Friday, June 16, 2017

Week 1 at the ALC

Summer is in full swing, which means things are up and running at the ALC.  Here is how my first session of classes are going.

Science Fiction -

Oh how I miss this class.  It's odd that the only time I get to teach any electives is at the ALC.  But I'll take it.

As usual, we started our first unit, called "What is Out There?" focusing on how science fiction authors and directs look at aliens.

Most use aliens as a metaphor, namely for either the dangers colonialism or the quiet spread of disease.

Many science fiction writers and directors posit that if aliens ever come here, one of two things will happen:  they will either invade us (ala colonialism) by use of force and superior technology (think Independence Day or War of the Worlds) here or by silently infiltrating our ranks and taking us over from the inside (thing of The Thing or Invasion of the Body Snatchers here).

Here is a just-released version of the invasion by force and superior technology


We began the unit watching the first episode of Ancient Aliens.  From there we watched the original Stargate and compared it to the Ancient Aliens theory.

Today we started Alien.  Next we will read Tanith Lee's classic short story "The Thaw."  We will finish the unit with John Carpenter's classic, The Thing.

Minnesota Authors -

Like years past, we will read books by two classic MN authors: Will Weaver and Gary Paulson.

We began with Weaver's Claws.  We are just about half way through.  Today to take a break, we spent time talking about and writing about "You might be from MN if . . ."

Once we finish Claws, we will read Winterkill by Paulson.

Creative Writing -

We began with poetry.  So far we have done two pantoums, a list poem, and one bio poem.

The list poem is on the worst job you have ever had.

Here is my example -

Tarring roads for Red Lake County Highway Department

There are four jobs for four of us - 

Shane, Driving the Suburban hooked to the tar wagon.
Aaron, Lugging a pale full of 600 degree tar.
Heater, Running a squeegee over the tar squirted onto the cracks all over the highway.
Me, Manning a roller with toilet paper and covering the liquid tar that has been poured and squeegeed.
The toilet paper job is the worst.

You can never keep up with the tar pourer or the squeegeer.
So you fall behind. 
Soon you are just a few feet behind but after awhile you are a quarter mile behind.
You run out of toilet paper and have to rely on the driver of the Suburban to leave out a roll every so often.
Cars whizz by – despite the orange signs advising them to slow down – splattering the scalding tar all over.

Worse yet, you’re dressed in safety neon yellow and orange from head to toe.
Worse than that, it is 80 degrees out and not a cloud in the sky.
Worse than that, it is 105 on the blacktop.
Worse than that, you are so far behind the music on the radio doesn’t carry to you.
Worse than that, the pourer has decided to be an ass and doused the newest roll of toilet paper all in tar which means you have to walk ahead another 100 yards to get a usable roll.
Worse than that, now you have to walk all the way back to where you left off and fall further behind.
Worse than that, you are on highway 13 and see cars full of people from Grand Forks on their way to Voyaguer’s View to go tubing.
Worse than that, it is only 11, and you work until 5.
Worse than that, you look up and see the suburban and the guys pull into a crossing for lunch
Worse than that, you still have 15 minutes of work to do before you can take lunch.

Worse than that, it is only June.  Three months until college starts again.

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