Sunday, November 13, 2011

Real-life in the movies

(Alternate title to this blog entry: My Brain Takes an Intellectual Dump After Watching 27 Horror Movies in October, then Overcompensating with Documentaries and Dramas)
Two years ago I happened upon the documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America in my local video rental store (before it closed down). I didn't rent it at the time but watched it for free online (feeding the monster that closed down the rental store in the first place). Later on I rented Crips and Bloods from Netflix (that monster's fattening up real good) to show to students and begin a discussion about gang mentality and its long-term effects. The film itself is filled with amazing, insightful quotes and observations about oppression, discrimination, and the extent the mainstream press will go to create an illusion of safety for the general public living in the 'burbs away from all the "trouble."

Working at a school where wearing solid reds or blues violates the dress code, and working with youth that, for the most part, lack a perspective of the history of the gangs of which they are a part (or that they fear -- in the abstract, everyday, etc.) opened up a lot of doors for communication. I didn't document everything that was said but I remember they made very acute observations and that some connected the intellectual dots that lay before them, when they might not have been encouraged to before.

I'd recommend anyone and everyone watch Crips and Bloods. Yes, it was heart-breaking, but it was also a hard-hitting and exposing of a reality that a whole helluva lot of people aren't exposed to either out of privilege or due to location. Although I spent seven or eight years of my childhood living in the vicinity of a maximum-security prison, there was never the threat of violence or danger. (Just ignorant "rednecks.")
I'm not promising any answers about where gang violence originates, I've just been slowly watching more movies that confront it through the eyes of African-American youth, particularly boys. Earlier this year I watched, and re-watched Boyz N The Hood with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ice Cube. It was the perfect film to accompany Crips and Bloods.
This past weekend I had the chance to see Fresh, another amazing film about a 12 year-old boy (amazing acting done by Sean Nelson) doing what he needs to survive living in the projects of Brooklyn.

A Wiki listing of 'hood films is here, and I feel compelled to stock up my queue knowing full well that not all of them will deliver as Fresh did, or represent the demographic in the same light as Boyz, but it's worth it to look. Although each of these movies I've seen has broadened my perspective and knowledge of living in a world of gangs/drugs/other shit, I can't help but feel like I'm "studying" this subject of humanity as if a student enrolled in a classroom, keeping myself at an appropriate distance from the location and population I'm "researching."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to move to a poverty-stricken neighborhood in hopes of conducting an anthropological ethnography -- but I also don't plan on merely watching movies to educate myself. I feel lucky to work in a setting where I can engage in powerful, sometimes painful one-on-one conversations with teens about their past experiences or the present fears. Not every child is living this tough life, but the overall feeling of allowing youth to voice their opinions when they are not always able to is gratifying.

If ever there was a moment when I had to abandon my college career in math, I think I would have fallen back either on Spanish studies or cultural anthropology. Spanish is pretty easy for me (at least I don't have to overly exert myself), but Anthro involves a lot of critical thinking and connecting these dots, putting yourself in another's shoes (they call that "cultural relativism").

What further inspired me towards working class struggles was reading The Broken Fountain by Thomas Belmonte. It was required reading, and, in addition to monthly protests against state university fee hikes and the military presence at career fairs (mandated by the Solomon Amendment), The Broken Fountain was a perfect stepping stone towards my out-of-classroom education on the ins and outs of class war.

Later on I accumulated Resistance Behind Bars,

How Nonviolence Protects the State (download as .pdf here),

and several articles from Bitch Magazine
The article entitled, "I'm not a feminist, but. . ." is amazing.

(especially one analyzing the class disparity between vampires/elite and werewolves/lower-class in popular culture), among others.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October's Over -- Freakin' Finally!

Just kidding -- I wish it could've lasted forever!

For the first time I participated in Horrorthon, a blog put together by one of my favorite people and many of his favorite people. You watch horror movies during the month of October, post reviews, then read and comment on others' reviews. Sounds pretty freakin' sweet. Except I became really behind in work, and in the middle of moving from one tiny room to the next.

Here are my posted reviews thus far:
1. Insidious
2. Suspiria
3. Troll Hunter
4. She-Wolf of London
5. Rosemary's Baby
6. Amusement
7. I Saw The Devil
8. The Birds
9. 13 Hours in a Warehouse
10. Blood Harvest
11. The Tomb of Ligeia

Not a review but a summary of Zombie Prom 2011!

There's about, oh, 16 more to write! I'm pretty damn proud of myself for making it this far on a first year's run. Maybe that number will double next year??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"You're going to be a helluva ______ someday."

I remember once a long time ago I was up for 18+ hours moving crap from one apartment unit to two doors down. My then-roommate and I had had our ceiling cave in from all the recent downpour. There were few moments during that day-and-a-half stretch where I stopped to think. I was always moving, moving, moving. Hauling, hauling, hauling. I recall little of what my then-roommate did but that doesn't mean that she did nothing. I remember making sure everyone was comfortable, making sure that everything was taken care of, everything was put back in place in the new unit as it was in the old one (they were cookie-cutter apartments; one looking exactly like the last).

I remember making sure that everyone had enough to eat.

I've always made sure that everyone is comfortable.

I also remember never wondering when it'd be over. I was just moving, moving, moving. My head would turn but it would be hours before I felt the impact of the wind on my face. Hours before feeling dizzy from the dance of Lifting Heavy Shit, transitioning to Where Did That Go Before?, finishing with a triple-dose of Whatever Happened To My ____?

After the ordeal was over I was carried up to my room. Told to rest. My new room looked exactly like the old one and was arranged as such. Bed in the corner, closet in the opposite wall. Nobody asked me if I was comfortable, if I needed anything, but I remember being content at the very most.

After the ordeal was over I remember cooking breakfast for two. I don't remember if it was scrambled eggs or cereal. I just remember saying that I was tired, and hearing a response that – for better or worse – still echoes in my brain:

“You're going to be a helluva mother someday.”

That was almost six years ago. Every now and again I think back to that quote with pride. I think back to those words that came from kindness and I feel foolish for being offended. At the time I didn't understand how someone could view me solely as a baby-making machine, producing little people and running (or waddling) around making sure everyone was fed and comfortable and taken care of. I had no maternal instinct at 21. You say you fell down? It ain't the end of the world. You want a candy bar instead of a lollipop? Fuck off.

