Disclaimer: Some content is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age or those offended by swear words, references to sexuality, atheism, and libertarianism.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to Best Ensure Making it onto the "Do Not Call" List.

Like all sentient beings, I can't stand telemarketers. However, I am never actually rude to them. It's all part of being British, I suppose, even if only half... Anyway, this guy totally has the right idea of how to make sure he never gets calls from the same place twice, or at least gets a lot of entertainment from each annoying call he gets...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sex While Pregnant

Note to the readers who actually know me in real life, you've been warned. This will make you look at me funny the next time you see me.

There are some wonderful, and not so wonderful, aspects to making love while bearing a bun in the so-called oven. Here are a few tips that randomly come to mind that I feel like inflicting upon you all (well, though of you who have not run screaming yet).

1) Rest Assured: Unless your lover is the result of a genetic experiment in which he holds the genes of both John Holmes and Ron Jeremy, you needn't fear poking your progeny with his pecker. Your man may flatter himself that he's quite the stallion, but it just won't happen.

2) Enjoy the differences: Having huge sensitive boobs and increased blood flow to your nether regions can be very enjoyable. Carpe Diem and enjoy the hell out of those differences.

3) Comfort: Find a position that won't leave you weeping in agony or frustration. And if you are in an awkward position, laugh it off and shift yourself. Lying on your side, doing the good old-fashioned pose of the canine variety, or even on top are all possibilities, though I tend not to want to do the "on top" thing when I'm likely to be really distracted by my huge belly. I just feel like an enormous bouncing beach ball under those circumstances and would probably terrify my poor husband beneath me.

4) Get a-head: This is purely my own preference... I'm not a big fan of receiving oral sex when I worry about my husband's forehead smacking against my gut. Not a turn on for me. You're a better woman than I if that doesn't bug you. But giving is just as fun as it always was.

5) Post-orgasm weirdness: Little did we know when we were not pregnant, but the uterus goes rock hard after we've finished having our scream-down-the-house, make-the-neighbors-jealous orgasms. This becomes increasingly obvious when your uterus is now the size of a very small planet. This may be odd but the great thing about this is, should your baby be awake, you won't know it. So you needn't worry about getting creeped out at the reminder that your child was just present, and most likely heard you tell your man just how hard you wanted it, how big he is, and how hot it makes you when he calls you his naughty little Arab wench. Just in case, you can always just start up a therapy fund along with that college one.

I've got a few mothers and mother-to-be who read this blog, feel free to add your own thoughts (anonymously, if you so wish!) I'll add more as they come to me. No pun intended.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, People!

Messy Kweznuz, everyone! (I wasn't a big fan of the Black Adder Christmas special, but I always think of that one lame gag every year!)

I can't wait to give all my pressies to my family in a bit. Besides access to this fantastic body, I've given my husband a really cool gift. Will update later.

Oh and my cats crack me up... They're all seated beneath our realistically rotating Christmas tree (it helps me get decorations on all sides, what can I say?) and one of them is so dim, he was just sitting there as a huge ornament was making its way around and we waited expectantly as it smacked him in the back of the head. He was startled, but continued to sit there. I laughed my ass off and waited for the next round of assault on my less than Mensa material kitty. He moved before I came to the realisation that I really should have filmed it to share with bored friends, family, and colleagues for days to come.

I'm so lame. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brian Setzer's Orchestra

In my fantasies, I own a lovely little jazz bar/bistro restaurant, and every night my band would play a big bang swing set that would sound just like Brian Setzer's orchestra and these are a couple of the many numbers they'd play at Christmas time:

I really do have this fantasy. All I need is a beautiful space with a stage and dance floor, cabaret style seating with circular tables and booths on two levels, a kick-ass chef, a band that can play anything from the 30s to the late 50s in jazz, big band, and rock 'n' roll, and a shit load of money... Anyone want to invest?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Star in the Sky...

It's a sad time for Trek fans everywhere... Majel Barrett Roddenberry has joined the Great Bird of the Sky. My guess is her voice will continue to be heard as that of every Starfleet computer possible should the franchise continue. Sadly, even with this sexy, "OC in Space" make-over they gave the latest movie in the hopes of gaining a younger, sexier audience I don't think it'll survive for long. At least while the show was gaining speed, popularity, and cult status, Majel was there every step of the way and we all loved her the entire journey long. She will be missed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Red Scare (Santa, That Is...)

I do have my very own photos of my poor daughter crying on Santa's lap... It was taken while she was at daycare so I wasn't there to say it wasn't altogether necessary to scar my poor munchkin for life, but the final result of a picture of her bawling her eyes out on Santa's lap was rather amusing. Thankfully, this year we got a great shot of her giggling instead (thanks to the assistant to the photographer who was a stealth tickler) but here are other people's great Kodak moments of childhood terror and tears on the lap of dreaded Old Saint Nick at the Chicago Tribute's website!

Looking at how horrifying some of these guys are, you wonder who on earth thought they'd make great Santas... I full expected to see a cross on one of their foreheads indicating Charlie had been a good boy this year and was finally let out on probation...

Note the death grip being practiced by the above Santa as the little boy attempts to make his escape and leave his little sister to her festive fate.

Here we have the classic "Suicidal Santa" pose. This man's wife clearly left him a few Christmases ago, he lost his job at Chuck E Cheese for smacking a boy celebrating his 8th birthday on the back of the head for calling him a "loser of epic proportions, even Uwe Boll would be jealous", and he now has to make a living as a Santa at Christmas time to break up the monotony of being the bathroom attendant at he local ballpark the rest of the year.

I just enjoyed the look of sheer terror on this girl's face, despite the almost Normal Rockwell look of this guy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Nipples.

There really are some class acts in our adolescent population... Here's an exchange that took place in my colleague's room:

Student: Woo, it's hot in here... It's making my nipples hard!

Teacher: Er. Did you really just say that..?

Student: For real... I'm gonna have to rub them to get them down.

Teacher: Stop talking. And stop doing that. Please.

The same student was making her presence known in another class the very same day.

Student (to a male student nearby): Boy, you gotta pull those pants down so I can see what you got...

Second Horrified Teacher: Excuse me?

Student: You didn't hear anything, I didn't say anything, why you teachers always gettin' on me?

Second Horrified Teacher: Just leave.

Okay. There's a lot going on here. The student obviously has learned these behaviors from somewhere. Could it be sexual abuse? Could it be neglect driving her to seek attention elsewhere? Either way, how horribly sad. And here's another thing... It was "hot" so her nipples got "hard"? Um. Don't know about the rest of you ladies, but it takes a chilly breeze to do that for me, not heat... And if I wanted them to stand at ease instead of at full attention, the last thing I'd do is rub them in circular motions with my fingertips as she proceeded to do. Even if that did bring them down, I sure as hell wouldn't do that in front of my peers and TEACHER. What kind of upbringing are these kids experiencing and how can we possibly help them overcome the obvious limitations that come along with a teenager who thinks this is normal, acceptable behavior?

I try not to do it, but I often imagine these kids trying to hold down a job. At the end of the day, that's what's going to carry them through life, not a high school diploma and the reading level of a middle school student (I have no idea how a kid without special needs manages to accomplish this, but they do). So not only are they cheated out of a life that could have expected more of them, but the cycle will undoubtedly continue with the next generation which is often already in the making before they even reach their senior year.

Okay, I shouldn't depress myself. All I want for these kids is SOME chance at happiness, but in one incident involving erect nipples and another involving the attempt to see a boy's penis in life skills class (boy, does she need that class), I sadly foresee quite a damper on this girl's opportunities as well as those of her kids and her kids' kids. Boy, is MY glass half empty today.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fairytale of New York

Christy Moore sings the popular Christmas song, Fairytale of New York, originally sung by The Pogues. He doesn't sing in the drunken persona, so you can hear the lyrics better (changed as they are...) A note for those who fear the lyrics are homophobic, the term "faggot" apparently means "useless and stupid" in Irish slang...

