Saturday, April 29, 2006


Wearied of chronicling the stupid ups and downs with Spooky. Here is something I wrote a while ago about Sikhs, a group I greatly admire.


At the airport in on the crowded city street, who's that burly bearded man in the turban? Is he an Arab? Look at his wrist --- is he wearing an metal bracelet? If so, he's a Sikh, not a Muslim at all. As a sign of their faith, male Sikhs wear on their persons five things (that begin with the sound /k/ in Hindi): beard, comb, turban, special breeches or underwear, and a sword. Today, this last is a small ceremonial item, not an actual weapon.

Unlike so many in India, the Sikh rejects omens, magic, the caste system, drug-induced mysticism, oppression in the name of religion, and idolatry of any kind. However, they are not forbidden from exploring other faiths. Imagine that! A non-dogmatic, tolerant religion! The world could use a little more of that.

All Sikh males are surnamed Singh (Punjabi for "lion"), all females Kaur ("lioness"). From this you may discern a pride in Sikh heritage and a reputation for boldness. They are supposed to refrain from all intoxicants (but I have met Sikhs who will recoil in pious alarm from a cigarette, but who will eager drinking alcohol).

Historically, Sikhs are doughty warriors, but today, they are often cab drivers, in India as well as here in the States. I don't know why. The Sikhs I have met have been helpful, honorable, capable and decent people. (Why, just check out item L on this list of Sikh beliefs --- you don't get much more ethical than that!)

One, when I was in India with my family, our taxi broke down on a desolate stretch of road. It was a Sikh driving by who stopped his own cab, flipped the hood of our taxi and worked on the engine until the taxi ran again. He gave our hapless Hindi driver a look of withering contempt, refused our offers of payment definitely and politely, and left.

There is concern that Sikhs in Western countries can be the victims of misguided anti-Arab prejudice. This actually happened to a friend of my father's. In New York City a few years ago, this Sikh --- let's call him Singh --- was grabbed by a white American who started shouting about 9/11. Before this could escalate into something very bad, another Westerner leaped out of a cab and shouted at the assailant, "He's a Sikh, you fool!" Interesting that a concerned and informed person should come along so fortuitously at that moment, but then, there are all kinds in New York.

Cost effects the measure

It might be better
If I left you now
Talk for hours
First impressions last
And cast shadows on the rest
--- Elastica, "Image Change"

Isn't that the truth. People get into habits and stay in ruts because of a lingering first impression, despite an accumulation of more recent evidence which belies that impression.

Tonight's stupid excuse: Spooky was supposed to have dinner with me, but instead had dinner with Baby. Now that's fine, except this was at 9:00 p.m. or so, later than Baby's bedtime. yes, she really was with Baby --- I spoke to her on the telephone --- but still. Then she was just going to join me at the Hangout, but there was another errand. And then she was tired, and then she simply didn't come (claiming she sent a text saying as much), and she turned her cell phone off. We're supposed to go to some fancy school event tomorrow, but I called her at home tonight and told her to count me out. Either she's lying about something, or she can't be bothered to see me. Either way, forget it. Forget the whole thing.

So I stayed at the Hangout until closing and listened to a very loud cover band and didn't drink enough and stayed unfortunately, tragically sober.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Quit knockin' on mine

You read common knowledge every day
You're as common as that newspaper you throw away
You get burned in the sun, you get wet in the rain
Won't you ever change
Won't you ever learn
--- Paul Westerberg, "Knockin' On Mine"

This day was remarkable only in yet another iffy excuse from Spooky as to why she couldn't come over as planned. This time, a neighbor child was supposedly left in her house without her permission by the child's very neglectful parents, and supposedly Spooky called CPS and the police, and supposedly she had to wait for them to come so she could fill out a form, and...

Did this happen? I don't know. But of course the police never came, and CPS doesn't come to someone's house late in the evening to have witnesses fill out forms.

So I went to the Hangout and drank and played games with the Friar, ensuring I'll have a headache when I wake up for work tomorrow. It was worth it, dammit!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Your voice across the line gives me a strange sensation

It's good to hear your voice, you know it's been so long
If I don't get your call then everything goes wrong
I want to tell you something you've known all along
Don't leave me hanging on the telephone
--- Blondie, "Hanging On the Telephone"


And now, a little advice from the Romance-language poets.

Si quieres ser feliz, como me dices,
¡no analices, muchacho, no analices!
--- Joaquín María Bartrina

On the other hand...

En toute chose il faut considérer la fin.
--- Jean de la Fontaine


I registered for the TExES test today! I'm well on the road To Be a Teacher! yep, on June 10, I will take both the Ec-4 Generalist tests and the EC-4 PPR tests. To be on the safe side, I signed up at State School for a practice Generalist session in late May. The midterm and final for Classroom Management were meant to mimic the PPR exam, and I got an 86% and 89% on those, respectively, so I'm not too worried. Still, it's a test that deals in rather subjective issues (what is the best way..." or "What is the most appropriate action..."), and those always trouble me a bit.


