Friday, December 29

Fast times at Winthrop Middle School

So, it's been a while since I last posted. Not much has happened, actually. I've played a few videogames and I've typed up a few new lessons. Unfortunately not a whole lot has become any clearer to me about teaching, life in general, videogames, or the relationships between any of these things. These are the places I'm looking for answers to my questions. Currently, my questions consist of:

Time spent getting physically fit > Time spent doing other things?

Money spent on objects which bring joy > Money, or potential for these objects?

Experience of videogames > experience of movies, books, comic books, etc? Note: The answer to this is most likely no, that videogames are less engaging than all of these things, which is distressing to me. I have been searching the videogame universe for some meaningful art.

Staying up late and bending the fabric of my universe > getting enough sleep to get to work on time?

My responsibility for my students to learn > my students' responsibility to learn?

Other questions are harder to phrase. I am letting my ability to get sad overwhelm me lately, because I like that feeling. It's empowering to be miserable, because you can call something your sadness and push it into one part of your life while you call the rest of yourself a genius. It's egotistical.

I am also wondering whether teaching in my school is really benefitting me by hardening me, or whether I should be at another school learning to perfect my style and become a stronger educator, whatever that means.

Fortunately, I'm not dead, have been drawing pay, and have been doing well enough in my graduate classes to stay in the Fellows program. I'm also not obese yet, despite hundreds of thousands of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on multigrain bread.

Wednesday, October 25

Power clap!


hey, remember
the low stone walls
at home?

orange stripes
fueling flowers
the engine

at the bottom of the garden
sticky candy in the gym
hardwood spooning.

a memory with
missing walls
remote-control wrecking balls

the view from the couch
cat calls from the couch
I know this arrangement
of furniture.


someone special passes.
a random event.
ma’am, could you please

pass the cement?

Monday, October 23

Brooklyn yardwork.

One of my greatest new joys is biking at night to Brooklyn, back from Manhattan. I go across the Manhattan bridge, down through the slope, and then gliding all the way through Prospect Park on my bike.

It's been a bit of a rough weekend, but I'm here and I've got a good lesson for tomorrow. The chillins will be impressed.

Tuesday, September 26

Aqua Supermarine

I don't know if any of you remember that crayola color, but it always had the most hardcore name of all the crayons. That's who I've got to be tonight; the Aqua Supermarine. I made you guys a cartoon (been a while, eh?) but beyond that, I've really got to go. No, don't stop me. For serious.

Monday was exhausting. Got up for work at 5 AM, got out of grad classes at 9:50 PM. 45 mins for lunch. But I'm not bragging, I swear. ;)

Sunday, September 24

I wanna be a pro, (a con) fessional.

"The man says: ...If, therefore, you recognize that I enjoy nobility of manners, incline your excellence toward me and give me at least the hope of your love, which I have so long desired, so that I may live; for thre is no hope of saving me if you cause me to despair of your love.

The woman says: You may deserve praise for your great excellence, but I am rather young, and I shudder at the thought of receiving solaces from old men.

The man says: ...I was not able to oppose the Divine Power and make it change its plan and postpone my nativity and bring me later into the world. Therefore I am not in the least to blame for the fact that I am so far advanced in life, and it ought not to be considered to my disadvantage; I will even say that if you were at all wise, my advanced age would be of great weight in obtaining your love, because in such a long period I have done many praiseworthy deeds, extended many courtesies, offered numberless services to everybody I could, and done many other good things which no one would have been able to do in a short space of time, and so I deserve great rewards and should be honored with the greatest recompense...therefore you should judge a man's age more by his heart than by his hair."

And thus, the Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus concludes that the man wins in that theoretical conversation between "A man of the middle class and a woman of the same class."

I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm a teacher now, and have been for three weeks. I've gotten my first paycheck, decorated my room, given three vocab quizzes, and am on the verge of collecting my first assignment; a biography written about the people my students admire. I know all of my 79 students' names. I have three classes. My room is number 222, just like in the early 70's TV show, Room 222. Heh. It's sort of like a primordial Degrassi Jr. High.

So! Things are going well. Mary and I will be hitting a Richie Havens concert on friday. I have lots of new teacher friends--like Mike Friedman, Mrs. Ortiz, Mr. Martin, Mrs. Katz, Mrs. Milton, Ms. Maus (my Co-Team-Teacher for my inclusion class), Ms. Lewis (who boxes), Mrs. Sanche (Who used to teach at Rikers'), and my brownie-loving Principal, Ms. Thomas-Clark. That's just the beginning.

The short of it is that I've hardly been Simon lately except on the weekends at rare times. Mostly, I'm Mr. Braunstein. Designing my lesson plans and going to graduate classes every night, correcting on weekends, and hanging out with Mary, writing a poem, and playing Megaman games a few times a week if I really push it. Of course, that's NOT to say that I'm having a crumby time. I'm having the best time. I really care about my kids, and the challenge of being responsible for their literacy--being given the chance to work with them and get them to see new things in reading and writing--is the greatest one I've had in my life so far. Sounds dramatic, but it's true.

So, I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping you folks updated, I do enjoy writing the ol' blog, but lately I have had so much to say that it's felt like I just didn't have enough time to type it all. So I'm finally going to break down and abridge it here by saying that I've been trying to establish routines in class, trying to get everyone to focus. It's been working more and more, and people are saying Goodness, Simon (Mr. Braunstein), you're so dedicated, but as usual I'm just not happy with it--my teachers gave me better, and my kids deserve at least that. You know?

I've got some poems, some pictures of my classroom, a video, some pictures of things that have happened. They're coming! I promise.

I'm also applying for a mini-grant, to try and get enough moolah to do a unit on either Persepolis or Maus, the graphic novels. I'm doing that with Mr. Friedman, the other 8th grade ELA teacher who's also a Teaching Fellow.

I play chess with kids after school.

The kids call me Napoleon Dynamite.

Ms. Katz, one of the deans, calls me McGuyver, since I can open a bottlecap with my rollerblades (the kids go crazy that I blade to school sometimes). I call her Katzwoman.

During one of my prep periods next week I'm getting tied to a pole with duct tape by the kids. It's for a Book Fair, and the kids get more books or something if I do it. All I know are two things: One, when the idea was presented apparently a group of my students thought immediately of me. Two, the joke's on everyone else, because I'm getting paid extra for it.

Today, sunday, I"m going to school to read the kids' journals, make calls home, and in general try to catch the demon of being "all ready" for monday. What do you think? Will I make it? Hah! Doubt it.

I'll write again soon,


Monday, August 21

A stitch in time saves mine.

I had brunch with my Rabbi today, and talked about writing. Turns'll never guess it...he plays the banjo! Holy Frijoles. I am walking in the path of my ancestors. Truly, the Macabees were the baddest clawhammerin' bastards on this side of the Dead Sea.

I'm having my stitches out today.

And then I am going to continue the job search. Woo!

Score one for God.

Monday, August 14

Sebben & Sebben Employee Orientation

Check out this Harvey Birdman video I found for you. Funilarious!

Friday, August 11

Jobs are translation. People get old.

Movies (In order of greatness) :

Ghost in the Shell 2 -- A
American Splendor -- A -
The Day After -- A-
Rocky -- B+
American Psycho -- B+
Unbreakable -- B +
Rebel Without a Cause -- B +
Dead Man Walking -- B
Weather Man -- B
Rope (Alfred Hitchcock) -- B

The Maltese Falcon --Haven't seen it yet...
Vertigo -- Bad Tape!

Breakfast at Tiffany's is playing at a movie theatre in Providence, at midnight! I think I'll go. Especially since my dad doesn't think it's prudent to go bowling at this stage in the recovery game.

