Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't Know How to React

I got a class from my brother last night. We've lived in the same town since his first year of college, and even though we don't see each other all that often, it's been kind of nice to have him there. But now he's moving. I knew he would be. His wife has graduated and they've been looking to relocate to a place where they are more likely to both get work. Possibilities have been California, Oklahoma, and Guam. Yep, that's right, Guam.

So he calls me last night to tell me that they're near 100% sure that they'll be living over-seas. It's bizarre, mostly, to know that I'll be related to somebody who lives beyond the realms of a road trip. It's cool, I guess, but it's just plain bizarre--I have no real reaction. A huge part of me says, "You sure you want to do that?" while another part says, "Well, that's pretty groovy. And if you feel God calling you there, more power to you."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last Wednesday, a student had her iPod stolen from her purse. She sits right next to the door, rarely stays in her seat, and doesn't seem to focus on a whole lot. When she realized the iPod was stolen (after class and after most of the class had walked by her purse), she nearly melted down. I understand that. Having things stolen is a cruel and horrible thing. What sucks more, though, is that now, almost a week later, she has returned to class and is questioning and accusing everybody. One student was officially questioned and searched last week. Nothing was found on him, so now the victim is trying to play investigator. She accuses everyone, and frankly, everyone is getting pissed.

One girl told me she won't be back for the rest of the week because she can't stand being asked one more time. Of course, that's no good.

Another student had an iPod stolen today, but she is just sad and bummed out. No swearing, no accusing, nothing irrational.

The first girl stolen from, carried another iPod with her in class today...

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm glad it's Monday...Weird.

I generally take side with the "I hate Mondays" crowd. But for some reason, I'm really happy to be at work. There seems to be just enough going on at home or in my personal life that has kept me either on-edge, worried about something, or just stupidly busy. I haven't been able to get the grading done that I need, I've had a lot on my mind about tenure, and I've finally started thinking seriously about looking into Master's work. The frantic busy times of my Sundays have made it very difficult to put energy into any of it.

At work, I'm diagramming sentences (something I've always been nerdy about) and I'm getting more time to relax. I've been able to put myself at ease more thoroughly than I have been able to do this weekend.

Also, I had time to read a good chunk of scripture. Hebrews 12 is just plain groovy, and got me highlighting all sorts of juicy spiritual tidbits.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh No! Work!

I've always considered myself a bit lazy. I often wait before plunging into anything and then take the way that seems the easiest. But if being a teacher has taught me anything, it's that I'm a frickin' busy bee compared to the slothful work ethic of my students.

I have my composition kids writing one paragraph corresponding to a subject that begins with each letter of the alphabet. By the end of one week, students will have 26 paragraphs. I've never seen anybody freak out so much. The word seems to have spread to some of my other classes. "How could you do that?" they scream, as if I've led a marching band over a field of infants.

Then, today, I told my English Ten that they will likely have to write out 15-16 paragraphs for their take-home Lord of the Flies Test. They didn't freak out quite as much, but those who had been talking instead of taking notes had to scoop their slackened jaws from the floor.

It's the sadist in me that leads me to writing. It's thrills me to see them dip into what they consider suffering. I don't even try to tell them it's because they'll have bigger things to write in college or that it will do them well in the long run. I just want to become a figure of a mean, old man.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Registered Trademark

I hate the symbol for trademark and registered trademark. I especially hate how they clutter up the symbols and logos. This is especially true of the many awesome looking designs that frequent our media. My annoyance began a few years ago when I got a new hat with the Batman logo on it. I still like it plenty, but I hate how there's a little, yellow squiggle on the top right hand side of the bat. This little TM blotches our visual landscape and I'm not going to take it.

Then another thought came to me: can anybody use the trademark or registered trademark whenever they want? Are those symbols registered trademarks? I would like to just start putting those marks around my name. Can I do that? If they are registered trademarks, they should have an endless chain of circled "R"s that fade off into infinity.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Graduation and Star Trek

I want out of school so bad. Yesterday, my brother's wife graduated from college. With the ceremonies and the like, I really felt like school should be out. Alas, I have anther 3 weeks and finals after that...grumble.

The weekend was not a restful one. We stayed up a bit later than normal because my parents were in town, and there was a bit of family drama on top of it...grumble again.

This was all relieved a bit, though with Sunday evening. My wife and I went with some friends to see Star Trek. I've never been a Trek fan. I've always like science fiction, but being a Star Wars fanatic makes me feel like a traitor if I soak in the Trekkie culture. I just realized the Trekkie is an recognized word...weird. Anyhow, the movie was awesome. I heard some negativities on Facebook after we got home from some other folks I know. I disagree with the nay-sayers on this one. For anyone to create, or recreate (which was what the Facebook critic was griping about), a new installment of a decades old franchise that is fresh, entertaining, and hasn't destroyed the integrity of the franchise (Lucas should take lessons) is no small thing. It makes me kind of want to get into the other movies and the series more, something that Hollywood would have definitely wanted.

