick. For myself, my only exposure to The Help previous to last night was through the millions of incessant commercials for the flick. You no doubt remember them; they all used that awful Cobie Caillat song where they kept hitting the refrain over and over? Either you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about and you now have the song stuck in your head… or you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t been exposed yet.

ANYWAY… The Help. I thought it was… okay. There were definitely some good performances; Viola Davis certainly deserved her nomination, although I do see why her restraint with her character might have hindered her from a win. It wasn’t as flashy and crowd-pleasing a role as Octavia Spencer‘s sassy maid. Beyond those two performances, I thought the movie had severe problems. In particular, the villain of The Help, Bryce Dallas Howard‘s vile Hilly Holbrook, had no depth and was therefore nothing much more than a shrill harpy. It got to the point late in the flick where it seemed the moviemakers decided to make Hilly as unappealing as possible by slapping a cold sore on her lips. There was no context for the choice, nor was its’ new presence ever really addressed. That bugged me for some reason.

I suppose the movie has an uplifting message, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before and I don’t really recommend it.

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