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Oh, on another note, Obamacare is going to allow me to get healthcare, and when I mean get, I mean afford. Thank goodness. Especially since the doctor I just saw, threw this at me, "Based on your symptoms, I want you to get these tests so we can rule out colon cancer."

Thanks President.

Sep 7, 13 8:57 am

That's tough, beta. I hope it is not that serious. Wishing you well.

Sep 7, 13 9:32 am

Me too, been sick for going on seven weeks now, a bit strange. 

But, back to fun. What is your favorite lead holder?

Oh, has anyone listened to The Julie Ruin yet?

Sep 7, 13 9:35 am

You know who I'm geeking on right now? Allied Works and Brad Cloepfil. The Clyfford Still Museum is so beautiful, the book I purchased about it, is probably one the best books ever, about one work, by an American architect, in recent memory. Sublime. It's aspirational. 

Sep 7, 13 9:41 am

Brad Cloepfil does do beautiful work.  beta we're just at that age that docs start checking for the common maladies to rule them out. It's very likely to *not* be colon cancer, but might as well check. It's like women and mammograms.

Have you all heard that Postmodern Jukebox version of the Miley song? It's AH-mazing.

Sep 7, 13 3:54 pm

Do verified haters tend to hate everything else they stumble upon? Yes, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  To test out this theory, a team of psychologists asked study participants how they felt about a number of mundane and unrelated subjects that included (but was not limited to) architecture, health care, crossword puzzles, taxidermy and Japan.

Will, you made the list twice!  Mundane and hated, we are!

Sep 7, 13 9:06 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Still wish Archinect had a like feature. Very nice, Donna, very nice.

Posted from my iPhone keyboard.
Sep 7, 13 10:32 pm

hah, haters gotta hate. wonder how that study works. sit a bunch of people in a room and ask them what they hate?

Sep 8, 13 11:18 am

i was a fan of allied works/cloepfil until i saw the contemporary art museum in st louis. it's SO mean to the street and formally dry - really unfriendly - unlike the sublime pritzker by ando next door. 

Sep 8, 13 11:50 am

For All those Haters and  Angry can/t help from Loving This:

Sep 8, 13 6:08 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Since we're on the topic of pencils and lead....

I'm in the market for mechanical pencils with colored lead. I need at least 6 different colors - one for each class I teach, since I have all 6 classes during the same period. My grade book is hard to read at a glance.

I think next year, I'll create my own gradebook pages, color coded for each class, and printed on sticky-back to paste onto each page. But my assignments will still be hand written, and so I will still need the colored lead.

Any recommendations? And the boxes for grades are tiny, maybe an 1/8" wide, so I don't think 2mm will work, Donna.
Sep 8, 13 7:29 pm

i recommend an ipad or similar knock off.

pencils are so 20th century

Sep 8, 13 8:04 pm
Sarah Hamilton
I have an iPad, but its so easy to glance down at an open book, and see what's due when, and if the student was absent or not. Our online grade book doesn't compile the grades, assignments, and absences all in one place. It kinda sucks, really. Plus, it will treat my 6 classes as 6 seperate classes, making me click through four seperate menus, and then click out of four seperate menus. It's completely unintuitive, and actually makes grading harder.

Anybody feel like making a killing by redesigning gradebook software for teachers?
Sep 8, 13 8:28 pm


You can color code every thing in  Windows in a document.  Why not use that?  I always find writing  and editing in  word  a lot easier  than  longhand.  Even in the class room with a lap top you can bang them out as you think of them. Review later and edit. I often us it to help client understand the financial changes of a project cause they don't do spread sheets.

Sep 8, 13 9:02 pm
Sarah Hamilton
...cause I walk around the classroom, looking at the students' computers, discussing their work, and writing down the grades on the spot. Last year I used the iPad. I was hoping to be more organized this year.
Sep 8, 13 9:17 pm
I hear you Sarah. My university system is a pain too. It's worse because they have randomly translated parts of it to English so I have to switch to Japanese to do anything important. Always getting lost. They have it set up to work with csv files though so grades can be extracted from excel pretty easily. A nice feature if a bit geek tech-ish
Sep 8, 13 9:28 pm

pencils are so 20th century

Funny thing about pencils, the NSA hasn't figured out how to crack them yet.

