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June 28th, 2008


11:18 am - New Films
 Just got back from the Edinburgh International Film Festival (where I saw Stone of Destiny) and Glasgow (where I saw the hometown premiere of Wanted two days before it opened anywhere else). Scotland seems to like film, and I was really surprised by the variety of films being made as well as shown around the country. Scotland may well become one of my "go-to" countries when I want to see a red carpet and actually get a chance to interact with directors and actors or see the latest UK premieres. So...I'm tired and jetlagged but happy.
Current Mood: chipperchipper

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May 26th, 2008


07:23 pm - Indiana Jones
 Maybe it's my age or profession. I liked the new Indiana Jones movie, but not because it's great summer fare and an entertaining way to kill a few hours. It's because of its theme--not the mishmash of '50s' culture (i.e., everything from the Cold War and the Red Scare to the bomb to rebels without causes to aliens to malt shops to Howdy Doody). An interesting article a week before Indy premiered stated that only film geeks dissect the franchise's technical aspects; there's no hidden meaning in the films. There's nothing to debate or learn. I beg to differ, and the latest film bears out my theory.

The Indiana Jones series is about the quest for knowledge. As Indy comes to understand in an awestruck moment at the top of that temple, even ET values knowledge--and the visitors from far away are most likely archeologists just like him. For Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., and his esteemed, now deceased father, knowledge--not just information--is always the reason for the quest. After father and son find the Holy Grail, Indy asks his dad what he received from their journey. "Illumination," Sr. replied contentedly. Reading about the Holy Grail and studying Graillore end up being not as important as experiencing what it means to go on a quest and applying all one knows in order to solve an eternal puzzle.

Simply memorizing or having access to huge amounts of information isn't the same as being knowledgeable. Irina's head explodes not because she wants knowledge--she wants to know everything. She wants all the facts but doesn't leave room in her brain for interpreting and analyzing them. Today most people seem comfortable with merely knowing how to Google for random bits of information. We have more access to more bits of info than ever before, but I dare say we're less knowledgeable than our recent ancestors. Our heads might explode if we had to remember everything, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fill our brains with knowledge so that we can rely on it when we can't get online. We don't need to know random bits of info that can be easily looked up, but we need an educational foundation to be able to discern what's important from all the dross.

How many people--even university professors--know multiple languages, recall immediately just the resource a student should use and why that's the perfect choice, understand the ramifications of history and historic decisions on global cultures, and can call forth just the important piece of information gleaned from analyzing a situation? Indiana Jones can. Of course, even Dr. Jones, Sr., created a grail diary to remember details for him, but he still could recall the words of Charlemagne and apply them to solve a problem without having to look up the source. Being knowledgeable counts in a pinch, especially when being held hostage or facing down a machine gun.

For all his classical education and impressive command of historic, literary, and geographic knowledge, Indiana Jones isn't locked inside an ivory tower. Although he seems less inclined to climb out his office window to escape students--and even agrees to become a dean by the late 1950s, life outside the classroom is just as important as studies within it. He encourages a library-bound student to get outside--knowing what people are doing now and experiencing life are just as important as assimilating facts.

Indy, for all his expensive globe trotting, is remarkably unconcerned about money. For him, the salary isn't the purpose of his career--learning and doing as much as he can--fulfilling that thirst for knowledge and experience--is the real goal. No matter that professors today can't afford--and usually don't have access to the kinds of funding leading to--the travel Indy takes for granted. His life is about gaining knowledge, and then using that knowledge to help humankind. 

I hope that this type of professor--the Indiana Jones who gets out into the world, or even his scholarly , more cloistered father--isn't becoming as fossilized as the relics Indy unearths. We as teachers and our students need more professors like Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., who, in a moment's notice, can take us on the adventure of our life but know what makes that wild ride significant.
Current Mood: pensivepensive

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May 19th, 2008


07:00 pm - Contentment

Ever have one of those really good days, even when (or maybe because) you're by yourself? That was mine today. I shopped and, for once, found exactly what I was looking for--in my size, in the right color, and on sale to boot! I even found the hard-to-find-in-my-town new Lost soundtrack, which might not be all that exciting to anyone but me, but still. I had a rather fattening lunch at Cheesecake Factory and then went to a matinee of Helen Hunt's film, Then She Found Me. Even the traffic wasn't bad on the hour drive home. I can't imagine a better day, and now there's the guilty pleasure of Dancing with the Stars tonight. OK, so I'll work really hard tomorrow, but today was a mini-holiday.


Current Mood: bouncybouncy

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May 12th, 2008


03:25 pm - Fires
Driving back from Sarasota last night, I was detoured around fires--about 3 miles from my house! There are other subdivisions before the fire would reach mine, but smoke is all over the place. My car and everything in it (me included) smelled like a huge ashtray, and the smoke blocked out the sun well before sunset. We had a bad fire season here about 10 years ago, but we've been lucky in more recent dry seasons. Here's hoping the fires are out soon, and some moron pyro doesn't try to set more.

I'm reminded of Merry's speech to Pippin:  "The fires of Isengard will spread . . . There won't be anything good and green." That's what it felt like last night.
Current Mood: distresseddistressed

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May 5th, 2008


12:30 pm - Joys of Varnish
 Just read a Dom update from a Star article about his toenails painted black (one foot) and red (other foot). The pic looked old (Charlie hair), although the siting took place on April 11. Hope he got a better reaction to the color choices than I did. Being somewhat angsty over saying goodbye to several students and faculty who won't be returning in the fall, and having a rough week in general, I resorted to black varnish for my nails. I only paint them when I'm in a fixer-upper mood, and I keep black, navy, and sparkle around the house. I was going for the "sporty" look, but apparently my colleagues thought it was a wee bit too Goth fto be professional. Today's color is navy--sorry, but I just don't think I could go the pink route.
Current Mood: amusedamused

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May 2nd, 2008


06:16 pm - Iron Man
OK, so I saw Iron Man this afternoon. I'm not sure who the target audience was. I liked it, but I was bored with some of the engineering bits. The little kids around me didn't get it--not enough action, too much dialogue. I loved Robert Downey, Jr. in the role--I'd give him an A+. A lot of his dialogue was funny, but it was adult. I don't know that kids will care about the villain being an evil arms dealer in Afghanistan. The flight sequences were cool, though. 

If you go, stay through the credits for the tag. Not cutesy, but informative. I smell sequel. But the film isn't stinky, just a snooze at times.
Current Mood: blahblah

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10:24 am - First day out of classes

 

"You don't need fancy highbrow traditions or money to really learn. You just need people with the desire to better themselves. "
Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, Accepted, 2006



I wonder if my uni's about-to-be-graduates want to read that. They needed a lot of money to be able to attend classes, and sometimes I don't know if they wanted to better themselves or just get that degree. Whatever their motivation, I hope they'll continue to learn, even if their formal education is now over.

Funny, but summer is about the only time I have time to learn anything new. Sure, there are the random life experiences throughout the year that try to teach me something memorable, but I only get a chance to read, see movies, read LJs (especially fanfic), and consider what they might mean during the summer. So uni lets out (huzzah! huzzah!) and learning begins. 





Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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03:25 am - The First of Many
I've often read friends' LJs, but this is my first attempt. Please be kind. I hope to use this place as a forum for my musings about fantasy, or occasionally reality, or comments about comments.

As it's now 3:26 a.m. when I've put together the fundamentals for what I hope will be a long series of posts, I'm off to sleep. A belated happy May day to you all! 
Current Mood: sleepysleepy

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