Fuck! I’m Bad at Blogging

Hey graduates!  Remember me.  I’m the lazy asshole that used to post on this blog and then decided to do exactly what bloggers aren’t supposed to do and not blog for a year and a half.  So a lot has happened since last I wrote on this page.  Most importantly, this graduate student has graduated and now has a real-life, stress-inducing, nail-bitingly, thankless, but splendid job in a large public school system.  Let’s call it Large Public School, or LPS, for short.  And so now I announce the transformation of this blog.

Here’s the thing I noticed about my fellow teachers.  While they put up with a lot of shit every day and some of them are the most capable and intelligent people I’ve ever met, they are petty.  Super petty.  Like, will go off in a fit of rage at some kid asking for a pencil just because two periods before they found out their yogurt got stolen.  And in working in an environment like that, I’ve realized I want (read: NEED!) some outlet so that I don’t turn into the gossiping hordes that I am surrounded by.

Chobani

Bitches be getting cray cray over some goddamn nonfat yogurt. At least get 2%…

I suppose it would make the most sense if I introduce you to my school.  LPS is just like any large urban high school; at it’s core it’s dysfunctional.  It the equivalent to a bunch of headless chickens running around bumping into each other.  I have three people I report to (only one of whom is competent) and the only administrator I like is consistently butting heads with my headmaster (who is….”interesting”, but more on him later).  The best part about my job are the students.  They are the sole the reason that any teacher does their job.  Administrators, other teachers, and even some of the nosey support staff (yes, I’m talking to you, Barbara the Secretary) are tirelessly backstabbing, annoying, gossiping, and generally hating on one another.  Why do teachers want to create this kind of environment for students to learn in?  Why?!  I don’t know, but with this blog “relaunch” I hope to find out.

Until then I will continue using my new found, easy to find, and absolutely fun way to manage my stress; ALCOHOL!

J/k! I swear my actual stress relief is running, but teachers can drink like muthafuckas…they make rugby players look like babies drinking apple juice.


Billy the Kid

Quickie post for a Tuesday morning.  This song has been grooving in my head for the past month.  It’s Dia Frampton, but she co-wrote it with Mark Foster, from Foster the People.  I promise a better post later today, but enjoy the beautiful day today, especially if you’re in Boston, because for once it’s not stiflingly humid.  Maybe you’ll be luckier than me and not have to sit through a class for three hours.

 


Honey in the Hub

Hola my fellow graduates!  Again I’ve been lackadaisical about keeping this blog current but I think things just took a turn for the interesting, so I no longer am suffering from a lack of material.  Since last I posted I quit my job, got a shinier, newer, better job (with more cashhhhhhhhh), and ventured into the Midwest and back.  I also got my grades back from my first semester of grad school.  I realized that liberal arts college prepared me perfectly for a master’s in education, because I am an expert bullshit artist and apparently that is all you need to pass grad level education classes.  I finesse words, bat my eyelashes, and somehow an A miraculously appears.

Hey professor, can I have an A please?

So my foray into middle America taught me something very valuable: I am a New England girl through and through.  It’s not that the midwest wasn’t fun, interesting, and surprisingly modern (it is), it’s just that it’s missing that razor sharp edge that I’ve become so accustomed to in all my East Coast cities.  In case you were wondering, I wasn’t in some bumfuck town tucked away in the corner of the Earth.  I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the capital of niceness.  Also, the people there are quite tall.  I felt like a short, Jewish midget.  Things I learned about Minneapolis:

They have a pretty forward thinking contemporary art scene

Image

The spoon and cherry sculpture, right next to the Walker Museum. It’s a fountain! I still think that the sculptor should have incorporated whipped cream in this somehow.

They have great indie music

Not everyone sounds like they are an extra from the movie “Fargo”

It is the #1 bike friendly city in the country (yup, they beat out Portland, wtf?!)

Many of their historical buildings are from the late 1890s/early 1900s (I find this funny, only because Boston has gravestones 2 centuries older than this)

Minneapolis played a major role in feeding the country throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century.

The Minneapolis skyline

See, you learn something new every day.  But the longer I was there the more I realized that I could never function in a city like that.  I was too afraid to be my blunt self and instead tried to act like this refreshingly nice/empty version of myself.  Back in 2011, a national survey was conducted by two psychologists and it was concluded that Boston is the meanest city in America and I’m fine with that (Don’t believe me, here’s the link http://articles.boston.com/2011-07-17/bostonglobe/29784728_1_strengths-city-religious-divisions) .