Sep 8, 13 9:57 pm

Doubled as a roach clip.., beat that! eere!!

Sep 8, 13 10:19 pm

@beta I actually visited the Clyfford Still Museum while in Denver a few weeks back. I must say the texture of walls and cast in-situ 2nd flr ceiling/lighting screen were beautiful.

However, i was disappointed that the two terraces weren't open to public when i visited. As for Clyfford Still's paintings, i was previously unaware of his oeuvre but his earlier landscapes and later abstractions were impressive.

Sep 8, 13 10:26 pm

also @beta good news i guess...

night TC!

Sep 8, 13 10:27 pm

Pick a color.

Sep 9, 13 7:03 am

^ Now that's '70s. 

Sep 9, 13 7:43 am
Hah I think orhan's reason to keep pencils around beats miles' by,well, least:-)
Sep 9, 13 8:58 am

You want '70s in a ... ahem ... non-sequitur way.

Pick a color!

Sep 9, 13 9:48 am

I really dislike ballpoint pens.  Ballpoint on trace is like fingernails on chalkboard.

Sep 9, 13 10:20 am


it would appear there are 8 different colors of pencil lead, only in 0.7mm.  i think colored pencil lead is sort of waxy compared with regular graphite lead, which i think makes it more fragile and harder to write with.

Sep 9, 13 11:19 am
Sarah Hamilton
Fuck. I just made a grown woman cry. She lost her teenage daughter over the summer, and I have her son in class for a second year. He's being meaner this year, and I just wanted her thoughts on how I should handle him. Should I ignore his behavior, or should I speak to him about it.

I got as far as "I have a question: John is a bit meaner this year". I feel TERRIBLE!!!

I'm not even sure I should apologize. What if I make it worse?!

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Sep 10, 13 1:36 pm

sarah sounds rough... doesn't sound like you have anything to apologize for.

Sep 10, 13 2:18 pm

Sarah: yes, apologize.  Even if you're not sure if you're saying "I'm sorry for your loss" or "I'm sorry for calling your son mean", you're really doing both.  And of course she wants to know if something bad is going on with her son, it's just painful to hear.  I've cried in at least two meetings about my son's behavior, it's an emotional topic.  Especially since she's feeling loss of one child and now doubly worried about the other.

You need to speak to her as someone who is *on your team*.  You are both concerned about John (I'm assuming this is a fake name) and trying to work together to help him. You can apologize to her as a way to begin the conversation about coming up with a solution.  If she doesn't want to to talk to you because she mistakenly believes *you* are mean for calling her son mean, then go to the principal and say no one is trying to get John in trouble, you're just trying to figure out how to help him get through this obviously rough time.

Just for the record: you don't need to apologize because *you* did anything wrong.  An apology is just the best way to continue the conversation.  I would not be surprised if the mom apologizes to you for her tears and not being in better control herself.  What a sad situation for everyone.

Sep 10, 13 2:43 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Well, I just typed a whole books worth about how a teacher came to me, then a counselor, and finally an assistant principal. That I cried, at work, in front of a man, and that it sucked. But the. I hit the refresh button instead of done, and lost the whole post.

I need a drink.
Sep 10, 13 3:15 pm

Sarah, I work with kids and parents too. I've seen lots of parents cry. The best thing to do is offer Sympathy and Support and remember people first in your language. "I'm sorry," and "I understand that your family has been going through some difficulties. I'm so sorry to hear about that." could go a long ways. Then portray what you need about Johnny's behavior as observations, not as characteristics, make sense? "I see that Johnny is finding it harder to focus this year (or whatever)." Then it feels more like an invitation to problem solve and less like an attack. 

Don't beat yourself up over anything. You spoke clumsily and it was received poorly, not a big deal. I'd say it is up to you on whether to apologize for what you said earlier, but definitely readdress her so it is not left like that.

Sep 10, 13 5:59 pm

funny to read the last two response right after mine. guess i need to work on empathy more...

that being said of course there was more to it and Donna and there is no there were/are right

Sep 10, 13 7:39 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Nam, chalk it up to testosterone. Husband said "that bitch is CRAZZZY." Then he followed up with how it's all unprofessional and she should take time off.

I still bought her a card. I'll send a rough draft of what I write to the counselor first, just in case.
Sep 10, 13 8:32 pm

Oh man. This is making me laugh and cry at the same time.

