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Quarter-Century Crisis (yay, it's my birthday)

Posted on 2009.01.21 at 16:39
The absurd has really been getting to me lately. They say ignorance is bliss—I often believe that. College and student teaching taught me all these stupid theories about how much life sucks. Well, that it is pointless. We weren't created with a meaning here.

Sure, it is at times optimistic: we weren't created with a meaning, but that can't stop you from creating your own. Why not do that—decide why you exist? What are you on this planet for?

Therein lies another problem. I hate making decisions. "Where do you want to eat?" or "How many eggs do you want?"

I know you can't tell me how many eggs I want. Only I can tell me that. But what if I just straight-up don't care? If eating one leaves me hungry, I'll eat soon. If three is too much, someone else will eat my leftovers. Well, I guess two it is.

The egg thing must be a metaphor for my life, see. I could exist doing many jobs. If I work at the credit union all my life, I'll be hungry for more. If I teach five English preps a day I will have leftovers I need help with (but in that case, no one will eat them).

I am struggling to find that two-egg part of life. I know life doesn't end because I've reached a certain threshold (quarter-century). I know life doesn't have goals and standards I have to meet like working at a credit union does. I KNOW THIS. So why do I feel this: ennui, dissatisfaction... the meh.

I just want to get over "it." But what do I want? What is it I am so desperate to "get over?"

Honestly, this wasn't spurred by my turning 25. I just like the catchiness of "Quarter-Century Crisis." Reaching this arbitrary descriptor allows me to bitch a little more.


Can I blame this on being American? That life is so easy for me I have to create problems? Yes... it's a plan. See, "The American Dream" dictates I have a husband, 2.5 kids, a house, a picket fence, etc... and I have none of those. I don't even want those (well... maybe I could use a house... for all my He-Man toys...). I don't want them now, and I don't want them later. So why do I feel this void for something I don't even want? Must be that damn consumer culture. I love to shop. Maybe that's the void I feel—I'm so broke I can't shop. Yeah, that's it.


Banning books update...

Posted on 2008.12.11 at 09:04
Remember when I got all mad a few months ago, because an Oregonian mother was refusing to return a The Book of Bunny Suicides to her son's school?

Said mother thought the book was tasteless and would turn all children into rapist serial-killing elitist liberals?

So, remember, I taught at that school last year. You may have heard stories (I love a lot of the students and respected the other teachers, and that's the extent of the nice things I can say)...

The mother filed a grievance to have the book banned from the school library. Fine--it's her right as a parent to take that action (that is much better than her idea to steal the book).

Well, the board voted 3-3 about banning it. In January they will reconvene with all seven members and vote again.

This is just preposterous! I cannot believe they are thisclose to banning a book. Well, I can believe it--there are some backwards folk there.

Seriously. If the board bans this book, they are setting an extremely dangerous precedent. I suggest they ban the following works of literature I taught to students at that school last year:
Brave New World
Things Fall Apart
Cat's Cradle
The Awakening

They all feature suicide. If we're banning suicide, we should probably ban death as well...
The Great Gatsby
Harry Potter
The Scarlet Letter
short stories of Flannery O'Connor
The Crucible
The Hobbit
The Stranger
Tom Sawyer

Oh, wait. That was almost everything I taught. Damnit.

(If you are a friend of mine on MySpace or sometime stumbled on my blogger account you may have seen this)...

While reading Jezebel today I see this link: Taffey Anderson, a mom from Oregon, says she plans on burning The Book Of Bunny Suicides, which her teenage son checked out from his high school library, because she thinks the book is "not OK."

I don't know why, but I instantly thought "Halsey!"

Unfortunately, I was right.

Taffey Anderson has filed paperwork to have a popular graphic novel banned from the library of Central Linn High School in Halsey.

There’s just one hitch: Anderson refuses to return The Book of Bunny Suicides to the school district so a committee can review her complaint.

She won’t budge. In fact, she reportedly plans to burn the book. (The Oregonian, via Oregon Live)

I taught English at this school last year, so it pains me to see this happening. Central Linn is a small underfunded school—typical for rural areas (typical for Real America, yeah?). I initially thought it was so funny because it rings of redneck stereotype: I don't like this book, so dangit! I'm settin' it aflame! Just like your homosexual sinning soul!

Then, I thought it was funny because a different book, Shutterbug Follies, was challenged last year, mostly because of cartoon nudity. We were pretty split about what we should do with it. Being a young liberal, I thought we should read it to kindergartners. Others didn't like it, for it was a little prurient. One History-sometimes-English-teacher said "it wasn't written well." Which, as others agreed with him, means ultimately "I don't like cartoon nudity, cursewords, and a female protagonist who sneaks around detective-like." Because you know what? It was written well. If you agree with Oscar Wilde, you can't make any other judgements about it.

