Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PoMo Approaches


I think I should participate in NaBloPoMo again. I could use a kick start. The only problem is finding the time to do it; I'm home for enough time to feed and bathe Jack and then do homework. Then again, doing what I like to do should be a priority, right? Work can wait. Right? RIGHT??

(sigh)
I think I'll try, though.
Let me know if you're participating, too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

You've Been Hit By a Smooth Criminal.

Apparently I am a criminal.

That's how I'm being treated, anyway. My school informed me that the Feds are fingerprinting all teachers, and my turn is tomorrow. Why is this happening, you ask? Well the answer, I think, is very simple. It's that.. (covering mouth as I mumble something incoherent) .. WHO THE HELL KNOWS? As far as I can guess, they are doing a thorough background check on each of the teachers in this country to make sure we aren't pedos or arsonists or borders crossers or something horrifying. I mean you can never tell, right? I have shifty eyes, after all..

So, of course, I immediately protested the idea. I asked questions like, "Why is the current background check not enough?" and, "What percentage of teachers are actually criminals?" and, "If there are so many shady teachers, then who the hell is doing the hiring?" followed by, "Isn't this a statement about society - that they think all teachers are criminals?" and finally, "What happens if I refuse to give up my digits?"

Only one answer was given and only to the last question. The answer was, "Your teaching certificate - the one that you earned, the one that says, "Sure I'll keep getting punched in the gut for a thankless job that no one wants unless they want to do something wussy like help society"; the one that, apparently, is very accessible to pedos - that certificate will be suspended indefinitely."

My next question was (and is) "How is this not against my fundamental rights - that you can fire me because I refuse to be fingerprinted like a criminal?" No. Answer. Just a reminder about what will happen if I don't comply. Did I mention that they're making us pay for it, too? Fortunately (and I'm saying this in the same way a person might smile as he's pouring salt into his own wound), our state is paying for our share..

Fine. So, I'm being fingerprinted tomorrow at 1:50 pm which will be a difficult task for the print taker seeing as my hands have been tied behind my back. I'll be handing a random person a form with my social security number, my drivers licence number, my birth date, my maiden name, my height and weight. Hope they don't lose it in the parking lot on the way to wherever they're going, seeing as pretty much anyone can now steal my identity at the cost of a small gust of wind, or a poorly organized clerk, or another shifty-eyed fellow.

If that weren't bad enough, I also had to declare my ethnicity on a different form, for another "information" gathering agency. This was also mandatory. I clicked the box that said, "Other." Or maybe it said, "Why does that matter/How does that effect my teaching ability?" Actually the box, according to me, said, "It's really none of your business". The drop down menu under that option gently explained that "they" will physically come and check if I choose not to declare. Fine. Again. But I'm not going to make it easy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Overheard: A subtle distinction, and just in time for Halloween!

Presenter: ...and based on all of my research, I've concluded that out of all of the suspects Jack the Ripper was most likely the priest suffering from the delusions of syphilis.

(Applause.)

Any questions?

Student 1: I've heard that Jack the Ripper was a cannibal. Did you find anything about that in your research?

Presenter: Actually, yeah...

Student 2: (Interrupting.) WAIT. WHAT? JACK THE RIPPER WAS MARRIED?!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Art, Woes, and the Reality of Philosophy

I won a contest!

Ok, so I didn't technically win. But I feel pretty badass about the outcome: yesterday in the mail I received a Pop Art Gallery in a Tube. With the doodle decorated art tube came a Sir Real postcard:

101509
Dear Ginger! Hi! I was inspired by the description of your school which sounds like a great place. I hope you're now inspired to set up a real pop art show in your school! Let me know how it goes! Thanks, for contacting me -
Best,
Michael Albert
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
A few weeks ago my lovely New York friend, Annie - supermom and intellectual extraordinaire - sent me a link to Mr. Albert who is known to send free stuff to teachers and librarians. I contacted him on a whim. Why not? He asked me to tell him about our school. I did, focusing primarily on the really good aspects: the International Baccalaureate Program, the Literary Magazine, and our school traditions. After I finished the email, I felt pretty good about my school. I forgot all about the nonsense that makes it impossible for me to really teach the way I want to. I allowed myself to sit in tranquility for a few seconds, in a space devoid of all of the meaningless paperwork, the overloaded classes (which, by the way, have left me no time for writing), the apathy, the bureaucracy, the disrespect ... and instantly my back is in knots and my stomach is queasy.

But in those seconds, I felt like my job and my being had value.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Albert emailed me to say that the Pop Art Gallery in a Tube was on the way.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elation! I told the ladies on my hall. We started planning where we'd hang the exhibit. We carefully considered the fact that some students would rip down the posters or deface them. We decided to hang them out of reach, pending the size of the posters.

I told my principal and showed her the letter. She's a math person, and responded with, "Hey, I like free stuff," and then asked where I'd like to showcase the exhibit.