For the purists, here's the original complete with drunken slurring and the fantastic Kristy McColl (I love it when she joins in!)

Five Things Meme.

I've been tagged by Gila! So here's some boring facts about me you can happily ignore! I'm a bit embarrassed to fill these out because my guess is that my answers are far too boring to gain interest. I could randomly throw in some spicy sex comment, just to keep you on your toes, but you may stop reading once you've found it...

5 Things I Was Doing Ten Years Ago
1) Graduating 13th grade.
2) Setting off for life in the States.
3) Officially giving up my dream to study puppeteering and puppet making to be a special ed. teacher (it was the next logical choice). I had theoretically made that decision at 14 when I began to do volunteer with with handicapped children, but the small voice was still there until the very last moment.
4) Learning to drive on American roads where I didn't have to pray for survival every second of the way.
5) Beginning my new life with the Yank who would later become my darling, patient, loving husband.

5 Things on My To-Do List Today
1) Shower. I'm feeling gross.
2) Clean the guest bathroom of all the stray bits of kitty litter those bastards kick up every time.
3) Read a bit more of Laughing Without an Accent.
4) Play more with my daughter once she wakes form her nap.
5) Tidy up because our D&D buddies are coming over tonight.

5 Snacks I love
1) Chocolate.
2) Cockles in vinegar.
3) Salt 'n' vinegar crisps/chips.
4) Varieties of cheeses.
5) Anything new and slightly scary looking.

5 Things I'd Do if I Were a Millionaire
1) Refit the master bathroom to have a tub. Or else just buy another house that has one.
2) Pay back my mum for college.
3) Add a library to my house.
4) Save for my kids' college fees.
5) Hire a personal chef.

5 Places I Have Lived
1) United Kingdom.
2) United Arab Emirates.
3) United States.
Nowhere else, unless I spot another country that starts with "United", I guess.

5 Jobs I Have Had
1) Tester for other college students.
2) Helping foreign students develop their English language conversation skills. (I got paid for that! Seriously! What fun!)
3) Middle school special ed. teacher.
4) High school special ed. teacher.
5) Being a hot momma.
I haven't had too many jobs because I couldn't have gotten one when I lived back home, and I wasn't permitted to work off campus with a student visa when I first got here, so my experiences are limited.

Friday, December 12, 2008

RIP Bettie Page

You were one hot tomato, lady...

(I wanted to post a Christmas themed pic of her, but her boobies were showing and I don't want to offend yet more people than I normally do. Take my word for it, she had nice boobies.)
Boy that picture makes me miss the sea... And my flat belly...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Arab Money?

It seems my countrymen are offended by Busta Rhymes' music video Arab Money...

The fact is that the UAE has helped create that sort of image of mindnumbingly ridiculous over-indulgence that would make Marie-Antoinette look like a coupon clipping Dollar Store junkie... So that aspect didn't offend me. Gambling with Arafat? That might offend some Palestinians, but I wouldn't take that one literally.. Busta's probably playing off of the fact that a lot of people think all Arabs look like the late Arafat, and it was probably the only rhyme he could come up with (with the word 'act'... I don't know how rappers get away with such shitty rhymes, honestly).

I can definitely see how using Islamic verse would really piss off a number of people, and that was just thoughtless on Mr. "Rhymes'" part (though honestly, it sounded so garbled to me, I wasn't even sure what I was hearing).

The only thing that really offended me was his inability to keep up with the beat and possibly the worst choreography I have ever seen outside of a "Twinkle Toes Toddler Tap" performance. I would rather slam my hand in a car door while watching all episodes of "AfterMASH" than have to endure a whole concert of his if he insists on lagging so far behind the beat he may as well be rapping with his fingers plugged in his ears.

What I found most shocking of all was that the UAE actually has it's own rap star: Narcisyst! (Below: His response track Real Arab Money)

My apologies to any others I didn't know about. I'm not exactly hip with the whole hiphop and/or rap scene. He seems like a nice enough chap, but a little contradictory:

"...I never assumed Busta Rhymes was an ignorant man, I assumed he just didn’t really know about us. "

Er. Isn't that ignorance by definition? Ah well, he's trying to be nice. As was Busta, in his own clumsy way.

I think it'll all end very happily with the breaking of bread, the smearing of caviar, and the spending of more money than I could ever dream of having.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jack Benny and Groucho Marx

I adore both Jack Benny and Groucho Marx, so this was fun to see...

Porky Pig

You've probably already seen this before, but just in case you haven't... Yet another reason I love Mel Blanc. And the puerile part of me that loves to see cartoons and puppets say naughty words. What can I say? I teach high schoolers, so I understand my audience.


Couldn't remember if I had posted this before or not. A neat little stop motion short film by Mark Osborne with music by New Order. Pretty straight forward plot but still haunting. No grown up ever wants to lose that spark.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lie for Me, Please!

Hey... Would you guys and gals mind lying for me by signing a petition to save Pushing Daisies even if you don't watch the show? I doubt it'll work, but it's worth a try and wouldn't take too much of your time... After that, you can feel extra good about yourself by going to Freerice and feeding some hungry people. AFTER you sign the petition. Ahem.

Lengthy Review of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas A New Musical

Okay, this post is likely to bore the pants off of anyone who is NOT a fan of Jim Henson, the Muppets, and/or Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

It was an awfully long drive to Connecticut but it was made a lot more pleasant by the kindness of my husband (he drove) and the relative chilled-out-ness of my two and a half year old daughter. When we finally got to the beautiful Goodspeed Theater, I was half brain-dead but not enough to ignore the appropriateness of the setting. A little footbridge carried the audience from the parking lot over to the charming little building set against a small lake (or large pond!) with a fantastic looking pub nearby. It could easily have been a setting snatched right out of the story itself.

We got there a little early and so enjoyed the luscious d├ęcor of the theater as best we could and finally plopped ourselves outside the unisex bathrooms. An elderly gentleman came in and I am fairly certain my eyes grew twice their size when I recognized him as the great Jerry Nelson, “father” of Floyd Pepper, Kermit’s nephew Robin, Gobo Fraggle, Count von Count, Dr. Strangepork, and of course the original Emmet Otter. He had an small oxygen tank with him and I’m fairly certain he met my wide eyed expression with a touch of “oh crap, I’ve only just got here and I’ve already got some half-crazed Muppet fan on my hands.” He asked if the bathroom was free and I said it was so he went in. When he emerged, I took my chances and asked if he was Mr. Nelson. He said he was and asked if he could sit down to sign the autograph I asked for. I immediately felt like ten different types of shit. The poor guy had oxygen with him, he seemed to struggle a little to breathe comfortably, his hands trembled a little, and he’d only just come out of the john. I hated myself so much right that, and I’m still mad at myself now. Anyway, he kindly autographed the copy of It’s Not Easy Being Green and I just sat there and tried to take in all the history behind one man, all that he had done, seen, and experienced. I felt even more pathetic that I honored all of that with one feeble request for an autograph.

We shuffled our way up to the theater and my husband pointed out Brian Henson standing a few meters away. I squinted at him to make sure it was him before embarrassing myself, and it was. His hair has changed many times, but when he smiled and turned in profile, I was sure it was him. I worked my way towards him and asked for an autograph too. This time, I felt like shit because I felt like I was a bit of an intrusion. He didn’t smile or say much beyond asking my name and then commenting when I had said it was wonderful to be able to meet both him and Jerry Nelson all in one evening. I stood there and was horrified at the realization that nothing I could saw in a few seconds would sum up how I felt about Henson and all that Henson has done. So I said nothing. I didn’t want to be a bother, so I clammed up, thanked him for his time and took my little growing collection of autographs to my seat.

