Final classroom update

… seeing as how school starts tomorrow, for shit’s sake:

The room is basically done, at least on the decor front; there will probably be some more math-related stuff scattered about as the year goes on but what I’ve got is more than enough to get started with. I got the round table I wanted and brought in a single carrel desk, so I feel like the kids have plenty of options for where to sit. We’ll see how it goes; first teacher day is tomorrow and first day with the kids is Thursday. I plan on spending the first two days at least on procedures and getting-to-know-you stuff so no need to worry too much about lesson planning yet.

In other news, this is happening, and are you as excited as I am? Or as excited as I would be, if all of my available emotional energy wasn’t being sidetracked into other things right now? Because I totally feel like if I had any spoons left I’d be burning them on being super excited about this:

In which a minor thing goes right

You may recall I’m working on getting a classroom set up, what with how I haven’t shut up about it for days. What I haven’t mentioned is that I’ve had a couple of Indiana University flags hanging up in virtually every classroom I’ve ever had that had the wall space for them, and I have been tearing the house apart over the last several days trying to figure out where the hell I put them after I closed down my last classroom. There was no way I would ever have thrown them away, and I realized this afternoon that there were certain other objects missing as well– most notably, my collection of Hulk toys, mostly gifts from students– that I similarly would never have gotten rid of.

They had to be in the basement. They had to be. There were other boxes of school shit down there; why wouldn’t the flags be down there somewhere? But both my wife and I had already gone through the basement. Independently. And found nothing.

Our basement is a fucking mess, y’all.

Now, in this picture, you need to ignore the fact that one of the flags in question is on top of the pile, but note that that cardboard box is open. And the reason the flag is on top of the pile of stuff there but with nothing underneath it dislodged is that the motherfucking thing was in plain goddamn sight the entire time, on top of everything in that cardboard box. And yet, somehow, two adults who were looking for red flags didn’t see it.

Trash bags full of undonated baby clothes removed, we see … part of a roll of paper towels, for some reason, part of a car seat, and … wait, what’s that?

If anyone has advice on how to get wrinkles out of a polyester flag, they’d be appreciated. And look! Underneath the flag!

My Hulk toys. My Hulk mugs. My binary clock. My Easy Button. My Skull of An Unnamed Former Student. All the shit that I knew goddamn well I didn’t throw away.

For once, something– a minor something, mind you, but something— has gone right.

A topic for discussion

How fucked-up and wrong does something have to be before you find yourself unable to recommend it? Or, alternatively, how good does something have to be before you find yourself recommending it despite its multitude of problems?

No reason.

On future nerd shit

You, uh, may have heard that Marvel Studios’ SDCC panel was yesterday. I have some thoughts.

I haven’t actually seen Spider-Man: Far from Home yet, due to a vile combination of Ongoing Medical Calamity and raw timing making it difficult to get out to movies. I think this is the farthest out from release weekend it’s ever taken me to get to one of these movies. Hopefully sometime this week. But! I was on Twitter and io9’s live blog last night during their panel (why why why wasn’t it being streamed?) and … well, here we go:

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MEDIUM-LOW. Not terribly psyched about this except insofar as it’s going to be a return for the MCU to lower-tech spy films in the vein of Winter Soldier except even more, which ought to be awesome, and it looks like Taskmaster is the villain, which is double awesome. High hopes, but I’m not jumping up and down over it.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MINIMAL. I have been reading Marvel comic books since I was nine. I have never heard of a single character in this movie. I can tell you nothing. I’ll see it, because I don’t miss Marvel movies, but only to see how they tie it in with everything else. The cast looks great, but other than that if you’ve just heard about this movie reading about it just now you know as much about it as I do.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: MODERATE-HIGH. I don’t have any particular fondness for Shang-Chi as a character, but the notion of the real Mandarin making his way into the MCU has me salivating. I just wish it was in an Iron Man movie like it was supposed to be. That said, they’ve been talking about the Ten Rings since the first Iron Man, so there’s a lot to do here. Also, while I’d never heard of Simu Liu, who will be playing Shang-Chi, before yesterday, his Twitter feed has rapidly turned him into one of my favorite Internet people.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: EXTRAORDINARY. I’m not the biggest fan of Doctor Strange as a character, and I’m not the biggest fan of the first Doctor Strange movies– in fact, if I was forced to rank the Marvel films, it would be close to the bottom. But the notion that they’re selling this as a horror film, and the phrase “Multiverse of Madness,” and the fact that the Scarlet Witch is going to play a large role in it? Take my fucking money. All in.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: QUITE HIGH. It would be higher if I didn’t know that the Jane Foster Thor would be played by Natalie Portman, who I loved almost at an indecent level as a younger man and have grown increasingly bored with as the years have gone on. The fact that they’ve got her back for the movie after having to cut around Jane in Endgame probably speaks volumes about the quality of the script, or at least the quality of the check, but yeah, I’m looking forward to this one quite a lot.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: TAKE MY FUCKING MONEY. Literally the only thing I know about this– as far as I know, they didn’t even announce the release date– is that Mahershalalhashbaz Ali is playing Blade.

