Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Need(ed) A Break! And After Reading All Of This, You Might, Too

It's SPRING BREAK, BABY!  And I could not be happier or more relieved.  It was a long slog to get here, believe me.  I thought March was bad, but these 20 days of April were brutal.  Brutal, I tell you.  But I made it, and now all that is left to do, really, is to clear out a few Occipital Oddments left clattering about in my cranium, and I'm good.  I can cross "put up a post at the Dept." off my list, move on to vacuuming, uncork a red, and figure out dinner.

I mentioned in Comments in the last post how awful our copiers are in our Brand! New! High! School! Well, this week we had yet another Epic Paper Jam, and because I had time, I set to work on it.  Under the watchful eye of Kathleen, I systematically began to clear the mangled copies out from the interior of the machine. "Damn it!" I exploded.  "It keeps lighting up the same error spot."  Kathleen calmly surveyed me kneeling next to the copier.  "Is it number 6?" she asked knowingly.  "I got stuck at number 6 forever last time. Forget it. There's no way to get in there."  I pulled out another drawer, undeterred.  "It says something about a conveyance in number 1.  Well, number 1 can go fuck itself at this point. I really don't...Holy shit!  Look at this!"  I withdrew a handful of tightly pleated copies.  "The Digestive System," I read aloud from the top copy, showing it to Kathleen.  "All this was stuck right in the middle drawer!"  Kathleen looked at it wryly.  "Oh, the irony," she said.

Another Workroom Diversion occurs when teachers read student work aloud.  Sometimes it's for entertainment purposes; sometimes it's out of frustration; sometimes it's because we are blown away by the high calibre of its quality and we're just plain impressed.  The best fun is Vocabulary Sentences.  Often, the nuances of usage escape students, regardless of their level.  My honors students, even, will misuse a word because they can't grasp the finer points of its usage.  For example, one of their words this week was schism.  A vast majority of them used it in this context:  The will left each of the children an equal schism of money.  See what I mean?  Here are two of my favourite vocabulary sentences shared by the team teachers Lisa and Karen this past week and a half:

*Amanda onslaught her boyfriend because he was messing with her car.
*The pizza was discernible from the living room.

You cannot put a price on entertainment like that.  Of course, we do not give points for Entertainment Value, but as we so often say, Life Is Not Fair.

Not so long ago, Jared--the son who used to co-author a blog with me--grew weary of thinking of segues or polite ways to introduce new topics of conversation.  (Sam, my youngest, used to use a Five-Second Rule:  that is, he'd wait five seconds, and if no one continued the current conversation, would simply jump in and start a new topic.)  Now, Jared simply says, "Unrelated" and then carries on with Whatever He Wanted To Talk About.  So...

1.  I contacted Garnier about the hair gel I loved. Turns out it's not discontinued, only unavailable in my area.  They pointed me to, where I ordered 7 tubes because I'm not convinced.
2.  I think my formerly favourite TV show House has jumped the shark.
3.  Why are there so many cake-themed shows on TV? And why are they so bellicose? Cake is a dessert, people! No one should be battling, warring, building, or sweating and injuring themselves over cake!  Stop it immediately...I was going to say "before someone gets hurt" but it seems a bit disingenuous to say that now, doesn't it?  How pathetically ridiculous to take all the fun out of cake. What is next?  Will they ruin cotton candy and Nutella?  (OH MY GOD DON'T YOU DARE!)
4.  In my spare time, I worry about Richard Engel, Middle East correspondent for NBC Nightly News. First of all, is he adorable, or what? Great teeth, great hair, so well-spoken...but he has no regard for his personal safety!  He is constantly in a war zone, speaking Farsi to the locals and playing dodgeball with missiles and anti-aircraft fire.  (All the while looking fantastic and somehow cuddly and dashing at the same time.)  If he doesn't knock it the hell off, I am writing an impassioned letter to his mother.

Now then!  I think that will hold you all through Easter.  Or whatever you may--or may not--celebrate.  I'm going to have a lovely Break. Do take Some Time for yourselves, won't you? 


  1. Oh wow he IS cute - yum! Well, that just sounds creepy coming from me :)

    I LOVE cake in all its many forms. One of my favorite cakes was my poor unfortunate cousin Julie's wedding cake way back in the 90s - the lady was supposed to be a GENIOUS, but this red velvet cake was more like a jello cake (you know, made with jello so it's extra moist). It looked really terrible but it was the best cake ever. I wonder if that lady is still alive?

    I beg to differ about the pizza sentence - good pizza IS discernable from the next room. Really! Or maybe I'm the only one with the special pizza sense.

