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A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

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three days of disney [Jul. 24th, 2011|11:18 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
I'm not really posting much here these days, but I have noticed an uptick in LJ activity (even amongst folks who haven't been posting in YEARS) and I happened to have this sitting on my computer. I was trying to keep a log of all the things we did and saw at Disney this month, but I ended up sidetracked by this GD ear infection.

At any rate, here's the first few days. I'm not going back and editing, so it is what it is. Maybe it's of interest to someone!

Three Days of DisneyCollapse )
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2010-2011 school year: day ninety seven [May. 2nd, 2011|08:11 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
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…so last week was all about my pet peeves concerning my job. This week, all the stuff I LOVE about teaching!
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Good Things for the week of 1/23 [Jan. 30th, 2011|04:16 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
FULL WEEK
Yes, it was a full week of school. Uninterrupted by God's wrathful weathery vengeance, I was able to get some work done with my students over the last five days! Hooray! Of course, I'm now hearing that we've got an ice storm on deck for Tuesday and Wednesday, so that kind of sucks... but hey! It's called GOOD THINGS so let's focus.

MOVIES
I'm normally pretty horrible about renting movies and then not watching them. They sit around on top of the TV stand for a week and we return them back to the library. This weekend, the Pearces defied convention by watching TWO movies in TWO days. Unbelievable!

I was alone at home on Friday night, so I sat down to watch The A Team.


I have some fond if vague memories of the TV show, which was in syndication when I was old enough to appreciate the fine nuances of Mr. T pitying fools left and right. Even as a kid, I recognized it to be a dumb "check your brain at the door" type of show and I was hoping for more of the same with the movie.

At this point, I'd like to again reaffirm that I do know I should be trying to write about GOOD THINGS from my week, but I'm going to take a slight detour for a second. One of the smart things the TV series did was to outline the origin of The A Team at the beginning of every episode. A stern guy comes on as the theme song begins and explains the premise: These four guys were convicted by a military tribunal of crimes they did not commit. They escaped prison and live on the run as soldiers of fortune. If you can find 'em, you can hire 'em. That's the origin of The A Team. Everybody who cares enough about The A Team to plonk down two hours of their life to watch an updated version of the show know this.

Why then, would you spend TWO HOURS of your A Team movie doing an origin of The A Team? Why bother? They had a great cast (Bradley Cooper aquits himself particularly well as Face) and some VERY good action sequences, but it felt like two hours of set up for a future A Team movie... of which there will be none, because this one didn't do well.


Ok, moving on to good movies, on Saturday Ellen and I watched Easy A and really loved it. A funny and well-acted teen comedy with a debt owed to The Scarlet Letter, I was surprised at how much the two of us were laughing. Emma Stone is an actress whose had sizable roles in two movies I really liked, Superbad and Zombieland, but I was never really sold on her. In both those flicks, she doesn't seem to be given a whole lot to do but be the object of affection for some bozo. In Easy A, Emma Stone rocks. I would see another Emma Stone movie based on the strength of her performance in Easy A; her Olive Pendergast devastatingly funny throughout the picture and also has some really nice emotional beats as well.

There were also some winning performances from the supporting cast, including Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive's parents. They are the kind of overly involved and supportive parents that only exist in movies, but Tucci and Clarkson seem to recognize this and push their performances almost past parody to very funny results. The movie also wins points for not cramming them down our throats- they're a high point of the flick, but they're also the type of characters that could grow tiresome if they had been on screen for even a few minutes more than they were.

Anyhow: The A-Team, Thumbs down... Easy A, thumbs up.

SUCK IT BARNES AND NOBLE
All told, I have something like $40 dollars in unused Barnes and Noble gift cards sitting in my wallet. I haven't had a real excuse to use them until this weekend. Our library rocks, I've been getting books into my classroom through DonorsChoose faster than I can post projects, and with the new iPad, I'd much rather buy a book on there than have it clogging up my bookshelf.

This weekend, Barnes and Noble sent out a really goofy promotional coupon that gives you the opportunity to receive either 15%, 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50% off one book purchase this weekend. I checked my coupon, and as was about 95% of the people who get these in their e-mail, it was a 20% off coupon. Not huge motivation to get me into the store... but then I started thinking. I looked on Slick Deals and found some smart cookie had cracked the code on these coupons and provided links to the 50% off one!


