the twit


    you gotta move

    more u-haul woes. no more marcie.

    packing up the apartment, moving down to jackson. more adjustment. more new beginnings.


    last words on my somewhat appropriately dubbed "righteous indignation" in the previous post. n.b. i hope i had left clear indications of my awareness of my own poorly aimed frustration: "well, that was a rant (yes, childish at times). no doubt daniel's wheat to chaff ratio is in true form there. i don't even remember what i sat down to write about. i'm just a little pissed off." in any case,

    1. a structure is a structure. a particular manifestation of a structural problem - which, i admit, is helpful to give when reflecting on the mechanics of experience - is only contingently relevant to a given inductive model. however - and this is where i agree the modifier "righteous" has place - an overemphasis or over-importance of the structural can render the inductive to the reductive, and then to the romantic. this, of course, is where the critical voice becomes the ranting one - when it spins so far away from its object (concerned, indeed, with the momentum of its own subject) that it eclipses its own purpose. so, when making a statement about patterns of structural weakness, it is paramount - if for no other reason than to avoid cheap irony - that one does not let the subject swallow the object.

    2. perhaps - in mind mind - more importantly, when one is barred from gathering information about a situation, he or she is left with so little of a particular manifestion that no consistent conclusions can be made but the reductive. rather than scolding those attempting merely to assess a system that is held from them upon questionable gounds of cultural autonomy, experience, etc., perhaps it's more important here to acknowledge a higher level structural issue, which reinforces a strong subject/object barrier within a system - lending the other to unmendable non-agency, and holding a loophole of "you don't know x" justification for the subject. within this case, the ownership of truth is so strong that an "other" trying to gain access to knowledge - perhaps without any motive but to be able to orient themselves within a system - is suppressed on grounds of definitional ignorance. so, mere attempts to know are percieved as attempts to change - to redefine the object on the axis of truth accessibility, and inquiries about a system are seen as threats to that system. the problem is, an object - even within the definitional truth access of the system - is both expected to respect/understand/concede with the system, but barred from most avenues - besides directed assimilation - that would allow them to do so - and especially barred from those structures utilized by an enforcement of agency.

    for those who could care less about my inability to escape referential mode, an example or two:

    - when a teacher corps member asks a delta administrator about sexual education in mississippi, and the motivations for the particular policy described, he or she is given a non-answer that both indirectly describes the structure - e.g. comments on day care systems, cultural views about both children out of wedlock and the particular legitimate desires of children to have babies, indirect ways in which sex education can be worked into a cirruculum - and hesistant comments about abstinence (i call these indirect, because they fail to address any criterion of policy or non-policy) - and assumes that in asking the question, the given member was (a) opposed to whatever system was in place, and (b) intent on "fixing," or "changing" the system (re: "you can't go change the world"). these assumptions - done on part of the cultural self in response to the cultural other - shift away from discourse (which may have at its end a mutual understanding of cultural attitude and autonomy) and into conflict, wherein one supposedly autonomous culture is struggling with another, and one or the other will eventually "win." true, in the above example, i've failed to mention that the delta administrator may have a fundametally different - and possibly consistent - definition of sexual education, but any substantive momentum towards this awareness is bypassed by the cockfight that ensues.

