Wednesday, January 31, 2007
not so pretty to think so
I have decent sized commute to and from work, and it affords me lots of time by myself every day to sit and think. Perhaps too much time. This week I've been mentally gathering a list of experiences I'd like to have before I die. I'm sure this is a list that most of us have brainstormed at one time or another in our lives, but some of the items on my list have become a bit...unorthodox. And since I can be fairly certain that none of these things will actually happen to me, I feel pretty safe discussing my fantasies. Three I've been tossing around are:

1. Insanity
I'm guessing that it would probably be terrible to actually be insane, but I'm still pretty sure I wouldn't mind trying it out nonetheless. The ground rules would have to be firm, however - I'd have to sane-up after 24 hours and I can't be allowed to do any permanent damage to myself or anyone else. For instance, pulling out my eyelashes and hair would be fine, but I'd prefer not to cut off any limbs or pull an Ophelia and drown myself in a river, you know?
The rationale?
I'm not sure. I guess I'm just curious what it would be like to completely lose my grip on reality, act bat-shit crazy and have complete immunity for what I say and do because, hey, she's nuts.
The biggest drawback?
I'm thinking that people who are actually crazy don't realize they're crazy, so the experience very well may be a total waste since I won't see anything odd in my behavior. I suppose I'll have to have the experience tape recorded for my later perusal.

2. Being stranded on a desert island
True, movies and television have certainly over-romanticized what this must actually be like, but I remain curious. Realistically, I know that this experience would probably be terrifying, lonely, and survival would be tremendously difficult at first, but I've always been one to believe I can pretty much do anything if I really want/need to.
The Rationale?
Mostly, I just want to see how good this Girl Scout drop out would be at surviving on her own.
The biggest drawback?
I have no idea how to make fire, which plants I can eat without poisoning myself, and my lack of spatial intelligence would most likely be a serious hindrance to my shelter-building ability. Plus, have you seen me? My skin is so pale I'm practically translucent. I imagine skin cancer would claim me before starvation.

3. Being chased by a roving gang of zombies
Again, I'm sure that Hollywood has made being hunted by zombies look much easier and more enjoyable than it would actually be, but I think I've done enough research to hold my own for a while. After all, how hard can it really be to outwit a zombie?
The Rationale?
Despite the fact that I've never even held a gun or had to participate in hand-to-hand combat with anything living or undead, I still imagine I'd be fairly good at it. Plus, it would make for some great stories to delight the grandchildren with.
The biggest drawback?
I'd probably be the chick who's trying to run away in heels so she trips, falls and gets eaten, and I'm pretty sure being eaten would put a serious damper on the whole experience.

So, there's your peek inside my mind at 6am. Scary, eh? Perhaps I should start listening to NPR or audio books or something...

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Monday, January 29, 2007
feeling ranty
It's Monday. I'm cranky. I'm ranty. I'm about to go off on three things that are contributing to the black cloud of crank that's formed above my head and, sorry, but you are going to listen to me and you are going to like it.

#1: Cords

Seriously, it's 2007. This is supposed to be the future. We're supposed to have hover crafts, take our food in vitamin form, have our own personal robotic servant and absolutely nothing should need a cord of any kind. Yet, here I am, fumbling to untangle knots, discern what plugs into what and where, and trying to hide the whole unsightly mess like a freakin' caveman. Err, cavewoman. Whatever. I hate cords. Word.

#2: My Hair
I got another rare haircut this weekend and I hate, hate, hate it. Yes, I suppose the current state of my hair is partially my own fault. I'm cheap and lazy and suffer from delusions of grandeur so I tried to give myself another haircut with disastrous results, and I'm sure the hairdresser probably had quite a time cleaning up the mess that I made, but still. They're called layers, lady - read a book. She did NOT need to cut my hair so short that it meets up with the shortest layer, and she SHOULD have added some layers in there somewhere. So now I'm deformed and it's all her fault. Jerk.

#3: Skinny Christina Ricci
I joined in with about 95% of the homosexual male population who absolutely loved you for your voluptuousness, indie cred and general good choices in film roles during the late 90's. You were adorable in Buffalo '66, bitingly awesome in The Opposite of Sex, and an unexpected treat in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And then you got skinny, and along with the pounds you apparently also lost your taste and dignity. Cursed was awful, and I'm sure that there are some people who are interested in seeing your 95 pound frame chained up and writhing on the floor in Black Snake Moan, but I ain't one of them. Do me a favor - go on a milkshake diet, get your head straight and let's be friends again, 'kay? 'Cause I miss you, sunshine.

