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, June 26, 2011

Dark Girls

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

This choked me up because I see this with my students all the time. Dark-skinned girls, hold your beautiful heads up high. You're goddesses, just like the rest of us.

I asked my own daughter the questions asked of the little girl in the video, but she selected the darkest skinned girl as being the most beautiful and most intelligent because she has quite the fascination and admiration for dark skin, with Tiana as her favorite princess. On our Wii princess game, she had designed her character to have the darkest skin color they had available in the avatar creator. She then chose the one with the skin color closest to her own as being the least intelligent or beautiful. No one is ever happy with their own lot in life, are they?

Source: I Hate Being Black by Jessica LaShawn.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Great Games for our Drive to Disney World

We brought up the "Snatch" game again. Always a goodie, and made better by my friend's contributions via my personal Facebook account. We also played "Least Likely Narrator for Winnie the Pooh". Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Tony Danza, and Christopher Walken were a few named. I must think of similar games for our drive back.

Obviously, these are not games I could involve my daughters in... They just sang "100 bottles of beer on the wall".

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Storm by Tim Minchin

A fellow Atheist directed me to this... I was thoroughly entertained, even though beat poetry isn't usually my thing. It was witty, flowed unpretentiously, and the animation only added to it. Well done.

Friday, June 03, 2011

School's Out for Summer

So summer has officially started for this teacher and so I look forward to filling my days with the craziness of my own biological children in place of "my kids" at work. I get to nervously wait to find out who got pregnant, arrested, and/or shot over the summer once I get back to the grind in August.

I finally decided to try my hand at Twitter. I kinda feel the same way I felt the first time I handled a controller that, in my opinion, requires some training at NASA to be able to operate that many buttons at once. When did I cross the line into "I'm too old to figure this out... Why can't it go back to having a jump, attack, select, start, and direction pad?! Where's my Bengay...?" territory? I have a grand total of two followers, so I have no idea how that's going to proceed.

I've been enjoying The Book of Mormon musical soundtrack this past week. It has brought to light the sad fact that most Broadway musicals don't make quite enough use of the dreaded "C" word. As a person who enjoys the occasional musical, I was pleased to note the tributes to Wicked, The Music Man, Oklahoma, and Avenue Q that were woven into a couple of the songs, stylistically speaking. I was also delighted at the use of the words "magical fuck frog". It's not often you hear those words put together. Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez (of Avenue Q) did a fantastic job. It more than makes up for the less than hilarious episodes of South Park that have been on recently.

It's about that time that I need to watch another episode of Hoarders to motivate myself to chuck out loads of shite from my closet/basement/book shelves. Perhaps the next time the Lupus Foundation or Vietnam Vets called for donations, they should probably insert the words "have you seen an episode of Hoarders?" to make their request for donations more effective.

While I do that, enjoy possibly the least offensive song from The Book of Mormon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Prefer the Movie.

I have noticed a fundamental flaw in the practices of modern medicine... It appears that an awful lot (not all) of doctors don't know what the fuck they are talking about.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not going to say they're all a bunch of navel-gazing fools or anything, it's just that they collect data with the collective effort of a herd of indifferent teenagers. If not a lot is known about a disorder or disease, then when they suspect someone is suffering from said disorder/disease you would THINK that they would want to gather as much information as possible to benefit the entire medical community... Sort of like a wiki-medicine thing. I know they have professional journals and articles, but every single data point would contribute to the research, surely?

So I've been suffering from constant dizziness with bouts of vomit-inducing vertigo (said bouts are few and far between, thankfully) coupled with a sense of "fullness" and occasional tinnitus in my ears for about four months now. My ENT THINKS it's Meniere's disease, which is as useful as telling someone with tummy issues that they have "irritable bowel syndrome". They both fall into the category of "we don't know what the hell it is, we have no way to test for it definitively, so we'll lump it into a nebulous category, with is own name, tell you its incurable, but following this diet, doing this, not doing that, and standing on your head at dawn with a chicken in your underpants MAY alleviate some of the symptoms. And may not." I affectionately refer to these as "bullshit diagnoses". So being told I have an incurable disease which MAY come and go, MAY be constant, MAY result in deafness, MAY be treated with months and months of physical therapy kinda annoyed me. If modern medicine was going to be useless, I decided to go alternative. While there's no way on Earth I could tolerate some hippie woman with long hair waving crystals over my head, I was willing to give chiropractic treatment a go. I could see how it would possibly be scientifically based.

