Sunday, October 26, 2008

Virtual Shopping

Wool Military Coat: $358

Metallic raincoat: $320

Smythe Equestrian Jacket, Plaid: $598

Smythe Equestrian Jacket, Black: $598

Knee High Stretch Boot: $129

Cape Cadet Coat: $865

I am not really going to buy any of this. Mainly because I can't imagine spending more than $200 for a coat. Those boots are hot, but they would kill my feet.

Just a quick question to everyone who is inclined to answering: what do you think about internet dating?
It's always seemed a little bizarre to me. (And a little bit creepy too.) In all honesty, I feel desperate for considering it as an option, even for a moment. But hey, it seems to be working for a lot of people out there, right? Still though, I can't imagine budgeting monthly for my website Yente to make me a match. It just seems like things should be, I don't know, easier than that.
Has anyone ever tried it? Any hilarious/enlightening anecdotes about the world of internet romance?
I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I meant to post this a while back, but I'm only now remembering.

I was on Library duty the other day during a lunch shift. Kids were coming in to take AR tests and asking me to put the monitor password in, etc.

Suddenly I hear some racket in the hallway. It's noisier than the usual yelling and slamming of lockers. A bunch of kids in the library jump up off the computers and crowd around the library entrance to see.

I'm trying to grade papers in peace over by the librarian's desk, and the librarians are in the computer lab or down the hall or something. So I get up to go fuss at the kids in the hall and tell them to go back to class or lunch or wherever the hell they came from.

When I walk up behind the kids in the doorway, I hear a sound like a blowdryer blowing up an air mattress. Then I see a kid on a hovercraft scooting down the hall and whooping. A HOVERCRAFT, y'all. How do you fuss at that?

Turns out it was the Physics class. The teacher was right there with them (a small Asian woman who has won a bunch of teacher awards). They were just doing a lab or something. Building a hovercraft and trying it out. As you do.

On closer inspection, it was a flat round disk on the floor that looked somewhat soft, like a stiff yoga mat. There was a tube coming out of the top and some blowing device that was stuffed into the tube. The kid taking a ride would mash the trigger of the device until it (I guess) pushed some air under the mat and some other kids would give him a hard push. Then he'd sort of glide down the hall right in front of the library and yell.

I thought to myself: I'm teaching in a place where you can occasionally find a kid hovercrafting in the hallway. During class time. And I felt a little grateful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of my most beloved people and their fam. We were going out for an early-ish dinner, since the eldest of the elders doesn't like to eat past 6 pm. We decided on Ground Pat'i, a cornerstone of the Lafayette diner scene. Driving in separate vehicles, the elders led the caravan and us young whipper-snappers were holding it down in the S00B, trailing behind them. Stopped at a red light, we began talking much shit about the restaurant that was blocking our view of what we thought was to be our final destination. It went something like this:
O'Charley's? Why would anyone want to eat there? I think they give you a free steak and drink on your birthday. O'Henry's does that too. Oh, right. That's O'Henry's, not O'Charley's . . . they're so different, obviously. It's a wonder how I could get them confused, etc.
Suffice it to say, the general sentiment was that chain restaurants suck ass and are never truly an option. For us young people, anyway.
We got a call from the elders, to the effect of: Hey! You guys wanna go eat at O'Charley's?! . . . It's Irish!
We acquiesced, but not without letting it be known, in a passive-aggressive kind of way, that we were not enthusiastic and were, minutes before, approximating O'Charley's level of Suck.
And did it ever exceed my expectations; though, not by being bad, but by being comPLETEly mediocre, which is effing depressing. Because: This is actually appealing to middle America.
That friggin place was stuffed to the gills and this perplexes me: I don't understand how someone could have a rumbly in the belly paired with an urge to eat out, and arrive at O'Charley's as a real, for cereal option of sating both. But there I found myself presented with an enormous menu, filled with page after page of crap that I didn't even bother reading the description of, much less think about eating. The first thing my eyes landed upon (which is, admittedly, the inspiration for this post) is something that I've yet to wrap my brain around: the Cotton Candy Martini. I scoured the restaurant's website for a picture of the drink only to find nothing; I, therefore, resorted to a google image search to find to my horror, that this is an actual thing beyond this chain restaurant. Diabetic coma, anyone? Have a cotton candy-tini. Because life's too short to never go into insulin shock.
So, now that I've established that I am a bitchy elitist, let me redeem myself by saying this: I had the cedar plank tilapia with fresh asparagus, and I have to say that it was pretty OK. The fish was burned around the edges, but apart from that, had a wonderful, smoky flavor and the asparagus was cooked to my liking, i.e. a little al dente. Oh. There was a side salad too, but it was romaine and other such forget-ables. I also want to give props to our waitress. She was on top of her shit, polite and generally awesome. I never wanted for lemon water.
I don't think I'll be going back to O'Charley's any time soon or, you know, ever again. However, the company was high-spirited and enjoyable and the elders paid for my meal! I was shocked at first, cause I never would have ordered a thirteen dollar entree had I known they were picking up the bill. But then I was touched and appreciative, since they certainly didn't have to do that. I bet had they known what an ungrateful trollop they were comping, they'd have thought twice. Luckily for me, though, they can't read minds and don't read bloggies.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I haven't been quite sure what to write about, mainly because I didn't want to write about the most significant thing in my life lately: being alone.