The summary of a trip

I love my people painfully honest, and in your face with their emotions (good or bad).  Having been raised by a New York mother and Massachusetts father, Boston is the perfect place for me and I’m finally pleased to say I can call this city my home.  I was so happy when I got back to Boston, I cried.  This is the first time in my life I have ever felt 100% at home, alone, in a single place on Earth.  I wanted to hug my neighbourhood dry cleaner when I went in to pick up my romper the day after I returned and he asked “How was your trip, sweethaht?  Is Minnesota fehkin’ boring or did you have a wicked good time out there?”.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I missed the “Bahston accent” and I missed being called sweetheart by strangers who know nothing about me, but are simply drunk Boston Irishmen.  And this is not saying I didn’t have a great time in Minneapolis, cos I did.  I had a wonderful host, all the people I met were cool, funny, and way hipper than I imagined, but it’s nice to be back home and in control.  It even felt comforting when I had dinner with a friend of mine in the Fenway and a raunchy Scotsman and Englishman started eavesdropping on our conversation about men, videogames, and sex (as in men may frequently opt to play videogames over having sex).

Image

This tattoo proves how stupid that average Boston sports fan is. And yet, somehow, I find this stupidity relieving.

But enough about my newfound connection with Boston (and how grateful I am for the T, even if the green line sucks ass).  So I found a way to work my way up the retail slave chain pretty fast.  I went from being a sales associate in February to being a shift supervisor at Chi Chi from February to June (when I accepted this position I was gaining management experience but at the expense of a reduced salary).  After 3 months of management experience under my belt I went back to my old company and my old boss (we’ll call this company Accent Mark) and asked if they had any manager positions available.  She did!  I didn’t even have to interview and I am now working in a central location in Boston, with a 50% pay increase from what I was making a month ago.  Pretty sweet, right?  I do think that as a struggling post-grad sometimes it is necessary to take a job with less pay if you are gaining experience from the whole thing, but I don’t recommend staying at a job like that too long.  Get the experience, perform competently, than peace out for something that will pay you for your newly acquired knowledge and skills.

During my second week of training I did have to do my least favourite activity, which is to call preferred customers and let them know about the major promotions we have going on right now at Accent Mark.  I’m a really awkward phone caller and I can do this semi decently if the person never picks up the phone and I can leave a message, but once in a blue moon one of these asshole customers will pick up.  And throw a hissy fit.  Case in point:

RING.  RING. RIN-

Raging Bitch: Hello?

Me: Hi.  This is Lor, calling from Accent Mark in Boston.  How are you?

Raging Bitch: Um, I’m good.

Me: Good.  I’m just calling to let you know tha-

Raging Bitch: Why are you calling me?

Me: Um…  To let you know about our latest in store promotions.

Raging Bitch: Yes, I get that.  But I don’t know you.  When I shop at Accent Mark I always work with Ramone.  He always knows what I like.  Who the hell are you to call me?

Me: I’m sorry, Miss Raging Bitch.  I wasn’t aware that you and Ramone worked so closely together when you shop.  I can have Ramone call you when he comes in.

Raging Bitch: I’d like that.  But since I have you on the phone, tell me, what is this promotion and tell me what you got in recently?

Me: Are you kidding?!  Like, are you for real?!  Do you realize I am a person doing my job and you can’t chew me out for giving you a call when my boss just gives me a list and tells me to call all the highlighted numbers?  Go fuck yourself.  I’m not walking you through the entire new collection.  You can come in and see it for yourself, you crusty old slut!

JUST KIDDING!  That last part didn’t happen.  I walked through the store on the phone, telling her every little new thing we got in, and she was on the other end of the phone looking at the items online.  I then had to tell her what the material felt like, how to wash it, and what did it look like on a person.  I did that for about an hour.  But it wasn’t all for naught.  She came in the next day and dropped a cool grand on all the shit I put aside for her.  Thank god I make commission for my troubles!  Maybe the worst thing that happens is when I call a man on the list and it turns out he was buying the clothes for his mistress, not his wife.  That’s the most awkward moment:

Whoops! Sorry to ruin your good time, buddy. Hope you can sort out the shambles your life is now in. And please never come in and take it out on me. Please.

So that’s all for now, my fellow graduates!  This is my last week of Summer I classes, but I promise, promise, promise I will be posting more frequently.  Especially now that summer is in full swing, and I’m just a honey living in the Hub of the Universe (and loving every minute of it!)

Image

Back home, in the Fenway, proudly rocking my Beantown shirt. Great to be back in the hub.


