Thursday, January 26, 2006

Twisted and Cool

Morbid Tendencies.

There's a Bunny of the Month Club. Scroll down to see the $5 level.

I've linked to this before. It still rocks.


I'm at a crossroads in my life, or so I feel. I'm ready to move into a new field, I've been working on some writing (editing my NaNovel from last year) and drawing. I've not been posting as much here lately because I don't feel the same urge that I used to. I'm thinking that might come back, but maybe not.

Work frustrates me, for the aforementioned in-school suspension, the expectation that I must spend my supposed free time with students and not get paid extra.* The fact that anyone who reads this will think that I sound mercenary for wanting to be paid extra at all. Don't I do my job for the love of it? Well, the mortgage got to get paid, so no, not really, and mostly neither do you.

I'm tired of telling people that I teach and getting the "oh, that must be a tough job, I admire you so much, you're really honorable" which doesn't mean what they say. Most of them really mean, "What on earth would possess you to touch snotty, spit-covered little kids for less than an administrative assistant makes. Though the admin's case could be made that her job resembles mine quite a lot.

*Follow this link to something I had to say about this in 2004.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mercy and the Flying Saucer

My sister Chloe had her birthday last Sunday, on the 15th. I asked her how she wanted to celebrate it, and she said dinner but didn't get back to me before the day. Then last week she e-mailed Jenny and I and some of our other girl friends to have a girl's night out.

Jenny responded and recommended a wine bar/restaurant called Mercy, and the rest of us agreed, so Chloe made a reservation for last night at 6:45. We were all late, but Jenny and I and our friend Lynne by only five minutes.

Mercy's not bad. The waiter paid just the right amount of attention, he recommended good stuff, and they let us sit before all the party arrived. It's in a big complex of a bunch of other restaurants in North Dallas, just over the border of the semi-wet and wet counties. Thus, close to the liquor stores on Beltline and the Dallas North Tollway.

I had a French Canadian beer called Fin du Monde. Very nice, with a sweet taste and without the bitter aftertaste of one of my other beers of choice, Shiner Bock. The pork chop with apricot glaze didn't have much flavor, but the bruschetta appetizer did, and my sisters loved the Tuna Tartar. Don't order the lackluster cheesecake if you ever go, but the Pannacotta instead. It more than completed my meal, even though I only had the bit left after Jenny ate what she wanted.

We thought we'd check out a bar for a bit, so we walked to this one around the corner from Mercy. It was crowded and smoky and the people stared rudely, like we'd tried to crash their party. We got in the car and headed across the street to the Flying Saucer, a more comfortable pub without the meat market vibe.

They had a band, so Chloe paid the cover and we went in to discover no free tables. The Flying Saucer has a couple of couches in a back room called the O' Love, and the rest of the furniture consists of long picnic tables and benches. We had three choices. Sit with a couple, two girls or two boys. We picked the table with two boys, naturally, and then stood while someone worked up the nerve to ask the boys if we could sit.

It ended up being me, the least likely to ask strangers for a favor. Turns out the two boys didn't mind, and had come to the bar to kill some time. They chatted with us amiably, though the youngest of us had ten years on them. Twenty-three year old boys, out for a night and beset by six over-thirties. All of us look pretty damn good and Lynne bought them two rounds so it might not have traumatized them.

All in all a successful night, no one threw up and no one got arrested, though being old we did go home before midnight.

Friday, January 20, 2006

In School Suspension

I don't think it's legal. None of the other teachers at my school seem to care, they're just giving up their time. If it happened at a secondary school, the teacher giving up her conference period would get paid.

My principal seems to think that since she called it voluntary that means it is voluntary.

The other day the school office manager made a beeline for me. "We have a student in the ISS room, and one of the coaches told me that they think that it's your turn."
She and my friend the kindergarten teacher could tell from my face that I wasn't happy. I thought I should have left to go get lunch. But I went, because I'm good at saying no.

It's not a tough duty, that's not what I'm saying. It's easy, but on the Texas Education Agency website, it says that:

Each classroom teacher is entitled to at least 450 minutes within each 2-week period for instructional preparation, including parent-teacher conferences, evaluating students’ work, and planning. The planning and preparation period may not be less than 45 minutes within the instructional day. During the planning and preparation period, a classroom teacher may not be required to participate in any other activity.

and further down:

Each classroom teacher or full-time librarian is entitled to at least a 30 minute lunch period free from all duties and responsibilities connected with the instruction and supervision of students. A classroom teacher or school librarian who is otherwise entitled to a duty free lunch may be required to supervise students during lunch because of personnel shortage, extreme economic conditions, or an unavoidable or unforeseen circumstance for ONE day in any school week.

