Posts Tagged ‘The Hunger Games

28
Jul
12

Back to school-proposed policies for 2012

As much as we all hate to admit it, summer is rapidly coming to a close. In a little more than a week I’ll be heading back to my classroom, getting things in order, writing lesson plans, wondering what that funny stain in row three left by a summer school student really is, etc.

To help get back in the swing of things, here are a few new policies that will make the 2012-2013 a little more enjoyable for everyone. (Please note, some of these policies may not have been technically approved by the school board.)

  1. Required reading for all English classes: Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo series. Also required in science, math, and home ec.
  2. Students must supply teachers with their parents’ names, thus allowing us to address them as Klingons. (Example: “This is the third time you haven’t turned in your homework Joey, Son of Cooter. What’s up with that?)
  3. New dress code policy includes “Casual Fridays,” “Black Tie Tuesdays” and “Dress Like Your Favorite Muppet Wednesdays.”
  4. Presenting the teacher with an Apple is expressly discouraged. Teacher prefers Toshiba products.
  5. Oprah will randomly appear in classes, give everyone a car.
  6. Use of catch phrases like “YOLO” will be punishable by immediate detention. Use of “YOLO” while wearing a popped collar will qualify student for the Hunger Games.
  7. Science fair projects will be judged based on whether Phineas and Ferb would consider the construction of said project to be a challenge. All project names must end in suffix -INATOR.
  8. Students will be given random tickets with the names of other students. If their partner gets an “A,” student wins a free Big Mac from McDonald’s.
  9. Any student who has not been seen in the same room as Batman will be under constant suspicion.
  10. Pop SATs.
  11. Faculty lounges will feature a New Orleans-style snowball machine and a wide assortment of syrups.
  12. All extra credit assignments will include running the Gauntlet from American Gladiators.
  13. New faculty members will include Bill Nye the Science Guy in Chemistry, Nick Fury as ROTC coordinator, and The Stig in Driver’s Ed.
  14. Students are forbidden from telling their teachers what they did this weekend because we really, REALLY would rather not know.
11
Feb
12

What I’m Watching in 2012

Just like yesterday’s post about books, I also keep a running list of the movies I watch each year. You know you do it to. Okay, some of you. Three of you? Harvey?

Anyway, for those who are interested, here’s the tally thus far. As with the books, if I happen to write a review of any of these films, I’ll throw up a link. And, should I happen to watch a movie as it’s being riffed by the likes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, or Incognito Cinema Warriors XP, I’ll provide a separate “grade” for the riff.