I had a couple of nice phone conversations with Ram today. Part of me wants for Spooky and I to be over if there's even the slightest chance that Ram and I could start dating again; the other part of me, of course, feels horribly guilt about that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A liar won't believe anyone else

A man will rise
A man will fall
From the sheer face of love
Like a fly from a wall
It's no secret at all
--- U2, "The Fly"

At work, because I am a Huge Sap, I agreed to work from 9-4 over the summer. Well, I'm sick of The Job's unprofessionalism and dead-end, menial nature, and I'm burned out... but I need the money.

I took my Science Methods final. It had the same format as the midterm: first, we went to stations and practiced our science process skills (inferring, observation, measurement, etc). For example, at one we felt an object in a sock and explained how observation was used. In another, we measured a specified volume of water and weighed it, and explained the principle at work. And so on. The second half of the final was a quickie set of multiple-guess questions covering the content of the student presentations. I think I did fine, though in this class the take-home section has always been my downfall.

The problem is that I currently have 762 points out of the possible 800 to date. This translates to 95%. Since the final is 200 points, it will only bring my grade down unless I get a near-perfect score. Lame.

But all that aside, cry huzzah! For my second semester in the elementary teacher certification program is over! Grades will be posted at the end of next week.


I called Spooky again and left a somewhat chilly, but bemused and tentatively receptive, message, basically saying that I didn't understand why she was ignoring me. (See Chance: Cool, totally unable to keep.) She called back a bit later and we talked a bit. Nothing at all has been resolved --- she said she just hasn't known what to say to me the past three days --- but at least lines of communication are back open.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm not giving you no jive

I need the cure
Only one cure in this world
Hey, James Brown
I need a woman or a girl
--- Violent Femmes, "Girl Trouble"

At work today, a five-year-old girl bit me on the finger during a screaming fit as I tried to console her. It broke the skin, just barely; no blood gushed forth, but there was a definite scratch on the surface. She was very, very upset, and didn't know what she was doing. Poor girl's had a bad life --- dad in jail, mom unfit to parent, she and her sister in the care of her aunt. I poured alcohol on my finger to be on the safe side.

I dropped off my Math Methods take-home at State School, then headed to the library to study. I read over my notes and handouts for the Reading I final, but I don't know why I bothered --- it was the same format as the midterm: thirty multiple-guess questions. Like the midterm, it took me perhaps six minutes, including a quick read-over to check for careless errors. What a waste of time.

I deleted Ram's number from my phone a while back after calling her and sensing that the call was vehemently unwanted. Today, right before class, a girl was talking to me and mentioned Ram (they share a class) and at that very moment, my phone rang and it was Ram! Very odd to have her initiate contact after so long. Carl Jung and all that. After school, I called her back and we had a fun, snappy, thirty-minute conversation like old times. I know she doesn't want to date me, but I really enjoyed it. I honestly never stopped thinking about her (as the record shows --- sap that I am, I simply can't play it cool).

I texted Spooky to call me if she still had any desire for us to go on, but no reply. Oh well, we had a good run. I can't say I'm happy about it, but I'm not exactly shattered, either.

Must study now for Science Methods midterm (which may actually be challenging) and finish the take-home section.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The world kicks back

An ending fitting for the start
You twist and tore our love apart
Your light fingers through the dark
That shattered the lamp and into the darkness cast us
--- The Libertines, "Can't Stand Me Now"

Working on two take-home tests and studying for two finals. Didn't go to the TriviaBar and no contact with Spooky, except a text from her that she wants her photos back. She's nuts; there's never any middle ground with her; either total adoration or we're utterly finished. And me, I'm not even sure how I feel about the whole thing. If this is it and we are over for real this time, am I sad? Resentful at being somehow "used"? Relieved I don't have to deal with the drama anymore? Optimistically cynical ("oh, well, at least we had a good run")? I honestly don't know.

I'll have to introspect a bit after all this studying is over. ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ, I always say.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Love takes the top off of your head

I cannot make light I’m so burnt out
I know where you are
I cannot believe how much it hurts
I’m a fallen star
--- Rhett Miller, "Meteor Shower"

Beautiful stuff.

The Maddening Angel is back again with Cokehead, K has called to tell me. I am not surprised. It's MA's habit to return to those that abuse her. Well, I honestly hope she's happy.

I don't think I want to date Spooky any more. I'm very tired of the uncertainty and the lame excuses. I still have not seen her car. Either Babydaddy has lent it, or she's drunk too much, or she lent it out, or blah blah blah. Does she even have one? I don't care if she doesn't; it's the lying that bugs me. It's the insistence that she does, yet never actually seeming to have it --- all the weird, just-barely-believable coincidences. We argued over it tonight and she said the stress made her ill. She texted me that she was going to bed, then turned off her phone.

I went to the Hangout and played video trivia with the Friar. Waitress W was there; she told me to run away from the problem. "Seventy-five percent of relationship problems," declares this amazing self-loathing drunk, "can be solved by running away."

I'm ashamed to admit it, but the Friar and I actually drove down to Spooky's house, checked her driveway, and even tried the key she gave me on a few cars that fit the description of the car she ostensibly has. Nothing. Friar advised me to stop calling her. I will; the only reason I've initiated contact today is not because I have some burning need to talk to her, but because I itch to know the truth about the goddam car and so I keep trying to catch her up in a lie or a reveal. Lord, I'm pathetic.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Vocabulaire: un violon d'Ingres

un violon d'Ingres - a hobby, pastime
L'étudie de la langue française est son violon d'Ingres, voire sa passion. Bref, c'est un vrai accro du monde francophone.

