Photo Reflection of the Day #79: How Much Is That Building In the Window?



What Is It

A picture of a building reflecting in the wall of another.

Why It's Today's Pick

I got into Providence today rather early for a conference (we know this is my M.O.) and wandered around downtown Providence.   There were a few different sights to capture but I liked seeing the reflection of the building in this photo. For some reason, it makes me think more concretely (pun intended) about the idea of whether a city has a soul or not and if it did, could it see it in its own reflection.  Beyond that, I just enjoyed walking around tall and unknown buildings of a downtown area.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Running Update

So I've been rather quite on the running front of late.  The last I posted on running was way back in August when I was talking about my recovery.  I continued running through the fall and completed the Baystate Marathon, though came in around the same time as the year before, which was disappointing but there wasn't much I could do about it.  However, I have been running pretty consistently since then and am looking forward to another season of running.

Monthly Running Mileage.
Monthly Running Mileage.
I'm mostly itching to get outside and start running.  I've been running for months but it has been all on the treadmill.  I've learned to tolerate the treadmill pretty decently, so long as I had Netflix to get me through it.  January and February were less than stellar.  I blame that mostly on moving in late January coupled with the start of the semester and of course, blizzard season. March has me in much finer form and the forthcoming months will be more successful in this regard.

I'm also itching to get another crack at a half-marathon and beat the 2:00 mark.  I'm so close and I feel like I have a solid strategy and comfort level with the half-marathon that I will do it this year.  Meanwhile on the marathon front, I just hope I get in enough long-runs that I can get under the 4:20 mark come this fall when I tackle the Baystate Marathon for the third year.

Anywho, for those interested in the runs that I'm signed up for, here they are!

Moose on the Loose Half Marathon

Nashua, New Hampshire
Sunday, April 12
http://www.mooseontheloosehm.com/

Maine Coast Marathon

Sunday, May 10
http://mainecoast262.com/

Triple Threat Half-Marathon

Sunday, August 2
http://www.yukanrun.com/TripleThreat.html

Half Marathon by the Sea

Sunday, September 27
http://www.yukanrun.com/Half-Marathon-by-the-Sea.html

Baystate Marathon

Sunday, October 18th
http://baystatemarathon.com/

So what races are you signed up for?  What are some of your running goals this year?




Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #78: First Outside Run Map



What Is It

A map highlighting my first run outside this morning since last year.

Why It's Today's Pick

I have my first half-marathon in two weeks.  I definitely have the endurance to do it (I ran twelve miles yesterday).  However, I've done all my running inside on the treadmill.  I realized that I needed to get out and start running outside, so I forced myself out of the house at 6:00am or so to go out for a run.  The route you see above is what I did, though I originally had another route in mind.  I opted for this because it took me through downtown Salem and down to Winter Island, which is always a favorite of mine.  It was great to run outside.  Not only was the temperature pretty reasonable (30s--though running over the Beverly/Salem Bridge was rough with the wind), but I managed to get in some hills (like said bridge) which hasn't happened while running on the treadmill.  It was definitely refreshing and gave me a good start to the day.  Now, I just need to keep it up!

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #77: #SelfieSunday #13



What Is It

Selfie-sunday with side profile.


Why It's Today's Pick

I went with the side profile for a change.  However, it was a pain in the but to get.  I don't have the most steady of hands and so trying to take the picture while holding it still with one arm proved challenging.  I figured I would take a look from the side.  I'm not quite sure why my ear happens to be so red.  But this angle proves interesting for other reasons.  The first is that my forehead was a slight divot to it.  If you follow the curve of the forehead from the top, it does in just slightly before going outward  as it gets to my eyebrows.  The most curious contrast though is between my hair on my head--largely brown (though a few hints of whites, I think) and my beard which seems much more reddish by contrast.  On my eyebrow, if you look closely, you can still see the two holes in it from when I had my eye brow pierced.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #76: Cookie's Fortune



What Is It

A photo of a fortune cookie that reads, "Fear is interest paid on a debt you may not owe."

