January 2005 Archives

Stop running, Forrest!

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In three years of subbing, I have had kids go running: around the room, down halls, into other classrooms, etc. However, I have never had a kid run out the door and off the campus--until today.

It all started when little kiddo came to the special ed room carrying a toy motorcycle which the teacher had already taken away from him once this morning for playing with it when he shouldn't. That had set off a temper tantrum. When I saw him with it, I told him to go put it in his locker, so that it wouldn't become a problem again.

He refused and immediately started to tantrum. I told him that was a poor choice and that he needed to settle down or be sent to the plan room (an in school detention). His response was to kick a couple of wastebaskets and head out of the room.

I followed him into the hall, intending to lead him to the plan room, but he was headed in the opposite direction. I followed him down the hall at a bit of a distance and watched him turn a corner. When I got to the corner, he had gone through the door and outside. I went to the door and called after him, but stayed in the doorway, in case the door was locked. I kept my eye on him while calling into the corridor that if anyone could hear my voice, I needed assistance.

As I watched him and waited, he had wandered to the end of the driveway area, and was standing at the top of a snowy hill. Two teachers came out another door closer to him, so I let the door close and walked towards them. He had disappeared down the hill so wee stood at the top and called his name. We couldn't see him, but a path ran from the bottom of the hill around to the back of the school. I remained there to keep an open eye while the other teachers went back into the building to get coats, a radio, and to call his mom.

While I watched, I saw him appear about 100 yards away, standing on top of a snowbank near the parking lot. He was wearing a shortsleeve shirt and no coat, so I hoped he'd get cold enough to head our calls. I called to him, but he said no one could make him come back in. I saw the two teachers heading towards him, at which point he climbed down the snowbank and ran through the parking lot.

I decided to try heading him off at the pass. He was heading down the block, away from the school, with a teacher behind him. I went to the other end of the block and walked toward them from the opposite direction. When he saw me, he crossed the street to get away (fortunately it was a quiet, residential street) but when he saw that I crossed, too, and was still heading toward him, he crossed back.

At this point, he was right between the other teacher and me, and we were closing in. He turned and dashed between two houses, back toward the school. The other teacher radioed in that he was climbing the fence and heading up the hill, back on school grounds. We went back the way I'd come, and met him as he was walking up the path from the bottom of the hill. He took off running toward the back of the school, with the other teacher close behind.

At this point I went back inside. I had no coat on and even though it was sunny and fairly mild, I was freezing. Now that he was on school property and being corraled by a teacher with a radio, I felt it ok to go in. I returned to my group so I missed the aftermath of how they got him in and what happened next. I imagine that he went home with his mom when she arrived.

I'm told that this kid regularly has problems like this and runs away a lot, but it didn't make it any more nerve wracking for me.

(202) 224-5323

That is the phone number to Russ Feingold's Washinton D. C. office. Feingold has, in the past, said that he feels that the President should be allowed to choose his own cabinet. He voted to confirm people like Ashcroft last time around. This time, among the nominees are condoleezza rice and Alberto Gonzales, both of who seem to believe that torture is okay, and that the US does not have to follow the Geneva Convention. This is an extremely disturbing view point.

Please, call you senator and urge him (or her if you live somewhere outside of Wisconsin) not to vote yes on these confirmations. Herb Kohl's office can be reached at (202) 224-5653. It isn't hard and only takes a minute, but it can make a big difference. Other senators' phone numbers are easily found on the web by googling for their .gov sites.

Taking it to the Streets

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One of my gamer friends passed this on to me, and I am passing it to the rest of you: Arthaus, a division of White Wolf Games has released a card game called Pimp: The Backhanding. Apparently they are excited to announce that,

Now you can experience the dizzying highs and soul-bending lows of exploiting women, pushing drugs and dodging undercover cops. Will you become a Mack Daddy, leasing out high-priced call girls to discriminating clientele, or a lowly fishmonger making a sticky bankroll off the diseased crackwhores you’ve gotten hooked? Or will they find your unconscious body pistolwhipped into submission, lying in a storm drain?