I am not totally alone, I still have Herman and Diego with me, but Jips is gone visiting his family for five days. So for five days I am living alone. I've never actually lived alone before. I don't think it would be good for me. I need people around me, even if we just coexist in an overlapping space. With that being said: maybe I am the difficult roommate. ;) I certainly am the messy roommate!

My mom asked me if I had trouble sleeping. I don't have trouble at all, and that is probably because I always go to bed by myself and Jips stays up. The good thing about sleeping alone is that there is more room in the bed. And Herman will sleep the whole night with me since Jips doesn't come to bed taking Herman's spot.

The funny thing is that normally I feel like I can't get enough time for myself. But this weekend I feel so alone that time by myself feels unnaturally empty. I had planned on studying alot -which I need to do- but the aloneness makes it hard for me to concentrate.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


One of my most remarkable students, who was in my class last year as a freshman, gave me one of his poems to read today.

He joined the club I am a sponsor for--the school's literary magazine publishing club. I don't teach him anymore, but I do see him at meetings.

Hm, this is going to require some set up. Let me paint a picture of this kid before I talk about his poem:

He is one of those unique kids who says what he means and says things in a serious and earnest way even if other kids snicker. He is a deep thinker who questions the norms of society (which makes him not only an engaging person, but an interesting student. Especially during discussion). He is black and from a poor area. He speaks exclusively in Black English dialect (doesn't know how to code switch like some of his black peers). Some of the white kids didn't take him seriously for a while because of this and assumed he was dumb. His papers were always full of grammatical errors because he wrote in his dialect, like many of my students do.

He is also very funny and warm, and would have the entire class laughing on many occasions. He is one of the few kids who has cracked me up to the point that I have to stop in the middle of an explanation.

But he would turn in poems to me last year, things that weren't assignments, that were very dark and troubled. He spoke of his dad and him "not seeing eye to eye" a lot. He wrote about having something "dark" within him--painful images. Last year, I thought maybe he was being abused.

The poem he turned in today was simply heartbreaking. It is now obvious to me that he is gay and living in a vehemently anti-gay environment. In Baton Rouge, I've noticed that most of my black Christian kids staunchly believe that being gay is a choice and a "sin." And it's certainly not only the black community that thinks this way, but it seems to be especially strong there.

There was this one line about hiding "what's inside with tall white Tees and baggy pants." It just kills me. I never thought about it last year because he doesn't fit the usual gay stereotypes, but then again, I was shocked when my brother came out to me a few months ago.

To hear my brother talk about how he felt in high school--how he felt confused about what was going on in his head, how he wanted to deny it, how he'd have a crush on a guy from a distance and just pray the guy would never talk to him. How he was terrified that anyone would even suspect because there was already such a xenophobia about ANYthing outside of the very narrow norm at his Catholic high school. How he hid such a big part of himself for all those years. He's twenty three now and has just come out to his immediate family and is dating someone for the first time in his life.

I'd hate to tell this fifteen year old kid, "Hang on 'til you're twenty three! People MAY accept you then..."

I guess I'll tell him to study really hard so he can leave Baton Rouge, at least. Move to the Netherlands.