In short, just give me my robot servant and I can deal with the rest.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007
i've got it. at least i think so. for now, anyway.
I've never really been much of a Ernest Hemingway fan, but one of my favorite literary moments of all time comes from the final scene of The Sun Also Rises. Brett and Jake have tried and failed innumerable times to be together, and yet one last time she looks into his eyes and laments that they "could have had such a damned good time together." Jake, ever the pessimist, looks at her and says one of the best lines in American Literature: "Yes. Isn't it pretty to think so?"

I've always loved this quote. In fact, it's been written on a post-it note on my computer at work on and off for over two years. Every now and then dust will get on the sticky strip of the paper and the note will come falling down, but I'll eventually write it down again and stick it back up. I don't know why I keep replacing it, but I do. I just like it. And when I think about it, it sort of fits who I am perfectly - hopelessly romantic, yet thoroughly pragmatic - wanting to be optimistic yet frustratingly grounded in reality.

And so this is why I've decided on this line for my new blog title. True, they're still someone else's words, but at least these words are a better fit for me. Plus, like my URL (which I've decided not to change since I can't bear the thought of losing over a year's worth of posts, even if only a handful of them were any good) it's still a literary reference so it won't clash too much, which was a concern.

So there it is, my new blog title. (At least until I decide to change it again. So fickle.)


Saturday, January 27, 2007
feedback requested
So here's what's on my mind grapes.

I'm thinking about changing my blog's name. I put little to no effort in naming my blog when I first birthed it and I've been regretting that pretty much ever since. I've never liked the name and it doesn't reflect me or the content of the blog at all, but I'm wondering how odd it would be to change a blog's title after it's been running for over a year. So, what do you think? Would it be strange to change the title at this point?

Of course, I have absolutely no idea what I'd change the name to.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
twelve things i'm afraid of (the last three courtesy of Scott Smith's The Ruins)
1. Deep space
2. Deep ocean
3. Sleeping on the bottom bunk bed and being suddenly crushed by the top bunk
4. Ferrets
5. The guy at the gym with the abnormally large forehead who likes to try to make prolonged eye contact with me while I'm running
6. Skin cancer
7. Newark, New Jersey
8. Carnival workers
9. Centipedes
10. Mexico
11. Mayans
12. Foliage

books: 2 down, 22 to go - the ruins
Okay, so here's the real post.

Since approximately 25% of my readership has already completed The Ruins I'll keep this one short. I'd cite a passage to "hook" you, but I couldn't really find one that wasn't in danger of spoiling something for those who haven't read it yet. Basically, it's about a bunch of young fools vacationing in Mexico who, due to their naive sense of adventure, a fierce language barrier, and evolution run amok, find themselves in a world of nature-based hurt. (Sort of like my day trip to Morocco when a carpet salesman tried to convince Nathan to take the "Berber discount," which meant he could make a trade: me for a Persian rug. Okay, it's nothing like that at all, but it's a good story nonetheless.)

So anyway, back to The Ruins. It's good. Disgusting and disturbing, but good. You should read it. (Perhaps not while eating, however.)

Up next (and on the strong recommendation of no fewer than three fifteen-year-old girls): My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
grammar, a slight revision
I was about 10 minutes into an argument with my 6th hour yesterday regarding whether or not knowledge of how to use an apostrophe correctly was requisite to their general happiness and success in life when it happened,

I broke.
They had worn me down.
I had ceased to care.

For the record I'm not supposed to be teaching remedial writing, yet 30% of my freshman tested below the minimum standard in writing last year so I am apparently remediating nonetheless. Understandably, writing has been a bit of a sensitive issue this year and where I am usually finding myself annoyed with subject/verb agreement errors, this year I'm doing cartwheels if a paper is turned in with only a handful of fragments and run-on sentences. I spent the majority of my previous weekend stumbling through 70 of some of the most poorly-written essays I've ever collected, and as a consequence I guess I just didn't have the emotional strength to fight for the apostrophe anymore. (Sorry little punctuation. Rest in peace.)

It was at that moment when it occurred to me that if I just accepted some of the grammar and spelling rules most of my students have already adopted not only would I be a happier person, but I'd also be a better teacher because my students would be instantly transformed into better writers. And so I'm giving in. To celebrate my defeat, I've created a small list of some revisions I'm planning to petition to the MLA committee - wherever they may be. Please take a quick sec to look them over, and do let me know if there's anything you think I may have missed.

