Saturday, September 28, 2013

What-What?! Week of September 29th

This week was pretty ho-hum.  The husband is now done with his mid-week market, which is a fantastic relief, both in terms of work schedules, and just the stress of having to run both morning and evening markets.  My job is pretty well the same; what was frustrating about this past week is that the afterschool leaders were never given materials to do 3 of the 5 craft projects, and so there were several days that we had to make up our own projects.  Talking with my site coordinator, it seems there used to be a person whose job was to develop the curriculum and ensure that school sites had the appropriate materials.  The position doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s now up to leaders and site coordinators to figure it out for themselves.  It’s okay when it works, but frequently it doesn’t, because the process at the school site isn’t formal enough, or we don’t get the curriculum in advance.

I’m currently considering taking some classes from EdX, a nonprofit created by Harvard and MIT that offers MOOCs on a variety of subjects.  There’s a class about behavioral economics that I’d be interested in taking, as well as one on the science of cooking.  Really, neither one of those things is particularly useful, but the classes are free and I like to learn.
Crafts:  Dinosaurs

This week, I did do a few dinosaur crafts with my kids.  I did this one at work as well, and it is one that I made up in about ten minutes, just looking at the supplies we had around.  We used small envelopes to create dinosaur heads, complete with teeth, tails and so on, and then the kids decided if their dinosaur was an herbivore or a carnivore.

After that, we made appropriate foods for the dino, then “fed” them.  This was a pretty good hit, and all the kids (from my 3.5 year old son to my fourth graders at work) enjoyed making the foods and feeding their dinosaur.  (I know, my daughter doesn't look very happy above, but she was upset that I interrupted her dino's feeding time).
Mine, at top, somehow, wound up looking like Toothless from How to Tame Your Dragon.  It's the eyes.

Film:  Ripper Street via Netflix

After watching the 2005 Bleak House series (based on a Dickens novel), which was recommended to me by my sister, I looked around for other period series that were well rated.  One of Netflix’s first recommendations was this, Ripper Street, a sort of late Victorian CSI.  Set in the Whitechapel area of London in 1889, the series begins six months after the Jack the Ripper murders, and follows Inspector Reid through a series of misadventures and mysteries.  The settings and wardrobe of the series is very good, though I have to admit that I spent the first two episodes simply staring at the American’s coat and hat any time he was on screen; where everyone else is dressed in dreary blacks, grays and navies, topped with a top hat or bowler, the lone American wears a deep green coat with a copper colored lining, and a beat up fedora.  Later in the series, the other characters wear more colored clothing, but those first two episodes, and especially the first, make for a particularly jarring contrast.  The Guardian (watch out – SPOILERS) also published a great read on the historical accuracy of the events in the show; I was pleased to see that the show was reasonably accurate.
I have yet to watch all the episodes yet, but so far I’ve enjoyed it.  The mysteries and character development have been well balanced, the characters suitably likeable, and the situations realistic (and sometimes too realistic – I do not recommend eating while watching).  The only thing that has bugged me is the relationship between Reid and his wife; while I understand that events have made their marriage unhappy, there have been scenes that should have had genuine warmth, and yet they fell short.  I don’t know if the actors just do not have good chemistry, or perhaps it has a greater purpose in the larger story, but watching those moments of not-quite-mustered warmth was uncomfortable.
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