Luckily (?) my dance instructor had identical symptoms and was "cured" by said chiropractor, so I've got my fingers crossed that he'll do the same for me.

Wish me luck!

News of the Batty

In reading this article, I began with: "oh... Silly old bat. Packing terrapins in her suitcase."
Then my thoughts went: "Huh! All the way from China. Poor things."
Then I thought: "Don't they have those in Britain?"
Then I read the bit where they confirm you can get them from Britain, but the piece de resistance lies in the line that reads "'Apparently she paid around £300 each for them as a gift to her niece.'"

What. The. Fuck. I must meet this woman and sell her some gerbils for a hundred quid each. What the... Did they pitch the turtles as rare? Special? Freaking magical? I don't get it.

Monday, May 02, 2011

No Virgins for You.

The more I think about the whole 72 virgins thing, the more I get pissed off. To save time, I'll just bullet my rants.

  • Reward for mass killings of innocent people? What a sick concept.
  • What a way to objectify women or even girls (since I don't think the age is specified) by offering them up as prizes to be won and taken, with or without their consent. Religions never really work out well for women, do they?
  • Why is doing something that is considered "sinful" on Earth suddenly a reward in heaven? What does that say about heaven? Or their values?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Atheists Can Be Kind Too!

I need to organize something like this... I give to charities without the belief in a reward for doing so. Fancy that!

For those who give AND believe in a reward, I don't think your charity is worth any less than my own. Kindness is kindness, we just have different motivators, I guess. The end result is what's important.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Creation of a Pin-Up

I was dismayed to see how, even then, women were just never thin enough to be considered sexy material, but "20 Classic Pin-Up Girls Before and After" was still very entertaining to peruse. I do love the whole pin-up/burlesque/Betty Page look, even though it's become rather trite with the whole Rockabilly/Hot Topic/Goth/tattooed crowds taking the look on. There's a reason so many people find it enticing, so I won't begrudge them all this shared fascination.

I've just realized that while I have thigh-high stockings, I don't own any suspenders... Must change that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Awkward Family Photos

If you're not aware of this hugely popular Internet gem, enjoy the images of families who- if they don't look uncomfortable- will leave you feeling just a little weirded out. Case in point: the bride who appears to be bored stiff by her husband's apparent mounting from behind. Love it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How I Spent the Start of Spring Break...

It started off with my attending the visitation of a recently murdered ex-student. I had to cart my two kids in tow, as I don't have a babysitter and my husband was working, so I hoped that if it was going to be an open casket that we would see no evidence of her violent death on her head.

I could hear snatches of people's conversation around me. Some greeted each other with tears and hugs, others with smiles and hugs.

"Let's get this part over and done with. We gotta do it, so let's just do it."

"Well, that was fast. It's a long line, but it went fast."

It was crammed. I'm pretty sure we violated fire safety laws. I occasionally saw a familiar face of another ex- or current student, and when I could reach them, I gave them hugs, but more often I couldn't, what with my littlest one in my arms and the tide of bodies moving past between us.

I also hoped that I could shuffle my almost 5 year old off to the side so she wouldn't see the body as she has quite the imagination and is prone to nightmares, but the crowd made that impossible... Thankfully, her reaction was that the girl "looked like she was asleep". It was bizarre. Her face was so made up with foundation that I could no longer see the natural adolescent imperfections I had grown to recognize on her skin. Her usually chewed nails were encased in pink, sparkly acrylic. A wig or weave was perched on her head and concealed most of her forehead. That made my cringe inside. Was it concealing more than just her forehead? I have seen enough dead people to know that their flesh just doesn't rest on their bones in quite the same way once the life has left them, and so it didn't really look like she was really sleeping to me... Not really. I was confused by the many feelings I was experiencing. It didn't look like her. And the peaceful, serene look on her face and in the way her hands rested gently on the white bridal gown she would never be married in confused me even more. Of course there'd be no sign of the horror of her last moments. Who'd want to see that? Jesus. But the falseness of it all... As though we were meant to be fooled into thinking she had embraced death like an old friend and that we can all be okay with that... Confused me. She looked beautiful and she looked peaceful and I didn't recognize her.

I was still in a daze when I took my girls home to get dressed up for another kid's birthday party. I saw them in their princess outfits and saw the sleeping princess in my mind. My oldest got chocolate ice cream on her outfit. Again. Another mother nagged at her kid and I thought "oh forget it. Your baby is warm." I didn't bother making much small talk with the other parents.

I checked my Facebook updates and saw that a horde of my favorite colleagues have lost their jobs at our school because of our budget crisis.

