pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (books)
So Drew and I went to Borders today for the first time in forever, and I bought three books. (YAY! Buying books never gets old.) One of the three was A.J. Jacobs' book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. I'm fascinated by theology anyway, but I also teach the Bible as literature to my 9th graders and am about to start that unit, so I thought it would be an educational and timely (if irreverent) book to read right now.

I started reading it around 4:30 and just finished it. So. Good. Funny, yes, but it was also deeply respectful and unexpectedly touching. It was also incredibly well researched, and it was clear that he really tried to approach the process even-handedly. I've done a ton of research over the past couple of years, but I still learned a lot from reading this book and was vastly entertained. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Here are two excerpts about how intimidating this process was for Jacobs, and they capture perfectly how I've felt about teaching the Bible:

I felt torn, anxious about my approach, my monumental ignorance, my lack of preparation, about all of the inevitable blunders I'd make. And the more I read, the more I absorbed the fact that the Bible isn't just another book. It is the book of books, as one of my Bible commentaries calls it. I love my encyclopedia, but the encyclopedia hasn't spawned thousands of communities based on its words. It hasn't shaped the actions, values, deaths, love lives, warfare, ad fashion sense of millions of people over three millennia. No one has been executed for translating the encyclopedia into another language, as was William Tyndale when he published the first widely distributed English-language edition of the Bible. No president has been sworn in with the encyclopedia. It's intimidating, to say the least. (13)

I'm poring over religious study books, desperately trying to get a handle on this [specific Biblical] topic and every other. My reading list grows exponentially. Every time I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads. (29)

That last excerpt made me laugh out loud in recognition.

Anyway, I thought some of you might also be interested, so I thought I'd spread my love of this book over here.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Hee!)
I saw this and thought of you!

This Valentine's Day, Say It With Ferrets!"
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
It's been a very slow writing semester for me due to personal health and other fun stressors, but I have finally updated my teaching blog. My newest entry, "Reflection," is now up on Little but Fierce.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Bookmark)
I'm so very amused by this.

Behind the cut...Read more... )
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
New teaching blog entry over at my site: Scheduling My Tiny Little Breakdown.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Shiny!)
I just knew you would want to laugh at...
angry soup!


Also, [livejournal.com profile] cupcake_goth, I thought you would be amused by the the glittercupcakes LJ community.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (books)
Funny this is popping up now. I've been on an Austen kick lately, and this particular heroine is my very favorite.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Hee!)
I really, really needed a laugh tonight, and dearest [livejournal.com profile] domestinatrix provided one.

I think this just may be the best thing ever.

"Baby Got Back" a la "Modern Major General," complete with dubbed, original libretto. You've never heard Sir Mix-A-Lot quite like this before, trust me.

pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Default)
I'm probably the last one out there to "discover" this band, but I must recommend them anyway, just in case. Vampire Weekend (their debut album is self-titled) is so fantastic that I'm out of original adjectives to describe them.

Wikipedia description because I'm too lazy to write one myself:

Vampire Weekend is an indie rock band from New York City signed to XL Recordings. They came to public attention via a variety of blogs, first on the African music audioblog "Benn loxo du taccu" and then six months later on Stereogum, leading many to cite them as another example of the "blog band" phenomenon. The band is influenced by both African popular music and Western Classical Music. They describe their genre of music as "Upper West Side Soweto", performing such songs as "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," which references Congolese soukous music. This song was #67 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.

Plus, how can you not love a band with a song called "Oxford Comma"?

Also, I posted a quick entry about quotable moments on my teaching blog yesterday here.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (books)
As recorded on the Key West Literary Seminar blog:

"I have seen the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by small talk."
Annie Dillard, on why she was introducing Jake Silverstein, then getting the hell off the stage.

"You don't judge a painting by how precisely it portrays the object it depicts."
James Gleick in discussion with Janna Levin

"Physicists are the only ones allowed to talk about beauty with a straight face anymore"
Janna Levin in discussion with James Gleick

"It's like trying to get puppies to look in the mirror."
Billy Collins on getting poets to discuss how they think about their work.


Jan. 21st, 2008 09:44 am
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (books)
The Key West Literary Seminar was amazing. Key West was beautiful and tropical and made me want to move there. I got home very late last night, but I'm definitely not all here yet.

I'm really not ready to go back to work tomorrow. I'm also really far behind, so drop me a note if there's something I should know.

Sub Plans

Jan. 15th, 2008 10:51 pm
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
New blog entry about the uselessness of sub plans and my utter inability not to write them: I Got Plans.

