F is for Field Trip

It’s field trip day! Perfect for “f” in the AtoZChallenge! We’re going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. When you teach kids day in and day out using curriculum on paper and overheads, it’s so effective to get them out into the real world where they can experience it with all 5 senses.

Today, about 70 kids from our high desert school get up close with Science. On exhibit is the Shuttle Endeavor. I plan to take a few choice photos and post them here on the blog so stay tuned. I’ve heard there are so many amazing exhibits, I can’t wait to see the wonder in my students’ faces. I got to pick my 5 students that had the highest chapter book reading points (AR) to go. The rest of my class is back with a sub. Im helping out the 6th grade because they didn’t get enough parent chaperones. Later this month I’m taking my regular class on a Gold Rush simulation field trip. I’m serving as a chaperone on this trip with my 5 plus a group of other kids. These are very rewarding times as a teacher when you get to see the kids really engaged with learning.

lsleofskye:Iceland They may call it “Ice Land” but aint it…



They may call it “Ice Land” but aint it beautiful? So is the agony for the ecstasy in life my friend.

I think I chose that photo and comment because I have a headache. It’s a sinus, post-nasal drip headache. I fucking hate these. Worse yet, Sarah and I are going on a date night tonight and maybe a movie. I took some stuff for it so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Now is the season for sowing seeds. Like a farmer with his little plot of land, I’m taking stick of my blogs, my podcast, my health, my work outfits, my outlook on everything. I go back to work in about a month from now so I have some more time off but I have to get to the doctor, maybe the dentist (you may recall I cracked half my tooth off on the 4th of July) Some teachers I have known have always taken it for granted that you have to get all that shit done over Summer. I guess it’s take me until recent years to figure out it’s damn hard to do when you are under a contract in the school year. A little agony that hopefully will pay off in good health and inspired teaching this coming school year.

I’m watching “Saving Private Ryan” currently. Talk about agony. For most these guys, the ecstasy will never come. Is Tom Hanks as rad an actor as every always says? I’m not into war movies but I love the message of this film … even through the agony presented in the first ¾. War is hell. I’m going to be on a podcast panel discussing this film led by my good friend in blog film criticism: MovieRob – I may have to read up on this film even after seing it for the second time. There isn’t much “feel-good” about it. Sort of like Schindler’s List.

I the OTC meds kicking in and guess what, my runny nose is releasing the tightness in my sinuses. Kick ass! We’re either going to Red Lobster or Tio Pepe’s. Up to her since I asked her out. 🙂 Yes I do try and make these like real dates to make us both feel young 😉

over and out … for now

Goliath (Season One)

I’ve just finished watching the season finale of Goliath, an Amazon series, starring Billy Bob Thornton. It’s a righteous legal drama with some great acting from the man as well as from a certifiable odd William Hurt.



“A disgraced lawyer, now an ambulance chaser, gets a case that could bring him redemption or at least revenge on the firm which expelled him.” -IMDB


Billy Bob Thornton Billy McBride (9 episodes, 2016-2017)
William Hurt Donald Cooperman (8 episodes, 2016)
Maria Bello Michelle McBride (8 episodes, 2016)
Olivia Thirlby Lucy Kittridge (8 episodes, 2016)

Directed by
Written by

David E. Kelley, Jonathan Shapiro

Other Info

IMDB Rating: 8.3

Legal dramas can be very appealing to me. I watched every episode of Judging Amy and The Good Wife and started enjoying legal drama films with Spencer Tracy in 1960 Inherit the Wind and Gregory Peck’s uber classic To Kill a Mockingbird early in my movie watching life. Unfortunately, they can also lag, sputter, and die to become boring Fords up on blocks in the annals of the IMDB.

I wasn’t sure about Goliath at first but I’m happy to say it had suspense and smarts and all the stuff I look for in a legal drama series. There is a spot where the writing gets a little dull around episode 4 and thereabouts but these days I can’t say any show is perfect.

There is an explosion at sea that causes much controversy. Thornton is in a bar in the first episode basically feeling washed up in his law practice. He’s been successful in ripping people off and getting money the easy way and it has more or less driven him to depression and drinking. You can probably imagine him in this state if you’ve seen the Bad Santa films.

William Hurt plays the head of a corporation trying to hide what happened on that boat. The storyline is a mystery really that unfolds about what happened in that mysterious explosion. Thornton is approached by a woman who needs his skills to take on the corporation and he sees the chance to do something right with his skills, for a change. Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention it’s a chance to redeem himself with the firm that expelled him.

It’s great watching Thornton in this series. He is truly in his element in this series. I recommend it to fans of the genre and of Thornton.


My review Goliath (Season One) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

This is a repost of my review from 2012. I plan to write an encore review this week.

Chariots of Fire was directed in 1981 by Hugh Hudson, known also for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. It stars Ian Charleson as Eric Liddell, a devout Christian runner, and Ben Cross as Harold Abrahams, a dedicated Jewish runner. Watching the movie now, over 30 years later, one can identify an A-list class from both major and minor characters.

Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire

“Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.” -IMDB


Ben Cross Harold Abrahams
Ian Charleson Eric Liddell
Nicholas Farrell Aubrey Montague
Nigel Havers Lord Andrew Lindsay

Directed by

Hugh Hudson

Written by

Colin Welland

Other Info

Biography, Drama, Sport
Fri 09 Apr 1982 UTC
IMDB Rating: 7.2

This movie is based on a true story. It is called a drama, history, and sport movie by imdb.com. It’s one of those movies I liked so much I bought. It’s a story of running, endurance, and conviction. The signature music of Vangelis inspired many in my generation to run and to appreciate running. I’m a proud runner probably because I saw this film at age 11.

