Sunday, May 1, 2011
Soon, though, I started getting calls about substituting for other teachers. I even got a call at 6 AM one day wondering if I could be an English teacher. A few weeks ago, I taught Spanish to lower and middle school students, which was pretty awesome; it reminded me of the song on the Adam Sandler comedy CD about high school Spanish teachers. I've been a music teacher, which requires extensive knowledge of DVD and CD technology. The best class by far has been gym. A sample day in the life of a substitute gym teacher:
Show up at 8:45, just in time for my second period class, because no one has gym first period. The fifth graders rush into the locker room and change into their gray gym outfits. They all ask if they are swimming. When I tell them they are playing badminton, they go nuts, especially the Asian kids. They either hate swimming, love badminton, or both.
12 kids play badminton while the other eight roughhouse on the mats. My main job is preventing death, which in a normal gym would not be a concern. However, there is a pile of mats six feet high on one side of the gym, and the children seem to enjoy crawling over, under, and through the mats. The image of a missing fifth grader found weeks later in a pile of mats flashes before my eyes and I make them do pushups instead. One of them tries a backflip off the mats and I just lose it, blowing my whistle and sounding as mad as I'm able.
In the locker room, the fifth graders are changing when the next class of high school boys come in. They repeatedly try to slap the younger children's hands and give them a "high-five". I get the feeling it's an inside joke privy to which I am not.
3rd period I have sixth graders. They are calm and organized and it seems like someone has fed them a collective chunk of Xanax and Adderall at the same time. They do their stretches silently and without a leader and I worry that they are a communist youth group plotting the bourgeious teacher's downfall.
Back in the locker room, I wait for seventh graders. I mistakenly order a sophomore to get ready for gym class. He seems offended, but he's really small, so he should understand.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In the interim, I've made some major changes in my life. I earned my Nebraska Teachers' License and I now substitute teach at my former high school, Omaha Brownell-Talbot College Preparatory School. It's great. Last week I was a substitute middle school gym teacher which is probably the best job ever. Schedule: 9-11 AM, play badminton with fifth and sixth grade boys. 12-1, cardio with fourth graders. If you think you know disarray try putting elementary school kids on treadmills with inclines. 1-3, watch school musical, which was hilariously funny.
I have also acquired a girlfriend and not via the usual online route from South America. She's a dental student in Omaha and we met on a yellow bus. Other than losing her purse and keys every 5-7 days she keeps it pretty real. She has lots of friends, which is nice, since I only have 3 in Omaha not including family, pets, and family pets. My oral hygiene has improved dramatically since meeting her.
Regarding jobs, I'm now only semi-retired. I tutor high school kids in math on weekday afternoons, and I was just asked to come on board at a local acute care center in Omaha. Soon I will have to change the blog name! I had one really funny experience when I applied for a job in Oregon, thinking I might leave town and move to the Pacific Northwest. The woman who owns the clinic to which I applied e-mailed me back. I don't think she's a big fan of technology. Here's the email. Really. (names/numbers edited)
HI MY NAME IS _________ I OWN _____ & WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU MY PHONE _________ HOME ___________ SOME TIMES IT IS HARD
TO GET ME I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH PHONES THEY FALL APART HOPE TO HERE FROM YOU AGAIN THANK YOU _____ MY E-MAIL IS email@example.com
Needless to say I require my employers to have verbal skills exceeding the average for fifth graders, so to her dismay I did not follow through with the application. Second of all, who uses hotmail? Answer: The same people who search for employees on myspace.
More later as there have been plenty of entertaining times in the last few months.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Double Down 9000
1 Double Down Sandwich, Original Recipe
2 KFC Biscuits
1 Double Whopper with Cheese
3 Mozzarella Sticks
Whole Lotta Mayo (Light Mayo only)
BBQ sauce (optional)
1. Seperate Double Whopper into top and bottom halves.
2. Cook eggs over easy.
3. Place Eggs, Mozzarella Sticks, Avocado, and entire Double Down sandwich on lower half of Whopper.
4. Remove Whopper buns and replace with biscuits, or simply put the biscuits outside the bun.
5. Add Mayo and Pickles to taste.
6. Dip in BBQ sauce and enjoy it.
7. No one lives forever but this may hasten the end.
8. If you doubt that I will really do this check back after the weekend for pictures.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
We're pretty much dead ringers for each other. And I wish I could sleep wearing my green fedora.