Book Post

Jan. 11th, 2008 08:13 pm
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (books)
I've often thought it might be interesting to track the books I read over the course of a year. Never actually done it, partly because of laziness and partly because it's a little embarrassing to admit how much brain candy I consume. I think that's part of the balance in being an English teacher, though--got to have something to offset all the Very Serious Literature.

I'm probably not going to say much about the books themselves (I told you I was lazy), though I'm always happy to discuss any book in the comments. My plan is to list the books I've read for pleasure first and then the books I'm teaching and/or referencing for school second.

Book Post #1 behind the cut: 1/1/08-1/11/08Read more... )

So there you have it! I think that's everything I've read so far.

I just posted a new blog entry over at my teaching site, by the way: Of Boogers and Books. Stop on by, if you'd like.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Inspire Writing)
It's been ages since I posted to my teaching site, and I'm fairly sure I've lost the few readers I'd gained in the interim. I made the decision today to stop worrying about posting full essays and just start blogging. I plan to blog regularly since I will no longer be so stressed about making each essay Absolutely!Perfect! and would really appreciate some help bringing the site back to life.

Would you please pimp my blog? Or, if you have any interest, just stop by from time to time? Make me a happy little bookmark? Oh dear. I'm turning into the Bob Ross of bloggers. Save me from myself!

Here's the most recent entry: "Blogging and Other Funingly Things".

Thank you, all.
pixkris: (there is a pattern)
My uncle served in Vietnam. My grandfather served three tours in Europe during WWII. One of my best friends in the world served during the Iraq War. All of them survived, and all were irrevocably changed by the experience.

I take this moment to thank them for their service and sacrifice.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (real fans support the writers)
As a fan, as an English teacher, as a writer, as a reader...I support the WGA.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (edumacashun)
Oh my. I just taught my creative writing class. The students are starting their first complete short story, so we were focusing on character development. Part of the lesson involved reading a short chapter about character from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. This is a teeny, tiny workshop class--only four students due to a scheduling screw up--so we're very close. Anyway, we start taking turns reading through the chapter, and we get to the section about creating likable narrators. Lamott writes:

If your narrator is someone whose take on things fascinates you, it isn't really going to matter if nothing much happens for a long time. I could watch John Cleese or Anthony Hopkins do the dishes for about an hour without needing much else to happen.

Only the girl reading, a junior, doesn't say "John Cleese." She accidently says, "John Cheese." And for whatever reason, this strikes all of us as unbearably funny. We started to laugh and could. not. stop. I tried to take over the reading, but then they'd start giggling again and I'd lose it. I honestly don't know why "John Cheese" is so funny. The visual, maybe? Then we started inserting references to John Cheese into the rest of the chapter, and it was all over.

Now a person's faults are largely what make him or her likable....Preoccupation with self is good, as is a tendency toward procrastination, self-delusion, darkness, jealousy [or an obsession with Gouda]. They shouldn't be too perfect; perfect means shallow and unreal and fatally uninteresting. I like for them to have a sick sense of humor, [to carve little statues out of sharp Vermont cheddar and give them to their love interests].

Yeah. We didn't get much more done. I'm sure this is nowhere near as funny to anyone outside of our class, but I'm still chortling. This is one of those moments when I think that I have the best job ever.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (Default)
New (and long overdue) essay up on my education blog, Little but Fierce: Oh Crap! I Forgot How to Teach! Please come visit if you get a chance or pass the word along to others in the teaching biz. Thanks!
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (you wish you were this cool)
Okay, my friend Shelly shared these two YouTube videos with me, and they made me happier than I've been in a long time. The first is the cat humor musical equivalent of Dick in a Box. So. Fucking. Funny. The second is what you always knew your cat was actually saying.

If you have a cat, you must watch this:

And this is the faux interview ("Bobo: An Intimate Portrait"). I can't embed the second one for some reason, but you can (and should!) follow the clicky link.
pixkris: Wedding Day Smiles (guard cat)
Personal Journal of Byron, Brigadier General of Felines: Pasadena Division

Day Six.

The intruder has managed to infiltrate the highest levels of security. Despite the fact that his true nature is revealed when he engages in violent behavior (biting, scratching, etc.), he is regularly seen in the company of both Monkeys. I believe he may have duped them into believing he is not a true threat. I have tried to alert them, but they fail to heed my warnings even now.

The frequent sneak attacks have intensified. He continues to utilize his dark camouflage in order to better execute these strikes. He also seems to be getting larger. Perhaps a new kind of armor?

I am beginning to believe that there will not be a swift end to these hostilities. I must develop a more effective strategy if I am to be victorious.

November 2010



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