Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What are YOU doing Dec. 9th?

If you're in/near/around Austin, you should be at Films for Food. You know, supporting local actors, local filmmakers, and helping the needy. All at once:

"Jack Horner Mysteries -The Case of the Spoon" will premiere on Dec. 9, 2007 at the Alamo Drafthouse - South Lamar, Austin, Texas with 3 other short films. Two screenings are scheduled - 12:15PM and 1:30PM. Tickets ($10) are being presold and selling out.
Proceeds from the event and designated donations are going to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank.
2 short shorts, "Fowl Play" by Steve Warren, "Apostrophe" by Allegra McCoy, and another short feature "Soccer Mom" by Steve Cauley will be on the program with our favorite police detective, Jack Horner.

Preview for Jack Horner:

I've already bought my tickets :-)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Subversive Children's Literature

Am I the only one getting a little sick of narrowminded adults going ballistic over children's literature?

First, it was attacking The Rainbow Fish for being Socialist propaganda. Because we all know small children will immediately make the leap from "sharing with your friends" to "party-run state."

Then, there were the people who decided to have a cow over Dumbledore's sexual orientation. Because we all know that knowing an character in a book is gay, even if it is never mentioned explicitly in the entire series, will make your child pine for their same-sex peers.

Now, there's the proposed boycott against The Golden Compass movie. Because the novel apparently promotes an atheist agenda and will make children want to kill God.

Seriously, folks? You're adults. do you really, honestly believe any of this? Do you give children any credit at all for being able to experience something without having it re-wire their brains?

You know what? I loved The Golden Compass as a kid. I read the entire series early in high school, and I surprisingly did not turn into an anti-theologue (if such a term exists). I also love Harry Potter! And am not magically gay after hearing about Dumbledore (although I did think it explained a few things)! Also? My parents read me The Rainbow Fish. And I vote Democrat!

I also managed to reread all of the Chronicles of Narnia a dozen times over without turning into a religious fundamentalist. (if The Last Battle isn't a treatise on intolerance, I don't know what is) Oh, and learn about Orson Scott Card's ideas on homosexuality without becoming a homophobe.

I also read the Redwall Chronicles without turning into a crazy PETA-supporting environmentalist, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn without running away from home, and The Wind in the Willows without becoming a car thief.

Will wonders never cease.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spanish Linguistics v. Rhetoric

Spanish Linguistics:

Rule #1: Words are arbitrary sounds chosen to stand for occasionally ambiguous meanings.


See pages 817-827 of Locke's treatise on why words don't convey meaning perfectly (hint: because they're arbitrary sounds chosen to stand for occasionally ambiguous meanings).

Empirically, Lingusitics > Rhetoric in this case, because it took me much less time to take notes over the first reading.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Pitfalls of Living Near Campus


One of the major pitfalls in living two blocks from campus is the sheer number of people that show up at your door asking for money (because, obviously, college students are renowned for their income level. Especially those living in the smaller apartment complex).

I just turned away what may have been a perfectly legitimate fundraiser for youth because in the year and a half I've been living here, the kind of people to come to my door have been:

  • A "grassroots environmental activist" getting a small donation and my signature on a petition. This was months ago, and last week I get a call after work asking if I want to become a "permanent funder" or some such. I asked them to send me some information so I could make a decision; I get an invoice in the mail for $140.
  • A pushy, rude, and argumentative man from the Austin-American Statesman wanting me to get daily delivery.
  • A set of frat boys trying to sell magazine subscriptions who started their pitch with "hi! we're participating in a 'naturally cute and cuddly' contest, so we wanted your opinion on how we look!"
  • Another set of frat boys, from a different fraternity, with a different stupid pitch and a bunch of magazines I don't want. No, I do not need a year's subscription to Maxim, thank you, and that doesn't mean I want a subscription to Country Home Living, either.
All this gets mixed in with the other fundraisers and fraternity members, not to mention the pushy magazine sellers that cornered my friend who used to live in apartment #1 one evening, or the guys that tricked me into buying a year's subscription to Parenting, of all things ("it goes to a women's shelter!" my foot). And the icing on the cake is the weekly door-hangers from food services (another pizza place? great!), cleaning services (for all 550 sq. feet of my apartment?), DVD releases (I got one for a movie two weeks after it hit DVD), the Watchtower magazines conveniently "forgotten" in the laundry room, etc.

Just, bleh. I love having my own place, but if there were a way to electrify my doorknob I'd be all over that.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

21st Birthday, part 2

Argh, I've been really bad about updating lately. However, as of tomorrow (Monday), I will be officially only working one job, so maybe my post volume will go up.