I no longer have any gift cards. I bought Bloom County: The Complete Collection V.2 at one store on Saturday... and today I went to a different B&N and bought The Best of Foxtrot. Both of those books are normally $40 bucks apiece, so I made out pretty well. In particular, I'm glad to have bought the second Bloom County hardcover- I received the first one for Christmas two years ago but never followed up on future volumes. The same thing happened with me on The Complete Peanuts- I bought the first two volumes and then promptly stopped. Bloom County was a more formative comic strip for me than Peanuts growing up (Schulz was firmly in "Rerun" territory when I was of age to read the newspaper strips), so I have a little more steam behind picking up Bloom County.


The Best of Foxtrot? I recognize it's not an Earth-shatteringly innovative comic, but it's one I always liked and admired as a teenager. Bill Amend was particularly good about doing strips keyed specifically to geek culture, which must have been hard for him considering the lead-in times that go with a newspaper strip. I remember the week Star Wars: The Special Edition came out in theaters, Amend had a week's worth of SW:SE strips running in papers, and that always blew my mind. The Best of Foxtrot isn't an incredible collection- Amend cherry picked the best strips and provides minimal commentary in the margins... but as an artifact of a strip I loved, it's nice to have on my shelf.
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Good Things for the week of 1/16 [Jan. 23rd, 2011|11:17 am]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
[Tags|]

UPDATING GOOD THINGS
It's been awhile since I updated this weekly column/list thing. I actually have a couple of them written, believe it or not, but Sunday nights (when I normally post) are always a crazy race toward getting ready for the week ahead. Ironing shirts, scanning comics for the week, making lunch... and this is on top of my normal schedule of getting the kids ready for bed.

I tend to think about my time living in Brooklyn with rose-colored shades. I forget about how lonely I was 80% of the time where I was lonely and feeling crazy about how badly I was doing as a teacher... but one area where I do not mythologize is the sheer amount of free time I had to draw and write.

The drawing was mainly my comic strips, but I did a WHOLE lot of writing as well. Not stuff I'd show to anybody- I've always gotten a lot more enjoyment out of noodling around with short stories and the novel and a half I've written than I feel I'd get forcing someone to read that gobbledegook, but the process has always been fun for me.

Anyhow, that time is normally gone, but I've managed to steal an hour or so right now. Ellen's going to see Burn the Floor with a friend, so she's leaving me alone for most of the morning. It's been fun, writing with no agenda.

SNOW STORM
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Yes, Southeast Ohio was attacked by an errant snow system this past week. Having school called off on Thursday was a foregone conclusion by Tuesday night- it was truly a mess out and it didn't seem as though a legion of plows would be able to make a dent in the many side streets that make up my school district. That's the main thing with snow days: the main roads are perfectly clean and drivable, but the many snaky suburban side streets are low priority for the plows. Since this is where people actually live, it's a no-brainer that school would be cancelled one day after a snow storm. Two days though? That's pretty impressive.

I was seasoned in New York City public schools, so I never expect snow days before they come and am always thankful for them when they're here. I will admit to getting a tad stir crazy by yesterday, but in my defense, both Elliot and Henry have decided to forego naps while I am at home. I don't know if they're willfully being difficult or if the weirdness of having me home unexpectedly has jarred them out of their normal sleeping patterns. All I know is, they're awake for most of the afternoon and super cranky. Other than that, the extended break has been lovely. I've gotten some drawing done, but otherwise I've been completely unproductive. It's bliss.
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IPAD IPAD IPAD

I believe I mentioned this somewhere else, but on Wednesday, my classroom received an iPad. I've spent the majority of the time during these snow days playing with the gadget and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It's nice for web-browsing, but I'm especially enjoying the Kindle app I downloaded. I've never given much thought to e-reading- we have two very nice libraries within driving distance and shelling out money for a Kindle or Nook or whatever didn't make much sense. It's the kind of thing that I would for sure have bought if I was still living in the city and commuting to work, but here in Ohio, it didn't make much sense.

I love it though. One of the things that gets under my skin about the library is their ordering schedule of books. While they're very good about ordering the bestsellers, they are occasionally slow to pick up big new releases. For example, I thought Bill Carter's sequel to The Late Shift was rather a big deal; I've been dying to read The War on Late Night since I heard it was being published.


Our library doesn't have a copy, and quite honestly, it's not the type of book I'm going to rush out to own a hardcover copy. I was prepared to wait 'til the paperback hit stores... but nope! $12 bucks and it's mine. I also snagged Patton Oswalt's new book as well.