    - another example, a teacher corps member asks (n.b. not necessarily accuses or implies) a delta administrator about the motivations behind a de facto racially segregated school system - black public and white private - in the delta, and a similar run of non-answers is given (economic determinants, cultural patterns, similar qualities of education). again, i call these non-answers because they are systemically disjoint, and end at the moot comment of "it's too complicated to understand" or "this is just the way it is." however, it's still interesting that all the white kids in a community attend a private school with high rate of college admission - and that, completely in tune with the fact that the ability to purchase college correlates somewhat with the acceptance of one's offspring into college, there is a much, much lower rate of college admission in public schools (clearly, college attendence does not correlate one-to-one with opportunity manifestation or the fulfillment of personal agency, but it's a good indicator) - which of course may feed into the low income, and low degree status of parents who are sending their children to public school (perhaps, to respond to the economics perspective, at times because they can't afford private schools that don't have need-blind admissions), and the students with higher degree status have higher incomes, and send their own children to the appropriate educational venue, and rinse, repeat. this, of course, is all fine and well, unless there are students in these public schools who either want to attend higher education institutions, or parents who want them to do so, and they are effectively prohibited from doing so because things are just they way they are. (p.s. this, of course, is a model - and risks over-reduction. however, when looking at the historical trajectory of the delta, i feel it's not a altogether suprising pattern description. of course, i'm continually barred from learning any substantive information about the situation from those who act it out, and so must continually grope at fog and gesture, and otherness.)

    clearly this is complicated, clearly this is hard to develop a clear model for. however, to fail to think critically on any terms about a situation like this is pretty much to respond to patterns of potential (perhaps probable) injustice with policies of indifference. this is all fine and well, unless - of course - one holds a dual position that education has something to do with developing autonomy within communties, with providing opportunities for children regardless of racial, cultural, or economic background, etc. i find it hard to believe that these two policies can be held in the same breath, and i find it pretty much impotent to be reponded to with the mystical non-issue of paradox, or scoldings about my righteous indignation.

    perhaps i'm indignant not because i want to change things, but because i'd like to know what's going on - and that these two are considered one and the same.

    3. a fundemental irony: the teacher performative is the fundamental space for the distribution of the myth of "reaching for the stars," or "you can do anything if you put your mind to it," or "be the change you want to see in the world," etc. however, when preparing to perform in the role of the teacher, one is constantly told that he or she "cannot change the world," or - in so many words - should limit himself or herself to the short-term goals of the classroom, which - of course - includes encouraging children to aim high.


    is what it is.

    we keep pouring it in to the processor. today: panel on the william winter institute for racial reconciliation, and panel of delta students (incl. a white kid who went to academy).

    it's beginning to wash over; it's beginning to become a litany of malfunction, a big knot of disservice. we're running our mouths; we're learning the same song over and over again, and we're being constantly reminded that it's not ours - and that we should never forget that it is so.

    this ownership complex is intense. the self/other dialogue is nearly unbearable - like the heat, and the kudzu: the myth of something being present enough to be unbearable, but not so much to warrent any real, substantive notice of. if you notice it - if you really notice it; if it bothers you - then you're not from around here. and you don't want to be not from around here. that's part of the song. for, who could tame the heat and the kudzu? and who's so bad off without taming them? we certainly aren't. but if you are, then you surely are a "you." certainly, once you understand that the heat and the kudzu are just how it is - once you realize that it's in your best interest to stop noticing them, because you wouln't be able to do anything about it anyway - then you'll be just fine.

    so, if you have problems, just wait a while. you're not from around here. these things are just how it is, and they're not so unbearable anyhow. maybe they'd cause a stir where you come from, but we're sure that you're pretty comfortable with some things that would cause a stir to us. you wouldn't want to be causing any trouble by trying to fix things that people don't mind having anyway. when the sun's hot - turn on the air. when the kudzu's tangling up a tree - clear it up a bit. then, once you get settled into how we live around these parts, come talk to me about your problems.


    certainly, this is a complex case. certainly, i'm a bit reductive in the above paragraphs, but it's damn hard to say anything of substance after having to keep changing from reference point to reference point, running up against a steady stream of already worn-out phrases like "catch 22" and "paradox," paying lip service after lip service, shown more dead ends and shrugged shoulders than productive momentum, and being essentially halted on any grounds of addressing a pretty dismal situation because it's more important that we don't offend anyone because we don't understand the playing field because it's not ours. this is the classic sidestep of "you don't know me," and "this is none of your business" - and, honestly, i'm hardly convinced that there's some personal/ideosyncratic reference point that would allow for me to substantively change my mind within a consistent framework, and i'm less certain about some substantive statement that can be made about where your business ends and mine begins. this is not to say that i devalue empathy - rather, that i don't confuse situational richness for systematic agency. neither am i implying that i don't change my mind, or that i'm unwilling to. i'm a skeptic, for god's sake; i, in all truth, prefer to not make up my mind, and am wary of those that do.