    Lastly, I have disemboweled many a copier. I feel for you - really I do!

  2. Nance: Re: copiers. Two things you must have. 1) A sledgehammer. 2) Something bigger if that doesn't help. Bug: when disemboweling is not sufficient, use other means! They charge more for ink cartridges than the thing is worth.

    House train wreck: I have a kid who actually cries when the season is over. But this time, with the Segway episode, all of us slapped our foreheads and fled the room. Now we're only coming back like sick ambulance chasers to see how much weirder it can get.

    I liked your British spelling, "favourite," a tip of the hat, I suppose, to the dishy Hugh Laurie.

    Cake: I don't understand the attraction. Yeah, take me on on the Nutella. "A hint of cocoa"? Are you kidding me? Seriously nutritious ingredients to spread on nutritious whole-grain toast.

  3. Sputnik, amen on that stupid Nutella commercial. I, for one, have NO problem with sugar and dessert. But let's not call it nutritious, OK? I suppose it's no worse than pop tarts or coco puffs or other crap they sell for breakfast. But why not just show people using Nutella correctly, like in a crepe or something like that?

    I'm also with The Bug about pizza being discernible. ;)

    Regarding your copy machine, I feel for you. SO glad to work from home and not be in an office anymore.

    Enjoy your week off. Come back well rested and ready to tackle it all again.

  4. J.@jj--Oh, the Nutella commercial. I skewered them on that whole "part of a nutritious breakfast" bullshit way back in 2009 when they first tried it. I agree with you: They are completely missing their real marketing niche, which is dessert and women like me who seek its comfort on Those Days.

    Sputnik--I keep tuning in for Hugh,yes (what is it about him, really? I do find him incredibly alluring and lovely, even in his Real-Life British Persona), but I think it's also because I doggedly hope the heretofore excellent writers will snap to and right the ship. Failing that, can they please give Cuddy clothes that fit? It's very unlikely that a woman of her means would consistently buy jackets that strain so horribly at the buttons. Urk.

    the Bug--I am a fiend for really good cake, and I prefer my cake straight from the refrigerator. It is a topic we have often covered in the Lounge/workroom, this Cold Cake v. room temp cake phenomenon. Our local grocery store sells a half cake--just a layer cake cut in half--and they have a surprisingly good in-store bakery. It is a good amount for just Rick and I, so we get that treat once in a while. I like their white almond cake. Excellent cold. And speaking of treats: Richard Engel--oh yes.

  5. Mikey G.1:38 AM

    Speaking of cake, here's a really long tangent...

    I used to love making cupcakes, but they're so difficult to travel with. On my last trip to NYC, a friend suggested we make whoopie pies. We did, and I fell in love with them! You can make different varieties, just like cupcakes, but you can throw them in a bag and take them wherever. Perfect! And you don't need any special pan to bake them in; you can just use a cookie sheet.

    I love being easily amused :-)

  6. Yes, the spring break for which we have been waiting only to have every day spoiled by a fucking monsoon...

  7. Nance, it's me - Lin - this is M's account or something...I don't brain that so needed some relaxation has floated away... I am so very, very annoyed by this pissy, pissy weather...I can't even think straight...

  8. BooksterOne/Lin--Isn't this weather horrid? I'm grateful to be away from work, but finding myself cooped up so much is frustrating. Had a bit of a Bonus Day yesterday, and I actually sat out and read for a little bit, but you know how I hate Wind. The Cattens are loving the open windows, though.

    Mikey G--I simply cannot bring myself to call anything a "Whoopie" something. It's bad enough that there is a person over the age of 2 who calls herself that. I do know that those particular confections are predicted to be The Next Cupcake. Of course, that's what the Trend Advisers said about pie, and that never materialized. So....

  9. Speaking of copiers, we had a secretary at our office and for 15 years,knowing how to FIX the damned thing was her job security.

    No one else was permitted near the machine when it wouldn't work. Only SHE knew how to unjam it or retone it or whatever the H did did to it.

    She was the laziest, most incompetent person in the place but you couldn't even say the slightest thing against her or she would not fix the copier for you.

    Must run now. I am off to London
    to help my best friend,Liz, make
    the potato salad for the wedding on Friday.

    The reception is at her place,you know.

  10. Nancy--Now I'm jonesing for potato salad. But only my mother's. Why didn't I take a second helping at Easter dinner?

  11. I spent much of our spring break pissed about the weather, and now our break is over, and I'm pissed about that. Evidently, there's no pleasing me.


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