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Let you swim in the wake of this song

I chose my username about ten years ago. “Jobey” was an old nickname, adopted at the beginning of high school, partly as part of a pact with a close friend, and partly from a strange insecurity: I was the scholarship student from The Wrong Part of Town, and it was somehow easier to insist that all the intimidating new people I met call me by this ridiculous nickname than to introduce them by my actual name. Doesn’t quite make sense, I know. But it worked. Now that I’m well out of school and into a career, I don’t ask new people I meet to call me “Jobey” in real life anymore. But I’m still fine with that part of the name. It’s a convenient online ego that does feel more really me than my sit-in-meetings-pretend-the-world-isn’t-crazy-pay-bills identity.

But the “in error” part is getting problematic for me. At the time I first coined it to consolidate online identities (I was Green Eyed Lady for a time — because I was, like, in my early teens. Cut me a break) it worked well. I liked the ironic self-mockery of it, because, well, irony self-mockery. No further explanation needed. But it also worked on a deeper level, an allusion that we “see only through a glass darkly,” a subtle reminder to myself and others of my religion, one of whose tenets is that we know everything imperfectly, and often wildly so.

tl;drCollapse )

So, short version:

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m starting over with a new account for Livejournal (and the name will also be what I use on Dreamwidth, tumblr, and other social media): jobeymacias. This will be my last ramble.

I am going to add friends I’ve made on LJ on that account, so if you get a request, here’s the story behind it. If I fail to add you and you would like to continue as LJ friends, please just add me on there to remind me.

Love ♥,

Jobey

Alabaster stones

realityanalyst, don't take this the wrong way, but this came on the radio today and I thought of you.

I think the connection is your similarly spare style and striking originality, and not the way you sing creepy songs to infants.

What is reality

Real life and partial-lurker-status-explanation:

1. We're moving... to Boston. L. got a job, one he's very happy about.

Boston is faaaarrr away.

2. My apartment is half in boxes. I can't find a thing.

3. My classroom is half in boxes. I need to pack in the other half by Friday. Eep.

4. I have three phone interviews with Boston schools today. (This, after radio silence for over a month. It's apparently "Interview Prospective Hires Day" in Massachusetts.)

5. Last day of school is tomorrow. The kids are being super sweet about my leaving, like the girl who was doomed by HP7 doing a rap in my honor at our Poetry Slam and presenting me with flowers, and a bunch of kids yesterday who had coordinated a filk that they sang with coordinated plastic cup percussion sections (they were amazing).

But I am disappointing the hell out of them, as the ambition seems to be to make me cry. I'd like to give them that for all their thoughtful surprises, but I am not much of a public crier.

I'm more a wake-up-at-one-in-the-morning crier. But that's a different story.

6. I got named Outstanding Teacher of 2016 for the school district.

Holyyyyyymoly.

Yep, I'm going to work that factoid into the phone interviews today. You betcha.

7. Anyone have any Pulped prompt ideas? I'm scraping the bottom of my barrel.
How brutal was May? Here's how brutal: I'm pretty sure I read another book or two early on. But I'm damned if I can remember what they are, since that feels like a year ago.





17. American Girl: The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery (Sarah M. Buckey)

Found this in the discard pile after I held a school book drive, and just had to take it home with me for a night…Shaddup. Don't even want to hear it. Coz I love me some Nellie O'Malley, you hear me? I don't care if she's a liberal's fantasy inside of a Victorian cliche! She was a serious but still sweet chicklet, awesomely practical in the face of all Sam's fancifulness, and she used to have a real sense of humor too.

Used to…




18. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History (Art Spiegelman) -- re-read

I pulled it out looking desperately for books that could hold the interest of a very bright troublemaker in That One Class… the second I found this on my shelf I knew (age-appropriate or not) that he would gravitate to this like fillings to a magnet.



He did too. But not before I wasted an hour and a half that night re-reading both myself…


19. Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began (Art Spiegelman) -- re-read

The second one is even "better."