MOVING ON...What is so heartbreaking about this story?

First, rather than take advantage of this "teachable moment" (something that was harped on constantly in the College of Ed.), the mother tears the book away from her son and says she is going to burn it. Because she doesn't like it. Second, the mother, in knowingly not returning the book to the library, is stealing. Well, as it turns out, in this great teachable moment, the mother is imparting a lesson to her child: if something upsets you, get rid of it. Preferably illegally (stealing) or violently (burning).

Luckily for mom, she has a legal recourse to get this book out of the library: she can challenge it through the district by filling out some reconsideration forms. This is a good thing, should there truly be some offensive literature in the library (perhaps a "How to Start a Juvenile Chapter of the KKK" book). Parents participating in their school community is always a good thing.

But pushing their own agenda on other students? Rather than use this opportunity to talk about what is reponsible or appropriate literature, she leaves her child wondering. And perhaps this taste of forbidden fruit will leave him wanting more liberal trash! He may vote for Ralph Nader in eight years?

And why should she get to dictate what other students in the district have access to? This book didn't magically appear in the library. The librarian is not an irresponsible woman out to corrupt your children. She would never order a book she thought was harmful! In fact, last year's nearly-banned book and this one have something in common: they are critically acclaimed and recommended by librarians across the country.

It is refreshing to see parents get involved in their student's curriculum and reading. However, trying to get a book banned helps no one, and stealing the book sets a very bad example. And burning it? Shit. I really wish Central Linn had copies of Fahrenheit 451. That book would spurn the greatest, most relevant English lesson EVER at that school.

The great thing about blogs is that this story is all over the place. Commenters upon commenters have said, "I sent a new copy of the book to CLHS via Amazon." Which is great, because this mother will never be able to check out all the copies (in just reading two blogs' comments, I saw that there are at least 10 copies headed to the school).

But on the other hand, if this story is all over the place, other parents may get the idea to fill out "Material Reconsideration" forms. When we reviewed Shutterbug Follies last year, each person on the committee spent hours in meetings/reviewing the book/reading relevant articles. This school district cannot afford that—it is spread too thin as it is!

AND DAMMIT, it just makes me mad. I don't think books should be banned because they contain suicidal cartoon animals, cartoon nudity, profanity or sexual content.

LAST YEAR, in Senior English, the students (well, realistically, four of 23) read Brave New World. If we apply the same standards of these controversial books, it should be banned too. Hell, I should have been fired on the spot. True, there are no graphics, so we nix the suicidal animals and nudity. However, it is full of profanity, sexual content, and perhaps most dangerously, satire.

OK, I MUST STOP or I will go on forever. Please comment! Let's discuss. Your thoughts?

I have much more to share concerning this.


Note to self re: Amazon.com

Posted on 2008.10.21 at 11:06
Note to self and other Amazon addicts:

Perform a normal product search. If you want to receive only results available for free shipping, paste &emi=ATVPDKIKX0DER into the address bar after you have completed the search. (thank you, Wisebread).


Local folk (anyone?) COSTUME PARTY FRIDAY

Posted on 2008.10.07 at 11:52
See invitation behind cut.Collapse )


local folk: Zombie Social

Posted on 2008.08.24 at 14:43
Just wanted to let y'all know that The Biker Ghouls from Hell are hosting a Zombie Social on Wednesday, August 27.

Dress code: Undead.

Bring: Whatever you want.

We provide: vodka jello brains, rum blood punch and cupcakes.

At my place around 10 'til whenever you leave.


Sources say...

Posted on 2008.08.23 at 01:35
Obama chose Biden as his VP.

You can crucify me for saying this, but I was really hoping for Hilary.



"Lafayette" a Fetus in Fetu production

Posted on 2008.08.14 at 12:22
Our historical fiction flick, "Lafayette" screened last night. This film was made in 48 hours; we drew the genre and received a mandatory character (Jane Gravenstein, Wellness Practitioner), line ("Ok, I think I got it straight") and prop (jumper cables) on Friday night. On Sunday night, we turned in the final cut.

It was so much fun! Words here cannot describe, but you can find running commentary: Fetus in Fetu blog.

So, funny thing... the screening started, in Portland, at 7. We left Eugene at 4:30, which put us on track to be in Portland at 6:30.

Then fires erupted on 1-5. Apparently trees were spontaneously combusting; the flames from one tree licked a hay truck, and that shit took the whole freeway down. For hours.

We made it to Portland at 8:30, approximately one minute after our film finished screening. We went last, so we made it for the Q&A. But those jerks didn't let us vote :(

Dawn recorded the audience reaction to our film—and it was great! Laughs (and cringes) where we wanted 'em.