1. Tucker and Dale Versus Evil (2011), A
2. Little Shop of Horrors (1960), D; RiffTrax, B+
3. Eurotrip (2004), B-
4. Barely Legal (2011), D
5. TransFormers: Dark of the Moon (2011), B
6. Lady Frankenstein (1971), D; ICWXP, B+
7. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), B+
8. Serenity (2005), A
9. Bloody Pit of Horror (1965), F; ICWXP, B
10. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961), F; ICWXP, B+
11. Cedar Rapids (2011), B
12. Pontypool (2009), B+
13. Atlas Shrugged Part I (2011), B
14. Ghosthouse (1988), F; RiffTrax,  B+
15. The Slime People (1963), D; MST3K, C+
16. The Crucible (1996), B+
17. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011), B+
18. Chronicle (2012), A-
19. Justice League: Doom (2012), A-
20. Timer (2009), B+
21. Tree of Life (2011), D
22. Another Earth (2011), B+
23. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), A-
24. Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension (2011), A
25. Real Steel (2011), B
26. In Time (2011), C-
27. John Carter (2012), A-
28. My Week With Marilyn (2011), A-
29. The Adjustment Bureau (2011), B+
30. The Help (2011), A
31. Forrest Gump (1994), A
32. The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987), B
33. The Flintstones (1994), C
34. The Hunger Games (2012), A-
35. Hereafter (2010), C+
36. The Task (2010), B
37. Cabin in the Woods (2012), A
38. The Adventures of Tintin (2011), B
39. Win Win (2011), B+
40. Millennium (1989), C
41. Immortals (2011), B
42. Iron Man (2008), A
43. Being Elmo (2011), A
44. Incredible Hulk (2008), B
45. Iron Man 2 (2010), B+
46. Apollo 18 (2011), C+
47. Reefer Madness (1936), D; RiffTrax, B+
48. Them Idiots Whirled Tour (2012), B
49. Thor (2011), B+
50. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), A
51. The Avengers (2012), A+
52. The Muppets (2011), A
53. The Goonies (1985), A
54. Spaceballs (1987), B+
55. Airplane (1980), A
56. Men in Black 3 (2012), B+
57. The Descendants (2011), A
58. Insidious (2011), D-
59. Muppets From Space (1999), B
60. Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011), A-
61. The Swing Parade of 1946 (1946), D; RiffTrax, B
62. Lucky (2011), B+
63. Exporting Raymond (2010), A
64. Alien (1979), A+
65. Aliens (1986), A
66. Prometheus (2012), B
67. I Want Candy (2007), B-
68. Sirens (1993), C
69. Superman Vs. the Elite (2012), A-
70. Drive (2011), C
71. The Wizard of Oz (1939), A
72. Blade Runner (1982), B+
73. Total Recall (1990), B+
74. Rock of Ages (2012), D
75. The People Vs. George Lucas (2010), A-
76. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2012), C-
77. Brave (2012), A
78. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), A
79. Media Malpractice (2009)
80. Batman Begins (2005), A
81. The Dark Knight (2008), A+
82. The Dark Knight Rises (2012), A
83. Troll 2 (1990), F
84. Silent House (2012), B-
85. 50/50 (2011), A
86. Total Recall (2012), C+
87. The Darkest Hour (2011), C
88. Moneyball (2011), A-
89. The Expendables (2010), B
90. The Expendables 2 (2012), B+
91. Red Tails (2012), B
92. Walkabout (1971), C
93. Finding Nemo (2003), A
94. The Woman in Black (2012), C-
95. The Incredibles (2004), A
96. The Boys (2010), A
97. In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger (2004), A-
98. In the Mouth of Madness (1994), B
99. Act of Valor (2012), B
100. Project X (2012), C+
101. Tales of Terror (1962), B
102. The Birds (1963), B+
103. Hellraiser (1987), B+
104. Child’s Play (1988), C+
105. Looper (2012), B
106. Cinderella (1950), A
107. The Ghost Breakers (1940), B+
108. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), A+
109. Young Frankenstein (1974), A
110. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978), C-
111. An American Werewolf in London (1981), B+
112. Ghostbusters (1984), A+
113. The Toxic Avenger (1984), C
114. Beetlejuice (1988), A-
115. Arachnophobia (1990), B-
116. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), C+
117. Army of Darkness (1992), B+
118. Bride of Chucky (1998), C
119. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), A-
120. Eight Legged Freaks (2002), B-
121. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006), A
122. Slither (2006), A-
123. The Evil Dead (1981), B-
124. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987), A-
125. Trick ‘r Treat (2007), A
126. Zombieland (2009), A
127. 2016: Obamas America (2012), B
128. The Lorax (2012), B
129. The Pirates! Band of Misifts (2012), A-
130. The Room (2003), F
131. Skyfall (2012), A-
132. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), A
133. Home Alone (1990), B+
134. Finding Mrs. Claus (2012), C+
135. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009), B
136. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), B+
137. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), D; MST3K, B
139. Santa Claus (1959), F; MST3K, B+
140. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972), F-; RiffTrax, A
141. Magic Christmas Tree (1964), D-; RiffTrax, B+
142. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), B
143. Arthur Christmas (2011), A-
144. A Christmas Story 2 (2012), C+
145. Trading Places (1983), B+
146. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), A
147. Nativity! (2009), B
148. A Christmas Story (1983), A
149. Love Actually (2003), A
150. Scrooged (1988), A
151. Die Hard 2 (1990), B
152. Django Unchained (2012), A-
153. Les Miserables (2012), A

–Updated January 5, 2013.

30
May
11

What I’m Reading: The Hunger Games

With summer upon us, I hope to get more time to read than I do in the school year (despite the pretty substantial to-do list that I’ve compiled for myself), and today I knocked out my first book of the season. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games, mostly going back and forth over how great it was, but very little information about the actual plot. Finally, on the recommendation of Erin and a couple of other friends, I took the plunge into the first volume of the trilogy.

