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Mar. 4th, 2014

lucky shoe


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Oct. 25th, 2008


walked into the winter, came out on the other side

I know I haven't posted for a while, but I've been working apx. 6 million hours a week which doesn't leave a lot of time for ... anything.

Quitting is definitely an option. Some days I think that going back substitute teaching would be better than this. Brandon says I'm making a difference, and that I should stay. I dunno. It IS a desperately poor school with desperately poor students who have, on average, a junior high level education.

I wish I were exaggerating.

I teach geography on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The students come in and I see them paying attention and engaging in the class and trying. But -- here's the thing, we do map quizzes for every section and I never count spelling because it's always so atrocious. I never exactly understood why until this most recent quiz on South West Asia. Their map labels -- and this was for over 80% of the class -- included places like Lemmon On and Sadia Rabia. They listen to what I say and write it down, but they don't (or more likely CAN'T) read it themselves. They're learning this stuff phonetically.

Also, my attendance rates are way down. The school itself has a 50% attrition rate per semester. That's an unbelievable number. When I started asking questions about it, I learned that it wasn't that students were failing or that they hated the teachers, it was that they got their last financial aid check and dropped out.


Students themselves tell me this. They enroll, come to class until mid-semester, collect their last dispersment check, and then drop out.

I ask them what they're going to do about paying the loans back and they tell me that eventually they'll declare bankruptcy. BUT WAIT. You can't get rid of student loans that way! Only I seem to know that, though.

Oh well. My political science class is fun, at least. They're debating all of next week. My World Civ class has almost all high school students (the Pueblo school systems are so bad that the school districts themselves PAY to send their students, starting when they're sophomores -- I have FIFTEEN YEAR OLDS -- to the community college.) Most community colleges have systems like this, but not in the numbers that we do, and the classes are usually meant to replace an AP class. NOT OURS. This is "school choice" -- not a reward for high achievers.

How am I supposed to "meet the educational needs" of 50 different students in what is supposed to be a college classroom, when I have kids that can't drive yet sitting next to mill workers who have been laid off?

To my horror, I have given my first scantron test this semester. I can't grade essay tests, or even short answers, for classes as big as I have.

With the economy the way it is, the state of Colorado has instituted a spending freeze. That means the the community college budget is reduced (if that's possible) to less than usual, and that our classroom space is even more limited since we had to halt the renovations to one of our buildings that was condemned for asbestos.

It's kind of this weird, horrible nightmare.

I do have health insurance, though. And I used it today to go to the rheumatologist who prescribed flexeril and ordered an MRI. She also suggested that I might not want to commute two hours a day and then spend ten hours setting at a desk.

At least this schedule is only temporary. In the spring, I should have a four day week and not have to work the utterly insane hours -- if I decide to stay.

Brandon has, of course, been amazing. He cooks me dinner when I get home at ten thirty at night and he gets up with me at six in the morning and reads cheezy romance novels to me while I get ready. :)

In other good news, my brother and sister in law have decided to try to have a baby. They already have names picked out!

I feel so. damn. old.

Aug. 10th, 2008

melo music

(no subject)

So, um, I don't know how many swimslashers are left lurking around here. But I have to say that this has inspired me more than anything else in the last year. I just don't know that the world is ready for Melo/Michael. OR IS IT.

Thanks to scrawl42 for pointing the link out to me.

Jan. 13th, 2008

ass grab

the dizzy, dancing way you feel

Oh, hectic week. I got back from Phoenix (where I had a WONDERFUL time with horizon_greene) on Tuesday and had to rush to get ready for school tomorrow. So, because I don't want to think about that anymore before I go to bed, and because I think the trip to Phoenix and the two basketball games while there inspired me, here's a Nuggets picspam.

Starting here:

come hither

With AI's "come hither" thing.

and so on.Collapse )
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Dec. 13th, 2007

lucky shoe

more books.

