I was watching September today, one of Woody Allen's more somber films. True to form it featured Dianne Wiest, and while watching I couldn't help but remark inwardly on how well she looked. I looked at the channel guide and noticed that the film was made in 1987. "1987 wasn't so long ago," I thought. Then I remembered that my little brother, who drives and has already graduated high school, who is bigger, stronger, and taller than me, who's almost 20, was born in 1987. 1987 was 20 years ago, jesus. I wondered what I'd look like in 20 years. Would I still be thin? Would my face be a roadway of lines and saggy depots? Would I even still be alive? I have these thoughts often and they don't amount to much. It's not like I resolve myself to drastically changing the course of my life after these little reveries, and that's sort of pathetic and pusillanimous.
See, I have this philosophy that life is short and you don't get another. That's pretty basic and prosaic, but I really, really believe that. I don't have faith in a God or gods who will take care of me and offer me rebirth; I don't believe in a heaven or hell or purgatory. When you die, you're dead--that's it. I'm an agnostic, would-be atheist; however, I have a friend who believes that branding oneself an atheist is too arrogant. It is like, she says, pretending to know all there is about the universe. I disagree, of course. It just means you're sure and refuse to be wishy-washy about your beliefs. Anyway, yeah. Knowing that I'll be dead soon, I should be doing a lot more than refusing to leave the house and refusing to speak to people and refusing to answer the phone, and other insular practices, but I just don't feel like it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed. I just feel that maybe I should be out there shaking it up; you know, catching venereal diseases, racing stock cars and having abortions. Oh well.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
I'm so sad; I miss my children, especially 5th period. I knew I would be a little put out at the prospect of suddenly up and leaving the first group of children I've taught taught (double taught intended), but who knew I'd get home and become a blubbering mess. I was fine during the actual act of leaving. We laughed, we lived, we loved. My children whined and gave me hugs, made me promise to come back and visit. Amy (my cooperating teacher) and I ate Thai from our favorite restaurant for the last time and drove to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream (to be extra gluttonous); I was completely and totally fine. Then I take the walk from the school library (the English department's home) to the Harrison doors for the last time. I cross the street from the school for the last time and all of a sudden I'm completely rapt with this paroxysm of emotion. I was supposed to go out for food and drink with my ex-coworkers, but I was way too sad, so now I'm at home. I miss my children. I've never hugged so many people in one day ever, not even at family reunions. Student teaching is cruel business.
At least Pride & Prejudice is on. Though it's the inferiorly shitty version with Keira Knightly ruining the role of Elizabeth Bennet, it's enough to distract me for the time being. On Monday, though, I'll have nowhere to go and will feel completely useless as I'm now both unemployed and idle. Anyway, this MacFadyen guy makes the second crappiest Mr. Darcy I've seen, the first being that suspiciously fey Mr. Darcy from the 1940's production. (The women were decked out in historically inaccurate garb and the acting was too over the top, absolutely intolerable.) His acting is so wooden and he delivers his lines as if he's only just been able to memorize them. And that haircut! It's hideous. It's the early 18th century version of the shag. And the pacing of the film is all wrong. Yeah, this version is so not deserving of four stars or accolades, but people have bad taste. Nothing, in my opinion, will ever trump the magnificently accurate and gorgeous 1995 BBC miniseries. Long live Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
I'm still sad, though.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Have you noticed that I'm getting lazy? Just what is this post your random internet quiz results shit anyway? This description is inaccurate as hell by the way. I do find it funny, though.
Tomorrow's my last day with my babies. We'll see if I can hold it together. If not feel free to mock me mercilessly.
In other news, specifically of the "Dude! You're fat. I hear a heart attack coming" variety, I've finally bitten the bullet; I mail ordered food. For those of you with not enough butter, fat or sugary pastries in your life, try Tennessee T-Cakes; they're pretty good. Oh, gotta go. The Office is on.
