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

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top 11 Naughtiest Animaniacs Moments

Animaniacs came out when I was a little older, so I never really watched it, but looking at these clips, I may just have to.

Helloooo nurse.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chuck Norris!

Go to Google's homepage. Type the words:

Find Chuck Norris

Then click on "I'm feeling lucky", and see what happens.

I was amused by the result, though confused by what appears to be an anti-Obama advert at the bottom. Actually, I can't tell what it's really saying... That Obama is Arab? I don't get it. I'm especially confused because I LOVE shawarmas, so an "Obama shawarma" sounds like a positive thing to me! Anyway, whatever. That's not the part I wanted you to focus on. I probably failed, but I had to bring that up.

Being Arab Part I

In the 9 year I've lived in the States, I've faced very little discrimination for being Arab or simply being foreign in general. In fact, I've only ever experienced two things that unsettled me. The first time happened in the very small Catholic college I went to for my undergrad course in teaching.

Our RA had us do a cheesy getting to know you activity in which you had to pair up with someone you didn't know and get to know them enough to then introduce him/her to the rest of the floor. My partner was struck by my British sounding accent (it's a bit muddled, actually, but sounds pretty close to some sort of English accent) and so when she introduced me she made reference to how sexy she thought my accent was. This peaked the interest of many of the boys on the floor and I immediately saw some of the girls, including the bitchy RA, flinch in an adolescent soap opera way. From then on, I was treated very coldly by the girls on the floor, especially the slutty RA. The very next day, she passed my door and shouted "She thinks she's so fucking special because she talks like that". I had to pause and remind myself I wasn't in some pathetic teen movie with the archetypal cheerleader blond bitches, but then again... Maybe I WAS. Another night, she leaned up against my door and bounced her whole body against it over and over, making it bang. It was 2am and I had an 7:30am class. I opened the door and asked if she wouldn't mind not leaning on my door. She laughed and apologized, then went right back to doing it when I shut my door. What the fuck? Was I to expect pig's blood next? Jesus Christ.

One night, the boys decided to come to our wing and steal all the markers from the whiteboards on people's doors, and as I came out of my room, I saw our delightful whore of an RA kicking the door of the one black girl in our wing and saying "Goddamn blacks keep stealing our pens."

Funnily enough, she wasn't the editor of the college's newspaper which had a great little editorial on how "everyone hates it" when the foreign students speak their own language around "you" because you know they're talking about you. Wow. I didn't know I was that close to the center of the frigging universe.

I must admit... I had never seen so many of just one race in one place ever before. (ie. white people). There was one table of black kids there and a table or two of foreign students like me. I felt awkward around the foreign students because a few of them were boys from my country and they were very quick to talk about me behind my back and tell the people back home what their wayward little girl was getting up to. (ie. not drinking, not doing drugs, or staying out all night, but having ONE boyfriend, who's *gasp* white and whom she would eventually marry. What a harlot!) Anyway, I felt awkward in a new country surrounded by people who all basically went to the same high school together and seemed very disinterested in being my friend. I finally found some misfits who were just as weird as I am and we got along fairly well.

My second experience was quite unsettling. One night years later, we were at a cast party for a show my husband was in. The husband of one of the actresses was introduced to me and it was somehow brought up that I was Arab. I knew the couple was Jewish and the wife didn’t seem to have an issue with my race during all the rehearsals I had attended to be near my darling spouse, but the look of sheer horror that spread across her husband’s face was almost cartoony. His animated conversation with me was reduced to one word sentences and I swear his eyes were darting around for an escape route. I felt so awful. He stopped smiling altogether and shifted uneasily in his seat. I tried to make conversation that revealed how non-threatening I was, but it only seemed to ease him by a few degrees. If you'd seen his reaction, you'd have thought I started making Holocaust jokes, goose-stepped around the room and yelled "Allah Akbar". I didn't. Really.

People really do get their knickers in a twist over the silliest things. I had no designs on those morons in college, so the RA could happily get back to screwing every single one of them, and that poor Jewish guy needn't have judged me on anything other than my friendliness, warmth, and sparkling wit I so expertly plied him with prior to his discovery of my race.