I told an art teacher, Mr. Willingham, who spent 20 minutes stuttering over the impossibility/coolness of the idea on the artist's part. He also began thinking of exhibit ideas.

And then..

I told the head of my department.

Here's the moment where I hit my head against the wall, and ask myself "why?" - Why and for what purpose did I tell her? Was it for a pat on the back? Was I being informative so that she wouldn't ask questions when a Pop Art Gallery in a Tube showed up in the hallway outside of her room? Was I trying to show her that even though I'm a known rebel in the building with all of my "treat us like we matter," rhetoric and my "I don't want to be fingerprinted like a criminal" campaign - that I still like aspects of my school, enough that I wrote to an artist and he's inspired by us?

Why did I do it?

Her response was this:
I don't see how that's relevant.

My rebuttal:
Um.. Well.. Have you been to my room? Look at the art there. Art shows the human condition as well as any literary piece which is what we're trying to. .

She cut in:
But what are you going to do with it?

Me:
Wha.. um. Nothing, I guess. Display it for the kids..

Again with the cutting in:
I don't see what it has to do with what we're doing. I mean how are you going to have time to have an art show with everything else we do? Give it to the art teachers or something. It's not relevant here.

Dismissed.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
So, I received the Pop Art Gallery in a Tube yesterday. It came with a postcard and a sting. But it also came with the realization that my teaching philosophy is better suited for a different school - one that understands that teaching isn't solely about mechanics and greasing cogs or about money and whistle blowing. It's about something else - character building, for example, and exposing kids to things they don't see everyday thus providing them with opportunities to be more aware of themselves and others. And then there's something even more sacred in my philosophy, something ancient and pure. Education is the young, eager spirit married to experienced, universal wisdom. Their union creates a well rounded person, one who is more prone to understanding and less prone to violence (both in words and in action).

I know, more than ever, that it's time to move on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Supermassive Black Hole - Muse

So the video is Sleestack meets Jabba the Hutt in a cat mask. And, yes, it's disturbing. BUT the music is fun! :) Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Musless Opinionator Reeks

So here are some things to say:

1. I'm studying MLK with my kids at school. And I love him. A lot. There are lots of "universalism's" I would love to share except that I fear that when/if I do, those ideas will be ever so politely shat upon, and yes, one can "shat" politely. Southerners are excellent at it, bless our hearts. So, instead of writing a rant I'll simply say:

*There is no excuse for violence, in word or deed. (And I would argue that words are more violent than bombs, especially reactionary, ignorant (as in without knowledge) ones.)
*There is a universal moral code and it has nothing to do with politic, race, or religion.
*People (including me) need to be more involved in standing up for people who can't or who have no voice.
*I found that I could substitute the word "impoverished" for the word "Negro" in many of King's writings and his message would be even more apt these days, though the minority message is still important.

2. I've been reading a lot: The Book Thief, Ethan Frome, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and now Perfume. The Unbearable Lightness of Being stunned me. My brain can't move forward after reading that book for some reason which may be why I've been at a blog loss. The Book Thief is excellent.. until the very last line. It ruined the book for me. Ethan Frome was interesting in the "longing aspect". Stephanie Meyer is also excellent at teasing the reader with unconsummated relationships. But killing oneself by sledding into a tree? COME. ON. There are better ways, Edith Wharton. There are better ways. Perfume is interesting. I was not at all concerned about the movie, so we'll see if the book stands up. I suppose reading MLK makes everything else seem petty..

3. Rush Limbaugh used to be the devil. Now the devil is Glenn Beck. It's weird how quickly the devil can change forms.

4. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Some are upset by that and/or say he doesn't deserve it. I think we (me included) don't realize how much America (and I mean Americans, not just politicians) has hurt other nations. We're just now realizing how absolutely shitty we've been. Actually, I hope we are beginning to realize how absolutely shitty we've been and I hope we can recover from it..

5. I love U2. Jerry Jones made a stadium (at the expense of too many families who were displaced) that made the greatest band in the world sound bad. That mixed with the fact that those around me asked me to sit down for the show, made it the worst U2 show I've seen. I didn't realize that the etiquette for attending a ROCK show was akin to being pew-bound in the Baptist Church, tapping your toes, listening to the feature vocalist sing, enjoying the music and then wondering whether or not it is appropriate to clap for fear that God , or worse, the congregation, would judge you for being too enthusiastic. Being true to form, I stood the whole time.. in stiletto heels.. just to make a point. Still, the worst U2 concert is better than the best any-other-show I've ever attended.

And on and on and on.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

With or Without You

video

Yep. That's us at the end. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Overheard at the Dentist

"You know the poor dear couldn't be anymore country if she were holding a skillet and a shot gun.

But she's so nice.