The show started rather abruptly and the hanging map of Frogtown Hollow fell away to reveal a teenager girl’s bedroom. Hello. This is new, I thought. And a bit cheesy. God I hope it’s not too cheesy. The girl is Jane (Kate Wetherhead), it’s Christmas Eve, and she’s in the midst of a cell phone conversation with a friend before moving on to recording an “Xmas” song on her laptop. They’re trying to be hip, I thought. Oh dear. Well, I guess they feared not being able to connect with today’s youth who have been raised on TV shows starring hip, cynical, sarcastic characters as opposed to genuinely nice, sweet people. No one’s nice and sweet anymore, are they?

Jane’s father (Alan Campbell) came in and waxed nostalgic about Christmases past when his daughter delighted in making glittery Christmas ornaments as opposed to wallowing in the material side of the season. He brings up her once favorite book, Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas. This leads into her permitting him to read her just the start of the story, before she goes to hang out with her friends. The scene then shifts to the river, where Emmet (Daniel Reichard) and Ma Otter (Cass Morgan) sing “The One Bathing Suit”. This stirred the audience beautifully. There were utterances of recognition, nostalgia, and delight all breathed simultaneously. It was like the whole hall turned into children again.

The boat rolled along, and the effect was added to by the puppets that were shown whizzing by both up and down-stage. The huge problem for us, being in the orchestra and not in the front row, was that the downstage puppets were barely visible at all, so I lost a LOT of the visual humor whenever they had puppets down there. Anyway, the ones that I could see speeding by were very funny. And then Wendel (perfectly recreated by Robb Sapp, everyone loved you, Mr. Sapp!) went by and the audience stirred again. You’d think they’d just seen an old friend who always made them laugh in years past.

A new exposition song, “Waterville” was added introducing the audience to Frogtown Hollow’s town, describing their pride in actually having electricity and indoor plumbing and generally giving an opportunity for the lovely cast to come out and show off their whimsical costumes. The humanoid animal costumes were perfect (well done, Mr. Gregg Barnes!), casting my memory back to stage productions of both Beatrix Potter stories and the Wind in the Willows. The make-up (no credit given to make-up artist in the program?) reminded me more of past productions of The Wind in the Willows, where small prostheses were added along with face paint as opposed to full masks covering the whole head as in the Beatrix Potter ballet. It was perfect too. Set against a warm, detailed set of the bedroom, the trees on either side of the stage, the riverbank, the town, and then the addition of a red curtain to imply the talent show towards the end, and the interior and exterior of the Otter’s cabin were all absolutely delightful and fluid. Anna Louizos (set design) and Brian MacDevitt (lighting design) brought to life a setting we all know so well. Mr. MacDevitt even went so far as to make sure he included that fantastic sunset you may recall from the movie as Ma and Emmet continue to row off out of sight and a single wading bird stands in the water, silhouetted against the orange and red sky. When that bird appeared downstage and stretched it’s long neck up towards the sky, I felt strangely like that was a symbol of the cast and crew’s respect and tribute to Jim Henson himself. The audience ooh-ed and laughed with appreciation of the attention paid to recreating and reimagining an image they knew so well.

The best thing about the whole show was the audience response to things. They anticipated jokes they remembered, delighted in new ones added, and practically squealed with joy at the sight of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band! The snake and catfish remained puppets throughout, while the rest were played by actors. They were later depicted as puppets in their car for both the tribute to the TV movie and to be able to have the car visible on stage at all.

Before making their entrance, the music store owner had her own little added exposition song, “At the Music Store”, to later contrast with her bawdy number Paul Williams had originally written a portion of but didn’t use when the movie was being made. The actress (Madeleine Doherty) was cute, and I could see her struggling to get to the instruments in time to mime the little notes that were actually played by the fantastic band, but working in community theater makes me all too ready to forgive little things like that. It was a cute little song, but I had a hard time catching all the lyrics because my daughter was getting antsy at a scene she didn’t recognize from the movie. The voice she chose to give the character was also laying the groundwork for an amusing contrast with her much deeper, throatier, sexier singing voice later on during the talent contest when she sings “Born in a Trunk”, but it meant that I had to strain a little to get all of her words with the squeaky, high pitched voice she started off with.

In Act II, a song was added to flesh out the loss Ma Otter still feels for her deceased husband. His spirit literally appears at her side and serenades her with his guitar, encouraging her to hold onto hope even though it appears that she has arrived too late to participate in the talent contest. “Alice Keep Dreaming” is followed by the talent show which was also given more depth by having the Old Lady Possum character (puppeteered by Anney McKilligan) not only playing accompaniment on the piano but also commenting on the acts. The infamous George and Melissa kicking and jumping act was funny enough as it was, but was actually enhanced by Old Lady Possum’s annoyance with them for having stolen some of her carrots recently, so she plays their music double time (and faster!) to exhaust them. The rabbits and acrobatic squirrels were all puppeteered by performers in black, camouflaged against the black backdrop. I’ve always thought that I would really enjoy the opportunity to do that kind of puppeteering… It incorporates a little more dance into the operation of the puppets, I feel…

Thankfully, Paul Williams’ beautiful song “When the River Meets the Sea” was reprised at the end. I always thought that was such a good song that it was a waste to have it sung only once in the movie. It stung my eyes a little to hear it live for the first time. It made me think of Jerry Nelson starting it off at Jim Henson’s memorial. Cass Morgan has a beautiful voice and it held all the maternal charm of the original Marilyn Sokol with her own individual, personal warmth added to the role. I also have to give mention to Kevin Covert who played the slightly cynical Mayor Fox really well. His relationship with his wife was given a little more color by having him forced to remove his badly disguised wife from the competition. I was delighted to see Tyler Bunch was one of the principle puppeteers too. My daughter absolutely adores him as Grampu in Oobi and I thought he was great in Puppet Up Uncensored!

Overall, I was GREATLY impressed by how the director and playwright, Christopher Gattelli and playwright Timothy A. McDonald played the dangerous game of “how do I breathe new life into a show without upsetting the dedicated fan base?” They managed to add in totally new funny lines and scenes as well as developing original jokes and plot lines. How they managed to do this so well, I have no idea. While I’m still not totally sure how I feel about Jane and her dad (not the actors, they were fine, just the addition of the characters), I can see how the authors may have worried about trying to connect a new, young audience to a show unlike anything else they’ll have ever seen in this age of cell phones, Internet, and sarcastic cynicism.
After the show I had the complete pleasure of chatting to Cheryl Henson who was as charming as I had hoped she would be. At intermission I was lucky enough to have my husband point out Paul Williams, who I then accosted and also asked for his autograph. He actually took the trouble to turn to a page in my book that bore some of his lyrics for him to sign next to, which I greatly appreciated since it's not often I get the opportunity to have someone like him scribble on something of my own. I forgot to tell him that part of the reason I love his songs so much is that he managed to write songs that sound as though they've been sung for generations the very moment he finished penning them. What skill that must involve...
And no, contrary to my original plan, I didn't have anyone sign my boobs.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Off to Connecticut and the Demise of Pushing Daisies.

