Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hi Jessica

Hi Jessica. This is your daughter. You walked out of her life 10 years ago. Look at her now. She's smart, and she's beautiful, and she's got a good heart. She's about to graduate from high school. But she doesn't understand why you're not a part of her life. She thinks there must be something wrong with her. If you can't be in her life, can you at least tell her why? Can you tell her that it's because of you, and not because of her? Can you tell her there's something wrong with you, and it's nothing that's wrong with her?

this is how i would tell a woman that had abandoned her child at age 7 to acknowledge that she is fucked up, and not her daughter. and that she needs to tell her daughter that she did nothing wrong. to anyone who reads this, how would you do it?

Friday, October 12, 2007

respect, or respeck

i can't count the number of times i've had a student do something inappropriate, and then when i walk up to them to calmly ask them to change their behavior, they yell at me as if i've done something wrong. i swear i'm not being confrontational, even in some fucked up kid's slanted world view, i'm not doing anything that could be viewed in that light. even better, they tell me to calm down while they're yelling and screaming and i'm talking to them in a low voice. it just happened yesterday, and again today.

also beyond counting is the number of times i've heard my students say, "someone gives me respect, i give them respect. they disrespect me, i disrespect them." they must be parroting that incredibly stupid nonsense from their incredibly stupid parents, or something, right? where do they get that idea? i want to know how some of these kids think they have ever been in the position to be owed respect. the ones that say this aren't the good ones either - they're the kids who have never done anything to merit respect from anyone.

and whatever, let's not even get into the teacher-student relationship, or what it should be, or what it is in longmeadow and what it is here, and so on. they can get away with that stupid fucking chip on their shoulder in schools because we have so much worse things to discipline. but they won't be in school for the rest of their lives. we are required to teach them and tolerate their behaviors. it's not the same "out in the real world."

the saddest part, because i do feel sadness for these kids, not anger or dislike, but the saddest part is that these children will grow up to be "adults" who think that the world owes them everything. welfare and all these social assistance programs only validate that feeling of entitlement, too, and will for the rest of their lives. and that's another debate too. but anyways, there is no way these types of students will get a job with an actual boss, because as soon as they do the slightest wrong (which is a certainty), their boss will say something - however innocuously - and that kid will believe they are being disrespected instead of being given the respect they are somehow due, and here come the self-destructive fireworks!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

escher's "relativity" in lego

this is awesome. i got it from geekologie (hedonistica)

Friday, August 31, 2007

there are men who call, and men who don't call

and i'd much, much rather be one of the latter. they are _proper_ men, the sort of men that women have in mind when they moan about us. it's a safe, solid, meaningless stereotype: the man who appears not to give a shit, who gets ditched and maybe sits in the pub on his own for a couple of evenings, and then gets on with things; and though next time around he trusts even less than he did, he hasn't made a fool of himself, or frightened anybody...

Friday, May 25, 2007

memorial day weekend! mohegan sun on sunday. and tonight we're getting seafood and then going to see the conclusion to pirates. yaaaaaaaarrrrrr.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

sedentary and ambitionless

other teachers at my school are dumb. today, a math teacher insisted that a whore and a hooker are different, in that whores don't charge money. he insisted. i was very firm that they did, and he was just as adamant that they did not. i looked it up on m-w.com right in front of him and he still wouldn't change his stance.

i still remember a science teacher who refused to believe that conch is pronounced conk. i maintain that conch being pronounced phonetically is only due to people pronouncing it wrongly so much that it became correct. i could be wrong on that one though.

also, today, i went to lunch with this teacher. we have a running dialogue where she asks me why i am not making way more money as an electrical engineer. and i explain i don't want to. this is paraphrased.
her: what was your major, mech eng?
me: electrical.
her: i don't understand why you don't make loads more money with your degree.
me: that's because you don't know what motivates me.
her: nothing motivates you.
me: (kind of surprised at being found out so easily) oh, i guess you do understand.
her: i know you have no motivation, but why?
me: ...

later that day she said that i had a sedentary, ambitionless lifestyle. that was genuinely a bit upsetting.

so either she overestimates me or i underestimate myself. i would pay money for a scale that measured my total worth as a human being and simply gave me a clean, objective number.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

damn i was poised to write a lot of meaningful, life-changing material right now, and someone just pulled the fire alarm. during lunch! what kind of idiocy is that? honestly.

more to come - i'm in the blogging mood, or i've been possessed by the blogging spirit, or however the idiom should go. hopefully i will still have it in 10 minutes or so.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

does anyone have a poster for howl's moving castle?

i ordered a signed copy of "the name of the wind" from patrick rothfuss. i spent at least a half hour leafing through the book trying to find a suitable quotation for the personalization. after rejecting,

"it's a goddamn huge dragon and it's going to come over here and eat us!" because it's the most ?casual? line in the book and it might have seemed i was poking fun at him for picking it out. not casual, exactly, but out of character? low language? i'm not sure.

"valaritas" because for all i know it means shitface.

