I am what you might call a cinema buff, a cinephile, a connoisseur of fine films. I have a checklist for what makes a good movie and I refer to it often. These include a respected director, moving cinematography, intelligent script-writing, a talented ensemble cast and thoughtful use of pinwheel hats.
Which is why I have high hopes for this.
With Oscar season just around the corner, I think we might be in for a sweep this year, folks.
Like most women my age*, I love a good knit. So you can imagine my delight upon discovering a knitting shop here in Bangkok. Not only does it have a wide variety of yarns and sticks**, but grandmas like me can also enjoy a cup of tea and a chat, all the while plugging away on our latest masterpiece.
This little slice of geriatric heaven is called the Big Knit. And it's actually quite a hip spot. Somewhere along the line, knitting got pretty cool. It might have been around this time that I took my first stab at it. Living in Brooklyn. Feeling the pressure.
So I learned from my aunt, one summer in Vermont. And as you can tell, I have pretty much perfected the art form.
I like the Big Knit because there is inspiration everywhere.
Some downright delightful.
And some uncomfortable.
And perhaps one day I will move on from gifting family and friends with scarves full of holes that they feel obligated to wear - and move on tobigger and better things.
But folks. If it ever goes too far. If you ever see me making my way towards you, a mad glint in my eye, trying to present you with this:
Teaching is a rewarding profession. I get to read books like "There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom" and pretend that I chose it for them.
I get to moderate 9th grade class debates about honesty - and watch it all fall apart as final remarks deteriorate into mudslinging. Nodding solemnly as closing arguments produce a chilling confession from a team captain - she did lie about liking her teammate's shoes yesterday*.
I get to have arguments with 6th graders about the height of a fictional child dwarf**.
I get to silently judge my 10th grade boys (all basketball stars) when they shoot for the trash can - and always miss.
I enjoy my work.
I have noticed a few differences, however, between teaching 6th graders and high school. Dwarves notwithstanding, I just feel like I have a little more control with the older kids.
I mean, check out this bad boy in my high school classroom.
"Rock on, Miss Sarah!" - says a generic cool teen, in my dreams.
Now let's mosey on down to 6th grade, shall we?
* We all did. ** It's still too soon to talk about this.
Sometimes people tell me they love cheese. To them I say - youdon't even know what cheese is. The fact that this doesn't make sense and has never happened is irrelevant. Basically, I just really like cheese.
Also, teeth are cool.
Now stop me if I've had a little too much wine but what if - what if - there were a way to combine the two into a profitable enterprise?
It's so crazy that it just might work.
In my mind, it would look a little something like this...
Surprisingly, Bangkok is pretty big on Halloween. Haunted houses, parties and even an annual zombie walk. It's all pretty awesome. To get into the swing of things I went to see the "Spirits" exhibit at the Thailand Creative and Design Center.
This is not as ambitiously cultured on my part as it may sound - the TCDC is at the top of the Emporium Shopping Mall. I did, in fact, go to try and find the exhibit. And find it, I did - but not after a few random 'I'm in a fun mood - why not?' purchases, including but not limited to a pair of suspenders that I will never wear.
To enter the exhibit, a nonchalant security guard waves you towards a black wall - which then slides open and you, impressed with such a fine start, stride in with full confidence. I was not prepared for when the door slides shut behind you and all is dark. Extremely dark.
Feeling my way along the wall, I rounded the corner and entered the next room. Bare, cement walls with a lone light bulb hanging from the ceiling. This was beginning to feel like a twisted version of a Law & Order episode wherein I had the potential to be both victim and/or interrogating officer (suspenders). I'm not sure if this was the intent. There was no explanation for this room whatsoever and after I walked through, I found myself in the midst of a delightful exhibition.
It was incredibly well thought out, with signs in both English and Thai and was quite thought-provoking. Not only did the curators touch on different spirit traditions in Thailand but they also spoke about the economy of death and fear as well. It was pretty awesome.
The picture quality makes this hard to read but this sign talks about how many people visit fortune tellers in Bangkok every year and the total revenue thisgenerates.
I was a Religion Studies major* in college and I find all of this really fascinating.
That is, until you accidently bump into this:
Not cool, Spirits Exhibit.
There were lots of different examples of Thai spirits and ghosts, including the head of a female ghost that was rigged up so that it moved slowly in a wide circle. It was very dark in there and unfortunately I didn't even notice this one until it came around and hit me in the arm.
There is a very interesting male spirit that I believe is called phi kra hung and basically this guy flies around at night, has a tail and what appear to be giant bamboo baskets for hands.
On the write-up it says that men who live in the world as these spirits are very good at hiding it. This is because they never let anyone touch their behind, presumably, to find the tail. As a rule, I generally don't go around touching men's behinds. Ido, however, tend to notice when men have baskets for hands.
The exhibit was impressive and culturally relevant. Which is why I was a little concerned to see this guy trying to weasel his way into Thai culture via a cardboard cut-out.
I enjoyed seeing Thai horror comics through the ages.
But not as much as I enjoyed seeing this.
"Something wicked this way comes!" - says this guy, unconvincingly.
I got to work today and made it up to the office, arms full of gradebooks and planners - cup of coffee balanced precariously on top. With my hair twisted into a bun held up by a pencil and my non-existent glasses sliding down my nose, I ambled down the hallway reminding students of assignments, tossing off one-liners, and rolling my eyes in a good-natured way*.
I sat down at my desk and immediately began to think of all of the wonderful ways I would reach the minds of young people today.This is what I do every morning because I am a great teacher.
So I was chatting online and sipping my coffee after just having moved my "to do" pile to the left side of my desk - which, if I position my chair just so, I never have to see.
When, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something.
I swear to God this was not on my desk yesterday.
I think this is one of those things that just is. A mystery. The Holy Trinity. You really can't spend too much time trying to figure out what it all means.