So the rest of this has nothing to do with hats, and everything to do with funny stuff that happens while I'm working at the bar. The first one has to do with backhanded compliments. Though I am a master of the empty compliment myself, I'll let it be known that I think backhanded compliments are low and despicable. Here's a really good one:
Person 1: "Rehab at 14 was the worst possible thing for him. I mean, he just isn't at all equipped for the pursuit of life. He really is practically useless at everything."
Person 1: "He's a nice guy though, I've always liked him."
This anecdote serves to reinforce the widely-held, probably incorrect notion that saying "he's a nice guy, though" immediately negates ANYTHING negative you just said about the third person. Example:
Person 1: "He's a total hebephile and a huge racist. Hates Puerto Ricans and Buddhists with a passion. Kills baby seals for fun and throws their pelts away because he just likes the sight of a dying, clubbed, peltless seal. You'll never meet a nicer guy, though."
Next: I was poking around the kitchen at work for some food one evening, when I saw a big tub of generic sour cream from Sysco. It said on the label: "CULTURED SOUR CREAM". I started thinking about what uncultured sour cream would be like.... boorish, insensitive. Unable to respond to the needs of my taco.
My "Check Engine" light has now been flickering on and off for over three years. I take it as a sign of good craftsmanship that the light is able to last that long, and I know check engine lights are just swindles to get you to go to the repair store, usually so they can check your check engine light and fix that instead of your engine, putting you into an unending cycle of worry that your engine is broken alternating with worry that your engine is broken but you don't even know because your check engine light is malfunctioning. It's dizzying thinking about this, so I covered up my check engine light with black tape.
But what I really don't like about check engine lights is the fact that they're completely unnecessary. I have a VERY good idea if my engine is not working correctly, because the CAR DOESN'T TURN ON. Does this seem self-evident to anyone else? I'm out.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Civil matters- complaints
Reporting officer: Clyde Harris
Report date: 8/15/09 8:42 Date dispatched: 8/15/09 8:45
Case number: 2-09-001611
Complainant information #1.... will be omitted in this version due to litigous nature of the complainant.
Suspect/Arrestee Information- #1:
Prompt valid in: Costello, Joseph K
Narrative by Harris: On 8-15-09 at approxiamately 0842 hours I was dispatched to __ North Fork Road. The call was in regards to a possible trespassing violation. The complainant was identified as _________.
Upon arrival I met with ___ and she stated that the North Fork Homeowner's Asssociation had bladed and widened North Fork Road onto her property. ____ stated the she had her land surveyed about two years ago and the survey markers were probably bladed over. I asked ___ if she would show me approximately where on her land that the survey markers would be. ___ and I both spotted three different survey markers that showed the eastern boundary of her land. All three of the boundary markers were well off of the west side of North Fork Road. Appproximately eight feet west of the road (sic). ___ then showed me a map of her property and the boundary markers coincided with the map. I explained to ____ that there was nothing I could do for her as North Fork Road did not touch her property line and that this call was really a civil call in nature.
SUPPLEMENT BY HARRIS
On 3-16-10 at approximately 1715 hours, I received a phone call from _____. The phone call was in regards to events that happened a week prior to the original call on 8-15-09, _____ asked me if I would document her continued complaint from that incident, AS THE ALLEDGED SUSPECT IN THE MATTER, JOSEPH COSTELLO, WAS STILL LIVING AND WORKING IN THE AREA AND CREEPED HER OUT. (CAPS provided by me for emphasis, but this is the real text of the report.)
____ asked me if I remembered her complaint about a subject identified as Joseph COSTELLO. I told _____ I remembered her complaining about Costello, as he was moving rocks along her property line and North Fork Road. _____ told me that when she made contact with COSTELLO and asked him what his name and business was along her property line, COSTELLO would only give the name MOHOMMAD (sic). ____ stated to me that this had really upset her and asked me if I would talk to COSTELLO about the situation, which I did. I made contact with COSTELLO on the morning of 8-15-09 at his parent's residence on North Fork Road, of which I can t remember the address.
When I asked COSTELLO why he had given ___ the name of MOHOMMAD. he said that ____ was being a royal pain, moving big rocks onto North Fork Road and he had stopped to move the rocks out of the road when she made contact with him. COSTELLO told me he was just being ornery and joking when he told her his name was MOHOMMAD. When I asked COSTELLO if he would not bother ____ any more, he said that he would leave her alone.
This supplemental report was completed at the complainant's request, and there is still no basis for any criminal investigation.
No further action.