We are confident of something, anyway

Until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war
--- Bob Marley, "War"

Dude! It's like 4/20! Time to fire up some weed or something!


I added Daveawayfromhome to my sidebar because he rules! Anyone who makes fun of our primitive, protopathic, prevaricating, oh so simian President Select as much as this guy is four kinds of awesome.

...What? No, I can't tell you what the four different kinds of awesome are. That's something you young people have to discover on your own.


Anyway. I attended Classroom Management for the final time tonight. Back in March, I did only the barest minimum bit of review for the midterm and I got only 86% right. Having learned my lesson, this time around I did absolutely nothing, not even quickly scan over a few TExES questions. My strategy was to deliberately forget about the final and watch "The Wire" with my father instead. So tonight I came in tabula rasa-style, took the final, and got an 89%. That shows me what for!

Ms. P doubles the highest grade and throws out the lowest, so I have a 93 average, which is a solid A for that class. Nice job, me.


Elated by my undeserved academic achievement, I went down to the Hangout again, where Spooky and I played some video trivia and had a few drinks. I have a full day at work tomorrow, though, so we called it a night before 12:00.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I kinda dig the awkward silences

There are strings attached to every single lover
But still they can't tether us together
Listen to the back of the theater
I think they really love one another
There's strings attached to every little lover
--- The Hold Steady, "Banging Camp"

Penultimate Math Methods class today. We got the final exam back. Last week I called it "a joke," and it was, but I still got only a 90. I got everything right up till the last page, where I suddenly went stupid and completely mixed up yards and feet. It was one of those brain farts where you don't really believe that, say, three yards are in a foot, but nevertheless that's what you end up communicating on paper. Thus, my graph was wrong, my table was wrong, and my equation was wrong. I put "yards = feet * 3"! Well, pride goeth and all that, eh Jeeves?

After class, I drove down to the Hangout. I tried to get the Maddening Angel to join me, but she was too depressed. Spooky was too tired. So I joined the Friar at his table with some guy I met a few days ago and Mr. Hangout, the owner. We played a dumb-ass geek drinking game that we invented which entails rating bands. More fun than it sounds, it actually entertained us for quite some time before degenerating into rating other things, such as various girls in the bar. Good times.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why not be nice to an old engine driver

Her man's been gone
For nearly a year
He was due home yesterday
But he ain't here
--- The Who, "A Quick One, While He's Away"

I thought of this song as I visited Spooky at her place tonight after class. Babydaddy was off at the night shift. (Baby was asleep, of course.)

I heard from classmate T that classmate S is in the hospital. She's anorexic and for the past week ate and drank nothing, not even water. She now has a feeding tube in her nose. That puts this story (in which I inexplicably refer to her as "C") in a different kind of light.

The penultimate Science Methods class was entertaining enough. We revisited the rope trick, and despite getting advice from Kate and searching for more detail on the web, I could not figure out how to do it, and another pair of students beat T and I to the solution. Damn my maladroit hands! I got book larnin', but I could stand to larn a few more things about rope.

Just as the activity began, I looked over at hot classmates Nichols and Scarlett, who were partners, of course. (Seriously, it is hard to overstate how attractive these girls are.) As they put the loops around their wrists and overlapped their ropes, I told them, "I had a dream just like this last night!"

We also made scale models of the Earth and moon with Play-Doh. Interestingly, the moon is a full thirty Earth diameters away from the Earth! Now to me that is counter-intuitive, especially when you realize that the international space station orbits our planet at about one-thousandth that distance. Man, the moon is far away. And compared to Jupiter or even Mars, it's only next door.

Makes you feel so, sort of, insignificant, doesn't it?


The Maddening Angel claims to have broken up with Cokehead. How will this situation develop? And do I care at all? At this remove my infatuation with her from last year seems very bizarre and misplaced. I don't mean to disparage her; she is gorgeous and still one of the sweetest, smartest, most fun people I've ever met. But she's so very young...

Monday, April 17, 2006

I want to get out while I still can

Never mind, there's a good film showing tonight
Where they hang everyone everybody who can read and write
Oh, that could never happen here but then again it might
--- Elvis Costello, "Invisible Man"

No work today, this being the last day of our "spring break."

I baby-sat for two of my favorite girls in the preschool, sisters D & L. I walked them over to the park and they ran around a bit on the playground. It was nearly 100 degrees today, though, so we didn't stay long. I made them lunch and watched a "Dora the Explorer" video. (Shouldn't it be "Dora the Explora?" That would be hella cooler.) I never saw one before; I liked the use of Spanish vocabulary, the interaction with the viewers, and the encouragement of physical movement. However, I found each program to be too structured and repetitive. Not for me, of course! For kids. I know kids like structure and need to hear things several times, but do they really need to hear the goddam map sing "I'm a map" fifteen times in a row every single show?


I got $40 for four hours'... well, I hesitate to call it "work," because it was mildly fun, mostly boring and no challenge to my mental or physical faculties.


