Friday, December 22, 2006

The 9/10ths Full of Penguins Review of the Year

It seems to me that just about everything and everyone is doing their 'review of the year' or their 'annual awards' at the moment. I felt that I may as well jump on the bandwagon and bore you with my best and worst things of the year.

Worst Moment
2006 has been a difficult year for me. It didn't start very well as I separated from my wife in January. This led to me having to reassess my whole life; where I was going, what I was doing, even to a certain extent who I was. It was a hugely painful time and in some ways I still miss her. However, our decision was mutual and both of us are much happier apart than we were together, although that doesn't mean it didn't hurt.

Best Moment
One of the things that arose from the situation above was a reconsidering of my career choices. I decided to apply for teacher training, got accepted and started my PGCE course in September. Its not easy, but I love teaching and so far have done very well. My best moment was a very simple thing. I was sitting at the staffroom work-table in my placement school writing up lesson plans and unbeknowst to myself I was humming. A teacher walked past and said that I sounded very chirpy for a man doing his paperwork. Without really thinking about it, I replied that it was because I was happy. On reflection I realised that I was indeed very happy with my life at the moment, which has made me understand that sometimes good things can come out of a difficult time.

Best TV
Probably the best TV series I've seen this year has been the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. It may seem geeky, but the Guardian recently crowned it the year's best contemporary political drama, which is in no way a joke. I've watched the whole of the first 2 seasons and am currently part way through the latest series. It is one of the darkest TV programmes I have ever seen, the last remnants of the human race battle for survival amid political corruption, military coups, terrorism, torture, suicide bombers and plans for genocide. Good sci-fi always reflects the present and if any fiction programme highlights the cost of US & UK foreign policy round the world this year better than Battlestar, I have yet to see it.

Honourable mentions also go to Planet Earth, Spooks, Top Gear, Torchwood & American Dad.

Dishonourable mentions go to the re-imagined Robin Hood, all the 'reality' shows (on principle, I luckily avoided watching any of them), ITV in general.

Best Film
Good Night & Good Luck
Also: Children of Men, Severance, United 93, The Departed

Worst Film

Best Book
Terry Pratchett - Thud!
I know its not highbrow, but it was the book I read this year that I loved the most. For something more intelligent, I read Ann Wroe's book on Pontius Pilate.

Best Album
Vices - Dead Poetic
Also: Muse - Black Holes & Revelations

Best News Story
A late entry, this great story. " I'm the Bishop of Southwark, its what I do" Genius!

Best Penguin Related Incident

Piglet the Stolen Penguin

Worst Penguin Related Incident
The continuing hijacking of the noble penguin by the Christian Right in America for political/religious propaganda with the dull as dishwater March of the Penguins. Penguins are not a Christian allegory, they are birds, they do not have morals! If you really must bring God into it, use them as just one more example of how wondrous this gift of our planet is. They are not a heartwarming model for life showcasing the moral high ground! Honestly....

Sorry, got carried away. Anyway, that was my 2006, roll on 2007....

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Planet Earth Again!

I can't begin to tell you how much I love this programme. It is one of the only two TV programmes I will make time to watch in the week.

The most wonderful thing about Planet Earth is that every week brings new and amazing things to the screen. Sometimes the images are breathtakingly powerful like this footage of a Great White Shark strike from last weeks programme.

But equally impressive were some of the shots of the Tiger Forest south of the Arctic in tonight's programme. This huge forest is the largest on the planet and contains more trees than all the rainforests combined and produces enough oxygen for the whole of Earth. Some of the close-in shots of these ice-encrusted pine trees in their setting of glittering snow were heartstoppingly beautiful.

I am preparing some lessons on the environment and its been great to start thinking about how to enthuse my classes with some of the natural wonders of the world.

Planet Earth is one of those great BBC projects that make paying the licence fee worthwhile.....shame they keep making crap like Strictly Come Dancing.

Patriot Games ****
Slither ***
Casino Royale ***
Night Watch *****
28 Days Later ****

Currently listening to:
Emery - Studying Politics