Skipping past Writober and Nanoblomo . . ? Shit, I dunno. I'm as bored as you are.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Sick of School. Or, Sick AND School.
One of the crappier blogging conundrums that occurs when you’ve been away for a few (or seven) days is when you feel like you need to come up with something brilliant to justify being “gone” for “so long.” Yeah, it’s those times when I wish I had the gumption to post every day.
It’s been a tumultuous week. Most of the tumult started Friday when Michelle woke up and croakily announced that I’d need to take Mia to school. She had hints the night before that she was coming down with something, and by Friday morning, it was full-on kicking her ass. Neither of us are strep-prone (*knock on wood*), but she was convinced that she’d picked it up from Mia. Michelle was in shambles and couldn’t drive, so I took her to the
doctor HMO’s urgent care center (because her doctor is a worthless, overflowing douche). Not only did she NOT have strep, but it wasn’t even the flu. Just some non-specific virus that’s caused across-the-board symptoms and from which she’s still recovering.
In the middle of all of this, we had a couple school tours set up. Friday was the school she’s zoned for, and Monday was a well-regarded local charter school. The crux of the school search is, as I’ve discussed before, the feared culture shock that our tender flower may experience if she enters a school that’s up to 75% not-like-her.
The tours were eye-opening and shone a bright light on our own prejudices . . . and those of our “neighbors.” Y’see, the school Mia’s zoned for has been called “ghetto” by many people we’ve talked to. But it fluctuates between A and B ratings . . . unlike the “South Side” schools that are solidly C- and D-level schools. Interestingly, the new community/development in our corner of town is zoned for the same school. And that area is chock-full of upscale white families. Both the elementary school in question and the high school we’re zoned for are now being extensively renovated. See how that works? The money moves in, and shit gets “fixed.” And it turns out that the elementary school, which currently has a “magnet” program is going to become a “non-zone” full magnet school in a couple years; if Mia is there when that happens, she’ll have first priority to continue on at the school. The upscale community is reportedly the site of a new elementary school that will, in essence, replace the school we’re currently zoned for. Which would be nice, but the location would be totally out of the way for either Michelle or I. (Mia isn’t riding the bus. Ever.)
My visit to the first school made me much more comfortable with the situation, making it much less of a “only as a last resort” school. Yes, it is, as the tour guide (drama teacher) described, “diverse.” But there is a huge focus on the arts and infusing art into learning and social studies. Very interesting concept. The other worry was an on-site “after school” program, which turns out they do have. (I’d found no evidence of such on the school’s website.) Overall, I got a good feeling from that school.
The charter school is much less traditional and more Montessori-esque. There are mixed-age classes, and all of the learning is participatory/hands-on. Which is another interesting concept. The students there are taught to respect one another above all else; it’s a somewhat touchy-feely atmosphere, and I never saw any tension between students during the whole tour (and we walked through SEVERAL classrooms and came in contact with just about every student at the school . . . which is relatively small). The downside here, for one, is that they have 26 kindergarten openings each year, and those spots are available to any child in the county. Reportedly, the list for the lottery drawing (in March) is over 500 children long, but not all of those are kindergarteners-to-be.
We’re still trying to decide, although I’m guessing we’ll enter her in the lottery for the charter school and make the best of however things turn out. At least I’ve learned enough now that we won’t have to panic.
ETA (the next day): Okay, so this should be the last earnest/serious post I ever do. It’s been pointed out that even bringing all of this up makes me seem like a racist. I was a little uncomfortable throwing it out there because I didn’t want to create that impression.
I was raised in a solidly middle-class environment. We moved from Connecticut to Florida in 1974. My parents hadn’t made a big deal about racial issues with me growing up because none of us had lived in a racially charged place until moving to The South.
So, yeah, this was all new to me and, in a moment I’m not proud of, I busted out the “N” word speaking to a black child on our front porch . . . right in front of my mother. My white friends in the neighborhood were all about using that word, and not playing with black kids. Anyway, that night, I got the first (and worst) spanking I can remember. Oh, and I was five or six at the time.
I have a very idealistic view of race and ethnic differences now, in that I try to treat everyone the same and believe that everyone is equal. This is why I don’t favor affirmative action policies; I just want to rocket ahead to where we’re all just on a level playing field . . . even though we’re not (yet).
We’ve made the decision not to even “prepare” Mia for dealing with people of different cultures/races because she shouldn’t be hampered with predispositions either way when interacting with other children. If she has questions or problems when she starts school, we’ll work with her on them. It’s just that I’m not four or five years old, so I’m not exactly sure how she’s going to react; things have changed a lot since the mid-1970s. My gut says that she’s going to be fine, as she’s fascinated with other children, regardless of color, and has shown no prejudices in interacting with (the very limited number of) black children at her preschool. Except for that one little prick who’s always being mean to her, but he has emotional problems that are unrelated to his being black.