Eager readers can only hope, right?

Well, there are still pictures to be posted, and stories to tell.

I just went through all my photos, and unfortunately none of my Tower O' Balloons came out properly. Dad drove my Sherlock's before we arrived to drop off a HUGE balloon set (with a camera attached; good hint). Sadly, the damn thing wouldn't sit still for a photo. Never work with animals, kids, or balloons, I guess.

However, here are some more pics from my party and the day after, which I spent with my family. Mom picked me up and we all went out to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (which I wound up watching again the next evening, it was that good). There were also presents (yay, presents!), and cake and dinner, and it was a wonderful evening. Mom and Dad doubtless have better pics than I do, but I'll have to wait for them to get sent my way (hint, hint).

Alex's gift

Group shot!

At home:

*Crazy eyes*

"Greg, I hope crazy eyes aren't genetic."

"Too late!"

In the movie theatre. Fun fact: due to the darkness, I couldn't see dad's "pose" until after the flash went off.

Dad, telling Homer what he wants for Christmas.

Gifts! This one's a stuffed puppy from Gigi.

Gift set of shower gels in foreground.

Aaaaand, random pictures coming up tomorrow or Tuesday!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sidewalk Chalk = Teacher's Helper

There were four teens at the summer program today. After doing the worksheet -- 16 problems involving "How much money did you save on #w of x item if it's regularly $y and it's on sale for $z? -- as a group, the general consensus was that none of us felt like sitting at a desk and doing more math.

Unfortunately, the teens still needed to work on their addition/subtraction with money; most of them are lacking that skill, and it's needed for their work in the LC Store.

A suggested that we go outside for a while. I took one look at the pouring rain, and shooed everyone out to the patio connected to the building. R drew the short straw, and got sent back in to dig some chalk out of the sports closet.

We spent the next half an hour doing "Math Relays." I put them into groups of two, facing away from me at the other end of the patio, and drew two sets of math problems on the floor (i.e. $1.50 + $.75), gave them chalk, and had them tag-team the problems.

It was great, and fun, and being outside meant I could shout "3 ... 2... 1... Math!" and not feel like a complete dork :-D. Once the rain stopped, we extended the running part of the relay to the length of the sidewalk ^-^

By the time we ran out of room to write (and chalk), the teens were more willing to come indoors and do store inventory, which was a great perk!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Video Post

You knowit's been a long week when: having an hour to surf youtube clips feels like a special vacation.

Everyone will now be subjected to John Barrowman clips, because he is my new favorite famous-person.

First, him singing Moon River. 'Cause it makes me cry.

Singing Marry Me A Little. 'Cause it's a great song.

On The Weakest Link. 'Cause ... AWESOME.

And, finally, a scene from De-Lovely. 'Cause it has a Kevin Kline.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pirate Camp

Work at FC is going nicely so far. Remember how I was bemoaning the fact that no teens showed up the first day? Yeah, there were 10 last Friday. Granted, there are only three today, but still. 10!

They should all be done with their interviews this week, at which point we're moving on to how to write checks/balance a checkbook/use credit cards.

Also, as part of the "business and sales" theme, the teens opened a store at the Learning Center last Monday, selling soda, bottled water, candy, and chips (yeah, I know; the boss has me trying to get them to sell some healthier things over the next few weeks). Even with just being open 25 minutes during lunch and 10 minutes after the program, they brought in $180 last week! The vote on Friday was to spend 60% on new stock and put 40% into a savings account.

I'm very excited to see how much they're able to make with it this summer. The thought at the moment is that the money is going towards a party for them at the end of the program.

On a side note, in keeping with our pirate theme we have "pirate camp" two days a week. I ran the art program a while back -- the kids got to design their own pirate flags, and then explain why they chose their design. There are a bunch up on the wall next to me -- my favorite responses are:

Cus it is skaree

I made a bleeding X, That means, come on this boat without permison you will be sorry.

I picked this because its scary. This guys Brain got stabbed.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

What the Holy Hell?

Via NYC Educator, I find this story here.

AMANDA, Ohio (AP) — A substitute teacher used clothespins to silence four chatty kindergartners and will not work again in the school district, the superintendent said.

The four boys said spring-type clothespins were placed over their upper or lower lips for talking too much in class, Amanda-Clearcreek Primary School principal Mike Johnsen wrote in a letter to parents this week.

Hey, I work with kinder kids, and the sheer volume of noise/constant chatter drives me up a wall some days. But it had honestly never occurred to me to stick things to their faces. Just ... good God.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Care.org and Sonic Screwdrivers and OMG (not in that order)

I just got a letter in mail today for Care.org. I can't send a lot, but I figured some of you might be interested. My contribution is going towards girls' education in Afghanistan!