IS 292, the school I'm hoping to work for, hasn't called me back, and I haven't been able to get in touch with Ms. Williams yet to ask her what happened. It's looking like I'm back on the campaign trail again, just to be safe. Monday I call IS 292, and then start calling other schools (high schools, hopefully). Although this time I'm able to look anywhere in the city, not just in region 5. Actually, it's funny--my FA told us recently that we were ALWAYS able to look anywhere in the city, the Teaching Fellows just TOLD me I couldn't. I don't take well to lies. But I'm not worried. I'm just warming up *grin*. Ain't no chillins going to escape my tutelage in no east Brooklyn hood.

I went out to the mall today and bought a few fun things--New running earphones (to spite my butt), a really slick black tie (at last!), a hotdog of the gods. While at Macy's I talked with the cashier about teaching. He said he'd worked at the Boy's and Girls' Club a lot, and I told him about the Fellows program. He seemed really enthusiastic, so I gave him my email.

I passed on an old set of The Chronicles of Narnia given to me by my neighbor in the 5th grade. I gave them to a little girl who showed up at our house via friends of the family. Her name was Elektra...seemed very nice, we talked about Redwall and the Lemony Snicket books...she said the latter were her favorite. But she'd never read the Narnia books, only seen the movie. She seemed REALLY excited to get them, kept looking at the box and seemingly waiting to get home, to read them. I wrote my email in the last page of The Last Battle, told her to email me if she finished them all :) . I think she'll be knocked flat. I was. I could think of nothing more strange or interesting than children who had lived out their lives thousands of times as kings and queens in another reality. It warped my mind at a young age and still does. Just a sci-fi guy at heart, I guess.

I also reproached of a woman for having a big, gas guzzling car in the suburbs today. It was a big black Dodge pickup, and the woman driving it couldn't reach the drive-through ATM. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I just decided I didn't have a lot to lose, and that I wanted to know what someone would say if I approached them about the miles per gallon they get. She didn't say anything, really. Just kind of looked at me and drove away.

I feel uptight about my body recently. I used to be in better shape. I'm not worried about myself, and most people make me feel like the kid with an A who wants an A+, which I'm thankful for (You're the best, mom). But I used to be more enthusiastic about exercise during the summer, and something's changed this time around. My FA advisor for the Fellows told us all that we're going to gain weight, which is annoying--I am already doing that. I haven't been able to make a commitment to myself to get "back into the rhythm" of exercising every day, even though I'm involved with people who are a lot more health conscious and inspiring than I used to be. I need an ultimatum.

The banjo sounds a lot like the harp to me recently.


You have to wear a wooden house in.
Floors curve to your weight.
Doorways loosen,
The pine in the frame learns
to hold high the sash
without a wooden spoon.
Pets find their corners
rub the molding warm
and stay.

Thursday, August 10

Vike n' Ikes at the silver scream

Hey, I'm alive! I have about 30 stitches on my bottom, but I'm alive. (If you want to see a picture of my butt with stitches, just email me, I guess. I'm all about democracy of information). Doesn't hurt to sit down too much. Just took the bandage off and took a shower today, after 2 days of being pretty heavily medicated and feeling under the weather. I've been watching movies, so here's the update--I'm going to start practicing grading. I think I'll come up with a rubric soon enough, just for fun.

Movies I have watched:

Rebel Without a Cause -- B +
American Splendor -- A -
American Psycho -- B+
Weather Man -- B
Rope (Alfred Hitchcock) -- B
Unbreakable -- B +

Things I've rented but not watched yet:

Ghost in the Shell 2 --
Vertigo --
The Day After --
Rocky --
Dead Man Walking --
The Maltese Falcon --

I've been playing this game a lot. It's helping me relive my Outward Bound Survival Camp training. IN SPACE. BWAHGAH.

Some people who read this would like Regina Spektor, if you've never heard of her. You know who you are. She's like Fiona Apple, but smoother and happier. Non? See below.

Regina Spektor US

You know who you are.

Sunday, August 6

Post-op post up about the op

Teacher training is done. No more work at IS 292 with Ms. Norton, for now. The picture on the left actually very accurately depicts what the last few days were like, for me. Except, without the smiles. Or the spoon.

I have my first week of lesson plans done, and hopefully a job there (only August 8th will know for sure). If I don't have a job there, then it's time to get back on the wagon and call me some dang schools. Hopefully I'll do this pre-op monday morning, as my operation is at 8, and as everyone knows, schools open early. I myself have been getting up around 6ish every morning since July 1. Not to brag. For me, it's impressivo.

Regardless, I'll be back from RI on the 16th, as I have tickets to the COLBERT REPORT on the 17th. Mary's treat. Ass or no ass, I'm there. Then, who knows? School starts August 31. I think I may go hiking.

Yesterday Mary and I went to the OPera at Brooklyn College. We saw Cosi Fan Tuti, the Mozart opera, in Italian. It was awesome, although Mary would hardly beleive me saying that, since I fell asleep once or twice (I was up until 1 every night this week finishing up training stuff). There was almost no one in the theater, it cost 15 bucks (front rowish tickets), and the orchestra came up on an elevator in front of the stage! Faboo.

The day after the opera, Mary and I went to the NYC acquarium at Coney Island, with the crazy kids. It was actually kind of awesome. Would you beleive they have Octopus hand puppets? Well, they do. We saw the Walrus feeding, the Sea Lion show (at the Aqua Theatre, duh), and marvelled at the penguins. There was an octopus too, but he was a shy one. Awww...shy little octopus. Mwah. Oh no! Get off me!

Mary met a fantastic new lover in the dark shadows of the acquarium, at the Alien Stingers exhibit (truly a fascinating investigation into the world of the jellyfish). Fortunately, he had cardboard for brains. My masculinity is safe.

I've been doing well on the banjo! I'll get a video of myself playing up here soon. The other day I was playing in front of all the teaching fellows at Brooklyn College (about 250 people). I was going to do a performance peice for our group's skit--my friend Mike was going to eat White Castle sitting in a chair while I played "over the rainbow" on the banjo. Now, I can PLAY that song. But when I got up there, my brain and chord hand turned to jello. I told them it was my first live performance. It was! I saved all by telling the nacho cheese joke.

My room has AIR CONDITIONING NOW, which is AWESOME in its ability to inspire me to do actual things in my room other than sit in front of the fan and drool steam. Unfortunately I learned that lesson which all young boys must learn in order to become men; I spent too much on the air conditioner, and then had to carry the sucker home and not buy many groceries until payday. It was an ironically hot ride home on the bus. But when you're not dehydrating and hallucinagenic with the heat, you don't eat as much.

I've got to pack up to go home, now. Bus is at 9:30. No eating until 8 tomorrow morning. News at 11.

My latest video is a short documentary. It is entitled The Secret Walrus, not to be confused with The Secret Goldfish, of Holden Caulfield fame.

I just finished Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck), Tender is the Night (Fitzgerald). Starting on The New York Trilogy and The Curious Incident Of the Dog in the Night Time.

The question of the night: Nature or nurture?

Monday, July 24

The ziggurat of stupid

So I looked at my brand new ten dollah non-stick frying pan from Rhode Island's cheapass acme store unlimited, Ocean State Job Lot. I looked at it. It has a bloody sticker on the inside of the pan, telling me it is a non-stick pan. Why do I get the feeling it's not a good peice of cookware?

Saturday, July 22

All my records have a rash...they itch...I've gotta scratch.

So! I'm at home, chillaxing with my kitty and my parents. I had a big mushroom for dinner last night, hamburger style. I just ate a blueberry bagel. Toma, my foreign exchange studend sister from Dessau, Germany is visiting. We're a family again!

I have an interview on Monday, for the school I've been summer school teaching in! I thought I had the job already, but just after I told everyone I had a job the guy mentioned that it wasn't 'till august that he'll know for sure. But I guess I spoke to the right person, and well...Monday is go-day.

Hah! So, it turns out my banjo teacher is jewish. He told me it's been a big movement in Brooklyn (jewish people playing bluegrass, I mean)--they call it Jewgrass. We've got soul now, apparently. Who knew?