The whole thing made me think about all my students who are obviously gay and aren't able to be out, or who are in denial. I can think of about five students off the top of my head right now that are obviously gay (boys) between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. I teach at the most diverse and "accepting" public school in town--there's even a Spectrum Alliance club. But these kids can't come out STILL. Or if they did, they'd be practically shunned by their classmates. I want to believe that there will be a time one day where kids don't have to be ashamed when they figure out that they're gay. When it is socially acceptable to the point that they get to have a normal dating life at the age that straight kids are ready to start dating each other.

I can hardly imagine such a time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

white-knuckling it

I met with my faves Professor (she's totes adorable, organized and actually models the behaviors she encourages us to practice as teachers) today to talk to her about my options in terms of becoming certified. She said that it would be in my best interest to finish the program at UL since I will be almost finished by the end of this semester and will have much lighter course loads in the spring and summer and, therefore, have more time to work. I signed up to take the PLT (the last of my Praxis tests) and will be ready to start student teaching or an academic internship in the Fall.
I trust her opinion and respect her advice. She said that I was setting myself up for success in getting certified in both German and English (and suggested that I might consider getting certified in another foreign language, like French or Spanish, to make myself more employable). But she cautioned me to get in touch with the contact at the Student Teaching Office now so that he'll have more time to scrounge up a German teaching position for come August.
EXHALE . . . Ok. I'm really doing this. Powers that Be: please help me hang in there for a few more months and pretty, pretty please let there be a teaching position available somewhere not awful.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

TFA is short for: Shot in the FACE

I can feel it: the obsession creeping in. I am checking MY OWN BLOG multiple times a day to look for comments and new posts.

Skuh asked me why I said TFA is the devil. The reality is that I just like to make outlandish claims without any substance to them. I don't know that much about Teach For America, but these facts make me distrust them:

1) they are an organization with lots of propaganda
2) you can write the TFA experience on your resume
3) their target age group = college kids

Organizations and Cults love to target college kids because often times college kids don't want to grow up and they don't know what they will do with their lives. College kids are legal-for-labor and they don't always place a high value on their time. The exploitation opportunities are endless.

Skuh, I know you aren't doing TFA so you can write it on your resume. But that will be the focus of the people you will be working with. You were an English major so you might not know how annoying pre-meds are. People who are too focused on resumes are a bitch to be around because they lack something that most other people have: a soul.

I am naturally distrustful of organizations especially if there is propaganda involved. From what I have heard, TFA does not tolerate any negative talk about TFA. Personally, I like the truth and I like free speech. TFA likes to smite the truth.

And finally, if you join TFA you may be shot in the face by one of your students.

Check the links:
Feministe: Why I Hate Teach For America
(read the comments on Feministe, too)
Philadelphia Rain
Loving to Hate Teach for America
How I Joined Teach for America-- and got Sued for $20 million


Did yall watch the new HOUSE Tuesday?
If so you will love LOL House, courtesy of J-Money.
It is really funny! Scroll down to see the pics.

I need to lighten up.

