Tuesday, February 24, 2009

48 percent fun!

It has certainly been a while. I have probably forgone my entire readership from lack of finding the time to be a regular updater. Oh well; a blog is a mostly narcissistic thing anyway, and heaven knows I'll come back and re-read this entry four or five times when I want to feel smug about my abilities to write about my own life.

Guess what today is?


I like that no one really told me anything about Mardi Gras, because I had this very distinct idea about what it would be like (so far) in my head, and (so far) I've been hundreds of kinds of wrong. Here is what I used to think about Mardi Gras:
  1. Mardi Gras only works if you are waaaaaaassstted.
  2. To get a strand of plastic beads, you will have to do battle.
  3. There are TONS OF BOOBS EVERYWHERE during Mardi Gras.
  4. People will vomit on your house during Mardi Gras.
  5. Only tourists do Mardi Gras. Everyone else stays at home and eats a Po' Boy.
These conceptions are almost all false. I got accidentally drunk for one parade, but other than that I have seen them all while very sober, and they're much more enjoyable that way. The floats are beautiful. Mardi Gras is a very family-oriented event, much like everything else in New Orleans. Sometimes this is annoying, because children get way better throws from floats than I do. But I HAVE gotten about 500 or 600 strands of beads. I don't know what I'm going to do with all of them. You're not allowed to pick them up off the ground, by the way. And you're supposed to throw coins at the men who walk around with the flaming torches. And I think you can sometimes throw Mardi Gras beads BACK at people in the parade if you really love them. I don't know if that's an actual rule. I haven't seen a single boob (although there are definitely a lot of tourists, and I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that there weren't also a lot of drunk people).

I like Mardi Gras. That's the consensus so far. New Orleans makes me feel like I am always surrounded by my family. Sometimes even more than when I am ACTUALLY surrounded by my family. They should clearly move here...

I am not technically supposed to talk about the reversal of my job placement decision. But I will say this, for the record: My students wrote the district THE BEST LETTERS they have EVER written. When Ms. McGough slapped them down on my desk last week, one after another, I started tearing up immediately, and then moved to absolute awe. It was the best writing some of them had ever done.

And across the board, from all corners of the country, people I loved took FREAKING GOOD care of me. I started hearing from people I hadn't spoken to in months, who said they would do anything to help out. You know how in life we are in constant flux between expecting the worst from people and situations and knowing that ultimately human beings are, at their depths, good? Last week I was stunned, in a way I have never experienced before, by the deep kindness inherent in human nature. This is the kind of event in your life that makes you say, "Ever onward."

Then Kim came to visit.

Kim Neer, of all my friends, is the best combination of "fun" and "beautiful" that there is. Kim, for example, appreciates good poetry. She appreciates fine art and reads long essays and nonfiction books. She listens to understated jazz music. BUT ALSO, she is down with Top 40, and she DANCES, and she will undergo any adventure thrown in front of her. So highlights, then:

  • The swamp, and 150,000 alligators; and turtles, and BABY ALLIGATORS, and all sorts of swampy birds and green finger lizards, and NPR-recording swamp sounds.
  • Trouncing around the French Quarter and drinking in public. HOW ARE HURRICANES SO FREAKISHLY ALCOHOLIC? Even though we got the ones made with fresh fruit juice, and they tasted like something you'd drink in the morning alongside pancakes and eggs, we got druuunnnk on just half a hurricane each and had to eat emergency beniegts. Which I can never spell correctly.
  • Bloody Marys, and free Indian food from Hari Krishna.
  • A field trip with my life skills class to the IMax, and mall food shopping. Subthoughts on this: A) 3D movies about SCHOOLS OF FISH SURROUNDING YOUR BODY are TOTALLY FRIGHTENING and WHY WASN'T I TOLD THIS? B) Students don't really like field trips unless all their friends are on that field trip. C) Mall food is overpriced.
  • Oh my God you guys, the Hornets SMASHED the Magic to FUCKING PIECES. It was amazing. It was just... a devastating massacre. It almost stopped being fun, the Hornets were playing THAT. WELL.
  • The NOMA, City Park, Bennachin's... a lot of aesthetically pleasing scenarios in the sun.
Since Kim left I have been reading A LOT and watching a LOT of documentaries on NetFlix "Watch Instantly." I'm astounded by how much I like to be alone, consuming. Maybe I am antisocial? I mean, I kind of know that I am antisocial. Well anyway, the space has been wonderful, although it is probably not all that much a demonstration of my ability to be fun.

