The nucleus of this fall's cross country has assembled on campus for a few days of training, a bit of racing, and some team bonding. Okay, now summer's REALLY over.
I took the squad to the local cinema tonight. Choices were slim, so I opted for War, an action flick starring Jet Li and Jason Statham featuring some far-fetched plot twists. Mindless entertainment, but reasonably effective escapism.
. . . or, in this case, mini-golf. After playing a nearly flawless sixteen holes, I self-destructed on the last two in our annual team outing to Safari Golf. This is why I've always kept the sport of golf at arm's length. It takes just a nudge for things to go horribly wrong and ruin one's day.
I took the Choate Cross Country team down to the Elm City early this morning for the 30th Annual New Haven Road Race. In addition to representing the start of our competitive season each fall, this is always a terrific spectacle to take in. There's something truly affirming about seeing literally thousands of people of all ages lined up to race. Everyone seems to be having fun. In addition to our guys, there's always an assortment of alumni, parents, faculty members, former colleagues, and others on hand for the occasion. A wonderful civic spirit permeates the event, staged on and around the New Haven Green.
NPR's Morning Edition featured an interview with the author of a book on the Marshall Plan, which is marking its 60th anniversary this year. The effort to rebuild Europe in the wake of World War II positioned America as a global leader and resulted in an apex of good will toward this country. Today, the reputation of the United States is in steady decline. If only we learned the lessons of our past!
Note to self: order tickets as soon as they are available. Two things I wanted to see in the weeks ahead--Ian McKellen in King Lear in New York City and a Van Halen concert at Mohegan Sun--are sold out. The Lear production seems like a particularly hot ticket, with eBay offering seats for hundreds of dollars. I guess I won't be going to these shows.
Apple released upgraded iPods today, including the new iPod Touch, based on the user interface of the iPhone. This device features WiFi connectivity; in many ways, it's an iPhone without the telephone service. But with a $200 price cut on the iPhone, the real thing looks more tempting. But I will wait . . .
Andy Roddick threw everything he had at Roger Federer the last few hours, but still lost in straight sets. In spite of the American blasting serves and teeing off on groundstrokes to attack at any opportunity, Federer consistently came up with the answers when things got tight (as they did in two tiebreakers); the top seed's crosscourt backhand passing shot was especially devastating. Hard to picture anyone else holding the trophy Sunday night.
I've probably become a bit too fond of this drink in recent months.
A new term begins, a new year gets underway. I'll come up for air in June sometime.
I'd have a lot easier time getting up in the morning if it wasn't for another blasted pledge drive on my local NPR station. Not what I need this early in the school year!
I teach on Saturdays only twice a year: the first weekend of school and Parents Weekend in October. Otherwise, my teaching schedule is limited to four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Staving off seven set points in the first two sets, Roger Federer prevailed over Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Though the Swiss #1 did not play his best tennis, he showed why he deserves the reputation he has. He was too tough mentally. That's ten Slam finals in a row and a 12-2 record in major finals. Wow.
I've covered twelve straight nights of duty in Memorial House, including pre-season athletic camps. Tomorrow night I am off! I do prefer to front load my duty early in the term so I have more down time later in the trimester when I'm more in need of getting away.
This trailer has raised my interest in this film.
It's raining here in Wallingford. While it's an adventure to spring between buildings in the downpour, our fields and our new cross country course desperately need this water, so it's a welcome change.
The iWork '08 suite arrived from Apple today, with updated versions of Keynote (which I use a lot) and Pages (which I have never really used but have a use in mind for it right now) as well as a new spreadsheet application named Numbers.
Less than a year after I got it, I am ready to throw my Treo 700p out the window. My contacts haven't synced properly in months, my schedule stopped syncing earlier this week, and the device freezes up on me at inopportune times. I saw today that Elevation Partners, with some former Apple gurus on board, acquired 25% of Palm. The company clearly needs that help. Hard to stop gazing longingly at the iPhone for very much longer!
So our president has endorsed a limited plan of withdrawal of troops from Iraq, positioning himself as a great compromiser. Of course, "the surge" was only supposed to be a temporary bump in our military presence, so this is not a shift in policy at all. Moreover, an analysis of Pentagon manpower projections reveals we won't have enough troops to sustain current levels of deployment next spring anyway, so it's not like there was any choice in the matter. Another weak effort by an inept administration to spin a disastrous policy.
I booked airfare last night for a two-day trip to Chicago during the school's Long Weekend break in October. I drove through the city once--in the midst of a tornado warning--and certainly have logged my share of hours between flight segments in O'Hare Airport, but somehow I have never spent any time in Chicago proper. It's an easy and cheap round-trip from Bradley Airport, with non-stop flights, so why not?
The Yankees erased a five-run deficit to post an 8-7 win over the Boston Red Sox. You could have heard a pin drop in Fenway Park during the Bombers' rally! This is not 8 of the last 10 for New York against their northern rivals. The Yanks keep their hopes of a tenth straight division title within reach, and build confidence for the possible League Championship Series showdown.
Choate hosted its annual cross country invitational today, an informal event to kick off the season. This year we initiated a brand new 5-kilometer course, which we think is about as good a cross country course as you can find on our meet circuit. It took a lot of work and some behind-the-scenes wrangling to have it up and running, but it's a treat to be able to use it now.
