Friday, January 23, 2009


Has anyone else out there been watching Leverage?

Just curious. I don't watch much TV, and I had had no interest, because I saw the commercials on mute on a plane like 800 times over on a couple flights in December, and it looked insufferable after that? Until I realized: (1) Christian Kane (Lindsey on Angel), and, (2) it is essentially Robin Hood.

I found upon actually watching it that it is also Ocean's Eleven (and other "let's put together a crazy mixed-up group that doesn't fit together because they have the diverse skills we need to get this job done and hilarity and badassery ensue" premises--see Sneakers, Armageddon, The Replacements, etc, as you like). I am a sucker for that formula, but I don't feel too bad about that. It's fun. But even the kinds of humor and kinds of camera shots and kinds of music are very Ocean's Eleven.

I am also a sucker for anything with a Robin Hood vibe. They're arranging economic vigilante justice, which... well, probably doesn't sound so thrilling as I type it? But it's like.... it's the bank heist, elaborate grift, ass-kicking, computer-hacking, badass version of that.

It's incredibly satisfying and essentially guiltless brain candy.

(Also, Christian Kane. Looking shaggy and literate and butch all at once. <3 What more could we ask for?)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Death to Nickleby!

I'm going to be a fangirl. Seriously. I have every intention of becoming the press conference and policy junkie that I've always wanted to be, but didn't have the stomach for. I have been fascinated by politics for a long time; maybe I can be that without crying as much. (Or at least without bad-crying instead of good-crying.)

So I was curious how things would be looking for higher ed, in the new Administration (on account of how budgets at the CSU are currently crippled and we're THIS CLOSE to falling apart), so I went to the page. You should try this; it is very different from how it was. There are actual bios of everyone involved in the administration. There are detailed agendas. At the bottom of the page? You can skim down the list of topics on the agenda and find anything you want. They're actually telling us what they're up to. Really.

Well, my other pet education dream, in addition to getting higher ed funding and thus not winding up on the street when the lecturers are all purged, is the death and dismemberment of Nickleby (NCLB, No Child Left Behind). Or, if not the death in name and drawing and quartering of its effigy, then death in content: the reform of it until it no longer resembles the bubble-filling, teaching-to-the-testing, running out good teachersing, killing public schoolsing, taking money from schools that can't afford books because they couldn't afford the books to teach their students well enough that they could pass the testsing self... into something that actually doesn't harm the children who're being "left behind" more than help them.

(....I was going to go into elementary school teaching; virtually all of my family are K-12 teachers. I Believe In Public Schools. So Nickleby is a very, very sore spot. Of all the things Bush has done, I actually may find Nickleby the most insulting, and I know that's saying a lot.)


Well! What do I see when I open up the page for the education agenda?

Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.



And a !!!!!!!!!!!!! for good measure!

(Also? Supporting Head Start and transitional bilingual ed. Dude.)

::sings and does a little dance right back to the kitchen.::

Unrelatedly, for my Love and possibly others: I am baking. This makes me a ginger baker.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"At laaaaaast..."

I have been a ball of fuzzy lumpy crying for most of the last day and a half. We actually went to watch the inauguration on campus, expecting four TVless dorm students, but the room wound up packed with people. There were probably 50 students and a dozen faculty. A woman made a Context kind of speech before hand that was very nice.

We all clapped and cheered, so many times. My god, I cheered. There were other people in Turlock--dozens and dozens--watching with us, happy. I feel less alone here, now.

I also couldn't stop crying. It's taking nothing to set me off, right now. And not just a little tearing up. I mean serious waterworks. (I'll chalk some of it up to hormones, but it really can't account for the quantity.)

I could gush, but I won't too much. Most of what I would want to point out probably everyone else noticed. But there are a couple more things I want to note about yesterday:

First of all, in the obligatory list of faiths of people living together and sharing and so on, Obama actually mentioned unbelievers. He did. I don't think this has ever happened. It's kosher for public figures to talk about tolerance and respect and mutual interest while listing Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, but no one--no one--includes Oh We Of Little Faith. (Did you know that in the surveys about "who you don't want moving in next door or marrying your daughter," atheists beat out Muslims, Blacks, and gays? Beat out, in fact, Everyone, for the number one stay-away spot? And our new president actually acknowledged the existence of the unreligious in a non-negative context. I am impressed. I feel Validated. I feel Loved.)

Second of all (despite the presence of tall buildings with lots of windows lining the route), Barack and Michelle actually got out and walked. Twice. They walked quite a lot of the route, some of it unannounced. They held hands with each other and waved and occasionally talked to people on the route. (I cried and cried and cried and cried.)

Third of all: First dance between the First Couple. "At Last." Do I have to say anything more about that? (Maybe a little: Why am I so invested in their Love? They literally fill me with love. I feel so much affection for them. I can't.. really parse it out, but they make me so, so happy. I bawled.)

...I don't think I really believed it was happening--that he'd really get to take office, start work as president--until this morning when the first executive orders started getting drafted. I was all a little surreal. Every time I realize we have a new president, I'm stunned. And usually I cry.

Anyway, y'all: LOVE.

(PS. I so went out and got duck breast to cook for dinner. I made it with a delicious sweet glaze (but no chutney), and it was very good. ....If that seems like a non-sequitur, that's probably for the best. )

Monday, January 12, 2009

Come on, people, now, smile on your brother--everybody get together, try to love one another, right now.

Have y'all seen this?

National Day of Service.

There's nothing going on near us, of course. Well, no, the NEA student group on campus is serving coffee to homeless people (which... seems like a strange choice of a thing to do, to me, but whatever you like). I was already planning on going Sat. to give blood with my gal pal Christina, because it happens to be our standing bimonthly date, but that's not really an organized event. I'm not sure what could be gotten going, around here, what would be a good idea to do, other than get the word out to go down to the bloodbank.


....Let me just reiterate what's going on here: our president elect, the weekend and holiday (MLK Jr Day) before his inauguration, as a method of honoring people we want to honor, and as something that is just good to do, is calling for a national day of service. For people in this country to just go out and do something that helps their communities. All together.

I'm so in tears, right now.

(Should I ask the local bloodbank group about doing something official with this? I know the Red Cross is doing some drives. God, I'm not a start-the-ball-rolling-er. I'm a good volunteer, but...)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hey nonny no...

I am feeling totally and completely enamored of Morris dancing, right now. That is all.

...No, not all at all. Goodies for you:

Here is a video.

Here is a great Froud drawing of a Coblynau doing what is essentially a Morris dance--this was my first introduction to it (and I was probably, like, 8 when I saw it), and I've had a love for it divorced from any actual practice, since.

Terry Pratchett was responsible for most of the rest, with the Morris and the complementary Dark Morris in Reaper Man (which I just finished reading) and Lords and Ladies (which is on my shortlist of favorites, of his). And then Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! talked this morning about the Morris dance dying, and I got very sad. And realized I'd never seen it done. So I looked it up and youtubed myself into submission. And I'm in love.

There are flowers and bells on. And ribbons and folk music and I am in love.