Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More than just a boy

In a sentence, in a word
It might be something that you heard
In a night, it could be right
If you'd only see the light
Any day but Tuesday
We could talk or maybe we could sin(g)
Any day but Tuesday
It really doesn't have to mean a single thing
--- Steve Wynn, "Tuesday"

I am a slavering, drooling Steve Wynn fan and have been for nearly two decades. Very few people know who the hell he is.

****

I added funny, introspective dating blog Elle's World, venerable NYC Educator, and the hilarious math teacher's blog Three Standard Deviations To the Left to my sidebar. Every blog on my sidebar is one I enjoy at least once a week; these three always have something of interest.

***

After The Job, I drove up to State School for a conference with Science teacher Ms. P at 4:30. I got about an 88% on the final; I did very well on the sit-in part, but lost a lot of points on the take-home. It was all subjective minutiae, too. That kind of annoys me. Lower grades than I expect always annoy me.

Then I did a little work on the Classroom Management competencies project at the Lounge before class. Science Methods itself was an... interesting affair. We did a 5th grade lesson plan, making a junk-food sandwich as a model of sedimentation layering, then judged chocolate chip cookies on an objective rubric we created in small groups. I ate my cookie and half of the bread, peanut butter, frosting, goldfish cracker, raisin and Fruity Pebbles sandwich. It was actually pretty good.

T was not in class. Yesterday, she invited me to some Mardi Gras event at a bar for after class tonight, but I said I couldn't make it, citing the project. I'm actually glad she skipped class, as it made it easier to turn down her invitation.

After class I drove to Spooky's house. MA had called me previously to go hang out with her and K, but I couldn't do it because of class. I called her once I was free, but no answer --- they probably smoked and then hit a few bars So I drove to Spooky's and we hung out for a while.

I may skip Math Methods tomorrow to finish up the project and study for the Classroom Management midterm.

Monday, February 27, 2006

You know I've never been corrupt

I'll pay you a compliment
And you'll think I am innocent
You can total up the balance sheet
And never know if I'm a counterfeit
--- Elvis Costello, "Love For Tender"

Rushed today.

At The Job for three hours. Went to H Elementary. Sat through a sixth grade class and a second grade glass. In the former, some thug or thugs had stolen a laser pointer out of a teacher's room, and two classes ground to an unattended halt while several adults tried to sort it out, to, I believe, no satisfactory conclusion. After that, there was a bathroom break, which took about ten minutes (they all went at once, escorted --- sixth graders). Then about half the class left for some special activity, and a few others left to go to the library (returning nearly an hour later with, apparently, one comic book). The few kids that were left sat through a lesson on space, interrupted by one hyper boy's constant wisecracking and noise. The teacher did the best she could, but it was just a joke. In the latter observation hour, the entire class was conducted in Spanish. I didn't follow much, but I did like how they read and re-read a poem in order to get a feel for the unrushed cadence and flow of poetry.

Got the car's oil changed, and studied a bit for the Reading I midterm. Ate a quick lunch and drove up to State School. The test took, quite literally, four minutes. I exaggerate not. It was 25 multiple-guess questions. I can't stand those kinds of tests. I think I did reasonably well, but can't say so with any degree of certainty, and hate the fact that there is no place to explain the line of thought in an answer. Oh well.

I went home and started working on the massive competency overview due on Thursday. Suddenly it occurred to me to check if something was due for Science tomorrow, and --- oh crap --- something is, a review of a first-grade lesson we were given on DVD last week. Gads, I'm a procrastinator. Now I have to write 2-3 pages on this 45-minute video tonight, and I'm still way behind on Thursday's assignment.

Oh, and I'm all twisted and worried about various Spooky-related things, and Maddening Angel is over there right now nursing a migraine. I wince at the thought of what Spooky must be blabbing to her even now. Not that it's secret or anything, I just can't stand my personal life to be discussed by people I know.

Must work.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Muggers and thugs

I can never read the words "mugger" or "thug" without thinking of India. They're two somewhat similar words; they both came to the English langauge following very clear and bloody paths.

Mugger is derived from the Hindi magar, meaning a type of marsh crocodile. In Kipling's Jungle Books, one of the stories ("The Undertakers") features Mugger-Ghat, a vast river crocdile who preys on the nearby villagers. (Ghats are steps leading down to the river). The English derivation is fairly obvious. The reptilian mugger, like his two-legged counterpart, lurks in hiding for a weak or preferably altogether helpless victim and then... SNAP! It's all over.

Thug is derived from the Hindi thag, meaning thief. This word has a very colorful history. A hundred and seventy years ago, travellers in India were preyed upon by devotees of Kali, the (often unfairly maligned) mother-goddess of destruction. These perhaps muddled devotees were called Thugees, and they strangled thousands of people with special yellow scarves weighted with coins. The Thugees, devout fellows they were, then robbed the bodies of their poor victims and scurried off to perform rituals to their black-skinned benefactress or possibly to go get drunk somewhere. A very interesting book which is no longer in print, The Stranglers: The Cult Of Thugee and Its Overthrow In British India, by George Bruce, tells of how British soldier (later Sir) William Sleeman destroyed the power of the Thugs in India. As far as I know, there aren't any easily available English books on the cult of Thugee or the hero Sleeman. Here is a good, if quite long, online look at Sleeman's methods. As to the word's journey from Sanskrit to English, the derivation is again obvious. A brutal person using force to get what he wants, often blindly following some higher authority.

Well, that's human nature for you. The zealot and the reptilian mind, kissing cousins.

***

Not much to report on the Real Life front. I was going to bring Spooky to meet the Parents at TriviaBar, but when I went to pick her up, Babydaddy was so sick that I said she ought to stay home with him. We did take Baby out to the 7-11 for a snack, then I dropped them off home again. I joined the Parents and good old Poatato at TriviaBar, had a drink, said hi to W, etc.

Later talked to Spooky on the phone for a while. I feel bad, but she will go on and on about stuff. It's not so much that I'm not interested in the topic, it's that she doesn't really have good conversation skills.

Well, nobody's perfect.

