5.31.2008

seeing strange things

when i lived in boston, and before that in western mass, i never thought i'd live in new york.

now that i'm here, i still don't think i live in new york, i live in brooklyn, which is really worlds away from that scary, creepy, overwhelming, overly vertical, sketched out, maxed out place across 3 bridges and a tunnel from here.

still, creepy, sketchy, overwhelming things happen here in smalltown brooklyn, the likes of which cause neighbors to stare dropjawed and get loud in the street.

d and i took a walk down 7th ave after a nap, at around 830 or so this evening. we were headed into town to find some dinner, maybe catch a movie or just a stroll. right by the tea lounge, which is slated to close in july, we come across an older man sitting with his back to a storefront, waving a handheld video camera at a small person, who upon walking closer we find to actually be a 7 or 8 year old little girl. the little girl, easily mistaken for either a little person or a slightly deformed adult of incredibly tiny stature has two balloons stuffed in the front of her dainty tank top, emulating the look of giant implanted titties. the little girl is running her hands over the faux boobs, doing little dances for the man with the camera, and dramatically posing herself on a streetlamp pole. all very odd behavior.

as we pass, i ask d if this seems a bit strange to her, and in agreement, we hear someone ask, yeah, does that seem strange to you guys too? a woman perched on a stoop two doors down is disgustedly oogling the entire scene, recruiting onlookers to cast discouraging looks and speak pointedly and loudly about the situation. another woman stops who turns out to be a teacher nearby and says this seems out of control. everyone wants to know if the man is the child's father, and if so what are they doing. the woman approaches the man and asks what they're filming. the man answers, 'a documentary about the terrorism and war in iraq' and the woman inquires if the little girl is ok, she seems happy enough, and she says she's fine. the woman goes on to ask why the little girl has balloons under her shirt, to which the man begins yelling, you go home, go away, go smoke your crack, and other such mumblings. he notices d and i standing nearby, keeping an eye on the girl, as we felt compelled to do, and says something to the girl about the lesbians in lesbianville ruining the sanctity of marriage. the little girl nods solemnly in agreement and dances around the street pole some more.

cops are called and recalled, when they finally arrive an hour later, they basically tell the woman who called to shut up and let them handle it. they ask the man for ID, he provides begrudgingly, and tell him he needs to move along. he makes some comments about filing a report for neighborhood harassment, the cops leave, and the man walks up the block and winds up right back where he was, apparently finishing his film.

the video i shot is only about 30 seconds long, but disturbing nonetheless. i might have to take it down at some point, though i hope not. an example of the system i guess.

video


it wasn't all bad though - after we walked on, we stopped in front of the tea lounge to say hello to a girl that d had noticed earlier, who turned out to be none other than the famous erin mckeown, a former friend of d's, and folky girl songwriter.

i love when creepy weird things get intertwined with celebrity sightings.

of course i didn't realize it was the erin until after we'd walked on from the tea lounge, but still....

we can't win 'em all.

xo

5.27.2008

advise

every once in a while i might ask for some advice

those who know me well know i may or may not listen

but i really like opinions of others

the perspective thing -

i only have my own until somebody shows me another.

so this thing happened about a month ago

where a good kid's computer got stolen

and my P was all like, make signs

and i did

and being that it's my school, where even quality artwork won't stay up on the walls for more than a week without being vandalized or torn down by some little snot who never learned any better, the posters are all but destroyed now.

i never heard anything back from the P or the A in general offering help or subsidizing the cost for another.

i did check in with another teacher in another school in another district, who had an extra computer but turns out it was a 9 year old box with no RAM.

and so it goes.

i have another kid in the program - one who has been designated an identical computer to the one which belonged to the first kid whose computer was stolen.

the other kid is fairly lazy, inconsistently available, overly social when he should be working, and the other day asked me what he could sell his computer for.

he also plans on not attending graduation.

the part where you come in - the advisory section:

can i, in good faith, being the moral, decent person i am, take the computer from the lazy inconsistent kid and re-designate it to the helpful good kid, whose computer was stolen? lazy kid would still get a computer, just not the computer he was planning on getting.

of course i can - i'm the teacher, i can do anything.

but is this ok to do?

i wouldn't normally ask, but i'm really struggling with this one.

thanks,

<3

5.26.2008

riding riding riding

yesterday i participated in my first (dis)organized bike tour.



the tour de brooklyn - allegedly 18 miles of flat(ish) riding throughout the borough.

we started in dumbo, went down furhman, up atlantic, up washington, up eastern parkway, into the evergreen cemetary, up and around and through bushwick, funneled into a park with one gate to enter and one gate to leave, into east williamsburg, into williamsburg, into the navy yards, and back into dumbo to walt whitman park where i passed out in the grass for a while.

