Shitting Glitter

Last night, I caught the end of a set by a band; the band's music was danceable, but I am hardly a fan. I am a fan, however, of the band's name: Shitting Glitter. In fact, I have become obsessed with the very concept of shitting glitter. I sincerely want to do it; it would be the prettiest bowel movement I've ever had the pleasure of creating. My poop has turned orange from excessive carrots, green from Lucky Charms, and now ideally sparkly from glitter.

When I excitedly shared my plan to shit glitter, most of my friends did not take me seriously. No one really took my queries for advice on how to consume glitter to heart, except for Jessica, who suggested we remove the medicinal content from a pill and insert glitter into it instead for an easy swallowing experience. Brilliance: Jessica really is a scientist.

Once it became clear to people that I actually intended to follow through on this experiment, some friends chimed in how it would be a dangerous activity and tear up my insides. Since I am a (recovering?) hemophobe, the idea of internally bleeding freaked me out too much to follow through.

Still, I'm curious. What can I say? I would love to shit glitter. I've been trying to research the effects of eating glitter for more than an hour now, but I cannot come to a conclusive answer. Apparently this public liberry in Round Lake, Illinois found it acceptable to feed glitter to young children, so I'm guessing it can't be lethal. If you either know the consequences of eating glitter or would like to make a pact to dine on some with me, be sure to give me a shout.


It Sure Left an Impression

Because the technology at my school is still not entirely hooked up, to give a power point presentation, I have to bring my own laptop to school. I've already done so several times, but kids tend to be oblivious to it all. As I took out my laptop recently, a student in the front row who clearly was noticing this contraption for the first time was impressed with my dirty computer.

"Is that your own computer? It's nice."
"Yup," I reply.
"Wow, that's a really nice computer."
It's not that impressive, but I thank eir nevertheless.
"Are we going to use it for something?"
I give eir a funny look and say, "Well sure... I didn't whip it out just to impress you."

Suddenly, young ears around the room perk up. On the other side of the room, someone asks, "Did you just say, 'I didn't whip it out just to impress you'?" Immediately, everyone is in hysterics because, you know, if you didn't know I was making that comment about my computer, it could be a reference to my penis, OMG LOL ROTFLMAO HAHAHAHA!

Ever since, this line has become my class' favorite quote. Two days later, a student entered the classroom and asked, "Do you remember when you said you didn't whip it out to impress us?" During a lesson, a student raises eir hand; when I call on em, ey says, "I didn't whip it out just to impress you!" and enlivens the class again. Cleaning up at the end of the day, I find a piece of paper crumpled up on the floor that has nothing but the same quote written in big letters.

Sigh. If you're a teacher, and you say something that can be construed as a sexual comment, prepare to hear it repeated for weeks to come.


News Flash!

After an amazing work-while-we-watch (woo - two sets of incidental alliteration there!) viewing of Troop Beverly Hills, Katy and I sat in front of the television as it automatically stopped the tape and cut to the local news. The announcer mentioned that there was "late breaking" news from our town, so we stopped to pay attention. Apparently, there has been a flasher in the area, revealing himself to women going for runs. I got excited when one of the interviewees turned out to be one of my grad school classmates, a fellow teacher, captioned as a "resident." As she revealed on camera, though she hasn't encountered the flasher on any of her runs, she finds it "alarming." At the end of the segment, the newscaster was "live at the scene," a location only a minute drive from us. Deciding he was too close to not go see him (the newscaster, not the flasher) in person, we immediately ran to the car to locate him. Our initial excuse is that we think it would be fun to jokingly flash him.

In no time, we arrived to see the news van. Once there, the idea of actually flashing the newscaster came to seem stupid (thank you, clarity), so we needed a new plan. The newscaster was watching us - no one else was around, and we had pulled up immediately beside him. Katy suggested that we just strike up a conversation with him, which I initially don't agree to. On second consideration, however, I remembered exactly how cordial Katy is, so I figured I could let her do the talking and be fine.

When we got out of the car, the newscaster cockily introduced himself as though he were a local celebrity. I silently judged him, which in retrospect might not be fair considering we did aid in that ego-boosting by instantly driving to see him. Though Katy was comfortable enough for the both of us, the conversation still went awkwardly as we really had nothing to say except for talking about the flasher incident in general. He basically repeated everything we had already heard from the initial story and we took turns nodding and commenting how "shocking" and "horrible it was. Not to treat the situation lightly, but in truth, I mostly found it humorous; this town needs some excitement, even if it is coming in the form of some creepy guy showing his genitals. In an attempt to cover up an awkward pause, I mentioned that I knew one of the people he interviewed, that she was a classmate of mine. He was surprised, saying that he asked whether she was a student, but that she said no. I can't wait to confront her for lying to a reporter, looks like the teacher prefers the term "resident" to "student."

Katy wanted to know whether the flasher could be a student. The reporter said, "No, he's either Hispanic or Middle Eastern." This statement threw me for a loop since this fact did not preclude the suspect from being a student. Thank goodness for Katy, who had the ability to speak up to his prejudiced notions, adding, "Yeah, so it could be a student." He didn't seem to get it.

Well, that was enough for us. It had been fun tracking him down, but clearly he was pretty lame. (And considering how lame we were for doing any of this stuff in the first place, that's saying something.) As we drove away, a while down the road we approached a guy walking late at night. "Is he the flasher?" I joked. Upon closer inspection, we realized this guy was peeing in someone's yard. So in effect, yes, he was exposing himself in public. To creep him out, we immediately turned around, driving by him slowly twice more. We contemplated going back to tell the reporter what we had seen so we could make the news ourselves, but didn't really feel like speaking with him again.

And that was our pointless adventure for the night. Ta-da!