Needless to say I feel different now, but only by about 80%. It's still in my instincts to react in the ways mentioned above, but I feel more of a need to protect. Keep safe from physical and emotional dangers. Project my prospects and hopes and dreams in the young 'uns for whom I see so much potential, not to mention that I see them everyday. I can't exactly tell them that if they don't do x-y-z they'll end up like me because I think I'm a damn good role model. I'd like to think that, in the event of procreating mini C-Maths, that they'd be just as creative and thoughtful and passionate as I'd ever hoped myself to turn out with every shred of my being. All the while being well-looked after, advocated for, and comfortable.

. . . Or maybe I'm just losing my edge.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Mental Block

This is meant as an addendum[b] to my previous post. As of late I've been feeling sluggish and not able to copy & paste my thoughts from my brain to words in paper/blog form. Whether it was a result of working too much or a brain-fart of epic proportions, I'll never know.

What I DO know is that I've found temporary reassurance in my writing abilities as a new contributor to the Horrorthon blog. Thus far in the month I've seen & reviewed Insidious and Suspiria.

I can already see that contributing to Horrorthon combines two things that I've always cherished: being opinionated and watching movies. Also when I was young I envied Roger Ebert (actually I still kinda do).

Who still wants to be a teacher?

"Ms. Crystal, do teachers really get fired if their students do bad on the CST*?"


Why, yes, that's a harsh reality that many teachers knowingly face every day. Sometimes I wonder, with all the bureaucracy and paperwork, long hours and loopholes we've got to jump through each day, with the added pressure of pleasing parents and terrible 'tweenaged young people -- who still wants to be a teacher?

*cst = California Standards Test, also known as the STAR test, also known as that document that you bubble in your answers.

I've been thinking quite a bit about how teaching affects or re-wires one's brain. What would a picture of my brain look like when I graduated college? What would it look like now? When I was taking those classes and interacting with people, challenging myself to further my own education, I felt like I could stretch my brain every which way, late into the night, in philosophical meanderings with like-minded folks. Now I need to forcibly separate myself from my gradebook, the textbooks from which I teach, and my email account filled with work-related topics and questions from eager students, and sometimes I find it hard to find the multi-syllabic words needed to convey my feelings about an issue.

For one, as a teacher you MUST adapt quickly to a new set of parameters each day. At least in my situation, during my first year it felt like every day brought a new set of rules and restrictions about what we could or couldn't do. One day a teacher would be out and my prep time would be sacrificed in order to cover for them; during lunch a student comes in asking for help, or consolation, both of which I immediately comply. I know it sounds cheesy but I get a lot of gratification in knowing that my words and anecdotes of struggle and success help a kid get through the next few hours. Or days. Or weeks. Or maybe not at all.

Time spent at home during which I am usually journal writing, drawing, or sketching potential knitting & sewing designs is now spent in sloth, sprawled on my bed watching television shows that I haven't decided if I give a crap about them or not.

Today I took a day off after waking up congested, weary, and sick -- but in a very strange way it was a great feeling to take something for myself after so many weeks of doing stuff for other people. I'm not griping about all the tests I've graded or the delicious foods I've prepared with others; I'm just saying it's one of the most difficult things for me to admit that I need to give myself a break.

It's even more difficult to take that break. :-P

Obama recently gave a Back to School Speech -- and of course I'm going to look at it critically. Four years ago I remember hearing about people protesting what seemed like every weekend in Sacramento for educational rights. I remember teachers, operating under a Republican government and agenda, fought more and with the general public than when Obama was first elected. I'm not 100% anti-Obama; in fact, I hate to admit to being 100% anti-anything (with the exception of a few things) but it is worthwhile to make the observation that the people will fight more and will fight harder for their rights under a system that they disagree with on a superficial level than a system that they agree with on a superficial level.

What the hell am I trying to say?

I'm trying to say that neither political side is going to give the public what they want because politicians are too busy trying to please everyone; and in doing so, they do not please everybody. No matter how many times I hear Obama elicit chants of Si se puede, it doesn't make this proud half-Latina support him because he is not taking care of the teachers (even though he was a teacher). No matter how many times I hear about John McCain's support for the US troops, it doesn't make me want to support him because he's not taking care of veterans (even though he was a prisoner of war and most likely suffers from PTSD).

My primary issue with a lot of politicians is that they don't put themselves out there. Sure, occasionally you get someone like Dennis Kucinich who IS a part of a mainstream political party and DOES push a "radical" agenda (like searching for alternate energy and halting overseas wars). He's one of my few heroes that's recognized on a national level. Cali governor Jerry Brown is another one -- if only because he gives it to us straight-up, no bullcrap.

In reading Obama's Education Speech I find myself coming across too many cliches to scribble down.
"We've accepted failure for far too long."
"Enough is enough."
"The time for holding ourselves accountable is here."

. . . I'm sorry if anybody reading my blog is a passionate Obama supporter, but if I were your teacher and I kept telling you that the time for change is now, after you've seen so many before me give the same song-and-dance, would you have -- dare I say it -- hope?

Class, it's time I expected more from you. It's time to demand results from [you] at every level. It's time to prepare [everyone] to out-compete any worker, any where in the world. My classroom's entire education system must be the envy of the world -- and that's exactly what I intend to do.

As plain words on a blog it doesn't seem to say much; said in a speech I'm certain it appears to hold a lot of weight. I do like what he's got to say about making education a "collective responsibility," but again, it's not a new idea.

The two main headlines I see prominently discussed are Education and the Economy. So which E do you think is more important? Will bailing one out help solve the other?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

follicle phallacies: me & my hair

My hair means a lot to me. I have gotten a lot of compliments for its style, shininess (that's such an awkward word), and color. On a few occasions, I've even gotten compliments on my eyebrow-grooming capabilities.

But my hair is more than just an accessory of vanity to me. If the first most notable thing about my hair is its awesomeness, the second most notable thing about my hair is the ability it has to give me comfort. It is a fact that when I was a baby my father would stroke my hair as he held me, and this would put me to sleep. As I got older, if I became distressed or came home crying, I would sit on his lap and he would pet my hair as I told him all my troubles. Sometimes I wouldn't even have to talk because it was clear that I was upset. Either way he would pet my hair and the worries would go away. I would get sleepy, but most importantly I felt safe and comforted.

