My Google-fu and vocabulary have failed me

The bit that’s flipped up there, so that the pilot can climb inside the jet.  What’s that called?


I swear to God I’ve just spent several minutes looking for the answer with no luck.  Closest I can get is “windshield,” but I feel like that shouldn’t apply to the back part of the damn thing and plus windshield doesn’t repurpose to part of a spacecraft all that well, since there’s no goddamn wind.  Vacuumshield?  Dumb.

Words are stupid.

(Sidenote: Ha!  There was a period of time early in the life of the blog where for some reason WordPress wanted to add “aviation” as a tag to every single post I wrote no matter what.  I get to use it for real!)

On venturing into public

My belly is full of pizza and my brain is full of nonsense. At the moment I prefer the contents of my belly; ultimately the pizza will cost me less. That said, it’s been a very long time since I was getting any kind of exercise regularly– and, despite my near-permanent status as a professional fat dude, I actually enjoy exercise. I got a weird little thrill when my wife pointed out that the current bathroom mirror (which is six feet wide and about four high, with no borders– just a big piece of mirrored glass) ought to go down into the basement as part of our as-yet nonexistent home gym. I was actually angry with myself that I hadn’t thought of it on my own.

I ran into three different families’ worth of students during the ten minutes that I was buying pizza, by the way, which makes me think maybe living in more or less the same neighborhood as my school isn’t that much of an advantage.

One of them asked me what I was doing there, which tells you the caliber of kids I’m dealing with. (Yes, this is an unfair thing to say. No student anywhere thinks his teachers are real people, and running into us in public, thus confirming the unwelcome truth that we exist outside of our classrooms, is always an occasion for wonder and mystery. But it’s still funny.)

“I’m here for pizza,” I told her.

“Really?” she asked.

I leaned forward.

“I actually live here,” I whispered, and pointed under one of the chairs by the door. “I slept there last night. Don’t tell anybody.”

Her eyes tripled in size. Her mother got their pizza (I was waiting for a Deep Dish pizza, which takes longer even though it’s more of a Deep Ish pizza) and shot me a weird look as they left.

By the time the third family said hello and left, I think the employees thought I was some sort of rock star.

The pudgy, bald, talentless kind, of course.

I tried to spend part of last night applying for a field trip grant through Target. Have I mentioned the DC trip yet? I take a group of seventh and eighth graders to Washington, D.C. every two years, and this year is a travel year. The trip is hella expensive so we’re trying to find a good way to pay for it that doesn’t involve me having to run a fundraiser. First it took twenty minutes and two changes of my password to log into the site, which is justweird, and then after taking three thousand or so characters to say I want to take my kids to DC so they can lern history gud, it lost my entire application except for the biographical part at the beginning. Frustrated, I tried to flip to the last section of the application, which asks me to break the trip cost down in ways that are frankly impossible (it costs, roughly, $800 per kid, but that’s a flat fee– they don’t break it down by transportation or food or lodging or whatever. It’s just $800. Target wants everything broken down specifically– I can’t even realistically estimate those numbers– and I doubt they’ll like it very much if I just put $32,000 HOLY FUCKING HELL ARE WE SERIOUSLY PAYING THEM THIRTY-TWO GRAND into one of the boxes.

Holy shit. How the hell are they making thirty-two thousand dollars off of us? That’s fucking insane. Mental note: redouble plans to become a DC tour guide once I decide I can’t teach any longer.





Going to bed early.

My uncle died this morning, my morning class was assholey enough that it made my whole day worse, I ducked out of work early because I didn’t feel emotionally up to dealing with bus nonsense at the end of the day, then I made dinner for my whole family because apparently that’s what I do now.

Tilapia is good.

Oh, and the tile guy came out to measure.  That’s good too.

That said:  today sucked, and I’m not in the mood for this right now.


In the beginning


I’ve had twelve first days of school as a teacher.  That was… certainly one of them.  My throat hurts from talking all day, I’m exhausted, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m actually teaching tomorrow, which could potentially be a problem.  Hopefully tonight I will be able to brain enough to pull together a couple of days’ worth of useful lesson plans, and to be able to bluff my way through actually teaching them tomorrow.  Let’s cross our fingers!

It worked out kinda funny, actually: my first group was way more obnoxious than I was expecting them to be.  My second group was way less obnoxious than I was expecting them to be.  My afternoon class was exactly what I was expecting them to be.  My day is, therefore, timed beautifully; my kids start off a hot mess (at the time of day where I’m most likely to have my patience together) and get better behaved and more fun as the day drags on.  And my prep period is last hour, which works with me for a variety of reasons.  The buses were terribly late, but not as terribly late as they’ve frequently been on the first day of school.  (Elementary students, who let out before we do, sometimes don’t get off at their stop like they’re supposed to, and then don’t know things like their phone numbers and addresses, which have to be tracked down.  The first few days/couple of weeks are always disastrous until transportation gets the bus routes worked out.)

All told: not a bad first day.  We’ll see how the next two days go once I’m actually being expected to teach them something and they’re being expected to learn something.

I’m going to mention this here just because I need to mention it yesterday: Elmore Leonard died this week; I would do terrible things to my friends and loved ones in exchange for a fraction of the man’s talent.  The only person whose Rules for Writing are better than his are Mark Twain’s:

1. Never open a book with weather.

2. Avoid prologues.

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

RIP, Mr. Leonard.