Yes, I'm at a loss. Yes, I've been upset. No I don't have a real job or prospects of getting one soon. Do I need to get over it, regardless? It's probably not a bad idea. Like Fermi said, focus on the positive. 
Last night my friend RayB came into town to visit, since she moved back to NOLA a few months ago. Incidentals: she looked great and I told her so. New Orleans agrees with her (I told her that too). I was walking out of the house to go over to JoMo's for the get-together, when I spied a flat tire in the darkness. I called Jacques to see if he'd give me a lift, he obliged and I came back inside to wait, though in actuality I was mostly sulking. 
I flopped down and cried and wrote in my live-action journal this, among other things: 
"Financial loss begets more financial loss and I find myself in a low and hopeless state . . . The post-graduation years have been some of the most trying times in my life. What's frightening is the lack of direction and the absence of an end that will justify these means. I am too young to feel this tired and downtrodden . . . Another frightening reality is that life is hard and it will never again be easy. It will only get more difficult . . . Granted, no one ever said that life would be easy, but I'd at least like to see a point to all of it. As of late, my perception of the world has shifted from that of a place saturated with purpose and meaning to a landscape devoid of both."
Grim was my outlook. I smoked a cigarette until I could no longer deny how much worse it was making me feel, stamped it out and went out front to wait for my ride and kick my tire, since that's what you're supposed to do when you've got a flat. 
The company last night was nice and witty (and there were puppies!) and it did me much better than I had anticipated. I walked away with a very minor head injury, and a gas of a story to explain it:
JoMo's roommate, Liberace, is one of those guys who, firstly has been accused by his fellow bandmates of having Asperger's, and secondly hoards weird crap for the love of bizarre things and the stories behind them. He had this stuffed Matisse doll, that I took an interest in cause I couldn't imagine how creepy the circus that it came from must have been. It's clothes were felt, for cryin out loud, and the crotch on the doll was out of control, in the worst kind of way. Liberace explained that his Mother saw this Find at a garage sale, thought of him and made a gift of it. He said something to the effect of, "Oh, you should see the box," to which I replied, "This thing came in BOX?!" (I was surprised, as I assumed that abominations such as these were not manufactured but just came into existence, like evil and the AIDS virus.) Liberace interpreted my mock horror as burning curiosity and decided to toss me the box, so I could have a look-see. Being that he DIDN'T GIVE ME A HEADS UP though, the next thing I knew, there was a box hitting me in the head (which hurt just slightly more than I thought it might). It then ricocheted off of my forehead and, on its descent, brought down various chachkies that were thought to be perched safely on the coffee table. I immediately thought and blurted out, "Why in God's name would you think that would be a good idea?! Ever??" Needless to say he felt really bad. I was not hurt, only somewhat stunned and mostly tickled.
As we were leaving, he apologized again. I told him not to worry about it. As soon as we stepped outside, though, I started laughing and Jacques asked why. I said, "Liberace really did hit me in the head with a box." He said he looked forward to practice (they're in the same band) the next day so that he could tell everyone another Liberace story.

Anyway, I had a good time, laughed a lot, lost a little blood (ok, I'm exaggerating). You'd be surprised at how your load feels lighter after a night of cuttin up. You'd also be surprised at how the light of day can make a tire that looks flat at night look like it's actually just runnin a little low on air.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

for 200 points, rhymes with "bad school"

I'm going to continue the post train of talking about grad school. It's 1:30, the VT game just kicked off about a mile away from where I'm sitting right now. That location is my desk in my horribly messy room. Messy because, as Fermi says, I have other stuff to do that take priority. Messy because, as Fermi didn't say, I haven't slept here in about 3 weeks. The portion of my life contained in stuff (books, clothes, earrings) is in here. The portion of my life that includes my body has been annexed to Germany. Not the country, just the German boyfriend's dorm room. Now before you get too sniffy, he has a queen bed and a private bathroom (which always trumps a single bed and a typical dorm style, shower shoe kind of bathroom).

That being said, I feel a sense of relief when I spend chunks of time in my "actual" room. It's not that I don't like spending time with Der Junge, but all of my shit is here, I know where it is, decorations suit my style, and I can be totally quiet (other than blasting Wilco). After going 24 years with no relationship, I realize now how good alone time can be. Together time is still good too, though. Especially when you lub them.

So back to the real topic, graddy school. I just finished writing a paper about 2 hours ago. Did I mention that I have a paper due on every Saturday this semester? Or that not one day goes by where I'm not forced to slave away for at least a small amount of time (i.e., 3+ hours at a min.)? The stress from having to do the amount of work I have to do would be enough to fill my plate. The side dish of having a new boyfriend who is returning to his home country in December is sufficient as well. But, the appetizer/dessert combo of being averse to my advisor/teacher of 2 of my 3 classes plus becoming seriously depressed by the content of both of this person's classes takes the cake (no pun intended). I cry in a serious, sobbing kind of way at least once a week. I am reminded of living in a foreign country by my inability to handle small, uncomfortable situations (like parking ticket drama). I read the articles/books for class and feel depression, but nothing compared to the depression felt in my seminars when the ideas I skimmed (since there's too much reading to actually read for details) are fully explained to me in all their bleak fatalism.

I remember reading a passage in a book about applying/going to grad school that said something like "don't go into a grad program thinking you can just easily quit if you don't like it, there's a whole process of shaming and self-questioning/self-doubt if you decide to bow out." Now, that's not direct, but I definitely understand, now, what they meant. There's a sense that you have failed at life if you fail to complete a grad program you started. There's all kinds of internal politics and drama in my department. I am the girl whose name is remembered because it's not pronounced the way it "should" be. One word for that: Yankees.