I was in class the other day, and my cooperating teacher, Ms. Norton, was going over homophones with the kids. They got the idea, but she told them it was correct that "hair," "hear," "here," "beer," and "bear" are all pronounced exactly the same way. And in an earlier lesson, she didn't know that space did not have oxygen in it. She was literally standing there dumbfounded in front of the class, with an expression on her face like she didn't know what the heck the class or I was talking about when we said you couldn't breathe in space. I guess I have my work cut out for me.

The superhero thing is STILL in mind, don't you worry. I'm just working on it. I visited the superhero supply store, and it wasn't quite what I needed to begin my reign of justice. My friend Steve at Chico state says he's totally going to do it as well--he wants to make all this branded leather armor for himself in the metal shop. I don't know how he'll do it.

I was interviewed at ABC about my opinion on the end of the world! I told them I thought our biggest problem was overpopulation. They asked me what I would do if I knew the world was going to end in 20 years via black hole, because apparently that's how long we would have. I told them I wouldn't do anything, because I'd probably get tired of doing everything I've ever wanted to do. 20 years is a long time. It would just destroy your life, to freak out about it. I told them I'd probably just go to work, maybe throw a few extra parties. I'm a procrastinator anyway--so I'd probably put off the end of the world until the last possible second.

This is what I would watch if the world was going to end. WORD. Sock puppets:

Wednesday, July 19

I'm better than Anna Karingal.

Mary's blog is in the links section! Check it out ----->

Monday, July 10

Radiation in my cereal.

Hey, folks! So. The new Simon:

1. Is hosting Steve Breedlove and his friend Scott, buddies from New Orleans.
2. Is proud to be a katherine hangout partner today, for the first time in months.
3. Passed his teaching tests with flying colors, and is now licensed!
4. Is student teaching summer school at K292, a Jr. High School that eats nails for breakfast and poops gold dubloons at two PM. I have 24 students and learned many of their names today (the second class I didn't get to know anyone). Their names are: Ethan, Cory, Elvin, Christopher, Christina, Shena, Lamar, Daniel, and Gregory in one class, and in the second class there's Duvall, Dykia :), Clarks, and some other kids.
5. Is going home in two weeks.
6. Will be missing Horton Stock 2006 AND Falcon Ridge 2006. WEEEEEPING.
7. Is practicing the banjo for his lessons (I promise).
8. Has gotten back on track with the whole eating healthy/180 situps and 100 pushups on alternating days thing with the help of a massive salad and a desire to get up in the morning.
9. Went to a mac and cheese restaurant last night in the East Village (SMACC), and is very pleased to say that it will be a repeated experience.
10. Is going to Kenka tonight Fo' Sho.
11. Is going to play RISK with Kristin of the Bears and Anthony of the Kristin on wednesday night with Mary, and Probably Steve Breedlove and Scott.
12. Finds reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night to be a fascinating and sensual experience.
13. Enjoys the Sandman Chronicles, and is looking for volume numba 2.
15. Likes eating steamed chard with fried garlic and tomato peices mixed in.
16. Is becoming a superhero. No, I'm serious. If you check one thing out on my blog this year, let it be this, and know that I have a new hobby coming up.

16. Is now going running.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 28

Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo.

I do beleive it! I do beleive it's true! MMMmmmmm mmm Wo wo whoa, whoa who whooaahhh! Mmmmm Oh it's a light and tumble journey, from the East side to the park but blah blah blah blah.

I get out of the subway today, and see a crowd of people on the sidewalk watching a stopped car in the middle of the street. It was a black Mercedes, and there were two men being arrested by undercover cops. One of the cops was emptying a snub-nosed pistol of its bullets onto the street, and both the men were cursing. So I kept walking home, and immediately on the corner about 8 cop cars suddenly filled themselves with officers and squealed off south down Nostrand, the long avenue next to my street. I walked down the block to my house, and there were cop cars everywhere--cops walking around staring at the roofs of buildings, walking into basement doors. Seems like there was a bust of some kind. I don't know. I asked a cop what was going on, and he told me they were chasing somebody. I'm sure I'll hear more about that in the news. Made me think about what kind of neighborhoods these really are, because so far I’ve kind of had an idealistic view (Idealism? Me? Who would have thunk it?). Even right now there's the sound of a helicopter circling very closely, and a megaphone with a woman's voice on it saying something. My landlady told me they’re chasing a man with a gun through people’s backyards…but that's not a bad thing, its just Brooklyn! Right? Oh, how sweet it is!

UPDATE: My landlady came in just now, said they had closed off the block recently looking for a man with a gun running through people's back yards. I don't know why. Maybe he stole pizza, maybe he was selling crack, maybe he caught all 151 pokemon.

Other than that, long day. Classes today, got a special presentation on Special Ed students and why inclusion classes (where they are attending normal classes with aides or not) are important--we saw a report by 1970s Geraldo Rivera on tape. It was about the Willowbrook school, which used to be on Staten Island. Over 5,000 retarded men, women and children stayed there just sitting around, because there was an absurdly small number of aides to take care of them. The problem was not only that they were sitting around but being treated like animals--they were fed for three minutes each meal, allowed to run around unsupervised and create an unsanitary situation for themselves, smearing feces on everything. I think they said that about 1 in 4 people there contracted Hepititus within six months of arriving at the institution. So. I'm okay with Special Ed kids.

After classes I went to the city-wide job fair, which was a bust. There weren't many schools there and there were long lines to interview, which was the only thing that people were doing. I waited on the wrong line for a while, then went and interviewed at a middle school. The woman said she thought I was a strong candidate but that they had probably already found who they were looking for. Not a terrible peice of news, I'd say, but I still need to keep looking! I'll call more people tomorrow. I did find out that Region 6 has also been opened up to fellows like me due to a lack of Region 5 jobs, however. Which is fabulous news, because that's where I LIVE. Yay!

Tomorrow I'm doing my in-class poetry demo lesson for Professor Shweky, the man who leads my School and the Community class, which is really the only class I take right now (although it's 7.5 hours of it per day). I'm going to be presenting a poem by James Stephens which I rather like. I think the lesson I'll be doing will be about how Stephenson characterizes Tom and God in the poem by using syntax and different grammarial styles. But more on that tomorrow!

My second cat, the last one one I grew up with, has a tumor in his stomach. My parents are going to put him to sleep. His name is Moses Braunstein, and he is a very excellent (and Jewish) cat. I am going to miss the way he mumbles his meows with his mouth closed when you say his name, and how he pulls himself across the carpet by his front claws while laying down. I think I'm going to try and get home this weekend to say goodbye to him, feed him some cheese. He'd do it for me, I think. I love you, Mo-mo.

Pictures: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
The words are from a Simon and Garfunkel song.

Monday, June 26

God for president 2008

So I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" tonight with Mary. Finally. It was basically Al Gore giving a presentation on global warming, and it was depressing, but it was an important movie as far as I'm concerned, for two reasons:
  1. It's Al Gore propoganda, which is not a bad thing necessarily. He needs to be seen as a president, and it paints him as hard hitting/media-savvy. I think we need the kind of president who realizes that you can make a movie about something like global warming, let people who care about global warming go see it, and then appear as someone else completely to other people who care about different issues. Does he care about global warming? Probably. I don't know that someone can say the things he did on film, plus spend thirty years of his life travelling the country giving this presentation, and not beleive it.
  2. He's probably right about everything he says, and everyone needs to know what's going on with the world. I say probably, because I'm always suspicious of people who want my vote. MY vote, goddamnit! My mother gave birth to me in America, and I have a responsibility to vote responsibly.
The highlight of the movie was a swimming CGI polar bear with big, cute eyes. Unfortunately, they were talking about how they have been finding drowned polar bears recently. They drown because there are fewer/thinner icebergs.

So, basically, I've come to the conclusion that the world is in for 20 feet of flooding, all around. We need to see that happen to us before people realize that it's time to clean up our act. Looks like New York City teaching for 30 years is out. ;)


Walking home at 2AM tonight. Nostrand Ave was empty, like a weird, dark golf course. Wish I had my camera.

I finished my T-shirt stencilling project! Yay!