It's partner found, it's partner lost

Ah we're drinking and we're dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she's the Angel of Compassion
she's rubbing half the world against her thigh
Leonard Cohen, "Closing Time"

I went to an auction with Spooky at a Fancy Hotel downtown. The auction benefitted the Catholic school where Spooky's five-year-old daughter goes. It was a rather gala affair; I wore a blazer and tie. There was a silent auction and a live auction. Each one of the 24 items of the live auction went for at least $1000, and three items (all art done by kids at the school) reached $8500 and higher. Spooky bought one of those items. There was a quite decent steak dinner and open bar, as well. Spooky introduced me around to some of the school staff, including the lower school principal, some of the teachers, and a priest. (The latter is Spooky's own confessor as well, and has been informed of our sinful escapades, but he didn't bat an eye as he shook my hand.)

We left the auction around 11:00, me champing at the bit and quite bored with Spooky's endless small talk and socializing (petty and small of me, I know, but I am as God made me). When we got back to the car, I found that Babydaddy had called my cell phone --- again. This time he was sick and needed some medicine. "Why can't his girlfriend get him some?" I complained. I know, Spooky and her Babydaddy have a long history of taking care of one another's ailments, and that's not something that I should get between. But it did make me briefly surly and resentful. How can I have a date, much less a relationship, with someone who is clearly already in one? It may not be a sexual or even a romantic relationship, but they are definitely permanently intertwined, and it's an impediment to any development Spooky and I may undergo as a "couple." Hell, I can't even go over there to sit on the couch and watch a movie without him being in the next room. He may not care at all, but still... Awwwwkward!

Speaking of relationships, I called the Maddening Angel on the way to the auction. She was about to eat with her parents and Cokehead and summarily dismissed me. Sadly, I think our friendship outside of work is over.

After the auction, Spooky and I drove to the Hangout, where we encountered Friar and the usual gang of losers. W was there as well, and I talked to her briefly. We played video bowling with a couple of young people I didn't know. The guy was so drunk that at one point he failed to perceive his girlfriend standing right next to him, even when I pointed at her. They were both very social and affable, however, and kicked our asses at the game.

We had a couple of drinks, then to my house. Some rather satisfying rough play followed. Spooky spent the entire night for the first time, instead of me having to drive her back in the wee hours so Babydaddy could get to work. However, she did call him twice during the rest of the evening; guilt over being away from Baby for the first time in a long while.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rain on the roof

You and me underneath the roof of tin
Pretty comfy feelin' how the rain ain't leakin' in
Lovin' Spoonful, "Rain on the Roof"

Lots of rain today. Now, thunderbolts and lightning. Very very frightening. Me.

Talked to MA a bit at The Job. Very amicable relations now. I still feel jealous of Cokehead; maybe that will pass. Watched a little of the "Family Guy" DVD set that Cousin sent me. Took a nap. What an arduous life I lead.

74 and his wife Zaftig took me to Cheesefries for a belated birthday dinner. So greasy and fattening. The Friar attended as well. They brought Baby, and a fun time was had by all.

I went home, worked out, then went to Spooky's house. We drove to the Hangout, where Friar had a couple of bands playing. The first was a talented guy, the second a loud band that failed to impress. We went back to her place and watched TV and talked for a while, then I drove home.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I can't stop my brain

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
--- the Beatles, "I'm So Tired"

Up past 2:00 a.m. with Spooky last night. Got up around 8:00 am (the Prozac has not been making me crave nearly as much sleep ever since I got the first refill --- dunno why).

Worked for three hours. Went to H Elementary for my observation hours. I saw a 4th grade class and a 2nd grade class. Not much to say about either one. Nothing sensational about the kids or teachers, but nothing appalling either, thankfully.

My body didn't demand a nap, so I didn't take one. I went to the last class of the week, Classroom Management. It was incredibly boring. I won't say it was utterly a waste of time, because we did go over three or four competencies and spent a little time reviewing practice questions (mid-term exam and review project due next class). However, there was a lot of needless downtime and silent reading. I think Ms. P had something else to do, so used our class time to get it done.

Called Spooky and went home. Odd, but I really am starting to think of her fondly.

Sewed up like a pillow case

Unchain my heart, you worry me night and day
Why lead me through a life of misery
when you don't care a bag of beans for me
--- Ray Charles, "Unchain My Heart"

I woke this morning from a dream about Ram. In the dream, I lived in the same apartment complex as her (the place resembled MA's real-life building). I walked by her door and noticed it wasn't shut all the way and rock music was coming from inside. Taking this to mean that she was home, I wanted to knock, but didn't feel right doing that. So I texted her. I can't remember if there was an answer or not. I then hung out in another apartment with two other people (possibly Spooky and MA). When I next walked past Ram's door, it was shut, and the music was still coming from inside but much fainter.

I wondered whether this dream meant that Ram's metaphorical door was still open to me, but only if I had the guts to metaphorically knock.

Work was boring. That place is getting more and more unprofessional. I don't even want to bother recording the day to day drudgery of The Job. Just so boring and so beneath me. Yet, I feel secure there and I have the schedule I want. I dunno.

Went home, fell asleep. Woke at 4 p.m. and worked on the take-home test for Science Methods. I ended up scribbling the last of my answers in the car (at the stoplights, of course) on the commute to State School. That's procrastination for you. Then, in class, the midterm. It was comprised of two parts; both seemed fairly straightforward to me. I finished much earlier than everyone else and got out of there a little past 8:00.

I called Spooky. I picked her up and we picked up some of her medicine. Then we went to the Hangout. The Friar had been there, but he had left and didn't return. So we played video bowling, then sat and talked for a bit at a table. When we got in the car, she said she'd like to come over to my place again, so that's what we did. Sweet Shiva, is she ever GGG! It's like someone delivered a wish-list of all my personal inclinations in one willing body. Who needs prime pulchritude?

I have to say, despite my entry of February 18, my feelings in this matter seem to be evolving rapidly. Whereas the first time was mainly physical and somewhat uncertain on my part, tonight I felt real tenderness and affection toward her. We talked of a few serious things, and I mentioned how I wasn't entirely comfortable with being with her considering her living arrangement (I mean, I went to pick her up tonight, and there was ol' live-in Babydaddy, sitting in their [!] bedroom, leafing through a swimsuit catalogue, calling her "babe" and watching her put her shirt on. Weeeeeeird!). And, though I didn't say it, I would like to be with someone who could have children.