It’s Been A Wicked Long Time

Hello fellow graduates (perhaps some recently new ones…congrats!).  It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the page as FINALS were happening.  But those dark days are past and now a graduate can look forward to an easy, breezy (but mostly humid and rainy) Boston summer, only peppered with the occasional class.

Image

Occasionally Boston has nice weather. This was one of those rare days. This is the Public Gardens.

There’s not much in terms of my life to talk about, though some events that happened over the past week are worth sharing.  I had a major allergic reaction to something about two weeks ago (I have to wait about a month to get tested for what exactly) and I was in and out of the hospital and doctor’s office for about a week.  And it was a bitch!  Not the allergic reaction bit (that was just itchy), but driving back and forth from Connecticut and Boston.  Graduates, some advice: If and when you relocate to a new city, do yourself a favour and make one of your first tasks finding a primary care physician.  You won’t want to do this when your sick and you have to make like…9000 calls to insurance and doctors to make sure that your ass is covered…literally…  I made the mistake of never doing this and was forced to head back to CT to deal with this allergic reaction, which meant I missed days of work and had to pay dollars for gasoline.

Instead of spending all that money on gasoline for my car, I could have spent that money on gasoline to burn Chi Chi down.

But I’m better now and that’s all that matters.  Now, I want to touch on graduate school.  Often I will gripe about my job and the people I work with on this blog, but I’m also a Nefarious Graduate in the sense that I’m back in school, as a graduate student, not just a student who graduated from college.  These days it seems like a college degree is as common as a high school diploma and what used to mean you were qualified 20 years ago, just makes you average now.  Many of my friends have gone back to grad school, most for the reason that a college degree doesn’t mean anything nowadays (most of my friends are also liberal arts majors…perhaps these two things are related…you decide).  I am fortunate enough that my parents were able to pay for my pricey liberal arts undergraduate education and my dad is loaning me the money to pay for graduate school.  But now that I’m paying for my classes, I realize that the quality of the classes really matters to me.  With each class costing something around $1600, I actually care if I feel like I’m not learning anything.  Especially when you’re taking classes to be an educator there’s something to be said if an instructor is a poor educator himself.

Image

There’s nothing worse than a bad teacher teaching future teachers how to teach badly.

This was a problem my classmates and I had with one professor this past semester.  I actually can’t complain, because I got an A in the class, but the work was busy work, the discussions were there only to provoke more discussion and confrontation, and the teacher was confusing, gave out more handouts than was necessary, and had no idea what the real point of the class was.  I learned more from doing the reading for this professor’s class than I did from attending the lectures.  I want to get what I’m paying for and this just wasn’t worth my money.  But even more irksome is that I want to be prepared when I get in front of a class on the first day of school in a year and a half.  This particular class was “Issues in Teaching and Learning for Middle/High School Teachers”.  That’s a pretty important chunk of curriculum  I can’t be wasting my time drawing little diagrams with a stick figure in the middle and making bullet points around said figure about how I’ll “feel” as a teacher.  I mean, there’s nothing I can do, because I need to take that class to graduate, but you know it’s bad when the whole class is just like “Retire, dude!”

Seriously, though. If that professor retires I will pay Lebron James to play the tiniest violin at his retirement party. The violin is directly proportional in size to how much his students learned.

Just an example of this professor’s incompetence: At the very beginning of the semester I informed him that I often come to class straight from work.  Sometimes, especially if there is little coverage, I have to stay later than intended.  This means I may be 10-20 minutes late.  He said “No big deal!  I understand.  You kids got to make a living”.  Done deal, right.  Wrong.  So wrong.  About two weeks later he asked me why I was late.  I explained it to him again and got the same response.  I figured it would be in his head by now.  Nope.  Still wrong.  About 3 weeks before the end of the semester I get an e-mail from the professor asking me why I’m always late to class.  So I write out a thorough e-mail (about 3 paragraphs long) explaining it all in very minute detail.  I get the response of “Oh.  Ok.  There was no need to send such a long e-mail”.  This is what my $1600 pays for.

My only response to this is academia’s a bitch, bro.

Benjamin Braddock would agree with that!

