The Updates #11

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Week 11 of the updates and going strong!  

3 Halloween ornaments on a table: A scarecrow, an owl, and a ghost
The Halloween Trio

19 interviews completed and several more scheduled; I still need 2-3 more tenure or tenure-track faculty. The final mile definitely is the most challenging so I cannot emphasize it enough, if you can share the call with people, please do!  I
f you're looking to help, feel free to learn more on the research study page and consider reaching out to your faculty or consider resharing/reposting my calls on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or Reddit.   For more information, you can always check the research study webpage.

I think I've found my rhythm this week and was able to do day-to-day work as well as make progress on the bigger stuff.  I also had some great interactions with students.  One student (in her first semester) shared with me her project (this past week, all students did presentations on their projects).  She was so excited and as she shared it, it made me realize that I knew someone I could put her in contact with for additional insight. Another student mentioned in passing that a previous conversation I had with her was influential in how she thought about her presentation around her project.  That was great to learn.  

I was also speaking at Urban College of Boston with their amazing faculty about approaching hybrid learning.  You can check out the 30 minute video here!

What I'm Reading

Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo: A deep dive into the understanding social justice and its many nuances. I appreciated that they worked to tackle this very many different angles (race, gender, ableism, class, etc) and did well to draw out moments of clarity where people can often be tripped up.  They provided clear accessible language and also built upon it. A solid text for anyone who is starting out, looking to fill gaps, or find solid examples and frameworks to discuss social justice.

Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson: For some reason, I thought this was the book that the Netflix series was based on and was completely wrong. Vampires have mostly taken over Europe and the US. Their methods are organized and intentional.  But when an outcast priest, his outsider niece, and a nun with a penchant for chemistry team up, they decide to take on the vampires and fight back.  It's not a great novel by any means and there are parts of it that rub; but the tale is pretty solid if you dig vampires and want something that has a good approach to it.

Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross: I can tell you when I fell hard for Fantastic Four.  It was Fantastic Four #371 (didn't even have to look it up); it was an all-white cover and the story explores Johnny Storm as he looses his cool and explored in the park.  From there on, I was hooked.  But it's been years since I've read a Fantastic Four story and appreciated that Ross did something really good it.  He found a way of channeling the essence of early story-telling of the Fantastic Four (strange thing occurs which triggers Reed to science it out and off to the Negative Zone they go), connect with past stories, visually bring readers along on a panorama of intriguing imagery, and end on a note that feels like it speaks to the present.  

What I'm Watching

 Ok--I doubted but I am glad they delivered on the finale with breaking the 4th wall (and that's all I'll say--go watch it!). The series finale had a lot of good tying up, setting up, and laughs (Smash Daredevil!!!).    
In the foreground, a lantern with red lights and behind it, a chair with a a pillow that has a black cat with witch's hat standing in front of the moon
Halloween...with lights!

: Andor's season finale was less engrossing.  It felt too formulaic, obvious, and mostly set up for another season.  I'm not sure what I was hoping for but its different stories didn't really fit well together (here's looking at you, Mon Mothma).  Maybe I had higher hopes than I should have.  

House of Dragon: Oh good, more incest, infighting among family, and misdirects.  I dunno--I'll watch this out of habit and it will keep me entertained but the show has no heart (though lots of blood pumping). Nothing of the show screams "this is much better than the other show we about this place!".

Avenue 5: One part Gilligan's Island (3 hour tour) with Space Force.  The Avenue 5 is taking its maiden voyage around Saturn when an accident kills an essential crew member and throws the ship off its trajectory, changing their trip to a 3 year trip.  The show does the typical of putting together a bunch of different quirky and ridiculous characters to increasing inanity.  The laughs sometimes hit a good rhythm.  In truth, the biggest laughs are the caskets (you'll know it when you get to it).  I dunno know what but I just keep laughing every time they bring up the caskets.  

Train to Busan: We had a Halloween party and some folks recommended it. It's a solid zombie flick and one that largely happens (as the title suggests) on a train. It continues to remind me that South Korea can do some great work (Squid Game, Parasyte) and that other cultural takes on Zombies offer up some (pun intended) stellar brain power.  

This Week's Photos

The Halloween Trio:These three figurines were decorations for our house that my mother-in-law brought over to help us add some ambiance to our party this weekend.  They happened to be aligned on the table and I thought they made for a perfect shot; the black and white filter also made them feel a bit more haunting than they might have otherwise.  

Halloween...with Lights: My partner gets really excited for Halloween and so sough to decorate inside and out.  On the back porch, I happen to catch this alignment and thought it was a solid shot of Halloween at our house.

What's on My Mind

Halloween Party:  We had our first Halloween Party (yes, we're haivng 2--don't judge!) and while it was the process of getting lots ready and cooking, it was also great to have people over in our house, eating, talking, and watching a movie together. It's always a question of balance and what is the right amount of different things; there's angst about chemistry as we begin to mix friends we've had in Massachusetts with friends we're making in Rhode Island or work friends.  But this go-round went well and I'm glad we did it.  

1 year at the house:  We also passed the 1 year mark since we bought the house and moved it. I still hold a lot of skepticism about "owning" a house and the way it is valued (literally and metaphorically) in our society.  Also, I have deeply appreciated living here this past year in this particular house and all the ways it has given us a home that we really love.   

Till next week...

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