Check it out:

P.S. I don't know what happened to the promo image I posted yesterday... here are the handbills this time:



Woooo 48 Hour Film Project

Posted on 2008.08.12 at 22:45
For the second year in a row, I participated in the Portland 48 Hour Film Project with Fetus in Fetu Productions.

As always, a good time! Here is one of the posters I made for our movie:

Fetus in Fetu's YouTube Channel

After Wednesday's screening we will make "Lafayette" live on YouTube. For now, last year's effort, "Comeuppance," is available.


The Dark Knight

Posted on 2008.07.18 at 14:00
I saw it, with a group of 10 friends, at 12:01 last night/this morning.

I don't want to give anything away, so I will just make this statement: The Dark Knight was amazing!

Most of us agreed the only "meh" part about it was Rachel Dawes. As it turns out she wasn't boring in Batman Begins because it was Katie Holmes. Maggie Gyllenhaal didn't do much with it either. I read they tried to "empower" the character more in this film, but... blah. I just think she's a half-baked character.

BUT ZOMG! Heath was amazing! Aaron Eckhart was great too. We all know the usual players were good...


OMG! Indiana Jones in less than 6 hours!

Posted on 2008.05.21 at 18:04
In 5 hours and 57 minutes to be precise.

Yay! I am so excited for Indy!

So, California's Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. Now everyone can get married-- not just civil unioned, but married. Just like those darned straight people.

Anyway, ELLEN DEGENERES AND PORTIA DE ROSSI are going to get married!
Portia is beautiful but you don't see her in much. Ellen, you see her funny ass everyday on her show. They are both fantastic.


Giving Safari a shot. Sorry, Firefox.

Posted on 2008.05.11 at 16:20
I've used Mozilla browsers for ages. Since Firefox was Firebird. That was a long time ago. I've always stuck by Firefox, being the little guy who keeps edging out IE. I loved Firefox for its plugins, tabbed browsing, and cool logo.

But man, I am just sick of its lockups. Today alone it froze up, unresponsive, 3 times. And I wasn't doing anything intensive on it.

I imported my bookmarks to Safari, changed it to my default, and am giving it a go. We'll see if it's my habits or Firefox with the problem.

Sorry, Mozilla, I've loved you so. But you are just a pain in the ass.


New photos of new things

Posted on 2008.05.09 at 20:24
Well, about a million months ago (5) I mentioned I got a new tattoo. But that I had to wait to get it finished -- then I had to wait for it to heal. It's a short-sleeve and my arm wasn't happy with the multiple sessions. I got a cool infection from it. But I'm over it :) And finally took pictures!

punkassnot had cut my hair short in December and it's grown some. More importantly she put a great darker color in it. I really like it. Oh, and I have a fantastic MAC lipstick, from the Heatherette line, called Hollywood Nights. I love hot pink.

In addition to those new things, we moved into a new apartment. You will see it featured in the photos. I was watching a Wes Anderson movie and thought yellow would be a good color for our bathroom. Well, we did black and yellow and that translated into a Planet Terror and Kill Bill poster going in there. Josh is a total Tarantino fanboy and that shows :) But I like Robert Rodriguez so it's all good.

There's also a couple shots of the living room. Because I wanted to show my new He-Man/She-ra set-up. I purchased one of those sweet glass cases at Ikea and put some figures in there. Oh, and I am now the proud owner of 2 classic MOTU MOCs. I've had Orko for a while (got at a Goodwill auction) but Josh's friend Brian picked up a Man-E-Faces for $1.60. Can you believe it? The bubble is yellowed and the card has some creases but $1.60? The antique store owner obviously didn't know what he had on his hands (it was priced at $2 but everything was 20% off that day).

Click click for cut!Collapse )

So that's basically all I have. It's been a while since I've posted regularly -- but look, I've managed twice this week! When the school year is out I will be posting plenty...


a not-so-Triumphant Return to LJ

Posted on 2008.05.06 at 21:36

The Rules: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your LJ along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening to.

1.  Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

2.  Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure

3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Into My Arms

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Brother, My Cup is Empty

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Lime-Tree Arbor

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Papa Won't Leave You Henry

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

I find it odd Alan posted a Cardigans song. Anyway, I'm a bad choice for this game because I don't listen to new music, and have my iPod or iTunes on a near-constant shuffle. So, it's hard to claim being "into" anything if it's random. So I thought of #1 and #2 because they've been in my head lately. So, I went with my most-played from iTunes for the rest, but its overwhelmingly Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (because I most often do a Nick Cave shuffle). These songs are all at 19-21 plays.  And it makes me look like a big Nick Cave freak. Well, I guess I am, given the straight numbers. I should be shot or something.
Funny thing is, those aren't even my 5 favorite Nick Cave songs. Well, #4 is most likely in there, and #3 in the top 12. And iTunes favors certain albums over others as well. You learn so much about yourself and iTunes by looking at the Play Count column.

