Month: April 2016

Teaser for the next project

I’m doing another theatrical project, lovely lurkers (because I’m a glutton for punishment?), which I have no energy to go into detail about now, except that it’s taking place in early June (remember the Princess Bride one last year?) and I will be playing THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Guess what part I’ve been cast in, in the Five 5ths of Labyrinth. Go on, guess.


Retrospective Review #6: The Reichenbach Fall

My latest retro-review for these fine folks.

Sherlocks Home


Written by Prof. Jenn

As a reminder: I am writing these as RETROSPECTIVE reviews, so I will be discussing reveals, resolutions of cliffhangers, ends of plots, etc. If you are reading these reviews without having seen the eps, a) what is wrong with you?? Go watch them now! and b) these reviews are not for you till you’ve seen them.

Conspiracies abound in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’, culminating in one of the heftier cliffhangers of the series as a whole. Though for those of us who are familiar with the original Doyle, perhaps the surprise at the very end isn’t so very surprising, nor is the reveal in Series 3. In fact, I have a major beef about the conclusion of the elaborate trap Moriarty sets for Sherlock in this episode….but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This episode begins with a confession of grief on the part of John Watson, who…

View original post 726 more words

Hey. Just checking in…


The rubric for the research papers for Comp I at FRCC. My notes on grade norming in 3 colors. Being helped by Popcorn. She’s a helpful sort…

So hey, lovely lurkers. What’s happening? Yeah, I’ve been okay. Kinda depressed, very busy…you know, the norm. So how’s it been going? Well that’s good.

It’s coming up on the home stretch in all my classes, which is why I’ve been rather scarce here lately. Since I assign blog posts to my comp students, I feel the lag in my own blog breathing down my sore, tight, stressed-out neck. So here ’tis.

I have a Capstone student at Regis finishing up a combination creative and psychology project, and the two Comp I classes as well as the Comp II class at Front Range are all neck-deep in their research papers. Some interesting topics this semester, including: Syrian refugees in France, the U.S. policy on immigration, psychedelics (also cannabis) as legit medicine for treating/healing mental illness, the dangerous levels of stress school (particularly standardized testing) causes American students, the unfairness of the judicial system, effects of wrongful conviction in court, and whether Hitler was inspired by the Armenian genocide to design his own.

Children’s Literature at DU just had its read-aloud day (for previous online-only class’ read-alouds, have fun on our Vimeo channel), which marks the transition between picture books and novels for this course. The novel list includes classics like Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, and Harriet the Spy, as well as perhaps not as well known to a lay-adult books like Bud, not Buddy, Holes, and The Thief, and of course Harry Potter #1 and Ender’s Game. Before you go off on what books I should have included in my reading list, know that I have one book assigned per literary genre (plus two pre-1920), and so had to make some tough decisions. But then you all are called Lovely Lurkers for a reason, aren’t you…

Lastly, I just recorded a session of Left Hand Right Brain with former student JD, which should air sometime in May, so keep your ears (and this blog) peeled.

Now off to go grade some more…..

The Art of Inquiry: Hard Science, Soft Art panel review


i love that there’s the Periodic Table there high on the wall…

World Affairs Conference Panel Review #2: Hard Science, Soft Art

As I feared, lovely lurkers, I wasn’t able to catch nearly as much of this year’s Conference on World Affairs as I would have liked. But hey. Something’s better than nothing, right?

The second and last panel I observed was entitled: “Hard Science, Soft Art,” and most of the discussion on said panel centered around how problematic the title actually was. The discussion began with musings on the nature of science as a measure of truth and falsehood, and that paradox of the unmeasurable/unquantifiable aspects of life being the most important. Also that proofs (like, mathematical proofs) aren’t applicable to 90% of life.

Then they moved on to discuss how art and science are both learned/taught, citing the historical practice of art and engineering being taught via the apprenticeship model. In other words, the student would, in order to learn a craft or an art, go to a master of said craft or art, and study with them for a period of time, till they then went to work on their own as a stonemason or glassblower or painter or etc. This model, so saith the panel, is much more of a community-building one: the teachers and students are part of an ongoing relationship and the dialogue of the art/science then leads to more evolution of it (let alone a stronger bond between teacher and learner). It’s only in recent academics, opined the panel, that separating engineering and art happened. It wasn’t so delineated as practices before. I mean, one only has to look at da Vinci to see this manifested.

Actually I was reminded of my devoted stage combat students at Metro, a few years ago when that program was robust. They wanted to continue in their study of the art (craft? which is it?) beyond the mere one semester class, so they created a club. We met weekly, they learned more about stage combat than they ever would have from the academic model that was presented to them–they created the apprentice model for themselves, because they needed it. The panel mentioned the Maker movement as one reaction/solution to this over-delineated academic model.

The main exciting concept I took away from this panel was that science and art are both ways of interrogating or responding to the world. Art being an aesthetic response to the world, and what makes us human.

The panelists were: an astrobiologist/musician; a computational biologist/software engineer/conceptual artist; a professor of art & design who works with atmospheric science; and a sculptor of mobiles/mathematician who studies the consciousness (meditation, etc.). Um. Wow.