Ah well. Anyone who cares to know me soon realizes I'm pretty harmless really. Except if you piss me off, in which case I'll talk about you to my friends and assign an insulting nickname to you and talk about you on my blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Body Seems to Want the Muslim Vote

We don't need any more stinkin' bigots on the McCain side. Sad that Daniel Zubairi (the gent in the shades) wasn't permitted to speak to CNN about the following event:

And the Obama side isn't so keen on making connections with the Muslims either.

I know why neither side wants to touch this, I just think it's a little sad. Ah well. You can't make everyone happy, I know that too. I'll just end up picking the one that offends me the least. The old sexist who called his wife a cunt or Robin Hood whose organizers have Muslims removed from the background for photo opportunities. Hmm... There's far more to each candidate than these paltry facts, but I can't help think about them occasionally. First impressions and all that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peter Norman- The Other Man on the Podium

I love stories that touch upon unexpected perspectives or the details of the poor guy in the background who otherwise vanishes into the annals of history, so I was delighted to read this BBC article about the third man on the podium during the historic 1968 Olympic moment when the other two men raised their fists to signify Black Power. An Australian named Peter Norman, his life took some tragic turns before his eventual death. I thought it was a very poignant peek into an otherwise sadly ignored gentleman's life. See that badge on his chest next to his well-earned silver medal? It cost him dearly. So sad to think that a man could be punished so severely for wearing a badge for Olympic Project for Human Rights, given to him by one of his fellow athletes. It symbolized protest against racial segregation and discrimination.
I think I smell a movie in the making... Just don't let Disney make it, for God's sake. Then again, I don't think Disney would touch a movie that involved Black Panther gestures... Man, now that I think about it, it would make a cheesy-ass movie. I hope it never happens. It was cool enough as a fragment of real history, best not cheese it up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cucumber Sandwich, Anyone?

In reference to my previous post...

Another good reason to keep your produce clean and certain produce out of the refrigerator.

Bunch of Prudes

My husband has somehow managed to subscribe us to half a million magazines for free and so I was leafing through a copy of Cosmo, which I wouldn't really do anymore unless it WAS free. How many issues can boast to have the best new sex moves? Are the other ones outdated now?Will they no longer thrill? And if THIS issue tells me what guys REALLY want, were the last thousand issues wrong?

Anyway, I came upon a page that dealt with women's sexual insecurities (yeesh, we don't hear enough about those, huh?) and so I read each question and was confused to see that some women out there are actually concerned that they're "not normal" because they enjoy having their hair tugged or their bottoms spanked while getting frisky with their partner. I'm sorry, but have I been transported back in time? LOADS of women love a little friendly hair pulling and a bit of a botty-spanking... Since when has that become a fringe deviant sexual activity? I'd be more concerned if she said she could only get turned on if her husband wore a full monkey suit and rogered her with a banana- but even then- whatever floats your boat, baby. It'd be limiting, but it doesn't hurt anyone, so what the hey?

There was another woman who was concerned she may become addicted to her vibrator. My own interpretation of addiction is that you can't get through the day without it to the point that you can't function in your typical day's activities without thinking about getting the next fix, so unless she's buzzing her way through board meetings, lunch with her mother, and while she's out getting groceries, I don't think she has anything to worry about in terms of true addiction.

Another was concerned that she masturbates every day. I'd be a crappy sex therapist, because my response would be "Okay. And the problem is...?"

Are people so ashamed at their own pleasure? Are people so afraid of feeling good that they think they're abnormal, deviant, and borderline criminal?

People need to embrace and explore their own healthy sexuality more. I define "healthy" as: between consenting adults, no one is getting hurt (unless they want it!) and no animals or kids are involved. What a society of mea culpa prudes!

Where are Dr. Ruth and Sue Johansen (neither site is safe for work) when you need them? Do you have to get as old as them to realize it's okay to feel good?

How Bulimics May Be Created

My husband and I like to sing to our daughter a lot and we often change the lyrics of songs for our own amusement. That used to annoy her until she figured out she could do the same thing and make us all laugh. In singing "The Wheels on the Bus" she added her own verse, sadly based on her powers of observation...

"The mommies on the bus say..." she paused for a moment. "I need to vomit, I need to vomit, I need to vomit..." Only with the way she says it, it sounds more like "bomit" which actually makes it sound cute.

I guess she's seen poor mommy praying to the porcelain god one too many times during the first trimester. I'm just relieved that she never showed any interest in imitating me.

