Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I like (besides you)

Things that make me quite happy, in no particular order. Well, actually, they are in the order that I thought of them, but the number ranking does not indicate importance.

1. Panda Express
2. Target
3. The library
4. paper from the Craft Warehouse
5. anything turquoise
6. a good cupcake
7. sunshine
8. a clean house/car/classroom/drawer, etc (though the process to get there may be excruciating)
9. naps
10. not having to work on Monday

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Fire

My students are writing books. It's a very long and complicated process, and I hope to show some photos when they are finally finished. Our book publishing deadline is June 10th, because that evening we have Celebration of Learning Night. I thought I'd share one of the stories.

The Fire
By Erik
            Once upon a time there was a boy named Roby. He has a brother named Rick, and a mom, and a dad, and Titanic the cat. Titanic looks like coal and dirt. They named him that because he was the only cat to survive the Titanic.
One day, Roby’s dad said that they had to go on a business trip. They took a plane to the Gulf of Mexico. They moved in to a Hotel 6 right next to the beach. Once they got settled, Mom and Dad had to go to a boat where they had their business meeting.
Roby ordered room service. It never came. Roby smelled something weird. It smelled like burning wood.
            “What’s that smell?” said Roby.
            “Maybe it’s the pizza,” said Rick.
            “MEOW!” exclaimed Titanic.
            “Something is bothering Titanic,” said Rick.
“Let’s get out of here!” said Roby. When they got outside the door, the whole hallway was on fire. They started to walk down the hallway with Titanic following them. When they got outside, something was wrong. Where was Rick?
Titanic ran back inside the burning building. “Follow that cat!” said one firefighter. The hot building lit up like a candle.
 The building was starting to fall. Suddenly the firefighter, Rick, and Titanic jumped out of the building.
“This cat is a hero!” said the firefighter. “He led me to Rick!”
The firefighter gave Titanic a medal.
            “MEOW!” said Titanic.
When they got home, they all thanked Titanic for saving Rick. They gave him a bath because he smelled like burnt wood. They let him sleep on the couch. And they gave him tuna.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What do I think of you?

In a very judgmental fashion, let me tell you about some people I noticed the other day. This is why I have no friends. I'm too mean on the inside.

Person #1
Male. About 50. Grey hair. At the gym. Wearing lycra shorts. Very short shorts. Too short and too tight for any man, regardless of age or physique. I really don't want to see that. And the thing is, he wears them every week. Eeew, gross. There should be some sort of gym rule that says men cannot wear short short super tight shorts. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see your hairy thighs or anything else. Lock that up. Put on some pants, for god's sake.

Person #2
Female. Approximately 35. Typically has short auburn hair. Came to the gym with cornrows. I was surprised because the braids were almost hitting her shoulders, which is a lot longer than normal. Then I was like "they're really tight braids. Probably stretches the hair out." But no. After a more thorough inspection I discovered parts of it were extensions. Reddish-brown extensions. Like four inches. Excuse me, but if you are a white woman, you should never ever get cornrows, especially not fake ones. Cornrows are not attractive on white scalps. It does nothing for you. Take those out right now. Go plant a different vegetable.

Person #3
Male. About 42. Odd, but totally appreciated his actions. We are standing in line at a store for years, long enough for him to grow a beard, when I notice that he is munching on some candy out of a yellow packet. I glance at the candy and gum display and notice that peanut M&Ms are in the same yellow bag. We keep standing in line, he finishes his candy. Then he finally gets to pay for his item. He puts it on the counter, along with his empty candy wrapper for the cashier to scan. I almost love it. I mean, there we are, wasting away an eternity, so he decides to have a snack. I know people do this, I know they buy cokes in bottles and start drinking it before they get to the register. I could never do this though. It's not really yours until you pay for it. But in all my annoyance of waiting, I really get a kick out of this guy. The cashier has an English accent so I really don't know what she thinks of it. Probably that Americans are really rude and impatient. Which is sort of true.