At age 4 1/2 I had a major operation before which my hair was completely shaved off and during which a team of doctors made an incision from ear-to-ear and reshaped my skull, and after which I wore mummy-like bandages over my head and eyes. I couldn't see anything, and it is my only experience being completely blind, but I still wanted to listen to a tape narrating "The Wizard of Oz" and read along with its accompanying children's book. Before the operation my hair had been blond; when it regrew, it was brown.

When I was in middle school my friends thought it was hilarious that simply stroking my medium brown hair (it wasn't dyed until I was in 10th grade; now at age 26 it's black) would put me nearly to sleep. This theory was tested in the middle of choir class, and, sure enough, my eyelids began to droop and I yawned deeply and loudly and we all got discerning looks from our peers and the teacher.

I was in 12th grade when I started going out with my first boyfriend. I never cut my hair during that relatively short period, nor did I keep it up (on a separate note, it seems like you let go of some things when you have been with someone for just the right amount of time). After the break-up, I cut my hair and dyed it red. An act of defiance against post-relationship depression. A statement of independence, flashiness, and a reclamation of one of my greatest assets.

Throughout college, I explored all different sorts of haircuts. I cut my own hair, had roommates and friends cut my hair. It was dyed blonde (multiple times), black, burgundy, shades of purple, and bright pink. It was comforting to know I had control over something.

At the age of 24 I cut it all off. "It's, like, Halle Berry-short," I'd say when giving others a visual over the phone. The haircut was perfectly functional for me but it got mixed reviews:
"Love it!"
"I usually like women with longer hair."
"Why'd you cut it so short?!"
"Hmmmmm . . . " (my mother)

I could do anything, anywhere, anytime with my hair -- the constant of utilizing my hair as an instrument of comfort still remained.

Almost a year ago I moved to my current space, a room in a house with others I don't know. If I wasn't hanging out with friends or my boyfriend I was hanging out with myself (the necessity of which increased as my workload did), and I began to stroke my own hair now and again if comfort was needed.

During this past week in preparation for school I've felt more anxiety than ever before an academic year begins. I've been petting my own hair a lot -- waiting for public transportation, in heavy contemplation, or to subside a bad dream or feeling. My hair is most definitely an instrument of comfort and silky candy for my sensitive fingers to touch; with all of this in mind, I continue to wonder if all the effort will ever result in a permanent feeling of safety and reassurance.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stroking Iron Man's ego -- or kicking it in the balls

I realize I am a few years off from reviewing this, but after feeling the pressure from friends and family with whom I share my adoration of superhero movies, I felt compelled. I lived through Watchmen, the original Captain America movie, and even the Wolverine movie, so what could be so difficult? Besides, what better things are there to do on an oddly chilly summer day in the San Francisco Bay Area?

I really didn't like this film.

The core of Iron Man is a stereotypical storyline of an egotistical millionaire (with a heart of gold!) that has nothing better to do than soak in the wealth his corporation obtains from taxpayers and government-backed military operations by partying, courting [blonde] women, and driving fast cars. Until, of course, he finds the errors of his [company's] ways and tries to correct them to benefit “the people.” From the first frame of Tony Stark's perfectly man-scaped goatee, I knew I hated him. 

Set against the backdrop of a modern day, post-9/11 society that puts more dinero in the military than it does in schools, the comforting escapist feeling I've come to know and love from Batman and X-Men films was thrown out the window. Instead I put my social justice-oriented thinking cap on and did me some man-hating. (Disclaimer: I do not actually hate all men. Just Tony Stark. Well, mostly Tony Stark and the bro-minded frat boy pro-America dudes that exemplify his entitled mannerisms and blind patriotism.)

Iron Man shares similar elements that I can't stand about James Bond movies: female characters are cast either as objects of attraction that have been conquered in the bedroom or will be conquered in the bedroom. Aside from Stark's personal assistant Pepper Totts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), any other woman he encounters is simply an object of sexual desire. He even tells a female military officer, after noticing she's a woman (ugh!) “Now I'm looking at you in a different way.” You bastard.

Totts (her first name should have been Tater, Ms. Totts if you're nasty) is, indeed, the perfect woman – er, I mean, Personal Assistant – she knows everything he likes and dislikes, takes all his calls, dresses him for special events, brings him coffee & the newspaper in the morning, knows his social security number, tolerates a rising sexual tension between herself and Stark without directly confronting him, and buys herself birthday gifts with his money when he forgets the date. In the end she helps to save the day (by following Stark's orders on how to detonate some big shiny high-tech thingy) and kill the bad guy, all the while in stiletto heels. Girl Power!

I find Totts to be a very interesting character, I really do – and I found that there was great potential to explore, or even subtly hint at, the idea that Totts has a life outside of performing her duties as Stark's mom-substitute -- sorry, Personal Assistant. Throughout this movie I found myself asking all the wrong questions about Totts such as, “What does she do in her spare time? Does she have any hobbies? Does she have a family?” To go on a brief tangent, here, I think it would have been interesting to see how differently Totts would be interacting with Stark if, say, she were a single parent, or the wife of a US soldier, or a computer scientist that could contribute meaningful research towards Stark's objective of helping “the people.” 

(My morbid curiosity regarding Totts' life away from Stark is the single most driving factor for why I added the sequel to my Netflix queue. The second driving factor: Scarlett Johansson.)

The prospect of Stark conquering women before he conquers evil mostly upset me when, within the first half hour of the movie, a journalist grilling the ethics Stark Industries' weapons manufacturing asks Stark, “Do you even lose an hour of sleep at night?”

I'd be willing to lose a few with you,” he responds. And she takes the bait. Give me a fucking break! This is inconsistent for a character that we've only known for a few moments and, in that brief moment, is supposed to be opposed to everything this man stands for – or was sleeping with him the ulterior motive? 

I'm not opposed to consenting adults getting it on if that's what they both want, but within the context of what we're shown in this film, the only message the viewer can be left with is, “Man, it must be easy to score if you're Tony Stark! And journalists compromise their morals quite often!”

The only thing Iron Man inspired me to do was write this scathing blog review. Hello, Blog, it's been awhile. How are you? I'm fine, just honing my inner Roger Ebert and Gloria Steinem . . .