20. Five Equations That Changed the World (Dr. Michael Guillen)

Really good!

... and I'm still underneathCollapse )

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Lista de tareas

In an effort to practice writing in Spanish as often as possible...

(En un esfuerzo practicar escritura español más...)


1. comprar transcriptos
2. paquete para B.
3. tarjeta para K.
4. corregir los ensayos
5. aplicar por trabajo
6. depositar el cheque
7. sacar dinero y dar a L. para la fiesta
8. hacer regalos de los bloces de notas
9. email a M. sobre la hora de mia cita

George Martin died with book unfinished

Someone dropped this little practical joke on me today.

I went into a tizzy.

Calmed down when I realized she meant George R.R. Martin.

Was totally uninterested by the time I found out it was all a hoax anyway.

Caveat lector

An anecdote only Harry Potter friends can appreciate:

I have a very smart, very sweet student who is going through a passionate first journey of HP discovery, and she gives me a quick update every day as she's leaving class as to what happened in her reading the last night, probably sensing that I'm not just humoring her but that I really look forward to hearing her reactions. (Because, honestly, that way, I get to be a 7th-grader reading for the first time, too! Although, unlike me, she will not immediately reach for the fourth book only to be told Sorry, that's not due out for over a year yet!)

HP spoilers under the cutCollapse )

Did we really count to one hundred?

I bought some books today for my school at our local bookshop. (I don't think I appreciate our local bookshop enough, but I already have too many books I haven't read yet, so I'm not eager to go buy more.) Problem is, I don't want to bring 'em to school yet--I want to read them myself first!

Reminiscing about Voight, Yolen, and CovilleCollapse )

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I started a diet and gave up caffeine last week.

It's possible I shouldn't have done both at once.

Anyway, plastering a fake smile on my face, here's my (admittedly not bad! not bad at all! mostly because I had two transcontinental flights this month!) April list.



12. Airframe (Michael Crichton): This book is wicked engaging. There is an awful air disaster, with some casualties. But the cause of the disaster is unknown. It reads like a murder mystery, only we're examining technology, not personal drama. This is a great setup -- great enough that one overlooks pedestrian prose and cardboard-thin characters. Unfortunately, the end drags and plays a few games and therefore is not as satisfying as it might have been.

On the plus side, it roasts modern media. Roasts. Burns. Skewers. It's terrific.

Also, you get to leave with the impression that you now know a great deal about commercial airliners.



13. Coming of Age in Mississippi (Anne Moody): This has to be the MOST thought-provoking book I've read this year… well, not counting Fatima book… and at least tied with Les Mis (which related similar things with the Friends of the ABCs)… But there's no shame in either of those… This is outstanding, though.

Anne Moody, in her college days, became very active in the civil right movement, most famously participating in one of the most violent and dramatic sit-ins of 1963. In her autobiography, she recounts her life from her childhood in Mississippi, her family's struggles, her political formation, and then her full-time "Movement" work life in '63, where she earned the terrifying distinction of being on the Klan's circulated shortlist of key people to eliminate. And, by eliminate, we mean kill. Her account really brought home the violence and genuine threat they lived in. Not a world lacking trigger warnings or with harsh opinions. A world of actual, physical danger. (Little wonder -- although interesting -- that Anne's opinion of Martin Luther King, Jr. was very low and that she was impatient with nonviolence on her side once violence on the other side escalated.)

Anne is clearly remarkable even from her childhood… in her intellect, in her sensitivity, her guts, her refusal to be anything less than honest and direct, and especially in her ambition and drive… and the people that she joins with in college are equally remarkable.

This book stirred so much in me… I always respected the civil rights movement, but now I am fascinated by it.


14. A Short History of the Chinese People (L. Carrington)

I was interested in the subject, which is why I did some research on a good overview. This book wasn't quite it though. It did have long digressions on culture, philosophy, and art, which I appreciated. But the geography and the politics were explained only in quick broad strokes that left me mostly confused. I guess I'd rather read something less short and more detailed -- like my European and American history textbooks from high school! (Man, I loved history textbooks.)