Why It's Today's Pick

The fortune cookie was a pretty easy choice for today's picture.  I went out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant with my colleagues and this was my fortune at the end.  I found it a curious fortune for me to get because I generally don't think of myself as carrying around a lot of fear.  At least not to my knowledge.  However, as I started to write a quasi-self-righteous post about why I don't carry fear, I began to reflect and realize that there are times when I'm rushing or feel anxious about something I'm engaged in.  When I give myself the chance and step back, I can trace the rushing and anxiousness to some element of fear.  Sometimes, it's small stuff or familiar stuff, and on occasion, it's completely something I didn't even realize that I was holding onto.  So I can would only add to this that it's not only a debt you may not owe--it may be interest you're paying without even realizing it.   


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #75: A Sun Tree



What Is It

The sun rising on the Danvers campus of North Shore Community College.

Why It's Today's Pick

I captured this photo and a few others when I got to the campus today.  It was curious that where I initially stood, the sun didn't look like it was up, but then when I walked over to this spot, it looked like it had risen past the horizon.  I took a few shots with the sun aligned and not aligned with the tree.  I liked this one because it actually looks like the sun is cutting into the tree, which is a pretty cool effect.  I also like the contrast of the whitish snow in the foreground.  This contrasts nicely with the sun cutting through the tree because it seems provides a sense of fire and ice.  I also like the dark and tangled branches surrounding the sun.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #74: That Lil Extra Push!



What Is It

The screen on my treadmill after completing 6 miles.


Why It's Today's Pick

The weather hasn't quite picked up in terms of me being able to run outside, but I have attempted to still step up with the running.  I've signed up for 3-4 half marathons and one marathon and therefore need to get my running going.  This last week I got myself back to running 10 minute miles (including doing 10 miles at 10 minute miles).  But not every day is easy.  Today was a struggle to get to 6 miles in an hour.  I fought with myself pretty hard and came close to slowing down or quitting.  There was no fatigue or pain to speak of--just the some-times nagging voice telling me to skip the workout or not do as much.  I don't manage to conquer that voice every time it comes--I succumb to it more than I would like.  But today, I beat it and so my photo of the day is my accomplishment.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License

Changing Lives Through Literature Post

I recently wrote another post for the Changing Lives Through Literature blog.  Here is the post--feel free to follow the link and get all 10 tips for reading!

"The following is a handout I provide for participants on the first meeting to help them think about literature and how the program runs. What they receive is the numbered items, and the text below each is usually what I explain as we go over the handout.


1. Learning is a building exercise, not a filling station.

The research increasingly shows that one’s approach to learning can be pivotal to their ability to learn. To this end, it’s important to understand that learning is something they can continue to do throughout their lives and that their mind is not necessarily finite. Basically, so long as they maintain a belief that they can learn, they will continue to learn.

I make this point first because we often carry the limited view in our heads about our learning abilities and I hope to help them break negative expectations about their ability to do well in this program and life in general.


2. Reading fiction further develops your empathy and understanding.

Reading is often the closest thing we have to being put into someone else’s mind or to learn another’s point of view. By immersing ourselves in fiction, it helps us to stretch our mind and understand the world around us. Emphasizing the importance of empathy, I go further and explain that it’s more than just a “feel-good” emotion to connect with other people. Being able to understand and connect with other humans allows us to make better decisions, as well as present ourselves better in situations."

For the full post, feel free to visit the Changing Lives Through Literature blog!

Photo Reflection of the Day #73: Day Or Night at Gillis Park Beach



What Is It

A shot of the beach at Gillis Park in Beverly, MA in the afternoon.