I'm going to crack open a bottle of wine, which isn't really needed as my recent- yet persistent-vertigo seems to keep me delicately off kilter at all times... Eat a load of chocolates, which is also not needed as my bottom and thighs may indicate, and watch some TV.

Despite not having suffered a huge loss in my own family and not having my job snatched away from me, I don't feel much like celebrating this bizarre beginning of spring break.

I love my colleagues, I love my kids (those I gave birth to and those I didn't) and I'm sorry there's only so much I can do.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Need of Chocolate and Sunshine

Rather a lot can happen in a short period of time. Not the least of which are:

One of my current students has gone back to juvenile detention for being involved with yet another stolen car.
One of my ex-students was shot and survived. Hopefully he will have seen the light and will quit dealing drugs and beating up others. A current told me he was fairly certain the kid has killed and got away with it, but that's just coming from him.
Another of my ex-students shot and killed someone.
I got my master's course finished and was feeling quite happy and proud of myself until I immediately found out that another of my ex-students was shot dead. My moment of joy lasted long enough for me to skip and grin on my way to my car until I pulled my phone out and checked my e-mail. That'll teach me.
Another of my current students was shot and survived one week later.

I'm obviously the common factor here, so perhaps I should seek employment in another industry...

If a certain senate bill leads to merit pay, I am fairly confident I'm going to have to learn to strip without tripping over my own underwear to start paying bills. And quite frankly, given my bosses, if we were to base my pay on evaluations, I'd be in trouble too. Of course there's room for improvement in my instructional methods, otherwise I'd be making a shitload of money with some book, but they seem to be under the mistaken belief that the only reason students misbehave is because mean nasty teachers either provoke them, don't know how to develop a rapport with them, or else have lessons that simply aren't engaging. I beg to argue that another possibility is that they are frightened for their fucking lives every time they go home and to let off steam, they just want to be silly little kids in an environment where they won't get hit/killed for it. They're forced to grow up too damn quickly, so when they come to my room and know I will always do everything for them, no matter how shitty they act, they push the limits to see how much I care. Others fail to see the importance of implementing the Pythagorean theorem and so would much rather text their friends or gossip about the fight they just witnessed in the cafeteria.


I'm trying to keep positive, so I gave to Japan, logged onto Freerice a few times more than usual, and I gave my Gay-Straight Alliance kids the materials to make a huge card for our fallen friend who is recovering in hospital right now. I didn't know quite what to say in a card to someone who had survived a shooting. Hallmark may have a niche to fill there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Kind of Theatre...

One exciting moment in this fairly hectic last month or so was the revelation that one of my dear belly dancing friends is a burlesque dancer in her spare time. I had already seen another local burlesque troupe perform, but had never had the pleasure of seeing hers until recently (that's what she said). I couldn't have been more entertained nor more proud. The numbers and skits had -what I felt to be- a well-balanced ratio of humor to titillation with some audience participation sprinkled in too. The vaudeville feel was delightful! I'm looking forward to working with her on a comedic belly dancing number for us to perform at some venue... I don't quite know how that would look, but we'll see.

David Collins and Shane Dundas: The Umbilical Brothers. Source: Indiana University Southeast

Another fantastic theatrical moment took the form of my going to see the Umbilical Brothers. I'd posted about them way back in 2007 and my love for these Aussie freaks has not since waned. Not only were they absolutely hilarious on stage, they were awfully nice with the fans afterwards too. Frankly, I was surprised they had it in them to be so nice afterwards because the audience's average age was 92, leaving the laughter a little thin at times, and may have deflated their egos a tad. I know what it's like to play to an audience that barely reads a pulse and it really sucks the energy out of the performance. The one time I had a truly funny role in a play, it was like being refueled every time they laughed... I'd love to have that feeling again. Being laughed at by my students doesn't quite count...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Cairo (and the rest of Masri)

Okay, so it's a little odd to address a country that currently doesn't have Internet access due to the orders from the non-dictator Mubarak, and even if it did, I doubt any would come rushing to my near stagnant blog... But still...
I am so very proud of the very brave souls who are willing to fight to break free from the oppression and despicable violence that has hung over all of their heads for far too long. Sandmonkey does a great job of recording some of the MANY atrocities of the Egyptian government/police against its own citizenry.
Credit for photo: "Lefteris Pitarakis / AP - An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011

If a man truly cared for his country over his own selfish, egotistical, megalomaniac tendencies, he would step down the minute he heard his own people were knowingly risking their very lives to simply see him gone... Wouldn't he? But don't worry. He's not a dictator. He may be a fucking dick, but he's not a dictator. Maybe THAT's what Biden meant... Idiot.
Now I can only hope for a secular government to replace him, because... Well, let's be honest... Religious governments don't end up much better, do they? And for pity's sake don't... Go... Communist. Really. Orwell was a smart fellow and knew what he was talking about.
If the people vote for an Isalmic government, so be it, as I believe in the power of election and the will of the people... But seriously. It doesn't go well. Go secular.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I'm an Atheist and Why Perhaps You Shouldn't Be...