Oh, did you know Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are coming to Portland September 22? Yay! Gots my tix.

Edit:  I forgot to tag 7 people persuant to instructions.
iamthenewcoke, xlifebymonox, punkassnot, ilovebeuford, ___amanda__, guilietta, kevenn


Man! I got lucky tonight!

Posted on 2008.04.11 at 01:42
We went to '80s night for the second week in a row. Sister Sam, Nate, Brennan and I. I just have to mention this on LJ because I am thanking my lucky stars! Apparently I got too crazy with the dancing tonight... someone approached me and said I dropped a key. Sure enough, it was my key to the apartment. Then, she told me she gave a key to the door guy (Danny, who works at the Parlour where us cool kids get our tats). So I go up there, sure enough, it's my gate key. What I want to know is, how the heck did 2 keys come off a carabiner attached to a belt loop? Like, seriously? I need to invest in one of those fancy ones that twist shut, I guess. I no longer trust pockets, considering I attach gate key, apt. key and bike key. And did she see the keys fly off me? How'd she know?

Anyway, I just don't get it. So, I thanked her profusely. Sami, who is in the hair industry, told me my savior  was CeCe who owns Hair Virtuoso. Cool place to get your hair did, BTW. Come to think about it, I got my hair cut there once, by CeCe (... but now that Sami is a pro she does it). Wow, I am just in awe that everything worked out.

And... OMG OMG OMG they played "Invisible Touch" by Genesis. I am so excited about that because it is our song. When we used to have parties or get-togethers at the old apartment, I would break out the Genesis "Invisible Touch" VHS (which also has "Land of Confusion" and "In too Deep" on it) and we'd party. So it was good (this is like the 3rd week that Nate, jokesternc, has been 21).

TIME FOR BED. AND, in other exciting news... there is about 9 weeks of school left. You don't know how excited I am the school year is over. Well... maybe you do :)


PS I am going to chaperone prom in a few weeks. Jealous?

PPS Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's new album came out two days ago. Dig, Lazarus, Dig. It is good. I love the title song.


This week

Posted on 2008.03.24 at 08:09
We are leaving for Vegas tonight (for jokesternc 's 21st birthday). I am so excited -- I have never been! It's funny... I don't know if I'm more excited to see this debauched place, or to go to H & M for the first time.

So, we'll be back late Thursday night. Wish me a fun time.

I will wish you a fun time. Here is a must-see video: http://www.towleroad.com/2008/03/theyre-the-gops.html

I LOL'd for a couple of minutes. My favorite part is when the biggest girl is washing her face with McCain (isn't that intriguing?).



This just hasn't been my week.

Posted on 2008.02.29 at 15:20
Hunting for a new place sucks. It feels like there are no rentals available. Or there are, but they don't allow pets. Why do I love my Bun-Bun so much? I am sad to leave this house... I love it so much.

I thought I broke my Mighty Mouse but it is OK now -- I guess the pear skin worked its way out.

Monday, while teaching (or attempting to, whatever) I knocked my laptop off a projector cart. Luckily it didn't break... it fell, open, about 4 feet. When I bent over to pick it up I expected to see a cracked LCD. Luckily I just got a dent on the palm rest and a loose LCD frame. Oh, and when the lid's shut it's all wonky. It still closes and goes to sleep, though. I am so thankful it's only cosmetic damage.

I bought 2 1GB RAM sticks and installed them Wednesday (my laptop's stock RAM is 2 512MB sticks). This morning my computer crashed in the middle of printing a PDF. I reseated the RAM, thinking I messed it up during installation and it came loose. Powered it back on, and it crashed again. I gave up and took out the new RAM. I don't know what the deal is... but it's definitely working fine now. Why would it take over a day for my computer to decide it doesn't like the new RAM?

Oh, and I tried printing a cool Japanese coffee ad featuring our favorite Twin Peaks character Agent Cooper. The Rasterbator seemed to work fine, but I kept having printing issues (I just went through a lot of ink!) so I give up.

Now I am going grocery shopping, and to see Lars and the Real Girl. It's at the $1.50 theater, so even if it sucks I'm not out a lot of money.



Uh oh

Posted on 2008.02.24 at 10:20
I think I broke my Mighty Mouse via something very stupid: eating a pear and reading e-mail. Don't ask me how, but i got a piece of pear skin stuck on the scroll ball.

I picked it off, but now my scroll ball won't work going down. HOW CAN I READ MY BLOGS?



This is so I remember...

Posted on 2008.02.09 at 11:35
What I need to do this summer.

Cormac McCarthy
David Sedaris
Chuck Palanuik (did I forget a letter?)

You know, I haven't read anything modern. So that's what's up.

Oh, and take some classes. I don't know how people sit around and do nothing all the time. I think I'll be bored out of my gourd.

15 school weeks until summer break!

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