Again, this is why I have no friends. I think mean thoughts and publish them on the internet later.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I feel dead inside. And that's all I have to say about the Lost finale.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I got infected and now I'm a zombie smoke monster

Here's my problem: the season finale of Lost is on tomorrow. And it's not just the season finale, it's like, the big end. No more Lost after that. End of show. Gone. What am I supposed to watch after tomorrow?

It was like this with my other favorite show, Alias. Alias got me through the tought times of high school and part of college, and then it ended. Both Alias and Lost were created by J.J. Abrams, and both of them got way too sci-fi at the end. So it's not like Lost is great right now. And in Alias Sydney Bristow's long lost sister got infected and like turned into a zombie vampire or something at the end. Actually, come to think of it, that sounds like what happened to the people on Lost too. Sounds like a J.J Abrams trend. Just have your main characters get infected with something weird and kill them off.

In my depression, I started thinking about other shows I could get into. I thought of Flashforward, because it has Penny and Charlie from Lost in it. Plus, that guy who looks like Richard Alpert minus the eyeliner. I saw it a few times, but then stopped watching because it was one of those shows that you needed to start from the beginning with.

So last night I drove to Blockbuster and rented the first episodes of Flashforward, so that I could get all caught up and become a loyal viewer. I watched 3 episodes in a row. And then you know what happens to me today?

Brittany's fiance comes over and sees the DVD case laying on the coffee table and says "Oh, Flashforward. I think they just canceled that." I google newsed it and he's totally right. Here I am, wasting my time trying to get caught up on what I think will have to become my new favorite show, and then they up and cancel it.

All this to say I need recommendations. I like action, but not a lot of blood. I like mystery and suspense and having everything all linked up. I need something to look forward to in my week. I don't have cable, so it'd be nice if the episodes air on-line.

Basically, I'm lost.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A true high school story

I'm fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, sitting in 4th period biology class. I sit in the center, third desk back, far enough away that Mr. Flemming's* spit can't reach my face. Mr. Flemming always spits when he talks. And he talks a lot, mostly about living creatures and cells and spinal cords, because duh, it's biology and not ceramics, which you'd think is easy but everyone I knew who took it all got Cs. Mr. Flemming does another thing a lot. He pits out. Every day. He wears these long sleeved striped or plaid printed shirts in neutral tones, and everyday I watch as his pits turn yellow. It's really disgusting and can't be helped, on account of how much arm waving he does, like when he sings the Cell Bugaloo.  For someone who knows so much about how living things grow and develop, you'd think he'd know more about perspiration.

One thing he does that drives me insane is say "when you run down the basket ball field" or "when you are on the football court." And I'm not even an athlete. I bet it drives the football players in our class mad. I can visualize the steam coming from Parker's ears. Even though Mr. Flemming is kind of gross in an awkward biology teacher sort of way, I like his class. I like his class for two reasons.

Reason #1: He grades on a curve. And okay, not to brag or anything, but I set the curve. It's really the only thing I'm good at. I'm not a soccer girl, or an ASB girl, and I don't get cast very often in plays even though I try out, but I totally set the curve in biology. People always get mad because usually I get 99% or something, and that doesn't help them out much if they haven't studied, but I don't let them know I set the curve. I keep all my tests private and don't brag about it to anybody. But they found out it was me by February. They're like "who is 002646 and why do they always score so high?" By process of elimination, they found out it was me.

Reason #2 why I like biology: Jake* is in my class. I've had a crush on Jake since freshman year. He's got these gorgeous cerulean eyes and a good sense of humor. Right now he sits behind me in class. Having the guy you like sit behind you in class is not nearly as good as having him sit in front of you, and here's why. When Jake sits behind me, I have to think about if he's watching me chew on my pencil or if my butt crack is showing even though I am fully wearing underwear and have tucked in my shirt, and I get really self-conscious. When Jake is sitting in front of me, then I can stare at the back of his ears and watch him instead.

