31 January 2015

Saturday Morning Speaks

Good morning!

Let me tell you about my normal Saturday. I get up pretty early these days. I'm feeling my age a bit. My neck and back hurt if I lay down for more than 7 hours. Sleeping in is almost out. I'm becoming my Dad, even my Granddad, more and more. Anyway, for months now, I have done most of my blogging, as far as getting around to other blogs, on Saturday morning. It's pretty much the only extended time I have to catch-up on what's happening with the many great blogs I follow. It also seems to be the perfect time for reflection on the past week.

Let me tell you about a plan I have. I'm going to start breaking out and down some stories of interest from the previous work week. They may be movie and TV related. They may be political. They may be personal. I'm busy during the weekdays, but I yearn for my blog. Movies play in my mind. I get the itch to write. If nothing else, this idea will let more people in to the things I do and love and learn on any given week, at least most weeks.

Let me tell you about my week:

I teach 7th grade English Language Arts at the middle school I went to as a student. I actually work with some of the teachers I had. It's weird. But I've been doing it for six years now, so that's pretty much worn off. If you haven't spent much time around 7th graders, please try it. I want more people to know what my brave co-workers and I do all day. I liken it to being a judge in a courtroom with a rowdy audience without a gavel. We did a fun writing activity on Monday though. Rewarding when it works.

At 6:28 A.M. on Tuesday morning, we got the call. NO SCHOOL! Why? A half-inch of snow. Oh, the perks of living in the Southeast. New York and Boston get pounded by an actual blizzard, and we're like this minute amount is just too daunting. We know it's coming but never equip ourselves. Thank you city and county officials for keeping things the same. We don't need no snow plows or chains around here. I love it!

So, last week, Amanda (my wife, I will just refer to here as Amanda from here on out) and I got back into "The Walking Dead." I don't know what happened, but this show went way down into the boring crapper of redundancy during the 3rd season. To the point where we just shut it down. We decided to give it another shot, and I don't know what happened, but the 4th season is like a totally different show. It goes out on a limb with some interesting one-off sort of character centric episodes and tries new narrative structures. It starts using music for emotion along with some good grungy folk tunes on the soundtrack. I'm impressed. Just need to catch up with he first half of season 5 now.

With the snow day, I finally got to see John Carney's newest flick, "Begin Again," with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. I liked it. Who knew Keira Knightly could sing? I surely didn't love this one as much as Carney's previous musical love story called "Once." I actually liked everything about that one more than this one. The unknown leads, Ireland, the songs (way better!!!!). What I did like about "Begin Again" though was the more humorous tone and the presence of Knightly and Ruffalo. I also love seeing Catherine Keener pop up. I am in love with her. And young Hailee Steinfeld as the Rufallo character's daughter was great. I've wondered what might happen to her after she owned the Coen Brothers' "True Grit" a few years ago.

I love tortilla chips, man! My one trip out to eat this week was to one of our two local Mexican restaurants. Chips, salsa, white queso, coca-cola in one of those big red plastic cups. Burrito, taco, rice and beans. Boom! I try to cook most nights. I like throwing down on crap that's bad for you at least once a week though.

Finally catching up with the latest season of "Top Chef." We've been without cable/satellite at my house since August. Got a Chromecast soon after. Got a MacBook Air for Christmas. Found out you can mirror webpages onto the TV with the Google Chrome browser. Thanks to my sister-in-law, we're in on the only current show my wife just HAS to watch. It's a good season. They've amped up the competition and really just started axing people at will, then bringing people back in inventive ways. Boston as the locale has lent itself to some great challenges at Plimouth Plantation and Fenway Park, etc. Rob Gronkowski did a Quickfire cameo. Man, he was awkward! It was totally uncomfortable.

In the News:

President Obama is being a total badass in his final lame-duck two years. Since the New Year, he has come to my hometown to pitch free community college and high-tech manufacturing, killed it at the State of the Union, threatened to veto nine current bills in the House and Senate (maybe not the best thing overall, but, hey), and given nary a f@#k. I don't want any political debates on here or antyhing. But I have always loved this president. He has nothing to lose now, and it's fun to watch.

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and John Krasinski (Boston bros!), among others, took the heat for the New England Patriots' deflated-footballs-in-the-AFC Championship Game-thing on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" It was genius.

But really who cares? This is the most anti-climactic Super Bowl in years. I hate both teams, both have won before. Boooorrrrriiiinnnnnnggggg! I may not even watch, but I really want to see the commercials. Nobody's invited me to a party yet, so who knows?