Also, OMG I am so swamped. The quiz on Friday (Spanish Civ.) did not go well, but the one this morning (Latin/Greek Roots) did. I'm freaking out about the Latin exam tomorrow at 8am, and mostly prepared for the US Hist. one Wednesday between my classes and work.

Shipped the bag for the Easter thing to Hawaii this morning, and today in my kinder class we go 12 cards made for a Hospice, whoo!

Oh, and I girl I tutored in Latin decided she no longer needs Latin help (that's what I get for being too good, I guess :-P), but her mom wants to meet at 7:30 tonight so I can start tutoring the girl in Algebra.

I got a torrent from one of the brits on my message board, so I-iiiii got to see the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who last night. It's great and awesome and really really good. The new companion is six kinds of cool (and smarter and less ... girly... than the last one, thankfully) AND there are rhinos AND blood being sucked through straws. The only points of contention were a) the stupid radioactive shoes dance (seriously, what was that?) and b) whether CPR will revive someone who has had their blood sucked out. The argument hinges on whether two hearts = shared circulatory system or separate circulatory systems... and I'll just shut up now because I sound like a dork.

*siiigh* So, someone (not a student) shot himself in the parking lot of the middle school.All the teens are fine, they have a note for their parents, and everyone seems to be ok. I asked the teens not to be spreading this around to the little kids, and the boss came in and asked the teens not to be spreading this around so rumors don't start.

So what happens? The front office woman waltzes in a minute ago while there are 2 teens and 3 smaller kids in the computer lab, and starts a loud convo. with the teens about it. One of the little kids asks what's up, and she loudly says, "Someone shot himself in the school parking lot!"

Yeah, way not to scare the little kids and start rumors, lady. Get out of my lab.

I made a point of asking the kid to "keep things to himself" as she was walking out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

In Which I Am Called Funny Names

I'd forgotten, but I was going to post a list of things I've been called by the kids at work. My "work name" is Ms. Nicole. Miz Nih-kol. I am called (daily, mind you):



Miss Flores

Miss Kin-ole (at least three times a day, by the same one kid)



My nicknames among the coworkers include Niiiiiiiiiiii-cola (yes, like the Ricola commercial) and Lemonade (hey, you try being the only one under 21 at Happy Hour. Every week.)

Good times.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog For Choice

Today was a lot busier than I'd planned for , so this is the first chance I've had to sit down and blog. In the interests of getting this up quickly, I'm going to use the bulk of what I posted in a note on facebook several months ago:

A Note on the Phrase "Pro-Choice"

By the way, because I've had to have this talk with a few people who I thought were too intelligent for this kind of thinking, "Pro-Choice" does NOT simply mean "Pro-ABORTION." This kind of oversimplification undermines the entire movement.

Pro-Choice means I support comprehensive sex education, so that young people can make an informed choice about their sex lives, rather than being taught that sex is something to be ashamed and frightened of. Pro-Choice means I support easy access to birth control, such as condoms, the patch, the pill, EC, so that men and women can be responsible about their choices, without having a stranger in the pharmacy tell them they're immoral. Pro-Choice means I support a woman's right to choose what to do after she gets pregnant, whether she chooses abortion, keeping her child, or adoption.

My mother has always been staunchly pro-choice. If she'd chosen not to keep me then I would have died for something I believe in. She chose to have a child (two, even!), and at the age of two I attended my first pro-choice rally. In high school, my parents took me and my boyfriend to the million-strong March For Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. I have helped Planned Parenthood raise money in one of their phonebanking drives. I support NARAL Pro-Choice Texas through donations. I attend the Voices for Choice meetings because I enjoy being with likeminded individuals who want to make a difference.

I just want to point out that being pro-choice is not just a fly-by-night decision for me. I don't want to get flak from one more person who a) can't remember the last time they did something for a cause they believe in, and/or b) hasn't done enough research into the Pro-Choice movement to have an informed debate with me.

Also, go check out LibraryPrincess' post for today!

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Half Price Trip

Generally I can find a good book or two for the kinder class at work cheap at Half Price. Last week, however, I really hit the jackpot -- all the textbooks for my Latin class (college) for under $40, plus I found three Fisher Price Learning Fun books in the $1 bin. I actually grabbed Preschool I & II and a Kindergarten-level one, and I want to start working them in next week. They're bilingual, which is great -- last year I tried adding in some Spanish vocabulary at the end of lessons, but a 45-minute class time is not enough to do that on top of everything else. Instead, I'm going to try using numbers and some words every now and then with the lesson. Living in Texas, I think all the kids should know at least a little of the language, and it seems like some of them are already learning it at school.