So I can reiterate my dislike for Iron Man with the following:
  1. I have no patience for, and give no credit to, egotistic womanizers.
  2. Overabundance of wealth disgusts me.
  3. The overall message of Iron Man comes across as a pro-American vehicle by which to stroke the egos of patriots without any sort of critical discourse about foreign policy or international relations. Stark is a white American cisgendered male, speaks only English, and surrounds himself with other privileged Americans for the benefit of only himself. (For whom did he make that special suit? The antagonist, portrayed by Jeff Bridges, even points this out at the end.)
  4. Bruce Wayne, though of the same DNA strand as Tony Stark of rich and entitled men, was and is much better in execution of superhero stories, mostly for the escapism factor, and because more layers are explored to develop multi-faceted characters that withstand the test of time and with whom viewers can relate.
  5. The final words in the film exemplified Stark's aforementioned ego and made me hate him even more.

Seriously – if I wanted to be lectured about corporate accountability and corruption of military weaponry I'd watch a Michael Moore film.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Relationship with Ballroom Dance

In the Spring 2006 semester of college an idea was planted into my head to take a fun class amidst the Real Analysis II, Euclidean/Non-Euclidean Geometries, and Astronomy courses I had signed up for. Well, admittedly the Astronomy class was supposed to be the "fun" class.

The idea was to take a Ballroom Dance class. "The Beginner's level course is on Monday and Advanced level course is on Wednesday," the instructor informed us, "so you can come two nights a week, and get more practice!"

My relationship with movement to music up until that point was dancing a coordinated Macarena at a family-friend's wedding, and putting together a choreographed number to *N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" as a part of a talent show on the last day of a summer program for which I co-taught Mathematics to 8th graders. Both were fun and got me moving even though they were full of silliness. And despite the fact that I went to nearly every middle school and high school dance, what I did I wouldn't count as dancing. Just a lot of wiggling and shuffling. And knowing all the lyrics to "Love Shack."

The Ballroom Dance class was a survey of all the formal styles: waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese Waltz, swing, and then . . . LATIN DANCES! Rumba, tango, salsa, am I forgetting something? They were all amazing, a total trip, tons of fun -- soon every song I heard I wanted to partner up and grace the floor with some impressive moves. Blue October's "Ugly Side" stuck in my head for MONTHS:

I think that one would go with a nice Viennese Waltz. Thoughts?

I started watching television again, in search for more dancing. Before I discovered Dancing with the Stars, even before I happened upon So You Think You Can Dance and tortured my partner once a week with frantically postulating who would be eliminated (and why they deserved to stay), I found a ballroom dance program on PBS that included this eccentric couple:

All I need say is that it opened up a whole world of possibilities for me. I was excited to dance the Rumba to Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou," but this was a riot!

This couple goes all out . . . might one say, they go . . . "Gaga?"

Having watched these all back-to-back, and following the last 8 of 10 weeks of Dancing with the Stars, I think it's time for me to put on my dancing shoes and learn some fancy footwork. Here's more inspiration:

You Spin Me Round -- Donny Osmond?!??

 Can Kirstie Tango? Oh, yes, and so much more . . .

The dance that stole the show -- of COURSE he won dwts; he's a football player! Anyway, check out the footwork, it's very admirable.

With all these videos I'm almost absolutely certain you're pondering -- "Crystal Math, through all the dancing, all the leaps and throwing and twirling, is there an all-time favorite routine you have?"

Why yes, dear readers! There most certainly is! During the last season of SYTYCD when Billy Bell and dance partner Anya Garnis danced the jive . . . to Meatloaf!

Well, fine readers, that just about wraps up the story of my relationship with ballroom dancing. With the introduction of such awesome music as Gotan Project, I feel like it's about damn time I got out there and added some timing, rhythm and structure to my wiggling and shuffling.

Crystal Math

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Follow your dreams and follow my blog!"

Shameless self-promotion comprises my wishes for the Class of 2011.

I've purchased a yearbook each year I've been at my school, and let the kids go crazy writing in it. The third yearbook was placed in my hands this month, and this year as the Senior Class Advisor, I'm really tearing up at some of the stuff that's being written, some of it by the graduating class:

"I hella love you! You were honestly on of the bestest teachers I've ever had! [. . .] Goodbye for now, and I will miss you, have a great summer!"
12th grader

"I'm happy to say that you were a FUN teacher and I thank you for all the math you packed in my head."
11th grader

"Hey Miss Crystal I just want to let you know how much I'm going to miss you, a lot! [. . .] It's been fun having you as a teacher and a good friend, you always listened to me when I needed someone to talk to, you always encouraged me to reach my highest dreams. I'll miss you very much and I love you."
10th grader
(This one moved me to tears.)

". . . You always got me through Algebra with a laugh. Thank you Crystal and I love you so much!"
12th grader

"Hi Crystal! I honestly think you're the best teacher I've ever had. Not even trying to kiss up or anything. You made math bearable. So for that, I'm going to draw a bear! On a unicycle!"
12th grader

"Hey Crystal! I wish you the best along your journey as a teacher. You inspired me to go out in my community and strive for social justice!"
12th grader
(More tears. Bring the sandbags for commencement, there will be floods.)

"Crystal you are a great listener and you're a very good teacher. I always enjoy listening and talking to you. I hope you have a happy fun summer."
10th grader

Seriously -- a lot of these kids who allow themselves to freely express their emotions will break any and all stereotypes that the media tries to pin on teens. How often do you hear from a 15 year-old that you're a good listener?!??

I remember being 15 or 16 and that all I wanted from an adult was to be listened to. Aside from my immediate family members I can't recall feeling like I was being heard until I was 18, months away from graduating. My Calculus teacher and I were comparing how often we'd moved in our lifetime. He'd moved over 20 years ago to the small town where I graduated from and still didn't feel like he "fit in."

At that point I realized:
a) sometimes you will never fit in; but more importantly
b) it is ok to be a "square peg"

It was that teacher that inspired me to pursue education seriously. As far as I know, he's still teaching Geometry, Calculus, and Physics and making tons of kids laugh, cry, and feel.

Years later I have come to realize that eccentric folk, the ones that didn't fit in or have a huge group of buddies at their fingertips, or the ones that went against the current and took risks and tried something new despite the fact that they were alone in doing so, are the ones that make the world go 'round.

Keep it up, Weirdos! Rock on, Nerds! Follow your dreams and follow my blog, you Dweebs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How Obama Got Osama, and Why Romantic Comedies/Dramas are Bad for Me.