    [edited for anonymity's sake, 8-5-05. apologies, grandpa. DMWM]

    christmas day brunch at my grandpa's house, 2002 or thereabouts. i'm sitting next to my uncle, talking - as we always do - about the goings on at the manco duct tape company (via the german company that bought manco a couple years ago. sidenote: as manco is a supplier of walmart, it's set up shop wherever in arkansas the walmart hq is. so, my uncle lives somewhere in arkansas, within commuter distance of walmart hq). as we chew the cud - once again - about how brilliant sam walton's inventory database system is, somehow the conversation turns to education. now, i went to parochial grade school and a jesuit high school, and my siblings are in the process of doing the same, as are my uncle's children. however, it was beginning to occur to me at the time that there was something inherently unequal in the way that public schools in cleveland - especially in the city proper, but also in the suburbs - seemed to be of poor quality, while private schools seemed to be doing just fine. not only this, but that adults - my uncle included - were resisting tax increases to fund schools, and would often complain - as my uncle was doing on this occasion - about the fact that he has to but some other person's kid through school, while at the same time send his own to get a good education on top of that. blah blah blah. well, i found this to be a bit fustrating, and as we argued about whether it's the government's responsibility to provide services to its citizens, we shifted into a discourse on race - wherein my uncle went off on how he's worked with black people, and they're just lazy, and they don't want to be educated, and they just want handouts, and you know the routine. so i don't like this either, and after we've spent quite some time wrestling about, he tells me something along the lines of: "when i was your age, and in college, i had all these liberal ideas, too. everyone's liberal in college. it's easy to be so. but, when you get older, and you see things for yourself, you'll have different ideas about all this."

    this - of course - is the sidestep of age, and experience. it feeds directly into "you don't know me," and "this is none of your business," and i have perhaps the lowest opinion of its validity. i made it through college with all my goddamn liberal ideas, and i don't think they're going to go much of anywhere. and i hope to god that age - the heat of the sun and the kudzu - doesn't house train me into any of these grand old shoulder shrugs, or even the - more abominable - deep rooted desire to perpetuate my comfort, even at the expense of glaring structural wrongs.


    well, that was a rant (yes, childish at times). no doubt daniel's wheat to chaff ratio is in true form there. i don't even remember what i sat down to write about. i'm just a little pissed off. i feel like - again - people are trying to clip the old wings, or tell me how it really is, or how it's really going to be. and the irony is that it's the other side of the same damn coin. it never really is anything. everyone's saying wait, wait, wait. and you get used to it, so when other people start showing up you start telling them to wait, wait, wait, and we're all sitting around baking in the god damn sun and being closed in by this wierd ass vine, and all we can think about is how sweet tea sure is good, and how we'd never imagined that gas stations would be such prominent food vendors, and every once in a while someone drops a "catch 22," and we all nod and mmhmmm and we just wait, wait, wait till the savior comes.


    1 comments, please: required mcpost epilogue (the 2nd taped lesson)

    the hellishness of the last post (to be found underneath this one, as blogs spit in reverse chronological order) is nearly over. tomorrow i give my 9th lesson - a discussion of exponential notation, complete with hastily-formed group game.

    some time back (last tuesday?) i gave a lesson for mrs. (ms?) cornelius (sp? yep, i'm pretty useless), and it was taped. as with my previous taped lesson - the majority slice of an afterthought of afterthoughts in the wild world of graduate school credit hours - i am required to reflect on it. as i have no recollection of what it was i tought, and little recollection of watching the tape - i'll manage my notes as best i can.