"may you find the name of the wind," or some variation thereof, because he would be writing it on a book named the name of the wind, and that seems silly to me.

i settled on, "may your pizzle never fizzle," because it's funny. also one of the more ?hokey? lines in the book, but oh well.

i watched she's the man today. i enjoyed it much. it was genuinely funny, and at almost any point in the movie there's a pretty face on screen. i might even acquire the dvd. i have a soft spot for teen-oriented "shakespearean-inspired" films. as long as they have beautiful girls in them, i'm sold.

i also watched howl's moving castle, which started me on a wall scroll search. there are none in existence. it makes me sad. does anyone know of a way to capture shots from a DVD on the computer and then to make one's own posters out of it? i've always wanted to do it for princess mononoke since for some reason the only posters/wall scrolls are san and her wolf, and NONE of ashitaka and san together.

anyways, the howl search led me to nausicaa.net, which i browsed until i came across some interesting articles concerning "gedo senki" (tales of earthsea). interesting stuff, involving race, racism, and especially reverse racism. stuff like racism, abortion, or the war in iraq just make me tired. they're too big for someone like me to think about.

interestingly, howl's pacifist attitude toward the futility of war was not really in the book, and came more from miyazaki's own feelings as he worked on this movie as america went to war with iraq.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

the name of the wind

george r r martin is a bastard. terry goodkind is a pervert. robert jordan is the mayor of boston and the wheel of time is a monstrous, living big dig.

patrick rothfuss is a bard.

i remember loving the first of jordan's books. i remember the childish excitement when i went to the bookstore and saw SIX more novels in the series, some with spines as wide as my clenched fist. i remember that excitement slowly dimming, dulling. i don't know. insert analogy here. something about my excitement turning into a sense of betrayal, we'll say like a delicious steak turning to shit in one's gut. diarrhea fucking shit. bloody, even. i'm just searching here, but it was a terrible feeling. maybe time has dulled that pain. or my brain has blocked it. but it was bad. i remember being vaguely excited when i heard book 8 was coming out. i remember the disappointment, again, like an old acquaintance. i remember the reason i bought book 9, out of some weird notion that i ought to finish what i started. i remember buying book 10 because i was leaving for the Hong Kong airport in a few hours and i had nothing else to read. i remember shaking my fist at the sky, at jordan, when i heard book 11 was on its way. the big dig doesn't do it justice. even though it killed a woman.

martin is a fucking asshole. simple and true. nothing else needs be said on the subject. reading his books is like slowly, so slowly lowering oneself into a hot tub that used to be comfortable. it's too goddamn fucking hot, but i remember when it felt real nice, so i keep waiting for it to be bearable again. but it just stays hot as shit and burns the fuck out of you.

goodkind is a hack with some strange anti-socialism agenda hidden in terribly conspicuous parables that can sometimes span AN ENTIRE FUCKING NOVEL. that kind of did it for me. i liked books 1 and 2 very much, up to 5 was ok, but #6 pretty much shut the lid on this one. how someone passes that off as a legitimate book and still gets _any_ sales on his next is entirely beyond me. him being a perv with his fingering and his overtly misogynistic attitudes towards women and his shoutingly obvious desire for personal sex slaves with magical powers doesn't help.

which brings me to rothfuss. i remember loving many first books in series. series es. eh? anyways, i remember the excitement. like coming back home after meeting someone new and interesting, and thinking it over. how she was too pretty. too interesting. too interested. something's wrong.

i know that feeling. sometimes i think i've spent my whole life waiting for the other shoe to drop. what the fuck does that even mean? is dropping only one shoe a good thing? it's that second one - dropping the pair is a bitch.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

shit! fuck!

i came into this school in feb of 2005. i was picking up where this terrible teacher had left off - resigning after slamming a kid into a locker. the kid probably deserved it, but from all accounts, this teacher was inappropriate and not doing his job. in between the teacher resigning and me starting was a month of substitutes, so not a great condition. i took over 5 geometry classes in a 7 block schedule. it was kind of hellish.

i came into the school as kind of a golden child, i think. the principal and the math dept head loved me for being intelligent. i think he was telling other principals that he had picked up a columbia engineering grad. i was promised good things.

fall of 2005 - i had an ap stat class, a stat class, and a geometry support class (because there weren't enough kids for another stats section). we switched to a block schedule - as opposed to a rotating 6 of 7 blocks every day for a year, we now had 4 90-min blocks every day for half a year, and new kids with the new semester. most teachers had only TWO classes one semester, and three the other. i was apologetically informed that i would be three and three, because AP stats was yearlong. it was ok.

ap was wonderful. stats was pretty all right. geometry support was hellish. both semesters
of geometry included that one asshole kid that just tries his or her damnedest to be a shithead.
i can deal with one shit class for two decent ones. barely two months into the school year our principal leaves us for a higher-paying, easier job. who wouldn't? we get a new principal. i didn't trust her then and i hate her now.