Friday, December 08, 2006
ick, it sorta looks like i'm deliberately making an allusion to the word cunt; i'm not. not much today. it's cold as a witch's tit (i never really got that saying) and i'm happy as hell to be in the snugly comfort of my room.
i took this "What American Accent Do You Have?" quiz. i was found to have a country accent (surprise, surprise). when i was eight or so, i was videotaped (no kiddie porn-o) at Marshall Field's for this child safety initiative thingy. i suppose hella kids were being snatched at the time. the reasoning was that you could show the police a videotape of your kidnapped child so they could really get a "feel" for the little runt's personality. anyway. so i find this tape when i'm a second year undergraduate and my accent was HELLA THICK! dude! the word doll took me six seconds to say (die-yawhlllllllllll and shit). i was quite surprised that i was never aware of my accent, though people rarely are, and i wondered where it had gone. both my mom and dad still have southern leanings to their speech (as many, if not most, black folks on the south side do), but the bulk of their accent is gone. i suppose mine changed as a result of being around siddity bitches in grammar school. however, i recently viewed a videotape that i made of myself teaching 5th period (required for my program) and i still have an accent, just not as thick. it's funny.
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: The South
|The Inland North|
|What American accent do you have?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
on a slightly related note, my mom is adorable. she is so full of christmas cheer and spirit, and these feelings aren't discriminating; she loves any day that allows her to decorate the yard with large, frightful creatures that are supposed to be inviting and friendly. a few weeks ago, when i was home for thanksgiving, i helped her decorate the christmas tree. the tree ended up being gorgeous (as usual), and she actually wanted to decorate another just so i could have one for my house. she actually expected me to transport a six-foot decorated christmas tree from the manor all the way to north side...sheer craziness. i, of course, declined because i'm the quintessential scrooge figure in her bob cratchit world. by now, i'm sure she has the requisite singing wreath on the door, the jazz santa on the christmas faux fireplace, and the dozens of bows, bells and fluff on all the doors, archways and walls of the rest of the house. my mom's so cute.
isn't it precious?
the christmas kitchen table
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Dude, I got emotional today. For those who know me, there is an understanding that this is rare (or was before the devil in form of BC took over my hormone regulation). Anyway, I was sitting in 4th period today (I really do owe them an apology. Despite being oppositional and kinda dry, they did the best of all the classes on the mythology unit--yay them!) and I got misty, almost tearful--tearsty. I thought, "I'm really gonna miss these little scamps."
You see, I have less than two weeks left to my student teaching placement. Next Friday is my last day. After then, I may never see these kids again. So I surveyed the room from behind the desk (I'm no longer teaching, just observing, grading papers, and butting in every once and again) and I thought about how different the experience of being in the room with these kids now feels different from being with them on the very first day. Once, we were all strangers; they were these nameless faces with overactive bodies attached who heightened my anxiety and induced my fear of failure. Now, today, around 11:05 a.m., I looked around the room and saw faces that I know, that have personalities and attitudes and individual memories of interaction attached to them. I had, with these kids, done something that I rarely ever do; I had put myself completely at their mercy. I had placed myself in precarious and unforeseeable situations in front of them, had attempted and failed with them watching. I rarely do anything outside of my comfort zone. My motto is to only open my mouth or act when I'm darn sure of the outcome or reaction. I like to act in complete surety to avoid any danger of embarrassment or ineptitude. However, for 15 weeks or so, I had abandoned these things, and they--my students--had been there to witness every fuck up and success. Dude, I don't abandon myself in that way around my family or friends, even. This shit was hella special and shit (I'm hard, dammit!).
So yeah, I got emotional. Perhaps, it's simply the Desogen--which, by the way, sucks ass--but I feel, despite my anxiety of soon being both unemployed and idle, a sense of accomplishment. This was one of those infrequent experiences that forces folks to stop being so prosaic. I now have less of an issue with figuratively falling completely on my ass in front of people. That's pretty emancipating, bitches!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
so it's been a few days since black friday (you know, that frenzied consumer's dream the day after thanksgiving). i, as usual, came up. let me quickly list the things i purchased for myself:
19" lcd flat screen television ($179)
kodak 6.1 megapixel digital camera ($98)
jensen ipod compatible alarm clock ($28)
hewlett-packard scanner, copier, printer ($48)
the office (us version), season 1 ($9.99)
memorex cd/dvd player ($24)
virgin mobile two-way, web browsing cell phones ($9.99)
40 pack AA batteries ($2)
8 pc stainless steel mixing bowls ($9.99)
black & decker family sized griddle ($19)
512 MB memory cards ($7)
queen sized air mattress ($17)
hand mixer ($3.50)
I think that's about it. There may be random, forgotten purchases, but you get the idea. I also purchased a few things for my mom, brother and dad, but those are their things, so forget about those.