HUMBUG
Lest we not leave traditional publishing aside, I found a really good deal on Fantagraphics slipcased two-volume edition of Harvey Kurtzman's Humbug.


I'm a big fan of MAD Magazine and I've always been curious about the handful of humor magazines that Kurtzman published after he left MAD. I've never read Trump or Humbug before last night. Of course, I normally wouldn't buy a fancy hardcover collection of some comics I've never read before, but the price was not only right, it was ridiculous. I found the collection at Half Price Books for $20 bucks, marked down from $60. If that wasn't enough, I had a nice gift card for most of the price. I think I paid about $4 bucks after using up the card. Although I haven't really jumped in, it looks to be an amazing presentation of the comics.
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five minute post: NYE day [Dec. 31st, 2010|03:58 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
began @ 3:53

Got back from Ravenna yesterday- the less said about the trip, the better. I got Swenson's hamburgers though, so that's a plus.

Elliot was SO unbelievably whiny on the car ride back to SE Ohio that we put him to be at like 5:30. The trade-off was simple: we got some time to ourselves last night, but E woke up CRAZY early this morning. Not fun.

I'm already starting to count down the days to school. I want to carve out a day between now and Tuesday where I get to sit down and write all my lesson plans for the month of January. We'll see if that happens or not.

I cannot believe how quickly the stores are booting the holiday crap out of the aisles this year. No shit, I sit here now eating from a bag of VALENTINE'S DAY M&M's and last night when I was at Wal-Mart, I saw a display of Easter Candy. EASTER CANDY. It is still DECEMBER.

We got a new stove today. I keep saying "stove" and Ellen says "oven". Whatever. It's $900 dollars worth of food-warming technology sitting in the kitchen waiting for its' maiden voyage. I was tempted to make cookies or brownies or something, just for bragging rights to be able to say I used it first, but I didn't want to do that to Ellen. Plus, we've got all sorts of sweets and stuff here already... like these Valentine's Day M&M's.
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2010 End of Year Survey [Dec. 29th, 2010|09:00 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
[Tags|]
[music |I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas]

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I taught 10th grade.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I had two resolutions last year: I wanted to read 50 books and I wanted to write more. I definitely read 50 books- my GoodReads tally brings me somewhere around 55, not counting comic book trades and graphic novels. I also did a lot more writing... just not necessarily on LiveJournal.

My new New Year's Resolutions are to try to swear less and to read 60 books.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one very close. Ellen's friend Emma had a baby this year, as did my old next-door neighbor Alexis. I wish 'em both well, but I'm not very close to either lady.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Well, Ellen's best friend's father died. Shannon was something of a fixture in our lives in Ohio. He rented us our first house when we moved here. He was genuinely a great guy and the world is poorer for having lost him. Besides Shannon, no. We squeaked by this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
ZERO COUNTRIES!

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I've applied for tenure at my school, and I would like to have that in '11. I'm hoping to get it before the very concept becomes extinct.

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 15th, 2010. That's the day I, as I was carrying Henry down the stairs, tripped. We both tumbled down the stairs and landed on the floor badly. Easily the worst day of my life.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I raised the reading levels of my 9th grade students, according to the Scholastic Reading Inventory. One could argue that the SRI scores aren't alone the measure of success for a teacher, but I was pleased.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I think one of my big failures continues to be running the student newspaper. It's the same thing every year- I start off with a large number of students who are dedicated and interested... and I simply do not have the time or the resources to cater to them all. By mid-year, most of the kids drop off and I'm left scrambling. This will hopefully get better in 2011-2012 school year, as it looks like I may be teaching a journalism class for the high school. We will see.

