Saturday, April 21, 2007, posted by Q6 at 1:21 PM
For the record, there is nothing like a 30 minute shower. It was relaxing, it was refreshing, and I got a chance to shave my head to silky smooth perfection. I don't even care what it will do to my natural gas bill next month--it was worth it.
Sunday, April 15, 2007, posted by Q6 at 8:09 PM
As an educator, I look forward to vacations just as much as anyone. Spring Break as now come to an end, and I must report back to work in the morning. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to this week, but I did manage to accomplish several important things (including a fun little trip into L.A.) and I feel a little refreshed. A little too refreshed. If this is what retirees or lottery winners feel like, I could get used to this.

I will return to work tomorrow with a strong resolve to develop my personal time and use it much better. I intend to read more regularly, to work on my house, to blog more often, and to do things I haven't found the motivation to do in recent months. My job is draining--more recently than ever before--and I've let it affect too much my overall mood. My hope is to feel better about my personal life and not let my professional one consume me. It's a job, after all, and it's not all that I am.
Saturday, April 14, 2007, posted by Q6 at 9:34 PM
My boy is home! He spent the entirety of Spring Break at his grandfather's ranch in Northern California, helping do a major kitchen remodel. While he was there he turned fifteen, and TWO of his friends remembered to call him (his Dad did, too). He's growing to be such a great kid. He could be doing a little better in school, but we're getting there.

I got some much needed rest and "down time" while he was away, but I'm glad he's home.
, posted by Q6 at 7:10 AM
I suppose it's time to weigh in on the Don Imus issue, since the media seems so interested in keeping the focus off the real problem. (We all know by now what was said, and about whom, and we already know the fallout to date, so I'm not going to re-hash all of that.)

Some pundits have already been quick to point out that comment was a sexist one, not a racist one, and that we're failing to address the real problem. Others--including the coach of the basketball team in question--have emphasized that they weren't trying to get anyone fired over the matter. Important points all, but I think we're still missing the mark.

This is a culture issue. This has more to do with what language and references are acceptable NOT based on what they mean or who they're about, but based on who is making the comment. I don't really believe that we'd be enduring this much media attention of the issue if the comment were made by a hip-hop artist or even an African-American DJ. Many of them actually make such comments--and worse--and still manage to stay employed. If we were really interested in keeping such comments and phrases out of the mainstream, or if we wanted to keep them from being casual comments and really retain their status as "no-nos" then we wouldn't tolerate it from explicit hip-hop artists or ethnic comedians any more than we would from a white radio talk-show host. Carlos Mencia, who uses just about every ethnic stereotype he can for a laugh, is still working. People couldn't get enough of Dave Chapelle. Howard Stern, who has been treating women like sh*t for years, isn't as employed as he used to be--but he's still on the air.

Don Imus is a (the first?) sacrificial lamb in the quest for common culture. If ethnic artists can get away with using such language, why not Imus? Because it's not his culture? Whose culture is it? And why is it intolerant of the old white guy who is trying to play to a wide base? A few years back there was a failed campaign of "if you don't like it, turn it off." This tactic failed because it was socially separatist; "we shouldn't have to avoid anything," people would say, "it should be safe to view or listen to anything." It's dynamite on paper, but I'm the one making sure my kid isn't listening to the stickered albums (2 Live Crew, by the way, has to be laughing their heads off about now) while Imus's attempt to appeal to that demographic on their own terms got him canned. (I was never a big fan of Imus. I listened to his show a couple of times, decided it wasn't my particular brand of vodka, and switched. Seemed to work for me just fine.) In the end, here's what it sounds like: This is our culture; it's okay for us to say it, but you're not one of us so you can't. I don't know about anyone else, but there's way too much "us" and "you" rhetoric in there for me. And there's probably more than one history lesson in there as well.

We should be careful of the "selective tolerance" that is emerging from all of this. If we take Imus off the air, then it stands to reason that everyone who crosses the same line has to go as well (and we say goodbye to the "A" power rotation of at least ten radio stations in Southern California alone). Otherwise, we leave everyone up, and we only listen to what we want to (but we end up excluding people, ignoring groups of people, and generally drift away from each other as cultures).

Intolerance should be aimed toward concepts and not people. When one group gets to use certain terms, then complains when an "outsider" does the same, isn't that a lot like the pot calling the kettle . . . um . . . alloy-based?
Friday, April 13, 2007, posted by Q6 at 10:56 AM
The same job, elsewhere?
This job, as bad as it is?
A new, third option?
Tuesday, April 10, 2007, posted by Q6 at 12:09 AM
For me, it's Spring Break. In the past, that would mean I would take a week off from students and use roughly half that to catch up on paperwork and whatnot in the office. It would be quiet, monstrously so, and I could get work done in peace. Having no earthly interest in going in to the office at all this week (my job has been quite unfulfilling of late), I found myself at home today, alone (my son is visiting his grandparents this week and my girlfriend is visiting her parents), with a small list of large projects I really had no intention of starting today (though I completed two of the smaller ones). I woke up, did some laundry, read, slept, cleaned two rooms, read more, slept more, finished the laundry, went to the video store, made dinner, watched one of the videos, blogged, and went to bed. It felt . . . weird. I'm not used to being completely alone all day, and I'm even less accustomed to being unproductive. I'll get to more of the lists this week (I already have tomorrow mapped out, which will help), and eventually I'll have to go into the office to prepare for an ACT test on Saturday. I did bring home a box of stuff from the office that I'll have to do at some point.

The box, as of yet, is untouched.
Monday, April 09, 2007, posted by Q6 at 11:19 PM
So I rented "The Pursuit of Happyness" on DVD, a movie that I've very much wanted to see and have dreaded seeing for some time now (since I have the day off from EVERYTHING, I figured, why not go ahead and get it over with). I very much enjoy these true story films, and I've known simply from the preview that it was going to be hard to watch. I didn't come from poverty or anything, but I know what it means for money to be tight (my own personal history involves bankruptcy). Just to see Will Smith (in the preview) spending the night in a public restroom WITH HIS SON rips my heart out, so I could only imagine how hard it would be for a father to watch this film. I tend to sympathize with characters on the screen, so this is a film that is making me genuinely depressed. To make matters worse, the film takes its time getting through the story. I'm an hour into it, and things are still going downhill with no reasonable end in sight (I've had to pause it and walk away twice now--how did people watch this in a theater??). Great performances all around, and I'm sure I'll rave about the film when I get to the end, but this is probably the hardest film I've ever seen.
, posted by Q6 at 11:01 PM
I just finished reading a biography of Walt Disney by Neal Gabler. It's the most exhaustive biography I think I've ever read--almost 25% of the book is endnotes, bibliography, and index. This is the third bio I've read about Disney, and I've come to realize that he was not the man I always thought him to be. Not only was he financially inept (I always thought he put the work over the money--which is true--but he genuinely didn't care about it at all, and almost lost the studio twice due to his oversight), but what I always perceived as a "love of people" wasn't really that at all. Yes, I've walked away from this book slightly disillusioned, but my perceptions about his pursuit of quality and of scale are still intact. He could also, at times, be something of a jerk--if reading biographies every now and then has taught me anything, however, is that each human being has that capability, and it shouldn't be assumed that anyone doesn't display that quality from time to time. From this book I've learned two things: even iconic figures such as Disney have their faults, dark days, and errors; and you can build a lasting empire from nothing, though it will take its toll in some things. Nothing revolutionary in either, but food for thought.