Set in a war-torn future where control of the North American continent has fallen to a single, oppressive “Panem” government, this novel tells of a young woman forced to compete in the deadliest competition in her world. As punishment for a long-ago uprising against the Capitol, each year the 12 districts of Panem select two “tributes” — a teenage boy and a teenage girl — to send into the Hunger Games, a brutal tournament of hunting and death, from which only one person a year can return alive. Katniss Everdeen, our heroine, is the tribute from District 12, the poorest and most put-upon of the nation’s twelve districts. Although an accomplished hunter, Katniss will have to face people who have spent their lives preparing for the Games, for whom bringing home the glory of victory is their own purpose in life, as well as a set of clever and cunning Gamemakers intent on changing the games whenever necessary to keep it interesting.

The whole idea of being forced into a competition to the death isn’t new at all. We can go back at least to the gladiator days of ancient Rome for that one (probably longer) and we see popular examples as recently as 1999’s Battle Royale. What really sets this book apart, I think, is Collins’ remarkable skill at not only constructing an interesting world, but then using that world as an active participant in the story, not just a backdrop. The way Katniss enters the games, for example, defies any sort of stereotype or cliche you would expect in a story of this nature.

Once inside the arena, Katniss is constantly aware that everything she does is being filmed and broadcast to the rest of Panem. That becomes important when you consider that wealthy sponsors on the outside are allowed to buy and send the participants gifts like food, medicine, and supplies, and if they don’t like what they’re seeing, the gifts don’t come. Because of this Katniss is never entirely sure about the motivations of her allies inside the games, and neither are the readers. We know when Katniss is being honest and when she’s just playing it up for the cameras, but what about Peeta? What about Rue? The constant uncertainty makes the plot infinitely more compelling than a standard story of this type, where you’d just have those kids out to kill each other against those hoping to defy the system that forced them into the Game. (There is still a degree of that, it’s unavoidable, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as in Battle Royale, to stick with that example.)

In truth, I find I’m actually very sorry that I didn’t try this series until the third and final book has already been published. In other series I’ve followed — Harry Potter being the best example — half the fun of being a fan comes after you read each new installment, talking with other fans and speculating about what’s coming up next for our heroes. Sadly, I’ve already missed all that and must simply attempt to remain spoiler-free until I read the other two books in the series. But rest assured, I’m going to do that soon, because the story is incredibly well-told, I really have no idea where Collins can take this story in the second two books, and I’m very excited to find out.

04
Feb
11

What I’m Reading in 2011

And now, like I did with the movies yesterday, it’s time to begin my running tally of the books I’ve read/am reading in 2011. I’m always a little ashamed that this list is invariably shorter than the movie list, even though it takes considerably longer to read most books (exception: Billy’s Looking at Me: A Family Circus Collection) than watch most movies (exception: Avatar). But I try to take comfort in the fact that I read more books in January than most of my students will read all year. As always, if it’s a book I’ve reviewed, I’ll make it a link.