Thus ends me being serious.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
“You Can Blow Me.”
Hey, The Internets! You play poker a lot, right? Then surely you’ve had one of those hands . . . the magical, I’ve-waited-all-my-life-for-you hands? Like you’re holding a pair of, say, eights and the other two eights come up in the flop? How are you gonna keep from bursting and still get the other fools to give you all their money?
Well, first wait for them to come to you. Bingo! The first guy to act throws in five bucks, and the other guy still holding cards goes all-in. It’s not a giveaway to call the all-in, as it doesn’t add up to a huge bet. The first guy calls, too. Fucking AWESOME! Okay, the Turn card is something that doesn’t matter, but you wince in a very non-poker-face way, sending out a “tell.” The first guy moves all-in to push you off the hand. You say, “I call” and drop the quad eights on him. End scene.
Yeah, this happened. And it was fucking awesome. But I wasn’t the guy with the quad eights.** No, I was the “first guy” with pocket fours (so, two pair . . . ouch). Anyway, not an awful day of poker tournament action; I did score a $5 bounty for eliminating one player. I finished tied for fourth out of 12. One (and a half) players from getting my money back. In retrospect, I did okay, but I should’ve known that guy’s “tell” was fake. (It was pretty obvious . . . likely why I noticed it to begin with.) Still, I dream about doing that to other people. Except my quads beat a full house . . . or something better than two pair, anyway.
I’ll have to tweak my strategy a little, I think. It kept me from chasing bad cards, yes, but I didn’t follow up with effective betting. I won less than a quarter of the hands where I paid to see a flop. And one of THOSE was an instance of everyone folding to a big bet after the flop. (I guess a pot bought is not a pot lost.)
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Hollywood (9999 Turns)
I followed through with my Civ III / “American Idol” combo plan, but actually got bored playing Civ III and had to turn it off for a bit.* I stretched out on the couch to watch the rest of “AI” and nearly laughed myself off it at one point. And taking it to the next level, as usual, is Brian Byrne. He’s got “American Idol” screen-shots on Flickr**, along with his Grade-A commentary. I’m really starting to believe that reality television should be 100% focused on humiliation, and blogging should be 100% focused on making fun of celebrities and/or television shows.
On a semi-related note, I think it was Patricia’s Vox site that included the link to this, a MySpace page set up for Robin Sparkles (of the famed Canadian music video in “How I Met Your Mother").
Boob Tube • Games • (4) Comments closed • Permalink
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Now Not Knowing When to Quit on Multiple Fronts and Levels
Despite C-dub’s warning, I’ll probably watch “American Idol” with Michelle, looking over the top of my laptop screen periodically while playing Civ III. Like I did last night. Really, it’s embarrassing to watch the audition rounds, so I mute my game and just listen to the tone-deaf vocalists and stinging commentary while hordes of Chinese and Babylonian and Zulu and Persian and Roman forces totally beat the living Christ out of my doodz. I got into the 1400s playing Japan, rather peacefully, which it turns out is a waste. I should’ve been kicking ass from the get-go. Anyway, I got saddened and deleted the game. Actually, ALL of the games I had saved. Then I started over as the Germans. On a bigger “world.” I’m making nice with the Aztecs right now, but if they get snotty with me, I won’t hesitate to go Apocalypto on their tanned asses.
In other news, I think my newfound optimism may have resulted from not being in a band anymore. That said, I think I’m going to be joining another band soon.
Boob Tube • Games • (0) Comments closed • Permalink
Monday, January 15, 2007
The Year was 1275 . . .
Michelle’s threatening to watch the Golden Globes. Considering how far removed from what’s going on in the world of cinema as it relates to pop culture I am, I’ll probably just sit here on the laptop blogging, or playing Scrabble or Civ III. (Illustrative tidbit: Entertainment Weekly printed a list of 25 movies you have to see before the Academy Awards next month, and I’ve seen NONE of them. Not a one.)
The past six days with Mia being sick and/or out of school have been surprisingly unharrowing. Except when she was being snotty and demanding. (Yawn.)
On to the bullets!
- Hugh Laurie just gave a hilarious acceptance speech for winning best actor for House. I forgot he was a comedian.
- I’ve fulfilled my bet obligation to Patricia. The Cowboy t-shirt was purchased and worn to watch the National Championship game Monday. To sleep Tuesday. To do stuff around the house Thursday. And to play disc golf and work out on Sunday. I took some pictures, most notably this one after I worked out (of the shirt, not me). Anyway, the shirt has now been washed and will be mailed to Patricia later this week. Enjoy. You can wear it during a Cowboys game. Next season.