Now I have the week off for Mardi Gras (I know, right? A whole week?), and I'm trying to find the most exquisite balance of work and play. I haven't landed there yet, but I am happy to be alive. Also my cat is GREAT. Really flirty lately. Ahh, the companionship. The camaraderie.

I ought to add that not last Saturday but the Saturday before (and it seems like an eon ago), James and I went to Lafayette, Louisiana. A true fact about me: My favorite trips are the small ones, to the little places tucked away that no one really chooses to visit. James planned this himself, and somehow found this little untouched world under a bright gray sky with flowers and enormous Spanish moss trees, and ancient churches, and a zydeco band with octogenarian waltzers. That day I felt 100 percent fun. Someday I want SO BADLY to spend no less than two months driving around the United States exploring these places for days on end. It's not a unique vision, of course -- we are all a bit fascinated with Little America. Regardless, I think someday I'll hole myself up in a Volvo with a video camera and a Moleskin and lots of ink pens and explore under the pretense of creating something. But really I'll just be seeing it all, selfishly.

You could come if you wanted. You're totally invited.

Today is Zulu's 100 Year anniversary. I have seen pictures of what this means. It means there will be a literal SEA of people. Good thing I have a costume, or I'd never catch ANY beads.

Ever onward!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

things that just happened.

1. I just got moved from my high school to an elementary school, completely out of the blue, to start Monday. This is otherwise known as, "I lost my job." It was a numbers thing, they said, nothing personal or anything. So why do I feel like I'm going through the worst break-up I've ever gone through in my entire life? My heart is BREAKING. I don't even have words to describe how fucking miserable I am and how unfair this seems, after alllll the work and hours and time and toil and late nights and early mornings and EVERYTHING after EVERYTHING... after I FELL IN FUCKING LOVE WITH THOSE KIDS and they became MY REASON FOR LIVING, I'm just supposed to let it go and move on somewhere else just like that with no fucking notice whatsoever? I am a pretty melodramatic person, but nothing has ever, EVER hurt this much in my entire life.

2. Then I got rear-ended.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

8 percent fun.

Briefly checked out. Like a library book. Or a beach ball.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

20 percent fun.

It's not fair. In theory, being sick like this is supposed to be a little bit enjoyable. You're supposed to get to put your life on hold and just sleep for millions of hours and have people prepare soup for you and watch "Ferris Bueller" on repeat until your sinuses clear up and you see life with a renewed sense of appreciation.

Fuck that.

I'm in Colorado, and I'm about to get on a plane. Well, I'm going to INFECT EVERYONE ON THAT PLANE because I simply cannot stop throwing up or having a fever or being unable to breathe. And I should have invested in some of that "NyQuil" stuff because I freaking CAN'T SLEEP FOR THE LIFE OF ME.

Nothing about being sick like this is fun. I am also out of sick days at work. So tomorrow I have to go to work and feel like shit for the whole day, which SUCKS. I am NOT A HAPPY PERSON RIGHT NOW.

I did get licked in the face by a real-life giraffe. Also, my sister is the most amazing and impressive human being I have ever met. I am completely amazed by her in every possible way. More on this soon.

Friday, February 6, 2009

61 percent fun!

