Let me just say that I’m exhausted.

I rarely stay up till midnight as I did last night, especially on a school night, and I’m terribly, terribly tired right now.


Part of it is the lack of sleep (thanks CATS for demanding that I still wake up at 5:30am).

Then there was the glass of champagne to celebrate the grand finale and the wine to go with the meal during the 2 1/2 hour episode (my plan to gulp big glasses of water between glasses of vino worked well, at first).  On top of that we ate lots of the delicious food that friends made (and that I finished off for lunch today–yum!).

And, there was all of the giggling over the Lost-themed Target commercials:

Was it all worth it?

Socially, yes. For the last few years each Lost night was a big event with friends, food, and philosophical/literary and dishy discussions during commercials, as well as the various screams directed at the television that happened with increasing frequency over the years.

But, really, why end what was so intriguing because it was, in addition to a soap opera, a philosophical science fiction drama as if we were watching, well, Party of Five with Matthew Fox as a much younger savior? What we got was pure soap opera, with only a weird dash of sci fi (embarrassingly echoing, in part,  the endings of Titanic and The Sixth Sense).

Not that I didn’t enjoy the sappy ending: I’ve spent years of my life with these characters and even a literature professor can get all warm and fuzzy at a happy ending, no matter how twisted.  But really: couldn’t we have had a little less of the hugging and kissing, and a little more of the philosophy of Lost?

I’m going to bed early tonight.

Calling All Lost Fans

If you watch Lost, you have GOT to read this blog: it’s side-splittingly funny.

Other bloggers are tad bit more serious about the show, yet still worthy of a read:

And then there is the feminist point of view, including the usual declarations of hotness (Sayid! Sawyer! Anyone BUT Jack!) and misogyny:

  • Feministe (once a week group discussion postings, usually by Thursday)

Then there’s the mother of all Lost websites:

And no, I didn’t spend hours today reading Lost blogs instead of working.  I print them out and cherish them over a glass of wine in the evening.

Added post post:  Wondering what to cook for your Lost parties? Wonder no more. Check out ProfHacker’s latest posting, with recipes!

Mad (Wo)Men

No, I don’t look anything like this actually (I have been told over the years that I look like Carly Simon or Sandra Bullock or Laura San Giacomo–Not sure why, but I suppose if you could combine Carly’s mouth, Sandra’s nose and Laura’s coloring and hair, you’d get a close resemblance to Annie Em).

You, too, can dress up as a character on “Mad Men”.  We finally finished watching Season 2 on dvd  The characters are getting more interesting with each episode, as the series leisurely allows them to reveal themselves. And while Don Draper is clearly the protagonist of the series, the women characters are so much more intriguing to me than Draper’s odd mix of a Cheever character channeling and deconstructing Darrin Stephens (Bewitched)/Mike Brady (you know)/Michael Steadman (30something)/Major Anthony Nelson (I Dream of Jeanne)–ad men of tv shows past.

Season 3 is 1963, the year of Betty Friedan, and the year I was born.  The women (Peggy, my fave, Joan and Betty) are all around my mom’s age (a little younger or older) in 1963. I see in all three women behaviors that  either bug me or that I admire in my mom, so watching the show has both personal, and professional, resonance.

And it’s just incredibly addicting, as were those tv shows of the past.

Dead Weekend

bachelorbutjuneThe horrid quarter system (10 weeks of instruction followed by 1 week of finals) doesn’t really allow time for the traditional “dead week” of no classes and no assignments so that students can study for finals; however, for some instructors, we do have the lovely hiatus I’m called “dead weekend”: the weekend before finals week when advanced composition students are frantically revising research papers (I spent dozens of hours reviewing the drafts last weekend) and where my online introduction to fiction students are taking their “take home” short essay finals.

So what did I do during my dead weekend? 

I must say, it was divinely decadent.