- Styro requested a photo of Mia’s new loft bed. I was about to take it, but the bed wasn’t made and the area around the bed was messy. And I was too lazy to straighten things up.
- I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Golden Globes, but Warren Beatty just wrapped up a 1,000-minute speech. I was really fighting off warriors from China, Babylon, and Zululand. Motherfuckers destroyed Kyoto.
- Rome got off to a great start, beginning at Julius Caesar’s bloody corpse and ending its first episode with someone carrying a disembodied head up a mountain.
- Seriously, I’m not gonna rest until there are some dead virtual Chinese warrior dudes. Okay, okay . . . I AM gonna rest. But TOMORROW, Mao will rue the fucking DAY.
- Still haven’t seen Borat yet, but Sasha Baron Cohen just gave an excellent speech that described in VIVID detail the naked wrestling scene. Including an allusion to balls resting on his chin. I guess that happened, huh?
- Before we get to that, I’m gonna just come out and address the whole mix CD thing. Back in the day, when I gave a shit about blog-networking and how many comments and “unique” hits I got a day, I made mix CDs to “exchange” other bloggers (i.e., give away indiscriminately). This doesn’t really have anything to do with where I’m going with this, except to say that I hardly ever send out mix CDs any more. I’m really convinced that people hate my CDs. To drive that point home, I’m currently making a two-CD winter mix. Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (which I recently borrowed from My. Glory Hole) is heavily featured (seriously, it transitions from a nice Death in Vegas song right into “March of the Pigs” . . . not smoothly). Disc One will end with a 10+ minute live version of The Cure’s “Faith.” I’m previewing the mix right now. And smiling.
- Saturday morning (ooops, smiling over), we went on a quest for a big-girl bed. We’d been pumping Mia up about getting a bunk bed so she can have her cousin sleep over. After doing some preliminary shopping in the preceding days and weeks, we visited four stores that morning. The fourth didn’t immediately seem promising, but we found a bed set we liked and the total DOUCHEBAG salesguy (looked to be working on his third career as a hack furniture salesman) helped us read price tags and make our visit that much less enjoyable. But he made it much easier for me to practice being assertive, which any salesman anywhere will tell you I’m incapable of. I tried to get a mattress thrown in (no dice) and then a break on the price (“This is a special group price, sir.”). Then I got him to confirm that the “loft” bed actually included the lower bed (it did) and that it was “in stock” (it was). After paying for everything up front, we were directed to drive around the back, where the salesdouche met us to report that, in fact, our bed was not there for pick up. I then did something I’ve never done to any salesguy ever. I started yelling. “We’ve been telling our daughter ALL MORNING that she is getting her bed. We were going to pick up the bed and put it together so she could sleep in it TONIGHT. This is a BIG DEAL!” Almost as shocking is that I cannot recollect actually swearing . . . which is amazing. “Well, sir, you never said that you needed the bed today.” Uh-oh. “WHAT? I ASKED YOU TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS IN STOCK! WHAT DOES ‘IN STOCK’ MEAN TO YOU?” Apparently, Capt. Douche reported, “in stock” means that it’s in their warehouse in North Carolina. Long story somewhat truncated, our bed is coming in Wednesday. We’ve already retained an attorney (Mr. Glory Hole) and if I confirm that we’re only getting ONE bed Wednesday, we’re either getting our money back then and there, or we’re taking it to the NEXT level (not necessarily “BULLETS” as stated above).
- Dinner with friends Saturday evening was somewhat less fun than planned. Mia can get kind-of wound up when we’re in a group setting, and she’s not listening well to her parents. Which can get very irritating. I guess I could’ve taken a picture of her smiling while hording everyone’s chopsticks and posted it to Erin’s What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Flickr group. Michelle dragged her out of the restaurant and out to the car before we got the checks. On the way home, I turned around to ask Mia if she was okay, and she shook her head. “What’s wrong, sweetie.” “I’m in trouble,” she replied in a really defeated, low voice. I will say that she was MUCH better behaved and controllable today.
- My bet with Patricia ended with me having to buy a Cowboys t-shirt (which I did today). Saturday night, I knew they were playing their Wild Card game against Seattle, so I checked in to see what was going on, and it was a 2-point game late in the third quarter. I texted Patricia, which started an exchange that continued to the bitter end of the game. I’m sorry for her, although I’m sure they’d never have made it past Chicago (or New Orleans [again]). But I’ll be anally raped if that wasn’t the best fourth quarter of any NFL game I’ve seen in years.
- Going to “adult” stores on Sundays is a lot of fun. Especially with the funny signs, like “DO NOT OPEN THE MAGAZINES” and “ALL SALES ARE FINAL.”
Okay, I’m bored. And I need to upload some pictures now. Best to you all, the Internets.
