Saturday, June 29, 2002

If I had known how much everything weighed, I would never have chosen to be a math geek. With this Teaching Fellows Math Immersion program, I quickly discovered that my trusty 1980's solar calculator clearly wasn't up to the task of calculating probabilities. Because they give geeky math teachers discounts, I ordered a Texas Instruments 83PlusAV. Without even seeing it, I already knew it was going to be frightening, plus it cost me 90 bucks!

When the box arrived, I knew that my future profession is going to isolate me from the world of sparkling conversation and social interaction. It weighs five pounds easily. I open it up, and it has more attachments and manuals than my laptop purchase of a year ago. The "Getting Started" booklet is SIXTY PAGES. This isn't the actual manual, this is the "Barely touching the surface" booklet. This monster has video output, this huge screen, and more buttons than an engineer has dates. I'm not the kind of person to read a manual, so I guess I won't be able to take over the world with it, unless I find that one key.

Friday, June 28, 2002

The first time it happened, it was like a swift kick to the groin. I had no idea that watching all my transfer credits be ripped out of my academic gut would be so searingly painful. Admissions offices never use anaesthetic. My early twenties were not spent in any one place for any amount of time, but I occasionally forked over the cash for another semester of goofy classes. By the time I settled down at Texas Tech in Lubbock, I had probably 70 hours of classes, only half transferring. The obnoxious admissions woman sneered at me, telling me that moving from college to college never pays off.

Laugh now, you office troglodyte! My years of undecided, undeclared, unprofitable slacker classes will actually give me thousands of extra dollars over my teaching career. Yes, we are talking about things like my scuba class, music appreciation, even my alcohol class. The NY teachers have a complex series of pay raises, and one series gives you a bonus for any college hours over a bachelors minimum requirements, even if they aren't masters level. I have over 35 hours of excessive college, euphemistically speaking, which entitles me to recoup all the thousands I spent on useless school over the years.

Being a slacker is great, I have no idea why anyone wouldn't want to be one.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

A week ago, I'd been sweating and cursing at math like some recalcitrant mental mule inside my head. As much as I tried to get my old math up and working, it just sat in my skull, making incoherent ramblings and mutterings. In addition to the mutterings of all the other personalities up there, I could hardly get any homework done. Today was especially gratifying, because I've really been challenging my own limits, and I made a breakthrough on some calculus problems. I felt like whooping in class. Actually, I did, doing a cowboy yeehaw in joy. As people in my class are overwhelmingly aware of my constant brain farting, this didn't even turn heads.

The long hours spent in class, commuting, and doing homework sure do take their toll. At night I'm dreaming about lesson plans, although clowns keep smashing down the doors and eating the kids, which I watch in bemused slo-mo.Yesterday was an exceptional caffeine and sugar circus. I've been steadily increasing my coffee intake, plus my group constantly contributes donuts and goodies, which I gratefully consume. I get sleepy, then wired, then tired, then wired, then drowsy, then I head home. Yesterday I increased the dosage by having a huge cup of coffee at Java & Jazz, then the Big Vagina show, then Krispy Kreme. Nothing compares to those little gems of sugar, flour, fat and love. I almost shrieked when I discovered the feature donut, Triple Chocolate. Not only is it Krispy Kreme, but they fill it with chocolatey something, then top it with chocolate icing and chocolate dough crumbles. If an orgasm could be mixed with flour and sugar and deep fried, they've done it. I have never tried heroin, but it can't be this good, plus they have to use needles for delivery.
I joined Dan and his posse to see the Big Vagina Monologues, performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Homework was minimal, so I could afford to have some quality entertainment time. I was quite excited, as this playhouse is home to Amy Sedaris, sister of one of my favorite authors. There were two performances, and it wasn't quite what I expected. It was still hilarious, but somewhat alarming. Both were quite autobiographical, and sometimes the humor traveled along the painful vein. The first was about a slacker with details eerily similar to my last year, and the second performance was from a girl's truly twisted family life. As she revealed details of her life, I just kept thinking, "I could do this better..."