    (before i dribble off, in other news: my mom visited this weekend, i got quite argumentative at a town hall meeting for the teacher corp reunion, i have a new car, i'm less familiar with driving stick than i thought, our cat likes plastic bags.)

    taped lesson - disintigrating loops.

    it's true. i pace. and walk around. it doesn't seem too distracting, however; just, random.

    i've yet to grow out of the pacing thing. a recent comment sheet likened me to "a tiger." chew on that.

    "you're thinking... thinking is good."

    as i've been more comfortable in front of my classroom, i've been more comfortable setting up the laughable moment. last month, joel commented - and with reason - that i had been employing a sarcastic vein of humor that may have been confusing the students, who weren't aware of the joke's aim or foundation. so, it seems like i put the clown nose in my pocket for a couple weeks. it's been coming out as of late, and it's a nice release to laugh with people.

    [i] teach linguistically, spatially, and dramatically. i explain and re-explain

    i've often felt like i was literally pulling dialogue out of students; that is, pulling them towards cognitive social interaction, to save myself from the tautology of monologue. there really is a dramatic layer of this in my teaching. energy is meant to extend out, and pull in, and swirl around. keep people talking. keep people on the same page. keep people figuring things out for themselves/with each other. if there's one blatantly curricular-educational thing i've figured out this summer: i teach through induction.

    i definitely need to learn how to write on the board and look on the class

    this - like driving your new manual transmission used honda civic - comes with practice. also, i bought transparencies at wal-mart today. i talk to the board too much.

    "ask...pause" utilized

    again - the colloquium of it all (robbie, i'm searching for some appropriate greek term... symposium?). creating the empty space which i will not fill - a social tension eased by the resultant inertia shift of the students.

    personal anecdotes on thms, defs, formulas - relevant

    i've crafted their note-taking and binder space after methods of learning math i know work for me (god knows if it'll work for anyone else). the messy thinkspace of notes is kept seperate from the clean distilliation of those basic things that are iterated and reiterated through the year. i studied for tests in college by copying all the definitions, theorems, and formulas from my notes (townsend's image of emerson running magnets over his papers, pulling the needed filaments for the needed essay), and studying them as they were. my students will have the benefit of that separation orgainized for them.

    "you want me to keep it on the board? would it be easier for you?" this classroom is designed by all.

    this is in reference to the part of my board labeled "definitions, theorems, and formulas," where the day's terms are defined, and the terms of recent days are listed, for constant reference. a student recommended that i leave the space's title for convenience sake. it is a space owened by all, and aimed at the economic/collaborative/game theory cognitive development of all.

    inverting student jokes into correct answers

    people like to throw curveballs. i like to catch them empty-palmed, and curve them back. often times, a person's attempt at counter-example is nothing more than a rather brilliant example. re: setting a=b, and figuring out why. re: there are many ways of writing zero.


    liner notes from the smallest violen in the world's recording of "lesson plan blues"

    from an e-mail to prof. barry o'connell:

    we're two days and an eternity into our hell week of lesson critiques. we plan and teach a lesson every day for 8 days, and teach two lessons on one of those days. we're being observed and commented on by a group of hand-picked veteran teachers. by its nature, the process is grueling - but seems to be approximating school year routines (or at least school year stress levels) fairly well. also, the teachers who are observing us are giving excellent feedback. unfortunately, some of my colleagues are a little too used to grade inflation, and seem resistant to the fact that we're recieving the occasional - and mostly justified - C (and lower). i'm operating under the impression that i'm a functional teacher, but in no way harbor the notion that i'm consistently proficient in all the instruction areas i need to cover. furthermore, while i lean towards the romance of the "natural teacher," it's increasingly clear that there is a fair amount of substance within the curricular education training approach. that being said, it's nice to be taken to task in those pockets of instruction left uncovered by my youthful charm. at times, however, there seems to be an inconsistency in both the structure of our training last month as it relates to our assessment this week, as well as the strictness and interpretive flexibility of our observers as they grade us with the given rubric. yet, this itself is a teachable episode - the communication flaws of administration, the philisophical discrepancies of a faculty, and the manifold tug-of-war between relevance, application, communication, production, and consumption. problems and meta-problems in the desk and at the chalkboard (or, more appropriately and less poetically, the dry-erase board).


