Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some Cats Know

Holy cow is life crazy!

So, as noted in the photo-posts, I've been traveling a little lately. At the moment, I'm in Grand Junction, having driven up to SLC and back this week in order to rehearse "Making Waves". I've just printed up the final script of that for our SLAC performance in July, and now I'm facing a lot (LOT) of memorizing in the weeks to come. Whoo-boy.

I got to go play with Emily yesterday, which was delightful. We went out to dinner, stocked up on treats at Target and snuck them into a movie theater to see "X-Men Origins: Wolverine!" Then lots of talking in the car until way past bedtime, as we usually do. It's been a good week for seeing old friends: in addition to seeing Heidi, Katharine, Melissa, and Andy at rehearsal, I also got to spend a few hours at good ol' DPJH eating curry and playing Rock Band with Ben, Janelle (and the kiddos), and John. Erin even stopped by!

My parents have been very helpful this week with getting everything done. Thanks to them, my car's been fixed (again), I found a second pair of shoes to take on the trip, I found some great cheap long pants to pack along (a surprisingly difficult task), and I've had a nice mini-vacation relaxing with them. Well, not so much relaxing, but it's still been nice. They'll be cat-sitting for the next month, and after two days alone with the beast while I was in SLC, they declared that she needed to be shaved lest they both choke to death on all of the fine gray fur floating around the house. So, as shown on Shot-a-Day:

Furry Nash

Shaved Nash

Bright and early tomorrow morning I'll be driving back to Denver (sans "Meows", sadly). I'm leaving early with the intention of getting there in time to see a 1:00 showing of "Brothers Bloom" with Rachel and co. It'll be a crazy two days getting everything settled and so on, but with luck, I'll be able to leave for Spain on Tuesday, totally prepared.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tkts a great place to be

Tkts a great place to be
Originally uploaded by chitarita

New TKTS Steps

New TKTS Steps
Originally uploaded by chitarita

NYC! (Hotel)

NYC! (Hotel)
Originally uploaded by chitarita

Where Am I Going?

Because many of you kind folk keep asking, because it is confusing, and because you all don't have access to the awesome eye candy calendar Rachel made me for Christmas, here's a quick reference for where I'll be when for the next several weeks:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So Long, Dearie

Done! Done! Done! Done! Done!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Yeah. That's not at all confusing.

The trailer for 9 and The trailer for Nine

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Go to the Movies

(Warning - huge video post!)

With only two days left at school, I needed a lesson plan that would keep the kids learning, quiet, and engaged. If you are a teacher, you know how extraordinarily difficult that is. If not, well, be glad you don't know what that's like.

So, I pulled out an old favorite English lesson of mine.

I'm going to go through the lesson here, briefly, so I have the links embedded somewhere with a few notes. It usually takes 1-2 class periods. If any of you teachers out there want more details, just ask!

(Literary tie-in: Symbolism, Theme, Mood/Tone)

1. Define "theme" in music and literature.
2. Talk about John Williams. What does the music tell you about the characters?
a. Harry Potter
b. Star Wars
c. Indiana Jones
3. Show clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, students track when they hear the theme and what it tells you about the character/situation. Discuss.

4. Discuss how what you hear affects what you see. Use to demonstrate (click on the white box)

5. Bonus video - show "Shadow" to talk about building suspense with sound.

Movie Saturday 2.03: Shadow from Brian Omura on Vimeo.

6. Discuss which comes first in movie-making - what you see or the music you hear. Explain that in music videos, it's the reverse.
7. Show example of music video that is designed around the lyrics to the song:

8. Bonus - Suffixes!

9. Teaser next video by saying that it shows the music instead of the words. Same band, by the way, as the last one. Show the beginning, then have kids pick it apart to figure out how Michel Gondry does that (Football Players = bass, Swimmers = synthesizer, Mummies = drums, Skeletons = guitar, Robots = vocoder).

10. The next video, also by Gondry, also shows the music. Again, pick apart and discuss.

11. Same director, same concept, different technique: (I just show the opening of the next video, since it is repetative.)

