Sunday, July 15, 2007

Teaching in WCL's Chile Spanish language 'magister' program

I'm off tomorrow to Santiago, Chile, to teach international finance and business law for a week in WCL's Spanish language "magister" LL.M program, which is for students in Latin America and taught in Spanish, sometimes with translators and sometimes with Spanish speaking instructors. I'm doing something I hope is ambitious and not foolish, which is to do it in Spanish. I've spent a fair bit of time going over my materials and making sure I've got the vocabulary from a couple of Spanish language business and finance dictionaries. My accent is terrible, and my grammar not entirely royal academy. But I think on balance it is good enough at least to try and do it in Spanish and not have things intermediated by translation. Hope this doesn't turn out to be a big mistake.

Long plane ride to Chile in coach. So Jean-Marie and Renee got me, as a father's day gift, a new little MacBook - the smallest and cheapest and least powerful. I much prefer my desktop for working and writing, but the family laptop I had been using for the past four years - and which served us very well as a family computer in Sevilla - still works fine, but is too large to open on an airplane. What with shrinking seat distances, etc. It would be so great to be rich and travel business class. I might see travel in a very different light. Anyway, the little MacBook is very nice. One reason I went with Apple for the first time is that, even though more expensive, I just don't want to get involved with Windows Vista. Maybe we'll gradually just migrate all the family computers that direction, I don't know. But even this little cheap version is a cool machine.

Jean-Marie and I went and saw the new thriller Joshua this afternoon in Bethesda. Hmm. I don't myself see what the critics were all raving about. A thriller needs a resolution that consists of something more than the situation careening downwards out of control - hitting rock-bottom and then rolling the credits. That was the supercool twist of "thrillers" in the 1970s - they just end, like Picnic at Hanging Rock, for example, with no explanation and no resolution, ta-da. Or, in another genre of thriller, the remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers with Donald Sutherland - just when you're wondering how the clever filmmakers are going to pull the rabbit out of the bag - boom, it's over, there is no clever ending, just aliens take over the earth - big whoop. I can do that movie, for heaven's sake, and so can you. Joshua's writers and director don't seem to understand that being a thriller and simply being a depressing moving that heads downhill for a while and then just crashes and sits there, dead, and a "thriller" are not the same thing.

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