Rule #1: Apostrophes are dumb should be eradicated.
Context clues are sufficient to discern between plural and possessive nouns, silly.

Rule #2: Parts of speech are irrelevant since any noun can be turned into a verb and vice-versa.
It's quite easy, you see. For instance, see how easily the noun "injustice" can become "injusticize," and "prejudice" can become "prejudized." And if pesky spell check pops up, just hit "add word" and poof! You're Shakespeare, creating your own words and stuff!
(Actually, this is a rule I've already sort of embraced. My frequent use of the words "assemblage," "fuckwit," "skeptimistic" are proof enough.)

Rule #3: Commas are awesome and, should be used, as frequently as, possib,le.

Rule #4: Like apostrophes, homonyms are equally dumb so let's not fret over them anymore, okay?
Instead of spelling them differently (which can be terribly confusing) let's just combine all spellings into one franken-word. Let "there/their/they're" become "ther." Let "weather/whether" become "wheather." Let "to/two/too" become "twoo." The English language has twoo many words as it is.

So, Ill bee writing the, proposal, sometime this week. Just, let me know if ther r any, rulez of ur own ud like me twoo, add and Id bee happy twoo do, so.

(Judge me if you must, but I'm so tired. So very very tired.)

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Monday, January 22, 2007
haiku of the we..oh, let's be honest. haiku of the season
Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, but not so for me and here's why. I saw HIM today - my favorite denizen of our strange little neighborhood - The Drumming Man!

Without fail, whenever I see The Drumming Man, giant headphones cradling his ears and drumsticks gripped in tight fists, I can be absolutely certain that no matter what unpleasantness I have encountered so far in my day things are bound to make a turn for the better. To his credit, The Drumming Man has found a way to merge two of his favorite hobbies - drumming and speed walking - into one glorious activity. Of course I have no idea who he's listening to through those giant headphones, but I like to imagine it's Keith Moon or Neil Peart or someone equally badass. While he listens he walks as fast as he can, a giant smile smeared across his face, eyes half closed and drumsticks pounding on imaginary cymbals and snares. I'm doing my best to describe it but, alas, mere words aren't enough. He truly must be witnessed to be appreciated.

I had feared that he had gone into hibernation for the winter since he is typically found traversing my neighborhood sidewalks in more temperate weather, but apparently a little cold and ice aren't enough to keep him from braving the elements. After all, there's drumming to do.

And since I love him so much, I've immortalized him in seventeen syllables. Enjoy.

Rock it, Drumming Man.
Your rhythmic hold o'er my heart,
no snow can release.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007
sunday morning at my house (or, my husband can be a very goofy man): a play in one act
N: (Sigh) I have a very busy day today.

Me: You do?

N: Oh yeah. I have to rent the outdoor wood burning stove, build the fire pit...

Me: What?! What are you doing all that for?

N: For the pig roast.

Me: What pig roast?!

N: The pig roast we're having today.

Me: Since when are we having a pig roast?

N: Since forever.

Me: Are people coming?

N: Oh yeah, everyone's coming. Kevin's even flying in from DC.

Me: when were you planning on telling me about this big event?

N: You knew about it. Besides, how did you miss seeing the pig in the backyard?

Me: What pig in the backyard?

N: It's been there for a week; I don't see how you possibly could have missed seeing it. I have to kill it today.

Me: (short pause) Nathan, we're not having a pig roast today.

N: Then what did I buy the pig for?!?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007
on a lighter note
There were approximately fifteen minutes left before the bell was due to ring, signaling the end of the school day. For a change, the students were silent and absorbed in their work as all 28 of them struggled to finish a peer edit of one of their classmate's final exam essays before class ended. I was at my own desk,taking advantage of a rare moment when no one seemed to need my immediate assistance and was attempting to make a dent in my own endless pile of papers. Kenny, who is perhaps the most challenging student I've ever encountered in my six years of teaching, was sitting no more than seven feet from me at his own desk. Per usual, he had not written his own essay, but was feeling generous and had volunteered to edit someone else's anyway. Kenny has been out of school on suspensions for at least twenty days so far this year and, although he shows glimmers of being terribly bright, he has at best managed to attain a 25% in English due to a combination of his poor work ethic, absences, and seeming inability to complete a task. In the last few minutes of the day, it was Kenny's voice that broke the stillness in the room as he raised his head and posed a question to me, his face wearing an expression that I can only assume was feigned seriousness.

"Mrs. W, am I your best student?"

27 curious headed looked up from their work and over at him, then bounced over to me, awaiting my response. Without pausing to think and wearing an expression that I hope was kind, I answered him.