Why It's today's Pick

I took a bunch of photos on my first venture down to the waterfront at Gillis Park in Beverly, a small little park right around the corner from our place.  with much more of the snow gone, it was easier for us to walk down and take a look around for the first time since we've moved here.  I got in a lot of shots and choosing today was hard, but I went with this one.  I took it initially because I liked the reflection that ran from the water to the sand.  However, when I was going to post it, I looked at the black and white filter and found it to be even more fascinating as this shot could potentially read as day or night, which I found to be pretty cool as well.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

CFP: Teaching Popular Culture

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is seeking papers on popular and American culture, broadly construed, for its annual fall conference to be held on Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015, on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.  NEPCA prides itself on holding conferences that emphasize sharing ideas in a non-competitive and supportive environment.  We welcome proposals from graduate students, junior faculty, and senior scholars.  NEPCA conferences offer intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects.
Black and white photo of an old classroom.  Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-13055-0008,_Hohendorf,_JP_mit_Dorflehrer.jpg

In particular, I am the chair of the Teaching and Popular Culture area and I'm really interested in hearing about and seeing the different ways instructors use popular culture in their courses--be it their core curriculum or even courses on popular culture.  If you have some ideas about a panel as a whole or individual papers that you would like to present on regarding this area, please be sure to submit.  A larger goal of this area is to create a place to foster ideas and approaches to teaching popular culture, regardless of the discipline.

NEPCA Fall Conference information, including the paper proposal form, can be found here.  Please submit the form, including a brief CV and abstract, located on the site.  Both proposals for individual papers and complete panels will be considered.  Please direct any questions to either 2015 Program Chair Kraig Larkin (kraig.larkin@colby-sawyer.edu) and/or to the appropriate Area Chair.  For a complete list of Area Chairs, please visit the NEPCA website.   The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2015.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #72: #SelfieSunday #12



What Is It

Post-10 mile run and show, selfie!


Why It's Today's Pick

Any Sunday, another selfie.  This one was taken as I finished running ten miles on the treadmill with ten-minute miles (a happy accomplishment for me) and showered, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.  As we can see, we're getting into the 3rd week of going without shaving.  It looks manageable--less scruffy but not too unmanageable like it will be by next week.  I think between the shower and the white background, I look a wee bit pinker than I might usually look.


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #69: Avoiding Plastic Bottles



What Is It

The number count of how many plastic bottles have not been used as a result of using the bottle station at the water fountain.


Why It's Today's Pick

Every day when I go to fill up my water canteen, I look at this at the water fountain on the Danvers Campus of North Shore Community College.  I've watch this number grow over the last few years from under 100 plastic bottles to nearly 16000.  That's exciting, though when I compare to the one on the Lynn Campus, it is dwarfed by comparison.  In part, it's because the Lynn fountain is in an area that the majority of people who enter the building are likely to pass.  By contrast, this one is hidden away at the end of the cafeteria where only few people visit.  So to me, it seems like a sad number--a number that could be higher, were more people aware of it and it was in a more consistent place.  I also wonder if such green initiatives couldn't be more actively encouraged as positive behaviors such as the school acknowledging and nudging people to get the number as high as possible.  Sure, someone might try to do this by wasting water but many would have an added incentive to use it--after all, we all like to see that we have an impact and something like this does that in a very simple and clear way.


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #68: My Grandmother's Art



What Is It

A photo of a piece of art that my grandmother painted.


Why It's Today's Pick

This painting hangs in our kitchen.  It used to hang in the previous apartment, which is also where my grandmother lived for some 15 years while I was growing up.  I like the fact that I have something from her that reveals one of her many skills and interests.  She was such a fascinating woman--she danced, she painted, she played the organ, and many other things that I didn't know about.  I just knew her as Gram--my grandmother who lived downstairs and played Go Fish or War with or watched Murder, She Wrote, or who made awesome cookies.  So I like to have this in my house as a reminder of her.  I also like the picture itself--a road in the country side.  At times, I imagine myself walking down such a road, trying to take in all the information that the painting provides--the wind, the smell, the colors.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Recent Post from LETS Blog: A Simpler Solution to Tablets and Laptops

The follow blog was posted recently on the NSCC LETS Blog and it's about my approach to using laptops and tablets in the classroom.