I'm in Colorado Springs, feeling weeeeirdly grown up. Here is why. I am sitting here in the student center at Colorado College, with my Teach for America bag and the New York Times (p.s. - U.S. women set to surpass men in labor force?!), and I know that I appear to be a student, but I totally do not feel like a student. I feel like I'm sitting here and I'm cuh-leeeeearly a college graduate who now teaches high school. And I should therefore not have to answer to any authority figures on campus because I am just so freaking above everyone. You are thinking that this sounds dangerous. It's totally dangerous. I'd better not walk around with any open beer bottles or say anything racist about Native Americans because I'm sure it won't take long for me to remember my place.

Okay, so right now I am listening to this Taylor Swift song called "White Horses," and I don't understand what the voiceovers are going on in this song. But they're WEIRD. And funny.

It's been a long time. I'm happy. I think the most efficient way to talk about the last week would be to make a list of the Top Ten Most Awesome Occasions of Last Week: A List.


Top Ten Most Awesome Occasions of Last Week: A List.

10. I sold the Corrado. And when I say "I sold," I mean, "I gave away." I think the title got stolen. The guy who I sold the Corrado to ("sold") just called me and asked for the title and I pretended like I still had it. I don't think I still have it. I might. But I don't think I do. I hate when I have to tell people things they don't want to hear. This is clearly not THAT positive a thing. That is why it ranks at number 10. I know there are probably other number-10-worthy things, but I can't think of them exactly now. So we'll go with that. It's potentially a relief.

9. Vince got a 100 percent on his Biology test! Let's get some context here. Vince has a 0.1 GPA right now (he made like a D in Fine Arts survey one time, I guess, but other than that he has been kind of left out in the cold). He smokes a llloooootttt of weed. But I don't know, we bonded somehow. There was some turning point last semester and he started calling me and then all of a sudden he was going to class, and then he started to shock me. He was voluntarily answering Biology questions! He was taking his notes home to study! And then on Thursday there was test
-- a vicious, hard test about organelles and types of cell transport -- and not only did he ACE it (all by himself), but he got an unheard-of 100 percent. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that means Vince accurately sketched a cell in a hypotonic solution. Which I am relatively sure I could not do. FTW!
* Here are some Biology tips and tricks I've been using to explain the more difficult memorization stuff. You will be grateful I told you this stuff next time you are playing Biology Trivial Pursuit. Mitochondria - The first part of this word is "mite." Like those little bugs that run around your house really fast, right? So those have a lot of ENERGY, which is how you remember that mitochondria are the organelles which transfer energy in a cell. Also they kind of look like a little mite cut in half, which is a bonus. Ribosomes - The first part is "rib." When you eat ribs you get protein. So remember that ribosomes make and transfer proteins for the cell. Active vs. Passive transport - Look at that picture to the right there and think about a Lil' Wayne concert. Imagine the line (cell wall) is the WALL between the concert and the outside. Inside the concert there are bookoo* people, and outside there are a few people trying to get in. Is it going to be harder to get INTO the concert or to leave? It's going to be harder to get into that cramped space, huh? So when you're moving that direction, it's active transport. Go the other way, and it's passive transport. Now you "get" Biology. You are so glad I shared this with you. I think Biology is probably ENTIRELY about mnemonic devices. And fetal pigs in formaldehyde.

8. There is an all-you-can-eat buffet at Nirvana (the Indian restaurant on Magazine Street) on Sunday nights. I had always thought Nirvana was a little overpriced, but when you can eat UNLIMITED AWESOMENESS for just $10.95, it is difficult to argue that there is a better deal. And sooo much of it is vegetarian. I have been fantasizing about this meal since I had it. It's been almost a week now. I had a dream about it last night. In the dream I was lying atop a giant bed of Naan getting Chana Masala poured over my body. You say "gross," I say "great."