She's already showing a sense of humor that delights me. The other day I took her to the children's museum and we came across a man making balloon animals. She asked for a lion and was very proud of the finished result. While walking to the car, she looked closely at her lion balloon and started to laugh.

"Lion's silly, mommy"
"Why's he silly, baby?" I call her 'baby' more often than her real name. Not sure why. I say it to literally mean an infant, not as a synonym for 'darling' or 'honey'.
"He's making a funny face like this..." She puckered her tiny little mouth as much as she could. I looked at the lion and saw that the artist had made the lion's mouth with a few twists of the balloon, so he did indeed look like he'd just sucked a lemon along with some Sour Patch candy and a dash of vinegar on top.
I laughed with a sincere laugh, and not just a 'let's humor the cute kid' kind of laugh I sometimes do.

There's nothing I can say that would express just how amazing my daughter is to me. I am in awe of her every single day. I'll make the most of it before she turns into a psychotic teenager.

Friday, October 17, 2008

When Will People Learn? Don't Stick Autistic Kids in Closets.

An autistic girl was put into a time-out room in school for failing to complete a reading assignment and was left in there FOR THREE HOURS. While in there, she wet herself.

Now I ask you... Would shit like this happen as often if teachers took one moment to think "If this were MY child, would I be okay with this?"

I may not see abuse like this coming from the teachers I work alongside (thank God), but there have been times were I thought we could all benefit from the "what if he were mine...?" approach. Of course, this may have negative consequences once in a while, as in the cases when I've thought "If he were my son (or she were my daughter), I'd have smacked the back of his head faster than he could say 'you don't know me, whateva' and banned all use of TV, video games, mp3 player, computer, and phone until he turned 18. In fact, I'd send the brat to live on an Amish farm for a week and see how he likes them apples."

That may not be the best perspective. It's sad to think I have such double standards between what I would find acceptable from my students versus my own children, but then they're very different people with very different backgrounds and upbringings.

Back to the news story at hand... The only time I would think it would be appropriate to isolate a student is if the student was upset and needed a moment to calm down, but I still wouldn't leave him entirely alone as I'd hate to be liable for any harm he may do to himself or his surroundings, and certainly not for three hours. How horrifying for the parents who entrusted their already fragile child to other adults, a child who may not be able to explain circumstances or her feelings accurately, who can't defend herself or her own interests... It's enough to make you weep. I know there are still fucked up parents out there who WOULD do this to their own child, but I think if more teachers thought that way there would be fewer incidences of humiliation, bullying, teasing, excessive punishing, and abuse of students.

My title for this post was partly in reference to poor Marcus Fiesel who was also autistic and was bound in a blanket wrapped tight with packing tape and placed in a closet where he died. His foster parents were away for a family reunion. He was left without water and food but most likely died from the heat. And don't get me started on parents leaving their kids to die in the heat because I can believe one parent may make that mistake, but then another woman, and ANOTHER woman making the exact same mistake...? All living in the same tri-state? Has no one learned anything?? Okay, get me started on this one. As horrifying as it was, I was able to believe that the Slaby woman just made a huge disgusting mistake. We're human. But that news story had me glancing in my rear view mirror a LOT more than I used to. It made me glance sadly at my car seat every time I got out of my car and thank my lucky stars that I can still hold my daughter to me and hear her laugh or cry or demand chicken nuggets really loudly. How on earth could someone forget so soon at the cost of their own flesh and blood?

Ak. It's all really horrid and I don't mean to point the finger of blame in some sort of holier-than-thou stance... I just think adults need to think more. Think of the kids more. Just THINK!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cosplay Fails (And Some Wins Too)

I was flicking through one of my many Geek magazines I have yet to read, and came across pictures of some incredibly hot chicks dressed as their favorite anime/video game characters and it got me thinking about the not-so-hot ones that inevitably show up at these sort of gatherings. I've never been to one, nor do I intend to as I would have no idea who the hell most of them are supposed to be, but I can appreciate the effort that goes into making these elaborate costumes... And then there are THESE people:

I'm guessing the last guy did it for a laugh, which makes it a little more acceptable... Sadly, I think the infamous fat guy in the Sailor Moon outfit was serious... Seriously Norman Bates, that is....
Now, to repair any possible damage I may have done to your retinas, I've also included the following photos... Might I add that I have wanted the Leia costume for a very long time now and will gladly accept donations towards getting one... I'm no where near as hot as this chick (apparently, her name is Olivia Munn, I live in a cave so I had no idea who she was whehn I found the pic), but I want the costume anyway. And I bet my husband does too.

