Big Sigh

What follows is a much-needed rant. If you have no interest in my selfish emotions, don't keep reading.

I can't be around kids any more.

I spent all day traipsing around the city on a field trip with kids, who were undoubtedly cool kids, but students all the same. I got back, changed into soccer clothes, rode the bus for 45 minutes to Hillsboro while finishing a book I had to read for Green Options, won a game but had to deal with stupid drama of KIDS, rode the bus back, drove home, talked to Chris for a minute, then finished reading the book, wrote a review, and posted it all in time to watch Lost, only to watch that and then collapse in bed. I woke up feeling the shitty coming of a cold, still exhausted, facing a full day including school, soccer pictures, soccer practice, then modeling in a school fashion show. Guess which one I had to gracefully bow out of when I got to school this morning?

I love 90% my students 90% of the time. I really do. But there are those days when I just can't deal with the aftermath of a kid skipping class, or calling another kid "faggot" in the hallway, or punching each other and screaming down the hallway, or flaking out on a commitment that I have to pick up slack for. Kids are kids are kids, and normally I can deal with their lack of frontal-lobe development. That's 95% of the time. Maybe even higher. But once or twice a semester, I just can't deal. I can't deal with the neediness, the drama, the little shit that doesn't matter, the baggage that comes with being a teacher. The ever-growing to-do list. The shit that you have to take home.

I can see how a large percentage of teachers leave within the first three years.

New Blog

Chris and I are starting a new blog devoted solely to hating on Hummers. Send us a picture of you flipping off a Hummer and we will post it.


Well, That's Dibble.

So remember last week when I posted about the BSC blog? Well, I sent the link to my favorite pop culture blogger ever, Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Pop Candy. And I got a fat shout-out when she posted about it today.
Scroll down to "Baby Sitters Forever"

My influence is nationwide.

PS The headline is a BSC reference.

Don't You People Have Any Decency?

Fucking Kirksville. Just when I think I’m grown and my days of having out-of-contol Alumni Weekends, the Ville lures me in with it’s siren song of mediocre amenities, cheap-as-hell beer, and sheer walkability.

It started innocently enough. This year I made the switch to Saturday night only. We were going to get up Saturday, drive straight to the game, have a brief respite at the local Days Inn (incidentally, one of the most unpleasant lodging experiences of my life, fucking cold showers, a smoking room when I asked for non-smoking, and the room not ready at check-in time. And a manager that deflected every single complaint.) and cocktails with friends. Plans got more complicated when I got a Friday-night drunk dial from my boo Redding. Several of the football guys were going to be in town.

“Shit just got meatier,” said Chris, who hasn’t even seen me at even close to my greatest meatiness.

We rolled into town listening to the new Bright Eyes, Cassadega, and I was late to the game, we lost, I’m old, no big. Then, the lovely Molly, Abby, and Darly Jo (three generations of Adams women) took us out for some Mexican food, where we shared good times watching the cutest almost-three-year-old in my life. She knows sign language.

There was more drinking, more old soccer friends, a dude climbing a tree, some PBR, same-old-same-old. Here comes trouble: two hour free beer at the Dukum, courtesy of the Crotches. Tie. One. On.

These were highly intellectual conversations.

This is the story of my friendship with JJ.

This is what Mike and I look like during a happy reunion.

This encompasses the entire night.