7. I wore myself pretty thin this week, getting Sophie-amounts of sleep ( >4 hours). On Wednesday this started to manifest itself in the way I interacted with people. I was kind of tired and a little bit moody. Darren, wonderful Darren, the student who I arguably wake up for every single morning (I know, I know, I wake up for all of them, but Darren has a special place in my heart), took notice immediately, and was instantly certain that some man was "playin' me.":
Ms. Johnson, what motha be playin' you? Ms. Johnson, you tell me right now. I'mma get out here right now, you heard me? I'mma get out here right now and I'mma show this playa who he be messin' with if he be messin' with Ms. Johnson. 'Cause that's my favorite teacher up in here, ya heard? Tell me who that man is, Ms. Johnson. I'm tellin' you, I'mma take him out. That man be sorry he was ever born.
You may not think this is as adorable and heart-warming as I do. But let me say this to all the men out there who are considering playing me: Don't. Because Derren weighs like 400 pounds. You would be FUCKED. UP.

6. I am in Colorado. It is my sister's birthday. This is only ranking so low because I have only just begun my amazing time here. Right now, Alexis is in class, and my inkling is that she is going to only be in class for a little bit longer, and I will therefore have to abandon this particular blog entry and save it for another day. Alexis just turned 20 years old. I bought her a Nintendo Wii. She is my favorite living human being. And she is so unbelievably good-looking. I remembered that that was why I was happy she moved away from New Orleans. When she was living there and we would go out together, she'd get hit on by everyone and I'd get hit on by no one and that would make me feel inadequate. Now I get hit on equal amounts as my female companions and I feel a little bit better. Allie bought me a calzone last night. I would probably be prettier if I ate less calzones. But too bad, because I really like calzones. I would rather look like a gnome than not eat calzones.

5. Last weekend we went to the Vietnamese Tet New Years, which was only THE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER BEEN TO IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I know that usually my superlatives are gross exaggerations, and this is probably not an exception, but man, it was definitely DEFINITELY Top 100 in Events I Have Enjoyed Since Being Born. And there have been bookoo* events, so I think Top 100 is a pretty high rank. Imagine the best birthday party you could have imagined when you were six, and then you invited EVERY PERSON of even vague Asian descent who lived remotely nearby to the celebration, and then you got your mom's church's awesome cover band to play music and rap badly, AND THEN beer was only $2 and all the food appeared to have been taken out of "Freakishly Sumptuous Food Magazine," and you could buy it for the cost of bus fare. And then you have the Vietnamese Tet New Year. Silly string was involved. The highlight for me was when I helped the children outside the front of the church name the 28 goldfish they had won. No, I didn't mistype "28." They WON 28 goldfish! AND I convinced them to name one of them "Eggboot!" Eggboot, by the way, is what I believe to be the most hilarious combination of two words that there is. Alex and I used to name our Paper Mario characters "Eggboot." It is a name which will forever dance and swim in my heart. Like a goldfish. Or a dolphin.

4. Leah and I cooked an amazing meal on Wednesday night. We have decided to do this every week (we're now on Week 2), and it's a good idea, which I am now recommending to everyone in the universe. It breaks up the week really nicely, and cooking with another person is about the most enjoyable way to spend time socializing. This is probably because you get to talk, and eat, and drink wine, and see beautifully-colored vegetables, and you feel productive, and it just BRINGS YOU JOY. Got a lot off my chest. Chilled. ATE. Sal, Leah's cat, started getting pretty intimate with the noodles we'd cooked and did this adorable play-with-noodles-eat-noodles combo thing that was about the cutest thing I've ever seen a cat do in person. Or in cat. In cat-person. Anyway, weekly rituals are an excellent increase in funness.

