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(Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish: March 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TT&S's Et Cetera: Ode to Movies

When I used to teach a film class, I started each class with a short "Clip of the Day" in which we discussed different genres or topics. I edited this video using moments from the various clips.

Ode to Movies: Clip of the Day


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Push-ups, Revisited

When Morgan at Life After Bagels posted her "Pipes Challenge," I got the boost I needed for my own floundering push-ups challenge. I have been slogging away at them for about eight weeks. (Here is my original post "Push-ups Challenge.")

I was very excited to complete the six weeks, but I have been going at my own pace and repeating days, so I am not anywhere near 100 push-ups -- far, far from it!

At the end of six weeks, I managed 33 push-ups, but my form was pretty horrible, so I decreased the number and have been trying to improve my form.

Bad form aside, though, I have seen some big changes in my strength. (I could only do seven "bad form" push-ups when I started.)

Here's to another six weeks. I will see how far I get. Good luck to everyone else doing the Pipes Challenge!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Internet Exile, Part Two

(Internet Exile, Part One link)

Two quick observations after avoiding the Internet for a week:
  • Man, I love the Internet.
  • Wow, I waste a lot of time on the Internet.
My students were born in 1998. They are shocked to hear about the world I grew up in, the world before the Internet, ATMs, and cell phones. (If they do picture it, it is a hazy world with horses and buggies traveling down the dusty road and overly fancy children churning butter.) I tell them that if an argument broke out around the kitchen table about a misremembered fact, we would call the public library to ask the librarian to look it up for us. As a teenager, if I couldn’t make it to the bank by 4 p.m. on a Friday to cash my check, I was out of luck with no money for the entire weekend. When my car broke down on the side of the highway, I walked down the exit to find a public pay phone at a gas station.

So while I didn’t break out the butter churn this past week, I did feel strange avoiding the Internet in the limited way that I did. I only gave up “recreational” Internet use, so I still used it for work, and I checked my personal email sporadically to arrange a freelance writing job. I did have a few moments of “needing” to jump on the Internet that I had to resist.

  • The song “Pictures of Matchstick Men” has been stuck in my head all week, and I just can’t decide if it’s “When I look up to the skies, I see your eyes a funny” kind? shade? “of yellow.”
  • After learning about India’s caste system in social studies class, a student told me that a Korn album is called “Untouchables,” and I couldn’t check out the cover.
  • I came across the word “valetudinarian” while reading, and I had to hunt down a dictionary to discover that Mr. Woodhouse is “a person who is excessively concerned about his or her poor health or ailments.”
  • I arrived at my destination before an NPR story about a new book  that sounded interesting, and I couldn’t follow up at home later that night.
My biggest revelation, though, was how much I loved this challenge. I waste a lot of time doing nothing on the Internet! I don’t want to go back to that, but I have such an all or nothing kind of personality. I hope to find the middle way. Aside from convenience, the biggest culprit is habit. If I pour myself a cup of coffee, I want to sit down and jump online. Breakfast at the kitchen table with a book felt very odd. As the week wore on, though, that compulsive feeling of needing to check things did lessen. Now that the habit is broken, will I jump on less?

In the young adult novel Feed by M.T. Anderson, the Internet is jacked directly into people’s brains when they are babies, and they surf nonstop in a dystopian future. Dystopian? Part of me thought it sounded pretty cool.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Internet Exile, Part One

I am swearing off the Internet for a week. No Facebook, no email, no Huffington Post. I waste a lot of time mindlessly surfing the web, and I want to break the habit.

I predict this will be a very difficult challenge.


The Danwich

The Danwich vs. Brie with figs

My youngest son is a picky eater whose choices defy logic. He will eat pasta in macaroni and cheese, and he will eat pasta sauce on pizza, but he will not eat pasta with pasta sauce. This drives me crazy.

One of his favorite sandwiches, dubbed the Danwich, is peanut butter and jelly and a slice of cheese. Eww. I have refused to even make it, let alone try it, declaring that these foods do not go together.

My husband pointed out this observation: I will gladly eat Brie with marmalade and slivered almonds on a baguette, which are all comparable foods put together.

I’m not so sure about that, but I accept his argument enough to be holding a Danwich in my hand, ready to try it, while Dan holds a slice of baguette with Brie, glazed and roasted figs, and almonds.

The verdict: I can barely notice the cheese, and Dan can barely finish the Brie.