Sunday odds and ends

DMX hit the scene in 1998, my senior year in college, a time when my musical tastes were probably as far away from hiphop as they’ve been in my life. I can’t pretend I’ve ever really been a fan, although X Gon’ Give It To Ya is an immortal banger, and the guy’s voice was something else. But it’s been amazing to see since he died just how many people have been coming out of the woodwork to tell stories about him just being a great person, or stories about running into a generous stranger that end with “… and then it turned out that guy was DMX.” I’m at the age where more and more people close to my age (he was only about 7 years older than me, which doesn’t feel like much) are passing on, and I can only hope that when I go there are more positive stories told about me than otherwise. Rest in power, man.


Speaking of rap music, and forgive me, because given DMX’s placement on this it’s going to feel like shade, but this dataset investigating the vocabularies of various rappers is really interesting. Especially so when you scroll down and look at when they sort everybody by the era they’re most associated with.


I bought Taylor Swift’s reissue of Fearless, mostly because her last two albums were so (sincerely) fucking good. I’ve talked a lot of shit about her music over the years– and most of it I still stand by, frankly– and buying the reissue was almost more of a political decision than it was a musical one, because I so very much adore the idea of her responding to someone else refusing to sell her the rights to her own music back by shrugging and using her songwriter rights to rerecord every single bit of it. At some point a switch in my head has flipped with her, though, and where I used to have all of her music inadvertently memorized and didn’t like it, now I have all her music inadvertently memorized and fuck it I’m listening to it on purpose because I’m grown and if I wanna be inconsistent I’m going to.

I still think she and Lil Nas X should write a song together, just to see if the entire world wakes up the next day with it memorized.


I go back to work in-person tomorrow, for the first time in, basically, thirteen months. I’m surprisingly sanguine about it– I was expecting to be climbing the walls today, and I’m really just not right now– but I still haven’t resolved some basic issues about what the next few days are going to look like that I’ve been mulling over for the entire break. I still don’t quite know how I’m going to handle my at-home kids; believe it or not, me being at home is easier for doing in-person and at-home at the same time than being at school will be and I don’t know how well all of that is going to work. I know I need to do some grading today one way or another, and I think for at least tomorrow I’m going to more or less give the at-home kids the day off; I’ll do a review assignment of some sort (everything this week is going to be review, since ILEARN starts a week from tomorrow, which is the real reason they’ve brought all the teachers back) while I sit down with the in-person kids and get them sorted out.

I’m going to take a shower– it’s past noon and I’ve had lunch, so I feel like it’s maybe time for that to happen– and then get that grading finished (hopefully somebody did something to catch their grades up this week, but I’m not holding my breath) and then we’ll see how things go.

Adultifying!

We met our contractor– the same people that did the roof– at a flooring supply place today and picked out the look for the new bathroom. On the left, vinyl flooring that will extend into the laundry room and looks like tile. On the right, the walls in the shower (12×24, nice big tiles) and, divided into little squares, also the floor for the shower. In the middle, accent tile for the shower. It’s going to run vertically from the showerhead to the handles, form the back of a niche for shampoo and such, and possibly also be a little vertical accent stripe on the bench that’s going to be in there.

We’ll go to a different place for fixtures and a custom vanity in a week and a half or so. Will there be body jets in the shower and a bidet on the toilet? Yep. There sure as hell will.

Whee!

Yikes

I’m sitting in my classroom right now, typing this on my work laptop, and trying to figure out the next nine weeks of my life. It is possible I have overscheduled myself; I got an email today from this course design thing I’m doing with IU that describes what they think the schedule is going to look like, and it’s … a lot, potentially. Then there’s the new committee I’m on at work, which is a few extra hours after school a week, then (eventually) there’s going to be National Board certification, which is just a meeting here and there right now, but soon I’m going to have to start actually doing stuff for it, and I looked up what the content area test was going to be like the other day and, well …

This is for their adolescent (11-15) Mathematics certification, which is going to be the one I’m going for. I teach Algebra, y’all, and I washed out of Calculus in high school and never looked at it again, but, like, right now I think I want to do the content area test first, and the notion that I need to relearn Geometry, Trig, Discrete Math and Calculus in the next few months when I never really learned Calculus in the first place, plus a refresher on stats?

I mean, on the one hand, at least I have something to do this summer, and on the other hand, I’ve wanted to go back and conquer Calculus, because it’s always sort of stuck in my craw that I bailed on it, and on the third hand, the one I don’t have that’s kind of a lot.

Like, I pass standardized tests. Passing standardized tests is my thing. I’ll be fine. But my studyin’ muscles haven’t really had much of a workout for the last, oh, fifteen years or so– who am I kidding, it’s longer than that, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t have to do a single second of “studying” for my M.Ed– and I’m gonna have to rediscover some skills with a quickness.

Plus, like, even just planning out how to approach all this is intimidating. I’m sure there are plenty of self-paced/free or inexpensive study guides out there, both specifically for this test and for these subjects in general, but that’s basically all of high school math that I need a refresher on plus some stuff I never really touched until college. While designing a course in Quantitative Reasoning for IU, doing whatever I need to do for this other committee, and, oh, teaching the last nine weeks of 8th grade math from school when I haven’t taught physically in my building for literally over a year and figuring out how to keep the kids who are staying home connected to everything else that’s going on.