Closing pertinent things in my notes:

  • “We fear that vulnerability will turn into rejection.”
  • The Five Personality Patterns
  • Is there art on other planets?
  • a lot of the talk about the art of inquiry made me think of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Starry Night/Van Gogh speech, which I’ve embedded below.

Holmes v. Holmes v. Holmes

The lovely and talented folks at Sherlock’s Home wanted my Holmes v. Holmes article to focus on Cumberbatch vs. Miller, but I did have a section on Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in my original draft. So. Here it is. And, for the record: I like them all.



Honorable Mention: Robert Downey Jr.

I…think I’ve seen both movies. I’m pretty sure I have, because as a stage combat artist and stunt coordinator, I remember looking at the way they did the fight scenes in particular. The movies themselves, however, are so forgettable, I have actually Netflixed them both twice and still don’t remember much about plot. (Please don’t explain the plots to me in the comments; you know what I mean…)

What I will say that Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock brings to the mix is an explosive energy– a Trickster-like danger (think Willy Wonka, or Han Solo in ep. 4) that makes a character wonder if they’re at all safe following this madman around, but also wouldn’t miss the journey for the world. The fact that this Sherlock lives in Victorian London (albeit a rather advanced, steampunky version) makes his turpentine-guzzling, bare-knuckle boxing antics that much wilder. Jude Law’s Watson is as though he stepped out of Doyle: a good solid Victorian gentleman, who is still up for any insane shenanigans Holmes may put him through next. And though he’s there by his side, he will still attempt a modicum of sanity, or at least of legality, as he tries to lead a “normal” life while in the company of this eccentric.

Downey Jr. has a solid English accent, even if his wildness is a bit too modern American superhero for his role, but the action-hero-ness of this portrayal is something that most contemporary Sherlock adapters forget to add: they all are focused on Sherlock’s remarkable powers of the mind, and forget that a mere year before the second novel, Holmes beat a professional prize-fighter in three rounds of bare-knuckle boxing at Alison’s rooms, that he has a sword in his cane, and is an expert single-stick player (actually Miller’s Sherlock had a couple moments mentioning the single stick in particular, but still not an emphasis). Sherlock Holmes is in fact a badass, and Downey Jr.’s Holmes is a reminder of that.

Now ask me what I think of each series’ Irene Adler, or Moriarty. And don’t get me started on the Grenada series (or heck, why not? Do).


Holmes Vs Holmes: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller

My latest (nerd-rage instigating) post for these folks. Stay tuned for my originally-included section on Robert Downey Jr.

Sherlocks Home


Written by Prof Jenn.

Though to me the best portrayal overall of Sherlock Holmes will always be Jeremy Brett , I thought it’d be fun and instructive to plunge into a comparison between two contemporary portrayals of the famous detective.

Now, I know very well that for many modern Sherlockians, ya either love Sherlock and hate Elementary, or vice-versa. I, however, am approaching these portrayals both as someone who knows how to analyze writing (and who knows my literary Sherlock backwards and forwards), and someone trained in acting, who knows how to analyze performance, and knows what specifically she’s looking at when she looks at a performance. I am not taking sides, merely showing my objective views on two portrayals. So. Here we go:


Back in the days of court jesters, there’d be two kinds of “fool”: those that were known as natural, and those that were artificial. Those…

View original post 828 more words

Own Your Story: Geek Girls Unite panel review

World Affairs Conference Panel Review #1: Geek Girls Unite


I’m a little bummed out, lovely lurkers, in that I’m not sure how much of the World Affairs Conference I’m going to be able to catch this year. I used to go every single year faithfully, but since not being a student/near campus, I’ve fallen out of the habit. This year I highlighted the heck out of my conference schedule, and….had to miss all three panels I was hoping to see yesterday. Ah well, we shall see what the rest of the week will bring.

ANYway, I did get to the “Geek Girls Unite” panel on Monday, and as a geek girl myself I was pretty excited about it. Also, having seen Bonnie Burton on Tabletop a few times, I was especially pumped to see what she had to say about the topic.

I was a little disappointed in the main content of the presentations, though admittedly it was very cool to hear the women’s success stories. But the panel was…a little deceptively named, as most of the women (Bobbie Carlton, Francesca Grifo, and Sonja Hoel Perkins) were in technology or financial fields. While “computer nerd” is still a thing, there wasn’t much talk at all about geekiness, or geek culture, which is so prevalent as to be almost mainstream these days. There was a little discussion about how badly women are treated at conventions, which was a bit of the same old story. Too bad the same old story is still happening. So, I was lacking in geekiness at the Geek Girls panel.

The main positive I took away was yet another slew of encouragement: if you want to do a thing, do it. This was their central message. Don’t let gender and/or discouraging people stop you from doing your thing.

A few other pertinent things in my notes:

  • “Innovation Women”–a speakers bureau for female panelists/experts/speakers
  • the hesitance in creating another “woman-only island” thereby preaching to the choir
  • “Broadway Angels”–furthering women in tech
  • geeks are in charge now
  • for blogging: know your audience, use social media to spread it farther
  • “Own Your Story.”