    so that's that. a system of not wholly unjustified frustration in most/all cases. there's plenty that could have been done last month to prevent what seems to be a huge case of people not being on the same page, and people feeling like they've been instructed contrary things, or being held responsible for things they were un- or underprepared for. this high-pressure assessment environment should have been more present during the summer school session - where many teacher corps members were given carte blance in their classrooms, and few if any of us recieved even the least sort of active instruction/real assessment on anything beyond classroom management (which is, agreeably, something we all need to learn). the irony of this last point is that many of us have no performed comfortability with the concept of assessing our students during lesson plans (i, most certainly, am in this set of people); we were modeled a situation of little/no accountability, and most of us developed a teaching routine in a sink-or-swim environment of little beyond peer support. this, again, is a strangely ironic and mete-pedagogical problem - perhaps structurally similar to those failures in the public schools system that we are trying to address. to take this a bit further - classroom management is more than just the ability to manage/manipulate students as socio-behavioral individuals, it is also to manage/manipulate them as thinking individuals.

    unfortunately, i feel like i'm at quite a loss of structured preparation to deal with this latter element of classroom management - and i'm being called to task on it in a way that is rather unexpected. nevertheless, this is worthwhile. though my "grade" suffered today (and i'm at no end of intolerance with people whose frustrations are scoped mainly within their concerns about their graduate school gpa, or their feeling that the basic case of either being in a graduate program or being in a public university in the south implies generous grade inflation in favor of their previous insitution; to this latter set of conditions, i'd like to offer a reminder that the teacher corps is a graduate program in name only, and that its an alternate route teaching program - by definition we've never had substantial curricular exposure to teaching, or teaching instruction), i have tangible, understandable holes in my instructional strategies, and i intend to fix them. contrary to the response that 2+ hours of lesson planning were all for naught, and that i'd have no idea what i'd have to do if that weren't enough - i think the eventual response to my shortcomings will be a realization that i'm doing too much work in the wrong areas of planning. i'm going to have to plan a steady stream of 50 minute lessons every week for at least two years - i'd venture a guess that the response to most of mine and my colleagues needs is one of focus and economy. however, i do believe that perhaps we were never given any real instruction on how this economy might be developed, that our time in the month of july was not managed properly/efficiently (indeed, perhaps in ways similar to how my lesson was not managed well today), that this high-pressure environment may be creating plenty of avoidable stress, but - at the end of the day - i'll hit august with at least some of the screws tightened. at the very least, i'll have been given an opportunity to work with peers and veterans to decide on which screws are loose, or at least be reminded of them.


    the students will (TSW) label all radians and coordinate points on the unit circle

    the title is a transcription of one of the listed objectives for my model lesson today; and it is, when interpreted at face value, a drastically impossible/impractical objective. clearly, the intent is to label all "common" and/or "important" and/or "special" radians and coordiantes on the unit circle (this is where i wish that i had enough rudimentary HTML knowledge to post a graph), e.g. 0, 30, 45, 60, and 90 degrees in the 1st quadrant (again, more advanced computer competence would allow me to actually present these in radians, as well as give their coordinates) . however, when i raised a question regarding both the validity of the objective as it was stated as well as the acceptability of such a presented goal, our veteran teacher responded - in effect - by stating that (a) i was able to understand what it meant, and (b) you don't want to overcomplecate your written goals.

    my problems with this -

    (a) i was only able to understand what this meant via focused intuition, and only this after doing a double-take when actually reading the objective. this, in my mind, is a situation wholly insufficient for maintaining the academic integrity of a classroom; a student - or any person in the classroom - should not be left to fend for themselves - especially on intuitive grounds - in order to understand with confidence the very premise of the day's lesson. this is a particuarly difficult situation when you're dealing with a population for which this material is new, and who may not even notice the logical snag in such a written objective as the one give above - which can only lead to some reducto ad absurdum in their mathematical worldview somewhere down the line, and thus rather uncecessary confusion. if objectives are not internally consisent, then they have no place as focal points of discourse.