Sep 11, 13 2:38 pm

You know what's shocking? The logo looks like the Twin Towers collapsing!!

Sep 11, 13 2:43 pm


or this ...

Sep 11, 13 5:49 pm

9/11 is just another marketing opportunity. First for the military industrial complex, now for Marriott and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Ain't capitalism great?

Sep 11, 13 6:54 pm
Sarah Hamilton
I know it doesn't mean a thing to my students, but we had a national moment of silence today. I actually put my hand over the mouth of a student because he wouldn't be quiet. It was very breif, but probably shouldn't have done it.
Sep 11, 13 7:58 pm


Isn't teaching a "never a dull moment" sort of thing?  Most of the time, if you are dealing with 18+ (adult) types or in a good district, if up to the secondary level, it could be fine.  I've done the adjunct thing about a dozen times.  I can count 2 experiences with students who were a-holes, and they weren't even that young.

The first was a foreign student in his mid 20s whose idea of mandatory tests was sort of different from normal convention.  He approached me a week before telling me he wasn't ready for the final.  I told him to call me BEFORE the final to discuss options.  He just chose not to show up.  Then he raised hell about getting an "F" in the course.  If 30+% of your grade has no points attached to it, you just might.

The one that takes the cake was a guy in his early 30s with 3 kids.  He told me immediately upon getting the syllabus there was a scheduling conflict with test 1 for personal reasons.  I told him it was no problem and that we'd set up another day for him to take it.  He wanted it after I had already handed it back to students who took it.  We went around and around.  I finally had enough of the pissing match and told him "pick your 1.5 hours on the preceding Sat. or Sun., or NOTHING."  He acquiesced.  My reviews were good except for his.  He lambasted me in 3 paragraphs.  If you have an issue that you're dumpy, in a not so great job, and saddled yourself with 3 kids prior to age 30 while I might drop references as to quirky things in the work place as examples, or what I'm doing because I have more freedom than you do, (cited in review) that's your problem.  When it came time to hand out grades, since it was point driven, I knew he was on the cusp of a B+ / A-.  I was so f***ing glad he fell onto the B+ side of the published and pre-established grading scheme.

So, yeah, it can be fun and rewarding, but there are always presumptuous, entitled douche bags who show humanity's ugly side.

Sep 11, 13 8:16 pm

Mrs Snooker spent last week in NYC with here mom, who was visiting from Brazil. They did all the the touristy things. Top of the Rock, Broadway, and Shopping.  Only thing they missed was  was the G. Okeef  retrospective at the MOMA....Mom isn't crazy about Museums.  The whole time she was in the city I didn't think about anything bad happening. Then today I was thinking about it and saying ....OH FUCK!   It actually popped into my mind when I drove by a local fire department where there is a local monument with one of the beams from the tower sticking out of the ground at about a 45 degree angle and  at least a 100 small flags stuck into the grassy surround.  Then it took me back in a hurry to that day.

Sep 11, 13 9:22 pm

If anything can ameliorate the uncomfortable feelings felt on this day, it's the concert headlined by Andrea Bocelli in Central Park in NYC.  Either alone or with other musical artists, it's something exceptional to listen to.

Sep 12, 13 12:32 am

on parking minimums

Sep 12, 13 2:04 pm
Sarah Hamilton
I'm soliciting advice from every source I know, and no, I didn't make someone else cry.

Currently, I teach up to 5 different classes in a class period, 5 times a day. I do this, even though it's inconvenient, so that my courses can be available to football players, academics, and artists alike. When a kid is required to have 4 core classes, that are only offered during certain times of the day, keeping my courses open allows them to take graphic design, or whatever, regardless of when their other classes are offered. It also means that my advanced classes, which might have anywhere from 1-5 students, will actually be available. In public eduction, if a course has less than 10 kids sign up, they nix the course, and those kids get placed in floral design or child and family development, some other available elective.

I heard from district today that they want to stop this. They want to schedule my classes to where animation is only offered at certain times, and graphic design is offered another, and so on.

I already sent an email to a lady at district explaining why this is a bad idea, and she responded with "it's great that you feel you can come to us with your ideas and concerns. Think about a strong sequence of courses for your program, and a way to offer them in a schedule to benefit students. Then you will see a large number of students wanting to sign up for your courses."