We're off to Connecticut today as soon as my hubby gets home from work. We're going to enjoy the opening night of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas live musical at Goodspeed theater on Sunday night. I'm crossing my fingers that at least one big Muppeteer is in attendance. The implication when then be that I'd make a complete ass of myself in the presence of at least one big Muppeteer. I'm just worried that I won't recognize some of the newer chaps, or that the older chaps will have shaved off their big beards and long hippie hair, like Dave Goelz did, and totally confuse me.
I'm hoping my munchkin will sit still long enough to enjoy the show that she has already grown to enjoy in DVD form. I'm also hoping that our OTHER munchkin sits still and doesn't decide to use my bladder like a punching bag the way he/she did on a particularly long drive home the other day.
I've tried not to pack like an Arab (come on, my Middle Eastern homies, you know you pack like Armageddon is around the corner) but seeing as I now have to wear tent sized winter outfits, that's not leaving a lot of room for all the silly little optional stuff like diapers and sippy cups. The problem is that we have one of those huge, spacious mini-vans (complete with DVD player for the little one THANK DODGE FOR THAT) and I have a tendency to allow my crap to expand to fill the space provided. You give me more space, I hog that too. I'm like a gelatinous cube of space absorption. (A little nod to my D&D buds).
Anyway, I'd best make sure I have skipped over any essentials and clear some space on the DVR.

By the way... When I heard Pushing Daisies got canceled, I shouted "sonofabitch". Every time the thought crops up in my mind again and again, I repeat myself "sonofabitch" (emphasis on the last syllable.) Dammit. I really enjoy that show. ABC, you're a bunch of sonsofbitches. No longer will I get to enjoy Chi McBride's wry humor, gaze at Lee Pace's charming Jim Dale-ish appearance, and ogle Kristen Chenoweth's generous... Tracts of land. I'm disappointed. Never was witty dialogue and great bosom accentuating costumes so well put together in one show. ABC, once the last few episodes have been aired, I'm going to go back to watching absolutely NO SHOWS on your stupid channel. Sonofabitch.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy National Day!

I may be a critical, whiny, cynical little bint, but I'm still proud of the good ol' UAE. "3eeshy bilaaaady, 3ash itihaaad Imaaaraatinaaaa...!"

I suck at writing Arabic using English characters. Take my word for it, I sang it really well just now. My cats are staring at me. Again.

The Educator's Corner of the Twilight Zone.

Teaching has forced me to think, act, and feel in ways I never thought I would... For example:

I never thought I'd buy a pregnancy test for a 14 year old and then help her read the results. It came out negative. That time. I know I shouldn't have been the one to do that, but I've grown accustomed to other people who should do it passing the buck or simply refusing to do it, and her mother would have killed her, so I simply said "Don't ever do anything that will give you this scare again." I bet she was inspired by my words and went on to live a life of chastity. And then went on to cure cancer too. I live in hope.

I never considered planning on where I'd most likely survive by hiding during a school shooting. (The closet behind my desk.)

I never thought I'd lower my standards to the point that I'm simply grateful if a student shows up/doesn't fall asleep/doesn't fight/doesn't cuss out their teachers. Of course that doesn't apply to all my kids, just the REALLY special ones.

I never thought I'd be asked if I'd ever stripped on the side for extra money because teaching doesn't pay that well.

I never thought I'd be capable of lying the way I have done: "Oh you were absent yesterday... I missed you!" I figure making them feel valued is worth the lie, even though I'd rather stub my bare foot on a heavy piece of Chippendale furniture than see the kid. Repeatedly. Then walk on glass.

I never thought I'd smell fecal matter on a teenager again since the last time I did volunteer work with the severely handicapped back home.

I never thought I'd come across students who didn't have special needs who read on the third grade level, can't add single digit numbers, recite their times tables, and/or read clocks. How the hell do they get to the 9th grade?!

I never knew I'd have to try to explain a minimum of sixteen times that the Greek myths we read are NOT based on factual historical events. I thus have to endure "how can THAT happen?", "this isn't true, is it?", "this is bull" and "is Zeus Jesus?" over and over until that unit is over. It breaks my heart that so many of them don't get to appreciate the fantastic, imaginative elements of the tales because they're so caught up in only what is real and credible. The only thing they seem to get out of the whole unit is that "Zeus was a pimp!" Sigh. At least they enjoyed Of Mice and Men...

I never thought my job would consist mainly of being a substitute mother, police officer, parole officer, nurse, drug dog, and counselor with a teensy bit of teaching thrown in on a VERY good day. Boy was I naive!

I can't really imagine doing anything else... Unless an opening comes up at Henson, that is, in which case I'd have the opportunity to help educate millions of kids and not just dozens a year. And with puppets. And less of a fear of being hit, or pushed down stairs. But seeing as that is about as possible as my giving birth to the messiah in April, I'll stick to public school special ed. for now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


It goes without saying that my heart goes out to the victims of the terror attacks in Mumbai, those who made it and those who didn't. I don't believe that justice is always meted out and that punishment always falls upon those who deserve it, but I can sure as hell wish for it.

I'll hopefully post a little more frequently once my college class is over next week, though my next two classes will be starting after Christmas break and the fun will begin again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Men in Lipstick!

I'm not always turned on by cross-dressing men, as a rule, but here are some sexually abiguous chaps I can appreciate. I know I could have included just about every rock star who performed in the 80s, but I didn't.

David Bowie singing Life on Mars. He's still sexy.

Tim Curry singing Sweet Transvestite. He used to be sexy.

John Cameron Mitchel sings The Origin of Love. Who knew a man in drag would sing what I consider to be one of the most romantic songs I've ever heard? (Note: I dressed as Yitzhak for halloween one year- that's the 'guy' with the bandana and stubble- and my husband dressed as Hedwig. Facial hair is itchy and my spouse learned it wasn't a good idea to shave his chest.)

Joel Grey singing Willkommen. Actually, I was strangely attracted to him when I first saw this movie. It confused me to find a guy in lipstick hot, especially such a little pixie of a man such as he, but I just went with it. It's also one of the best musicals I've ever seen. It was hard picking one song. Gotta love the Fosse choreography. I would often try to immitate it and my hips and wrists would get a great workout in the process!

I tried to find good clips of The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but I wasn't impressed by what I found. I just think Hugo Weaving is hot. I found this crappy music video that doesn't allow embedding, and while it's awful, they did a better job of his drag costume and make-up than they did in the movie, I think. Guy Pearce was more attractive in drag, but Hugo was V. That makes him extra sexy.

I'm sure there are loads I'm forgetting, but I'm tired and need chocolate. Ta ta, sweetie-dahhhlings!

Feeling Thankful.

Ah. Thanksgiving. It coincided delightfully with my abrupt, violent increase in appetite. It also appears that everything I'm eating is going directly to my boobs. Or so you'd think, given their rapid rate of growth. At first, I was delighted to regain my pre-first-baby boob size, but things have gotten out of hand and they're continuing to grow. I'm feeling rather like Violet Beauregarde in the fun-bags region specifically, which would be cool if they weren't also a bit sore, so when I bump them into things because I'm unaccustomed to their sheer size I let out a yelp.

Anyway, gargantuan breasts aside, I'm having a nice little break from work and am enjoying time with my little one. I took her to the museum on my first day off and was horrified to see how most people's offspring are being raised. It started off in the parking lot... As I was merrily walking towards the building with my little midget scuttling alongside me excitedly, we could hear the far off cry of a protesting little boy being carried back to the car by his father. The museum had only been open for 20 minutes, so my guess was that their visit was cut short... Anyway, the father shouted quite violently at his son to "shut up, just shut up".

Now, I'm ashamed to admit that I have sometimes lost my temper with my beautiful little girl because, quite frankly, I had given every last ounce of my patience away at work dealing with other people's brats and stupid adults, so coming home to a tantrum might not always result in my following Parenting magazine's advice on how to best deal with the situation calmly. But I know that I have never intentionally hurt my daughter or made her fear me by my actions or shouting, so two thoughts flitted through my head. The father was stressed with the upcoming holiday, or he was an emotionally and/or physically abusive man.