I also feel constantly out of my league as a father.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing Earth-shattering. I've been sick a couple of times. I threw my shoulder out or something in April and that was excruciating.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I think it's a tie between the new dishwasher and the grill... although the grill was a gift from my parents, so I guess I'd have to go with "washing machine". Oh, and we got the new MacBook. That's pretty good.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I know I'll sound like a broken record by the end of this thing, but Ellen is just the best wife and mother ever. She does an amazing job with the boys, she does terrific work at Gallery 42, and she continues to put up with me for some reason.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
As usual, a few work-related things could have gone a lot better with far less drama.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, mortgage, and food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?The Middletown Journal did a front page article on my class this year. Elliot started pre-school. Lots of cool DonorsChoose stuff, including havin' Neil Gaiman tweet about one of my projects.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I know this is about two years behind the curve, but "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. Elliot became obsessed with Lady Gaga this year and he listened to that CD over and over and over again.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or Sadder: Happier.
Thinner or Fatter: Thinner! I can't wear my wedding ring anymore, it doesn't fit on my formerly fat finger.
Richer or Poorer: Richer, although that is entirely do to a confluence of events (we sold a car, I was paid for the school newspaper). We are still relatively poor.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? 
I wish Ellen and I had more time to ourselves. By that I mean, I would like to go out with my wife more.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I wish I could do less brooding on the past. Every once and awhile, I'll get myself into a funk thinking about something stupid that I did when i was 22. I have no power to change something I did eight years ago, and yet I can mull over the embarrassment or shame for a good long while before I snap myself out of it.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
We spent Christmas in Mason with my parents and sister visiting from New York. The boys got more toys than they know what to do with. Ellen cooked her very first Christmas dinner. It was a good time.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I continue to be in love with the most amazing woman on the planet.

23. How many one-night stands?
Zero one night stands.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I suppose it would have to be Mad Men. Ellen and I had a pretty long-running streak of watching AMC this year, going from Mad Men to The Walking Dead. I also really enjoyed NBC's Community and look forward to return of Parks and Recreation.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I'm going to keep it professional and just say that while I do not hate anybody, I strongly dislike some people more now than I did last year.

26. What was the best book you read?
Well, you can look at my GoodReads profile here to see what I read in '10. Personal favorites include Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris, and The Passage by Justin Cronin.

I sort of quality comic books as their own thing separate from novels and books sans pictures, but if you're interested, the best graphic novel I read this past year was Smile by Rania Telgemeier

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?The Seedy Seeds which sounds like a made-up band name but they're really fun. We also listened to a lot of The Bird and the Bee in the house, but that was mostly their Hall and Oates cover album and Elliot really loved that one.

28. What did you want and get?
The Ghostbusters 2 toys from Toys R Us. 

29. What did you want and not get?
A new couch. The couch we have in our house right now is a complete embarrassment and only seats TWO people. When we have guests over, people have to sit on the floor. It's grossly stupid.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I've done this same survey every year since I've become a father and every year it bums me out. I used to see EVERYTHING, and this year I think I saw something like six movies in the theater. I have to give the nod to Toy Story 3. I have a lot of history with those movies and the third flick did NOT disappoint.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My actual birthday was kind of a mess. I wanted to eat at this old school steakhouse in West Chester and asked Ellen to get us reservations... she did not, and we couldn't get in. We spent the next couple of hours spinning our wheels and trying to figure out where we could eat at short notice. I was 29.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I feel like a geek for saying this, but there's not much that would have made 2010 more satisfying. When '10 goes into the books, I'm pretty contented with how things shook out for me and mine.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Consistent. Button-down shirts, slacks, and ties for work. Hoodies, tee-shirts, and jeans while at home.

34. What kept you sane?
Drawing. Reading good books. Ellen. 

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Christina Hendricks continues her long-running streak as the woman I most crush on in any medium.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I am so disgusted with politics right now that I'm constantly turning off the radio in the car. I guess I'd have to say the ongoing health care debate in this country, wherein Democrats kowtowed to Republicans so much that anything meaningful in the new plan was watered down to almost meaningless drivel.

I also anxiously await the kick in the nuts public schools are going to take in Ohio now that Republicans are in the drivers' seat.

37. Who did you miss? (in no particular order)
Mom & Dad & Laura. Melissa and Brad. Mary.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
It was really nice to meet Sally and Adam Stobbe. We haven't met any new people our age here in Mason, so they've been very cool.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
You can only help people when they want to be helped. If someone doesn't want help, you are wasting your time.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
As in 2008 and 2009, I don't have one, but I thought I'd leave the question up for anyone who would like to copy and paste this for their own. I always hate it when someone edits these things and then I'm left with a misnumbered and confusing survey. For example, this survey is missing many questions. The person I copied it from probably didn't take them out, but somewhere down the line there is some schmuck doing exactly that, and I don't want to be like him/her.
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Same Old Lang Syne: YOU be the judge! [Dec. 24th, 2010|04:20 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
[music |I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas]

I've got a new favorite shitty Christmas song.