Good Lord..!

... The Bee Gees may save your life!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm tired of students waiting until I walk by their desk 15 minutes into class and discover that they don't have a pen or pencil and not using those wonderful things known as common sense, independent responsibility, and autonomy to get up off their lazy arses and find one themselves. Honestly. I'll have to remind them to keep inhaling and exhaling next.

I'm tired of students who get angry when they get caught breaking rules. Whatever happened to shame, regret, and guilt?

I'm tired of seeing broken children from broken families. Don't people get married and stay married anymore? Not that a single person can't raise a kid well (my mum did a great job) but I see a strong correlation in poor (not in the financial sense) students and broken homes in my job.

I'm tired of this damn cough I've had for over two weeks. It gives me headaches every day and it takes me ages to fall asleep, only to be woken up repeatedly by bouts of coughing any time I drift into the waking world.

I'm especially tired today because at the very end of the day I got a desperate e-mail from a student who feared going home, gave me some horrid details of why she feared going home, and so I had to deal with the messy call to a child abuse hotline that had shitty hold muzak playing, only to be told to wait until tomorrow morning to see how the kid was doing then. I'm glad I had a fantastic counselor to help me make the call. I hate making them. They always feel pointless in the end.

I'm tired of students not listening when I ask them to stop talking REPEATEDLY and I'm especially tired when I finally resort to handing them a detention and then they act like I never warned them and that they're going to shank me out in the parking lot because all I am is a spiteful bitch, not someone who is just trying to get her job done and help kids. This is made more difficult when the classroom teacher him/herself doesn't tell them to be quiet, so I'm the freaking bad cop every single time. Not many kids get this bad, but the few that do it take up all my damn time and energy.

I'm tired of members of my department (special ed.) not doing their bloody job and making the rest of us look bad and -even worse- leaving the kids up shit creek without a paddle.

I'm tired because I'm a lazy bastard who was used to napping back in the Old Country and miss it horribly.

I'm tired of this irrelevant paper I have to write for my graduate class. The class is supposed to be about teaching kids to read in all subject areas and the paper is about the effect of various drugs on kids' learning. I'm aware of how important that information is, but it's got fuck all to do with the subject at hand.

I've decided to prescribe myself a few solutions to my stress and exhaustion.

One: Listen to Yakkity Sax (theme music for the Benny Hill Show) every day on my drive home from work. I've done it twice and it made me laugh both times. It even makes the asshole who weave in and out of traffic look hilarious. You imagine they're driven by a bunch of irate husbands chasing after good old Benny who cuckolded them.

Two: Get a massage. From anyone. Except creepy janitor guy who keeps offering. Ew. He keeps telling all the female teachers that he is a qualified and that some of his clients like to be massaged while mostly undressed. WHO are these clients?! He once gave a hot teacher his own "special massage lotion" he kindly put into one of those small black canisters you keep camera film in. Ew.

Three: Eat better. I feel better when I do.

In relation to number three, my husband took me out recently for my birthday when I thought we wouldn't be able to, and I got to try my first sample of molecular gastronomy. We went to a modern Spanish tapas bar and one of the dishes I had was partly an exploration of the flavor of olives. There wasn't a real olive to be seen, but there was some gritty dark stuff that tasted like concentrated olive bits, and there were two globules that very much resembled olives but turned out to be small artificial sacs of olive flavored liquid. When I bit into them, a burst of olive flavor flooded my mouth. Entertaining, but it didn't compare to the purity and simplicity of a prawn dish I got there that is only available two weeks out of the year because during those two weeks, these prawns carry their cavier and can be cooked along with their own roe and then enjoyed together. The cavier was nice, though it seemed to have absorbed a considerable amount of the spices involved in the dish (tasted like curry to me) which detracted from its actual flavor, but the prawn itself was the true crowning glory. I showed no shame in licking the juices off of my fingers because the cost of losing that flavor was far greater than any embarrassment caused by a weird looking pregnant woman licking her own digits.

It wasn't my favorite restaurant in the area, but I'm glad I went and tried all that I did. I still think about those prawns...