I love shopping. I am an avid, and addicted, consumer. Most of my family memories exist against the backdrop of malls or cars on the way to malls. Every single weekend, my dad would pick my brothers and me up and we'd go to a mall--Evergreen, Ridge, Lincoln, Orland Square--it didn't matter; we spent many precious bonding moments in dens of pure consumerism. Since I can remember, we have always woken at ungodly hours the days after thanksgiving and christmas to rush big box stores for product. The rallying cry was always the same--"Buy first, ask questions later." We'd always leave the Best Buys, Circuit Citys and Walmarts with many more televisions (yes, plural), printers, computers, game systems and various other electronics than we actually needed. Only when we had returned home and unloaded the stuff from the vehicles (yes, vehicles) would we ponder the need for these things. After a few years, we'd developed a fleet of shoppers throughout the family: My dad, my mom, my brothers and I would travel in one car; my cousin Wilma would travel alone in her own car; Nate, another cousin, would also be ready in a vehicle of his own. Together, we'd create strategies for hitting the most important stores and getting the most amount of product:
"Wilma, you get as many 32" televisions as you can. Nate, you're our laptop man. Grab as many as you can. We'll handle the playstations."
So, you see...my incessant shopping, my arriving home with shopping bags three to four days out of the week, really isn't my fault. I was made this way. I was raised on the satisfying high of the purchase. I cannot stop. Shopping is my drug, my confidant, my friend. I must continue to purchase or I'll withdraw into a coma of dissatisfaction. My things, my beautiful things, must continue to be amassed. They belong here, in my closet, on my floor, under my bed, out on the porch. It's the only way, you see. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to go. I have to find a place for my third television.
(on a more serious note, rest in peace mrs. shirley washington. you fed me pork n beans when my mother wasn't home and was always so nice about complimenting me on my dodgy, oily skin. you always reminded me of tina turner for some reason. i can't believe you're gone.)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
so, i've come up with an unfortunate (and unfair) analogy for my freshmen classes. it follows the course of a basic and predictable dinner one has at eighth grade or senior luncheons held in moderately priced hotels (like the Hyatt or Ramada). you know those meals; they usually give you options that appear to be accommodating, but are really quite limited in their options--vegetarian? poultry? pescado? yeah, don't you believe for one minute that anything outside the standard limp stir fry, chicken in questionable cream sauce or bland white fish in copious amounts of oil and unidentifiable seasonings are available-those are the options, no filet mignon here. so, back to my analogy. first period, as my avid readers know, is my least favorite class. i liken them to that "salad" one receives to kick off the bullshit meal--a few pieces of lettuce (usually iceberg), a cherry tomato and a sliver of some other random vegetable. this "salad" is not at all satisfying; as a matter of fact, salad status for this half-assed disaster on a plate is really quite questionable. why, catering people, do you even bother serving it? no one eats this and no one wants to. bring more bread. just as this "salad" is a dispensable, rather unpleasant harbinger of the so-so dinner to come, so is first period's rather questionable behavior. i know that they're freshmen and can only be expected of so much maturity, but are they conscious, thinking beings at all? are the random shrieking noises, impromptu songs, and completely off-the-mark assignments really real? stop it already, first period. i'd rather have bread.
my fourth period freshmen class i liken to that passable meat dish served as the main course (or veggie stir fry for you assholes who just refuse to eat meat. sorry natalie if you're reading). it's pretty basic and it is food, so you'll eat it since you had absolutely no time to grab anything remotely edible in your hurry to make it to this crappy event on time. however, midway through this rather disappointing (and flavorless) dish, you feel a strong urge to hurl. this "cream sauce" is giving you the business, and you should really stop and have more bread to try to combat the deleterious effect of this poorly prepared calamity; but, you did pay fifty bucks (or whatever amount) to attend this function and there is no way you're wasting your hard-earned cash, so you keep eating, hating yourself as you do. yes, fourth period, you appear to be slightly sane in the beginning, and then you wild out into this crazed group of evil people. what's up with that?
then comes fifth period. after three periods (two freshmen, one junior) of being battered and bruised by the casualties of being a modern educator, you just want to go home and lose yourself in some mindless entertainment...and maybe a taste tip from the Honey 1 BBQ up the street, but you have just one more class to teach. i liken this, my last class, to dessert. after a rather mediocre meal, you accept dessert half out of resignation, half out of expectation. so, you choose between that disgusting ooze of raspberry cheesecake, the alarmingly unimaginative dish of ice cream (ice milk, who are they kidding?), and boring, but comforting chocolate cake. you, of course, choose the chocolate cake and it's fantastic! i mean, your taste buds may just be compensating for the caterer's lack of culinary expertise in other areas, but this cake slice is pretty moist, chocolately and flavorful. it makes you happy. finally, you've gotten something out of this god awfully long hell of an outing. thanks, fifth period, for being so smart and funny, and for "getting it."