Tomorrow, back to class.

I made a budget for myself, and i'm actually living UNDER the means I am able to live under, even with saving 33% of my annual revenue. AND, I have a surplus of 4K! I don't know what to do! Yay. I love you, mom and dad.

Sunday, June 25

So post-modern it hurts.

I finally saw Van Gogh's Starry Night yesterday! It was pretty. But I was bored quickly.

Fight Club = Breakfast at Tiffany's = The New York Times last Sunday = The wood pattern on my desk = The lines on my hand = The Watchmen = The banjo = The cowbell = Final Fantasy VI = My NYCTF teacher's guidebook = Scrambling an egg, as a performance peice.

God, some days, you know?

Sunday, June 11

All kinds of gas tanks.

<----Bet you didn't know they did THAT, did you? Turns out there's also a reconstituted White Castle Hamburgers joint that's now called Veggie Castle. They kept all the original decorations. I am THERE. SO. Some things happened. Here's the roster: I went on a road trip! I saw my grandmother's batmitzvah! It was amazing, I'd never heard her sing before, I don't think. Did you know that from my house you have to take a left on Broadway to get to Boca Raton, Fl? The GPS did.

I'm having surgery this weekend (Probably)! Here's a nice, neutral way of presenting you with the facts without being graphic--there's a whole site dedicated to it. Choose your own level of involvement :).

I had my first day of training for the NYCTF today! I'm not quite sure where I'm working, but I'm looking into a region 5 high school assignment. So far my top three choices are William Douglass IVV HS, Teacher's prep HS, and Thomas Jefferson HS. I begin operations tomorrow! Tonight I work like the Dickens. Basically my life has been thrown into high gear, and I'm in that summer mode where every second counts. Training was from 8:30 to 7 today, with a one hour break for lunch. Tomorrow's the same, only I'm going to visit a high school on coney island to do observations for the first half of the day.

Basically I'm taking a graduate class in one week--and I'll get three credits for it. What what whaaaat? I was super sad, since I had to cancel going to a veggie dinner and seeing the Al Gore movie with Mary today in order to stay on top of all this. I have about 10 working hours over the next two days to write ten pages and read a whole lot more. With all these classes going on, too.

The banjo continues to haunt my fantasies of stardom. Whatever that means. My first lesson is on thursday.

Jen from Georgia arrived in NYC with Mary and I after the Road trip, and we did all sortsa great things! We went to go see Rent for starters, and I really enjoyed it.

I went to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with my grandparents! It was a great little show.

Harry Antonio, legend of my high school days and one of my best friends who I have not seen for four and a half years and his friend Anna visited me.

I switched banks! HOOOOAAHHHH for Washington Mutual. I'm my own man now.

I wish Katherine would call me.

I saw the movie Zathura. It was pretty cool. Like a cracked out science fiction in space version of Jumanji. I have to say, Arrested Development Season One was better, though. So Mary, get off mah spahne.


Here are some baby pictures of me! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight (There's an "I" in "blog", did you know that?). The first one's my barmitzvah and my whole family, the last one is my mom's favorite little-kid picture of me. Some of them have my maternal grandmother, Anne Simon, in them. She was a great woman, and seeing these pictures makes me think of happy times. Ask me about her sometime, there are some good stories involving vodka, toy kitchens, and shag carpet. MYSTERY, NO?

Red Stripes cost 2.50 a bottle in Brooklyn! You guys have to come check it out, it's AMAZING. I'd love to have a casual chat over Jamaica's finest with you. Or whatever you drink.


There are pictures of many things in a folder on the internet, but I don't have time to do all the nice little linkage today. The kid with the red hair is Harry, Anna is the girl in the pictures with him, there's a picture of my bank, one of Jen trapped in some glass, a bug we saw on the trip, a comic that Jen made while she was here, fantastic art from around my neighborhood, and some other stuff!

Simon, you are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(30% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test

Just so you know, you can always ask me about anything on the blog. I want to talk about it. For serious.

I'M RUNNING: A bit, and I need more.

The Dummies' guide to being a teacher (not the real name of the book), Alan Moore's The Watchmen, and either the Satanic Verses or Atlas Shrugged. Depends on what the Book Club chooses.

I'M HEARING: Isis, by Bob Dylan.

I'M WRITING: Poems again. Not many comics lately, not much time. I'm going to organize a poetry group, one of these days. Here's the lastest, I fixed it up just for you.


hey, remember
the low stone walls
at home?


a kitten face
with orange stripes
fueling flowers.


an engine at the bottom of the garden.
sticky candy in the gym
hardwood spooning.

Now then

a memory with
missing walls
remote control wrecking balls

the view from the old couch
cat calls from the old couch
I know this arrangement
of furniture.


someone special passes
a random event
and the cement

ALSO: The first journal entry for my teaching fellows classes, about my day in class. I wrote it, maybe you want to read it. Eh?

Teaching Fellows Journal: Professor Schweky.

Tuesday, June 20th 2006:

Class today was a little scary. The people down at Teaching Fellows sure want you to know how easy it is to overestimate yourself. I think I must have heard the word “challenge” and wondered if my ego has really “gone too far this time” about every twenty minutes. Despite the constant reminders of the difficulty of this job and what I’ll be undertaking, I found both Asha and Alan to be incredibly inspiring. At NYU none of the education professors were really fantastic teachers themselves, and I think it was because they were so divorced from the high school classroom. Professor Schweky was intentionally being rather intense, I think. I thought that was a really good way to establish himself as a role model teacher, which he certainly is for me. I’d like to see his lesson plans.

Over all, I’m really glad to be involved. Maybe I’m masochistic, but I have this thought that it’s a great thing to endure a challenge, especially when you know you’ll have to get strong enough along the way. The other people in my class are also really anxious, and it feels good to be on the same boat with a lot of impressive people, all of who are interested in making a difference.

I noticed some things about the way I speak in public today—especially in the half hour after I introduced myself to the class. I was nervous when I first stepped up in front of the class, although I was not scared. I’ve never been afraid of public speaking—although I was confident I could speak about myself, I had all this nervous energy that made me fidgety in the way I was handling the questions asked. I don’t feel I really addressed the questions in an organized matter, and I think looking back on the experience now, my need for eccentric metaphors while speaking made it difficult for me to communicate in the most effective manner. I think I have to learn to slow down and focus, but I’m not sure how to do that yet. Probably something that will go away quickly, since it wasn’t an issue when I was in

I continue to worry about what kind of work my placement at a high school in Region five will entail, and after talking to Asha about what I’ve got to do, I feel a lot better. I’m going to visit and get to know a little more about the three schools I’m most interested in.

Can’t wait to go visit the Brooklyn College Academy tomorrow, down on Coney Island. When I was there just last week, I was wondering what it would be like to go to a school in such a touristy, plastic area (or at least that’s the way it seems to me). Grease and carnival rides all over the place. I guess I’m about to find out.

Tonight I cancelled a date to do work for the Teaching Fellows, and I feel good about that—because I want to prove something to myself about dedication. I feel as though I’ve forgotten what it means to achieve a goal and be conscious of how far away it is—usually I just sleep through accomplishing big goals, I think. It gets done, but I’m not always engaged. It’s a useful tactic in some ways, but it also keeps me from valuing what I do in the long run.

Surgery will go down this weekend. I hope I can survive boot camp without any booty.

Thursday, June 1

Planes on a Gabe!

So Mary, Gabe and I are totally rockstarring it at the Doubletree Suites in Boca Raton, FL! I have seen:
  • Kittens
  • Islands in North Carolina
  • Myself as a yank
  • Waffle Houses
  • Surly waitresses
  • The Jamestown museum shop.
  • Other things.

More to come, with dozens of pictures!

Tuesday, May 23

Though the streets are swollen, rawhide.