And FUCK China.
Boob Tube • Weekends • (2) Comments closed • Permalink
Thursday, January 11, 2007
You Give Me Fever. But Please Don’t.
It seems I’m getting the vacation I never got during the Holidays*. Mia woke up with a fever yesterday morning and, after a trip to the doctor in the afternoon, we found that it wasn’t the flu but some other virus that could take three or four days to run its course (i.e., into the weekend)**. After the weekend, it’s MLK Day, which state workers get, meaning Mia’s preschool is closed. Michelle and I have to work. Lookin’ like I won’t be workin’ too steadily for the next few days.
In other news, my pessimism about picking up Mia’s “big-girl bed” was all for naught. I went to the store to get my “pick-up ticket,” making sure not to make eye contact with the Salesdouche***, and finding out (from the stock guys) that, indeed, we were receiving everything promised to make the awesome loft bed. Which, even in its half-constructed state, has completely taken OVER Mia’s room.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
So I was all gonna do the “stats” thing and, y’know, I don’t think this weekend can be adequately summarized statistically. We need the next level. And the next level is BULLETS:
That’s enough for now. I’m tired of bulleting and I’ve just realized that I’m regurgitating my life onto the Internets. Which I kind-of promised myself I wouldn’t do this year . . . so blatantly, anyway. That said, I have this Cowboys shirt that I’m going to photograph and wear several times in the next week . . . and then send to Patricia to fulfill our bet. Better luck next season, hooker. (Yeah, you won the bet, but you lost the war. Poor, poor Romo.)
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Rrrecord Rrreview for Rrrob (Mostly)
I have to tell you I really like this band and their CD, Violence is Golden. The title doesn’t might suggest something a little darker and harder. And I think Pitchfork got it a bit wrong. The singer is a great mix of PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux, which isn’t hard to imagine. The music is upfront and forceful, with an odd mid-disc slip into Sleeper-esque Britpop. The CD has all the necessary requirements: nice pacing, a competent balance of atmosphere and rock, a dash of sleaze, and real feeling. Plus, you can probably pick up a used copy pretty cheap; I saw one in my local indie store for $3.99.
Bottom line: Scanners . . . Violence is Golden . . . buy some TODAY!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
The Secret Password is “Poop”
Last night, we watched Me and You and Everyone We Know. Michelle hadn’t planned on watching; she was reading magazines in the living room and just got sucked in. I was chuckling a lot at the unsettling amount of quirky hilarity. “Unsettling” in a good way. At first, it was hard to compartmentalize the movie . . . fit it into a specific part of my brain. I didn’t wholly get it. But now I can’t stop thinking about it. So, I went out at lunch and bought it with some of my hard-earned Target money.*
I think seeing that movie brought into sharp focus this strange, new Optimism I’ve stumbled into. I haven’t figured it out exactly, but maybe it’s similar to what Mr. Byrne has found. I dunno.
(SIDENOTE: I was struck with Miranda July and did some quick research to find that she’s a writer and performance artist . . . the kind of person I hated to watch at poetry readings I went to. But the concepts of optimism and connection she touches on in her movie are also present in an ongoing website she’s collaborating on. She also wrote the story the movie The Center of the World is based on. Which, um . . . erotica? Molly Parker? *brain overloads*)
Maybe this is why, during the fog that was 2006, I had Victory at Sea’s Memories Fade on high rotation. Mona Elliot and company are not reliable sherpas for guiding you through the Darkness of Life, but I find that CD quite uplifting. Seriously, “Break of Day” is right up there with Death Cab for Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” on the Top Ten Songs to Make My Soul Burn with Emotion.** Coincidentally, I was listening to it while going to Target at lunch. Which is when all of this came together.
Please, please, please, Pastafarian Lord . . . let 2007 be the year shit starts coming together.***
Monday, January 01, 2007
Her Little Brother is, All, “Grrrrr, Dinosaur.”
Last year ended with me being preemptively disinvited from Ms. Jazz Hand’s hypothetical game night because of my fascist, eye-roll-inspiring, and somewhat arbitrary rule-enforcement during The 80’s Game. Which (surprise!) I was losing most of the time. Hours before that, there was also a moment where I was standing at the Publix checkout with over $90 in groceries, holding my breath as I swiped the debit card. Someone else’s debit card.
This year started out great. Our house, even after having several people over, was still pretty much clean (a dozen or so wine/champagne glasses, plus some serving dishes, on the counter waiting to be hand-washed). Having a mocha (damn the caffeine!) for a second day in a row. Playing disc golf with Mia, who wore rubber boots because it had rained a lot, and was intent on splashing in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig.
I have a feeling that 2007 is gonna kick the holy SHIT out of 2006.