31 May 2007

Broaden your horizons

I'm really tired and on my way to bed, but I wanted to share some pretty music with you, and to show an example of 1960s music video.

Quel ├ętait dit?

Or, Less Eloquently: Huh?!

I am currently cleaning out boxes in my house, and am sorting through vast mounds of papers and stuff. These papers can be anything from Jeff's old photos to my old school work. We have lots of paper. And much of it is going to be recycled...

At any rate, I've found quite a lot of stuff that relates to my various studies through the years. Tonight, I found some notes that I'd made for a class presentation I was doing on Kierkegaard. The text in question was Fear and Trembling, and for some reason, I'd seen fit to write, in the margin of my notes, "Knight of Faith's noble steed is an ass".

I'm sure I had a reason, at the time, for writing that. I only wish that I could remember whatever it was I was thinking then. Must have been really profound.

30 May 2007

Another Personality Test

Go to www.kingdomality.com and take the personality test.

Mine is the Prime Minister.
Your distinct personality, The Prime Minister might be found in most of the thriving kingdoms of the time. You are a strategist who pursues the most efficient and logical path toward the realization of the goal that you perceive or visualize. You will often only associate with those people who can assist you in the implementation of your plan. Inept assistants may be immediately discarded as excess baggage. To do otherwise could be seen as inefficient and illogical. On the positive side, you can be rationally idealistic and analytically ideological. You can be a bold decision maker and risk taker who can move society ahead by years instead of minutes. On the negative side, you may be unmerciful, impatient, impetuous and impulsive. Interestingly, your preference is just as applicable in today's corporate kingdoms.

What is yours? Post in comments, preferably with links!!

29 May 2007

Seven Random Facts

As requested by my mother:

1. My hair is naturally blonde. Not profound, but random, and a fact. I can assure you that, over all, blondes don't really have more fun. Or maybe most blondes have more fun, but not blondes that are INTJ. Whatever the case, I do think that blondes, particularly ones with pale skin, occasionally do get more attention, but it's only because we are more noticeable: We reflect more light than people with darker hair and complexions, and so tend to draw the eye a bit more. Simple physics. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

2. I am excessively fond of not-quite-ripe guavas. Mmmmmm.

3. I can dance the Charleston.

4. I like to play Sudoku. I find it soothing.

5. One of my life goals is to visit the location and/or see remains of each of the ancient wonders listed in the book, The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World. I've already been to 22.

6. As indicated above, my personality is INTJ in the Myers-Briggs personality profile. It is a fairly rare personality type (estimated at 1% of the population). Yes, yet again, I am a freak of nature.

7. One of my first jobs in science education was working as a teaching assistant in my biology department at college. I got paid something like $5/hour to push cadavers around on carts, and dissect worms, and stuff like that. I actually loved it a lot.

20 May 2007

Sunday report

We are currently enjoying a visit from Sam and Melissa, which is very nice, but sadly, I am rather sick. I have a pretty bad cold, and am constantly snuffling, sneezing, and hacking up nasty phlegm. Last night, matters were complicated by the fact that I started having spontaneous nosebleeds. I do not, as a general rule, spew bodily fluids at random. It's just embarrassing.

We have stuff planned for the week, such as taking Sam and Mel to see the big trees (you know, THE big trees in the big tree park), although I may not be able to go, due to health issues. We are currently playing a lot of WoW and watching Futurama. That's good stuff.

17 May 2007

Guilty Pleasure

I've recently started watching a TV show that I secretly really enjoy, even though I know it's trashy and all that. No, it's not American Idol or some other reality show. It's Sex and the City. The reason I really like it is that it's such a portrayal of how empty one's life is when one seeks only pleasure and self-indulgence. The four characters in S&tC supposedly have it all: money (most of the time), great clothes, status-filled jobs, and a lifestyle of guilt-free promiscuity. They were supposed to represent, I suspect, "liberated" women, living it up in New York. But art can cheat life only so far, and eventually, these characters are portrayed as being among the most miserable and directionless creatures one can imagine. Life without a guiding moral compass can be devastating. Instead of being independent and powerful, they are utterly obsessed with men and relationships, enslaved to the very masculine domination they wanted to escape. It's like a female fantasy suddenly gone horribly wrong. But they are often witty in their misery, sort of like a post-modern version of women from a Noel Coward play. Which is why I like to watch their agony.