On my final note, I like to interview other nefarious graduates who have interesting careers or life choices.  I did this a couple months back with Elise Francesca, the creator of Francesca Joy Palm Beach.  Now I’m going to do it again.  This time with my good friend Gabriel Colby, of C Street Brass who are the artists in residence at Carnegie Mellon University.  He’s a pretty cool dude and makes classical music really fun.  That interview will be my next post, sometime later this week, but in the meantime I want to pump up his cause before I post the interview.  He and his group C Street Brass are trying to get to Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) to take part in the Traveling Notes Festival and they are using kickstarter.com to raise money for their airfare.  So you guys should take a minute and click the link and help a fellow graduate out.  At least watch the video, as the background music is phenomenal and the video to promote their cause is very well made and highly entertaining.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cstreetbrass/c-street-2012-tbilisi-georgia

Catch you on the flip side!  And a song for you:


Grad Student Life

Grad Student Life

I will be posting an actual post soon (last final is handed in today!) but until then, enjoy a meme with some Tina Fey


Meme Time

I decided to create a meme in honour of my semester almost being over, as well as just saying “screw it” until I get a better job.  Enjoy!  And share with your friends!

Gospel. Truth.


Commission Submission

I have finally thrown up my hands when it comes to work and decided that not two more fucks will be given.  I spend about 90% of my time at work worrying about petty gossip and the other 10% actually doing any selling.  It goes without saying that I am not making ANY commission, ever, and I don’t even care anymore.  Chi Chi is a fine place to work, if you love talking smack about your co-workers.  It’s completely unprofessional and I am trying like mad to find another job somewhere in the city.  My next career may involve slicing the heads off of newborn mice. No joke.  Though I’d prefer to do some education work, as that is the field I am in graduate school for.  On a totally unrelated note, it’s spring and it’s been lovely weather here!

Yay Spring! The weather in my neighbourhood has been phenomenal.

What are we supposed to do when people gossip at work?  It happens.  We have to admit this.  And I can’t say I’m innocent of being an angel 100% of the time.  There have been a few occasions where I have said a nasty thing or two.  But there is a difference between letting something bitchy slip out of your mouth every once in awhile and having a constant stream of shit-talk spewing from your mouth all day, every day.  And if you’re not one of those people who likes to trash talk, it can be uncomfortable and make work a place you don’t want to go to.  So the solution can be one of two: Deal with it and let all the bad feelings pile up inside you or talk to a supervisor and try to find a fix.

"You know that bitch we hate? Well, let's talk about her, right in front of her, and then be silent when she looks over"

It’s been getting to the point where I had to say something to my boss.  I used to get excited going into Chi Chi every day, but with the negativity that’s in the air, I’ve been unable to work.  Maybe it’s me, and maybe I’m too sensitive to other’s emotions, but when people are being cruel each and every day it’s unhealthy.  I took my boss aside and told her that the gossip in the store was not just regular “water-cooler” gossip, but that workers and even some managers are inappropriately malicious to one another and it’s ugly.  I told her it’s gotten to the point where I don’t talk to anyone, because if you don’t have something bitchy to say no one wants to hear it.  She’s been in meetings and training new store managers for the district the past 3 weeks and it’s come as a shock to her how much the store is unwinding when she isn’t there to supervise behaviour.

Moving on from all that negativity.  I’m almost done with my first semester of graduate school, and what a relief that is!  Not that I was sweating the small stuff at school.  We did just have to do a mastery learning unit and create a whole unit worth of work that can be used when it comes time to teach.  That’s like…almost a month worth of teaching work I already have done in my career.  Whoopee!  I never realized how much planning goes into teaching, and I have a much deeper sense of appreciation for all my teachers in the past, even the shitty ones (Ya, I’m talking to you 7th grade history teacher).  It’s pretty fun seeing teaching from the other side, after having been (and still being) on the student side my whole life.

Woot Woot! Here in my hands you see the 30 page document that my Mastery Unit consists of

This was an exciting week for Boston.  This past Monday was Marathon Monday/Patriots’ Day.  Almost everyone in Boston has the day off from work and the “real” reason is Patriots’ Day, which is to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but it’s also the same day the Boston Marathon is run and traffic would have to be cut off in and around metro-Boston, so basically it’s just another holiday to get drunk.  I was surprised to learn that in many areas, like Boston College (which is right near the notorious Heartbreak Hill), Marathon Monday is a bigger drunkfest than St. Patty’s Day.  Kids were walking around the campus in “Keep Calm and Mara-thon” tanks.  They also were giving terrifically loud support to all the runners, as they were coming off the downhill of Heartbreak Hill.

Boston College Station on Marathon Monday

I spent my Marathon Monday on the docks by the Charles and then ran into a New Zealand rugby player who plays rugby with Rugby Rascal.  Needless to say, I’ve never been more of a hot mess.

Just a pretty view of Boston from the Charles that I thought I'd share.