As of tonight, it has officially gotten chilly in the evening. Good sleeping weather for sure, but there's little doubt summer is on the wane.
Just got in from seeing Genesis on its "Turn It On Again" tour, probably the last go-round for Messrs. Banks, Collins, and Rutherford as a group. They were in good form tonight, ably aided by longtime associates Daryl Stuermer on guitar and bass and Chester Thompson on drums (pretty cool to have dual drummers when Phil was not up front singing).
The set list:
Duke's Intro (Behind The Lines)
Turn It On Again
No Son Of Mine
Land Of Confusion
In The Cage / The Cinema Show / Duke's Travels / Afterglow
Hold On My Heart
Home By The Sea / Second Home By The Sea
Follow You, Follow Me
Firth Of Fifth / I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
Throwing It All Away
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
I Can't Dance
The Carpet Crawlers
Ourt faculty meetings start earlier and are limited to one hour. That's the good news. The down side is that we are no longer free to use laptops, grade work, or read anything, which means more work later in the evening.
Off to the Western New England Preparatory School Athletic Association meeting. It's the fall meeting for athletic directors in our association, and a sure sign that school is WELL underway at this point.
After repeated entreaties from my mother, I parted company with my "sick flow" (as the kids call it). The last time I had a haircut before this afternoon was in January, in Perth, Australia. I was overdue. Showers will be quicker now.
One-and-a-half games and closing, baby!
The dollar continues to fall in relation to other currencies. The Euro costs about $1.40, the pound about $2, and today the Canadian dollar reached parity with the greenback for the first time in decades. No more cheap vacations up north!
I am heading out to practice on yet another gorgeous afternoon. We've enjoyed a streak of nearly perfect days: cloudless blue morning skies, comfortably warm daytime temperatures, and pleasantly cool nights.
Though Labor Day Weekend and the start of the school year function as the boundary between summer and fall for me, tomorrow marks the official date of the autumnal equinox, so this is surely the last day of summer!
Choate hosted its first ever night football game. The stands were packed, the energy level was high, and the Wild Boars delivered a thrilling win, scoring twice in the fourth quarter and posting the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of play for a 20-17 victory. After a 0-7 2006 campaign, this was just the start of the season our team needed, and Choate fans rushed the field as the clock wound down to celebrate.
The fifth season premiere of Family Guy tonight featured a mildly amusing send-up of Star Wars called "Blue Harvest" (true believers will get the reference). Many scenes were covered shot-for-shot (in fact, for the effects shots, it appeared as though the ships and such were animated right over the actual images from the film). The show was not as funny as some regular episodes of Family Guy but it clearly was one for the fan boys.
NBC's breakout hit last year was Heroes, which returned to the airwaves tonight with its Season 2 premiere. This is a very entertaining show and I'm looking forward to following its twists and turns this year. Tonight's episode was a promising start.
I took in the pilot of Reaper on The CW tonight, mostly because it was directed by Kevin Smith, whose films I like (and whose podcast I regularly enjoy too). The show was reasonably entertaining, but I don't know if it will earn a regular berth on my DVR.
The ABC show Brothers And Sisters was another series I missed completely, but on the strength of some very good reviews, I ordered the first season on DVD and will record the second season to watch after I get caught up. Now if I could only find the time to watch all of this . . .
Yes!!!! The Office is back, with tonight's season premiere. Tonight's episode was very funny. I have missed this weekly injection of humor.
I digested Restless Virgins the last couple of days. The book is a pretty quick read, mostly because it's pretty lightweight, seemingly more interested in titillation than enlightenment. It follows a small group of students at a Boston-area private school, whose population is roughly 50% boarding and 50% day, and chronicles a social climate in which partying and casual sex are routine. In fact, the year the co-authors describe culminated in a high-profile sex scandal that landed Milton Academy loads of unpleasant publicity.
Now, I'm not a Pollyanna when it comes to such topics; I recognize that these things are a part of teenage life, even at prestigious New England academies like the ones I have worked in for over twenty years now. But it seems to me this book is skewed in that it focuses on a very narrow cohort of Milton's student population and glosses over the differences between the lives of boarders and those of day students. Simply put, students at elite prep schools are painted in far too broad a brush in a work like this. It's too easy to conclude that children of privilege--and those schoolmates who aspire to be like them--live soap opera lives. My experience has been that reality for most kids in places like this is quite different. But you couldn't tell if Restless Virgins was your only window into this world.
Choate Cross Country was impressive in dispatching Founders League rivals Taft and Trinity-Pawling in varsity and JV races today in the home opener of our dual meet season. These victories were especially satisfying because we lost to both of these squads in the varsity race in 2006. Our girls' team won, too, for a clean sweep in cross country.
Moreover, elsewhere on campus and up in New Hampshire, Choate teams went 5-0 against Phillips Exeter Academy, including a dramatic win on the gridiron to put the Wild Boars varsity football record at 2-0 in the young season; this is a very welcome development for a program that was winless a year ago!
I have been spending time playing Guitar Hero II with the boys in Mem House lately. I generally don't have much patience with video games, but the guitar-like controllers and the familiar music makes this an enticing distraction for me.