Um, yeah. Because nothing is funnier that the degradation of women.

But see, it's a joke! A joke! We, don't really think this way:

Please note: Arthaus Games does not condone or support the illegal sex trade industry. Pimp is a fictional game about the humorous stereotypes created by television and film and is in no way representational of the true horrors of the sex trade. If you would like more information on organizations focused on Women’s Rights and support groups, please visit : http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/ or any of the many organizations providing help for women around the world.

Boy oh boy, that makes it all better. They are knocking the stereotypes! Ah, I see. Woah. I'm sure all that all the guys that order this game to play when they aren't kicking back with a little D&D or Grand Theft Auto will use this as a springboard for serious discussions into gender issues and sexual exploitation. Yep.

No wait, I actually doubt that very much. The target market for this game is the sort with a very juvenile sense of humor and without a nuanced view of the world. By making prostitution an object of humor, they help to trivialize the problems of sexual exploitation and abuse in this country and around the world. The games and movies that do this do women a great disservice.

So here is what you can do. Write to White Wolf and tell them what you think of this game. If you are as disgusted as Sakefish and I are, let them know that you will not be buying any of their products so long as this is on the market. Companies tend to listen to their cash registers. It isn't censorship to say, "Hey, this is tasteless and wrong. Could you make better choices?"

While you are at it, do go ahead and check out Women's Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, or some of the manymany fine organizations that help deal with these problems.

Donate. Volunteer. Educate. And pass this message on.

Speaking of cool projects

This one looks quite keen. I'd want to so a series myself, expect that there hardly ever seem to be any "people that [I] meet, when [I'm] walking down the street" in my neighborhood. Quite and residential...I know they are there, but I hardly ever see them out and about.

Being Productive

Tonight I made an apple and black raspberry pie that is quite tasty. I used some of the raspberries I harvested this summer and canned apples I rescued from my dad's house. I'm also making bread--it's currently rising in the pans. I'll let you know how it turns out, in case anyone cares.

I've also been working on a book I've been making for a friend. Last night I assembled and sewed together the pages, and tonight I've been gluing sections of text onto the pages, scrapbook-style.

Of course, this process has not been without a few problems. Four of the pages need to be reprinted, and I have to go all the way across town to get it done properly (my inkjet is too sucky for this job). Then I've had a few glue situations. I may have to get one of those adhesive roller thingies. Finally, tonight I discovered that when I sewed the pages together, I left out a packet of them. So, I am going to have to very carefully cut the thread, pull it all out and resew all of the packets together. Blah!

Still, I believe this will all be quite cool when it is finished, and worth the labor intesiveness of it all. (Did I mention the typing and the layout?) Fingers crossed.

The joint was not jumping

I had a dream last night that I was finally at my class' 10 year reunion (the one we didn't have) and it was very lame. Held in a brightly lit, sparsely decorated gym, there were only a few people, most of whom I didn't know very well or like in high school. There was some food, but it had been put out in a haphazard fashion.

I supposed this may speak of something to do with my attitudes towards my past? Or it could just be a comment on the lameness of the class of 1994, which I already knew.

Oh! Oh!

As if that last entry were magic, one of the missing blog ideas has been dislodged from its hiding place in the depths of my brain.

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but around Halloween I picked up a part time retail job at a gourmet candy and nut store. It's actually quite fun (dude, I'm working in a candy shop!) and the extra cash helps to make up for my summer of sloth.

Anyway, the other night I was packaging Valentine's candy from bulk boxes. I was starting to open up a 35 lb box of conversation hearts when I noticed something rather unintentionally amusing about the box itself:

Yes, friends, it appears the box of conversation hearts was saying, "Up yours". How sweet.

Another thing I noticed while putting the packages together was the current batch of sayings on the hearts. There were several that I find amusing. I call it the "get in touch" series: "Write Me," "Call Me," "Fax Me," "IM Me," and one that just says "E Mail". Such technologically advanced Valentine's candy. The "Fax Me" one has always made me laugh, because who the hell sends romantic faxes? Oh, I imagine that somewher out the, someone has, but honestly...fax?