Chariots of Fire is about two rising Olympic champions: Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams who are driven by very different impulses. Liddell is an ardent missionary who cares more about “feeling God’s pleasure” when he runs that he does about winning trophies or medals. Abrahams on the other hand is overly ambitious about winning. He is in fact primal in his drive to win at any cost. There is a lot of development toward the climax but the most important point is when the Olympics are to be held on a Sunday. Liddell refuses to run due to his beliefs. This is where we see the conviction of a truly inspiring man displayed in real time. Because this is a true story, we feel the temptation we might have to run but Liddell refuses. It is an excellent conversation piece. What drives us? How do we define success? and What will we not do in our quest for that success?

This movie is a gem and a pride among movies. While I don’t share Liddell’s polarized worldview, I still admire his conviction and resolve. This movie tells me I should define success and answer the questions above for myself. I am always defining and redefining myself. Chariots of Fire reminds me that true success has to be self-defined. You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy this film, it’s for everyone. When I first saw it I was 11 years old. When the credits rolled, I got up to walk out of the row. My mother stopped me and motioned me back into my seat. I saw the eyes of my parents and siblings watching the credits in awe as they listened to the angelic music. I would later learn the theme song and play it in the house hundreds of time. This is truly a remarkable film in my collection.


My review Chariots of Fire (1981) appeared first on Riley on Film.

High Fidelity (2000)

This is before Jack Black was huge. He’s quite funny here in a supporting role. John Cusack’s character is the consummate “cool dude” managing a record store. He is also the narrator of a quirky, hosted, cult-status film that takes the viewer through museum tour of failed relationships

High Fidelity

“Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.” -IMDB


John Cusack Rob Gordon
Iben Hjejle Laura
Todd Louiso Dick
Jack Black Barry Judd

Directed by

Stephen Frears

Written by

Nick Hornby, D.V. DeVincentis

Other Info

Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
Fri 31 Mar 2000 UTC
IMDB Rating: 7.5

This is a hip movie for hipsters. In other words, the jokes are subtle and righteously understood by students of pop culture circa 2000. It has a simple setting: a record store and we watch Cusack’s character travel to the edge and back again not being able to keep a girl around to save his life.

While not a romantic comedy per se, this film could be recommended as a great date movie. It conjures up the lessons of falling in love in your teens through your twenties. Cusack definitely has his shit together in terms of having a pad and a job but he falls way short of what these women need. Caught in the middle: any guy whose gone through dating segments will likely relate, I know I did.

There is a scene when Jack Black and his friends go gangsta on “Rob” (Tim Robbins) the current dating interest of his late girlfriend. It’s quite a sight to see. The whole “bros before hoes” idea played out. But that scenes ends up different. Most of the film is a bit different, I guess that’s why it resonates so much with me.

In a similar tone to “Office Space,” this film is quirky hilarious. You hae excellent actors, a dynamite script, beautiful women, and of course JACK BLACK! I recommend to all but especially those with a quirky and dark sense of humor.


My review High Fidelity (2000) appeared first on Riley on Film.

#atozchallenge – Lozenges

It’s been a difficult week having a sore throat and cough. At one point it was very uncomfortable and I found a menthol lozenge helped immensely. Next time I get sick I’ll be reaching for these over the DayQuil capsules. They tend to make me feel spaced out which really isn’t cool. Now, after a week of it and a day taken off work, I feel much better. It seems I may finally have the upper hand on this bug. You would’t think being sick would affect my blogging routine but it really did!

Have you been sick lately? Do lozenges work for you?



Blogging A to Z – Coffee Benefits

Today’s A to Z Challenge is the letter C so I wrote about black gold, the dancing goat’s drink, that’s right: coffee!

I learn more and more about how coffee has health benefits. Today, for example, doing research for this post I learned something new!

Unsweetened cocoa powder in your coffee increases its antioxidant properties.

Wow, gonna have to try that one. If you’re on Weight Watchers, know the powder does cost you a point. I just started on Weight Watchers recently so I am more aware of such things!

Another thing I like to share about coffee is the antioxidant and short term memory properties it contains.

I worked at the chain “The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf” in the 90’s and it was there I learned of coffee’s benefits.

It’s a fact to remember that these powers of coffee wane after an hour of sitting. So, in order to get all the medical benefits, and there are many more than I have mentioned, you must drink the coffee within an hour of when it’s brewed, or sooner.

Do you drink coffee? Do you know any benefits it has I haven’t mentioned? I know there are hundreds more because I’ve done many searches on the topic. image1-320x320Are you picky about the way they prepare your coffee? How do you take your coffee? Answer one of these questions in the comments, I’d love to hear from you! -Damien Riley

The Habitual Be of Ebonics

I studied a little ebonics while at Cal State Fullerton. I learned so many cool characteristics of the language, one of those was the habitual be. You’ve probably heard it spoken but not heard “of” it.

In the field of linguistics, we have observed a “habitual be” in ebonics. This is not simply a grammatical error. It is actually an identifiable, quantifiable language rule that is present in some African American dialects. Whether or not you accept ebonics as a standard language doesn’t matter, we see the habitual be many many places on the globe.

Today’s SoCs prompt was to write on the word “be.”

What does it sound like? Basically this: “She be working at that shop for years.” It precedes the verb (working) to mean that she has been there a long time. There are other uses of the habitual be. I found it quite remarkable in grad school studies. Since graduating with my MA, I notice it all the time in movies, tv, books, and in my every day work as a teacher at an inner city school.

This post is part of Blogging From A to Z April (2016) Challenge