"Oh honey. No. No you're not."

Satisfied, Kenny nodded, and 29 heads bowed down as all attentions were returned once again to our individual tasks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
There was a pretty treacherous ice storm here this past weekend, and as a result of the icy conditions a former student of mine was killed in an automobile accident. He sat in my classroom for a full year as a freshman, doing very little other than smiling and reassuring me that one of these days he'd get his act together and pass a class. I didn't keep track of him after he left my room, but he had apparently made good on his promise. He left the traditional high school and was making strides in the alternative school, earning credit and preparing to get his diploma in the spring. Perhaps he wasn't going to be a lawyer or a doctor or a college professor, but he was kind and good and was going to be something. Instead, his funeral was today and I suppose I should have attended but I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to see an seventeen-year-old kid - someone who may not have been a very good student but who was more than his report card or his discipline record, and who certainly deserved a hell of a lot more than to be plowed down in the middle of a dark, ice-coated country road while he was on the way to comfort a friend - now lying dead in a suit he probably would have never worn otherwise.

I thought about these things as I was driving home today, and as I passed the same roads he traveled - trees and signs and houses still encased in a thick layer of ice - the sun began to peak through. It illuminated the frozen landscape and made the entire scene explode with the purest, most beautiful, crystalline light. It struck me how something so absurdly beautiful could also be so deadly, having ended one life and ruined another. But there can still be beauty I suppose, even in the most treacherous things.

Monday, January 15, 2007
sorry, no. my blog won't help you write your paper on e e cummings and there aren't any dirty pictures. again, sorry.
For those readers who aren't bloggers (shut up. there's a few of them out there.) you may not be aware that I have installed a site meter, which can be found at the veeeeeeeeeery bottom of the screen. I like it mostly because it helps quell the paranoia that no stray student/board member/administrator has found my secret Internet life. An added bonus is that I can see how many people are reading and how they are finding my site. The vast majority of people who find me through Google searches appear to be looking for help analyzing the poetry of e e cummings, so I suppose most happenstance visitors are disappointed in my little blog. (Um, sorry misled googler! You might want to stick around though. It's not all that terrible here, really!) Anyway, about once every other day someone finds my blog through some odd Google search that I find quite amusing. This week I managed to remember to write a few down with the thought that others might find them amusing too. Here the seven best of this last week:

  • gang paintball attack in neighborhoods
  • Huxley and childlike qualities
  • pictures of self-made gun silencers
  • peaking thong*
  • old time christian living
  • pillow humping**
  • naked mother webcam
* This one truly stumped me since I honestly can't remember ever writing about any type of underwear at all, let alone thong underwear. Yet somehow if you enter this phrase, my site comes up. Fascinating.

**This one has come up quite frequently and frankly, I'm pretty surprised at how many people do
Google searches for "pillow humping." Apparently there's a fairly decent section of society that is in need of advice on this particular subject matter. Who knew?


books: 1 down, 23 to go - a long way down
In keeping with my New Year's resolution, I have just finished reading my first book of the year which was A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby, a novel about four people who happen to meet at the top of a building with the same suicidal intentions of jumping off. It was alright, I guess. Better than How to Be Good but not as good as About a Boy, and I haven't read High Fidelity so I can't really speak of that. Leave it to Nick Hornby to write a book about four suicidal people and still manage to insert plenty of musical references and somehow make it funny too. Take, for instance, this passage. The failed suicide jumpers have formed a little group therapy gang, and JJ (the frustrated, washed-up musician) decided that it would make sense to introduce the other three to the music of Nick Drake. Frustrated that they are less than receptive to Drake's melancholy, he goes on a "music rage":
I wondered whether it would be possible to punch both of them out simultaneously, but rejected the idea on the grounds that it would all be over too quickly and there wouldn't be enough pain involved... It's music rage, which is like road rage, only more righteous. When you get road rage, a tiny part of you knows you're being a jerk, but when you get music rage, you're carrying out the will of God, and God wants these people dead.
I can relate. It's kind of like when I was sixteen-years-old and my best friend ridiculed me for liking Cracker when her favorite band was Brooks and Dunn. I even let her teach me how to line dance the "Boot-Scootin' Boogie" because I was trying to placate her like a good friend would do. I think it took incredible control on my part not to claw her eyes out when her no-taste ass called my musical taste "weird" and. Of course, neither one of us were trying to use music as a means of avoiding giving in to our suicidal tendancies, so maybe I call only relate a little.