we voted pretty early in the year that all meetings besides PD were optional. optional - our choice. faculty meetings, department meetings - we didn't have to go. we had to stay in the building and work, as per our contract, but where we were and what exactly we were doing was up to us. i missed a faculty meeting to meet with a student. he had to change his ap stats course into an independent study and take some form of physics because of a conditional acceptance to wpi or rpi or some pi. i figured a solid use of my time was the independent study with this student.

i got a long and rather strongly worded letter from my principal about skipping the meeting. her expectation was that all teachers would attend all faculty meetings. there is lots of information that we need to hear from her at these meetings. she expected me to be at all meetings from now on. all that shit.

i never missed a department meeting. those were worth going to. faculty meetings were and still are a giant waste of fucking time. never mind that i live with two fucking teachers from the same fucking school, and i can just ask them what happened and get it in less than 5 minutes.

about a month earlier i had given feedback on the most worthless pd in the world that taught us how to open our laptops, log in, and check email. i am not kidding. we spent an hour learning how to do that shit. and this was extra PD time, above what we normally needed to do. what the fuck. in response to the pd survey i had filled in, she said that the pd was a faculty meeting, and as such was optional. let that sink in. that PD was conveyed to us as PD, and mandatory. it was an extra PD, so contractually i guess we didn't have to go, but who would fight it?

she says it's PD so i go. i say it sucked and her response is that it wasn't PD because it was a faculty meeting, and therefore optional. i then miss a faculty meeting to tutor a student individually and i get a fucking letter telling me i have to attend all faculty meetings.

in addition, i brought the letter into the teachers' cafe immediately after i got it. i asked other teachers, and i talked to two teachers right there in that room who were puzzled. they were puzzled because they had skipped the same meeting and received no letter. that was two teachers who happened to be in the teachers' cafe when i was. how many others skipped the meeting? what the fuck.

it's only gotten worse since then.

fall of 2006. no ap class. not enough people signed up. no one tells me until it's too late to do anything about it. instead i get another, NEW prep (intermediate math, or algebra and geometry again for retards), giving me three different preps AGAIN, which is technically against union law. i roll with the punches. the kids actually aren't that bad. wonder of wonder, the repeaters in both remedial classes i have are actual repeaters. they're older, and for the most part they want to pass this time. this is opposed to the repeater geometry i taught the previous year full of freshman who had FAILED algebra 1 and NEVER taken geometry before. explain to me how a kid stupid or lazy enough to fail algebra 1 will pass a course that might as well be called, algebra 1 but with shapes. so, not terrible.

instead of 3 classes and a block-long prep, i now have a half a block of prep and half a block of duty. this is worse than before, but relatively less worse compared to teachers who went from 2 blocks classes, 1 block prep, 1 block duty, to this. now every teacher has 3 classes and half prep half duty. my duty consists of watching the bathroom and the surrounding hallway. kids are not supposed to be there, so i ask them to go back downstairs. they either listen, or they ignore me. if they ignore me, i can do nothing about it.

a string of bathroom fires prompts the "lockdown" on bathrooms. officially, all bathrooms are locked and no passes are to be issued. in reality, it is not enforced, like every other rule at this school. whatever. i now have to unlock and lock the bathrooms after every student uses it, and record their names in a logbook. fine.

i get my schedule for spring 2006. normal stats is gone now. in its place is another geometry support section. what the fuck. i check with the administrator in charge of scheduling. somehow, it was decided last summer that there would be no stats section in the spring. i didn't find out until november. also - "There's no class because no one signed up! No one signed up because you didn't recruit anyone! Didn't anyone tell you that's one of your responsibilities?"

what the fuck. no, no one fucking told me. this school has been phasing out higher level maths ever since Jara (the old principal left), and now a normal, nonhonors section of stats needs to be RECRUITED. what the fuck. ok. i got my new duty schedule this morning. i now have duty in the cafeteria. i can't get shit done in there. i have to walk around among way more screaming loud fucking obnoxious teenagers than should ever be allowed to exist in one place in one time. what the fuck. before, i could bring my shit into the hallway and do work, at least. christ.

in addition, i started out floating. floating means i have no room. i don't mind it terribly; it frees me from a lot of responsibility and accountability. by now, every math teacher that has started even a little before me has a room. and, let's see, johnson, tripoli, usova, nguyen - i can name four teachers right now that started after me and now have rooms. two of them only started this year. they are in 9th grade teams, which means they need rooms. by the way, "9th grade teams" is code for "they're still going to fail."

i want to resign right now. i want to walk out of this building and never look back. but, there are a few things holding me back.

-it's really not that bad. the worse the job gets, the worse of a job i do, and i still collect the same paycheck.
-money. i fucking hate it. all these commitments tying me down. all i want to do is float. i want to drift along like some useless floatsam, but i have rent, utilities, student loans, car loans, and all that shit tying me down.
-the future. walking out of one's job can't help in future applications. why did you leave your previous job? the school was complete shit and still getting worse. why did you leave in the middle of the year? ...

shit. fuck.