Jake's nice, but I am fairly certain he is using me. He asks me for answers on worksheets, and he thinks I'll know because I set the curve and everything, but here's the thing of it: I can't do my homework in class. There is no way I can concentrate with him there, staring at me, waiting for an answer. I have to think about these things.

So there I am, Tuesday morning, right before lunch. Mr. Flemming has given us some dumb worksheet, and we have seven minutes to start it before class gets out. The class is quiet, and then Jake whispers to me "hey Joelle, what did you get for number five?" I look down at my paper, and by some miracle I actually have the answer already, even though I have a Greek god sitting behind me and can barely concentrate. Without looking at Jake, I lean back to whisper my response, only, he had been leaning forward and I didn't know it so we accidentally bump heads. Of course it becomes the most exhilarating moment of my life since last year when Jake and I had English together and he complimented my poem on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My mouth turns dry but somehow I manage to say "I think it's arthropods." Which you know, is really romantic. And that's it really.

Jake says "Oh hey, that's what I was thinking?" Was he? And two minutes later the bell rings for lunch.

The next day I'm sitting in class trying to shield my eyes from Mr. Flemmings stained pits when I start to day dream about if we had an armed intruder drill. There's this tiny back room, more of a closet really, and in the first week of school Mr. Flemming told us that if there is an armed intruder drill, we are all supposed to smash into the supply closet, because our classroom has so many windows and we could be machine-gunned down. It doesn't seem like an entirely safe bet, that back room, considering that is where the formaldehyde drenched dead cats are (in the freezer, but still).

Pretty soon my mind starts to wander more, and I think, what if it's not a drill, what if it's real? What if we have to be crammed in that closet for two hours or something while the police try to catch the psycho, and I am in there squished next to Jake? Or maybe there are bullets and Jake shields me from them. Or maybe we'll be so crammed in that closet that I'll have to like, press myself into his chest so my leg doesn't get shot to smithereens or something. Or maybe Jake gets shot and I have to apply pressure with gauze. Mr. Flemming is probably talking about mitosis or blastocytes or whatever, and I'm wishing that one of the drama kids would lose his marbles and come seeking revenge so that I could be stuck inside the supply closet with Jake. Well, Jake and the 27 other kids in class. Plus Mr. Flemming. With my luck, in all the chaos I would get squished next to Mr. Flemming, nose right in those sweaty pits of his. For two hours. I shake the image from my head, try to snap back to reality.

There I am, fifteen years old. Wearing a retainer because I just got my braces off, sitting in biology class with a boy I ache to be friends with, and I can't do anything. I can't flutter my eyelashes, or say something witty, or impress him with soccer skills, or talk about snowboarding or anything, because all I can do is one thing. I can set the curve.

*names have been changed for my protection, not theirs.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the princess

I figured after that last post I should write something happy and pleasant.

Something happy and pleasant.

Today is Natalie's birthday, and she is just spectacular. If Natalie were a star, she'd be Betelguese. If she were a galaxy (or a candy bar), she'd be the Milky Way. I mean, at home I have to wear slippers because she rocks the socks right off of my feet everyday. She makes me die laughing by just the subject heading of her e-mail. Nobody has a roommate/friend better than mine. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dirty Scandal

Facebook has all the dirt. Seriously. As I have suspected for some time, this girl and guy I studied abroad with (by abroad, I mean not overseas but in Mexico) are officially together. Why so scandalous, you say? The chick was married when we were in Mexico. Her husband was at home in America waiting for her. She was being all flirty hundreds of miles away in a foreign country with some boy younger than her. And now she has divorced her husband and is together with this kid. Why am I telling you all this? I know it's not any of my business, and none of your business, and I shouldn't be gossiping, but you better make damn sure that is never you. Don't you dare ever do that to someone. Because then I will think very bad things about you. Like that you are more than trashy. As will the rest of Facebook. Or at least, the rest of us who haven't had affairs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And she walks in

The smell of cigarettes from outside lingers by the weathered door, the lights are low, the conversation is loud, and she walks in. Marching straight up to the karaoke DJ she says, "Listen honey, you got any Ice, Ice Baby for me? Because I'm about to blow this place up."

