Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who knew?

My friend X just sent me this email that has all these sites where you can get random information and images. This whole idea really appeals to me, and I'm not exactly sure why. I am, and have always been a big believer in the "shit happens" theory, but, at the same time, I am fascinated by patterns, and am actually fearful of chaos. Maybe there is wisdom in the unplanned, sanctuary in serendipity. Maybe I am thrilled by the mind's desperate power to make sense of the illogical, the unintelligible, the incomprehensible. Whatever. I just spent hours on the flickr site, looking at other peoples photos, marvelling at the beauty, creativity, emotion and wonder they captured. So cool! If you have the time and are so inclined, check these out: Random Photos Random quotes Random information
Does anyone know if there is a site where I can pick up random music?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tylenol is a Lonely T

I don't really get sick. I just get allergies. I am not sure what I am allergic to, but once a year I am felled by something that shoots through the air like a sinus-seeking missile and wages war on my face and head. It doesn't usually last for a long time, and I know many have it much worse, but that doesn't keep me from traveling a road that goes from a deep-rooted, delusional kind of denial and ends in a cul-de-sac of of self-pity and hypochondriacal self-awareness. It's the same every year. I start to feel sick, and then I set out to over-do everything to prove that really I am well , that I'm just faking it and I need to stop being lazy. I run errands and clean the house, grocery shop like a mad-woman, make a million plans, start a million projects, decide to dye my hair, paint the shelves and exercise for at least an hour and a half every day. I get out my papers and sit down to grade them - they really are long overdue - but then I remember that I should change the air filter up in the attic before it gets too hot; anything but grading! I continue to ignore an overwhelming fatigue, and listen with amusement as my voice drops an octave. I think I sound sexy, like Marlo Thomas in "That Girl". Remeber how she squeal-growled "Donald!"?* GRRRRR! (Apparently that show was really influential in my pre-pubescent development and sexuality. Go figure!)

Then, suddenly, the bottom drops out. I realize that I don't feel well. Even with all of the signs that illness was steadily coming on, this comes as a shocking epiphany. I DON'T FEEL WELL. I go to the drugstore and buy all kinds of products, most of which are are the base ingredients for methamphetamine. Oddly, they don't relax me. I can't sleep, I start to cough, my mind begins to float inside my cranium, my skin transforms into burlap - burlap's real itchy, don'tcha know - and I vow to get rid of cable, because there is absolutely NOTHING worth watching at 4:12 in the morning, so why do I waste my money on this crap? Why do I even have a tv? I need to spend time doing more things that really matter! I need to read, and write and laugh and ride my bike! I never go out! when was the last time I got all dressed up, red lipstick and all, and really tripped the light fantastic? I want to suck the marrow, carpe diem and all that! I want to LIVE, dammit, LIVE, but I'm SICK and I may not be well for a long, long time! Oh, woe is me! Can I get a poor baby from the choir? Somebody hep me!

When you are sick and alone, you notice how vulnerable you are. You feel miserable and insignificant, all hollow bones and fevered brow. You smell odd and the taste in your mouth is foreign. Maybe it is fear. One day, I really will be sick, or frail, or old, and I will know that I am mortal, and that this life is a gift. One day, I will be alone and lonely, isolated in my own mind, my own pain, my own delusions. One day I won't have the luxury of hypochondria.

Today, when I am skipping school because I stayed up all night watching re-runs of "Sex In The City" (why is that show ALWAYS on?), and I have completely lost my voice (which is not as sexy as when I was Marlo, but kind of like a hot Shields - or was the woman Yarnell?), I will enjoy reading my really good book (Amsterdam, by Ian McEwan), listening to my ipod (Bach's Cello Suites, foll0wed by Okkervil River, followed by Elvis), and eating my really tasty leftovers (Pad Thai and strawberries.) I will sit outside in the sun in my robe and think about what I want to plant in my spring garden. I will take it easy and take time to heal, quietly - about the quiet, I don't really have a choice, seeing as I have no voice! It is a beautiful day, and allergies be damned, I am going to revel in it. Hell, I may even find the time to grade some papers...but I doubt it. Life's too short.

*Wow! That's some excessive punctuation, non?!
P.S. Happy 4th birthday, EAS! The world is better with you in it, and I love you forever!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Special Valentine for the single ladies...

Enjoy yourselves today!

Happy VD!

Well, all, Happy VD '09! A faithful reader (yes, I have faithful readers!) gave me this deformed and cracked mutant m&m to use for the blog, as part of the "may you find love in unexpected places" series. Thank you M&Mily! I am certain that there is a perfect metaphorical meaning for this candy coated holiday, but right now all I can come up with is "if you carry love around in your pocket for two days before remembering to take a picture of it, you will see its true significance; love may be lint-covered, battered, and have a funky spot on top, but the chocolate-y, peanuty goodness of it will never be diminished." Poetic, non? Perhaps I will send this to the Hallmark folk and let them use it, free of charge, cuz I'm cool like that. By the way, just so you know, m&m's WILL melt in your hands, or your car, or your pocket. They're made out of CHOCOLATE, for heaven's sake!