Please forgive my derailed train of thought. As I have started repeatedly, I'm tired, and I'm struggling to think straight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Random Fragments of Songs Float Through My Head

SeeqPod - Playable Search

I love the way they used "Disco 2000" in Life on Mars (the original BBC series, not the new American version which is making me nervous...) It reminds me of the song Martha, which is why I chucked that one on the end... Full of regret at love not explored. Sad. I also shoved Common People on there because I love that one. I also love the parody Goodness Gracious Me did! I love women like that... They eat loads of lentils and make frequent trips to Goa...

And the thought of trips to Goa brought this song to mind:

Alabama 3 has to be one of the most unique bands ever... It's not often you run across a "Sweet Muthafuckin Country Acid House" band with gospel thrown in for good measure. Which leads me onto another song of theirs I lik (sorry about the qaulity of some of these):

Favorite Quotes of the Week

In science class:

"Now who was the scientist who was fabled to have had an apple fall on his head?"

"Wayne Newton!"

Also in science class:

"What's that other famous scientist? Frankenstein?"

"No, it's Einstein, man you stupid."

In history class they were challenged to answer citizenship test questions:

"How many states are there in the US?"



"The Revolutionary War... We won that, didn't we?"


"Mr. History Teacher...? The 10 Amendments... Is that like God's 10 Amendments?"

I love my job. I've got so much to do.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

And the Winner of the "Shittiest Teacher of the Year" Goes to...

(Thanks to my husband for pointing me in the direction of this gem...)
Greg Howard of Jackson County Schools, Marianna, Florida! (Say it with me, Distorted View fans... "Florida: Our Most Fucked Up State". I quite like Florida, but that's such a funny bit Tim Henson does.)
Mr. Howard culminated his 17 year teaching career by writing out what he felt was the true meaning of Obama's campaign slogan of "Change".
"C.H.A.N.G.E. Come Help a Nigger Get Elected".

What a fucking genius. I bet he spent all this last month thinking that one up in between his KKK meetings and sensitivity training. Not only was he stupid enough to write such shite up on his board once, dear readers.... No, no, no... But twice to two classes.

It really is embarrassing when you look around and see what complete morons there can be in the teaching industry. I've known racists to be teachers, and you wonder why the hell they teach in a school that's pretty close to having 50% black students. Are they trying to sabotage their education by merely being their shitty teacher? Because it certainly looks like it. I've also known teachers who thought it would be funny to write up or illustrate what they felt to be a really "funny joke" up on the board that would have been more appropriate on the wall of a men's public restroom (I'm glad THAT guy got "let go". What a freak.) I hate that we don't always catch those idiots, but I'm grateful when we do so we can stop the spread of stupidity to our young.

Monday, October 06, 2008

My Poor Neighbors.

My neighbors must wonder about me and my family... Yesterday my husband and I set about putting our outdoor Halloween decorations up and we had my step-son and my two year old daughter help us out. I'm guessing a bunch of our poodle-walking-soccer-mom-house-wives might object a tad to seeing my toddler kindly carrying over the severed head impaled on a spike for daddy to put up, but if it's any consolation it doesn't look like a REAL severed head impaled on a spike.

I took a moment to rest on our lawn, amid all the fake headstones and noticed one of our cats scooting past me. I had chucked her out the house only moments before having noticed that she'd managed to get huge clumps of poo stuck in her ass fur and I was in no mood to put off Halloween decorations to help wipe my feline's bottom. We had a pair of scissors nearby to open up some of our newer decorations and so I decided I shouldn't put off the inevitable and grabbed her.

It took a moment for me to realize how ridiculous I must have looked, half straddling my horrified looking kitty with her lifted tail in one hand and a sharp pair of scissors in the other. Only cat owners would realize that sometimes it's better to just start sheering rather than try to wash that kind of nastiness out, but hearing the voices of a multitude of neighbors out and about, I figured at least one of them would not be a cat owner and instead assume I was some sort of sicko performing a sacrificial rite on my lawn. Damn, those Arabs really are sick bastards, I heard in my head, so I let Pumpkin go for a little while... At least until I could tackle her nasty ass in private.

