Thursday, January 21, 2010

Anyone Can Teach!

That's right! Anyone. Well, that's what it seems like if you're staff at California State University Long Beach. Sure, at one point this state funded (are any schools in California really state funded at the moment?) university may have had its moments. But even when Richard Carpenter funded the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, he was wise in not including any remnants of the university's name in the building's obscenely long title.

California State Budget cuts are ruining my educational experience. Any class that doesn't meet enrollment requirements are instantly cut one day after posting if minimum class enrollment isn't met, so teachers are creating classes that draw in the masses instead of focusing on educational value.

Exhibit A:

I enrolled in a German cinema class this semester. Though the title sounds intriguing and possibly suggests a fascinating history full of rich background information, it's just a fancy phrasing for showing up for a Wednesday night movie club where we watch some lady's Netflix queue who believes her "passion for movies" qualifies her to extract meaning. She may have had some credibility had she actually studied film, not bought enough movie tickets to equal film school tuition, and she'd be even more credible if she had achieved her Ph.D. by now instead of putting off her dissertation for the past few years in order to pursue her other passion: posing for her webcam showing an array of bored facial expressions which she posts to her Facebook almost constantly. Maybe she can teach a class on photography in the fall.

Budget cuts and decrease in salaries have also led to an increased orneriness in the staff. Maybe some time ago education and thriving, diverse departments used to be a key goal of the university, but remnants of those happy days of yore are harder to find than the Holy Grail. Instead, students have been reduced to mere numbers and are one budget cut away from having our student I.D. numbers tattooed on our foreheads and patches identifying our areas of study sewed onto our shirts.

In fact, in order to KEEP students at the university, it has become widely accepted by administration, staff, and faculty to resort to belittling students until there is no self-identity left, from which they are able to mold us into the model beings they want: emotionless, passionless robots who care about nothing other than earning the school money and will bend over to take the abuse.

Why stay in a program in which department chairs continue to belittle its students and thrive off of becoming leaches that suck the life and drive out of every being it can? Because graduate credits don't transfer, I'm so close to being done, and I still care about what I'm studying: German language. Sure, the department is suffering so much it has practically disintegrated by allowing students in who cannot formulate one simple sentence in German. And yes, those same students are receiving the exact same credit for doing all of their work in English whilst I continually strive to better myself and improve my foreign language skills, but who will come out the better man? Certainly not the crabby, old German department chair who sends out mass e-mails every-other week to remind students he is the one with a Ph.D. and depreciating mind who has sold his soul for the ability to sit in an office all day and use his socialist scare tactics to verbally bash all students into submission and feel like he is a superior being, when in reality it is the students who remain intact in spirit that shall overcome in the end and who will, without a word spoken, become the superiors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

I find myself sitting in bed with my window slightly cracked to allow the steady patter of rain beating against the pavement below to lull me to sleep. Unfortunately, it's not working. Instead, I keep thinking about how ridiculous Californians are. How come? Well, aside from soaking up too much sun, allowing their brains to become fried slowly during the duration of their lives, they just don't know what to do when the weather is anything but 73˚ and sunny out.

In fact, the rain has been so "torrential" that it has made national news, and my mother called me in a panic. "Don't worry," I assured her. "It's just a thunderstorm." "Is that all?!" And there the conversation ended because I hung up the phone. I like to hang up in the middle of sentences. It gives me a sense of power and control of the conversation, but I digress.

Although, I must agree that 60" of rain in one week is a little much, even if we're experiencing a drought at the moment, the fright and the panic needs to stop. Really. Who cares if it's raining? Who cares if there's thunder and lightning? Who cares that there are several tornado warnings that last a great deal of the afternoon? I'll tell you who: not me. If I had my way, I'd use this week of Mother Nature's wrath to incur the "big one" and send California out to sea once and for all.

The rain is supposed to be worse tomorrow, and I'll probably celebrate by heading to the jacuzzi and sipping margaritas in the drizzle. Fo' real! And if I were any sensible person, I'd stay off the road - any of them - until the sun comes back because I don't trust one single person out there.

It's times like these that I'm glad I'm Texan.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well, it's the new year. Or rather, it has been for the past 18 days. What have I learned from this past year? For one thing, that I'm not very great at blogging. I mean, really: 23 entries in the past 4 or so months? Tsk tsk tsk on myself.

I begin teaching next week at a new university. I'm not really nervous as much as I am appalled at myself for agreeing to teach at a public university. Not that there'e anything wrong with it *cough*state budget*cough*, but I'll miss being able to xerox materials without having to sacrifice my paycheck or possibly a baby.

What's more is that I'm not really enthused about teaching this semester as I was last semester. Sure, I'll do it because it's an easier way to earn money than when I prostituted for the bank, but do I really have the energy to drag myself to campus before noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Not really.

But that could just be the weather talking right now. It started pouring buckets of rain today, and California is expected to get about 60" ... of rain, that is. Who expects it? Me. I didn't even crawl out of bed until sometime between 4 and 5P.M. today because I just didn't have the energy to expend.

Update with pictures to come soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Holiday Wrap-Up

Dearest Journal,

This year has been unforgettable. I have graduated college, lived in Europe, lived in my own little corner, in my own special chair, thanks to Erin, and I have a new roommate. Well, I hope I still have one.