I could do worse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

To see a world apart from pain

Love sees love's happiness
But happiness can't see that love is sad
That love is sad
Sadness is hanging there
To show love somewhere something needs a change
They need a change...
Some things gal says to lad aren't meant as bad
But cause a little pain
--- They Might Be Giants, "They'll Need a Crane"

At work, Maddening Angel brought me two cards and a little stuffed frog. In one of the cards she had written, "Let's be friends again." I was kind of set to give her a big speech about how two people really can't be friends if one is attracted to the other and that feeling isn't mutual, but I just hugged her and said thanks.

I called T to see if we'd meet before class, but she had to work on the take-home section. She called me three times, but each time was to ask questions about it. She didn't hang out with me at all! I feel so... so... used! I'm not just a brain, you know! I have feelings! *sob*

Just kidding.

The test was a bit of breeze. We went from station to station and identified what science process skill was used where, and there was a multiple choice section after that. We got out very early. Then T, another girl whose name escaped me, and I went to go work out at the State School gym.

But before we did, we went to the girl's on-campus apartment and did a shot of tequila. I'd never done that before (this really is the Era of New Things for me). Salt, shot, lime, the works. Not very pleasant going down, but strangely appealing and addictive afterwards. I was all ready to do another. Still, we just did the one, and then we hit the gym. I did thirty minutes of cardio, which I almost never get. Not so much tiring as it made my stomach, churning with tequila, hurt. But I stuck it out and then hit the weights a bit.

Going home, I called Spooky, who asked me to help her pick up a prescription. I swung by and picked her up and we dropped it off. Instead of waiting, we hit the Hangout and had a drink each and played video bowling. At one point, I picked up a bottle and said, "Is this your drink or mine? I mean, I don't want your germs or cooties or anything. You know I'm a little neurotic about that." She said, "Yeah, I'm particular about what I put my mouth." I replied, "Luckily for me, that's not true."

I'm kind of beginning to like hanging out with Spooky, although she does talk too much.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I took a little risk

Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan
--- Warren Zevon, "Lawyers, Guns And Money"

We had a teacher in-service day at The Job. I renewed my CPR and First Aid training.

The Maddening Angel and I had talked last night, so we were friendly in the morning. But when she mentioned old Cokehead, the ex-boyfriend who has become the boyfriend again but in a much bigger way (the one she wanted to have her keys), something inside me broke. I'd really been telling myself to act like a brother to MA, to be her friend and not a jealous wanna-be boyfriend. I guess I just can't control my feelings like that. "I can't believe you're back with him," I said.

"You should talk, Cassanova," she said. "I hope you treat Spookytooth better so she'll stick around." Ouch! Hurtful words. Worse, how the fucking fuck did she know? Damn that blabbermouth fucking Spookytooth!!!

Ahem.

We were supposed to stay at work for a while and do classroom management and planning, but I got out of there as soon as our staff meeting was over (ticking off The Boss, but who gives a crap). At home, MA called me. She began with "I love you and I care about you, Chance, but I'm not going to put up with your tantrums any more." And it went downhill from there.

"You have no business judging my personal life," she said. "After you went away that night and screwed Spookytooth, which is wrong on so many levels. You've told me you're not attracted to her, so you're just using her! I care about her and I think you're going to hurt her." It sounded like jealousy, but I really don't think it is. She's just angry that my feelings have made me act in a such a pissy way.

So I call Spookytooth for a reckoning, twice. She denied it at first, of course, but gradually it became very obvious, and she admitted, that she must have slipped out some detail. (And personally, I don't believe for a second this "accidental slipping out" business --- she's a show-off and a big talker, and I suspect she couldn't wait to proclaim it. MA knew the incident and the night for certain; she wasn't assuming or inferring anything. She flat-out knew. Someone told her. I didn't, so that leaves one person.)

The Maddening Angel and I have never had a romantic relationship, but we have, in the past, had a very deep emotional one. Sleeping together on the same bed, comforting each other at a vulnerable time in both our lives --- we formed a bond, and I understand that it's a complex one. I just wish we could be together. She's not attracted to me, so I must either be her friend or not be with her at all. She said she was ready to quit work just to avoid me at this point. And all this is hurting Spooky's feelings, making her feel like she's a pawn or weapon in some twisted game of jealousy and sexual tension. Oh, what is all this adolescent hand-wringing? Why can't I be sane and content?

****

Tonight's class, Reading I, was about the next step after phonemic awareness in the reading skills continuum: the alphabetic principle. Methods of teaching the naming and sounds of letters include word wall, picture and letter matching games, word and letter matching, etc. Since this is more or less what I have done for a living for the past 4+ years, I was less than enthralled.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm sad and lonely too

Just like you I'm wonderin' what I'm doin' here
Just like you I'm wonderin' what's goin' on
Wallflower, wallflower
Won't you dance with me?
The night will soon be gone
--- Bob Dylan, "Wallflower"

Mostly did schoolwork today (the science and math take-home tests), though I also lazed around a lot.

I skipped TriviaBar tonight. The Friar and Palfrey took me out to dinner. They also gave me three CDs and the new Wallace and Gromit DVD. Auric called as well; the Friar told him to, of course, but it was still nice.


Chance Bishop --

[noun]:

A person of questionable sanity who starts their own cult



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Via Greg's blog, which is often full of linky goodness.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A paper ring

I've had it to here bein' where love's a small word
Part-time thing, paper ring
I know it's been done, having one girl who'll love me
Right or wrong, weak or strong
--- Neil Diamond, "Solitary Man"

The song is one of Diamond's signatures, but you haven't really heard it until you've heard Johnny Cash's stark, solemn version.

***

The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, as one might expect for a site named after one of Leonard Cohen's greatest songs, is a treasure trove of sarcastic, well-informed goodness. And we share a similar outlook on life, as this post attests.

***

I met up with the Ex for lunch. She gave me some of the money she owes me and we exchanged important paperwork. She drives off to Little Canada tomorrow for an indefinite period. It was an affable, even jolly, meeting, but we did not hug goodbye.

