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SOMETHING THAT UPSETS ME

There are people in the world who actually justify their refusal to vote by claiming that franchise is an opiate for the masses. That's so sad and frustrating I want to retch.

SOMETHING THAT I FIND BITTERSWEET

"Coma Girl", by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, is damn near everything a rock 'n roll song should be. The Towson college station has it in furious rotation, and this fact confirms my notion that said station kicks ass. It is barely an exaggeration to say that I can't get enough of that song, because it makes me fucking giddy.

Of course, this giddiness is tempered by the knowledge that Joe Strummer (like Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon, and a frightening number of Ramones) is dead. As I've said before, I hope some of these folks enjoy a posthumous career as lucrative as Tupac's; Strummer seems off to a solid start, at least.

SOMETHING I THINK IS AWESOME BECAUSE I'M A TOTAL FUCKING GEEK

I went by the comic shop today after work, and came home with JLA/Avengers #2 and Superman/Batman: Worlds' Finest #3. Both lived up to my expectations in a big way. The former demonstrates why Kurt Busiek is amazing: it's filled with interactions among characters, ranging from the obscure to the iconic, that display a deep knowledge and love of said characters -- while also making for a great story. It also manages to find some surprises in among the familiar: folks expect the Batman/Captain America and Superman/Thor showdowns to be fun, and they are; but the issue almost gets stolen by Wonder Woman/Hercules.

The latter title is generally more predictable, but still manages to throw a few curveballs. But really, the draw for this one is the interaction between Bats and Supes, and it doesn't disappoint. Again, I'm really pleased when I read comics written by folks who love and understand the characters. (Of course, I use a very odd definition of "understanding" in this case -- some of my favorite depictions of these characters utterly contradict each other. I suppose I just dig on authors that find one aspect of the characters that they can relate to, and produce powerful and consistent renditions of the character in that light. I could start rambling about mythological parallels and modern-day demigods and what not, but I feel that I've probably geeked out enough for this post.)

THINGS THAT MAKE ME BEAM WITH DELIGHT

Our weekend has begun in earnest. We're getting a Margaret visit next weekend, and a Trevor visit sometime this month. My dad and I are trading book recommendations. We're going to see my family for Thanksgiving. There are amazing movies out right now, and more to come. My boss is more than willing to shift schedules around to get me more time in front of classes and/or trainees. Nina and I get to sleep in tomorrow, and get an extra hour of it at that. Samson is willing to be used as a pillow, for short naps at least. And did I mention that I get to spend a weekend with Nina? I think I might've. :-)
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So, I'm actually doing some real teaching for Kaplan again. It's been a while: I went on a leave of sorts last October, so in the six months prior to our move, I'd only been doing some piecemeal tutoring and substitute teaching.

Then we moved to Maryland, where I'd been hoping to pick up some classes to bring in income while I finished up the degree and looked for full-time work. Well, the loved me down here, but all the summer classes were taken already. Luckily, they had some tutoring for me to do, and I got to help run two sessions of teacher training. (At Kaplan, being a utility player is a very good thing.)

It's only been within the last week that I've actually gotten to do some real classroom teaching. I've got an SAT and an LSAT class going (utility, baby), both of which meet twice a week.

And so far, I think it's going well. There's been a lot of new material integrated into both courses since last I taught them, but I've managed to fit it all in without running overtime -- which is a big deal for me, since I used to have to keep classes late pretty consistently, even before all this new stuff got added.

In fact, I'm finding that I'm feeling better about my teaching than I have in a while. The time management thing is part of it, but I also feel like I'm handling a lot of the aspects of teaching far better than I used to. A big part of it was being a trainer all summer. The old adage that the teacher learns as much as the students proved pretty true, it seems: while trying to turn new employees into good teachers, I came across some flaws in my own work, and I'm taking many of the lessons that my fellow trainers and I emphasized to heart.

Which is a good thing, as it's also helped me deal with the one major problem I have with my job: teaching gives me stage fright. And you see, since I never got stage fright at any point while I was actually acting, I have no idea how to deal with this. It just never came up. Luckily, I'm finding that actually teaching well helps with subsequent episodes.

Which is good. I've got to run some errands before I teach tonight, and I'd prefer not to spend today paralyzed by fear. :-)

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niwandajones

August 2009

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