Not having any hot water that day (we were without a working water heater for a few days), I decided I really didn't want to leap in and out of my shower, screaming bloody murder anymore, so I came up with another bright idea. I'd wash my hair with a hose in the back yard then leap into the hot tub for a few minutes (don't worry, I keep the temp. low so it won't harm my munchkin) then leap back out and briefly wash off my body before dashing back into the relative warmth of my house and braving my shower for the more intimate cleaning tasks at hand. Ahem. The hot tub was more a stupid indulgence than a real necessity. My initial plan was to wash my hair with the hose WHILE sitting in the hot tub, but I decided at the last minute not to be THAT much of a pussy. And I really hate leaning my head back in hair salons, let alone over the edge of my own hot tub.

I again cast a thought towards my neighbors. What must they think of the pregnant woman in the bikini, washing her hair in her back yard, occasionally yelping when the water managed to trickle surreptitiously down her neck like rivulets of pure evil?

I guess I don't need to wonder anymore why our immediate neighbors are planning on moving out soon. The gruesome cat-sacrificing exhibitionist mother of that poor toddler drove them to seek safer ground.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Blast from the Recent Past Inspires Some Thought

I love seeing students from my past, though you always brace yourself for the possibility of less than rosy news. I answered the phone the other day and was delighted to hear from a student who was never on my caseload but who came to me frequently for academic and emotional support. In speaking with her mother on the phone, I realized the difficulties in this student’s life didn’t end with her. All around, it was a little sad, but I enjoyed her eagerness to get work done in my presence.

I hesitated for a second after hearing her remind me who she was, then asked the dreaded question:

“So, what have you been up to? And how old are you now?”

“I’m 18… I went to this other school for a while but then I got into some trouble…”

Oh oh. She’s going to say she’s pregnant, she’s going to say she’s pregnant…

“I got into a fight with another girl…” she continued.

Phew. Thank God.

“…And I’m pregnant.” God damn it. Oh well, at least she’s 18 and not 13 like some of the ones I’ve seen. It may not be the optimal age to make a human being, but she already sounds as though she may have compensated for previous childishness with a new sense of maturity and responsibility. Maybe.

“Oh, Student...” I wasn’t going to congratulate her, but neither was I going to say anything she’d probably already heard from her mother. “Are you still with the father?”

“No… I don’t know. Not really.”

She had called to make sure I would be there because she was coming in to enroll in a program that will help her walk away with some sort of high school diploma. I was relieved. One good decision, at least.

So yet again, I embraced a student who was further along in her pregnancy than I was during my own. It’s an odd thought. I wondered if it would be appropriate to invite her out with her baby some day to try to add to her support system, maybe give her ideas of cool places she can take her kid or activities she can do for minimal cost but giving the kid an enriching learning experience.

That thought then branched off to thoughts that came across my mind while I was at the local children's museum. In listening to the way parents spoke to their kids there and the way their children responded, I thought "I'd never see these kids in the lower level classes I help out with." The classes I support include kids with and without disabilities who generally read at the third grade level up to the sixth grade level at the most. They usually have extremely limited experiences in life, have parents who can't or won't be in their lives because of either tyring desperately to make ends meet and so working multiple shifts, or else are not willing to be in their kids' lives for whatever horrific reason (drugs, mental illness, or they just simply abandon them).

Now, I'm not suggesting that all parents should make the time and the money to take their kids to the museum, but the kids who have the opportunities to go places like that suddenly have whole worlds open to them that is denied the other kids who usually end up in my classroom. There are cheaper experiences that they don't get either... My students had no idea you could rent movies for free from the library because none of them had bothered to step inside their neighborhood library ever before. That's free. The chance to have all these books and movies at your disposal to expand your horizons, completely free and they never knew. You'd hope there would be at least one adult who would have the time to take them there, give them the gift of experience and knowledge in the hopes of a better future. It can take a village to raise a child, if not one poor struggling single parent. And the library has so much more to offer than just books and movies, too... Other experiences that would expose these kids to social situations and activities I bet my students would find so alien but would benefit them tremendously.

I about fell off my chair a few years ago just because one of my students knew the name of Mt. Vesuvius and knew that it was responsible for what happened in Pompeii. Guess where he goes when he has the time? The library. And he had a reading and writing disability, so it wasn't that he had the best reading skills of all the kids I see. It was a dream to only have to tackle his actual disability and not his limited upbringing too. It made the battle a far easier one to take on.