Big news:
  • Brian came and took my apartment for a virgin Brian cruise. I don't think my residence knows quite what to think of itself after that look.
  • I am teaching in Region 5, which is located approximately meah, and will be attending Brooklyn College (Yeah, the site is kind of plastic, but so are a lot of good things) for my master's degree with the NYC Teaching Fellows!
  • I am now the proud owner of a banjo. I know six chords, and played "Oh Susanna" for my parents this weekend! I need to work on switching from D7 to C chords. And playing the banjo. I'm not so good at that part of the banjo, yet. But I did give my banjo a name. It's Joanna. I'm not the type to really call a musical instrument a name...I think Guido is really the only inanimate object that has a real name...but it's a great instrument, and I'm happy to be self-learning it!
  • I got Madame Butterfly on frickin RECORD. In original ITALIAN.
  • I went to Boulder with my parents! I went rock climbing in Eldorado Canyon (no top roping or lead climbing or nothing, just bouldering, but MAN that place is beautiful. Check out some pictures!
  • The road trip of the century will be taking place. I'm leaving from home on the 25th or 26th, leaving NYC with Mary and Gabe on the 27th, arriving in Florida on the 2nd or 1st for my grandma meemee's batmitzvah, picking up Jen M. in Georgia on the 3rd, and hitting NYC on the 5th or 6th. WHEW. Then I'm driving Jen to Boston the next day. Rock.
I haven't written anything that feels new lately, you know? Maybe it's the focus on the banjo.

Questions from Orlum are on mah livejournal, but I didn't want to put them here, as they'd take up so much durn space. My user name is Catlard.

Friday, May 12

Courage based on previous expeditions.

I want to thank everyone in my family and varying social circles for a marvellous week! It has truly been an amazing few days...let me tell you about it:

  • So I went to a mixer for NYC teaching fellows (Thanks, everybody, for your support thus far! I'm really excited). I met a lot of really impressive people that I'm glad to be working with. One woman just graduated from college after 28 years of taking a break and having a kid, and has been reading ever since. When I say she has read everything, I mean SHE HAS READ EVERYTHING. I named every little short story I had read in creative writing class and every obscure sci-fi novel I could think of, and she'd read it. Only problem is, she's married and about 40 years old. Truly, a sad day for post-graduate Simon.
  • I have graduated! When they called my name, I did a cartwheel on stage before giving John Sexton a big bear hug. It was terriffic, although the speakers were not that impressive. My parents were proud of me, and I'm proud of me now. (Pictures below).
  • I am melting down all my email addresses to form a new, monolithic email brand, one which shall be known as You can still email me at and, but it will just get forwarded and you'll get a hilarious vacation message. So don't even try it :) .
  • Today Mary came over! We went running, baked cookies, and watched Time Bandits. She is a true blue friend, that gal.
  • I have pictures from graduation! My whole family and I hung out (One, two, goofy three, four, Narcissius) in my grandparents' hotel room the morning of until it was time to journey down into the subway (I demanded that I take the subway to graduation, as I like to finish things the way I start them). Everyone was seated in an orderly fashion at Madison Garden(s?). Then, it was off to the races.
  • I got a BEAUTIFUL watercolor painting from my grandma of me rock climbing, crash pad, cufflinks, 2 french shirts WITH fancy jammie bottoms, and a shopping spree at Target for my graduation day!
  • Pantea and I had a crazy photo-shoot at Dojo just after I finished my last assignment for college. I think they express how I was feeling at the time too, but you be the judge. Since she wanted these pictures anyway, and they're a salad-bowl of fun for anyone who enjoys the galaxy of all things Pantea-related, here are the goods: One, two, three, four.
  • Going further back in time, two nights before I finished all my work I attended a Corinne-concert! It was the awesome. Some other people played, but she was the best, as usual. She's definitely gotten a lot more funky since the old days. I have two videos of her there too, if she or anyone else wants them.
  • Road design psychology: a world without traffic signals? I am aghast...finally, a reductionist view of modern transport.
  • Turns out my room-mate is on IMDB. Yes, he is the man. Here's a nice picture of him. He said he was sad that they didn't put his appearance in Law and Order up on there, though. I could see that being annoying.
  • Remember that diving I did the other day? Well the guy who taught me, George, is the man. But you didn't know that, did you?
Want what you
I got, Baby

do you know I?
little you come home
Hey when you get home
just a little bit mister

Do you wrong while you're gone
do you wrong cause
All I'm askin'
Is for a little

I'm about to
give you
I'm askin' return
give me my
get home baby
When you get home

your kisses
Sweeter than

All you do
give it to

Find out
it means me

MUSIC: Waste (Smash Mouth).
MOOD: A new place.

Tuesday, May 9

T-minus 6 hours.

Call me a graduate at high noon today. I'll be comin' round the mountain when I come. Longer update with pictars about it all's a poem.


I scratch the head
and think, city streets:

A complex matrix
of bowling alleys.

I'm ashamed but
I'd roll right up to your door if you

I walked by a NYPD squad car today on the way home (at 3 AM), and looked at what they were doing on their official NYPD laptop crime database that all squad cars are equipped with. They were playing Spider Solitaire! I smiled and walked on.

George took me diving yesterday! I did a 15 foot back-flop and screamed curses under water, but came up laughing and feeling like I'd had the wind knocked out of me. It was a great moment to be human. I did do some preeeetty sweet dives, though.

Thursday, May 4

Rowdy, wordy, dowry. Dating the up.


Guess WHAT.

How I FEEL about all of it.

Oh, I'm graduating on the ninth. I have my LAST CLASS OF COLLEGE tomorrow.

The sequel to my favorite flash adventure game came out today. Yes, it's true. JOHNNY ROCKETFINGERS 2 is in the house. Yes, there are exploding pidgeons, drug dealers, and gigantic piles of pirate treasure. And crappy city apartments.

How I feel about homework: a poem I read at the Bowery Poetry Club yesterday. You should have been there! It was lots of fun. It's pretty happy with itself, this one.


I have been living twelve hour days!
In an emergency, I
When things are good, I

I bet you didn't know this, but
on an analog clock
the hands point to one number twice
twice one number in a day, it's a warning
from father time, that
It's a motherfuckin school night.
If it's 11 PM, you automatically have to think
Am I ready for 11 AM? It's quite ingenious. The army
must be confused. Heck,

in my world
if you've got something due at 3 PM
you sure as shit betta
be thinking about what you have due in twelve
little hours, or you should at least
be surfing the internet frantically, spasmodically
hoping for something all-consuming.

People tell me, look out
this bus ride takes six hours,
look out, you'll have to be in class
for four more today
I just look that shit in the eyes and say
HAH. I have
on bad days
sat in a chair and stared at the same, 18" screen
watching little figures in red overalls hit
head bricks and follow
strange fungi
across the map
That's called emulation, mother
fucker, that's called patience, that's called
staring at colored numbers
variables behind backdrops
and I have done it
at 12 AM, thinking about noon
until noon, and all I've got to show
is a save state.

In the last twelve hours
I have been dodging myself
to get this shit done
And see behind all these applications
to the unfinished essays
that will graduate me.

Monday, May 1

BSN Digs.

Hey hey hey my hip hop pocrates,

I've found me an apartment in Brooklyn, and I'm moving in on the 9th until the end of August, looks like. It's $750 a month for a 2 room deal (seperated by a wall, not a door) with a bay window overlooking a garden, a closet, and a shared bathroom/kitchen. My area is about 10 x 20 ft or so. The walls will be white, because I think I'm going to do some painting. It's the 2nd floor of a brownstone on 232 Midwood St, just west of Prospect Park, 5 minutes from the Q and 4 stops from 14th St. Union Square. Here are two pictures! I'm probably going to put my bed in the back area, near that mirror in the second picture...and turn the window area into a zen/tea area with a table, if I can find one. What do you think?

I'll be rooming with Ian, a man of distinguished taste in baking and elephant jokes. He's an actor, works in a restaurant called Peasant on the Lower East Side, and is attending the Harvard School of Ed in September. Quite the nice dude, if I do say so myself.

That's the flash of news! I'm off now to do my final graduation things. My homework, I mean.

