Sunday, March 30, 2014

odds and ends: March madness

Well, my bracket is trashed. I had UVA and Wichita State in the final game. I'm not even telling you who else I had in the final four. This is the first year in forever that I haven't had at least one of the Final Four teams. And the teams we have some emotional attachment to have been out since Thursday night. Our only comfort this year is that the Tar Heels lasted longer than Duke.

The ice on the pond melted off almost entirely in one single day (today). Yesterday it was still iced over, by the end of the day today, there was only a thin skin of ice over about a third of the pond and the rest of it was gone. Now we just have to wait and see if any of the fish survived the winter. Last year we had a bunch of fish survive, but this was a much harder, colder winter.

I had my last day at the tax place today. It has been remarkably slow the past two weeks. I guess everyone is waiting for the last minute. I think I will do it again next year. It ended up being a fun thing to do, and you feel like you're being really useful. People are so grateful. Of course, we did have the occasional angry encounter, but overall it went pretty smoothly. I will be out of town the next two weekends, so I'm done, but I'm a bit surprised to discover that I'm disappointed to miss the final rush.

In other news, I finished my second Jane Austen class this week. We did Emma this time. It was a great bunch of students, and surprisingly satisfying. Emma is a beautifully constructed novel. Every time I read it I admire it more. The first time I read it--30 years ago--it seemed like a straightforward tale of a mean-girl being schooled by her handsome, perfect, older neighbor. But the more you read it, the more you realize how strong Emma is, how much she stands up to Mr. Knightley, and how much Mr. Knightley has to learn from her. Even though she is a petty, arrogant snob at the beginning. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, my class is done, my volunteering is done, MadMax is on vacation-- sounds like spring break, doesn't it? And indeed it is. Dean is working this weekend, and then we have a few days at home. Then we're headed to the Bozeman area for a few days to see Mel and check out some cool stuff. I have a stack of books to read (I'm deep in another Laurie R. King at the moment and so far it is really good) and I am happy. I know this sounds like I'm about to say I'm taking another blogging break, but I don't think I am. I have three or four half-written posts in my head that I'm trying to get motivated to type out. I didn't realize until I looked just now that it had been two and a half weeks since the last time I posted (before the Lent one). How did that happen?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and I hope your bracket fared better than mine. Oh, and if you're looking for something to watch this weekend, I can recommend both of the recent BBC productions of Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Part of what these Austen classes were about was watching various film adaptations of the books to see how they've been reinterpreted in the present. Neither production is perfect, and in fact, I didn't like either of them at first. But they grew on me. Both of them are worth watching. Here are the trailers:

If you're a bit of a Jane Austen nut, as apparently I am, you could spend hours picking and choosing (Marianne and Willoughby from the Emma Thompson version, Elinor and Edward from the BBC version, and etc etc ad infinitum). But that's probably just because I've spent so much time over the past two months watching these things. I ended up watching five versions each of both S&S and Emma. Not kidding. I don't recommend it, even though in hindsight I'm already feeling a bit nostalgic of being in a position where I needed to sit and watch Jane Austen movies by the hour.

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