***

This Spookytooth business is on my mind.

Previously, Spookytooth has proclaimed a casual attitude toward sex, averring that often it isn't a big deal between two adult people. However, she has called me no less than four times today. (I took only the last of the calls, and talked to her for 20 minutes or so before begging off.) I do not want her as a "girlfriend." Friend, yes. Drinking and gaming buddy at the Hangout, yes. Occasional physical encounter, perhaps. Date, no.

I don't want to be an arrogant prick about this; Ganesh knows I'm no Adonis and hardly have a bevy of beauties begging to be with me. Spookytooth is fairly smart, she's well-read and shares my interest in stuff like "The Simpsons" and "The Chapelle Show," she feels unworthy of being with me, she seems (based on my very limited observation) to be a GGG partner, she's wealthy, and she can be fun.

But. She's just not attractive to me, she lives with her estranged husband and the father of her child, and worst, she's boring --- she talks too much. The Friar was singularly unimpressed by her. What is going to happen here?

Friday, February 17, 2006

You know, I don't stand a Chance

After a while they always get it
They always reach a sorry end
Still it was worth it as I turned the pages solemnly, and then
With a winning smile, the boy
With naivety succeeds
--- Belle & Sebastian, "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying"

Only worked for three hours today. left at noon to go to H Elementary to do my observation.

I was in a 6th grade class, where they were doing TAKS practice. It was not a pleasant experience. Not only was it boring sitting there watching them write silently, one or two of the boys were incredibly disruptive and unruly. Rude noises, pencil tapping, loud and conspicuous pencil sharpening, laughing, the works. Again, the teacher, who seemed reasonably competent, did next to nothing. What makes this kids act like proudly ignorant, socially oblivious monsters? And why can't the teachers do anything about it? Midway through the hour, she approached me and said, "And now the special ed kids come in and it gets really interesting." And sure enough, chaos flared briefly when they walked in. Public education. What a joke.

The second hour was taken up with the same 4th grade class as before. In contrast, this class was mostly quiet, and when the kids were disruptive, it was just inoffensive, normal kid behavior, not the aggressive boundary-pushing of the troublesome 6th graders. These children were much more respectful and polite, as well. How do these endearing, even if slightly dopey, kids turn into the 6th grade creeps I saw? Is it the age difference? Their teachers' expectations and attitudes? Home life? There is an odd difference in demographic at H Elementary; the two upper grades seem to have a larger percentage of low-SES and special ed kids than K-4. Do the wealthier parents take their kids to private schools at 5th grade, or has the school's demographic changed?

I came home after observation and took a too-brief nap. Then it was back to H for unpaid babysitting, otherwise known as Parents' Night Out. About six of my fellow State School students and I passed out pizza and juice, supervised puzzles and coloring, and watched the kids go crazy in the gym. It was three hours of mild boredom in return for three big extra credit points in Ms. P's class! Hooray!

On the way home, I called Spookytooth and we talked about work and other trivia. This is the first time in my life I've slept with a woman with whom I wasn't in a relationship mutually understood to be serious and long-term. This was more of a casual recreation thing: "thank you, I had fun, we aren't dating." I believe there's a term that starts with F and ends in "buddies." Speaking of slang terms, I came across the word "slumpbuster" today to describe an unattractive, approachable woman (or man, as the case could be). I guess everyone is somebody's idea of a slumpbuster.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I could even say I'm going to do something new to you

When you wake up with X-rated eyes
When you wake up still shaking
How can I apologize
As you check your effects and check your reflection
I'm so affected in the face of your affection
--- Elvis Costello, "Men Called Uncle"

Field trip at work. We walked the older kids over to a nearby museum. We had a nice time; the docent was very helpful. We also got to see a music center where an ensemble was practicing and the costume area of a theater. Lots of walking. No nap. So tired.

Class was cancelled. They left me a message on the phone! What service.

I went over to MA's house to watch a movie, but as soon as I got there, she asked for her spare keys. I don't know why, exactly, but this made me feel insulted and rejected. As if she were saying, "Thanks for holding my keys for a while and helping me out, but now there's someone in my life who needs to come and go as he pleases, and you're no longer a significant presence." It just really bugged me. I gave her the keys and left. I guess I was being immature, but even now, long after the fact, it still rankles.

I called Spookytooth and went over to her house. We drove to the Hangout and played a little video bowling. "We're such nerds," she said. "It's pretty nerdy," I said, "but I did walk into a bar and got greeted by name by every single member of the wait staff. That's sliding away from nerdy and into sad."

In the car, as I was about to take her back home, she suddenly, without warning, kissed me. So we went back to my place, me wondering all the while if this was a good idea. Oh, screw it, I finally decided. Good idea, bad idea, so what --- time for a bit of simple physical fun.

So, yes, I broke a dry spell with Spookytooth, this Spookytooth whom I described as "boring" and not attractive to me. And she's not, really, but that's not such a big deal. She was eager, willing and thankful. I don't know whether it'll happen again, but I wouldn't mind.

Note to self: drinking wine, followed by cheap well vodka (ugh), followed by cider, followed by sustained vigorous activity, is not a particularly intelligent regimen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Suffering like a fool

I got no place left to turn
I got nothing left to burn
Don't know if I saw you, if I would kiss you or kill you
It probably wouldn't matter to you anyhow
--- Bob Dylan, "Standing In the Doorway"

That's how I feel about Ram: torn. I want to be friends, I want to reach out and caress her like before, I want to hit her hard for coming so close to me and making me reveal myself and then pulling back, I want to just hang out with her, I want to date her, I want never to talk to her again. After our long, depressing talk last night when we ended abruptly with emotions high, she called me tonight and left a nice message, using our nicknames for each other, "just to say hi." I didn't call back.

Spookytooth had called a couple of times this week, so I called her and talked on my drive home from school.

I also texted T and she called back; we talked for a while. She told me a story about a time when she was dating this rockstar type guy (no one famous, just a hipper-than-thou hipster). She said, "I hadn't... uh, done it in a while, and so I decided I was gonna... uh, do it, which I really almost never do." She therefore arranged "a booty call," as she put it, for a Saturday, and he called and confirmed and seemed very into the idea. So, Saturday came around and they went out and sat there talking. And he said, "I just want to say that I'm done with meaningless sex and I want my relations to be intimate and close from now on." She said, "Damn! So I didn't get to tap that. I guess that was a sign or something."

