Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Will the Circle be Unbroken?

I've discovered two circles currently happening in my life that are important and pertinent (to me, maybe not to you) and definitely not boring because it's happening right now.

The first circle is the good one. It goes like this:

Enjoy something. Spend more time studying it. Get better at it.

Basically you enjoy what you're good at, and because you enjoy it you work more at it, and because you work at it you get better at it and that leads to, what do you know, enjoying it more.

This is the dark side of that circle:

Hate something. Don't study. Suck at it.

You can probably agree that when you hate something you spend less time on it, which means that you don't do well in it, which means your feelings of hate are validated and strengthened and it starts all over.

I'm currently stuck in the dark circle with math. I'm trying to break out of this circle because

1) life is too short to spend time on something I hate

2) but life is too long to go through with no math skills
2a) especially in a country like this, where you can't do anything without math
2b) and anyway the Principal will disown me if I don't do more math than just college algebra (he's an engineer)

3) I actually have, for very brief moments, enjoyed math

4) but only when I was good at it

5) which reinforces my circle theory.

So anyway, my logical conclusion (be aware that my logic is a completely different brand of logic than what anyone else uses) after considering these points is that if I can't ditch math (where would I go for free food on Thanksgiving if I was disowned?) then I need to ditch hating it.

I have therefore decided to stop hating math.

I'll give you an update at the end of the semester on how well it worked. My teacher is talking about rational fractions, which is a polynomial on top of a polynomial and is graphed like two boomerangs who aren't talking to each other, and I'm having some (very small) doubts that this is going to work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

t3h 3vil

(Note for the un-l33t among you: this is a shameless Megatokyo reference; if you don't feel like digging through more than five (probably way more than five, actually) years of archives to understand this, then just pronounce those threes like delinquent e's.)

The Teacher has a cruel and sadistic personality. She knows that while, in a moment of weakness, I enjoyed Twilight-the-book I despised Twilight-the-movie. When I wasn't hysterically laughing at Edward's hair I was howling at Bella that she was an idiot and deserved to die. Funny how things seem okay in books are really, really stupid in movies. "Oh, Edward, someone just told me that you're a vampire, and you've been hinting that you want to kill me, so come with me into these conveniently placed dark woods where no one will hear me scream because, sigh, I just can't stay away from you..."

Ahem. So you would think that a kind mother, a loving and considerate and above all compassionate mother would NOT put New Moon in the Netflix queue, would NOT put it at the top as soon as it came out and most of all would NOT sit on her daughter and make her suffer through the agonizing stupidity. (Twilight was bad. I'm telling you now, New Moon is worse.)

And you would be quite right. No kind, loving, considerate and above all compassionate mother would do anything of the kind. The Teacher is not that kind of mother, so she had no qualms about committing the crime above mentioned. I howled to the Principal to save me, and he did eventually, but he took his own sweet time doing it. The only reason I escaped the whole movie is that I had school and needed to leave.

I did enjoy the part where the camera circles around Bella sulking her chair and flashes the months on the screen: partly because it was a nice device to show time passing, partly because the music was nice, partly because it was beautiful, and mostly because I enjoy watching people suffer. I'm vindictive that way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A New Metaphor

WARNING: Not for the squeamish.

I promise you haven't heard this one before.

I like to sing. I can sing well, even. Unfortunately for those around me, I can't sing well reliably. I might nail one note and totally miss the next, and that's assuming my voice doesn't crack or I don't run out of breath in the middle of a note.

I sing when I'm alone. I sing when I'm happy. I sing when I'm in a Mood and want to jump up and down on something. I sing when I feel silly (just an hour ago in the grocery store I was singing a bacon hunting song as I went up and down the meat isle looking for it). I sing when I feel like my heart is breaking and my whole soul cries out "Lord, why don't you just erase the world and start over?" I sing in church, but since that's almost mandatory I'm not sure it counts. I sing when I'm walking and I sing during road trips. Anything longer than ten minutes can be a road trip if I feel like singing.

So here's my way of explaining how it is when I have to sing:

Imagine that you're about to throw up, but not quite. The acid is burning in the back of your throat and you know at any moment you're going to decorate your pants, the person next to you, and the ground with your last meal. That's how it is with music and me: sometimes it just comes up my throat and pushes into my mouth and I can let it out or choke to death trying to hold it in.

I did warn you.

It's... Awesome Kid!

This morning, or maybe yesterday morning, the Teacher broke down and admitted that I'm an awesome kid.

I don't remember what made her say this. I'll pretend that it's a matter of national security and I'm not allowed to tell you for your own protection.

