the anti-design post...and random thoughts on football and cats

i do sometimes like to post about my design ideas and projects, although this is not strictly a design blog as i am neither a designer nor a focused-enough blogger to have a single-themed blog. if your heart's desire is to read a design-renovation-education-green-sports-rants-gardening-photos-books-movies-culture blog, you are in just the right place!

anyway, my design personality takes a bit of a back seat in the fall when school starts and football season commences and my energy and creativity levels drop significantly. so today i have for you the anti-design post! apologies for the foggy cell phone pics. i will warn you, i usually avoid letting people see my house in this condition if it can be helped. prepare yourselves. if only un-made beds, piles of laundry, stacks of mail, mountains of leaves, and towers of dirty dishes were aesthetically pleasing! my house would be featured in every home and garden and design magazine in the land!
in other news, it has been two weeks since k-state was able to reclaim some of their former dominance at ku's memorial stadium, and we have since lost to baylor (i've been in complete denial this week, i can barely get the words out now...it's shameful really. i don't care if baylor's offense is better and if people want to say that it is not the baylor of old...it's still bad to lose to baylor). but, i will allow myself to remember with joy how the ku fans were already clearing out of the stadium at half time and how carson coffman looked like a quarterback for the first time in his college career! here's some pics from the 3rd quarter: note the empty stands except for the corner filled with purple!
finally, it's been a while since i've posted pics of my little love-y cats. they get so snuggly when the weather starts to change...looks as if they actually like each other! here's some shots of percy, quite the snuggler!



i feel like i only ever write about my students when there's something sad, or dramatic, or challenging to report. perhaps it's because i need to process these moments the most and writing is a platform for reflecting. it's not that there's never any good moments to celebrate, i definitely celebrate even the smallest, tiniest of things. but sometimes celebrating can feel a little like bragging. look, basically, i just haven't posted in a few weeks and felt the need to post again and this is what is on my mind, so...
...i feel like i'm failing my students every day. i don't say this because i want or need sympathetic pats-on-the-back from anyone. i'm not asking for that. it's just how i feel almost all of the time and i need my people, my friends and family, to know that i feel it all day long every day. because it's part of me.
the fact is that i can see what my kids need and can't always give it. i've read their histories, i've talked to their doctors, parents, foster parents, case managers, court-appointed guardians, probation officers, etc and there are so many deep and troubling issues that they are dealing with every minute of their days and i KNOW that makes it impossible for them to focus on anything else, least of all algebra and history and ACTs. the fact is that i believe very much in education and the importance of having it and the scandalousness of wasting it, but there's so much more to their lives than what happens at school. i second-guess my interactions with my students all the time; i wonder if i should be teaching my classes differently, structuring my program differently; i wonder if i'm doing what's right for them, should i be more lenient, or less lenient, more flexible, or establish firmer boundaries, give more support, or let them stand on their own more. it's overwhelming to feel this way.
there's not a lot in my students' lives that i have control of. i can't change their pasts, i can't force them to make good choices or make the most of their education, and i can't force them to get enough sleep and eat the right foods and take their medications. i can't fill all the holes in their lives. they need more than i am. i only have a few hours a day, a social development class, the intervention room (the classroom i work in where kids can come get academic help or use as a place to cool down...i call it the "free speech zone" so they can say whatever they need to say without worrying about getting into trouble!), and my ED/BD "program." that's all i can control, and even those things have some parameters that i can't manipulate. so i think i get overwhelmed by trying not to mess up what little i have that i can control. it's that perfectionistic thing...i'm afraid to make a mistake, because i feel like i can't afford it, because there is already too much failure surrounding my students' lives.
sorry if that's depressing. i know i need to do this job and i know i have an opportunity to make it whatever my students need it to be, the ED/BD program, that is. i care about my students and i have to get used to dealing with a lot of sad, frustrating, and irritating situations. sometimes it just gets to me. i guess i just wanted to share that with you guys.


more than the average man...