Those of you who know me well probably know that before this year, my favorite shitty Christmas song was the confoundingly awful, inspired-by-a-mass-email, Christian ballad "The Christmas Shoes" by the awkwardly named NewSong. "The Christmas Shoes" has been in heavy rotation on the radio for a few years now but back in 2006 when the tune was still emerging from the ether from whence bad music comes in, I wrote a pretty thorough appraisal of the song, which can be found here if you're interested.

That blog post is one of the reasons why this bit from comedian Patton Oswalt makes me so very happy!



I won't take much reading for someone to realize I don't think very much of my skills as a writer OR thinker... but I've always admired Oswalt's hilarious take-downs of junk culture. If you did go and read my piddly journal entry from three years ago and then watch that YouTube video, you probably notice there are a lot of similarities. I know it's stupid, but it makes me sort of proud that I could come to a lot of the same comedic conclusions as one of my favorite performers completely independent of him. That's probably stupid, but whatever.

That being said, The Christmas Shoes is my OLD favorite shitty Christmas song. I have a new one. This song is one that I didn't hear much before last year; possibly it's been in heavy rotation on your easy listening Christmas radio station for years but I've only come across it in the past few weeks.

I cannot believe that this song is even considered a Christmas song, as it doesn't seem to have a fucking THING to do with the holidays beyond it's first verse, and only in a passing reference.

New new favorite shitty Christmas song is Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne"

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Chris, isn't Old Lang Syne pretty famously sung every New Year's?" Yes, you're right. I'll grant you that... if you grant me the fact that this song has NOTHING to do with that song until the cheesy, tacked-on saxophone solo at the end. Here look; I'll post a YouTube video of the song and, behind the cut, the lyrics (with some addendums from myself). You be the judge.

Same Old Lang Syne lyricsCollapse )

...and here's the song... and I think you'll agree, it's just perfect that the lyrics are presented in Comic Sans:



In all honestly, I do get why "Same Auld Lang Syne" has clawed its way into the world of holiday music. Somber Christmas songs are pretty much the norm when it comes to modern carols and certainly some of my favorites have either a bitter note to them (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas) or at least, a downbeat note to them (The Christmas Song is certainly not a super happy sounding song, although it deals with comforting holiday things). "Same Auld Lang Syne" just feels so canned and corny to me that I can't let it get past my Yuletide bullshit detector, which admittedly is formidable.

At any rate, Happy Holidays!
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Good things for the week of 12/12/10 [Dec. 12th, 2010|11:22 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
1. HENRY TURNS ONE
That's right, 365 days of Henry Owen as of this past Tuesday! We took him to see Santa on Tuesday, which wasn't a great birthday surprise:
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but he had a lot of fun at his birthday party today. We had an "all book" party; besides some toys from his Aunt Laura, Melissa, and Grandma and Pop-Pop, we asked for picture books for Henry.

2. SMALL VICTORY AT SCHOOL
We had to give a Benchmark Assessment at school this week. It's a standardized test, somewhat like the soul-crushing Ohio Graduation Test that my 10th graders (and every other student, now that I think about it) have to pass to graduate from high school. I've been working with two classes of 10th graders specifically to prepare for standardized tests like this. While I honestly question how much good a year-long test prep class is for students, I have to admit I was curious about how they'd do on this assessment.

Well, I still don't know how they did on the multiple choice (although I have to say, a casual glance leads me to believe it wasn't all that hot; lots of erased-out answers), but my students kicked all sorts of butt on the short answer. Not one of my students left any of the short answers blank, which is a HUGE deal. Most kids did pretty well on their answers too... at least all the answers I've graded so far.

3. WE HAVE A TWO HOUR DELAY TOMORROW
It's been snowing like crazy all day here and we got the call about an hour ago. I am hoping for a snow day; I've been so distracted by grading these benchmark tests that I didn't *ahem* have much time to plan tomorrow's lesson. I'm an idiot.
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Good things for the week of 12/5/10 [Dec. 5th, 2010|07:17 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
1. HENRY WALKED
...and I got to see it! Henry's taken the last week to begin standing in short bursts. The problem with Henry standing is that he's capable but he just doesn't seem to like it all that much. Usually, he'll start standing by accident; he will be leaning on Ellen and she'll move slightly and BOOM. Henry's standing, which he'll do for a number of seconds until he recognizes that he no longer has any support, at which point he'll either

2. WE SOLD A CAR.
By "we", I of course mean Ellen, as she's far smarter than me in almost all things and would, of course, be the one to accomplish something like this.

