Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Week Gone By

Wow, it's been a whole week since I wrote anything here. What a week, too!

My math teaching is done for the school year. Final exams were given and graded. Students did pretty well.

Then I decided to collapse for a few days. My wife was out of town on a business trip. So I watched some movies. She does not enjoy watching movies as much as I do, so this was opportune timing.

I saw X-men 3 at the mall. That was surprisingly good. I had heard it did not meet the standards set by the first two because the old director had left to do Superman Returns. Probably true; it was not as good. But it was good enough, and thought provoking. The clever gimmick of the X-men comic has always been the flexibility with which "mutant" was used to represent any kind of social taboo -- originally simply being a teenager, and later many other issues. The movie handled that quite well, with a multiplicity of analogies but no overall message. My only regret was that the movie made Magneto a jerk instead of keeping him noble yet misguided.

Then I watched a new anime (Japanese cartoon). The local public library has someone on staff who loves anime, so I can freely borrow almost any good anime series. Like American cartoons, most anime is junk, but some of it is truly exceptional. Clearly exceptional is The Last Exile, the only anime adventure story I'd put in that category.

For those who care, the other two exceptional anime series I've seen are Haibane Renmei (about a girlwho is sort of an angel trying to figure out who and where she is; a deep story about sin, guilt, and forgiveness) and Serial Experiments Lain (a science fiction version of the Book of Revelation, confusing not only because that book is confusing but also because the viewer is not initially sure when characters are being made to hallucinate by the false Lain). The other I've checked out of the library and found interesting was Macross Plus, which almost (but not quite) becomes an interesting multi-faceted commentary on human impulsiveness versus mechanical precision, but unfortunately degenerates into guys fighting things with flying combat robots.

Besides movie watching, I cleaned up the house, prepared a sermon and led Shabbat services, attended a math department party in honor of three teachers who retired, and caught up on sleep.

I've stopped playing the computer game America's Army because my computer cannot handle it well, but while at the mall I picked up the old Call of Duty to try instead. I've only played it about half an hour, it seems a potentially decent substitute.

This summer my wife and I are participating in a "farm food box" program with Winter Green Farm. Every Tuesday we get a box of organic produce, and sometimes jam or other goodies. So far it's been fun, but of course it does not average out to be cost-effective until later in the season.

And that's almost all for now...