(Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Seth I. Rich's LiveJournal.)
The school year is ending, and I've been feeling a bit reflective. It's been an exhausting, challenging year, as they all seem to be, and heading into the summer leaves me thinking a bit.
This year's students have been troublesome. I've had a few 10th and 11th graders who were absolutely determined not to do any work (but who are, now, sad that there are only two instructional weeks left and they've got no chance of passing). I had one 12th grader who actually scared the crap out of me, but I fear if I vent about him I'll end up regretting it.
I'm still active in the teacher's union because I'm concerned about the politics of public education, the privatization movement and the way they rig teacher evaluations to make the schools appear to be failing. (Meanwhile, it's an unrealistic expectation that kids will come to school prepared even with so much as a pencil, and they look at you like you're crazy when you ask whether they studied at all for exams.)
I don't have a lot of confidence that this will end well. The privateers have so much money, and they've bought so many politicians, and they control so much media that people believe what they say. And I'm tired, so I'm starting a doctoral program in the fall which should open some other doors if public education gets unacceptable to me.
My summer gig is teaching at ITT Technical Institute. I haven't taught there for months, but when I went by the other day I found three thank-you notes from past students. In the middle of what's certain to be a sad and disappointing final exam season, it was nice to be reminded that I do have some good results.
Marriage suits me, I think. Melinda is a wonderful woman who has not yet stabbed me or left me, and ordinarily this would have ended by now. I'm hoping we can move to Maryland, buy a house, and adopt a kid; I'm working on this slowly.
... And how's by you?
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Maurice Sendak died. He was a wonderful author, but more importantly he gave me Moishe.
Years ago, when the universe picked me up by the shirtcollar and shook me loose of my past, Z came into my life. The first story I read him was Where The Wild Things Are. I roared my terrible roars and gnashed my terrible teeth and rolled my terrible eyes and showed my terrible claws until Z tamed me. And he started the wild rumpus which lasted for years, until I left.
Now Z's gone, and that's left a hole I've not yet been able to fill. I rumpus with my dog, but that's also not the same. When I go to the store and see Moishe, I yearn to take him home. (I did take home two packages of Moishe post-it notes from a dollar bin, but haven't yet had occasion to use them.) I'm very, very happy with what my life's become, but sometimes I regret mistakes I made in my past, and Sendak's death threw me back into that place.
No, I don't mean that J and I would have ended up a good couple. I think I'm too childish for her, setting aside all the other myriad issues we had. But I miss what Z and I used to have.
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Two weeks ago, I was elected to a one-year term on the Board of Directors for TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, our union (within the NEA).
I was driven to run because I'm incredibly concerned with the right-wing attacks on the public schools; I do not believe we can improve the situation by replacing public schools with charters who pick-and-choose their students, nor would it be an improvement to shovel students into for-profit corporate edutainment machines.
I'm disgusted by the attacks on public employees. Teachers work a lot and get paid not so much, considering that we have to work so many of our own hours and buy so much of our supplies. We pay into the systems the way we agreed to, and it shouldn't be our fault that the legislatures didn't pay in the way they were supposed to. We're not parasites. We're honorable people doing a thankless job.
I'm disturbed by the attacks on the union movement in general. Slave labor still exists in this country. (Did you know that the recently-unveiled MLK memorial was built using unpaid Chinese workers?) Corporations like Walmart take out life-insurance policies on their own employees (an idea Rick Perry also promoted), then work them to (uninsured) death for profit. If you think corporations are to be trusted more than your own elected government, I've got some tainted milk to sell you.
I post this to ask: If you see anything in your travels around the Internet which feels like I should read it, please feel free to send it to me. Please don't send it to my school email (which can't be used for political purposes), but feel free to forward it here or at home.
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|Big news in Washington. They want to force everyone|
|who doesn't already have health insurance||who is old and hasn't died yet|
|to buy private health insurance. That's right, the politicians want to force you to give your money to|
|health insurance companies in a regulated market||health insurance companies in an unregulated market|
|an unconstitutional, impeachable sin.||a bold, daring, adult move.|
|Who could argue with that? It's obvious!|
|(oh, and he's black)|
I've been watching Egypt with some fascination and I feel the need to make some comparisons to America.
We've spent two years now hearing that our government is leading us to tyranny. Our President cuts taxes and it's a tyrannical theft. He increases gun rights and it's an imposition on one's second amendment rights. He makes health care less expensive, an in so doing reduces the deficit, and it's a power grab which bloats debt.
It's all backwards-ville. But it's what we're told. And lots of teabagger idiots believe it.
So the teabaggers get together to protest. They roll around in their carts with their illiterate signs and nobody shoots at them. Molotov cocktails are not thrown at them. They're bravely spouting their misconceptions despite the vast/absent armies of nobody trying to silence them.
Seeing Egypt should shame them. It won't, but it should. Real tyranny has people jailed for years for nothing, under a decades-long "emergency" which has no end. Real tyranny has the police driving in carloads of explosives to throw at protesters. Real tyranny involves real events which really happen, not imaginary backwards-ville nothings which didn't happen.
Teabagger idiots want to (and occasionally do) shoot people for their own misconceptions of politics. Not for things they did, but for things they've chosen to believe they did, even if it's wholly fictitious.
So do tyrants.
The protesters chose not to be violent, even when attacked.
The analogies to American politics are stark and unpleasant.
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Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soy Bean Paste Stew)
This is a spicy soup. Very spicy. But delicious. The recipe below is taken from the "eating and living" blog, with my comments added.
Cut the tofu and zucchini into about 1-inch cubes. Thinly slice the onion. Slice the meat into thin strips.
Preheat a lightly oiled small pot. Sauté the meat, soy bean paste, chili pepper flakes, and garlic over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the water (or anchovy broth) and stir well to dissolve the soy bean paste. Cover and boil over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion, tofu, zucchini, and chili pepper. Boil for an additional 10 minutes. Throw in the scallion with 2 minutes remaining.
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Current Mood: tired
Please excuse me if for a moment this is a self-pity party, but I am tired and just want to vent.
I'm tired. I'm working too hard, and I'm doing everything poorly. I agreed to a class swap at my night job which has me teaching consecutive nights, and so I'm teaching day-night-day-night-day and I'm a walking zombie by the end of that process. I don't have the energy to grade or plan effectively, and all I do when I get home is sleep. I'm so far behind I can't imagine catching up. (And I go days on end without seeing Melinda awake.)
I'm exhausted all the time, I still can't hear, and it's hard for me to wait for the end of November when I can try never to make this scheduling mistake again. I need to juggle stuff for another month, and I'm barely managing it now.
Life is good. Seriously. I'm happy. Just exhausted, and I'm not sure about slogging through another month.
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Somen Noodles with Shrimp
[Asian: The Essential Recipe Collection, p. 488]