Anyway, I feel like I need a blue sweater with Awesome Kid on the front so I can run around the house using my Awesome power to make things awesome. But no cape, because capes kill.

Friday, March 19, 2010

So Apparenty Dementia is Inherited

Because I have it too.

We had a guest this week who was very helpful and well-behaved. She did dishes more than once.

On one level I really appreciated this. On another level, I found myself jumping in to do dishes before she could because she doesn't do them right.

Allow me to elaborate.

The sink on the left is for washing. The sink on the right is for rinsing. Plates go in the drainer next to the sink; they face towards the sink. Silverware goes in the same drainer as the plates until the silverware holders are full and then they can spill into the dishwasher.

Cups go in the top rack in the dishwasher, but I fill up both sides before I ever put them in the middle. Soup bowls go in the center of the top rack, facing towards the dark maw of the dishwasher. After all the soup bowls are in their proper place, I put the salad bowls in next so that they fall over the soup bowls. If somehow a soup bowl escaped my notice I unstack the salad bowls to put the soup bowl in its proper place. Sauce pans and the two small frying pans are also allowed in the top rack. So are lids, plastic containers, and glass jars.

Cutting boards, cookie sheets, the griddle, pizza pans, and any other large flat things go on the bottom rack. So do pots, pans, mixing bowls, and other large things. The bottom rack is always the last one I put things in.

The order of washing is also important. Cups first, always. Then plates. Then bowls and mugs. Then knives. (I do silverware as I go, making sure I've gotten everything out of the sink before I put more dishes in, but I never put knives in. I separate them on the side by the sink and wash them separately one at a time.) Then lids and small frying pans, possibly also the sauce pan. Then, usually, a fresh load of hot water and then all the plastic containers. Plastic holds grease unless the water is really hot, and if it's not hot and clean you're only moving the grease around. I know I could start with the plastic containers in the first load, but I don't want to because it wouldn't be the right way to do it. After the plastic containers I do the large flat things, cutting boards and such. Then I do whatever is left, and if it doesn't all fit in the bottom dishwasher rack I put the extras up with the plates and the silverware. I try to make it all fit.

I think this means I'm not allowed to laugh at the Teacher's Netflix envelope collection anymore.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Further Proof of Advancing Dementia

The Teacher is convinced that Netflix is run by malevolent ghouls who delight in sending something she can't wait to see by way of Paris, Alaska, and Timbuktu. She is determined not to be vanquished by ghouls, and so she has a plan.

She hordes Netflix envelopes. She does this by sending back two disks in one envelope. Every time one of the ghouls routes a disk through L.A. or Chicago, she throws away the envelope it came in and sends it back in one from her horde. And cackles.

So far she's stockpiled forty-three envelopes. I'm getting worried.

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Invasive Species Appears

Graham crackers.

The Principal bought a box thinking it would be a nice spin off on the Wild Saltine joke. He informed me that Graham crackers will overpower Saltines because they're bigger. I pointed out that this is only because Graham crackers are cowards, and only move in herds, but if the Saltines are smart enough to cut them into individuals the Saltines are big enough to overpower the Graham crackers.

There was a flaw in the plan. (Don't ask whose plan it was. These things tend to just happen in this house.) It's true that Graham crackers are invasive, but only where they are the dominant predator in the local food chain. These Graham crackers were discovered by the Teacher before they could move in on the Saltines, thus ruining the joke and causing much disappointment (to the Principal, and probably the Graham crackers, because they got eaten).

I have some sad news to report, however. The Teacher and the Principal are both Graham cracker rustlers. They kept stealing my crackers! And they laughed about it! I was obviously unable to protect the Graham crackers in their natural habitat, so I made an executive decision and ate them before anyone stole any more. Because I'm generous and loving that way.

The Saltines have breathed a sigh of general relief: the menace has been vanquished.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Call of the Wild Saltine

Context: the Principal really likes Saltines. I'm not sure why. He eats them with chili and any other soup I serve.

However, last night he took the last package of Saltines out of the last box of Saltines. And left the empty box on the shelf.

The Teacher has a Thing about empty boxes. Woe to him who uses the last stick of butter from the fridge and leaves the box! So she immediately snatched the box off the shelf and said, from the fury of her soul, "You just leave the box!"

The Principal has always been able to think quickly, and in this family a joke is the fastest way out of a tight spot. "Of course I just leave the box! I want Saltines with my lunch tomorrow! This way, passing Saltines will see it's a safe place to nest and there will be more Saltines in the morning!"