I glanced over to make sure the kid appeared okay, then kept walking with my head down. I suddenly felt so ashamed at my interpretation of the situation as being his business and not my own, because how many times might a child have been saved from years of abuse if only someone else had spoken up? My shame didn't last long as I saw another concerned parent staring fixedly back at the screaming child and his father. He stood his ground and told his own family to keep walking towards the museum and he would catch up once he was certain the kid was okay.

I guess I learned my lesson a few years ago back home when I rushed to the aid of a housemaid being held against her will by her employer. She was wailing and crying on the sandy threshold of the house and in the man I saw all that I hated about my countrymen: The racist, the sexist, the abusive, the sense of entitlement, the arrogance, the ability to get away with crime because of one's status or family name... He let the woman go to appease me, but was firm in his stance that she was a trouble-maker and her running away would place all responsibility on him and his wife. I refused to budge until he gave her the passport she was begging for. He may have been honest about her being a trouble-maker, but I was sick and tired of seeing "my people" holding the passports of poor migrant workers like some sort of sick game of "hostage travel documents for crappy pay", and definitely not cool with seeing a man holding on to a woman who was screaming and crying on the floor. The employer invited us in to meet his white wife to prove he couldn't possibly be an abusive man because what white woman would put up with an abusive foreign husband? I wasn't impressed, not even when she appeared with the hijab on. My mother was there and made hasty apologies on behalf of her half-crazed daughter who had developed an unhealthy fear and loathing for men given years and years of abuse and gropings from strange men she didn't know. Whatever. I got him to let go, didn't I? If she had committed a crime serious enough to warrant being held against her will, then the cops should have been called. Otherwise it's just yet another example of violence towards migrant housemaids, and God knows I'm sick of those vile news stories.

Anyway, back to the museum. Once we got inside, my daughter rushed to all of her favorite parts of the children's section of the museum, only to be shoved aside by other kids, have toys snatched away from her, and be forced to avoid bigger boisterous boys whose behavior was left unchecked by whatever adult who was supposed to be keeping their darn brats on a leash. You could tell which kids had parents who cared about their behavior because they would quietly suggest to their kids to share, take turns, or give the little girl a helping hand and the kids made great attempts to fight their natural instincts to be possessive and selfish in the hopes of pleasing the mother or father they respected and loved. The problem was, I only came across three kids with parents like that in the whole damn place and had to spend most of my time trying to help my poor daughter have a semi-good time given all the little shits who were trying to ruin it for her. It was just depressing. I half expected to see Piggy around the next corner, bound and being tormented by a horde of toddlers pushing a boulder towards their victim below. I did what I could for my little peanut to have a good time, but I spent most of that outing trying not to lose faith in humanity entirely.

So now that I've let loose some inner demons, I'll focus on the positive. Boy, am I thankful for the family I grew up with who taught me right from wrong and how to treat others with respect. Heavens, am I grateful for the patient husband I found by chance who is willing to put up with my less than stable moments and share everything I love with me and show me how much more love I'm capable of giving. I'm especially grateful for the fact that the more time I get to spend with him, the more time I yearn to spend with him. I'm grateful for my step-son, who patiently waited for the moment that he would realize I wasn't the bad guy he was worried I would be and is doing all that he can to be the best step-son he can possibly be. I'm thankful for my beautiful daughter, who makes me smile every single day and whose future is undoubtedly bright simply for her being in it. I'm not so thankful for my pets who keep pissing/puking/pooping on things, but hey, they make me laugh, so what the hey. I'm grateful for the little baby who is currently NOT sitting on my bladder, thank you very much, and will show my heart how to grow even bigger. I'm grateful to have had the luck of living in relative safety when there are many in this world who don't know if they'll live from one day to the next and I'm grateful for the lucky circumstances which allow me to help them out in the small ways that I do. I'm grateful for these big bazookas which make my low cut tops look even better, until your eyes travel down to my pregnant gut and ever widening butt in the back. I'm ever so grateful for my lovely in-laws, whose response to my "sorry the sweet/russet potato mash is a little lumpy" was "oh, we LIKE it lumpy!" and not in a sarcastic way, either.

Life is good, despite some shitty people who try to ruin it for the rest of us. I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for, big boobs or not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Official Decree (Regarding Pubes)

I am so puerile, I thought this was so funny I cried laughing while reading it. I found it at Passive Aggressive Notes, a new place I'm going to have to check out once in a while.

Not What I Used to Be.

I pride myself on being fairly well physically balanced, perhaps even bordering on “elegant” in my ability to move across a room without looking like a complete prat, but there’s something about being pregnant and in the company of a two year old that turns me into a blundering juggernaut in public places. Especially now that we’re getting the proverbial nip in the air, I’ve got the added look and agility of the Michelin man in my big coat and my Kermit the Frog handbag which always tumbles down my arm and onto the floor every time I have to pick my little protester up off the ground.

My daughter is hugely averse to sitting in shopping carts. We used to have some success if we grabbed a pile of books and had her read them as we went along, in between stuffing her with free samples. We must look like hobo parents… Feeding our daughter free bread and cheese samples and convincing her that the lobster tank qualifies the outing as a trip to the zoo…

Anyway, the book thing stopped working as she desperately wanted to help to put stuff in the cart and, given her choice of items, the bigger-the better. She is determined to pick up items twice her size and then tries to heave them into the cart. While this may look like charmingly nostalgic Dickensian child labor, I really don’t want to entertain the possibility of accidentally paying for a gallon sized tub of sprinkles. This could conceivably happen because she also insists on standing in the cart to put her ill-gotten booty up onto the check out conveyor thingamajigy.

While this all sounds terribly helpful and more like my attempt to rub it in the faces of other parents that I have bred my very own child slave, there’s a huge flaw to her not being seated in the cart. She bolts. Really bolts. I’ll say her name, and without turning back she’s a little blur of pink clothes and tiny jeans. It's normally not too hard to find her, all I have to do is follow the series of troubled looking women's faces. As they see me waddle past, half of them smile with understanding, and the other half look like they're disgusted. They're either thinking I'm a shitty parent who should 'splain herself on the Oprah Winfrey Show, or else they feel these small horrid things known as children shouldn't be allowed out of doors. Either way, they can get stuffed.

So I've traded my cool, confident pace across a room, with perhaps even a hint of a seductive swing to my hips for that of a frantic mad scramble, huffing and puffing like an asthmatic hippo with heavy shopping. Sexy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

My science teacher told me about a student he was forced to write up for making inappropriate comments out loud. This week, the student asked another student why he had a sprained wrist and then answered his own question with:

"Were you jerking off without lotion again?"

I asked my colleague how he managed to handle that without at least smiling. I struggle not to when they start up with the "yo momma" comments amongst themselves. One day, my history teacher asked the kids if they had done their home work. One student turned to another and whispered quietly "I didn't do my homework last night, but I did yo momma." The other student laughed and tried to get him back later. I gave them a raised eyebrow look of disapproval, but deep down I know I love a good "yo momma" comment.

On the home front, my daughter has decided that changing diapers is no fun anymore. I get as far as taking off the wet one before she bolts from the room, little arms flailing to keep her balance and pale little bum cheeks disappearing over the horizon. Again, I try not to laugh to reinforce it, but sometimes I slip. Another thing she's decided is that she wants to get undressed by herself. This usually concludes with the amusing result of her not getting her long sleeve t-shirt off and instead looking more like a failed Houdini in diapers. Any offers of help up until that point are greeting with "NO! I do it by self!" but then after reaching the point of no return, she reluctantly accepts a hand. Her push for independence leads to other funny little quirks... She won't sit in high chairs or on boosters anymore. Bearing in mind that she is extremely short for her age, she looks especially adorable and ridiculous sitting with us at our dinner table or at tables in restaurants. You'd think we'd brought our pet chihuahua to the table.