The end of the school year is coming to a swift close. Although there is a lot of excitement coming from . . . well, everyone at school . . . I'm again experiencing the anxiety of the unknown. I'm applying for several jobs that exemplify my skills and experience as an educator, but as with everyone, this be tough times and I've been turned down from a couple of tutoring centers.

Cause for rejoice comes in the next three weeks: a Disneyland/Universal Studios road trip with the graduating senior class, attending "Education Day" in the South Bay, and, of course, Commencement. The class of 2011 were a bunch of great young people and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss 'em. However, I've got some great ideas for the incoming Freshmen class that I'll be advising come August.

How Obama Got Osama
This is brief: I'm watching President Obama being interviewed on 60 Minutes, a show that was prominent in my childhood, if only for the time spent making fun of Andy Rooney and his ridiculous, disconnected, irrelevant, rants.

I didn't vote for Obama -- but I also didn't vote for who you think I did, the "other guy." (Hint: She's not a dude.) At the time I had lost a lot of "trust" (if that's even the right word) in mainstream politics and still very much believe in the power of grassroots movements. It's very obvious that as I experience more and gain more knowledge of the political left, right, and radical, the areas that I believed were black & white (like international relations) are now varying shades of gray. Looking critically at Obama as a president, I think he bit off more than he could chew by implanting the ideas of universal health care and shutting down Guantanamo Bay. Don't get me started on the budget, i.e. military spending and education. President Obama is not the sole person to blame, and I'm not trying to blame him for what got done or didn't get done so far in his first term. I just think he conveyed ideas that he, working with his administration, couldn't reasonably conceive in a short four years.

With regards to the killing of Osama bin Laden, my frustrations are geared more towards the mass public -- anyone who "celebrates" another's death excessively (partying/drinking/wearing stupid t-shirts, etc). I have a lot of respect for the sincerity and seriousness with which President Obama has conveyed during this whole ordeal. Everything he's said has been very logical, matter-of-fact, and rational no matter how you vote.

Mr. Obama, I didn't vote for you, and I still won't claim ownership by referring to you as "my president," but you can be a pretty cool dude. Thanks for being an intellectual and keeping a rational head about a situation that could have been dealt with in a more juvenile fashion.

Why Romantic Comedies/Dramas are Bad for Me
It has been consistent that, whenever a TV show or movie comes along that's received well and has a romantically-driven plot line with an exceptionally good-looking cast, I experience emotional turmoil.

I have no clue how long this has been going on, but the first time I realized it was when I became OBSESSED with the show Grey's Anatomy. I saw the pilot episode and was immediately hooked. Sexy people can be doctors, too! It was exciting. I downloaded episodes so I could get caught up (TV was airing Season 3, I believe). I'd watch an episode a night, sometimes two on the weekend. Before long I realized that I was bringing drama into the relationship and my co-habitant was receiving the worst of my nagging and imaginary reasons for jealousy and deceit.  
Didn't wash the dishes? Came home late?? And, what, you didn't tell me I look sexy today?!??

I really became a wreck and immediately downsized my intake of GA to a couple of episodes a week. The less I saw, the more realistic I became about things that were said and done (or not said and not done) in the relationship. Eventually, I gave up on it altogether because there were too many new characters. Seriously, you miss one season you might as well have died. *sigh*

Earlier today I watched the 90's romantic comedy Singles. I love lazy weekends, and I love lazier Sunday mornings even more, and I even loved the grunge soundtrack the movie brought with it, but -- !

But there were some pieces of monologue/dialogue in the movie that threw me off and jump-started the same paranoia and thought process. One character's monologue involved how long to wait before calling her dude:

"If I call him now, I'll come across as desperate. I'll call in an hour. If I call in an hour it'll seem like I'm busy and it won't be as bad. . . I don't want to be desperate."

In my brain began the slippery slope of relationship dramas -- dear gawd, I've created a monster.

It's true: we DON'T want to look like the "desperate" ones (who does?). Who's supposed to call, anyway? The dude's supposed to call, or the chick? What happens with same-sex couples? Or couples without any identified sex or gender fluidity? My mom had ingrained in me from a young age that as the female in the relationship, you DON'T call the dude, for the very reason of not being desperate. At the time I felt like there was no reasoning with this kind of logic, but lo and behold, in the years I dated in college I found out quickly that dudes seemed to disappear if I called them "too much," or at all. D-:

After how long does it become OK for either partner/companion/boyfriend/girlfriend to call? Who the hell made these rules, anyway? So many unanswered questions . . . In the end it's just important to know that you're dedicated to one another. But what if you scare the other person off by your desperation?!?? :-0

I think we've gotten ourselves stuck in a time-space-gender-continuum vortex, people. :-/

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not in Berkeley anymore . . .

Amongst all the moments I've experienced in Albuquerque, New Mexico thus far, the experience of grocery shopping has been the most frustrating. (I say this lightly because I'm generally a really positive person and try to make the most of any event.)

I don't think we're in the Bay Area anymore, Toto.

In obtaining provisions for my expected day-long trip to the Petroglyph Historical Monument, I wanted to make sandwiches from the faux deli slices I've come to love so very very much, Tofurkey. So Felicia dropped me off at the local grocery store, Smith's, and I snaked through the aisles glancing at every name brand carried. They had MorningStar Chick'n patties (+10 points for Abq), and Amy's Organic foods (awesome, +15 points). At least I knew where I could go if I needed a quick dinner. But as long as there's no microwave or outlet in the middle of the desert, this made for terrible pic-a-nic food.

I grabbed some salad ingredients and a bunch of spinach before making my way to the checkout. I felt a little bit defeated but obviously the cashier would know for certain what brands were carried.

"Did you find everything alright, ma'am?" Here I go:
"No, I was looking for Tofurkey. Do you carry any?"

She looked very puzzled.

I explained: "It's like deli slices made of tofu, but it looks like turkey. Tofurkey."

She remained confused. I was beginning to think I should have stashed some of my own on the flight down.


"Let me see if _______ knows if we have any," she said as she called for the bag boy in the next shopping line. "Excuse me, ____ ? This woman has a question for you." He seemed more than happy to oblige, judging by the dopey smile on his face framed by a poor excuse for a goatee.

"Do you have Tofurkey?" I inquired.

The smile faded. "What is it?" he asked.

"It's like turkey. Made of tofu. For vegetarians," I clarified.