Winding down

Not much to report of the exciting nature. I've reached the just-under-four-weeks point at work, so of course I'm just as antsy as the students are to get out for summer break.

Don't know what I'm going to do after June 12. I guess we'll take it one day at a time and find out.

15 May 2007

Ho Heortay Tes Metrothen

Okay, so my Greek is a little rusty and I'm only hoping that the genitive singular of "mother" really is somewhat close to my English transliteration above... At any rate, I was thrown into a grammatical quandary on Saturday when discussing the "holiday" that is present in current US culture as "Mother's Day" and realized that I've seen the title written, variously, as Mother's Day, Mothers' Day, and Mothers Day. Most cards favored the singular possessive noun version, so I think that may be how it really ought to be. However, is that appropriate? Is the day really just belonging to one mother? Shouldn't it be plural possessive, as a day for all mothers? Or is the maternal address really just descriptive, and not possessive at all (as in, "a day relating but not belonging to mothers")? I just don't KNOW. And for a grammar stickler such as myself, that is agonizing. I discussed it at length with Candace, the English teacher; she had no answers for me. Must... do... research...

We had a few celebrations over the weekend. On Saturday, Candace and Rob were up from the LA area, so we had brunch for Debbie and Rosalee (Jeff's mom and grandma). It was pleasant and genteel and quite tasty (Debbie made quiche, the only quiche I've ever liked!), and marred only by the fact that Jerry was on holiday in Moab. Then on Sunday, Jeff and I took Debbie to lunch for Chinese food, and then strolled a bit through downtown Visalia. Jeff and I hadn't gone to church, because Jeff held forth that he would NOT subject himself to having to sit and listen to me gripe about exegetically inexcusable "Mother's Day" sermons. He didn't entirely escape, though, because sure enough, Debbie told us about the morning's sermon she'd heard at the E Free church, and while she said she found it true-to-life and encouraging, I spent most of the time pointing out to her all the ways that it wasn't actually doctrinal and drawn from the Bible. What can I say? I'm a tough audience.

I called my mom in the early afternoon, but she was about to sit down to a late lunch of BBQ salmon, so she had to hang up. She called me back several hours later, and we had a nice chat.

Last week, a student had an assignment to write a short essay about his mother. I told him, "You write about your mother, and I'll write about mine, and then we'll trade and read about each other's mothers." [Anything to get this kid to do his work.] I am not at liberty to publish the student essay, but I thought I'd share mine. Disclaimer: This was written in the course of 10 minutes or so, and has not been edited.

My Mother

My mother is physically small, but is a giant in many other ways. Her heart, her mind, and her talent are all very large.

Mum loves people. She has spent most of the years of my life in active Christian ministry. She lived in the jungles of New Guinea for 12 years, enduring many illnesses, hard work, and adventures. She made a home for her family, despite limited resources. Later in her life, she worked as a teacher for the urban poor in Los Angeles, and lived among them in South Central LA. She also devoted herself to loving and serving not only her children, but their friends.

Mum is a very smart lady. She is a voracious reader and enjoys non-fction (historical books, as well as tomes on gardening and fiber arts) and fiction (such as books by Dorothy Sayers or Dorothy Gilman). She continues to teacher herself about math and science and other subjects, even though she is no longer a student in school.

Finally, Mum is very gifted and talented in such things as knitting and crocheting. She is certified with the Knitting Guild of America, and loves fiber arts. She even cards, dyes, and spins her own wool. Mum will soon launch her own line of specialty knitted goods, and it's sure to be very popular.

Wouldn't you like to meet my mom?

[Note: After reading my essay, the student simply wrote "yes" under the last line.]