Mahershala Ali is playing Blade. Okay, technically this is double-casting, because he was Cottonmouth in the first season of Luke Cage, but there is nothing I will not watch Mahershala Ali in. Nothing. I am all over this.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: VARIOUS. It remains to be seen if the Disney+ streaming series will be tied into the MCU any more thoroughly than the Netflix shows were, which is to say, not at all, and the fact that they recast Mahershala Ali shows how little respect they have for those shows. But they’re putting movie actors into these shows, and talking about them at the MCU panel, so they’re probably gonna be tied in pretty close. That said, this is probably going to sell me a (reluctant, annoyed) Disney+ subscription, because:

Fuuuuuuuuuhuhuhuck the fuck yes Monica Rambeau confirmed as an adult in the MCU. EXCITEMENT LEVEL: IN NEED OF TIME TRAVEL GIVE IT TO ME NOW. I don’t know that the name Spectrum or any of her other superheroic identities were actually confirmed at the panel (she’s my Captain Marvel and she always will be) so it may be that she doesn’t have powers at first, but her presence in the ridiculously named Wanda Vision means that I have to see it, which means I may as well watch all four. And, I guess, The Mandalorian while I’m at it.

Interestingly, while they said “they’re coming” about sequels to Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy and left with a vague allusion to “mutants” and an actual Goddamn Marvel Fantastic Four movie, no dates for any of them. So Phase Four is going to be mostly dedicated to expanding the MCU again, which I’m all good with.

Other, non-MCU stuff: I’m really looking forward to the Dark Crystal Netflix series and while I want to be excited about Picard I haven’t managed to watch the trailer yet, which … yeah. If there’s anything else I should know about it hasn’t penetrated the fog yet, so tell me about it in comments and I’ll react.

In which I still hate nature

I’m still holding true to one of my summertime goals: every day, do something to clean and/or organize and/or improve something around the house. Frankly, most days I’m doing multiple things, but even on the laziest of days I’m trying to get something minor accomplished. To wit: there is a bush in front of our house, and there were a bunch of big weeds and two actual small trees growing out of the bush that needed to come out. I initially posted a picture of one of the weeds to Facebook, because it reminded me of something that the back of my head was telling me was poisonous and I wanted to know if anyone could identify it. (The poisonous things are hemlock and giant hogweed, which are both superficially similar; I do not think this weed is poisonous any longer.)

Several hours later, I still don’t know what the hell the thing is and now it’s a blog post. We’re all about plants around here today.

Anyway. First picture: I pulled the thing out of the ground barehanded and with very little effort, so the roots don’t go deep. I tossed it on the hood of my car for scale. This was not here last week, so it grows fast.

A close-up on the flowers. Note lots of tiny clusters of white flowers but no stamens (stama?) anywhere. This is relevant, as lots of plants have the flowers but they have stamens all over the place.

The underside of the flowers:

And the leaves:

I took another picture that was a close-up of the stems, but you get a good look in the lower corner of that picture. The two most common guesses have been mock bishop’s weed and Queen Anne’s lace. I feel like neither is right. Mock bishop’s weed has really needly leaves:

And Queen Anne’s lace leaves don’t look right either, although they’re a lot closer, and I keep seeing QAL described as “hairy”:

… which, shit, maybe this IS hemlock. The stems and leaves look right, but the flowers really don’t. This is hemlock:

No little stamen thingies on the flowers, so not hemlock. And, interesting: I just scrolled back up to look at the pictures of the flowers more carefully and the stems by the flowers are a little hairy. So maybe it’s Queen Anne’s after all?

EDIT: Found a website about QAL and hemlock and now I don’t think it’s either, because the stems don’t have any purple in them (which hemlock does) and the flowers don’t have any purple spots in them or any bracts, which Queen Anne’s Lace does. So I think it’s another thing altogether.

Gah. Screw nature; it’s stupid.