This is getting to be a sad trend

I know that there were at least four things this past week that I wanted to blog about, but every time I have gotten to the computer with a chance to type, all memory of what they were has fled. It's kind of like trying to remember a dream. Kind of frustrating, really.

Learning the Lingo

So, not only do I want/need to brush up on my Spanis, I think I would like to try to learn Hmong.

More minutes than I know what to do with.

My second craptastic phone was starting to die, and it wouldn't be worth it to fix it. My 100 minute a month calling plan was so old that it was still TDMA, and so the only phone I could get that would work with it would be yet another crappy old phone, which I didn't want. They no longer have a 100 minute plan that also includes caller ID, voice mail, and all those other nifty features that I need so I've had to step up.

Now, I've only been using about 75 minutes a month most of the time. Suddenly I have 500 outgoing minutes plus unlimited free incoming ones. Cripes, I wondered, what will I do with all those minutes? Well, people, I am going to have to transform myself into a "phone person". I've already changed the number that the sub office and sub finder computer use to call me to my cell, but that won't be enough.

The last time I was really a phone person was back in high school, when I could literally yack for hours at a time on the phone. Since then, I have the uncomfortable feeling whenever I call someone that I am interrupting something important. I have no problem talking when people call me, but the reverse is not true. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The phone I got is a camera phone, which is pretty neat. I'm not quite sure yet whether I will keep it, or trade it back in before my 30 days are up for a smaller, non-camera phone. I like small, since I hate being loaded down with lots of stuff when I'm out and about. However, if I take any decent pictures with the camera, I'll post them on here. I may decide that having a digital camera (even a crappy phone camera) is better than just having "small".

We Believe in Santa Claus

So says the sign that hangs in the warming house at the Tenney Park Pond.

I went ice skating for the first time this season tonight. I had intended to go during the winter break, but it got too warm during the week, and the ice was slushy. But the conditions were great tonight. Cold, but not so cold that one's face would freeze with a little exposure. The ice had mostly been cleared of snow, and while it wasn't the nicest, slickest ice ever, it was clear enough to serve the purpose.

Enough people were out that the dark pond didn't seem lonely, yet not so many that I had to dodge crazed hockey players, flailing sticks, and errant pucks, which is A-OK in my book.

I really love skating, especially outdoor pond skating. Somehow a rink just doesn't do it for me. At least, it doesn't feel quite the same. I love the flying feeling and the sound of the crunch/scrape of the blades on the ice.

I did have to keep my outing brief. It takes a bit to get my legs used to it, and if I overdo it right away I end up with blisters on my ankles and aching shin muscles. I can go a little bit longer each time.

One thing I do find interesting is that I know so few people who ice skate. Even people who have lived all their lives in Wisconsin tell me "I've never skated" or "I haven't skated in forever." What's up with that?

Now, I have no problem going and doing things like this on my own, but I find it amusing. How can you grow up in Wisconsin and never skate? True, I've never skied, but my response to that is that I am poor and skis (and skiing) aren't cheap. The skates I have now were given to me years ago as a charity-type Christmas present. I supposed someday I may try cross county skiing, which doesn't require that I spend a lot of money at a ski slope. There is also less chance of my klutz factor sending me tumbling down a hill.

One thing I do really want to do, and haven't been able to in a while is sledding and tobogganing. Whee! I'd love to go sometime this year if I could find a sled to use.

Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas

And for the record, my true love (whoever that may be) has not given to me:

*twelve drummers drumming
*eleven pipers piping
*ten lords a-leaping
*nine ladies dancing
*eight maids a-milking
*seven swans a-swimming
*six geese a-laying
*five golden rings
*four calling birds
*three french hens
*two turtledoves


*a partridge in a pear tree.

I am also not reading or watching Twefth Night, though I did enjoy that play this fall.

Instead, I am cooking pancakes and taking down my Christmas tree.

Slow Moving

It was three weeks ago this Tuesday that Tami died while driving home from a friend's house. I was at the same school again today and so she was already very much on my mind.