3. EPIC GROUNDHOGS' DAY PARTY ON SUNDAY. Reasons why this was awesome: decorated
the best groundhog-themed cupcakes that have ever been committed to baked goods. Marianne found 98 words WITHIN the words "Punxsutawney Phil," which may seem impossible to you, but it indeed happened. I bought a ton of beer and it didn't get drunk AT ALL so now I have a ton of beer at my disposable. The "Groundhogs"-themed music was very hoggy, and I will probably keep that playlist forever. There was silly string. I know, I know. You are thinking this is the best-sounding party you have ever heard of. You are thinking, "How is this NOT the number ONE best thing that happened to you in the last week?" Well, here are the reasons why: It was on Superbowl Sunday, so there was a lot of stress to get to Superbowl parties and the like. And it was apparently a really good Superbowl, but I totally missed it. I just... it wasn't for me this year. So I feel a little weird about this because last year I thought the Superbowl was one of the greatest inventions of all of television. Also, the party size was a little bit small. It could have used maybe four more people. I think our number clocked in at (LeahAveryCaitlinJazzyLaurenMarianneJames) seven. A ten-person gathering really requires ten people. Also I think the groundhog saw his shadow and now there are going to be six more weeks of winter. Hilariously, my students were DUMBFOUNDED by the concept of Groundhogs' Day, and they took it very seriously. "How can ONE groundhog know SO MUCH about the weather?" they wanted to know. Needless to say, they remained dubious, even after I had done my best to explain the unflinching accuracy of Phil through the years.

2. James Hamilton had a potluck at his house. The only thing wrong with this potluck was that it was the best party I had ever been to, and I was embarrassed that I didn't throw it. It was a vegetarian potluck (WIN), with
loooottts of dessert and loooottts of beer and looottts of really nice, really non-awkward people to talk to. And I guess I was there for like seven hours or something ridiculous like that. People started playing music towards the middle of the party, and then we played rap games, and there was a drum, and a ukulele and several guitars (I brought a shaker egg). I got DRUNK. The only really bad thing that happened as a result of that was that James started playing the musical saw at one point and it made this really awful noise and I accidentally blurted, "I hate that," and now he will probably never play the musical saw in front of me ever again. Which is too bad because... MUSICAL SAW! I mean, I don't actually hate it. I love it. It was just that one note. It was really grating. And I was really drunk. Rap games are fun. I wish I played the guitar. Right now I also have lost my voice, which has been true for about a week. This is sexy when I talk, but it makes me sound like a dying horse when I sing. Annnnyway, this was a tremendously fun and successful party; obviously what all people literally daydream that their parties could be.

Guuuuuuguasdgiuasidf!!!!!!! Okay. First of all, I didn't know who I was going to root for at first. Last week I called Alex, my mom, my sister, and Leah trying to mentally sort out who I ought to cheer for. But when I called Alex about it he was like, "Um, cleeearly the Blazers." And when he said that, I said, "Yeah, but I was at the Nuggets game tonight and they lost, and the Nuggets fan at the game was really sad." And as soon as I realized that I was sounding like a totally fair-weather fan, my mind was made up. We went to the game in blazers (mine is an actual Blazers blazer, so that wins), and PDX was down by 20 going into the third. But then CHRIS PAUL got INJURED and GUESS WHAT: The Hornets are NOT A TEAM without him! Which, yeah, I guess that's kind of really depressing and I feel sad for the Hornets. I do. But what followed his injury was a series of the most beautiful fucking plays I have ever seen in my fucking life on the part of the Blazers, and an immense feeling of joy that I had never experienced in my basketball life as I watched them SHATTER the Hornets in the fourth quarter. SHATTER. ANNIHILATE. STOMP PASS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE. Also, I'm sorry, but why did no one tell me that Jerryd Bayless is like a POEM on the court?! He's fucking amazing. He's probably my favorite Blazer right now. He's really poised to be our team's MVP in a few years if we hold on to him. Such young talent! Really brings a tear to my eye. And Oden didn't even play COMPLETELY embarrassingly at one point, so that was good too! It was a GOOD. GAME. James (Nuggets fan) went and, despite my embarrassing outpouring of Hornets support during the Nuggets game last week, completely signed over to the Blazers team with me from the get-go, which made it all the more enjoyable to win. It also demonstrated to me how James Hamilton is a better person than I am. But that's fine. I'll get over it. I don't pride myself on my kindness or altruism.

*Yes, that is how you spell "
bookoo." I have already looked it up. I like my grammar, and my spelling, and I try not to get it wrong.