The other night, like clockwork, my roommate, Paul, went out clubbing, which he usually does 7-9 times a week (not to be confused with 79 times a week, which would be a little outrageous!). I had settled myself into my bedpants and was fast asleep by the time he got home around 3a.m. I woke up to hear banging of pots and pans, see the lights turn on in the hallway, and the A/C kick on - it was 37 degrees outside. I shrugged and went to back to bed, only to wake up at 5a.m. to the lights and the A/C still on. Hypothermic with glass-cutting nipples, I went to hall and saw Paul keeled over in front of my door. I turned off the A/C and lights, slammed my door and went back to bed. At 7a.m. I thought a bomb was about to go off, as the fast-paced beeping of Paul's alarm clock blasted through the apartment. Even more annoyed, I opened my door and yelled at Paul to turn it off and get up. He didn't move or respond. After several minutes, I decided to shut it off myself and go back to bed.

Needless to say, I woke up later that morning and went to work. I haven't been home since, and I really hope he's still alive.

In other news, my family has completely lost it. My two aunts who live with my grandmother have been fighting for the past couple of years, and it's gotten incredibly worse. So much so, that one of my aunts has fled to Louisiana to forget her anger in the casinos. In the meantime, my sister has recently acquired a bed, for which she needs a box spring. Well, conniving as always, my other aunt, who will be remaining at home, has offered my sister a box spring for her bed, and my sister took it. Turns out, it was the box spring for my other aunt's bed. As evil as it may be, I still laugh as I imagine the face of my aunt when she returns to find her bed without a box spring.

Anyway, I should best get back to studying, journal. Sorry I wasn't so funny this time around, but I'll be in Texas starting Friday, with 5 weeks off from school. I shall make updates GALORE!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Bring it, December!

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, mine possibly faster than everyone else's. I visited my great aunt in Corona for our "dinner" at 2:15 in the afternoon. Afterward, we came back to her house, where we looked through photos she showed me last time (but I had to pretend to be seeing them for the first), and she asked about my trip to Europe. I almost made it through the first sentence when she cut me off and escorted me out the door. "It was nice to see you," she said, as the screen door slammed in my face. I was home by 3:30p.m.

With a little bit of cheer and a lot of wine, I managed to make it through the rest of the night. Besides, I have two thesis papers I should be writing, but instead, I have been doing everything except writing. For instance, I'm updating this journal even though I convinced myself I could write nothing at the moment. By Friday, I was listening to the Carpenters and enjoying the beginning of the holiday season. Saturday, I baked cookies from scratch and had a lovely dinner of Kraft macaroni and cheese with Tyson chicken nuggets and red wine. After dinner, I ended the evening with a lovely night at the theater, enjoying a peaceful tragedy, "Spring Awakening".

For the past month or longer, I have been consistently also going to the gym every night. In comparison, I look a lot better, but I've only been comparing myself to the naked photos of Vanessa Hudgens that have been plaguing the internet for the past few years. Those are really great for your self-esteem, by the by. Anywho, after polishing off another bottle of red wine (it's supposed to be good for you to saturate yourself with red wine every night, according to WebMD!!), I ventured to the gym. Big mistake. My dream of working out came to a sad and sudden end when I found myself crying on the floor in front of an ever-running treadmill. I don't really know how it happened, but I'm almost certain all those slapping of buttons and cursing didn't help any, and the dancers in the other room who did nothing but stare - well, that didn't make matters any better, and I may have said a few things that will eventually air on COPs.

I now find myself lying in bed, after a soothing bath that nearly drowned me, contemplating the two weeks I have left of my first full-time graduate semester and doing anything I can not to write any more papers, though my continuing education depends on them. But really, what can one do?

The moral of this story? I may have bought some more Activia at the grocery store yesterday, and it may be hormonal mood swings brought on by this vagina yoghurt that rendered me an unstable mess, as opposed to the seven, large glasses of red wine I siphoned before heading to the gym. The world may never know.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Really Lame Joke We All Secretly Love

Maude, an old woman, is watching the evening news when the anchor suddenly announces:

"Breaking news! A car is driving the wrong direction down a major highway!"

Maude grew concerned because she knew her husband was driving home on that particular freeway. She dialed his cell phone and when he answered she burst out with the news

"Harold! Be careful! The anchorman says there is a crazy person driving the wrong way down the freeway!"

Harold replies

"Call the station, honey, cause there's not just one, there are hundreds!!!"

-- 5 cents gets you nuts!

Friday, November 13, 2009

November, What?!

November, where did you come from, and why hasn't this blog updated itself?!

For the past few weeks I have been busy with graduate school (I had two or three two-hour presentations to give) and writing angry letters to just about everyone I could think of. Normally I don't have such rage (you shut your mouth, Erin!), but I was inspired when I was watching a pre-recorded episode of Family Guy on TV about a week or two ago and noticed an Activia commercial in which there was no Jamie Lee Curtis. My mission had been accomplished. Through this triumphant victory I was able to muster the courage to write letters to such companies as Barnes & Noble, regarding an incorrigible salesman who followed me around the music section until I left, and Pottery Barn (they know what they did!).

All this angry letter writing has left me drained and unenthused about creatively writing in this here journal. That is, however, until today. You might wonder, "What will he talk about today?" or "What gems of wisdom does he have for us?" The answer is simple: I have nothing to talk about, so put that in your turkey and stuff it. I do, though, have a new cell phone, with which I plan to take more pictures and upload to this blog, thereby making it more "child friendly". If you don't have children to read this blog to, I suggest volunteering to read aloud to dying children at your local hospital, pound, or dump - or wherever you take/leave them. Or you could just steal a child. I find kindergartens, city parks, or Disneyland provides a nice selection from which to choose.

Until I Write Again,