Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of Changes, in Weather, Sleep, Writing, Work, Movie Viewing

We've been having several weeks of record breaking cold now. What a strange weather month: record breaking heat, record breaking rain, record breaking cold, record breaking length of cold.

On Sunday night, the lights flickered, and then half the electric in the house went to half strength. And the heat wasn't working. So we sat in our dim house, with a fire in the fireplace, watching The Simpsons. You know, a fire doesn't really give out much heat, especially when it's your sole source of heat. Again, I'm in awe of what the colonists and settlers accomplished. I could never go off and settle Minnesota. Brr.

In the middle of the night, the electric came back to full strength, so it wasn't a restful night. So I didn't write yesterday morning before work.

I thought I might write when I got to work, but I discovered that I needed to revisit one of our SACS assessment documents. During the break, I took out a lot of material, on the advice of one dean. Then I had to rewrite a bit to make the remainder make sense. Last week, a different member of the team decided that the new document was a bit thin, so I spent several hours yesterday putting back in what I took out, and again, revising so that the document would make sense. Sigh.

I must keep reminding myself that when I taught, I had these Penelope moments too. Weave a tapestry, unweave at night, weave the same patch the next day--a metaphor for modern work!

At least I finally saw an uplifting movie. My parents were vacationing in Orlando, where we went to join them. It was much too cold and rainy/sleety to do a theme park (all those runners, doing the half marathon and marathon in such unseasonably cold weather--poor runners!), so we went to a movie. Mom chose The Blind Side.

I hesitated because the reviews and previews made it look like your traditional football movie and/or your traditional do-gooder/white person's guilt kind of movie. It was a bit of all that and so much more. There was a bit of your teacher feel good movie. A bit of your cute kid movie.

But more than that, it was one of those uplifting kind of stories, the kind where you leave feeling positive about the potential for human kindness (and if you're like me, you leave feeling like you haven't done nearly as much as you could have for your fellow humans). There were plenty of scenes where the movie was emotionally manipulative, but I didn't feel annoyed about that, the way I sometimes do.

Maybe I forgave the movie because it was based on a true story. Maybe I forgave it because I was being manipulated into feeling hopeful, as opposed to the effect that most movies are trying to manipulate my emotions towards. I grow tired of feeling bleak and hopeless about how existentially alone we all are. I decided against seeing The Road, because I wasn't sure I could handle all that bleakness (and because it left our theatres fairly quickly).

Of course, I'll probably go see The Book of Eli. Will it be uplifting or depressing? I don't know, but my spouse is interested in seeing it, and I'm always up for an apocalyptic movie!

Here we are, the first week of the term. I shall try to put some good patterns into place, so that all my writing efforts don't get subsumed into accreditation documents. A day here and there is to be expected, but my inner poet will get snappy if we don't get some real writing done soon.

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