Highlights include:
• Walking all over Kirksville. Just getting ready for Earth Day.
• One of our friends (who shall remain nameless) getting arrested by the KPD (complete with requisite porn stache), who decided that it was time for some police brutality at last call. Fucking dicks. Some shit doesn’t change. Hey, don’t worry about the dude that is stone cold dead in the bush right there, you better fucking break some guy’s arm for sitting on top of a car and not kissing your ass.
• Wolverine came! Great. Crotch and Wolverine, walking down the alleys of Kirksville, talking about god knows what, carrying a case of bottles, yelling about how much they hate cops. We are all adults.
• Molly going home at two-ish in a Royal Tenenbaum’s cab while Chris earnestly and unironically waved goodbye. Funniest shit of my life.
• Wolverine, part two: I woke up this morning to go the bathroom and stepped in a huge puddle of urine. Not like a few drops around the toilet bowl. Six ounces, at least, in the middle of the bathroom floor. Awesome. Pee on my foot.
• Got a fat Aloha from the Ell Train, who said, “I miss you guys, and I wish I was there, except I’m on a beach in Hawaii, so not really.” Tru.
• Wolverine, part three: who passes out, fully clothed, with french fries IN THEIR HANDS? My baby-daddy, that’s who! It’s cool, guy, let me get those McNuggets, too. Wouldn’t want you to wake up with a nugget in your crack.
• Big ups to Steph and Matt, who tried to get said friend out of drunk tank, to no avail. Trust me, they were our best hope.
• Wolverine, finale: thirty-two ounces of Gatorade, straight to the groin region, this morning, a brief thirty seconds after he realized that both his wallet and our camera were missing (both recovered, KARMA!).

So that’s what’s up. As Chris said as we rolled out of town, “It couldn’t have been better unless Curtis was there.” Truer words were never spoken. Don’t worry, Dirty, you were there in spirit, mostly in the alley on the way home.


On Gun Violence

I suppose I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the VT shootings. I have two major thoughts. The first is obviously intense sympathy and sadness. I was reading articles about it today, particularly one about the Holocaust survivor who died saving his students, and I was very sad. I'm also sad because in a tragedy such as this, it seems as though there were clear warning signs, and many people at VT (including poet Nikki Giovanni) tried to take steps to help this clearly troubled young man, but it was not enough. I cannot imagine what drives someone to commit such atrocities. Also, 178 people were killed in Baghdad today, 178 people who were husbands, wives, children, sisters, brothers, friends, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles. There will probably be no convocations or candlelight vigils in their honor.

The second thought was about the nature of gun rights in America today. The NRA was just in town this past weekend, so I was already thinking about it. I am ambiguous in my thoughts on gun control. I come from a hunting family. We have crazy dead animals in our house (although Kim, after years of struggle, has removed them from any common area where the general public might be exposed to them). I grew up around guns. I even took a class in high school (forensic pathology) where we got to shoot handguns at the shooting range. I am aware that people have reason such as hunting to own guns, and most of those people do so responsible. My brothers (Andrew is still an avid hunter, Jake, not so much) learned gun safety at an early age, and my dad's guns were always locked up in an insanely huge gun safe.

That being said, I do not understand people who passionately defend the 2nd Amendment. The purpose of guns is to wound or kill living creatures. If you are not a hunter, I do not understand having firearms in your house. If it is properly stored, what are the chances that if someone breaks into your house, you will be able to unlock your gun, load it, and fire it before the burglar rapes and kills you? If it is not properly stored, well, have you ever seen motherfucking 90210? Kids will find that shit and shoot each other accidentally, probably after smoking weed. Just kidding, but for real, accidental shootings happen.

Some may make the argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people. That's true, but it is a whole lot easier if said people have guns. You don't see some socially-tortured trench-coat-mafia kid committing mass murder with a garotte. It's just not happening. Another argument against gun control is that criminals will continue to get guns, so laws restricting their criminal use are futile. If this reasoning is correct, then why do we have laws restricting anything? For example, drugs. Anyone can get drugs. My kids say it's easier to get weed than alcohol if you are in high school. But we do have drug laws, some more pervasive than many would like. As it stands, anyone can just walk into a gun store and, provided they pass a less-than-rigorous background check and wait a prescribed period of time, buy a device whose sole purpose is to severely wound and or kill a living being with minimal effort. It seems to me that if it was more difficult for the average citizen to get a gun, that would make it more difficult for the average criminal to get a gun because there would be less guns out there. I'm not talking about Tony Soprano here. But for random aspiring petty criminal, it would be more difficult. Is that not a good thing?

Would a thirty-day waiting period have prevented the VT tragedy?

Morning Cheer

This week's sign that the apocalypse is upon us. Censorship is alive and well.


I hope you don't have anything to do

Because this? Is going to prevent me from grading tomorrow while I'm giving the MAP test. And I'll be all stressed out.