State School was having none of that holiday crap, though, so off I motored to my penultimate Reading I class. We split into small groups and read children's books to one another (encouraging interaction such as call-and-response from the audience), then rated each other's performance. We were finished by 8:00 p.m. Oddly, the putative function of this class is to prepare students to be teachers; as usual, there was very little sign of that in this session. I mean, I'm already a preschool teacher and I read books to kids many times every day, but this activity certainly wasn't going to turn tyros into teachers, either. Too little, too late. What a colossal waste of time, gas, and money.

(Oh, hush, Mr. Grumpy.)


Added Beaucoup Kevin to the blogroll, a move long overdue, as Kevin is one smart and funny fellow.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman
Yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me
--- The Beatles, "Taxman"

You know what I think when I see that title line, above? Walking really does tax the feet.

I did my taxes a few days back. Actually, I had H & R Block do it. It was a load off my mind, at the low, low cost of about 40% of my refund. Yeah, very expensive, but I wouldn't have been able to figure in all my school-related deductions without professional help.

Todd: Daddy, what do taxes pay for?
Ned: Oh, why, everything! Policemen, trees, sunshine... And let's not forget the folks who just don't feel like working, God bless 'em!
--- "The Simpsons," "The Trouble With Trillions"

You really had to be there

Where were you in 1978?
When the days were long and slow
Now they're gone before you know
No one died in 1978, oh yeah
Stayed alive in 1978, oh yeah
--- Salim Nourallah, "1978"

Last night I stayed at the Hangout drinking and joking with the Friar and L until closing time. The waitresses from TriviaBar T (also my classmate at State School) and W were there, too. Fun all around; we talked smack and rated bands and got fairly blotto. I was introduced to the wonders of the Tom Collins. I could do all this because...

No work, this being Good Friday! (As Spooky said anent the name of the holiday, "Good for humanity, sucky for the Son of God.")

Watched two more episodes of "The Wire" with my dad. It's a great show; I can't believe the lead is a Yorkshireman and not a hard-bitten American. He passes for a Yank even better than Hugh Laurie in "House."

Spooky and I had dinner at Cheesefries with the Friar and his wife Palfrey. Gads, I hate Cheesefries; the Friar sure has some shitty taste in restaurants. After that, we walked around the corner to Theater Venue to see our pal Sonar and his band play (he was the second opening act). It was great seeing him and his excellent band. There were perhaps three hundred people in attendance.

Watching him, I flashed back to about a year and a half ago, when the Ex and I saw Sonar play, accompanied only by his guitar, at some out of the way beer house. About fifteen people at most were there that day, and few of them had some specifically to see Sonar. The owner of the place passed a bucket around for the patrons to drop a few dollars in; this was Sonar's pay for the gig that night. At the end of the show, he dropped his guitar and broke it, and made a rather plaintive plea to the people around, "Does anyone have a cheap guitar I can buy?" And he wasn't kidding, either.

Now, tonight, I just felt great standing there with the Friar and Spooky, listening to Sonar rockin' the joint and getting the applause he deserves. Well done, Mister Local Musician Guy! Have I mentioned that your wife is gorgeous? (Yes, I have, more than once.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

You're gonna get yourself a schoolin'

If she looks in your face and melts in her place
Let her melt!...
If you think it's funny,
It ain't funny!...
If she calls you up on the phone, and says
"Oh, darling, are you all alone?"
Tell her, No, you got five women with you!
--- Louis Jordan, "Beware (Brother Beware)"

Despite a complete lack of practice or preparation, the Science Methods presentation on TEKS 4.4A (arrays and area models) my partner and I did tonight went very well. Then we had a test, which was a joke: notes and books allowed, and the questions were all fourth-grade math stuff. Oh, and we had the option of declining to answer up to five questions. C'est à rire.

Must write a huge big long book review type paper for Classroom Management. This is the class taught by the same teacher who clearly did not read our previous paper (as Nichole, my Hot Classmate, pointed out to me, there wasn't even a crease under the staple; the pages probably hadn't even been turned). So I'm not too worried about it.

I'll be staying up very late to pound it out, though. That's always a great idea!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ya keep coming back

Love's never easy to lose
My friend
To lose
My friend
--- Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, "Keep Coming Back"

Not much time tonight what with lack of sleep and tests and presentations and what not coming up, so I shall try to keep this short, though there are two main subjects that have been grating on me today.

First, though, Spooky told me a story the other day about how she hates hiring movers because one of them took a dump in her new house once. That story reminded me of this magnificent piece of art, which is one of the funniest examples of one of the greatest webcomics I have ever seen, Penny Arcade. Not because it's hilarious all the time --- though it is often quite funny --- but the precision and grace of the language is very appealing to me.

Speaking of language, I added to my blogroll one blog new to me and one extremely overdue: the former is Evolving English, the latter the venerable Language Log. Check them out!


The first item that ticked me off today was getting my peer evaluations back for my Science Methods lesson. The presentation itself got a surprisingly low grade by the instructor, 88%. I was disappointed in this, because I thought I did great. However, that's her call, and I respect her choices (she gave me the grading rubric). What bothered me was the comments a couple of my peers left: "Hopefully he will not present the same way to school children," "Young kids don't take sarcasm well," "Be more positive." These same people gave me fairly high marks, so their assessment isn't the issue. It's their attitudes. I wasn't sarcastic, though I do see how a person who is used to talking to children in that sickly-sweet, patronizing tone that so many women use might think so. I did use humor, and I was brusque and efficient, just the way I've talked with my preschoolers and kindergarteners for years.