eighth grade luncheons and other such events are actually pretty heartwarming in retrospect. hell, i totally hated mine, but i'm glad i went. though i've accused my poor students of being bland chicken dishes and limp salads, i'm really fond of them. how couldn't i be? they're kids and shit. plus, they really aren't that bad and i was waaaaay worse.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
So it's 7:28 in the morning and I haven't slept (no reason, just haven't), and I feel somehow compelled to write about Gerald Levert's death. So...this is me writing about it. I mean, I have nothing important or radically different to say. I mean, it is fucked up cuz dude was only 40 and he seemed like good people. (Since I had no friends, I watched a lot of BET back in the day [before it became ass central] and Gerald used to stay on the Video Soul couch talking to Donnie Simpson; he always seemed like a cool dude, no pretensions or big head or anything.) It's sad. I know women over forty (and prematurely old chicks like me) everywhere are devastated. He was even working on losing weight, eating healthier and working out. He was a fantastic performer; you could always count on Gerald to show up to an event decked out in a sparkly and/or metallic outfit and to include in his performance: 1) the emphatic jumping motion to highlight a particular soulful run, 2) the two-minute r&b troubadour riff, including such phrases as BAY-BEH!, OOOOHHHH!, MMMM HMMM! and other such fantastic notes and 3) at least one roll on the stage (for good measure, of course). Dude was raw.
I guess I'm a little annoyed since my other dude Luther (who I'm listening to right now) died from some slipshod eating type dealie (stroke-Luther loved him some fried chicken, truth) too, and this shit is kinda avoidable. I mean Luther had just hit 50 (sorta, he was 54) and Gerald was 40. In this day and age, where Willie Nelson can creak ever onward towards absolute moth-eaten senescence, I'm sure heart attacks and strokes can be avoided. Some of us don't do doctor visits, but we should. More of us eat crap (I'm talking hamhocky, deep-fried in butter crap) and figure we'll be just fine. Nope, we'll die of dumb shit like hypertension and heart disease just when life gets good. Go to the doctor people; don't take the shitty drugs they give you, but at least go for check ups and shit. And don't have hamhocks for every meal. Try alternating the hamhock dinner with something a bit less risky, like fish (not fried) or something; maybe a nice fruit salad. Get your blood pressure checked. See someone if you have chest pains (I did, but of course, I went home after sitting in the ER for seven hours, but I tried). If you don't have insurance, go to those free health fairs and neighborhood events when they come up. Do something to cling to your health and happiness other than constantly shoving your mouth in a trough of fats and sugars. (Where's my soapbox? Oh, there it is.) Black women are about 70 percent more likely than white women to be diagnosed with heart disease and twice as likely to have heart attacks. Forty percent of us (meaning black folks) have some form of heart disease. We all know know people who have had debilitating or fatal strokes. In general, the whole "eat first, ask questions later" approach isn't working.
Now I can't say too much about those of you with fucked up eating habits, for I will be having a fried egg and bologna sandwich (with extra mayo) the moment I publish this entry AND I had Hot Doug's for dinner (a bacon sausage with avocado cream, lettuce, and tomatoes among other things), but I did have a granola bar for breakfast. Also, I, being the child of a hypochondriac, will go to the doctor in a heartbeat. Two Christmases ago, I just knew I was dying of cancer and visited my doctor for confirmation, luckily it was just a cyst. I've also had pap smears galore and a recent EKG. And I try my best to purchase the low sodium items when I grocery shop. And I opt for homemade meals more often than not to at least avoid some of the crazy fast food crappiness that abounds (though, I will be having a MCRib at some point before the promotion ends, but I won't be having 40 of them). See! Too much information, but I'm modelling behavior here. The point is, at least try to be healthy. Heart attacks at 40 is not a good look.