    (b) the words "common," "special," and "important" are not overly complex terms. rather, they are in the exact set of words that serve to demystify the situation. furthermore, these radians are actually useful within our setting, due to their functional smoothness with those properties of math we usually deem worthwhile. so, i can't see how any emphasis on the powerful substructure of these objects - which resurfaces again and again in various mathematical fields - can serve to overcomplicate, rather than merely provide both logical consistency and further narrative boost to the character of these coordinates.

    so this was today. yesterday, during another model lesson, our veteran teacher was questioned about the role of austria in the marshall plan - an inquiry sparked by the teacher's drawing of the "iron curtain" across post-war europe, signifying those countries east of the line as soviet satellites, and those left of the line as recipients of marshall plan funds. austria was on the western side of the line, and - whether it belonged there or not, i do not know - a student wanted to check that this was the case. the teacher responded - in effect - that we would talk about austria later, when the cold war intensifies and austria joins the ottoman empire.

    clearly, both this and the "all radians and coordinates" case were most likely simple mistakes. however, in both cases, surprising difficulty arose in attempts to discuss what seemed to be factual missteps on the part of the teacher. perhaps this is due to a degree of defensiveness on tha part of the person questioned, but it seems that these sorts of inquiries are not inappropriate in a teacher-training scenario. in the austrian case, the veteran teacher responded to my inquiry that talk of austria and the ottoman empire would be covered in a later lecture. when i persisted in wondering what post-wwII austria had to do with the ottoman empire (which i primarily associate with turkey and wwI), she continued to stress the fact that these connections would be covered in a later lecture, when the class would go over "new maps" vs. "old maps." though still unable to see how this validated what seemed to be either an untruth or a huge analytical stetch, i did not push the issue further.

    i don't know what to make of all this - i witness similar factual messiness on part of some teacher corps colleagues (and they very well may have anecdotal evidence of my own inconsistencies in this field) during the summer school placement last month. as i find the mere dissemination of untruth (regardless of any relation to intent) something of a cardinal sin (excuse my popery) in the ritual of the pedagogical performative, i haven't taken these instances lightly. on the other hand, as any sort of dialogue about these observations carries a high risk of offense on the part of those observed, i haven't known how to procede. regardless, due to the high instance of these sort of jarring events, i'm worried that there is some sort of structural weakness in the very theories of teaching that i'm coming into contact with, at least as i parse them with my staunch opposition to the dissemination of untruth.

    a last anecdote: during a different lecture/discussion that i encountered yesterday, the dialogue shifted from the role of mississippi oil & gas companies in state efforts to fund education reforms to a broader discussion on the global oil economy of the 70s and 80s. as a start, the teacher mentioned the drastic drop in oil prices during the 80s - this happening after the confrontation with the state government over educational funding (the governor at the time wanted to raise the severance tax on oil to fund public schools - specifically kindergarten programs. the oil & gas companies wanted nothing to do with it). then, a student asked about the gas shortage in the 70s, and whether this had anything to do with the companies's opposition to the tax raise. the teacher said that while the gas shortage played a major role in the exploration for oil in mississippi, he had no idea how this may have related with the industry's response to the severance tax. what is more, this person worked on the governor's staff during this very period. in contrast to the jarring equivocation earlier that day, this person's very honest admittance of limitation seemed particularly impressive.


    in other news: i bought ten ties today at a thrift store.


    the last required; #4, my summer at summer school.