With each additional sentence I felt like I was digging my own grave with my own soy shovel. He looked confused as to whether I should be taken seriously or not. So I carried on:

"That's why it's called Tofurkey. It's turkey, made of tofu. Tofurkey. Get it? Wokka, wokka, wokka!" (I figured this was turning into a spectacle, I might as well add the icing.)

He burst out laughing. I gave them my money and left, but not before recognizing the privilege I have of living meat-free in the Bay Area and laughed at myself.

With the ubiquity of hot-air balloons so ingrained into the Abq culture and mindset you'd think that by simply clicking my shoes three times, SOMEONE would take up the hint.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


A year ago I was in Monterey, California for a math teachers conference. My high school had paid for my registration and I was excited to learn all that I could out of this conference and get some discussion generated with other math teachers.

I had rented a car, got a hotel room overlooking the ocean. Dressed professionally, and at night went shopping by myself in Carmel. For the first time I had money to do this and for the first time I felt like I was settling in to something that would count as a career and for the first time I realized I was growing, this was the adult thing, that adults did. It was the first time in a really long time that I felt like I was allowing myself to be alone and do what I wanted. It felt like I didn't need anyone's permission to do what I felt like and I didn't need to justify what I was doing -- buying things, eating out, driving around aimlessly (er, I mean "cruising").

I had felt trapped for the the better part of eight months, under another person's watch. I had felt pressure to justify the things that I had done out of whim, and "because I felt like it" wasn't good enough. I felt the pressure and obligation of allowing another person to do things that would later hurt me and cut me deeply that I'm still repairing from. I felt free in Monterey. And I felt like contacting you.

I remember sitting alone, in the king size bed of my hotel room and hating the polyester bedsheets but at the same time taking in their warmth. After the sun went down, the beautiful view of the ocean disappeared and chill ensued. There was shit on the tv and I knew I couldn't contact home because nobody would pick up. Contacting home and getting an away message would only make me feel lonelier; but somehow I knew that if I called you that you would pick up. A cockiness in me knew that you would answer because it was me, and knew that you still loved me despite all that had been said and done. I started dialing your number after rehearsing it several times in my brain, and perfectly every time as if tattooed into my psyche.

But the fear of the unexpected stopped me. I didn't want to hear another voice answering. I didn't want to deal with any negative emotions that could have arisen if any heavy shit was brought up.

Then the same cockiness that had assumed you would still love me was overcome with humility. This was just not the right thing to do. It had been the better part of eight months and the only reasonable thing for both of us to have done was move on. I had tried my best to move on and it would only make sense that you would have moved on, too. Perhaps my assumption was wrong; perhaps you didn't love me anymore and I was only thinking these things to make myself feel better in this moment of loneliness. Perhaps I never even entered your mind because it was a passing phase. Then I realized that I didn't know what I was thinking, or whom I was loving, or where the direction my life was going anymore. I had felt full with ambition to contact you but was left feeling emptier than before.

After a few moments I realized I didn't want to deal with you. Then I realized I didn't want to deal with anybody. It had all just become too much. I fell asleep in the hotel room with shit on television and five different sizes of towels and an insufficient amount of shampoo/conditioner blend in the shower.

Less than a month after that you contacted me, and my entire world spun upside down yet again. I was ecstatic, angry, confused, ambivalent, amused, and grateful.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter 2: Don't Call Her Rosy

Whew! It's been awhile since my last post regarding Women's Herstory Month. Since our last excursion into achievements of women in math and science, I have been bogged down with grading papers, outlining and executing sufficiently engaging lessons to teenagers, completing my final Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA; or Total Pain in the A_ _) for my credential program, and not getting enough sleep.

Just to give you an idea of how unkempt this has made me, I had to refer to a facebook post to see the last time I showered. My optimistic guess was Wednesday. It was Tuesday evening. (It is now Friday; not to worry, dear Boyfriend, I did shower this morning.) I stand by the claim that can only be indicative of pure genius. Case in point:

What does all of this have to do with Herstory Month? Well it is indeed my own story, but it is also a story common amongst many geniuses or achievers that our work supercedes cleanliness. Who wants to shower everyday, anyways?

This entry is dedicated to one of those hard-working women, whose hours spent working in a dark and poorly-ventilated university laboratory should have been rewarded with a weekend spa getaway (and a Nobel Prize) -- instead she was only rewarded with obscurity. The stolen work of Rosalind Franklin made a name for James Watson and Francis Crick, and only recently have people begun to pay her lip service for her contribution to molecular science and DNA:

Chapter 2: Don't Call her Rosy

Rosalind Elsie Franklin came from London and was a very strange child. She did not express a creative side and was only interested in that which was empirical and logical; in school she excelled in math, science and sports. She was like a little adult, and did NOT enjoy being called nicknames like Rosy. It was probably not known at the time but Franklin was most certainly half-Vulcan, too.

As a university student, Franklin studied chemistry and quickly became an expert in the field of x-ray crystallography. Upon receiving her PhD from Cambridge in 1945 for her work on the porosity of coal, she continued research in France where she was treated as an equal amongst male colleagues, something that she rarely experienced in England.

When opportunity struck to do research on the structure of DNA at King's College, she leapt at the opportunity but also realized it would mean she would not be working under the best conditions. Her laboratory was set up in a leaky basement in the Biophysics department and despite her credentials and meticulousness at working under a microscope, she was given only one assistant, Maurice Wilkins. Franklin and Wilkins worked many hours interpreting the crystallography of the structure of DNA, but they were not the only ones seeking the secrets of its structure. Over at Cambridge, James Watson and Francis Crick were using models and their knowledge of molecular cell biology to attempt a replica of DNA. There was no friendly collaboration between the two institutions as the field was very competitive -- whoever discovered the structure of DNA would surely attain fame and a place among other science immortals like Galileo, Newton, and Einstein.

As time wore on and Franklin continued her research with her assistant, Wilkins grew weary. He felt that they had surely acquired an accurate picture of the structure of DNA implying a double-helix, but Franklin wanted more research to solidify their hypotheses. Crick knew that they were working in the same area he and his partner were, and inquired them about it. While Franklin was hesitant to share much with him -- she either wanted to be certain of her claims, or Crick had rubbed her the wrong way upon their first encounter (the whole "Rosy" thing) -- Wilkins willingly shared the image. He did this without her permission or knowledge after the fact and this remains a topic of controversy in the science community.

