On Sea Creatures and Sad Middle Age

Apparently there’s a story going around about Dick Van Dyke (yes, THAT Dick Van Dyke, and yes, I too was surprised to hear he’s still alive). He fell asleep on his surf board, drifted out to sea, and then was rescued by a pod of porpoises. Susan Orlean writes about it in her blog. Personally, I think he’s been reading too many Greek myths, and perhaps drinking too many margueritas… The Guardian writes “The porpoises were unavailable for comment.” Hee.

And on the opposite scale, here’s a guy who definitely needs a bigger boat. Yikes.

And in totally other news, much as I love Mike Leigh, I don’t think I’m going to be going to see his latest film. Can I just say that, as a happy, single-by-(mostly)-choice middle aged woman I am so effing sick of middle-aged spinsters being portrayed as needy, neurotic and desperate? I would have expected better.

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Cinema Politica

Cinema Politica’s first showing is King Corn, which follows two brothers as they farm an acre of corn. In the process they, and we, learn about the ramifications of the increasing industrialization of corn growing in America. Introducing the film will be Don Genova, the coordinator of the group “Slow Food.” Don Genova writes food columns for the CBC, and has written/produced a film called Islands on the Edge which is about food security on Vancouver Island. He’ll be showing clips of that film on Wednesday. You can read more about him and listen to his podcasts at his website, Pacific Palate.

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 pm. Camosun College, Young 216.

Happy New Year!

If you are a teacher or a student, you may feel, as I do, that the “real” New Year, time of fresh starts and hopeful beginnings, is in September, not January. As we embark on this year, here’s wishing for good luck and great success for all, whether you are a brand new student, a seasoned grad student, someone embarking in a career of teaching English, or an experienced teacher trying new things.

I hope this blog will be a resource you can turn to. My “new year’s resolution” this year is to post at least once a week, and to try to provide interesting links and announcements that will be of interest to my students and colleagues, and to all who share an interest in English.

To start out with, I’d like to draw your attention to the “Links” pages in the menu bar of this blog – these contain sites on a number of topics that I have found over the years. Other blogs and key sites of interest can also be found in the sidebars here. And note my Delicious feed – this is updated as I find new things.

For my 150 students, one of the most useful sites for English composition overall is The Guide to Grammar and Writing.

For 152 (creative non-fiction), which I am teaching this year for the first time, have a look at
Creative Nonfiction, an online journal and information hub for the genre.

And of general interest – many of us are eagerly (but somewhat fearfully) awaiting the new movie version of Where The Wild Things Are. From the New York Times, here’s an article on the making of the movie. You may need to sign up to read it, but it’s free.

BBC Writersroom

Relatively new to the blogosphere, but with a lot of potential, is the BBC Writersroom, a group blog with contributions by writers of BBC drama. It gives some great insights for those interested in writing for radio or television.

Who? Hamlet!

I’ve heard via Mr William Shakespeare and the Internet” that David Tennant – yes, Dr. Who himself – is going to be playing Hamlet in a new RSC production. Not only that, but Patrick Stewart is to play Claudius! Oh my. Can I haz ticketz plz??? (and a ticket to England, while you’re at it…).

I can see it. Totally. That edgy, manic intensity that Tennant brings to Dr. Who is perfect for the Prince of Denmark. So who is to be Ophelia? The Guardian blogger linked below suggests that all we need is Sarah Michelle Geller and we’d be in geek heaven; I’d respectfully suggest Katee Sackhof instead, though it’s hard to imagine Starbuck getting to a nunnery *grin*.

You can read more thoughts about this news in this Guardian blog post.