Thursday, June 25, 2009

13. Two for one.

13. I Am Scout: A Biography of Harper Lee (Charles J. Fields) was found in the school library as I walked out of the computer lab following a day spent answering the same ten questions five thousand times (does NO ONE read directions?) as my students worked on a stock market project. To Kill A Mockingbird has always been a favorite book of mine (I know I am not the first to say that) and I find it interesting that the author, Harper Lee, never wrote anything else. (But, seriously-talk about pressure!) Thus, I thought a peek into her life would be quite interesting.

Apparently Mr. Shields wrote a first biography directed at adults, and I Am Scout was his edition for the teen could kind of tell. It was a little choppy at times, but still a good read. We find that Ms. Lee's real name is Nelle but went by her middle name, as she did not want it mispronounced "Nellie." Her close childhood friend Truman Capote, upon whom the character Dill is based, basically screwed her over following the monumental success of In Cold Blood, refusing to acknowledge the integral role she played in gaining information about the case. (Side note: What is the big deal about his book? I think the man just knew how to market himself well. I thought it was meh, and we all know my opinion is the only one that truly matters.) I recommend it to anyone who loves her book...and if you have not yet read this masterpiece, go sit in the corner. Seriously. Of course I had to pick it up when I should have been doing a hundred other things (this was when school was still in session) and it is definitely a book that transcends the ages. The following quote by Clifton Fadiman is very apropos: "When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before."

During my time reading TKAM, I got into a, well, we'll call it a discussion with a student. This kid is the type who thinks he is always right and quibbled over every single point I ever docked him. I basically told him he was prejudiced/racist, and advised him to read the book, showing him the following quote: "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." (Atticus Finch. Coolest name ever.) I doubt he took my little literary lesson to heart.

PS-I am always reminded of Grandma and Grandpa Urmston when I read To Kill A Mockingbird; on one of the trips they took Nicole and me on, I remember watching the movie for the first time. Interestingly, Gregory Peck's role was much smaller initially, but it was built up, paving the way for his Oscar. Harper Lee's first choice for the role of Atticus (based upon her on father) was Spencer Tracy.

PPS-This was assigned reading in Mrs. Reider's 8th grade literature class (one of the best teachers), and the final project included creating a map of the fictional town of Maycomb, AK, the book's setting. Laura O'Rullian and I spent hours at Erin McCarthy's house (the night before, of course) putting this flipping thing together. You had to hunt through the book to make sure the post office was on the correct corner and that Ms. Dubose's house was just so. What is in I Am Scout? A map of Harper Lee's town of Monroeville, upon which Maycomb was based. What. Ever.

Holy crap. I need to pick up the pace if I am going to read 50 new books this year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The 10 year reunion went off without a hitch and good times were had by all. The end.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fashion show! Fashion show! Fashion show at lunch!

I figured now that I have a couple months to catch up, it would be a good time to get a haircut, as it has been about 8 months since the last one and my hair has been through its own Battle of Iwo Jima this year. I sprung for the fancy salon and went to Great Clips, where a gorgeous (seriously) Argentinian lady snipped away. I began by first apologizing for the hot mess that is my hair and explaining its recent history, and then she proceeded to give my hair disparaging looks while encouraging me to buy expensive reconstructive products. Um, did she not hear I stripped it on my own, an obvious sign that I am a cheapskate? That said, I am VERY happy with the cut and will be returning to Adelita at Great Clips on Rosedale. Fo' sho'.

The best part of the experience was eavesdropping on the conversation taking place to my right, as it included some girl describing all the "really cute" outfits she bought her niece. I couldn't see this Eleanor Roosevelt of the 21st century, but after hearing her shopping selections, I had an image in my mind. I will share with you some of her words and you can play the game as well.

1) Sorry boys, I only date rock stars
(Do you WANT your daughter on the "Rock of Love" bus? Dream big, o' little one.)
2) I'm with the MILF
(I will SLAP you, Courtney, if you ever purchase this for me and my pretend children, just for wasting your money.)
3) I love my daddy, even if he is a deabeat a**$#@!
(Make sure to dress the kid in this when the daddy drops by once a year to take the kid to the park for an hour. Nothing like a big pile of animosity to get the visit started right!)

There were a few more, but at this point my head was exploding with the shock and horror of it all. I was tempted to lean over and ask if she found one emblazoned with the message "In 20 years, taxpayers wll be supporting me and my 5 kids", as that would be super appropriate, but I am passive aggressive and that's just not my style. I'll just sit there and smirk to myself at the witty and hilarious things running through my head, then post it on my blog.

I realize that a picture of Britney Spears and the kids sharing a pack of smokes would have been more post-appropriate, but her image has already been used once on my blog, so I though I'd change it up. Nothing like Brooke Hogan in a pair of homemade denim chaps (What?! No bedazzled jewels?!?) to represent this particular sector of society.