10 May 2007

Day Trip

Last weekend, on Saturday, I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You see, our school's EL (English Learners) Department had organized a field trip for good, high-achieving students, and on a whim, they asked me to participate as a chaperone. And I had SUCH A GOOD TIME. Since I am accustomed to working with budding criminals and just plain naughty children, it was a revelation to be among hard-working, well-mannered young people. Nobody cussed at me or threatened to sue me; nobody threw things or argued unnecessarily. Wow, I thought, if I had the right group of students, life could be almost this good EVERY DAY. Whoa. Almost enough to make me want to teach in middle or high school again. Almost, but not quite. I was given five young ladies as my charges. We stuck together throughout the day, learned some stuff, and had fun.

We saw some jellyfish:
And a kelp forest, including some tiger sharks:
And penguins:
We also visited the Monterey State History Park, which was well-done and educational. Did you know that Monterey was the first capital of California? And that it was a center of the 19th century whaling industry? [Why, oh why, didn't I take pictures? Guess I was too busy learning and having fun.]

Then we walked along the historic Fisherman's Wharf (although we avoided infamous but boring Cannery Row). We had a close encounter with a sea otter, that swam right up to the dock where we were loitering. The girls named it Cecilia the Sea Otter, for reasons never revealed to me.

I particularly enjoyed the quaint Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater. They were doing a production of H.M.S. Pinafore at the time. In addition to being an active participant in the thriving local arts scene, the Bruce Ariss Theater is a sort of little theater museum, with posters and artifacts from its history of more than half a century of performing great dramatic and musical productions, as well as a little gallery showcasing local artists. Very cool. I took the girls inside and pointed to posters and pictures on the walls, identifying musical plays (Annie, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, Cabaret, to name a few) and explaining their origins and plots, and occasionally, even singing some snatches of the scores. My young ladies bore it with patience, although one or two betrayed genuine interest. Most interesting of all, we could go into the actual theater and see the set for their current play. There was a man working there, who was about five feet tall and 100 years old, who creaked over to turn on the lights and let us in, and gave us as much time as we wanted to see the Pinafore set. Again, I wish I'd had presence of mind to take pictures. *sigh* But I was able to explain some principles of set design and demonstrate to the girls how clues from a set can aid a viewer in understanding a play's setting, even with no actors on the stage to speak dialogue. In the case of Pinafore, I pointed out that we could immediately tell that the play was set on a ship, thanks to the set, and we could also see that the ship was named the H.M.S. Pinafore, because the ship's life preservers had that name on them. We could tell that Pinafore was a British ship, thanks to the Union Jack and portrait of Queen Victoria (which also signaled to the viewer the time period of the play's setting: mid-late 19th century) on display.
I also enjoyed spending time with some great coworkers, who were fellow chaperones.

And I can't forget the quality time spent with the candy cigarette, given to me by a student who had bought a pack.

03 May 2007

Believe It or Not

Believe it or not, today, I had standardized testing interrupted because the police dogs had to search the room in which I was proctoring.

And believe it or not, I will really miss a lot about my school when I finish my job there in mid-June.

Don't forget to read about some adventures of the past few weeks.

01 May 2007

Funny Notes from Middle School, continued

Or, Words of Wisdom on the Meaningful Things in Life

Fun times abound with another poorly spelled/punctuated, handwritten note that I found on the ground at school.

4 yo ugly eyes only

30 yEars from now, it wont matter what shoes you wore, how your haired looked, or the Jeans you bought, but what will matter is how you lived you life and how many hot boyz did you date and who was your very first crush... well yeah dat was hard! Ha. Ha. Ha.
Well gotta boocket
love ya

O my gosh why somebody Just westside me 4 my pencil.

Love alwayz
de one and only
Cxxxxxxx bxxx

Editor's note: Thank you, Cxxxxxxx, it's refreshing to finally have a 13-year-old clarify for me what will and will not matter in 30 yEars. I'd better try really hard to remember just who was my first crush, and discount my dependence on my denim trouser purchases to cement my legacy to future generations. Whew! How close I came to disaster, and you, dear Cxxxxxxx, spared me from it. Although, if truth be told, I'd better rack up some dating time with several more cute boyz, in order to be truly on top of things.
Meanwhile, I really wonder what it means to "westside" someone. I'm guessing it's a gangsta term that means to "attack someone viciously", or something like that. As in, "The cats totally westsided my ankles till I refilled their bowl with food."