I walk in, forty-five seconds behind her, and instantly spot the loud group of guys taking up most of the bar space, one of whom is wearing a pirate costume. The black and white striped shirt is torn and his left nipple is out like Janet Jackson's. Plus hair. I am 85 miles from home, in a coastal town, and whom should I spot but a bachelor party consisting of guys from my high school? None of whom are actually my friends, because they graduated a year or two ahead of me, but all of whom I recognize. Of course I only know two of their names, but that's fine, because they don't know mine.

Shortly after the DJ has signed Natalie up for Ice, Ice Baby, he disappears, leaving her to spin the records. She sits in the chair behind the table and signs some people up for karaoke songs. Dee Jay Vanilla Brown is already smokin' the bar with her talent, and she hasn't even sung yet. It's during this time that unknown bachelor party goer #1 and I get to talking and discover that he went to high school with my cousin. The world just got 4 sizes smaller, like a pair of jeans from Abercrombie. The crew Natalie and I came with get a table, and before you know it, it's karaoke time.

N-B knows the song by heart, of course, and so she spends no time reading the screen but instead busts a move while rappin' her way into the hearts of the locals. Of course the crowd goes wild. By the last two measures of the song, people are practically rushing the floor to get to her. I hold them back with iron arms, and it's then that one of the guys from my high school finally recognizes me. I tell him Natalie will give him an autograph later, if he would please just stand back until after her last number.

Our star is all charisma, and later she talks sugar to the bartender. "Hey sweetheart, I need a drink for one of my friends. Something fruity and delicious." She watches, wide eyed, as he pours her a tall glass of something pink, mixing in a variety of alcohols. At five bucks, it's a steal.

Meanwhile, I'm talking rodeos, 4-H, and farms with the hometown boys. Every one they know, I know, but they don't know me. They know my last name, my family name, what we do. As far as my first name goes, though? That's as lost as a sailor at sea.

 Another member of our group is out on the floor, tearing it up. Singing Shania like it were an American Idol audition. Pretty soon the bachelor party crew starts to get a bit rowdy. Just as the floor starts to smoke and the beverage glasses start to spill  from the rush towards our rock stars, you hear a quiet thud to the floor. The microphone has been dropped. The five of us were out of there like your mom in a beauty pageant*. As I'm walking, I turn to get a glance of the bachelor party and the locals fighting over the floor, like players of a football team grasping for the pigskin. But it's a trick play. They don't know the precious ball's gone. N-B is in the car and we're on our way back to our hotel rooms. We've peaced out like a baby listening to Brahm's.

*No offense to your mother, I'm sure she's lovely. It's just an expression, don't take it personally.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mommy Dearest

Dear Mom,
I love you the whitest. Like the feathers of swans or snow flakes on Christmas morning. I love you like frosted window panes, and like cirrus clouds in the sky. I love you like a smile full of paper white teeth. I love you like vanilla buttercream frosting, piano keys, and coconut milk on a tropical Tahitian beach. I love you white like the fullest of full moons, the deepest layer of an onion peeled, like the stork that flew me to you. I love you the whitest of all.

Happy Mother's Day.

Jo Jo

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I lie a lot

I know I told you to check back on Tuesday or Wednesday, but obviously I lied. I got caught up watching Lost on Tuesday night, and spent all day Wednesday in mourning. And okay, it's Thursday today, but I was at work for ages, didn't even go to the gym, and have no motivation for anything. And Friday's not looking good either. So deal. And I don't even have a good link for you or anything. So go read a post from 2008 or something.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Beautiful Mess

I'm working on something fairly good, it's just not ready yet. So check back like Tuesday or Wednesday evening. In the meantime, check out A Beautiful Mess. Because I basically wish I was artsy and bold like Elsie is.
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