"David von Schlichten mentioned in his recent Conversation blog post on The Chronicle that he is fine with students using their digital devices to do whatever they want in the class and that it is their choice to engage or not engage. I can appreciate that hands-off approach but I agree with some of the commentators that while it may work for the instructor, it is likely to be challenging for other students in the classroom and they may be distracted. This point was made obvious to me when a student was once caught watching inappropriate material in my class. Granted, it was likely way more interesting than whatever I was teaching at the time, but his peers ratted him out by the astonished and bemused looks on their faces."

For the rest of the article, please visit the blog!


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #67: #SelfieSunday #11



What Is It

Post-run/post-shower selfie.


Why It's today's Pick

After finishing a run, I took the necessary shower and so decided I would take a selfie, being all fresh and clean.  I meant to take a selfie of sorts earlier when I was doing an interview with Josh Kornbluth, but it slipped my mind because I was so excited to be talking to him via Google Hangouts.  Anywho, it's curious to take photos in this new apartment where it so bright and my skin then becomes a large reflective surface of sorts.  I think of this in contrast to my photos I tried to take in the previous (basement) apartment, where flash was almost always necessary.  When I look at this photo, I have to wonder what a caricature artist would do with it.  I've never had one done but I'm curious what he or she would choose.  I used to think I have big ears, but you almost don't even see them here.  I often think my forehead is huge but then this photo makes me wonder about my nose.  Maybe one of these Sundays, I'll do a self-portrait or a caricature artist draw me.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #66: Sunrise at UMASS Boston



What Is It

Sunrise from in front of the Campus Center at UMASS Boston.


Why It's Today's Pick

As people know, I can be notoriously early, especially when it entails traveling to places.  My philosophy is that if I get there early, then I don't have to deal with traffic nearly as much and I can always find things to entertain myself.  On regular occasion, it provides such an opportunity as to watch the sunrise in all it's glory.   The morning wasn't cold by usual standards of late (in the mid-20s and slightly windy); it was cold for me for I didn't bring my hat (for my bald head) and gloves.  So when I wandered outside about 15 minutes prior to sunrise (should tell you how early I got to the campus for an event that started at 9am), I was definitely feeling the burn of the ice.  However, I stuck through until the sun was firmly above the horizon, snapping photos and video to capture it.  I found this to be the most striking photo of the lot, with the sun just got largely over but not above the horizon and the great range of colors available.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #71: Snowy Train Tracks



What Is It

A show of MBTA train tracks in Beverly.


Why It's Today's Pick

I was walking over to the Beverly Comic-Con (No worries if you missed it--I barely knew it was happening--or that it was it's second year) and crossed an overpass that goes over the train tracks.  I've wanted to get a good shot of these as I'm always fascinated and curious with train tracks; it speaks to the influence the Stand By Me and later on, Station Agent had on me.  And there just seems to be something about train tracks with snow that is mesmerizing to look at.  Maybe it's the mixture of the power of nature to change things (water into snow) combing with humanity's ability to change things (the landscape) that make it so striking and intriguing to look at and ponder.  In this photo as well, the stark contrast between the dark metal of the rails and the white--freshly fallen snow, also provide a great visual.


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #65: Slick Water



What Is It

A stream of water from melting snow with a layer of oil to it.


Why It's Today's Pick

As a child, I was always mesmerized by oil and water when it came together in little pools in potholes or unleveled ground.  It fascinating to see the swirling of water and oil and the colors that came from it.  And yet as an adult, I look at this and though those nostalgic feelings still pull at me, there's also a feeling of dread when I watch this river of melting snow with it's sustained oil-slick moving along it.  I think about the issues of climate change and how so much of it is like this oil slick--occasionally, visible in certain lights and pockets, but largely invisible.  That is, all of this oil is embedded around us, but it's only when the snow transitions to water and slips into sewers, streams, and oceans do we actually see it--and even then, only momentarily.  The rest of the time, we just experience the results of this persistent pollution.


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

Photo Reflection of the Day #64: #ShareThis2015 Class 3



What Is It

Title slide of my slide deck for my last session of #ShareThis.