For about a year now, we've had THREE cars. My beater (a Toyota Corolla), Ellen's car (a far nicer Toyota ____) and a third, older Toyota Corolla. Gifted to us by Ellen's parents (who no longer needed it) the spare Corolla has been taking up space in our garage for months now. Ellen's been swearing up, down, and sideways that she was going to find a buyer for the car... and this week she did! We sold it back to a Toyota dealership in Fairfield for a very fair price. When you consider we were given the car for free... that price becomes all the more attractive. For the first time in a loooooong time, we have a sizable chunk of money to play around with. I think we're going to buy a new couch.

(In the interest of keeping this "Good Things", I will refrain from mentioning that we haven't received our money yet. Or that one of our remaining two cars OF COURSE decided to shit the bed this afternoon. ONLY GOOD THINGS!)

3. TEACHERS LOVE TEACHER COMICS
I think my comics had more appeal when they were "slice of life" strips dealing with things like my cat and disasterus dates. When I decided to make the comic solely about teaching, I knew that almost nobody was going to be interested in the topic. It's like a niche inside of a niche. That bein' said, this week I posted my "It Gets Better" strips in a couple of teacher forums (including LiveJournal's teaching community) and I was floored with how many people freaked out about the strip! I have no real plan or designs in regards to the comic, so my "self-promotion" is limited to the weekly link I make between LJ and the comic's proper website... but damn, getting the strip in front of an audience of teachers has been an eye-opening experience.

4. DONORSCHOOSE BONANZA
As I mentioned over at the comic blog, Borders was running a promotion where, by buying any item, you could get a $15 dollar gift certificate to help out schools on the DC website. I'll go into details some other time, but suffice to say, I had a HUGE haul, thanks to my family, friends, and readers of the comic. Conservatively, I believe I took in somewhere around $1200 dollars worth of new books for my classroom... with more to come, I'm sure.
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Good Things for the Week of 11/28/10 [Nov. 28th, 2010|10:10 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
1. OLLIE'S BARGAIN OUTLET

I love outlet and closeout shopping. On the first Thanksgiving that Ellen spent with my family, I made her friend Mary and Mary's mother laugh when, the day after Thanksgiving, on being asked where Ellen and I were going to spend the day, I said we were going out for hot dogs and shopping at Big Lots. I suppose that IS a little embarrassing, but the fact is I've loved closeout stores since college, where my limited buying power left me as a consumer.

Still, the fact is you can find AMAZING stuff at outlet stores. One time I found a MICHAEL BOLTON Christmas Ornament. Fact.

When we found Ollie's Bargain Outlet via an unassuming Black Friday ad and decided to drive over to Colerain to check it out. It was INSANE. Ollie's was like the best bargain basement store I've ever seen! We managed to find a couple of great gifts for the boys without spending crazy... and in fact, we found some gifts we already bought for the kids cheaper than we had already paid for them at Target.

2. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE

Ellen and I managed to wrangle a sitter, get a ride, buy a ticket on our budget, and we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 yesterday. I wrote about HP7 at length a few days ago... and the upshot is, I liked it. I thought it was (yes) a little long but overall, I was impressed with at the seriousness with which the script, the cast, and the production took the tone of the last book. I have no real nits to pick and I'm looking forward to Part 2 this summer.

3. MST3K GAMERA COLLECTION
As reported by MST3K Info and several other sources, Shout! Factory has obtained the rights for all five Gamera movies to be included in one big box set sometime in 2011. For those who don't know Gamera

he was a Godzilla knock-off from the 1960's who many in America know solely from the appearance of his movies on MST3K. They vary in quality... the first one is kind of OK, but there's a sharp decline into stupidity as the series rolled on.

Collecting whole sets of movies/episodes on Mystery Science Theater 3000 has always been a challenge- you'll never see season sets for the difficulty it takes. Further, it's not a challenge to see episodes of MST3K anymore- whereas at one time, you had to have VHS cassettes of old episodes if you wanted to see 'em, you have a whole bunch of options. Netflix Instant, YouTube, BitTorrent... you can see whatever episode you like with a minimum of work.

Still, I will absolutely be buying this set. It's a dream come true for MSTies. Now they have to work on getting the rights to all those horrible Sandy Frank movies.
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