31 August 2011

Ten on Tuesday (One Day Late)

1. Clearly, the "Ten on Tuesday" name shouldn't be taken too literally.

2. Finishing a post on Tuesday wasn't possible since yesterday was Back to School Night. This was the first Back to School Night in several years and I much prefer this format to the Report Card Night we've employed at Alta Loma High School for the past few years. I tried to address a few major points for each of my three different classes.

3. For journalism, I emphasized the idea that the Brave Times is a student run paper and that remaining timely and relevant are the staff's biggest priorities. Additionally, the main focus of the grading deals with whether or not someone has met their deadlines. A staff writer, for instance, needs to make sure to turn in each draft for both of his or her articles on time or there will be a 5% deduction of the possible points on that particular issue.

4. The emphasis for the seniors focused on the lit project. Besides the fact that everyone has to have a copy of their book by Friday, I also made sure that parents knew the lit project due dates would be posted on School Loop and that the project accounts for roughly 60% of the semester grade. Granted, it could be more and it could be less, as I don't like to lock myself into numbers like that on account of the fact that teaching English isn't an exact science. Also, puns!

5. The biggest turn out this year by far was in the Frosh Honors classes. My goal was to introduce myself and hopefully communicate my style and philosophy to the parents in the nine minutes allotted. I covered that we're smack dab in the middle of our Animal Farm unit and engaged in a fairly lively discussion earlier that day, as well as the fact that we'll (tentatively) be starting Fahrenheit 451 the week of September 26. Also notable was a parent's cell phone going off during the middle of the nine minute period immediately following my discussion about my cell phone policy where I ask students to sing a song in order to keep their phone. Said parent was very relieved that I did not ask for a jaunty tune.

6. Images from Zach Snyder's currently filming Superman reboot, Man of Steel, surfaced today and, wow, do I hate Henry Cavill's new costume. I've discussed my distaste for the new Spider-Man outfit, but, geez, removing the iconic red trunks from the Superman costume does not work in a real world setting. (And, while Cavill isn't wearing a cape in this picture, that's not a point of contention since it has appeared in pictures elsewhere which means that it was either removed between scenes or, knowing Snyder, will probably become a CGI eyesore later.) What works on the page does not always translate well to film, which is part of the reason that oft-referred-to spandex from the comics transmogrifies to stylized rubber on the silver screen. I'm not a stickler in the traditional sense that whatever appears in the source material automatically must make its way into the movie because that's just a road to unhappiness and discontent. It's a different medium, and as long as filmmakers stay true to the character concept, I accept and anticipate the changes they make as a means to allow the character to work in the new medium. Lots of people complain that "wearing the underwear on the outside" look of Superman, Batman and others turns the characters into cornballs that no one can take seriously. This is such a ridiculous argument: it's acceptable that a guy can fly and shoot lasers out of his eyes among other abilities, but trunks on the outside of a character's pants?! Oh, ho, Heavens to Betsy, you've destroyed my delicate suspension of disbelief. Those red trunks serve a purpose aesthetically because they force the eye towards the important part of Superman's outfit -- the symbolic S shield. Instead, there's now a giant blue blob that distracts from the fact that this guy represents truth, justice and the American way.

7. Speaking of costume changes, Justice League #1 hit comic book store shelves and digital newsstands everywhere today in DC's half-hearted attempt to reboot their entire universe. In my mind, the company misses the boat in more ways than one if they're trying to lure in readers who have never thought to pick up a comic book before. Case in point with this particular issue: there are seven characters on the cover of this comic book, yet only three actually appear, and one doesn't show up until the very end. Geoff Johns wants to present the first installment of a longer story, I'm sure, but if the uninitiated fan finds this cover intriguing when they see it in the supermarket, while visiting Barnes & Noble or walking by the newsstand, won't they be disappointed by the fact that less than half the characters he or she figures are promised on the cover actually show up? Heck, if someone decides to download the DC Comics or Comixology app for their iPad just to try this out, I'd wonder if they would think the endeavor was worth it.

8. All of the superhero talk comes courtesy of the fact that I'm currently reading Grant Morrison's Supergods, which is really fascinating in how well he deconstructs the characters from their infancy to today. Also, I just really like superheroes.

9. It's slow going through that book, though, since I'm currently climbing a mountain of grading. I hope to reach a summit of some kind by next week, at which point I'll make grades public through School Loop.

10. In other news, the Blu-ray edition of the Star Wars movies will hit shelves next week, and George Lucas can't seem to leave well enough alone as he's gone and added a bunch of unnecessary changes to something he added a bunch of unnecessary changes to the last two times he's released it for public consumption that used to be perfectly fine on its own. One of the big changes occurs in Return of the Jedi, where Darth Vader used to let his actions speak for themselves. Instead, now we get this.

That's just ridiculous.

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