I work with children. I have worked with children for nearly six years. I have worked with kids from all SES backgrounds, all ages, in two states. I am well paid, respected by my boss, and loved by the kids. I've mentioned before that kids around 5-7 who don't even know me seem to crave my attention and opinion. So while my peers' comments on how I talked during my presentation aren't something I take personally, it's depressing. I'm fighting against a tidal wave of matriarchal attitudes about how to treat and educate children. I'm fighting a wall of Accepted Truth that somehow women are the only gender that can bring children up.

Personally, I think it's perverse. I think that the vast majority of women teachers in this country are the reason why we're raising a generation of sissies, ADD-addled ignoramuses, posturing males who think being a man means acting like an ape, and boys who don't give a single solitary shit about school. Why on earth would a young boy want to emulate a woman? Why should a boy, who sees nothing but women as authority figures in school, think that school is anything but for girls?

Anyway, I kind of lost my point there. Oh yeah! We need more male teachers, and some women need to get off their high horses about education (and get out of the field while they're at it, because frankly a lot of them are stone dumb).


The other main sticking point today was Spooky, as usual. Too late now to record the whole tiresome story now. One vignette illustrates the situation. Spooky got sick and went to the hospital; I called her after class, and reached her as she was being driven back home by Babydaddy. I said that I'd come see her, but it would be unpleasant. Maybe, I suggested, she could turn to Babydaddy and try to communicate how happy a visit from me would make her. She did so: "I really want Chance to come see me?" I had only to hear his loud, petulant, childish "Why!?" to realize that I wouldn't be coming over there.

I am growing more distant with her because of this.

Monday, April 10, 2006

With stars in your eyes, love is blind

Oh, I can't get you off of my mind
When I try I'm just wastin' my time
Lord I've tried and I've tried
And all night long I've cried
--- Hank Williams, "I Can't Get You Off Of My Mind"

Man, I dig that Dylan version of this song.

Longtime readers of this blog (of whom, excluding me, there exist precisely none) might remember Ram. Well, today I called her --- as I have perhaps three or four times this year --- and she actually answered. She was in the library writing a paper; I joined her there at her suggestion. I had to get to class, so we just chatted and laughed for a few minutes. She stood up and gave me a hug goodbye. I told her I missed our conversations. I can't believe that I still feel a spark with her, but it was immediately apparent on seeing her. She sure has shiny white teeth. Sigh. Later, I texted her to say it was nice seeing her. She answered a few hours later, but (possibly fortunately for me) I doubt she has any romantic interest left.

I wouldn't be dabbling with such contact at all if this damned triangle with Spooky and her Babydaddy that I'm caught up in weren't so dramatic and stressful and wrong and weird. I called their house today while she was at work and left a message specifically for him, trying to see if my dating Spooky bothered him and whether we could clear the air. Apparently his only answer was something along the lines of, "Yeah, that does bother me," or some crap. Holy Xif, I can't take much more of it.


Reading I was typical. I turned in the phonics lesson I typed up last night. Our topic today was dyslexia. The facts and characteristics are mostly common sense stuff: there is no one test for dyslexia, but a battery of tests; it's a constitutional disorder, meaning it's innate [but I do wonder about environmental causes]; it's usually identified in school, not by a doctor; letter reversals in writing are not the core feature of dyslexia, but a normal developmental stage; etc. Interestingly, although there are about three times as many boys as girls with ADD, with dyslexia the gender dispersal is about even.

In Texas, there is a law that says students with dyslexia must be identified and serviced. However, there is no special funding to carry out this wonderful intention.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Unfurled from this mortal coiled up world

I'm gonna leave this place better
Than the way I found it was
And Jesus gonna be here
Be here soon
--- Tom Waits, "Jesus Gonna Be Here"

A relaxing Sunday.

Did a little homework. Planned for the upcoming Math Methods lesson presentation. Wrote up a "lesson" for Reading I. Actually, all I did was describe a typical phonics-related table activity at work, point to the TEKs that the activity covered and added a brief evaluation. (I had a co-worker take pictures of me reading to and playing an alphabet game with two of our five year olds.) Don't know if that's precisely what Ms. W wants, but at this point I'm not overly concerned.

Yesterday's plans, which had already stalled, went completely dead and burst into flames. Spooky never showed up at all. Apparently someone borrowed her car and didn't come back until 4:00 a.m. It's always something.

My "Shield" fix not being available, I have appealed to my Internet God, Netflix, and lo it has delivered to me a new cop drama, HBO's "The Wire." I've only seen the first two episodes, but so far it's easily as convoluted and enthralling.


Huge drama with Spooky tonight. Went to TriviaBar with my parents and Spooky joined us. Late in the evening she called Babydaddy and found that he had gotten a ride over and taken her car "to run errands." He didn't call her to tell her this. She tried to call him afterwards, but got a busy signal or no answer. So she rode home with my parents and I, and then I drove her back. And when we got there? Apparently he'd loaned the car out to a neighbor, like he did last night (which is why she never came over).