Hurdy Gurdys, Porkpie Hats, and Assholes


*Saw a really amazing Decemberists show last night at the Pageant, with our friends the Dandos (check out Mike's most excellent music blog for pics) and Emily and Meghan. This will prompt a future blog entry on proper concert manners.

I'm currently enjoying the following--
* The new Bright Eyes CD
* Small pieces of asiago cheese from Viviano's
* The green issue of Outside Magazine
* Skype
* The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman. Yes, it is as shitty and cheesy as the title leads you to believe it is. Sports Gal is recapping.

By the way...

If you aren't reading Chris's blog, you should be.


Weekend Activism

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Nationwide climate change rallies are taking place on Saturday. Check it out at Step It Up's website. I'll be at the one at Wash U at 12; Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, who is my editor at Green Options, will be speaking.

I'll follow that up with a little Decemberists action at the Pageant. I'm stoked for what will be an usual show, to say the least.

Sunday, Team Awesome takes on Tower Pub in a highly-anticipated SKA league match.

And finally, congratulations to our friends Michelle and Josh, who finally popped out their first shorty, Ansley Corliss, on Wednesday. Baby mama and baby are doing awesome.

Take the Crazy Elsewhere, We're All Stocked Up Here...

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Big ups to the ouster of Veronica O'Brien as SLPS School Board President. Although she remains on the board, she will no longer be the de facto spokesperson for them, and it wouldn't surprise me if she doesn't do shit for the rest of her tenure on the board. Not that the damage hasn't already been done, but with a new 5-2 majority, it seems as though this board will proceed cohesively toward making real progress in the district, even if the takeover proceeds. For a poignant video retrospective of O'Brien's reign as resident insane public official, check out Pub Def's collection here.


Saving the World

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One of the benefits of not having cable is that when you are flipping channels aimlessly, the chances of you ending up on PBS and watching something quality are exponentially increased. This happened last night. Actually, I wasn't flipping, I was looking for this documentary about coffee, but I guess I missed it or saw the wrong time and ended up watching Frontline. The first segment was about Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, which was interesting. The second segment was totally amazing: it featured a San Francisco-based non-profit called Kiva, which focuses on microfinance in developing countries. What's microfinance? In a nutshell, small loans (as small as $50) given to potential entrepreneurers in developing countries. These small loans enable people, who would normally have problems getting loans from traditional sources, to start businesses to create steady income to support themselves and their families (see more extensive info here). Kiva is an online network that allows random dude at your computer wherever to, using Pay Pal's simple transaction system, finance microloans to people whose business plans have been preapproved by Kiva's field partners, people who work with those who use the loans. On Kiva's website, you can see what people are seeking loans for and choose who you loan money to (amounts as little as $25), and you can read updates about how people's business plans are working out. So far, Kiva has had a 100% repayment rate for loans.

The idea of this is so empowering to me. If I just have $50 laying around that I could put into savings or spend on something stupid (or donate to a non-profit), I can instead loan it to someone, hopefully make a significant impact on someone's life, with no real loss to me. I get my money back. Check out their website if you are looking to do some good with a little extra cash.


Food....Mmmm food.

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Today's Green Options post gives tips for beginners to shopping at Farmers' Markets. The markets are starting to open, and I love, love, love Saturday mornings at the Tower Grove Market, among others. Like I said in the article, your food choices impact the environment as much as your driving habits, and there's no more pleasurable way to "save the earth" than eating amazing local produce.

For those of you in Des Moines, I can't say enough good things about the Downtown Farmers Markets. My parents and I used to go, buy food, and then have bloody marys at the Royal Mile. That's a fine Saturday morning.

For those in St Louis, I personally really love the Tower Grove Market. It is supposedly bigger this year when it opens on May 12th. Hartford is there making smoothies and brewing coffee, there's always yoga classes, you can get bread, eggs, meat, and amazing produce. It's a great community event to support on Saturday mornings.

I also frequent the Schlafly market on Wednesdays, since it's right on my way home from work. It's smaller, but less crowded.