Some information/links for better health
Black men in Chicago with shitty to nonexistent health insurance
Woodlawn Health Center
6337 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Upcoming Health-Oriented Programs/Chicago
Women, Tend to Your Hearts
Also, in honor of the man who prompted this entry, let us all sing "Baby, I'm Ready" or "Casanova" in husky, soulful tones. All Hail Gerald Levert, Thane of Steppers' Sets!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
see, this is why i didn't want a blog. for those who know me from my "fruity pork" days, you know that i'm a bit lax when it comes to the posting. i tend to be really excited upfront (see the first few consecutive days of posting), then, very quickly, i fall off and start to wonder why i made the commitment in the first place. i only have so many emotions, anyway. by the time i get to my tenth post, every possible emotion i can experience will have been reflected here, so i'll have to start jumping through hoops. hell, look at this post; i've got nothing. i'm wearing my "big robe," eating almond cookies and preparing to devour a frozen uno's pizza all by myself--this is surely not stimulating or interesting.
in other soporific news, i'm old. i've officially reached the turning-into-your-parents phase. i've always liked the blues; now, i'm listening to the sunday evening blues show on 106.3 and downloading the latest shirley brown singles. i also make mixtapes of various blues jams and do the snap, head down, "this mah cut" thing when i hear certain songs in public--way to go me. my favorite pastimes include watching reruns of any show on usa (the network), grocery shopping, and deciding which cake recipe to try next (which, in honor of thanksgiving, will be the pumpkin praline layer cake with cream cheese frosting-hay now!). i don't go out much, and when i do, i get tipsy and get "dorothy voice" while doing variations of the two-step on the dance floor. i drive a minivan. i like gizzards and gravy--a lot. i can tell you z.z. hill's real name and place of birth. despite all this--the slightly disturbing love of new house shoes, the boxes of johnson's foot soap in my closet, the bacon grease container next to the stove--i wouldn't want to be any different. why bother? at least i don't have herpes like many of my peers AND i don't have to worry about getting old; i'm already there.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
hella papers to grade, y'all. hella papers.
tomorrow grades go in for the ten week period. the freshmen are up in arms because most of them (we'll say 95%) got d's or below on their thesis papers. now i'm stuck reading 90 revisions before tomorrow so that my students can have decent grades to show their parents on friday. i have kids freakin out over b's, high b's. nevermind that the grading scale we use is ridiculous (95-100 A, 94-88 B...), these kids need to chill.
gotta go, hella papers.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
okay, so all that stuff i said about those kids getting on my nerves and me doing a count down til the end of my student teaching experience...chuck it all. i love these little critters (today). so first and second periods were par for the course--kids jumping and screaming and getting merry like christmas (maya angelou anyone?). then fifth rolls around. now let me give some background: first period is a freshman class and my least favorite; having an alright time during first is no spectacular thing. second is my lone junior class; they're sometimey--there's a lot of love and hate there. fourth is another freshman class, and contains of strange mix of the quiet and the snarky; they're fine. and then you have fifth (yet another freshman class). this class is my clear favorite. they're hilarious and smart and gregarious and a little kooky, everything that freshmen should be. in this class are many characters; one, in particular, is a boy we shall call clem. clem has severe anxiety issues, like he hasn't been diagnosed, but we (my cooperating teacher and i) know that he has asperger's. he expects absolute perfection of himself and can never just let something lie; all assignments have to be done correctly the first time...now. yesterday, i passed back the freshmen's first real paper, the one where they were required to identify a theme and support it with their chosen text. now clem didn't do so well; he didn't do so poorly either, but that's not the point. yesterday, while trying to explain to him that he needn't worry about not having gotten the whole theme paper thing right away, he started crying. now i'm a cold mickeyfrickey with a heart of stone, but the sight of some fourteen year-old kid leaking at the eyes was too much for me to handle; i felt horrible. i tried to assuage his fears and told him to simply go home and work on the things that i had clearly identified as problems. "fine," he says, and i feel better. he feels better, too; he now has a plan of action. fast forward to today. now while his classmates are acting like crazy people, he's still shook about this paper. he is unable to let this paper occupy a smaller part of his existence. "it's driving me crazy," he says. i then launch into this exhaustive explanation and demonstration of how to rewrite, restructure, rework his paper. he smiles. he says, "thank you, ms. ellis." he makes an extra effort to tell me to have a nice day when he leaves. his anxiety has been eased, at least for now. i feel all warm and shit. i am an absolute softie.