She wouldn't say shit about anyone, even if her mouth were full of it."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PoMo Approaches


I think I should participate in NaBloPoMo again. I could use a kick start. The only problem is finding the time to do it; I'm home for enough time to feed and bathe Jack and then do homework. Then again, doing what I like to do should be a priority, right? Work can wait. Right? RIGHT??

(sigh)
I think I'll try, though.
Let me know if you're participating, too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

You've Been Hit By a Smooth Criminal.

Apparently I am a criminal.

That's how I'm being treated, anyway. My school informed me that the Feds are fingerprinting all teachers, and my turn is tomorrow. Why is this happening, you ask? Well the answer, I think, is very simple. It's that.. (covering mouth as I mumble something incoherent) .. WHO THE HELL KNOWS? As far as I can guess, they are doing a thorough background check on each of the teachers in this country to make sure we aren't pedos or arsonists or borders crossers or something horrifying. I mean you can never tell, right? I have shifty eyes, after all..

So, of course, I immediately protested the idea. I asked questions like, "Why is the current background check not enough?" and, "What percentage of teachers are actually criminals?" and, "If there are so many shady teachers, then who the hell is doing the hiring?" followed by, "Isn't this a statement about society - that they think all teachers are criminals?" and finally, "What happens if I refuse to give up my digits?"

Only one answer was given and only to the last question. The answer was, "Your teaching certificate - the one that you earned, the one that says, "Sure I'll keep getting punched in the gut for a thankless job that no one wants unless they want to do something wussy like help society"; the one that, apparently, is very accessible to pedos - that certificate will be suspended indefinitely."

My next question was (and is) "How is this not against my fundamental rights - that you can fire me because I refuse to be fingerprinted like a criminal?" No. Answer. Just a reminder about what will happen if I don't comply. Did I mention that they're making us pay for it, too? Fortunately (and I'm saying this in the same way a person might smile as he's pouring salt into his own wound), our state is paying for our share..

Fine. So, I'm being fingerprinted tomorrow at 1:50 pm which will be a difficult task for the print taker seeing as my hands have been tied behind my back. I'll be handing a random person a form with my social security number, my drivers licence number, my birth date, my maiden name, my height and weight. Hope they don't lose it in the parking lot on the way to wherever they're going, seeing as pretty much anyone can now steal my identity at the cost of a small gust of wind, or a poorly organized clerk, or another shifty-eyed fellow.

If that weren't bad enough, I also had to declare my ethnicity on a different form, for another "information" gathering agency. This was also mandatory. I clicked the box that said, "Other." Or maybe it said, "Why does that matter/How does that effect my teaching ability?" Actually the box, according to me, said, "It's really none of your business". The drop down menu under that option gently explained that "they" will physically come and check if I choose not to declare. Fine. Again. But I'm not going to make it easy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Overheard: A subtle distinction, and just in time for Halloween!

Presenter: ...and based on all of my research, I've concluded that out of all of the suspects Jack the Ripper was most likely the priest suffering from the delusions of syphilis.

(Applause.)

Any questions?

Student 1: I've heard that Jack the Ripper was a cannibal. Did you find anything about that in your research?

Presenter: Actually, yeah...

Student 2: (Interrupting.) WAIT. WHAT? JACK THE RIPPER WAS MARRIED?!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Art, Woes, and the Reality of Philosophy

I won a contest!

Ok, so I didn't technically win. But I feel pretty badass about the outcome: yesterday in the mail I received a Pop Art Gallery in a Tube. With the doodle decorated art tube came a Sir Real postcard:

101509
Dear Ginger! Hi! I was inspired by the description of your school which sounds like a great place. I hope you're now inspired to set up a real pop art show in your school! Let me know how it goes! Thanks, for contacting me -
Best,
Michael Albert
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
A few weeks ago my lovely New York friend, Annie - supermom and intellectual extraordinaire - sent me a link to Mr. Albert who is known to send free stuff to teachers and librarians. I contacted him on a whim. Why not? He asked me to tell him about our school. I did, focusing primarily on the really good aspects: the International Baccalaureate Program, the Literary Magazine, and our school traditions. After I finished the email, I felt pretty good about my school. I forgot all about the nonsense that makes it impossible for me to really teach the way I want to. I allowed myself to sit in tranquility for a few seconds, in a space devoid of all of the meaningless paperwork, the overloaded classes (which, by the way, have left me no time for writing), the apathy, the bureaucracy, the disrespect ... and instantly my back is in knots and my stomach is queasy.

But in those seconds, I felt like my job and my being had value.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Albert emailed me to say that the Pop Art Gallery in a Tube was on the way.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elation! I told the ladies on my hall. We started planning where we'd hang the exhibit. We carefully considered the fact that some students would rip down the posters or deface them. We decided to hang them out of reach, pending the size of the posters.