So bizarre and fucked up and sick. Why would Babydaddy take the car without asking, without telling, without ascertaining how she'd get home, without answering the phone afterwards, and then loan the car out again (so he couldn't pick her up)? Is he retarded, inflamed with jealousy, passive aggressive, what?

Or is that what happened at all? I have only Spooky's word for it. I haven't seen her car yet. Did she ever really buy one, or did she come to the TriviaBar by bus as she did before, and is she making this whole thing up? What does Babydaddy really know or think about us? What's his relationship with Spooky, and what does he think it is? I'm confused and stressed, and feel upset that I even have these suspicions. The whole situation is such a bizarre creepy triangle that I want no part of at all.

That whole staying with Babydaddy for five years after he cheated on her and left her while she was pregnant... Sick and wrong, on both sides. Co-dependent and sadistic? Or maybe he just thought she needed him because of her health? I guess I don't know.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The candidates are running, the son of God is coming

I'd take after my mother but she's from a different generation,
I prefer my big brother, he's so gentle and understanding
And I learn what I can from him by the television light
So that when I'm all alone I know everything's gonna be alright
--- Bad Religion, "Television"

I sure do love that "West Wing" TV type program. Such an intelligent, engrossing show. Too bad it's being cancelled --- I honestly would be interested to see what the show did with a different presidency. The show's a liberal's wet dream --- Bartlet is Clinton without the horndog tendencies but even bigger political balls --- which is a bit sad, since the Demcrats don't seem to have such political courage in real life. And it's a shame that this fictional program is one of the few public outlets in these Orwellian times that explores social problems with a conscience.


I feel a huge amount of sympathy for the poor folks hurt and the families of the dead killed in the spate of tornadoes in the southeast U.S, especially Tennessee. So many Protestant churches destroyed. I wonder if the neo-medievalists will say that this, too, is a sign of God's wrath? Because stoning homosexuals in the streets isn't on the law books there, like it oughtta be if they followed God's word.


My confidence in my relationship with Spooky waxes and wanes. Easily more than half of our plans fall through. There's always something --- pain (real or imagined, I cannot say), Babydaddy working odd hours, Baby needing her, sudden financial woes, a simple lack of preparation. Sometimes, I feel pretty happy with the situation, but during these so frequent crises and sudden dramas, I wonder whether it's all worth it. Tonight for example: a planned afternoon and evening becomes an evening, then just an evening, then no dinner...


Holy crap! It's almost tax day!

I believe I have mentioned by predilection for procrastination.

Heavy decibels

Heavy decibels are playing on my guitar
We got vibrations coming up from the floor
We're just listening to the rock that's giving too much noise
Are you deaf, you wanna hear some more
--- AC/DC, "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Worked a long shift, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tiring and aggravating --- we have this kid who is severely mentally disabled and is being transitioned up. Not only is not by any stretch ready for the demands of our room, he shouldn't be at our school at all. He ought to be in a professional, specialized setting better suited to his needs. Had dinner with Spooky, but had to take her home due to pain.

Saw The Real Heroes at the Hangout tonight. They rule the music. They are incredibly loud. The Friar and I started up a chant of "One more!" every time they started to leave, and they played until 2:00 a.m. Wonderful stuff. I am now quite deaf, smell like smoke and have been blasted to befuddlement by the rock.

Chance sleep now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Vocabulaire: une pelle à poussière

une pelle à poussière - a dustpan, dustbin
Pourquoi est-ce qu'il y a toute cette satanée saleté dans ma belle pelle à poussière ?

Don't know much of anything, really

Don't know much trigonometry
Don't know much about algebra
Don't know what a slide rule is for
--- Sam Cooke, "Wonderful World"

Math Methods was interesting. We took a sort-of practice test, but in a group. I was with, along with two others, S, my (fundamentalist) classmate from Science Methods as well. It was appalling; she's the most innumerate person I have ever met. This college student, who is studying to be a teacher, does not know her single-digit times tables. I'm not kidding --- she literally does not know what 6 * 7 or 4 * 8 are. She is ignorant of how to find the area of a triangle or rectangle. And the worst part is, we've been in this math class for four months now. Supposedly, these ridiculously basic math concepts, which ought to be fourth-grade material, should have been refreshed in everyone's minds by now. And yet, S does not know these things. She cannot understand relationships between lists of numbers. She cannot construct a table of ordered pairs representing days to weeks. She cannot follow the simple analogy 1:12 :: inch:foot. She cannot tell when a list of numbers has a set of common factors. Shocking. As Spooky said, utterly unacceptable. Yet she is getting an A in the class. How is this possible?

She worked herself into a dramatic state, nearly to the point of tears, after class. She said I was mean to her because I told her not to just blindly copy my answers, that I would explain them so that on the second part of the test she'd at least have a bit of a grasp of the concepts behind the answers. I was standing with T --- S had asked us both to wait for her, for some reason --- and when S started going on about all this, T just walked off. S tried to drag us into her meltdown, but T kept going. Out in the parking lot, T explained to be that she never lets people bring her into their drama. She just says, "okay," and walks away.

Food for thought.