The rest is pretty much history: Franklin returned to her work without viewing it as a great loss -- so long as the knowledge had been uncovered she felt she had done her part (but for the sake of argument I'm certain she was just a *little bit* pissed). She used her knowledge of x-ray crystallography and experience examining the structure of DNA to study the structure of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus, and RNA.

Francis, Crick and Wilkins jointly won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA a few years after Franklin died of ovarian cancer at the age of 37. Watson penned an account of his and Crick's "discovery" of the structure of DNA entitled The Double Helix. In 1987 a film version was made, "The Race for the Double Helix," which contains a scene of Wilkins giving Crick the well-known Photo 51 indicating the double helix structure.

So, how do I feel about all of this? The angry Feminazi in me wants to go on a tirade about how MEN have the need to control everything and MEN are responsible for this figurative weight on our shoulders and MEN just need to be a little more open to collaboration and consent, dammit.

But there is another voice in me that says that people's shit gets stolen all the time. Who invented Calculus -- Newton or Leibniz? Who created pyramids first -- Aztecs or Egyptians? In "Race for the Double Helix" there is a poignant moment after Photo 51 has been taken and Francis and Crick have made their DNA model, and Franklin is examining it. The look on her face is not one of spite but of engaged curiosity and recognition.

Recognition that they have finally created a visual structure for that which cannot be seen. They have finally placed names and chemicals and combinations for that which makes every living organism unique as well as a part of something whole.

They have finally created another way for me to fail that Chemistry test!

Celebrating the [too-short] life and amazing work of Rosalind Franklin is just one facet of Women's History Month and the greater subject of feminism. To take a step back and not be angry, or lose sleep over disadvantages that have occurred in the past to women making a name for themselves amongst male colleagues is the right path towards striving for equality.

(I know this ended abruptly but I have a yoga class to get to!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Introduction & Chapter 1: Sophie Germain

Introduction: (Holy crap, March is here already!)
One important reason to love this in-between seasons, almost-Spring month of March is that it is a time to celebrate Women's History.

Something you all should know about me is that I love talking about women. I love talking about the roles they play in their lives. I love talking about their strength, their perseverance, and the crap they've had to endure to get to where they are now. And I love saying all this wearing a skirt and make-up.

Since the beginning of time, these double x-chromosomed creatures have birthed new beings and raised posterity for generations and generations. But, they have also developed similar mental and physical capacity as their male counterparts, too! Indeed, the role of women has diversified itself through the ages, evolving from gatherer and homemaker to Computer Scientist Barbie.

Regardless of one's own opinion of how this progress helps or hinders the meaning of a female-bodied persyn's worth, the meanings behind the struggles endured to attain equal rights should still be noted and celebrated.

Chapter 1: Sophie Germain

Germain grew up in 18th century France to a very traditional bourgeois family -- her father worked as a silk merchant and little is known about her mother or her interests. Sophie and her father held very different opinions about what women should be doing with their time. Sophie would plow through the books in her father's library, absorbing all information like a sponge and craving more. She took a liking to mathematics, particularly Calculus and Number Theory, and would study the works of Newton and Euler by candlelight.

Her father caught her studying at night many times and often confiscated her materials, leaving her body cold and her mind hungry. When she did not have a secret stash of papers and writing utensils to fall back on, the nights were long and torturous. After finding her asleep at her desk on more than a few occasions, her slumbering face set atop of papers with equations and calculations, her mother secretly supported her educational endeavor.

Germain finally got the opportunity to exchange correspondence with Adrien-Marie Legendre, who was lecturing on number theory at the Ecole Polytechnique. She had no choice but to write letters as a man, and they soon became distant colleagues working to solve Fermat's Last Theorem.

Over the years Germain collaborated with Friedrich Gauss on the [in]famous Last Theorem, finally revealing her true identity and gender, to his amazement and awe. Although their correspondence ceased as their areas of study shifted, it is a pivotal point in women's history (and the history of mathematics) that Germain was considered an equal colleague of so many influential mathematicians.

Sophie Germain was one of the first female mathematicians that I learned of once I began pursuing the subject as an avid 7th grader. To me, mathematics and the patterns found therein gave the secrets to some kind of magic. Math was something a lot of peers my age, a lot of female peers, would typically dismiss as "too hard" and I found myself enjoying the challenge rather than despising it. The curiosity and the risk-taking involved at getting an answer "wrong" is the good-stuff in life: it gives us feedback that we can use to make things better, gives us evidence with which to predict what will occur next, and it gives us the faith to know that we can always give ourselves another chance to make something perfect.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Letting the hot air out

Pennsylvania English teacher vents and doesn't get away with it

This blog entry shall be brief as I have a lot of work to get done before the week begins again -- I don't disagree with the fact that a teacher blogged about a few terrible days at work, or with the choice of words she used as she could best describe her perception at the young people's [mis]education. I am in complete support of a person venting, as people will do, on their own personal blogs, be they public or private -- and I believe hers was private; or, at least, it did not name specific students NOR did it mention the place she worked.

I just feel that, as an educator, we are looked upon to find the diamonds in the rough, or to help maintain the ones that already stand out among the others. As an educator, it is up to us to maintain ourselves as people of emotional, mental, and physical stability -- not as superheroes or even super humans; rather, as people you can see yourself going to for help or for someone to talk to because nobody else will listen to you. It's a lot to live up to, but I have always stood that if you keep things positive, and keep Work Life at work and Home Life at home, you will have success in those with whom you interact. Positivity is a huge component in my teaching philosophy that I've developed over the years and it's helped me to befriend, not antagonize, the young ones I see and teach everyday.

Do you remember what high school was like? Angst, misconceptions, drama, self-consciousness, body image issues, eating disorders, homework, material goods, grades, expectations everywhere . . . The last person I would want labeling myself and my peers as stoned slackers would be a teacher. When all else was collapsing around me, I found comfort in going to school, learning things, and watching my quirky teachers do their thing because I knew I could count on it to be there. Sometimes it wasn't, because nobody's perfect. If I could recall a time when a teacher called us any of the things this PA educator did in the classroom, it's since been overshadowed by the positive aspects of school.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Mathematician Writes

One aspect that I really enjoy about working where I do is that I do not have to abide by any pacing guide, computer-generated tests or quizzes, or "script" created by a corporate office somewhere out in Texas that does not know my students to the depth that I do.