I told my principal and showed her the letter. She's a math person, and responded with, "Hey, I like free stuff," and then asked where I'd like to showcase the exhibit.

I told an art teacher, Mr. Willingham, who spent 20 minutes stuttering over the impossibility/coolness of the idea on the artist's part. He also began thinking of exhibit ideas.

And then..

I told the head of my department.

Here's the moment where I hit my head against the wall, and ask myself "why?" - Why and for what purpose did I tell her? Was it for a pat on the back? Was I being informative so that she wouldn't ask questions when a Pop Art Gallery in a Tube showed up in the hallway outside of her room? Was I trying to show her that even though I'm a known rebel in the building with all of my "treat us like we matter," rhetoric and my "I don't want to be fingerprinted like a criminal" campaign - that I still like aspects of my school, enough that I wrote to an artist and he's inspired by us?

Why did I do it?

Her response was this:
I don't see how that's relevant.

My rebuttal:
Um.. Well.. Have you been to my room? Look at the art there. Art shows the human condition as well as any literary piece which is what we're trying to. .

She cut in:
But what are you going to do with it?

Me:
Wha.. um. Nothing, I guess. Display it for the kids..

Again with the cutting in:
I don't see what it has to do with what we're doing. I mean how are you going to have time to have an art show with everything else we do? Give it to the art teachers or something. It's not relevant here.

Dismissed.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
So, I received the Pop Art Gallery in a Tube yesterday. It came with a postcard and a sting. But it also came with the realization that my teaching philosophy is better suited for a different school - one that understands that teaching isn't solely about mechanics and greasing cogs or about money and whistle blowing. It's about something else - character building, for example, and exposing kids to things they don't see everyday thus providing them with opportunities to be more aware of themselves and others. And then there's something even more sacred in my philosophy, something ancient and pure. Education is the young, eager spirit married to experienced, universal wisdom. Their union creates a well rounded person, one who is more prone to understanding and less prone to violence (both in words and in action).

I know, more than ever, that it's time to move on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Supermassive Black Hole - Muse

So the video is Sleestack meets Jabba the Hutt in a cat mask. And, yes, it's disturbing. BUT the music is fun! :) Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Musless Opinionator Reeks

So here are some things to say:

1. I'm studying MLK with my kids at school. And I love him. A lot. There are lots of "universalism's" I would love to share except that I fear that when/if I do, those ideas will be ever so politely shat upon, and yes, one can "shat" politely. Southerners are excellent at it, bless our hearts. So, instead of writing a rant I'll simply say:

*There is no excuse for violence, in word or deed. (And I would argue that words are more violent than bombs, especially reactionary, ignorant (as in without knowledge) ones.)
*There is a universal moral code and it has nothing to do with politic, race, or religion.
*People (including me) need to be more involved in standing up for people who can't or who have no voice.
*I found that I could substitute the word "impoverished" for the word "Negro" in many of King's writings and his message would be even more apt these days, though the minority message is still important.

2. I've been reading a lot: The Book Thief, Ethan Frome, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and now Perfume. The Unbearable Lightness of Being stunned me. My brain can't move forward after reading that book for some reason which may be why I've been at a blog loss. The Book Thief is excellent.. until the very last line. It ruined the book for me. Ethan Frome was interesting in the "longing aspect". Stephanie Meyer is also excellent at teasing the reader with unconsummated relationships. But killing oneself by sledding into a tree? COME. ON. There are better ways, Edith Wharton. There are better ways. Perfume is interesting. I was not at all concerned about the movie, so we'll see if the book stands up. I suppose reading MLK makes everything else seem petty..

3. Rush Limbaugh used to be the devil. Now the devil is Glenn Beck. It's weird how quickly the devil can change forms.

4. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Some are upset by that and/or say he doesn't deserve it. I think we (me included) don't realize how much America (and I mean Americans, not just politicians) has hurt other nations. We're just now realizing how absolutely shitty we've been. Actually, I hope we are beginning to realize how absolutely shitty we've been and I hope we can recover from it..

5. I love U2. Jerry Jones made a stadium (at the expense of too many families who were displaced) that made the greatest band in the world sound bad. That mixed with the fact that those around me asked me to sit down for the show, made it the worst U2 show I've seen. I didn't realize that the etiquette for attending a ROCK show was akin to being pew-bound in the Baptist Church, tapping your toes, listening to the feature vocalist sing, enjoying the music and then wondering whether or not it is appropriate to clap for fear that God , or worse, the congregation, would judge you for being too enthusiastic. Being true to form, I stood the whole time.. in stiletto heels.. just to make a point. Still, the worst U2 concert is better than the best any-other-show I've ever attended.

And on and on and on.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Overheard at the Dentist

"You know the poor dear couldn't be anymore country if she were holding a skillet and a shot gun.

But she's so nice.

She wouldn't say shit about anyone, even if her mouth were full of it."