Time to get back to grading.

Friday, May 8, 2009

From Wolverine to Lord of the Flies and Beyond

I said I'd talk Tuesday about Wolverine, and as tends to happen, life got in the way and I lost myself in whirl of my week. So here are the thoughts of all sorts of things this week.

Wolverine: I've tried to make myself think better of it since I saw it last weekend, and though I'm coming closer to not hating it, I still have images of young or normal Wolverine looking straight up into a sky camera and yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Another teaacher said he saw it and thought it was pretty good. I experienced this kind of thing last year when Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theaters. This other teacher tosses in little bits he knows about Wolverine and says how well the movie captured it. It really only bothered him that they made Logan from Northern Territories instead of Ontario (this teacher is Canadian and apparently wants to make sure this fact is straight).

Film Snob: Sitting in the theater for the first time in about two months, and on a Saturday night no less, I realized how much of a snob I am. As people crowded around me and their banter filled my ears, I began to hunch in my seat, trying to shield myself from these people feel is crucial film knowledge. In particular, the people right behind commented on the slides and advertisements that flashed on the screen. "Orlando Bloom has Elven script tattooed around his wrist," the screen informed us.

"Actually," the patron behind me added, "all the actors in that movie got tattoos like that."

"Really?" asked his friends, in obvious awe of his vast and powerful intellect.

I began to think of David Sedaris' essay about theaters in Europe that are perfectly silent that play old classics all day. I craved that. With Wolverine being especially crappy, I really, really craved that. Instead though I thought about Shepherd book's information about the special ring of hell for people who talk in theaters...that made me smile.

Christ Figure: We recently read the part of The Lord of the Flies where Simon staggers into the chanting savage tribe and gets beaten to death. This in mind, we spent a day to talk about the use of a Christ figure. It was a thrill to be able to talk so much about Christ. It pops up from time to time, but I don't get to go into any details about things. This allowed the opportunity to say a great deal more than normal on the subject. In each class, students asked in one way or another if this way something that we could even be talking about at school. As one student put it: "Is this English or church?" My favorite parts were that students said more than I did about who Jesus was and the good news that his story is.

Misrepresentation: With my wife's magazine poised to boost and praise Christian schools, she and I talked a lot about common beliefs about public school from people who have never set foot in one. "I can't say the name of Jesus, or else..." That kind of thing. It is really too bad that there is so much fear about unleashing kids to the evil place of public school while not understanding how much can be done in those places.

Parents: My folks will be in town this weekend for my brother's wife's college graduation. It will be groovy. I've not seen my parents since Christmas and it seems that it's been about as long since I seen my brother and his wife. Though this makes for a busy weekend, it should mean it's a good one.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rage is Sad

On the corner next to the downtown movie theater, there frequently stands a man with a cross. Every Saturday night, members from a local church stand downtown and preach out warnings to those who might indulge in the less classy forms of entertainment. Typically, I hear a cross-wielding man say things like, "Think of the things you can catch from just one night of pleasure. Is it worth it?"

I've always thought it a weird thing to preach about in front of the movie theater. If that's the message, I'd mosey down to the strip club a few blocks away.

Regardless of the message or the methodology, I feel a sense of pity and admiration. First of all, they are acting on something they feel is right. In a way they have deemed appropriate, they stand at the corner and throw out John the Baptist's message of "Repent." For that, I admire.

This last weekend, though, I began the feel the pity. Often, this preacher is approached by the rudest of the rude. They laugh, swear, mock, question. As my wife and I walked by on the way to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I'll talk about this tomorrow), I heard the voice of the angriest observer.

"Where the fuck did Adam and Ever come from?"

There was nothing casual about the question. It was yelled, spat out in contempt. A friend added, "Where did God come from?"

"Yeah," the antagonist yelled. "Where the fuck did God come from?"

The man with the cross (more admiration) didn't get angry at all. He responded with quick little bits that his attackers wouldn't hear.

As I walked on, the pity fell on me. These scoffers won't listen. They never will. They are likely to never accept the idea that God has always been and will always be. They aren't looking for truth. They search for the lies and the lies only. For what reasons I don't know. Unless the receive a Paul-esque experience (the Almighty Christ knocking them to the ground and blinding them), they are likely to stand outside of the new Jerusalem and still bellow, "Where did you come from?"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hurray for Taste!

I have a sticky note at eye level in my cubicle. "Pray" is all it says. I started this a few weeks ago to help me focus on the Almighty a bit more frequently. It works pretty well, but like this blog, sometimes I don't know what to say to God (I know, sometimes I just need to not say anything). But today, while I was eating almonds and dried mango, I was smacked with the thrill of taste.

I thanked God then for taste. It blows my mind that our world can have such a variety of sensations, but even so much variety for just one of our sense is incredible. I don't even know what all to say about it, but God is a stud for making so many things that taste so different, and then to have so many things mix so well to get more tastes.

Slow down and taste.