This Day Last Year:

So I got the "Timehop" app  a couple weeks ago. It's pretty cool. It does things like show you a Facebook status from exactly one year ago today. This is still true this year. I almost watched a new Budweiser commercial last night.


Andrew killed it on Tuesday. He tanked Boyhood and praised the latest X-Men.

Irene threw it back and reviewed Clint Eastwood's Mystic River.

Wendell wrote an excellent and truthful review of The Fault in Our Stars.

Sati laid out a perfectly detailed review of The Imitation Game, one of my Top Ten of 2014.

Happy Saturday! Football is almost gone and pitchers and catchers report to camp in 20 days.


  1. Great week! Hopefully we will get another snow day and can get caught up on The Walking Dead!

  2. I love posts like this, where we get to know more about a blogger as a person. I have great admiration for classroom teachers, especially those who work with middle schoolers, 7th graders in particular. I don't think I'd have that much courage, seriously :-)

    And yes, I don't generally discuss politics on the interwebs, but I am absolutely loving how many f--ks Obama is NOT giving lately. As with every presidential administration, I have mixed feelings, but some positive things are happening. Keep those vetoes coming!

    1. Thanks so much. I really just felt like getting even more personal than I usually do this morning. Like anything else, you get used to teaching, but it definitely takes a good dose of patience and restraint. Haha!

      No doubt. The Obama Administration has been far from perfect, but I applaud the president for keeping on the path he originally set, despite all the opposition.

  3. I'm in the southeast (NC) and also work in a school. Having grown up in NY, the idea of so many days off for snow always seems funny to me, but I'll take 'em. Glad you enjoyed my review of TFiOS. Thanks for the link!

    1. Right on, man. Where are you in NC? I have some family in Asheville. Love it there. And definitely. I will take any day off. I have no problem with undeserved snow days.

  4. First, thank you so much for the link.

    Second, there is so much greatness in this post...from the half inch of snow crippling the school system (we're the same way here in Texas...like, WTF) to the Top Chef watching (because it's the greatest show ever) to the Carney love...just awesome post.

    I hope to see more of these Saturday Speaks!

    Also, loved that your wife stopped by the blog over the weekend. That was a nice surprise :-D

    1. No problem, man. I plan on doing these posts every Saturday that I don't have something else to write about. I think it's good people know me as a person a bit. I'm not just movies 24-7.

      Top Chef is really the only reality TV show that I've ever truly loved and continued to love. This has been a great season!

      I'm pretty sure almost any place south of the Mason Dixon Line (to a point) flips the fuck out when a layer of snow lands.

      I didn't even know she did that. That's cool. She felt about the same way you did about Boyhood, I'd say. She was extremely bored in the theater. I was doing "Hell Yeah"s at parts. She blogs too. But its all for school. Literacy and reading stuff. She's a Ph.D student at UTK.

  5. My Dad was a foreign language teacher for nearly 25 years before becoming a High School administrator, and my mom has been a middle school social worker for many years, and I teach dance to kids ages 8-18 - so I know ALL ABOUT working with kids around that age. Teachers are truly the unsung heroes of the world.

    Begin Again is such a sweet film. Not a patch on Once, but very endearing. Keira Knightley is SO GOOD in it, too!

    I used to love Top Chef, but it ended up falling by the wayside due to so much good TV. I don't miss it until someone brings it up.

    1. I applaud your parents for long careers in education. It's a tough gig but so rewarding and valuable. I'll bet teaching dance is fun. I'm a golf coach, so I get to spend time with some great kids and their parents away from school a bit. A lot of fun.

      This Top Chef seasons has been one of my favorites. But we straight binged it. Watched the whole season up to the finale on Friday and Saturday. It was epic!

  6. Top Chef was one of our most epic binge watches, besides Mad Men, when we had two weeks off for snow.

    1. Yeah. Nothing will ever beat the Mad Men binge.

  7. Fun post! I envy you guys over there getting all the snow - we barely had winter here and I love winter :/ I've been meaning to start watching TWD again but there are so many shows out there and I barely have the time to keep up with any of them.

    Thanks so much for the link!

    1. Thanks. Where are you? I love the little bit of actual winter we get here. We had a record snow last year. Doesn't look good this year. But, in TN, we've been known to get crazy snow storms even in March, so we'll see.

      No problem. I love your reviews!

    2. And TWD is one that we're doing with the winter lull. It's really just OK for me. The 4th season seriously is the best of the series, in my opinion. House of Cards will be back in a few weeks!

    3. I'm in Poland, it's freezing cold and icy now but barely any snow :/ I still have season 2 of House of Cards to catch up on :)