Soulard is a low-cost option, but if you're going for local, most of their vendors aren't, but I still like to go there to get Black Bear Bakery stuff, maybe some fresh pasta, and other things I might not be able to find at the other markets. It's a great atmosphere, but just not completely local.

There's also the Clayton market, the Kirkwood market, which I've been to a few times and would go more often if it were closer, one in Ferg-Flor, and the Green Market in the CWE.

Another great thing about farmers' markets is that the offerings change from week to week depending on the harvest, so each week is different. I urge you to check some of these community resources out.


It's Dr, Not Mrs, Bitches

Hooray! I found out last night that I got into the doctoral program I applied for. The deets: it's at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, and the doctorate in in Leadership, which sounds pretty vague. I initially applied for a program in critical pedagogy, which is social justice and education, basically, but UST has combined the two programs. I'll initally be studying leadership in the contexts of history, society, the economy, and politics, and then eventually, what leadership and education has to do with social justice. I want to research urban public education and/or race and teaching. So, for the next three years, I'll be flying to Minneapolis once a month and spending time there every summer attending classes. I will be poorer. I will be cutting back on my extra stuff at school. And, like certain other people who shall remain nameless (mostly Susan Jacobsmeyer and Alice Colletti) I will have to bitch out every now and again because I have to write a paper.

So yeah, I'm excited, and it's going to be a pretty big committment, but I figured if Susan is going to be Dr. Jacobsmeyer, then I had better do something before she gets all uppity.

That's the good word. I'm sure cocktails will be in order tonight.


So what's the other 50%?

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Actual sentence from a student paper I read today:

"There is about a fifty percent chance that you could or could not get pregnant."


Musings on our Earth

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So what had happened was Chris and I drove to Minneapolis for an interview I had with a doctoral program. No, I'm not moving to Minneapolis. I don't know if I'll get in. I don't find out until next week. Signs that look good: if you are applying to a program in critical pedagogy, it's probably a good idea to know how to pronounce the word pedagogy. I knew this. Many did not. Nor did another woman know how to pronounce the word "wholly", choosing instead to say it as "wally". Ma'am, the "w" is silent. If you want to add "Dr" to the front of your name, basic reading skills are a prerequisite. I find out next Thursday.

Since we spent a substantial amount of time in the car, we also got to listen to a lot of the radio. Things I learned: Rush Limbaugh apparently believes that if the government forces you to use compact florescent light bulbs (which, why would you want to use a CFL, since they end up saving you three times the cost of the bulb? Why would you want to use something that saves money and produces less fossil fuel emissions? God, I HAVE MY RIGHTS, AND THAT INCLUDES DESPERATELY CLINGING ONTO OUTDATED, INEFFICIENT TECHNOLOGY. And owning semi-automatic rifles) then they will ultimately make you give up your air conditioners, and CFLs won't really help save the environment, because you only use them at night. Huh? What? Also, installing CFLs will probably bankrupt senior citizens and the impoverished, two groups that Limbaugh is ALWAYS looking out for. God, thanks, Rush. It seems like my whole life has been a lie... No really, this is really what he said.

Also, in related awesome ignorance, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas, of course) the leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview that global warming will actually help people in Russia (his example, not mine) and cold climates because they'll have a longer growing season. Uh, yeah, the densely-populated Arctic regions (who, by the way, have built their entire way of subsistence on the fact that it is COLD where they live) will benefit, so we should probably let the few people who live in coastal areas just...drift away? Is he for real? After hearing this, I realized that there are several elected officials at the national level who are just "that dude". Just like K-Fed was just "some dude" before he married Britney, these guys are no more intelligent, no more logical, no more informed, and certainly no more ethical than someone like Chris, or anyone I teach with, or pretty much any normal person I know, for that matter. One thing is for certain, there are a number of people who are blatantly trying to pull an Orwellian fast one on the American public. Don't get me started on Bush...

(And yes, I offset my ridiculous amount of driving. I'll be planting some trees, too, on Earth Day, so don't try to play the hypocrite card on me)

One bright spot: we seem to be hitting a tipping point as far as legislative action towards climate change: this is a major victory for the planet.

Also, poison ivy is a bitch. For real. I look like a fucking leper.