In Her Shell
Saturday, December 30, 2006
  In Her Shell Veers Into The Pornographic, Then Out Again
Alternate Titles: I Love Christmas Vacation, or Happy Corporate Hooker, or Too Much Free Time Makes For Aimless Blogging

I have spent the better part of the day in my underwear.

It's rare that you get an opportunity to just admire your new underwear (in my case, pretty boy shorts from Victoria's Secret) without distractions or other obligations. This morning I took my breakfast at Starbucks and tried in vain to push through the pile of Macbeth essays that has been hanging over my head since last week. Once my brain fried out on that with 4 left to go, I took solace in a stack of Hamlet quizzes that was relatively less taxing.

I swung by Whole Foods to pick up some Luna Bars and Kashi frozen meals in anticipation of my breakfast and lunch needs next week, and came home to enjoy some leftover sushi for lunch while reading the paper. Then, settling in under my covers to read Female Chauvinist Pigs, I decided that the inevitably ensuing nap would be much better accomplished without pants. And that's as it's been since 1:00 this afternoon.

At around 3:00, Lulu called and filled me in on the Midwest Blogger's Conference, making me very jealous but also thoroughly entertained. She also gave me this sage bit of advice about my own life, which I will cherish for years to come:

"It takes two weirdos to make an awkward situation."

Now it is time to forage for dinner, and since I can't order out for sushi again, I suppose I will have to actually go into the kitchen, which will, sadly, require pants. My roommates and their boyfriends are not home, but they could return at any moment, and I'd like to keep my boy shorts to myself. Hopefully you have not found this post to be an awkward situation, and will even consider for yourself a foray into pantsless blogging.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
  Paths To Take And Sticks To Carry
Last year, hyped up on righteous anger and intellectual stimulation, I decided I was going to go to law school. The school administration wouldn't let us do the play we wanted to do and the Gay-Straight Alliance was running up against opposition at every turn, and all this was only serving to highlight the larger hypocrisies in public education. I registered for the LSAT, borrowed my friend Lynn's old test prep books, and hunkered down at Starbucks a few nights a week to prepare.

Then I got scared.

Scared and skeptical, I guess. Knowing that I wanted to focus on educational policy, why sit through Torts? Couldn't I focus on some kickass program like this one? That way, I could spend my time and energy just studying what I want to study. With a PhD, I could happily ensconse myself in academia, work with future teachers, and write righteous books.

I threw all of my eggs into this alternative basket and abandoned the law school idea. Recently, however, a colleague whose opinion I respect described being a lawyer as "a bigger stick to carry."

I imagine all the possibilities that intrigue me outside of academia (which Brenda on Six Feet Under once astutely described as "one big circle jerk"): lobbying, nonprofit orgs, advocacy, public policy.... and I think in those arenas a big stick would be a good thing to have.

But I'm scared.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
  Shameless Plug
Take a moment and check out the brilliance over at The Mad Lens. Not only is author AnthemSled a good writer, but I am completely, totally, head over heels, blush-inducing, cliche-using crazy about him.

Told you it was shameless.
Monday, December 18, 2006
  Overheard In The Faculty Room
There is a guy who hangs out in the faculty room when I do. He has been at the school forever, is high up in the union, wears a long ponytail and sometimes rides his Harley to school. He is fantastic.

He randomly sings and gets involved in everyone's conversations in a cheery manner. He says everything in a jolly way. Including the following to a somewhat grouchy teacher who only comes in to use the copier, has the title Dr., and speaks with a thick accent:

Dr: Who is on ze copier? (hops around, hovers over the machine, glaring as if it should always be immediately available to him) Grumble grumble.

Jolly: (from his spot by a computer, in an optimistic tone) It's not so bad; 6,000 people died in Darfur yesterday.

Dr.: This is rhetoric. 6,000 people die in car accidents yesterday!

Jolly: (still smiling in a friendly way) Yes. But more people died in Darfur!

Dr.: Grumble grumble grumble.

Jolly: (looking up, pointing a finger directly at Dr.'s chest, merrily) Did anyone come into your home yesterday, kill you, rape your wife, and throw your children into the fire? (smiles amiably)

Dr.: (goes back to hopping around the copier)

Saturday, December 16, 2006
[eth-iks] –plural noun
1.(used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2.the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3.moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4.(usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

"Not all of us can be as ethical as you, [wonderturtle]."