The way chocolate melts has to do with how a solid changes its molecular structure with the application of heat, and that is science, which makes for a smooth, organic segue to my next topic (clever, how I did that, huh! Watch and learn, kids!), which is that Thursday marked the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin. I am a big fan of Darwin, though I get a little tired of his constant need to prove himself, but apparently, that's how scientist are, all factual and "can I recreate said process?" What's wrong with theoretical science? Nothing! I like Darwin because I like evolution. I think we should all evolve, even if it means giving up things like our appendixes. Remember, 'evolve' spelled backwards is 'evlove', which is newspeak for the love of everything. In the great state of Texas, the Board of Education just decided that teachers would not have to teach "the strengths and weaknesses" of the Theory of Evolution as part of their curriculum. In other words, they could just teach the theory as a scientifically accepted principle instead of pointing out that maybe humans came into being because God made Adam in His image and then created Eve out of his rib. Texas decided to leave that theory for Sunday School. Chalk one up for Darwin! I raise one opposable thumb up in your honor!
I have been informed by a reliable source - the blog of a psychic who is also a real professor - that today marks the actual dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
Finally! I am so sick of falsehoods and derisions and am so ready for golden crystal revelations and the mind's true liberation! Unfortunately, it appears that the celestial alignment that ushers in harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding began at 7:25 am and only lasts for 18 minutes. Ain't that a kick in the pants.
Happy Day anyway!
P.S. Thank you KB, E.D., Anna, Dad, AES, Linda and Scherry and Big John for your VD love. (Eww!) This wicked spinster truly appreciates that you think of me!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Things I learned, saw & heard at school

I work at an inner-city high school in a sprawling, mismanaged district. We perform poorly on standardized tests, are under-funded, and are plagued by all the problems you see on the news: gangs, drugs, apathy, hopelessness, teenage pregnancy, abuse, neglect, etc. Nevertheless, I am always amazed by the myriad things I learn there on a daily basis. Sometimes I'm shocked, sometimes touched (though I have learned that it is absolutely always wrong to touch back!), sometimes moved to tears, and sometimes enlightened, but mostly, school cracks me up. Here are some things I learned, saw, or heard this week:

1. Our school district, which sucks, has enrolled in a program called "We Achieve" that is designed, in the words of the district, "to enable us to become the best urban school district in the nation by 2010." This goal is, of course, preposterous. I get the "dare to dream" concept, but really, if you knew our district's track record, you would know that sometimes it is beneficial to deal in the realm of reality and truth, on account of wishing doesn't always make it so. Just to illustrate, let me point out one of our school's objectives versus the reality of the situation: While this year, only 1% of our students who took the SAT or ACT scored high enough to be considered "College Ready", our goal for next year is 60%. Clap your hands if you believe, children! Anyhoo, imagine my surprise and pleasure when looking up at our school marquee, looming grandly above a busily traveled downtown street and visible from the highway, proudly announcing in big, capital letters: "WE ACHEIVE CUMMUNITY!" I felt blissfully satisfied and had an odd desire to light a cigarette, scratch myself, and take a nap.

2. Your neck is half the diameter of your waist. Therefore, if you are at the mall and you want a new pair of Dickies but don't want to try them on, don't unbutton the pants, but put them over your head, around your neck. If they fit comfortably around your neck, they'll fit comfortably around your waist. I don't know...

3. We have been studying the Holocaust in class. I learned a lot from my students' research projects, but here are some things that stuck out in my mind: Zyklon B, the cyanide based poison that was used to gas six million Jews, was invented by a Jewish man named Fritz Haber, who was a Nobel Prize winner. Ironic, huh? The kid also told us that cyanide occurs naturally in cassava, lima beans, soy, spinach and tapioca pudding, but we probably won't be eating enough of these things to cause death. Quite the relief, non? He said the primary way earthlings (his word, not mine) ingest cyanide is by smoking cigarettes, and that he heard on the news that in the 70's a man put cyanide into Tylenol and that it only took five grains to kill a person.

Mental note to self: watch this kid, and don't take any of his drugs or creamy desserts, even if he gives them as Valentine's Day presents. Fun and delicious, but not worth the risk.

4. The Crips (or is it the Bloods?) have adopted the Star of David as their symbol. Weird, huh? I have always been a little suspicious of Sammy Davis, Jr., and am going to do some further research on him and his crew.

5. The word 'mocco' means 'booger' in Spanish, though I think only if it is a masculine booger. I also learned that anything you can spell with a 'c' is cooler if you spell it with a 'k', like 'koffee' or 'kaka'. I learned this when someone tagged (oldsters: that means "performed an act of vandalism, specifically graffiti, in the effort to gain acknowledgement or claim territory") the front of our school with enormous MOKO's on the steps and on the windows of the principal's office. Skool is kool.