Spooky was supposed to come over tonight, but she had a pain episode because of the fluid in her lower cavity, and couldn't come. I stopped by to see her after work. She told me that she'd talked with Babydaddy about my concerns with how I felt like an intruder, and Babydaddy replied, "It's not my job to like him."

Oh, the drama.

So I drove to the Hangout by myself. The Friar was not there, but the father of one of The Job's babies was playing. It was pretty good. I played some video games with the fry cook, drank some alcohol and left.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Caught In a Trap

We can't go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds
--- Elvis Presley, "Suspicious Minds"

I was half-shocked, half-amused by an event at work today. Whole playing outside, the Boss's daughter got into an argument with S, a five-year-old girl. S didn't want to listen to Bd's bossy blather, so she put her hands on her ears and walked away. Bd grabbed S by the shoulders and shook her. S reported this to my co-teacher and I, and we put Bd in timeout.

This, of course, caused her to shriek and wail like the unappealing banshee she is, and she continued to do so as we came in. Naturally, Boss came running out to pacify her poor baby (nearly seven years old!). She scooped her up and asked her what had happened. Since this lack of trust in us as teachers to fairly manage the situation pisses me off royally, I ignored Boss and led the kids into one of the classrooms. While I was preparing to send them in for lunch, Boss came bursting in, still cradling her daughter. "Are you aware," she accosted S, her voice, trembling with emotion, "that you hurt Bd's feelings?"

Holy shit! How unfair to poor S, to have the director of the school to come rushing in and gang up on her with her sniveling daughter in tow. The Boss tried to make S feel guilty for not listening to her daughter's bossy crap, but I interjected. "I told the children that they have the right not to listen," I said. Then the Boss tried to make the kids hug and make up, and again I stopped her. "They're not toddlers. You can't make them hug and like each other. They're both upset. They have minds of their own."

Boy, was the Boss pissed the rest of the day. Pissed that none of the other girls like her precocious, spoiled, bossy daughter, pissed that I didn't take her side, pissed that I talked to her like that, as if she has no idea of child development.

Hee hee!


I did my self-evaluation in about an hour. Watching myself on video was not nearly as cringe-inducing as I'd feared. Indeed, I thought I looked like a natural up there.

Science Methods was wholly unremarkable; other groups did their science presentations. Well, I might remark that Scarlett, one of my classmates, is the hottest girl I have ever seen. It was fun doing the lessons with T; she's amusing.


I stopped by Spooky's house after school. We talked a bit about how uncomfortable I feel about Babydaddy. Supposedly he's moving to another city soon, but as with everything concerning Spooky, I'll believe it when I see it. Anyway, she mollified some of my concerns regarding her own behavior, but not regarding his. She suggested that I sit down and talk to him about the fact that I'm dating her. A good idea, though I'm not relishing the prospect.

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's all a mystery

'Cause I'm a man, not a boy
And there are things you can't avoid
You have to face them when you're not prepared to face them
If I could I would but you're with him now it'd do no good
I should have fought him but instead I let him
I let him take it
Flaming Lips, "Fight Test"

I stopped taking my Prozac, cold turkey, on my own initiative, about mid-February when I first began dating Spooky. Well-intentioned folks told me that I shouldn't, because abruptly cutting off the meds when you've only been taking them for a month can lead to even worse depression down the line. I felt so much better then that I didn't heed these pearls of wisdom. Now, though, what with all this Spooky and Baby and Babydaddy drama (and everything is a major melodramatic meltdown with this woman) and stress, I'm wondering if I did the right thing. It's not that I'm plunged into bleak despair like before, but I do ask myself if I'd be this bugged by the whole situation if I were still on the meds. Maybe I wouldn't even see any of it as a problem at all.

Oh well. Time will tell.


Tonight's class was Reading I. For some reason, this session seemed a bit less of a bootless waste than usual. We explored the continuing saga of teaching vocabulary. The gist of the matter is: don't just teach lists of words or memorization, but encourage active involvement in building a working vocabulary though relating words to literary and real-world experience.

To this end, we played a game much like Balderdash. Ms. P wrote four ostensibly esoteric and unusual words on the board, and the class came up with definitions. I knew two of the words; the class laughed with disbelief at one of my correct answers ("government by women" --- is that a bizarre idea to them?). Being women themselves, my classmates are very reticent about volunteering guesses as to academic questions, so it was like pulling teeth, but a few of the braver souls tried, bless 'em. And, of course, they're not (all) dumb, just conditioned to keep quiet in class unless they're absolutely sure of themselves. Naturally, a few of them had fairly solid reasons for their guesses, which were quite close. The words were: gynecocracy, stipe, ascomycete, and sesquipedalian. As to the last of these, Ms. W herself, the reading teacher, was totally unaware of the connection between "feet" and "syllables" in the its etymology.

Que fais-je dans cette galère?


A truism from a great indie film I watched recently, Metropolitan: "The last way to be happy is to make it your objective in life."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

If I want your opinion I'll ask ya

A burning heart could be so cool
Won’t you be my fashion victim
Come on, I’m an April fool for you
--- Soul Asylum, "April Fool"

Lots of needless drama today.

