A Month in Obsession: February 2016

What have I been raving about for the past 29 days?  That’s right, a whole extra day to feel intensely about inanimate objects!

Books: Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater by Michael Sokolove

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This non-fiction account of high school theater teacher Lou Volpe is a great examination of the decline of the American middle class, the failure of the American Dream, and the way art is sometimes only the conduit of hope. It is also a fierce argument against the test-based education system that seems to only result in frustrated and listless kids who are taught to achieve instead of think.

Movie: Cartel Land

This Oscar-nominated documentary is the most powerful film I’ve seen all year, edging out even my beloved Mad Max: Fury Road. The film follows a self-defense community group in Mexico who decides to stand up to the violent cartels in their region. What starts as a story of courage ends up twisting and turning into something more perverse It’s as if Carlos Fuentes and William Shakespeare had a baby in celluloid form. Catch it on Netflix on a day when you can cry yourself to sleep.

TV: The Bachelor

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You could say that I’ve been on a reality kick, but The Bachelor is so much more akin to some horrifying performance art experiment than anything else. I realize I’m setting gender relations back a hundred years, but the movement can do without me for a couple of hours. I’m only human. I can’t look away when a grown woman cries over her cankles or  an adult actually admits to never having met a Filipino.

Podcast: Another Round 

Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu are my imaginary two best friends who astound me with their wit and intelligence even after having taken a shot or five. (They really do drink on the show.) Despite their predilection for booze, they keep it together long enough to ask smart, incisive questions to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett. It goes well beyond pop culture riffing. Also, I may have peed my pants after listening to their Kwanza special.

Random: Using all the technology at my disposal to check Chicago weather

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Oh sure, this winter has been so mild but that’s like saying, “this stomach bug hasn’t been bad.” It’s still freaking annoying and awful and there are fluids coming out every orifice and you want it over the second it begins! The only way to calm my cries for SUNSHINE NOW WITH 100 DEGREES BLASTING MY EPIDERMIS is by checking two weather apps, #chicagoweather on Twitter, reading DNAinfo  whenever they have a weather related article, using Slack to ask my co-workers if they know anything about the weather, staring out the window only to check back my apps and confirm that they’re somehow on the same page, Google, the nightly news, a sacrificial ritual.

We have one more month to go and I’m verging on insanity.

Suggestions for my new March obsessions? Feel free to share!

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