Hard to Swallow

A panic arises in the house. A chunk of a plastic chew toy is missing, and there is concern that Bosco might have swallowed it. The piece is both sizable and pointy, something that would prove difficult to even a larger dog's digestive system. Since it is late at night, a conversation develops whether anyone wants to spend the night awake taking Bosco to an emergency veterinarian hospital when we cannot even verify whether Bosco ate the toy in the first place.

Shea, whose love for Bosco matches the epic proportions of Romeo & Juliet but without the mass suicide... as yet, is not content to sit back and do nothing. He suggests calling the vet for advice, Amber assures him that there's not a hotline to ask about such matters for canines. When Shea contends that they probably have such things for humans, Amber responds that that's exactly the problem - Bosco's not a human.

"All right, then," Shea says earnestly. "Here's how will find out what to do: We'll call [the HMO] and tell them that I swallowed the toy and see what they tell me to do."

Finally, a plan! A hilariously flawed plan, but a plan nonetheless. Shea's a keeper. If he were to have actually swallowed the toy, I would not hesitate to run him to the emergency room.

(Bosco is fine by the way. The even smaller Darby is the culprit as evidenced by his infrequent, blue bowel movements. What a trooper.)


Reckless with Reclusive Comparisons

Hey! It's Margarita Monday! What once was a party of more than thirty chipper drinkers has dwindled to a mere handful. I swear, many of my friends show no sense of commitment. I suppose that's not entirely accurate -- their excuses for not coming generally demonstrate commitment to class, jobs, homework, physical activity, and extracurriculars. Alas, they show no commitment to a weekly drinking engagement, so they clearly don't have their priorities in order. Frankly, I think it's rude. Not to me as much as it is to the restaurant. They love us there. Tonight, Michael Michael and I arrive later than we usually do and our bartender is concerned. "Where have you been? Where is everybody?" You wouldn't believe the heartache it causes me to have to say, "No one else is coming." That's a lot of pressure to put on someone. At any rate, the bartender is so appreciative to have me there that he generously intoxicates me. First, he fills nearly half the glass with straight tequila, then tops it off with the premixed margarita liquid. It's important to note that the mix itself constitutes the stiffest drink around, so adding a few shots of tequila seems quite lethal. Needless to say, just one drink suffices tonight. I am visibly giddy halfway through.

On the way to Margarita Monday, I relay to Michael Michael that a mutual friend "is a recluse." When that doesn't make sense, I clarify that, well, you know, if his girlfriend is his house, then he is a recluse. "Admittedly," I claim. "It's a poor metaphor." Later, Michael Michael repeats my dumb choice of words to Andrew. "He said that [friend] is to recluse as [girlfriend] is to house." Again, I quickly acknowledge it as a "poor analogy," but feel validated when Andrew grasps what I'm saying and confirms that he understands. While driving home (well, riding actually, Michael Michael has to play chauffeur after my intense drink), I have to endure Michael Michael teasing me again (he lives for it, I swear.) "Right," I said. "We've established that saying somone is 'like a recluse' is a bad simile." He's not done nitpicking, however. "Wait. First you called it a metaphor, then an analogy, and now a simile. How does that happen?"

I'm so passionate (and tipsy), I speed through my words. "Well first I said he 'is' a recluse, with 'is' being a key word in a metaphor, then at the bar you said 'is to... as' which indicates an analogy, and right now, I said 'like,' which clues us into a simile." He tries to apologize for doubting my comparison ability, but still in rambling mode, I cut him off. "I may be drunk, but I am still an English teacher!" I'm like a recluse, if my house is knowledge of figurative language.


Meat the Gang

Today Alec and I, and truthfully just Alec, barbecue $30 worth of meat. There are no side dishes, not even buns, just straight up meat. And it is good. Dan, Andrew, and Wes come for the gorging and expectedly the conversation is hilarious between our chewing. Though I cannot recall the train of thought that leads us there, someone brings up gangs. Dan refers to himself as a Crip, but I quickly refute this notion pointing out his red shirt (Crips wear blue/Bloods wear red.) "I'm in both," Dan insists. Everyone laughs at that preposterousness. Andrew notes that it's like a cliched sitcom plot line where someone is secretly trying to maintain two conflicting identities with increasingly difficulty (think Mrs. Doubtfire or the teen heartthrob juggling two dates at the prom). We all imagine the possibilities, like showing up to the wrong meeting with the wrong color. "This red? Oh, I just... killed a Blood. Yeah. And I... stole his clothes. Right." After twenty minutes of similar hilarity, the episode would come to a meaningful conclusion when the two-timing gang member admits what he's been up to. In the end, as Andrew surmises, "It would be okay, because both gangs would appreciate his honesty."

Suddenly, my screenwriting dreams have awakened again. One way or another, this needs to hit the small screen.


Another Gambling Loss

At grad class today, we watched an uninspiring clip about students and privilege. The point was that some students come to us with loads of advantages, while others enter our classrooms with essentially nothing. Illustrating this point with an extended metaphor, the narrator compares student advantages to poker chips. For five minutes, this metaphor was ran into the ground as we heard about how those with loads of chips can gamble recklessly, while those with just a few poker chips are timid as they can't afford to lose chips. At the conclusion of the clip, someone approached me with a plate of poker chips. "Here," ey said. As the first and only person approached with this offering, and with plenty of people watching, I figured I was being made part of some kind of test following the video. Knowing I didn't want to have too few chips, I proceeded to scoop up a handful. "No, just one per person," ey said, irritated, adding, "Geez." Ouch. Those around me gave me awkward smiles as I guiltily tried to flash one back. I looked like a selfish doofus who had tried to take everyone else's chips. Sometimes you can't win. I have no poker chips. : (


Being with My Best Buddies

This past Sunday, I attended the Best Buddies event. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to my parents, Jessica, Shea, Justine, Kim (my iimmy!), and Ginny for coming through with a combined $600 for the cause. Combined, my housemates and extended friends raised $1,340, the third most successful team for the event.