What does this story mean? And --- knowing I've been called a few times on my vehement selfishness when it comes to social tales, I ask half in jest and half neurotically in earnest --- what if anything does it mean to me?

Last night at the Hangout, MA twisted my nose around so hard, its tip now sports a dark, circular bruise. It's like a dog nose. She was just being playful (she also twisted my nipples and pinched me, as is her wont), but she was quite drunk and she did it a lot more violently than usual. So today I'm walking around work and school with a goddam dog nose. Shiva save us.

Class was Math Methods. We did more hands-on and visual representations of mutliplication, division, addition and subtraction, this time with decimals. Test next week, and the take-home portion is due as well. Same deal in Science Methods; big test and fairly long take-home exam (which must be typed). I may have a busy weekend ahead.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Heartbreak, old friend, goodbye it's me again

It's a lonely, lonely feelin' when your Valentine is wrong
Of all the many things that you were countin' on
Well, there ain't none better than the girl who's movin' on
--- Old 97's, "Valentine"

Work. Long nap. No dinner at all.

Before Science Methods, met with T at the State School library. She was working on her MySpace page. Everyone I know seems to have one of those. I think I'm too old for those sorts of shenanigans. We had fun with that until we had to jog over to class.

In class we did an experiment with how water, vinegar and iodine affect salt, baking soda, corn starch and corn meal. We also made parachutes out of trash bags, washers and string. The point is to present concepts in the context of a student-centered activity, not as a lecture.

After class, T went to work out. She told me about some singles night at a bar, but I didn't want to go. Instead I met with Ram at the library, where she was working on a paper. She and I had a long and rather sad talk about how we're not going to date anymore. She said that part of the reason was my solipsistic attitude toward other people. (Oddly, a girl in class that I barely knew said jokingly to me just tonight, "You're not interested in anything unless it's about you.") Another part is her schedule. She said she was still attracted to me and still liked me. I said that in that case I didn't understand why we couldn't just date and see if it made us happy. She said her idea of dating was different than mine, which is probably true. Anyway, it's all too depressing.

It's K's birthday today, so the Maddening Angel was at the Hangout with her and a group of friends. She called me about five times to come out there, so I did. I had one drink and left before MA's new boyfriend could show up. There is no way in hell I could be around him, whoever the hell he is. It doesn't matter a bit; I hate him.

About three different people said to me today variants of the following: "I sure wish I could tape your mouth shut."

I've thought so much about suicide
Parts of me have already died

--- Old 97's, "Lonely Holiday"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Charms are hired from out of their eyes

Please beware of them that stare
They'll only smile to see you while
Your time away
And once you've seen what they have been
To win the earth just won't seem worth
Your night or your day
Nick Drake, "Things Behind the Sun"

I weary of recording the petty personal dramas of my day. I talk to MA at work and we smile and joke but we're not close anymore; I text Ram and we discuss having dinner but I still feel betrayed. It goes on and on.

Class was Reading I. We discussed phonemic awareness. What is phonemic awareness, I hear you eagerly shout?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear the individual sounds, or phonemes, in words and eventually to manipulate those sounds. Children learn this skill through practice in rhyme, alliteration, the segmentation of sentences, the blending and segmenting of syllables, the recognition of onsets and rimes (the sound before a vowel in a word is the onset, and the sounds after the vowel is a rime: gr/een), and finally the manipulation of individual phonemes. Thus, if a child knows that the word church has three phonemes (/ch/, /ur/ and /ch/), he or she has phonemic awareness.

It's arguably the key ability in preparation for fluency in reading. The alphabetic principle (which is the understanding that certain letters are associated with certain sounds) and phonics (which is the understanding that symbols --- letters --- can be put together to make words) follow, but phonetic awareness is said to be the major factor in understanding text.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I've never seen a night so long

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry
--- Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"

Another weekend of no social contact. Did some homework (I'm all caught up now, aside from long-term projects looming far in the future), watched TV ("The Shield" on DVD --- easily my favorite police drama), walked the dog (she's obedient off the leash these days; she's happier bounding around, and it's so much more enjoyable for me).

Went to the comic store. Bought two more Bone volumes: The Dragonslayer and Ghost Circles. Total number of graphic novels purchased this year: nine. Total amount spent: $52. Not too shabby!

The Ex is moving back to Little Canada very soon. I'm unsure how I feel about that; I no longer want to be with her, of course, but it as an undeniable symbol of closure to our relationship, it tinges me with a little regret and sadness.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

You'll only watch 'em bleed

Everyone's in love with you
They fall down at your feet
And impale themselves knowin' full well
You'll only watch 'em bleed...
You want everyone to want you
But you don't want anyone to need you
'Cause baby you don't need to
--- Steve Earle, "Everyone's In Love With You"

Man, those lines could have been written expressly for the Maddening Angel. She's so social and outgoing and loving and loveable, and she shuts down so quickly when people start to show they're serious about her. In other words, I guess, she's easy, she has low self-esteem, and she doesn't want to be loved.

Last night after watching TV at my parents' house (the final four episodes of the late, great "Arrested Development"), I drove over to the Hangout. It was like old home week. One of the Friar's bands was playing. I talked a bit with the singer from another of his label's roster. I sent Ram a text message, because I'm a sap. Played bowling with the Friar and joked around a bit with Sonar's gorgeous wife. The drummer from Auric's band showed up as well. W was there too. I hung with her a bit while she played pool. Around 2:30 she said she was going home to smoke and asked if I wanted to join her. I've never been interested in that kind of recreation, but this is the era of New Things for ol' Chance, so I followed her to her apartment. We lay on her bed smoking and watching Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She said I could crash there, but I wasn't feeling tired, and anyway I told my father I'd lend him my cell phone that morning. So I took my leave and drove home, getting to bed around 5:45 a.m. I haven't stayed out like that since high school.