My online college work is keeping me extra busy, hence my rare postings, but I figure you guys have healthy enough social lives that my temporary silence wouldn't upset you in the least.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting Close to Losing It.

I'm getting dangerously close to punching one of my students in the throat. His new thing (he's abandoned the bet with the other kid to see who could not do work the longest in class, since the other kid was withdrawn for not being in the district) is to refuse to do the classwork and say he'll get it done for homework, then proceed to be the noisiest little fucker in the whole room and respond to any remark, look, or consequence you give him with even louder remarks, usually involving everyone being racist against the Mexican. We can't send him to the office because our principal is away and will be away for a few days now. When he's put in the hall, he just gets what he wants... Out of doing work.

If I were to sock him, I think I would get a round of applause from humanity, especially his classmates... Even THEY are sick of him.

I wouldn't worry about it if it weren't for the fact that he disrupts the whole class with his behavior, and kids who don't normally act up start following suit because they figure it's a free for all when this clown is around. I can't think of anything that will work. One thing is for sure, I'm letting his teachers know that I'm not putting up with his getting full credit for work that should have been done in class, but is instead done when he can copy off of someone else and hand it in a week later at the earliest... His disability doesn't give him the right to be a dickhead. He's going to see a bunch more zeroes on his report card.

I'm really at a loss. He doesn't even recognize what he's doing is wrong. He'll even insist he wasn't talking when he's the one shouting stupid things on the top of his lungs and he gets irate if you contradict that. If I were to describe what behavior would earn him a reward or a punishment, he'd insist he'd done all the right things and deny any wrong doing, so a contractual behavior plan would be pointless. Teachers, any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yet Another Starfish Throws Itself on the Shore. And Stays There.

So... Yeah... You know that kid I've basically shifted the entire universe such that it revoles around him in the hopes that he may actually pass at least the 9th grade, if not all of high school? Turns out he may be living in the district, but the person he's living with doesn't have custody of him, so he's been forced to withdraw from our school until his guardian becomes his LEGAL guardian. Knowing the guardian, I don't see this happening anytime soon and if the kid DOES come back to school, it'll be after he's missed out on so much information there wouldn't be a chance in hell his current Fs could become anything else. Unless they make a grade lower than an F. In which case, he'd have that. With a side of fries.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

'Child-Witches' of Nigeria

How horrifying is this news story of children being abandoned and/or abused by their families because some religious nut brands them as witches?

At what point do you abandon all reason for the sake of your "faith"? What could compel a parent to inflict such pain on their own children? I guess that's kind of answered by the story of Abraham and Isaac... Not being religious, I can't imagine believing so firmly in something I had no proof of that I'd be willing to harm an innocent child, my OWN innocent child at that... And to what end? So someone you believe to be all powerful or is best buds with the all-powerful tells you to kill a child, do you abandon all reason and go along with it without question? And why do religious nuts feel such pride in that kind of blind obedience? Does it make you a higher form of intelligent life to be able to shut down your inner moral compass and rely entirely on the directions of something unseen and unheard?

I really shouldn't tackle anything more complicated than getting into my pyjamas at this hour, but I read the news story and had to share.


Ladies and gents, I present to you... Gunther and the Sunshine Girls!

Warning: Contains the sight of a naked man's ass and soft core lesbo action. Which makes it sound a lot better than it really is...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why I Voted the Way I Did.

Teaching the kids I do is what has made me far more “fiscally conservative” than I ever used to be or might have been had I pursued another career. On a daily basis, I see the mindset that is developing in today’s kids who exist within the realm of reliance on a government that always provides for them, over and over. Schools are microcosms of that outside world in that we provide many of life’s necessities that really should be provided for by the parents/families themselves and chance after chance after chance to move past bad decisions. It gets to the point that the lazy and the delinquent kids are given all these chances and treats that their harder working peers don't get.

Now, it may sound great to have such a wonderfully paternal government or school, but the end result is a kid with an over-inflated sense of entitlement and whose lack of effort is more than made up for by the time, effort, and energy of others. Last week, a girl proudly announced that she will NEVER fail a class really, because No Child Left Behind entitles her to pass high school no matter what. Then there was my kid who insisted that since Obama won, he'd never have to do any school work again. These kids really believe the government is there for handouts and forgives and even rewards their complete lack of effort.

Of course there are people who really need government support and they work hard, often at more than one job, trying desperately to get out of the hole they’re in. Bad luck and circumstances may be more to blame than conscious poor decisions made by those people who are forced to rely on government assistance and I believe help should always be there for them, but NOT the people who make absolutely no effort to help themselves.

Now I don't propose cutting off welfare completely, just that after a limited number of years a person may be on it I believe the next step should be used to pay for that person's training for a job and then aid in finding a position. The cost of such training and child care that may be required would be offset by that person then getting a job sooner and actually paying taxes in return. Teach a man to fish, as they say. We can only hand out so many fish before we're cheating that person out of the positive contribution they could be making to the world and to their own self esteem.

This is not about race, or one particular party, I just believe in people being independent, earning their rewards, only relying on taxpayer’s money for income as a last resort, and definitely not abusing that help while others work their asses off to get out of similar circumstances. I’m not saying it’s easy to get out of poverty, there are so many factors that can hold a person back from being able to do that, I just respect the attempts to make a positive contribution to this world, rather than sitting back and taking from others.

Part of my job is to help in the development of responsible, polite, diligent citizens who can make a positive contribution to the world, or at least to their families. I see too many students who are so used to being given what they want that if they don't get it, they take it (sadly none of my students go the Jean Valjean route, they steal less noble things and for less noble reasons). At what point do we, as an education system and as a country, teach these kids that earning is far more admirable and fulfilling than just getting and taking?

I'm sorry if I have offended both my democratic and republican readers... I see value in aspects of both your parties, and I knew Obama would win but I couldn't bring myself to add to the growing cycle of dependent students. As stupid as the Libertarian's foreign policy is, I'd have voted for them if I felt they had a chance of winning.

I hope I have confirmed that I didn't vote for McCain because I'm a raging racist, despise the environment, and want to blow up "baby killers". I've got very good friends who are democrats and I'd hate for them to think I dislike them at all for their beliefs. I just have different ones, that's all.

Oh and Goddammit, California!! Let the gay people get married!! Geez louise. Help them, California! You're they're only hope!

I'm off. I fancy getting a reuben sandwich. Oh the irony...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hail to the Chief!

Okay, so I didn't vote for Obama, but I believe in respecting whomever is elected president because I'm a good loser, tons of people seem to believe in him- including people I respect- and hey... He's the freaking president. I may not be blind to the faults of those in the upper echelons of politics, but I truly believe in a certain level of respect regardless. Perhaps it's my Arab upbringing, sort of like respecting your elders and all that...
Anyway, my heartfelt congratulations to our new president!

On a sad note, however, I was quite disappointed in the behavior of many students today. I had heard from Hot Asian Babe Teacher that one of her white students was shocked that a "black man" was president. What century is this again?

Most of the students I work with are African-American, so I heard racism from the other side of the fence...

"Sarah Palin is so stupid... That's why they lost. She a stupid white girl, stupid like white girls are..."

Er. Okay.

When I quietly told that student to stop saying that over and over and get his science work started because he was currently failing, he started shouting: "You just mad because McCain lost!" over and over. I said who I voted for had no bearing on his grade in class and that I really just wanted him to get his work done. He then said- and I shit you not- because I'm a dreadfully honest person:

"I ain't doing anything anymore."