We can't leave everything up to the teachers... There aren't enough hours in the day to teach a kid how to function alongside kids who may come from a neighborhood beyond their own (without beating the shit out of them from being from a different 'zone'), or to give them the kind of background knowledge that one kid acquired in the museum when his mother read to him about the skeletons of various types of animals. Be it a grandparent, church, mosque, synagogue, neighbor, auntie, or parent, I just wish someone would read more to these kids, take them places more, set higher expectations of behavior in environments unfamiliar to them and teach them HOW to behave appropriately... Because I really do believe it would make a huge impact on these kids and teach them there are avenues open to them beyond the ones their grandparents, parents, and other family members are stuck on because nothing in their lives change.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Growing Towards "Yo Momma" Joke Proportions and a Bit O' Politics.

Sorry I've not been posting much... My free time is shrinking like a man's confidence in a Speedo on a cold day on the beach. What's worse is my online classes start up again on Monday, so all my typing will be dedicated towards getting one step closer to my masters...

On the plus side, I'm looking a little more pregnant. Yay. I've decided to start telling students and so far my favorite reactions are:

"Oh I just thought you were getting fat." I laughed. And:

"Can I touch it?" At least he asked. But I said no. I only let a student or two touch my belly last time once the baby was big enough to be felt moving, and even then it was only students I had spent all year with and knew very well. This baby is still classed as an embryo, I think, and is under 2 inches long, so all he'd be touching is my ever-growing gut.

I'm excited. We're going to go see Reefer Madness the Musical tomorrow night. I'm still grateful to the anonymous person who suggested I watch the DVD because I think it's great. If they invite people to sing along during Mary Jane/Mary Lane, I'm so doing it. I got a copy of the script, should my theatre group ever grow the balls to do something other than fucking Arsenic and Old Lace for the billionth goddamn time. (I'm sure it's a great show, but I can't even count how many times it's been done... That and The Odd Couple. That one IS a great movie, but my opinion still stands.)

Pushing Daisies is back on the air and although it's a TV show I adore, I get so freaking jealous of the dresses they get to wear... I would SO dress like that, given the money. When I'm not bearing offspring, I've got a great little waist and fairly eye-pleasing cleavage, I could so pull it off... Man, I hope I don't lose all that this time around. I was lucky last time, but who knows... I may give birth to a ten-pounder who will then make an appearance on the Maury show under the title "I Gave Birth to Miniature Sumo Wrestler and Now I Look Like a Tent with One Support Post Missing".

By the way... Does anyone else think it's rude for a complete stranger to ask you who you're voting for? I don't mind friends and family, but the lady working at the indoor play area that I took my daughter to last weekend? I'm always afraid to answer that question because liberals start foaming at the mouth if you don't name their candidate, and conservatives act like you're stupid if you don't name theirs. I'm politically moderate. I'm for gay rights, but against making abortion way too accessible for all. I believe in helping others to help themselves, I don't feel people who earn more than me should be obligated to cover my costs or for other tax payers to pay for my mistakes if I repeat them countless times. I believe in a smaller government, protecting the children, but not reinforcing government dependence (stop handing out fish, teach them HOW to fish, kinda thing...) No kid should ever answer my question of "What do you plan on doing for a career?" with "I'll just do what my momma and my grandma do... Get welfare money and money from baby daddies." I wish I were joking. That was my first year teaching, and I was stunned to say the least. I was accused of being racist by sharing that story on a forum a while back, and I really don't mean to come across that way, I'm just relaying a true event to you all. She dropped out, by the way, and I heard she got pregnant. See the cycle of dependency and limited expectations? It must be stopped.

No candidate represents my interests entirely, of course, but I'm having a hard time picking the one that falls closest. To be honest, I'm still not sure who I'm going to vote for. I'm fearful of being punished for earning too much money and so being taxed out the butt, but I also don't trust McCain as far as I could throw him.

The Libertarian candidate is just weird when it comes to foreign policy (you can take a good thing too far...) so I can't vote for him.

Sigh. My first time I'm allowed to vote and I already feel like I'm choosing the lesser of two evils rather than someone I feel passionately about.

Feel free to try to convince me one way or another, but if you start yelling at me because I don't wet my knickers over your candidate of choice, I'll ignore you. I'll go over their respective websites again and think about it. Or else get sidetracked and start surfing the I Can Has Cheezburger website.