in other news, and in an effort to toot my horn even louder, some random student who does not have me tells me that she's heard that i am an excellent teacher (pronoun soup), that she's heard from several students that i "rock." dude, i so needed that. these past two months have been really trying. i can do stuff. i'm a pretty confident person. i believe in my abilities. however, performance (as my first blog entry reveals) really isn't my thing (unless, of course, i've had four vodka-cranberries, rum and cokes or apple martinis and am at or near a karaoke bar). i've really struggled with transmitting the stuff i know, making it palatable and somewhat interesting, and making the kids give a damn. i remember high school. a lot of my teachers sucked balls. i do not want to be that teacher. it's good to know that at least to some kids i'm not that asshole. exhale.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
i've decided to be really pretentious today. this post will not mention meat today; meat is too real, too resonant of being and bodies and tangibility. no, this entry shall contain the delicate soup of truth, shall be composed of those things we consume only because we believe we're better for doing so (sorta like reading "important" novels and giving up comfortable seats to the pregnant and elderly). it--the soup--shall contain organic leafy greens and spices purchased from trader joe's (when aldi is right down the block). it shall boil in a stainless steel pot of the finest quality even though the local k-mart sells a pretty good martha stewart soup pot for fourteen bucks. it shall be flavored with red wine though this adds nothing to the overall flavor. it shall entice the nostrils to sniff (SNIFF!!!) the wondrous flavors therein, though it'll probably disappoint in both nutritional value and taste. you dummies should've ordered the turkey club (and stopped reading when i used the phrase "delicate soup of truth").
see how easy it is to be pretentious? that was fun. it's much harder to be sincere. i'm actually not feeling all hilarious like my crazy soup story. i'm feeling rather serious these days and for those who know me this isn't good. seriousness can be pensive or helpful or maturing, but my seriousness is an annoying transient with wet bread crumbs in the corners of his mouth; i can't focus too long on anything important cuz i'm too disgusted by the moist goo on his lips. i'm still not making sense here. anyone up for shopping? buying shit always sorts things out for me.
i've done nothing especially important today. my freshmen are working on a two-week mythology project that requires very little from me. my juniors will be tested on early and middle british history tomorrow. i'm anticipating their anger with not being prepared. how many times do i have to tell them to take advantage of my help before i decide to shut up? after that, we're reading "the scottish play." apparently (and i'm supposedly a failure as an english major for not knowing this), referring to macbeth by its actual name is bad luck if you do so in a theater. i'm sure that i've seen a production of macbeth in a theater and i'm also quite sure that i've uttered its name in said theater. this explains a lot. here i was thinking all my shitty moments were part of the necessary balancing act of the universe when in actuality i brought them all on myself. good grief (charlie brown face).
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I haven't felt like blogging, so I haven't. It kinda sucks that after only three days of commitment I've devolved into the querida of yore. that last sentence was too work intensive; using proper capitalization is extra work. i'm watching the texas chainsaw massacre under duress. on one hand, i love this movie (it reminds me of childhood...it and the first two evil dead movies) and i enjoy watching it. on the other hand, i don't want tomorrow to come and the more i watch, the more time will pass, which will signal the end of this wonderful day of non-effort and the beginning of tomorrow's stress-filled uncertainty. plus, they (fuse n nem) keep cutting the gory details of the kills. hello! the movie has massacre in the title; i think we're entitled to some close-ups of bone chunks and human bits.
i've officially reached the point where i'm counting down to the end of this experience. it's been about seven weeks and i've been a properly restrained emotional blank, but these kids are getting on my nerves. there, i've said it...kids-on-my-nerves. i guess i'm happy to be having an imperfect experience to prepare me for the undoubtedly more stressful two years ahead, but fuckems. i'll stop there; i feel a whining fit coming on and i hate whining.