"Why's that?"

"Because my boy Obama won and I don't have to do anything anymore. I can drop out."

"So... You think Obama would be proud to hear you say that?"

He fumbled for a bit, then went a little quieter but still refused to do his work.

Another comment I overheard:

"All the white people gonna be mad today!"

Let's ignore the fact that he wouldn't have won without SOME white votes...

And another great one:

"If Obama didn't win, I was gonna bring a gun to school and shoot everyone!"

I turned around to see who said that, but was unsuccessful. I can't stand when I hear things behind my back and can't identify who said it.

Throughout the day, any time a teacher told a student to quit misbehaving, someone would mutter "It's because McCain lost".

Frankly, I think the Republican party has allowed itself to become a bunch of dinosaurs and perhaps it's time for them to move on... Either they get more in touch with more people or they just quit completely. Maybe THEN the libertarians could have a chance! Although their foreign policy smacks a bit of xenophobia, which is unlikely to curry any favor with allies and is impossible to maintain successfully in this global day and age, I have a lot of faith in their beliefs about a smaller government and less legislation butting into our personal lives.

Sigh. Ah well. Maybe in the distant future.
Anyway, I wish our president Barack Obama good luck, what with resentment he will face from racists and now unrealistic expectations from kids who think they'll never have to work anymore because this man who worked his ass off to overcome the odds and climb to the highest, most respected position in the land will wave a magic wand and make it so. Since I don't hold such unrealistic expectations, I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised! My glass has to be half full about SOME things, dammit! :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

First Time...

It was my first time today... I was nervous, excited, and wondered if he'd love me back in the morning... I voted.

I also found this on List of the Day. I liked it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No Child Left Behind. Except These Ass Clowns.

My students have actually proven to me that there is a new low... A couple of weeks ago, one of my "ex-cons" figured out just how hard I'm working to try to get the little bastard to pass all his classes. In history class, I YET AGAIN gave him copies of assignments he lost/threw away and jotted down the page numbers where he could find each and every answer if he bothered to crack open the book and look for keywords. He watched me as I flipped through the book, scribbling the page numbers in the margin of his papers.
"Ms. TeacherLady, you work harder than I do."
"I know. You can change that any time you feel like it. Really."
"I should do nothing next quarter so you'll have a lot more work to do."
"Er, no, you'll just fail again. AND make me tired. Neither of which is very pleasant."

He's still failing history.

Another student decided he would come to school twice a week on average, so I did everything short of sending smoke signals to his non-responsive home to no avail. Since he's another one of my "ex-cons", I decided to pull the bigs guns and call his parole officer. He started coming to school a lot more often after that, albeit late for most of the mornings for the first week and a half after my conversation with his P.O. I took what I could get. The next step was to keep him from sleeping in class. I've basically figured that one out, I prod him and give him work to do which he usually plods through at a tortoise's pace, but with surprising accuracy. Next step, he needed to actually bring stuff to school... Like pens, pencils, paper, books, etc. I gave him some supplies at the start of the year (well, when he got out of prison and came to me) but he had lost them. So this time, I bought an official school bag and filled it with useful supplies. He seemed quite excited by his new bag and even more excited at my promise to buy him a McDonald's lunch if he brought his bag to each of his classes three consecutive days. Very excited. He already put in an order of three cheeseburgers. I said "Sure, whatever it takes, buddy."

The very next day, he lost his bag. He found it during his last class and promptly left it there to rot for the following day. Out of the four remaining days of the week, he had it with him once. The following week, the offer still stood and I pleaded with him to give me the opportunity to buy him lunch. He had it two days in a row (I turned a blind eye to the one English class he didn't have it) and then decided to skip all his classes on the third day. On the fourth day, he asked me when I was going to buy him his lunch and was irate when I said he hadn't done the full three days in a row. He didn't think I was going to count the day he skipped the whole damn day to go home with his senior buddy.

I thought I made it easy for him. I wanted to provide an easy success to motivate him. It seems to have failed. He tells teachers his dad never did homework, so why should he... Today, he and another thoroughly irritating student of mine placed a bet as to whether or not they could go through a whole math class without doing a single bit of work.

Y'hear that sound? That's of TeacherLady smashing her head against a wall. I have to get these kids to not only pass their freshman classes, but the state test too. That little test that tells the world whether or not I'm an effective teacher. The one that determines if I get to keep my job, along with all my colleagues too. Fuck that! If legislators want to make expectations like that, they can take a fucking moment to look into my job and see how impossible it can be with some kids. It's all down to their home, their upbringing. You heard the kid! Daddy didn't do homework, and he's such a freaking winner, after all... Why not want to be like him?

Geez. A beer would be so freaking sweet right now. I'm into that whole breast feeding thing, too, so I can't even count down until birth, it goes BEYOND that!

And another thing!!! I'm really hating that college class I'm taking online right now. It's got so many bloody bugs and problems with it... Everyone in the class is getting frustrated and I'm getting so worn out trying to work through their problems that I'm ready to eat my monitor.


Okay. Breathe. Breathe. Life is good. My daughter is beautiful, my husband is sweet, my step-son is doing great at his school work, my colleagues make me laugh... I think I need to chill to some Enigma now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quotes of the Week

Okay, so this first one actually happened a week or so ago, but I kept forgetting to mention it and it's too good to pass up...

A student come charing into my friend's science class, and it's painfully obvious that he hadn't taken his medication that morning. He bounces off the walls for a bit, makes a general nuisance of himself in all manners possible.

Science Teacher: You haven't had your meds this morning, have you?

Neurotic Student: (Grins from ear to ear) Nope! I'm higher than a motherfucker!

Science Teacher: Go to the office.

Over doughnuts this morning (I'm a member of the "Doughnut Club". We eat chip in and share doughnuts once a week, usually on Fridays but since we've got a staff breakfast scheduled for this Friday, we moved our sacred ritual to this Thursday instead) a math teacher shared what he felt was the most outrageous referrals ever written about a student before. A fellow colleague of ours happens to have a rather flat looking back of the head and a student of his was kind enough to offer up her own diagnosis of what had happened:

Student With No Filter: I know what happened... Three fat women sat on your face, right?

I burst out laughing and paused long enough for another teacher in the room to offer her idea of the best comeback to that comment:

Spanish Teacher: He should have said "Yeah, it was your momma and her two sisters."

I laughed even harder. I love my colleagues.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Heartless Nurse.

I must say, I'm really impressed with our school nurse. She has single-handedly freaked me out on so many separate occasions, I have been left in complete awe. She's pretty good with the adults in the building... It's the kids who turn her into some character out of a Roald Dahl novel (or Nurse Ratched character as seen above).

My first charming encounter with her methodology occurred when a mildly mentally retarded student of mine showed an obvious aversion to bathing, changing sanitary pads, using deodorant etc. and would often smell of urine and feces. I asked the nurse if she would give my student a little chat about hygiene and it's importance, but she refused point blank and said "I don't do that." She even had a look of disgust on her face. She said I could do it myself and she told me what information I could pass on to her. What nurse is grossed out by this sort of thing? I just thought it would be better coming from someone else because I had developed a delicate relationship with the student and didn't want to possibly ruin it by embarrassing her.

Last year a student was having some sort of anxiety attack in the hallway outside of the classroom I had a meeting in. The meeting just consisted of the teachers I work with closely on a daily basis so it was informal enough that we felt okay to glance outside the window next to the door to see how things progressed as the nurse got there to help the teachers who were doing their best to help the girl through her moment. We had offered help but they had said it was okay and that the nurse was on her way. The girl was writhing on the floor, gasping and wide-eyed, screaming that her heart was hurting. Hot Asian Babe Teacher seemed to be doing an admirable job of staying with and comforting the student as best she could.