One step at a time, I suppose.

First step: find a study guide for the test itself; Amazon probably has one. Second step: relearn all of mathematics.

It’ll be fine.

In which the hype, somehow, is real

I am fully, 100% aware of just how behind the times I am, that it is April of 2021 and I am about to use precious space on Beyoncé’s internet to talk about the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. But yes, somehow I managed to wait a year and a half from the launch of the sandwich in August of 2019 to finally eat one. But there really isn’t a Popeye’s anywhere near me, and it’s not like we’ve been able to eat in restaurants lately. But I have dinner with my dad every week or two, and generally the way it works is that I bring something over, and he said yesterday that he was in the mood for chicken sandwiches and didn’t specify where from.

And there is a Popeye’s near Dad’s place. Now, it’s a shitty Popeye’s– but then, they all are, right? But if he wants chicken sandwiches anyway, and there’s one by him … well, what the hell, let’s gird our loins for disappointment and try the damn things out. Surely they’ve been out long enough that I can just go get a couple of them, and they’ve probably been scaled back from what they were when they were first out and people were literally murdering each other for the damn things.

Ha.

This particular Popeye’s is a freestanding restaurant that is basically in the middle of a parking lot. It’s not really built to have a lengthy drive-thru line, and when I got there not only did the line completely wrap around the building– let me remind you again that it is April of 2021 and this damn sandwich has been out for nearly two years— but they had someone in the parking lot fucking directing traffic, so that Popeye’s customers could get in line for the drive-thru while still at least theoretically allowing people access to the Subway (this Subway) fifty feet away.

I was in line for maybe fifteen minutes. Given the number of cars, not bad. I ordered three Original sandwiches– Dad had said he wanted two, so I figured I’d get two as well– and one Spicy.

Do not order two of these damn things, and do not try to eat both at a sitting unless you are a giant fat man like me.

Look at that fucking sandwich. That’s the spicy one. The chicken patty was an inch thick. The other one didn’t overhang the bun like this one did but holy hell, this much food for $4.50 or whatever they were charging me– it’s less than that, I think– is madness. The damned sandwiches were delicious; they weren’t overwhelmed with sauce (mayo for one and spicy sauce of some sort for the other,) the pickles were tasty and crunchy although there could have maybe been a couple more of them (I think they slid to the one side of the sandwich during transit?) and the patty itself in both cases was fucking great. This is 100% the best fast-food chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, bar none, and other than a particular sandwich served by one single restaurant in Chicago that obviously I can’t get any longer, it’s probably the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, period, and it’s not close. Even the spicy sandwich was, for me, balanced more or less perfectly. It’s probably not hot enough for people who genuinely like super-spicy foods, but for me it hit the sweet spot where I was definitely feeling it but it wasn’t overwhelming.

I finished the damn things nearly two hours ago and my mouth is still kind of watering. That good.

But seriously, don’t order two of them, especially if you want any kind of side. I’ll have more of these– they’re worth going out of my way for– but it’s an enormous amount of food. If, like me, you didn’t want to battle crowds to get one of these when they were all over the news and then just sort of let it fall off your radar, make a trip. It’s worth it.

A short Skyrim story

I have spent a good portion of the last two days playing Skyrim. Why? I’m on Spring Break, and I do what I want. Something something self care something, damn it.

Anyway, my character is an archer and a thief, because no matter what build you try to have in Skyrim you always end up as an archer and a thief, and apparently at some point I stole something from a certain minor character’s home. I was just attacked in broad daylight in a whole other town by a handful of thugs, all of whom were quickly dispatched via arrows to the face. Because that is how I roll.

Upon searching said thugs, I found a letter from this dude telling them that he wanted them to beat me bloody, but if I died in the process, meh.

Now, actually killing NPCs in this game is possible but can frequently be more trouble than it’s worth, as murder is one of those crimes where the guards just sort of magically know you’ve done it even if you were the only other person in the room where it happened. But sometimes you need to make exceptions, right? And this dude had sent three thugs after me, so something something self defense something, right?

Well, when I stopped by his house again, he wasn’t home, and I wasn’t about to traipse all over the damn town looking for him. Now, if you’re not familiar with this game, be aware that you can pick up damn near any object you can see. Baskets. Food. Plates. Books. Silverware. That pair of boots on the floor in the corner. If you can see it, more likely than not you can pick it up and make off with it. It actually takes a while when you start playing to curb that automatic video game urge to loot everything, because you really don’t need all those wooden plates and flagons. They just take up room in your inventory and make it harder to carry stuff you want.

But you don’t have to carry stuff far to do something fun with it.

So I took every single object in this man’s house, went outside, and dumped it all on the ground in front of his place. I thought about just selling it but there was a lot of stuff and it would have required at least two trips to my fence– you can only sell stolen goods in certain places– and frankly I thought just throwing all his dishes and baskets and eating utensils and all of his food out in the snow outside his place was funny enough.

He has a farm outside of town, too. He comes after me again, I’ll clear that out next.

Your move, Belyn Hlaalu.