Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cars Suck

Cars suck. They're simply planned obsolescence engineered to become so much a part of our lives that we have to do everything in our power to appease them. My car needs repairs to the tune of 2 grand. And that's if I don't get everything done, which I won't cause I don't have 3 grand. Yikes. I feel like I'm working to pay off the debt incurred to keep my car on the road to get to work. I'm really hoping that when I retire we can actually move to Bloomington, IN and live in town so I won't need to drive anywhere for my daily needs. Granted, I'd still want a car but it would be nice to only need one car between the two of us because I could walk everywhere I needed to get to on a daily basis.

I miss the city. I never thought I'd say that once we moved out of north Jersey, but I never realized how convenient walking everywhere could be. I took it for granted, I know, but I truly miss it now. Of course, Orange NJ is not the place it was in the late 50s and early 60s, but I miss the idea of being able to live without cars. Walking, buses...what great ideas. And such an easy way to stay in shape. Fitness without the hefty gym dues. This is my idea of a dream life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your freedom of speech is my hate-filled invective

Curse my lack of writing discipline! Anyway, I'm back with so many thoughts in my tiny little brain that I must write or risk a cerebral explosion.

Our world gets crazier every day. The whole Kanye West thing disgusts me, because once again man's inhumanity to man becomes so much gossip column fodder. The disgusting part is that while people whine and moan that what he did to Taylor Swift was horrible, what no one's saying out loud is that it's merely a symptom of a much larger problem. It's not just a lack of manners we're dealing with here--it goes back to the whole entitlement issue. "I'm a star and entitled to have my say" or, "I disagree with the president and entitled to call him names during his speech." Since when are we all entitled to say and do whatever we want with impunity? Yes, we have the freedom of speech guaranteed to us, but what people fail to realize is that this freedom stops when it begins infringing on someone else's rights. Just as it is unacceptable to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater because it can then infringe on someone else's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is unacceptable to say things that are hurtful and detrimental to others. It is unacceptable to speak with such blatant disrespect to the leader of our country, despite our difference of opinion. And it is unacceptable to crush someone's shining moment just because we thought somebody else deserved it. There, I said it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's been a while but I'm back!

I'm really wishing that this whole Michael Jackson thing would just go away. I'm very sorry for his family and understand that they're feeling a terrible sense of loss at this time, but stopping the world for the death of an entertainer bothers me greatly. What's worse is the idea that the California taxpayers may be footing part of the bill for the funeral. I find this appalling. I think it's all simply evidence of this ridiculous cult of celebrity that has been growing uncontrollably in this country for several years. Is our democratic society so in need of the idea of royalty that we have to create our own in the form of celebrities? I thought we fought a war to get out from under the oppressive rule of a monarch. I can only shake my head in disbelief and wonder when people will start thinking again.

Speaking of thinking, summer school has begun and I'm back to wondering how some of these kids are going to make it after high school. My job is to get kids to pass the state test...a test which is for minimum basic skills, mind you...and it's like pulling teeth to get a lucid sentence out of some of them, never mind a coherent, unified essay. I wish they could understand the importance of clear communication. Unfortunately, some of them never will. I see that all the time, and it's so frustrating to have to deal with adults who never learned how to communicate. That's actually what got me back to teaching--I was tired of fixing problems caused by poor communication skills in business so I thought I'd go back and nip it in the bud before the little darlings got out into the working world. But so many of today's students come in with such a chip on their shoulders. They absolutely don't believe I can possibly know anything worth knowing, therefore they do whatever they can to try to subvert my lessons. It's sad, really, because I know where many of them are headed, and it isn't going to be pretty for them.

Hmmm...I should rename this blog and call it what it is today-a rant. There's lots to rant about lately, besides the MJ thing. I think what upset me the most about that (and yes, I've gone full circle) was that Farrah Fawcett died the same day and by that evening, the world was like, "Farrah who?" Having lost both my parents to cancer and then having my own cancer, I know how horrible her last days were, not only for her, but more importantly, for her family. It's a gruesome death and the family members had to have spent more time mourning her before her death than they did afterward. You're on a death watch when someone with a terminal illness nears the end. I'm reminded of a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Between the acting of a dreadful thing and the first motion, All the interim is like a phantasma, or a hideous dream..." II.i ll 63-65. From her first diagnosis to her death I'm sure that family went through their own version of a hideous dream, and yet the demise of an overaged manchild who may very well have been a pedophile overshadowed all their grief and replaced it with a media circus that became nauseating. My heart goes out to Farrah's family.