12. Bonus! Same band, same director, this time talk about mood and tone:

13. Still Gondry, Kylie Minogue. Show video, figure out what's happening, figure out why that's what they're showing - how it illustrates what's happening in the music (draw a spring on the board - the visual and song loops like a Slinky).

14. Talk about the symbol for infinity, show (usually more than once) and discuss how this video is an infinity loop.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Children Will Listen

Here's the antithesis of my post from earlier this week:

I'm showing my classes "The Princess Bride" today while they work on identifying character objectives and motivations (Plus, the sub yesterday seemed unable to handle much more than a movie, and my cold's getting worse).

During the Miracle Max scene, one student raised his hand. "Didn't we read this story, Miss?"

"What?" I said, pausing the movie so I could hear him.

"I know this story! We read it!"

Other students nodded in agreement.

I suddenly recalled that I had, in fact, read them the Miracle Max scene last fall for a Reading Minute. Seriously, it was, like, early October, late September when I read it to them. And yet they remembered it enough to recognize the scene now, 8 months later.


While I'm posting, let me tell you about my day yesterday. I took a personal day and went to the dentist first thing in the morning. No caveties and the dentist was surprised that I hadn't worn braces. Yay for good teeth!

I headed home after that, started a load of laundry, and curled up in my reading chair with a book, a bowl of cereal, and the cat. As happens in that chair, I dozed off with Natasha curled up on my chest, perfectly content.
Natsha napping
Around noon, I headed down to Castle Rock. Jill had also taken a personal day, and we decided to play a bit. We got lunch at Anthony's pizza, shopped at Este Lauder (Jill's other job - she very nicely let me use both her expertise and her discount to restock my make-up supplies. Rachel, I'll have to show you the eyeshadow colors I got - they're quiet fun!), and checked out this fun store there called The Barn. We raced back to her place, then, to change for the awards night at STMS.

The awards night was, by my standards, ridiculous. No lights; no sound; no one had informed the high school that we were coming to use the auditorium, so it wasn't ready and we (meaning the faculty, the students, and all of their parents) stood around the lobby for a good 20 minutes waiting for the janitors to finish cleaning it. I offered my help for the technical stuff, but was rebuffed by the two guys in charge with "Oh, silly woman!" looks. When they started the show in the dark by yelling from the stage, I handed my stuff to Jill and hunted down the door to the booth. I plugged in the spotlight and aimed it at the stage, then managed to get a microphone working. Annoying sexism.

Anyway, there were catcalls, rowdy students, kids playing in the aisles, little organization, and at least one parent who showed up in pajama bottoms and a tank top. Boy, did I miss the awards nights at DPJH!

Jill and I went to Dairy Queen afterwards to debrief. After that, we needed to.

Aside from that, yesterday was delightful and made this week much more bearable. Three days to go!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

I don't know which is weirder- both eyes dialated, or when only one
has returned to normal....

At 7:30 this morning, our principal decided to cancel our scheduled late start meeting.  As a result of that suddenly available hour, I
- figured out my dental and vision benefits
- made appointments to see the eye doctor that afternoon and the dentist tomorrow morning (I tend to panic about such things right before major trips.)
- wrote a course description for MTHS to use for enrollment next week
- called Apple about my laptop
- found a FedEx location to ship my laptop
- moved several of my items from classroom #2 to classroom #3
- made new seating charts for classroom #3
- met my sub for tomorrow (who mistakenly showed up today.  Between that, the news that he had only subbed once before (and that was for a 5th grade class), and the terrified look on his face as he protested, "I'm a business major," when I asked how he felt about doing a lesson on poetry; I decided that a lesson on poetry was not doable for him tomorrow.  My kids will be analyzing character motivation and objectives in "Princess Bride" instead.)
- discovered that my new classroom has air conditioning that kicks on full blast every ten minutes or so and sounds so much like the inside of an airplane when it's taking off that I found myself flexing my jaw instinctively several times during the day to try to pop my ears
- caught up with Brenda, who is my new neighbor thanks to the classroom change,
- planned an outing with Jill.

It's amazing how much I can get done when they cancel a meeting!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back to Broadway


Oh, I'm so going to go see this one. Nathan, Bebe, Terrence, and Kevin Chamberlin?


Ask Us Again

Verbatim, by the way.