Now, this may seem a bit foolish, but the question that rattles around my brain now is, was W coming on to me in any way? I assume she wasn't, as she was clearly trying to get herself oblivious as quickly as possible, but I can't say for sure. I have almost no experience with this kind of hanging out and what it might entail.

Homework today. Lots of assignments due next week.

More telephone drama with MA. She has a "Valentine's dinner" tonight, whatever that means. (Obviously, I have a camera click-click-clicking in my head cataloguing all the possibilities.) I'm hopelessly stuck on her and she's not into me. That's the whole lame story right there.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A nail won't fix a broken heart

A nail won't fix a broken heart
Like sleeping in the rain
There's nothing you can do...
I wish we were dying holding hands
Alone just me and you
Sad but it's true
The Low & Sweet Orchestra, "A Nail Won't Fix a Broken Heart"

The above, by the way, is the best song on the best Celtic-punk record you never heard.

I worked an extra hour and half today because the Maddening Angel was sick. She called work instead of me and didn't call me after work. Since I wasn't blogging my social life back when we were practically inseparable, it's almost hard to recall how close we were. Now, she probably has yet another boyfriend to spend time with her when she's sick. I don't know, I guess that's healthier.

Speaking of healthy, I took another two-hour nap after I got home today. I'm not happy about this; I feel like I'm sleeping my life away. The Prozac is really putting a number on me. I also wonder if it's making me weaker; I'm not feeling as strong and capable when I lift weights recently.

Haven't communicated with Ram since I left a possibly off-putting message with her last week. I still think about her, though. She was so perfect: smart, strong-willed, cute, capable, funny, and very into me. She called me handsome a lot. Yet suddenly that affection was gone. Am I shooting myself in the foot by cutting her off? After all, perhaps if we hung out as friends, that attraction would return, whereas ignoring her will definitely lead to nothing. On the other hand, even if she were heavily into me again, she really does live in town only three days a week, so it probably could never work out. It just makes me regretful. Opportunities like that don't come around for me very often at all, and that one's gone.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

If you only knew

The first time I caught a glimpse of you
Then my thoughts were only of you...
I know that we're only friends
I hope this feeling never ends
If I could only hold you
It's the only thing I want to do
--- Green Day, "Only Of You"

Work was unremarkable. I came home and took a two and half hour nap! It's the Prozac making me sleep so much. I awoke at six, scarfed down some leftover pasta, and drove to Classroom Management. (Luckily, I had nothing due, unlike yesterday, when I finished a two-page reflection for Math Methods at the 11th hour.) Classroom Management was also wholly unremarkable; we discussed competencies seven and eight, a bit of the Love and Logic method, and watched a Harry Wong video again. We broke early because Ms. P had somewhere to go.

On the way home, T returned a call I'd made to her. We talked for about 25 minutes. I got to wondering about my fucked-up psyche. Now, T is a pretty girl, funny and smart, I like her a lot, and she has said outright a few times that she likes me a lot (as a friend). I obviously wouldn't mind dating her, but she's not interested, so that's fine; we're friends. During our talk, she mentioned "a fling" she had with some rock-star type and a few other romantic attachments she'd had. This didn't bother me at all, of course, as it shouldn't anyone sane.

So why oh why does the mere mention of anyone the Maddening Angel spends any time with, let alone romantic or dating time, get me so self-pitying and morose? It's pathological and sad.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I've no right to say it, but

Poised for a picture that no one was taking
You'd hang on their worlds as a rule
I'd never bought that but still was afraid
To get caught on the wrong side of cool...
Leaving today I'd no right to go say
That I hate what they're doing to you

--- Blood Or Whiskey, "Sober Again"

Fantastic band. If you like the Pogues, search out and purchase.

At work, I reconciled, sort of, with the Maddening Angel. She said she thought I blew her off. I said I missed her. We hugged and talked. Still... It can never be the same again. I feel resentful because she doesn't find me attractive. Twisted and wrong, I know, but there it is. I feel that same dull ache in my stomach and heart when I think about her with other guys that I did way back with Number One.

Class was Math Methods. I got a 93 on my test. Five points were lost because I got the wrong answer on a simple subtraction problem! Whoops. Class was spent mostly doing hands-on activities with unit blocks: subtracting, adding, dividing and multiplying with them. Very easy stuff, but apparently quite bewildering to some.

After class, joined the Friar and The Hangout. Had a couple of drinks, played video trivia. Good times.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

With logic and love we'll have power enough

I’m merely a man,
And I bring nothing but love for you

--- XTC, "Merely a Man"

I did not speak to the Maddening Angel at work beyond responding when spoken to. I think that made her mad, but she's the one who's dropped me out of her life. I suppose she wants us to have a sort of happy work friendship, but I just can't act happy when she's cut me out of her social world entirely.

I stopped by the library after work to pick up some children's books for a report due in Reading I. I got a lot of medal winners, including a Beverly Cleary that was pretty good. I also got Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science, by John Fleischman. I knew nothing about this book or the incident it tells about until today. I was enthralled! It's a very readable, informative, and engaging book. It tells the story of the titular Phineas, a railroad worker who survived a horrible brain trauma in 1848. (Basically, he got a spike through his cheek and the frontal lobes of both hemispheres of his brain.) Fleischman weaves a little bit of history, the history of science, the history of medicine, anatomy and modern neuroscience together, telling the story eloquently and simply from the incident to how it's been interpreted in modern times. Great stuff! I wish I taught older kids, so I could share it.

Before Science Methods, I met T at the lounge, and we went to "the Pub." We talked a bit. She "doesn't believe in" evolution! Yikes! How can you be an educated, intelligent person and not accept it? So sad.

My suspicion that T and MA have very similar social natures proves more and more correct, as T shares with me how she hangs out with guys she doesn't like and finds it hard to say no to people who want to date her. Say, wait a minute, that makes me wonder if she likes me.