I anticipated we'd be walking around a track, but when I didn't see one or any sort of marked path, I thought that possibly we might not be walking anywhere, but rather marching in place. Thereafter, I pictured not a walk-a-thon, but a walk-in-place-a-thon. I envisioned a field full of people, walking their hearts out, but getting nowhere. Unfortunately, there was a trail designed for us, so we actually had to move, but mark my words: one of these days, I'm going to organize a walk-in-place-a-thon, and some lucky charity is going to rake in some serious cash thanks to my brilliant idea.

I huddled our team before the walk and stressed the importance of winning the walk; our team needed to be the first to cross the finish line. Sure, it's "just a walk for charity," but winning shows that you not only raised money, but that you really, really care. And are competitive. We played it strategically and let a few dozen people in front of us so that they would tire out setting the pace, then we'd strike in the last leg. Alas, the tiniest members of our team, the puppies, began slowing us down. It was so hot, they needed frequent water breaks, which ruined our standing until we fell to the back of the pack. I thought we were out of the race until we reached the end of the path, the halfway point. At this point, everyone did an about face, meaning that those in the back were now in the front. This stroke of good fortune put us back in the hunt, until those darn dogs "got thirsty" again. Consequently, we fell to the back a second time, this time eliminating us from our quest for first place. It's a good thing I love those puppies so much.

In sight of the finish line, our group, the back of the pack, was approached by the media, requesting us to run the last part for the benefit of the news camera. As I raced the last several yards, I pushed both Phoebe and Amy out of the way in what I hoped to be a comical fashion to get to the finish line before everyone else. Only immediately after did it occur to me that in doing so, I probably looked like one of the people with intellectual disabilities the event was raising money for. I didn't watch any of the news programs that night to see if I was featured on it, but if anybody saw me acting like a fool, understand it was an ill-conceived joke.

For the sake of honesty, I'd like to take a moment and tell the people who donated nearly $2,000 to Michael Michael that he didn't even complete the walk. He was too busy doing "other things" or something. So if you sponsored him to complete this walk, I would demand your money back.

We spent most of the remainder of the festival collecting aluminum cans from the trash bins for the purpose of recycling. It harkened back to the old days of the Bloomfield Drum Festival when my friends and I served as "Sanitation Relocation Engineers." Amber and I, who have recently decided that we are best friends, took the opportunity to show that we truly are best buddies:

We looked great, but with their unrivaled friendship, Bosco and Darby sure showed us up:

The event concluded with a performance by Lil' Josh, an 11 year-old rapper. Apparently, he's a sensation on Radio Disney. To give context, four years after its release, "The Cha Cha Slide" is still the seventh most played song on that station. Lil' Josh's big hit is a song called "Jump," in which he sings House of Pain's "Jump Around" without singing the word "around." The funny thing is, most of the kids probably don't realize that it's a cover. Or, you know, horrendous.

Overall, it was a fun event and it was great to see Michael Michael in his element. I might not have won the walk, but I did get sunburnt. For the following two days, my reddened face made my students think I was really mad. Generally, I am really mad, so it's not a bad assumption on their part. When one student told me it was unhealthy to get sunburned, I shrugged, "Well hopefully when I get cancer, someone will have a charity walk for me." In another period, seeing my face, someone asked whether I had "been at the beach with hot chicks." When I explained that I went on a walk for Best Buddies, an organization that supports people with intellectual disabilities, the student said, "You mean retards?" "Say it again, and you'll be taking your own charity walk to the office," I snap back. Ah, if only I could have been this quick on the race!


Toilet Papered

Driving home on the freeway today, I am momentarily frightened when I spot an airborne object sailing towards my vehicle. It turns out to be just a long piece of toilet paper; it wraps itself around my windshield wiper. I am embarrassed and feverishly mobilize my wipers in a failed attempt to free the toilet paper. There's a certain social stigma attached to having toilet paper dangle from your person (and by extension, I imagine, your car). Truthfully I'm not sure why having toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe is considered to be as humiliating as it is, especially since I'm pretty sure it has happened to everyone at point or another. I can recall a time in junior high when I watched a popular kid exit the bathroom before me with a strand of toilet paper in tow. I didn't point it out, however, because I thought its discovery in a larger setting might contribute in toppling the existing preteen social hierarchy. I don't recall that diabolical plan succeeding, but I momentarily felt a little better about myself anyway.

Tired of looking like a fool, I try the wipers again. After several sweeps, the paper finally breaks free and soars over the top of my car. I use my rearview mirror to locate its whereabouts, watching it fly until it nests on the front of the hood of the car immediately behind me. Although I'm not versed enough in car brands to identify it properly, I can tell you that it was a fancy sports car with the top down; the driver wore sunglasses and chatted on a cellphone, oblivious to the toilet paper destroying the image he was going for. Though it wasn't stuck to anything, the toilet paper hung with the vehicle due to the constant forward movement of the car; until the driver stopped or slowed down significantly, an unlikely occurrence on the freeway, that toilet paper was there to stay. I gleefully watched this disgrace in action from my car for the next several miles. Just prior to getting off at my exit, I see another car, unwashed and dented, drive by me. The people in this junk of a car were looking over their shoulders, pointing and laughing at the sports car besmirched with toilet paper. Nearly a decade later, my revolution to topple the social hierarchy might finally be succeeding.


Search Me Again

It's been a while since I've shared the search terms that led to my blog. There have been several bizarre keywords in recent history, but currently, the three most recent terms are too notable not to share.

