Sunday, August 12, 2007

Trapper Keepers.

Noelle turns 10 today. In honor of her birthday, I asked her if fifth graders these days are still using Trapper Keepers. It turns out that fifth graders these days have never heard of Trapper Keepers. I am officially an old person.

I've been thinking lately about school, and particularly about how school is portrayed in popular media. Idealized notions of the American high school experience pop up all over books, movies, and TV and have been since at least the 1950s; even post-modernist laments of teen angst are typically idealized in a way that real-life teen angst never is. I'll never forget seeing Welcome to the Dollhouse in the theater when it first came out. The audience was distributed in age, ranging from middle school kids up to people in their 40s and 50s. The movie is painful, funny, and painful again; everyone above 30 laughed throughout, but at some point everyone younger kind of stopped laughing.

Here's the thing I wonder about school-related media: Who is it meant for? I read an article once that claimed that on average high school students rated the movie Clueless a full two points lower out of ten than viewers above 30. Who is watching Laguna Beach oops Newport Harbor? Why do I even know that Laguna Beach has become Newport Harbor?

I didn't really like high school very much, but I had a great time in college. Maybe that's why I pay attention to idealized notions of high school in a way that I don't really care about similar representations of college life. The thing is that I know plenty of people who had totally different high school experiences than mine but who feel the same way. What is it about teenage life -- happy, sad, angsty, whatever -- that makes people pay attention?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weekend snacks.

We missed the farmer's market yesterday, so we headed downtown to Pike market this afternoon. It was a perfect day out -- the kind of day that draws throngs of tourists, but the kind of day where you don't even mind because you're one of them. Pierogies for lunch and cucumber and cherry tomatoes and peaches and zucchini and eight-grain bread to bring home... and tamales to steam for later! It was a good afternoon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sharks: A Family Affair.

There are currently five shark-related shows on our TiVo:
  • Perfect Predators
  • Shark Feeding Frenzy
  • Shark Tribe
  • Sharkman
  • Sharks: A Family Affair

It is a great mystery that I fear that Chris can solve.

(This may be related to why TiVo is suggesting Killer Ants, Killer Squid, and Survivorman: "Lost At Sea.")