Scene: Sweltering Classroom

The teacher stands at the front of the room. Students are sitting in their desks, looking at her. There are some relatively soft noises from the constuction outside.

The teacher holds up a copy of the vocabulary final exam the students are about to take. She is exhausted and sick, but she dragged herself to school that day lest the principal think she's just slacking off during her last week at that school.

Teacher: When you get a copy of the vocab test, you can pull off the front page (she demonstrates) to refer to the words listed there. Please remember to write your name on it and remember that spelling counts since-

Student 1: Raising hand while interrupting Miss? Can we pull off the front page?

Teacher: Yes. Like I was saying, spelling counts. Any other questions?

Students are silent.

Teacher: All right. Best of luck! She begins handing out the test.

Student 2: As he takes his copy of the test Can I tear off the front page, Miss?

Teacher: Yes.

Student 3: Flipping through the test her neighbor just handed her Can I rip this off? Indicates front page.

Teacher: Yes.

Student 4: Raises her hand, waving it as all of the energy she is using to not talk gets channeled into the hand in the air.

Teacher: Corine?

Student 4: Can I rip this? indicates front page

Teacher: Digs around looking for sarcasm, but verbal irony section of the brain never got out of bed that morning. She wishes she were still there with that part of her brain. Sighing, but without reaction Yes.

As she walks to the back of the room, Teacher decides to post scene as a blog entry as an explanation to her friends for why she sometimes repeats herself during normal conversation. Yes, normal conversation.

P.S. Weekend was fun, despite the illness - did a temple session Friday night, then met up with Britney and Ryan to see "Star Trek". Freakin' awesome movie - I'd watch more of that show if all of it were like
this and not like this.

Saturday I went to see the Met's broadcast of La Cenerentola with Elisa and Melissa. It was fun, and I enjoyed seeing the backstage clips in between acts as well.

Sunday was normal church stuff, but because it was Mother's Day, we didn't have Ward Council beforehand. Is it sad that I woke up that morning thinking "Yes! Only three hours of church today!"?

P.P.S. That's right, normal.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

You know how when you climb something really steep - a windy staircase in an old castle or a mountain or something - and as you take the final steps on the top, you look back and that's when you realize how far down you were and how light it is on top?

I'm, thankfully, doing that with every day left at STMS.

Every single day something new happens that makes me nothing but glad to be leaving and that makes me realize how low I had been.

For example? They just released a schedule of mandatory trainings for teachers over the summer. Starting the day after school lets out with a (again) mandatory two-day meeting. They justify this by paying $100 for attending. That's $6.25 an hour, by the way. For coming in outside of the agreed contracted work days, the day after school lets out. What makes it even more special is that they've been sitting on these schedules for at least three weeks, and now they expect the teachers to redo their schedules to meet their demands.

Oh, and? They're extending the work day at our school by 40 minutes without additional pay.

I am so glad to be getting out of there, and I am so sorry for my friends who are staying.

Life continues to be busy. Really, I don't know how this happened, where I suddenly have a full social calendar. Granted, I don't know if it qualifies as a social calendar when 80% of the time is filled with work and church stuff, but still!

For example, I declared "Reasonable bed-time be damned!" and went bowling on Tuesday night. A lane near me does games for $1 after 9:00 on Tuesdays, so Elisa invited a ton of people from the ward to go. A relatively small group showed up (Elisa, me, Jennifer, Noelle, Melissa, Scott, Ben, and Ryan), and they talked me into staying until closing instead of ducking out at a more practical hour. Ooh! And I got three strikes and an awesome spare from a 7-10 split.

Monday I went to FHE, which was a photo scavenger hunt. I'm pleased to say that my team won the grand prize (a couple of rolls of toilet paper)!

Last weekend was a delightful break from the usual. I took Friday off work to attend Rachel's graduation from nursing school. She, as usual, did a far better job than me at documenting the event visually, so I shall simply link to her post here and also direct you to the awesomeness that was our spontaneous trip to the Alpaca Festival. Mmm... fiber!

Oh, also, look! My grandmere and I have the same mouth/chin, don't you think?

And, doesn't Andy look a bit like this guy?