1. how to clean a crack pipe

I don't know how to clean a crack pipe, though Kurosh once played a Master P song for me in which the lyrics detailed how to make crack. I never really followed through with that; I've never been much of a chef. Considering I can rarely be bothered to clean my own room, I can't imagine that even if I had a crack pipe that I would be motivated to clean it. Ask me about meth, however, and we're in business. I'll not only clean your crack pipe, but every square inch of your house.

2. quadriplegic porn

I'm choosing to believe that someone searched for this phrase just to see if such a thing existed, not unlike my friends' and my ill-fated sophomore year exploration of whether "clown porn" was a real thing. (On the note of clown porn, spare your eyes: don't go there, [gender-neutral]friend!) I don't want to pass judgment: heck, I'm attracted to stumps just as much as the next person. Alas, you won't find any quadriplegic porn here, pterodactyls have paid big bucks for exclusive rights at Kevin Babbles. If I were to provide such content, you'd have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Haha. Oh relax, I'm just screwing around... with your amputated body! I'm kidding again. It's a joke, don't lose your head over it... there'd be nothing left!

And speaking of weird fetishes...

3. anal sex crunching sound movie
This time, I do pass judgment. Gross. Gross, gross, gross. I don't figure this searcher found what they were looking for. I can't determine how a "crunching sound" would even apply in anal sex unless... you know, I'm not even going to touch this one. You can let your own imagination run wild with these keywords if you want, or with any luck, you'll forget them instantaneously.



Often when I contemplate my higher educational experience, I question why I did not attend a more religious institution. Like a Seventh-day Adventist university, for example. I would agree that the Bible should be read both literally and exclusively. Poe is for heathens. Plus, school is just something I do while waiting for the the second-coming of Christ - because that will be sweet.

Well, anyway, today I've finally visited such a school and found it to be swell. There were these three large statues with some sort of Prodigal Son religious significance that was lost on me thanks in part to their complete ridiculousness.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hate the sin, ride in the arms of the sinner.

Jessica is swept up in His Majesty.

This one is the best. He is supposed to be dignified, but he looks like he's wearing nothing under his trench coat and is prepared to streak. WWJD, dude?

And, heh, check out this funny story about someone trying to jump these same statues with eir car. Behold: even a Hummer cannot penetrate God's might.


A Thesis Is Done -- Just Not Mine

Being far more on top of eir schoolwork than I ever wish I could be, Stacy finished the first draft of eir thesis yesterday. Accordingly, several of us went out to celebrate that night. We went to the Uncomfortably Trashy Bar, which admittedly becomes less trashy with each subsequent visit. Heck, someone with a ZZ Top beard was friendly enough to introduce himself this past time, in spite of my attempt to avoid eye contact. Fortunately, I wasn't made to drive there after my recent troubles, and I got to enjoy my rum and cokes, which served there are a glass of rum with a shot of coke. It was Heather’s first time at this locale and ey was immediately taken by the motley clientele. “Maybe I’ll hook up tonight,” Heather quipped

It was truly a grand time. First, Stacy and I realized we are the same people, which is always a fun revelation. Then, though I try to avoid gossip currently, I reveled in a fantastically juicy morsel that shook me to the core and left my head spinning (perhaps it was the rum and swig of cokes) for minutes. Being good with secrets, I will never tell (this trait might be what distinguishes us, Stacy), but let me just say: “Ohmguh!” to the tenth power.

I was giddy enough to talk about this blog, even. I can probably count the times I have initiated conversation about my blog on one hand. I find it too awkward and self-promotional: I don’t want people to think I assume they read it or that they should read it. But if someone breaks the barrier and mentions it to me, that’s fine. After receiving a second comment here from someone named Janelle, I investigated and realized that Janelle knows Stacy. All I learned about Janelle is that Janelle is funny and that we’d probably really get along. Anyhoo, hello, Janelle.

Later, it looked like Heather might have gotten eir wish when some douche wearing a shirt reading, “If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen” who we actually made fun of earlier in the night approached our table. As the douche chatted Heather up, I looked for some sort of “help me” sign for a while. Receiving none, I moved away to leave them to do something the douche would forget and Heather would only wish ey could. Once the douche left a bit later, Heather chewed me out for abandoning eir with a tool. Oops. Misread that one. I didn’t misread the tool’s shirt, however, though I wish I had. Stacy grilled said tool about said shirt. At first the tool tried to explain that ey bought it without reading it first (who does that?!) and then switched eir story to saying it was actually eir friend’s shirt. Sure. I sure hope the tool remembers Stacy’s third degree.

Sigh, I wish Stacy finished eir thesis every night! Eventually, the night had to end, but the fun didn’t stop: someone we carpooled with was so intoxicated that ey didn’t recognize eir own house after being dropped off at it. Spring Break!!!!!!! (Not really, I worked all week.)


White Elephant

I'm bad about uploading photos. A good three months later, I've rediscovered pictures from a mid-December evening. Our house had a dress up holiday dinner with gift exchanging that looked like this:

That dinner was pure love. My housemates are the finest people I know.

After the meal, we invited the masses to play a White Elephant game. Earlier, when Shea admit he didn't know what White Elephant was, Kline made up some story about how people would dress up like white elephants and exchange gifts. Shea (rightfully) wasn't sure whether to believe this story, so at the time of the game, a bunch of us emerged wearing white trunks to play along with Kline's ruse. Notably, these "white" trunks were my dirty socks attached to my friends' faces with rubberbands.