Why It's Today's Pick

It's the final day of this course and like my credit-classes, the end is both a mixture of excitement and regret.  The excitement is that we've made it to the end--we've completed something.  The sadness is  in that ending a class is a parting of ways.  There's a hope within me that the students will take what they have learned and test out social media by Tweeting at me or something along those lines.  That in some ways will signify success.  There's also regret because like any course I am excited and passionate about, there is always more to share and tell.  Teaching is sometimes frustrating in that regard is that some subjects there is just so much to talk about and share, but so little time to do it.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

My Top 101 Films Part 5 (of 10)

So remember this series that I started way back when before life got a lil crazy!  Here we are at the half-way mark!  Anyone still here?  Let's hope!  I'm rather enjoying this trip down memorable movie lane!  Here's the running list of previous entries!

Happiness (1998)

Films that deal with hard topics in honest ways, showing nuance and complexity are fantastic.  It is why I appreciate independent films.  Many mainstream films do not have the time, gumption, or interest in delving into the complexity of everyday life.  Hence, Happiness make it onto my list.  The film follows a family and their intersections with happiness--particularly through the lens of sexual and relational happiness.  It's a powerful film because in all of the sexual issues covered (including BDSM, infidelity, developing sexuality, pedophilia, apathy), it does its best to not present it in a straightforward black and white manner, but rather explores the different levels and elements to each.  In some cases, it does condemn (as in the case of the pedophile) but not without trying to provide some insight and understanding.  This is not to excuse but to recognize that somehow mixed upon in such deviant behavior is an aspiration of happiness (which is the tragedy of it all).  This is a hard film for many to watch but worth it, if you want to look at the subject matter in a different light.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


Hard Candy (2005)

DVD Cover - Hard Candy
Here is a film that flips the idea of predator and prey on its head and provides a fascinating discussion of agency.  The film centers around a young teenager (portrayed by the phenomenal Ellen Page) who befriends and visits a man who is much older than her.  He brings her back to his house where he attempts to seduce her.  However, the young woman is more than she initially lets on.  The game of cat and mouse is flipped and the predatory male becomes the hunted as she drugs, confines, torments, and reveals all his secrets.  In many ways it is an unrealistic film, but it is one that powerful flips the dynamic of young women as victims.   The trailer for this film can be found here.


Harvey (1950)

DVD Cover - Harvey
Besides being a Jimmy Stewart film, which means it has great potential, the film itself is a fun but at times dark frolic into the world of eccentricities.  Elwood P. Dowd has a friend, Harvey, who is a six foot bunny that no one but he can see.  What's fascinating about the film is how well and genuine Stewart interacts with the invisible Harvey and how much this creates angst for the rest of his family.  More so, in some of the film's more somber moments, Stewart's dialogue with Harvey cuts deep for viewers.  Stewart's good-natured Dowd makes him such a loveable character and yet, so many people around him feel threatened by his attitude and of course, Harvey.  Yet, they are all complicit in this for they placate him without ever speaking to their inability to see Harvey.  Overall, the film makes us rethink the nature of eccentricity and sanity.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


Hotel Rwanda (2004)

DVD Cover - Hotel Rwanda
Of course, any film that tackles genocide is bound to leave a lasting impression, but I found this one to be more striking than others.  That's not to slight other films on the subject, but I just connected and was moved more by this on.  Don Cheadle's performance is excellence.  I appreciate that the film doesn't entirely try to paint Paul as a saint or as someone whose background helped him to do what he did.  That he largely lacks an origin story makes him an ideal "everyperson" for audiences to think about.  In truth, many of us are not likely to be Pauls in such situation but the film does show us how it could be done.  I think I like the film so much because it captures a lot of Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


I'm Not Scared (2003)