  1. Assholes Finish First (2010) by Tucker Max, B
  2. Stupid American History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions (2009) by Leland Gregory, B-
  3. Feed (2010) by Mira Grant, A
  4. Twisted Toyfare Theater Vol.11 (2011), B*
  5. Tangled: The Graphic Novel (2010), C-*
  6. The Inner Circle (2011) by Brad Meltzer, A
  7. The Customer is Always Wrong (2008) edited by Jeff Martin, B-
  8. The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976 (2010) by Charles M. Schulz, A*
  9. The Onion Presents The Finest Reporting on Literature, Media, and Other Dying Art Forms (2010), B
  10. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale Vol. 1: My Father Bleeds History (1986) by Art Spiegelman, A*
  11. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale Vol. 2: And Here My Troubles Began (1991) by Art Spiegelman, A*
  12. The Crucible (1953) by Arthur Miller,A+•
  13. Cake Wrecks (2009) by Jen Yates, B+
  14. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America (2008) by David Hajdu, A
  15. The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (and How to Do Them) (2007) by Peter Sagal, B+
  16. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2 (2010), A*
  17. The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy (2010) by Bill Parker, A-
  18. The Night of January 16th (1933) by Ayn Rand, B•
  19. American On Purpose (2009) by Craig Ferguson, B+
  20. Superman: Our Worlds At War-The Complete Collection (2006), B+*
  21. Comic Books and Other Necessities of Life (2002) by Mark Evanier, B
  22. Your Flying Car Awaits (2009) by Paul Milo, B-
  23. John Dies at the End (2009) by David Wong, B
  24. “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” (2007) by Cory Doctorow, B-
  25. “The Black Cat” (1843) by Edgar Allan Poe, A
  26. Room (2010) by Emma Donoghue, A
  27. Limitless (2001) by Alan Glynn, B
  28. Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason (2011) by Mike Sacks, C+
  29.  “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” (2010) by Harlan Ellison, B-
  30. Crescent (2009) by Phil Rossi, B
  31. The Secret World Chronicle Book 1: Invasion (2006) by Mercedes Lackey & Steve Libby, B^
  32. Son of Superman (2000) by Howard Chaykin & David Tischman, B*
  33. Blood is Red (2011) by Scott Sigler, B+
  34. The Throne of Fire (2011) by Rick Riordan, B
  35. Fiends Vol. One (2011) by Paul Eldard Cooley, B+
  36. Subculture Vol. 1: The Wrath of Geek (2011) by Kevin Freeman & Stan Yan, B*
  37. The Hunger Games (2008) by Suzanne Collins, A
  38. Peanuts: Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011) by Craig Schulz & Stephan Patsis, B*
  39. Catching Fire (2009) by Suzanne Collins, B
  40. Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins, B+
  41. Secret Warriors Vol. 1: Nick Fury-Agent of Nothing (2009) by Jonathan Hickman, A*
  42. Deadline (2011) by Mira Grant, B+
  43. Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead (2011) by Jovanka Vuckovic, B-
  44. Cujo (1981) by Stephen King, B
  45. Locke and Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (2008) by Joe Hill, A-*
  46. Penny Arcade Vol. 7: Be Good, Little Puppy (2011) by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik, B*
  47. New Teen Titans: Games (2011) by Marv Wolfman & George Perez, A*
  48. Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human (2011) by Grant Morrison, A-
  49. Clients From Hell (2011) by Anonymous, B
  50. Lisey’s Story (2006) by Stephen King, C
  51. Locke and Key Vol. 2: Head Games (2010) by Joe Hill, A*
  52. Locke and Key Vol. 3: Crown of Shadows (2010) by Joe Hill, A*
  53. On Writing (2000) by Stephen King, A
  54. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psyco (1990), Stephen Rebello, B+
  55. “Mile 81” (2011), Stephen King, B
  56. The Stand (1990 unabridged edition), Stephen King, A+
  57. The All-Pro (2011), Scott Sigler, A
  58. Heaven (2011), Mur Lafferty, B+
  59. Hell (2011), Mur Lafferty, B
  60. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (1993), by Alan Ball, B•
  61. The Scribbler’s Guide to the Land of Myth (2008), Sarah Beach, A
  62. The Gunslinger (2003 revised edition), Stephen King, B+
  63. The Starter (2010) by Scott Sigler, A^
  64. Who Goes There? (1938) by John W. Campbell, B+
  65. The Drawing of the Three (1986), by Stephen King, B
  66. “The Monster in My Closet” (2011), by Wil Wheaton, B+
  67. Bill Shakespeare’s Next Big Mistake (2011) by Renee Harrell, B-•
  68.  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839), by Edgar Allan Pe, B
  69. The Waste Lands (1991), by Stephen King, A
  70. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981), by Alvin Schwartz, B-
  71. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984), by Alvin Schwartz, B-
  72. Wreck the Halls (2011) by Jen Yates, B+
  73. 11/22/63 (2011), by Stephen King, A
  74. The Son of Neptune (2011), by Rick Riordan, B
  75. Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (2003), by Chip Kidd, A
  76. Batman: Noel (2011) by Lee Bermejo, B+*
  77. Storm Front (2000) by Jim Butcher, B
  78. The Adventures of Chrissie Claus Vol. 1 (2009), B*
  79. A Christmas Story (2003) by Jean Shepherd, A
  80. The Book of  (Holiday) Awesome (2011) , by Neil Pasricha, C+
  81. The Great Gatsby (1924), F. Scott Fitzgerald, A
  82. A Married Man’s Guide to Christmas (2011), by Robert Henry, B+
  83. Batman: The Black Mirror (2011) by Scott Snyder, A*
  84. Zombies Christmas Carol (2011) by Jim McCann, B+*
  85. Walt Disney’s Christmas Classics (2009), B
  86. Archie’s Classic Christmas Stories Vol. 1 (2002), B
  87. “Nicholas Was…” (1989), by Neil Gaiman, A
  88. Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (2011) by Laura Geringer & William Joyce, B-

*-Denotes graphic novel or comic strip collection
•-Denotes stage play or screenplay
^-Denotes audiobook

Last updated on December 30, 2011.




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