So overall, I enjoyed it enough while I was reading it, but whenever I put it down I never really felt compelled to pick it back up again, you know? I'd give it 6.5 out of 10.

Up next: The Ruins, by Scott Smith

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Saturday, January 13, 2007
my husband, on the subject of frozen garlic bread
It's terrible, isn't it. See, this is what happens when you buy bread that wasn't made in Muskegon.

(And since I later choked on it, I suppose he might be right.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007
hell is a starbucks. or other people. i don't know - whatever sartre said.
The weather has finally turned frigiddy, and although I spent the first eleven days of January fretting about the unnatural warmth I’m not very happy with the cold either, mostly because I can’t find my gloves and I have to start wearing socks again. Not that freezing temperatures have stopped me from heading out coatless and shorts-clad to the gym, however. I could change my clothes when I’m there I suppose, but I have a completely illogical but very resolute resistance to using lockers and padlocks, so I don’t. I instead choose to dress for sixty degree weather and run as fast as I can from my car to the building (because I’m awesome).

So, because I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I could justify the empty calories due to having just ran three miles, and I was absolutely freezing I made a rare stop at Starbucks yesterday. I’m aware that this may not be particularly interesting, however I am doing something called ESTABLISHING SETTING, so a little background information is necessary. Sorry.

Anyway, I was standing at the counter waiting for my frappa-cappa-mocha-latte-whatever, trying to avoid eye contact with the barista due to my dread of making small talk with strangers and suddenly feeling very aware of how sweaty and disgusting my hair was, when an fifty-something, matronly looking woman queued up behind me. I did what I normally do – looked over at her, gave a weak grin and then quickly looked away so as not to be engaged in any forced pleasantries about the weather and other such things. Of course, since I was so focused on avoiding it, she started in with general statements about the weather and other such things. Ugh.

She started telling me how relieved she was that the weather had turned cold (I agreed) and bemoaning how freezing her hands were (I said mine were too), then, as if I might not have believed her, she took off her glove and put her hand, which was quite frigid indeed, flat on my right cheek so could feel it for myself. It lingered there for a bit too long, and I started mentally willing the barista to hurryitupalready so I could take my frappa-cappa-mocha-latte-whatever and run through the twenty degree air to my car. It seems that my telepathy skills are a bit rusty, however, because it wasn’t working. I had apparently ordered the most complex beverage on the planet and was being punished for it. Severely.

And if placing her hand lovingly on my cheek wasn’t enough to establish that it was freaking cold out, she then grabbed my hand as if to check that I hadn’t been lying when I said that my own hands were cold. At this point I could feel my eyes darting desperately to the barista, but it was no use. I was trapped in my own version of No Exit and this particular interpretation just happened to be set in a Starbucks (which, I suppose, isn’t all that different from an existential hell). Apparently satisfied that I hadn’t been lying about my cold hands, she let go and then, miraculously, my drink appeared on the counter and I was free. I did not say goodbye, and I did not look back.

And so you see, this is why I don’t like engaging in small talk with strangers.

(Perhaps it’s also why I should try a bit harder to find my gloves.)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007
the sky is green (and other pearls of wisdom i harvested whilst sitting through a day-long training session on standardized testing)
And I quote:

Ignore details.

Don't waste time reading directions.

The answer may not be right, but it doesn't matter.

If ACT says the sky is green, than the sky is green. Even if the kid knows it's blue and everyone else knows it too, on that day the sky is green.

There are seven levels, but the first level is three.

Wow! I get to miss all kinds of questions and still be average!

You don't have to actually know the answer to get it right.

I teach my kids to "keep it simple, shorty." We call it KISS, and after introducing them to it I really like for them to try KISS as often as possible. It's the only thing I've taught them all year that they remember.

I like to give my students a grade just for answering a question.

Don't be afraid to pick it.

There's no "I" in ACT.


Monday, January 08, 2007
add "4-month-old toy poodles" to the list of things my dog fears


Saturday, January 06, 2007
graffiti in the city
I spent the day in Detroit today to get some shots for a photography project I've been putting off, and although graffiti shots weren't on the agenda, I saw some pretty cool stuff, so here it is:
I can't count the number a times I've had discussions on the placement of a lamp. Three, at least.

We found Mr. Robot here pretty high up on the Michigan Train Station, which I imagine must have been a pretty dangerous undertaking for the artist.

Mother Theresa was found on the side of a dumpster. Perhaps she shouldn't, but she scares me a bit, especially the way my flash is hitting her right eye.