Ms. C was absent, so we had two substitutes. One had us assign the individual TEKS into the four objectives of science (process, life science, earth science, physical science). The other one told us more about the phases of the moon, and we made a handy Moon Phase Wheel. It's pretty cool; it really helped me understand the relationship between how the moon looks and where it is in the sky. Most people in class didn't get it. I told them that the Wheel had all the answers and that it was my new God. "Bow to the Wheel," I suggested. I don't think T liked that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
--- Barenaked Ladies, "Lovers In a Dangerous Time"

That song was written by Bruce Cockburn, but I only know the Ladies' version. In this time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need, I tell myself to take solace in these lines and the message behind them. Another line in the song that I find particularly resonant is "Spirits open to the thrust of grace / Never a breath you can afford to waste." I like it for the same reason I love "The city's burning, it's not my burden" and "It's not over till you're underground" from Green Day's sublime "Letterbomb."

Over the weekend, I left my phone untouched on my dresser. I got not a single call.

Yesterday I tasted a fruit lambic for the first time. Amazing --- a beer I actually like! Yes, it's fruit beer, but it's still beer. Today I am a man.

In Reading I, first we split into groups and talked about Cambourne's Conditions of Literacy Learning. It's an interesting approach, treating oral and written language development as basically parallel. After that, we talked a bit about reading aloud. Since I've read children's books aloud more or less daily for the past four years and more, this was fairly boring to me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Vocabulaire: licencier

licencier - to fire, dismiss, make redundant
Il est probable que mon patron va me licencier simplement parce que hier, je suis arrivé au boulot tout nu. C'est pas juste !

Saturday, February 04, 2006

All work and no play makes, etc. etc.

Today is the first Saturday in a while that I haven't done anything at all socially. I stayed in, ate lunch with my father, goofed around, walked the dog. I also worked on my Science Concepts project, due Tuesday. It's a PowerPoint presentation on earthquakes. I'm having fun making it, but it's time-consuming.

I was talking to the Friar, who's a lawyer, about this story. Fascinating stuff, especially the sheer number of people who were nabbed.

Friar maintains that those men are being arrested for "thought crimes" and he is vehemently against it. Not that he wants to be soft on pedophiles. "Hell, beat them up when they get stung," he said. "Just don't charge them with the actual crime when all they've done is shown intent." Apparently "attempting" to have sex with a minor is a crime, but that's what Friar thinks shouldn't be the case. As a guy very much into freedom of thought and expression, but as a guy who also has worked with very young children all his adult life, I'm unsure if agree. If bringing condoms to a place where you think an 11-year-old is isn't a crime, it ought to be one. (Of course, as I write that, my Friar-type conscience pops up and chides me: "But it's not illegal just to carry condoms! Maybe he brought condoms [or alcohol, or whatever horrible contraband these vile sickos bring to their abhorrent assignations] for the kid's mother! Maybe he just happened to have them on him, and carries them everywhere! Or maybe he would have gotten there, talked to the kid, and then left! The point is, how can you arrest for a crime that did not take place? Next, will we be arresting people for driving by, but not picking up, prostitutes?" And there's a validity to that argument. Especially for the ones in this story that just sat outside the Entrapment House and didn't come in, but were still arrested.)

Oh well. As a kindly Pope once said, "Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoset." Or, loosely translated, "Kill them all. Let God sort 'em out."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned and forsaked

Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse
And for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
Bob Dylan, "Chimes Of Freedom"

Those bells can toll for me tonight. Last night the Friar told me we'd have dinner and hang out, but he never called and went to an event without telling me. He's at the Hangout now, and I could go, but I'm just not feeling it. So I sit alone at home. The Maddening Angel, of course, is deliberately avoiding me as per the advice of her counselor.

Today was my second day of observation at H Elementary. This time I was put in a 4th grade class. I watched a math lesson (TEKS review) followed by a science lesson. The kids did deskwork and worked from a textbook, and stayed in their seats the entire time. I'd rate the teacher as average; she was competent but far from inspirational. For example. The class was discussing physical change vs. chemical change, and not once was there a demonstration or visual example of any kind. It was all lecture, lecture, lecture format, like these kids were in college. She was not getting through to most of them; after all, they're eight and nine year olds! They're not going to learn a concept as alien to their everyday lives as "chemical change" just from hearing her read the definition from a textbook!

Now, I realize that the teacher has a very full day, and it's Friday, and everyone's tired (and she taught Saturday school, which seems to be quite the going concern at H, as well). But I just kept having visions of how an energetic teacher might do the lesson, speaking enthusiastically, marching around the room, getting the kids' attention, maybe ripping up a piece of paper and strewing the pieces around everywhere to demonstrate a physical change, and burning a paper (or maybe just lighting a match) to show a chemical change. I was reminded of the saying, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." I hope to at least be superior.

Fate up against your will

In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon
Echo and the Bunnymen, "The Killing Moon"

What a day. I worked for a big three hours. Seems almost not even worth it to come in, right?

At noon, I left the Job, got dressed up in fancy "business casual" clothes, and drove off to H Elementary, where I'm doing my remaining 20 hours of field work. I really enjoyed my time at W Elementary, in R District. This school is in D District, and what a difference: it was very much what people think of as the worst of big-city public schooling. I was placed in a 5th grade classroom to observe. The teacher was cheerful, bright and active, and clearly put a huge amount of work into her day.

But when her last period of the day came in, I was troubled. They were the special ed class, and as my textbooks so euphemistically put it, mostly "diverse learners" (that is, they were black and Hispanic). She plowed through the lesson, but I saw girls hitting boys, boys hitting girls, kids talking and paying no attention, and one boy with his head down on his desk for a long period of time, obviously oblivious to the lesson. Much worse, there was a lot of downtime; the teacher harried and chivvied the ones who were slow to do the TEKS activity, even though they were clearly the few students who cared about actually doing it. "Come on, we're waiting for you," she said to them, making them feel rushed and embarrassed, as the dullards who didn't give a rat's ass sat around hitting each other and talking. Couldn't she see that the reason those kids had "finished" was because they hadn't paid any attention to their work whatsoever? Then, when she went over the answers, I was further troubled that she did not explain why those were the answers, or what hints the kids could use to find out those answers if they were stuck. Has she just given up on this group? Was she having a bad day? I can't judge, because I observed them for about an hour and half and she's with them day in and day out. But if this is indicative of what teaching at D District is like, count me out.