Wednesday, April 26

Talkies! The Jazz Singer!

You guys. The TECH. I have promised, and photobucket has delivered. Please view...
A movie!


I'm procrastinating! When I was little, I thought it and prostitution were the same thing. Did I ever tell you that?

Some sites I thought were interesting:
Dedicated to cuteness, and it works.
Primordial Tim Burton claymation.

Poem! Psych. It's a fiction. You've probably read it before, but it made me laugh again lately, to be perfectly honest.


John Munshour is a skinny white guy who's not creepy around the ladies. Being in New York City affords modern man many chances to scare the shit out of women, but John tries his best to take none of those chances. He doesn't drink or smoke. John classifies most of his social desires as sicknesses that he cannot cut out of himself, because he knows they are part of being human. Instead, John's philosophy is that these forces in his life, these sexual, violent, and emotional forces can and should be put under the yoke and made to pull him to victory. This metaphor is well fitting, especially when considering the way he goes to the gym.

Working out is a diseased desire for the athletic sex he may or may not have in his life. He knows this. He goes to the gym to trick himself into getting fit. He's not really sure why any person goes to the gym if not for sex. Maybe they could be preparing to beat up someone who insults a future girlfriend. But this, in an ideal universe, will most certainly lead to sex anyway. No difference to John. But mostly, he is concerned about sex. Athletic, euphoric sex that makes people honest. And he imagines that euphoric sex is hard to coordinate, especially if one's abdominals are not in top condition. With this goal in mind, John pulls rhythms out of the rowing machine. Relax, grip the fake oars, haul your arms off. Relax, grip the fake oars, haul your arms off. Look in the mirror in front of you. Check out your hair. “Am I sexy?”

John's not quite sure what it involves or even why he wants it, but sex seems like a healthy goal to reach for, even in the gym. Of course, he doesn't much think about it while working out. Not only would picking up girls at the gym be creepy, he's obsessed with keeping in time with the music. Can’t break his stride. Fake rowing in the gym, he tells himself, is all about the music. And not just rhythmically speaking. Every time something sad starts flowing through his headphones, John makes sure he looks extra-sternly ahead, as though he is driving himself to something incredible and serious. He’s not rowing to anywhere, of course. But he’s going to be one hell of a hunk of man when he gets there.

Music: Cake. That is all.

Thursday, April 20

Flash dance.

I experience crappy media, so you don't have to! Here are some things I've seen recently. Yes, they're cheesy. But you'll like them anyway, won't you?

Violin superhero.

Hopping is awesome.

Tuesday, April 18

Directly after the general's tea party.



I refuse to write about the end of an era.
It is not exciting to me!
why expand on ribbons
and wrapping
when the organs of the gift
are the gooey

What is this impotence!
I am angered
by the flatulence of the stars
in my presence.
This flaccid romance, this
slinky dance of brains

Outrage! The hands
of myself
are upon me!


I work for Trek bicycles now. Dang genetics.

Mood: Rebel prince.

Friday, April 14

Then now what?

Just between you and me, there's time.
Just, between you and me there's time.
Between just and me there's you, time.
There's just time, between you and me.

Okay, enough of that.


Alive. Warm. Just working.

(Looking for an apartment.)

Friday, April 7

All the gnus.

Some pictures:

Wednesday, April 5

If I don't make money, I want to make a difference.

The good news: I'm going to be reading at the BOWERY POETRY CLUB, with my workshop friends. We're going to do conceptual readings, nonconceptual readings, and admission is free (although you do have to buy a drink, it can be a coca-cola, so no age restrictions either). I'll send out an email to people, but this is going to be great thing to write down now. It's at:

MAY 2nd, 4:30-6:00 PM.
@The Bowery Poetry Club, on the west side of the street between Bleecker and 2nd.

Oh Glaucoma! You inspire me, too. Send in by alert reader my dad (He's the one in the middle, with the matrix shades). He was recently in Belgium on a business trip, and it seems he managed to do some biking. There were some pretty serious biker kids there, apparently. Who knew?

I have been hanging out with Molly's folks recently, as they are in this week. They served a feast of pierogis on Sunday, which was chalk-full of delicious. Even Odin was stuffed to the gills, believe you me. We all had lunch today, actually--and the meal turned into a "Simon's resume and essay for the teaching fellows proofreading" session. I am forever grateful. Sometimes you have it all together and the right people are just there (in this instance, meeting you for lunch at McSorley's), willing to help you make things shine.

So! I am uber excited about helping high-need schools, and I think I need a kind of transition between college and careerland--some place to slow down and think. I have Graduate school and a great many things to consider. Besides, I love working with kids. Lights of my life, I tell ya. Here's the essay, in case you're interested. I made it all small n stuff so it wouldn't take up too much space, so maybe you want to make it bigger. The questions (in my own words) were:
  1. Why do you want to become a teacher?
  2. How do you plan to bring your previous experience to a teaching job?
  3. Many New York City Teaching Fellows are placed in high-need schools. How do you feel about this?

I want to become a teacher because interacting with secondary and primary school students fills me with energy and inspiration. Every school at which I have observed or taught has shown me that teaching is an intense creative challenge that requires a fresh perspective every day. As a writer, reader, and editor at NYU and other institutions, my job has always been to find ways to successfully translate one discourse into another. That is what teaching is for me, ultimately—a fantastically inspiring task of translation. How can I tell a supervisor or professor what I know in a language both of us can understand? How do I tell a Foundation Board that my group needs grant funding to organize a project, and that we have the same goals? How can I explain why identifying pronouns or equidistant points correctly is important? I am enthralled by answering questions like these, and being a teacher would allow me to do so every day. Teaching offers exactly what I want most in daily life and a career—the challenge of solving problems creatively, and a chance to interact with students in a structured environment.
As a Fellow, I intend to use all of my previous experiences in education and occupation to ensure that my students are engaged and performing beyond expectations. My search to find the job that best suits me has taken me through many different working and writing environments, and my knowledge of what it takes to develop skills for a career will be crucial in an English, ESL, or math class. My work as a development coordinator, grant writer, and copy writer has taught me that the right language and personality are essential in “selling” an argument, product, and especially oneself. Students in high school need help presenting themselves to colleges or prospective employers, and, knowing first-hand how discouraging it can be to organize these presentations, I would like nothing better than to help students in especially high-need areas.
I spent seven months in an eighth grade classroom in MS 143 in the
Bronx, teaching math and grammar to ESL and under-achieving students. I learned more about effective teaching and professionalism at this job than I have in any class. The challenge was finding a balance between being a fun and caring educator who knows how to speak a language students understand, and earning the respect I needed from those students to speak that language to them. In teaching at MS 143, I realized that I can use Spongebob Squarepants or X-Box video game references in as many grammar lessons as I choose, but that does not guarantee an accessible lesson that students are willing to learn from. I found success and inspiration when I designed a student-driven, hour-long math project which tracked and organized data about hours students spent watching TV and videogames among my students in order to teach mean, median and mode. They remembered the experience and content for review lessons. Because I presented the project as a serious effort to learn more about my students and earn their respect, they became active learners.
Teaching in a high-need school is extremely important to me. I crave the diversity and the exhausting challenge that such a school environment provides. Also, I believe schools are called high-need for a reason—they do not want help, they need it. I encountered great many high-need students and their families when I visited
New Orleans to do volunteer work this semester. While gutting and cleaning Martin Luther King Jr. high school, a former high-need school which had been left to rot for three months after Hurricane Katrina, we heard dozens of community members testify to the press and media how their children were suffering because FEMA did not reconstitute the school. Some were in tears; some were brave. As I worked with twelve other volunteers to push a soggy grand piano out the doors of the school into the trash, I knew that if I wanted to be a teacher, I would not let myself go where I was not working with students that truly needed help. I realize that New Orleans was an exceptional environment, but I know that work with high need schools is the most valuable work that I can do for others and myself.
I was not raised and educated in a high-need school environment and will be the first to admit the gap in life experience between myself any student who is. But observing and teaching in high-need schools has taught me that academic performance and a desire to learn does not come from having a teacher who is a peer. It comes from having a teacher who respects and is respected by his or her students. I firmly believe that learning and interacting with a teacher who comes from outside the student’s culture is just as valuable as working with a teacher of a familiar race, age, or culture. As a student, I have found my most valuable and empowering experiences to be broadening ones. As a teacher for the New York City Teaching Fellowship, I am absolutely certain that I can bring this message to the high-need students of
New York City schools.