  • I chatted with students on the last day of classes who thanked me for my speech to honors students last weekend: I decided to go the personal/inspirational route. And, taking advice from Ink, my metaphor was: doing well academically is like training for the half marathon.  I also referred to David Wallace Foster’s “what the hell is water?” parable.  It was a speech chock-filled with imagery (and the obligatory “always wear sunscreen” reference got the chuckle I hoped for).
  • I went out Friday night with colleagues and friends to celebrate the end of one friend’s rotation as chair of a department.  We ate, drank and talked outside in the evening sun—something we rarely do when classes are in session. Decided we needed a faculty lounge on (our dry, alas) campus.
  • I leisurely ran my favorite trail along the river laughing to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and admiring the wildflowers in bloom.
  • I went to a birthday bbq the next night, sitting outside by the fire pit, nibbling on those yummy chicken sausages and chatting about summer plans (reading, writing, running, the 3Rs, as well as socializing and travelling).
  • I ran a 5K race on Sunday morning, and ran a personal best of 26:06: I came in 137th out of over 700 runners.  The half marathon I’ve been training for is next Sunday and I now feel great confidence that I can not just complete it, but complete it well.
  • I worked in my garden: I now have several pots filled with soon to be blooming flowers.
  • I finished watching season 1 of “In Treatment”—the HBO series starring the studly Gabriel Byrne that has me oddly hooked.  I’ve had a few sessions of therapy, enough to know that this tv show is a wild exaggeration of what is probably mostly skimming on unethical therapy in real life, but ooh, what great drama it is.  Of course, the drama in Paul’s personal life (Bryne’s character) is the most intriguing. 
  • Pondered (well, started to ponder) the definition of “happiness” as a result of Ph.D. Me’s posting on Friday.
  • I finished reading Elizabeth Strout’s amazing novel Olive Kitteridge and had a sudden flash of an idea for a project I’d like to work on this summer as a result of the MLA’s new discussion group on Age Studies.

Today is Monday and finals week has begun: I’ll receive nearly 40 research papers today, the other 50+ written assignments later this week.  One student, who handed in her essay this morning, needs to return to her home country immediately to get her mother out of a war zone where her uncle was just tortured and killed.

Dead weekend is over.

Creepy Storytellers

lost-ben1_1238188564My husband has been giggling incessantly over Michael Emerson, who plays Benjamin Linus on our favorite addictive tv show Lost,  reading “Little Boy Blue” on Jimmy Fallon the other night.   Emerson takes just a few seconds to fall into character, and he nails it: diabolical Ben reading a children’s tale.

Hubby then asks the following question: Who is creepier? Emerson reading “Little Boy Blue” or Christopher Walken reading Goodnight, Moon on The Simpsons?211-walken150_embedded_prod_affiliate_138

TV Moms

MrsBradyNPR’s “Monkey See” blog has a fun posting today that many  moms will enjoy: “Ten Ways Real Moms Are Better Than TV Moms.”   There are links to clips from “The Golden Girls” to the “Brady Bunch,” “The Facts of Life” to “Friends.”  The commentators are starting to suggest other clips that could be added.

Happy Mothers Day weekend, moms!

Mad Men: Maddeningly Good TV

Readers who are also TV viewers tend to avoid bragging about being up on the latest American Idol season, but they have no problem discussing with strangers the intimate plot and character details of shows like The Wire or The Sopranos.  Adam Sternbergh writes about “Quality Show Fatigue” in the Dec. 8th, 2008 issue of New York Magazine: he just can’t bring himself to be caught in another obsessive need to watch another “quality show” on TV.

I’m a bit behind on my “good for you” cable television show viewing. So last night my s.o. and I watched the first two episodes of Mad Men (season 2 started summer 2008 and is not yet on dvd).  The précis is that it’s a show about the men who work in advertising, and the women who serve them, circa 1960.  So I immediately pictured a sort of thirtysomething (that  late 1980s tv show with two male characters (Michael Steadman and Elliot Weston) who work in advertising, though the show focused as much on their wives), but of course with more sex (since Mad Men is on cable).  Then my mind wandered to those other tv shows with male characters who worked in advertising: Bewitched (Darrin) and The Brady Bunch (Mr. Brady) (I know there were others—what were they?).  

The first two episodes were immediately engaging: don’t know if it was the acting (wonderfully understated) or the writing (quick dialogue, but not at, say, The West Wing speed), but I was instantly hooked.  What is most appalling, of course, is the blatant sexism that women endured in the workplace (and at home) in 1960 (before I was born, but not much).  Some of that sexism is still there in 1987 thirtysomething, but not to this degree. One of the “new girls” in the office, Peggy, is a fascinating character from Brooklyn: I suspect at this point that her Pollyanna act is indeed an act and I’m hoping to see her develop as a character (I’m deliberately ignoring any articles/blogs, etc about the show to maintain that “first run” feeling).   I gather than the main ad-guy’s wife will soon be a Stepford Wife, and that his girlfriend must be one of those women from the Beat generation anticipating and effectively out-doing the soon to be hippy girl (it is only 1960 in the series).  

I’m looking forward to watching more.  Of course Lost starts in two weeks and the Tudors’ last season is coming out on dvd next week: so much to watch, so little time. These “quality shows” are like the detective novels that academics feast on during down times:  they provide us with nearly literary quality characters, plots and dialogue but with a touch of sex, violence, or intrigue as sweetener.    High brow porn?