    (pre-blog shout-outs: (1) the illustrious, oft-essential laurel a. kilgour, for showing up, (2) a small enclave/conclave in amherst: if you haven't picked up on it yet, i never really get to any point, or - alternately - i never really betray the non-space of the point itself (points, if you remember, are zero-dimensional mathematical objects; perfectly fit by a rumination of coordinates; there is nothing linear nor volumnious (a word?) nor temporal about them), (3) sarah, of jake and/or sarah, who pointed out an error in my disney reference.)

    as i'm tapping away at the free internet pod at san fransisco bread co. on jackson ave., and since i have 13 min before i go to lunch w/ my roommates, this summer reflection blog will most likely fail to get outside its own meta-blog costume, much to the dismay of nearly everyone involved (re: a discussion w/ robbie, where i admitted that my response to the near-necessary self-loathing that results from the production of blog-text is a constant parenthetical chain of a sort of textual self-awareness of my own poor wheat v. chaff ratio [re: a daniel hall e-mail]).

    so, my summer school teaching experience - itself so varied in scenario, and so obviously divorced from a more-or-less normative classroom environment/culture. nevertheless, a happily controlled, non-confrontational lab space for the application of educational strategy; a well-padded playground for getting my feet wet. all this layered with a short list of desires, cravings (1) my own classroom, (2) a mathematics course, (3) curricular direction. perhaps, then, my appetite is whetted.

    things that are more interesting:

    (1) i almost failed a child. scenario: a large book report project, involving paragraphy on setting, characters, a plot summery, and a critical review. event: octavius, one of the ms. savage-dubbed "molina's mafia," turned in a branstorming packet in what was clearly not his handwriting. later, turned in a typed rough draft (in this - sentences obviously not his). upon confrontation/conversation, the argument that his cousin had helped his with - among other things - his grammer - crumbled easily after being loosely quizzed on the content presented in the book report. arguments that i thought his family was stupid, or that i was out to get him - similarly short-lived. aftermath: failed all sections represented in rough draft, though able to accrue points in those absent (to his credit, he had been working hard on his critical review in class, and had made much progress therein). poss points: 60. extra credit opportunities (offered to the whole class a day or two before) stressed in his case: involved various exercises on poems from norton anthology, outlaw bible of american poetry. result: 40 points accumulated via book report. some reluctance to poetry extra-credit; began by paraphrasis wc williams, slugging through langston hughes. octavius saved his ass on the penultimate day, via a long conversation about some poems he had rushed through (dickenson - "a fly buzzzed," hughes - "the negro speaks of rivers," "harlem (2)," wc williams - [something about old age]). sidenote: qualin, another mafia staple - and a scarface fan- spent a long time one morning shuffling through the outlaw bible, his interest sparked by d.a. levy, and a poem with the word "mcdonald's" in the title.

    [note: it is now 1:07 pm - long after the estimated departure time for lunch. i fear i will soon be taken away from this computer. further elements will be quite abbreviated.]

    (2) the last day of summer school was bizarre: brief, cumulative vocab test; first half of morning spent doing nothing while children rehearsed their "plays"; second half of morning spent watching aformentioned plays - all loosely based on the "pilgrims coming to america," all loosely put in modern context (highlights: (i) quote, "where can i find this chief trees," (ii) an america's most wanted spoof - "the new world's most wanted"), all involving some sort of poster or diaramma (sp?); last moments of morning spent by being awarded various randomly assigned titles and pins (mine was service-based), and feasting on subway sandwiches, hot wings, donuts, and cupcakes.

    (3) i babysat ari's hog this weekend. highlight: visit to lake patsy, where (a) the hog followed me around quite intently/contently(?), (b) we made a small patch of mud for the hog, in which he rolled around, (c) the hog chased me as i ran around [this event caught on video], (d) the hog ate a burnt worm.

    (4) i saw dave chappelle twice. read robbie's blog (robert pollack, "celebrity sighting," and "chapelle, continued" - also, robbie's a hell of a writer) for the story.

    (5) margaret visited. powerfully.