Talk to you soon! Lots of pictures of my sister horse-back riding next to midgets, and in general, of everyone having a great time. Even me, as I ride the buckin' bronco of senioritis in to the John Sextonless sunset. Hope them Injuns in the working world know how to make a cup o' coffay.

Thursday, March 30

Advice from my friend Karen Palmer.

1. Live every day like it's your last.
2. Muffins are for people who don't have the balls to order cake for breakfast.

And she's right!

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning. No, seriously. I'll tell you tomorrow.

Monday, March 27

I wrote this quickly, so it's probably honest.

I'd like to read this out loud to someone:


something is placed,
so something else
must be unplaced.
Simple like water,
but comes
in so many styles
of quick flood
it's hard to say
who you have been.

I say,
I have been the man behind the register,
I have been myself (in line
I have been the woman
complaining about Dell's cracker ass
manufacturer's warrantees
I have been your cup of coffee, that banana, my high school principal, Smokey the Bear,
someone's steel-tipped boot,
and someone's left
breast, with the nipple
of someone else entirely.
I have been men and women
in bed
minus a mind,
so this morning
I did not worry, that
you claim to have been
in love. I have been
many people
who were
in love.

Authors without texts, texts without authors.

More Pictures! Pantea's dance was really cool, and I'm honored to know her. That's her on the left, there.

Hypothesis: This week will go well.

Materials: Lots of homework, no computer to synchronize the pictures, writing, and music I will take, not much time, a little rock climbing, a little job seeking, a little cooking. A refusal to apologize for who I have been lately, because I am proud of what I accomplish and don't accomplish. I am still young, although it is probably dangerous to acknowledge that.


Sunday: Yesterday: Spent all day skipping the universe with Molly. Gathered raw imaginational resources. Processing . . . . . . . . . .

Monday: Today. Homework, dropping off sleeping bag, homework, getting myself back in alignment. Take charge of my life.

Tuesday: Classes, Homework, rock climbing with Molly, possible hang out with Pantea for birthday. Rock climbing with Molly? (!)

Wednesday: Class, homework, therapy, occupational stuff, work on post-modernity style paper.

Thursday: Class, homework, good times because class is over. Work.

Friday: Work, wine and good times.

Saturday: Too far away to think about. Start Katherine's birthday present?


Disconnection is difficult to live on top of, but sometimes it is more solid than the truth. Also, I like to sum things up.

Lately I listen a lot to a mix CD given to me by someone I don't know, mixed by someone I've never met. I don't know who the bands are, and I don't know what the songs are called. I like track 6 for happy times, track 3 for times when I'm feeling romantically disconnected, and track 7 for when I'm walking. Of course, my computer still won't be fixed for 10 days, so I can't actually listen to any of it for quite a while except in my head. But you know how it goes!

Uber-conclusion: I know how to be me. I think I'm going to do that a little more often, and things will probably go well as hell. No poetry lately, I think, because I haven't been myself as much.

Photo Safari coming! Alex visits new York! We went horse back riding!

Also: James Keene is amazing and from space. Me in the midst of academic troubles.

Wednesday, March 22

Crossing the Page of Swords.

It occurred to me today while reading an article about the conflict in Vietnam: there must have been dozens of politicians who wanted to drop an atomic bomb on that country. What did they say? What happened?

Things are better a poem in class, decided to write a post modernist paper, brought some balance in.

If cats always land feed side down, and toast always lands butter side down, what happens when you strap a peice of toast to the back of a cat and drop it?

Tuesday, March 21

Call me Action Jackson!

This thursday, at 6 PM: High tea in BRITtney Dorm (appropriate, eh?). I'm hosting, there will be British cookies, my sister, and increditimes.

Yesterday, at the bottom of a saltines box (a big one with the four plastic columns of crackers) I found a 1979 silver dollar. I didn't touch it, though. I put the box back on the shelf, and called my dad about my problems. It was a great idea.

Academic amputation feels weaksauce, but sometimes is good for me in small doses, if my goal is to find balance/inspiration/fear. Reading is good for me, in times of stress. Underlining with a pen in a book is good for me.

I played the first five minutes of the SNES game Chrono Trigger yesterday, enjoyed that, found it calming. I think all my favorite video games play out like the quests you used to go on with your friends when you were little. Everything seems animated by a healthy, young sense of your world being this absolutely gigantic but ultimately conquerable place. Optimism, anyone?

When I was smaller and living in Massachusetts, there was a gigantic fallen tree in the woods off the end of the driveway. I used to make beleive when I was climbing on it that it was a strange futuristic boat, and that being on it was the only thing that mattered. I think I'm getting a little of my ability to feel that back.

I came this close to writing a blues song yesterday. I may come this close today. Who knew?

Katherine, this comic was made to be talked about by us, in all its glory. Family, think of the phrase mmmm....buddaw...and you'll understand why.

Mood: Building.

Monday, March 20

Double time.

I got an extended sentence here in the computer lab for attempting to escape. Here's something personal:

Life by mind.

I have a...beawwwd. Mmmm....buddaw.

I'm having trouble writing about New Orleans as an experience, so far. I'm going to try and dish something out up here the next time.

So last night I met James Keane (spelling?) and participated in what I consider to be one of the great friendship triumvirates of our modern age. There were (not in any particular order): gin and tonics, there was random word association, blueberry pancakes, friend making, dessert before dinner, snuggling for three, song writing (I wrote a song with Molly! Probably the most amazing writing experience I've had in a while...), skipping the universe, romantic interest, fear, grocery shopping, the reading of sensitive documents, and the cubing of intensity surrounding physical interaction by unpracticed arts. Vagueness is shyness, and shyness is pride (for me). Lately I haven't been vague much, though. Just directly more proud than usual.

Now, I'm in the computer lab. Molly and company will be going to V for Vendetta tonight, something I'm really excited about, but instead I'm going to set up an academic foxhole with Pantea, and try to get my wheels back on the track. All this dry steering is really fun and dizzying, but as I have never really lived the way I am these days (Friends and careers shooting off the charts with schoolwork lagging somewhere in the background, feeling like it's moving slower than an uphill pancake.)

My father is asking me to write 100 things that I've learned during college. I want to write 20 things each for 5 categories. The five abstract categories I'm considering using for inspiration are:

1. Seeing.

2. Touching.

3. Hearing.

4. Smelling.

5. Speaking.

It's kind of a massive intellectual project, now that I think about it. I think I'll have to outline my emotional, academic, and extracurricular involvements over the last 4 years in order to even begin to approach everything.

There are some things that the mind does well--you can fight your mind and do everything perfectly (or take medication trying), or you can relax and let your mind work behind the scenes for you. In my experience in the last few days, both ways get similar amounts done with similar quality of work and similar stress levels.

Things I'm doing:

  • Making a list of things I'm doing.
  • Going to the gym.
  • Doing things.


I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I'll stay. I will not be moved.
He takes a long pull from his brandy bottle. He stops as the Assistant Brute comes into view.
Ho there.
I do not budge. Keep your "Ho there."
He waves his sword dangerously.
But the Prince gave orders --
-- So did Vizzini -- when a job went wrong, you went back to the beginning. And this is where we got the job. So it's the beginning, and I'm staying till Vizzini comes.

My favorite thing I said today:

You should

see the


I come from, it is

colder than it

is here.

Friday, March 17

Camera keeps blinking (Staring at the teeth of the University dragon).

