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8/25/10

newsflash: collins isn't meyer, she's a quality writer.

This morning, I read someone blog about their love of Mockingjay, followed by a resounding "TEAM PEETA!"

And I resolved that my next blog would be a one-liner: "I hate it when stupid people like what I like."

I mean, I talked about it a little bit HERE. But I thought it was worth repeating.

Then my e-friend, and co-reader- of- online- Jack Weyland -books Ru wrote about it HERE, and I knew the discussion was over. That is some damn inspiring rage, and I mean that as a compliment.

My favorite part? Why Ru (and I) hate it when dumb people like awesome stuff:

"Because I can't help but suspect that the lame people don't truly get it. That they are laughing at the wrong things, or misinterpreting the symbolism, or whatever. "

This brings me back to Mockingjay. I really love the Hunger Games series. I think it is quality YA literature. By combining a killer plot, romance, and a very likable protagonist, I understand why the teens can't put it down. But more importantly, I think it is quality YA literature because it lets you think. Or, more specifically, it allows the reader to think without pushing an agenda (abstinence before your vampire wedding, for example.) There are some heavy issues in Hunger Games, including our society's obsession with voyeurism (admit it, you'd watch the Hunger Games every year if you could,) beauty standards, (I love the scene where Katniss and Peeta come out into the arena naked,) and wealth. Even more heavy are the issues of a powerful government versus an ethical one, the value of free will, and whether it is noble or just stupid to sacrifice your life for a nearly hopeless cause.

Yes. There is romance. There is a love triangle. But Gale is not Edward, and Jacob is not Peeta. Hunger Games is not Twilight, and the idiots that were not satisfied with 4 drivel-filled vampire lust shouldn't try and get their fix off a truly wonderful piece of fiction.

Or, they should just stop talking about it on the internet.



Upon further consideration: I thought I'd disclaimer myself, and say I see nothing wrong with enjoying drivel-filled vampire fantasy, on occasion. I watch Bachelor Pad every week, and I love it. I take issue with people who can't tell the difference between quality and quantity. Quality of writing versus quantity of poorly written similes. His skin was like shimmering marble.....







PS. I have not read Mockingjay yet. Please, no spoilers.

8/22/10

Let us take a moment to salute my freak OCD flag...

During my 4 hour (4 hour!) faculty meeting on district policy, I looked up all of my students on Gradebook.

Then I made excel charts for each class, categorizing students by grades, citizenship, and special skills. I may have experimented with bar graphs.

There is a reason I found my first gray hair before graduating from college.

8/16/10

a revelation

I...previously thought? That people.....who speak? In....church....in a weird...cadence? And an unusually high.....pitched....form of....questioning?

Needed to be shot.


But now, my dear brothers and sisters, after hearing several Mormons speak, as if they were our beloved prophet or perhaps a favored general authority, I am reminded of the stories of my grandparents, told to me in my youth. It was all right then, as they were my grandparents, and were not trying to appear holier than they were. But now, dear friends, when a return missionary attempts to use a moderately funny anecdote in order to teach a treasured gospel lesson, and speaks in language uncommon for people under age 65, I realize in my heart, that I find insincere religious pandering, far, far, more offensive (and worthy of a firing squad,) than the magical ability to treat each spoken statement as a gerund. A beloved, special, and holy gerund.













Extra bullets if he or she was born after 1989 and uses phrases common in 1949. That just sounds particularly insincere.


That is all.

8/11/10

confessions. pop culture edition.

I'm watching Raising Helen right now, and damn it, I'm enjoying it.


I watched Bachelor Pad today, and that is the most entertaining show ever. I was so bored by Ali last season that I didn't even watch the last two episodes. But I will watch hot people throw tantrums and play games half naked any day of the week. How crazy is Elizabeth? You tell everyone how much you love me, or me and all my girlfriends will get you voted off! Why don't you appreciate everything I do for you!

I always wondered about the behind-the-scenes action in the controlling-girlfriend relationships, and I now know how all those cheerleaders got those nice baseball players to stay with them forever. (Or all of senior year.)


Which do I need the judging space for- my obsession with Kate Hudson films, or my deeply rooted addiction to schadenfreude via Chris Harrison? Both?

Judging Space____________________________________________
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I base my non-reality TV selections on a weird sense of loyalty. For instance, I started watching Parenthood because Lorelai Gilmore was on it, and Mad Men because Zoe from West Wing was on it. I feel like it's my job to watch and make sure they are successful in their new endeavors.


It wouldn't be confession without audience participation. What embarrassing things do you watch? You should tell me, because it is my birthday tomorrow. I'm 24.

8/6/10

oh captain my captain

"There are three kinds of teachers: Those who teach because they actively want to, those who teach because they like long summer vacations, and those who teach because they don't quite fit into the adult world."*


I wish it were that simple, and I wish I didn't identify with all three types.

