Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Subby Diary Vol. 1

I am a substitute teacher and that, my friends, is enough to make anyone say, "Hey Stupid, why don't you just join the army?"
Example #1: Several weeks ago I subbed for a first grade class at a bilingual elementary school. The only message the techer left for me on the substitute phone system was regarding one student in her class. Let us call him, Johnny Smith-Jones. In my experience, when a kid has a hyphenated last name, it's a pretty good indication that he or she may have some issues. Let's be honest, I don't need a fruity tweed-head sociologist to tell me divorce has a profound effect on young children.
When I got to school I found a detailed plan ready wherein I was supposed to be monitoring and recording Johnny's behavior on the half-hour.

Anyway, we started the day with a refreshing stretch and one lap around the field. (I honor their regular teacher for coming up with that ingenious plan. I think two, maybe even three laps would be great...) So, to make a long story short, we're going around the field and Johnny is lagging behind. I encourage him to keep up with me, he grumbles, slows down, speeds up, then finally catches up with me, turns to me and says: "Satan rules."

What? I said. "Satan rules." Faint echoes of excorcism dance through my head. But I am, after all, a trained professional. So I calmly look him up and down before I say, "Why's that?" Johnny paused, as if seriously considering the issue, before replying simply, "Naw, I'm just kidding. Satan sucks." Phew! That was a close one. Obviously, the day was going to go OK after all. And as it turns out, I only had to send him to the office twice, for laying down on the floor and falling asleep (his teacher told me to send him to the office to sleep), and once for smearing goat's blood on the other students' desks. Wait, no, actually it was for refusing to stop shouting. Whatever. The poor child. Best of luck Johnny, if you make it past first-grade, you can probably do anything.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003


Holy Crap! The seasons have changed twice, and nary a blog from me, the administrator, the one responsible for the upkeep and responsible operation of this key site. The good people at blogger give me my very own forum and what I do with it? Nothing! I leave it writhing for air like a naked astronaut. My shame is a chunky stain on the pearly tablecloth of blogdom. What can I say? I can't even bear to blog... I'm going to have to go take a long, longish, longiful look in the mirror and reaffirm my commitment to the fair privelege that is blogging. Excuse me...

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Hairy Plant Placement Specialist

Blog forward. Yippee! Last night I finished reading the fifth invigorating and healthy installment of the written phenomenon...Harry Potter. I have come to the conclusion that Jo Rowling (I'll call her Jo since that's what all the chic entertainment writers are referring to her as these days, like Barbara, or J. Lo) is a genius. I know it's been said before, but too many literary types tend to dismiss the Potter tales as a mirthy kids craze. I myself shyed away from the series for many years, fully inflated by my status as an student majoring in English.

I first started in on them last summer on a debt-inducing trip to Spain and Portugal. After the second book, I bought the third at an English-language book store in a Lisbon mall. By the time we got to Coimbra, I was turning in a couple hours before sunset to read by the light of single dim bulb, tinged red by the dusty, transluscent fixture. Emily and I actually fought over who was going to get to read the book first, so we ended up reading most of it outloud together. Within days we were scouring a shop in Salamanca for the fourth installment, which I finished shortly after returning to California.

I hadn't been this insane about a series since reading the Lord of the Rings my second year of college, and before that it was my rabid consumption of Hardy Boys mysteries before I turned 10. This was pure enjoyment unlike anything I'd ever read. Sure it's the most mass-marketed, best-selling print franchise since the Pauline Epistles, but in the end I was forced to accept that something doesn't have to be out-of-print, wallowing in the corner of "quirky" used book store to be fully appreciated. My aversion to spoon-fed consumerism notwithstanding, here was something that deserved to be distributed, even pushed and hawked, by the millions and frillions.

The bottom line is, Rowling has created something that will endure for generations. The pure imagination contained in each book will keep the pages turning for my grandchildren and beyond. As an uncle of mine pointed out, each page in a Potter book has a new word, concept, or plot twist that almost forces the reader to forget whatever they need to be doing and see the story to the end right then and there. And though that can be formulaic at times, the overall effect of the books is nothing less than deeply satisfying; a rare glimpse into a parallel universe that we fervently hope exists and won't end when we turn over the back cover.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Getting There

Commence blogging. Here is a sordid tale if there ever was one: I walked all the way down the driveway this morning, got into my parents' brand new Toyota Corolla parked in front of the house, closed the door and put the key in the ignition before I looked up and noticed the windshield was entirely smashed.

If that doesn't send shivers up your spine, then this will: I found several footprints and a sizable dent on the hood. Apparently a wayward spacecraft dropped one of their abductees, one with large skate shoes, on top of my dad's car. It's lucky he landed on the windshield otherwise he could've been seriously injured or even killed on the cold, hard pavement. I knew there was reason I parked in front of the mailbox last night...thank goodness for intuition.

Anyway, the police didn't believe me about the whole alien abduction thing, even though the evidence was overwhelming. Footprints, smashed windshield, dent in the hood....what do they want, a sign that says "Aliens Were Here"? They said something about "vandalism" and said they would send me a form to fill out in the mail. What a joke. Just another example of the farcical government cover-up that we all live in. Maybe one day they will come clean, but in the meantime I will continue to park my car in strategic places in the hopes of saving further victims from unwarranted alien droppings.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The very idea of a blog seems rather conceited. Let's talk Like who wants to get on and read about some dude's banal, useless thoughts and opinions that don't matter or influence anyone? I guess I do...want to read my own banal, useless thoughts and opinions. So, I'd like to welcome myself to my blog. Welcome, me. I hope I enjoy all the crap I write. I'll try to mix it up a little bit...and, you know, maybe way deep down there's a tiny part of me that maybe thinks that maybe someone besides myself will, ahem, accidently stumble upon this electronic papyrus of wisdom and virtue and even like it, a little bit..