The library of the school we worked on yesterday, pre-cleanup:

The power cut out last night before I could finish uploading, but being the smart person I was I published before it was all here are another 50 pictures or so. Also, my Photobucket account went over, so I've started another for the remaining N.O. pictures. Here. Cheers!

Also, here's something I found from a while back: A list of the funny costume descriptions given in manufacturer's magazines that I was keeping while I worked at Future Memories. Some of these are priceless...I had to fix all of them and make them saleable, unfortunately.

  • Costume includes a jacket with attached belt, pants, and a dickey.
  • The Power Ranger glove accessory will stretch to fill any child.
  • In the Child Emperor of Evil Costume your child can the next leader of their own evil empire! Costume includes: Robe, Chest Drape, Hooded Cape, Belt, Medallion and Mask. Sizes 4-6.

  • In the adult deluxe werewolf mask people will know that you are one bad dog and an even worse wolf! This is one mean wolf! This is a full over the head latex mask with lots of hair attached.

  • In the Adult Cain the Vampire Tyrant Vampire Costume be the evil undead dictator! Costume includes: Long Jacket with shoulder capelet, velvet trim vest with dickey, brooch and vinyl gauntlet. Teen size 32-36.

  • In the Child Dark Vixen Gothic Costume your child can learn the ways of follwing the dark side! Costume icludes: Gothic style velvet hooded dress with draping sleeves. Sizes 8-10.

  • $This $$giant thrashing demon haunted house prop$$$ is an astounding sculpture of incredible detail and unbelievable scale! Its entire 13 foot tall body thrashes back and forth swinging its arms, snapping its head, and lunging at your guests. Your patrons have never seen anything like this! This piece generates incredible word of mouth and is an unbelievable marketing tool to the local media for guaranteed exposure. Animated version includes steel stand, pneumatic package, computer controller and footpad.$$$$
    $The $$goblin haunted house prop$$$ is actually reaching out for you! It is a foam filled latex prop reaching out as if to take your very SOUL! It is 40 inches tall and 36 inches wide.$$$$
  • PAGE 2287
    Adult Sexy Black Halter Dress Costume
    Halter-style nylon dress, very provocative, flair skirt for plenty of sex appeal
    $ 9.00

It's stronger in my head.

I'm not arrested, and I had a great time! More photos here, in the up to March 16th folder on my photobucket account (over 70, amazing what I got to see today), and lots of stories to tell. There aer some pictures from the house we gutted, my adventures in NO proper (trying to find the doctors my cousin told me were missing), along with mother's and food that I ate (YES, I ATE ALL OF THAT). There's only a little overlap because Id idn't want to miss uploading anything. As I said, lots of stories. Here's one:


Only think
what the library
looked like
the day after, that soggy sea
that tomb/tome of learning
those papers/trash that
had become trash/trash and
the ceiling was so tall
you could imagine students
like scared frogs
bouncing over a dirty pond,
the bottom of which
they used to know.

Nasty carpet of books, now.

Here, pages are
without destruction.
Here, dark mold
paints the pink
of the wall
and community
is drowned.

I throw the
librarian's chair
over children's
on the street.

These book shelves are
heavier than
they look.

Take off the goddamn door,
I don't care
what the hinges
look like, how bad
they rusted.

Working man's obese sexist haiku:

In the sun, only man I love more
than the creator of the crowbar
is he who invented lunch

Fun Fact! The governor of RI is named Lincoln Almond. Is that funny? If so, why? I feel like I need one of those commercials where they call the people to ask if it's funny or not. Yeah. Let me know.

It's easy for me to enjoy my pictures because I'm an english major who likes poetry and is in the poetry class that I'm in--everything has artistic value, everything can be stared at. Do you find that about pictures?

Thursday, March 16

West Texas twang

Still no pictures today, but I got a lot of good ones, beleive you me.

Things I did today:
  • Finished gutting a house.
  • Went and tracked down a family member's colleague across the city (by bike), and then called that family member and let them know everything was fine--the people had just relocated. Got the information from one of their neighbors who was staying in a trailer.
  • Ate at Mothers. I went up to the woman at the counter and said, "My father told me this was the greatest restaurant in the world, and I'm really hungry. What should I eat?" She gave me a beer, a bowl of gumbo with a baguette peice, and a footlong sandwich with ham, beef, swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard, roast beef, and roast beef with drippings. I ate ALL OF IT, and then had to throw up a little. Still, it was the greatest thing I have ever eaten, and I do not need to eat meat again for the rest of my natural born life. If I am reborn as a zombie, that may be a different story. I might have to have a cheeseburger or something. Otherwise, call me Salad-4-Life man.
  • Got a REALLY kick butt record. Almost got a recording of Woodstock, but it was a bit pricey.
  • Read a play about Madame Butterfly. It was interesting.
  • Decided to go to gut a school tomorrow against the government's wishes (they have not provided any support for this area, and tomorrow the residents are protesting, and Common Ground is providing supplies and relief love), which may end in my arrest. I'm gonna make a run for it, though, when the time comes. More information soon! I called my mother, and she said, "Go for it!". ROCK ON, MOM. I AM RELATED TO YOU 200%.
I'm getting ready to go to sleep to get ready for that tomorrow. But here, take this.


Presiding over all this
is a mistress of ceremonies known
as Tante Sue,


tiny dynamo of a woman
who boasts
grand children.
She sings, cavorts, sips
hot schapps
from a half-pint holstered
on her hip.

She has an accordion
printed on her T-shirt.

And as she spins
she grasps two
of material
and says,
"I play my accordion
on my T-shirt,
I have a great
I don't miss
a note."

And this:

"but the Butthole Surfers said
It's better to regret something you did
Than something you didn't do
We were young
And we were looking
looking for that deep kick...
Seen 'em come, seen 'em go...

(And I feel I'm getting close to you)"

--From "Deep Kick," by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Wednesday, March 15

I coo.

Swinging from rafters,
Hammer in my mouth
Asbestos pirate.

Dark shower time
In the freeze, move hands where body
Should be. Is that soap?

Cheese Nips for breakfast
For lunch, dinner, salad, dessert
Nabisco is God.

House graffiti
Top is corps, right region, left date
Bottom for body count.

Reading books to place
and then to replace, is it
better off the plate?

More pictures soon
I lent my USB cord
It's time for dinner.

Monday, March 13

The internet connection at the end of the universe.

I had the means, so today I took a lot of pictures and am uploading them to my photobucket account. In case I haven't told you over the phone or you can't guess from the images, this place is a gigantic, terrible fucking mess. Things:

  • There is a line of something about 5 feet high on every structure in this neighborhood. It's a water mark.
  • This is not just a "clean up" thing. It's also a race thing. Common Ground was started by an old Black Panther leader, who was trapped in his home when white vigilantes were roaming the streets after the flood.
  • It's a completely volunteer organization, with 34 full time people and 300 more students coming in tomorrow. That means the number of volunteers are doubling.
  • The most dangerous things in the houses we're going to be gutting will be the refrigerators...think about it. Roast beef + 6 month abandonment = Satan, airborne.
  • I'm going down to the lower 9th Ward tomorrow, with a Tyvek suit, a respirator, a first aid kit, a tool box and some raisins, and I am going to fix up some mess.
  • I'm on team Moose with 11 other students, most of which are from Weslyan. My team and I picked it so we can yell MOOOOOOOOOSE in the morning to gather the team up.
  • Today I helped a woman bring cabinets into her house. She pulled up on the side of the road, said her name was Betty, and that she was trying to move back in and needed two people. I went and got this guy whose name was Ryan, and we did it.

There are 34 pictures here.

I'm not going to describe all the pictures yet, but there is a picture of me with team Moose (although we haven't done anything yet), a lot of pictures from the top of the school that I'm staying in with 599 other people (Called St. Mary of the Angels), some pictures of non-working trains, and some funny messages people left on their houses.

There are some pictures of drawings that are stretched all around the cafeteria...they're all done by one guy, who I met. The person he drew writes their story of working in New Orleans on them.