back to leatherface though. he is really putting a hurtin' on these silly little hippies. he was a fantastic villian--dimwitted but creative, portly but swift--a real villain's villain. plus, he actually did things with the carcasses--lamps, sculpture, eats; he really had a knack for recycling. hats off to you leatherface!!! you were a true champ.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
okay, so i totally feel the need to somehow put yesterday's events in perspective. after reading the slew of comments on "hambone" (two. i received two comments), i feel the need to point out that the brer rabbit incident really wasn't an issue. i simply like to be fastidious about possibly coonish moments. for example, shmoe-digga, monica and i tend to look down upon those who eat chicken (prepared in any manner) in public. we also disallow ourselves from eating or drinking any sort of watermelon product in public. see? it really is quite ridiculous. anyway, my kids (my freshmen) are sophisticated enough to understand context and know that dialect is not indicative of any sort of deficiency in intelligence. today's discussion of american culture (that of individuality and me, me, me) and the reception of american culture by outsiders proved to me that they get it, especially when some poor kid got checked for framing a comment about the immigration issue in a less than cultivated manner. these kids really are sharp, man. fifth period, especially, really makes me happy that some people chose to procreate. after identifying archetypes that commonly appear in american media and tradition, they were still able to understand that these archetypes are not the apotheosis of culturally transmitted images. they, in all their 14 year-old glory, understood and expressed (nearly unprompted) that culture, belief and experience are pretty relative and that there is not necessarily a right or wrong. one kid even knew who ed gein was; we enjoyed a delightful aside about sexually-repressed serial killers and their place in the horror movie canon. yay! (not yea, monica, yay).
to move on, i'm still stressed everyday. this teaching stuff is hard and crap. how am i supposed to teach someone how to write? i can teach them mechanics--annoy them when they splice commas and bloody their papers when they use personal pronouns in formal papers, but i can't teach them style. looking over their first thesis papers, i'm surprised some of them can speak. stuff like, "i think the theme of this book is that people are really nice and then something bad happens and then they are not nice anymore" doesn't cut it. i need a theme, sweetie--an identifiable thread that you found throughout the book and can support. i cares not whether you thought one of the characters was really pretty (how can you see them anyway?). i guess they really are 14.
in other news, i want some ribs.
Monday, October 16, 2006
so all you "people of color" will be glad to know that i set the race back about 210 years today. in my freshman english class, we started a unit on mythology today. eventually, the kids will have to present the mythology of certain cultures on their own, so i figured i'd do a little modelling. emulating the mammies of days past, i decided i'd have the kids crowd around while i read an uncle remus brer rabbit tale in, get this, southern dialect. that's right, good ole q read in her best southern slave voice as the chilluns (mostly caucasian, hispanic and asian) gathered round and marvelled at my ability to sound so "country." it was fun. maybe i'll fry chicken in class tomorrow.
okay, so i might be overreacting. i will say that i did feel a bit weird though.
so schmoe-digga and i went to macarthur's today. it was a lot nicer than i expected (the restaurant, i mean). i was ready to pull up to some ramshackle hole-in-the-wall with a dilapidated awning. instead, i found an oasis of rather attractive appearance serviced by tired women ready to girl bye me; i was quite surprised. all in all the experience was okay. some asshole who looked like preemo's slightly smarmy older brother took the last bbq ribs so i had to settle for the bbq chicken. it was tasty, but i can do just as well at home. the yams and macaroni were adequate; but again, i can do better. i will go back for the short ribs, though. i do love the short rib.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
this is funny, my having a blog and all. some years ago, i had a webpage, but failed to continue updating it because i fell into a depression and am a generally lazy person. it was called "the fruity pork page," which begs the question, "why am i so obsessed with meat?" that's a completely separate discussion, but here i am again, spilling my guts under the guise of extolling the virtues of various meat products. here again because i have recently embarked on the path of real adulthood, and i'm scared shitless. see, on september 5 i began student teaching, which is supposed to prepare me for actual teaching, which will be my vocation until i die in a freak accident or decide that i just can't do it anymore. for once, i'm not just working a job because it's fun and/or easy or because i need money to buy the overpriced and strangely placating consumables that i love so. i'm actually preparing to do something i've worked quite hard for and will be held accountable for, so yeah...i need to blog; and since i really don't have any friends anymore, i figured i'd share with the hollow and acquiescent web universe and strangers who don't know me from adam.
one instantly apparent aspect of teaching involves performance, is performance. when i decided to be a teacher, i never realized how much of the salesman, the court jester, the entertainer i'd have to be on a regular and consistent basis. i'm a moody, obstinate cow; i talk to people when i feel like it (rarely), never answer the phone, and have ruined a number of relationships through simple silence--the consummate performer, the gregarious funambulist i am not. now, though, it is up to me to make the sterile realm of English literature palatable and exciting to a bunch of teenagers. who am i kidding? i was once a teen-aged high school student; i hated it. however, i have put myself in the position to somehow re-write history and make the impossible possible. follow me as i fail (or not) and slowly become the cantankerous she-devil all English high school teachers eventually morph into after years in the system (unless they're male in which case they become he-devils). enjoy!