We played a twisted version of White Elephant that used a die and kept the fun going for more than an hour. I ended up with this squeeze-and-gobble turkey doll that the dogs would soon devour. On its last day, it no longer gobbled, but rather made an electronic whaling, true to its impending demise. Kat won a set of plastic meat. Mike won holiday mint foot cream. Andrew snagged a can of spam, which is not so impressive when you know that he was the only one competing for that lovely item. Meanwhile, everyone was trying to do eir best not to get stuck with this beauty:

More than a year ago, I bought this piece of yarn art at a thrift store. It was actually but one in a set of five Christmas-themed yarn portraits, but I forced myself to choose just one. I hung it in my apartment for a year, then regifted it to RJ and Andrew as part of an elaborate prank. They must not have liked it, however, since it was contributed back to this game. I think it's pretty funny, but apparently nobody else did. Look at how happy Amber and Shea were when they got rid of the caroling boy.

The happiness was later dispelled, however, when after nearly an hour of trading it back and forth with RJ and Michael Michael, Shea got stuck with it. I think I was the only one excited to have it back in my house's possession. I replaced Amber's oversized quail art with the choir boy, but it was later vetoed when they called him "Blowjob Boy" because of his open mouth. That pretty much ruined his yarn-like innocence to me, and he's been hiding in the garage ever since.



After sitting in standstill traffic due to a major accident on the freeway, I am twenty minutes late to my first class of the day. I have called ahead, so there is a security guard waiting with my class. I literally sprint into my classroom, apologizing for my tardiness. Having sat in the car for more than an hour and a half on what is normally a twenty-five minute drive, I am thoroughly flustered. Accordingly, I hastily write a big letter F on the board, explaining it stands for flustered, freeway, and frustration. I attempt to begin my lesson for the day, but I am forced to improvise to a large extent after being unable to make the copies I intended to make before class started. Essentially, I make a fool of myself, which my students find funny. After a third unsuccessful try at stammering through a simple instruction, I finally level with my students: "You need to have your parents call the school and tell them Mr. [Kevin] needs to be fired." A few minutes later, however, I hit my stride and realize I am actually legitimately educating again. Whew. Since it has been awhile since I've used a word beginning with F, I rack my brain to formulate a relevant word, sharing my inner-monologue aloud. From the second row, I hear my student Vicente* causing an audible stream of air to escape eir lips. Assuming ey is similarly making an F noise in an attempt to come up with a word beginning with the letter, I ask, "Vicente, are you F-ing?" Immediately, Vicente, a reserved kid, shoots me a mortified glare, while the rest of the class erupts in laughter. Recognizing the accidental humor in my statement, I can only throw my head back and laugh, as well. "Yes," I acknowledge. "I did just ask if a student was F-ing in class." "Who would F in class?" comes a shout from the back. I explain what I think Vicente had been doing, a claim Vicente denies, so the hilarity of the situation is further extended. "Okay," I sigh, chuckling. "Remember to have your parents mention this story when they call to have me fired."


Good God!

Often, I forget just how religious the community I teach in is. Since my kids regularly lie, curse, steal, vandalize, cheat, and do drugs, it's pretty easy for me to forget what "moral" people they are. From time to time I am reminded, however, when the same students who are suspended nearly every other week will begin spouting their bible-thumping views when the subject of religion arises. Apparently, you're still heaven-bound if you beat the crap out of someone, as long as you have Jesus in your heart.

At the beginning of this semester, my first journal prompt for my students was simple: "What do you care about?" Since most of my students were failing and refused to do schoolwork, I figured it might help to learn what they were passionate about and what their priorities were so that I could find some aspects about them in order to respect them as people. Alas, 80% of the responses referenced that they cared about God, with the majority of them listing that as their #1 thing in life, so the whole exercise just served to alienate me further. "You love God?" I'd find myself asking aloud when I read them. "You deal drugs and curse me out when I ask you to be quiet, but you go to church every week?" I swear, it drives me batty.

During a poetry presentation last month, one student correctly picked out the metaphor of the ocean being God's hand rocking a boat. While explaining this part, ey prefaced eir comment with, "Sorry to any atheists."

"You're apologizing to atheists?!" another student shouted out. "I'm sorry to atheists, too - sorry they're going to hell!" Uniformly, the class erupted in cheers and applause, followed by a loud, "Fuck atheists!" It took us a good three minutes to get back on track and let the presentation continue. My students -- such good little Christians.


Hoop Dreams

Every Sunday, I play basketball with my friends. Though I've always enjoyed the sport, the fact that I'm not tall/athletic/competitive has generally prevented/intimidated me from partaking. The Sunday games with my friends, however, are non-threatening: for the most part, everyone is supportive and friendly making for a fun experience. Fun is important, it's what games are supposed to be about. I'm a pretty streaky player, I either keep hitting my shots or, more frequently, have them bounce off the rim for minutes at a time. While I excel at knockout, I attribute that to requiring only quick sprints with regular breaks, a solid free throw shot (and failing that, a consistent second shot), and no defense.

One of my teacher friends, who coaches basketball, wanted to start up a weekly pickup game amongst the faculty after school. I accepted the invitation, looking forward to a social engagement with my coworkers.

I showed up today, a bit late after helping a student, and was terrified by what I saw. All of the other teachers that came were muscular and at least a foot taller than me. This game wasn't for fun, it was for pride and bragging rights. The players were no nonsense, calling each other "ladies," even though there was not a single female in attendance. Come to think of it, I doubt any were invited.

In my experience, I've found that there are a few different kinds of teachers: people who are in the business because they are genuinely interested in educating today's youth, people who are in the business because they never want to leave high school, and people who live and die for sports and are in the business so that they can coach. (The staff has first dibs at coaching positions and cannot earn a living off coaching wages alone.) The people playing the game today were those in the third, sports-obsessed category. Please understand, I don't mean that they are not good people or not good at their jobs, but they have this underlying aspect to them that I find it impossible to relate to.