My sister Bonnie and I have always had the skill of turning painful stories into humorous stories. I think that pain, hurt, and rejection become a lot more manageable once I can laugh at it. Everything has a funny side, unfortunately. I am most definitely not the person to confide a tragedy, especially if you need sympathy. I do sympathize, but I feel the best way to deal with something terrible is to laugh at it. Last week, I noticed a friend of mine was down and moping, so my attempt to perk him up consisted of constant joking and goosing him in the ribs. Members of my family respond well to goosing, although I am discovering that goosing, like my family's use of electric cattle prodders as communication/entertainment, doesn't adapt well to the urban environment. It's the same with dropping off of ledges or trees onto people to surprise them, they never seem amused, although my family members do things like this without a second thought.

The girl in the Big Vagina Monologues described her most embarrassing moment. Apparently she decided that the best way to deal with her grandfather's death was an interpretive dance at his funeral, which she then performed for us. Apparently all the relatives were horrified. I have been in her shoes on a fairly regular schedule my whole life. Personally, I hope two things will happen at my own funeral. One, people will laugh and have fun and act ridiculous. Spontaneous karaoke would be perfect, as would a food fight. Statistically a funeral is one of the triggers for people to have sex, so maybe some of my really horny friends will have the opportunity for sex, although not in front of everyone, please. Two, nobody notices that my ashes were baked into the cake they are eating.

Monday, June 24, 2002

I really like some of the adverts on the subway trains. My favorites at the moment are the Bronx Zoo ads, showing various baby things for animals. I also like the CBS ads that simulate their stars peeking through the train windows. I'm also trying to learn Spanish from the lawsuit ads. Considering how many times ads have saved me from staring at some horrifying bit of hygiene maintenance, I value the creative ones.

Not so the Remy Red promotion. Sure, the colors reach out and grab you, but the copywriter should be shot. I'm not sure which is worse, the gasping women reaching for the throbbing red phallic imagery, or the slogan "Stir your senses, on the inside!" Exactly HOW is one going to use this bottle to stir their insides? The mind boggles. Plus their reference points, like the one about 'like the time you decided to be a redhead...' Wasn't that a disaster for my sister? I could swear that it involved her hair falling out, gnashing of teeth, and some vow of revenge. Their captions should say something more realistic like "Remember the time you got wasted on this super-sweet stuff? No? You stirred your senses, on the inside, in front of everyone else!"

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Who ever knew that life in NY could be so complex? All the movies promised that if I stood against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, I would end up being some movie director or Wall Street guru. I simply assumed that once I got here, I would go through some unknown transformation, maybe a transmogrifier box, and come out the other side a hipster, or at bare minimum a cool intellectual. All that angst (I'm merely stressed occasionally), all that artistic/musical talent (I'm Pavarotti in the shower, drugged Ethyl Merman in the real world), and that look! Hipsters have that 'just had fun sex' look, the perfectly mussed hair, the rumpled yet perfectly coordinated outfit, the cool shoes, the man-purse. Even after four months here, I don't have that look. I don't even have hair, my ability to match clothes remains highly suspect, my shoes are clunky ass-kicking boots, and I don't like my new man-purse.

Some people have issues with man-purse nomenclature. For those with purse issues, feel free to call them courier bags. I wanted to call my new one a man-sack, but everyone kept looking at me oddly. I have a backpack, but I discovered that I keep accidentally killing smaller people on the subway when I turn around. However, I really don't like the new man-purse. With all the books I have to haul around for my math classes, the man-purse is around ten million pounds. My spine is beginning to curve, my wallet is rubbing apart, and I end up racking myself going down stairs.

A little bit of brilliance from our refrigerator this weekend. Give drunk people magnet letters, and see what happens: Pewbie Snizm, and Pusky Flart. Pure magic.