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One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Posts Tagged “series”

Downton Abbey

I’ll preface by saying that I went in skeptical. I was prepared to stop watching the very instant I became bored. I was just watching one episode, just to see what all of the hullabaloo was about.

Six episodes later, I realize that I’m rather fond of Downton Abbey. I do say, it is even changing how I speak! This fantastic TV series follows an aristocratic family in Britain in the early 20th century. It follows two sides of this aristocratic family, the upstairs, the family, and the downstairs, the wait staff. It’s a generally a quiet show, with the tension coming from the characters, a family that is struggling to navigate struggles among the family, between the family and the staff, among the staff, and between everyone on the estate and the outside world.

All of this occurs as the world is shifting into a new phase, where socialist and feminist rallies are becoming more common. The show does an incredible job of making me love and hate the same people. The daughters, for instance, are all as bratty as they come, but every once in a while they’ll shine with a bit of realness that helps break them out of the childish mold.YouTube Preview Image

I’m not saying that this show is a must watch, but it is gripping, portrays vivid characters, and is all set in an interesting historic time (the first episode opens on the sinking of the Titanic).

Applied Thesis

In general, public opinion looks down upon the academic world for living in something of a vacuum. At first glance, their work generally seems very stuffy and esoteric. Academic essays often exist within a conversation that is only well known by the scholars of that particular strain of thought or literature.

Picking up an academic article is a daunting task. Words will crop up that you weren’t even aware existed. Obscure references are made. Above all, the article drags on for pages and pages and pages. Following the train of thought is difficult in each paragraph, and tracing the line of thought from opening to closing paragraphs is a feat in and of itself.

For this reason I was wildly pleased to discover about a visiting writer to Butler’s campus by the name of Chuck Klosterman. He brings the acuity of academic writing to the world of pop culture. In the opening chapter of his book “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” he recounts the development of cold cereal from its original design as a puritanical sexual-suppressant  into the sugary, cartoon-marketed product we know today.

Chuck Klosterman will be reading at the Reilly Room on Thursday, January 31st at 7:30 PM.

Attaboy Atwood!

From the above photo, you’ll see a nice old lady having a conversation with an undergraduate Butler student. What is actually occurring is quite different. A Butler student is having a conversation with an author who is on the cutting edge of social media and marketing.

Margaret Atwood (who I recently met) is a published author. That doesn’t mean she’s stuck in the old way of doing things. She has a twitter account that she actively uses (Follow her @MargaretAtwood). This immediately places her ahead of millions of college age students, the supposed “Digital Natives.”

She also has a blog that she publishes regularly (this I hear is the coolest thing to be doing nowadays). And, like any well-to-do person these days, she has a website. The coolest bit of progress she is heading is the serial publishing of a novel online. I do not know yet where it is (or if it has been released yet), but if I do this blog will be the first to know. Authors are SO COOL!!! Alright…ahem…nerding finished.

Meeting a Legend

Are you still meeting a legend if you don’t technically know who she is or what she’s done? Well, yeah. It just means you’re ignorant.

Photos courtesy of President Danko! Follow him on Twitter @ButlerPrez

I found myself in this very situation last Wednesday on the arrival of Margaret Atwood, internationally recognized novelist, poet, scholar, feminist, and thinker. And she’s Canadian to boot. Part of the Visiting Writer’s Series here at Butler University, I found myself invited to President Danko‘s house for a dinner, a reception of Atwood by professors and students.

Prior to the dinner, I did a bit of research into this visiting writer, and quickly discovered that she was a voice I wanted to be familiar with. Then I got the incredibly rare chance to meet her. Now I’m reading one of her books (it seems like at Butler, we do things backwards).

She was a pretty rad lady: all of the students were more timid around her than she was around us. Many were familiar with her fantastic novels (such as  The Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake, which I am currently reading). Science fiction is only one arena she spends her time in. She also has worked extensively writing poetry and non-fiction. And does everything with the same ingredient: awesomeness.

 

Ways to Spend My Final Days

Watching TV of course! But not just any TV. FOREIGN TV!!! [Enter triumphant music]. Okay, maybe I’m over-playing this [Ba-dum pssh], but the truth is I’m looking for anyway to channel [Ba-dum pssh] my Italian energies. And I’m not trying to show off [Ba-dum pssh] but if I don’t listen to Italian with the remaining days I have, I’m just going to screen [Ba-dum-...]

I found a fantastic show called “Nero Wolfe.” Set in Rome in 1959, it’s a remake of a series that aired in the 70′s. Wolfe is a big shot detective from America who has returned to Rome. From what I can gather (there aren’t subtitles) he is a grand fan of cooking and orchids, a bit proud, and observant. I didn’t see that last one coming.

It’s fantastic because with TV in Italy, you don’t need to own a TV to watch it. Every state-sponsored show streams live on Rai.it much like America’s Hulu. I’ve got my finger’s crossed that I’ll be able to find it and make it work back in the states, but there’s no guarantee of that. My search for Italian will not be in vain!

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