The last two were found by the train tracks near Eastern Market. That area was a gold-mine for graffiti and abandoned sofas, if you ever find yourself needing either one.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007
breaking, wizard-related news
I sort of made an unspoken promise that I'd stop talking about students in a public forum since I often feel racked with guilt afterwards, but I just can't help myself today. There's someone I want you to meet.

In order to have some semblance of anonymity, I'll call him Elliott. I think Elliott is a pretty cool kid. I think this for the following reasons: he likes striped wool sweaters, prog rock, and he's the only kid in the room who understood what I meant when I likened postmodern literature to Eraserhead.

(And for the record, it's not that any of these things are prerequisites for me to like you, but it does help.)

Anyway, Elliott happens to also be obsessed with pirates. I admit that I don't really share in or understand his infatuation, but I do find it interesting when a 16-year-old high school kid has the balls to wear a large, stuffed parrot on his shoulder for an entire week for no other reason than because he likes pirates. He even wrote an essay on pirates, the thesis of which was that pirates were far superior to ninjas. As far as I know, he was never assigned to write this particular essay, however he did ask me to proofread it for him. Although I'm not sure that I support his thesis, the essay itself wasn't bad.

Well, as it so happens, Elliott is no longer obsessed with pirates. Apparently he's moved on to wizards, although his interest in them appears to be more of the "how to fell them" variety rather than admiration.

The subject came up today when the power in my school building (and in the entire city, in fact) suddenly and unexpectedly went off. My kids were nearing the end of taking a timed writing test, so the mood was a bit tense. When the power failed, there was perhaps ten seconds or so of confused yet curious silence when Elliott broke that silence with a quiet question -

"Is your door wizard-proof?"

I responded that I didn't believe that it was. He then asked if I had any wizard-related literature on my bookshelf. I admitted that I did have several Harry Potter books in there, if that made a difference. To this, his face turned ashen and his mouth fell agape. I was then informed by one of his prog-rock buddies that today there was a red alert on the wizard threat advisory, so the power-outing culprit was clearly evident.

Huh. How was I to know? No one bothered to tell me that wizard-related crimes has reached such dangerous levels that a terror alert system has been imposed. Turns out that the wizard meant no real malice. The students were dismissed, the power came back on shortly after, and I was allowed to use the rest of the day to catch up on grading papers, so frankly, if this is what wizards do, I say bring them on.

So anyway, that's Elliott. Just thought you might like to meet him is all.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007
things that i apparently say a lot when i'm teaching, but don't really notice until i take two weeks off and then start up again:

Okay everyone, shut up now please.


Self control, (insert name).

What a odd choice you just made.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007
the one woman book club: the series
Happy New Years to my few yet faithful readers. I suppose that this is the time when we're all supposed to be reflecting on the past year and coming up with a list of things under "self-improvement goals" and claiming them as our resolutions for the new year. Now, I'm not usually one to make New Year's resolutions (Because I'm lazy. not because I don't have anything to improve upon. Believe me, that list is lengthly.) but there is one thing that I've resolved to amend in 2007 and that's my reading habits. When I sat down to compose my recent "year in review post" I took a little inventory on the number of books that I read to completion this year, and I was a bit ashamed of myself. Since only 32% of adults report to read books every day, my poor reading habit apparently puts me in with the majority of Americans, but that's not exactly the group I'd like to associate myself with so I'm vowing to change that. Originally, I toyed with the idea of setting the goal of reading one book a week, but quickly abandoned it since that's a goal that I fear I won't be able to reach. I also figured that one book per month wasn't really much to brag about, so I'm currently aiming for two per month. I figured that to keep myself honest, I'd incorporate it into the blog somehow by doing quick little book reviews or something - otherwise I fear that this hobby might be abandoned along with past goals of learning to drive a stick shift, learning to play chess, and teaching myself to play the guitar. So, I guess the reason that I'm boring you with all this is because you should be expecting a bi-weekly "what I'm reading" post series from me. Please be kind with my selections - I'm fully aware that people will judge me based on what I choose to read and also based on what I haven't already read - but I promise to always be honest. If I decide to read Little Girl Lost, for example, I'm not going to lie and say I read Great Expectations or something. I also know that there are several of you out there who are much better versed in the contemporary literary scene, so suggestions for what I should read next will always be welcomely received.

My first selection of the year will be Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down, the premise of which is that four strangers unexpectedly meet on the top of a fifteen story London building on New Year's Eve, all with the same suicidal intentions. I'm hoping they don't jump.