Just a few comments on this. First, since when has "living and working in the area and creeping her out" an investigable offense?? Second, a trespassing complaint seven months post facto is not likely to have much merit.
Also, I found out the real reason behind this request. A few days later, my boss at the Census took me aside and asked if I'd had an incident with a "crazy-sounding woman" (those were his exact words) in Centennial. I stated that once, seven months ago I was involved in a minor incident and that I believed this woman had called my boss trying to get me fired, and was using the written police report as ammunition for this character assassination. Then, after my boss told me to skip her house while delivering the Census, she called him back to report that I had skipped her house and she had not received her Census. So you see what I'm dealing with: a devious, duplicitous, anxious crazy old lady with nothing better to do than try to get me fired.
But I'm still somewhat of a folk hero in my subdivision and many people know me only as Mohammed; I got several friendly handshakes from neighbors of hers recognizing my service to the community.
In another random thought, is there anyone else that thinks Duke's Coach K has really pulled the wool over America's eyes by convincing us that his name is pronounced with an "S"?
Monday, March 15, 2010
The T in the middle is quite unnecessary, especially because if you read it phonetically it says "boot-T barn"
So in my response (which I'm sure was equally confusing) I asked faux-naively: "Is that like ecstasy? Isn't there a book or something called 'apostasy and ecstasy'?" I haven't heard back from this co-worker yet, so I'm interested in getting his (or her, I'm not actually sure which co-worker it is) version of this story.
In further Census news, I knocked on the door of a house that I thought was unoccupied. As I was preparing to leave a baggie containing the questionnaire on the doorknob, the subject answered the door. She was about sixty, and probably still is consdering it just happened three hours ago. But I hope I'm this cool when I'm sixty, and I hope this wasn't just a demented lady rhyming to me. But seriously, she spits hot fire.
RetiredJK: "Hello my name is JK and I work for the US Census."
Subject: "The consensus is... (pause)... you're with the Census!"
RJK: "Oh yeah when did you start freestyling?"
Also, I had a pretty amazing chat with a woman at our district office. I needed to get a TPS report from her including the emails of all the people in my group of ten enumerators, for I planned (in a stunning show of efficiency, decentralization, and direction of workflow) to start an "e-mail list" and a "Google document" which could allow us all to update the all-important spreadsheet. We'll start with my phone call being transferred to the target phone-answerer:
(Me singing along with elevator music)
Census: "Hello this is "Rhonda" how may I assist you today?" (names changed for protection)
RetiredJK: "Hello. My name is JK and I work for the Census-- I'm an assistant crew leader in fact. I need to get a list of the email addresses for the group I trained last week."
Census: "Oh my, I don't know if we have that information. I mean I'm not sure if that's even possible. I... I just don't know."
RJK: "Could you find out please."
Census: "I just don't think we have that information."
RJK: "You have my email address and everyone who took my training class last week."
Census: "Well.... give me their names and I'll ask my supervisor."
(On hold, I throw down half a K.C. and JoJo song)
Census: "You can't have that information because it's confidential. You'll have to get it from your workers each individually."
RJK: "You realize you sent me a list of all their names, telephone numbers and addresses previously."
Census: "I don't know. I'm just not in a position to give out any of that information."
We now go by code names in our Census group so that we don't give out any identifying information. This is totally real, one person goes by IB BrakenBonez, I am J-Tiger, someone else is Carlos, and we are really the only three people keeping it up, but it's pretty cool. I'm kind of sticking it to the man but in a funny way.
In yet another entertaining snippet, one of many in a seemingly neverending series, I called the main office to get a boss lady's email address to email her the master spreadsheet. I talked to the boss lady and it became increasingly obvious that she had an aversion to electronic music:
RetiredJK: "So I have this spreadsheet in Excel format and I'd like to send it over there."
Census: "So... you're gonna fax that to me?"
RJK: "Well, you see, excel files are most often e-mailed."
"I don't have an e-mail address."
(Pause for me to laugh)
"You poor thing. I am speaking to someone at the Census bureau right?"
"You know you can get email on the Web for FREE, right?"
"Is that so? Well, I do have an email address, but I'm not important enough to use it."
I told her not to be so hard on herself, but I eventually realized that she just meant she didn't have a secure census email address, which again led to the following exchange:
Me: "So... it is OK to fax something to an office of forty people but I can't send it to you privately via email?
Census: "I'm just not qualified for that."
It's funny, because the more they waste my time, the more time I waste discovering out just how much time they waste.