The nurse got there fairly quickly, which impressed us all as she's not known to make much of an effort to rush much, and she began to work her "magic".

Now, I'm no medical professional, nor do I play one on TV, but we were all a little sceptical of her technique of calming the poor girl down which consisted of her grabbing a handful of tissues, covering the girl's nose and mouth, and angrily yelling "STOP CRYING" over and over. Now, I can understand the importance of her regulating her breathing by not continuing to cry, but we questioned the tone in which the nurse was apparently trying to do this. I have heard of people using paper bags to try to counteract hyperventilation, but never covering the mouth and nose entirely.

Another incident happened last year too, in which my science teacher sent a vomiting girl to the nurse, along with a garbage can for her to continue puking in to on her journey there. A few minutes later, the student showed up at his door again saying that the nurse had turned her away because she didn't come with a pass. He hadn't bothered to take the time to give her a pass because he didn't want a recreation of that scene from Monty Python's Meaning of Life, in which one man's vomiting inspires the whole room to up-chuck the contents of their stomachs too.

This year has to be my favorite. A girl went into a full blown, shit yourself kind of grand mal seizure on the floor, so my Foxy Art Teacher friend called the nurse and was absolutely delighted to hear that the nurse wouldn't be coming over because IT WAS HER LUNCH BREAK. I've heard of her doing that before, but never when a student was having a seizure. Many a time have I heard the nurse get more than a little snippy about her "me time", but this was insane. I'd really like to hear her side of the story on this one. Anyway, it got so bad, Foxy just called for an ambulance which then took the poor girl away. If I were that kid's mother, I would want to sue the white jacket off of that "nurse" and make sure she did no more than candy striper work for the rest of her life.

What sucks is that she's always so nice to me personally, and always inquires about my daughter and my pregnancy, so I really don't want to dislike her, but she's not making it easy to respect her when she seems to care so little about the kids.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some of My Favorite TV Show Openings

Jeeves and Wooster. Not only some of my favorite novels, but has a terrific TV theme tune to go along with it. Stephen Fry IS Jeeves, as Hugh Laurie IS Bertie Wooster. I used to think he was cute back then, but now there's House... Oooh... Rugged, broody, smart men...

Carnivale. A feast for the eyes and ears. Beautifully symbolic and at times horrifying. A series tragically cut short.

M*A*S*H. Classic. Despite historically inaccurate helicopters.

The video for M*A*S*H is no longer available. Boo. You all know what it looks like anyway.

4400. I thought the singer sounded a little Arab (my Arabian radar is almost as good as my Gaydar), turns out she's of Lebanese heritage. The song is a little youthful and cool but relevant, and the visuals are lovely and get across the feeling of the show nicely. (If you don't know, it's about people who are taken from various time periods then all returned at the exact same time in contemporary America not having aged since there's last time on earth). It got cancelled too.

The Twilight Zone. Oh MAN I love that series. I would have had Rod Serling's babies. If my husband wouldn't have minded. Hm. Coming across as a little bit of a horndog right now.

Six Feet Under. Simple, clean visuals and delightful instrumentals.

Dexter. Cute little allusions to his recreational activities as a serial killer. Okay, maybe "cute" wasn't the right word...

Red Dwarf. Okay, so these are end credits instead of opening, but what fun lyrics for my favorite comedy sci-fi show ever! (It led me to my husband, too. Bonus!)

Star Trek: The Next Generation. It makes me all tingly with hope for humanity. And because of Patrick Stewart's voice.

And I can't put TNG up without the original series, which was initially supposed to have cheesy-ass lyrics written by the great Gene Roddenberry. Reason prevailed and they added the piercing female vocals to the second season intro instead.

Doctor Who. The latest incarnation, that is.

The original Doctor Who theme wasn't much different. Here's an inexplicably long version of that with an added bridge that no longer exists in the newer version.

Being Arab Part II

I've come to a startling (though it shouldn't have been) realization. The kids I'm currently teaching have known Islamic fundamentalists as their generation's bad guys for just about half their lives. They've grown up with one particular image of Muslims and that's of enormous beardy blokes willing to blow up any soft vulnerable flesh that gets between them and their perception of heaven and justice.

The confusion over Arabs, Muslims, and various brown people has also caused me some concern (ie. that poor Brazilian chap, Jean Charles de Menezes, who got gunned down by nervous cops in London.) I can't really blame these kids for being wary of Arabs/Muslims/people with great tans and sexy dark eyes. They've just lived a huge chunk of their lives knowing that an awful lot of "those people" don't care much for America nor its citizens, regardless of their age, sex, race, or religion. So although I'm not a practicing Muslim, I count myself among the feared and hated simply because people don't make the distinction between the two either.

So let's look at one very specific Arab then, shall we? Moi. Except for very specific circumstances, I don't usually believe in violence as a means for solving conflict. Aside from elbowing perverts when I was a kid, I've never intentionally physically harmed another human being. Before I come across as holier-than-thou, let's examine my background: My fortunate circumstances of living a comfortable life in a country untouched by war or excessive poverty, with parents who never taught me that violence was a solution, with one of the best educational opportunities on offer in the region, and to be instilled with the belief that I have multiple opportunities open to me in terms of my future... All of this has made me a fairly easy going person. Not all Arabs or Muslims my students have grown to fear have had all of these opportunities in life, so I don't count myself superior to the ones that use violence as a solution, just luckier.

I'm not without faults and I frequently fall victim to human folly, but I'm proud to represent "my people" in a positive light whenever I can. I may not be much at all like any of the other women from my country (not at ALL, especially seeing as I'm half British too), but half my genes and place of residence for most of my life can't be entirely irrelevant to who I am. It must have influenced me beyond giving me a taste for chicken shawarma sandwiches with tahini sauce, fries, and pickles.

I am Arab. I don't believe in violence to get a point across. I'm only excessively hairy in the winter time when I figure "fuck it, I'll wear jeans again today". I believe a lack of education is a huge factor in holding back the promise of peace in the Middle East. If you don't have a future to hope for, what's the point in being anything other than cannon fodder? I also believe an unwillingness for compromise, when neither side will concede to complete defeat, is another huge impediment. Israel was created, it won't go away. On the other side, I don't think Palestine should shrink any more than it's already done, nor should fences hold its people back from the land they rely on for income. I also believe that corrupt political leadership which prioritizes demonizing the enemy as opposed to building up national infrastructure, educational facilities, proper health care, respect for human rights, and bridges to other cultures and nations are a cancer to all mankind. That goes for ANY shitty government, ANYWHERE.

I am Arab and I believe in the opportunity for peace and progress, I believe in capitalism, science, democracy, liberty, and human rights. I believe we are flawed but what makes a human being truly beautiful is the desire and the pursuit to rise above those imperfections to make this world a little bit better for our having been here. However, I'm only one person and there are only so many talks I've been able to give to children and adults seeking answers. We need to see more non-violent Arabs and Muslims in the media to prove we're not a bunch of raving lunatics with bombs strapped to our guts. Where are they all? Where's my back-up, peeps? Do we need to hire more Indians to play us on TV?

Sigh. I'm tired. I think I raced through way too many random thoughts as I stumbled upon them. Forgive me if I sound stupid in this post, I just wanted to explore and ruminate a bit. Re-reading this, I realize how naive, spoiled, ignorant, and childishly idealistic I sound... It reminds me of my adolescent diary... Yeesh... I guess I'll shut up now and go stuff my face with snacks while catching up on a billion shows on my inundated DVR.