Now, it's tossed around in education that teachers need to be best friends with the office manager and the custodial staff. But at H, the office manager was the worst kind of power-hungry martinet, a trashy little woman bureaucrat with a chip on her shoulder. Because I wasn't able to access the online criminal background check at home, I went to H early, getting there at 12:30 or so for my 1:00 shift. I introduced myself, and she said in a smarmy tone, 'You're very early," as if it was a horrible inconvenience and I should apologize. I explained what I needed and wondered if there was something I could do at the school to fill out the form. She shrugged and said, "We have the same internet as everyone else." Luckily, a sane person who wasn't on a power trip showed up, cheerfully led me to a computer, and I filled out the form with no trouble.

After that, while waiting for my assignment, I met some fellow State School students in the office. I mentioned that I had forgotten my green form, which is our time sheet. "It's no problem," I said. "I'll just fill in the time when I get home and have the teacher initial it tomorrow. It'll be fine." Overhearing me, te office manager interjected, "Except I can hear you." Uh... so what? Keep in mind that I was not discussing doing anything illicit or underhanded, just filling in a correct time a little later. I replied with a smile, "A year from now, who'll know the difference?" She said: "I will, because I'll still be here, and somewhere down the road, I'll be handling your resume."

What... the... fuck? See how she instantly brought into the discussion the only possible thing she could think of that gave her power, some hypothetical smoothness or lack thereof with which she could file my hypothetical resume at some indeterminate point in the future? My immediate thought was, of course, "If I have to depend on or buckle in any way to a tin despot like you for my employment, I'd rather starve in a gutter." And also, "Not to worry --- if I wanted to work in this dumbed-down diploma factory, which I don't, I'll make myself indispensible to the teachers and administration who actually matter here, so your input won't mean much." But of course I didn't say either of those things. Instead I said, again with a smile, "But my resume won't contain fudged data... Or will it?"

****

Apropos of nothing in particular except education, Samurai Frog has some thoughts on "creative spelling" here.

****

The Maddening Angel called me today to say that her counselor has told her not to be friends with me if I can't stop being jealous and resentful, because her mental state and esteem are extremely fragile right now. I don't have much to say about that at this time. We talked a bit, and I said a few of the things I discussed earlier about not wanting to hear about how the latest guy she's sleeping with is treating her badly, and how I really don't know how to give any consolation to someone who's going out and doing things that they know will hurt them later. We have no resolution for this as yet. I am disappointed.

****

Class today was Classroom Management. We watched another Harry Wong video, then discussed the Love and Logic strategy a bit. Fairly boring stuff.

T texted me that a band she knows was playing at "The Pub," so I went there after class. I met a couple of her friends (including a guy who is undoubtedly trying to get into her pants --- can't blame him, as she's intelligent, fun and very pretty) and her brother. I liked the band a lot.

After that, I went to the Hangout, where I had a drink and played a bit of video bowling. The Friar was busy with his record label dealings.

It's one a.m. in the morning, and I have to do the same routine tomorrow, sans class. Oy vey.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I'm the son of rage and love

I'm the son of rage and love
The Jesus of Suburbia
From the Bible of "None of the above"...
But there's nothing wrong with me
This is how I'm supposed to be
In the land of make believe
That don't believe in me

Green Day, "Jesus Of Suburbia"

Today was test day in Math Methods. First, though, we talked a bit about estimation and number places. Given a one-centimeter cube, we were asked to guess how big a million-centimeter cube would be. My first wild stab was "about five feet cubed," which turned out to be pretty close. But when I tried to think the problem over, I thought it might be forty feet cubed. I don't feel too bad, as all the guesses were fairly wild, and one guy said he thought it would be 720 feet cubed. As to the test, I think I did fairly well --- I feel I have a good grasp on how Ms. H wants us to approach teaching math (for a full, conceptual understanding, not just a procedural, abstract approach). There were a few questions dealing with material from the book; since I haven't exactly been reading it with the utmost care, I was pretty much at a loss at those points. But overall, I feel okay about it. I finished and left early.

***

At work, I had a talk with MA. I tried acting nice, but she was still mad. So I sent our intern to the other room with some older kids to do an activity and had a talk with her at naptime. I told her that no matter how mad she was at me, I'd always care for her and be there if she needed me. She started crying and said that she had been making bad choices and feeling hurt about it and she wanted to share things in her life with me, but that she couldn't because I was jealous and judgemental. I didn't deny it, but pointed out that I'm a guy, not a girl, and that I didn't always appreciate being just the friend. (I mentioned other female friends of mine as well, so I wasn't making it about Us.) I did not say, but may later if it comes up again, that as a guy, I am not into being used by other people, which seems to be a girl thing. I also haven't ever slept with anyone who didn't at least like me. As a guy, all I can say to her behavior is that it's a bad idea and she ought to stop it. If she were attracted to me, I might be able to show her what it's like to go out with someone who actually loves her and cares about her. But she isn't, so she keeps throwing herself away for these self-indulgent, obnoxious, coke-snorting losers who don't care about her as a person. Such a sad, old song.

After we were talking civilly again, she mentioned that me trying to act like nothing was wrong had made her even madder. "But a few weeks back, when I was mad at you," I pointed out, "you just kept talking to me like nothing was wrong, and when I didn't react, you blew up and made me stop being mad. So when you were mad, I thought that I ought to use the same strategy, but when I did, you still blew up, saying things just don't go away!"

She shrugged. "I'm a woman. My hurt feelings have more validity than yours."

***

I haven't called or texted Ram since last Wednesday. This evening, she called me; I was studying, or at least should have been, so declined it, and after class called back to leave (a rather unemotional) message. I am still wondering if I want to be friends with her, or resent her too much for leading me on.

***

What a world of difference this little pill, Prozac, makes. I may not be my old cheerful, laughing self, but I'm far from the near-suicidal puddle of resentment and tears that I have been these past months. No more spontaneous weeping, no days of bleary depression. Just one example from legion: last night, when I was instant messaging MA, she (still angry) said something off-putting and abruptly signed off. In the era BP (Before Prozac), this might have sent me into a weeping spiral of recrimination, self-loathing, and fruitless, foolish late-night calls or texts to MA. Instead, I thought, "That's lame, but I'll deal with it tomorrow," and went to bed.

I've never been on mood-altering medication before. I must say that it's done me a lot of good.