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  • Archive for March, 2015

    Spring Break is Almost Over…Nooooo!

    2015 - 03.15

    My school district gives us a whole week off for spring break, and I have to say that it’s been refreshing to be able to do mostly nothing but read, write, RP, and work on bits and pieces of grading. I had originally planned to clean out some closets and maybe call the carpet cleaners and have my carpets cleaned. Unfortunately, my husband had other plans. He decided to revamp our home theater into something that isn’t such a mess of wires or takes up as much space. The problem is that he’s had a lot going on at work for spring break, so his project has kind of overtaken most of the house for the entire week rather than just a few days due to the things he’s had to do for his job. In other words, it’s a complete wreck here.

    But for the most part, I’ve enjoyed my time off. It was really bizarre because we had almost two weeks off for snow days right before the break, came back for a total of four days, had more snow dumped on us the week before spring break, and then dismissed for the rest of the week. What was even nicer was that I got out of duty for the rest of that week. However, it all melted off by my husband’s birthday on the 11th. Crazy.

    Speaking of birthdays, we spent his birthday over in Cape Girardeau where we ate at Outback at lunch, got two freebie loaves of the honey wheat bread they serve at your table, and we got two desserts. One came with Jesse’s meal combo, and the other was a free birthday ice cream.  Good grief we were so stuffed. We then decided to walk it off at Capaha Park over by the university. I brought a bag of cheap bread with me to feed the geese, and that was fun. They don’t like to be touched, as Jesse discovered. That was funny. After that, we found some geocaches. It was so nice and warm that we spent most of our day running around without the need for a coat or jacket. After a long, cold, snowy winter, that was nice. Now if only this rain would go away so that I can start throwing marigold seeds I got from Mom into my planters…

    The other notable thing I did during the break was that I had lunch with my good friend, Rachel Stiber, at Arby’s. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out her blog (see my blogroll), you need to. She has some good things she blogs about, including recipes that are to die for. Anyway, around when I first started working at O’Neal with her, and we were just becoming friends, she read my Pirates of the Caribbean fan fiction. She always loved the concept of the story and has been encouraging me for years to rewrite it into an original fiction. I finally decided to do just that. Rachel is a teacher at Junior High, and she is also a published author, so naturally, we talk teaching, writing, and stories. Rachel and I met for lunch two days this past week to brainstorm over my story, and so far, we’ve come up with some really good plot ideas, character changes, and even came up with some new characters. When I got together with her to discuss my story, I just got totally excited as we were planning and coming up with fodder. I haven’t written in the main heroine’s voice in years, so it will be very difficult to find her again once I begin the actual re-write. At this moment, I am back in my research and planning stage and studying up on Greek mythology (namely the Nereids), maritime stories, the British Royal Navy, and the Age of Sail in general.

    On Friday, after one of our brainstorming sessions at Arby’s, Rachel, her mother, and I went to see the new Cinderella movie at the theater. It was fairly decent. Richard Madden, the actor who plays Robb Stark on Game of Thrones, is actually really good-looking without the furs and beard. I would have never recognized him if Rachel hadn’t said anything about it. The movie itself was okay. I think it would have been a whole lot better if they made a version with the original Grimm Brothers ending. We’ll just say in that version, the stepsisters get what they deserve and then some. But that’s just me. I’m rather anxious to see the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, my all-time favorite fairy tale.

    So next week, I go back to school. It’s going to be absolute murder getting up early in the morning after sleeping in until almost noon every day. Plus I’ll miss being able to eat whenever I want and use the toilet when I want, which means I’ll have to retrain my “teacher’s bladder.” But I am teaching Romeo and Juliet for about the next five weeks along with poetry, so this will be absolutely fun. And since I don’t have to worry about EOCs this year, I can have the extra weeks to really do some writing assignments with them and spend more time on poetry. Hopefully, the rest of the school year will be smooth sailing — as long as it doesn’t flood.

    50 Shades of Grey: My Two Cents

    2015 - 03.04

    What is with all this hype about 50 Shades of Grey? Ever since I started seeing movie trailers on T.V. and hearing murmurs of excitement over the movie’s Valentine’s Day release, I’ve decided that this is a topic on which I need to throw in my two cents.

    Now before I begin my spiel, how about I provide you with some background of its origins and basic plot. 50 Shades of Grey actually began as a Twilight fan fiction titled Master of the Universe published under the author’s pseudonym, Snowqueen’s Icedragon. The central characters originally featured were Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, who are the main characters of the Twilight books. Now since many fan fiction sites such as fanfiction.net prohibit the publication of what is essentially porn, the author was asked to take down the story due to its explicit sexual nature. E.L. James (the author) then published it on her website, but later she went back and reworked the story into an original fiction and renamed the characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.

    The basic plot (if you can call it that) is essentially this: Anastasia Steele is an undergraduate journalism major who is asked by a friend of hers to interview the über rich, young, and successful Christian Grey for a magazine article. Christian is instantly attracted to Anastasia, or Ana, as she is called, and eventually they begin dating. Now here is why the plot of the story is essentially referred to as “Mommy Porn:” Christian basically coerces Ana into engaging in the BDSM lifestyle with him, and he asks her to sign a non-disclosure agreement saying that she cannot discuss anything they do together. Essentially, the majority of the “plot” is centered around sex and the BDSM lifestyle.

    Here is where my two cents comes in. Throughout the book, Christian exhibits the textbook symptoms of an abuser. He tracks her every move, almost completely isolates her from her friends, especially from those of the opposite sex, yet he lavishes her with expensive gifts while making her fulfill her role in his BDSM lifestyle. What bothers me about this story (if you can call it that) is that it is the glorification of misogyny and abuse in the clever guise of a “romance.” This is not romance! My friend, Rachel, made some great points (all of which I agree with) on her blog post that weighs in on this very topic. She said, “Pretend that the male character is not wealthy, but a blue-collar average Joe and the rest of the story remains the same. Would it still have the same appeal? Um . . . no. Let’s face it; the only reason some ladies are fawning over Christian Grey is because he’s supposedly wealthy and sexy. Double standard? You betcha.”

    Okay, so it’s pretty well every woman’s fantasy at some point to become involved with a hot, wealthy rich man and be whisked off in his Gulfstream to exotic places and never have to work again. But the thing that aggravates me is that this book is dubbed a “best selling romance.” There is nothing romantic about a man who controls his significant other through stalking and intimidation. It’s mental and emotional abuse. And if you’re the type of person who happens to be into BDSM, I’m not judging you, but from what I understand, this book isn’t even an accurate depiction of that.

    From a teacher’s perspective, what concerns me the most about this ” romantic literature” is the fact that many impressionable teenage girls will read this smut and walk away with the impression that it’s normal for a man to control them. It’s normal for a man to stalk them and prohibit them from seeing their friends. It’s normal for a man to intimidate them. It’s normal to submit to a man and be treated as a doormat and not as a companion. Is this really what we want teenage girls to learn? And what about boys who are brave enough to enter the deep, dark pages of this book? Do we want them to learn that this is okay? That a woman is on this planet to submit to the man as a personal possession and not an equal partner? I think not!

    If you like 50 Shades of Grey, then that’s fine. If you like sadomasochism, then that’s fine, too. I am not judging you. I just don’t feel that a “story” like this should ever qualify as romance. If you think this is romance, then I suggest you invest in a self-help book. Women want equality, not a double standard.