So tonight, when driving home through the snow from the home of my friends, I put the Jeep in 4WD and drove very slowly. I stayed around 30 in the 55 mph zone all the way home. At one point a car got right on my ass, but I didn't speed up. A twist country road, in the dark, in a snowstorm...not a place for heroic driving. I thought of Tami the whole way home.

Drive safe everyone and please, buckle up. OK?

Project Runway rather rocks. I don't get to see it nearly enough.

Happy New Year

Here's to a better year. 2004 wasn't too horrible for me (except for that election) but it didn't really have many bright, shining moments. I do feel like things are heading into an upswing, though. Maybe.

One thing is for certain, my goals for this year are pretty clear. Among them are workign hard and keeping my budget in line. I've decided that I want to celebrate my 30th birthday in a party at my own house, so I've got just over a year to get it all together financially. I really want things like a digital camera and a new laptop, but I have to keep my eyes on the prize when it comes to budgeting. Of course, working a second (and maybe a third) job will certainly help that along.

I'm also going to push forward, career-wise. I see three possible paths for me: art and design, teaching, and progressive non-profit work. I'll be taking a class this semester that will apply towards eventual teaching certification. I also am trying to give myself a kick in the butt as far as my artistic production goes. My studio has turned into a storage room for rummage sale material. I keep having the wrong sort of inertia: this object at rest has tended to stay at rest. Well, it is time for some equal and opposite force, inspirationally. Enough of my artistic slackerdom! As far as non-profit work goes, I will continue to volunteer with Planned Parenthood. I've also been thinking that it is time to brush up on my long disused Spanish skills, since at the last non-profit job for which I interviewed, I was the number three candidate, because one and two were fluent. I'm also considering becoming a Big Sister. I haven't decided yet, because I wouldn't want to start and then flake out. I need to make sure that I will be able to commit enough time each month to do it well. (But I'm definitely leaning in that direction.)

I'm also going to try to be a bigger geek, technicaly speaking. I've gotten a lot of very helpful suggestions from people regarding the spam situation. I'm still slogging away at the Blacklist issue, but I'm also approaching it from different angles. Sooner or later...

Mind you, none of these are New Year's Resolutions. They are all things that I have been working on already, and that I will continue to work on, regardless of the year. The last NYR I ever made was not to make any more NYR, and I'm holding to that, thankyouverymuch.

One thing that I have realized as the year 2004 ended: my high school class really did suck. This would have been the year for our 10 year reunion, but I heard not a whisper of such a thing. Not on Classmates.com, not on the high school's alumni page. Yet the class of 1995 has been planning their's for a while now. But then, when I was in high school I "disowned" my class in favor of the class of '95, who graciously dopted me. I also graduated college in 1999, a year later than most '94 grads (that is, the ones that did the four year college thing). So, maybe I'll just have to crash the Class of 95 reunion, too. How's that sound?

I did spend this past year making contact with old friends. I rejoined an old social group, from which I had drifted after a breakup. I drifted out in 2001, but it was amazing how comfortable it was to drift back in. Thank god for good friends. Other old friends I have run into here and there on a rather random basis. I guess that is the thing about high quality people--they tend to stay that way. I'm going to strive to make sure the ties I have to these good people stay strong, and while I'm at it I know I will meet some new ones, too.

I had a good summer, though it was a summer of poverty and I'm still paying for it. I didn't work, but I got plenty of rest, watched a lot of baseball, rode my bike, picked masses of berries, and was generally at peace. I think being at peace was worth the debt.

There were health problems. My asthma plagued me from last Christmas until mid-August. Twice I was so afflicted that I considered going to the emergency room, but for the lack of insurance. Fortunately, a run of prednisone sorted that out, and my lungs are more or less under control again for the moment. Plus, I finally have health coverage. My mom had a surgery, and my dad found himself in the hospital a number of times--in the spring with an infection in his leg and then this fall with a heart attack. Fortunately, everyone has pulled through. Big sigh of relief all around.

I don't know what the next year holds, but I am going to be optimistic--in my pessimistic way, of course. The glass may be starting out half empty, but there will be plenty of free refills.


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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