God, just rereading it to type here has my blood boiling! Is she an idiot?!!! I ALREADY HAVE FULL CLASS PERIODS!!!!! I don't have an issue with students wanting in my program; they want in. But if they go forward, the kids won't be able to get in!! Stupid stupid woman!! I love teaching, and I love my students, but she makes me want to quit. Gah! I want to throw my phone across the room right now!

Breath. So what would you do? How do I fight this? My students were around when I got her email, and heard me rant and rave all about it. Should I get them and their parents to call the superintendent? Do I do something less in your face? Do I just let her ruin my program and take choices AWAY from students?

Anyone? Personally, I want to punch her in her horse-face, and I've NEVER punched anyone!
Sep 12, 13 6:33 pm
Sarah, I'm confused. Do you mean that from 9-10am on Monday, you could have 15 kids in your classroom, but 4 of them are taking Graphic Design while 5 of them are taking Animation and 6 of them are taking something else?
Sep 12, 13 7:57 pm

"it's great that you feel you can come to us with your ideas and concerns, but you can't actually come to us with your concerns because we don't listen"  very nice.

this sounds to me sort of like internal politics within the school district.  i don't think you should involve the kids.  maybe you can talk to the parents at a pta meeting or something, but the kids aren't there to put up with school politics.   they're there to learn, and i think part of your job is to hide the dirty stuff from them.

as a general rule of thumb, when dealing with a subordinate or underling or what have you (i think students would fall into a group like that), you should try to set a better example and not air dirty laundry or complain about your superiors.  it's not their problem or their responsibility, so you just sort of have to shoulder it (and then rant to peers when they're not around).

Sep 12, 13 10:27 pm
Sarah Hamilton
Yes, Donna, that's exactly how I do it. My first period class had 1 adv. graphics kid, 7 animation kids, 5 digital arts, and 7 graphic design kids. They're split into groups, and I lecture to each group as needed. Most of my coursework had been designed to be self-paced and self-guided, but with goals and grades set by me.

And I know I shouldn't have thrown a hissy-fit in front of them. I should've been bigger and more mature, but sometimes it endears me to the students, and they know that I'm fighting "the man" for them.
Sep 12, 13 10:57 pm

Administrative Politics are why I skirted teaching.  My mum was a  teacher, one of the last country, 1 thru 8th grade  single class room teachers.  She had all eight grades.
So you can only imagine what kind of work load she  under took.  This ended and she went into a school district  with a more  small town  quality. Where she was squeezed out by an ass hole.   There were law suits which my mum won...and a written apology by the school board.  My parents moved to another state and another town where she finished out her career.  It was with much better pay and a lot better pension.  It however always left a bad taste in my mouth about the politics of teaching.  Sarah I  as Teddy  said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."  That is connect with the parents and let them do the talking. However be sure you have all the evidence on your side about class attendance, class  size.  

May the  who ever he is be with you....thinking he is a cricket player!

Sep 12, 13 11:05 pm

Administrative Politics are why I skirted teaching.

It's a lot like architecture that way.  The work itself is what people like.  The milieu is what people do NOT like.

Sep 12, 13 11:53 pm

I took calculus in high school along with probably about 9-10 other kids. We all were taking Physics or Anatomy & Physiology as well. These 3 classes were all offered in the first two periods of the day. Physics in first period and Anat. & Phys. in the second period. The Calculus teacher offered to split the class up and teach those who were taking Anat. & Phys. in first period and those who were taking Physics during second period. One of those periods was supposed to be her prep period. 

Not that this helps you solve your problem Sarah, but know that the effort you put into your students is noticed and does help (I was able to breeze through my college calculus course thanks in part to Mrs. Waddell). 

Maybe you can change the name of your classes to teach "graphic arts" all day long, and then the students can choose their area of emphasis like animation or graphic design. All under the heading of graphic arts of course. 

Sep 13, 13 12:30 am

that sounds like the practical solution brian.

make sure it looks like the frame is the right shape, and then go ahead and do whatever you were doing previously and ignore the nonsense.

sticking it to the man in a way the man doesn't even know he(it?) is being stucked is the best.  less fun for the ego, but more thrilling if you are the quiet evil-genius person behind the curtains sort of person...

Sep 13, 13 2:27 am

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