"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Friday, March 25, 2011

funny or die

lately i have been having dreams that wake me up doing funny things. the other day i fell asleep on a plane and woke up whacking my hands against my leg, like i was clubbing an animal or something. the other night i woke up laughing at something i found hysterical.

last night i woke up from a dream in which i was getting ready to write a blog post ostensibly so hilarious, i found it necessary to pry open my laptop and, half-asleep, without my glasses, and in the dark, type myself this reminder for myself in the morning:

"by the end of his career, Rodney Dangerfield was as sophisticated as Lao Tzu himself"

in my dream, the blog post was going to look like this:

my reasoning, in the dream, was that the juxtaposition of the images would be so hilarious, it would be a hit on the interwebs. so, there you go.

Friday, March 18, 2011

bad teachers

i saw this conversation on my facebook feed the other day, when high school students around the country were planning walk-outs in support of teachers and workers in Wisconsin.

a little context first, before i completely tear this apart:
  1. Karen is one of my oldest friends. we've been friends since middle school (14 years!) and were best friends in middle school. then, starting in high school, we kinda drifted apart, and now we barely keep in touch. though in some respects i lament our weakened friendship (she was one of my closest confidants), in other respects i am grateful we grew apart, and can totally understand why and how it happened.
  2. Karen has always wanted, from as long ago as i can remember, to be an English teacher when she grew up. and now she is one. in our old school district. she, though, took the traditional student-teaching route (unlike my trial-by-fire, teaching in the trenches, going to night-school, TFA version) and has only recently started teaching her own students full-time in her own classroom (i think this is her second year of full-time teaching).
  3. i don't know any of these other people. but, i do know that they all live in Kentucky.

OK! begin rant:
this kind of mentality makes me SO ANGRY. first off, that a walkout in support of teachers would be considered an inconvenience and for that reason must be shut-down, demonized, and demeaned. and then, that others would be cheering on this authoritative disregard for students' voices and actions, as if teachers need to win some kind of battle against their students, as if succeeding in enforcing (and forcibly teaching) a deflationist, irrelevant, separatist curriculum is the best thing a teacher could do all day with their students. it's so teacher-centric and irrelevant and so MIND-NUMBINGLY BACKWARDS that it makes me want to raze a magnet school.

the mentality that guides these teachers' practice is one of simple-minded obeisance to "performance standards" and status quo and daily planners written in stone. these are terrible teachers. these are teachers who got into the profession to lord over children and manipulate them into performing daily meaningless rituals so they can feel better about themselves. these are the kinds of teachers who use "because i said so" as legitimate reasons to believe or do anything. these are teachers who see their students' natural curiosity as an annoyance to be quelled and stifled rather than nourished. these are the kinds of teachers i HATED in school and made me want to go into ed policy and teacher training.

it makes me so mad! it is a horrible time to be a teacher, what with all the public scrutiny that teachers have come under lately in light of the bill in Wisconsin, and with the cuts to government funding threatening to take away their jobs, their pensions, their benefits and their pay, and with increasing lack of appreciation for what teachers do, it's a wonder ANYONE still endeavors to undertake this difficult job. it is quite possibly the MOST difficult career AND the most necessary to our society. so, it greatly disheartens me, with all the sh*t that is already happening to the teachers from forces outside the profession, to see that some teachers would voluntarily (and self-congratulatorily!) demean and dismiss the importance of recent political activism. LADIES! if you're not going to join the revolution, at least stand aside and let it happen without you!

[ shakes head ]

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I STAND WITH WISCONSIN. and MI and FL and OH and ALL THE WORKERS ACROSS THE WORLD. give 'em hell today in Madison! we're all watching and hoping for a victory! may the revolutionary dams burst!!! the ppl united!

Friday, March 04, 2011

fatalism friday

sometimes other ppl have a way of reading my mind and putting it into better words than i possess. some snippets:

"Two years ago when [boyfriend] first moved in, there was something exciting about getting up in the morning. You would rise, dress, and, knowing your lover was asleep in your bed, drive out into the early morning office and factory traffic, feeling that you possessed all things, Your Man, like a Patsy Cline song, at home beneath your covers, pumping blood through your day like a heart."