so apparently, according to some statistic from usa today, the average man watches 3-6 hours of football a week. now, if you're not a football fan, you're probably thinking, "that's a lot of time to spend watching a game!" and you're probably thinking that because you're relating watching of sports to watching regular tv shows, which are 30 minutes to an hour long. so you're thinking, "that's 6 episodes of grey's anatomy" or "that's 3-6 episodes of glee!" but, if you're a football fan, you realize that 3-6 hours is really only 1-2 games a week (although there are only four 15-minute quarters and a 20-minute halftime, you also have to factor in all of the stop time...time outs, between plays, injuries, booth reviews, penalties, etc). first of all, that statistic has GOT to be a big fat lie. second of all, it's now official: i watch more football than the average man.
to my first point, you CANNOT convince me that the average man only watches 1-2 games a week. but, i suppose if you're only counting watching football games, and not factoring in time spent listening to sports radio, checking scores or fantasy football online, and watching other non-football sports, then that statistic may be accurate. to my second point, i think i EASILY watch 3-6 hours of football a DAY on saturdays AND sundays. this should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, so don't judge. plus, i listen to sports radio whilst (i like that word and have committed myself to using it more frequently) driving to and from school everyday (it's the only way i can manage to stay awake). and i watch at least part of sports center almost every day. i also attend ksu football games. and SOMETIMES i even watch multiple football games at once, channel-surfing between the games that most interest me. i actually rank the games that are playing simultaneously according to my interest level and that is the order by which i rotate through the channels. think i'm troubled yet? i also play sports two evenings per week. i play soccer with a "co-ed" league on wednesdays and a women's league on thursdays. and by "co-ed" i mean 13 men and 1 woman (me...yeah, it takes some amount of courage or moxy or something).
all this has proven to me that i am one big giant freak show. but that's ok. i don't anticipate that is going to change anytime in the near future so we might as well all get comfortable. and i'll get comfortable whilst (haha) cozying up on my couch with football on my tv and the remote in my hand poised to switch to the next game during the commercial break.


the theatre and the cinema

theater or theatre? i never know.

anyway, i would like to take a moment to brag a little bit. my sister, theresa, is in the process of showing one of her plays. it's a BIG deal. she was accepted for a fellowship allowing her to have the performance space to show. she wrote and is directing the play and my brother is part of the cast. beaming. click here to find out more about the company she started. here are some of the reviews (there are some names mentioned that may seem obscure if you're not a theater person, but you should know this is HUGE!!):

"A zigzagging Orwellian sonata of multimedia effects and workplace procedure... compelling and multifaceted."
- Mitch Montgomery, Backstage

"Field 309 is delivered to you straight out of the media hype of the current economic crisis... Writer/director Theresa Buchheister deserves great commendation for her pointed, stylized, and efficient script and overall inventive vision which guides this play so successfully. The performers are all strong individually and make a great ensemble. I highly recommend getting down to the Incubator Arts Project to check this one out (with or without your supervisor's approval)."
- Heather Lee Rogers, NYTheatre.Com

"Richard Foreman may have left the building, but his spirit and style loom large over the current production at the Incubator Arts Project. This amusing new dark comedy draws on familiar aesthetics ... to create a work that is part Foreman, part Beckett and part The Office."
- Andy Horowitz, CultureBot

isn't that just so exciting???

ok, now about the cinema. you know how on netflix you can rate the movies you've seen? well, this is just too fun for me, combines my "skill" for criticism and my desire to do absolutely nothing productive on this particular saturday. so i've decided to post a list of my 4- and 5-star rated films, because i know it's exactly what you've all been waiting for...my opinion. and because i've nothing better to blog about right now. little disclaimer: this is a very fluid, ever-evolving list as i change my mind quite frequently and my choices are much to do with my current movie "moods." also, this is not necessarily my list of "favorites" (although many of my favorites are scattered throughout the list) but my top-rated movies. some of these, i'll never watch again as they are too uncomfortable or painful to watch, although beautifully made. so, the list:
5 stars:
1. amelie
2. chocolate
3. crash
4. dead poets society
5. good will hunting
6. emma (1996 version)
7. a good year
8. harry potter movies
9. lord of the rings series
10. pride and prejudice (both the 1995 TV series and the 2005 movie)
11. slumdog millionaire
12. walk the line
13. glory
14. a beautiful mind
15. much ado about nothing
16. love actually
17. inception

4 stars:
1. about a boy
2. amadeus
3. american history X
4. awakenings
5. best in show
6. the bourne trilogy
7. braveheart
8. brokeback mountain
9. chariots of fire
10. dan in real life
11. edward scissorhands
12. the family stone
13. fantastic mr. fox
14. fight club
15. frost nixon
16. girl with a dragon tattoo
17. good night and good luck
18. the holiday
19. in her shoes
20. jane eyre (2006 version)
21. juno
22. the kite runner
23. life is beautiful
24. little miss sunshine
25. mansfield park
26. o brother where art thou?
27. office space
28. philadelphia
29. the proposal
30. the queen
31. rachel getting married
32. sherlock holmes
33. a single man
34. stranger than fiction
35. the pianist
36. son of rambow
37. run fatboy run
38. hoosiers
39. get low

so, what do you think? agree? disagree? additions? i've got free netflix for a month so give me some feedback about your favorite movies that may have been left off the list so i can add them to my queue!