15. The Red House Mystery (A.A. Milne)

The Winnie-the-Pooh author wrote a detective novel, even though he thought they were a bit silly, because his father really liked detective novels.

Tell me that's not cute.


It's full of humor... and potshots at Doyle.Collapse )





16. Acts of the Apostles (Luke) -- re-read



Our pastor told us to read it for the Easter season. So I did. I hate how he follows up with us later. ;)

But I love this book. I'm no historian, but somehow I doubt if there is anything else written in the first century A.D. that's quite like this this document -- so full of so many snapshots of Mediterranean culture in this time. The disasporadic Jews gathered in Jerusalem from Parthia, Media, Elam, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Eygpt, Cyrene, Roma, Crete, and Arabia; Jewish tentmakers and Ethiopian court eunuchs and charlatan sorcerers in Samaria; women merchants like Lydia, who traded in purple dye and therefore ran a rich household; anxiety about sources of meat; trilingual middle-class professionals who observed Jewish law while also rising in Roman society; unlettered cripples carried here and there by unlettered neighbors; centurions who have bought their Roman citizenship at a high price; buying and selling of houses; Jewish high priests hiring Roman lawyers; the teacher GAMALIEL making a cameo appearance (!); God-fearing Italian centurions meeting with ultraobservant Jews; slave girls (lots of slave girls); state-sponsored cults and their effect on the local economies; ship voyages with statesmen and prisoners together being shipwrecked; so, so, so many ship voyages; unmarried prophetic sisters; the local politics and factions at Ephesus; and let's not forget, Barnabas and Paul (those two inseparables!) being taken for ZEUS AND HERMES by the people of Lystra!

You cannot make up this stuff. The details in this story are just too much for anything but reality itself.

I also noticed this time that the book can be divided neatly into four parts of about seven chapters each:

1. The early church, up to the martyrdom of Stephen at Saul's feet (1-7)
2. The conversion of Saul and the similar 'conversion' of Peter, both entwining and culminating in the Council of Jerusalem (8-15)
3. Paul's ministry to the Gentiles in the East… you can tell his ministry has changed coz now he has his Timothy :) (whom it's worth noting had a Greek father and was uncircumcised… signaling the change the church has undergone in this short amount of time) (16-20)
4. Paul's return to Jerusalem, arrest, trials, and eventual arrival (still under arrest) to Rome, where he begins a new ministry -- a very important one too (ROME!) (21-28)

Then the document ends, and the Bible helpfully gives us Paul's Letter to the Romans next.
I'll go backwards, since I have more to say the more I write.


11. Chains (Laurie Halse Anderson)


This is a re-read, since I'm gearing up to teach it for the second time. It was a huge (unexpected) hit with my students last year, and I see why. It's emotionally intense, for sure. Once you are three pages in, the first-person narrator has already mentioned two important people in her life who have recently died. It only goes downhill from there.


I'm not struck this time by how long it is (my Honors kids were fine; my fears are put to rest), but by how dark it is. I mean, it features child slavery, of course it's pretty dark. But usually (especially in our 7th-grade curricular "canon") we have humor to break things up. Not here! (The one time there is a bit of gallows humor, it is quickly snuffed out by things going from terrible to unthinkable, and that little experiment is not repeated again; Isabel is too depressed.)


Wonder if this is the year a parent rises up in protest… now that I AM the department head, and the former chair, who started us reading this series with the kids, is gone, leaving me with the bag. :D Wouldn't be surprised.





10. Walk Across the Sea (Susan Fletcher)



This was excellent YA!



Fletcher can turn a phrase, man. She uses her understated small-town idiom to the hilt (to the point where it can only barely be called 'understated' anymore. But it remains a force in making the language powerful yet supple.)



She kept a lot of threads tightly bundled together. It's so engaging, realistic, and well-edited that it reminds me of nothing so much as Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl (that's a compliment). Actually, I like this one better: it's equally successful at what it sets out to do, but it's more ambitious in what it wants to do.