Frankly, once I whiffed the testosterone, I wanted to run, but I couldn't just make up an excuse at that point. So I played, despite being out of the others' league. These people were about domination. I hope I at least served as an ego boost to people nearly a foot taller than me who demonstrated their brute strength and athleticism by effortlessly blocking my shots, then later, just as easily, shooting it over my head. Nearly everyone would either take the shot or at least make ridiculous drives to the basket; passing was for the weak and people not out to prove their manhood.

To say I was outmatched is an understatement. I think the guys were embarrassed for me, but whatever, I refused to feel anything more than uncomfortable about the whole thing. I kept hoping the game would come to a merciful end. About an hour in, it finally did, when someone's flying elbow clocked another person hard in the forehead and drew an immense amount of blood. (Did I mention that in addition to playing intensely, they also played roughly?) The court was splattered in blood and everyone acted macho as if it was no big deal.

As luck would have it, the administrative team walked in just then to heckle us, only to find blood everywhere. There are all sorts of procedures when blood is involved, and though I tried to tell people not to try to clean it themselves, they were caught essentially breaking the law in the way they were handling it. The admins wanted to know who was responsible for the accident, and immediately everyone fingered me. Because, you know, it's funny to blame it on the scrawny short guy. It's even funnier to repeat the joke, which continued well past its welcome; I found it condescending, actually. Meanwhile, the elbow victim's white t-shirt was now drenched in red, his face still gushing. In my recent pursuit to recover from blood phobia, I did my best to look at him and not freak out - surprisingly, I did all right. At any rate, this guy was so badly injured, he had to be taken to the emergency room and get stitched up.

So for the sake of my health and sanity, it looks like I'll be sticking to the Sunday games from now on. I'll find excuses to keep a student after class on staff game days if I have to.


Bear Butt

Our house's adorable adogable puppy Darby is a chewer. In pursuit of eir oral fixation, Darby gnaws on everything he can get his mouth on: toys, plants, the couch, etc.

Somehow, a cute teddy bear showed up in our house without explanation. Inevitably, the bear became a dog toy. Returning home one day, I found the teddy bear with a gaping hole in its butt, much of the stuffing pulled out. Otherwise, the bear remained unscathed.

An hour later, Shea returned home and also noticed the bear had been violated. Holding the bear up, Shea asked, "Did a dog do this?"

Madison and I exchanged "well, duh!" smirks to one another.

"No, Shea," I said matter-of-factly. "It was me."

Shea crinkled his face.

"Yep... I'm a pervert," I added.

His look of confusion warranted a clarification.

"Of course it was a dog!"


Monday's Madness

Funny things that happened in a single day of teaching this past Monday:

* After using an abundance of words beginning with W the previous class, I instituted a letter of the day Sesame Street style. For this day, K was the letter of choice. We brainstormed awesome words starting with K and "kelp" was the big winner. One student kept shouting out brand names, so I called eir a "corporate shill" which pretty much went over everyone's heads. Later, when I randomly grouped students for discussion, one student noticed all of eir teammates had the first initial of K. "I win!" ey said. "Three K's!" "Let's not cheer for 3 Ks," I deadpanned. Then we proceeded to make fun of racists. Granted, a lot of these kids are racist, but it's a step in the right direction.

* I have a new favorite student. Ey's shy, so it's been easy to overlook eir clever, subtle humor. I first noticed when my students shared what they did over their winter break, and after countless mundane stories, ey said that ey sunbathed with Fabio on the beach. At first, I actually believed it, because I didn't even consider eir capable of joking, but subsequent events like the baby in the dumpster quip, I'm down to eir humor. At any rate, on this day, one of the twins interrupted my lesson to announce, "Mr. [Kevin]! Yesterday, my friend threw a cell phone at my ear." "Is your friend Naomi Campbell?" I replied. My favorite student, who, again, is shy, attempted to stifle eir laughter as usual so as not to draw attention to eirself, ended up choking as a result of her restrained laughter. That was awesome.

* A student told me ey was thirsty, but I wouldn't let eir get a drink at the moment. Still, the idea of drinking water was so appealing, I retreated to my side room where there is a sink to fill up a cup with water, which I drank in front of eir. (Yeah, I was intentionally being a punk.)
"Where'd you get the water?" ey asked.
"A sink," I replied.
"Oh, I thought you had like a waterfall back there," someone else said. "Right," I responded. "Beyond that wall is a magical land with a pristine waterfall."
"And bunnies?"
"Yes, and bunnies," I said calmly. "Usually I slaughter them and eat them for lunch."
"Wait, really?" came a confused voice from the back.
These kids, I swear!

* No fewer than five times throughout the day, I told my students to "have a good weekend." It was a Monday, but clearly I had leaving on the brain.

* When I snipped at a student, ey retorted, "You're like my mom when she's on the rag."

* After school, I went to a fellow teacher's room for a meeting. On the board was a student's handwriting with the word "Nazis" written in huge letters with a bulleted list of the atrocities Nazis committed underneath it. Normally, I wouldn't laugh at something like that, but the letter "i" in the word Nazi was, get this, dotted with a heart. I probably chuckled at the absurdity of that for a good full minute.


Color Me Bad

I stopped at a take-out restaurant for a Meat Lovers' calzone today. Since my time is precious as of late, I spent the ten minute wait outlining a chapter for my graduate thesis on a piece of paper I had in my pocket. Wanting a sturdy surface to write on, I located a Jumbo-Size coloring book resting atop a small table in the corner next to some crayons. Though the pages were of flimsy quality, its girth alone* provided enough support for me to scrawl on my lap. When my calzone was complete, the server placed the container on my lap and I took my leave. I set it down on the seat next to me in the car and brought the calzone into my classroom for quick lunch.