Of course, one aspect that would make my  job a lot easier is having a pacing guide, generated assessments and "scripts" to follow when I am feeling lost about how to better show my students the real-life applications of the Binomial Theorem or the Quadratic Formula.

Nevertheless, it gives me the opportunity to guide students through written reports to seek out math applications for themselves. For the last two years I've assigned a "Wonders of the World" writing assignment where students chose an ancient "wonder" or one created during/after the Industrial Revolution. After the reports are turned in, extra-credit posters and videos presented, we watch an episode or two of "Engineering an Empire," an amazing series from The History Channel.

 "The Aztecs"

Before my favorite video rental place in Berkeley closed down (RIP Reel) I'd get most of my videos or DVDs there to show my students. It was independent and had a plethora of obscure videos, with such subgenres as "Man vs. Shark" and showcased more than twenty great actors/actresses/directors' work with their own shelf of achievements.

My only critique was that their video collection was missing the original "Sleuth" starring Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier and written by Anthony Shaffer. I still have yet to see the 2007 remake from Kenneth Branagh, which WAS available at Reel. I'm curious how well Jude Law pulled off Caine's original role as the young, good-lookin' guy.

Humboldt County folk would recognize this store as a variation of Figuredo's, where I first checked out so many foreign and independent videos that my teeny weeny middle-school brain could hardly process. There I was first exposed to so many cinema greats: Almodovar, "El Topo," and "But I'm A Cheerleader." Those were the days I coveted Roger Ebert's job.

Tragedy struck in 2000 or 2001 when a kitchen fire from an adjacent Mexican restaurant spread to Figuredo's in McKinleyville and destroyed decades of work to build such a unique video collection. I remember mourning the loss for weeks, having to make the commute to Arcata if I desired the same hard-to-find titles. That Mexican restaurant is where I had my first chile relleno combination plate. It's never been the same.

But let me return to my original point: writing essays in math class? Yessiree, it is indeed one of the finer points of the scriptless classes I teach. It's a great way for writers to explore mathematical applications and for mathematicians to explore writing applications.

One of the best classes I took in college was Writing for Science, which combined my love of the written word with my passion for empirical knowledge. I brag to my students that I won second-place in an essay contest not for the self-congratulation, but to show them that all the logic and mathematical lingo that I thrust upon them in each 55-minute session can be used to further one's own talking points. That essay writing, just like mathematics, needs to follow a formula for success. Sometimes the writing will go off on tangents, sometimes it will be more rigid, and sometimes it will look and feel counterintuitive. But regardless the end result is clear, concise, and unique.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Pirate Knits With Yarrrrrrn and Hunts for Purls

With the date of Stitches West (SW) fast approaching, this is what I imagine my brain has turned into:

A knitted I-cord brain stem could make for an EXCELLENT lasso!

Yes -- my brain has become a knit/crocheted mess! If my brain were made of yarn, its fiber content would change with the season. Right now it is 100% Peruvian highland wool, thinking of warm thoughts and keeping dry in the downpour of rain that is being experienced in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I have started a Knit List (teehee) of things that I want to search for this Saturday at SW. Last year I went in not knowing what to expect; I did stock up on many different yarns and accessories and books that I wanted to explore, but I feel like I had no direction. I was just groping at anything I could get my paws on, like so many eager children I used to view with envy on Nickelodeon as they blazed through a Toys 'R' Us on a competitive shopping spree.

The space in Santa Clara is so huge that one feels the need to rush through the aisles, and it's dizzying to weave in and out and try to see everything. With some guidance and a few modest goals for garments to knit this year, I feel like I have a chance to get a lot of loot this year that will go to good use.

Until then, I've managed to abstain from getting too many new knitting accessories -- with the exception of some beautiful sock yarn from the lys in WC.

And researching how to make pigs fly; you KNIT them!

Today at lunch is Crafting Circle; so far it's me and one other crocheting [male] student. All ya'll gotta get off Academic Probation, ya hear? No more lunch detention for you -- you belong with me, crafting into infinity! 

There are some pretty creative folk that I'm sad to say are victims of education, or their own sloth, or both.

Or perhaps it's because their teachers are spending too much time blogging and not updating grades.

. . . 

To the grade book!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am ___________________

Today the students at my school showed a lot of solidarity towards racial stereotypes by writing "I am ___________ " signs taped to their clothes. The signs exposed their race and a multitude of other stereotypes that followed:

I am Mexican. I'm on the T diet. I got pregnant at 15 and go home to an abusive husband.

I am black. I will rob you and sell drugs in your neighborhood.

I am white. I'm privileged and will to go a better school than you. People don't suspect me of doing any crime.

This compelled me to write my own:

I am a woman. I wear high heels and wish I had bigger breasts. I cook and want to please others before I please myself. I wear tons of make up and pretend to be stupid.

If you think about it too much, it's depressing. It hurts. But that's the whole point -- and furthermore, we are NOT those stereotypes and we even surpass them when we realize our greatness and overcome hardships to achieve our dreams. OK now I'm sounding mushy.

Either way, this "movement" sparked many genuine conversations throughout the school and I can already feel the bad vibes wearing off. We're all in need of a vacation and will get one next week, but this has helped tame the fire that we are all feeling in this tiny school.

Lest I forget, all this conversation reminded me of an "In Living Color" skit my boyfriend showed me a couple of weeks ago:

(Of course, ignore the ad in the beginning :-P

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rebirthing (ew)

Let me tell you a little bit about this website's inception and conception: it all started with an assignment from my credential class to create a Blogger account. It was my understanding that we had to create a blog from which we respond to all class assignments -- how to integrate technology in the classroom, how to use "data" given from the district to raise API (Academic Performance Index), meet our district's goals of successfully implementing technology while meeting state-adopted standards, and give more reason for the state to give us dinero.

But let me not get distracted by the inner workings of our education's excessively bureaucratic rewards system.

Needless to say, I was wrong in my understanding. However, I am keeping up this blog and committed to figuring it all out to utilize it for myself in all the ways that I can. I won't go into the inner workings of the status of my previous website. I'm just moving on. Pity -- I was just getting used to WordPress, too. :-/

As for now my To Do list requires more hours than I can give concentration towards; my brain is partially lost in Las Trampas where I was this time yesterday, and partially lost in the pursuits of creating a knit pullover inspired from a twisted-bark tree I viewed there:

Quite gnarly indeed.

Friday, February 11, 2011