I'm also doing the teen homework time pretty much every day now, which means finding worksheets for them, too. My boss gave me some Language Arts, Analogies, and Math Practice books, which seem to be working well so far. I'm considering throwing in some checkbook sheets, although I don't know if they'll actually need to know how to write checks (I'm biased; I write checks for everything.

In non-work-related news, I went to the mall the other day (not a big deal unless you realize I hadn't been to one in ages). I got new shoes (black, to make a change from the three pairs of Converse I own) and my brother's birthday present. I'm not going to post it here until after his party, but I do think it's really cool. No props to the sales clerk and the manager of the Discovery Channel Store who, despite being surrounded by gizmos and gadgets of every shape and size (I want one of these!), couldn't come up with a good recommendation for a 16-year-old boy.

Sarah and I spent yesterday catching up on "Season 1" of Doctor Who -- I didn't start watching regularly until David Tennant showed up, and I realized that we missed a lot. As much as I enjoy watching Tennant, Season 1 has some really good episodes; for example, the Charles Dickens Episode was a lot of fun for me.

Assuming Vulcan has the next dvd, I can finish watching the season today, before school/work start again.


ETA: Didn't go to Vulcan OR grocery shopping today. My grandmother called to forbid me from going out in this weather (hehe), and then when I did go check on the car later it had ice all over it, and the lock was frozen shut. With his phone inside. The up side is that school's probably going to be cancelled tomorrow for me.

Also, I have to call my grandfather/dad and thank them for teaching me how to open deadbolts with credit cards (they both claim credit). Sarah locked herself out in the cold today and I totally got her back in in under a minute with my CVS card.

Friday, January 12, 2007

EPD Estela Ernestina (Estella López) Alvarez Barrero. Nació en Manzanillo, Cuba noviembre 11 de 1908 y murió en Anaheim, California enero 10 del 2007. Le sobreviven su hijo Leonardo, su nuera Carmen y sus nietos Leo, Carmen D. y Ron con sus respectivas familias. Condolencias para todo sus familiares y amistades alrededor del mundo.
El cuerpo de Estella será expuesto en la capilla del Fairhaven Memorial Park del condado de Orange de 4 a 8pm el miércoles 17 de enero y el entierro en el cementerio del mismo lugar a las 2:30 pm del día siguiente.

Rest in Peace Estela Ernestina (Estella Lopez) Alvarez Barrero. Born in Manzanillo, Cuba, November 11th, 1908 and died in Anaheim, California January 10th, 2007. She is survived by her son Leonardo, her daughter-in-law Carmen, and her granddaughter Carmen D. and grandsons Leo and Ron with their respective families. Condolences to all her family and friends around the world.

Estela's body will be shown in Fairhaven Memorial Park in Orange County on Wednesday the 17th of January, and interred in the cemetery of the same place at 2:30pm the next day.

(feel free to correct my Spanish if need be)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

For Jyan

In the Relative Merits Debate:

Hugh Laurie
- House, M.D.
- Flight of the Phoenix
- Stuart Little
- The Piano Tuner
- Carnivale
- Blackadder
- The Man in the Iron Mask
- The Borrowers
- Sense and Sensibility
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie
- Jeeves and Wooster
- The Adventures of Mole

John C. McGinley
- Are We Done Yet?
- Scrubs
- Puff, Puff, Pass
- A.W.O.L
- Kim Possible
- Spider-Man
- Stealing Harvard
- Office Space
- The Rock
- Born on the Fourth of July
- Platoon
- Sweet Liberty

hint: Hugh Laurie wins

New Year's Resolutions for Work

Since I didn't post any personal ones, resolutions for work:

- Get back into doing a thematic movie day once every other week or so
- More hands-on activities, fewer worksheets
- Figure out a way to engourage more reading
- Figure out a better way to keep track of class "points"
Watching The Stand with whats'-his-face-who's-always-on-the-scifi-channel. Stephen King needs to not do parts in his own movies. This is pretty bad, but for some reason I can't stop watching.

And I just realized I go back to work next week -- to start it off, there's a planning meeting Monday morning, yay.

Things are going really well, though; got all my Latin textbooks for less than half price, found a bunch of DVDs at Vulcan I'd been looking for to rent (especially Sherlock Hound), and have today off to not do much of anything. Except finishing my thank-you cards; I got mosst of them done in one fell swoop, and I've been kind of slacking since then. Boo me.

School starts on the 16th! My very first class is at 8am. Whooooo.