Well, my rant has run its course. I will push to update this blog with more frequency, dear readers. Till then, I'm off.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Horse racing and other stuff

Ok, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now post time. God, I miss Fred Capacella. With the running of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, my mind is reliving the Saturday afternoons of my youth, when local thoroughbred racing was televised and my grandmother and I watched religiously. I was about 13 and unable to place any bets at a track, but I got pretty darned good at picking winners on the television. It got so I could analyze the field by track condition, jockey, past races and current weather and be right more often than I was wrong. I always felt the excitement mount when the track announcer, the aforementioned Mr. Capacella, would make that signature nasal announcement and the gates would fly open. I knew when a horse took the lead too early, or when a jockey made a move at the wrong time. Honestly, thoroughbred racing was and still is the only sport I have always enjoyed watching. It's not even the thought of winning, because I've never once placed a bet in my life; it's just the mental challenge of bringing so many disparate facts together into one final decision and then watching to see if that decision was the right one.

On another front, it's almost the end of another school year. It's about time-there's a very good reason that the school year only runs for 10 months, and despite the popular misconception that teachers "get summers off" what that really means is that I'm out of work and have no income for two months. So it's another summer of summer school, which will pay me roughly half of what I'd normally make per month, but it's better than nothing. My real issue is that I do need the break. Teaching is a very stressful profession-you try spending 45 minutes with 30 adolescents five times a day and see how you do. Then try making them do stuff they don't want to do and actually learning something from it (if they do it at all) and on top of all that, have your own life. Summers used to be a time for me to destress and plan my next year in peace and quiet. That doesn't happen as easily working summer school. Before Summer school (BSS) I used to be ready to start back by late August and would approach the classroom eagerly and with a sense of excitement. Now, I've been in the classroom till mid-August and that eager anticipation is no longer there. I truly can't wait for the economy to improve and for my salary to increase enough to be able to put money away for the summer so I can have time to be me again. It's coming!

Enough griping. It's early evening, the sun is still up and the weather's warm. I think I'll take a walk-get ready to open the gate; it is now post time.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek and its consequences.

Tim and I saw the new Star Trek movie today. I was excited, of course, but did head in with a little trepidation. When something achieves a somewhat iconic state, it's a little bit scary to think that someone will take it in a new direction that you might not have wanted to see. I needn't have worried. I don't think I've seen a film that had such a strong effect on me, mostly because one wouldn't expect a little sci-fi flick to be so moving. It was appropriately action packed, as I'd anticipated, and yes, it was fun to see the younger versions of the characters I'd grown to love over the past 40 years, but it was more. As the story progressed, and the beloved characters appeared on the screen, it was like being able to go back in time and see people you loved meeting for the first time on a road to becoming....well, the people you loved. It was comforting, nay, even heart-warming.

One of the phrases bandied about during the massive press juggernaut leading up to the release of the film billed it as "not your father's Star Trek." I humbly disagree. My father was a huge Star Trek fan, as well as a fan of Science Fiction films in general. He would have loved this film. I think he would have had the same excitement I felt when each character was introduced, and he would have been just as excited as a kid with a new toy. It made me a bit sad that he couldn't have lived long enough to see this movie, because it definitely would have been my father's Star Trek.

As the movie came to its end, my husband and I both reacted quite strangely-well, strangely to most other moviegoers, not to us. We were moved; choked up-teary-eyed. I'm not exactly sure why, but as I wiped the tears from my face, I realized that the trepidation I'd felt before the film was that it might not achieve exactly this effect; that somehow they'd make light of the characters we'd loved all those years ago and still loved to this day. All the hoopla about making it a new Star Trek or moving it in a new direction didn't diminish one bit of the humanity at the core of the story. They got it right, and I was more than just a little bit grateful.

And on that note, I believe I will boldly go...to bed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What's all this then?

I've been considering a blog for quite some time now, but today is it. I will procrastinate no longer. I realize that the internet (or is that The Internet?) has paved the way for all sorts of self-aggrandizement and egotistical brainvomit, nevertheless, it seems that if there's something to be said, there's got to be an audience for it. The title is a phrase that's been pretty descriptive of my life for almost all of it. I used to love when my favorite aunt would clean out her jewelry box or drawers, casting aside things she felt she no longer needed. It was like a treasure hunt, with me rescuing various and sundry items from the garbage pile with an excited, "I can use that!" Once, when I was about seven, I was walking down Main St. in Orange, NJ with the aforementioned aunt, when we came upon a cardboard fireplace that some store had discarded. Yes. We carted it to my house, much to my mother's chagrin. Why did she even ask me why we'd dragged it three blocks when she knew what my answer would be? "Mom! I can use it!" It became part of our Christmas decoration display on the back porch for several years.

To this day, I'm a sucker for yard sales and flea markets, always on the prowl for some discarded item that I'm sure I'll be able to use. But it doesn't end with junk. There are many experiences, thoughts, and ideas that perhaps someone else can use. Think of this blog as my own personal mental yard sale. The best thing about it though, is that in sharing what's in the veritable storehouse of useless information that is my brain, I don't have to lose any of it. I get to give it away and keep it at the same time! What an awesome concept for a collector of treasures.

I've got another motive for being here though. Perhaps this will give me the discipline to actually write as often as I would like to. The stuff in my head is crowding me out and I figure I've got to write myself free. So here I go...wanna come along for the ride?