Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Erin Macklin's Point of View

When Erin Macklin meets Spenser in his office in Chapters 18 and 19 and he convinces her to help him navigate Boston's ghettos to find Devona's killer, I imagine that she might be a little suspicious of him. But they also seem to share a kind of understanding as they talk and drink whiskey. Maybe she was thinking things like this:

I went to Spenser's office because Susan told me I could trust him, but I was expecting him to be just another cop-type guy, looking to put my kids in jail. I was surprised that he understood so much of what the kids were going through. I could see that he gets that the kids aren't bad, just brought up wrong and living in a terrible environment. I didn't expect him to understand why kids shoot each other over girls or gold chains. The cops just think they're animals. But Spenser said, "something's got to matter," and I knew he got it. I decided to help him, for the kids. Not because I was flattered when I saw him looking at my legs even though he knows I'm friends with Susan and I used to be a nun. Really, men are all alike. Still, it was nice sitting in his warm office sharing a drink with a man who understands me and doesn't feel like he has to talk all the time. If he hurts one of my kids, I'll feel betrayed.

Blog entry assignment for Friday, 10/30

In class, we talked about how the story is affected by first-person narration from Spenser's point of view. To explore that effect, your assignment is to take one part of the story and tell it or describe it from a different character's point of view. For example, tell or talk about one of the confrontations between Hawk and Spenser and the gang... from Major's point of view, or Hawk's, or Jackie's. Or examine one of the times Spenser and Susan cook dinner... from Susan's point of view. Be sure to read to the end of the book in order to have many different parts of the story to choose from. You can use first-person to tell the story as if you were the character if you want, or you can discuss it in your own voice.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Double Deuce

I like all the snappy comebacks in Double Deuce--Spenser and Hawk never give a straight answer to anyone. It would be fun to be able to be that much of a wiseguy. I think that it is because of their jobs. They don't really answer to anyone, so they don't have to worry about offending people like Marge, or the police detectives. They do, apprently, have to worry about offending their girlfriends, though. I guess no one is immune from that.

I also think the portrayal of the "ghetto" in Double Deuce is unrealistic in just how completely barren of any humanity it is. Maybe things are just better now than they used to be, way back in the early 90s (but it feels more like 80s) but come on--the kids had never seen crayons and tried to eat them? Seems unlikely to me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I read

I read all kinds of stuff all the time--newspapers, magazines, fiction, non-fiction, whatever, so I'm going to have to pick something. How about the 33 1/3 books? Those are a series of books about musical albums. (33 and a third rotations per minute is the speed a 12" record plays at on a turntable.) I've read two lately, about albums I like. One was good and one was terrible. The good one was about The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique. The book was full of all kinds of interesting background information: what the Beastie Boys were doing at the time (partying in Los Angeles), who the weirdos who produced the album were (The Dust Brothers and the reclusive DJ Matt Dike) and what they were like, what samples they used for the songs, how they wrote and recorded the songs. It really gives you a lot to think about when listening to the album. The bad one was about the Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime. It just rehashed the same old stale personal reactions about how cool the album was and how the author listened to it on cassette in his car. I had tons of questions about the album that weren't answered, and he just missed lots of things. Like, he speculates, song by song, about why they left certain songs off the album when they put it on CD... but if you look at the songs, you realize that THEY LEFT ALL THE COVER VERSIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE'S SONGS OFF! One book was written with readers in mind. The other seems to be written for the personal gratification of the author. That's fine, but don't publish it for people to buy then.

Blog entry assignment for Friday, 10/23/09

Two blog entries in a week--we're bloggin' like crazy.

For Friday, describe your reaction to reading the first part of Double Deuce. You could write about what you liked about it, what you didn't, what you could or couldn't relate to, the characters, your experience reading it... whatever!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blog entry assignment for Monday, 10/16

A Blog entry assigned for a Monday? Crazy!

For Monday, 10/16, discuss what you read in your spare time. Newspapers, magazines, novels? Which ones, which sections, what kinds? Stuff online? What sites? You can talk about things you've read recently, what you liked and didn't like about them, how you feel about reading in general, who your favorite writers are, what your favorite book is, etc. etc. Give specific examples.

S9 = S2

So the Metrobus drivers' union has told its members to follow ALL safety regulations no matter what--"don't give supervisors a reason to write you up." This means no passing other buses at stops, which means that an express bus that doesn't make all the stops... has to stop behind ones who do. At all the stops. S9 catches up to S2 and makes all the stops with it. Still, there are more buses running, so it's better than it was before there was an S9... door to door travel is still improved, and if you catch an S9 it's plush and less crowded. But it looks like the days of 30-minute door-to-door commutes between MC and DC are over for the time being. Oh well, I wasn't getting through the whole sports page anyway.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kolaches as folk culture

My family on my Mom's side is 100% Czech. (From what is now called the Czech Republic, but before the fall of communism was Czechoslovakia and before that was once Moravia and Bohemia. My family is Moravian. In the town where my mom grew up, they told "bohemie jokes," as "bohemie" is a disparaging term for Bohemians.

ANYway, around Christmas, my Mom and her sisters follow the tradition of making Kolaches. They are a kind of bready pastry, kind of like a breadier bagel, with an indentation in the middle for fruit filling, usually apricot, prune, or poppy seed. They are great for breakfast.

Not only does eating them remind us of our heritage--my Mom sometimes reminisces about her mom and her grandma making them, and all other kinds of Czech food they had in the house around Christmas--but the process of making them is also a tradition. This is beause they're not easy to make correctly. The dough has to be just right. It is easy for them to come out tough or flat. I should know--that's what happened when I try to make them. So knowing how to make them the right way is something my Mom and her sisters talk a lot about. For me, it means that upholding the tradition isn't jsut about deciding to make them. It's something you have to work at and learn.

Kolaches at wikipedia (Reading this, I was glad to see that my family pronounces it the old Czech way, not the Americanized way I've sometimes heard: a singular one is a "Kolach," not a "Kolachy."

Blog entry for Friday, 10/9

The Popular Culture Learning Community for Friday, October 9, is to write about a "folk culture" tradition you participate in. This can be a family, national, or other tradition.