It wasn't until later in the day when I picked up my outline beside me in the car that I realized I had also accidentally taken the coloring book as well. The jumbo coloring book, still marked as a $2 value at Big Lots, was the only one in the restaurant, meaning I stolen the sole livelihood of impatient kids waiting for pizza.

I don't steal (bowling shoes being a notable exception), but now I've stolen a coloring book. It might as well have been candy from a baby. Plus, given that it's a jumbo sized book, it's like stealing a King Size candy bar, which is even worse. At least when you steal candy, you can rationalize it as trying to prevent cavities. In my circumstance, I could try to argue that I was helping kids avoid carpal tunnel, which is a stretch at best.

The coloring book has a cute, oversized bunny on the front, but I feel so guilty, I can't even look it in the adorably exaggerated eyes. I have opened the book to see if it's worth keeping, but the completed drawings show no skill for staying in the lines and most of them look more like puddles of Crayola vomit rather than actual art. To make matters worse, though most of the pictures have been left empty, someone has gone through and done every single damn connect the dots puzzle! This is why I hate kids; talk about rendering a coloring book useless.

I suppose I could feel less criminal by just returning it, but why would they want it back now that the connect the dots are finished? So, yeah, if anyone wants a stolen coloring book, again, bearing in mind there are no flipping connect the dots, feel free to take it, sucker.

*Initially, instead of "girth alone," I wrote "sheer girth" only to realize that it might be read as an oxymoron and confuse my dear readers.**
**Actually, I initially wrote "shear girth" before researching the difference between the homophobes "shear" and "sheer."***
***Similarly, even though I am an English teacher, I initially confused "homonym" with "homophobe" before double checking the meanings of those, as well. "Homonym" is when a word with the same spelling has the same meaning. For example "sheer" means both "complete, utter" and "thin," causing a lot of issues for this grammar-conscious writer.


Be a Buddy

My housemates and I have formed a team to walk and raise money for Best Buddies, an organization that develops social networks and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The more I learn about Best Buddies' mission, the more I am impressed with the program. Plus, I'm pretty impressed with one of my most wonderful housemate's (which one is most wonderful? it's impossible to pick a loser in this bunch) involvement with the program, and I'm eager to support this person as well.

While discussing the importance of offering social outlets for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Shea shares a story about a young child with Downs Syndrome that would visit his former place of employment. The kid was immensely cheerful and would hug everyone he would see. At one point, someone gave the child a candy cane, which he apparently loved so much that it ended up covering the entirety of his face. After offering this anecdote, Shea decides that "people with intellectual disabilities have such a good life." When our house's informed voice points out that that's not often true, and that their lives can be good depending on whether they have a caring family and adequate support. Shea counters that "Yeah, but they love candy canes so much!" As good of a point as it was, I fear that that might be oversimplifying things.

Indeed, life isn't just candy canes for people with intellectual disabilities. Keeping that in mind, if you can find it in your heart (and equally so, your wallet) to donate some money to the cause to support people with intellectual disabilities, as well as show support to the housemate I think is just swell, please do so. (DONATE HERE!) I know of other blogs where the writers beg their readers for money for various things, and I find that annoying, but I'm going to give it a go this time around since I find it important. I'd also encourage you to learn more about the organization as a whole. They have some easy, low-time commitment ways to offer some meaningful contact to people with intellectual disabilities. I'm no expert on Best Buddies, but if you have any questions about the organization, I can point you in the direction of someone who can answer them.

Generally I try to end my posts with a joke of some sort, but given the subject matter and my penchant for inappropriateness, I'm going to quit while I'm ahead, and merely thank in advance anyone who aids to the cause.


Not a Drunk Driver

I got pulled over for drunk driving last night.

Before you freak out, let me assure you, I wasn't drunk.

After being boring for most of the night, I went for a late drink with Andrew and Mike. We split a pitcher, and not being a beer enthusiast, I had what probably amounted to a beer and a half at most. I didn't feel anything at all. Well, I didn't feel buzzed at any rate, I did feel something - mainly content to have nice company. Just wanted to clarify.

After dropping Andrew off at his bike, I chauffeured Mike to his apartment. It was 2 in the morning and the roads were empty. Apparently, I didn't come to a complete stop at the stoplight when I made a right on red, which I suppose is probably true considering it was not a busy intersection and no one was around, so I can imagine I was a bit liberal with the stop, but not to the point where I was being reckless.

Anyway, because of this incident, I was subject to being pulled over by the police. I recognized the cop from the parking lot of the bar, so I'm guessing he either followed me for quite some time or recognized my vehicle from the dump he was patrolling. I nervously handed him my new license. He was pretty aggressive, asked me whether I had had anything to drink, and then made me step out of the car.

Though I knew I was sober, I was still frightened. It was cold, so I put my hands in my pocket, a move for which I was yelled at, as I might have had a weapon. No, just a cell phone.

I was told I would undergo a series of tests. He told me not to worry, even though his attitude totally made me worry, and that if I followed all of his instructions, everything would be fine. His first instruction was to wait until he finished his instructions to perform the task, a rule which I immediately broke in order to demonstrate my sobriety. Crap, I thought, already points against me. Meanwhile, Mike, curious about the goings-on, opened the car door to get a better view. The cop's partner had a freak attack and ordered, "Stay in the car!" Afterwards I worried that, even though we had done nothing wrong, something could accidentally go wrong and turn into a big mess.

