Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blockbustered out

I wish I knew what it was that keeps me coming back to watching summer blockbusters. Even though every year I determine that I will not watch bad summer movies, I still somehow get sucked in to watching them - at least on DVD if not in theatre. And I watch them even when I know they will be horrible - case in point Transformers and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. But I guess part of the reason is that these movies are easily accessible, and it's just too easy in some cases to just lazily watch a movie, as happened with both of these stinkers. Maybe I just want to be able to know what's going on in the world, and so I watch these movies as a way to participate in popular discourse. Or maybe I still have high hopes, and I still hold out for what I think could be good - even if I know deep in my soul that those things will never happen. I have at least cut back on these kind of movies, but there's still something inside that gets me excited. Like the movies scheduled for 2008: The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Get Smart, The Happening...I mean, the list sounds promising...right? They cannot be all bad...can they? I need help.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm published!

In the Saskatchewan Book of Everything, the latest in a series of coffee table books focussing on different regions of Canada. The SBoE contains information on Saskatchewan's history, people, natural landscape, entertainment, and government - among other facts - as well as including these whimsical lists called "Take Fives," in which Saskatchewan personalities create a topical top five. I got to write one of the "Take Fives" - the last one published in the book, as seen in the Table of Contents. I know it's a brief section in a pretty insignificant book, but it is really neat to know that residents of this province and people from all over the country will be reading something that I wrote. It is an inspiring feeling, and it is part of what made me want to blog again. Oh, and by the way, it's all about who you know: I got to be published because an old roommate was one of the editors of the book. So I'm barely out of college and already those connections are coming in useful - but I suppose that is the way things are here in Saskatchewan.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Authorial control...or conceit?

I recently read a piece of news in which Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling announced that Albus Dumbledore is a homosexual. Something struck me as fundamentally troubling about this announcement - and it was not the fact that the beloved schoolmaster is reported to have been gay, which did not surprise me, given some of the revelations of the most recent book. The question this announcement brought up was whether Rowling had the authority to make such a statement, even as creator of the character. Once a character is out there, and the author has had their opportunity to make their case, is it not realistic to ask them to bind themselves to the same canonical material as do their readers and/or viewers? Through extraneous writings and speeches, it is possible to gain significant insight into works, but is it possible to make declarative statements like this? J.R.R. Tolkien deliberately eschewed any attempts of this kind, and directed his questioners either to the work in question or to the broader genre to which he was appealing. And why was it even necessary for Rowling to announce this fact, rather than leaving it ambiguous? I, for one, find it an interesting theory to describe his relationship with Grindelwald, but still feel that I did not need to "know" this fact to fully understand Dumbledore. It is okay to leave some things to the imagination, and Rowling has shown her distrust in readers to come to their own conclusions - much as she did with the ill-advised epilogue in Deathly Hallows.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back from hiatus

After going private with my blog, I realized that the main person it affected was me. I simply did not have the motivation to keep blogging to a limited audience (it doesn't matter if the audience is limited anyway - maybe it's just a perception thing). So, here's the experiment: I am going to try blogging openly again. I believe that I have been missing out on a valuable part of logging my first year of teaching, and I have been neglecting opportunities to discuss what is going on in my world. I'm going to try it again, and see what kind of past posts I might hide or otherwise manipulate to ensure there is nothing incriminating here. All that effort and time, and I just ended up where I began. Sigh.


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