"Someday, like everybody, this man you truly love like no other is going to die. No matter how much you love him, you cannot save him. No matter how much you love: nothing, no one, lasts."

"You want to help him, rescue him, build houses and magnificent lawns around him."

-from the short story "Amahl and the Night Visitors: A Guide to the Tenor of Love" by Lorrie Moore, from her book Self-Help (1985)

Thursday, March 03, 2011


first, some context: twitter is currently trending #McLobster.

for me, "McLobster" inspires a flood of love. and shortly after, the singe of regret.

McLobster image from here.

the image of a moist, creamy, curious McLobster, my mother ordering one at a McD's in Canada circa 1995 – curious about its flavor, always willing to try new things, unafraid of strangeness and conventional wisdom telling her otherwise, her love of finer things (lobster) combining with her thriftiness (for $4.99 Canadian) – she comes back with my father to the motel room where my brother and i lie exhausted on opposite beds, on top of the shiny slick duvets, our feet dangling over the edges, shoes still tied

conjures the thought of my mother, the agency of ordering this sandwich from Atlantic Canadians, her biting into it, in a purple motel room with dark wood panelling, clutching the McLobster in her tiny hands, her subsequent surprise and relish, how my brother and i, interest piqued, rose from our beds, crawled on hands and knees to kneel next to her on the edge of the bed, to take timid nibbles at the edge of her sandwich, as she held it out to us with her tiny hands

how her approval could inspire our curiosity and interest and lead us to devour not just one but multiple sandwiches stuffed with artificial shellfish

how our mother's curiosity and fearlessness i inherited as far as it came to food but regrettably little else

how this action provided a window into understanding my mother, allowed me to imagine her young and new and unsure but willing, making a life for herself with my father, wishing to raise children who would have opportunities she didn't have, slowly carving out a path and a life through small, brave decisions – how will this taste? will it be bitter? is the meat real? can we trust it? – and these little decisions form little steps into futures we hope will be better than yesterday – where do i go from here? what do i do? who do i want to be?

- - -
inspired by Lorrie Moore's "How To Talk To Your Mother (Notes)" from Self-Help (1985).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

back when "Walkman" meant something

my friend Kathee pointed this out to me and it was just too good not to share.

this compendium of pop music is really super fantastic. i mean, you know, it might not be everyone’s bag, but for me, well, let’s just say i’m a sucker for all things nostalgic (that should be the name of a blog...) it reminds me of middle school bus rides, field trips, and track practice. really awkward middle school dances and driving in the car with my mom when she still listened to “adult contemporary” (Kiss FM and Delilah anyone!?) and hadn’t discovered NPR yet. it reminds me of playing in the orchestra in my ghetto middle school and playing the piano part in “All My Life” – the only recognizable section of the song in a really poorly arranged transcription. and it reminds me of joking around in the dorm with my college roommates, playing all the “hits” and making up dance moves like we were in an endless sleepover party, when we should have been writing term papers. *sigh* good times. it reminds me that once, popular music was a way to connect to a wider scene and to have things in common to jam to. as middle schoolers, we never intellectualized stuff ("man, the bump in that part was greeeaat." "shit, phenomenal use of autotune! cheeky!") but it was just about what was catchy, what got stuck in yr head, what was worth sitting by the radio, cassette player in hand, in order to record and keep. back when we didn't have ipods and digital music and the internet and music was made precious by the radio – back when some songs were worth sitting thru the commercial breaks for! and, i’ll admit, i still secretly jam to at least 80% of this list when i’m alone and in need of some cheer.

another really great thing about this is how easy it makes it to realize how absolutely super shitty popular music has gotten. right around 08:00-09:00 (that minute represents a mix of good and bad) things start taking a turn for the worse. but then at about 09:07, when Britney Spears comes into the mix, things are derailed completely and can never be righted again (“Wild Wild West”, “Genie in a Bottle”, “Baillamos”??!!!! these are songs i couldn’t stand even when they were “hits." oh good lord.) until right around where Outkast and Eminem emerge, things are dark and bleak and i think that maybe i should stop listening, but after a while it becomes acceptable again (eventually it gets to Lady Gaga).

i can see why i turned to indie/alt. music and never went back.