I commented in the faculty room, because I couldn't take not commenting anymore, about the online courses that many--no, most--of my colleagues are taking to advance on the salary guide. None of these people pretend that these courses are going to help them in their professional lives, even though they are education courses. They are generally understood to be bullshit.

People take these courses because they can--the district accepts them just as they accept bricks-and-mortar graduate courses. They are somewhat less time-consuming than bricks-and-mortal graduate courses. It seems that, though they are academically less challenging, they are no less of a hassle in terms of the amount of work.

People take these courses because they need the money--they are buying houses and having children and if the district is going to pay them more for taking these courses, they are going to take that opportunity.

People take these courses, and then pass down the coursework to the next person taking the course. This is triage for busy people: family, teaching, coaching come first. If they can benefit from someone's else's experience, they will take that opportunity as well.


To me, it sounds boring, it sounds like wasted energy, it sounds like it brings down the integrity of teaching in general. Something that makes it OK for people outside the profession to say that education courses, and education in general, are bullshit. It also sounds like cheating.

But I got the response above and I don't know what to do with it. I don't blame my fellow teachers, who are underpaid and overworked as it is, for trying to do better for themselves and their families within a flawed system. But I also think we should hold ourselves to the same standard that we expect of our students.

Saturday, December 09, 2006
  Overheard At School
Walking to my classroom in the morning:

One student, to another: You would make, like, a good dictator.

And covering a class for another teacher, as students answered questions out of the book:

Student 1: Did you get #3 yet?
Student 2: No.
Student 1: Why not? You have, like, a 99 in AP Euro.
Student 2: So? That's like apples and oranges.
Student 1: Uh, I think it's more like bananas and plantains.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
  Promises Promises
I told Dale a while ago that I would play the movie game. Between hospitals, sad news, happier things, and directing the fall play at school, my mind did lose it. So here, at long last, is my best go.

1. Popcorn or candy? Junior Mints. Popcorn inevitably sticks in my throat.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever. Capote. But it's the next movie on my Netflix list.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar. Who loses theirs and to whom do you give one? I have to go with Coaster Punchman on this one, nabbing from Gwyneth and giving to Cate, who rocks much much harder.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe.

Ha! Honestly, I don't know what to say about this one.

5. Your favorite film franchise is.... Uh. I generally don't go in for that. I got all stoked for the first Harry Potter movie and it disappointed me greatly.

6. Invite five living movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them?

Ed Norton. Because he is so freaking hot. Part of it is his talent, and part is his paleness and gawkiness. But I suspect that he's kind of full of himself, so we'd need someone to bring him down a few pegs. I'm guessing that would be

Natalie Portman. She pisses me off because I don't necessarily think she's a great actress, and I think she gets way more credit than she deserves, but she is very smart and seems like an interesting dinner guest. And to offset her refined grace, let's have

Bill Murray. Because he is damn funny. Again, probably an asshole. So I am stealing from Dale's party for a damn funny woman who would not let Bill get away with anything:

Amy Sedaris. This means Hapabukbuk will also have to be invited. And even though HB is a movie star in my book, I still get one technical "movie person," who will be

Edie Falco. I know she's primarily known for that Jersey mob show, but the chick can seriously act and from interviews, comes across as someone who would hold her own at the table and also help with the dishes over a glass of wine.

I'd order from the local cajun barbeque place and also from the Chinese restaurant for the requisite veggie dishes. Natalie and Ed could argue about world politics, Edie could get Bill to open up about his feelings, and Amy and I could make fun of them all.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cellphones in the movie theater? This has never happened to me. People just flat-out talking to each other as if they are in their own living rooms and no one else exists are a bigger problem and should be confined to their own living rooms until they acknowledge that other people exist.

8. Choose a male and a female bodyguard from a film: The Man in Black from The Princess Bride and the PowerPuff Girls.

9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie? I wish I had something clever to say, but frankly, the first ten minutes of The Lost Boys freaked me out so much when it first came out that I've never been able to watch the whole thing.

10. Your favorite genre (excluding "comedy" and "drama") is....Anything Wes Anderson does.

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power? Girl characters get to save boys, and/or girls, have sex without being "punished" for it, and the term "chick flick" loses its condescending overtones and becomes the biggest box office opener. For a much more thorough and entertaining take on this question, please refer to Coaster Punchman's World.

That's it for me, for now. Maybe I could actually go and see a movie in a theatre one of these days... In the meantime, HB and JAG, get on this one...

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