The first test required me to close my eyes, tip my head back fully, and count to thirty silently. When I felt thirty seconds had passed, I was to lift my head back up. I could see why this test would be used as it was fairly relaxing and disorienting, so an intoxicated person could easily pass out. Suddenly, I doubted my ability to count and I became paranoid that I would mess it up somehow. Being so nervous and cold, I shook the entire duration of the test, and I hoped that didn't make me look drunk. The officer timed me discreetly, but I never found out how closely I hit the thirty second mark.

Next, I had to lift one leg up and balance on the other foot, while counting to fifteen. I'm great at balancing, so I felt more confident with this task. I began counting to fifteen, but I did normal numbers not "one-one thousand, two-one thousand" as desired, so I was barked at, and I had to start over. Not too pleasant.

Finally, I was told to do "the thing where [I] put my feet in front of the other." I had to ask for clarification, as this is not something I've done before, but it was nice to think the officer thought I might already be versed in this activity. Apparently, I had to walk heel to toe eight steps forward and then six steps back. Flawlessly, I progressed eight forward, then proceeded to nearly effortlessly do the same thing backwards, before I was yelled at again. "No fancy stuff!" I was told. Evidently, after the eight steps, I was to do an about face and walk forward in the opposite direction, not attempt it backwards. 'Tever. I started again and proved my fine footwork. Though I knew I proved myself sufficiently sober, I feared that since I did some "element" wrong in each of the three tasks, they might try to give me trouble all the same.

At this point, I was told I was done with the tests, so he whipped out a breathalyzer. Now I was more terrified than ever. What if for some weird reason one beer did me in and I was legally drunk, but didn't even realize it? Besides, if they were going to have me use a breathalyzer from the start, why did I have to play all those games first? In a move that I'm sure made me look guilty, I asked whether I should consult a lawyer before using the breathalyzer. The officer explained that this was just a preliminary measure, and anything official would have to be done at the station. Since I had nothing to hide, I decided to trust him at that and blew into the contraption.

Would you believe it? I blew a blood alcohol level of .005. Remember, the legal limit in California is .08, so I was actually at 1/16 of the rate required to book me. One-sixteenth, for crying out loud. People are probably more intoxicated than that when they accidentally have beer splashed into their mouthes or use rubbing alcohol on a wound. Heck, I was a bit embarrassed to know it was that low, did I have nothing to show for my night out? The officer was clearly a bit embarrassed, too, because I obviously was not a menace to the road. At last, the hostile attitude on his part stopped, and he almost kind of apologized. He told me I would receive just a "warning" for the other violation. Then he justified that he had pulled me over because my "eyes were bloodshot and [I] looked dazed and wet." This explanation is of course bogus because how could he notice any of those supposed symptoms when I'm driving late at night? It's dark! Furthermore, I looked "wet"?! That kind of offended me because, firstly, I don't know what that's supposed to imply, and secondly, I was most definitely not wet in any capacity. For once, I didn't spill on myself! I decided to just accept his words rather than arguing, as it looked like I would be able to leave the scene without further trouble, so why start some then?

Oh well - yet another adventure in the life of Kevin. In retrospect, I kind of like the experience, because it was fairly fun to play the officer's games knowing I had the skills to win. I liken it to competing in a second grade spelling bee. It's really not fair for me to be participating in the first place, but if I'm legally obligated, I'm going to proudly spell c-a-t and then hoist the trophy above my head, flaunting my victory until the other kids cry.



Though my job is stressful, I have not turned to drinking to cope like many first year teachers I know. Though I have been known to socially share drinks with my comrades after graduate class, I'm unwilling to even consider drinking after school since I do not want to allow it to become a regular release. (The one notable exception being Margarita Mondays.) That said, it is understandable that I find other ways of venting from time to time - even if by accident.

Recently, the kids wouldn't shut up. I found various ways to tell people to be quiet, but none of them were effective long term. I told one kid to be quiet, and he complied for, oh, thirty seconds. He started in again, and I asked to be quiet again. He said "okay" and then without missing a beat, turned his head and continued his conversation as if I never said anything. "Fuck!" I exclaimed in frustration. It didn't even register with me immediately and about three seconds later when I realized what I'd done, I tried to convince myself that I'd only said it in my head since no one was reacting. Unfortunately, it was merely a delayed reaction, so as I slapped my hand over my mouth, my class burst out in applause, hooting and hollering. "Mr. [Kevin] said 'fuck!'" I could only grimace as the kids took several minutes to settle down. They were so excited to hear it that I might as well have said, "No homework for the rest of the year." The students then started telling me that they were going to "tell." I played the old reverse psychology card and informed them that I wish they would rat me out, and their silly teenage minds buy my sentiment and drop the debacle altogether.

The "fuck" thing haunted me throughout the day. Although there will probably be no lasting consequence from the incident, I can't allow such slips to become habit. The following day, in a different class, I had students whining about the work. When they wouldn't stop, I began to lecture, "Look, you can bitch and moa--" stopping myself after I recognized my latest mistake in two days. Again came the unruliness and threats, so I had to similarly play the reverse psychology card.

Kids talk. I mean, I've always known they talk, in fact, that's the source of most of my cursing in the first place. But apparently, they compare notes. It seemed everyone, even students in my other classes, came to know that I had cursed in consecutive days. It was hot gossip, even. They shared the news with other teachers, too, as I heard the word on my words from them as well.

Often, I forget that I'm such a topic of conversation amongst teenagers. When I was in high school, teachers were frequently discussed as subjects of gossip, almost none of it complimentary, but since I rarely hear about it, I easily forget occurs. It goes to show how little I've come to care about my reputation amongst the kids. I've been told by another teacher who seems to care primarily about whether the kids like him that I "don't need to worry," because I'm well-liked from what he hears, but I couldn't care less. At this point, I'd prefer they'd fear me. At least I wouldn't have to resort to cursing them out. Seriously, fuck those bitches.