The Golden Compass was a bit meh. Oh well. I'm actually looking forward to Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. I think that the first entry that I made in this journal mentions the first AVP movie. :)

Tomorrow I'm meeting the brother in Old Colorado City for Christmas shopping. Then I plan to bake Christmas cookies and go to to the library. I need to take back various books, including When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, by Peter Godwin. I just finished it today while I was working out and I would definitely recommend it. It's a memoir of Godwin's relationship with his father and his life in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Admittedly, I'm a little tired of memoirs about fathers and sons; however, there is more to the book than just that, and more to Godwin's father than just their tense relationship.

review.Collapse )

Dec. 11th, 2007

lucky shoe

book reviews, etc.

.... and I'm done.

This has been a LONG ASS day, and also cold. And snowy. Which is fine because Slim is bringing firewood tomorrow and we will use it after we eat Indian food and go see The Golden Compass to celebrate the doneness.

I gave my last final from 1-3:30, during and after which I did the grading and submitting thing. Then, I came home, bathed both dogs and partially cleaned the house. I needed clean dogs, specifically, because my mom knitted me a blanket for Christmas and it is made of furry green and pink awesomeness. There will be no smelly dogs on the blanket.

Also, I just finished both The Kite Runner and Land of a Thousand Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I liked The Kite Runner, but I LOVED Land of a Thousand Suns. Both books are set in Afghanistan and follow roughly the same time line, from the overthrow of the monarchy in the mid-seventies to the rise and fall of the Taliban. The Kite Runner is more autobiographical and uses the male perspective. It also deals with the life of Afghani immigrants in America. There is a deeper focus in The Kite Runner on ethnic conflict than in Land of a Thousand Suns.

Both books have friendship and belonging as central themes, and the country of Afghanistan is put the starring role. Land of a Thousand Suns looks at women's lives from the 60s until the American invasion, and Hosseini pulls absolutely no punches. Because his prose is so stark, and his language so plain, the pain that the women feel in the novel is never obscured.

quote.Collapse )

As an aside, I don't know if the Land of a Thousand Suns is partly informed by Hosseini's work with refugees in Darfur, but I don't know how it couldn't be. When he talks about Sudan, he talks about the plight of women there.

I teach the history of Afghanistan only briefly and only in one class. Students never remember exactly how the ethnic conflict between Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras came about. They rarely remember the country's Buddhist, Bactrian or Persian past; they inevitably get lost in the Soviet invasion, the Mujahideen and the origins of the Taliban. However, they do remember the numbers. Life expectancy in Afghanistan is in the 40s. The country has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, and that includes sub-Saharan African nations. The same goes for women who die in childbirth. The literacy rate for women in Afghanistan is currently at 21%.

Despite all of this, and despite the fact that Hosseini left the country in 1980 -- shortly after the Soviet invasion -- his love for the country and the people in it is evident. And because he has never lost hope for Afghanistan, his characters don't either. I think that both books are beautiful, painful, accessible, and important.

Dec. 8th, 2007

lucky shoe

Review of The Mist

Saw The Mist last night and No Country for Old Men the night before. No Country is essentially Fargo in the desert. The Coen Brothers stripped the book of all of its deeper meaning and left the gratuitous violence and odd humor. Since Fargo is the only Coen Brothers movie that I like, No Country wasn't bad.

The Mist, though. Wow. I thought it deserved a special review all of its own.

Spoilers, etc.


Oct. 23rd, 2007


a meme.

First and last lines of the last ten stories I've posted in reverse chronological order (I saw this on nycscribbler's journal last, I think):

it was a dark and stormy night.Collapse )
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Oct. 17th, 2007

melo music

(no subject)

The Nuggets are playing some basketball, apparently.

there has been awkward gropingCollapse )

unbearable cutenessCollapse )

a KENYON MARTIN sightingCollapse )

and then this: ai dancing. with a basketball. only it's not what you think.Collapse )
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Oct. 6th, 2007




They played the lights out.

Kaz! (With the intentional walk!) Yorvit! U-Ball! Boys! COVERED IN CHAMPAGNE.


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