The Teacher put the box on the table (apparently empty boxes are okay if they aren't on the shelf; go figure). "It won't work just like that; you need to give them the right idea."

So the Principal put two whole Saltines in the box and then one half Saltine as a 'baby' so that any wandering Saltines would be able to recognize the box as a cracker breeding ground. Then they turned the box around so that it was facing away from the Principal, because everyone knows that Saltines are very shy.

This morning: I sat down to eat breakfast and noticed that for some reason the Principal's plan for attracting more Saltines hadn't worked: there were still only two and a half Saltines in the box. I informed him of this crisis.

"Did you do the Saltine call?" he wanted to know. No, I didn't know we had one. So the Principal strode firmly to stand behind the Saltine box and struck the I'm-Going-To-Be-Seriously-Silly pose that seems to be part of our family's DNA. Raising both hands to make a trumpet around his mouth, he threw his head back and called, "Salty salty salty crackERS!"

This call has an important twist on most food calls: you hold your hands like doors over your mouth; shut the doors at the beginning of the call, open them for each salty, close them between salties, and leave them standing wide open on the triumphant crackERS! This is important. Don't get it wrong.

So the Principal taught me this call, and then we had to teach it to the Teacher, who kept demanding that we close our eyes, which is when I let slip my own life philosophy: "When she tells you to close your eyes that's the last thing you should do." Finally the Teacher gave the Principal some Saltines that had been hiding on the bar.

The Principal: "But... these are domestic Saltines! I wanted wild ones!"

This is when the Teacher told him he needed to go to work.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Stare of Hate

I'm learning to drive.

I'm pretty good at steering. Okay at stopping. Kind of not good at shifting. And I suck at starting. This is normally humiliating but not really a problem.

But today I drove home from church, by the long way, which is an hour drive. I did well until the very last stoplight. And then I killed the car. By the time I got it started and moving again, the light had turned red and I was the last one through. I could almost see steam rising off of the cars trapped behind me, and I don't think it was the rain.

15 minutes later I'm going sixty on a seventy mph road (rain, remember?) And a mysteriously familiar white car appeared behind me. I looked at it in the mirror. Hmm...

And then I recognized it.

I could feel the stare of hate burning into my rear-view mirror, and no almost about it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Quake Before Authority

Yet another example of how 'timid' I am came up this Sunday.

In Sunday School.

(Note: When I say something happened in Sunday School, the Teacher's expression becomes a combination of 'oh dear', 'what did you do now', and 'am I going to have to call someone to apologize?' Sunday School is one of my more famous battle-grounds with my nemesis, Adult-Who-Didn't-Read-The-Lesson-Until-An-Hour-Ago-But-Still-Thinks-I'm-The-Stupid-One-Because-I'm-Not-Twenty-One-Yet-And-They-Have-The Manual-And-They're-So-Going-Down.)

(Another Note: I'm pretty sure this teacher read the lesson ahead of time. And he's been my Sunday School teacher for two months now, so he knows better than to think I'm stupid. Which is more than I can say for some teachers, who never get past the teenagers-don't-know-anything-about-the-church stage, but I won't go there.)

Anyway, he was teaching the story about Hagar and Sarai and how Hagar was going to have Abram's kid because Sarai was barren. And then he said that even though this was Sarai's idea she got jealous and hated Hagar and threw her out.

Um... no. I disagreed. And just so you know, this wasn't both of us arguing off the tops of our heads: it was right there in the verse we had just read as a class.

I continued to disagree for about fifteen minutes, at which point he said "You know what, I concede, I'll look over this later, now let's move on-"

And I said, "I don't want you to concede, I'm not trying to win anything here, I just want you to understand what I'm saying," and it went on for another ten minutes or so.

At which point I finally realized that he was reading "and her mistress was despised in her eyes" (that was off the top of my head, but it was something like that) with the modern meaning of mistress, which is you-know-what, instead of the biblical meaning of the word, which is 'woman of authority; the feminine of master', which I was just taking for granted. And which totally changes all the meaning in that verse. Once he got that he realized what I was saying.

All I can say is that the rest of the class was very quiet and very focused on us while this was going on, which I didn't realize until it was over. I wish I could be a stranger sitting in on my Sunday School class. It would be funny to watch.

And I did apologize to my teacher after class for taking so much time from his lesson. He said that it was okay but he would cut me off if I tried to do the same thing with something that wasn't relevant to the lesson. I love having a teacher who doesn't push me around and won't let me push him around. It makes Sunday School much more interesting.