Not-So-Random-Thoughts for February 2nd, 2007

So, here’s an updater” I am ok. I went to the emergency Room saturday, leaving around 8:30 in the morning, because of of two of the 4 teeth I should have had pulled a long time ago. Those two teeth are infected, so I will be taking Penicillin for a week. Because of my High blood pressure being outrageous (184/120 – YIKES!), I am back on hydrochlorothyzide. Although I was also prescribed Vicadin, I passed on it – it’s not worth the B.S. hassle associated with it. (Had the doctors paid attention with my address on that prescription the way they did on recommending doctors, they might have noticed that I live near Milestone and just south of crackhead central. It’s bad enough when I have to deal with my coworkers and family and friends wanting it, but if the neighbors found out I had it, I wouldn’t have it for long – in fact, I’d have a lot more than the vicadin missing!)

The one bright side is that I have a new place to check out for oral surgery, what will be necessary to do to yank my 4 wisdom teeth because of my blood pressure. (A recap: Novocain can’t be used on High blood pressure patients, willing or not. the stuff that they can use has such a short life-span that it is impractical to use on me.) It also got me some drugs until I can see a doctor and dentist. In the mean time, the next two weeks are going to be fun. (Sarcasm.)

Now, onto everything else…

Empire: First – and this goes without saying – if you’re a fan of Orson Scott Card or the “Ender” Series, this is almost an immediate must-read. If you’re not, I suggest everyone at least read the afterthoughts and acknowledgments.

The reason for suggesting it, in case you are wondering, are current events today, particularly our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as our views of America today. The only thing that makes this book anywhere near Science Fiction are the weapons, which are more inline with today’s Japanese Anime and 1950’s Sci-Fi films. Everything else – from the premise that a Princeton University professor could become head of NSA as a result of the President’s and Vice-President’s assassinations – could very much exist today, as much as we would like to believe otherwise. The thing that stood out most, to me, apart from the many references to 24 (A show i like and which they used as inspiration for the book, as far as I believe and know), was the viewpoints of the characters around them, from the cops in New York who try to escape from an invasion force of Mechs, to a second civil war lead by fanatics who believe the exact opposite of what our president believes now.

Are we going to see a bunch of Mechs take over a city, especially New York? No, not for another 50 years, minimum, if it’s going to happen. (I believe this will be more due to the idiocy of our governments, who will deny it being possible until they themselves can control it – at least, to our faces anyway.) Are we going to see Death Rays that can laser-shoot EMPs? Of course not – if we knew it, so would the enemy. Are we going to turn on each other, debate and fight over our beliefs and how the other person is wrong? History repeats itself in this case, and we’re too stupid to learn from it, so I’d place your bets on yes, because i believe it has already started.

So, read Empire for the thrill-ride story that it packs, but keep in your mind the viewpoints: The author is just one man, who wrote this for a video game, but through this story he has given us part of what he thinks is really going on in our country and society today.

Freedom Writers: If you have the five buck club cards that Kerasotes has, use it to go see this film this week. No, It’s not going up for an Oscar, but t’s still a pretty decent film, another that is based on a true story.

After the Los Angeles / Rodney King Riots of 1992, integrated segregation becomes a norm of the High schools. Unfortunately, many of the minority kids either drop out or get killed because of the problems that cause them to clash against each other. Enter Erin Gruwell, played by Hillary Swank (who I last saw in “Million Dollar Baby”), A young woman who goes to teach at Wilson High School, a school that used to be (I can only assume based on the context of the information I have) a mainly-white school. After the death of one of the students, and a lot of fighting just to get through a session of class, she decides to change things, find new ways to reach her students through their world.

I realize my synopsis is an injustice to what really happened in the film and in real life, but the thing that struck me as odd was the stuff she had to fight her school administrators to get for these students. You had an English teacher who taught honors there who showed the kind of bigotry that prevailed at that school, and his resentment towards the desegregation that brought these students there. Her boss has a similar attitude, seeing any time and money spent trying to reach these kids as a waste of time. She first has to get help with her administrators in the district, and her family’s support AND her students attention that she was serious about trying to help them to find success. This was done by teaching the kids about the Holocaust, getting them to want to read about Anne Frank. Her efforts pay off in the long run, but the BS hassle she has to go through to make sure these students got reached should not have happened.

About the only thing that disappointed me, apart from the way these teachers treated their students that were “different”, was the ending: I had to go look information up on the foundation site to find out what happened to the characters in the film. The film only makes mention of the fact that she teaches these student’s Junior and Senior Years, and even follows them into the University. In all that, I didn’t find out who all did graduate, who did not, or – more importantly – if anything has changed since she left there. We leave the film wondering if the changes she made to these kids reached into the newer students. (From what it sounds like, it does.)

Although there are better teacher films and true life stories out there to watch, you really can’t go wrong with this one. I enjoyed it.

Currently Reading: “The Children of Men” by P. D. James. Had I known the movie was based off the book, I’d have read it first. Hopefully I’ll get to read “Hannibal Rising” before I see that one in theaters on Saturday – got to finish one book, and check this one out, before I do.

Due to the run-in on time this week, The one tomorrow will follow more of my feelings. (Sorry!) More soon.

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