So I'm supposed to give up my conference period and my lunch, and then on the off chance that someone might be in the ISS room, I'm supposed to go to it and check.

This system works so well that the other day a first grader sat in the room during the school day with SEVEN different adults and not one of them thought to allow him to get his lunch. He didn't eat. His parents were furious.

My problem here is that if I say I'm not taking a turn, then the other willing people will think that I'm the bad teacher who doesn't care about the kids. This attitude pervades elementary schools.

The principal says that she thinks that the old practice of having the kid stay with the principal all day works too much like a reward. I suspect that she's just tired of having these kids around her all the time. Of course the coaches, my nemeses, have not complained other than to say 75 minutes seems unfair compared to the classroom teacher's 55.

I guess I'm not supposed to complain that she's taking away all my breaks and my lunch time too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sunday at Brad's

My brother Brad loves video games. He plays them on his computer. He plays them on his Game Boy. He plays them on his PS2, his Game Cube, his X-Box, strike that, his modded X-Box and on his new DS2.

On Sundays after we go see a movie, sometimes some of his friends hang out at his house to play games, and occasionally I go too. This weekend we saw Match Point. Not bad. I'm always impressed when I can't guess what will happen at the end of a movie.

This Sunday three of his friends came over, and me and my sister Jenny. Well, not Jenny, it's actually her house and Brad lives there. When I got to the house, they were sitting in the backyard around the table. (It's been in the mid-60's and 70's for a while now. I'm enjoying it, but it's not good for the fires.)

Brad, Jenny, and Brad's married friends had their DS2's out and were yelling wildly at each other while they played Mario Kart. Apparently it's like a wireless network. A few "fuck, who inked me?" 's later, and we went inside. Then our other friend James fired up his DS2. Now everyone but me sat playing Mario Kart on these tiny little screens, screaming things at one another. A post-millenium circle jerk.*

I sat and read a book. Jenny let me play a couple of races. Then I read some more of the book.

Jenny doesn't purchase video games, she played on my brother's 2nd DS2. Big dork bought a second one to supplement his Christmas gift from my father. Granted, he bought it on sale, but still. I have seen the future of geek, and I'm not impressed.

*Thanks, Chloe!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Two Good Merry Christmases

I know these are late, but I found them recently.
Here's one from Ashley Wood's blog, Merry Christmas from Ashley.

Then, an Ornery Boy comic, Merry Christmas.

Cats and Toilet Paper

After I accidentally locked Calvin in my bathroom yesterday, he ate Gwen's prescription/hypoallergenic food with pancreatitis medicine sprinkled on it. He stayed in there from 7ish until probably 1:00pm enjoying himself.

He destroyed four rolls of toilet paper, ripped open the prescription food bag, dug about two inches of dirt out of a plant and then got dirty pawprints all over the sink and floor.

I'm pretty sure that he also climbed my shower curtain and dragged my clean towels all over the bathroom floor. I've never seen a kitten that acted more like a destructive puppy. And, he follows me around the house, but doesn't follow.

He hears me moving, tries to anticipate where I'm going, and then runs there as fast as he can so he can beat me. That puts him under my feet most times, especially today when I turned a way he didn't expect.

You might think this might cause me to dislike him, and normally I would. But, he's just too dumb to dislike.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Happy New Year!

Last week I needed to spend some money. I have a flex account with my benefits, and I had about $400 left. My father insists that it's not really my money, but I felt strongly that I should spend as much as possible, so I made some appointments.

I went to the doctor, the gynecologist, the dentist and the optometrist. I'm pretty sure that I spent all of that money, regardless of where it originated. I got some prescriptions, a sonic cleaning with laser scan, and a pair of really cool glasses.

I had no idea how crappy everything looked until I wore my glasses on the way home from the optometrist. I figure it's not too bad, getting glasses in my mid thirties. My brother's had them since elementary school, and my sisters almost the same.

I also got to hear from a few people that, medically speaking, I'm rather boring. That's nice to hear.