Lots of happy things to share with you today!
 I have a confession to make. I’d been halfway considering buying a new pair of black boots for some time, something to wear to more formal occasions. I love my brown boots, but they are quite practical. Yesterday, an occasion that called for something fancier arose, and I took the opportunity to justify buying these boots:
And to pay way more for them than I have ever considered paying for footwear in America. Though, when you compare the $200 I paid for my other boots, these were a steal. I just wish I hadn’t waited til this late in the season! There have been great sales on winter shoes since after New Years, but I haven’t taken advantage of them til now. But, I’ve already worn them twice and I like them a lot, so I think I will get my money’s worth out of them. I guess I’ve become the kind of person who wears black leather heeled boots. I can’t quite compete with those Russian girls who wear six-inch stilettos on the ice, but I felt pretty badass today.
 My lesson plan was a hit today! It was a kind of last-minute thrown-together lesson on Mass Media, subbing for another professor who is on vacation in Spain. I wanted to talk about the media shifting from TV to the Internet, so I showed them these two clips covering the Occupy Wall Street movement last fall.
The first was coverage by ABC. The second was Dan Brown’s vlog take on it posted on YouTube. His video was particularly good, because in the second half he talks about the media shift from traditional broadcast media to social, participatory media, which was the point I wanted to get them talking about.
It was a group of fourth year students, and they were way more interested in it than I could have hoped for. I think they were surprised that I would bring in something so topical and so contemporary and so relevant to their own lives as the Internet. They were a little overwhelmed by how fast Dan Brown talks at first, but I think they were pleasantly surprised by this distinct variation from the usual language class fare. They even expressed interest in watching more of his videos. So that was unexpectedly gratifying. My fifth years are amazing, but I often feel they’re beyond my being useful to them.
 Ratatouille! It was totally worth it to hold out for zucchini to show up in the grocery store again instead of trying to substitute cucumbers, of which there have been an almost pathological abundance for the last month and a half. I made ratatouille tonight, my offering for the international dinner that Łukasz, Liv, Nils, and I are plotting tomorrow. I know, I know, “ratatouille” is French, but like I said to Łukasz, any food can be American. I’m also bringing back Linda Lang-Gun’s Sweet Potatoes for an encore.