In the brief discussions I've had with two fellow Atheists at work, I've devoted a little more thought on the topic than I usually do... I started thinking about how or why I became one. One of said friends mentioned how his girlfriend had dabbled with the idea of becoming one when some horrendous traumas had barged rudely into her life, but she remains a Catholic today.

It occurred to me just how wrong that turns of events was. If you embrace an ideology, it's because you believe wholeheartedly that it is true, and not because the alternative is too horrible or painful to accept. Also, the entire basis of Atheism is on logic, and science (bear with me, religious people. I don't mean to imply your religion does not embrace those two concepts, but that they are not high on the list of descriptors when it comes to other priorities such as "love", "forgiveness", etc.) and so to run to it out of passion seems entirely contradictory.

People have so many misconceptions about Atheists too. I do have a set of moral beliefs, I just gathered them from various cultures and individuals and made them my own, and frequently question them or examine them through the eyes of a devil's advocate (no pun intended). My moral compass lies in me and not in a book. I am also not to be confused with a nihilist or a depressed person. Just because I believe your life ends with your last breath does not mean that I believe you should live your life with any less joy, hope, or compassion for the rest of the world. It also doesn't mean that I view the existence of the universe as something mundane and lacking true beauty. On the contrary, I think the complexity of evolution and the perseverance of life to simply be and progress is awe-inspiring to an extreme. I find that to be far more impressive than the idea of some bloke with a white beard "poofing" everything into being with a simple click of his fingers. That's far too easy and it over-simplifies the complex balance of life's industriousness and sheer serendipity of each organism to survive to reproduce the next.

On the other hand, I may be entirely wrong and this may be what's in store for me:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Posting This While Darling Husband Tends to the Crazed Offspring...

Is it just me? Am I the only person I know with kids so hyper, I can't get a damn thing done when I'm at home? I try to cook, one of them throws herself off the sofa. I try to do college work, one of them is hanging off my leg, wailing. I try to get WORK work done, and I have similar results. I try to feed the pets, the one year old is "helpfully" digging cat poos out of the kitty litter, catapulting (no pun intended) kitty litter pellets all over the place. I try exercising and the floor workouts just invite them to sit on me or else try to imitate me, falling on top of me in the process. I try to clean, and they decide the best toy in the world are my vaguely toxic cleaning supplies. Neither of them sat in high chairs for more than a few minutes, neither sat in a play pen without whining to be picked up again within two minutes (tops), and yet somehow I have friends who are also mothers who still cook, get to clean their houses, and have social lives. Okay, I didn't have the social life prior to having kids, so I don't know why I'm fooling myself I can regain something I never had...

Holy shit. I just realized I'd buttoned my pajamas all wrong... That comes from my rushing to get dressed with my one year old screaming at my legs.

Does our daycare give my kids crack as retaliation from some mysterious offence I have caused them?

Actually, my kids are pretty damned amazing. As long as they have my completely undivided attention... Otherwise I'm THIS close to getting the full Home Alone criminal treatment. I guess I'll just enjoy this time while they still want "mommy" around, eh?

On a side note, Ricky Gervais is as awesome as ever. He has made it to my unlikely celebrity shag list.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Sex Wedge?

So my husband got us a Liberator wedge and ramp combo(links not safe for work) to mess about with. While very exciting, I couldn't help but think "man, I wish I'd come up with the idea of selling people wedge shapes, declaring them to being a great addition to their sex lives". I guess there's very little one could come up with that one couldn't pitch as a sex toy in some way... Okay, don't bother listing examples where that would be totally gross or illegal, but you know what I mean. A regular pillow? Sex prop. A ladder? Sex prop. A sock? Sex prop. A small ornament depicting Marie Curie receiving the first Nobel prize awarded to any woman? You bet some bugger out there would eye that up with a tingling in his/her knickers.

I need to think of something and make loads of money off of it. What a great conversation starter that would be at parties when someone would ask what you do for a living...