my flaggots consisted of rizzo and abs, and we also ran into my bike mechanics, thankfully because my old yellow fuji took quite a beating on this trek. somewhere on washington my chain fell off, and then after the race my front brake stopped working. traveling with my mechanics turned out to be a good decision, we skipped the after party because it was hideously crowded and played bad reggae and rode over to a little place with a back yard in prospect heights which had perogies....mmmmmm....fried things.

i had 3 beers. in a row. which is 3 more than i've had in many many months, like since my 29th birthday. i also learned that you look pretty gay riding around by yourself with an orange flag suspended 5 feet above your bike. but i was drunkish so it didn't really matter.

i knew i got burned but i didn't know how bad it was till i got home, passed out for a while, then got up in what must have been the onset of hangover + dehydration + muscular fatigue + hunger pain.



d took us to mazat and i ordered a cheeseburger. omg. then we came home, applied aloe, and i think i died.

i can't wait for the next one.

5.24.2008

harvest!

exactly 3 months and 1 week after acquiring and setting up my worms, i have had my first compost harvest.

no - i don't eat compost.

for the past month i haven't been feeding my worms due to a mite infestation, a fungus gnat invasion, and a feeling of discontent noticed amid the worms.

they've been perfectly content burrowing around in their own poop but i know that after some time that becomes toxic for them and i'd have to do something soon.

so over the past month i've been digging handfuls of the stuff out and feeding it to my patio garden plants. we have tomatoes, peas, morning glories, catnip, parsley, basil, chives, cone flowers, and violets. other than the occasional dried up newspaper crust rising to the top after a day in the sun, this method has worked well.

enter vivian, my neighbor, tending her own patio garden out front this morning. she's in a robe, just like me, when i'm having an early morning garden retreat. i ask her if she'd like some compost for her plants, as i have extra and can bring her some. she says she's never used it before. i told her it's like super-nutritious dirt and she says she'd love to try. i get home and realize i can't give the stuff away with all eggshells and newspaper clumps in it. i get started sifting it in our pasta strainer. i now have about 10 containers of perfect compost to give to friends and relatives. anybody want some?

i started with 1 pound of worms, which was supposed to be about 500. after removing as many as possible prior to sifting, i found i have about the same, if not a few more. i thought they'd multiply faster than that, but maybe conditions were off. i've set up a new worm bin, similar to the old but i'm doing a different feeding cycle. it's also nice that i have the garden to take my kitchenwaste overflow.

i broke d's laptop last night. unintentionally but still. we're trying out the mac support store on 7th st. i'll let you know how it goes.

<3 & compost

5.21.2008

pms+powerlessness+idol = 24.5 more days of hell

seriously, the only thing keeping me going at this point
is jack black and ben stiller dancing to gladys knight's midnight train to georgia.

shout out to drew for his really cool japan blog

i don't really care which david wins tonight.

my idol was the first one booted, after a too gay version of tainted love.




other than that, i've been a complete waterworks the past few days. d is probably ready to stab me with letter openers.

at least soon i'll get to try out my really cool new mooncup.

5.16.2008

perfect end to perfect week

talking about minimizing our carbon footprint
nearly run over by an 18wheeler
no blinker
merge without looking
cant see us
adrenaline
i climb out
hole gashed through
we're ok
but panicked
ambulance
police
what do you mean "we can't get his insurance info?"
get to school frazzled
stay 50 minutes
leave.
sleep.
eat yummy omelet.
relax.

let's ditch both these booty cars

and get the prius now.

5.07.2008

full-out schoohaus warrior mode

this is my 3rd year running a little after-school program that turns kids into geeks.

some might not garner such a sense of pride from this transition as i do.

this program is what i live for. (in addition to worms, my bike, and canolis from fiorentinos)

this program accepts kids who have no computer at home, offers them the opportunity to take one apart, learn all the pieces, put it all back together, power it up, install an operating system, install some software, take it home, and have a year of internet free. these are kids who come to school at 720 for the breakfast. these are kids who won't get breakfast this summer because they won't be in summer school. these are kids who deserve a break. these are the few intrinsically self motivated little warriors that make what i do worth every second of every bad day. these are the kids i live for.

so today, i was humbled and surprised, but not really by a 'missing' computer.

