odds and ends: data, cujo, cabin

We are in that weird twilight period between holidays, where it’s hard to start anything new and in-depth with my classes because of external forces. Besides only having seven (SEVEN) school days until Thanksgiving break, there are other things going on at my school. We are being asked to administer benchmark assessments next week in our classrooms. In effect, I won’t be teaching for three days next week because I’ll be a standardized test proctor. It’s all in the name of student data!

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As a fan of Stephen King, I’ve been enjoying James Smythe’s think pieces on the author’s ouvere for The Guardian. Smythe is reading King’s novels in order of their publication and providing his running commentary on the themes and ideas engaged within each one. I don’t know if there’s a lot of new ground being covered here (his latest look at Cujo doesn’t provide any deep insight on the parallels between the novel and King’s admitted addictions during its’ creation) but sometimes it’s good to read a smart person discoursing intelligently on a topic you are likewise interested in reading about.

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Staying on the horror kick, Ellen and I got around to seeing The Cabin in the Woods a few weekends back.

Folks who read Odds and Ends regularly know my lovely wife is a recent convert to the works of Joss Whedon… but she’s not much of a horror movie fan. I thought this one would be a tough sell for her but we popped it in the DVD player and ended up having a hell of a good time with the flick. It’s a bit more “meta” than I like my horror but since the Scream franchise got rolling, it’s hard not to insert some commentary within the structure of these kinds of films.

It’s an enjoyable movie in some respects in the same ways people enjoyed Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. When you watch Dr. Strangelove, a part of you is actively rooting for that bomb to be dropped on the Soviets. In that same way, a lot of me was rooting for Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins’ characters to get their job done. It’s a sly comment on our own roles as horror movie fans, watching the latest slasher flick and getting excited for the monster to attack the virginal prom queen.

Anyway, good movie, I recommend it.

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