It's historical California fiction… and boy have I discovered there is a TON of that since moving out here… but, for a change, the oppressed minority is Chinese, not Mexican. So, that was oddly refreshing, and I actually learned some stuff about local history I didn't know before. Depressing stuff mostly, but still.



The characters aren't wildly original, but the characterization is subtle and strong. Eliza Jane and Wah Chung don't do any melodramatic Romeo and Juliet stuff: their relationship (a potentially deep friendship, not necessarily romance) is tender and thoughtful. Two very genuine young people circling toward each other.



The main character, Eliza Jane, in the midst of all her growing up and legitimate personal drama, is also thinking big thinky thoughts about life, the universe, God, and What It's Really All About, Alfie. This is usually a big flashing red warning light for me that the author is about to tank their book in favor of shallow only-seems-deep wateriness. Actually, however, Fletcher (although not, from where I stand, finding the strength for full orthodoxy) did a nice job genuinely awakening the mind and soul. At least, the mind and soul of a teenager.



It was a great, unique story. Did I mention it's set in a lighthouse? Oh yes.









9. Les Misérables (Victor Hugo)



I love this book so much I can't even.



(Curse you, tumblr. Look what you've done to an ex-English major! I can't even. Pitiful.)



The first thing I did upon finishing was to start flipping through and finding the best scenes again -- which turned out to be almost every scene that was a scene, and not the author philosophizing or narrating away a couple of months/years. Every actual scene was brilliant.



Not to say I hated all the philosophizing. Some of it yielded golden lines:





If you are wondering whether or not to embark on this classic, here is a foretaste. There is a LOT of this stuff. If you can't make some sort of peace with it, don't bother. Enjoy your musical. By the way, I watched the movie. The songs sucked. Except Eponine's. Eponine's songs were actually disarming. Oh, and Thénardier and Helena Bonham Carter made me laugh. Oh, and I laughed during you-know-who's suicide song, too, but I don't think I was meant to. Did I mention most of those songs sucked?Collapse )







But, even though the philosophizing mostly agreed with me and I even enjoyed Hugo's delineating of a lot of beliefs we don't share, these are not of course what really make the book -- not primarily. They are important glue giving the scenes the necessary weight. But the scenes. The scenes are heaven and earth rolled into two-packet packets of rapier wit and heartmelting tenderness. Not the plot! The plot is a little ridiculous. Try summarizing it, and you realize that we have left suspension of disbelief for dead in a ditch by the time we got to page 300 (which is nothing, in this book). That's another reason you need all the philosophizing: so that you are thinking about something (and admittedly Something more important) than the improbability of Javert having so little of a life (seriously, dude -- adopt a few cats) or of some combination of Valjean/Marius/Thénardier managing to cross paths that many times. You think about it for two seconds and realize that it's melodramatic hackery.



But those scenes! They're mesmerizing. Hugo can do dialogue and emotional undercurrentry like no one else's business. No wonder they made a musical of these scenes. At the time, I was too enchanted (and too preoccupied with the business of pleeeeeeease try desperately to finish the book and find out how it all comes out) to put my finger on it. With a bit more perspective, you can see that every one of them is usually built around two characters who are opposing forces (well, often there's a third wheel in there too, for texture or -- like when Javert arrests Fantine and Madeleine intervenes -- to be the object of the conflict). You are dying to know which one of them will have to change as a result of the scene. Hugo will drag it out indefinitely, and he will have masterly paragraph breaks and witty, pitch-perfect dialogue while he torments you. Bastard.



Melodrama or no, and well-worn as some of the themes are by 2016, reading this book is still nearly a religious experience. You can't help but come away from it more tender towards everyone you meet and more in awe of them. You can't help but want to live a finer life. After all: "It is nothing to die; it is horrible not to live." (Thank you, Jean Valjean. And yes, even though you took chapters to die and your dying words lasted four pages, I still cried. Bastard!)


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