Wednesday, October 30, 2002

"Hey, was that our fan?"

I found out today that my readership has grown. Welcome, Manders, to the "Anything..." family of readers!

I guess that means I have to watch what I say in this blog now. Keep it PG. After all, I am an authority figure.

Aw, who am I kidding?

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

"When I get you alone, when I get you alone..."

Okay, ranting over, back to the story.

So I went to the Hideous Corporate Bookstore, with my birthday gift cards in hand. I purchased two books and a magazine. They are:

-- A Year at the Movies , by Kevin Murphy (of MST3K fame)--The writer/producer/voice actor of the blessed and wonderful series spent every day of the year 2001 in the movie theater. Travelled around the world to various kinds of theaters, lived on theater food for a week, spent a week on the front row. The book is a tribute to the "movie-going experience." Plus, it's so funny. I'm on the first chapter, and I'm laughing out loud.

-- The Immortal Class , by Travis Hugh Culley--The diary/journal of a Chicago bicycle-messenger and aspiring actor. This book opens up a window to an under-appreciated and oft-maligned sect of American urban society. Plus, bicycle messengers are cool. At least I think so.

(This might be due to the music video by my new curiosity, Robin Thicke, son of Mr. Growing Pains, Alan Thicke, founder of "Jesus-palooza". The video has Thicke bicycle-messengering through a bustling city, while all the time keeping the beat to a remix of the seventies' hit "A Fifth of Beethoven". Fun.)

On a related note, my beloved bought me a new bag for school. It's what could be called a messenger bag, with the single strap and the flap with the buckle. Fun times.

Oh, right, third item bought:
--The latest edition of Book Magazine. I have enjoyed getting to read it lately. Good stuff. I like writer's magazines, they're so helpful. Okay, somewhat helpful. But inspiring nevertheless.

So there you go. My shopping excursion. It's like you were right there with me, isn't it? Okay, maybe not.
Forgive me, Nietzsche, for I have shopped retail...

Went to Barnes and Noble. It seems like a sinful confession, because BN is the big-name retail book chain. Movies like You've Got Mail and High Fidelity that demonize the Big Chain Superstore only fuel this subterrainian shame culture. Yes, boys and girls, sometimes you have to go to the "sellout" store. Deal with it. Too many people spend all their time being high-minded, bashing the corporate machine. Too many intellectuals, sipping their (Starbucks?) coffee, smoking their (Camel?) cigarettes and complaining how the Machine has made their lives miserable. Then they go to work at the mall.

I understand some things. Even if I could, I wouldn't shop at Abercrombie or Gap or American Eagle. I wouldn't wear Tommy or Ralph or anything like that. I don't drive a sportscar or foreign import. I don't listen to pop music. (American pop music, anyway...) I try to avoid the stigma of popular culture and all its "mindless drones". I've felt this way all through high school and college. I was working my weary way into the intellectual set, and being embraced by the underappreciated intelligencia requires a renunciation of mass-market consumer culture. God, they didn't even like buying new clothes. It was a full-scale rejection of the "Me" 80's. Material possessions, BAD. Starving, tattered, stubble-faced artist-philosophers, GOOD.

It's so ridiculous. Because we live in the world. You have to interact with the rest of humanity, however distasteful it may seem. And sometimes you can't find the book you need at the "acceptable" used bookstores. So you suck it up, and stroll into BN. Grow up, kids, you are not above the world. The allegedly "enlightened" should let their so-called light shine. Otherwise, you are no better than the rest.

What was I talking about? I don't know, I'm too pissed off. Nevermind.
"How about you take that amazing real estate offer and..."

Via Blather and Dave does the Blog (no relation), we present the consumer's weapon of choice to fight back against those insipid disrupters of family meals, the telemarketers.

Ladies and gentlemen, Anything... is proud to present "The Anti-Pitch" .

If you are a telemarketer and have just been offended, screw you pal.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Amazing what you'll find in the bargain bin...

I began a book yesterday that I bought for a dollar from Halfprice Books. Discount--woohoo!

The book is An Underachiever's Diary by Benjamin Anastas. I had never heard of it before, but the minimalist cover intrigued me. So did its title, which resonated with me for some odd reason.

The book itself is very interesting. Witty, ironic, self-mocking. Made me laugh out loud several times in the first twenty pages or so I've read.

Want more info? Let's hear what the fine folks at Barnes and Noble had to say.
Nine days a week...
Okay, so it's been nine days since i've posted. But i've got a good story... the story of a girl, who cried a river and drowned the whole world--no, wait nevermind...

Okay, so it was a bad joke.

Yes, it's been tough the last week and a half. The end of the term. The kids love it. Those of us who have to grade all their darling little essays do not.

I'll be more diligent in posting, I promise. Don't want to disappoint all two members of my audience.

Monday, October 07, 2002

"Days go by so easily that sometimes we forget..."

The reference is "Things I Prayed for" by Eli, by the way.

This is the Monday of the Ninth week of my teaching career. Nine weeks. What have I learned from all this? Well, here's some of it:
--You can spend hours and hours making lesson plans, just to have the principal call an assembly during your test time.
--You can't get upset when you don't make as much progress as you intended to.
--A moment's outburst can come back to haunt you again and again.
--Like it or not, you have superiors, whose word is law, usually.
--More than likely, you won't like their personality, or they won't like yours, or both.
--Whether you like your boss or not is irrelevant, and does not affect your required job performance.
--Putting things off won't make them go away.
--Neither will complaining about them.
--Neither will posting about them.
--You have responsibilities to people, and when you don't fulfill them, YOU are the problem.
--A contract is a contract. It's your word and your bond. End of story.
--Letting things pile up makes life harder, not easier.
--Eventually, all those piled up things have to be taken care of. And usually, that's the time when you get sick.
--If you don't give yourself some downtime, you become neurotic and insecure.
--If you give yourself too much downtime, you become stressed and behind in your work.
--Give yourself a goal to work toward, and a reward to await you on the other side of your mountain.
--If possible, make the reward a weekend visit from your amazing pseudo-fiancee.
--Carry on, endure all hardship with patience, because you must.
--You are never alone. Even when you're alone.

This is the short list. It's been in many ways the toughest nine weeks of my late-adolescent/early-adult life. But I have gotten through, thanks to God and family and my beloved one. One term down, three to go. Even so, come sweet summer...

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Oversized claws=faster crawling speed?

Fans of crustacean competition might enjoy this page, the product of one of my student's bored days. My hint to you: always bet on blue.

It won't make you win every time, though. I just like blue.