DVD Cover - I'm Not Scared
I remember the first time I watched this film, I was rather surprised.  I didn't anticipate to be as engaged as I was.  I approached it with the false idea that a title like "I'm Not Scared" was a challenge to the viewer.  But I did indeed find myself scared for the protagonists.  The story follows a boy in an Italian village who stumbles upon another boy chained up in an abandoned house.  As he tries to figure out what to do, he unlocks some rather dark skeletons in his town.  The film captured me because it has such beautiful moments wherein the trapped boy was experiencing the outside world coupled with an idyllic childhood world and contrasted with the dubious deeds of adults.  It all comes together quite well.  It's also a novel by the same name from Niccolo Ammaniti and the novel is equally solid.  I wouldn't say better as they both tell the tale well.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Now, I get that this is a Christmas classic and people either roll their eyes or their eyes sparkle with excitement.  I never watched this movie through when I was a kid.  I saw bits and pieces of it, but sometime in my 20s, I finally watched it.  It was a solid film and reminded me of Citizen Kane; it's a film better appreciated as one gets older.  Jimmy Stewart, who is mentioned just a few films up does a fantastic job as George Bailey, trying to escape but finding in the end, there is no place like home.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


Jimmy Neutron (2001)

DVD Cover - Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius
This one probably seems like a bit of a curveball compared to the other films on this list (ok, maybe not).  But I just want to remind people there are my top films, not the best films out there.  That would be a bit of a different list.  It's funny when I first watched Jimmy Neutron, I watched it passively, while doing other things.  However, at the time, I was working at a video store and we could occasionally play movies, but they had to be G or PG.  So I popped this one in.  It was either a slow night or watching the film was a way to disconnect from people dishing out the typical complaints for that night.  Whatever it was, I found the movie to be delightfully quirky and goofy.  It had plenty of flat jobs, but also strange and amusing commentary such as references to llamas, the chicken dance, and jokes that could work for adults or children.  From that night forward, I would constantly play the film, much to the chagrin of my fellow workers.  The trailer for this film can be found here.


King Kong (1933)

DVD Cover - King Kong
Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, TBS, USA, and TNT were known for their movie-marathons on Saturday and Sunday.  Often enough, they would play the classic giant monster films of the 1950s-1960s.  This led me to have a profound love of giant monster movies and King Kong is, of course, a giant among giants.  It's a curious film with a level of complexity that some don't give it credit for.  Yes, there's the overwhelming racist elements of the film and those are hard to ignore or forgive.  Besides the depiction of Chinese as represented by the chef, the Pacific Islanders of Skull Island somehow ending up being black as Africans and Kong, himself, seems the embodiment of the African American experience.  But I find it curious that the film has shifting protagonists throughout the film.  At different times, the audience is rooting for both the humans and Kong, even though they are antagonists to one another.   The special effects may not hold up today are still pretty impressive for the time.   The trailer for this film can be found here.


L'Age D'Or (1930)

There's not much to describe about this film's plot; it's the epitome of surrealism, which is why it's a delight to watch and be baffled with.  I first encountered it years ago in a course on contemporary European history that I took.  It is not a film for the straightforward.  Best of all, the film is now available online for free.  I appreciated the chaotic nature of the film and the deep desire for anyone watching it to try to make coherent sense of it, only to mostly fail.  


The film can be found for free here.

Labyrinth (1986)


DVD Cover - Labyrinth
There are many things from the 1980s that I forget or shun in embarrassment.  However, Labyrinth is a film that I somehow missed when growing up.  I loved watching Dark Crystal and Neverending Story, but somehow missed this film until I was in high school.  Of course, then I was completely hooked.  The puppet-based fantasy is a genre that engrossed me and many of my ilk that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s.  Yes, there are times when you can see strings and times when it's clearly cheesy, but it felt so real and magical and still lingers with us decades later.   Now, most people can't seem to forget the epic package of David Bowie in the leather-tight pants.  That is indeed hard to forget, but the moment I knew I loved the movie is when we first meet Hoggle and he is pissing in the well.  I can only say that I appreciated that in a children's film, they were willing to include this scene.  I still giggle about it today. The trailer for this film can be found here.


Your turn!  What are some of your favorite films and why?  Post them in the comments!




Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.