So I don't know what the future holds (who does?) but I do know that I can survive this semester. And I know that if I decide to, I can get this degree. Why? because I am better than them. Why else? Because, like Fermi, I can sit back and realize that most of this shit is just not important. Ok, that last one is a work in progress, but at least I'm not getting 3 hours of sleep and crying during bathroom breaks like the other first semester student in my department. And the other thing, I know that if I do decide to quit this shit, it's their loss, not mine.

Goal 1: Control the Universe

The 1992 graduate asked me who I worked for, and when I told her she scrunched up her face in disgust. I smiled and said "yes."

"Maybe he's changed." She said.

"He hasn't. The person who told me I should work for him got fired the year I joined."

"That was the same thing that happened to my friend who worked for him." she said.


Now in my third year, my boss is not the problem. He isn't going to fire me, because right now, I am more valuable to him than he is to me. On top of that, I have learned how to deal with him. I don't stress out about group meetings or seeing him.

The problem is now internal and personal. Personal because my house is a mess, and I have to study organic on my down time rather than clean my house. Internal because I feel like I haven't done anything worthwhile in the past 2.25 years.

I know it isn't true. I have a paper published in a journal where "only experts in the field" publish. I won a teaching award. I have led the revival of my Women In Science group for the past year growing our membership from 5 to 45. I passed my oral exam and all of my PhD qualifiers.

But I have not made a scientific contribution to my field. In reality this is mostly because of (1) choosing to work for an older advisor who has had several bad ideas that I had to entertain. and (2) bad luck, old instruments, lack of funding. I am certain that I am not alone in my current status of lack of contribution. A professor I respect got his whole thesis out of the last 6 months of the 6 years it took him to get a PhD. In fact, most people I know (haven't/hadn't) done anything worthwhile (at this point in their PhD education.) I guess I feel frustrated because Katu, a friend that I respect, HAS done worthwhile work.

To further Analyse the situation:
  • Katu works longer hours than me, and she probably works harder than me 85% of the time
  • Katu works for a young professor who has good ideas
  • Katu does not have a paper in the esteemed journal that I have one in
  • Katu hasn't led the Women In Science group
  • Katu hasn't won a teaching award
  • Katu has passed her PhD qualifiers
  • Katu doesn't exercise regularly or have dogs
I guess I am only bothered because she is further along in getting the degree, but she is not further along in being the total person that I want to be.

I ask myself: Would I trade my accomplishments for Katu's? The answer is no. I just want it all. And that brings us to the truth: that you really can't have it all. Life is a trade off, and with each thing we choose we discard a different choice.

So I guess the answer is: focus on the positive. I am the person that I want to be except for the fact that I'm not omnipotent.

Friday, October 3, 2008

it's friday!

so this past weekend i went to austin city limits with the hubby and my little sister. it was SO fantastic....there is something about being with thousands of other people outside and being able to see 10 of your favorite bands all in one weekend. i haven't been able to go in the last 3 years, so it was really nice to go back.

and austin has quickly moved to the top of the "where we want to move after gradschool is over" list. :)

the real reason i felt the urge to post now is that i had a very enlightening experience a few minutes ago..... my major professor decided that i have to start meeting (and interacting) with our weekly seminar speakers. this is quite a scary task because these seminar speakers are in the top of their respective fields in economics, and i'm just not on their level. the one thing you don't want is to make a bad impression on someone who could eventually offer you a job. plus i have a tendency to say very very dumb things when i get nervous.

anyway, the meeting was actually really great.... i explained my research as a third year student would (extremely nervously) and yet managed to sound intelligent. i also got the best compliment there is: "this topic is really interesting to everyone"

that, my friends, is an extremely good sign!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

running out of options

I think I am going to drop out of the Alt Cert program at UL. It's expensive and I don't have the time to make any money. I am unsure that it's in my best interest to continue along this path. 
I am looking into Teach for America as a serious option, as well as programs in different states that pretty much pay you to get certified. 
I am so fucking tired of not making any money. And I'm even more tired of not having a real job. I feel like it's time and that I deserve both, but reality would tell me otherwise. 
I am sure of nothing save my loss of hope about so many things.