The Maddening Angel called and asked me to meet her for lunch. I said yes, and asked her to call Spooky to join us. Spooky got pissed, because somehow I had blown her off by doing this, even though the two of us hadn't made any plans for lunch. So I had to call Spooky myself and calm her down and convince her to come and pick her up, and the three of us had lunch at a Mexican place. We had margaritas, and believe me I needed one. Spooky acted irritatingly passive-aggressive with MA --- she's clearly jealous. Since MA and I have never been anything but friends, and MA has a boyfriend, her jealousy is misplaced. Sure, MA and I are playful and have a tight emotional bond, so I can see a little cause for a small twinge of resentment there. But there's no reason to get petty, and I'm sorry, I'm not going to act as if I don't like MA very much just because Spooky and I are dating. I had to apologize for Spooky later.

After I dropped Spooky off at home, I went to MA's place, where we watched a little TV, then took our mutual (but mostly her) friend K out for ice cream. K's been depressed lately; she's always feeling a little sorry for herself, but this time her grandmother is on the decline. So anyway. I got a lot of alone time with MA, and we talked about my problems with Spooky. It helped a bit. At this point, I'm only flirting with the idea of a temporary break or a freeze, and I'm willing to ride these bumps and dramas born of stress out.

But what I can't do is compete with Babydaddy. I realize that I'm competing with Baby herself for Spooky's time --- anyone dating the mother of a small child will have to accept that. But I can't and won't expend effort trying to deal with the fact that Babydaddy --- antisocial, constantly depressed, taciturn Babydaddy --- isn't friendly with me at all. He clearly sees me as an intrusion, and he doesn't help anyone when he calls while Spooky and I are on dates and says her child is crying for her, and it would be best for her and her daughter if she just "came home." Great guzzling Ganesh, writing that down makes how horribly dysfunctional it all is so very, sadly clear.

In restless dreams I walk alone

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
--- Simon And Garfunkel, "The Sound Of Silence"

A day's outing with Spooky and Baby. We went to the museum of natural history and looked at dinosaur fossils, minerals, and info on the human genome. We dropped Baby off with Babydaddy and joined the Friar for lunch at Cheesefries. (Ugh. It always seems like such a good idea when you're hungry, but such a horrible idea when the greasy stuff's settled in your stomach.) Then we swung back to her place, picked Baby up again and took her to my house. The three of us walked Dog, which pleased Baby.

Spooky and I were supposed to go see Auric at some venue --- he's touring in support of his solo album --- but she got one of her many (possibly psychosomatic) debilitating health issues and couldn't go. So Friar and I went, and it was fun. We saw Auric, of course, and the drummer for Auric's group (who wasn't playing, but attends the shows), and Sonar and his gorgeous wife, and Auric's sister, and some other folks. Sonar and Sonarwife made a big deal about me no longer being married; they only recently found out.

It was nice to go out and do stuff, but I wanted to sleep with Spooky tonight. I called her to pick her up, but it was too late. Bummer.

A girl who worked at the venue seemed to be flirting with me quite heavily, then mentioned her husband. But after just mentioning him in passing, she still kept talking in the same tones, at the same very close physical proximity. It seems to me that often people flirt because, rather than despite the fact that, they're in solid relationships --- they know where they stand, so the flirting is a safe way to blow off steam; it won't lead anywhere.

I texted Ram, and she wrote back. Nothing titillating or unseemly, just a hello. She said we still need to get that dinner. I don't know if we ever will, but it's nice that she hasn't completely written me off.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Got to get some peace in my mind

Monday morning you sure look fine
Friday I got travelin' on my mind
--- Fleetwood Mac, "Monday Morning"

Since I have no classes Fridays, I did agree to work 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. so The Boss can leave her center and act irresponsible. The Assistant Boss was also gone for the day. So unprofessional.

The other day, I cracked open a stump on the playground and showed the kids a big fat white grub. It was quite repulsive looking, but interesting too. I told them not to touch it; we observed it for a while, then I covered it back up with some tree bark. The next day, what the hell do I find but the damn grub in a little plastic box in the classroom. Apparently, after I'd left, the kids showed it to the idiot Boss, who picked it up and caged it, along with a solitary leaf and some small pieces of wood. I told the Boss that she should have left it there, and it was going to die. She did nothing. Next day? Dead grub in little plastic box in classroom. She's such a child in so many ways, thinking that one leaf and a few bits of wood makes an environment for an animal.

So another employee takes the cage with the shriveled dead grub down from the shelf and shows it to Boss. I was not there at the time, but this is what I heard was Boss' reaction: "Well, leave it on my desk, and if it's still dead tomorrow, I'll throw it out."

Now what's that? Denial? Laziness? Severe retardation?


I had dinner with Spooky at L, another fancy restaurant tonight. We had a couple of courses each, including raw oysters, quail, venison, and dessert, plus some glasses of wine. The bill was about $150 with tip. While the food was very good, it wasn't superb like the meal we had at GR on St. Paddy's, a meal which I still remember fondly.

As for wine, I have never been an oenophile and no very little about the stuff (unlike my school chum Anacreon). It seems I do enjoy a good glass of Pinot Gris (white), but the Pinot Noir (red) was a bit too bitter for my taste. I very much enjoyed a sweet dessert wine from Australia. Yes, I have childish tastes.