There is a funny thing about teaching: Everybody seems to have an opinion on it, especially the everybodys who have never set foot in a classroom. I've seen no other profession more highly esteemed, and more ruthlessly mocked, than teaching. Especially public school teaching.

Consider every teacher in every movie or TV show you've ever seen. Movie/TV teachers fall into two categories: Messiah or Scum. John Keating (Dead Poets Society) or Ben Stein as the Economics teacher. (Bueller? Bueller?)

Freedom Writers or Clueless

Sure, the Messiah teachers start out rough. Someone plays a prank on them, or in the case of Mona Lisa Smile, already know all the answers. But fear not, by the end of the movie, the teacher has each and every student eating out of his or her hand. All in 90 minutes. If Julia Roberts can do it, what is wrong with you, Mr. Hall? (Hint: As if!)

And like Olympic Gymnastics, movie teachers make it look so easy.

Here's the truth: I actively want to be a teacher. I actively pursued being a teacher since I was 18, with a ferocity unusual for a regular person, let alone a person with "attention difficulties." I never changed my major, I never doubted. I actively want to be a teacher, except on the days I don't. Except on the days where I seriously contemplate getting "accidentally" pregnant so I have a socially acceptable reason to quit. I actively try to develop meaningful lessons, except on the day, when faced with a 62% failure rate, and three suspended students, I simply open the textbook and force my students to read. Silently. For an hour. I feel like I make a difference to my students, until they spend 30 minutes debating whether it's a zit or a hickey on my neck. **

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I love summer vacation.

I'd be lying if I told you I didn't find solace in my profession. Yes, solace from dealing with other adults, who are much more complex than teens. (Mostly because adults still act like teens, but pretend they don't.) There is a solace in shutting the door to your classroom, and knowing that for the next 87 minutes, you are the (hopefully benevolent) God of your own tiny world.

There is also a sense of terror when you realize that it is you, the 23 year old adult against 37 teens.


But none of that fits into 90 minutes, or 3 categories. Or in a three line quote. I can't hope for students who stand dramatically on their desks, calling out Oh Captain! My Captain! in an act of cinematic loyalty. All I can hope for is that they learn something. And don't accuse me of selling drugs. ***













*Quote and not-necessarily related article found HERE


** Zit.



**Actually, I do think there is one movie that accurately depicts what is like to be a teacher, and you're going to scoff when I tell you. It's Mean Girls. The scene where Tina Fey spills coffee all over herself, insults a minority student accidentally, but still manages to encourage girls to do math? Substitute coffee for diet coke, and girls with boys and math with poetry, and I've almost successfully fulfilled my fantasy of BEING Tina Fey.

8/4/10

The second dumbest argument I've ever heard, ever.*

"I hate it when teachers complain about low pay, they knew what they were getting into when they became teachers."



Not to be overly dramatic, or claim that the situations are the same....oh, to hell with it, let's be dramatic. It is the internet, after all.


But Rosa Parks knew what she was getting into when she sat down in the front of the bus.

Martin Luther knew what he was getting into when he nailed 95 Thesis to the door of the church.

Alice Paul knew what she was getting into when she picketed the White House during wartime.


As long as complaining leads to making the world a better place, I think we should keep doing it.

I'm a teacher, I knew what I was getting into, and you should pay me (and public education, in general,) more.















*If you know me, you know what I think the dumbest argument ever is, and you know I don't want to talk about it online, because it contradicts people with large followings of stupid people. Maybe another day.

8/2/10

i want to buy him a set of flaming batons.

If I had to use one word to describe my neighborhood, I'd probably go with "Pleasantville." If I had five words, I'd follow up with "When it's black and white."

Seriously, children swinging on rope swings in the front yard, my virgin-Mary Laurels doing service projects throughout the neighborhood, and charming elderly people walking tiny dogs.

No, it is not as exciting as living next to meth dealers (our first apartment,) or worrying about things getting stolen out of our cars, but it is nice.

And it means I'm totally comfortable going on evening walks, usually around 12:30 or 1:00 am. Which is when I discovered this:

Three streets down, a man wearing nothing but a wife-beater and boxer shorts plays rap music in his backyard. He stands in the corner of the yard, holding rainbow neon light-up baton things, which he swings in carefully orchestrated routines. Under the legs! Flip! Swish! Swivel! Sometimes, he sings along with the terribly offensive lyrics. Swing, "F*^& yeah!" Swish, "Rap lyrics rap lyrics rap lyrics!" Swivel! "Hell yeah!"

For the sake of blog accuracy, I just checked. He's out tonight, this time playing some form of techno.


I don't think he can see me, but I think out neighborhood just got a little more colorful. Frankly, I'm relieved.

8/1/10

I'm sensing a theme.

Person: So do you guys have kids yet?

Me: Nope. We do have two cats though!

Person: Well, that's not exactly the same, you know....

Me: Exactly!