Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heroes: Pleasurable manipulation

Report: English 2010 Portfolio Assessment Pilot

My son and I have been watching season one of Heroes. We've knocked out 8 or so episodes during this last week. A romp of a show with almost as many cliffhangers as 24. Of course I feel manipulated but will allow such manipulations for pleasure and some time with my son for at least one season--not sure I can do more than that. The voice-over philosophical statements on agency, evolution, and ontology seem too serious considering the plot, but maybe I need to watch more episodes to find the meat underneath the action-packed veneer . . . not holding my breath.

More episodes will be watched as my son is begging me to watch two a day. Yesterday he watched one without me--how could he? He was reprimanded and made to watch the episode again while guiding me through it so we could ff through the slow parts (i.e. about 3 and half minutes).

With a fair amount of violence, gore, and tension (several squeamish demures while wondering, "can they show that on tv?") Tim Kring, the creator, made a brilliant move incorporating the Japanese odd couple who travel to America to help save the world. Hiro Nakamura, played by Masi Oka, is astoundingly funny which brings much needed breaks from the cranium lobotomies and regenerating, flayed body in the morgue.

Note to self: must figure out a way to discuss and watch Heroes episodes when I teach Middlebrow's scifi course next year. Certain to boost my evaluation scores.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes: youngest son on Obama

Before election:

"Will Obama make us go to school on Saturday if he becomes the president?"

After election:

"Obama made the gas prices go down" as we pull into a gas station.


NOTE: the forcing kids to attend school on Saturday was heard by all of my children and by my wife who works at an elementary school--one third grade teacher got the question so much the day after the election she had to assure the entire class that surely it wasn't true because the government would never spend that much more money on education.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Compelled by The Road

Wow, I can't believe a month has gone by--been very busy. Somehow I'm doing less in more hrs. Go figure.

I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy this weekend. It's about a father trying to find some semblance of humanity amongst burned out towns and cannibalistic tribes for his son. I meant to nurse it over the next few weeks, like only eating two pieces of Halloween candy a day, but there was no way. Few books have compelled me to read them immediately and even fewer that didn't accomplish it through mere plot manipulation. I knew what would happen in this book; what I wanted were the emotional details.

It was beautiful in its own post-apocalyptic way. After I finished it late last night, I shed a few tears and then went into my youngest son's room and hugged him while he slept. It seemed an appropriate, albeit cliched, way to finish up my torrential relationship with the book. But the hug didn't ward off danger--early this morning his awoke throwing up.