an amazing student of mine, 'h', also an intern for this after-school program shows up to tell me that his computer is not where it should be, and that he can't find it.
h and i go to the room where the program is held, scour it for the machine and turn up empty-handed. stomping into sara's office i go. core cabinet meeting. forgot. door closed. no way in. secretary senses my rage and inquires. tells me she will interrupt most important meeting of the month for this crisis. sara sways unsteadily at door in disbelief. as if i had not looked hard enough. as if i could have done better. as if the 12 pages of literacy reports correlated by grade and reading proficiency level were not good enough reason to help me, asks, well have you made posters? like a milk bottle - we are to track down the missing computer ourselves.

the class, which was scheduled to be an operating system demo with assessment questions and a journal was postponed. we spent 2 hours designing posters, fliers, and taping them in the hallway. yes - we made posters. they actually turned out decent. we put everyone who stopped by to work fliering. braswell the security officer stops in holding three fliers taped to her hands asking, what the hell is this? has this been reported? does sara know?

she told me to make posters. that's what i'm doing.

it'll be reported first thing tomorrow morning.

5.04.2008

freakshow

we attended a performance in the east village on saturday night.

a rare occurrence, d and i heading into the city - ever, never mind after 9 on a saturday night

but this promised to be good.

"queerlesque"

i'm not one to judge a show by its name, but how could you go wrong?

well.

a drag inspired, trans-heavy, big girl burlesque was what we got.

each performance a little odder than the last.

we really enjoyed darlinda, la jon, vic, and fancy chance.

we were a little scared by the rest.

i kind of felt like i was watching some type of therapy performance unfold.

questions i've pined over for a while were answered.

i was left wishing i'd never asked.

all that said, i'd go back and see it again.

180° of fresh rot

for the past few weeks, i've been riding past the garden at 6th ave and 15th street
curiously peering through the iron fence, wondering how i can get inside.

pulling up to the dutch gate, i see a waterstained note in a plastic baggie telling me i should email for more information about composting.

my heart skips a beat.

i re-read.

composting

and i know i've struck gold.

i scour the website, attend an overly political-woman run-socialist style meeting

find the compost queen and sign right up.

today d and i attended our orientation, paid our membership fee, and got to play with the steaming mush.

for those of you who don't know about compost, here's a few facts:

1. yes it smells
2. no, it's not made of poop, though you can add certain manures to it if you want
3. it needs some care and attention to become a useful material

here's how it works, in very basic terms:

there are 3 large boxes, or crates. your greens, meaning chopped up kitchen scraps consisting of fruit, vegetable, eggshells, non-greased up paper products, teabags and a ton of other stuff goes in box 1. you mix your greens with an equal amount of browns, which means natural hardwood sawdust, leaves, newpaper, cardboard, and let the sunlight, oxygen, and water do its natural thing. over a few weeks, you'll turn the box, and eventually dump it all into crate #2.

crate #2 has a vent in it. this is because compost that is properly breaking down gets really hot. apparently it can get to be about 180° in the summer. the steam needs to escape otherwise heat can build up, killing the microorganisms eating the decomposing foods, and it would seem a fire could start. this crate needs to be turned quite often to aerate it. this is the stinky box. lots of methane gas escaping as a byproduct of the carbon and nitrogen based browns and greens from crate 1.

crate 3 is the nearly finished to finished stuff. the stuff gardners love to put on their beds. the stuff houseplants love to have placed along the top of their soils. the stuff life is made of - or something. sometimes crate 3 isn't done, and you can tell by the amount of steam and the way it smells, but it can generally finish curing in barrels besides the crate. this is the stuff that needs sifting before it can be used.


so i'm pretty excited about the composting at the garden. since we've determined that my worms aren't the hungriest bunch of wigglers, i'm glad to have a place to bring my kitchen overflow. i'm up for turning next weekend. should be interesting. also a bonus is that d seems to really enjoy the garden. we're joined as a household and are psyched to get our keys next weekend.

yay!

5.02.2008

disappointment - with a side of scungilli

back to fiorentinos, for the second time this week.

joey leaves for chi-town soon so it was mio famiglia italiano event.

i did better than last time.

here's what i ate tonight:

3 pieces of bread
1 breadstick
9 baked clams
1 mussel marinara
10 pieces of calmari
1.25 mozzarella in carozza
1/2 bowl rigatoni with shrimp sauce (white) (with parmesan cheese)
1 bite mamma's fish. (mamma doesn't eat fish - but at fiorentinos she does)
1 piece honeydew
3 pieces watermelon
1 tartufo (restraint)
1/2 section tiramisu
1/4 canoli

they didn't need to roll me out, but an alkaseltzer would do wonders right about now.

as for the disappointment - i had an interview scheduled for next week at a rilly rilly good school, but got a call today that they'd hired someone. srsly, who hires without meeting all the potential candidates?

it's 10pm on friday.

it's time for bed.